DG's Quick Hits- November 2, 2002

Toronto rivaling the entire NHL

NHL: Watch Out For 2004

On the radar screen: the San Jose Sharks, Dave Babych, fleecing Brian Burke, Michael Peca, Dave Andreychuck, the Ottawa Senators and a lot more.

TORONTO RIVALING THE ENTIRE NHL

Earlier this week, the Toronto Star’s Ken Campbell outlined reasons as to why the Toronto Maple Leafs should rival the Atlanta Thrashers. He pointed out the World Series and the fact Atlanta staged the 1996 Olympics and Toronto has yet to stage one, on top of the fact the Leafs and Thrashers were, ahem, competing for last overall in the NHL. It was all an attempt to get hype up for that night’s Thrahsers-Leafs tilt, but this has gone a little overboard.

First, there was Toronto-Montreal, a legitimate rivalry. Then Toronto-Ottawa, which is also legitimate since they’re both in Ontario. Then Toronto-Philadelphia was pitched about two years ago by the Star but the teams only hate each other as much as the next one. Then came Damien Cox’s Toronto-Islanders rivalry last spring and, while he had his points, the Leafs and Islanders don’t hate each other any more than they did last year. Now this, Atlanta and Toronto. I cracked up upon reading this simply because it’s sheer nonsense. Atlanta? The Star must be bored to even suggest naming the minnow Thrashers, who have no history with the Leafs- not to mention at all- to rival the glorious tradition that is Toronto. What do they want, the entire NHL to hate Toronto? *shudders* Of course, leave it to the Leafs to get the last blunder, as they blew a 3-2 lead late in the third giving the Thrashers a 3-3 tie and their first game where Atlanta didn’t lose. The Leafs should be in comedy, not the NHL the way they’re going, and it doesn’t look like it’ll end soon.

NHL: WATCH OUT FOR 2004

Gary Betteman told reporters at a Toronto luncheon that the National Hockey League is ready to take the pains of a prolonged labour disruption just to fix their problems come 2004. This, according to the Canadian Press, after a month of improved NHL conditions where the league had plenty to brag about.

I agree in part to this assessment. The NHL has improved its play dramatically and the games are more exciting, but it’s only the first month and the NHL still has money problems to sort out. Teams are still whining about their poverty and the only teams really taking part in the free agent derby are the same teams year in and year out, so the league does need some sort of monetary restraints. Simply put, the whining must stop and must stop now: anything so my ears don’t bleed.

ON THE RADAR SCREEN

No misprint at all: the San Jose Sharks are 3-6-0-1 and last in the Pacific. Time for a shakeup? I think so…Getting what he deserved, partly: Dave Babych awarded $1.3 million for a malpractice suit against Philadelphia Flyer team doctor Arthur Bartolozzi for forcing him to play hurt. I still believe the blame really rests on the Flyers since they’re the ones who wanted him to play in the first place. Bartolozzi messed up, but so did the Flyers, so the ruling is part right…The Star ran a great section in last Sunday’s Sunday Crunch outlining the top five myths about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Among them were Toronto’s incessant price hikes despite an apparent love for the fans and the fact Toronto is storied even without a Cup win in 35 years…The Vancouver Canucks were fleeced, plain and simple, in the trade of Harold Druken and Jan Hlavac from the Carolina Hurricanes for Marek Malik and Darren Langdon. Two serviceable players for one barely-NHL defenceman and a useless thug? Good dealing Brian Burke. Just don’t expect that “Executive Of The Year Award” at the end of the year…The Boston Bruins were expected to fall apart this year and they’ve started 6-2-2. Still, I won’t believe until April…New York Islander captain Michael Peca is back from rehab a month earlier than expected. “We were left in the dark about this,” Islanders right wing Steve Webb said to ESPN.co after the first period of their Saturday afternoon tilt. “He was sworn to secrecy. He gave his word he wouldn’t tell any of us.” Meanwhile, Peca’s absence proved how much depth the Islanders actually lacked…Dave Andreychuck is one power play goal away from Phil Esposito’s career mark. More surprising than this is the fact Andreychuck is still going…The St. Louis Blues lose Keith Tkachuck for a month, thus weakening their team overall and hurting them in the long run. So what do they do? Smoke the Islanders 6-1. Business as usual at the Gateway To The West…Just to remind everyone, Mark Messier is still playing in the National Hockey League. Why is anyone’s guess…If the Leafs continue their poor play, expect the Toronto Raptors to be the benefactors. That is, unless the Raptors stink up the joint too, which is what some suggest…Fair trade? The Chicago Blackhawks trade Michael Nylander to the Washington Capitals for Chris Simon and Andrei Nikolishin. Maybe. It’s a lot fairer than the Canucks’ trade, that’s for sure…Finally, there’s an out for frustrated Ontario hockey fans: the Ottawa Senators, who just beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 to earn their fourth win of the year. As opposed to Toronto, the Senators actually win, and win against good teams too.

-DG


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