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Ovie Is Ignernt

January 29, 2011 @ 10:20

As actors, NHL hockey players make great bus drivers. If that doesn't make sense, neither did the idea to have the players play-act or pretend they were pissed, upset or hurt during last nights so-called fantasy draft for the NHL all-star game.

I'll give TSN's James Duthie credit; he shut it down after it became painfully apparent that it just wasn't working. I found the actual draft half way amusing, but the attempt to pretend it was something more than it was, was corny.

Beyond that, the only other glaring observation from my perch was the behaviour of Alex Ovechkin. If you could cut the guy any slack, I guess you could say it was a sign of the times, but I found it extremely rude and arrogant for him to be texting after he was picked and took his position on stage.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm so goddamned sick and tired of looking at people with their heads down while hammering away at their Blackberrys or I-Phones I could freakin' scream.

What has happened to our society and where's it going from here?

It's one thing to be connected to your job and find your own space to deal with whatever's making your unit vibrate, but these people who now tap away while they're in mid-conversation with you is way over the top because you just know they're just answering tweets or idle chit chat.

But I'll take a step further. Not only does it piss me off when someone starts tappin' away while talking to you, it bothers me if they're simply sitting at the same table with you. At dinner, or at a coffee shop or outside on the lawn, they don't even have to be in conversation with me, it bothers me if they're just part of a group and they drift away into cyber land.

And that's what bothered me about Ovechkin last night. He's has the honour and the privilege of taking part in the NHL all-star game, but his addiction to his stupid Blackberry makes him look like he could give a shit.

Hey, maybe he doesn't give a shit, but at least have courtesy and respect for the situation for the precious few minutes you're on stage.

The other 35 guys did.

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Nobody Likes Me

January 29, 2011 @ 10:18

I think we may have learned something about Phil Kessel last night. Rumour has it; he's a big asshole and that may explain what happened during the NHL All-Star draft last night.

Kessel was the last pick. Dead last. Sure he may have had a big smile on his face and handled it with class at the moment, but it's more interesting to scratch below the surface and look into "why" he was the last pick.

Under the all-star format, Kessel is definitely a guy I want on my team. There's no hitting, no back checking, just run and gun hockey with lots of scoring - and that's Phil Kessel's game.

When you look at all the players that were picked before Kessel, it doesn't make sense.

Kessel is among the league leaders in goals with 19, and when you consider all the chances he gets, if he'd scored on just a fraction of those, he could be right up there with Sid the Kid and Steven Stamkos.

One argument would suggest the players don't really care about winning tomorrow's game, but I don't entirely buy that. I'm sure the prevailing thought is this, if we're gonna play, we might as well win.

And that's what makes me raise an eyebrow to the Kessel thing.

Under an All-Star "no touch" situation Kessel could end up being the game MVP, but nobody touched him with a ten foot pole last night. Even when Patrick Kane finally made the announcement at the end of the night, he didn't sound that enthusiastic about picking Kessel... and remember, they played together during the Olympics on Team USA.

Bill Watters often refers to the problem that Phil Kessel can be in a dressing room because of his selfishness and bad attitude. Other players don't like him.

Last night may have exposed it even more.

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A Fine Line

January 16, 2011 @ 12:10

There's nothing like Hab fans to get a hockey fan thinking with some common sense.

I won't point the finger at my buddy Freeway Frank because I think a big part of his Hab fan act is simply a reaction to the bombs I throw to him periodically.

I'll admit, I like to bait Hab fans because it's so easy to get a reaction out of them. So hung up on things that happened almost two decades ago, its fun to push their stupid button and listen to all that shit about 25 Stanley Cups like it actually applies to what's going on today.

It's like a Blue Jay fan still harpin' about '92 and 93. It's irrelevant.

In some respects it's a good thing that the Maple Leafs have lost two games in a row, because it would probably lesson this essay if I brought it up during an extended winning streak.

Yes, the Leafs have gathered nine out of a possible 12 points recently, but I'd rather look at the big picture, the entire season to date.

Isn't it amazing that Hab fans like to piss all over the Leafs like there's light years between the two franchises, when really there's not? On the contrary, there's a fine line that separates the two teams and they could change sides in the blink of an eye.

After Leafs shootout loss to the Flames last night, and the Habs victory over the Rangers, the Habs have 12 more points than the Leafs in the standings, but Toronto has a game in hand.

The Habs have played 45 games while the Leafs have played 44, but over that stretch the Leafs have lost only six more games, notable yes, but not nearly the lopsided embarrassment that Hab fans would like to promote.

Scratch lightly below the surface and it gets more interesting. The Leafs have lost one quarter of their games this season by one goal, yet they have the youngest team in the NHL. The Leafs have actually scored more goals than the Habs but the break-down occurs in goals against. The Leafs have allowed 24 more.

That's where we get to the fine line. The Leafs veteran defensemen have under achieved this year while the rest of the team have reacted exactly how the youngest team in the NHL should react. They've made mistakes that young teams make, teams that are on the upswing of a learning curve.

