Urbaneblog’s Weblog

Pop Culture meets Haut Couture

Hulk vs Thor

Its part two of the Hulk series. Now its against Thor. I wonder if they are going to make him talk asgardian styles. Either way this looks cool

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Comics, Movies, TV | , , | Leave a comment

Black Panther BET series trailer

Here it is. The animation looks interesting. Definitely a Romita JR animation style. It feels like a homage to those 1966 marvel cartoons. I’ll take a wait and see approach but this looks like is going to be very violent. Catch it on BET soon.

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Comics, TV | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dark Knight Spoof

The Dark Knight is a modern cinema classic. Up there with the all time crime drama epics of all time.

Now watch the youtube version:

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Comics, Movies | , , , | Leave a comment

Ron Artest: The biggest idiot in NBA history?

https://i1.wp.com/espn.go.com/media/nba/2005/1127/photo/a_artest_268.jpgNo way I would want anyone the likes of Ron Artest be anywhere near my team. I am conservative when it comes to sports and Artest really defies everything that could go wrong when someone doesn’t have the brain cells to match their god given talent. It doesn’t seem like this is a sentiment shared by NBA GM’s as Ron Artest is poised to be traded, yet again, from a team that has grown disgruntled by his antics to another that hopes the “nth time” is a charm.

Now don’t get me wrong. Artest is a beast defensively. He does have talent which is what has allowed him to stick around for this long going into his 4th team it seems. The Rockets will regret this move. Someone that volatile cannot be contained. The scariest part, I think, its the fact that he is a ticking time bomb. He could go off at the worst possible time. Yes you can pat yourself in the back when things are relatively smooth all season long, but don’t be surprised if good ol’ Ron Ron decides to kick the ball off the court in a crucial moment on the conference finals out of frustration.

His history is one that is either hilarious of shameful depending in what mood you are in that day. I personally don’t like his playing style as he doesn’t seem very fluid to me. He is good but hard to watch.

His hero: Dennis Rodman. His rep matches that of Rodman in terms of trouble https://i0.wp.com/www.playahata.com/images/celebpics/dennisrodman_wedding.jpgrep but you never saw Rodman take into the stands out for Justice. The worst he ever did was marry himself dressed in a wedding gown, but that was entertainment more than straight up ignorance and thuggery. Two of Artests biggest assets.

Hey I may seem to be trashing on the guy, but he is a troubled soul and has clearly skipped many lessons in life. Lets look at my favourite artest moments:

1999: Artest applies for a job at Circuit City to obtain discounts on electronics. It would have been funny if Artest was the Old Dirty Bastard, but a good rapper he is NOT!

2001: Artest claims his defensive ball stealing prowess on the court comes from stealing in the rough neighbourhoods over at good ol Queensbridge, NY. “I used to steal cookies from the store as a kid. I got real good. I used to steal about four packages a day. It prepared me for the league.” A few weeks later he broke Michael Jordans ribs.

2002: Girlfriend claims physical domestic abuse. Artest responds by leaving threatening messages on her voicemail. Cause you know, anyone sane would never use that against him.

2003: Suspended and fined for Smashing a TV after a game. Later on that month, he gets into it with veteran coach Pat Riley during a game. Flips the middle finger on national TV to all the miami fans.

2004: Best year ever. Misses practice, team flight and shootaround for Game 6 of the Eastern conference finals against the pistons. Elbows Richard Hamilton at the end of the game sparking a Pistons victory. Later on asks for time off during the season to promote his rap album “Allure”. Hip-hop fans of the world throw up collectivelly. “I want to take the whole year off, but I’m not because I want to win a championship.” Months later the infamous detroit brawl occurs after he charges to the stands for being hit with a cup of beer while laying completely on the scorers table preventing the game to continue.

2005: After going through hell to accomodate him and help him through the rough times, the pacers decided to trade Artest as he publically asks to be traded. The NBA fines him for going public.

2007: What a year off? Gets in trouble for animal cruelty. Does not feed his dog.

2008: Trade demands put out and then removed force the Kings to stop hoping for change and trade him to the Rockets. Yao Ming and Tmac shake their head in disgust somewhere.

…and this are just a few highlights. His suspension and technical foul record is a tough one to beat. He currently holds the record for longest non drug or gambling related suspension in the NBA.

