Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mats' silence speaks volumes

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

Mats Sundin was in Pittsburgh to attend Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals - Napoloen Bettman and the other donkeys in the NHL's head office are taking a page from the good folks at the NFL and asking the big stars to attend the big event.

Sundin had to know that he was going to be asked about his future with the Toronto Maple Leafs and in the league itself. Sundin was his usual self - guarded - not giving anything away and keeping all of his options open. When asked if the Leafs search for a GM could impact his decision, Sundin answered in the affirmative, saying:

"I think it will have an effect, knowing how we played the last three years, how we missed the playoffs. I would like to see that the team is making a real effort to improve."

When further pressed about signing somewhere else, Mats was non-committal, but...

"I have not even thought about it. The biggest thing is I want to see what happens with the Leafs first."

This is all about Brian Burke - the one thing Leaf Nation better come to grips with is that if Burke takes over, Sundin isn't likely to be resigned. Over and above Burke's preference for North American players, he isn't likely to sign Sundin to anything more than a one year deal, and the talk is Sundin is looking for 2-3 years.

Interesting times in the Nation - who do we want? The man who has been the face of the franchise for the last decade? The man who won the Mark Messier Award for leadership?


Do we want the man who is going to make some tough, and very unpopular, decisions in order to the the blue and white back to being a legitimate Cup contender?

Hard to believe we might be able to have our cake and eat it too.

If Sundin leaves the Leafs after July 1st - you can bet it was because he knows Burke is coming; conversely, if he signs a 2-3 year deal, it likely means Burke won't be running the Leafs this season.

That's it for the week gang - yours truly is headed to the great city of Chicago for Road Trip 2009. Bleacher seats at Wrigley on Saturday - Tilt won't be making this trip, but for those of you who were around for our recap of our weekend at Fenway, may remember our buddy we tagged "Teabag". Teabag is making the trip.

Recap of Wrigley - and the great city of Chicago - next week.

Boston vs Chicago!

Have a great weekend gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

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

I'm Out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks for the memories Damon

The Canadian Football League's all-time leading passer is calling it a career - Damon Allen is expected to announce his retirement today in Toronto.

Thanks for the memories Champ.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Napoleon speaks...why should anyone listen?

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

The Stanley Cup Finals are in full swing and it hasn’t turned out to be what anyone, especially the NHL’s head office, had hoped for. The “battle for the ages” with the up and coming (young) Pittsburgh Penguins against the veteran-laden “battle-tested” (old) Detroit Red Wings has turned out to be a matchup of boys versus men – with the boys being schooled.

The Stanley Cup Finals are, for all intents and purposes, over – the chances of the Penguins winning four of the next five is a hair’s width away from zero. Naturally, the NHL brass, lead by Napoleon Bettman wants all the attention focused on the NHL’s showpiece – the Finals – but darn it all if the Maple Leafs aren’t making news (at least they are in Canada).

The NHL has had an unofficial (but really official) policy that the only news during the Stanley Cup Playoffs – especially the Finals – should be the on-ice product; major announcement should be kept until after Lord Stanley’s mug is awarded. This year, teams are ignoring that directive (yes, I think it is a directive) and making organizational moves such as firing coaches…oh yeah, and searching for a new GM. Which of course bring things back to the center of the hockey universe – Toronto – and the Leafs’ purported desire to bring Brian Burke in to run the big show.

Napoleon, so afraid that a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in three years could overshadow the Cup Finals (which isn’t as compelling as they would like to believe), took the bold step of issuing an ultimatum (albeit without mentioning them by name) on the issue of Brian Burke leaving Anaheim to run Hazel’s favourite hockey team. Mr. Bettman has threatened stiff punishment for any team suspected of, or caught, “tampering” with a player or employee under contract with another team. The punishment would range from removal of draft picks to cash penalties – or in the case of the Toronto Maple Leafs who are swimming in cash – BOTH.

The absurdity of Napoleon’s interpretation of “tampering” has been discussed here before – his interference and insistence that teams with vacancies consider Colin Campbell for a management position is laughable, as meddling in an organization’s business isn’t that far removed from tampering itself.

While Bettman’s threat is intended to uphold the sanctity of a contract in the NHL – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it is all about the business of the NHL and the devastating effect Burke’s departure would have on the Ducks’ franchise. One has to wonder if Bettman would be so direct in issuing a threat if it was a case of a superstar GM leaving a well established hockey market to take a job with one of the league’s fledgling franchises – in other words, a GM leaving New York to take a job with one of the Florida-based teams. You can bet that if Burke wanted to leave to rescue one of those franchises, Bettman would be supporting it to show how attractive every market is in the NHL and would be praying to his god that Burke got the job done. But as Toronto is an established market, and cash cow for the league, he wants to prevent the move from happening, as it has no additional financial benefit to the league.

Bettman has interjected himself into a situation where he has no business being involved – while there is a signed contract between Burke and the Ducks – if Burke wants to leave to take on the ultimate job in the league, who is Bettman to say anything? The issue is between Burke and the Ducks, if the ownership group in Anaheim is willing to publicly assert that they will not release an employee who would rather be somewhere else, then they should step up and say it. Burke, for his part, has spoken volumes with very few, and measured, words – having “no plans to talk to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the near future” means he wants to go, but can’t publicly say it.

