Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Disappointing Deadline Day in the NHL

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

Warm and sunny Los Angeles is freakin' great - but I couldn't be out here without putting in a call to my number one hockey man Johnny P to get the scoop on deadline day in the NHL.

All in all - it was a disappointing day with the only big names changing teams being Brian Campbell, Brad Richards and Marian Hossa - sorry Johnny, Cristobal Huet doesn't count as a big name.

The Winners

Dallas Stars by virtue of getting Brad Richards is legit in the West now - he'll improve the offence and PP without hurting them defensively.

San Jose Sharks, getting Brian Campbell will help these guys generate offence from the back end - something they had been lacking. Another plus is that Campbell is physical.

Toronto Maple Leafs - they didn't shed any big contracts, but they cleared three roster spots for next year - Fletcher did the best he could (better than most in Leaf Nation could have expected). A second round pick for Hal Gill - LEAF NATION LOVES IT.

The Losers
Montreal Canadiens - putting your faith in a rookie goalie is risky at the best of times...yikes.

Ottawa SenaTards - No Sundin, No Foppa, No Hossa, No Federov - these donkeys did jack squat to address a team that is realing...5-0 loss to the Leafs? LOVE IT.

The Jury is out
Pittsburgh Penguins - they made a huge splash getting Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, but they gave away characters guys you need in the playoffs - Hossa will be a bust, you read it here first.

That's it for today gang - I'm going out to get some sun in 72 degree weather.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!!!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mats Speaks

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

Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin told Leaf Nation that he would not waive his no-trade clause. In addressing the media, and the Nation, Sundin essentially told everyone that winning a Stanley Cup as a rental player was something he was interested in (you can read all about it on www.tsn.ca or www.sportsnet.ca ). The media will undoubtedly be all over him over the next few days - questioning his desire to win, questioning his loyalty to the team, and questioning his intergrity.

Not here - Mats will not be questioned for his decision, but rather applauded for his integrity (if he indeed decides not to waive his no-trade clause). Sundin's statement about winning with a team that you are contributing to from October right until June resonates with yours truly - while some would question his character, "we" (Tilt and I being members of the Nation) would rather look at him as an old-time hockey guy, a guy who won it with the team he started with (ok, we're ignoring the fact he played for Quebec), a team he loves playing for. Those who are quick to question his character as a hockey player based on their belief that not waiving the NTC means Mats doesn't want to win, would be the same people who be quick to say that he wasn't the driving force behind a Cup win (if he was traded to a team that won it all).

Mats gets support here - he always will. It is not up to Mats Sundin to save the franchise after years of bad decision making by his employers. He has done right by the organization since he first pulled the blue and white on - and his decision no to waive his clause shouldn't be taken as him bailing on the organization, but rather a lesson to those jump ship when things get tough. Sundin has shown a lot of integrity to the NHL as a whole - he can't in good conscience go to a team he doesn't have an interest in playing for...since when is being honest and acting with integrity such a bad thing? GMs (and media) across the league should be applauding him for his honesty, rather than painting him out to be a man turning his back on the future of his team.

Would trading Sundin help the rebuilding effort by getting a draft pick and a prospect? Absolutely - but so would moving the contracts of guys like Bryan McCabe (who is said to be considering waiving his clause), Darcy Tucker and Pavel Kubina - these guys are all tradeable. The media haven't been so quick to jump on these guys - the Leafs could accelerate their rebuilding process as quickly (if not quicker) by ridding themselves of players who haven't lived up to the contracts they signed; rather than run these guys out of town, they would rather harp on Mats to "do the right thing" (in their eyes).

Mats' decision will likely split factions of Leaf Nation - which makes us wonder what side of the fence Hazel is on in this issue? Hazel (if you are checking in) should he stay or should he go?

Leafs are in Ottawa tonight to play the Tards - the only down part of this West Coast trip is missing the game. Go Leafs Go.

That's it for tonight - we're taking a pass on tomorrow's suggested Three Play; it was another ugly week - is baseball season coming soon? Thanks for taking the time to check in - have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nostradamus is all over it

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

Well, the NHL's Nostradamus (aka Eklund) is all over the Mats Sundin issue in Toronto - over the last 24 hours it has been

Mats is going to be traded - he has given Cliff Fletcher a list of teams he will go to

Mats' participation in tonight's game will say it all - if he plays, he stays; if he sits, he goes.

Mats is saying that he doesn't want to go, so he might not get traded - but Eklund has people telling him it is all a ploy to get more out of GMs who want to acquire him.

Eklund has all the bases covered - so he can't be wrong. He's a 1-900 line from being one of those donkeys who sells NFL picks - "Guaranteed winners" or you don't pay - with an astounding 85% win total; you should know how that scam works.

Thanks for nothing Eklund - you're a donkey.

Whether or not Sundin plays tonight has nothing to do with his future with the organization - if he has ok'd a trade, he isn't going to sit out and let that game against the Sabres be his last home game of the season for Leaf Nation.

Today there has been speculation that Bryan McCabe could be moved - for those of you who snickered at the post that stated the Leafs have some options they can explore at the deadline; let's talk on Tuesday night. Someone is going, count on it.

Speaking of the 1-900 line - I don't charge for picks, I just put them out there for your consideration. But I will say I've got three winners for you tonight - guaranteed, or my name isn't Eklund...I mean "Pogue Mahone".

Montreal over Columbus - the Jackets had a big win here on Thursday night against the Tards, but with Montreal's power play, the Jackets will have a tough time staying in this game. Lay $100 on the Habs - $200.

Buffalo over NY Rangers - sorry Bruins' fans (all 12 of you), the Sabres aren't going to drop this one tonight - they are in the midst of a 10-2-2 run and are playing much better than the Rangers right now (still likely reeling from blowing a 5-0 lead to the Habs). Lay $100 on Buffalo - $120.

Detroit over Vancouver - the Red Wings ended a long losing streak, expect them to start a winning streak; Vancouver can't keep up with the Wings offensively. Lay $150 on the Wings are even money...the pick of the night.

That's it for today gang - I'll be checking in tomorrow for Los Angeles, California. That's right, yours truly gets five days out of the cold and snow of this winter hinterland - just blocks away from Dodger Stadium!

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - keep the faith, Fletcher will get something done.

I'm Out!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

D-Day II - A day for donkeys

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.
Another slow news day in the NHL didn't stop the donkeys in the media from conjuring up stuff today.

Things started in Montreal with a reporter from La Presse saying that the Canadiens all but had a deal in place to land Thrashers LW Marian Hossa. The report didn't provide names on who would be going to Atlanta, but the reporter assured everyone that it was about to be announced; he even went so far as to say that the Canadiens had ordered equipment in Montreal's colours for Hossa. Montreal's Kreskin was wrong, really wrong - keep reading.

The Nostradamus of the NHL (Eklund) posted a report that the Bruins had a deal in place that would send Phil Kessel to the Thrashers for Hossa. Eklund, who is believes his own hype and is killing himself to scoop TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, sheepishly pointed out a while later that he had heard the rumour for P.J. Stock - and it was all a big joke. P.J. Stock is one funny guy - throwing out a player's name and saying he is traded. Of course P.J. wouldn't understand how a guy like Kessel might feel about that - but can you blame him? P.J. never had to be concerned with being moved at the deadline.

