Wednesday, November 30, 2022


by Jason Cruz
Northwest Asia Weekly

Welcome to another version of layup drills. In this edition, we take a look at accolades for National Hockey League (NHL) players, Shohei Ohtani getting a big extension, and an upcoming New York Yankees player talking about his legacy and more.

Suzuki asked to learn French after being selected as captain

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) faces the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of their NHL hockey game on October 14 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancia)

Nick Suzuki has been selected by Montreal Canadiens hockey executives to be captain of the team’s upcoming NHL season. Suzuki’s parents immigrated to Canada from Japan. The 23-year-old Canadian has been described as “the heartbeat of our team,” said teammate Brendan Gallagher.

Suzuki will start his fourth season in the NHL. Last season, he played in all 82 games and led the team to 21 goals and 40 assists.

As captains of an NHL team, we have a great honor and a sense of responsibility. It’s also censored, especially if you don’t know French in Montreal.

Quebec politician told Suzuki to learn French. The reason is to connect with an English- and French-speaking community. According to a 2021 survey, an estimated 85.5% of households in Quebec speak French.

When asked if he was learning French, he said he had been taking French lessons at school and was refreshing himself with online classes.

“I will do better at this,” he told the media. Whether there is a deadline for Suzuki’s French-speaking conversation is unclear, but being asked to speak another language for a sports team appears to be above the team captain’s responsibilities.

Seattle fans know the community can connect with sports teams, though not specifically for fans. Last August, Ichiro Suzuki, who was honored by the Mariners, was known for having an interpreter in interviews. Of course, Suzuki is fluent in English. Ichiro addressed fans in English as he entered the Mariners Hall of Fame.

Nick Suzuki, the face of the rebuilding Montreal hockey team, seems willing to learn the language.

Daegu signs one-year contract

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game on October 5 in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Shohei Ohtani has had another great year for the Anaheim Angels. Despite another disappointing season for the team, Daegu has improved from last year’s monster year. In addition to his ability to hit home runs, his performance on the mound has also improved. On Oct. 1, he had no hits in the 8th inning, giving up just 1 hit in his 8-inning work while striking out 10 times. On the same night, he had 2 more hits and one more at-bat.

Despite being rumored to be traded in July, the Angels and Daegu have agreed to a one-year extension worth $30 million to avoid wage arbitration next year. It’s the most any MLB team has given a player to arbitration.

This deal is fully guaranteed with no additional terms.

The deal staved off any rumors that Otani would be leaving the Angels next year, but long-term prospects remain up in the air for the Japanese star.

Yankees’ next star talks Filipino heritage

The Seattle Mariners finally broke through, making the MLB playoffs for the first time since 2001. If they can get deep into the playoffs, they could face the New York Yankees.

Anthony Volpe

While not currently on the Yankees’ roster, Anthony Volpe is the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and shortstop.

His mother, Isabelle, is an anesthesiologist from the Philippines. She is one of seven children with whom Volpe currently lives with his aunt and grandmother, Volpe said in an interview. His family grew up in New York and then in New Jersey.

He has not been to the Philippines, but intends to. Volpe said his parents wanted to take him, but they were too young, and when they grew up, they were too busy with activities. He did notice that he played in an international baseball game in Taiwan when he was 12 years old. He met and talked to the players of the Philippine national team. He would love to go to the Philippines to help develop the sport.

“I’ve loved Hideki Matsui since I was a kid,” said Volpe, one of the all-time Asian superstars in Yankees history. Matsui, Japan’s designated hitter, played for the Yankees from 2003-2009. Volpe said he was his sister’s favorite player.

Volpe was selected in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft after graduating from high school. Before being drafted by the Yankees, he committed to playing college baseball at Vanderbilt University.

Notable Highlights

The Los Angeles Rams narrowly defeated the Atlanta Falcons on September 18. After the game, Taylor Rapp and Younghoe Koo met and exchanged jerseys. These two Asian footballers are rare in the NFL and have not surpassed them.

Gu scored one of two field goals in the game, while Rapp had three tackles. Both players posted the photo on their Instagram accounts. Rapp added, “Do what they say we can’t do!”

We all think Manny Pacquiao is done with boxing. Well, his career may be over, but his exhibition career isn’t over. The Philippine senator is negotiating a potential exhibition match in January 2023. Rumor has it that Pacquiao, 43, will play former sparring partner Jaber Zayani in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Pacquiao was in the front row of a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. boxing exhibition match last September, sparking speculation that the pair might fight again, but this time in an exhibition match.

The Presidents Cup is a series of men’s golf tournaments between the United States and international teams representing the rest of the world (except Europe). Last month, Asian Tour pro Tom King stole the show. The 20-year-old expressed emotion for his team and made it difficult for the Americans with big putts. In one putt, the Korean pushed his ball, then dropped his putt, threw his hat, and ran to his teammates as the ball rolled in the hole. Although Team USA won the Presidents Cup, Kim Jong Un impressed the audience.

Jason is available at [email protected].

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