Any fan, including any Hab fan could look at the Leafs season so far and recall at least six games that they could have or should have won but they broke down in the late going, some of due to the defensive corp that is lacking, but also a good measure rests on the shoulders of the youngsters.

I hate to break it to Hab fans but there really isn't that much to choose between the two teams and part of that has been displayed by the fact the Leafs have won two of three meetings this year.

It's become part of the culture in Toronto to be impatient and rightly so, but sometimes this clouds the facts.

Forget the Phil Kessel trade, because that's water under the bridge, instead we should look at Kessel the Leaf, the player he is now, and you know what, it ain't so bad. Phil Kessel is far from the problem, if anything; he's a big part of the solution that could play itself out over the next couple of years.

Kessel has 19 goals this season, and in case you didn't know, that's more than the following list of players.

Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Evgani Malkin, John Tavaras, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatly, Patrick Marleau and absolutely every member of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was this kind of production I'm sure that Brian Burke had in mind when he made the trade. In many ways, Kessel has not disappointed and given that he's only 22 years old, and that there's a team maturing around him with a defense that can only get better, there's actually reason for optimism.

Should we consider that Burke does know what he's doing but we just want results too fast?

I understand the frustrations of Leaf fans, and its human nature to want things now as opposed to later, but I'm still a Brian Burke fan and I think later may be a lot sooner than we think. A couple of strategic acquisitions along with the other points I've made could turn this thing around pretty fast.

The definition of the term fine line is this - "so similar that one can easily become the other."

It's comin' Hab fans.

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Mickey Rooney Uses The "F" Word

December 16, 2010 @ 08:54

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Thanks Pat

November 19, 2010 @ 18:46

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Today With Neil Morrison

November 19, 2010 @ 16:58

Snow in Vancouver and Nazem Kadri.







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Beginning Of The End

November 13, 2010 @ 10:35

What you are about to witness hockey fans is the beginning of the end of Nazim Kadri in Toronto, if not in the NHL.

He will be the latest name added to the list of fine young hockey players who the Leafs have drafted and then promptly ruined. It's an historical thing so you can't really blame it on any one person.

Many Leaf general managers have done the same thing over the past for decades. We keep hoping that the next guy will change history, but it never seems to happen.

This time it's Brian Burke, and although I like the guy, this latest move smacks of shortsightedness and desperation.

Nazim Kadi should not be brought into this miserable situation.

If Kadri had begun the season with the big club and played a part in the current mess it would have been one thing, but to bring him in at this point in this market in this situation is all wrong.

Already weirded out I'm sure by comments made by Ron Wilson just last week when he told reporters Kardri wasn't playing well enough to be called up, now the kid is going to be thrown into a deep fryer by the very guy who doesn't think he's very good.

Forget about battling the other team, Kardri's going to battling himself, the puck and the fans when it's all so very needless. The Leafs are going nowhere, so why put the kid through the inevitable?

And that leads to another question. Should someone of Kadri's early development and fragility be put into the hands of someone like Wilson?

I think not because I'm convinced Ron Wilson is a major part of the problem.

For the sake of Nazem Kadri I hope he survives this and one day gets the break of so many others before him, he gets to move on and thrive somewhere else.

Here is a list of players in recent history who have been draft by the Leafs and were either ruined or sent off to another team where they reached their potential.

All first round picks.

Jiri Tlusty
Tuukka Rask
Justin Pogge
Carlo Colaiacovo
Alex Steen
Brad Boyes
Kenny Jonsson
Brandon Convery
Drake Berehowsky

There are lots more, but you get the point.

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Teach Them How To Dougie

November 3, 2010 @ 08:08

If you're a frequent visitor to this blog, you know I'm a bit of Toronto Maple Leaf fan.

Like most Leaf fans I've been somewhat deflated over the past week or so as an encouraging Leaf start to the season has sort of gone south.

The natural reaction of fans in these cases is to criticize and boo and more often than not, it's an over-reaction brought on my emotion. It can make fans become irrational.

But I really don't have a problem with that.

Its sports for cryin' out a loud. It's the toy department. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter and nothing that happens on a hockey rink has any direct link to what's important in our lives.

That's why I chuckle when Brian Burke goes out of his way to chastise those Leaf fans who have decided to boo Dion Phaneuf. Burke says it's not only unfair, it's disgraceful.

Only ten games into the season he thinks those fans who are booing Phaneuf are ignorant of the game.

Cool. He's entitled to his opinion, but Burke's got to remember, those fans big top dollar to sit in those seats and the culture of professional sports dictates that they're completely free to express themselves in pretty much any way they want as long as they don't break the law.

But I find Burke's concerns misdirected. I think he should be looking at this coach, because in my opinion he represents the biggest problem with the team.

Forget that this team hasn't really improved under Ron Wilson's direction, it's the other things that really bug me about Wilson, and one of those things was highlighted during last night's post game press conference when Wilson was asked about Nazem Kadri.

I can understand why Wilson gets tired of hearing the same question about why Kadri isn't up with the big team, but when the coach responds with "I don't know why people keep asking about a player who isn't playing very well. Just go to a game and watch, he's not playing well."

