Tag Archives: Damien cox

Time For A Change In The Morning

I am going to go out on a limb here folks. It is time Nelson Millman to make a change to his morning show over at the Fan 590. I don’t want to call for someone to lose (not loose) their job, but the morning show is just stale. Why do I bring this up today, well, Don Landry was out ill today and Damien filled in for Landry. It was the best morning show they have had in ages. Let me be clear, I don’t know Don Landry from Adam. To quote Pat Burns, “I wouldn’t know him if I hit him with my car.” I don’t dislike him personally, nor the work he does. However, if ever there was a guy suited for a mid day slot it would be him. He can be funny, he likes to do more shtick then substance and I am sure he has a ton of loyal followers. He just isn’t a sports guy. This is a time slot the Fan has all to their own and to be honest most mornings I punt to 550 or god forbid music. If I am not getting sports at 590, there is no reason to listen. Nelson needs to find a replacement for Landry during that show and move Landry to an hour where his talents will be more appreciated. I can’t see the ratings for this show getting any better then they are right now. The show has peaked and I predict will decline until a change is made.

Damien was fantastic this am with Gord. They have amazing chemistry and man, they spent time actually talking about what their sports guests earlier in the am had to say. Damien was saying how he thought wht Burke was doing with Pogge was the right move, that it was part of a plan. He said he disagreed with Scotty’s take from earlier in the am which was great in that I didn’t get to hear all of it. There was a lot less hijinx then there usually is and a bigger focus on sports. Again, for some reason I think Damien’s column has suffered greatly as a result of the other things he does. He is better in his blog and is better then that on the radio. Watching him faceoff against Simmons on Sunday’s is pretty interesting too. In his column he rarely says why leaf fans should be happy that Cliff is gone. It sounds like a personal vendetta, and more so every time he says it isn’t. This morning he actually put some meat on the bones saying that if Cliff were still in charge we would have seen more deals like the one Cliff made for Lee Stempniak, trading away 2 guys who at the very least should have been given a shot with the Marlies to work our their careers. Damien guaranteed that Cliff was going to do everything in his power to get the team to the playoffs this season and deals like that were evidence of such. Now, I have no clue whether that is true or not. Damien also wrote that Doug Gilmour was paying for his players to be at the ACC this Saturday and we have since learned otherwise. At least it makes for interesting radio. It is certainly better then another bit of Ken Dryden in the house of commons! Good on Damien for mixing it up a bit, making it interesting etc.

I would like to see the Fan 590 think outside the box a bit more. In many major cities I have lived in the morning show and the drive home show feature a radio guy and a print guy as permanent hosts. The radio guy is always there (except for vacations) and the print guy is sometimes a little late, sometimes on the road or sometimes absent. They have good chemistry and create a good product. Now Brunt is a part timer on the Fan, not full time with McCown. While I love Brunt’s work, I think he comes across as being to cerebral for radio in this town. He is certainly better then some of the other guys though. I would love for the Fan to find a way to get Damien or someone like him in there with Stellick. Maclean would be a better fit to be honest. One of the problems I think is that we don’t have a huge bullpen of talent (at least known) in this market. It’s not like there are 5-10 guys on other shows who you say, man they would be awesome on the Fan. With the exception of Brady on 640 (and I think he would be terrific with Stellick, but can’t see that happening anytime soon), I really can’t think of anyone. Now Brady came from Detroit and there are probably a lot of folks in the industry looking for work in other markets. I think Nelson really should make a change, move Landry to the mid-day and bring in someone else to work with Stellick. This morning was a tease.

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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?

Don’t Cry For Me….

I hear what Damien and his pals are trying to sell this morning. I mean the outrage, the horror…While firms like Microsoft, Ford, GM and others are laying off thousands of people, people across North America are losing (not loosing) their homes to foreclosure we should all march on the streets here in and New York to support our NHL players. Good luck with that. This is not the time for the NHLPA to try and win a PR war over the fact that the players are, for the first time ever going to share in the pain with the rest of us. That is why the officials at the PA aren’t talking. That’s why they extended their deal. The smart ones at the top know what is winnable and what isn’t.

The media however are dying for a scandal to write about. Newspapers across North America are laying off entire department, ceasing to print on certain days and sports departments are no longer covering hockey. Yet here in Toronto, our fellas keep digging (shoveling in this case) as their colleagues are losing (not loosing) their jobs, but take pity on the NHL players. Do you think the folks who gut shuttered at WDFN this week are worried about the fact that Zach Paraise is going to see his escrow deduction almost double to $300,000 and not recover a penny of it? I am willing to bet that $300k is more then more then a couple of the folks let go were earning combined.

