Posts Tagged ‘Comparisons’

Nazem Kadri says the Toronto Maple Leafs will use Lars Eller‘s remarks about them as motivation going forward.

“Bulletin board material,” Kadri said Monday when asked about Eller’s postgame assessment following a 4-2 victory by Toronto over the Washington Capitals on Saturday, according to NHL.com’s Dave McCarthy.

“I don’t know how he can be serious with that comment,” the Leafs center added. “I understand they’re coming off hanging a (championship) banner, but you’ve got to give teams respect that have earned it, and I certainly think we’ve earned it.”

Eller told reporters Saturday night that he wouldn’t put the Leafs on the same level as the Pittsburgh Penguins, and then elaborated on that.

“Nothing special, really. We’re used to playing against (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin. Everything kind of drops from there, so it’s not that special, to be honest. It’s a good team, like a lot of others. They’ll probably be a (playoff) team, I’d think.”

The Leafs and Capitals will meet again Jan. 23 in Toronto.

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At Sunday’s Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory pay-per-view, something rather strange happened in the aftermath of the World Heavyweight Title clash between Austin Aries and Johnny Impact…

…something Vince Russo strange.

After a worked match that masqueraded as a shoot, featuring moves one would never see in a real fight, Impact (the performer, probably not the promotion) secured the victory and the championship with that bar room staple: the Starship Pain. Aries climbed to his feet well before his opponent, leaving the ring almost immediately without selling the effects of the match. He spat at Johnny on his way out before gesturing furiously to Executive Vice President Don Callis.

Less facetiously, the (unique) match itself was very well-worked and well-received, not that that matters. This incident overshadowed everything. Impact, which has quietly removed its stigma as a joke league in 2018, leant heavily into the dreaded TNA shock tactics of old here.

Or did it?

One of three things has happened here:

1) Austin Aries legitimately broke kayfabe in a sensational scene, presumably furious at having been booked to lose.

2) Impact Wrestling, high on the mild buzz driven by the worked shoot programme, has indulged Aries and taken inspiration from, of all things, WCW Bash At The Beach 2000, thus ruining suspension of disbelief.

3) Vince Russo has his hand back on the pencil.

Option three is not without precedent, incredibly enough; Russo once worked in a clandestine consultant role kept secret from then-TV partner Spike because they hated his work, felt it was objectively worthless, and wanted nothing to do with him.

Dave Meltzer, on last night’s Wrestling Observer Radio, neglected to even mention the post-match scene, much less speculate on its mendacity, from which we can infer that it was all, to quote another old TNA figure in Jeff Jarrett, a big work. But for what purpose? A temporary Twitter trend? Austin Aries Vs. Don Callis?!

In any event, the promotion rehabilitating itself as a serious concern has just brought back old, not particularly great memories.

Travis Green wasn’t pleased with what Mike Matheson did to Elias Pettersson on Saturday night.

“It’s a dirty play,” the Vancouver Canucks head coach told reporters postgame. “The league’s trying to protect the good, young players, and that’s just a dirty play.”

The Florida Panthers defenseman hit Pettersson into the boards and slammed him to the ice early in the third period of a game the Canucks won 3-2.

Green didn’t update Pettersson’s condition, and he didn’t want to address the possibility of payback.

“We won the game. I’m not going to comment on retribution or anything like that,” he said.

Canucks forward Sven Baertschi weighed in on the hit too, saying it “looked like WWE to me,” according to Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre.

Pettersson played only two shifts in the third frame, and he didn’t appear on the ice for the final 16 minutes.

Earlier in the game, he scored his fifth goal in five NHL games.

In recent weeks, the feud between SmackDown Live women’s champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair has been given the top billing on Tuesday nights. Flair was recently a guest on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia and discussed the rivalry.

Arguably the best feud the SmackDown Live women’s division has ever seen, Flair and Lynch have captivated the WWE Universe ever since Lynch turned on her best friend at SummerSlam. Flair said it’s been a while since she has been involved in a significant rivalry and she is enjoying every bit of it.

“Anytime you can find yourself in a meaningful storyline you run with it. It’s the first time in a while for me that—I have been in so many great storylines but I think the fans are really sinking their teeth in this one and see how far you can take it,” Flair said. “It is exciting; it feels fresh and new. Even though Becky Lynch and I have had the opportunity to wrestle each other, this time the dynamic is different, which makes it even more exciting.”

With Lynch as the heel for the first time in her career on the main roster, this iteration of the feud is different from previous ones. Lynch and Flair are real-life best friends, so Flair believes their familiarity with one another has only helped their on-screen storyline.

“Becky Lynch and I came up through NXT together, so in terms of how we view how things should be in the ring and psychology and I know what she does well and she knows what I do well because we have talked about it in the car so no, I think it makes for a better overall presentation,” Flair said.

Despite playing the babyface, Flair has consistently been booed by audiences throughout this feud. It’s less about a dislike for her, and more about a devotion to cheering for Lynch. Flair said she doesn’t mind the negative reaction because it is better than no reaction at all.

“Honestly, if I wasn’t getting a reaction then there would be a problem,” she said. “Whether I am getting cheered or booed you are here to make the audience react and that is how I look at it. I don’t look at it as a negative. I look at it as the fans are invested in the story.”

