Sunday, June 04, 2006

Weird & Whacked Wednesday Part II (Sunday)

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

I got caught up in talking soccer on Wednesday - spent too much time searching for the "I'm Not Fat" story the British press did on Brazil's striker Ronaldo. Back to the Weird & Whacked from the world of sports.


After letting the Tards faithful digest yet another disappointing loss in the playoffs - the men that put the Tard in SenaTards spoke to the fans and media last week. John Muckler stepped in to tell the Tards faithful that they were going to take a few weeks to evaluate things - but that fans shouldn't expect major changes. Muckler went a step further to say that he wasn't closing the door on bring Dominik Hasek back; saying that he wanted to talk to Hasek first to see how he felt before making a decision. One question - Didn't Muckler do that after the Olympics? When Hasek said he'd be ready to go in a few weeks? This promises to be good...the Tards faithful are eating it all up too - after calling for Hasek's head, the party line now is "We'll bring him back cheap...he has unfinished business here." Seems like we heard the same thing from Red Sox Nation about Roger Clemens...sorry peeps.

File this one under just plain dumb or reTARDed. Muckler is going to put his faith in a guy that has quit on three hockey teams, a guy who's groin is held together with angel hair pasta, a guy who is going to be 43; not to mention that he basically just told his coach to shut the hell up. What makes this notion even more crazy is that the Tards faithful actually think Hasek will sign for $500k - $1 million and be content playing 30 - 40 games, to save himself for the playoffs. I can't wait to see this - as soon as Emery loses two in a row they'll be screaming for Hasek.

Muckler spoke to the media again this week. This time to tell everyone that Jason Spezza had undergone "minor" back surgery; going on to say that Spezza played hurt during the playoffs. I guess the back really flared up against Buffalo - cuz it didn't seem to affect him against Tampa - sounds like an excuse to me.

I'm going to file this one under weird. Why would you announce this to the media 10 days after you are bounced out? What exactly is "minor" back surgery - when it comes to a back such thing. Is this just propaganda to ward teams away from offering Spezza big bucks? Speaking as member of Leaf Nation - we can tell you that once Wendel Clark hurt his back...he was never the same. Right Hazel?

The Bruins were set to announce that they had hired Ray Shero to be the team's GM. Before they could make the announcement, Shero signed with Pittsburgh - saying that he had issues with compensation and authority (read Harry Sinden and the Jacobs family). So where do the Bruins go? They head into the SenaTards backyard to hire former Harvard star and Tards Asst. GM Peter Chiarelli. The Bruins talked about hiring a guy who would be a good fit for the organization - I guess they meant a guy who would take orders. Chiarelli has been an Asst. GM for two years - the first of which was during the lockout.

I think I know what the deal is here though - Chiarelli was said to be invaluable in negotiating contracts with players...which would fit just right with the penny pinching Bruins. Harry Sinden can continue to call the shots behind the scenes...while Chiarelli is the bean counter. Don't believe me? Check out how Harry does things.

File this one under weird - the Bruins were set to announce the hiring of Ray Shero, who opted out because of "compensation and authority issues", and then turn to a man who has no practical experience being a GM. What makes this even more weird is that, as part of the deal, Chiarelli has to stay with the Tards until July 15th. Why would the Tards want to keep him around when he has another job? Do they expect him to "be professional" and negotiate contracts for them? How do the Bruins proceed at the start of the Free Agent period (July 1) when their GM is in Ottawa?


The Toronto Maple Leafs (Hazel's Toronto Maple Leafs?) announced that they had signed defenceman Bryan McCabe to a 5 year contract that will pay him $5.5M per season. While some in the Toronto media were quick to point out that it was a good signing - "because if Toronto didn't pay him...someone else would" - I have to side with resident Leaf-hater Damien Cox of the Toronto Star. I think Cox's assessment was a bit harsh, but at the heart of it he is pretty much right on this one. Bryan McCabe is NOT a $5.5M/season D; he is pretty much a one dimensional player that had trouble adapting to the new NHL. McCabe's point totals, while very impressive, were built on the power play. When playing 5 on 5, he was average at best - often being caught out of position, or taking a dumb penalty - defensively, he was somewhat of a liability the majority of the time.

This signing reminds me of the mistake the Leafs made when they signed Tie Domi last year - they overpaid to keep a fan favourite. McCabe's leadership qualities in the dressing room have been talked about - but at some point, leadership is based on backing up your talk with your actions on the ice...something Bryan didn't do enough of last year.

File this one under just plain dumb. I am convinced that John Ferguson Jr. was the Tards big joke on the Maple Leafs. The Tards were big boosters of Ferguson Jr - claiming that they were ready to sign him just before Toronto did. The Tards couldn't beat the Leafs in the playoffs - so they did the next best thing...they punk'd Toronto into signing this guy. Ferguson overpaid for Domi, signed Ed Belfour to a lucrative contract hours before the free agent market opened a couple of years back (with NO physical), he let Roberts and Nieuwendyk go (instead spending the money on Domi, Allison and Lindros), and now he signs Bryan McCabe (who is already a half a step too slow) to a five year, no-trade contract. That sends a great message to Tomas Kaberle.

