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Guess who's starting tomorrow?

Friday, February 29, 2008

It's over

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paddock is done. Assistant coach Ron Low also gets the boot, but goaltending coach Eli Wilson remains on staff. Figure that one out.

P.S. Favourite comment so far on TSN.ca: "YESSSSSSSSSS!!! OR YESH! Finally, the man is back in charge!!"

UPDATE: From The Team 1200 -- Paddock has been offered another position with the franchise, but no specifics were given and no word yet if the former coach has accepted.

UPDATE #2: During his press conference, Murray mentioned a possible scouting position for Paddock. He also stated that he went to team owner Eugene Melnyk with his intentions -- in other words, this decision came from the GM and not the Barbados boss (as many suspected it may have).

-The following is a transcript taken from the first period intermission of last night's game -- these were Mike Milbury's thoughts on the coaching situation in Ottawa:

"Coaches are responsible for conditioning, discipline and motivation. When a team quits on a coach, they lose their motivation and their discipline. They lose their focus. They can't seem to listen. They don't focus on the details. Their line changes aren't good. They miss assignments on faceoffs and they're very easily discouraged. All of that looks like Ottawa Senators to me tonight."

Just to add to that: You have to get the feeling that Paddock's tough guy act became extremely old at a rapid rate. After all, what kind of legitimate repercussions existed for poor attitude or play? Ray was sent home once, and I remember Robitaille getting benched...that's about it. A three-year-old can figure out the "all bark, no bite" routine pretty quickly. Paddock reportedly screamed his lungs out at the team during an intermission last Saturday, and it was barely enough to get them over the hump against Pittsburgh. How does he kick it up a notch after back-to-back shutouts? Does he rip out his internal organs Itchy and Scratchy-style and hurl them at the defensive core? Does he have to tear out his uvula and stomp on it? (Aside: I think Jon Gruden did this during the halftime of Super Bowl XXXVII.)

Have you ever heard the saying, "where teaching ends, frustration takes over"? I think I first read it a dog training book, but it definitely applies here. In short, when you no longer have any tricks up your sleeve to deal with (and subsequently educate) your subject -- be it German Shepherd or NHL franchise -- patience evaporates and tempers dominate. I think Paddock is out of tricks, and all he has left is an angry voice...one that this team has long since tuned out. Or maybe I should've just listened to The Driver when he insisted that Paddock never had any tricks in the first place. Jets fans always seem to know what's up.

And just to put a nice bow on all of this...here's your mid-week chewable:

The last time the Senators went through any kind of coaching staff/front office-related grief, team president Roy Mlakar was everywhere and anywhere, pompoms at the ready. Where the hell is he now?

That was subtle

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Question asked by James Duthie to Martin Lapointe during a phone interview earlier in the day:

"Can a bad dressing room or a bad situation be saved by one person?"

Hmm...you think Dwight Howard still has that Superman cape?

- Brian Campbell was a priority; Darcy Regier wanted to look elsewhere (Ed. Note: Understandable, but this hurts)

- had "good talks" with a team regarding a goaltender but "money got in the way" (Khabibulin?)

- threw one player's name out to the masses and was contacted by fifteen teams

- in regards to exploring other options if things don't improve: "I won't commit to anything at this point."

Just when I get closer, I can feel it slipping away
Just when I feel better, that's when everything starts to change
No chance to be, no chance to see what's left to say
Just when I get closer, that's when it all slips away

-- Closer (Pennywise)

What do you want me to tell you? What do you want me to talk about? Do any of you wish to discuss inferior perimeter hockey that this team is bound and determined to play because it's their "system"? Do you want to chat about how they refuse to attack the net and instead obsess about shots from the point while aiming (read: praying) for a deflection?

Do you want to talk about predictability -- like the way Fisher always goes to the outside when he's driving down the right side? Add that to the pile, along with Alfie's circling back and Neil's "unanticipated" toe drag. Woman, please.

Do you want to discuss how Emery gives off frighteningly queasy memories of Roman Cechmanek? (Aside: That sounds like a marinade you can buy at Loblaws.) He's totally got the half-assed crouch move locked up. The media can obsess about weakness on his stick side until they're blue in the face -- why hasn't anyone picked up on the fact that Emery has the reflexes of Bob Cole on muscle relaxants chased with Stolichnaya?

Most importantly, do you any of you wish to ponder aloud about the possible events of today, and how they will change nothing for this team, regardless of what does (or does not) happen?

Yeah, that's what I figured.

