Vulnerability: Demar Derozan And The Ability To Be Human

I remember watching a certain sports commercial as a kid during a forgettable Raptor game of years past , I was of an age where I didn’t take in stuff as much as I do now and so when a Nike Charles Barkely ad that featured a black and white setting, with Charles dunking in an open gym and telling the audience that he was not a role model. I didn’t think much of it then as I just thought what a weird moment in time that I saw a Charles Barkley ad in the mid 00s, and athletes for me a spry young punk kid thought of these superhumans as just guys who are megapaid and somehow perform these dumb acts of insanity and abnormality. Sure when it all ended they were human beings who went home and called it a day, but we never had the access we do now into their lives off the court or field. I never thought of what guys like Vince Carter or Moe Pete went through off the court when I was younger watching them from home, I just wanted to see how well they would do in consistently bad seasons. But years come and go and with technology becoming the norm of life, we get more availability into some of our favorite players lives, in comes sites like twitter, facebook and instagram (which in the NBA is the go to for pettiness) and all of the sudden fans and media alike get an all access pass into some of what goes on behind the curtain of NBA players, and all other pros in their respected profession. While most of what we get as fans is far greater and far more than what any of us should ever ask for, it gives us at the most rare of times a chance to see how human the worlds best really are. For every slam dunk there is a being that is maybe struggling with more than what we are seen on our 1080p tvs.


But in comes Demar Derozan in his eight season out of  USC, and a proud repper of both Comtpon CA and Toronto Ontario. Playing on a franchise best Toronto Raptors team playing their best ball since they drafted Demar, and maybe their best ball ever in team history. Freshly off of singing an extention to stay in Toronto for 5 more years worth 139 million dollars where during the off-season free agency madness, Demar never even gave it a second thought of where he wanted to go. Soon after his buddy Kyle Lowry decided to stick around, even though it seemed he was on his way out, and together followed by the best bench in the NBA would be kicking off (so far) the most impressive regular season in team history. Sitting at 44 wins as they sealed off another big win against a tough team in the Wizards, there is hard work to find any real hard struggles with this team. But that’s on the court, and like I previously said in today’s world it is easier than ever to see how these stars are doing beyond the bright lights and hard floors. Demar has been struggling with his ill father back in LA, and with the All Star Weekend approaching Demar Derozan opened up about his struggles with depression with a tweet that immediately was approached with love and support.


Although basketball may be considered less of a hard hitting sport than some others, it  is still played by some of the toughest humans out there. Professionals playing in such a high level high intensity athomsphere, they are given these shields of toughness and an almost brush it off attitude when it comes to showing the events they go through past game time. They are taught at an early age as kids to get right back up when you get pushed down, dust off your bruises and get back to the action. In the context of the NBA in this matter though, it shows how progressive the league has gotten when one of its biggest stars opens up about his struggles, and is not met with acts of weakness for being so vulnerable, but for being human in a world where humanity can seem so rare and at times unwanted in certain atmospheres. Twitter can at most times be a venom filled place where you mostly get the worst out of people, but for the NBA and it’s players it gives them a voice that they use far more than just to tweet out their favorite highlight of the night before.  For Raptors All Star Shooting Guard, number 10 Demar Derozan, it gave an option to be a voice for those that go through the same struggles of Depression and anxiety, that they are not alone and even the biggest stars in the biggest setting on the biggest stage can struggle to find themselves. For Demar Derozan his openness and willingness to be honest on such a dangerous platform like Twitter, and to not only be supported back but to be loved on such a big level, shows that vulnerability can be admired almost, and us “normal” beings have something to relate too even if it is something that is not widly popular to bring up in normal conversation, thanks to the stigma that depression can bring with it. Demar is a man of many abilities that is shown on a near daily basis on a hardwood floor with a Toronto Raptors logo on it, but maybe his best ability is his honesty and also his ability to be vulnerable, and an ability to be human in the toughest job field that being human can have.


