Banning Canada and John Doyle 
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly talked yesterday about two American deserters:

".... Hinzman and Huey have applied for asylum in Canada, which by law can only be granted if a person can prove they'll be killed or persecuted in their homeland.

Since the Iraq war is undeclared, they could not be executed by the military in the USA. And they probably will be sentenced to five years in prison under the general court-martial law if they come back here. That's a prosecution, not a persecution.

If Canada grants these two asylum, that would obviously be a slap in the face to America. Harboring deserters is a serious business.

There's no question that the Canadian press has become rabidly anti-American. "The Toronto Globe and Mail," the CBC and others delight in insulting us. That, of course, is their right.

But if the Canadian government joins in and gives these deserters a home, then "Talking Points" will call for a boycott of Canada. ....

Boycott Canada.
Well then - if they're going to do that then maybe we'll boycott Fox News! How do you like that! What's that - we already do? Oh, then we'll boycott the last Friends episode - HA!

I actually hadn't heard of these deserters that O'Reilly says are "being hailed as hero's by the Canadian media" -- I'll look them up right now....

On CBC I only found one article on it - from February which didn't go into much detail.

The Globe and Mail doesn't have much hero talk on it's website but it does have a new column by John Doyle who started much of the trash talk. He says today when he, I think, compares Fox News to Canada:
"Most of us, no matter what way we lean politically, believe in Canada as a just society. Tolerance, kindness and respect are more valued than shouted attacks and threats. Mistakes are allowed. Forgiveness exists."

Thanks Doyle - you're a TV critic - stick to it. Fox News isn't in Canada - don't critique it - where is your analysis on the Canadian media's protrayal of Jenin issue - I watched the documentary that was shown on Global last night - it focused on British/European/American coverage.

Perspective is everything.

I almost missed this.... 
Classic Steyn in writing about Harper, the Conservatives, and the Martin Liberals:

"....he defeated an incumbent Alliance leader, out-maneuvered a PC leader, and saw off a glamorous challenger. Even more impressively, as a concession to the Albertophobes of the old Tory rump he allowed the leadership contest to be rigged so that 25% of the vote went to Quebec, where there are only 127 Conservative Party members, 83 of them cadavers from the Gasp‚ and the remainder under-gardeners at the Mulroney mansion signed up en masse by Belinda's minders. That's a 007-level card-player: Harper lets them stack the deck and he still wins, and wins big.

The result is that Harper and his caucus look like the Canada the Liberals are supposed to stand for: young and "diverse." The Liberals, meanwhile, look like groggy old hacks who've fallen in their own vomit: Adscam, Flagscam, Crownscam, Gunscam, Coppscam, Softwood lumbscam, Adrienne Clarkscam, Alphonso Scammiano, Canada Scamships, Earnscam, Shawiniscam, Auberge Grandscam, Viascam, the Royal Scamadian Mounted Police, and a few others I may have forgotten. O Scamada, we scam on guard for thee. As Popeye would say, swabbing the deck of a Bermuda-flagged Paul Martin container, "I scam what I scam!"


Sens fans have no such problem 
Oiler fan Cosh says:

"...there's a lot of local sentiment in Edmonton that Oilers fans should be pulling for the Flames, our homegrown Jarome, and "Alberta hockey" in the playoffs. I'm afraid I can't entirely sign on to this new concept of nationalistic decorum."

I don't detect much sentiment here in Ottawa to root for the Leafs - could be perhaps most Ottawan's and probably most Canadians consider those American wanna-be's with their NFL dreams and MLB and NBA teams barely a part a of this country's sporting scene anyways - wonder why the Brier won't go to Toronto, or the Grey Cup won't return for a long long time - or why the Vanier Cup is an attendance embarassment?

Hebert sends Joe to his room 
I read Chantal Hebert's column after seeing Pogge's comments in the E-Group - fantastic - here are my favourite paragraphs:

Watching Clark now describe Harper as a dangerous leader who harbours secret plans to renege on the federal role in the environment, promote more two-tier health care, walk away from social activism and gay rights and model his agenda on that of the Bush administration, one can only marvel at the contortions involved in the exercise.
The fundamental problem with Clark's denunciation of the Conservative party is that he is warning voters against potential choices he himself made or tolerated as Tory leader.
What was acceptable policy under his leadership is a threat to Canada's fabric under Harper.


