Tag Archives: Alexander Ovechkin

Pogge Up- Down The Stretch They Come

So we are going to see the start of the professional evaluation of one Justin Pogge. It’s a good thing too. At least when he is in net the pundits are going to have lots to write about. One shot, he’s good the next- he’s a bum. Burke and Wilson need to know what they have sooner rather then later and well sooner starts now. If Pogge can’t play in the NHL we had better know now as the planning is well under way. As one scout told me after the last game, Burke isn’t done his evaluations yet, when he is the dominoes will start to fall. One evaluation that is obvious is that of Justin Pogge.

Sorry for the NFL thought, but I am curious, US newspapers are ceasing to cover the NHL in droves, yet our news outlets are all already down in Tampa for the superbowl. Seems odd to me, does it to anyone else?

Doug Gilmour is a favorite. Someone, anyone please explain to me why he told Damien he was paying for his current players to attend the event honoring the former captain this Saturday night while Steve Simmons’s story is that a penguins player is the one who actually paid for the tickets? No really, why would Gilmour lie about something so small, he looks like and would be a liar if this is true.

Suspended not suspended, injured, not injured WHO CARES…enough already. Why was this the only thing being talked about today? There has to be something better to talk about then this.

I will say it again, there is no better player in the game today then Alexander Ovechkin. He is the only player in the league I would pay to see, night in and night out. He is strong, he is tough, he is animated, he is talented, he is the guy the NHL needs to start selling as the face of the league.

Have all the good rumor sources dried up? Garrioch had the Leafs looking at Pronger, Hanky gave the Jay Bo to the buds his highest rating before a deal being done. Where are all the good scoops?

The Avs are coming up this week. Tucker and Red light Raycroft doing battle against their former teammates (or what is left of them). It will be very interesting to hear the interviews with Tucker this week and then to see his sideshow Bob antics take shape against his former club.

Ok sports fans, who pulls the trigger first, Burke or Colangelo? Which player gets dealt first, a Leaf or Jermaine O’Neal?

Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all

One For The Files From Simmons

I am in grumpy mood today for some reason…. First these two idiots who work in my building insisted on pushing the elevator up button after seeing it was full and then laughed there way on it. These two “lovely” (think Owen’s mama in Throw Momma From the Train) had 2 giant starbucks drinks in their paws. Know this, the Starbuck’s closest to my office is usually slower then Brad Marsh on a break out. So if these two had time to wait at starbucks they clearly could have waited for the next F@!#$!@ elevator! Then, to top it off, I am getting inundated with freind requests on facebook from people I have no clue who they are. This is on my personal account, and face it I am just not popular enough to garner any attention. If you want to be my friend for some reason…tell me why or at the very least who the F#@$#@ you are!

Ok…. So, little TSM get’s the Sun delivered every am to follow up on the Logos in the sports section. The sun does a great job at showing team logo’s for results and he likes that… So I get an early glimpse at that one daily before the others. Not sure if you caught this gem from Simmons on why he thinks Burke’s job is going to be especially challenging (I wonder if he will remember that when he carves him):

“Another truth: If you actually study how bad teams become good teams in the NHL, you quickly realize how few draft picks actually make a difference. The Flyers have only one player on their team from their past five drafts. The Capitals have four, but three are stars in Ovechkin, defenceman Mike Green and centre Nicklas Backstrom. The Bruins use only one first-round starter from the past six drafts.”

Fascinating. So the Leafs are screwed because they don’t have the picks, (which few stellar teams apparently use anyway) and because they don’t have the building blocks. The one team not mentioned in any of Simmons’s theories is of course Detroit. Why would he mention them anyway? What have they done?

Coming up later today, the worst article written in 2009….

The Best Article You Will Read Today

Friends, if you only read one thing today, read Michael Farber on Sean Avery. This is the type of work we hunger for and should demand more of. For every time we hear “there must be more to the story” there should be an article like this. Brilliant work Michael!

Here is the gist and some highlights:

Avery is a team killer. A train wreck. In complete opposition to what his dad, the NHLPA and other supporters have tried to say before, he is not just a good boy… Farber, at the end of the 3 page must read comes to the realization that someone will one day take a flier on Avery….