Pro-Wrestling And Calming Down My Anxiety

It was a cool may 11 Spring night at the Danforth Gerrard area, in Toronto Ontario. I am a pro wrestling fan and have been one for a while now, it’s a tricky and somewhat unnatural thing to be a fan of, and to invest time in your life in watching and being fan can be somewhat intimidating. It’s not something really that can be a thing you can confidently tell people in a group, or a public setting without getting a weird eye stare or some confusion headed back your way. So for years i kinda made it a quiet and unknown thing, because i was never really sure how people would react, and the constant banter back of people saying “you know it’s fake right?”. Yes i do know it is “fake” and predetermined in which it is discussed mostly throughout backstage, sometimes well before the show starts. But me being a fan has nothing to do with the scripts but instead me being a fan of the stories the talented athletes are able to tell inside a ring.

Like I said this was my first time going to a wrestling show that was not wwe, and that it would just be me going. I walked into the arena -when not used as a Ring Of Honor Independent show- is used as a minor midget hockey arena, so space was not existing if you didn’t come early enough. Luckily the views from where i was, high up before you enter your seats, where good enough that I never complained. The place was packed with wrestling fans from all over, and so packed you couldn’t look left or right without bumping shoulders, but it felt comfortable and home warming.  A weird feeling but I felt right at home in a building full of strangers, and it made me feel better about trying to break open a shell.

Anxiety for me was and still is in someways all about living in a shell, and not having enough confidence or action to break out and just be ok being me. Being a wrestling fan-at least in my eyes- is kinda the same thing. You are in a shell with a different kind of crowd that only you as a wrestling fan, can understand and it creates somewhat of a family that can love and sometimes hate such a weird and interesting concept of life. I felt wanted and able to have fun as myself as I and hundreds others were able to watch some of our favorite athletes compete and tell a story, and it helped later that I and others were able to meet the performers afterwards as it gave both the fan in me and the performers a rare chance to connect and hear their stories.

From being able to enjoy myself in an environment like a wrestling event, where I can share the same joy and memories with many others, to having the courage to getting help by a professional therapist on my own, I am more willing to be myself and more willing to be ok with what I am and what I can or can’t do. Anxiety is still an issue for me but I know what to do when it hits, and that is to believe in myself, and remember that one night at the Ted Reeve Arena and remember on the fun I had, and being ok with what I am, and what I was on that cold night.


Raptors Adding PJ Tucker Would Help Solve Defensive woes


With Demarcus Cousins being shockingly traded by the Sacramento Kings this past weekend, the trade market has woken up and teams are either trying to buy the next big star -the Bulls Jimmy Butler has been subject of trade rumors for weeks now- or adding small rotation pieces, the Kings have been reported to be having a fire sale on basically anyone after trading their franchise centerpiece. Guys like Aaron Afflalo and Darren Collison have been reported to be on the move, and could help teams in playoff spots.

The Raptors have done some moving of their own before the deadline, sending Terrence Ross and a first round draft pick ( the lesser of two first rounders they have because it belonged to the Clippers) to Orlando for star 4 man Serge Ibaka. They needed a starting 4 that can defend and stretch the floor and they got him, for a pretty decent trade off even if Ross is having one of his better seasons.  But the Raptors still need to make a move to help their defense and maybe bench depth after losing Ross.

The Phoenix Suns are one of a few teams that are for sure sellers come Thursdays Trade Deadline. One name that has been thrown around recently, is veteran wing defender PJ Tucker. The former Raptors pick has made a home in Phoenix after being let go by Toronto in 2011, and has made himself into a reliable defensive player with an honest three point shot that while is not an immediate threat, he can hit a few down the stretch and averaged a career best 38% from 3 in 2012-13. Tucker could be a cheap rental, seeing as his contract expires after this year, and it would provide some needed wing depth with some nice defensive skill. Terrence Ross could defend but was a rollercoaster, and that led to most nights of him getting beat off the dribble or off of screens. Tucker may not shoot like Ross, but with the defensive struggles the Raps have shown recently Tucker brings in a much needed aid.