Finally, here's some food for thought:

Current records for the Sens and Leafs respectively:


The first 19 games:



In the games since then:



Since January 1st:



P.S. Was Garry Galley at an Oscar party Sunday night? Dude was so hoarse during the broadcast, I thought Demi Moore was doing the colour.

Trip city

Monday, February 25, 2008

We just got word from a friend of ours in Tampa that Lightning fans (the ones that care anyway) are flipping out over the idea of losing Brad Richards -- the drama can be heard on WDAE 620 The Sports Animal. Heads up: Access is only available if your IP address is U.S. based. Bush league, says I.

This is the type of trade deadline coverage we live for -- it comes from a media blog (guess which one?):

"Checking on Forsberg. I'm told he's either coming back or not coming back."

If there's such a thing as Post of the Year, that's in the running.

As for Cotton Hill Forsberg, we have our answer: He's going to Colorado.

Just saying...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yeah, go ahead and act like you don't see it. Feel free to add it to the pile.

Showcase showdown?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Speculation is already mounting after yesterday's revelation that John Paddock would be starting Emery over the Manatee against Philly tonight -- thereby abandoning his wildly successful* "win and you're in" strategy. The timing is worthy of note: There are four games left until the trade deadline next Tuesday (Flyers, Blue Jackets, Bruins and Leafs). Could this be an attempt to showcase Emery in the hopes of pawning him off on some unfortunate buyer? (And if he's going to give it up again a la the second Jersey goal on Saturday, what the [expletive] is the point?)

More later...including some interesting fallout from the Corvo column this week.


* That's sarcasm, Mensas. Do I really have to explain this here?

Brian Lee: Scraptastic

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Me (to The Driver): Hey, Brian Lee got into a fight tonight.

The Driver (not missing a beat): What -- did someone swipe one of his Hot Wheels?

UPDATE: Here are the details from the bout:

As more than one person pointed out, B-Sens rookie defenseman Brian Lee certainly can't be accused of picking his spots in choosing to drop the gloves with Crunch right wing Derek Dorsett for his first professional fight Friday night in Syracuse.

"I think it's great. I think it's a good experience for him," B-Sens coach Cory Clouston said afterward. "He picked a guy that I'm very familiar with in the WHL. He's a smaller guy, but he was one of the best middleweights in the WHL. So he tangled with a real tough competitor and I thought he did a good job."

Lee and Dorsett fought at the 16:12 mark of the first period, with Lee controlling the fight early on. Dorsett was the one who landed a few punches toward the end, and Lee appeared frustrated with the linesmen that he got punched again after he was already down and the fight was being broken up.

"We were just talking back and forth," Lee said afterward, "and it led to a fight."

Asked if this was something he wanted to get a part of, Lee said: "I wanted to get one fight on the year. ... Just kind of get one under my belt."

Dorsett spent part of his junior hockey career with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers. Clouston's brother, Shaun, is an associate coach with Medicine Hat.

The man's got a point

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From the Citizen's Hockey Capital blog:


While both Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman expressed excitement at being the newest members of the Senators, it appears Joe Corvo couldn’t wait to get out of town. Corvo, an Illinois native, told reporters at the News & Observer in Raleigh that he found there was too much attention paid to team and his family didn’t like the living in Ottawa.

Corvo, who often found himself as the target of fan fury over abundant defensive lapses, told the newspaper that, although his family wanted to return to the U.S., his interest in departing “had more to do the small-town attitude that surrounded the team and the nature of the criticism.”

“It’s hard to understand if you haven’t played in Canada,” Corvo is quoted as saying. “The media here at times can be completely ridiculous, the way they can take some of the stories that are nothing and make something out of them.”

You may have seen the Chris Berman videos making the rounds -- this one has a uniquely Canadian twist. 222s? How retro. By the way, this is our first "Canadian meds" tag.

[Credit to Awful Announcing for the find.]

P.S. Just a quick story here...when I wrote my very first column, I took some shot at Chris Berman and was told to consider pulling it because, "people like Chris Berman" (that was the reason I was given). I think I did -- hell, it was my maiden voyage. Quick question: Did anyone really like him, even before these videos began surfacing?

ESPN has since demanded that YouTube remove the videos, but you can catch them all here. The applicable Canadian clip is the first one displayed.

Is it him?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Today on Team 1200, GM Bryan Murray referenced chasing a "young free agent" (see previous post). Well, the Sun blog seems to think it's this guy: Jesse Winchester. Murray apparently paid a visit to the college player this weekend in Canton, NY when the kid's team was playing St. Lawrence.

