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Former NHL player Theo Fleury talks about a new play based on his life inside a theatre in Calgary, Alberta on Monday, June 21, 2010. Fleury says he considered playing himself in the play, but decided to let an actor portray him instead.Alberta Theatre Workshops is developing a play based on the former hockey player's life story called "Don't Quit Before The Miracle." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal (Larry MacDougal)
Former NHL player Theo Fleury talks about a new play based on his life inside a theatre in Calgary, Alberta on Monday, June 21, 2010. Fleury says he considered playing himself in the play, but decided to let an actor portray him instead.Alberta Theatre Workshops is developing a play based on the former hockey player's life story called "Don't Quit Before The Miracle." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal (Larry MacDougal)

The Usual Suspects

Fleury taunted by tasteless tweeting Add to ...

This past week, former NHL star Theo Fleury opined on Twitter that the league-leading Vancouver Canucks were a likely first-round upset victim. Fleury isn’t a fan of Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. We heard similar comments from Fleury when he was a guest on a radio show we hosted recently.

Hey, everyone’s entitled to his opinion on Twitter – especially a player who starred at the top level of the NHL and won a Stanley Cup. But Fleury’s provocative comments brought out haters on Twitter with some of the most vile comments imaginable about a man who was sexually abused by his junior coach Graham James and who has battled substance addiction.

We’ll give Canucks fans the benefit of the doubt that the wits who soiled Twitter were not representing the vast fan base of the team. (This is also not the first time similar comments about Fleury have been posted on Twitter.)

Usually such bile is known only to the victim, but the uncensored Twitter has subjected the general public to this level of commentary. Sadly, Fleury himself is used to hearing such dreck (you might better understand why he and James’s other victims were reluctant to publicly reveal they’d been abused). In his Twitter account he shrugged off the comments. “@TheoFleury14 had to deal with years ago. They’ve sided with the sex offenders.”

Clearly it’s a stigma some people are not willing to forget. Which says more about the perpetrators of hate than it does about Fleury.

Master this

Perhaps you’ve seen the new ads for EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 video game on TV. Ordinary folk cavort at Augusta National, blasting from sand traps and driving the green. Knowing the laugh index of the suits who stage the Masters to be zero, you probably thought, “How did they make another course look like Augusta?” Easy, by filming the commercial at Augusta itself.

“Augusta National, throughout the entire process, were world class partners in terms of the level of access to their club,” Craig Evans, EA’s director of marketing, told journalist Owen Good. So yes, the shots you see are real, not computer generated. The guy who drains the putt on the 18th hole performed the feat left-handed, even though he shoots right. The kid who drives the 12th green did it on all three takes. But James from San Jose? Not from San Jose, apparently.

Bench jockeys

The appearance of Entourage star Kevin Connolly behind the bench of the New York Islanders Tuesday is either another inept play for attention by the hapless Isles or the cusp of a new marketing trend in the NHL. The behind-the-bench media possibilities are endless. How about Vince Vaughn exhorting the Chicago Blackhawks, “You are so money in the neutral zone,” James Gandolfini handling penalty kills with his New Jersey Devils, Charlie Sheen consulting the Los Angeles Kings on the best ways to beat the NHL’s drug testing. Or maybe not.

Distaff meetings

Finally, those who believe sports broadcasting the preserve of men alone will no doubt be chagrined at the debut of Broadly Speaking, a new show from The Score Radio. The brainchild of Score host Laura Diakun ( Bet Night Live), it features Diakun, Holly MacKenzie and Krista Coughlin talking all manner of sports, not simply those involving women.

“The idea was not to solely talk women’s sports,” Diakun tells Usual Suspects, “but to have women discussing all kinds of sports. In our first show, we discussed the tweets of WNBA star Cappie Pondexter suggesting that God was getting the Japanese back for Pearl Harbour. But we also had a report on the NHL GM meetings in Florida that discussed head shots. We’re trying to get that mix.” Broadly Speaking is available weekends on Score radio’s Sirius channel 98.

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