Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday thoughts

A quick collection of Sunday night thoughts, as I try to figure out how to care about the NHL between now and the deadline...

  • The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals. The running joke of the NFL, riding a 61-year championship drought. A team that earlier this year won it's first home playoff game ever. A team whose most notable recent achievement was spending a high draft pick on a superstar QB prospect who turned out to be a bust. A team that had people calling for the NFL to revamp it's playoff format just for letting them in. Those Cardinals.

    The lesson, once again: Anybody who tells you they can predict anything in the sports world is lying to you. Nobody ever knows what will happen until it happens.

    And these days, that's about as close to good news as Leaf fans can find.

  • In case anybody's wondering how I feel about the rebirth of Jason Blake, so soon after I trashed him in my mid-season value rankings... well, let's just say I'm treating this the way I treat potential no-hitters in baseball. I'm sitting quiety, trying not to think about it, and praying it keeps going until the end of the ninth inning. Or in this case, the trade deadline.

  • There was a revealing moment in Damien Cox's mailbag this week. Here's a question and answer that ran in the column (edited for length):
    Q: Hi Damien, My question is simple and may clarify the story surrounding Mats Sundin for everyone in Leaf Land and how he should be received on February 21st. I believe the real truth surrounding Mats is the Leafs said thanks but no thanks... I feel it is reasonable to identify why Mats didn't want to leave...

    I recommend that the real story be identified, that it was the Leafs who rebuked him, not the other way around. He does not deserve to be admonished or rejected for a second time of Feb. 21st when Vancouver visits Leafland.

    A: Interesting thoughts, Dave. But really, you’re just speculating upon what you believe to be the "real" story, and there’s not really any facts to support your version. Does it really matter any more?
    Take a look at what's happening here. A fan points out, correctly, that we really don't know the whole story. So he does what seems like a reasonable thing: he asks a reporter to go and find out. He invites Damien, or somebody else in the Star's sports department, to go out and actually do a little journalism.

    And what's the reply? Damien scoffs at him, reminds him that he doesn't have the facts, and concludes that it doesn't really matter anyways. It's not just that Damien doesn't know what went on behind the scenes -- he doesn't even see any value in asking around. He seems confused that anybody would even be interested.

    This is the same paper that brags about how many clicks it gets from gossip column articles about Sundin selling his house or getting married. But when somebody asks them to actually do a little bit of sports journalism, to dig around and actually get to the bottom of a story that fans are interested in, they don't even seem to understand the question.

  • Despite PPP's call for a boycott, I ended up having last night's Sens/Habs game on in the background last night. I didn't watch, but I listened to most of the first two periods. And when I woke up this morning and picked up the local paper, I was absolutely shocked to find out that the game had apparently been in Ottawa. Nice to see Sens fans will lay down and let Montreal fans take over their building too.

  • Speaking of the Sens, the company I work for has a private box at the ScotiaBank Place. They'll often raffle off tickets to hockey games or concerts, with half the money going into a 50/50 draw and the rest going to charity. It's not rare to raise hundereds of dollars, and during the WJC they were getting several thousand per draw.

    This week they announced a draw for tickets to the Sens skills competition on Sunday afternoon. When the draw was over, they announced the final prize from the 50/50 draw: five dollars. Yes, they sold $10 worth of raffle tickets. It turns out only one guy in the entire company bought any.

    Ottawa Senators fever: catch it!


  1. This malaise around the Sens is not shocking at all. I'm loving the fact that these "die hard" sens fans are being shown for their true colours: band wagon jumpers.

    As the sens took off, more an d more peopel professed their love of the Sens. where are they now that times are tough?

    Meanwhile, the Leafs are stinking just as bad, and have admitted it's going to be this way for another year. You still can't get a ticket to a game though...

  2. Good point about the Sundin thing. Burke's position - that the Leafs don't fit the "profile" of a team Sundin's looking for, seemed polite, but not entirely forthcoming.

    I tuned in to the Sens-Habs game breifly and saw one of the Habs' goals. It's too bad Toronto and Montreal can't have a game in Ottawa. That would be one rockin' building.

  3. No kidding. God forbid these people do their effin' job.

    And the Cardinals!?!?!? WHAT THE HELL? I started out neutral and was cheering for them by the end of the day.

    When will it be our turn for a miracle?

  4. Meanwhile, the Leafs are stinking just as bad, and have admitted it's going to be this way for another year. You still can't get a ticket to a game though...

    And, according the Toronto sports media, this is somehow a bad thing.

  5. ugh... I'm originally from the Ottawa Valley and can honestly say there are two sens fans..

    type one (97% of them) are bandwagon fans that won't put that car flag they bought up until the sens make the second round. Any other time of year they vaguely follow the league and don't mention their 'love' of their home team.

    type two (2% of them if you don't have a calculator handy) are so jolted from hearing more about the leafs then the sens (even when reading their own newspapers) that they are probably leaf-haters more than they are sens fans.

    type three (1%) is my grandpa, who already has won so many cups as a leafs fan apparently he doesn't care anymore, lucky bastard

  6. DSBT,

    You're forgetting a key group: the ones who call themselves Sens fans, but used to root for the Leafs/Habs/whoever and still occasionally do.

    These are the people who'll use terms like "second favorite team" and "once the Sens are out I cheer for..."

    I've never understood how you could have a second-favorite team and still call yourself a hardcore fan, but it's accepted up here.

  7. DGB,

    I have to say that I am Leaf fan first and foremost but in 1979 when the Winnipeg Jets joined the league I became a Leafs/Jets fan. Growing up in Winnipeg and cheering for the Avco Cup winning Jets, it was only natural when they joined the league I would continue to cheer for them. The only time I didn't cheer for the Jets was when they played the Leafs :) I must say that the Jets lived up to my Leaf expectation, and in some ways surpassed them with the numerous losses in the playoffs after being up 3 games to 1, good thing I had that extra Jet training to make me a better Leaf fan today!

  8. Dwayne...

    You must have been the biggest Dave Ellett fan of all time.

  9. Who exactly do you suggest Cox go to for answers to the question posed to him in that blog you're discussing? Mats won't open his mouth and MLSE clearly wouldn't willingly reveal anything they've done wrong (assuming the man asking Damien the question was correct). Why Damien bothered to answer the question with that response is beyond me,probably should have just left it out of his blog, but really what else could he have said? The topic has been overplayed, no one is revealing who is predominantly at fault here, for the time being at least, so really does it matter anymore?

    That said Cox is a douche and a half, and keep up the good work DGB!!

  10. Darren - At least ask the questions on the record and give the answers. If they block him they block him but he doesn't even ask.

  11. @Darren...

    Nobody is saying it would be easy to get the whole story. That's why guys like Damien make the big bucks.

    There were plenty of people involved in the Sundin saga, including at least one who no longer work for the Maple Leafs. Sundin himself seems to have about a dozen agents. What about officials with other teams, what did Sundin tell them? Somebody must be willing to talk, even off the record.

    My experience with sports media folks is that they usually know a lot more than they write. Sometimes there's a good reason for that. I wonder if that's the case here, or if guys like Damien are just protecting the people they personally like.

    P.S. If you are the real Darren Puppa, I'm sorry about the time I harassed you at your cousin's wedding.