Soccer TV woes, too much pucks and, yes, Raptors in the mailbag

Soccer TV woes, too much pucks and, yes, Raptors in the mailbag

Welcome to the last of our off-season mailbags, I’m impressed we kept it going all summer and I can’t wait for the “why doesn’t this guy play more?” and “why doesn’t this guy play less?” questions that’ll start next week.
But have fun with this one and we’ll see how the start of the season unfolds beginning Tuesday.

Q: Hi – a couple of late additions to the mailbag.  One has a pucks connection (say it isn’t so!!!!!)  Sort of.  The pucks in my city added Dave Smart to the staff.  He has a long history of success with the Ravens hardcourt team, but isn’t a hockey guy. Your thoughts on hirings from another sport?  Not so much whether it’s a good move for the Sens (no idea, don’t really care), but is this something you’ve seen much of?  It’s not only that he’s from another sport, but also from uni sports.

Secondly, from your comment this week on Terence Davis, I wondered if he could ever become a Boogie type player. Guy who plays hard all the time, not yet (and maybe not for a while a point guard?)  Boogie transitioned to a pg during his time with Wilkens (good spot to plug that post)  😉  I’ll admit I haven’t even seen him play one second.



A: There’s been more cross-pollination between sports in the last few years but it’s mostly at the high front-office level where business is business. Coaches do it a lot on a private, off-the-books way – Nick Nurse spends time with Joe Maddon, Dwane Casey made sure to check in with Seattle’s NFL’s guy Pete Carroll — mostly to get insight on handling personalities more than strategy.

I guess expanding horizons and hearing more voices for non-traditional people can’t hurt.

I don’t know what Terence Davis becomes but he’s sure the flavour of the month, isn’t he? Maybe he learns to be an accomplished point guard at the NBA level but that’s a huge ask, Alvin had lots of history there and just got support from Lenny after being buried by Butch. But Davis is going to play and he’s going to play hard and I think as long as he’s on the court with one of Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet, he’ll be fine.

Q: A random thought or two on the eve of the year of the title defence. I have no idea what to expect from the Raptors and that is quite exciting.

The degree of frustration one experiences following the Canadian male national basketball team is completely mitigated by the enjoyment of following the Canadian female national basketball team. As you have noted repeatedly, this is one of the great (mostly) untold stories in Canadian sport. I wonder which TV network will be clever enough to get onboard in Edmonton.

A further aside concerning the women’s game, I was almost as transfixed by the brilliant Belgian Emma Meesseman dominating the WNBA finals as I was by her hearing aids. This seems to be a minor problem for her but it can’t be as easy as she makes it look.

I wonder whether copies of your upcoming publication could be signed and ready for Xmas 2020. Please keep us posted.

Finally, a question. Which team, east or west, are you most intrigued by? Or perhaps that should be a list of five.

James A., Victoria

A: The plan is absolutely to have the tome ready for the late fall next year. So Christmas 2020 is locked up, right? And don’t worry, I’ll whine about the writing process incessantly over the next few months, I imagine.

This may sound odd but I really want to see how Denver handles expectations, success and a revitalized West.

Q: Good Thanksgiving afternoon Doug,

Hope you are enjoying the bird and maybe a brew or two – man does the year by fast. Nor more THREE POINTERS?? Yes screaming LOL. In my mind they are or were the essence of your blogs and probably added more direct info to the games then anything. I understand if you need to cut back somewhat but the Pointers will be missed by most.


A: I had chicken and a cauliflower casserole thing in the work room for Thanksgiving Dinner and was home by 10 p.m. after that dreadful Raptors-Bulls game because my eyes hurt from watching just a bit of it.

And since you’re the only person who responded to my query about Three Pointers, Three Pointers will return.

You’ve got that much juice here.

Q: It absolutely boggling to me that the when the out of Town hockey scores are shown during the Sportnet/TSN TV broadcasts that the teams are indicated by their team logos as opposed to the written short form of the city.  I guarantee you that a large percentage of watchers cannot quickly identify the team. In this manner.  This, plus their misleading habit of announcing upcoming game times 30 minutes prior to puck drop to push their ratings show me a clear lack of understanding as to what the viewer needs.
Howard R.

A: This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I cannot tell one logo from any other – they are all weird to me – and that’s too much Inside Pucks on the highlight shows, so much that I rarely watch.

As for promoting what they have or will broadcast and not doing sports “news” if they don’t show it, that’s another big time problem I have.

