He was commonly known as the most sensational player ever in a sport that has an estimated fan base of 3.5 billion, or almost half the planet’s population.
He was also commonly known by simply his surname, just like Messi, Pele, Ronaldo, and Zidane — those who follow him in the Top 5 of a poll done by sportsbible.com last July to determine the “greatest footballers of all-time.”
Maradona, who was dubbed Diego at birth, had a lot of well-documented addictions that led to his death, after a heart attack, at the not-that-old age of 60.
In so many ways he was not someone you would want your kid to emulate.
At the same time, he was also the biggest icon in the history of sports.
“You took us to the highest place in the world,” Argentina President Alberto Fernandez, who confirmed three days of national mourning in Maradona’s homeland, said on Twitter along with a photo of both men.
“You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for existing, Diego. We are going to miss you the rest of our lives.”
TOP OF THE ORDER
From a column written by Le Droit sports editor Sylvain St-Laurent we learn that, on a video conference call with hockey people in the Outaouais Tuesday evening, Guy Boucher was asked how a young hockey player should go about reaching the next level. His answer lasted 90 minutes, as Boucher essentially walked the fictitious player all the way to the NHL. Vintage Boucher … In hindsight, Boucher never should have been fired in Ottawa. He was a victim of impatient ownership/management and selfish players. The team had success his first year, advancing to within a step of the Stanley Cup final, because the players followed his system. They played a team game. But that style was not conducive to them padding their point totals. They would have more bargaining power on a new contract by doing things their way, which meant less focus on the defensive game and, in turn fewer ‘W’s’. But almost all of those veterans are gone now, and starting with a fresh slate, Boucher would do a good job with this young group. And Ottawa could have some cohesiveness instead of an ever-swinging door to the coach’s office … Talk that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr haven’t had a sit-down to iron out the differences between the NHL and the NHLPA in a week is less disturbing than predictable. Whether this is the case or not, it feels like the players are saying don’t call us until you’re ready to proceed with the deal you agreed to in July … More and more, it’s looking like the NHL will play a 48-game season, if anything at all.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
It was just starting to seem like Patrick Mahomes had absolutely no flaws in his game, on or off the field, until this week, when the Chiefs superstar QB was asked on radio station KCSP 610 Sports Radio about his love of ketchup. Specifically, whether he would pour the sugary red condiment on his Thanksgiving Day meats. “Yeah dude, I mean come on,” replied Mahomes. “You’ve got to put ketchup on that. Turkey and ham.” What good is having all that money if he’s never going to taste his food? … Johnny Boychuk has called an end to his solid 13-year career, which he started as a forward in the Colorado Avalanche organization before moving to defence and splitting a dozen seasons evenly with the Bruins, where he won a Cup, and the Islanders. Prompting his departure was an eye injury he suffered last March. “It really wasn’t a decision,” he said of retiring. “It was a life choice.” Not that he’s proud of it, but Boychuk provided a highlight in the career of Chris Neil in Ottawa on Feb. 25, 2012, when he was skating along the defensive zone boards with his head down. Neil’s biggest hit ever …
BACK TO THE POINT
The family of Brock Beck, the son of former New York Rangers captain Barry Beck, is offering $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers who took his life in Hamilton last summer. It’s believed the 20-year old university student, who was viciously stabbed, was a victim of road-rage … Fans of the Montreal Expos might want to take advantage of Black Friday to purchase a copy of Always Remembered , new revelations and old tales about Canada’s first MLB team from 1969-2004. The author, Danny Gallagher, covered the team for this paper in its early years.
ON THIS (Nov. 26) DATE
Exactly 103 years ago, the NHL was formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Toronto Arenas, and Ottawa and the Quebec Bulldogs …. Exactly 45 years ago, Boston Red Sox centre fielder Fred Lynn became the first rookie to be named American League MVP. Along with 21 homers, 105 RBI and a .331 average, the 23-year old Lynn led the league in runs (103), doubles (47), slugging percentage (.566) and OPS (.967). “I can’t believe what I saw out there,” Detroit skipper Ralph Houk said on a night Lynn hit three homers against the Tigers. “I saw a superstar and he’s barely old enough to take a drink.” It turned out to be the second-best season of his 17-year career. Lynn never did get inducted into Cooperstown because he was hurt every season he played after turning 26 … Exactly 36 years ago, Guy Lafleur retired from the Montreal Canadiens after scoring 518 goals in 14 years. He un-retired as a 37-year old four seasons later to score 18 goals and 45 points in 67 games with the Rangers, then finished his career with two seasons as a Quebec Nordique, scoring 24 goals in 98 games … Exactly 36 years ago, John W. Mercom Jr. announced the New Orleans Saints were for sale. Asking price was $75 million. In 2020, the franchise value was listed at $2.5 billion … Celebrating birthdays today are former NHLer Dave Hannan (59) and professional boxer Winky Wright (49)
Markus Paul, the Dallas Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach, has died after suffering a heart attack at the team facility on Tuesday. He was 54. Among those expressing their condolences on social meeting was kicker Lawrence Tynes, who played for the Ottawa Renegades in 2002 and 2003 and was with the New York Giants when Paul was the team’s strength and conditioning coach. “My heart is heavy,” wrote Tynes. “One of the finest men and coaches I have ever met. The world lost a great man today.” Prediction: Expect the Cowboys to win one for Paul Thursday when they take on Washington Football Club.
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