The Suns being sellers at the Deadline would probably also mean that the Raptors would have to part ways with either a young player, a pick, or possibly both. With the addition of Ibaka, the Raptors are a little heavy with bigs. JV is not going anywhere, at least with what the Raptors are targeting and also he has played decently well to really try and dangle to a team like the Suns. Paterson is too valuable to just give away to a team that may not even have him come the off-season, and Sullinger has not played enough and has been too injured that the Suns probably wouldn’t want that hanging over their heads.  They might have to part ways with Noguiera, or maybe get rid of either Siakim or Pertl. They are young with talent just getting better and better, but the Raptors are win now mode and may have to part ways with the future to better the present. The Raptors are in a dogfight for that number 2 spot behind the Cavs, and hopefully with Serge Ibaka and maybe an acquired PJ Tucker, the Raptors can reclaim the 2 spot and hopefully face off the Cavs again the in Eastern Finale.



The NBA Is The Best League Going


The NBA had a bunch of games going on last night, and most of them pitted some of the more elite teams against teams that are struggling or are heavily injured. Teams like Golden State and Cleveland played low seeded teams like Miami and New Orleans, but this is what makes the NBA so great. The Warriors lost on a game winning three by Dion Waiters of all people against the Heat, the Cavs lost to a very game New Orleans Pelicans, and a very good team in Utah lost to OKC on a Westbrook jumper. The NBA is at its best when there is parity, drama and madness, and a Monday made it all happen.

This year is giving us not a great rookie class, but talented sensation Joel Embiid is shining in his debut year in the League, after a couple years being forced to sit out due to injury. He leads all rookies in scoring, second in blocks overall, and leads all rookies in total rebounding. His overall talent and enthusiasm for the game has given the Sixers a spark, and has seemed to rejuvenate Sixers basketball in Philly after years of  disarray and failure. The Sixers being promising and relevant is important for the NBA, and it shows a very bright future.

The NBA signing a new CBA mid-season also showed that they learned from their mistakes from the last lockout in 2013. They were able to get a deal done between the NBA and the NBPA, while also not delaying another season to do so. The NBA also put in the new CBA that they will help with retired players. The NBA will offer retired players health benefits, give them future jobs and also provide them with money so we don’t have another Antoine Walker situation.  From ESPN.


Starting on Jan. 1, the NBA and NBPA will equally fund a new health insurance plan, education/career development program and increases in pension benefits for retired players.

The NBA is finally reaching out to it’s retired players, and giving them a continued future and not just one last check before saying goodbye. The NBA showcases some of the best athletes on earth, and if they can’t have a safe and healthy retirement after their body goes down then it is a bad mark on the NBA and a bad mark on the game. The last thing the NBA wants is another player unhealthy or unable to have a livable surroundings, and having this rule in place certifies that every retired player retires happy and healthy.

There may be only two real super teams that fans expect to battle in the finals, that of course being Cleveland and Golden State. But the NBA with all of its extra story-lines and drama provides a layer of excitement and fun, and if there are more games like the ones that happened on Monday night, this might be a very memorable NBA season. This and more proving why the NBA is the best league going,  and with the best athletes around.

Could This Be The Best Raptors Team Ever

A historic offense and an overall healthy lineup, this might be the Best Raps team yet


The Raptors are coming off three straight games where they scored over 100 points, and three straight games where they thoroughly handled the opposition mostly for the entirety.  Kyle Lowry is hitting threes, Demar is scoring more points than he ever has, and young players like Lucas Noguera and rookie Pascal Siakam are doing superbly filling in the shoes that Bismack Byiombo left when he signed with Orlando.  Still relatively early in the year, but so far this Raptors team is showing a whole lotta promise.

