Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

Two events I'm relieved are over: The Sens' pre-season and The Presidents Cup (a.k.a. Canadian golf Jesus v. American golf Jesus...at least on Sunday). One should not be listening to putter talk from Montreal in the afternoon on Team 1200, only to come home at night and watch Sens games on Rogers 22. Blech.

The pre-season is incapable of holding my interest for extended periods, but this Manatee storyline has the potential to get interesting with Ray Emery not ready for game play just yet. Contrary to popular belief, there are many persons of interest pulling for Gerber to succeed, and it has little to do with earning his keep. Emery may be considered the better goaltender in the city, but the issues he creates -- both publicly and privately -- do not strike the correct cohesive balance for this team (and we have provided the controversial reasons why in the past, albeit in an extremely roundabout manner).

Meanwhile, you have to think the one guy who might be getting anxious about the Dany Heatley negotiations (or lack thereof) is Daniel Alfredsson. Alfie committed to Ottawa for a lengthy period with a contract that now looks like a relatively frugal investment. He'll be making $5.451 million this season, and provides a salary cap hit of only $4.339 (according to NHLnumbers.com). His option years begin in 09/10, and the team's makeup could look drastically different by then -- particularly if the worst occurs and the team loses both Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

Speaking of future team makeup, the shortsightedness of some local media never ceases to amaze me. According to one talking head, Ottawa, over the course of the season, will gear up to trade Andrej Meszaros and Joe Corvo for forward building blocks while letting Wade Redden walk at the end of the season. How many quality offensive defensemen do they think the Sens will be hoarding in Binghamton? Are they going to clone Brian Lee? (Oh Jesus, I can't believe I said that.)

And finally, you know the normally placid LoCal fans in San Diego must be getting restless if they start chanting "Marty" in the fourth quarter. With the Bolts currently sitting at 1-3 (last in the division!), The Driver is in disbelief and has ceased wearing his Chargers hat out in public (he's gearing up to pull a hamstring, jumping off the bandwagon that fast). I know people are calling for Norv's head*, but the head coach midseason firing is something of a rarity in the NFL. Regardless, it's going to get oogly...can't wait. (I can say this now, before Denver goes 2-3 next week after the D inevitably throws up all over itself once more. O John Lynch, where art thou? Oh, and guess who they're playing in Week 5? LT can chew it.)

More later.


* About Norv's head: Back in the day when he was coaching Washington, if you called Rome and referred to Turner as a "pineapple", Jim would hang up on you (funny as it was). Not to be insensitive, but I think it's less about the face, and more about the neck -- it almost looks like an octogenerian's knee-high stocking when it gets bunched around their ankle.