He should have been kicked out of the league. The brawl he caused in Detroit was the worst scenario I have seen in all these years of NBA ball. I like Stern, and I know the Players Association would have been after his ass if he tried it, but in my books the fans(aka the money spending customers) are untouchable. What he did was a disgrace to the sport and the NBA should not have given him another chance. But, hey, what do I know about anything. The Rockets are fingers crossed and ready to welcome Artest in hopes of a championship. I guess no one told them that he is the definition of damaged goods.

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Marvel Universe Trading Cards part 1

1990 Comic Book Ad

In the early and mid 90’s marvel comics started releasing a trading card set consisting of about 200 cards per set. Even though the company was going through some rough times financially, these trading card sets were what mapped the way for marvel geekdom for years to come. All of my basic knowledge comes from reading these things over and over and over. Even though I don’t have them memorized, I’m pretty sure that I know every single “Did you know?” section from these cards.

These cards were extremely popular around its time, and it is arguable that these cards represent the biggest non sports card property of all time.

Today we look at set #1 that came out in 1990. All images courtesy of Marvel.com

Here is some commentary on some of my favourites:

Black and White Spidey: Spidey in black and white will always have some sort of interesting apeal. We have seen it resurface this year and I don’t think we have seen the last from this costume. Pretty sick. I always liked the battle statistics. Pretty straight forward. You suck or you don’t.

Wolverine: This is one of my favorite cards of all time. The art on this one is nice. Wolverine was the only character to have been featured in 3 individual cards on this set(Classic, Current, Patch).

Cosmic Spidey: Hilarious in a way. Every time someone that doesnt know much look at this collection they are always puzzled as to why spiderman is flying and what exactly it is that he is flying away from. Check out the twin towers in the background. In this stupidly PC world, this would have been a controversial card.

The Blob: I loved this card. Whomever drew this did a great job showing what the blob really is instead of a really fat guy which is what some actually think.

Famous Battles: These cards showed some art from an important event in the DCU. Lots of basic information for little geeks like myself. So basically, if you sit down with someone and they start talking about how the Hulk and Wolverine once went at it there is a chance that this is where they got it from.

Spiderman Presents: Some cheesy humour but it does the job. There are about 8 of them and I think they are all pretty funny. This was the only set to feature these cards

Holograms: There were 5 hologram cards on this set. They were al based on another simple card. These were the special hard to find cards. I never suceeded in obtaining more than two.

Stan the man: Someone drew this while on a high concentrated dosage of acid.

MVC Cards: They featured very important issues. Watch for an upcoming movie on this one.

This was by far my favourite set. I spend money, sweat and tears trying to get this whole set together and I had great success. There was a huge buzz about these cards among kids and Im sure it brings a memory or two.

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Comics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

15 Worst Trades in Toronto Maple Leafs History (Part 2 of 3)

2013 UPDATE: I have refreshed and expanded this list on another website.  Check out the series here: Introduction, #21-25, #16-20, #11-15, #6-10 and #1-5.

Welcome to Part Two of the worst trades in Toronto Maple Leafs history.  One thing I should mention is that I did not consider any trades from before 1967.  The reason is because the Original Six NHL was incredibly different from the one today, and the majority of awful Leaf trades happened after the 70’s anyways.

To recap, here is the list so far from Part One (which can be read here):
#15: Toronto trades Tukka Rask to the Boston Bruins for Andrew Raycroft
#14: Toronto loses Gerry Cheevers to the Boston Bruins in the Intra-League Draft
#13: Toronto trades Fredrick Modin to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Cory Cross and a 7th Round Pick in 2001 (Ivan Kolozvary)
#12: Toronto trades Larry Murphy to the Detroit Red Wings for Future Considerations
#11: Toronto trades Kenny Jonsson, Sean Haggerty, Darby Hendrickson and a 1st Round Pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo) to the New York Islanders for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith

And now, on with the list!