The NHL’s interference in the matter has only served to make the Leafs the laughing stock of the hockey world – making them go through the motions of interviewing “potential” GM candidates, saying all the right things, while all the while having a contract ready to sign with the guy everyone knows should be running the show.

Napoleon should focus more on the problems with the league – notice how talk of awful officiating has been quashed? – and leave the business of the league to the billionaires who run it.

Brian Burke in Toronto for the beginning of the 08/09 season? Can we get a “Hell Yeah”?

Arizona over San Francisco – go with Dan Haren at home over Tim Lincecum. Lay $100 on the D’Backs - $140.

Cleveland over Chicago – Mark Buehrle’s career numbers against Cleveland are ugly. Lay $100 on Cleveland - $135.

Oakland over Toronto – “The Enigma” (aka AJ Burnett) goes for Toronto tonight – first game of a west coast swing is usually ugly for eastern teams. Lay $100 on the A’s + $105.

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!

What does near future mean?

Brian Burke was again asked if he was going to be speaking to MLSE - his answer? He has no plans to speak to Toronto in "the near future". So, is the day after the Stanley Cup winds up considered near future?

The annoying yet catchy song of the day - For Brian Burke

Blue - Eiffel

You know you are singing it.

I'll be back in "the very near future" (like later this morning) with more.

I'm Out

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Must see TV

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

Quick post today:

Must see TV - Love this clip...Kudos to Canada's Sports Leader who are doing an excellent job of building the hype for...

Game one of the Stanley Cup Finals goes today - the media, rather than trying to hype the individual matchups (Crosby v Lidstrom), are instead focusing on comparing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Edmonton Oilers of the 80's who were on the cusp of greatness when they met the dynasty that were the New York Islanders.

For some reason, just can't get into the Cup finals.

The Leafs farm team, the Toronto Marlies, fell to the Chicago Wolves last night. The compelling story here is coach Greg Gilbert's decision to turn to go into the playoffs with veteran goalie Scott Clemmensen rather than Justin Pogge. Pogge got into the series when there Marlies were down by 3-0; Pogge won one and lost one. While many in the nation were outraged at the decision - having read Gilbert's belief that he owed it to his players and the organization to instill a winning attitude and Clemmensen gave the baby Leafs the best chance of winning. Gilbert pointed to the development of players who were called up this season, rather than just talking about Pogge. I get it, I may not agree 100% - but with Toskala looking like he is going to carry the load next year, Gilbert's decision says that Pogge will be back with the Marlies next season.


Cleveland over Texas - Cliff Lee goes for the Tribe who will be looking to avenge last night's embarrassing loss. Lay $100 on Cleveland - $185.

Los Angeles over St. Louis - the Cards have always played Big Blue tough...but go with Brad Penny today, he's bound to turn things around sooner or later. Lay $100 on LA - $150.

Boston over Oakland - Josh Beckett goes for the Sox tonight - see entry for LA/STL game. Lay $100 on the Sox - $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!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just Wondering...

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

A few random thoughts/observations and questions today.

I should know better – living in the land of the Tards. Last week, the city/country was in rapture over Canada making it to the finals of the IIHF World Hockey Championships to face Russia. It was a big deal last week and had everyone pounding their chests – a blown lead, a loss in overtime, and now the tournament means nothing as “it wasn’t the best on best”. Then what was the big deal about them making it to the finals in the first place – wasn’t every country there missing some of their best players?

Speaking of the land of the Tards – perhaps the most asinine thing ever said on sport radio was uttered this morning at the Team 1200. One of the topics today was about a “physically challenged” sprinter from South Africa by the name of Oscar Pistourius who was given permission to compete at the Olympic Games. The discussion was about whether his blades give him and advantage over able-bodied sprinters – which lead one of the donkeys to remark

Are we going to see a day when the final of the 100M is going to be made up of blade runners?

You can ponder/discuss the sheer stupidity of such a statement. If you need more evidence, just stream one of their morning broadcasts.

Well, the moment Patriots fans have been waiting for – the Patriot’s beat reporter from the Boston Herald posted his first article since his now famous (famous/notorious, just plain lame) explanation for error in judgment in reporting/sensationalizing/fabricating the big story on Spygate. Six or so hours in – 10 comments; none to do with the story on Pats draft Brandon Merriweather. Comments are being monitored and deleted by site administrators. It seems the good folks of New England aren’t going to let it go – how long can this go? Does the Herald take comments to mean people are reading?

Not sure why so many outside of New England are so enraged about the interview Bill Belichick did with CBS. What did people expect? The interview was a joke – but it was pretty much what everyone has (should have) come to expect from Belichick – no substantive answers and little useful information. Did anyone really expect him to focus on anything but discrediting Matt Walsh? What is the point in talking to this guy? To Patriots fans that were enraged by comments made by the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan on the issue – he’s absolutely right; the Patriots will forever be tainted (right or wrong) and your anger should be directed at your own coach. If the Patriots didn’t benefit from the videotaping, why continue to do it?

