Godd Till: November 2007 Archives

Till Bits

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The stupid's so thick I couldn't pick just one, so here are some assorted bits...

Today's Coxbag marks a new low for DC Talk. After spending the majority of his replies talking about the dysfunctional mess that is MLSE, he then bashes Quinn at the end for not being able to get along with them. He used to just flip-flop from column to column, now he can't stay on message for even one whole mailbag. To be fair, though, siding with MLSE or Quinn is like Sophie's Choice in reverse for Damien.

I was impressed Steve Simmons managed to write today's mea culpa for MLSE with Richard Peddie's hand somewhere around his ribcage. You may snicker, but how else is he going to get insider info like last summer's blockbuster about Sundin's career-ending hip problem? BTW, Mats has 12 goals and 18 helpers in 25 games. And Steve still has a job. Anyway, the piece itself is some nonsense about how no one's ever interfered with Brylcreem Jr's decisions - except mandating that his rebuilding plan included making the playoffs every year. The headlines for Steve-O's last two efforts? "Leafs Problems Go All The Way To The Top," and "GM Blew It, Not The Board." I'm so confused! And hey, whatever happened to Landon Wilson?

The Ottawa Shitizen doesn't do 180s, thankfully. Their sports reporting comes in only one flavour: wrong. Here's the take from definitely-not-a-porn-pseudonym  Hugh Adami:

And as the 8-11-5 Leafs are flirting with last place in the NHL standings and their playoff hopes this season become an even bigger laugh, they're also without a major rebuilding tool. They're facing the June entry draft without a first-round pick in hand.
Ferguson gave that pick away to the San Jose Sharks last June...

Which is when the Sharks used it, slaphead. The Leafs have a first in the upcoming draft. All the more reason to can Brylcreem now, cause if he has the keys much longer all we'll get from it is Yanic Perreault's 14th stint in Toronto. Wasn't Perreault Rick Vaive's linemate one year? I think the first time the Leafs dealt him was over stealing a bottle of CC from Punch Imlach's glove compartment.

Also notable: the article's lede is about how JFJ's dead father would feel about this mess. Classy!

Finally, Bobby Holik is laughing at the Leafs:

As for the panic in Toronto, Holik chuckled. Again.

"There always is a situation up there,"

Actually Bobby's an expert on how stupid GMs can be - after all, he was signed to the worst contract in NHL history. Imagine a bigger Matt Stajan making 9M per. Oh, stop it, you're killing me! Now watch him score a hat trick tonight. And remember, we're one game closer to something or other. Go Leafs Go!

That Toronto Play

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Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

-Macbeth, Act V

Kind of sums it all up, doesn't it? Except "idiot" should probably be pluralized in our case. Of course, Macbeth is one of the English language's greatest tragedies. Someone once said that tragedy the second time is farce; seeing as this is about the seventh franchise meltdown over the last forty years (the amount of time it's been since the Leafs won the Cup - I think maybe Damien Cox has mentioned it?) it's comforting to know that yep, it's still farce. The sound and fury is cranked to 11 today, but absolutely nothing of substance is happening.

The most embarrassing moment of the young week was provided by Richard Peddie. The Teacher's Pet popped his head up to admit that hiring Brylcreem Jr was a "mistake." So he's getting fired then? Oh, you're stepping down for failing at the fundamental hockey task that was your charge? Oh, neither. Thanks for coming out!
The board will apparently attend tonight's game en masse, for some reason.  I hope they sit with JFJ. The inevitable 50 000 gondola shots will be more entertaining then the game.

In other news, someone has started a "Fire JFJ" site. I'm torn on this one. While it's nice to see Larry Tanenbaum using technology to reach out to the fans, it's troubling that he can't spell "cheering" properly. I'm sure he's got no problems with "boo," however.

What of the mittenstringers? At least most have got the central illness diagnosed - that the structure is fucked from top to bottom. Hell, even Simmons wrote a column I mostly agreed with today. That Simmons can mostly figure it out is a sign of just how obviously dysfunctional this structure is, coming from a man who would probably pin the OJ murders on Marcus Allen.

