Remember last spring, when Canadians across the country were sporting Canucks jerseys and leaving bar patios to venture indoors to watch Vancouver battle the Boston Bruins to seven games in the Stanley Cup final? It seems like a lifetime ago.

And yet, here we are again. But this time, the showdown for hockey's ultimate prize features two unlikely foes. Seriously, who would have predicted a Stanley Cup matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils?

Without a Canadian team in the dance and summer-like weather finally here, it'll be tough to hold our collective attention. Heck, there are still hockey fans here who feel slighted by the Kings acquiring Wayne Gretzky lo those many moons ago and Maple Leafs fans who still cringe as they recall a disappointing conference final against L.A. back in '93.

So why leave the patio or the campfire to watch the Stanley Cup final this time around? Here are some plot lines to consider. After all, this year's Stanley Cup does seem destined for some kind of Hollywood ending.


Upstart Kings goalie Jonathan Quick may have been the NHL's best netminder this year, but he's still going up against Devils veteran Martin Brodeur. Sure Quick posted a NHL best 1.87 goals-against average and .936 save percentage with 12 shutouts in 83 regular-season and playoff games. But he's facing, arguably, the best playoff goalie of all-time in Brodeur.

The Last Hurrah

Speaking of Brodeur … At age 40, he might have lost some quickness but he does have three championships under his belt, not to mention more wins and shutouts than any other goalie. This cagey vet knows what it takes to win and is probably looking at his last real kick at the can. If Brodeur were to win a fourth cup, it would tie him with another Quebec legend, Patrick Roy.


Do you believe in curses? Marty McSorley doesn't … really. When the Kings took on the Montreal Canadiens in the team's only other trip to the final back in '93, McSorley was sent to the penalty box in Game 2 after Habs coach Jacques Demers requested a measurement of the curve of his stick blade. Montreal had lost Game 1 and was down 2-1 in the second game until scoring on the power play with McSorley in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Montreal won Game 2 in OT and went on to win three straight to claim the Stanley Cup.


After low-scoring snoozefests courtesy the uber-defensive Rangers, Capitals, Blues, Coyotes and Predators, could we actual see some high-scoring playoff action? The Kings and Devils are actually the highest-scoring teams of the playoffs, averaging nearly three goals-per-game apiece and more than 30 shots. L.A.'s attack is led by Dustin Brown, Anze Kopita, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter while Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac have powered the Devils.


Claude Giroux and Danny Briere might have been the talk of earlier rounds, but now the stage is set for new playoff heroes to emerge. Will Penner continue to play like he did when he helped the Ducks to a cup back in 2006-07? Will Kovalchuk continue to be a beast for the Devils? Will a goalie claim this year's Conn Smythe Trophy? Stay tuned ...

And if those story lines aren't enough to seduce you, there's always the celeb factor with the Kings. So far at Staples Center we've seen Alice Cooper, James Gandolfini, Zac Efron, Rainn Wilson, Matthew Perry, Colin Hanks, David Beckham, Channing Tatum, Cuba Gooding Jr., Shane West, Rachel McAdams, Alyssa Milano, Wil Wheaton, Kurt Russell, Kevin Conolly, Jon Hamm, Cory Monteith and even Kobe Bryant ... heck, he's got nothing better to do, does he?

The Devils host Game 1 Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBC


With Ryder Hesjedal's unprecedented Giro d'Italia win on the weekend, Canadians can't help but get a little more excited about the Olympics. Though, with Canada only having one spot open for a male road cycling competitor, he might not even compete in London.

Hesjedal's victory marks the first time a Canadian has ever won one of cycling's three major stage races, a triumvirate that also includes the Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France — a race in which Hesjedal placed sixth back in 2010.

Given that cycling is Europe's second-most popular sport behind soccer …er, football, the victory is being likened to Wayne Gretzky's 92-goal season or Mike Weir's Masters win in terms of significance for the uninitiated.

Hesjedal and Michael Barry were the only Canadians on the World Tour during qualifying last season so Canada only earned enough points for the one spot at the upcoming Olympics.

Further complicating matters is the fact that Svein Tuft is this country's best time trialist. So the Olympic selection committee, which will decide on our Canadian competitor on June 21, has to determine whether our best medal hope is in the time trials or road race.