Congratulations to Boston Red Sox P Jon Lester on throwing a no-hitter against the Royals. While he has acknowledged his courageous battle against cancer – does anyone think he might not want to hear “cancer survivor” before his name every time he accomplishes something?
It seems as though some of the “Peeps” in Boston have yet to warm up to NESN’s Red Sox field reporter Heidi Watney – no judgments here. Haven’t seen her yet – but give her some time, Boston is a tough (but worthwhile) gig. Ask Hazel.

Is there any point in watching the NBA Playoffs? With very few exceptions, home team wins.

Arizona over Florida – hating the D’Backs after yesterday’s loss to the Marlins (another blown Pro-Line ticket) but they get the nod tonight with Brandon Webb on the mound. Lay $100 on Arizona - $165.

Boston/KC over 10.5 – Bartolo Colon (coming back from stint in minors) vs “batting practice” Brett Tomko should mean a lot of runs for both sides. Lay $100 on the over - $120.

New York over Baltimore – the gold thong rides tonight for the Yankees, on whom we don’t know, but it’ll ride. Lay $100 on the Yankees - $150.

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.

Champions League Wednesday

Champions League Wednesday with Man U facing Chelsea for the European Club Championship. Portugal is well represented on both sides - so either way it's all good.

For your view pleasure - check out one fan's Top 10 Ronaldo goals ...good background song. Check goals 4 and 2.

Back later.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another reason to laugh at the Yankees

Jason Giambi wears a gold thong when he is trying to get out of a slump - he has shared it Jeter, Damon and others.

Hank Steinbrenner must be thrilled with the news of the day.

Sports fans are funny

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

Couldn't help but sneak a peek or two to see the comments section attached to the Boston Herald's apology to the Patriots and the follow up "explanation" by John Tomase. The post was in and of itself a joke - and a clever marketing ploy by the Herald to generate tens of thousands of hits to its website.

While it should come as no surprise that support for Tomase was at less than 1% - it was funny to see how many people swore that they would never buy another copy of the paper, much less read it. I wonder if these people realize that a visit to the website, while not constituting a purchase of the paper, is as good as buying one to the Herald when they sell advertising space on their page. No one is going to get fired - in my humble opinion, it was a calculated gamble to draw attention to the paper.

3-0 last night - the week has been pretty darn good. Today's suggestions:

Pittsburgh over Chicago - upset special...though beating the likes of Jason Marquis can hardly be considered an upset. Lay $100 on the Pirates + $150 and say "thank you".

Texas over Houston - Kason Gabbard gets the nod over Backe for the Astros. Lay $100 on the Rangers - $124.

Seattle over San Diego - Felix Hernandez SHOULD dominate the anemic Padres offense, you can't count on Estes to do the same. Lay $100 on the M's - $165.

Pittsburgh over Philadelphia - we won't be seeing footage of Kate Smith singing God Bless America until well into next season - thank God. Pittsburgh ends the series today. Lay $100 on the Penguins - $270.

Had this been posted this morning - Kansas City over Florida would have been on here too.

That's it for today gang - to my Canadian friends...enjoy Victoria Day weekend! To everyone else, enjoy your Sunday.

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

I'm Out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wine over tequila Tilt

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

Not much today

- All quiet on the Brian Burke to Toronto front

- The Blue Jays get destroyed by former Dodger Jason Werth

- Canada to play Russia in the final of the World Hockey Championships.

Note to my man Tilt - Thoughts of Hazel Mae is wine country buddy...there is no appetite for tequila. Wine of choice around here is the Hazel Maerlot. To the peeps in New England - represent.


Toronto over Philadelphia - the predictably unpredictable A.J. Burnett goes for Toronto tonight against Adam Eaton. Lay $100 on the Jays - $115.

Detroit over Arizona - take a chance on the Tigers today, good value. Lay $100 on Detroit + $120.

Chicago over San Francisco - Barry Zito goes for the Giants today...enough said. Lay $100 on the White Sox - $125.

That's it for today gang - enjoy your weekend.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - put the peeps down for a case of the Maerlot.

I'm Out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

From the desk of Pogue

Those who laughed off suggestions that Brian Burke could still wind up as the Leafs GM for the 2008/09 season (Damien Cox) might not be laughing today.

Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli may be facing charges of securities fraud. The US Securities and Exchanges Commission has filed a lawsuit.

The full story can be found on the Toronto Star website - just ignore all urges to read Damien's made-up mailbag.

Pope Brian I to visit the Vatican of hockey this summer?

Hope springs eternal.

Freaky Friday....

Well let me start by officially welcoming the summer to has been a long, long and I mean long winter this year in the great white north and nothing is better then walking down the street to see many of Canada's beautiful women enjoying the weather.

Typically we don't write too much about the NBA, but did anyone see that cheap shot Robert Horry delivered to David West last night? Is Horry that desperate to win another championship? The guy should have been heavily fined and suspended for his hip check on Steve Nash last year and now he delivers a shot to the back of West, who is already suffering from a bad back. If the Cinderella Hornet's (behind MVP Chris Paul)lose this series the Spurs will have to thank Cheap Shot Bob for his contribution. It's too bad that the series has come to this considering the attention that the play of the two point guards (Paul and the Spur's Tony Parker), who are putting on a PG clinic.