The donkeys in Ottawa who kept insisting that the Tards were in the mix to land Forsberg, Sundin or Hossa have now shifted their attention to how good of a fit Sam Jones (aka Sergei Federov) would be in the Tards uniform. Suddenly, Federov would be a great acquisition because he has great playoff experience and no contract next year - hmmmm, wasn't that what they said about Corey Stillman? Donkeys

The donkeys in Toronto have hit an all-time low in their quest to shame Mats Sundin into waiving his no-trade clause. It started with questioning his integrity - if he was truly committed to the organization he would waive his NTC. The Sun's Steve Simmons took a new approach on Sunday by questioning Sundin's character and his will to win - others have picked up on this and are trying to shame the Leafs captain by questioning how much of a competitor he really is - "what kind of hockey player wouldn't want to win the Stanley Cup?" What the might not get is that in his mind, if he is going to win one it will be with Toronto and only Toronto. They obviously don't understand that his greatest joy was winning a gold medal in his country's colours at the Olympics. To the donkeys in the center of the universe - every hockey player in the world MUST want the Stanley Cup - never mind that the majority of hockey players (all over the world) would covet a gold medal much more than a Stanley Cup. It is not for us to question where the man's hockey priorities are.

It was a day where the media showed everyone what they truly are - as uniformed and unplugged into the inner circles of the NHL as we are.

A split last night so the hit was small. Tonight's suggestions:

Montreal/Pittsburgh over 5.5 - there will be plenty of PP opportunities tonight and both teams excel with the man advantage. Lay $100 on the over - $120.

St. Louis over LA Kings - LA has been playing over their heads for a couple of weeks - time to come back down to earth. Lay $100 on the Blues - $125.

Ottawa over Columbus - its pretty much over for Columbus - they just haven't admitted it yet. The Tards get it done tonight. Lay $100 on Ottawa - $270.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Has Hockey God spoken?

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

Things seem to be pretty quiet on the NHL front – the GMs are meeting in Naples Florida to talk about rule changes and how to improve the game. With all 30 GMs gathered, many speculated that some pre-deadline trades would be cooked up over a round of golf, or martinis; but such hasn’t been the case, much to the chagrin of Leaf Nation. There has been little if any news on the trade front coming from Florida – as such, what hockey fans are getting is rumours of potential trades (or outright lies, see yesterday’s post on Bruce Garrioch) or best guesses as to what player might be a good fit with what team. Its filler time for the media – the donkeys take center stage in light of the inactivity on the trade front.

The speculation, up until this morning has been that the Detroit Red Wings were the frontrunners to land Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin – Detroit was rumoured to be offering a couple of young players and a draft pick. Well, leave it up to the Hockey God to shake things up in a big way – the rumour is that despite Burke’s insistence that he wouldn’t trade away the first round pick acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for a “rental player”, the Ducks are said to be willing to part with that first round pick and prospect Bobby Ryan. If you have read the page before – that would be the ONLY potential trade I would ask Mats Sundin to accept “for the good of the team”. The Leafs have to hit a grand slam if they are going to trade Sundin, a sacrifice fly just won’t do.

In the vain of “if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is” – speculation is that Burke would be willing to part with Ryan and BOTH first round picks for Mats Sundin and one of the Leafs young “cheap” players – could it be Stajan? Antropov? Steen? The speculation is that Burke can’t be seen to be giving up a lot for a rental player and would want someone the Ducks could hold on to.

Not sure what to think – anyone who claims to be in the know is lying. While Leaf Nation would love to believe that these rumours are true – we should remember that the man pulling the strings here is the Hockey God, and it is impossible to know what he is up to, since he is usually five or six steps ahead of everyone else. A few possible scenarios

1) Burke, by allowing this rumour to get out, is just trying to drive up the price the Red Wings or any other Stanley Cup contender would have to pay. Burke knows his team can win it without Sundin, by why not make anyone wanting Sundin to pay a heavier price;

2) Burke may be indirectly telling the Maple Leafs and the rest of the league that he, and he alone, will dictate when Mats gets traded and to whom – by putting out, or potentially putting out, far and away, the best package of prospects, he has ensured himself rights of first refusal on a trade for Mats. Burke can use that position to decide whether or not he has to pull a trigger on a trade – if the best package available to the Leafs is Montreal, Burke can pull back from the deal – if it is Detroit, he might just step up and make that trade.

3) It may all be a cruel joke and have no basis. This could be a fabrication on the part of the media speculating on how this trade would be a good fit for both teams – with the Ducks getting the best available player while not losing anyone off their roster.

I can only think a number of other people in Leaf Nation (maybe Hazel too) asking “Hockey God, why have you forsaken us?” We’ll sit and wait to see what kind of legs this rumour has – this would potentially be the only trade the Maple Leafs could ask Mats Sundin to accept. We can only hope that its true and that Sundin does what everyone expects him to do – sign with the blue and white in 08/09. This is where Leaf Nation is looking for a little Hazel Karma.

To the few people that took the time to email me directly last (this morning) about FC Porto’s loss in the opening leg of the Champions League Round of 16 – thanks, I hadn’t noticed. The little team that could has overcome bigger obstacles than a 1-0 deficit going back to the Estadio do Dragao. They’ll be fine.

Montreal records the biggest comeback in franchise history, while the Minnesota Wild blew a two-goal lead – things have a way of evening out. The total for the week is now even. Tonight’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Chicago – the Wild blew one last night, much to the chagrin of those of you following the three play. It won’t happen tonight. Lay $100 on the Wild - $130.

Anaheim over Colorado – the Ducks are gearing up for a long run in the playoffs – hopefully with Mats Sundin and minus a few draft picks – they’ll get it done against a banged up Avs team. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $230.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – can you put a call into Brian Burke and tell him that making that trade would be great for the Leafs team he will eventually be taking over?

I’m Out!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


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

As sports fans we all have an opinion on the stories that make the headlines – if you are one of the regular readers here, you know we always have something to say about the goings on in the world of sports. Admittedly, a lot of attention is given to the donkeys in the world of sports – be it the players we watch, the media types we read about and watch (Hazel excluded of course) or the guys charged with making decisions for our teams.

Today, it’s your turn to make the call in what is likely to become a weekly entry on this page – Donkey or Douchebag? Since we’re feeling charitable today, our verdict will focus on which one of the two choices are not applicable to the principles – you can choose to assume that, from our perspective, what isn’t ruled out is applicable; it is your prerogative to assume that.

Most of you haven’t had the pleasure (read misfortune) to read the musings of Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch – he’s pretty much our equivalent of the Patriots beat writer for the Boston Herald (think “big”). Garrioch is the ultimate SenaTard homer – so much so that when things are bad with the home town team, he writes a column about the team he professes to loathe – our beloved Maple Leafs. This just makes him a donkey – but as you are being asked to make the call, consider the following.

Garrioch isn’t shy about admitting that during slow news days, he has no qualms about publishing rumours (many self-generated) and “throwing them against the wall to see what sticks.”

For those of you who don’t follow the NHL, the SenaTards are in a bit of a tailspin, after starting out the year 15-2, they’ve fallen back to the pack and find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the conference. Big Bruce is in Florida covering the GM meetings, ostensibly to cover what Tards GM Bryan Murray is up to – but yesterday being a slow news day, Bruce “broke” the story that the Maple Leafs and Flyers were on the verge of a trade that would see Leafs D Tomas Kaberle go to Philadelphia; as is usually the case with the big guy, he didn’t have any info on who was going to Toronto. Garrioch reported this a few hours after Kaberle’s agent stated that his client would not waive his no-trade clause under any circumstances. The report was not picked up or confirmed by anyone outside of Ottawa. The breaking story was forgotten by the time the sun came up this morning.

The verdict here is that Garrioch is not a giant donkey for getting caught making up a ridiculous rumour because of his hatred of the Tards’ main rival.

Where do we start?

We’ll start in Hazel’s hometown of Toronto with Jays catcher Gregg Zaun ,who fulfilled his promise to address the fans and media “in a few days” after his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report (remember that?)

The “Zauner” spoke to Rogers Sportsnet’s Brad Fay to give his account of the story (posted here last Saturday). Gregg’s version of the story was that he gave Grimsley a blank cheque, “probably to pay off some bet they had on a basketball game” and that he doesn’t know what happened afterwards, but that Grimsley may have given it to Kirk Radomski to buy steroids.

As a matter of fact, the Zauner is such a good guy that he doesn’t hold anything against his old friend Jason Grimsley for putting him in the middle of the mess that was the Mitchell Report.