"I've said all along that I'd be willing and honoured to represent Canada," said Hesjedal, who rode for Canada in 2004 and again in 2008, where he finished 16th in the road race. "I always am. I was in Athens, I was in Beijing and I don't see why I shouldn't be in London but it's not up to me."

Will we see him at the Tour de France? That's complicated too.

“It depends on the planning for the year and the objectives and the team's goals," said Hesjedal. "I'll take a break now and see how the body reacts after a tough three weeks. I've never been in this position before. I think I have the form of my life and we'll see where we go from here."



Bruce Springsteen
- "Rocky Ground" (From Wrecking Ball, out now)

The Jezabels
- "City Girl" (From Prisoner, out now)

- "Signs of the Civilized" (From Giants & Dreamers, out July 10)

2 Chainz feat. Kreayshawn - "Murder" (From the T.R.U. REALigon mixtape, out now)

Sleigh Bells - "Demons" (From Reign of Terror, out now)

Organ Thieves - "Phoebe" (Acoustic) (Originally from Somewhere Between Free Men and Slaves, out now)

Jennifer Castle - "Neverride" (From Castlemusic, out now)


Universally beloved comedian Louis CK, who you all know as the director of Pootie Tang and maybe some other stuff, will be headlining JFL42, a comedy festival organized by Just for Laughs and LiveNation. The gathering of larfs will apparently include exactly 42 acts for some reason (though not exclusively stand-up) and run from September 21 to 28.

In what is sure to be remembered as something that seemed like a good idea at the time, the festival will be programmed by popularity i.e. the more apparent interest in a particular act as judged by festival pass pre-sales, the “better” time slot that act will get. Not sure how many different times of the day call for live comedy, but pity the poor fool forced to play the 9:30 a.m. breakfast buffet slot. Passes go on sale May 25 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster, a reserved seat for one of CK’s four sets included. [via Toronto Life]


Blonde bombshell and possible crazy person Jenny McCarthy will return to the pages of Playboy magazine this July, 19 years after being voted (I think? I don’t know how they decide on it) Playmate of the Year in 1993. That’s exciting! When her new issue splashes onto newsstands, let’s all grab our original Jenny McCarthy ’93 copies and compare. If everything looks too similar, I’d start worrying.

Stay tuned for headlines like “Her Breasts: Where Are They Now?” and “Is Exposing the Aged Plastic Surgery Festival That is Your Body Worse For Your Child Than the Flu Vaccine?”

Related: Our interview with Hugh Hefner


[html]A long-time-coming sequel to the Robert Rodriguez / Frank Miller-directed Sin City (2005) is actually happening, no fooling: The Weinstein Company has set a release date of October 4, 2013. Based on its subtitle we can assume the film will follow the A Dame to Kill For graphic novel story arc (cover above right) at least partially; such a choice would deviate from the original serialized format and probably need some padding to fill out even 90 minutes of content. Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba are confirmed to return, possibly with Clive Owen and Michael Clarke Duncan, all of whose Sin City characters are central to A Dame to Kill For's plot.



Skyfallposter.jpgOh boy, how excited are you for Skyfall, the new James Bond movie? James Bond. You know, he’s a spy ... seriously? They’ve made like 58 James Bond movies, and at least 12 feature-length James Bond movie spoofs. I’m very surprised you haven’t heard of this character. Well, here’s a totally informative and very creative “teaser poster” for Skyfall to get you caught up because you’ve been living under a pile of rocks. It tells us everything we need to know about the movie: James Bond is in it, gun barrel something or other, etcetera. It’s a good indication this Bond movie will be different enough from the other 58 that we should all put our 13 dollars aside right now. It’s certainly much better than the dozens and dozens of posters other people got paid no money to make.


[html]Montreal electro-rock duo Handsome Furs, who played literally the hottest show I’ve ever seen one summer night years ago, have called it a day. The eternally underrated project, often in the shadow of frontman Dan Boeckner’s main gig in Wolf Parade, posted a simple statement confirming the end (“The End”) on their website.

Boeckner and wife/musical partner Alexei Perry released three albums, including the fantastic Plague Park (2007), hyperactive Face Control (2009), and sexy Sound Kapital (2011). With Wolf Parade’s announcement of “indefinite hiatus” in 2011 and now this, Boeckner is currently without a band, though WP co-frontman Spencer Krug has about eight he can share.


[html]This week in the TORO Playlist we've got brand new videos from Swizz Beatz, Cold Specks, and more.

