HEADLINES AND SIDELINES BY KEVIN ADSHADE
LeafsNation Update: Sometimes, watching these guys is like watching the Leafs of the 1980s, or almost every other era of recent vintage, where they bumble and stumble around the ice and drive the fans crazy.
They give up the game's first goal(s) too often – they've done that five in a row now; they've got the act of giving the puck away in their own zone down to a science – nobody does that better than the Leafs, whose defencemen aren't very smart with the puck, with the exception of Morgan Rielly, and he just turned 20; which is good for the future, but bad for right now because that means the veterans aren't likely to get much smarter. Their hockey brains, sadly, may have fully developed by now.
But there's more: the Leafs sometimes look like it's too much trouble to actually play a hockey game for a full 60 minutes; and every time they really need to kill off a penalty, they can't – 29th best in the NHL in the penalty killing department, which wouldn't be so bad if the NHL had, say, 135 teams.
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SmartBall: The men's basketball team at Harvard University – until the other day I didn't know Harvard teams were called the Crimson – upset the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday in one of the many March Madness U.S. college games. This is a team you could get behind, if for no other reason than Harvard never does anything of note in a major college sport. Maybe their archery team kicks ass, maybe they clean up in field hockey, but Harvard normally doesn't do football and basketball.
One thing we know for sure is their athletes have to be smart: This is big-time U.S. college athletics, where there's a lot of money to be made (so if you can bend the rules to make a little bit more, why, that's exactly what you do), but surely an institution such as Harvard wouldn't sacrifice academic integrity just to field a winning team. The Crimson also play great defence and looked hungry in beating Cincinnati, playing with controlled desperation.
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It's a daunting task, probably too much of a reach, but if they can pull it off, then good for them.
The West Pictou Golfers Association are trying to raise $600,000 to purchase the land on the former golf course, which closed a year ago. After that there's maintenance costs, then labour costs, then the costs of keeping the thing in the black... and well, probably other costs I don't even know about, and anyway that's not my problem.
Is it a good idea? Sure, why not (if you overlook the money thing)?
The Pictou Golf Club is like that wacky member of your group of friends you hang out with: sometimes maddening, other times irritating, but when they're not around you notice their absence. Who hasn't stood up on the hill on a summer day and absorbed the view across the Pictou Harbour, with all that beautiful blue water and intoxicating grey/black/white smoke billowing out of the pulp mill? Who hasn't hit a perfectly solid golf shot only to watch the ball hit something on the fairway and take a hard left or right and into the rough, or better yet, bounce back at you, rolling down the hill until it comes to rest at your feet, where you were standing when first you hit the shot?
Is it realistic to think the Pictou Golf Club will re-open this summer, or any summer in the near future? Good luck to ’em, but I have my doubts.
Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.