Flair was also asked about her feud being compared to the rivalry between The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. She humbly accepted the compliment, but noted the comparisons are a result of the chemistry she shares with Lynch.

“One, it is flattering to be, I guess. People talk about this being one of the greatest feuds of all time. That is very flattering but I don’t know, I mean, I guess, yeah. I don’t want to sit here and say that I don’t see myself as The Rock, but I don’t see myself as Steve Austin,” she said. “I do think that the fan reaction that we are getting maybe that is why people are saying that because of these two dominant stars are going at it and the chemistry, and the attitude and the presence is why they are saying that.”

Could the NHL have its sights set on a second team in Texas?

While recent expansion talk has centered on the success of the Vegas Golden Knights and the pending entry of a Seattle-based team, at least one member of the NHL’s executive committee sees unearthed value in bringing a team to Houston.

“I look at where we can make the greatest impressions and have the most effectiveness,” Boston Bruins owner and NHL executive committee chairman Jeremy Jacobs told 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Clearly the one area that is missing is Houston because that’s such a great city.”

Jacobs did not indicate whether he thinks the NHL should enter Houston through expansion or relocation, but added, “We don’t have any really poor cities anymore. They’re continuing to flourish.”

It’s not the first time Jacobs has shared his admiration for Houston, particularly when compared to another oft-discussed expansion market in Quebec City.

“You look at Houston and you look at (Quebec), it’s the fifth largest city in North America versus the 105th, let’s say, so they have a different situation there,” Jacobs said in May.

Meanwhile, Tilman Feritta, a Texas billionaire who bought the NBA’s Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in September 2017, hasn’t been shy in expressing his interest in bringing the NHL to Houston. He’s even met with the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss Houston’s suitability as an NHL market.

“I’m very interested in the possibility of bringing the NHL to Houston, but it will have to be a deal that works for my organization, the city, fans of the NHL throughout the region, and the NHL Board of Governors,” Fertitta said in November 2017.

Houston has previously played home to two pro hockey teams: the AHL’s Aeros from 1994 to 2013 and a World Hockey Association franchise by the same moniker from 1972 to 1978.

Ronald Acuna Jr. became the youngest player in Major League Baseball history to hit a grand slam during the postseason with his second-inning blast against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night.

At 20 years and 293 days old, Acuna broke a record held by Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, who hit a playoff grand slam at the age of 21 years, 349 days, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Following the game, the Atlanta Braves phenom said he had never heard of Mantle, telling Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, “I wasn’t even born.”

In fact, Mantle’s grand slam, which was hit in Game 5 of the 1953 World Series, happened more than 44 years and two months before Acuna was born.

Even further, Mantle’s last game, played in 1968, was played almost three full decades before Acuna’s birth.

In his rookie campaign, Acuna authored a remarkable .293/.366/.552 slash line with 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases. By comparison, Mantle’s 96-game rookie season yielded a .267/.349/.443 slash line with 13 homers and eight swiped bags.

“The Queen” Charlotte Flair has managed to get out of her father’s shadow, and has made a massive impact in the WWE. Charlotte spearheaded the women’s revolution couple of years ago, and now finds herself in the midst of yet another significant period for the women in the company.

Charlotte will face Becky Lynch for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at WWE Super Show-Down this weekend in Melbourne, Australia, and “The Queen” was this week’s special guest on Lilian Garcia’s podcast show, Chasing Glory With Lilian Garcia.

During the podcast, Charlotte was asked if Ric Flair’s multiple marriages affected her while she was growing up, and Charlotte Flair talked about how she used to get frustrated with people drawing parallels between Ric and her.

“I didn’t… I can’t say it affected me growing up”, Charlotte revealed. “Because my mom and dad were married I think for 27 years. So obviously, he didn’t leave until I was graduating high school. But when I first started in this industry, and understanding what the dirt sheets are and being in the public eye, and being available to public scrutiny through social media; people making fun of me for being just like my dad really got to me. Because by the time I got to the WWE, he had been married four times. So, yeah, it really bothered me. Because obviously I don’t like to give negativity life or respond, but I always looked at what people were saying, and thought like, ‘But you don’t know why, or what I went through’.

“But I’m not making excuses; my dad’s situation was completely different to my situation. So that was hard.”

Charlotte also talked about how Ric Flair’s world changed when he retired from the WWE in 2008, and said that while she couldn’t understand his decisions back then, she could now relate with what he did.

“It wasn’t that I got to know him more, it was understanding his decisions more. When he retired in ’08, he really had a hard time, which I’m pretty sure is public knowledge. And I couldn’t understand why he just couldn’t go out on a high note. You retire with Shawn Michaels, you have the biggest retirement ever; I mean the weekend just seemed to be so magical, being in Orlando. And it was hard after that. I couldn’t understand, like, ‘Dad, why are you having such a hard time? Live your life. You had an amazing career.’

“But now being a part of this business, and understanding there is nothing like being in the ring. There’s nothing like being the main event, or feeling the crowd or the rush, or getting ready backstage and the camaraderie. Yes, the travel is hard, and you’re away from your families, but there is nothing like what we do I think anywhere else. And he did this his whole life. I’ve only done it a couple of years. So now I understand his choices and decisions, and why he couldn’t walk away, and why he still is who he is.”