So, it is interesting to read things like this, which tells us the amount the player is going to result as a loss of the increased and forefitted escrow payment (the first number) as compared to their annual salary (the second number):

“-$1,732,500 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins

Salary: $9 million

-$91,437 John Mitchell Toronto Maple Leafs

Salary: $475,000

-$1,347,500 Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks

Salary: $7 million

-$673,750 Jeff Finger Toronto Maple Leafs

Salary: $3.5 million

It’s fine to say things like :

“One of the reasons the union wants the escrow to jump immediately is that the players’ association itself is liable for any shortfall at the end of the season. If that were to climb into tens of millions of dollars, it could bankrupt the union. More than ever, players will now understand their financial well-being depends on the economic health of the league after years of drawing ever-increasing salaries regardless of TV contracts or whether arenas were full or not. Players may now be less supportive of efforts to prop up money-losing franchises, or at least motivated to have franchises moved to more profitable markets. Kelly yesterday called for the league to give the association more input on TV deals, international competition, expansion and franchise relocation.”

As the players should inject themselves into where their cash is going (to prop up hopeless teams (financially)).

When players say things like this:

“”That’s news to me,” said a surprised Parise, scheduled to earn $2.5 million this season. “I hope you’ve got a bad scoop there.” Sorry, Zach, no bad scoop. In fact, despite the best efforts of Kelly, NHLPA director of player affairs Glenn Healy and other senior union executives, it’s clear many NHLers will be caught totally off-guard by what essentially amounts to an enormous pay cut.”

It just goes to show you the ignorance of some of these guys. I don’t mean to pick on Parise. You spoke to Cox not I. A much better answer would have been “no comment”. You see Zach, the economic world is crumbling around you. The players of the NHL are not immune from it. Many of your fans are facing the daunting issue of how to pay for school, clothes and the next meal. Perhaps, maybe, just maybe you should open your eyes, and pay attention to the details inside that small document your union agreed to, so you know the rules of the game, and how the outside economic factors are going to effect you. The reality is no fan is going to cry for the money you lose (not loose). This isn’t your fault by the Zach, your a product of an environment where you are shielded from these types of issues. Me thinks it’s time you start asking the right questions.

Quotes of the Day

“Check the accompanying sidebar, which combines the won-lost percentages for the current season of the 15 cities with both NHL and NBA teams. Yep, there is Team Tanenbaum, right down there in 15th place.” Dave Perkins…
“To be getting dressed in the Canadiens room is something I always wanted to see,” he said in French.” Vincent Lecavalier
“When I walked through those doors and saw the hundreds of people there for autographs and waiting for the players arrive — my hair was all over the place, and I really didn’t expect to have it,” he said Friday. “I don’t think anybody expected to have a welcome like that.” Vincent Lecavalier
“”For someone being born here, to play here, obviously people add a little bit of pressure,” said Lecavalier. “But I think a good pressure.” Vincent Lecavalier

Sure sounds like Vinny has Montreal on the mind, and no it doesn’t sound like it’s not his kind of town….

“Bettman and his bosses used a hammer to try to fix something that wasn’t necessarily broken in the first place — and what was really broken, they couldn’t acknowledge, let alone fix.” Stephen Brunt on the NHLPA declining to re-open the CBA

“The problem was — and the problem is — there is a wider disparity in NHL markets than in any other sport when it comes to how much people actually care about the product. Hockey is front of mind everywhere in Canada and in a handful of U.S. cities (now, for the first time in years, including Boston and Chicago). There people will pay large amounts of money for a seat, and produce big television audiences that are attractive to advertisers. it didn’t do a thing for the Phoenix Coyotes or Atlanta Thrashers or Nashville Predators or Florida Panthers. If anything, those clubs are in worse shape now than they were before the lockout, their decline accelerated by the credit crunch and ensuing recession, coupled with shaky ownership. If they’re still in business come 2011 — and who would like to bet their life on that right now? — the next labour war won’t cure what’s wrong with them, either.” Stephen Brunt

“Each and every player, NHL Players Association boss Paul Kelly said today, should expect a 13.5 per cent pay cut this season because of declining league revenues. The cut takes the form of escrow payments, monies withheld from players to make sure the union collectively does not make more than its share of the money the league takes in. the league’s revenue growth has dropped to about two per cent from 12 per cent a year ago..”The players aren’t happy about it,” said Kelly. “But they understand it.” Kelly admitted that in this case, the escrow will have the effect of being a salary rollback the same as that the players were forced to accept after the 2004-05 lockout.” Damien Cox-

Who would have guessed that the PA would elect to extend the deal that all the majority of pundits called a loser (not looser) for the players. Perhaps, just perhaps the players have gotten a tad bit smarter this time around….