Thanks John...thanks for nothing. Instead of making ONE key free agent signing, keeping some cap room, and building for the future - you blew it again. Enjoy your last year in Toronto - HAZEL FOR MAPLE LEAFS GM!!!

Rick Tocchet and Janet (Jones) Gretzky, through their lawyers of course, told the media that they are considering suing authorities in New Jersey (the Department of Law and the state police) for $50M, as a result of the mess created in the alleged sports betting ring. In a case of - "Huh?" - Tocchet's lawyer told the media that he has two years to file a suit - though he may choose not to. Both claim damage to their reputation and lost opportunities.

File this one under weird - You tell the media that you are "considering" a lawsuit against people you say did irreperable damage to your reputations, caused you to lose your job and wages (Tocchet), and cost you a number of business opportunities (Gretzky) and you may opt NOT to sue? What am I missing here? You are considering suing - as it is the ultimate statement of "not guilty" - yet, you may opt not to pursue it. Opting not to proceed with a potential $50M payday...things that make you go hmmmm.


Ricky Williams' 1st game in the CFL was uneventful to say the least. Four carries for eight yards with, as Ricky said after the game, good blocking on his part; exactly what the Argos signed him for huh? It was an exhibition game, so we don't have to get into it. What made this start newsworthy was ESPN's Joe Theismann's rant on Toronto's Fan 590 - and the resulting fall-out from it. For those of you who haven't heard it, Theismann told the Fan 590 that he was disgusted by the Argos' signing of Ricky - going on to say that he was embarrassed to have worn the A on his helmet (Theismann played for the Argos in the 70's). Theismann went on a rant about why the signing was wrong - lambasting Williams' for being a drug user.

When the guys on the fan voice some passive resistance to his sermon - Theismann fired at them "do you know what your station's policy on drugs is?" They answered "No". Joe fired back "I bet its a zero tolerance policy" going on to say that they were caught taking drugs, the station would certainly fire them with no questions asked. Bob McCown stayed pretty quiet during Theismann's sermon - but before ending the segment (after they has said goodbye to Theismann) reminded everybody that ESPN employs many former athletes - some of who have been arrested for drugs...and they are still employed. Classic! The Argos also hit back at Joe.

File this one under whacked - all the way around. One, because its Ricky. Two because Joe Theismann thinks its his place to offer comment and condemn the CFL and the Argos for signing on to the "Ricky Sideshow". Three, because a couple of teams in the league voiced opposition to the signing - including the Montreal Alouettes who brought freakin' Lawrence Phillips to the league.

But most of all because of Argos President Keith Pelley; who in defence of Williams' appeared on Sportsnet to say that Joe didn't know Ricky Williams - the person. Pelley, in all serioiusness, told the media that if Joe took the time to get to know Ricky - his opinion would probably be different. Right - Joe should get to know Ricky on the level the Argos did over a week or two of negotiations...Life in the CFL - where "Our balls are bigger!"


Now what would a Weird & Whacked entry be without checking in on our boys in the NFL? In his "Ricky Williams is bad" rant - Joe Theismann talked about how Ricky is on drugs, how he has no respect for the NFL, no respect for football, no respect for authority etc. If he was allowed to continue, I'm sure Joe would have speculated that after smokin...errrr "taking holistic medicine"...Ricky would probably sit around, eating Cheezies and committing unspeakable acts with his orange stained hands. To Joe, playing in the NFL is all about respect for the game; with that in mind, maybe we should have a look at what some of the fine upstanding citizens in Joe's NFL are up to.

Cincinnati Bengals bad-boy Chris Henry is in trouble again - while awaiting trial on charges that he pulled a pistol on some people in downtown Orlando, Henry was stopped and charged with driving under the influence and speeding.

Not to be outdone, Bengals linebacker A.J. Nicholson was arrested and charged with grand theft and vandalism after he burglarized the home of a former Florida State teammate. Nicholson and another former teammate are accused of stealing $1,700 in electronic equipment.

File this one under whacked - could you imagine what Joe would have to say about these two if he had ever played for the Bengals? I guess its different - they were never caught smoking crackers.

Jake Plummer pleaded not guilty in the "road rage" case. Plummer maintains that he did nothing wrong, that he was in a hurry to drop off a cheque at his charitable foundation and the he apologized to a driver he cut off - even with eye witnesses who say that Plummer's recounting of events is not what took place.

File this one under just plain dumb. Jake "The Snake" is trying to make like a weasel and get out of this one. I guess threatening another driver and lying about what happened isn't as bad as what Ricky did. Right Joe?


Redskins' safety Sean Taylor accepted a plea agreement in exchange for dropping felony aggravated assault charges against him. Taylor now faces 18 months probation, instead of up to 46 years in prison - oh yeah, he MIGHT be suspended too! Let's hear it for the NFL.

File this one under whacked. I wonder what Joe has to say about Sean Taylor; think Joe would go on Washington radio to talk about being ashamed to have ever worn a Redskins' jersey? Joe must be on the verge of an aneurysm right about now.

That's about it for a Sunday night - we'll award the Hazies tomorrow. Have a great one peeps!

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the night on Hazelspeeps - for those often misunderstood boy in the NFL

NFL Round Up - the old theme song for NFL Films.

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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