#10: As compensation for signing RFA Mike Craig, Toronto sends Peter Zezel and Grant Marshall to the Dallas Stars
Right off the bat, I will admit to some fairly blatant bias here.  I HATE Mike Craig.  I hated him in Minnesota/Dallas, and I LOATHED him in Toronto.  I have never hated a Maple Leaf player before or since; but I hated Mike Craig.  He was a 15-goal, 30-point player that the Leafs signed to an offer sheet for who-knows-what reason.  And in 3 seasons in Toronto, 172 games… he managed 20 goals.  No, not a season… TOTAL.  20 freakin’ goals and 50 points.  Oh, and in the playoffs?  One assist in 8 games.  ARGH.  And the compensation package was ridiculous.  Peter Zezel didn’t last very long with the Stars, but he was an incredibly competent checking centre for a grind line that the Leafs SORELY lacked for a number of years after the Berg-Zezel-Osborn combination was disbanded.  What’s worse, the Leafs also lost decent prospect Grant Marshall (their first round pick from 1992!).  He played 402 games with Dallas, recording 134 points as a decent two-way player.  And SINCE Dallas, he has played another 298 games.  Oh, and did I mention he’s won a pair of Stanley Cups, one with Dallas and one with New Jersey?  A strong two-way forward who has (so far) played 700 career games, and the loss of Zezel for 172 games from Mike f’n Craig.  It would have been better if Cliff Fletcher (or whoever made the decision to sign Craig) offered me $20 to ro shambo him.  No I’m not bitter, why do you ask?

#9: Toronto trades Lanny McDonald and Joel Quenville to the Colorado Rockies for Pat Hickey and Wilf Paiement
This was a trade that began the franchise’s descent into the hell that was the 80s, a decade in which the Leafs had a record of 301-481-98 between 79-80 and 89-90 (a win percentage of .398, during a time in which surrendered 660 more goals than they scored).  It is also widely reported that the deal was intended to demotivate Leafs captain Darryl Sittler.  Only in Toronto would a personal vendetta come before the success of the club.

Pat Hickey was an unexpected bonus at first; he recorded 22 goals in just 45 games during his first half-year with the club.  But the next season he was quite ordinary, and one game into the following season he was gone.  Meanwhile his counterpart Joel Quenville was a servicable defenseman for Colorado, following the club to New Jersey.  He went on to play 710 games after leaving the Leafs.

At first glance, the superstars in this trade worked out well.  Toronto got 187 games and 203 points out of Paiement, while Colorado got 142 games and 141 points from McDonald.  Paiement even recorded a stellar 40 goals and 97 points in his first full season in Toronto.  But when he dropped to 18 goals and 58 points the following seasons, the Leafs traded him to Quebec for Miroslav Frycer and a 7th rounder.  Yes, that’s right; Miroslav Frycer was all the Leafs had to show for dealing heart-and-soul Lanny McDonald.  Colorado didn’t fare much better; they dealt McDonald to Calgary, where he played another 492 games (!!!), and won a Stanley Cup in his final season (1988-89).  Lanny scored 66 goals in his first full season in Calgary, and ironically Joel Quenville ended up in Calgary as well.

This trade is #9 for two reasons.  First, looking at the numbers, the trade isn’t as bad as you might suspect.  Paiement’s contributions in Toronto were superior to McDonald’s in Colorado, and the Rockies traded McDonald for spare parts Bob MacMillan and Don Lever.  This prevents the trade from being higher.  But what keeps this trade in the “Top” 10 is the fact that the Leafs were TRYING to shoot themselves in the foot to hurt their captain, AND they squandered the resources they received (Paiement) for a player (Frycer) who was a regular “contributor” on some of the worst Leaf teams of all time.

#8: Toronto loses Brian Bradley to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1992 Expansion Draft
While this is technically not a trade, the Leafs had the option to leave anyone they wanted available in the expansion draft for Ottawa and Tampa Bay.  Mike Krushelnyski was nearing the end of the road, as was Mike Foligno.  Joe Sacco was a nothing prospect of limited potential.  Mike Eastwood, Dave McLlwain, Ken Baumgartner.  Granted, I’m not 100% certain who was protected, but there had to be someone else besides Bradley that could be protected.  He finished sixth on the club in scoring in 91-92!  But for whatever reason, the Leafs let Tampa Bay snag him.  And what happened?  He scored 42 goals and 86 points for the Lightning, and then proceeded to record 300 points in 328 games over six seasons before retiring due to injuries.  He was the Lightning’s face of the franchise until Vincent Lecavalier came along, and he lead the Bolts from game one to their first playoff birth in 1996.  And the Leafs let him walk for nothing.  Just to put Bradley’s 300 points in perspective; do you know how many Leafs have scored 300 points in Toronto?  32 players.  In 72 YEARS.