I refuse to talk about hockey - since the Leafs are out.

Baseball - for those fantasy baseball owners who have roster space available the current HOT commodity is Jay Bruce. The young outfielder for the Cinninatti Reds will likely be called up soon (he's absolutely crushing Triple A pitching right now). Rumour has it that the Reds will unload Ken Griffey Jr. to the Seattle Mariners and call up Bruce to replace him. Bruce is nearly a can't miss prospect and there are many (including your's truly) that have stashed him on their roster since the start of the season. This year's Ryan Braun.

Finally, the last topic I'm going to write on is...the World Series of Poker and their recent announcement that the final table will be delayed by approximately 4 months. This is a move being done by Harrah's (which owns the rights to the WSOP) to "promote" the game and "build interest" in the final table. The final table will be aired live after the ESPN broadcast of the event. This is a four month delay and really breaks the mold of poker tournaments. The final table participants will then have 4 months to study, dissect and prepare for the final table and their opponents. While I can understand the need to promote the event, I think this is a terrible way for the final table to happen. You change the dynamics of the game and it no longer becomes a grind to the final table. The final table will also become more stategic and players will be forced to change their playing style once they return to finish the tournament. What it comes to is that the WSOP event in June becomes a "satellite" of sorts for the final table to be televised in October. Ugh.

On the bright side, enjoy this little pic of Tila Tequila....

Thank God for the NHL Insider

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

Ladies and Gents, meet Canada's Sports Leader's NHL INSIDER - Hazel would need no introduction as they are former colleagues - this guy is THE MAN. This guy is as connected and TSN's Pierre McGuire, he always seems to be breaking big stories hours before anyone else (probably due in large part to the wealth of contacts he has inside a number of NHL organizations). TSN paid big bucks to lure Dreger away from Rogers Sportsnet and here is why - from the desk of Darren Dreger on Wednesday afternoon :

Dave Nonis leaves Toronto with options.

Nonis spent much of Tuesday and part of Wednesday afternoon in discussions with the Toronto Maple Leafs about their management restructuring with further talks over the next few days expected.

Sources tell TSN Nonis hasn't been offered the position of general manager and the belief is Toronto's interest in bringing him on board seems to be directed more towards helping interim GM Cliff Fletcher with the day-to-day business of managing the Maple Leafs, with growing speculation suggesting Fletcher will hold the post through next season.

The two sides have agreed to take a couple of days before reconvening for another round of discussions.

In the meantime, the St Louis Blues remain keenly interested in Nonis, along with former Dallas Stars general manager Doug Armstrong. Either man would be considered a good fit in the Blues management group and would provide a suitable replacement for Larry Pleau for when the longtime Blues GM slips into retirement.

The third option Nonis may consider is doing nothing at all.

Nonis remains under contract with the Vancouver Canucks and will be paid through next season which offers the 41 year old some flexibility to ensure his next move will provide both the security and opportunity he's looking for.

YOU SEE? On one hand, Nonis might sign with the Leafs as Asst GM; but then again, he may not.


Dallas and St. Louis are interested in Nonis too.


They are also interested in Doug Armstrong.


Nonis may just decide to do nothing.

So in less that 250 the NHL Insider - has every angle covered, making sure that his "sources" end up being right about where Nonis winds up - Toronto, another team, or nowhere. Of course stupid bloggers who speculate (May 8) about Nonis being an Asst. GM (defacto GM was the scenario envisioned on this page) are talking crap because they don't have "sources" like the Insider...with bloggers, its purely speculation/opinion/wish. But with Darren, it's all about the sources man. Never mind that they always work in the "Because/But/So" angle.

What a donk.

Speaking of donks - the only guy who trumps Dreger in the Donk category today is HERE. So much for providing the rest of the story...what a waste of space and a cheap marketing ploy to sell papers in Boston.

Because I don't want Darren's mug being the lasting image from this page going into the weekend - I'm going to ask Tilt to resurrect Friday's Fox. Friday three play later.

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, May 14, 2008

God Bless America

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

"God Bless America" a stirring song no doubt, and that coming from a Canadian; but if this Canadian (card carrying member of Leaf Nation) only has to hear it one more time during the NHL playoffs...that's just fine.

The stinking Philadelphia Flyers opened Game 3 of the Conference Finals with Kate Smith's rendition of God Bless America - which of course prompts announcers to reference the Flyers' record when "Kate Smith sings" - it didn't do the Flyers, or their retarded fans, an ounce of good last night as they lost to the Penguins by a count of 4-1.

Leaf Nation is feeling the love for the Penguins these days as they have dispatched with the Tards, the Habs and now the Flyers. Die-hard members of the Nation would love to see the Penguins dispatch with our once hated rivals in Detroit...but the first three is enough for most of us.

From the Damien Cox school of journalism
A reporter from the Toronto Star, NOT named Damien Cox, must have been scrambling for something to write about - news today that Phoenix Coyotes co-owner Wayne Gretzky is not interested in becoming the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. This might be the most asinine thing written about the Leafs search for upper management. When was Gretzky's name ever mentioned? Lame doesn't even begin to describe the article.

