Saturday, August 18, 2007

What To Do About Tocchet?

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

With apologies to Ron Mexico and Tim Donaghy who are front and center in most sports headlines, we are going to look at Rick Tocchet and the quandry the NHL is in over his predicament.

For those of you that don't follow the NHL - Tocchet pleaded guilty to third and fourth degree crimes related to promoting gambling. Tocchet avoided jail time, being sentenced to two years probation, but in the eyes of the law he is still a convicted felon. Which raises an interesting question - Should he be allowed to return to the NHL in a coaching or management capacity?

Tocchet by all accounts is a great guy; admired, respected and loved by his former teammates, players who played against him and fans who followed his career. He was one of the great players of his generation - Tocchet was the quintessential power forward.

Tocchet was a complete player bringing:
  • physical toughness - he was one of the NHL's heavyweights in his prime,
  • goal scoring - he scored 30+ four times, including two 40+ seasons,
  • leadership - he would set the tone for his team with a goal, a hit, or a fight;
  • and anything else his team needed to win.

Tocchet was a guy everyone wanted to be like and a player every coach wanted. His credentials from his playing days can't be questioned.

With a lot of attentioned being focused on gambling in sports (Donaghy, and to an extent Mike Vick) can/will the NHL reinstate a convicted felon? Tocchet's supporters point the to fact he didn't bet or accept bets on hockey games (we find that incredibly difficult to believe - bookmakers lay off a lot of action to other bookmakers), as such he should be allowed to return to the NHL.

Gary Bettman may be of a different mind though; the man who so desperately wants to re-establish hockey as the fourth major sport in the U.S. may look to make a statement here. He is likely in close contact and communication with his longtime friend David Stern - given the NBA's stance on Tim Donaghy and gambling as a whole, Stern is probably advising Bettman to cut ties with one of the NHL's great players.

For now, Bettman is non-committal on the issue of Tocchet; the NHL will wait for their investigation to be completed before making a judgement on Tocchet. We think that Bettman will look to see what happens with the NBA as the Donaghy case unfolds, and the NFL to see how they handle the Mike Vick affair before making a judgement on Tocchet. Our bet is that Gary is talking to Gretzky (a good friend of Tocchet's) to lay the groundwork for a lifetime ban - looking to use that as a way of showing the U.S. that hockey is a clean terms of gambling and substance abuse (the NHL still claims that hockey players don't use performance enhancing drugs...ummmm....ok).

For the record, we like Tocchet (we share a birthday with "Red-hot Rick Tocchet") but we can't see a compelling reason to reinstate him into the NHL - and that is a real shame, he had a lot to offer in his post-playing career.

You can go back to reading about Ron Mexico now.

Boston Red Sox P Clay Buchholz picked up his first career win yesterday against the Angels in front of a packed house at Fenway - and he beat John Lackey no less. Buchholz's line hardly qualifies as outstanding - three earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five over six innings; but the circumstances under which he started and the pressure that goes along with being the jewel of Boston's farm system made it worth noting.

San Francisco Giants P Barry Zito has been a bust this year, but he pitched seven shutout innings against the Marlins yesterday, giving up one hit and two walks while striking out eight. Hardly worth the big bucks he got to sign with the Giants - but a good start nonetheless.

Arizona Diamondbacks P Brandon Webb pitched another complete game shutout against the Braves yesterday. Webb gave up two hits and a walk while striking out six in a 4-0 win. For those of you keeping count, Webb is up to 42 consecutive scoreless innings - 17 away from Orel Hershiser's record of 59. Let us be the first to say IT WON'T HAPPEN. No one is going to break Orel's record - 1988...what a magical year for the Dodgers. Just ask Dennis Eckersley, hahaha.

We spilt yesterday's games but it was costly - thanks for nothing Eric Gagne. The total for the week stands at + $200. Today's suggestions:

Boston over Los Angeles - We like Schilling today, he's due for a win and Jered Weaver has been beatable this year. Lay $100 on the Sox - $160.

Milwaukee over Cincinnati - we like Claudio Vargas today, the Brewers have been floundering a bit, but they won't lose two in a row to the Reds. Lay $100 on the Brewers - $140.

Oakland over Kansas City - Odalis Perez = Josh Towers, and if you are a regular reader you know what that means. Chad Gaudin gets the nod tonight. Lay $100 on the A's - $150.

That's it for today gang - if you didn't check in yesterday, scroll down to see Tilt's Friday entries...I HEART TILT. Thanks for taking the time to check in and have a great weekend.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!


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