What most writers, especially LeBrun and Shoalts get wrong, however, is their assertion that if the very best isn't available, they need to keep Fergie around till year-end. What point does that serve? The Leafs need picks, prospects, and cap room yesterday.  Brylcreem has no motivation to do this - in fact, he's in just the opposite postion. Furthermore, if he does try to make a deal, what motivation do other GMs have to offer him anything half-decent?  JFJ has about as much juice around the league right now as Corey Haim does in Hollywood. Would you let Corey Haim try to get value from a Sundin trade? Varry Galk noted yesterday that the Leafs need to bring in an Embry to calm things down and mastermind the search for the next guy. I really think that's the way it needs to go. Or hell, they could just fire Fergie and bring in a four-headed committee of dynamos consisting of Messier, Healy, Kurvers, and Cox. I feel like Jon Stewart on the eve of the 04 election: either I'll get what I want, or it's gonna be real easy to make jokes for the next few years. Right now, that's as good as it gets for Leafs fans. A tragedy, indeed.

Before I go, I wanted to highlight a couple things:

 PPP has a great take on the MLSE clusterfuck, which I agree with almost totally (we're a bit split on where to go from here). He'll have a game thread up for tonight's completely counterproductive Leafs win. Let's stop by for tonight's game and enjoy some gondola Kremlinology together!

And Bitter Leaf has taken the opposite approach to the current madness - the sweet embrace of Leafs madness of years past! He has a wonderful trip down memory lane with the help of old programs, John Anderson Burger, and Cliff Fletcher's muttonchops. Both are must-reads.

Be careful out there.


I was optimistic about this Leafs team as the season began. As the cold weather began to set in I could be heard loudly crowing to my friends that this team would make the playoffs, and rather easily, at that. Once the usual doubts set in after a listless start, I pilloried the mitten-stringers for their hysteria, but pointed out here that we could be in for a bloodbath if things didn't improve.

Saturday night, I was out and about with my brother, as we went shopping to make up some Saturday night gourmet shit. Once we'd gotten back to his house with some veal shanks that, beyond being delicious, had more toughness and versatility than half the Leafs blueline I switched on the Toronto-Phoenix tilt, against my better judgement. I don't know why I was surprised, but I still did a double-take when I saw the score. Halfway through the second, down 5-1 to a team picked by some to be historically bad, I had a beer, a smoke, and a bout of deja vu.

In Quinn's last year behind the bench, the Leafs mounted a late surge to put themselves on the brink of the playoffs. It came down to a crucial home-and-home with Montreal. Watching Toronto get waxed in the second game, I took the time to savour the team I was watching. It was the end of an era, the end of a team that had come close, and given me a lot of joy, but never ended our bitter time in the wilderness.

Four years later, and I have that end of an era feeling again, but without the good memories. It's all over now, white and blue. Yes, the frenzy is swirling, and the Leafs and their fans are about to be plunged into another whirlpool of doubt, blame, recrimination, speculation, rumours, lies, and horseshit that one stop until a body or two comes out of the ACC and someone else walks in. Tonight, next week, next April, it's gonna happen. There's blood in the water.

I don't have much to say about the media coverage of the past couple days. The Star seems to be hinting MLSE will stay the course. The Sun, on the other hand, has Simmons saying Brylcreem Jr tried to can Maurice (who looked close to bawling after the Phoenix game - a stark reminder of what the pressures of pro sports must do to people) but wasn't allowed to, and JFJ denying it. It's a measure of something that I actually believe Simmons on this one. As Milhouse Van Houten once said, we're through the looking glass here, people. Peddie says the Leafs won't do anything. Vote of confidence or kiss of death? Everyone, everyone, is mooting possible successors: Yzerman, Bowman, Quinn, Burns, Messier, Francis, Glen Healy, Craig Button, Neil Smith. Hell, John Brophy could use a job.
Left with knowing, like Mr Jones, that something is happening but they don't know what it is, the locals have been flailing about throwing out names. Is there anything to it? I doubt it. If they had something, they'd narrow it down a little. Mirtle is opining that the Leafs are the most dysfunctional organization in hockey. Finally, something I can take to the bank.

