Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Musings

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

It looks like the lack luster performance put in the by Toronto Maple Leafs this past weekend has sealed the fate of John Ferguson Jr. The talk in the media and call-in shows has shifted from whether or not he will be fired to the list of potential candidates to replace him. Over the weekend, the names of Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Ron Francis were being mentioned as potential successors/saviors to inherit the mess created by JFJ.

A scan of this morning’s papers has shed a bit more light on who might be next in line to take one of the most high-profile management jobs in all of professional sports. As has become customary, Leaf Nation was sold a bill of goods on this one. It seems that the leading candidates are TSN Analyst Glen Healy, who is on record as saying he would hire a man like Messier to help him fix the mess that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, and NHL executive vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, who many believe would bring former Red Wings great Steve Yzerman on as an assistant GM.

While both may have their merits, neither are what the Maple Leafs need. The Maple Leafs are in the enviable, or unenviable (depending on how you look at it) position of being in the center of the hockey world – forget Montreal, Toronto is where its at. The politicking that goes on in the Leafs boardroom necessitates a strong and very well-respected hockey person to take the job – a larger than life figure that would command the respect of the Leafs Board of Directors (read, wouldn’t be afraid to tell the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund where to go), along with being able to handle the pressure from the media.

Glen Healy and Colin Campbell are not the guys to do it – Mark Messier would be a natural choice with Steve Yzerman coming a close second. While Messier and Yzerman have not had any real hands on experience in running a team – they both know what it takes to build winning teams, having spent years playing for winning organizations. Both would bring an attitude of winning to the organization; instead of what we have now, where the goal is simply to make the playoffs and hope for the best.

While some might laugh off the hiring of Messier or Yzerman as nothing more than a PR move from a desperate hockey team – we would expect to hear the term “figurehead” being thrown around – both are proud men who wouldn’t risk their professional reputation to be “yes men” for a Board of Directors that only cares about the bottom line. Their star power and sheer strength of character would be enough to quiet the suits in the boardroom and focus the organization on building a winning team as opposed to building a winner on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The respect these two command in the world of hockey would enable them to have their pick of the best and the brightest to help them reshape, retool or rebuild this team in relatively short order.

Here’s hoping that, for once, Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment does the right thing and hire someone who can attract the right people to fix the mess JFJ built.

Thoughts and observations from Week 12 of the NFL

Lost in the wake of the Eagles/Patriots game is how much of a donkey Donovan McNabb really is. We aren’t buying the injury talk, McNabb has played through worse injuries – he took his ass out because he was afraid of facing the Patriots after questioning the legitimacy of their Super Bowl win over the Eagles. The Eagles can spin it any way they want – but you have to think he lost a lot of respect (or what was left of it) from his teammates for saying he couldn’t go. Terrell Owens was criticized for what he said about McNabb – but with each passing season, it looks more and more like McNabb can’t be counted on when the going gets tough.

Giants QB Eli Manning proved this past weekend that he is a real team guy – when asked about his performance against the Vikings, Manning spread the blame around, talking about how when you fall behind you press to make things happen. Manning throws the whole team under the bus instead of taking full responsibility for throwing four interceptions, three of which went back for touchdowns. We’re waiting for someone in the Giants front office to realize that they made a mistake with this guy and that he isn’t going to lead them to anything but disappointment.

Losing begets losing. How else do you explain the Arizona Cardinals losing to the 49ers in overtime? The Cardinals had the game in their hands, an almost automatic 32-yard field goal to win the game and they not only manage to miss it, they fumble the ball in their own end zone on the next possession. It sounds cliché – but special teams cost the Cardinals the win; one blocking from behind penalty costs them 25 yards of field position on their last drive in regulation, a second penalty put them back on their own three yard line in overtime, leading to the game ending fumble.

Why is everyone dumping on Bengals WR Chad Johnson for yesterday’s TD celebrations? For the record, we’re down with Ocho Cinco – he brings some personality and humour to the “No Fun League”. Ya, maybe it isn’t a great idea to be celebrating TDs when your team is 4-7 – but he’s in the midst of a tough season…let him celebrate a great game.

Is there a dirtier player in the NFL than NY Giants LB Antonio Pierce? Watch a Giants game and there will be at least three instances where Pierce hurls his body to hit a guy that is already down. If anyone ever deserved the Albert Hainesworth foot stomp to the throat – it is without a doubt Antonio Pierce.

Mike Shanahan – rising up the ranks as most hated person in the NFL? We’d say yes.

Saskatchewan Roughriders DB James Johnson picked off three passes, taking one back 3o yards for a TD, to lead the Riders to a 23-19 win in the CFL’s Grey Cup game.

Chicago Bears KR Devin Hester sticks it to Mike Shanahan and the Broncos, returning a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns to lead the Bears to a 37-34 win over Denver.

Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson caught twelve passes for 103 yards and three TDs in a 35-6 win over Tennessee.

We wrapped up our worst week ever here – no excuses, just apologies to those of you who check in for our picks. To those who were nice enough to email us about the cash you made going against us – congratulations, we dare you to keep doing it. The total for the year is really ugly (- $2,400), but we have 40 weeks to make that up and get back on the right side of the balance sheet. Our suggestions for tonight

Pittsburgh –16 over Miami – if the Steelers weren’t smarting enough from a loss to the Jets, you can bet they were watching what happened in New England yesterday. No let down for Pittsburgh tonight – they’ll pound Miami. Lay $100 on the Steelers.

Philadelphia over Boston – the Flyers are coming off a big win against the SenaTards on Saturday night, so you can expect that to carry over tonight against the Bruins. Lay $100 on the Flyers - $180.

Buffalo over Washington – the Caps have won two in a row under their new coach, but they’re facing a Sabres team that is playing their best hockey of the season. Clock strikes twelve on the Caps tonight. Lay $100 on the Sabres at even money.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Special thanks to Ottawa_Tilt for posting this. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We’re Out!


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