Thursday, March 11, 2004


Sorry about there not being a post yesterday. Life intervenes.

News Item: Maple Leafs acquire Ron Francis at the deadline.

I have to admit that this acquisition really got me excited. I've always liked Ron Francis as a player and I think he'll have a great impact on the Leafs locker room. However, he is 41 years old!! Another player the Leafs signed, defenceman Calle Johansssen, is 37. They had no choice but to recall Matt Stajan and Clarke Wilm from St. John's. It was the only way to get the team's average age under 40 again. Still, I like the moves the Leafs made leading up to the deadline as they shored up their two main weaknesses: defence and 3rd/4th line productivity.

News Item: Sheila Copps officially goes insane

So now she's charging the government with fraud. I don't believe in karma, per se, but here's a case where karma has come back on her. Y'know, if the shoe were on the other foot and Valeri lost the nomination, Sheila would be denying every underhanded trick. And I bet she would have played a few of them, too. I wonder, though, what she hopes to gain by dragging this thing on. I can't help but think that she's just making the Liberals look bad for actually keeping her around all these years. Not only that, but even if she's proven right,(which I doubt) and she's given back the seat, WHO IS GOING TO VOTE FOR HER? Might be the first time in recorded history Hamilton East doesn't vote Liberal.

Go away, Sheila. You bother us.

News item: Todd Bertuzzi apologizes

Well, I think it's safe to say that this topic occupied more of my time at work yesterday than, you know, WORK. Let's see, man chases down another man, grabs him from behind, punches him in the head (knocking him silly) and then climbs onto his back as he falls (unprotected) to the ground. Hmmmm, I believe lawa enforcement experts call this ASSAULT WITH INTENT!

Oh, wait, it happened during a pro hockey game. Sorry, all is forgiven.

So, Todd boy gets a teary press conference yesterday to say how sorry he is . Okay, let's spend some time working on this one (source:

"Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there," said Bertuzzi, 29, wiping his eyes with a napkin. "I had no intention of hurting you.

Oh, really? Let's think about this. Skate up behind a guy, grab his jersey, sucker-punch him and add your weight to him as he falls to the ice. Oh, and he was unconscious, so he couldn't break his fall. Yep, that sure sounds to me like he had no intention of hurting him.

"To the fans of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, for the kids that watch this game, I'm truly sorry," he said. "I don't play the game that way.

"I'm not a mean-spirited person. I'm sorry for what happened."

May I take a moment to remind the jury that Bertuzzi came off the bench to join a fight a few years ago, earning himself an automatic 10-game suspension. He also is among the Canucks' team leaders in penalty minutes every year. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to make their own decisions on this .

Now, in all fairness, Bertuzzi's not the first guy to pull a bonehead stunt like this. But, let's be real here, folks. If I tried this, I'd be IN JAIL. That is where Bertuzzi should be going. I would like to see him suspended until next fall, keeping him out of the playoffs and the World Cup, but it won't happen. The Canucks will appeal immediately if Bertuzzi is suspended for longer than the first round of the playoffs.

I'm less concerned about the World Cup, because I think Gretzky will make the right call and pass on Bertuzzi. Here's what I think should happen:

If Vancouver, who got all up-in-arms a few years ago when Marty McSorley tried to behead their own Donald Brashear, are really serious about cracking down on violence, they should have a press conference announcing that they are RELEASING Bertuzzi. Of course, this will never happen.

Vancouver police should charge Bertuzzi and then he should receive a suspended sentence. This will give him a criminal record, which will, if I remember my law correctly, prevent him from crossing the border. What team would pay $8 million a year for a player who couldn't play half their games? This too, will likely never happen, since Vancouver PD will likely not lay charges against a player integral to the city's Stanley Cup chances.

So, it's up to the NHL. Bettman and Campbell: do the right thing. Suspend him until the start of next season, PLEASE! Send the message that this is unacceptable by issuing a loooooonnnnnnng suspension.

Whew! Long rant. Later!