The verdict is here is that Zaun is not a douchebag. He gets points for an original excuse, but in the grand scheme of things, he’s a complete donkey for trying to slip in this lame excuse at a time when everyone was focused on Roger Clemens’ appearance before the Congressional Committee.

Next up – New York Yankees P Andy Pettitte, who spoke to the media AGAIN about his use of HGH. Pettitte was given the benefit of the doubt here when he first spoke about his use of the drug in the wake of the Mitchell Report – he almost got “Hazel’s Champs” status for owning up to his use.

Pettitte has tried to distance himself from the McNamee/Clemens hearings, telling the media (and anyone who will listen) that no person should be put in that position – having to choose between two friends. Pettitte maintains that he is just trying to do the right thing (expect when it comes to the extent of his use of HGH) and be honest about what happened – he doesn’t want people to think of him as a liar. Ummm ok.

The verdict here is that Pettitte is not a donkey for not coming clean from the beginning and not having the stones to support one of the two principles. Anyone else get the feeling that Clemens and McNamee have something on Pettitte? Pettitte looks like he is sitting on the fence here because he knows both can blow him out of the water.

Speaking of MacNamee is he the biggest non-donkey of them all.

Next up – what would an entry on donkey’s be without Curt Schilling?

The Boston Red Sox pitcher was at his best yesterday when talking to the media about his shoulder injury and the course of action decided on by the Boston Red Sox management.

Schilling, who professes to be a straight shooter, spoke to the media with the skill of a politician or attorney. Big Curt went on about how he alerted Theo Epstein that there might be a problem as soon as he realized something was wrong. What a class guy Schilling is – he didn’t want to hamper the Sox in their pursuit of Twins’ lefty Johan Santana; is there no limit to his selflessness? Schilling even addressed fans who may be thinking he hosed the Sox by saying that if that had been his intention, he could have hosed at least two other teams for $14M. He said everything but “leaving money on the table” – but you know it still irks him.

Schilling went on about how he couldn’t “legally” follow the recommendation of his doctor because he had a contract with the Sox – a contract with the devil? For a guy who calls people out all the time - because you know, he’s a straight shooter who tells it like it is (except in front of Congressional Committees) – you’d think he’d be honest enough to say, I don’t want to give up the $8M bucks.

Schilling is definitely not a donkey for seeking a second opinion and telling the media that while he would have preferred to follow his doctor’s advice – he’s just too damn honest and committed to the Red Sox to breach his contract.

Next up – Bill Belichick…on second thought, never mind.

Well, the San Jose Sharks did it again – this time screwing up our picks by blowing a two-goal lead in the third period to the offensively challenged NY Islanders. Slap me if I suggest playing the Sharks any time before April. The total for the week is - $40. Today’s suggestions:

Nashville over Edmonton – the Predators are tough to beat in their own building and the Oilers aren’t exactly road warriors. Lay $100 on Nashville - $200.

Minnesota over Vancouver – two teams going in opposite directions; the Wild have won seven of their last ten while the Canucks have lost six of their last ten. You know what we think about the Wild at home. Lay $100 on Minnesota - $160.

Montreal over NY Rangers – a bit of a dangerous pick here, but the thinking is that Montreal will remember blowing a 3-0 lead to these very same Rangers back on Super Bowl Sunday, it won’t happen again. Lay $100 on the Habs - $130.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The "Rebuild"

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in on this President's Day south of the border.

Today's post is decidedly un-American, but one we'd like to think Hazel is pondering.

The NHL General Managers are meeting in Florida this week and the talk in Hazel's hometown is about who, if anyone, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to move before the league's trade deadline on February 26th.

While everyone and their brother is calling for Leafs Captain Mats Sundin to be traded for a package of draft picks and young "NHL-ready" prospects, Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher has other options. For the record, the belief here is that Mats Sundin shouldn't be traded - it is hard to think that a team is going to do what Nashville did last year to land Peter Forsberg from the Flyers, despite what the so-called experts would have us believe.

The media in Toronto is positioning this as a no-brainer - "trade Mats now and re-sign him in the summer". Yes, it is that simple - to simpletons. The media's "GM for Dummies" theory sounds good on the surface, EXCEPT for two points.

First, teams learned from the Predators experiment with Forsberg; they aren't likely to present a package of draft picks or NHL ready prospects if Sundin isn't willing to sign an extension. Sundin has proven this year that he is still a force in the league and teams are going to want to have him for at least another year.

Second, who is to say that Sundin would run back to Toronto after all but being forced to leave? The tactics employed by the media and some members of the nation have ranged from guilt "if he really cared about the Leafs he would leave and come back"; to imploring him to leave "because we don't want you here, we want to get younger and better, so just go Mats" (the NHL's biggest donkey Mike Milbury came up with that one last week on TSN); to questioning his integrity and mental toughness "Sundin doesn't want the pressure of playing on a good team, he likes being the top dog on a bad hockey team" (Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun came up with that one).

Trading Mats Sundin will not fix the problem in Toronto - it is just a marketing thing to get Leaf Nation thinking about the future, rather than seeing what is in the present. The Leafs have to rebuild now, no question, but the rebuild has to start with getting rid of the terrible contracts on the team.

If "we" (Tilt and I) were running the show at the ACC, the rebuild would start with offering Mats Sundin a two-year $9M extension ($5M next year and $4M in 09/10). If the intention of the Maple Leafs is to get considerably younger in a hurry, they are better to keep a guy who loves the city and the organization and let him mentor some of the younger players coming in. Sundin would have another year as a first line center, before giving way in the last year of his extension to the next first-line center to lead the team - Patrick Marleau. That is where the rebuild would start - a deal with the San Jose Sharks to get Patrick Marleau.

The sentiment in Toronto has to be - with the exception of Mats Sundin - if you aren't likely to be here in two or three years, you might as well go now. With that in mind, here are five ways to kick start the rebuilding process and maybe cut a year or two off of it.

1) Focus on San Jose - the Sharks are looking for an offensive, puck moving defenceman. The Sharks are said to be interested in Tomas Kaberle - the answer would be a resounding "No thanks, but you are welcome to have Bryan McCabe." McCabe is said to be willing to waive his no-trade clause - explore that. Over the next seven to ten days, the Sharks might find that their only option is Bryan McCabe - Patrick Marleau wants out, the Sharks coaching staff wants to see him gone; the trade makes sense and isn't out of the question. Marleau comes to Toronto as the Leafs second-line center next year with the understanding that when Mats retires, the team is his to lead.

2) This was supposed to be written last week (lazy week) so it will come off as stating the obvious but, Darcy Tucker MUST be featured. Tucker hasn't been a physical player this year, so his own value on the trade market is if he can score. Tucker has to get first line PP minutes and be featured with Sundin to boost his offensive production enough to get the Flames to bite on him. The Flames are said to be shopping Alex Tanguay, while the preferred trade would be for a prospect or a draft pick, we'd take Tanguay and his ugly $5.5M contract - his game is more complete than Tucker's.

3) Hal Gill would be moved - Gill hasn't been bad this year and he has value as a fifth or sixth D for a playoff team; he has one year left on his contract, so a team that is desperate for depth should be willing to take him on. Toronto papers say that the Penguins are interested - thank him for what he brought, but move him to Pittsburgh for nothing if you have to. Chad Kilger would fit into this category - he hasn't been a bad player, but getting his $1M salary off the books for next year would help. Kilger brings a physical presence that playoff teams need - Fletcher should try to package him with Tucker to the Flames.

4) It is time to call an end to the experiment that saw Ian White and Kyle Wellwood called up to the big team - both have plateaued and aren't likely to get any better than they are now. These two won't generate any trade offers, so better to just cut ties now. White is too small to play defence in the NHL - he gets dominated night in and night out and coughs up the puck too much. Wellwood is a third-line center at best (with PP minutes added) but the Leafs have Matt Stajan who has much more upside than Wellwood.