I'm honestly at a loss here. Right now, we play the waiting game, which is much less fun than Hungry Hungry Hippos. We wait, and tot up the inevitable idiocy that will flow freely from the Toronto media. So, Constant Readers, what do you think? What do you want to see? When will the axe fall? What rumours have something, and what are just the sound of one hand typing? Where do the Leafs go from here? Unlike Cox or Simmons, I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers, except to say that this is a failed team, from Wozniewski all the way up to Peddie and Tanembaum. It needs changes at every level.

Montreal tomorrow night. The greatest rivalry in hockey. I'm almost hoping we lose, just to get it over with.
No matter what, this site is gonna have no shortage of material over the next few months.... "Come on down here and chum some of this shit."

Till Bits

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Our look at the escalating JFJ DEATHWATCH XIVIDI (WATCH HARDER) will be up sometime tonight. Till then (Geddit?), here's some Bits to tide you over.... Working-class hero Howard Berger is at it again today- . While the Maple Leafs will be dining on caviar in their private box, I'll be wolfing down a Carl's Jr. bacon-western cheeseburger during my first NFL experience in this city... A bacon cheeseburger, Howard! Long may your struggle continue! Seriously, this shit is getting a bit rich. While pro athletes are unbelievably well-compensated, they are among the few hundred best people ON EARTH at their profession. Howard Berger, who watches Leafs games for free, every night, when tens of thousands of Leafs fans can't get tickets, isn't even a first-line mitten-stringer....Also, do they really serve caviar at Texas Stadium? I somehow doubt it...If Berger needs an economics lesson, Cox is flunking physics. Today's mailbag redefines phoning it in, as a DC Talk is now outsourcing his ant-Leafs vitriol to his army of clones, then basically writing "YUP! MEGADITTOES!" at the bottom. Cox should tread carefully, or else the Star will outsource his job to a guy in Thailand with a Center Ice subscription and an anger-management problem...Where were we? Physics! Asked about what should be done about Maple Leaf Gardens, Cox treats us to this: That said, the building never meant much more to me than losing and disgrace, so perhaps its current state is fitting. Going nowhere fast. Outstanding. Asked about what to do with one of the most historic buildings in Canada, Cox thinks its all about him. So what if the Leafs won 11 Cups there, that it was the site of the first NHL All-Star-Game, one of Elvis's handful of concerts outside the US was there, it played host to the Beatles, Muhammad Ali, Neil Young, and so many more? Damien doesn't like it.
High-five for that metaphor, too, except IT'S A GODDAM BUILDING, DAMIEN. You know like "built?" Like, "into the ground?" Of course it's not going anywhere...Much like the rest of your mailbag... Ooooh *+3 Analogies*...
And hey, whatever happened to Alexey Stakhanov?

With Simmons exiled to Grey Cup duty, we didn't get quite the mitten-stringer pile-on I predicted last night, but there's no shortage of idiocy on Toronto's sports pages today, much of it revolving around six-time Vezina Trophy winner Tuuka Rask. Wharnsby called both goals that eluded the love-child of Terry Sawchuk and Chuck Norris 'fluky,' saying of Mats's goal "The puck was on its edge and beat Rask on the stick side because it dipped at the last second." Mmm-hmm. And Komisarek only scored the winner on Raycroft last week because his five-hole opened bigger than Jeff O'Neill's pizza order at the last second. With that excuse-making ability, Wharnsby is ready for a job at MLSE.