Last Years Raptors were good, real good that they were able to make it to the conference finals against the Cavs.They would ultimately fall 2 games short of moving on to the finals, after being manhandled for most of the series. But it was a step, a big step, for a franchise that never could advance that far before. A season that felt accomplished, even if the players themselves say they fell short. The next year would mean the same if not better expectations, collect 50 or plus wins and once again meet the Cavs in the East finals.

While the Raps rank top 5 in both Points (112 points per game) and Field Goal Percentage ( 47.9%), their defense has taken a concerning back seat. They sit near the bottom of the league in DEFRTG, and they struggle to defend the Pick and Roll, especially with JV getting caught in no mans land, or not making it in time to cover the roll man. They kind of remind me of the old Phoenix Suns like 10 years ago, sure they can’t defend much but they can score buckets with will, even if they don’t have a generational pass first point guard or a death 3 ball shot.

Some of the reason behind the Raptors fire offence is the play of their bench, guys like Norman Powell and Terrence Ross are showing big improvements from last year. Ross is showing more consistency in his game, scoring more and not being hesitant to make big plays. Norman Powell has made the most out of limited minutes, and while it may not look eye popping on the stat sheet-only averaging around 6.8 points per game, his defense and athleticism is a good asset for the raptors, who can sometimes lose it when demar is sitting. Bebe Nogueira has also filled the big hole of Biyombo well, despite foul trouble and problems on the PNR. But I will write about him in depth later.

The Toronto Raptors are making history already, having a franchise best offense and big years from Derozan and Lowry. Of course having to beat the Cavs remains a daunting task for the Raptors, and one they will need to find a peice via trade if they have any real chance against Lebron and his team of shooters and offensive threats. Bur despite that big grey cloud hanging over the Raps, they remain heavy favorites to get to the East Finals along Cleveland, and with the current team they have and maybe with another big peice like a Paul Milsap, they could have the best Raptors team of all time. Just another showing of their growth and maturity through the years.




Is it Time to Worry About the Dallas Stars

only a handful of games in, but bad defense and goaltending have the stars falling


The Dallas Stars remind me kind of the old 2005-06 run and gun Phoenix Suns. A deadly team of all stars and proven youth, with a wicked fun and fast offense. They would pack the highlights and would get casual and hardcore fans to try and watch every game. The Stars do a great job scoring goals, top 10 in goal scoring this season, but trying to defend the net has been a real problem 2 years now.  Kari Lehtonen and Anti Nemi have been mediocre, and the Stars defense core have been decent but a near 40 Johnny Odua and Dan Hamhuis is a problem, while John Klinberg has struggled with a decreasing Corsi For% dipping below 50 percent. All this and he was a healthy scratch on Monday night against Minnesota after missing a team meeting.

The goalies have been a real issue for the Stars for a while, and that 5 year deal Kari Lehtonen signed with Dallas -which will pay him a near 6 mill a season- is putting a vine wrap around the Stars.  A no-trade clause makes it near impossible to trade him, and if the certain teams are not willing to give up anything for him, the Stars are suddenly trapped with a overpaid and underperformed goaltender. Antti Niemi is a little better, as his contract expires after next year, but if the Stars would try to move Niemi it would be hard as well as he also as a NTC. An expiring Niemi would be a good clearance of salary for Dallas, but that Lehtonen contract makes it real hard to make a big splash.

The Stars have also dealt with an unfortunate injury bug to start the year, Jiri Hudler, Mattis Janmark, and Johnny Odua have all missed time, while Ales Hemsky will miss the year due to surgery to repair a sore hip. Of course being in a loaded Western Conference and in a dog fight in the central division, having to battle the likes of Chicago,Nashville, and St.Louis to have a real shot at the playoffs. Scratches and injuries, along with inconsistent play is going to make it real hard to get in there, especially with teams like Winnipeg and Minnesota making improvements of their own.