5) Cut ties with players who haven't demonstrated they can play night in and night out - Wade Belak and John Pohl come to mind, among others. These guys don't make big money, but add three or four of them together and that's a two million dollar cap hit. It is time to bring up guys who make the NHL minimum and see if they can give you four to six minutes a game.

6) Bring up players who have the potential to get better - the Leafs could/should feature a young defensive corps with upside. Anton Stralman and Staffan Kronwall need quality NHL minutes if they are going to evolve into the players the Leafs hope they will. Both will make mistakes, but unlike guys like Ian White, they'll learn from them and get better.

It may be a lot to ask - some would say impossible - but we subscribe to the Brian Burke philosophy that "nothing is impossible, and someone is always willing to take a player off your hands if you TELL them it works for them". 2008/09 will likely be another painful year for Leaf Nation - but it could be the beginning of an accelerated rebuild where the team has upside and cap space to add a quality free-agent.

Our 2008/09 Toronto Maple Leafs would go back to the Maple Leafs under Pat Burns - load up two lines and everyone else go out there with the goal of NOT letting anyone score on you. The defence would be young and inexperienced - but an overall commitment to defence on the part of the third and fourth lines would help cover some of the mistakes.

For those of you snickering at this, I say this - "If the Bruins can do it, so can the Leafs who have better individual parts to the overall puzzle".

The suggestions have been sporadic of late - but I'll make it a point to post everyday now. The total for the year is still ugly - so we won't mention it until we get it down to a reasonable number. Today's suggestions:
New Jersey over Carolina -no brainer here. The Devils had a big win over the Tards on Saturday and the feeling here is that they should be able to build off that game. Lay $100 on the Devils - $200.
San Jose over NY Islanders - the Sharks dropped a tough one to the Rangers yesterday; while Leaf Nation would like to see them lose a few more (remember McCabe for Marleau), it isn't going to happen today. Lay $100 on the Sharks - $140.

There may be another pick or two later this afternoon.

Before wrapping this up - I'm sending a song of the day out to my favourite boricua from Boston who is going through a bit or a rough spell with her guy. To my girl Anita, a song (on youtube) from the incomparable Amalia Rodrigues:

"Nem as parades confesso"

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in; back to daily posting.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - enjoy the long weekend.

I'm Out!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gregg Zaun - Champ or Donkey?

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

There have been a lot of excuses/explanations for alleged steroid use or being named in the Mitchell Report.

Gregg Zaun takes the cake - the most outrageous explanation to date.

Question - is he a champ for coming up with an original excuse? or is he a major league donkey for such a lame explanation?

You decide - you can read about it here (video on article).

Gregg Zaun speaks - Heehaaaaw

That's it for tonight, thanks for taking the time to check in - we'll be back to more regular posting. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - tough one at the ACC tonight.

I'm Out!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thanks for the tip there guy

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in (wearing black I would assume).

A day of mourning for Leaf Nation today, last night's 5-4 loss to the Islanders was pretty much the last nail in the coffin of this year's Toronto Maple Leafs.

The media in Toronto will undoubtedly be calling for Cliff Fletcher to pull the plug on this team and start moving some bodies - Mats Sundin being the prime target. For those of you who don't recognize the man on the left - that is former Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr., the architect of the mess known as the 2007/2008 Toronto Maple Leafs. When JFJ was fired, some donkey (Damien Cox) in the Toronto media wrote about how JFJ was a very good hockey man who would be a hot commodity. Well, he was right (sort of I guess) - JFJ is doing some scouting for Hockey Canada and was snapped up quickly by Canada's Sports Leader TSN to provide analysis and insight heading into the trade deadline.

Another reason why TSN is an absolute joke - it wasn't enough to have one of the worst-ever GM's in the NHL on their hockey "experts" panel, Mike Milbury, now they add JFJ who is famous for trading away first round picks for veterans on their last legs. By all accounts, JFJ, is a stand-up guy - his character won't be questioned here, but as a member of Leaf Nation I had to laugh reading JFJ's views on the status of the organization. The story is here.

For those of you who couldn't be bothered reading it - all you need to know is that he ACTUALLY had the stones to say if he was still in charge, there would be a for sale at the ACC. Ya, thanks champ - Leaf Nation has been through five of your "garage sales" - your acquisitions of the likes of Glen Wesley, Ron Francis, Owen Nolan, Yanic Perreault were enough to show us that you were NOT the guy for the job...EVER.

Back later with more (through the good graces of my man Tilt's work internet connection).

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A day for Donkeys

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

What a day Monday turned out to be - February 7, 2008 marked Chinese New Year; this year it is the Year of the Rat. February 11, 2008 marked the Day of the Donkey. Yes, yours truly has his first "Poker Donkey" story to report on.

For those of you who check in regularly, you have undoubtedly read my man Tilt's rants about the Poker Donkey; yesterday, due to the generosity of the aforementioned, I entered my first online poker tournament - a $24,000 guaranteed tournament with an entry fee of $24 (paid for with Tilt's big winnings last week - isn't he THE MAN?).

The first hour was a bit of a grind, but I came out ok. Midway through hour two, with blinds representing about 1/10 of the chip stack, and antes being collected, I was on the button with Ace/Nine of spades. There was over $1,000 in chips, so I bet the pot to see if I could steal the antes, blinds and bets - I was called on my bet. The flop came up Jack, Eight, King - with two spades - the donkey pushed in for another $1,000, I was left with no choice but to push all in and was called by the donkey. He turns over Jack/Nine unsuited, I needed one more spade to win a $9,000 pot and be the big stack at the table. You can probably guess why I called him a donkey - no spade on the turn or river and my tournament was over. Still though, 614 out of 1437 isn't bad for, as Tilt put it, "having my poker cherry popped".

The Ottawa SenaTards announced that they traded D Joe Corvo and LW Patrick Eaves to the Carolina Hurricanes for C Cory Stillman and D Mike Commodore. On the surface, it was a very good trade for the Tards, as much as I hate to admit it. However, leave it to the SenaTards "Army" of fans to chime in about how this trade makes them frontrunners to win the Eastern Conference AND possibly the Stanley Cup. Last week, these donkeys were talking about signing Peter Forsberg and trading with Atlanta to get Marian Hossa back as the way to win the Stanley Cup. This week, gone are thoughts of Forsberg/Hossa - as ridiculous as it is - and replaced with Stillman and Commodore. Methinks Tards fans haven't been paying attention to the NHL - the Tards are miles behind the top teams in the Western Conference and picking up a couple of veterans who have been struggling for the last two months is hardly going to make this team a Cup favourite - get real you donkeys.

The Montreal Canadiens found themselves in some trouble outside a Tampa night club - spare part, Ryan O'Byrne, and four liner (read pest) Tom Kostopoulos were arrested on Sunday night/Monday morning. Police allege that O'Byrne stole a woman's purse - he claimed it was his girlfriends - and Kostopoulos was charged with resisting arrest. The excuse was befitting a donkey. You can read more on TSN - or you can look at the picture for yourself (it says a thousand words doesn't it? Ryan and Tom, or rather Harry and Lloyd.

The last entry is about a group of people who demonstrated that they are anything BUT donkeys. If you watch Hazel on NESN or any other sports highlight show Sunday night, you saw the incident where Florida Panthers F Richard Zednik has his throat slashed by the skate of Olli Jokinen - it was a horrifying sight to say the least. However, the medical staff in Buffalo reacted quickly (and very calmly) to save Zednik's life. Clint Malarchuk can relate to how Richard Zednik must be feeling today.

The week ended off on an OK note - the balance sheet was in the black. The total for the year is still pretty ugly (-$2,600), so that has to be fixed soon. Tonight's suggestions:

Ottawa over Buffalo - the Tards will be energized with the new additions, and you can bet their fans will be as well. They aren't Cup contenders, but they have enough to get it done tonight - and I'm not just saying that as a member of Leaf Nation that wants to see the Sabres lose. Lay $100 on the Tards - $180.

