Tag Archives: Eklund

Tis The Season…

Tis the season so we thought the TSM faithful could compile a list of gift wishes for our favorite sports personalities….TSM and I will kick things off with a few of our own ideas.  Please add yours in the comments:

Howard Berger:

  • A Heathcliff Huxtable sweater collection
  • Subscriptions to Leafs TV and Centre Ice packages (a nice stocking stuffer)

Damian Cox:

  • A better headline writer…this was at the top of his list too I think

Jim Kelly:

  • A contract from WGR 550 (Buffalo radio) so that we don’t have to listen to him any longer this side of the border

Plaxico Burress:

  • A gun rack and shooting lessons

Ron MacLean:

  • A new panel for HNIC Hot Stove…(can’t watch Millbury & Strachan any longer)

Eklund:

  • 1 accurate prediction and where he didn’t take > 4 positions

For the Jays:

  • Season ticket holders
  • A new General Manager

The Leafs

  • A Stanley Cup….oops, that should be for the 2011 list

The Argos:

  • A new coach

The Vanier Cup:

  • A venue

Bob McCowen:

  • Better sources

Gord Kirke:

  • Recruiting gig for the Blue Jays president vacancy

Cito Gaston

  • A time machine set to 2010

Chris Bosh

  • Charles Oakley

Bryan Colangelo

  • Honeymoon extension

Jeff Blair

  • Better material to write about

Curtis Joseph

  • Career win 450

Brian Burke:

  • Many, many top draft picks

On behalf of TSM, we wish all of you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.  If you are going through withdrawal, TSM will be home soon!

LT

 

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The Sundin Saga Finally Ends- What A Mess Left Behind

naslund-wsundin1

It’s over… Really over. Even John Belushi’s Animal House Character John “Bluto” Blutarsky would admit It’s over. Really folks, we haven’t seen anything like this around here for a long time. The trading of Vince, the trading of Gilmour, the trading of Felix Potvin, all come to mind sort of. Never, and perhaps becuase of the digital age has a bigger mess of a situation ever been made. Personally, I think there are a lot of people out there who in retrospect look pretty foolish. This constant need to be first is just not journalism. The quality of reporting goes way down and the fans suffer. I think lots of folks should be embarrassed.

Let me start with the easiest target. Hanky is an easy target. To his credit he built a very solid audience. He is proof of the hunger there is for knowledge in the great game of hockey. Whether it is only in Canada and a select group of US markets and then a handful of die hards in other US markets, we are a dedicated bunch who live online looking for anything, literally anything to fill that hunger. However, (and for the record I am not calling Hanky a journalist) the Sundin Saga has also painted Hanky in the worst of light. I am not sure how many people out there read his column tonight after the signing but mannnnnnnnn. How can he say once “as I told you” with any degree of dignity. I mean come on. Yesterday he gave Sundin to NYC his highest rating E5:

“I was told it is done by three sources. Mats to the Rangers. Stay tuned much more to come including how the Rangers will make it work. Update: I am told that one of the teams involved in these sweeps has been informed of Mats decision…”

As the fine folks at hockeyanalysis.com pointed out, Hanky had him going to almost every team in the league at one point. It became an industry (hockey) joke. It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong….That clearly isn’t the case here. (and I don’t buy the my job is to only report what I hear crap…)

I hate to do this, as it is totally unfair, but the next guy who blew this one is McCown. When I say I hate to do this, I mean to jump from Hanky to McCown. There is no comparison between the two and they are so far apart, Hanky at the North Pole, McCown at the South. And too much in between to mention. For that reason alone, McCown has some splaning to do. He is the most listened to sports talk show in the city, hell maybe even in the country. He said on his show today that the syndication of the show on sportsnet may be the largest audience that network gets for non live sporting events. He is huge, he is entertaining and he is the measuring stick. Yes he has had a long head start, but I am sure that the fine folks at 640 have their eyes squarely on his show when the books come out. For McCown to be so bold, so confident and so wrong….. OH MY. The guy is clearly connected. I don’t doubt for one second that someone high up whispered in his ear. No one, and I mean no one opened his lips on the air. That prediction sat out there uncontested for 4 days until fact proved it fiction. The night after his prediction (or maybe 2 nights) Kypreos was on the air and McCown said (after Barry clearly disputed the accuracy of the report) “Oh, it’s happening. It’s like your dinner tonight, you may not know when or where, but it is happening.” Even the director of communication for the nhl twittered about McCown’s bold statement when he went it. In essence the league itself broadcast what McCown said. Does this hurt McCown? probably not. Do his rating go down? no. Do his sponsors care? no. Does he credability take a shot- you betcha. I am not in the media business. I just have to believe that when you are about to go on the microphone you have to pretty sure when are going to be this bold given whom you are..Bobcat blew this one big time.