#7: Toronto trades Jason Smith to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2nd Round Pick in 2000 (Kris Vernarsky) and a 4th Round Pick in 1999 (Jonathon Zion)
Leafs GM/Coach Pat Quinn was not a fan of Jason Smith, and shipped him off to Edmonton.  And you know what we kept hearing on TV and in the papers for the next few years?  “We could really use a big, physical defenseman to clear the net and project (Curtis) Joseph in goal.”  Gee, where can we find one of those?  Oh, I know… EDMONTON.  Jason Smith became one of the most popular Oilers since Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth, playing 542 games and eventually being named team captain.  He has since been traded to Philadelphia, which caused Oiler Ethan Moreau to say the following: “I didn’t even ask who we got. I don’t really care right now if we’re better or worse, it’s more the human side of it. You lose a great friend and a great leader, the longest standing Oilers captain of all time.”  Obviously a very talented, very respected player.  And a true leader.  Well the LEafs must have gotten something good in return, right?  Hell, you already know the answer to that; if it was “yes”, then it wouldn’t be on this list.  Mr. Zion (who sounds like an extra from the Matrix) never played in the NHL.  Kris Vernarsky played 17 games… but not in Toronto.  The Leafs traded him to Boston for Ric Jackman.  And RIGHT before Jackman became a decent defenseman for a few seasons… the Leafs traded him for Drake Berehowsky.  So to sum up, the Leafs traded an additional 619 games (and COUNTING) of Jason Smith for 42 games (and 8 points) from Ric Jackman, and 9 games (3 points) from Drake Berehowsky.  Huzzah.

#6: Toronto trades Darryl Sittler to the Philadelphia Flyers for Rich Costello, a 2nd Round Pick in 1982 (Peter Ihnacak) and Future Considerations (Ken Strong)
This was a dark day for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  They traded their captain, their best player since Dave Keon, and a man just 84 points away from becoming the first Toronto player ever to record 1,000 points in a Maple Leaf uniform.  And he would have done it for SURE; he recorded 178 points in 191 games as a Flyer, and then added one last season in Detroit before retiring and going on to the Hall of Fame.  It’s just sad what they settled for in return.  Ken Strong?  15 NHL games, then disappeared to Austria for a decade.  Rich Costello?  12 NHL games.  Only Peter Ihnacak made the club.  He recorded 28 goals and 66 points and then recorded just 201 points in his final 337 games as a Leaf before returning to Europe.  He’s right up there with Frycer as regulars on some of the worst hockey teams in Toronto (and NHL) history.  A dark day, a bad trade… and a team that will likely not see a 1,000 point scorer in our lifetime; Sundin has 987 points as a Leaf, but he’s as good as gone, and the next closest active Leaf is Tomas Kaberle with 402 points.

It’s trades like these that give people the justification to make photos like THESE.

Well that wraps up the second portion of our list.  Part Three has been posted here after a few days break (necessitated by a combination of the time required to compile and rank the trades, and a need to walk away from the sheer amount of RAGE that builds up whenever I research just how truly godawful these trades were).  Feedback is always welcome, either here in the comments or via email at jt.urbaneblog@gmail.com.

2013 UPDATE: I have refreshed and expanded this list on another website.  Check out the series here: Introduction, #21-25, #16-20, #11-15, #6-10 and #1-5.

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thoughts on “Mega64: E3 2008 Day 2” Video

I just watched this video, and I have to say I was thoroughly amused.

They’re pretty damned spot-on about Wii Music.  I saw the demonstration clip for Wii Music, and I fail to see how playing the Wiimote like a flute is fun (or even remotely intelligent).  Seriously; the flute itself is pretty “flamboyant”… but a VIRTUAL flute?  Come on now.  And its true, Wii Speak would simply be an excuse for massive trashtalk and cussing on Wii.  However, R-Rated smack talk on Mario Kart would be pretty damned fun.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Games | , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Worst Trades in Maple Leaf History (Part 1 of 3)

2013 UPDATE: I have refreshed and expanded this list on another website.  Check out the series here: Introduction, #21-25, #16-20, #11-15, #6-10 and #1-5.