Boston over Carolina - hate to pick this one too, but the Bruins should have enough to get it done against a Hurricanes team that just traded their second line center. Lay $100 on the Bruins - $115.

The picks might be updated before 6:00 pm - we'll see.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Now what?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.
It is all about the goings on in Leaf Nation today. The old adage "you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can't please everyone all of the time" applies to the 2007-08 Toronto Maple Leafs. They can't seem to do anything right this year.

The media in Toronto has shifted its focus from reporting/critiquing the Leafs play to projecting the position in the 2008 June entry draft - rather than giving the players credit for trying to win hockey games (what they are supposed to do as professionals), the boys in Toronto have taken to chastising the team, and management, for gaining points in the standings and worsening their chances at winning the draft lottery for the number one pick in the draft.

Interim GM Cliff Fletcher is being criticized for not pulling a trigger on a trade - with Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle going on record stating that they did not want to be traded, the media is suggesting that Fletcher should be looking to trade the likes of Nik Antropov, who scored the game winning yesterday and, is in the midst of a career year. The fact that most GMs have gone on record as saying that there isn't much to be had on the trade market right now hasn't stopped the donkeys in Toronto for calling for a trade - they are so desperate to report on/criticize something that they are calling on the team to trade one of the guys who represents good value. Go figure.

The party line (from the media's perspective) is that the organization owes it to Leaf Nation to blow this team up and start all over - of course, they aren't admitting that this course of action would give them two or three years of material to continue bashing the team (hello Damien Cox). From this vantage point, what the organization owes Leaf Nation is to ride out the next week or two and see where they are in the standings - a lot can happen in the next two weeks: the team could get into playoff contention or one of the contenders could run into injury trouble thus making them more open to trading for some of the lesser valued Leafs (Hal Gill, Jason Blake, or even Bryan McCabe who is thought to be open to getting moved).

This team has shown in recent weeks that it can play with some of the league's best - for jerks like Damien Cox to suggest the upper echelon teams didn't take the Leafs seriously enough and didn't bring their A game; that is a load of garbage - the Habs hosted the Leafs knowing that they had a shot at first place, if that isn't enough motivation for them, then they aren't as good as the media wants to make them look (that pounding against Ottawa didn't help their cause).

The next week will be very interesting - especially with Andrew Raycroft likely to start against the Sabres on Wednesday night...he's played his best in Buffalo. Go Leafs Go.

Toronto Maple Leafs G Vesa Toskala was outstanding yesterday against Detroit stopping 32 shots in a 3-2 overtime win. Toskala was beaten twice on two lucky goals, but other than that he was the best player on the ice and kept the Leafs in the game. The ONE good trade JFJ made - even if he had to take Mark Bell.

Calgary Flames RW Owen Nolan had two goals to lead the Flames to a 4-1 win over the Oilers last night - he has five goals in his last six games.

San Jose Sharks RW Johnathan Cheechoo had three goals and an assist in a 4-3 win over Nashville last night. If this guys finds his game before the playoffs - the Sharks are going to be dangerous.

3-1 last night - should have gone Habs/Tards over - the total for the week stands at + $180. Today's suggestions:

Detroit over Anaheim - the Red Wings have dropped two games they thought they were going to win - they'll be focused against Anaheim today. The home team seems to win in this series - so no point in bucking the trend today. Lay $100 on the Wings - $155.

Buffalo over Florida - the Panthers have been playing better of late, but they are facing their fourth game in five days - expect the Sabres to make up for Friday night's loss against the Bruins. Lay $100 on the Sabres - $200.

Vancouver over Chicago - the Canucks were embarrassed last night against the Avs, expect them to right the ship against the road wimp Blackhawks. Lay $100 on the Canucks - $160.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are as groovy in your world as they were at the ACC yesterday afternoon - keep the faith.

I'm Out.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The Toronto Maple Leafs took on the league leading Detroit Red Wings and won 3-2 in overtime on a goal by Nik Antropov. That makes three wins over three of the league's top team in the last week. Leaf Nation is keeping the faith - despite what everyone is saying about how this team should pack it in. More on the game in tomorrow's entry.

For those of you checking in for the Three Play suggestions for the night.

New Jersey over Carolina - the Devils dropped a tough one last night to the Ducks, expect them to respond against the Hurricanes. Lay $100 on the Devils - $180.

Dallas over St. Louis - the Blues were one of the feel good stories to start the season, but they have fallen on some hard times of late; it doesn't look good for them in Dallas tonight. Lay $100 on the Stars - $165.

San Jose over Nashville - the Sharks are always a risky proposition here, but they get the nod over the Predators tonight. Lay $100 on the Sharks - $165.

Montreal over Ottawa - the Tards have been scuffling of late and they are vastly over priced in a game against a team that has given them everything they could handle and more. Upset special of the night. Lay $100 on the Habs +$160.

That's it for today - good luck if you play them.

Hazel, if you are checking in, did you see that goal by Antropov?

I'm Out!

Hockey Day in Canada

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

Special day up here today, "Hockey Day in Canada" means it is a triple header day in terms of hockey coverage.

Our beloved Maple Leafs, fresh off a 4-2 win over the Habs, face off against hated Original Six rival Detroit Red Wings. Good news for Leaf Nation is that everyone is calling for a Red Wings win today - you know what that means.

The Habs visit down to face off against the SenaTards - no point in watching that. Canadian hockey fans out west get to watch the Battle of Alberta with the Oilers and Flames hooking up in Calgary.

Vancouver and Colorado provide the entertainment in the late game.

Off to watch the Leafs/Wings game - three play picks to be posted before 6:00 pm tonight.

Have a great one - to our Canadian friends...ENJOY YOUR DAY - GO LEAFS GO!

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world and that you are making time to watch the Leafs.

I'm Out!

Friday, February 08, 2008

New England Patriots Fans Read This Post...

Are you one of those New England Patriots fans still reliving the teams Super Bowl 42
loss play by play with your significant other? your friends? the people you work with? the dog?
at the bar? do you call sports radio talk shows about the game all sad?
maybe put suicide prevention hotline on speed dial?

You fucking people are PATHETIC!
Every where I go there's Patriots fans still WHINING about every play of SB42. Its unreal.
The games been over 7 days now and I guarantee you there will still be a large majority of PatriotsNation still reliving SB42 in September.
During the college draft.."I think pick #7 would've made a difference in SB42.."..
If I'm the NFL right now. I'm printing up extra copies of the SB42 DVD to ship for sale to New England states because you Pats fans will wear out 2 copies in the first week alone.
Oh yeah. The Celtics could be up 3-0 in the NBA finals and some guy in a Pats jersey at the clinching game at the Garden will be talking to a sock puppet about the Patriots blowing the Super Bowl.
Fucking aliens could be destroying the world around us in 2030 and there'll people on a spaceship boring their captors about how Belichick didn't go for a FG.

Folks do you realize that in New York-the Giants already had their victory parade and New Yorkers are already past the SB victory and talking about the Mets and Yankees?

You Pats fans will be in Fenway Park in July happy (maybe with help of medicine and 3 times a week SB42 Anonymous meetings.) then some opposing teams fan will whisper it under the roar of the baseball crowd. "Patriots lost SB 42." Within minutes Fenway is under a 80 foot oceanic flood of Patriots tears.

You Patriots fans are making the rest of us sports fans here in Boston look like pussies
whining about SB42.
I'm embarrassed to say I'm a Patriots fan because of you wusses.
The Patriots players who you idolize that blew the game are embarrassed because you won't stop crying about it. Guarantee they book a getaway vacation to the North or South Pole to get away from you fans-they turn on their satellite phone and there's still people wanting to rehash SB42.