” Avery was guilty of hockey’s deadliest sin: being a lousy teammate. There can be room for personal agendas in other sports—think Terrell Owens with the Cowboys—but hockey takes a dim view of square pegs in their perfectly rounded holes. The ethos is different. Unlike baseball clubhouses, where players sit facing their stalls, or football locker rooms, where players are segregated by position, a hockey dressing room is designed so all players face toward the center, gazing at one another. Avery did not look at his teammates in Dallas. Between periods he would often sit by himself in the hallway, headphones on, a citizen of Planet Sean. When Avery was in the dressing room, according to Stars veteran Mike Modano, he was often on his phone, discussing a potential book deal or his movie project, a romantic comedy based on the life of the only NHL player to spend his summer as an intern at Vogue.”

One word….WOW

“Avery wore shorts with his sport coats to preseason games because, Modano said, “he didn’t feel he could express himself if he dressed the same as everybody [else]…. He just seemed unwilling to do what we were all asked to do, on and off the ice. He wanted to march to his own beat.” Avery was the iconoclast clown, throwing spitballs at hockey’s ways.”

To quote LT, “OMG” (oh my god)

“After he signed, I told him that now that he’d gotten the big contract, he could take it down a notch and just go out and play hockey,” said Red Wings forward Kris Draper, Avery’s friend and former teammate. “Unfortunately that’s not what happened.”

We all know it hurts the most when friends go on the record with stuff like this….

“POLL YOUR average American, suggests an NHL veteran, and Avery will draw higher name recognition than any active player aside from Sidney Crosby. Avery, who declined to be interviewed for this story, retains the services of a Hollywood public relations firm, the only active NHL player known to have a nonsports publicist. For him this is a reasonable investment. According to a former teammate, Avery was at a house party in New York City last summer when an actress from a popular television show started chatting him up. She said she didn’t know much about hockey, but she was mightily impressed that the NHL had made a rule just for him.”

It’s true but soooo sad. The guy is better known the Alexander Ovechkin.

“Dave Siciliano, his coach in Owen Sound, had his own Avery Rule, which he refers to as the 80/20: Siciliano devoted 80% of his time to Avery, while the other 20% went to the rest of the team. “You seemed to be dealing with something every day,” says Siciliano. “He had an overzealousness and a lack of discipline that would cause rifts on the ice, at practice, on bus trips.” On one trip Curtis Sanford, now a Canucks goalie, heard a scuffle at the back of the bus and wheeled in time to see captain Dan Snyder, upset by an Avery comment, being pulled off his mouthy teammate. Siciliano wanted to dump Avery, but Owen Sound G.M. Ray McKelvie recalls, “A lot of people had already gotten the idea that he wasn’t a team player. It was hard to make a deal that made sense for us, until one night in Kingston he had three [goals] and three [assists]. A couple of days later [Kingston G.M. Larry Mavety] and I had a deal. Sean could get people riled up, but he was an excellent player.”

Sounds just like the guy you want on your team….Me thinks LT was right on this one….

“after being traded in March 2003 to the Kings, a team less secure in its identity, Avery ran amok, by hockey’s standards. Even with a serendipitous do-over—he was kicked off the team with three games left in 2005–06 for refusing to participate in a drill and arguing with assistant coach Mark Hardy at practice but was allowed back after ownership replaced G.M. Dave Taylor with Lombardi that summer—he continued to roil teammates as much as opponents. He cruelly ridiculed the speech of left wing Dustin Brown, who has a slight lisp. “He was really hard on Brown, a quiet guy who just shut down,” says Conroy, now with Calgary. “He didn’t come out of his shell until Sean was gone.”

He’s just a nice guy eh Glen???? Did the PA offer to step in and assist Brown with this issue????

“There were dressing-room fisticuffs. Thornton and Avery had a “play fight” in Edmonton in late December 2006—it started when Avery hit Thornton with an exercise ball—and Thornton wound up breaking his wrist and missing 23 games. Lombardi, who after succeeding Taylor had announced that Avery was on “double secret probation,” traded him to New York five weeks after the Thornton incident, but not before warning Rangers president Glen Sather that “you’ll have him in your office once a week.”

Double Secret Probation??? That can only mean one thing TOGA PARTY!