Even more O'Reilly 
Following up my entries here and here - yesterday's O'Reilly Factor has more Hogtown newspaper commentary:

"The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Writing in The Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington said this today: "Whenever I return from an extended visit in the U.S., I feel withdrawal pangs because FOX News is denied access to Canada. With access to CNN but not FOX News, Canadians are being deprived. One needs both for better understanding, Bill O'Reilly's view of politics versus James Carville's"

Well, we appreciate Mr. Worthington's sense of fairness, a far different tone than set by its competitors at "The Globe & Mail" who routinely trash FNC. In fact, Mr. Worthington even took left wing G&M bomb-thrower John Doyle to task saying: "Please give us a break, Doyle's is such juvenile writing, that one wonders how even 'The Globe & Mail' editors tolerate it and so do we."

We do think Doyle is ridiculous but defend his right to be so. And we're sorry if some Americans wrote Doyle nasty letters containing obscenities as chronicled in yesterday's "New York Times." We immediately toss any such correspondence aimed at us, and there is some, in the receptacle where it belongs. No room for that. If you want to make a point, make it articulately.

And a preview of today's 'Factor':
Plus, why are two U.S. military deserters being warmly welcomed in Canada?

Here's the link to the NY Time's article and some selected letters from it:

To: Doyle, John
Subject: what a joke - Fox

. . . Clearly you believe Americans must be stupid. But clearly not as dense as Canadians, who are spoon-fed their news by heavily tilted "non partial" partisans such as yourself.
Your problem, you creep, is that you are Canadian.


To: Doyle, John
Subject: nice try [EXPLETIVE!]

{hellip}True freedom of speech and diversity of opinion TERRIFIES you left-wing [expletives]. That is why your "1st Amendment" equivalent has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. You Canadians are really quite sad to us Americans. We generally feel sorry for you and your weak, dependent country.

Springfield, Va. ****USA****

To: Doyle, John
Subject: Your Article regarding Americans

. . . There are [expletives] on both sides of the border. But we're not all automatically jerks just because of our country. . . .
I do apologize for the anti-Canadian comments you received, you'll never hear one from this American.

Jami - Omaha, Neb.

It's with great timing that the Maclean's this week has the cover story of "The Know-It-All Neighbour":

"Like the know-it-all neighbour who never misses a chance to bend your ear over the back fence or critique your yardwork, Canada has become the block bore. The "special" status that we once took for granted, able to withstand even the frankest disagreements, seems in doubt. Things between our countries are apparently getting worse all the time. And, the evidence suggests, the attitude problem is almost entirely our own."

My letter to Joe Clark 
(Sent to Clark.J@parl.gc.ca)

I read your comments over the past few days and they have left me disappointed and confused.

My confusion is over your support for Ed Broadbent over my Conservative candidate Mike Murphy in Ottawa Centre. Your reasons for supporting the NDP candidate were given that you are "prepared to support candidates from all parties, including an old political rival, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent". What are current and former members of conservative parties to make of such a statement?

My disappointment in you stems from your inability to understand Canadians desire for an alternative party with the ability to govern this country. You seemed to understand the issue two years ago when you stated that you wanted to meet Stephen Harper "to ensure there would be a single conservative candidate in every riding in the country."

Since the work of Mackay and Harper last fall, many other former opponents of the Reform Party including PC stalwarts such as John Crosbie and Barbara MacDougall have joined the new party basically stating that their voices will be heard in the new party and that by doing so it will ensure the party will speak to all parts of Canada.

You have chosen not to contribute to the development of this new party but to attack it as a "dog in the manger" - appearing to be content to damage the creation of a conservative alternative to the Liberals. You could have done so much to grow the new party but instead you have decided to stomp on this seedling.

Joe Clark 
His recent statements, and Martin's contining attempt to distance himself from the Liberal party, reminded me of this post I wrote months back:

Clark defects to federal Liberals
OTTAWA (CP) - The former leader of the now defunct Progressive Conservative Party, MP Joe Clark joined the federal Liberals on Tuesday - a defection billed by Paul Martin as evidence of his party's progressive attitudes to broad party policies.

