By Spencer Seymour
Michel Therrien out; Claude Julien in
On Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens made an announcement that shook up their team in a big way and left fans with their jaws hanging open. Therrien was a very polarizing figure within the Habs fanbase and it is clear to everyone that lately there was something off about him in Montreal. One of the most noteworthy controversies that surrounded Therrien was his seemingly over-critical style. Based on several accounts, Therrien had a “my way or the highway” mindset that he would not budge on. A prime example of this is the constant disconnect between Therrien and former Habs star PK Subban. Therrien was critical of Subban’s big personality, often calling out his star player. This led to the star defender getting dealt to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. Under Therrien’s rule, the Canadiens got no further than the conference finals. So you have to wonder if when Habs’ General Manager Marc Bergevin said that there was “something missing” with Therrien, it was a more winning philosophy and different strategy. In a move that will certainly hurt the hearts of Boston Bruins’ fans, former Stanley Cup champion with the rival Bruins, Claude Julien, was appointed to take over the Habs. Julien, following his hiring, promised that the group will “play as a team” going forward.
Toronto Blue Jays
Baseball fans got the news this week that they were hoping for when they looked out their windows and saw the snow covering their front lawn. Pitchers and catchers have reported to Dunedin, Florida, kicking off spring training. This year, fans are hoping the team can match and exceed the success they had last year. In what was a very unlikely occurrence, it was the pitching that really propelled the team to the heights they reached. The biggest concern for many fans is that the team is going into this season without Edwin Encarnacion, who was arguably the best position player for the Jays last year. That leaves the first base position to Justin Smoak currently, while Kendrys Morales has been brought in via free agency who will fill the DH spot. Fans also want to see a bounce back season from Jose Bautista, whose offensive numbers dropped off significantly in 2016 from 2015. In the infield, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and Devon Travis will fill the 3rd base, shortstop and second base positions, with Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins providing backup support. Russell Martin is behind the plate again, however, fans are worried about who will back him up after the departure of Josh Thole. Currently in the role is non-roster invitee Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who spent last season with the Detroit Tigers. In the outfield, Ezequiel Carrera, Kevin Pillar, and Jose Bautista will likely be the starters, with Melvin Upton Jr. and Dalton Pompey providing some depth. When it comes to the pitching, there should be a lot of comfort in the rotation. Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Marcus Stroman are all returning this year, with Francisco Liriano filling out the rotation. In the bullpen, the closer position remains locked up nicely with Roberto Osuna. The bullpen does have a lot of new faces occupying it, however. J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, Mike Bolsinger and Glenn Sparkman are joining familiar names like Joe Biagini, Jason Grilli, Gavin Floyd, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera. Toronto may also be adding Brett Oberholtzer and Mat Latos to that list, as the former is currently a non-roster invitee, and the latter is reportedly close to signing a deal.
McGregor vs Mayweather
Dana White may have come out and claimed there was no deal in the works to see this mega fight, but people just are not listening at the moment. Despite Dana’s claims and Mayweather’s post on Instagram saying he is retired, fans are salivating at the idea that this fight is now a matter of when not if. Reportedly, the details for the mega fight were hammered on Monday when McGregor arrived in Las Vegas. This is a fight that would be one of the biggest stories in the sports world and maybe even all of North America should it take place. The anticipation and spectacle could be just as big if not surpass that of the Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown from 2015. With the continent-sized egos and glass-shattering personas that each man has cultivated, not to mention the crossover concept of boxing vs MMA, this could easily end up being one of the biggest sporting events we have seen in a long time should it come to fruition. All of this is on top of the fact that “Money” Mayweather currently sits at 49-0, and needs just one more win to reach the huge milestone of 50 wins and zero defeats.