Of course the Stars can just rely on their superstar offense to take over, they have a top 15 SH% at around 9 and their PDO is bottom league at 98.9 so they are bound to have some luck go towards them. Tyler Seguin has points in 3 of last 5 games, and possession wise is having the puck at a good rate with a 50% Corsi for. Jamie Benn is having another productive season and has points in 3 of his last 5 games, so the Stars could turn things around quickly, but it all falls on the defense and the goaltending.

The Dallas Stars seem too talented to crash and burn, but they also have flaws that make it entirely possible. Struggling play from guys like John Klinberg will not sink the ship for Dallas, but it will create enough holes that at some point the ship starts leaking.



Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis Starting a Future of Do It All Big Men

From the Days of back it down big man to now the do it all big man. the nba is changing


I remember back when I started to enjoy basketball and become an nba fan, I would be used to seeing guys like Shaq, Yao Ming and Tim Duncan play in the paint. Only a few big guys would take their game outside and out to the perimeter, Dirk Nowitzki, Rasheed Wallace, and kinda not really but sometimes later in his Raptor years Chris Bosh, would be able or be willing to take 3s when at the time big men taking threes were few and far between. The game was played at a slower pace, focusing more on post ups and mid range game than pick and roll and jacking up threes.

But years later and a few drafts later big men who could shoot the three became more and more of a need rather than a rarity. In came guys like Ryan Anderson and Spencer Hawes to the league, and while not real notable names coming to mind, they started a change in big men being able to take their game outside.

But it was not till Anthony Davis and Karl Anthony Towns arrived that the NBA were able to see how far the Big men in basketball have come. The ability to dribble and pass well, along with shoot with confidence from further than the inside the paint was a real rarity. It transitioned right with the nba now becoming a more faster and more of a three point dependent league. Now Anthony Davis is not real consistent in his shot, but he does have one and Karl Anthony Towns is making a three shot an all day part of his arsenal. It is a start of an evolution that could see the end of traditional big men.

Karl Anthony towns arrived with the Timberwolves and immediately made an impact, winning rookie of the year and showing how versatile big men these days are. The comparisons to Anthony Davis were plenty and it might not be too far before Towns oversteps Davis. The Timberwolves are so close to finally becoming a contender again, but meanwhile the Pelicans fail to make the best of Anthony Davis and his gifts by not surrounding him with other talented players.  He is the near definition of do it all player, he can pass, rebound and score with tremendous ease. His defense is elite with the help of that giant wingspan, and if he really develops a three point shot that is consistent, he could be near unstoppable.

The NBA is a long way moved from the backdown hook shot big men it used to enjoy, KAT and Davis are the men who can pave the way for a real change in the NBA. The League is set for years to come with two franchise players who can really make an already fun league even more fun and promising. The Timberwolves are already making huge steps, it is time the Pelicans wake up and realize what kind of talent they have in front of them, and stop wasting what could be a career to remember for nothing.




The Connection of Watching Sports, and The Chicago Cubs


The day was a cold November in Toronto, the weird summer feeling of October and September days were passed. Time for some long pants, sweaters, and the crazy and unpredictable time that is playoff baseball was near its ultimate finish. Though the Jays-or my beloved red  sox- were eliminated early and often by that Cleveland team, there was still plentiful of eyes focused on the World Series matchup between the Cleveland baseball team, and a team that for all my life never had a chance at glory. Unlike teams like the Yankees, Boston, St.louis and the Giants, the beloved “lovable losers” Chicago Cubs were for so long the team that everyone loved, but were always either too bad to compete, or for some reason cursed by a goat and some fan who wanted a peice of history. But after a century and a near decade later of sadness no franchise can endure, the lovable losers finally got to raise the W flag one last time, this time though for something that might never be topped in that proud city, a world series trophy being presented to the Chicago Cubs. It meant a lot to guys like Kris Bryant, who even could not hide a smile of a child when he fielded the finale groundball for the cubs of 2016. Guys like Anthony Rizzo who quickly put the world series winning ball in his back pocket as soon as he got it out of his glove and raised his arms. They knew this meant more than a World Series win, this meant the gorillas of all gorillas was lifted off a cities back. No longer the butt-end of jokes or the “feel bad for this team” team, they were a city of champions and a city of today instead of “maybe another day”. It was a community of fans who went as far as an 83 year old fan who maybe felt the suffering better than anyone, broke down in tears of joy and disbelief.

