Some Monday morning musings for your dining and dancing pleasure:
• When are NHL decision makers, most of whom are usually astute judges of hockey talent, going to finally come to the realization they should have years ago – that Todd Bertuzzi is not only no longer an impact player in the league, but he’s more of a detriment than a contributor to his team?
If Bertuzzi were just lumbering and slow, that would be one thing. But it’s clear Bertuzzi has absolutely zero ability to manage his emotions and continues to get his teams in trouble by taking stupid penalties.
His flying elbow at Daniel Sedin’s head Saturday night was easily a suspendable offense and proves Bertuzzi has learned nothing from the Steve Moore incident. Then his hit from behind on Ryan Johnson later in the period almost cost the Calgary Flames the game in regulation time.
The Flames are Bertuzzi’s fourth team in the past three seasons. There’s a reason for that.
• Kudos to Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson for declaring that it’s “irrelevant” how his team is handling the Toronto media. As a former member of the day-to-day chroniclers of the Maple Leafs, it always mystified me how much importance some members of the media gave themselves.
But darts to Wilson for falling into the trap himself, because Wilson can be awfully testy dealing with people he supposedly thinks are irrelevant. It has also mystified me how players and coaches willingly came to Toronto and were willing to accept all the adulation that comes with being a mediocre hockey team in this market, then complained about the scrutiny under which they placed themselves.
The Toronto media corps is not a difficult one. It has grown to not expect much from this franchise and when you put it up against some other cities and other sports, it is tame by comparison. But it is an enormous contingent with a bottomless appetite for all things Maple Leaf. With that comes a lot of scrutiny and even the occasional stupid question.
If Wilson can’t deal with that, perhaps he should go coach in Florida where he’d have to show his identification card to get into the arena.
• Speaking of the Maple Leafs, if they’re truly interested in rebuilding, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to trade Tomas Kaberle to the Pittsburgh Penguins? The Penguins are without both Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney long-term and need a puck-moving defenseman to get the puck up to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The Maple Leafs could ask for Jordan Staal and probably get laughed at, but certainly Kaberle could fetch a rather impressive array of draft picks and young players. Kaberle would have to approve of a deal, but the chance to go to the Penguins would probably do it.
• The Ottawa Senators are going nowhere this season if they continue to get the kind of goaltending they got from Martin Gerber in his first two starts. They could easily be 3-0-0 right now, but largely because of Gerber, they’re 1-1-1.
• Things for which I’m thankful on Canadian Thanksgiving: 1. The quiet brilliance of Joe Sakic. 2. The loud brilliance of Alex Ovechkin. 3. The goaltending and sincerity of Martin Brodeur. 4. The Montreal Canadiens power play. 5. Another NHL season. 6. Another minor hockey season with the Ted Reeve Hockey Association. 7. Road hockey with my two boys and their friends in the driveway on a sunny October afternoon. 8. Hockey Night in Canada. 9. TSN’s between periods panel. 10. The opportunity to cover the greatest sport in the world.
• Repeat after me: The instigator rule does not need to be repealed. In the first 31 games of this season, there were 25 fights and in only three of them was an instigator identified. That’s an average of one in every 8.3 fights. That’s not a deterrent, no matter what the knuckledraggers say about it.
• For those of you keeping score at home: 1. There has been just one shootout through the first 31 games this season. 2. Rookie NHL coach Dave Allison had just two wins in 25 games with the Ottawa Senators in 1995-96. Rookie coach Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks has three wins in his first three games. 3. The Portland Winter Hawks of the Western League have five goals in their first seven games. Seven players in the WHL have more goals than the Winter Hawks have this season.
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