No one in the Toronto Papers really ran amok with this story. There were no bold predictions per se. They were more followers then leaders. There was a ton of useless fodder on whether he should come back here, whether he would come back here, whether he would be welcome back here….yadda yadda yadda. Larry Brooks was really the first one who publicly brought up the Rangers (Hanky aside, and he brought up the winnipeg jets at one point i think). He never said done deal that is for sure. He did say last night that Sundin would give them until the end of the month. That didn’t happen. Some egg on his face too I guess. Berger doesn’t watch TV so who knows what he was thinking. Not much was said, but man did this story eat up time, energy and kill a lot of trees.

In the end, Mat’s proved he is human. Kyreos said it perfectly tonight about the guy he got to interview over in Sweeden. “Mats was upset about giving the Leafs a discount last season and he wanted to make up for it.” Despite the money, I never really thought he would go to Vancouver. I just didn’t see it. I should have though, because like it or not, this came down to one issue; MONEY. Had the rangers gotten the MONEY up, he probably would be a Ranger. They couldn’t and he isn’t. I don’t begrudge Mats that. The guy is entitled to make what the highest bidder is willing to pay. I think a lot of people painted Mats with rose colored brushes. In the end, he isn’t so unlike the rest of us. He followed the buck. In fairness, he really hasn’t done it before. He never bolted the buds despite the fact he probably could have gotten more elsewhere. At 38, if someone is willing to pony up 10 million why the hell not. Give Gillis credit. He is a former agent and he knew the most important lesson. He set the bar. I don’t care who else was in the game. Their offer was being compared to 10m. Is whatever team offers the next highest amount worth taking less money? That answer is usually no. Gillis did what he as an agent would want a gm to do. Open the market high and wait. Keep the dialogue open and remain patient. Say all the right things, keep them interested and eventually it will come down to $. It almost always does.

I can’t believe how quiet the papers are all at 11:50pm. The story broke around 6pm and with the exception of Damien and the Hat, no one else of major consequence has anything posted. Damien is right in his column. After the obligatory shot at the leafs (at least he admitted he hates Toronto) he says that this should be good news for the buds”

“The signing of Sundin, you see, breaks the logjam. Everyone who didn’t get him can aggressively turn to Plan B, and a team like the Maple Leafs, who will most certainly be sellers between now and the March trade deadline, just saw their assets increase in value.Nik Antropov, for instance, is now worth more than he was yesterday. Unless Atlanta decides to trade Ilya Kovalchuk or Tampa tries to move Marty St. Louis or Minnesota opts to dump Marian Gaborik, Antropov might end up being the best forward available by the deadline. ”

I agree in principal. It takes two (or sometimes three) to tango though. I do find it curious how a guy is a proverbial stiff when he is HERE but has real marketability when it comes to the deadline. It smells a little of the setting of the table for the first Burke attack. Can’t you see it coming? I can’t believe that Burke couldn’t get more for __________? Take the positive spin fro Damien, at least he has an article up.

What is missing? The attack on the point that matters:

“I never believed in rent a player to start with, if you wanna be part of a team thats going to have a chance to win the stanley cup or a team that will go far in the playoffs, uh my opinion has always been that you be there from training camp at the start of the season to be part of the group and uh that’s another reason too”

That is what i am waiting for. It will be interesting to see who takes the time to really call him on it. Simmons did a little bit. The sun has such a brutal website that it isn’t up yet if it is going to be so I can’t tell you. Mat’s is entitled to change his mind. To say that he has never believed in something is as strong a statement as you get. Sundin used that as his main reason not to leave last year. He probably sold all the others on the same thing. He then turned his back and did just that. At the very least, had he signed over the summer you could say he would have been true to his word. Now, the guy who Cox told us has always been an honest guy is, ummmm, a liar?