The best quote of the day however was from PA slappy Glen Healy on the NHL suspension of those players who aren’t in Montreal for the All Star festivities:

” ”

Somewhere, Healy must be a caged dog. Just wait till he gets a few pops in him on St. Catherine tonight… Kelly may have the duct tape on his mouth for now…it won’t last, and when it ends, get ready for quotes like you can’t believe.

Maple Leafs, Raptors Era Of Hope, Blue Jays? Not So Much

Once again the original ideas are clearly sparse these days. As one loyal reader wrote me an email “is it me or is Damien on auto-pilot”. In any event, Dave Perkins took Jeff Blair’s Toronto The Bad story and raised it with a feel good spin:

“The Maple Leafs have hit the all-star break losing 11 of 14 games, the Raptors have dived straight into the tank and, with pitchers and catchers on the horizon, the Blue Jays seem to have already surrendered their season, publicly managing expectations downward the way the Maple Leafs did so successfully last fall.”

9 am, who is ready for a drink?

“So, what to do? Not much except wait it all out and believe that this time, pain will bring gain. In the case of the Leafs, most fans expected this kind of situation and many wished for it; blowing it up is the best way to start over again.Raptor people would feel differently. This team began the season with reasonable expectations, but fell apart terribly. A flurry now and a finish from seven through 11 in the conference would put them into that wheel-spinning ground the Leafs inhabited for so many years; if you can’t be good, be really bad and start building again with a nice draft pick.”

No, I swear I didn’t write the piece. Perkins is right on though….

“The good news for the Raps is that it’s a shorter road back in the NBA and Bryan Colangelo still is a smart guy, even though he’s now on an extended hitless steak. If he can trade Jermaine O’Neal for a large expiring contract, they would have money to spend in the off-season. A 2009-10 team with Chris Bosh, a healthy Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, a lottery pick and a decent free agent, along with the usual spare parts, isn’t so bad. Things can change quickly in the NBA – in either direction.The Leafs, in the big picture, are actually having what sensible people would call a successful season. They’re losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points. As new GM Brian Burke undertakes what a friend calls “a de-Communization” of his team, they are inching toward the bottom and the subsequent potential draft bonanza.”

Ding ding ding ding…give the man a prize. As I have said before, this common sense thing, it’s really not that hard. this isn’t rocket science. “They are losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points” yes, I did just repost that. That is what we want them to do. Raise your hand which team you prefer, the Muskoka five effortless group of last year, or this years group???? This is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.

“The Islanders are in control of the John Tavares Sweepstakes, but the Leafs are only three points out of 29th place and who knows how the ping-pong balls will bounce? If both Tampa Bay and Ottawa make little runs, the Leafs will benefit. They potentially have chips to play with at the trade deadline. If either or both of Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky get rolling, they could depart for a taste of future. Jason Blake, who has been playing with interest lately, has three more years on his contract, but is looking as if he could help somebody else. He doesn’t have a no-trade contract.”

The Obama factor…The most dangerous word in the English language is HOPE…Perkins is using it now. We don’t mind the losing (not loosing) if there is HOPE! “A Taste of the future” EXACTLY!!!

“There are things Burke can do with an eye two or three years down the road, which is, realistically, when they might become competitive. Resurrection begins with good results in the draft, commencing in the lottery, which is why being bad – and .363 is as bad as it gets – doesn’t necessarily need to be the end of the world.”

Stop telling us how bad we are. It isn’t becoming and frankly it pisses us off. It’s interesting that Perkins rightfully leaves the Jays out of the discussion. Maybe he knows what we (with the exception of Eye) believe, that the right guy isn’t at that table. Hope, all we need is a tiny morsel of hope. If the right people are around the draft table there is hope. Guarantees? Nope. No such thing (death, taxes and self serving Berger Blogs excepted). Being so bad should have it’s payoff…Let’s see if the right guys are at the table.

