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...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.
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?
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!