Not sure what school of journalism
Speaking of lame - the Boston Herald posted an apology to the New England Patriots and their fans for accusations leveled at the organization that they videotaped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl. The comments (venom) are rolling in fast and furious from outraged Pats fans - if you think you were in the midst of a bad day...think about what a certain beat reporter at the Herald must be feeling.

UGH to yesterday. Tonight's suggestions:

Boston over Baltimore - back to the well again. Hard to see the Sox dropping two straight to the O's. Lay $100 on Boston - $125.

Toronto over Minnesota - Roy Halladay goes for Toronto against Boof Bonser - would you bet on a guy named Boof? Lay $100 on the Jays - $135

Florida/Cincinnati over 10 - this one could get ugly, especially with Arroyo pitching on three days rest. Lay $100 on the over - $105.

Los Angeles over Milwaukee - it is time for Big Blue to put an end to this ugly losing streak, Lowe over Parra. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $105.

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!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brothers from another mother

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

Anyone with more than a casual interest in the NHL knows that things are exactly looking great for our beloved Maple Leafs (still including Hazel as one of us); thanks in large part to the departed John Ferguson Jr. who made a mess of things with bad contract offers, ill-advised trades, and very poor drafting. The only consolation for Leaf Nation is that as bad as Ferguson was, he isn't anywhere near as bad as another sports executive in Toronto.

It has been a while, but it is time to bring Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi back front and center. The Chickenhawk boldly predicted that the 2008 Blue Jays were talented enough to compete with the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees - one quarter of the way into the season and the Blue Jays are in last place in the AL East with an 18-22 record. Things aren't looking good for the Jays with news that their CF Vernon Wells would be lost for 6-8 weeks with a wrist injury. The Hawk's answer to Wells injury was to sign free agent Brad Wilkerson and Texas Rangers farm-hand Kevin Mench. Ricciardi has told the fans and media in Toronto that he is done tinkering with the roster for the year - its Wilkerson/Mench or bust until Vernon Wells comes back.

Ricciardi has always had an excuse for past failures - lack of talent, lack of money, lack of luck, and too many injuries to overcome - for the most part, he has gotten a free pass in Toronto as fans waited for the man who studied under Billy Beane to implement the Moneyball philosophy in Toronto. Seven years into the five-year plan and the jig seems to be up - the fans and media are starting to turn and the issue of whether or not J.P. should be canned is receiving some serious attention. The Fan 590 in Toronto spent an hour between games 1 and 2 of the Jays doubleheader with Cleveland talking about what is wrong with the Jays. The finger is starting to be pointed right at Ricciardi - there is no talk of payroll, no talk of whether Manager Gibbons should be the fall guy, no talk of bad luck cursing the Jays - the talk is all about poor decision making and a lack of vision for the team.

It all comes down to one line Jim Kelley said - paraphrasing - Ricciardi seems to have forgotten, or ignored, the fact that Toronto fans know what a winning baseball team looks like, they've seen a winner and they know enough to know that this Jays team isn't even close. Ricciardi has been playing a game of "three-shell monty" with Jays is about to come to an end.

J.P. Ricciardi and Ferguson's tenures in Toronto are marked by the same poor decision making - both being over-matched in their respective fields. Toronto fans have rid themselves of one weak GM...could the other (and definitely weaker) be far behind?

With the Conference Championships featuring four American based teams - the majority of fans in Canada have turned their attention to the World Hockey Championships. The highlight of the tournament so far has to be the post-game press conference where Team USA Coach John Tortorella was asked about the awful call that resulted in a goal against the US. When asked if he was accusing the officials of being biased or incompetent, Tortorella responded by saying "No, I'm accusing them of blindness." Classic...the NHL needs this guy to stay in the league - he is worth the price of admission. John Tortorella is a CHAMP - love this guy.

Last week ended off on a bad note - but the total for the week was even. A new week starts with a positive outlook. Today's suggestions:

Boston over Baltimore - the Sox should rebound after a tough couple of games against the Twins, especially with Josh Beckett on the mound - the O's are falling back to earth after a nice start. Lay $100 on the Sox - $165.

Seattle over Texas - revenge game for King Felix who lost his last start at home to the Rangers. Lay $100 on the M's - $120.

New York over Washington - the Mets were pounded last night in their first game back after a west coast roadtrip, not surprising; what would be surprising is if they lost tonight. Lay $100 on the Mets - $200.

To the anonymous poster who left a comment yesterday - I couldn't agree with you more when it comes to Jason Blake...thank you!

That's it for today gang - have a great one.

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

I'm Out!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Champ & A Chump

Cristiano Ronaldo scores his 41st goal of the season to lead Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Wigan. Ronaldo's goal was his 31st in 38 league games, equalling the all-time mark for goals in a 38 game season.

A Champ.