- “Knew You’d Never” (From Kandle EP, out May 29) 

Swizz Beatz feat. A$AP Rocky - "Street Knock" (From Limitless mixtape, out TBA)

Phèdre - "Aphrodite" (From Phèdre, out now)

Grimes feat. Majical Cloudz - "Night Music" (From Visions, out now)

Junior High - "PSA" (From Junior High, out May 22)

Cold Specks - "Winter Solstice" (From I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, out May 22)

Young Liars - "Colours" (From the Homesick Future EP, out now)

Related: Our interview with Young Liars

Odonis Odonis - "New World" (From Hollandaze, out now)


[html]Ready to feel old? NME has continued its innovative plan to arbitrarily rank old songs British people like with their “Best Tracks of the ‘90s” list. As their own doesn’t seem to be working too well from our end, here’s a video rundown of the top 10:

10. Rage Against the Machine - “Killing in the Name” 

09. McAlmont & Butler - “Yes” 

08. Daft Punk - “Da Funk”

07. Beastie Boys - “Sabotage”

06. Oasis - “Supersonic”

05. Manic Street Preachers - “Motorcycle Emptiness”

04. Radiohead - “Paranoid Android”

03. Suede - “Stay Together” 

02. Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit” 

01. Pulp - “Common People”


[html]Two great bands have made long-awaited returns this morning.

Brooklyn’s Yeasayer have been teasing new material for some time, including a stop at Conan last year to perform the as-yet-unreleased “Devil and the Deed.” Without concrete word of a new album, the fresh single “Henrietta” has nonetheless been making the rounds this morning. Check it out below.

Meanwhile, fellow New York-based group Fang Island have a single of their own, albeit one with a solid plan behind it; their latest album Major will drop July 24 via Sargent House and feature the frankly fantastic “Asunder.” Listen here.


The former world's fastest man might not be so swift. Canadian icon and five-time world and Olympic sprinting champion Donovan Bailey appeared in court yesterday, charged with having a blood-alcohol level "over .08." It's the third time Bailey has run afoul of the law for driving-related offences.

The 44-year-old was apparently stopped by police on March 28, who administered a breathalyzer test. According to a Toronto Star report, the address he gave to Toronto police at the time was St. James, Jamaica.

In May 1998, two years after winning Olympic gold in Atlanta with a world record 9.84 in the 100m sprint, he was fined $200 for failing to report an accident after abandoning his crashed $80,000 Mercedes.

Three years later, Bailey was convicted of driving 200 km/hr on the QEW and fined $975.

If convicted of this latest charge, he faces a fine and licence suspension.

Bailey is slated to be a TV commentator for the Canadian media consortium at the London Olympics later this year.


Foxy boxing and Lingerie Football have a new stripped-down rival: Bikini Hockey. Cary Eskridge, the Tulsa, Oklahoma mastermind behind this sport/reality TV concept concocted the idea during the 2004 NHL lockout.

And even he couldn’t conceive of the pervy shinny in skimpy swimwear brainstorm having legs.

"I never dreamed in a million years that we would have this much interest in it," Eskridge admitted to Fox Sports Southwest in an interview.

Gals are still needed for the pilot, and you don’t even need to know how to hip check. (But you do need nice hips.) So if your girlfriend has a weak wrist shot but looks train smoke hot while holding a stick in her skivvies, here’s the casting call info.




Those of us who had to bow our heads in shame over refusing to join friends at Toronto’s famed head-to-tail establishment, The Black Hoof, for fear that pig face may be smuggled onto our plates in the side potato hash, are suddenly in for a treat. Jenn Agg, ubiquitous Hoof proprietress has officially opened her third establishment: Raw Bar. And guess what? They serve fish!

Last night, not with a bang but a whimper, Agg pushed open the doors to her new address (926 Dundas St. W.) – an old photography studio that she and her husband had been renovating since January while still running their other two vibrant spots.

Still, timid as Agg may have been in unlocking her new joint, the people flocked to the Hoof’s little sister, whose features – a long, polished bar and tiny kitchen – bear a striking resemblance to big bro.

Helmed by former Hoof employee, Jonathan Pong, Raw Bar’s kitchen turns out an array of seafaring surprises, including a cured fish board akin to the Hoof’s charcuterie plate. But, don’t expect the spot to steer entirely away from the strange; if you want snack food, prepare for a plate of fish containing fried smelts, prawn heads and bait fish.