Red Sox Bill Buckner who blew the '86 World Series vs the NY Mets became Boston sports fans whipping boy for years after muffing the easy groundball in game 6. It got so bad Buckner moved to Idaho to escape the fans wrath as if he was in the Governments witness protection plan. He's happy now thanks to the 2007 Patriots. All is forgiven.

Safe to say the 2007 New England Patriots have just earned the title as Boston sports biggest
choke team in Boston sports history. Hey Patriots. I heard Montana caves are great places to hide out for about 30 years.

Turnabout fair play

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

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the poster boys for the new NHL last by a count of 4-2. The Montreal Canadiens are the "experts" sexy pick these days - they are THE perfect "new NHL" team. The Habs' recipe for success includes mixing great team speed with an overall lack of toughness, grit and balance (read DIVING). What the "experts" don't like to talk about is that the Habs are one of the worst teams in the league 5 on 5 - ok, bottom third. The Habs are a paper tiger - the numbers are good, the stats look impressive - be tough, physical and agressive with them and you can beat them.

The game plan for this edition of the Habs, especially at home in front of their douchebag fans, is to go into a game like it is a figure skating competition. The way things go in Montreal, as they have always gone, is that the drunken douchebags in the stands spend most of the first period screaming like maniacs every time one of the Russian pussies are touched, or heaven forbid, even hit. This winds up with officials, either because they are intimidated or what to hear the approval of 22,000 Frenchmen (last night it was closer to 15,000 - Leaf Nation represents in Montreal) chanting for them, start making questionable calls. Montreal usually ends up with 5 or 6 power play opportunities, score a couple of goals and call it a night.

Last night was no different as the douchebags were loud and howling for penalties all night and their beloved Habs were pulling "Savardian spinaramas" (only Canadian readers will get that) looking for penalties every time they were hit (Andrei Markov looked like Elvis Stojko out there turning to the ref all night). In the end - Montreal couldn't capitalize on 5 power play opportunities and went down by a count of 4-2.

The beauty of last night's game is that the Leafs won they way the Habs have all year - great goaltending from Vesa Toskala, two power play goals, and an empty netter.

Darcy Tucker scored two goals to lead the good guys to a win - despite the media's mocking of the win last night, we'll take it.

Running late today, so cutting it short. Back later with more including tonight's Three Play. Thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pats Funeral Is Over .Pro Bowl?..Spring Training Starting Up!

The New England Patriots funeral is over Pats fans. The 2008 Patriots died from choking on a huge NY Giant Defensive Line that was stuffed down Tom Brady's throat all game long.
NFL doctors said the Pats went peacefully in their final sleepy secondary moments of life.
The Patriots died on Sunday...waked on Monday. The streets of New England were flooded with tears and emergency counselors were boated in to save Patriots fans..many who jumped from ledges. The Pats were buried Tues. as the NY Giants celebrated a well deserved Super Bowl 42 title in NY.

The AFC/NFC Pro Bowl is the most useless fucking televised all star game next to the NHL All Star game. The only great thing about the NHL all star pussyfest is that its televised on
Versus an channel likened to The Watch Paint Dry Channel.

NHL allstars naturally don't hit because they don't want to risk injury. Players laugh,shoot pucks
and wear mics to talk to TV announcers. The players don't even need to wear helmets.

The Pro Bowl is the same thing. Its at the end of a long football season and most of the guys elected to play are too injured to play-don't want to deal with the media (Tom Brady-Randy Moss) after losing the Super Bowl. They get bonuses and a free trip to Hawaii for their families.
Its a joke.

At least the MLB all star game has a purpose. Who ever wins-gets home field advantage in the World Series. Huge when your team is in the fall classic as underdogs and for your fans.

Spring training begins in a week or so the Red Sox begin preparing to defend their 2007 World Series title.
I love the acquisition of 1B Sean Casey.."The Mayor" to a 1 year deal as a backup 1B.
Theo wanted a Kevin Millar type in the clubhouse this offseason. Cowboy Kevin
reached a contract kicker last year that automatically got his Orioles extention for 2008 to be picked up.
Casey is a good hitter who's lefty bat should be a big boost off the bench in Fenway and off the field Casey is very active in charity work as well. Being Irish won't hurt him much at all either in Boston.

Questions abound

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

“Now what?”

99% of New England Patriots fans must be asking that question today - the remaining 1% haven’t let go of the memories of Sunday’s Super Bowl game. The statement is not meant to be facetious; but rather, more of an acknowledgement that your pain is justified and has been felt by sports fans all over - and on a number of occasions by yours truly (remember, Leaf Nation and witness to The Catch I by Dwight Clark of the 49ers).
The knee-jerk response is likely to be “We’ll be back in 2008 to reaffirm our status as a dynasty.”

With this team that was less than three minutes away from football immortality respond with another dominating season in 2008 resulting in their fourth championship in eight years? Or is the more likely result that the loss will be looked at a crushing blow, a watershed moment in the franchise’s history that marks the beginning of a decline?

As much as professional athletes claim that they don’t read or listen to what was said about them by the media, do you think this edition of the Patriots can honestly say they haven’t heard or been stung by the criticism? Over the next six months, they will have to listen to people referring to their game as one of the biggest in sports history; it is hard to think of a Super Bowl game in recent memory that has garnered so much interest based on a healthy dislike (hatred is a strong word) for one of the participants - the Patriots will hear about that game wherever they go this off-season, they won’t be able to get away from it. Will this wear on them?

If the New England Patriots do come back and win it all next year - you would have to think that a team that finished the season 18-1 would be the odds on favourite going into the 2008 season - it likely won’t be with the same group that finished the season with an devastating loss. Bill Belichick, while roundly criticized by the media for a perceived lack of sportsmanship and arrogance, has always been lauded for implementing a system where players are interchangeable - where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. He made some very tough decisions for the good of the team - decisions that meant saying goodbye to fan favourites like Lawyer Milloy and Willie McGinest.

Three minutes away from football immortality to an off-season filled with questions and doubts - that is how fine the line is between returning as a championship team or declining into the ranks of “a very good team”. Belichick will have some very tough decisions to make this off-season - decisions that will likely result in changing the face of the team if the Patriots are to win their fourth Super Bowl in eight years.

On offense, the only question is Randy Moss. Will he be back? Will he take a hometown discount to try and win the championship ring he wants - the ring he thought was his when he scored the touchdown to make it 14-10? The Patriots will survive on offense without him if he decides to part ways - having Tom Brady at the helm softens the blow of the league’s best receiver leaving. Moss’ departure would sting - but it wouldn’t be devastating.

The defense is another matter. The Patriots came into the season with questions about their defense - were they big enough? Tough enough? Young enough? While you can’t put too much emphasis on one drive to start evaluating a defense - you also can’t point to a season where the played the likes of the Dolphins, the Bills, and the Jets twice - with likes of the Redskins, the Ravens and even the Eagles in there as a measure that all is well on that side of the ball.

Belichick will have to look long and hard as to whether or not Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel can still be physical leaders on defense - or are they more emotional leaders? Both are over 30 and have lost a step. What about the secondary? Has Rodney Harrison played his last game? Can he still do it physically at 37? Will Asante Samuel re-sign with the Patriots or will he look to get paid? Ellis Hobbs anyone?

The Patriots could quite likely go into the 2008 season with four or five new faces on defense - will they be as dominant as Pats teams from previous years? Hard to think so…but what do I know, I’m just a Cowboys fan who wants to see Moss in Big D with T.O and Romo.

The Maple Leafs, fresh off a 4-2 win over the hated SenaTards, host the Florida Panthers tonight - eight points back of the Bruins for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While everyone is writing them off - and waiting for Mats Sundin to be traded, some diehard members of Leaf Nation aren’t ready to write them off yet…just ask Hazel.

Speaking of Hazel, likely back from a week in Arizona, here’s what she missed on Saturday night:

Leafs call up Robbie Earl looks like he might be a player - he showed good speed, lots of smarts, and a willingness to compete. The former “Frozen Four” MVP should get a look for the rest of the season.