Toronto Maple Leafs LW Jason Blake was nominated for the Masterton Trophy award - given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, determination and perseverance. Blake has told the Toronto media he would accept a trade out of Toronto - one question Jason. What do you think the market is out there for an over-paid, under-achieving LW who still have 4 years and $16M left on his contract? I'd say not much or your can would have been gone by the trade deadline. Cliff Fletcher should start Blake in the minors next year - no trade, no buyout, no roster spot.

A Chump.

Back later.

I'm Out!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Devil's Advocate

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

Whatever happened to opinion in sports journalism? There was a time when "columnists" would write about an issue, providing their point of view and letting their readers discuss. Today, it seems like the role of these columnists is to look at an issue - dissect it to death from every possible angle - and carefully word their pieces to avoid being nailed down to a position on said issue. Some have been very successful (widely read and hated for it) in publishing provocative pieces that don't really say much but raise questions for discussions. Others have adopted "The Devil's Advocate" approach to sports journalism - all in the name of stirring public debate on said issue; at least that is what they say their purpose is.

Which of course brings things back to Toronto Star Associate Editor/Sports Columnist/Blogger/Resident Curmudgeon Damien Cox. Damien has carved out a nice (I guess) career crapping on all things Toronto Maple Leafs - whatever course of action the organization takes (right or wrong) is sure to bring some smug column about how "they just don't get it". Over the last year, Cox was particularly (though never directly) critical of Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. Many a day, Cox mailed it in with another article about how JFJ was in over his head and was largely responsible for the state of affairs at the ACC. Cox's angle was that the Leafs needed an experienced GM - someone who could handle the media and the Board of Directors at MLSE.

When Leafs President Richard Peddie (I just threw up in my mouth acknowledging that) stated that the Leafs were looking for a GM who was a proven winner - Damien was all over that; actually a 180 degree shift from what he had been saying for months. Cox decided to mock the organization's desire to hire a winner by pointing to the men running the teams currently vying for the right to compete for the Stanley Cup. Damien looked at Ken Holland, Ray Shero, Paul Holmgren and Brett Hull - pointing to the fact that each went into their current jobs without a Stanley Cup ring (Hull's ring came as a player) - as proof positive that the Leafs don't need a proven winner, they need a progressive thinking GM.

In Damien's world - being the Devil's Advocate means you are always right, never wrong and that you will forever have something negative to write about the hometown team.

In today's Star - Damien actually makes his opinion known to Leaf Nation about his "Dream Team" for the Maple Leafs; a departure from the usual drivel he publishes. Of course, no dream team article would be completely without ruling out the potential of Brian Burke winding up in Toronto. Cox's power troika would have Colin Campbell as President, Dave Nonis as GM (Cox wants Fletcher gone) and Craig Hartsburg as coach. Two out of three ain't bad Damien - we'll take a pass on Campbell.

On the surface, the article is good - but if you have read Cox before, you know that his columns are always premised on having an escape article. Methinks the suggestion that Nonis be GM, is premised solely on the number of articles he could write about how Nonis isn't Burke and how Leaf Nation has to get over the man love we all have for Burke.

Someone should really punch that smug mug of his.

The total for the week is at + $165, the week will end off on a good note. Tonight's suggestions:

Toronto over Cleveland - as bad as they were last night, you can expect the Jays to tease their fans with a good game once every series; it'll probably come tonight with Justin McGowan on the mound. Lay $100 on the Jays + $110.

Boston over Minnesota - Boston should rebound after a tough loss last night. Lay $100 on Dice-K and the Sox - $160.

Los Angeles over Houston - Dodgers' P Chad Billingsley is finally pulling things together, expect that to continue tonight against the Astros. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $180.

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

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

I'm Out!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Time for a name change

Time to find a new name for the page - because you can now read thoughts of Hazel Mae in NESN's blog section.

The blogging world welcomes Hazel into the fold.

Represent peeps.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Blind faith

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

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had relieved coach Paul Maurice of his duties – that was about the only tangible thing members of Leaf Nation took away from yesterday’s press conference. “Interim” GM Cliff Fletcher waxed on about a new era – new management, a new coach and some new players – but those in attendance, and members of the Nation are left to speculate about what it all means.

As things stand now, the NHL’s flagship franchise is without a “permanent” GM, a head coach and a Captain, as Mats Sundin has yet to make a decision on his future. While some have been quick to point to this very fact as proof positive about how dysfunctional the organization is – some, yours truly included, are wondering if this is the beginning of the gutting process before Brian Burke comes to Toronto after the 2008/09 season.

The Maple Leafs have asked the Vancouver Canucks for permission to speak to recently fired GM Dave Nonis – while the naysayers point to Nonis’ less that stellar performance in Vancouver; some of the more astute members of the Toronto media have not overlooked the fact that Brian Burke’s best friend in hockey is…you guessed it Dave Nonis.

What better way to convince Burke not to sign an extension with Anaheim, than to sign his closest confidant to a position in the organization – say, Asst. GM to Cliff Fletcher (with the understanding that he would be defacto GM until Burke comes on the scene) – to start the rebuilding process prior to his arrival.

After publicly stating that he would remain in Anaheim for the 2008/09 season, Burke has yet to sign the extension offered by Ducks ownership a couple of months back. Burke has rarely pulled any punches when asked about his feelings – it wouldn’t be a reach to speculate that Burke’s refusal to sign an extension is his way of publicly showing his displeasure that the Ducks changed their public stance of not preventing him from seeking other opportunities.