This pales in comparison to Cox, a man who, to paraphrase the old Army saying, writes five illogical things before breakfast. Last night's loss, we are assured by DC Talk, shows us that all that injuries haven't hurt the Leafs, they just suck, cause now they're all healthy. Um, except two of their top four defencemen are injured. And Make-A-Wish Wozniewski isn't. Silence, we say! Excuses don't fly with Cox. Unless its yesterday, and he's not writing about the Leafs. I mean, he gave the Ducks a pass for their crappy start cause they apparently had jetlag that lasted a month. Also, trading a 2nd rounder for a guy who can't crack the Crapitals lineup is a great move. The Spin, indeed.

Much like the Buds he hates though, he waits till the last moment to really squeeze out the crap:

Something - anything - should be done. Atlanta has fired a coach, Dallas canned its GM, while the champion Ducks have dumped a goalie and acquired a new grinder.

Yet the Leafs preach patience, when in reality meaningful patience, as represented by a lost prospect like Rask and the first-round pick given up for Toskala, long ago went out the window.

The Leafs haven't been patient enough - so Cox recommends PANIC! WAIVE RAYCROFT! EXILE BLAKE! CRACK OPEN KILGER'S SKULL AND FEAST ON THE GOO INSIDE!!!!!

Funny stuff from a man who, two short weeks ago, was extolling Brylcreem Jr's blueprint:

Six of the Leaf draftees in the lineup tonight, meanwhile, will be 24 years of age or younger, and John Ferguson's group believes that it has two 21-year-old stars of the future in Marlie goalie Justin Pogge and Nikolai Kulemin, a 12-goal shooter in 24 Russian league games this season.

All in all, that's progress, or at the very least, an intelligent change of approach for the Leaf hockey department despite all ownership has done to undermine those hired to make hockey decisions in order to find a shortcut to even two or three games of playoff revenue and feed the 22 per cent profit margin monster.

Ottawa, clearly, has used a logical draft-and-develop blueprint to build the terrific team it now ices on a nightly basis.

So maybe, to be fair, if they're geniuses in Ottawa - after all, they've got one Stanley Cup final victory now to lord over all - they can't be total dummies down south here in Ontario's second city of hockey.

So Damien, were you full of it then, or now? My money's on both. You're just that good.

Kudos to Mirtle for getting to the bottom of the "Who-leaked-Jiri NSFW?" mystery today; Zack Taylor (really Teperman - didn't know that showbiz tradition was still going) is a no-good gutter-crawling Facebook stalker.
I was hoping it was Johnny Pohl.

The lesson, as always - Facebook sucks. Or, you can pick your friends, but you probably shouldn't pick anyone.
One to grow on, indeed.

The Future Is Berger

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Thinking of watching the Leafs game tonight? Don't bother. The Bruins are starting former Raycroft-bait Tuuka Rask tonight, and Howard Berger has gazed into his crystal ball and predicted that Rask will stone the Leafs and leave Brylcreem Jr sobbing into his Thundercats jammies, on his way to seven Vezinas and five... no six Conn Smythes. Either this is a desperate ploy to jump the line on the mitten-stringer pile-on that will no doubt ensue if Rask shines in a Boston win, or Howie can really predict the future. Maybe whatever Eklund has is spreading to the rest of the Hockeybuzzers. I can't say any more right now, but strap yourself in for a crazy night!

PS Howard - in future, could you put up all Leafs results an hour before the game? It'd really free up some time for me. Thanks in advance!

Jirieally Did It This Time

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Ever since the Jiri NSFW fiasco blew up the Toronto media this week, I've been wrestling with how to handle it. As posted yesterday, when we found out about the "story" a week ago, we decided it was foolishness, and to leave it be. If only the mitten-stringers could have followed our lead. Because in their handling of the story, they have revealed far more than just the pixellated schlong of a naive young winger; the real story here is how much we have learned about the stagnant cesspit that is Leafs media coverage.

