Around the Water Cooler
In case you were too busy dressing up as a Dollarama pirate, a deranged Santa, or Pauline Marois (maybe that one’s a stretch…), here’s what you missed this past week in the world of sports…
BASEBALL — Another long season of Major League Baseball ended on Sunday night as the San Francisco Giants won their second World Series crown in three years. Touted as an elite offensive team, the American League Champion Detroit Tigers mustered just six runs in the four game sweep. The Giants were led by World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval—affectionately known as “the panda”—who tied a World Series record with three home runs in the first game of the series. Only Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols had accomplished the feat before Sandoval’s virtuoso performance. The Giants were led by the dominant starting pitching of Barry Zito, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, and Matt Cain, and a bullpen anchored by Sergio Romo. The title is the Giants’ seventh overall and second since moving to California in 1957.
FOOTBALL — The NFL reached its halfway point this week and the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. The Atlanta Falcons are the kings of the league so far, boasting a perfect 7-0 record, while the Texans are the cream of the AFC crop at 6-1. It should be no surprise to anyone that the New England Patriots have scored more than any other team in football, but sit at a “disappointing” 5-3 after some close losses caused by a porous defence. The Chicago Bears have surpassed expectations, leading the NFC North at 6-1 and allowing the fewest points in the NFL. The resurrection of the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings—2011’s also-rans—has fans in those cities excited, while Detroit Lions fans wonder how their team is back in the NFC North basement.
SOCCER — Montreal’s first season in Major League Soccer came to an end. The Impact played their final home game against the New England Revolution on Saturday, losing 1-0 on a late goal. The loss, coupled with a Vancouver Whitecaps win, means that Montreal fell short of the all-time record for points by a Canadian MLS club and the top seed in next year’s Amway Canadian Championship. Vancouver will head on the road this week to face the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first ever MLS playoff game involving a Canadian team. The Caps can provide a glimmer of hope to a nation of soccer fans that has gotten all too accustomed to bad news of late.
HOCKEY — Thursday came and went without a deal, as the NHL and NHLPA remain deadlocked in negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The stalemate has caused the league to cancel all regular season games through Nov. 30. Hockey is still being played in other places, however, as the American Hockey League is benefitting from an influx of NHL-calibre talent. The Charlotte Checkers, affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, are leading the way with a 6-1-0-1 record, and are led by forward Zach Boychuk, who has nine points. Edmonton Oilers rookie Justin Schultz has the early advantage in the AHL scoring race, with six goals and six assists for the Oklahoma City Barons. The Toronto Marlies sit ninth-place, just out of a playoff spot, which should be good practice for when the NHL returns and they bring their mediocre play to the Air Canada Centre.