The greatest night in Chicago’s history took place on Wednesday November 2, a time that many never saw and many thought may never see. It was maybe the greatest game ever, one that saw Rajai Davis have his defining moment as a player when he ties the game with a 3 run homerun in Cleveland with his team hangin on by a nail, trying to win and defeat a curse of their own. But it just had to be the cubs this year, momentum was with them after winning 2 straight to send it to a game seven. After all that, after all those wins in the regular season, they needed to win it all. It was an ending needed after such an amazing and draining story. A crazy playoffs with a magical game seven that will be one of those you will have a hard time forgetting.One that you can talk about forever, the what ifs of everything that happened. What if Aroldis Chapman never ran out of gas? Well the Cubs would have maybe won, but we don’t get that magical photo of Kris Bryant smiling, and we never get that glimpse of Anthony Rizzo keeping that ball forever. A game can be just a game, but a game with story and drama is what makes taking time out of your day to watch a bunch of millionaires worth it, you smile like they smile. A storybook ending for a Story worth telling forever.

Some may have been in bars, at home or lucky enough to witness the ending live. There is always that “where were you when” moment in games and this one was no different. Whether you were watching alone or able to witness magic in games with someone else, if you watch regularly or just catch those big games, there are always moments and spots that share a deep connection in your heart. You are able to recount almost everything that happened in that game, because it resonates so well with you. Sometimes your team comes up on the hand of celebration, and sometimes you are left defeated and find it hard to come up with reason or explanation, sometimes you raise your arms or are left motionless and just want to be left alone. Sports really shouldn’t affect us like this, it is all but a game played by people  who dedicated their whole lift into just having a chance at playing the sport. But maybe that is why we give so much to see these athletes play, because we know they sacrificed so much for our enjoyment. In that sense I sometimes feel selfish, enjoying my time eating hotdogs and  drinking beer while these men are playing for their lives. But they know that it works both ways, we need them to take us away from our daily struggles in life, and they need us because they want a reason to play other than the check. They enjoy it too, being able to interact with a fan is both a joy for a player, and as a fan saying you got to high five a personal hero, someone you spent so long supporting through good and bad.

A relationship and almost a cult following like that is hard to explain sometimes with sports fans and their teams and players. Sometimes you may never meet your favorite player, and he may never meet you , but that won’t matter because you are willing to cheer him on no matter what. But then there are times when you do get a chance to talk to your favorite player, the ability to converse with a hero, and being able to see the human side some people are never able to see is something magical and rare. Sure they are human just like us as they have jobs and kids, but their jobs are something we cherish on a day to day basis, from the opening day to the closing nights, we care about this persons job unlike anyone can ever. This held true  on that special night in front of that famou Wrigley field entrance as the whole city of Chicago gathered around and waited for that scoreboard to read finale, and for that scoreboard to read the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

The Columbus Blue Jackets Have A Problem


The Blue Jackets had a season to forget last year, as they finished near dead last in the NHL only to be ahead of the intentionally dreadful Maple Leafs. They started with a seven game losing streak right out of the gate last year, which led to the firing of Todd Richards and the hiring of known loudmouth John Tortorella, a hiring that right away seemed to be destined for doom. They gave up the second most amount of goals last year due to the cesspool of a defense that they have, and the fact that Sergi Bobrovsky was injured; the Jackets had to rely on an inexperienced Joonas Korpisalo and a 32 year old nothing in Curtis McElhinney to try and steer a young and struggling defense group. Adding a talent like Seth Jones is good, but adding one good young player is not going to miraculously fix this team.