That's why this post will be short on jokes. Once I decided to write on this, I initially thought I'd give it a light touch, lambasting the usual idiots, and we could all move on to poking fun at Richard Griffin's addiction to The View, or Steve Simmons's tenuous grip on logic. But the more I read the coverage of Tlusty, the angrier I got. Quite frankly, this is the easily the lowest point Leafs media has sunk in my memory. Regular readers, of this site or the usual organs, will know what a sorry benchmark that is. And just as watching the Leafs get waxed 5-1 by Ottawa was a nadir that allowed observers to dissect the main problems (awful defensive zone coverage, poor coaching, strange inability to show up for important games) besetting the Buds on the ice, so does the sorry and disturbing spectacle of middle-aged sportswriters getting all het up over a Leaf rookie's private nudie shots highlight some distressing themes of Toronto hockey media and the wider national culture.

First, we have the mittenstringers' inability to actually break a story, even if you believe Jiri NSFW is a legitimate or important one. I, like most other Leaf fans with a computer and a pulse, heard about/saw the photos last week. They were linked on Deadspin. They were disseminated on other blogs and message boards. Yet the mitten-stringers didn't get on the case till about a week later, which in Internet time is about the lapse between, oh, the signing of the Magna Carta and the October Revolution. Heckuva job, boys. Welcome to the Internets - don't forget to check out the funny cat pictures!

Of course, this really isn't any kind of story, is it? Lonely kid in foreign country meets girl, sends embarassing pictures to her, they get out on the Internet, personal embarassment for kid. Wait, it is a story - it's pretty much the third reel of American Pie! Is it a hockey story? Is it important to anyone, save Jiri Tlusty, his family, and whoever put the pictures out there? Absolutely not. Yet, as Shoalts pointed out, (and yes, Shoalts is the only mainstream columnist I've seen with a cromulent take on this one)  the feeding frenzy erupts nonetheless, with the myriad papers, columnists, TV stations and call in hosts rushing to tear this kid up, give us "their take," cast the first stone. All of them of course, pale in the face of the Sun, the only paper with the stones to exploit a 19-year old's nakedness and humiliation by running the photo on the front page. The Little Paper That Could!

If any of them are called on this bullshit, what we will hear was "it was the story." "Everyone else was covering it." The combination of this herd mentality and a corporate view that dollars, eyeballs, hit counts, are the only measure of success is why more people cover a Paris Hilton court appearance than a global AIDS pandemic, or closer to home, exactly what our country is doing over in Afghanistan anyways.

On that topic, let's discuss the bag of wasted cells that published the photos in the first place, completely with a sniggering "T-Bone in the Morning" style interview that consisted mostly of variations on "So Jiri, are you a fag or what huhhuh?" The guy claims his ambition is to be the Canadian Perez Hilton (cause Ryan Seacrest is taken, I guess- Campanelli Represent!), a statement so sad and vacuous that, on the heels of Are You Smarter Than A - Canadian - Fifth Grader? makes we want to give up on this country for good and spend the rest of my days in bitter, homicidal jungle exile, Mosquito Coast-style. George Grant was right.

Thanks be to the mittenstringers, for they have doubled this douchebag's hits. Worse, they have participated  in and validated his witless homophobia, homophobia that anyone with a passing familiarity with junior hockey knows is endemic and systematic, a black loathing infesting the Game all levels, the Game that the likes of Ron MacLean solemnly invoke as representing the true ethos of Canada. Ron's more right than he knows. Wonder why it was the tongues picture that The Sun chose to run on its front page?

That's why the moralizing, the salve needed by the journos to justify using humiliation and hate to move units, stinks so foully. Reading Cox (which Mr Jorn will fully eviscerate tonight - it's just that bad), one call smell the hypocrisy. Leafs journalists who have jumped on Jiri, ask yourself - is this what you wanted to do with your life? Is this what being a sportswriter was supposed to be like? For the final irony here is that it isn't Jiri who has really been exposed - it's you. And you should be ashamed of yourselves.