I know this blog is pop-culture focused, but sports are definitely a part of popular culture.  And one sport that struggles for popularity outside of a few stronghold countries is hockey.  But like any sport, there are a few teams that are institutions.  Baseball has the Yankees, basketball has the Lakers and Celtics… hockey has the Original Six teams.  And possibly the most painful of those teams to be a fan of is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The picture above shows the four most popular Leafs captains of the past 30 years.  None of them were allowed to retire as Leafs captain, and two of them were dealt in such brutal trades that they fall into the list which begins shortly.  You see the Leafs were once a storied NHL franchise, rich in success, talent and Cup wins.  A number of factors helped contribute to their downfall; then the NHL began expanding, the rival World Hockey Association began siphoning off talented players, and the infamous Harold Ballard took over as majority owner and drove what little pride remained from Maple Leaf Gardens.  Some teams would be able to persevere through these challenges, if they can continue to make smart personnel moves.   Unfortunately… the Leafs have made more than their share of bad trades since they won their last Stanley Cup some 40 years ago.  Here are the first “highlights” from that group.

DNQ: Toronto trades Rick Vaive, Steve Thomas and Bob McGill to the Chicago Blackhawks for Ed Olczyk and AL Secord
This trade is mentioned frequently as an awful trade, due to Vaive’s success with the team (and the fact that he is one of only two players to score 50 goals in a single season wearing a Leafs jersey).  However, the numbers tell a different story.  Vaive played just 106 games in Chicago, scoring 55 goals, before being dealt to Buffalo, where he was a shadow of his former self, and he faded away a few seasons later.  Thomas was strong for the Blackhawks, but not a star; he recorded 198 points in 231 games before being shipped off to the New York Islanders.  Bob McGill was servicable, but didn’t do much of note in four seasons with Chicago.

Now Al Secord was a mistake to acquire, one which the Leafs rectified just a year and a half later by shipping him to Philadelphia.  But Ed Olczyk was spectacular.  He averaged 37 goals and 84 points in his 3 full seasons with Toronto.  And when he was traded to Winnipeg, he netted the Leafs Dave Ellett, who was a huge component of the beloved ’92 and ’93 Leafs teams.  Given Olczyk’s performance and Vaive’s disctinct lack of staying power post-Leafs, I’d actually call this trade a win rather than a loss.  And ironically enough, everyone but Vaive ended up having a second stint with the team that traded them (Olczyk and Secord played again in Chicago, while Thomas and McGill were Leafs in the 90s).

Dis-Honourable Mention: Toronto trades Alyn McCauley, Brad Boyes and a 2003 1st Round Pick (Mark Stuart) to the San Jose Sharks for Owen Nolan
People talk about this trade like it was the end of the world.  I will freely admit, losing McCauley (hero of the 2002 playoff run) sucked, as he has turned into a terrific defensive player.  But he wasn’t critical to the team.  And while Brad Boyes was a 40-goal scorer last year with St. Louis.  But he has never been anything above average until last year, and he’s been traded twice SINCE this deal.  And Mark Stuart was a bust, never even playing for San Jose.  Owen Nolan’s pickup was heralded as the “right move” in 2003 because of his strong clutch play and leadership reputation.  Yes he bombed, and yes he had a bitter divorce with the team due to injury lawsuits.  And his acquisition was a mistake.  BUT… it isn’t bigger than the 15 mistakes coming up next.  And on a side note, it is intensely depressing that Boyes was the first NHLer drafted by Toronto to get 40 goals in a season since Wendel Clark, who was drafted in what, 1986?  So very, very sad…

#15: Toronto trades Tukka Rask to the Boston Bruins for Andrew Raycroft
I will fully admit that I have some bias here.  I knew the SECOND we traded for Raycroft that it was a mistake.  NO Bruins goaltender since Andy Moog has ever been good for more than 18 months.  Jon Casey,  John Blue, Blaine Lacher, Jon Grahame, Byron Dafoe, Bill Ranford (the second time), Jim Carey (not the actor)… the list goes on.  And you can add Raycroft to this list.  If Rask even turns out to be HALF as good as people thing, this trade will still belong on this list.  And it’s not the first time Toronto gifted a great goaltender to Boston.