Offensively this team is fine, not bad enough to be terrible but never showed glances of a high scoring team. Only 219 goals won’t balance out the lackluster defense that has been put out all year. Cam Atkinson is a good player, one of the few on that roster, but relying on a 20 plus goal scorer to be a main threat every night is a lot to ask for,especially when he is playing with guys like David Clarkson and Scott Hartnell. With this much of a problem scoring, the team has to rely on its goaltending and defense to win games. But with the second to lowest goals against, and having to put Jack Johnson for periods of time makes the not scoring part a real problem for this team.

But even with the offensive and defensive flaws the Jackets have, their biggest one remains who they hired to replace Todd Stevens as their new head coach. Noted loudmouth John Tortorella was hired after the Jackets started 0-7. A questionable move from the start, as Tortorella was just coming off of a horrible stint as Vancouver Canucks head coach were he drove a talented and promising Canucks team to the ground, and oh yea did this. You want John Tortorella hockey Columbus? Well there it is front and center.

How he keeps getting jobs is really an amazing and continually baffling thing. His old ways of coaching and his styles are no longer what it takes to win games, and teams keep hiring him why? Because he won a cup that one time with a super team in the Lightning, and no matter how much of an ass he is, teams continue to hire him because they think that the way he coached that lightning team can somehow transition to today’s game, where it is more depending on skill and speed rather than grinding it out or being more physical than the other team. The NHL today relies on having the puck as much as you can, and not trying to hit your way to a win. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a team with no direction as long as they keep employing a coach that has not had a direction for quite some time.

Team North America Showing Bright Future At World Cup

The NHL is seeing it’s bright and promising future flourish at the World Cup Of Hockey


When the World Cup of Hockey was announced, there was both optimism and skepticism about how the tournament showcasing stars would go. Fans who were craving hockey are excited that it is back, but analysts and writers worried about the amount of injuries to certain players would affect the teams heading into the NHL Season.   But with the formation of the super rookie team in Team North America – a team made up of some of the best young stars the hockey world has to offer – This tournament is showing just how impressive the future of the NHL really is.

They made an European team made up of some decent players look foolish in the couple of exhibition games, we saw their speed and skill front and center and made proven NHL goalies like Tuukka Rask look normal. At first it seemed a little weird in an international tournament that a team made up of multi-national players would be competing in it, but after a few games in they are the most favorite to watch for some, because in a game of speed young legs are a needed factor.

Injuries are always a scare with a tournament like this so close to the regular season. Players have already felt the injury bug and the official start has not even happened yet. If any team were to suffer with a player or two go down with injuries it would be Team North America. They have the skill to cover the scoring losses, but experience is a few with this team and if one key guy goes down it could be real hard for Team North America to find that extra push come to when the tournament starts and pressure starts to mount.

With the NHL season so close, teams that are rebuilding or are dependant on a young core of players will be watching extra carefully on how these young stars fare on the tournament.  It’s a gamble in general to have this event because of injuries, and if one of the young stars has a serious injury we could see the teams and owners wanting the World Cup to be a one time thing.

Still even with the backlash and the worry of injuries, the World Cup of Hockey will be a hockey event that will feature some of the best young talent the game has to offer. The amounts of skill and promise North America is showing is amazing and it really sets the next few years up real nicely.

The NHL is always trying to grow the game internationally, to try to find that budding of young stars that represent the future of the league and to be able to get international eyes watching. The World Cup focuses on that, and with such a talented core like North America running the event, it is leading the NHL in the right direction towards outside popularity and a bigger overall brand not just focused on Canada or the States. The World Cup is kinda silly, but it shows a purpose in putting their youngest and most promising players front and center for the world to see.