Cocks! Cancer! Cox! Lawsuits! Won't somebody think of the children!?!?!? Unfortunately, Mr Jorn and I are otherwise occupied today: myself, digging through Nick Kypreos's garbage, Kim in a raptor suit lining up for Sam Neill's John Hancock at JurParCon '07 at the Ajax Best Western.

Fear not, however, your correspondents are keeping close tabs on the stories that have racheted up the Hogtown sports pages from depressingly stupid to hilariously, deliriously batshit insane. Times like these make it tempting to go off half-Coxed, and spew whatever nauseous bile first comes to mind, but the situation demands consideration. Rational thought. Reasoned analysis. Time to construct great dick jokes - because merely good dick jokes would be a disservice to you, the reader.

If you'll permit us to cover our ass for a moment, we were well aware of the Jiri NSFW story last week; we decided it wasn't really sports journalism so we left it. Furthermore, we feel bad enough about generating links and buzz for the usual mitten-stringers, let alone some low-rent Canadian version of Perez Hilton. This is yet another reason why Kim and I will never make it journalism, cause J Jonah Toronnasun looked at the same story and saw FRONT PAGE BABY!

I gotta say, I didn't think anything was gonna bump Howard Berger getting sued by Sean Avery off the top of the hopper, but that's the kinda couple days it's been. Bear with us, cause tomorrow the gloves are coming off, and we're hitting this shit harder than Dick Griffin pummels his JP Ricciardi pillowcase. With the way the discourse is going, maybe we need to start a porn site, too. So come back tomorrow for all the snark you need, some analysis, about every butt-naked tongue showing cancer-mocking bit of it.

You've been warned.

Till Bits

The bullshit is coming fast and thick these days, so if I can't beat Simmons, I'll have to join him by inaugurating this brainsqueeze...try as I might, I couldn't think up a title to top this guy...


So Cox Bloc fave and all around good guy Al Strachan was touting the merits of Glenn Healy as the Leafs next GM (I wonder if Brylcreem Jr watches the Hot Stove between periods. Awkward! On second thought, he probably spends intermissions in the can doing shots of creme de menthe and reapplying his hair treatment)... the smackdown Al received from Eric Duhatschek wasn't enough to keep Professional Journalist Howard Berger from barking a hearty me too on his blog today, going so far to compare him to Brian Burke...If the Leafs want to get someone even less experienced than Brylcreem Jr to run the hockey side, I'd go for Scott Clemmensen. He too is a career backup, has no managerial training, and would be a cheap in-house solution...crystal meth is cheaper than ever these days...


The Star's Chris Zelkovich takes Don Cherry to task for creaming his silks over Oglethorpe-style rhubarbs yet again. It's so cute when these guys pretend Grapes can read... Steve Simmons didn't disappoint on Sunday. First off we get his summation of Igor Larionov's case, saying that based on his years in the NHL alone, he shouldn't be a candidate. Of course, it's partly based on his decade-plus as one of the top players in Russia, you say. But Simmons has got you there - so was Vladimir Krutov, and no one's arguing his Hall case. So SImmons tries to negate both ends of Larionov's career. Nice try, Steve. You wanna know why no one argues for Krutov? 34 career NHL points in one disinterested, donut filled season. Larionov in the NHL: 16 seasons, 644 points, 3 Stanley Cups, almost all after the age of 30. QE-fucking-D, Steve...Simmons also treats us to his fond memories of the good old days, when no one came to Hall of Fame press conferences... forget that the NHL needs all the good publicity it can get, Simmons wants first crack at the cheese tray, dammit.... I can't even fathom this gem, so I'll give it to you straight: "Instant replay in baseball should be used for home runs and plays at the plate, not just homers ...."....seriously, you can pick up meth downtown nowadays for five bucks that'll keep you grinding for a week....