Winchester is a 24-year-old forward currently playing for Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. Through 28 games with the Raiders he has 8 goals and 21 assists on 115 shots, in addition to a plus-11 rating (he's tied for first in plus-minus and leads the team in points).

Other various stats...

- has a .524 winning percentage on faceoffs (6th best on the team)

- 30 blocked shots

- 35 PIM

You can find a breakdown of his year and other stats here.

- looking for another tough d-man, even if short term

- still interested in tending to right side of Fisher line

- wants to leave rest of current roster alone, if possible (read: trades may come, but will be prospects/draft picks)

- is talking to a "young free agent" -- attempting to convince him to come to Ottawa (claims it is NOT Fabian Brunnstrom). (Ed. note: J.R. asked about him -- I don't know if he was addressing it as a deadline move, which wouldn't make sense.)

- said that Corvo likely needed to get back into an American city, away from the scrutiny of the media

The speculation has already begun that Corvo gone + 2 potential UFAs = making space for Peter "Cotton Hill" Forsberg. Your move, Philly.

The general consensus (far as I can tell) is that the move was a positive one. The D needed some jam, badly. The blueline is far too soft, and bringing in Commodore brings some of that so-called grit that's required. Losing Eaves is upsetting some people, but to be fair -- Patrick's game has suffered due to repeated injuries, and he isn't a top six player. There's something to be said for waiting for someone to develop, but many were growing impatient. Stillman represents that top six winger that the Sens currently require (although to be honest, his lack of defensive prowess worries me).

So, where does this leave rumoured trade bait, Antoine Vermette? Right now, my gut says he might be staying.

P.S. Thank your various deities that Commodore is a right-handed defenseman (in essence, a one-for-one, as Corvo was a righty as well). This team has far too many southpaws on the blueline.

From TSN:

The Ottawa Senators have shuffled the deck in a big way by completing a four-player transaction with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Sources say the Senators have acquired defenceman Mike Commodore and forward Cory Stillman in exchange for defenceman Joe Corvo and forward Patrick Eaves.

Commodore and Stillman are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Stillman had to agree to waive his no-trade clause to go to Ottawa.

Eaves is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Corvo has two years remaining on his contract, paying him $2.75 million per year but with a salary cap hit of $2.625 million.

Stillman is enjoying a very productive season with Carolina as he has 21 goals and 25 assists in 55 games. He has cooled considerably after a hot start to the season as he has only seven points in the 2008 calendar year.

He enjoyed his best season in 2003-04 with the Lightning when he scored 25 goals and added 55 assists. In 815 career games the 34-year old Stillman has scored 231 times while handing out 352 assists.

He is a two time Stanley Cup winner in 2004 with Tampa Bay and in 2006 with the Hurricanes.

Meanwhile Commodore has three goals and nine assists and 74 penalty minutes in 41 games. He was also a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup winning Hurricanes.

In 51 games with the Senators this season the 30-year old Corvo has six goals and 21 assists while sporting a +13 +/- rating. He has also been playing on the Senators top power play unit and will likely be asked to quarterback the Hurricanes struggling PP unit which is 17th in the league. In 330 career games he has 41 goals and 100 assists.

While struggling to overcome a shoulder injury this season, the 23-year old Eaves has four goals and six assists.

The Senators play host to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday while the Hurricanes face the Bruins. It is unknown if the players will be in the lineup for their new teams at this time.

When they say "nightclub", we're thinking they meant "Ybor City strip club"... and when they say "purse", they probably meant "$150 Chinese Louis Vuitton knockoff".

From TSN.ca:

The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Montreal Canadiens defensemen Ryan O'Byrne and forward Tom Kostopoulos were arrested outside of Tampa nightclub early Monday morning.

O'Byrne is accused of stealing a women's purse, while Kostopoulos is accused of resisting an officer.

The incident began when a woman notified the bar's security officers that her purse was missing. The security officers noticed O'Byrne holding the purse and the women's cellphone outside the bar.

According to the report, O'Byrne told the officers that the purse belonged to his girlfriend, but police determined it belonged to the woman.

"Several associates, who were identified as National Hockey League players/members, crowded around the officers and police car," the police report states. "They were told numerous times to get away from the police car and not to interfere."

O'Byrne was charged with grand theft and Kostopoulos was charged with resisting the officers.

O'Byrne's bail was set at $2,000 and Kostopoulos' was set at $500 - both have been released.

The Canadiens are scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night.

