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...because if we haven't given you a nickname, you're pretty much a nobody.

Oh, look -- Giggles was so busy growing facial hair that he forgot to duck Bobby Clarke's shiv. Here's the notable quote from Clarke, courtesy of his Thursday appearance on TSN's Off The Record:

"Great players are hard to play against. I don't think anybody fears playing against Jason Spezza ... other than the fact he might score or make a great play on you. You never get bruised, you never get touched."

Black Aces took issue with Clarke's criticism by performing quite the name-drop:

"The latest media tirade against Jason Spezza came from Bobby Clarke. He complained that players don't fear playing against Spezza because he can only make you look bad by "making plays" but won't lay a hand on anyone.

What, you mean like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Pat Lafontaine, Ron Francis, Joe Sakic, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Elias and Jaromir Jagr?

If it was good enough for them, why not Spezza?

While I've never been a huge fan of Spezza's, I'm inclined to agree with BA's take. Senators fans have always expected a lot out of No. 19 -- I don't think physicality was ever part of the equation. That's not to say fans wouldn't appreciate a little aggression from their No. 1 centre, but come on now. There seems to be this mentality that if players are being paid all this money, they had better be complete, and then some. We want them to be snipers, two-way performers, playmakers, muckers, leaders, team players, disciplinarians and (expletive)-disturbers. Show me a team made of nothing but complete players, and I'll show you a league that throws in the towel, and hands out its championship in the first month of the season.

That being said, fans are never going to stop coming down on players to improve upon their current skill set. If Chris Phillips is a shut-down defenceman, he should play the body. If Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher are to be considered true two-way players, they have to find the back of the net.

As for Spezza -- if you want him to instill fear into the hearts of his opponents, why not squelch his predictability with the puck, both during his successes and errors?

(Okay, even I made myself laugh with that one.)


Who's in the mood for an overkill troika? I want to see Brian Burke collaborate with Guns N' Roses on a new soundtrack for Twilight. Seriously -- now that Brian's in Toronto, can we give it a rest already? I knew we were in too deep with Burke when it became common knowledge that a) his wife's name is Jennifer and b) she's seeking a prominent position in television. Honestly, can you think of the name of another GM's wife (and her current career aspirations) off the top of your head?

I guess I'm expecting too much. Burke's already getting credit for crap he had nothing to do with. TSN.ca's headline last night (post-Leafs victory) declared Burke's arrival as a "Successful Debut". Alrighty then.

More later.