So Landsberg is running a contest to get him some OTR clones. If you vote, you're automatically entered into a draw for a trip for two to Toronto and two tickets to a taping. Second prize is four tickets... But seriously, you know Landsberg is in trouble when the Dook of York and his cronies are scoring points off you.... Thanks to Pension Plan Puppet for passing this Starwipe gem along - apparently Kevin McGran still thinks it's last year... but he's way ahead of his Star colleague Dick Griffin, who still gets his ideas on winning baseball from Pitching in the Pinch by Christy Mathewson. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say...our first mailbag will be up this week, so last chance for questions... And hey, whatever happened to my meth dealer? Guy was supposed to be here an hour ago...


Before Kim or I do a pre-emptive wade into this week's new shocking developments (ie Simmons breaking a story), I thought I'd pass on on a couple quick hits.

Allan Ryder has a good piece in the Globe today using statistical analysis to break down Ottawa's incredible start, concluding that they've been a little lucky but are still scary good, and that they have a shot (thanks to Whack-A-Mole and the NHL's Pointz for Everyone initiative) at breaking the alltime points record, set by the Bruins or someone back in the 70s. Cleveland Barons? Of course, if they played the Leafs every night, they'd have it in the bag by Christmas.

Also, I can't find a link, but apparently (according to 590) the Leafs have sent Anton Stralman down to the Marlies to make room for the RETURN OF THE MACKABE. The move makes sense on one level, giving Stralman a chance to get ice-time and continue to develop. However, after the Leafs failed to show up in Kanata, we got this from Maurice:

"We have to put the clamps on our back end and put pressure on our forwards to help out. You don't want to give up five odd-man rushes in a game; we gave up four in the first six minutes."

Maurice hinted he'll bench players if necessary to keep the team from taking itself out of games.

Andy Wozniewski is still on the Leafs. Says it all, doesn't it?

Cox: Please Send Me Emails

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We're a few hours away from the latest tilt in the Battle of Ontario. Rivalries like this one always get players and fans alike pumped up to bring their A game, give 110%, make it easy for themselves, and play a full 60 minutes. Damien Cox is no different, as today he cranks up the intensity and shamelessly tries to pad his hit counts with a torturously-argued swipe at the Senators. Most notable about it is his claim that the Leafs know what they're doing, which would only contradict almost everything he has written about them over the last decade. Remember this piece the next time TEH COX asks you to take anything he writes seriously.

Wade Redden sucks.

He's The Decider

So I'm sitting here wrestling with the fleshy maw of Simmon's Sunday brainsqueeze when a thought hit me, a thought so depressing it would send lesser men jumping in front of a bus or -even worse- packing in their self-respect, buying that Alfredsson jersey and moving to Kanata: I spend more time picking apart Steve's weekly diarrhea than he probably does crapping it out.

It got me thinking of Simmons himself. How does he do it, week after week? How does he summon the strength to keep lashing together his endless juvenile diatribes, made-up rumours and uninformed bullshit? He must be special. Where other writers would say "Maybe I should think about this for a few minutes" or "wait, I'm just talking out of my ass here" Simmons just forges ahead with whatever floats through his brain. It's almost inspiring. In another, simpler, time and place, say the United States of eight years ago, a man like that could have been President.

Enough day dreaming. Come on Pagoda, let's hit it!

Richard Peddie continues to insist that John Ferguson's performance as Maple Leafs general manager will be evaluated at the end of the season.

The question is: Why wait that long?

Um, cause there's nobody out there to hire in the middle of the year? If you randomly hire and fire without a plan, eventually you pull the squeaky-voiced kid outta the break room and send him out to deal with Sather and Bowman. That's right - you end up with Gord Stellick as GM.

In the wake of Ottawa's signing of Jason Spezza for seven years and $49 million US, it is even more apparent what a mess Ferguson has made of the Leafs' salary situation for this and the coming years.

The Stanley Cup contending Senators, with Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alredsson all under contract for the future, have just more than $41 million in salaries committed to next season...

Yeah, just like locking up Richards, Lecavalier, and St. Louis turned the Lightning into a dynasty. Also, no mention that this likely spells the end of Wade Redden's time in Ottawa. Sad to say, but Cox actually has a cromulent take on this in his Monday blog.