William Houston's take on Hockey Day in Canada:

Hockey Day in Canada goes heavy on schmaltz

If you woke up with a tummy ache yesterday, well, it's understandable. When the entrée consists of sugar and syrup over 13½ hours, it can happen.

And if you had a bad dream about outdoor rinks and small-town arenas closing in you, that's hardly a surprise, either.

The feel-good programming of Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday accomplished everything it set out to do, but it was also repetitive and, at times, tedious.

After a while, you wanted to yell: "Enough. I'm tired of the smiling faces and happy accounts, and here-we-are-and-isn't-this-wonderful message."

Was there nothing else to say?

Here's how one journalist, who is hockey fan, put it in an e-mail message: "Anyone landing here from another planet seeing this would think we were a nation of 32 million, each and every one of us living in a small town, volunteering all day long, loving our fathers and able only to say, 'This is what it's all about.' "

Ron MacLean did yeoman's service as the host of the day-long show. The features were inspiring, moving and slick. And there were no technical problems that we noticed.

But this was the idealization of grassroots hockey, a game without issues or problems, aside from perhaps the decrepit condition of an outdoor rink in Montreal. A piece on the Boston Bruins' Glen Metropolit, who grew up in the Toronto neighbourhood of Regent Park, touched on the challenges confronting urban poor kids, but just barely.

The CBC needs to balance the Hockey Day fluff with journalism. Or is everything in the game, as Hockey Canada and the establishment media would have us believe, so perfect there is no need to ask questions or criticize?

From the CBC's perspective, Hockey Day primarily serves as a promotional vehicle for hockey, for which the network has, starting next season, about $100-million a year invested in NHL rights.

It is therefore important for the CBC to sell the game as important to the country. And to make the case that hockey is part of our soul and embodies all good things.

But, perhaps, during the network's homage, there is room for a report that doesn't invoke a happy face. Surely, there are subjects worth looking into, whether it is bodychecking for kids, shots to the head starting in minor hockey up to professional hockey or the steep dropoff in participation after the ages of 12 and 13. Are eight-year-olds still playing too many games and receiving too little instruction?

The CBC would argue Hockey Day is about telling the good news stories. It is the one day of the year set aside to celebrate the game.

But when do the other stories get told? Certainly not on the parent show of Hockey Day, Hockey Night in Canada, which airs features consisting almost exclusively of profiles and human interest stories. Issues, assuming the establishment is wrong and there are some, are rarely if ever reported in a serious way.

The point that should be important to the Hockey Day producers is that strong journalism will enhance rather than diminish the telecast. Good news by itself, after all, is a pretty bland offering.

With the Vancouver Olympics two years away, it might have been interesting to hear some analysis, aside from the usual excuse making, of what went wrong with the men's team at the Turin Games in 2006 and what to expect in 2010.

Doom and gloom shouldn't prevail on Hockey Day, but a dose of reality would be a welcome counter to the image of the game, largely mythologized, that Hockey Day presents.

Bits and pieces

Saturday, February 09, 2008

1) Only a myopic fool would be placated by the Sens' victory this evening. One-dimensional teams don't win Stanley Cups.

2) From the "Wrong Yet Accurate" Department: Dick Irvin looks like the librarian from The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (you probably need to be of a certain vintage to understand this). Full disclosure: Old people scare me.

3) I enjoyed the Joe Juneau segment today, and yeah...that's about it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to cleanse my palate with some basketball and Frasier reruns, because that was far too much saccharine for one day.

More on Mlakar

Friday, February 08, 2008

Don Brennan hit the nail on the head over at the Sun blog. Here's the post:

Riddle me this, Batman

Something about the whole Roy Mlakar contract extension thing just doesn't seem right.
Mostly, it's the handling of the announcement.
The Senators waited until 10:13 p.m. (by my blackberry) to inform the media that their CEO and president was going to keep his job for at least one more year. Now, you have to know the deal was agreed upon well before that. Maybe hours, maybe days, maybe even weeks.
Yet they held off on the news until just after a Thursday night game against Florida? When the newspapers would have room only for a short blurb, at best? When the TV and radio guys were also more focused on a slump-busting win in February?
Mlakar is supposed to be a major "player" in the organization. He's certainly not allergic to the spotlight. What an opportunity for the team to hold him high, to boast about the good job Mlakar and his staff have done in filling Scotiabank Place again this season.
They could have held a press conference after the morning skate, in the middle of the afternoon or even at 5:30 p.m., which would be just in time for it to make the evening news and guarantee better play in the papers.
And yet they handle his story with about as much fanfare given the demotion of Josh Hennessy to Binghamton.
Doesn't make sense. Or does it?
Most who follow the team on a regular basis have assumed this season was Mlakar's swan song. The thinking is he lost hand when John Muckler lost his power struggle with Bryan Murray. If Mlakar couldn't save his buddy's job, then he surely must not have the same clout as he once possessed, right? And what about his rosy relationship with Eugene Melnyk? Had it soured?
True or false, that's been the speculation, and the fact Mlakar has not been as visible around the rink to the media had only added fuel to the assumption he was on his way out.
Then, also curious is the fact that his extension is for only one year. A press conference, and more coverage, would have made a bigger issue out of that.
Why just one year? Why announce the length of the deal in the first place? They aren't telling us how much Mlakar will be paid, are they? Why not just say, as teams usually do, that terms of the agreement would not be released?
It just all seems kind of fishy. Like the fewer questions they have to field about the status of this prominent player, the better.

Text message exchange between myself and a friend last night:

"Jacques (Martin) just took a timeout...WTF?"

"I know. Weird."

"He never does that. Normally he just stares up at the clock and says to himself, 'f*ck me.'"

"Wonder what he's saying now (during the timeout)?"

"That's all he EVER says."

Interestingly enough, both Dean and Gord noticed that Jacques appeared to be silent during the timeout, essentially rendering it pointless. Maybe he realized his mistake after the fact.

We also reminisced about Jacques' über-awesome television commercial for the Orleans jewellery store, La Maison D'Or. If anyone has access to that, I swear...I will pony up for it.

Finally, a tidbit -- consider this your Friday chewable...

The Sun blog reported last night that Sens president Roy Mlakar signed a one-year extension with the team. Frankly, we were kind of surprised, especially after Mlakar's reaction during this -- it seemed like all signs pointing to him pulling the plug after this season. And yet, he re-ups...but for one year? What's the point of that?

My apologies

Thursday, February 07, 2008

(That's Mr. Chi Pig from SNFU. Around 1997 or '98, he appeared on TSN's Off The Record and it was blatantly apparent that he scared the living hell out of Michael Landsberg and the other three guests. Towards the end of the show, Chi whips out his pig mask, puts it on, and begins climbing all over the furniture -- I'm not making this up...I have it on tape. Most underrated OTR episode ever.)

Alright, so I was in the middle of some late-night template tinkering when my Internet took a nosedive. Thankfully I keep a stored copy of the HTML, otherwise the blog would've been toast (and I'm sure a lot people would've had a problem with that -- that's sarcasm, kids).

Anyway, I'm back. Resume your regularly scheduled National Capital NHL free-fall. Weee!

P.S. Senators + Panthers + A-Channel Broadcast = Cruel and unusual punishment.

P.P.S. Stop asking why I didn't call during Rome's Old School Hour on Tuesday. I didn't know I was supposed to.

Senatoren...mit kleiderbuegel!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

These are your leftovers:

Due to the insanity from the past week (more on that in a minute), I came across a German-based NHL message board that's a total riot to read. My German isn't the greatest -- I can catch the jist of some things -- but I figured for the hell of it, I'd run some posts through an online translator for all of you. Here's an unaltered sampling:

"Bist du des Wahnsinns knusprige Beute, 7 Punkte von Alfie letzte Nacht."


"You are the insanity crisp prey, 7 points night last by Alfie."

(Come back soon, Alfie -- the team is in dire need of your crispy insanity.)


"vielleicht schafft es Alfie ja auch noch, seinen alten kumpel Mats zum erzrivalen zu locken...
das wär der deal schlechthin für die provinz Ontario!
Ottawa hat eine reihe von jungen talenten, nach denen die Leafs sich die finger lecken würden (Vermette u.a.) und mit Spezza und Sundin als 1-2 punch kann Fisher hauptsächlich gegen die topreihe des gegners spielen, dort ist er wohl am effektivsten für sein team. damit wären die Sens im osten de fakto der anwärter nummer 1 auf eine erneute teilnahme am cup finale."


"Perhaps it creates Alfie also yet to attract its old buddy rents to the archrival... The wär the deal simply for the province Ontario! Ottawa has would line up one of young talents, after which the Leafs would lick itself the fingers, (Vermette among other things) and with Spezza and Sundin as 1-2 punch can Fisher mainly against the topreihe of the opponent play, is would be participate there he probably most effectively for its team. therewith the Sens in the East de fakto of the applicants number 1 on a renewed in the cup finale."