Q: I attended the Mississauga Steelhead – Sudbury Wolves game Sunday  October 13th and could literally count the number of fans in attendance. It was definitely not the 1554 that was announced.

This is good hockey and the Wolves Quinton Byfield is worth the price of admission on his own. I hope to this team gets some fans or else they will be on the move like their former rivals Brampton Battalion.

Matt Monkhouse


A: I’ve been here for more than 20 years – heck, Super Son was in the Ice Pups program about that long ago – and junior hockey is a niche sport in big cities and I admire the regulars who go. And if they announce tickets sold/distributed rather than bums in the seats, who cares?

Q: Hello Doug,
Firstly, congrats on your son graduating from Brock U!
We’ll the boys are back, can’t wait for the raising of the banner on Tuesday night to kickoff the new NBA season.
Oppose to our hockey brethren I’m not going into who should be the 15th man on the squad, aka 4th line winger. However, I would like to hear what your opinion is on how much contribution we can expect from the bench this year, i.e. Johnson, Hollis-Jefferson, Boucher and in particular Davis- who looks like he has serious game & upside.
Some Random thoughts:
– Terence Davis will be key contributor this year
– Stanley emmJohnson gets traded by the All Star break
– Boucher leads the team in 3’s taken per minute
– Bismack Byombo is a Raptor this year after being bought out by Charlotte
So looking forward to this season.
Always a pleasure
Richmond Hill

A: I don’t think there are five very good backups on the roster right now and they have to get better. This is certainly not going to be a year of a Bench Mob, that’s for sure. Davis looks okay, neither of the vets Hollis-Jefferson or Johnson have shown they can help and Boucher’s intriguing but inconsistent and, still, too thin.

The quick ones:

Davis will play

Johnson would be cap ballast in a trade at the very best.

Boucher is not shy and will shoot.

Biz is NOT coming back.

Q: Hi Doug,

I’m not sure whom I should send this to but I thought I will start with you.

Today, I heard the news saying there is a group who claims as Raptors fans to give away pro-Hong Kong shirts on the opening night.  I really have concern about this giveaway since it tries to force Raptors/MLSE to make a stand on the pro-Hong Kong side.

Personally, I really hope my beloved Raptors is not going to make any political statements on this matter.  I wish Raptors will just be a NBA basketball team.  I understand athletes and sport teams can comment on social issues and voice their concerns.  Since they are celebrities, they all have a bigger voice.  I truly believe they should thoroughly understand the issue before making any comments.

I rarely support LeBron James since he broke our heart too many times.  I actually appreciate his comments regarding Daryl Morey’s situation.  I totally respect freedom of speech.  However, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from its consequences.

To give you my background, I came from Hong Kong and moved to Canada when I was 16.  I was there in July when the current situation started to take shape.  Even I originally came from there and was there recently, I could not make any sense out of this situation.  I think both sides have issues and problems.  I believe both sides can do better than what have happened.  What bothering me the most are all the recent activities to damage public facilities and attacking people with different viewpoints.  The protesters (and some rioters) want their voice and opinions to be heard but they would not listen to other voice and opinions.  This is definitely not what democracy is about.

Ultimately, I do not see a clean cut in the current Hong Kong situation to state one side is right and the other side is wrong.  That’s why I hope Raptors would not support or endorse this giveaway.

Sorry to mumbling on.  I hope I didn’t confuse you with my email.

Have a great day!!



A: I have read and seen a little bit about this t-shirt thing/protest and I can say with the utmost certainty that the organization has nothing to do with it, does not sanction it and will likely take steps to limit it, as I believe they should.

This is a centuries old issue that has so many layers that it is almost impossible to comprehend. It may seem simple but it is anything but.

What I hope, fervently, is that in no way it takes away from what Tuesday will be about.

Q: Hi Doug

This isn’t the best of questions, but you asked for them.

I recall at the beginning of last year you said it takes 20 games to figure out a team at the start of the year.

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My opinion is that it takes 10 decisions.  A 10-0 team is good, an 0-10 team is bad, a 10-9 or 9-10 is in the middle.  Note that for most teams you need to get close to 20 games to hit this mark so I don’t think we are disagreeing by much.

Jim R

A: I see your point, I also know how rare it is for any team to be 0-10 or 10-0. So in that way, we do agree that it takes teams longer than 10 to figure out what they are except in the extreme.

Q: Saw Matt Morgan was signed, looked him up. Thought he should help with the interior presence at 7 feet, 300 lbs. Then I noticed I looked up the wrong guy.