“”Brett Hull criticized us when we traded Sean, saying our team was bad for Sean and bad for the game,” Lombardi recalls. “Freedom of expression. How does [Hull, the Stars’ co-G.M. with Jackson,] like it today? They spent $15.5 million to protect the right of free speech. Adams and Jefferson would be proud.”

OUCH!!!! Seriously, can this be made into a tv show or a movie????

“I think the persona Sean took on”—the Vogue-interning, starlet-dating, crossover celebrity who feigned indifference to the game—”became more powerful than the real Sean,” Hull says. “You know the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movie? Like that. It just overtook him. He decided to be Evil Sean.”

Ya think???????????

“We spend time psychoanalyzing Sean,” Lombardi muses. “Maybe we should be doing it to ourselves.”

Does anyone else get the impression that maybe, just maybe Lombardi is a tad bitter towards mister Avery or feeling a lot bit vilified?

Then, Farber ends with the conclusion that I and many others have drawn….

“Sometime, somewhere, there will be a comeback. Avery will do the requisite scraping and bowing because, as Calgary’s Michael Cammalleri, Avery’s friend and former Kings teammate, says, “Without hockey Sean would just be some guy doing some crazy stuff.” An e-mail message to SI from Nicole Chabot, Avery’s publicist, late last month read, in part, “We at this point are just trying to weather the storm as best we can. The comeback story will be amazing, but we are a ways away with all the details still to be sorted out.” Oprah, schedule some couch time.”

Pass this article along folks, when you read a Toronto daily today, remember it. This is sports journalism as we should demand. Thank you Michael.

Silence On A Snowy Night In Toronto

Man, I thought it was quiet over the holidays, there is nothing but crickets tonight. Everyone must be gassing up their snow-blowers (look out mr. Sakic). It is dead tonight. Not one interesting thing in one paper, in one media outlet anywhere(it is 12:20 am right now)

So here are some random thoughts:

Leafs were lousy last night vs. the Panthers. I have no problem with the losing. This is the first time in a long time where they didn’t even bother to show up. I sense another long skate in practice coming up.

To boo or not to boo. I am pretty tired of this argument. With very little exception every player who returns to their old team should expect to get razzed a little. Is it right? Who knows. It sports. As Seinfeld said, we don’t root for a player we root for a jersey. When the player changes teams he who we used to cheer for we now boo. McCabe made a lot of dough here, and really made his career here. Others have been treated way worse.

One of the reasons he was a thorn in the public’s side is that he just wasn’t that bright. He would have done much better with a no -comment, ummmm whenever he was asked a question. For him to call out Leaf Fans who may boo Sundin is just another example of the lack of brains in his melon. To say it’s ok to me just not Mats is just dumb. Who do you think you are? You don’t need to take one for him anymore. Fans are going to do what they want to do, so mind your own business. I give him credit for this, he said that he waived his NTC clause because he didn’t want to hijack the team. He is the only player who last year said, if there is a deal there to be made bring it to me. The reality is no one wanted him.

Is it just me, or is anyone else out there really hoping the Buds honor not only Team Canada but also Pat Quinn. I know there is no Saturday home game for a bit. I hope, the next chance they get they really whoop it up for old Pat.

I loved the Winter Classic. The all star games excites me about as much as going to the dentist. Really, if you are doing one, why the other? I know, it’s a big sponsor event for the league… The debate about who should be on the team or not is about as interesting as the never ending debate about fighting in hockey. Someone a hell of a lot smarter then me (and that is a BIG group) has to be able to come up with a better format then the current all star bore.

The fact that the NHL Poster boy isn’t Alexander Ovechkin is just a crock. There is no better player in the game right now then AO. The race isn’t close. As good as some of the other younger guys are, AO is the man. I find it hard to watch non-leaf games, but I do to try to keep an eye on the younger talent and other on-goings in the game (sorry Howie). I really try to watch as many Caps games as I can to catch a glimpse of AO on the ice.