I am interested in seeing what Cliff has to say. So far I haven’t seen anything from him. Burke’s response was irrelevant. I am more interested in his reaction to the brutal exhibition in Boston then his opinion on Sundin that’s for sure.

Then there is the issue of course of what will this do to his legacy. Will he be Ray Bourque and win a championship? Will he mirror Borje and Cujo and curse the day he left? Only time will tell. You know my opinion, the odds are way against him. The good news is he has lots of dough to hedge those odds with right?

I am really glad this over. It will a nutty day tomorrow with all the press to talk about. I will try to post as best i can. I am taking the family south for 10 days and am going to try and beat out the storm so the trip to the airport begins at 445am. about 4 hours and 35 minutes from now. I don’t know how well I am going to be able to post from the ocean (assuming i make it down there) so LT has graciously accepted my begging to help out.

Let me say this however. I started this blog in May or June I believe. It has been a blast every minute. It hasn’t been a chore in my daily routine like others can be. To those of you who are kind enough to read what i have to say and especially those who feel compelled enough to comment or email I can’t thank you enough. I hope everyone out there and your families have a happy, healthy holiday season (Damien, Steve, Howard, bob, Brady, Wilbur you guys too).

well my bags are packed I’m ready to go………………….

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?

More on the Sundin Saga…Gold Jerry, Gold!

Now this is classic. Click on over to good folks at Pension Plan Puppets

and click on their link to a fantastic article by David Johnson at hockeyanalysis….

Pure gold….

An unblogpost

Very few things make me nauseous. This one thing that I saw made me ill enough to the point that I have taken some time today to contemplate stop writing. You see I do this to blow off some steam. It is a great distraction from the regular rigors of daily life and I really love writing. I find the fact that a few people enjoy what I have to say the ultimate compliment. When the happy howie issue came to fruition a few weeks ago, I was honored to be included in the group who drafted the email that was posted all over. The good folks at PPP, He Score He Shoot, Down Goes Brown, Eye, Cox (and more, sorry if I left you out) have been at this longer then I , and then again, who the hell am I???? My point is that the one thing I admire about the NHL these days is the adaptation of technology and in a lot of major markets the blogosphere. As much as I loathe Hanky, he is a perfect example of the appetite for hockey info online. There are so many great fan sites out there that pay tribute to our teams, our games, it really is a great online world we live in.

The best thing about the web is that it really is the world wide web, and anyone, anywhere can post an opinion. So, what has me sick? Well, when a person allegedly prey’s on young children, takes kids from their families and has the type of reputation that a certain individual has (irrespective of a recent court finding) it makes me sick to see that this person is writing a blog about hockey. Yes folks, a colleague was kind enough to forward to me a link to David Frost’s hockey blog and I have been sick ever since.

There are folks out there I don’t know and don’t like. There are folks out there I do know and don’t like. Perhaps I don’t like too many people. I don’t know Dwayne or Hanky. I don’t like that he posts constant crap on his sight (him personally, not some of the other writers on his site). I don’t like Howie’s writing either, but I don’t know him either. I dislike his writing because I think he is a fraud. I think he wears Maple Leaf boxers, sleeps on a bed with Maple Leaf sheets and has photos of himself with his favorite buds all over his house. I think he is a fraud because the negativity he spews isn’t genuine. I think he does it to keep up with the Cox’s and the Simmons in this town. I have nothing against the person as I don’t know him.

I don’t know David Frost (thankfully). I have read way too much about the guy and have formed an opinion of him that I am sure you all can guess. We in this country (whichever North American one you likely live in) enjoy freedom of press and freedom of expression. I know that very well, but for some reason the fact that this guy is writing about hockey is driving me nuts. Is it that one of his former players is serving time for trying to kill him? Oh wait, that player is featured on the blog. Yup there is Frosty’s favorites (which gives me all kinds of disgusting thoughts) and Danton’s den. I am curious is that the den from which he allegedly tried to have Frost offed or the jail cell he is currently living in?

The guy is trying to be controversial. He is going to try and get idiots like me to write about him so that others will go to the site and read what he has to say. More so you can bet he is going to profit from it. So I am not going to provide you a link and I am not going to give you the address. This is not the traffic crash you have to look at. Like the famous line in the Naked Gun movie…move along there is nothing to see here. The site was registerd on the 19th of this month. Maybe I am late to the game. Others will write about it. Others will print it. You decide if you want to look, me, one look and I am done…. Who knows, I am sure this is exactly the type of blogger that would fit in well with Hanky…

Bryan McCabe Back In Blue and White??