A: And just like that, he was waived. So we both could have saved some time and energy and not cared a bit.

Q: Sir:

The Monday Night Football game got me thinking of our Old Pal Dwane in Detroit. For years, he got to witness how (IMO) the Raptors always got screwed in the NBA, now he get to see first hand how the Lions get the same treatment in the NFL.

As for your rant about the lack of TV coverage of the US/Canada soccer game, ever since Rogers signed the national TV contract with the NHL, we have two sports networks competing as to who can shove anything pucks related down our throats.

At the expense of everything else. And the only person who spoke up about it McCown, is now off the air. As with you, that’s the end ‘o my rant.

Paul M

A: Good rant. I do think the business of TV deals dictates too much but it’s not going to change.

I also understand NFL officiating sucks but I don’t think that the Casey Raptors were unfairly treated by NBA officials. I suspect you knew that, though.

Q: Really enjoyable list(s). Since you’re too modest, may I say the one name missing is Doug Smith. I’d slot him in somewhere around Swirsky. The rationale would be every Johnson needs a Boswell and the witty, literate and knowledgable writing of Smith has gone a long way toward selling a “foreign” sport in a market dominated by another game.

Question: how many other currently active beat grunts have covered one NBA team for 25 years?

James A., Victoria

A: Those are very kind words and much appreciated. To your question there are a handful who’ve covered the same team, I think. Ira in Miami, Jonathan Feigen in Houston come to mind, others have been around the league longer or as long as I have but in different markets or at different outlets. There aren’t a lot but there’s a few of us.

Q: Hi Doug,

Was pumped to see Canada Soccer beat USA in a huge game for points towards getting into the HEX. Can you explain a bit more about the points system and how many points Canada will now have towards moving up in the CONCACAF rankings. I know the goal has always been to get into the top 6 HEX and wondering how are chances stand after beating the US? Also, how will the next game in November vs USA have an effect on our chances if we win, lose or draw? Davies stole the show and truly showed why the future is bright and what a game for our Canadian National team!

Alex Clendinning from Waterdown

A: Frankly,  it hurts my head to even think about the Hex and how they get into it and I’m hoping I just wake up some day after a game and I read that they’re in or out.

But some sleuthing tells me it’s impossible to tell right now until some other rankings are done and out but suffice it to say that Canada needs to keep winning, or at least drawing on the road, to get it done.

This might be a better explainer but even to those who know more than I do it’s as clear as mud.

Q: Doug,
I totally agree that Soccer Canada has boned up their coverage.  I get that streaming out of country games might be an option for those who are deeply invested in a foreign team is how we do it in 2019, but for Canada’s national team, and our national league, the CPL, for that matter to be streaming only is ridiculous.  Most Canadians have access to one network, whether it’s over-the-air, cable tv, satellite tv, or streaming, and that’s CBC.  OneSoccer being only a streaming service assumes that all interested parties have a reliable internet connection, which is not the case in Canada.  Rural Canadians DO NOT have reliable interwebs, but I guess that soccer must only be of interest to urbanites that have one of many internet packages available to them.  Personally, I travel over 150km, ONE WAY, to see TFC games from rural Ontario so I guess it’s not all urbanites that like soccer.  Hmm..  I tried to stream on my meagre internet connection some of the OneSoccer content, and it was worse than watching an old standard def broadcast (how did we ever watch that???).  I wanted my money back and that was from the free trial!
PHEW, got that off my chest.  I’m glad someone has the stones to point out how stupid Soccer Canada is being.

A: My point, distilled, in this specific case is that there is finally – and many, many, many years – a reason to have some level of optimism about the senior men’s team and I think Canada Soccer should get it in front of as many eyes as is possible and if costs money to do that right now – even to the point of paying some network to put the games on – they should.

It will, or would have been, money well spent, I believe.

Q: Hi Doug – great to see you included Charles Oakley to the top 25. Although most of us never met him personally he was a real standout in my view. His presence was amazing and as someone said friend and terrified is a good comparison. Just had to love the man for his tell it as it is attitude.


A: Oak was great. Grew the organization up in a lot of ways. Was irascible and incorrigible but, believe me, everyone who was around for those years learned something from him and in a 25-year evolution, that was huge.

Q: Hope you can find some near you 

Bill W. 

A: I got a few notes the past couple of weeks on Fergie Pilsner and I am bound and determined to get to my beer store or liquor story and find some, just to have in the fridge.


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