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmmmm

Hey folks, why, do you think the good folks over at the Toronto Star Changed the headline of Damien’s article last night? When I went to bed last night, and woke up this am the Headline was “Burke Likely Would Have Sent Schenn Down”. An odd title given there was one line in the story where Damien actually only guessed that to be true. There was nothing in the story to suggest that was true…only a suggestion. Now, the headline reads “Schenn a ray of hope amid all the gloom” EXCUSE ME????????? Are you kidding me. How stupid do you think your readers are (and no this isn’t directed at Damien) This changes the entire tone of the article! What was the intent here and why are you trying to mislead or taint the opinions of your readers. The story last night was clearly a negative shot… That’s ok, Damien is entitled to his opinion. Now it has a positive spin to it?: Give me a break…..Why the sudden change?

I am really curious folks, if the All-Star Game weren’t played, would anyone care? No really, forget the folks in Montreal (just for a second, not to be cruel), if the game wasn’t happening, and instead there was just a weekend off, would you care? Would you miss the festivities? I for one wouldn’t. If you want to do away with it, I have no objection. Please don’t replace with a world cup of hockey as some have suggested. A break is a good idea. Why do we need a diversion. I for one like a pause. It’s good for everyone. It’s good for the trainers, the equipment guys, the officials, the media, the players, their families….and the fans. The game is quite bizarre when you think about it. Rather Seinfeldian, it’s a game about nothing. There is no real winner, no real loser, it’s not a real hockey game. It’s not for the benefit of the fans. It’s not for the benefit of the players. This whole, or the benefit of the sponsors is a little twisted. If I were a sponsor I would rather be wooed, wined and dined at the Stanley Cup finals. So the question is, would you miss it? If there was no hockey this weekend and things started up again on Monday, would that be a bad thing?

As Bad A Night As I Can Remember

Wow- something is in the water today? No no, not the Leafs, a good game and a shutout loss…too bad we picked up a point. The Raptors? Hell no, the way I figure they are going to be right in the thick of the John Tavares lottery. Once again I am totally puzzled by the media… It’s like one big Seinfeld episode, except I don’t care for many of the characters, actually the only similarity is that their articles are about nothing… NOTHING…

First, Berger writes a totally useless article about Matt Stajan wanting more noise at the ACC. This is news how? No really, has any player ever not wanted that? The fact that team isn’t that strong at home has nothing to do with the fans. It has everything to with character. That isn’t a shot against Stajan. It’s the whole group. The team that Sundin, McCabe, Tucker lead wasn’t very good at home either. It’s not easy playing here in Toronto in front of the home crowd, it takes character to do it well. When a player messes up he hears about it. Sometimes unmercifully . So to hear that one guy would like more noise is totally irrelevant and not the least bit newsworthy. To write an entire blog about it????? Come on Howie, how about a review of the All Star Official uniforms, I gave you everything you need. Hell, as a member of the media you can probably get a preview too- you got the scoop on the 3rd jerseys after all.

What’s worse then Berger writing about Stajan asking for more noise, Paul Hunter of the Star writing the EXACT same story…. Complete with the same predictable Dave Winfield analogy. Tomorrow, whichever station books Winfield to talk about asking for noise wins the prize. Come on folks…this is really pathetic.

Then, Hunter’s buddy Damien wrote a totally useless article about Luke Schenn. Let’s see, he thinks, maybe, Burke wouldn’t have kept Schenn up had he been GM at the beginning of the season. Wow! How interesting. Funny, because I don’t think Burke would have resigned Ed Belfour after the lockout if he were GM back then either. Oh yeah, and under the same relevance theme is my favorite, Pat Quinn wouldn’t have yanked Toskala in favor of Joseph for the shootout like Wilson did earlier this year. The usual Damien anti-leaf article is, about, n o t h i n g. A new reader wrote a funny post about LT’s post today being both the argument and the counter-argument…Damien did the exact same thing here:

“the decision to keep the 18-year-old defenceman in the big leagues this season has certainly not been a disaster. In fact, in a season that has become increasingly gloomy, Schenn has been one of the bright notes all year. ” He likes him…..

“What will never be known, of course, is what it has cost the Leafs to keep Schenn in the NHL this season rather than returning him to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League for another season of competing against his peers. ” He doesn’t…

“Perhaps nothing, and it’s true, Schenn has rarely looked outclassed in the NHL this season, and the manner in which he shrugged off a 12-game absence due to a knee problem was a sign of maturity. On Wednesday night he was paired with Ian White most of the night and out against Boston’s tricky line of David Krejci, Mike Ryder and Blake Wheeler, a challenging assignment against the Eastern Conference’s top squad. ” He likes him….