Remember, it’s only his job to make shit up, to increase uv’s and pageviews to therefore driveup the value of his site so that the folks who are buying it overpay…:

Without further adue, your Hanky Wednesday…

“Yesterday I told you there was a trade rumour involving Toronto that would send a player from the Southeast Division to the Leafs. It appears to be a D-man from what I am getting, and I believe it to be either a Hurricane player or a Thrasher. Joni Pitkanen is a player the Leafs have been known to have interest in. Several times, dating back to his Philly days, I have heard the Leafs had interest in Joni.”

Cliff has just brought in a slew of D.  No, they may not all be long timers, but quiet frankly he doesn’t have room for the guys he has and he also has yet to be ablt to establish a market for any of the extras.  Brining in a D makes little sense right now…

In any event here is the 411 on Pitkanen:

2003-04  Philadelphia Flyers         NHL    71    8   19   27   44  15   0   3   3   6
2004-05  Philadelphia Phantoms       AHL    76    6   35   41  105  21   3   4   7  16
2005-06  Philadelphia Flyers         NHL    58   13   33   46   78   6   0   2   2   2
2006-07  Philadelphia Flyers         NHL    77    4   39   43   88  --  --  --  --  --
2007-08  Edmonton Oilers             NHL    63    8   18   26   56
2008-09  Carolina Hurricanes         NHL     7    1    3    4    6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         NHL Totals                        276   34  112  146  272  21   0   5   5   8

In other news, Hanky things Stajan and Steen could be headed to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle’s brother….

Which would be awesome and right in line with what Cliff is trying to do, add a 35 year old defencemen….;)

“And to complicate things even further, I was told that Jeff Finger could possibly be one of the big names that gets thrown around at the Deadline. Yes the well-paid, just signed UFA. There is a school of thought here that is whacky to me, could be nothing, but just passing it along…

Ok…enough!  Jeff finger has played all of 2 games for the Leafs and they are already trading him????  Secondly, if he is “big name” at the deadline, then this will be the slowest deadline days EVER.

Meanwhile back on earth, I am hearing that the Leafs are hot after a starting goalie and look for Ryan Hollweg  to be THE hot commodity at the deadline this year, with teams offering multiple first rounders for him.  Lastly, although this may sound whacky, but Cliff is also said to be coveting Byran McCabe.  That is the player from the Southeast…he loves his attitude and his presence in the lockeroom is sorely missed.

Hanky’s Back, Apendix??? More Like Lobotomy

Back from having his appendix out, nothing has changed in Hanky Land (except that I am hearing strong rumors of his intent/desire to sell hankybuzz.com)

Has anyone suggested, or heard a thought that says Cliff is out there trying to deal Kaberle right now? Didn’t think so. The one thing I have read is from Hanky writer Happy Howie Berger that Kaberle probably regrets not waiving it last year and likely would this year at the deadline. Which, I happen to think is true.

Meanwhile in Hankyland we get:

“On Kaberle being moved from the Leafs…

Just say No. It will not happen. As of now, there is no way he is waiving. Things can change, but know this: As much as it took to get McCabe to accept a deal, it will take ten times that to get Kaberle to accept one. He wants to retire a Leaf plain and simple. He will either re-sign in Toronto or play in Sweden I am told, but he will not be a rental. Not in his blood at all.”

Of all the dumb shit this guy writes, this may take the case. Sorry, the leafs trading for Jay Bouwmeester, that was dumbest thing ever. In any even this is way up the list. He may want to retire a leaf, but should the buds not make the playoffs, as expected this year, his NTC is temporarily gone, and I would be wiling to bet so will he. As for the not in his blood… A certain former captain that used to wear #13 for the Leafs said the same thing. Yet, people a hell of a lot smarter then me, one, who’s name rhymes with “girdle” has the Rent A Sundin sign out for the whole world to see…. Look, all joking aside. Why are we talking about this on October 27th? He isn’t being traded now, he isn’t being asked to waive his no trade now. So if you are trying to drum up leaf news to boost your UV’s to increase value for the sale of hankybuzz, try something moderately on the plausible side…