Anyone else been listening to Roscoe Toth on the fan this week? He is miffed at all the attention the WJC’s get. He goes to a ton of junior games all season long (good for him) and feels that the folks who rave about junior hockey for these 2 weeks aren’t real junior hockey fans. Guess what? He is right. Compare if you will the NCAA basketball tournament. Those of you reading this from work, turn left, now turn right, how many people around you enter some sort of NCAA basketball tourney pool? Of those, how many are die hard fans all season long??? Fans get caught up in the hype, and we Canadians have such an inferiority complex that we will really pay attention in those areas where we may actually excel. I think it’s great Roscoe goes to a couple of junior games a week. If the local GTA area teams want to drum up support, look at this little gem. My son is in 3 different hockey programs right now. We get all kinds of stuff in the mail as a result. We have never, ever seen or heard a thing from any of the teams in our area. If those teams want to increase their fan base there is a huge hockey market they don’t tap into right in front of them.

Former Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli had his son in-law on his coaching staff for the past 0-16 campaign. After a loss on Dec 21, Rob Parker an eight year vet with the Detroit News, asked Marinelli in the post game press conference if Marinelli “wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?” As a result of that question, Parker was demoted from from columnist to general assignment reporter. Parker, as a result of that demotion resigned. I, as you may recall lived in the burbs of Detroit for several years. Mrs. TSM was born and raised there and both little TSM’s were born there as well. I have never been a Parker fan (surprised? I love sooooo many columnists…)I will say this, Parker has written and said a hell of a lot worse things then this. To lose his job, in this economy, in that market for this comment is so thin skinned it is hard to believe. Parker has said that he will remain in Detroit. That whittles his writing options down to 1 (the Free Press is owned by the same company as the News), The Oakland Press at least as far as local papers go. He does do some work on ESPN. Here is hoping that he finds work really soon….

Since I started this blog I have had the good fortune to chat with some folks who cover the NHL. I asked one today to assess for those of us up here the seasons of Mr. Tucker and Mr. Raycroft in Colorado thus far. His response:

“Tucker has looked slow and taken lots of bad penalties. Raycroft is
6-1, maybe the most deceptive won-lost record of all time so far, but
wins are wins.”

Hope you all have an easy commute tomorrow. Sounds like the roads in the GTA are going to be hell

Kaberle In Chateaux Bow Wow

I didn’t see much of this one. I missed the first and most of the second. Unfortunately, I did see the 3rd. One word ouch! Not sure if you caught it, but I can bet you will be hearing lots of it tomorrow, but man did Ron Wilson rip Thomas Kaberle after the game. Kaberle sat the entire first period tonight. Yes you read the right. Despite being dressed, Thomas Kaberle rode the pine for the ENTIRE first period. TK’s first shift of the game was the first of the second period and he got beat. The third period was brutal. To say Ron Wilson was pissed would be putting it mildly.

The LeafsTv announcer asked Wilson afte the game if “he was sending Thomas a message by sitting him in the first?” Wilson replied “ah, yeah and he replied by going -4.” Ummm, me thinks that TK may be willing to waive that NTC any minute now. In fairness to the guy, it is a pretty unorthodox benching. Usually you bench a guy later in a game. Had he had a bad first I could see him sitting the second. To leave the guy on the bench the entire first is flat out embarrassing and I am not surprised he struggled the rest of the way. However, TK is a pro and he has to be able to respond better then he did.

The line of the night goes to LT who quipped “It’s time to reunite Kaberle with McCabe.” LT wondered if we could get Jay Bouwmeester for Kaberle? The short answer is no, but I have to wonder if senior Burke has seen enough of TK to start asking around. A couple of things to remember about Kaberle is he is young and affordable. Those are 2 very attractive features in a puck moving defenceman. To say that his confidence is shot is probably putting it mildly. While I thought Blake would be the first to go, I am starting to think TK could take the lead….

As for the rest of the players, Jeff Finger led all leafs in ice time with an ode to Todd Gill and Mike Palmateer(23:29). He was followed by Luke Schenn who went Todd Gill and John Anderson (23:10). Dominic Moore and Alexei Ponikarovsky lead the Leafs in the plus/minus category each being +1. Kaberle led the way in the negative department (-3) sorry coach…

Well, the buds return home from the road trip licking their chops a little bit after being lit up by both the sharks and the coyotes. Saturday night they are home to gulp, the Washington Capitals and Don Cherry’s favorite player Alexander Ovechkin. Should be a good game.

Shame to see Paul Maurice loose his first game back behind the bench as the Pens beat the Canes 5-2, just like old times eh Moe…..

Eat Your Heart Out Grapes….

Check out this awesome video on AO by TSN

Alexander Ovechkin