The bad news: Raw Bar does not take reservations.

The good news: You may finally get a spot at Grand Electric.


Like New York City’s Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Toronto’s Glory Hole Doughnuts is branded with a moniker that commands attention.

And the biz’s “doughnut mistress,” Ashley Jacot De Boinod, is acutely aware of the significance of name. Since no one likes peering through a secret hole to find nothing on the other side, Jacot De Boinod makes sure she delivers tasty, even fascinating, product when her purveyance is discovered.

Until now, the donut slinger has been relegated to selling provisions  - like maple bacon, apple pie, and fried chicken and waffle doughnuts - wholesale, through third-party hipster haunts like 416 Snack Bar, Thor Espresso Bar and Burger Bar (for shame!). 

Thankfully, The donut ninja has found a place to set up shop in – you guessed it – Parkdale.  But she needs to raise 15,000 smackaroos before her glory holes become a legitimate thing of the public.

Contributors who help the former Buca pastry chef to get, as she says, her “’nuts out in public” are promised the thrill of having their names permanently placed on the walls of the shop – that is, until the neighbouring business drills through the dividers to see what the hell the neighbours are up to.



[html]Baltimore duo Beach House’s glorious, life-affirming fourth album Bloom has been floating around shady forums of piracy like, um, Youtube, for at least a few weeks now. Luckily for you law-abiding citizens NPR has a full stream of the thing available right here. If you don’t like it at least a little bit, you may not have a soul.

Bloom drops next week via Sub Pop.


I think you should only be allowed to change your name if you plan on being a celebrity, or to get around being a sex offender, but tens of thousands of ordinary citizens seem to feel differently, changing their names with wanton abandon.

Today, for example a Nebraskan man legally changed his name to Tyrannosaurus Rex. In my opinion, I only accept the name change if he has the physical attributes of the dinosaur: tiny arms, a huge head and an underdeveloped brain. Truth be told; the name change does indicate that the latter is true – although he says he changed it because he's “an entrepreneur and name recognition is important.” I cannot wait 'til he gets married.

I'm inspired though. The time has come to stop being Nick and start being Barney The Dinosaur On Acid. Everyone will buy the product that is me if I do that!

I know a guy who changed his name to Mister Anonymous. This wound up giving him problems getting over borders, so think about your name choice before settling on one. Don't change it to Al Qaeda, no matter how funny it seems to you while on angel dust.


[html]After automatic doors and a hands-free butt wiping machine, a car that drives itself is the ultimate lazy man’s dream. Thanks to Google we’ve come even closer to realizing it; the internet giant has been given the first license to operate “autonomous vehicles” that will apparently require little to no human intervention to operate.

Via CNN we can see this Knight Rider-esque plan in action:

In the future, cars drive you. And then take over the planet.

Fig. 1.1: Our future slave masters.


[html]Despite having the outward appearance of a filthy guttersnipe comedian Russell Brand is an eloquent son of a bitch. He’s also not one to let hecklers pass by undisturbed, as proven at a recent stand-up gig in New Jersey. After repeated (unheard on video) shouts of “Katy Perry!” the unfortunate idiot gets picked apart, as only a true Englishman could do:

Related: More great heckler showdowns


American author and illustrator Maurice Sendak has died at the age of 83, after a recent stroke.

Sendak was known to all as the man behind Where the Wild Things Are, one of the most universally beloved children’s books of the last century. The 1963 work, his fifth, follows the young boy Max as he escapes parental punishment into a world of oversized monsters and far-off adventures. The story used imaginative imagery, minimal text and realistic emotions – Max is kind of obviously a brat – to appeal to readers young and old. Filmmaker Spike Jonze adapted Where the Wild Things Are in 2009 to mixed reception.

Among Sendak’s other works perhaps best known are In the Night Kitchen (1970), the surreal story of a boy’s dreamed odyssey through a giant bakery (which earned controversy for depicting its toddler-aged protagonist fully nude) and Outside Over There (1981), the inspiration for the cult David Bowie fantasy film Labyrinth (1986) produced by frequent Sendak collaborator Jim Henson. Over the years Sendak also worked extensively in television production and stage design.

In 2008 he came out to The New York Times and revealed his lifelong partner had died the previous year. His final book Bumble-Ardy was published in 2011.