IF the Maple Leafs sign Dave Nonis, it would be a clear message to Burke that the organization is indeed willing to wait until the 2009/10 season. It would also force the Ducks hand with respect to their contractual obligations towards Burke – why would they want to retain a GM, albeit a great GM, when his head is likely a few thousand miles away.

Granted, this is all conjecture and a giant leap of faith (hope) – but that is pretty much what Leaf Nation is resigned to these days.

In the world of baseball – Toronto native Joey Votto hit three home runs and drove in four to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-0 pounding of the Chicago Cubs.

The total is looking very good this week (so far) after a 3-0 night on Tuesday – didn’t I tell you about A.J. Burnett? Today’s suggestions:

Minnesota over Chicago – upset special. White Sox starter John Danks hasn’t been very effective against the Twins; at least Kevin Slowey has one good start against the White Sox. Lay $100 on the Twins + $140.

Arizona over Philadelphia – Brandon Webb goes for the Dbacks against tough guy Brett Myers – take Webb to punch Myers out. Lay $100 on the Dbacks - $155.

Seattle over Texas – Felix Hernandez goes for the Mariners – enough said. Lay $100 on Seattle - $175.

That’s it for today gang – if you are a member of Leaf Nation, keep the faith…Burke is coming.

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

I’m Out!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

R & R

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

Two of the most recognizable and celebrated athletes of our time are currently involved in scandals that threaten to tarnish their respective legacies – such as they are at this point in time.

William Roger Clemens
Once considered one of the true pitching legends in baseball – two time World Series winner (so what if he was a four time World Series loser), seven-time Cy Yong winner – also thought to be a freak of nature for his dominant performances well into his 40’s.

What is known
Roger can be a bit high strung and uber competitive – having once buzzed his own son with a eye level fastball after the younger Clemens took Roger deep in an exhibition game.

Roger is a meticulous groundskeeper – quick to pick up any broken bats and get them off the field of play so as not to interfere with the game; so what if his clearance happens to come closer to the base runner?

Accused of being a serial injector:
From injecting himself banned substances to injecting himself into a host of significant and not so significant others (depending on your criteria). It is further alleged that Roger had an improper relationship with a minor.

Adding insult to injury
Each sunrise seems to give rise to yet another person claiming a tryst of some sort with Roger – guess he really is a stud.

Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima – known the world over as “Ronaldo”
Once considered the next greatest thing to the immortal Pele in the world of international football (soccer) – two time World Cup Champion with Brazil, current record holder for most goals in World Cup tournaments, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

What is known
Ronaldo’s heart and commitment has been questioned – with some of his teammates claiming that he literally worried himself to sickness before the 1998 World Cup Final against France.

Ronaldo lives the samba lifestyle – life is one great big party for him. Once dubbed “Fatso” by the Spanish media, he was accused of focusing more on partying in restaurants and clubs in Madrid than on his playing career with Real Madrid.

Accused of being fat and kinky
The accusation of being a fatty has dogged him since his days in Spain – the kinky characterization is a result of the star being caught partying with three transvestite prositutes in a Rio de Janeiro hotel – while he is supposed to be home recuperating from a knee injury. It should be noted that Ronaldo didn’t break the law – the “girls” were of age and prostitution is legal in Brazil.

Adding insult to injury
UNICEF was quick to respond to Ronaldo’s claims that he had worked as an ambassador for the Uninted Nations children’s agency, saying that Ronaldo never occupied such a lofty position with the organization. Maybe Ronaldo was channelling Pele when he said that.

So the question of the day is – who had done more to damage his already sullied reputation?

Yesterday’s picks split – it could have been worse. Today’s suggestions:

Tampa Bay over Toronto – the Blue Jays are riding high, having won five in a row – one would think the good times should continue to roll – think again with A.J. Burnett on the mound for Toronto, he has a history of disappointing in games like these. Lay $100 on the Rays + $145.

Chicago over Cincinnati – the Cubs blew a good performance by the Big Z last time out, they won’t do it again for fear of suffering the wrath of the big guy. Lay $100 on the Cubs - $120.

Chicago over Minnesota – the White Sox have to win eventually – right? Lay $100 on the Sox - $125.

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, May 05, 2008

Pack them up!

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

This page has long maintained that at least 50% of the retards enlisted in “Sens Army” are refugees from the camp of “Les Canadiens” – the exponential rise of “Tards Army” early on in the millennium coincided with the decline of the “tri-colors” and the rise of the Tards. This theory was scoffed at by residents here in the land of the Tards, and explained by the fact that hockey fans here were getting behind the hometown team.

An interesting turn of events over the last couple of weeks following the Tards ouster from the playoffs at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. One might of thought that the 2007/08 hockey season would officially be pronounced dead here in “hockey country” (as referred to by Tards Army) – but a sudden, and rather alarming/sickening proliferation of the dreaded car flag is once again the rage in the land of the Tards; only this time, it’s the dreaded red, white and blue of the Habs that adorns cars all over the Nation’s Capital (that’s Ottawa for our American friends).