Worth revisiting: Former Winnipeg coach Urban Bowman's view on why CFL expansion to the U.S. would never work: "You can't play on Fridays because of high school. You can't play on Saturdays because of college. You can't play on Sundays because of the NFL. Doesn't leave many days, does it?"

Hmm, I must have missed the CFL announcing they were expanding to the US again. Thanks for passing on this piece of wisdom, Steve. What's that? They have absolutely no plans to and this has been a dead issue for a decade? Worth revisiting = worth getting Steve four lines closer to going back to bed.

Barry Bonds says he will not go to the Hall of Fame if there is any kind of asterisk placed to his home run-record baseball that will be on display. Which should make it simple: Put up the asterisk and keep Bonds out.

Yeah, keeping baseball's alltime home run leader outta the Hall. Wraps it up in a neat little bow. Whatver your feelings about Barry, this is bad publicity they would dread. The Hall knows (a lot better than Steve) that they need the players more than the players need it.

.. All these years later, you can't say the Raptors have made it big in Canada. How else do you explain having their season opener on The Score, followed up by a game on the digital channel, Raptors NBA TV?

All these years later, you can't say that Canadian sports columnists understand basketball or know how to inform fans about it. How else do you explain Simmons' Raptors season preview this week, a good chunk of which concerned how he hates Brylcreem Jr?

A Philadelphia judge got quite personal in his criticism of Eagles coach Andy Reid and his drug-addicted sons. But if he hasn't lived in that house or been exposed to the disturbing powers of heroin addiction up close, he can be as personal as he chooses, but he has no idea what he is talking about ...

Yeah, where does this judge get off? Making "judgements" about things that haven't actually directly happened to them. The chutzpah. The unmitigated gall. Seriously though, we should have qualified people in society who can rule on these kinds of sticky legal situations of which they have no direct experience. We'll call them gaugers, or Surmisers General, or something. Could come in handy.

I kid, but Simmons is really just defending his turf. We already have a name for people who come down with their verdict on a situation unhindered by experience, logic, research, or wisdom - "columnist." Having no idea what he is talking about IS STEVE SIMMONS' JOB, PEOPLE! Step the fuck off.

Staring Into The Void

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We're moving on from our usual gang of idiots today and taking a trip up Highway 7 (keep all your doors securely fastened once we're east of Perth). I heard from a poster on TMLfans that Ottawa's Team 1200 is having a "Why I'm proud to be a bandwagon jumper" contest. Basically, Sens fans get an adult to dial the phone and then they explain why they switched their allegiance from Leafs to Senators. Winner gets free tickets to catch up with current Leafs fans in Ottawa, who will make up the customary 65% of the crowd at Tuesday's Leafs-Sens tilt. You might want to make fun of Team 1200 for instigating a contest that plays to the worst stereotypes of Sens fans as sad, small-time frontrunners, but hey. It's a step up from from their usual fare of jokes about domestic violence.

It was Hegel, or maybe Jan Hrdina, who had an explanation for the existential plight of the benighted Senators fan. He called it negative identity, defining yourself against something bigger instead of what you actually stand for. Ultimately, it leaves you empty at the centre, afraid to confront what it is you really are. How else to explain a town six months removed from a trip to the Finals, poles apart from the Leafs in terms of points and future outlook, still feeling the need to rage at the Blue and White? Deep down, Sens fans know they once were Habs fans, or they were Leafs fans, or they are twelve; either way, they live in the most boring city in Canada, which certainly puts them high in the running for lamest worldwide.

But that's not the scariest part, dear reader. This sad stunt is yet another reminder that, as much as reading Simmons or listening to Watters makes us long for the sweet relief of a nailgun pressed to the temple and fired, they are role models to the Ottawa media. They're where the Ottawa guys want to be. So take some pity on the sad sacks in the nation's capital, and give them a break or two. The Leafs always do - in the regular season, anyways.