Leafs D Anton Stralman (who some think could evolve into a Nick Lidstrom type) is getting better with every game. His defensive zone coverage needs work - but there is no denying the kid can get the puck out of his own end, either skating it out or passing it out.
It may not be much in terms of this year - but these two look like they are going to be around for a while. The future isn’t as dismal as the media wants to portray.

Tonight’s suggestions:

Montreal over Ottawa - the Tards are reeling right now: injuries, bad goaltending, dissention; its all good from Leaf Nation’s perspective. The Habs will be looking to rebound from a brutal loss to the Rangers on Super Bowl Sunday. Lay $100 on the Habs - $130.

Anaheim over NY Islanders - the Isles get by on grit and taking advantage on the counter-attack. The Ducks can play that way too - and score. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $145.

NY Rangers over Los Angeles - the Rangers seem to be getting their act together - much to the chagrin of Leaf Nation - they’ll be pumped after coming back on the Habs on Sunday. Lay $100 on the Rangers - $220.

That’s it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.

I’m Out.

Monday, February 04, 2008


As a Patriots fan who has done more than his fair share of trash talking -I watched yesterdays Super Bowl and no doubt about it-the NY Giants were the better team.
So I give sincere props to the Giants and congratulate it.
Not once after the game-not once did I say Could've..would've...should've..what if..why didn't they..Bottom Line ? THEY DIDN'T! End of fucking story.

My Observations... PRE GAME: Ryan Seacrest is a douchebag. He's like a metrosexual hyped up on caffeine sucking up to celebrities who only got on to promote Fox related programming or movies.zzzzzzzzz........I actually liked Paula Abduls song "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow".
I'm strictly a rock-country-blues guy who abhors skip-hop and rap music. I DJ'd for years in nightclubs and know dance hits when I hear them. Paula Abduls new song will be a big hit in clubs-very catchy.......Think Fox should do away with impressionist Frank Caliendo. What a waste of sports time... I do like Fox's team of Curt,Terry,Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson better than CBS's. Great chemistry together.

We were stuck with Fox's number one play by play guy Joe Buck and the boring Troy Aikman as analyst. Buck does every major Fox sports event and I'm sick of his voice and stale delivery
trying to question EVERYTHING. Aikman does have the football credentials but his voice puts me to sleep. No emotion and very very laidback. You can't get excited when these guys call a game. Sideliners Chris Myers looks like he's bummed being relegated to reporter after being a a main guy at ESPN for so many years...Pam Oliver- I liked. She did a good job.

I'm not rehashing it play by play only to say this.
You knew the Patriots were going to lose when Tom Brady spent more time on his back than a French whore. He was having a dismal day throwing the ball.

In my opinion-the MVP of the Super Bowl belongs to the Giants defense. They were in Brady's face all game long. Brady couldn't get into the rythm that made the Patriots one of the most offensive powerhouses in the NFL. The Pats offensive line SUCKED ASS. They were terrible and over matched.
I liked what Eli Manning did in SB 42. The Giants held the ball for almost the entire 1st quarter
keeping Brady off the field.

KEY PLAY OF THE GAME: Mannings Hail Mary In 4th Quarter.
When Eli Manning escaped the gang tackle by the Patriots long enough to throw the ball up for his reciever setting up the winning TD.
Guts..magic...NFL Gods...talent...strength what ever it was-it was priceless. Yes the Patriots "should've" brought Manning down to end the game-They didn't.
The Giants reciever timed his jump better and out muscled Rodney Harrison for the ball.
That play sucked the swagger out of the defense. The Pats were in shock.

Once that catch was made-game over as all Manning had to do was lob it in to a defeated and broken Patriots defense.

Again game overall MVP is the Giants defense. Runner up Manning.
The Patriots MVP of the game was Wes Welker. He caught those short passes that helped get the Pats moving for critical first downs.

The Giants Def Coach Spagnollo said he didn't show the Pats everything in the season finale as both teams were in the playoffs already.
Spagnollo's defense clearly gave his inexperienced QB Manning a chance to win the game by shutting down the high powered Patriots offense early preventing the expected NE romp.

The Patriots loss in SB 42 is the biggest choke in N.E. sports history.
It gets Bill Buckner off the hook for being a human croquet wicket in the '87 WS vs the Mets.

Its done. Its over. Let the Giants celebrate a well earned and deserved SB victory.
Congratulations to the NFL World Champion NY Giants.

Pats fans quit trying to dissect the loss. You'll only delay your healing process.
Just look ahead. After a well deserved week off the Patriots will go back to work to put together
the 2008 team. Be thankful you have an organization thats tops in assessing and acquiring
the best talent in both college and NFL FA's and trade market.

You can bet Belichick has his shopping list ready and knows where to find the missing pieces of the puzzle.
They have the 6th overall pick in the college draft-securing it from the 49ers via trade.
The NFL took away the teams pick for spygate which would've been the 2nd to last pick overall.

Tilt is the Man!!!

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

Shocked, stunned, surprised, somewhat speechless and $300 richer – that pretty much sums up the aftermath of the Giants’ surprising 17-14 win over the previously perfect New England Patriots. Special thanks to Tilt who called from Vegas on the day after the Conference Championship games to convince me to bet the Giants to win outright at 4-1 odds.

As has been stated here before, losing to the Giants is akin to waking up without the beer goggles you had on the night before only to find a wildebeest lying next to you. You can’t slap yourself hard enough for being so damn dumb – it goes in the closet with the rest of those nasty embarrassing skeletons.

Eli Manning has been a favourite whipping boy here, as have the entire Giants team (hey, this is Cowboys’ country – irregardless of who Hazel supports), but he (actually more the Giants D) deserves credit for holding it together and giving his team a chance to win the game. The Giants had everything go their way yesterday – absolutely EVERYTHING – which was pretty much what had to happen for them to win.

Like I said a while back – this game reminded me a lot of the Giants/Bills Super Bowl match up, when Parcells’ donkeys upset Jim Kelly and the Bills.

The message boards were lighting up within seconds of the last play – talk of biased officiating, missed/no calls, questioning how much the Giants deserved to win, and of course, assessing blame as to who was most responsible for the loss. As an objective observer (with money on the Giants, but liking the Pats), I found it rather interesting that Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels escaped the wrath of irate fans.

The Patriots have been known as a team that, perhaps better than anyone, makes in-game adjustments – you expected it in the first half, you certainly expected it at half time, and were screaming for them going into the fourth quarter. McDaniels crapped the bed – it is on him as much as anyone. The Patriots had a good first drive in response to the Giants opening 10 minute drive – but for the next two plus quarters, McDaniels allowed the Giants to take Randy Moss out of the game and put his faith in Wes Welker as the go-to guy. Welker is a nice player, but he gets entirely too much credit – he is always open because teams choose to try and take Moss/Stallworth away, they rarely put a DB on Welker. If you are leaving it to Wes Welker to win the game – you don’t deserve to win; yeah tied a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions…but what good was it?

It was incumbent on McDaniels to find a way to get the ball into Moss’ hands – where were the reverse calls? Where were the WR screens? Geezus, line Moss up in the backfield if you have to – but to keep lining him up wide and allow the Giants to double/triple team him…inexcusable. The Giants defensive line manhandled the Patriots offensive line – finding a way to Moss a little more early in the game would have changed the Giants defensive plan.
This was really a case of the Patriots losing the game as much as the Giants winning it.
Just my two cents – 1.99 cents Canadian.

Being a Cowboys fan, it is hard to find any positives in a Giants win – it was a painful process to say the least.

Five good things about the Giants win

1) Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey’s silence. You know it had to kill Tiki Barber that the guy he called out led his team to a last minute win. It was particularly nice watching Shockey stewing in a box – you could tell that miserable prick wanted the Giants to lose.