(I always knew the Leafs were a bunch of finger-lickers. Are they trying to say that Vermette is the equivalent of a bucket of chicken?)


Ja Rayzor scheint nicht nur abgehoben zu sein, der liebe Herrgott hat im wohl auch nicht mit allzu viel Intelligenz gesegnet. Ich sage es hier und jetzt: Ottawa ist nicht wegen Emery in den SC-Final gekommen, sondern eher trotz ihm. Das er eine Solche Aroganz entwickelt nach einer erfolgreichen Season ist schon bedenklich. Elliot hat in seinem bisherigen einzigen Spiel überzeugt, der scheint kein schlechter zu sein.

Schöner Sieg gegen die NYI, aber Corvo könnte echt mal mit seinen Fehlpässen im eigenen Drittel aufhören....


"Yes Rayzor seems not only removed to be, that dear gentleman God blessed has in that probably also not with all too much intelligence. I say it here and now: Ottawa did not come because of Emery in the SC-Final, but rather sooner in spite of it. That it such an Aroganz developed is already doubtful after a successful Season. Elliot convinced in its previous only game, no bad seems that to be.

Beautiful victory against the NYI, but Corvo could really once with its Fehlpässen in the own third stop ..."

(Fehlpässen? Is that Corvo's problem? Someone needs to tell him they make a cream for that.)


Now then...about last week. I know when the blog went dark, a lot of assumptions were made. None of them were true. I had some business to attend to, and wasn't able to keep up with the demands being made due to Tuesday's post. Please note (and I only wish to state this once, so pay attention): If the blog goes subscription-only, no posts are being made. You're not missing anything. I will bring it back online when I can.

Frankly, I wasn't expecting the type of reaction that I received from Tuesday's post. People took the ball and ran with it, which is their prerogative. Thank you to those who chose to link and discuss it with some semblance of seriousness -- particularly if you were able to do so without playing the Allen Iverson card. It's called "fresh material", kids. Look into it.


As for the latest on the drama-doomed troika (Gerber-Paddock-Emery), it appears that Paddock's most recent scheme ("win and you're in") is destined for failure, and once again demonstrates the head coach's lack of decisiveness. Granted, neither goaltender was a standout in either game (The Manatee vs. Boston and Ray in Toronto tonight). But both have yet to receive proper defensive support (for the record, Meszaros deserves to fly home in the cargo hold this evening). Can't he at least let one of them ride for a couple games, to at least work through some issues and build a smidge of confidence?

This is the analogy I've been throwing out to friends for a couple of months: Paddock is Archie, Gerber is Betty and Emery is Veronica. The Manatee is like Betty because everyone likes him (he's a favourite in the dressing room), he's low-key, doesn't rock the boat -- almost to the point of becoming a doormat (remember how often Betty would help Archie with his homework?) -- but wants to be No. 1 in Archie's world.

Emery is Veronica to a t -- the diva and the bling-lover (Aside: Did I just write "bling"? I want to hurt myself.) She bitches and throws temper tantrums, and Archie totally takes it because he remembers how hot she can be. The thing is, I don't remember Veronica eating a cockroach on a bet for tattoo money. Granted, that might've been in a Double Digest I missed. In the comics, Ron would just swipe a credit card from her father's wallet while he napped in his office (Mr. Lodge would be played by Bryan Murray...oh, and Binghamton prospect Brian Elliott would be played by Midge -- the girl everyone forgets about until she starts acting like a saucy minx).

I totally need to flesh this out some more, don't I?


A couple more things...

This is driving me crazy. Two elite athletes: Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby. Both diagnosed with high ankle sprains. Afterward, Brady goes around to NYC nightclubs with Gisele Bundchen. Crosby goes around making a face like he got into a Jacuzzi too quickly and scorched his genitalia.

(Aside: When it comes to comedic gold, this is The Driver's Fort Knox, despite the trauma it caused. He honed this bit during the years when we had gym memberships at the O.A.C. -- he was unable to avoid the sight of octogenarians who immersed their naked bodies into the men's hot tub, only to retract lightning-fast while cupping their private parts and making a sucking noise through their teeth. The Driver's imitation of this -- fully clothed, naturally -- is absolutely priceless, and the face he makes is identical to the one Crosby is demonstrating in the photo.)

And finally, just a heads-up: Tomorrow's column is Super Bowl-based. It's too difficult to write about the Sens in that space with any level of passion -- they might as well replace their Roman soldier logo with an Ambien tablet.

More later.