Wow. Talk about throwing somebody under the bus to save your own ass. This is a fragile 19 year old kid with reams of talent who's still trying to find his way. He's needs encouragement, but this morning he's going to find out that the coach of the Leafs told the world that he's not playing very well.

Kadri is struggling, but Wilson could have come up with a better response. He could have been a little more delicate. After all, Kadri isn't a veteran and the Leafs are supposed to be nurturing him.

How about something like this. "Nazem has not reached the point where we feel he's ready for the NHL."

But this is classic Ron Wilson. He's aloof and arrogant and sometimes nasty. I don't think he's a good fit for the Leafs right now and that's why I'd like to propose this.

Kick his ass out of town and hire Dougie.

Doug Gilmour has been coach of the Kingston Frontenacs for the past year and a bit, and although that's a brief career, sooner than later and NHL team is going to grab this guy because he's a class act who will carry the utmost respect of those who play under him.

The Leafs should get him while the getting' is good.

There's no way they'd play any worse under Gilmour, there'd only be an upside. Respect, example and class.

How does any player not give it everything he's got when the man behind the bench is one of the greatest warriors in NHL history? A warrior with a Leaf history.

I'm sure if you love hockey and you love the Leafs you're well aware of Doug Gilmour and what he brings to the game.

I won't go on and on about the guy, I'll just leave you with this video that was e-mailed to me yesterday.

The video is great, the audio..... not so great.


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I'm A Big Sucker

October 29, 2010 @ 07:10

I did it again last night. For about the sixth time in the past three years I ordered Leafs TV.

It's actually cheap therapy for me. It's one way that I can strike back at the Leafs when they piss me off, and that's happened a few times over the past couple of years.

The season starts and I order Leafs TV. The Leafs start to blow, so I cancel Leafs TV. They usually have a mid-season resurgence, so I re-order Leafs TV. However by the end of the season I'm usually pissed off again so I go into a tirade about the entire organization and cancel Leafs TV as a protest.

Several people have said to me, what's the big deal? It's only five bucks a month, why cancel it?

It's the principle people. It's one way I can control cash flow to the MLSE. Granted, it's an insignificant amount of money, but I love the power of picking up the phone and dialing Shaw Direct and cutting off the five bucks that some way might contribute to this mess.

It's interesting; when Leafs TV first started in 2001 I think it was 99 cents a month. Nine years later it's 4.99 a month, and this represents something else that bugs me. A 500 percent increase in nine years.

Leave it to MLSE to come up with that.

Last night was the usual scenario. It's early in the season, the Leafs are doing OK, they just came off a victory over Florida, it was a Thursday night with nothing else to do, I was in my apartment and the Leafs were in Boston. I flipped on the tube only to find the game was on Leafs TV.

I picked up the phone and made the call.

Crazy shit. By the end of the second period, although the Leafs were actually playing pretty well, I started to get buyers remorse.

It's becoming abundantly clear that this team has a pop-gun offence that is going to be a significant issue this year. They're going to have a big problem scoring goals and excuse me if I say so, but watching the home team score goals is one of the things that attracts me to the game.

It's going to be a wild and crazy month. Once you commit to Leafs TV you're on the hook for at least 30 days or until the next billing period. So we'll see what happens.

I happen to think that on top of their various other problems, the Leafs have a serious coaching problem. If this continues I'll pick up the phone at the end of November, I'll call Shaw Direct, I'll unload on the poor person who answers the phone, and once again I'll end my association with Leafs TV.

And that will be five less bucks the Leafs can pay Ron Wilson.

Category: Sports | Television

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Goofy NHL

October 23, 2010 @ 09:53

The NHL has done it again. The six game suspension to Vancouver Canuck Rick Rypien is a joke.

Six games for going into the stands after a fan who did nothing more than throw a verbal jibe.

The fan did not leave the stands. He did not obstruct Rypien and he didn't physically attack Rypien. He simply yelled something.

But the NHLer, who is representing the league, went out of his way to step into the stands and physically attack the fan who had not even left his seat.... And for this he gets six games. Six measly games.

As usual, through the little emperor, the NHL released its usual statement, but once again it falls flat.

"Prior to each season, all clubs and players are advised that under no circumstances are club personnel permitted to have physical contact with fans, or enter, or attempt to enter the stands," Bettman said in a news release. "We hold NHL players to a high standard, and there simply is no excuse for conduct of this nature. Fortunately, this incident is not typical of the way NHL players conduct themselves and is not typical of the way Mr. Rypien had conducted himself during his career."

It doesn't matter if its typical. What Rypien did was inexcusable and does nothing more than lend itself to the argument that the NHL isn't a real sports league, but a cross between roller-derby and UFC.

The fan who was grabbed did nothing more than clap, and he ends up with a NHL player physically attacking him.

Give credit to the NBA. When Ron Artest entered the stands in Detroit he was suspended for an entire season.

The NHL gives Rypien six games.

The fan says he will seek legal advice. I hope he does and I hope he not only sues Rypien but the limp dick NHL as well.


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