You can’t spit without hitting a car with a Montreal Canadiens flag – pull up alongside one of these cars and 9 times out of 10, the douchebag driving the car is adorned in at least one piece of SenaTards paraphernalia. Should you feel the irresistible urge to ask one of these donkeys about their choice in car flags, the most likely answer you’ll get is “The Habs are my second favourite team – they used to be my favourite until Ottawa came to town.” While it sounds like a reasonable, albeit pitiful excuse to put up the car flag, most of these “fans” couldn’t name five pre-2000 SenaTards. Coincidence or proof positive that fans of the Tards and Habs are one in the same – shameless fence-sitting turncoats?

Time to pack those car flags douchebags – or are the Penguins now your third favourite team?

The NHL’s Conference Finals are set, with the Penguins facing off against the Flyers and the Wings taking on the Stars – no predictions, as it would simply be a choice of the lesser of two evils in both series. A Pens/Stars series would be ok here.

When the Bruins traded Joe Thornton to the Sharks, yours truly was particularly critical of the deal – claiming the Bruins didn’t get nearly enough. While the argument holds true in terms of regular season performance – the playoffs are a completely different matter. Another poor playoff performance for Joe Thornton – he was practically invisible during the six games against Dallas – will this guy ever show up and dominate when it counts, or is he destined to be a playoff disappointment year after year? Unfortunately, it is looking like the latter. The sentiment here is that come April, Marco Sturm would get the nod before Joe Thornton.

Oh yeah, how about Ronaldo huh? No, the Brazilian player who got involved with transvestite hookers in Rio de Janeiro; Cristiano Ronaldo scores two more goals over the weekend to bring his season total to 40 goals in all competitions – FORTY FREAKIN GOALS.


Ok, the weekend didn’t end with a flurry of winners – but it didn’t end with a flurry of losers either. Today’s suggestions:

Los Angeles over Kansas City – Ervin Santana goes against former Dodger (and what seems like countless other teams) Brett Tomko – good enough to suggest Santana. Lay $100 on the Angels - $140.

Chicago over Cincinnati – Ryan Dempster doesn’t exactly inspire a world of confidence, but neither should the Reds. Lay $100 on the Cubs even.

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!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Thanks for the memories Joe

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

While much of the hockey world waits in anticipation for the ousting of the 2007/08 Montreal Canadiens (ok, maybe Leaf Nation waits), hockey fans are wondering of we are going to bid adieu to Colorado Avalanche Captain Joe Sakic.

After being swept by the Detroit Red Wings, Sakic said he was unsure about his future and would take some time over the summer to decide whether or not he is going to return for another season. Sakic has quietly been one of the best players of his generation - one of the only players today that you could say "he plays every shift the way the game is supposed to be played". The man has been a model of consistency and epitomized class; he is the ultimate role model for any player entering the NHL. Sakic has to be one of the most respected players to ever play the game - by fans and by his peers. If he decides to hang them up, he can look back on a great career and say that he has accomplished everything there is to in the game of hockey.

Thanks for the memories Joe - you'll be missed.

The total is in the black for the week - albeit minimal - the week will finish off with a flurry of winners.

San Diego over Florida - Jake Peavy goes for the Padres, who are desperately in need of a win; good enough for me to say they win. Lay $100 on the Padres - $155.

Cleveland over Kansas City - C.C. Sabathia is starting to come around, which is bad news for the Royals. Lay $100 on the Tribe - $225.

Boston over Tampa Bay - the Sox will be looking for revenge against Shields who shut them out in Tampa; it is about time Josh Beckett came up with a dominant performance. Lay $100 on the Sox - $160.

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!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Na Na Na Na - Hey Hey Hey...

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

A pretty good example of why Flyers' fans rival Habs fans in terms of being one of the most hated fan bases in the NHL - over and above being douchebags. This is the kind of sign you would see at the Bell Centre - the kind that makes you go "Huh?" Whatever.

The Habs are down 3-1 to the Flyers and seem to be out of answers. The turning point in last night's game came when Habs fan-favourite Steve Bégin was called for interference for a cheap shot (borderline hit from behind) on the Flyers forward Sami Kapanen. The hit came with less than five minutes left in the game, with the Habs having all the momentum after having erased a 2-0 deficit with two quick goals.

Ironic huh? The primary reason for the Habs success this year has been the play of their special teams - especially their power play; for the last seven months, the Habs and their fans have applauded the officiating in the NHL for "calling it like it is - calling a good tight game where a penalty is a penalty" they'll all be crying about the call on Bégin. Let's hear them signing at the Bell Centre on Saturday night...

Suggestions for early afternoon games - back later with night games.

Chicago over Milwaukee - you have to like the "Big Z" today over Milwaukee. Lay $100 on the Cubs - $137.

Washington over Pittsburgh - scary proposition taking Odalis Perez, but Zach Duke has been awful of late. Lay $100 on the Nats - $129.

Los Angeles over Florida - tough for a road team to sweep a series - but Big Blue is on a roll right now. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $126.

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

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

I'm Out!

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