2) Wes Welker doesn’t get the game MVP for running two-yard routes and turning them into six yard gains - meh.

3) Not having to listen to Junior Seau talk about how getting a ring is the perfect end to his career. Dude, you will always be a San Diego Chargers player – always. Jumping on the bandwagon of a championship team at the end of your career…well, ok.

4) Listening to the “experts” try to explain what happened – hours after they had predicted the Patriots in a walk - priceless.

5) The silencing of some of the more obnoxious Patriots fans who somehow equate a championship to how great their city is, and by extension how great they are. Granted, this group is small in number – but the annoyance factor is huge.

Five bad things about the Giants winning

1) Listening to the “experts” talk about “Eli Manning’s coming of age”. He had a decent game, but seriously, he could have/should have been picked off five times – the stars lined up for him yesterday; the Eli Manning who threw 20 picks will be back in September 2008.

2) Listening to one donkey on Fox Sports Radio wax on (rather poetically too) about how the Giants “brotherhood” triumphed over New England’s skill. Um, ok…if that is the way you want to rationalize it – but to suggest that other teams wouild be well served in following this strategy; that’s pushing it.

3) The Miami Dolphins alumni celebrating their perfect season – get over it. No one cares…actually, most people hate the 1972 Dolphins because you never stop talking about it.

4) Listening to New York Giants fans talking trash after the game when most of them didn’t think they’d win in the first place.

5) New York Giants – World Champions. I just puked in my mouth.

Five things that make you go “what the?????”

1) Eli Manning Super Bowl MVP? Seriously? Without David Tyree’s unbelievable catch – the Giants lose. The NFL blew it – the MVP was Justin Tuck, or they could have given it to the defence (I guess Cadillac wasn’t willing to give away 11 new Escalade Hybrids – profits are down at GM don’t you know).

2) Giants fans pointing to Tom Brady “choking” while they are talking about how their D dominated the Pats. Can you have it both ways? Does leading your team to a go-ahead TD with less than three minutes to go constitute choking? No wonder everyone hates NY teams and their fans.

3) According to the NFL – a blow to the head of a QB is a personal foul that will result in a 15-yard penalty being assessed on the defence. The officials must have forgotten that rule, because there were at least three instances where Giants’ defenders hit Brady in the head.

4) How did the Giants Ahmad Bradshaw take that ball way from Patriots LB Pierre Woods? Woods is on top of ball, Bradshaw comes in and rolls him over and takes the ball away. Doesn’t that constitute “down by contact”? Where was the challenge?

5) David Tyree’s catch – forget the Manning scramble – HOLY CRAP HE CAUGHT THE BALL. Apologies to Patriots fans, but that was UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE.

With Eli Manning being named Super Bowl MVP – no point in doing Sunday’s Three Stars. No Three Play today – not point in telling you that the Giants to win straight up was the play yesterday. We’ll get back to picking games tomorrow.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in (on this crapper of a day if you are in New England).

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world (as hard as that may seem now) and that your trip home was a safe one.

I’m Out!

Pogue and Tilt Win in Vegas

On the day that I was leaving Las Vegas, I wondered down to the Sportbook located at Ceaser's Palace. Glancing at the numbers for the Superbowl I saw that a straight up bet on the Giants would garner a 4-1 payout. Having had a terrible day at the poker table the day before, I decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea. I gave Pogue a call and consulted him as to what he wants me to do with his remaining money. Let's just say that he was a little less then willing to make a straight up bet on the Giants. After a few minutes of discussion, he relented and we both wagered $60 on the Giants to win outright...well after last nights nail biter of a finish, Pogue and I are both up $240.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pop goes the weasel

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

Residents of Toronto are in their second day of emergency status - today it is a snow day, the last time those "Canadians" saw snow like this, the city was shut down for days. Yesterday though, residents from Scarborough to Mississauga (and everywhere in between) were awaken from their slumber with a loud boom in the wee hours of the morning.

The Department of National Defence (DND) answered thousands of calls for worried Torontonians about a sonic boom that shook the foundation of their houses and apartment buildings. DND had no answer for the incident - denying that they were doing any testing in the area. The mystery was solved by daylight when members of Leaf Nation opened the morning edition of the Toronto Star - the quickly and correctly attributed the "sonic boom", or "pop" sound, as the result of Star "columnist" Damien "I don't hate the Maple Leafs" Cox managing to finally (and likely quite painfully) extricating his rather bulbous head from his over constricted rectum.

For weeks, even months, the media in Toronto has been fixated on the need to trade Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin for a boatload of prospects to begin the rebuilding that is needed. The have waxed on, obsessively at times, about how the only way out of this mess is to trade the Leafs only asset - Mats. To read the nonsense coming from Toronto - the panacea to all that ails the franchise is getting rid of their best player in order to tank the season and get a lottery pick in the 2008 draft.

Most of Leaf Nation vehemently disagrees with yours truly, who has maintained that the way out of this mess is to find takers for the likes of Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe and others (that's YOU Pavel Kubina). Yes, last week, I reluctantly wrote that Tomas Kaberle MAY have to be included in a deal to get rid of one of the overpaid guys.

Back to Damien's extrication - Cox finally wrote an opinion piece about other options available to Toronto should Sundin not want to go. Suddenly, Damien realized that teams looking to position themselves in the playoffs - and who cannot, or are not willing, to part with a package of prospects for Sundin - may want to look at lesser lights that the Leafs might be willing to part with for very little in return. All together now - "ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION". Bryan McCabe's ridiculous contract might seem a bit more palatable now that his salary goes down over the next three years (while his $5.75 million cap hit remains); Darcy Tucker's grit (where has it been?) may be rekindled by the likes of Mike Keenan in Calgary; who knows, maybe the Thrashers have an interest in Jason Blake if they want to deal Marian Hossa before the playoffs; Hal Gill isn't a bad option for a team wanting an experienced sixth D.

My only issue now is - what does this all mean? Is Damien Cox somehow getting a little smarter? Or the is the fact that he has come to see things my way an indication of me getting progressively dumber? Don't answer that please.

Carolina continues to be a nightmare for the Buds. Another night where Nik Antropov is sitting in the box in overtime watching the Hurricanes score the game winner. For the second straight game in Carolina, Antropov is sent to the box on a questionable penalty call - prompting him to throw his stick in the direction of the referees, resulting in a double game misconduct and an automatic three game suspension.

It was a fitting ending to a game that devolved into a calamity - with a Maple Leafs goal getting called back on replay, while a questionable Carolina goal is allowed. The officiating in the game was so poor that it prompt an outburst from Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice who will certainly be fined for his troubles.

Before you look for it - tomorrow's headlines in Toronto will be about how the game against the Tards is "do or die"; never mind the fact that the Leafs are only four points out of a playoff spot.

The Bruins were visiting yesterday and capitalized on some early mistakes by the Tards to grab a 3-0 first period lead and bore the Tards into submission en route to a 4-1 win. The best thing about last night's game where the post game comments by Tards bench boss, John Paddock, who ripped his team yet again. The chaos in that organization is something to behold.

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth goal of the night in overtime to give the Caps a 5-4 win over the Habs.

Boston Bruins G Tim "All-Star" Thomas made 30 saves in a win over the SenaTards.

Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Paul Maurice finally does what every coach in the league is afraid to do - rip in to the officials for yet another awful night.

Another 2-1 night leaves the total for the week at + $100. Tonight's suggestions:

Buffalo over Atlanta - the Thrashers won't have Kovalchuk in the lineup tonight - take a guess at how good their chances are to win without him? Lay $150 on the Sabres - $140.

Dallas over Edmonton - the Stars haven't lost in Edmonton in three years, don't expect them to start tonight. Lay $100 on Dallas - $140.

Detroit over Colorado - the Avs have been better of late, but they are badly banged up and don't have enough to compete with Detroit. Lay $100 on the Wings - $300.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - weather wise, they must be.

I'm Out.

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