DG's Quick Hits- May 19, 2002

This week:

Cardiac Leafs can’t do it again

Trade bait deals Avs a blow

Why Marshall Johnston shouldn’t have quit

(World Issues Page Announcement inside)CARDIAC LEAFS CAN’T DO IT AGAIN

Carolina Hurricane forward Niclas Wallin scored mid-way through overtime to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, knotting the Eastern Conference Finals at one game apiece. This was after Toronto’s Alyn McCauley scored a goal with seven seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime. It looked like Toronto would score another unpredictable win, but some sloppy defensive play did them in, and now they’re heading to their barn with a split instead of a 2-0 lead.

The Hurricanes’ win opens a new slew of questions regarding the series. For one, the Leafs- who have somehow found ways to win games they shouldn’t have won- have to prove they can again steal a game after being denied this time. Confidence is key for Toronto, and this result could sap it right out of them, having failed to extend the momentum they gained from the unlikely McCauley marker. For Carolina, they’ll have to prove that they can again shock an Original Six team and again steal a series everyone thinks they should lose. Still, both teams are led by capable veterans- Mats Sundin (who recently came back for Toronto) and Ron Francis (two years older than his coach, Paul Maurice)- who have proven they can steer their teams the way they want them to. Game Three goes Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre and shouldn’t disappoint.

TRADE BAIT DEALS AVS A BLOW

Darren McCarty, once implicated in deals to go the Buffalo Sabres for Richard Smehlik, scored a hat trick in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche, lifting his Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead. The goals were McCarty’s first of the play-offs.

“I guess when you only score five during the regular season and haven’t scored any in the playoffs, you’re due,” McCarty said before dozens of reporters in a conference room (covered by ESPN.com). “I’ve always heard about this room, I’ve just never been it. It’s nice. Thanks for having me.”

It was vindication for McCarty, who scored his first career hat trick in games that “count”- he had an exhibition hat trick previously against the Toronto Maple Leafs- and gives the Wings a much-needed boost in their first round tilt with the Avs. Though this will be a long series, by claiming the first game Detroit ensures that the Avs will be reeling and they won’t be faced in the awkward position of bouncing back. The Wings have been strong since losing the first two games against the Vancouver Canucks, and, though the veterans proved they can bounce back, they’re better off with the lead. One of the keys to this series will be confidence and momentum because both are strong, so it is in the Wings’ best interests to keep it if they want to get to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1998.

WHY MARSHALL JOHNSTON SHOULDN’T HAVE QUIT

Marshall Johnston resigned as General Manager of the Ottawa Senators following the Sens’ 3-0 Game Seven loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 14. It was expected that Johnston would quit, as the loss to the Leafs was an embarrassment for the Sens and pundits have said that it could spell the demise of the Senators in Ottawa.

Frankly, I can’t understand the complaints. Sure, these were the “hated” Leafs and the team was basically a St. John’s Maple Leaf reject squad, but the fact remains the Senators managed to win their first play-off round since 1998. Before the year, the fans were clamouring for a first round win, since the club had a history of falling short in the play-offs, and this year they got it. It may have come against the National Hockey League’s greatest soap opera, the Philadelphia Flyers, but a win’s a win, no matter what. Could the Senators improve? No doubt. Still, there’s no reason to complain: the Senators are improving as a team, doing one better than last year and should enter the off-season full of optimism. Instead, the Sens enter the off-season with pessimism and uncertainty, even though they did what was wanted out of them.

-DG

World Issues Page Announcement:

Trying to Livent the Argos

DG’s Quick Hits- May 19, 2002: Star Wars opens, Eminem spars with Cheney, Strike?

*NOTE: If any of you have seen the new Stars Wars movie and would like to write an article or a review, please send them in to theranter2001@yahoo.ca. I did want to write something on it but I haven’t seen the movie yet (intend to see it sans the hype). Fortunately, the Argos story was just as juicy, to me anyway. You can also send other articles on issues to that E-Mail address, and trust me: they will get posted once I get something. Thanks