#14: Toronto loses Gerry Cheevers to the Boston Bruins in the Intra-League Draft
Okay, so technically this isn’t a trade.  And losing Cheevers was necessary to keep both Johnny Bower and Terry Sawchuk, the goaltending tandem that won the Leafs the Stanely Cup in ’67.  But come ON, did they have to let Gerry CHEEVERS go?  The guy won two Stanley Cups with Boston, helped win the Summit Series against the Soviet Union in 1972, posted a record of 230 wins, 102 losses and 72 ties  in 418 games, and won FIFTY-THREE of 88 playoff games with the Bruins.  And he came up with the coolest goalie mask ever.  How could they let him go for NOTHING???

#13: Toronto trades Fredrick Modin to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Cory Cross and a 7th Round Pick in 2001 (Ivan Kolozvary)
I was hesitant to put this on the list, because I sincerely doubt Modin would ever have developed into a decent hockey player in the hockey fishbowl that is Toronto.  However, he developed into a solid forward for Tampa Bay,  averaging 24 goals a season over six years with the club, including three seasons of 50+ points and two 30-goal seasons.  You know, the kind of seasons one needs from decent offensive wingers, which have been sorely lacking from Toronto for a number of years.  Meanwhile poor Cory was a healthy scratch half the time, and despised by many fans the other half of the time.  Funny story; I attended a game in Tampa during the late 90s between Florida and Tampa.  8 fights, 3 of them involving Enrico Ciccone.  These four guys in front of me were riding Cory ALL night, taunting him every time he touched the puck.  Anyways, on one play a Lighting player was hit VERY hard into the glass and knocked out, leading to a huge brawl.  The arena erupted into jeers and everyone was pumped up.  All of the sudden, one of the four guys went “Oh its okay, it was only Cory.”  And all four promptly sat back down again, calmly sipping their beers and waiting for play to resume, despite the rest of the arena calling for blood.

#12: Toronto trades Larry Murphy to the Detroit Red Wings for Future Considerations
This trade irks me to no end.  Toronto traded for Murphy from Pittsburgh, and the guy recorded 60 points.  As a DEFENSEMAN.  And Leaf fans rode him mercilessly.  I’m pretty sure the last Leaf defenseman to do that was Al Iafrate in 89-90, and I don’t think it happened again until Bryan McCabe two seasons ago (and look how beloved he is).  Anyways, the Leafs were SO desparate to get rid of Murphy that Detroit simply had to pay 2/3 of what was left on his contract.  That’s right; the Leafs paid 1/3 of Murphy’s salary AND got nothing in return.  And all he did was score 171 points over the next four seasons and win two Stanley Cups.  And DURING those two Cup wins, he scored 26 points in 42 games for the Wings.  ARGH.


#11: Toronto trades Kenny Jonsson, Sean Haggerty, Darby Hendrickson and a 1st Round Pick in 1997 (Roberto Luongo) to the New York Islanders for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D.J. Smith.
Okay, first off you can COMPLETELY ignore the fact that the Islanders selected Luongo.  There is no guarantee that the Leafs would have picked him.  Had the Leafs owned Luongo’s rights and traded HIM to New York, then this trade would be much higher on the list.  Anyways, fans were SCREAMING for Wendel to return to Toronto, and ownership sadly listened.  Clark got 15 points in 13 games after returning, and then scored 30 goals the next season.  But Fletcher alledgely turned down an offer of a 1st rounder from Pittsburgh for Clark that year, uttering the infamous “draft-shmaft” quote.  Clark played one more mediocre season in Toronto before leaving as a free agent.  Meanwhile, while Haggerty was a bust and Hendrickson was back in Toronto the next season, Kenny Jonsson was a fixture in New York for a decade.  He played 597 games for New York, recording 232 points, many of them in a time where quality Leafs blueliners were few and far between.  Never mind the first rounder; Jonsson was a rare gem; a Leafs draft pick that blossomed, and played quality hockey for nearly a decade.  Mathieu Schneider is the only reason this trade wasn’t in the “Top” 10; he was solid for the Leafs, and then traded for Alex Karpovtsev, who in turn brought in Bryan McCabe.  Still, an awful trade compounded by the fact that Clark walked for nothing, and he could have brought a first rounder back.

