DG's Quick Hits- September 24, 2002

This week:

Jonsson: Not impressed with crackdown

Brian Burke wakes up

On the radar screen: Eddie Belfour, Nordique Imposters, the NHL’s worst team, Alexandre Daigle, Sam Roberts, NHL players slipping through the cracks, and more
JONSSON: NOT IMPRESSED WITH CRACKDOWN

The first dissent- and certainly not the last- of the National Hockey League’s obscruction crackdown spoke out today blasting obstruction. Kenny Jonsson of the New York Islanders declared that the crackdown was “sad” because there are an average of 20 penalties a game. “That’s not what fans want to see,” he said.

True Kenny, but fans want excitement. They don’t want hockey where players are hacking and pulling at each other, making hockey a tug-of-war/wrestling match. He did say that the NHL wants to improve scoring chances and that the crackdown was one way to help, but now that he’s complained, it’s only a matter of time before Don Cherry and other hockey notables complain and bring about the unfortunate end to the NHL’s umpteenth crackdown.

BRAIN BURKE WAKES UP

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Brian Burke woke up from his longest slumber ever and pulled off a trade, obtaining Sami Salo from the Ottawa Senators for holdout Peter Schaefer. After watching two of his core players- Andrew Cassels and Scott Lachance- walk without even an attempt to re-sign both, Burke had to do something, but he’s still not out of the dog house yet.

After a season where the Canucks’ season emulated a roller coaster ride bringing about probably the most successful finish yet, Burke was under fire for allowing the Canucks to worsen with the departures. With so much hope brought about with the two unexpected wins over the Detroit Red Wings, the Canucks’ faitful wanted something big to keep the momentum going, and, while Salo is a good sign, it’s not enough. Burke is still one of the NHL’s best GMs, but I’ve run out of patience with his patient style. Burke needs to learn that free agents can help a team, especially a rising one like the Canucks.

ON THE RADAR SCREEN

Welcome to Toronto: Eddie Belfour smoked for three goals and the Leafs for seven by the Ottawa Senators. Payback was sweet two nights later, though, as the Leafs won 3-1…The National Hockey League outdoors? Even in 30C temperatures? Odd. Soon enough, they’ll be playing beach volleyball in the Arctic with heated stadiums (by the way, if they do get that technology, could they spread it all over Canada so I don’t have to put up with winter?)…The Quebec Nordiques are back. Okay, not quite, but the Colorado Avalanche will be playing the Montreal Canadiens at Le Colisee. Sorry, but no matter how much they’ll hype it as the return of the Nords, I want the real Nords back…The Nashville Predators could be the NHL’s worst team. Then again, so could Toronto. Take your pick…Okay, I’m officially on the watch for the worst player to slip through the cracks and make it to a NHL roster. No, Tie Domi doesn’t count…Alexandre Daigle scored twice to help the Pittsburgh Penguins win their inagural pre-season game. That’s great. Now how long will it be before he gets bored?…Someone told me that someone in Montreal rocker Sam Roberts’ band played professional hockey at one point, but I haven’t been able to verify this rumour. Speaking of Roberts, he’s scruffy enough to have been a hockey player himself…Do the Buffalo Sabres have a chance? Only if Darcy Regier ever gets his act together…If you’re looking for the NHL player with the most hits, you won’t find it in the stats package anymore, as the NHL officially tossed them as official stats. Bryan McCabe applauded the move, saying they were unevenly recorded, but the Players’ Association is steaming because that stat helped arbitration. Sorry guys, but you’ll have to live with it, as the stat was pointless. By the way, Billboard won’t list the stat either…Taking (farmer’s) bets: how long do you think the NHL’s crackdown will last? Anybody for one month? How about two? How many of you are willing to say it will last? Not me…Sickening development: the New York Islanders’ “Ice Girls” and the Dallas Stars’ new version. Yeah, the girls may look nice, but why does the NHL have to resort to sleaze in order to sell? Dear…Finally, just in case any of you are wondering, the Top 100 of 1997-2002 will be up Sept. 30 along with the results of my “Hockey and Music” poll.

-DG


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