Small Balls: Monday June 9, 2008

La première étoile: Leon Powe. Forget Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Boston Celtics benchwarmer was the difference in Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night, dropping 21 points in only 15 minutes of floor time. His dunk in the final seconds of the third quarter was the highlight of the night (nice pass, Rajon Rondo). It was almost as pretty as this one a few seconds earlier. Even if you hate basketball, you can’t help but cheer for a player—and a person—like Leon Powe.

Two minutes for … Overplaying your hand. Sounds like the CFL thinks it doesn’t need an operating agreement with the NFL. Reports say the CFL has ditched talks about a working agreement with the NFL as a “sign of strength” because many CFL owners are cheesed off about the NFL playing some games in Toronto over the next few years. Perhaps somebody should remind those owners that the NFL does not need anybody’s permission to come to Canada. If the CFL wants to protect its weaker franchises, the best place to do that is at a bargaining table.

Who’s got tickets? Stade de Suisse in Berne, 2:45 ET. The Netherlands versus the might Azzurri (that would be Italy for those who, unlike Maich, haven’t been swanning around the Boot for two weeks). Italian artistry meets Dutch determination and those Gawd-awful jerseys in the best match-up of euro2008 so far. Anyone know the Low Country word for florescent orange?

Fun police: EuroGrinch Dominik Hasek will get a nameplate at the Hall of Fame, but a close look shows his stats put him not among the elite three or four goalies of all time, but more like 10th. Hasek’s brilliant play in international tournaments boosted his profile (we still hate him for that shootout in Nagano?). And in the NHL, he could be a great clutch player. But he had his bad stretches, and he did time on mediocre teams. So he’s not in the company of Roy or Brodeur or Jacques Plante.

Extra bases: The Mother Corp cries for help in battle with 80-year-old Aunt Dolores … if this keeps up, they’ll be serving Merlot at Calgary Flames games … and how bout a plug for our boy Maich, who collected two silvers at the National Mag Awards for this story on concussions in sport. If you’re suffering frequent headaches, don’t read it.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.