I know this was a longer read for a blog, but like I said; I’m a long-time Leafs fan, and this blog has finally given me a forum to vent on just how frustrating it can be to BE a Leafs fan at time.  I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 1; Part 2 (Trades #6-10) is posted here, and Part 3 (Trades #1-5) is posted here.  Feedback is always welcome!

2013 UPDATE: I have refreshed and expanded this list on another website.  Check out the series here: Introduction, #21-25, #16-20, #11-15, #6-10 and #1-5.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Thoughts on Batman: The Dark Knight

I saw The Dark Knight over the weekend, a film I have been very excited about seeing (along with most of the Western World, apparently), and I have one simple thought that summarizes most of my feelings on the movie: “WOW”.

Without ANY exaggeration at all, this is far and away the best super-hero film I have EVER seen.  Vastly superior to both of the first two Spider-Man movies due to its depth and strong supporting cast.  Better than the first X-Men film due to its stronger story-telling and better character development.  Better than Daredevil for… well, pretty much EVERYTHING.  And it even manages to outperform Batman Begins by taking nearly everything about itself (special effects, plot, believability, fun factor) to the next level.

But never mind this being the best Bat-film or the best Super-Hero film (ever).  This is a tremendous film in and of itself.  Each of the main supporting cast players (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman) were tremendous.  The two main actors not playing Batman (Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart) were incredible.  I’ve previously enjoyed Eckhart’s work in “Thank You For Smoking”, and he did not disappoint here.  He plays the tragic Harvey Dent perfectly, and even creates sympathy for what eventually becomes Two-Face.

I should state off the bat (no pun intended) that I don’t buy all these rumours about Heath Ledger committing suicide because the Joker role took him too far into a bad place.  However, I WILL say that he convincingly played the role as a completely psychotic, inherently evil villain.  And villain doesn’t do him justice; this movie feels like what would actually happen if a man with no limits, mental or financial, decided he wanted to terrorize an entire city for his own amusement.

My only complaint (if you can call it that) is that Christian Bale doesn’t have a chance to shine as Batman.  He is simply overshadowed not only by his co-stars, but by the story itself.  He again plays the part of Batman very well, but there is far less depth to the role available to him than there was in Batman Begins.  However, when this is the sole complaint of a movie, you realize how far you have to go to find something to complain about.

If you haven’t seen this movie, do so ASAP.  And if you have, go see it again.  Never mind all the trailers or critics that hype every movie coming out between May and September.  This truly is the movie of the year; and if there is any justice, Ledger will be up for an Oscar.

July 23, 2008 Posted by | Comics, Movies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Details on new WWE Legends of WrestleMania game

I have been a long-time fan of wrestling video games.  I owned virtually every THQ game on N64, with my favourites being WCW/nWo Revenge (which I still maintain had the deepest roster of any game ever) and the venerable WWF No Mercy.  I then migrated over to Sony and have owned every single PS2 adaptation of SmackDown except for Just Bring It (which apparently means I own all the GOOD ones).

Everyone loves to create their own legends wrestlers and have their favourite classics take on each other, or current superstars.  But these “creations” were never 100% “right”.  If only a game coming along would allow you to truly go back, in a way that was (until now) only hinted at with the Blue Steel Cage and WrestleMania IX ring from a few SmackDown’s ago.  Good news… there IS.

THQ has announced a WWE Legends of WrestleMania game.  While minimal details are known at this time, it is confirmed that Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are in the game.  And judging by this video here, it looks incredible.

IGN also has an interesting little preview, and I am exceptionally pumped to hear that Heenan (as Andre’s manager) actually gets involved in the match.

No roster details are announced, so let the specualting begin! It’s highly unlikely that the Ultimate Warrior will be in the game due to his licensing issues with WWE/WWF, not to mention his questionable sanity. And unfortunately, I doubt “Macho Man” Randy Savage will be in; they still haven’t released a DVD compilation of one of their best World Champions ever, nor have they had any involvement with him since he left WCW. While there are rumours about why this is so (rumours which I will not help perpetuate), it is a shame. Because I would love to re-enact the Main Events from WrestleMania V and VI.

The game contains 40 wrestlers, and is set in the 80s and 90s. There are countless stars from those eras for WWE to choose from, and so many WrestleMania Moments to be recreated. I can’t wait!

July 18, 2008 Posted by | Games, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment