Random Thoughts On A Snowy Toronto Sports Night

Some things have been going on that I think need commenting on, call me crazy (lots of folks do)

The Toronto Sports Fans apathy to the Raptors is at an all time high. The team is in a spiral and not too many people seem to give a rats ass. There is more noise made about the Jays when things go south then there is right now for the Raptors. I heard and read more comments about the Argos dismal efforts then I am noticing with the Raptors. Ask anyone in the sports industry what the worst thing that can happen to an organization and they will tell you fan apathy. The fact that this team is performing so poorly without a whimper of discontent does not bode well for the Raptors. I am stunned that more of the usual suspects haven’t come out a swinging at Bryan Colangelo. I guess the reason they don’t is that they can’t. None of them really know the game well enough to comment. I know, they don’t know hockey either, but with hockey they THINK they do. Kudos to Bob McCown for watching last night’s game(Monday’s) on Raptors TV repeat. The game was on TSN2 which I believe is only available via illegal means here in the GTA. The bobcat was playing scrabble with his son during the live event. Hey at least he watches games on tv!

Could anyone have predicted a less exciting start to the Brian Burke era then we have seen. I know, I know his trading embargo is in place and he is in a new gig learning about his new team, but man what a buzz kill. The build up to his reign was so HUGE that the fall off the cliff was due to be big but man has he been quiet.

Speculation is abound as to what Burke’s first move will be. Berger thinks Burke’s first move will happen between the pipes for the leafs. Dreger thinks it will be for toughness. Dreger even suggests that Burke has an itchy trigger finger so long as teams aren’t asking for Luke Schenn.

Speaking of quiet, serious props to the first radio station in town to get Sam Mitchell on the air. No coach has been more entertaining in recent memory then Smitch. I can’t imagine pleasant things being said if he ends up on 640 before 590.

I love what Ron Wilson is doing. You know that by now. However, I am starting to get a small sense of where things went south in San Jose in how he is speaking, at least publicly about Jason Williams. “Right now I’m watching him under the microscope,” said coach Ron Wilson. “If I see him get comfortable then we’re going to yank his chain around.” Nothing wrong with being a hard ass, but geeze, give the guy some credit. You call the guy up and all he does is score in every game. Would it kill you to give him a small pat on the back? I get the message and I am sure Williams does too.

You know I love the Globe and Mail Sports section. Clearly the most improved in the city. Not sure who wrote this gem as a byline to David Shoalt’s piece “Winger scores on fourth shootout attempt to ensure Toronto doesn’t lose to its former AHL goaltender “. Look Scott Clemmensen deserves a ton of credit. Why? He is making the most of his opportunity. Raise your hand if you think for one second he would see the playing time but for the injury to Brodeur. There are a ton of mistakes the leafs brass has made over the year, letting Clemmensen is not one of them. Claiming that the Leafs would or should be embarrassed to lose to New Jersey and their ex goalie is just baloney. New Jersey is, even without Broduer a pretty amazing team and their record shows it. Losing to them is nothing to be embarrassed about. Given the Leafs squad it is almost expected. Extra kudos to Wilson’s boys for eking one out in a shutout.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm. If Scott Clemmensen carries the Devils far this year does that diminish the accolades of one Martin Brodeur? My favorite New Jersey Devil of all time, ex head athletic trainer Bill Murray (no joke).

Successful sports franchises are those that appreciate the window of opportunity and just how small it is. In each league only one team wins the big one every year. Bad teams are unable to realize just how hard it is to be a champion. It is the smart GM who knows when it is time to admit the opportunity with a certain bunch has passed and make the hard and sometimes unpopular decision to re-tool. Recognizing that you won’t with a group of players who may be fan favorites or good regular season performers is hard. Actually pulling the proverbial band aid off an trading or releasing those assets is really what defines a champion. With that in mind, anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, the ship has sailed for some in Ottawa?

I say it enough times, I am not a basketball guy. However 6 NBA coaches fired so far this season and a combined worse winning percentage then their predecessors tell you something. Perhaps those teams are talent deficient and the coaches are the sacrificial lambs to pacify fans and owners. I agree with Jack Armstrong who said tonight that if he owned a team he would tell a GM before hiring a coach, when you hire this guy you are tied to him. If you want to fire him down the road, you go too. I know it would never work, but man it sounds good doesn’t it?

I am biased, but I really like former University of Vermont Captain Jamie Siffers. Reminds me of all the games he pummeled those nasty Terriers!

Sorry to hear about the 600 layoffs at the Sun’s parent company. People losing their jobs this time of year is beyond sad. If rumors are true that one of those gone from the Sun is Scott Morrison then I have to wonder who is making the decisions at the paper Little TSM loves.

Anyone else wonder what Jeff Marek was thinking jumping off Wilbur’s wing? I don’t know the guy, have nothing against him personally either. Since he left talk640 I have not seen or heard him and I thought he was pretty funny. I know he is on Sirius hockey night in Canada radio. Anyone listening to that? I sometimes tune into the XM hockey channel. I know that I am in the minority when it comes to satellite radio in this town….Not that it is entirely an indicator of performance (and certainly not of Marek that is for sure) but with the Sirius/XM stock at .15, that’s right fifteen cents things aren’t looking for rosy for the satellite radio folks.

Our respects to Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’s father died Monday. From the articles I have read, it sounds like his father was an amazing man and even better father. Here is hoping JS and his entire family are able to make it through the holiday season with only great memories of Claude Giguere.

I love to ski. So reading of an accident involving chair lifts scares the hell out of me. (It also does make me think of that awesome episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. When does the next season start anyway? ) Seriously. I can’t wait to take my kids to Whistler skiing and I have been on the Excalibur lift many a time. I hope that those hurt are ok and that the cause is soon discovered and repaired. For those who don’t know,” The RCMP say at least 10 people were hurt in the accident that happened at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, though none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Fifty-three people were rescued, some after spending three hours in the air.”

Have the Blue Jays done anything, no literally anything to make you want to consider buying a ticket? Me neither.

Congrats to TFC for selling all 16,000 season tickets. In this economy that is, in a word, awesome.

I read tonight that the Yankees have replaced GM with Toyota and Audi as a sponsors of the team. In other news, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Could you imagine if GM were still the automobile sponsor of the Yankees. We need a bailout but…..

True story, I was offered a full page ad in this year’s superbowl game day program and 2 lower level premium seats for $40k with any payment terms I want through the end of 2009. Is it just me, but doesn’t that seem really low?

Have I missed anything? Oh yeah our first reported major snow storm is apparently here. I have a brand new snowblower in my garage. I was pretty psyched to fire it up. Then Joe Sakic had to ruin it for me…. Safe travels tomorrow am all.

OH wait, I know what I forgot, Thursday is Mats Sundin Day. Question, won’t it be interesting if he goes to a team other then the NY Rangers. You know I love McCown. He may still be right. What happens if he doesn’t sign with the Rangers? I know the world won’t end but someone will have some splain to do. For my part, “oh well, my sources were wrong” won’t just cut it. If I were Rick Toccheting on a prognosticator I would go with Hanky. I am pretty sure he has had #13 going to every team in the league at some point so he has to be right. One last Sundin thought for the night. Riddle me this. Do we get a farewell press conference in Toronto. Will we not get the tearful goodbye so many people here want and deserve?

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