“At the same time, particularly for a player drafted fifth overall, and one for whom the Leafs traded away first, second and third round picks in order to position themselves to get him, there haven’t been many signs of offensive potential. ” He doesn’t

“What the Leafs don’t know is whether this is the Luke Richardson story all over again. Richardson was the seventh overall pick in 1987 and played for the Leafs as 18-year-old, actually potting four goals in his rookie season.The club maintained over and over that, like Schenn now, Richardson had offensive potential that he’d shown as a junior in Peterborough. But it never shone through in the NHL, and Richardson never managed more than 21 points in a season. ” Ummmm, he doesn’t like him…

“Would the Leafs be happy if Schenn turned out to be Richardson? Somewhat, but it wouldn’t be the kind of home run they’d hoped to hit with such a high pick. He’ll never be a bust, it would seem, and the Leafs can only hope he might one day be an all-star.” He likes him

“Schenn hasn’t been eaten alive by the pressure of playing on a weak team in this hockey-mad city, and that’s a good sign. There’s obvious poise, and a willingness to play a physical game and even stand up for teammates, commodities in short supply on the current edition of the Leafs. ” He Likes him

“The older Schenn boy, meanwhile, is still learning as he goes in the world’s top hockey league. He was solid for two periods Wednesday night, but with less than seven minutes to play he was schooled by Bruins blueliner Dennis Wideman on a rush, then was caught napping when Marc Savard hit Zdeno Chara with a goalmouth pass to tie the game 3-3 and create overtime.” He doesn’t…

“He’s a big kid finding his way in a tough league. Whether he should have been in the league so young or not, no one can argue he’s a big part of the Leafs’ future.” WHAT- That’s it???? That’s the conclusion??? Talk about 3 minutes of my life I will never get back… What kind of crock this is. The headline is Burke Likely Would Have Sent Schenn Down..there is no quote from Burke, it’s Damien’s hunch. I know, Damien didn’t write the headline… Talk about an article about NOTHING!!!

Then, to top it all off, the guy I think had really been rising to the top wrote a totally useless article. Jeff’ Blair’s piece in the globe is about 19 segments too long. I actually think I captured the gist in 1 paragraph in a post yesterday. Blair wrote an entire page on the losing records of our teams! An entire page. Complete with quotes from Beeston and Burke. Get this:

“”One of the problems the city has right now is that nobody’s excelling,” said Blue Jays interim chief executive officer Paul Beeston, a committed Toronto booster.” Ummmmm YA THINK???? This from a guy I REALLY like (Beeston)….This from the guy who has “just about finished the Blue Jays President job description”….. What I think Beeston meant was, that the problem is the teams in cities not named Toronto score more points then those teams from Toronto!

“When will the bulls run rampant again in the Toronto sports market? Not soon. Let’s be honest. Of the current crop of Maple Leafs, it’s hard to imagine general manager Brian Burke wanting anybody other than Luke Schenn around in two or three years.” Ok, I am waiting for something I don’t already now…..

“The Raptors have, what, three legitimate NBA starters (four when Jermaine O’Neal’s healthy) and a bunch of guys who wouldn’t be a first option off a contender’s bench? Andrea Bargnani looks to be developing the way general manager Bryan Colangelo expected, but the Raptors have always seemed a day late and a dollar short, and that sometimes happens when you just give away a franchise player such as Vince Carter.” Uh huh, and????

“The Blue Jays’ window of opportunity — created when the late Ted Rogers made his famous three-year commitment — turned out not to be as wide as anticipated because, with the game’s revenue explosion, a $90-million payroll didn’t buy as much as it once did and the Blue Jays didn’t have enough high-calibre young players to fill in when injuries hit.” The part with the news, the actual original thought is coming right?

“Those are some of the reasons for the drought. The good news is no cause is lost, as is clearly demonstrated by what’s happened in Boston since the Patriots won their first of three Super Bowls in 2001. The Red Sox — the Red Sox! — ended the Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years and the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title, and don’t look now, but the Bruins, who haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972, are leading the NHL Eastern Conference.” TIME…that’s what you got Jeff? TIME, so this drought will end because the coin that has landed 1 million straight times on heads will eventually fall to tails????? Because it just has to???? Sorry, I had hoped you could do better then this ending:

“Mostly, though, it’s a hungry market. Kicked in the pocketbook, its psyche battered, and tired of having to go through it all again after the TSX closes. Hey buddy … got a win?”

So the Leafs lost in a shutout, earned one too many points, but that is ok. The Raptors got shelled…stick a fork in their season…the TV show Lost started and I am confused as ever….and I am going to bed disappointed by 4 brutal articles… Here’s hoping tomorrow’s a better day 🙂

Berger is here
Cox is http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Hockey/article/575293
Hunter is here
Blair is here