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...because I had Bradley in my brackets, so take a suck of that.

I'm a little behind and we've got a lot to get to. Welcome back and yeah hey, little Cynics. Let's get started...

· The story of Sundin's/Alfredsson's stick apparently had legs throughout the week. Alfredsson, when questioned, explained the stick was a model that Sundin had previously used in his career. Fine and good, right? Not necessarily. When Alfredsson arrived in Ottawa from Torino, my spies tell me that he returned with a stick marked with Sundin's name on it, as well as one of the 'qvists goalie sticks -- tape was covering the entire name, so they were unable to discern which goaltender it belonged to. So what's the story? Are they souvenirs from the gold medal victory? Are both Alfie and Sundin now using the same stick -- regardless if they were, why weren't they respectively marked?

(Aside -- Yes, that is indeed a cartoon of Mats Sundin. I don't know if that trumps the drunk Sundin/Belfour photo, but it's pretty damned good. Be warned: There's more to come. *shudder*)

· Take a hint, Pittsburgh -- your pathetic arena made a feeble attempt to off itself and you had the audacity to save its miserable life. On the same night, this latest reach by TSN regarding Sidney Crosby was made: "That was almost a highlight reel-worthy play!" Does Sidney play horseshoes? I might be ahead of the curve here, but I have yet to hear the following Crosby defense regarding his battle with Alexander Ovechkin for the Calder Trophy, media headlines, individual NHL supremacy etc.: It's a marathon, not a sprint. We'll see who ends up with the most scoring titles, Cups et al. Isn't the last line of defense for a player who for all intents and purposes, has been completely overshadowed by his competition? Alexander Ovechkin is currently 5th in scoring with 85 points. It's not likely that he could win the Hart trophy, but the argument could be made that he's undoubtedly the most important member of the Capitals' franchise. Pittsburgh fans may be nonplussed by this fact. I think they should get used to it.

· Speaking of MVP candidates, why is Joe Thornton's name being left by the wayside? The immediate argument may be based on the Sharks' current record (33-23-10, 76 points and currently in 10th place). But it's important to remember that Thornton didn't join the Sharks until November 30th. At that time, their record was 8-12-4, and they were on a ten-game losing streak. Since the trade, San Jose has gone 25-11-6. Other players have benefited as well, most notably Thornton's linemate, Jonathan Cheechoo. Cheechoo amassed only 15 points before Thornton's arrival. He has bagged 54 points since then, including a remarkable four hat tricks. Joe remains only two points behind Jagr in the points race as of tonight, with 99. His name deserves consideration for the Hart.

More tomorrow, immediately following the Penguins game.

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