Martin confirmed he had spoken to Clark about his future and said the former Prime Minister indicated he now sees the future of his progressive ways as lying within the Liberal Party. "For me that's fundamental." said Martin.

Martin said it was important to welcome supporters of progressive thinking and move beyond past divisions.

About 10,000 party members later cheered when Martin said he welcomed its newest MP. "I need Albertans," he said during his speech, "and I need Joe Clark!"

For his part, the world renowned parliamentarian Clark stated "I am delighted to join this progressive party and build a broad, inclusive party for all Canadians. I wanted to be in a party that was progressive."

The assembled party members were somewhat surprised when Martin informed them that the Liberal Party would be changing its name to the Progressive Liberal Party. "What my esteemed colleague has convinced me of, and let me be clear on this point, is that the Canadian people want a progressive party. Therefore, with Mr. Clark we are also getting a new name - The Progressive Liberal Party of Canada! A broad, inclusive party for all Canadians!"

With Clark crossing the floor, the standing in the 301-seat Commons is: Progressive Liberal 172, Conservative 75, Bloc 33, NDP 14, Independent 6. There is one vacancy.

Also, I concur with Alec when he says:

"Is his destiny to be the gadfly at the fringe, forever a critic? Surely he realizes that as an outsider his influence is limited. Clarke's principles have betrayed him in the past, most notably during his first brief stint as Prime Minister when principles caused his government to fall.

There are many in the new party that are not fans of Stephen Harper's past. However, everyone realizes that the only route back from the wilderness of opposition is to put those differences aside.

The convention is over Joe.

But then again, perhaps Joe's plan isn't to be an outsider - but to be a power player with Herron, and Brison in Martin's Progressive Liberal Party!

Is Larry Robinson the right coach for the Senators? 
I was looking at Robinson's record as a head coach and found some of the information interesting. Here is the data on LA over those years:

SeasonPts GF GA Coach
1991-92 84 287 296 Tom Webster
1992-93 88 338 340 Barry Melrose
1993-94 66 294 322 Barry Melrose
1995-96 66 256 302 Larry Robinson
1996-97 67 214 268 Larry Robinson
1997-98 87 227 225 Larry Robinson
1998-99 69 189 222 Larry Robinson
1999-00 94 245 228 Andy Murray
2000-01 92 252 228 Andy Murray
2001-02 95 214 190 Andy Murray

So, while he was coach of LA, the GA/game dropped from 3.8 to 2.7 goals against per game. Unfortunately the goals for dropped as well - though not as fast and in 97-98 he saw the best year with 2.7 goals for and against per year. But I don't think it is worth spending too much time on LA as the team saw it's talent leave after Gretzky's departure.

What is more telling is Robinson's success after taking over from Robbie Ftorek and winning the cup with the Devils in 99-00. The following year, Robinson took the talented team to another level offensively. He got career years out of Elias, Sykora, Arnott's only point per game season, and Mogilny's best season since his first in Vancouver five years prior. They scored 45 more goals that year while not increasing their goals against. Unfortuneately they lost to Colorado in the final that year.

Robinson was fired halfway through the 01-02 season and was replaced by Constantine - a defensive coach that was dismissed after his first round playoff loss and replaced with Pat Burns.

So, while Robinson's record in LA doesn't provide any reason why he would be the right coach for the Senators at this time his performance in NJ is exactly what we are looking for - a proven winner - able to get more out of talented offensive players. Of the coaches mentioned so far, Robinson looks like the best match.

More from O'Reilly 
From FOXNews.com:

"Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

Earlier this week we told you that many Canadians want the FOX News Channel, that so far the government up there has blocked. We also chided John Doyle, a columnist for "The Toronto Globe & Mail" for his anti-FOX rantings and described that newspaper as being far left, which it is.

Well today Doyle wrote this: "But the very idea that 'The Globe & Mail' is far left only proves my point, that the FOX News Channel is the most hilarious thing on American TV since 'Seinfeld'."

Well, this is rich, that paper has consistently taken liberal positions on almost every issue. And Doyle strikes up the band. Now I receive scores of letters like this one from Donna in Toronto: "We need fair and balanced new from FOX because 'The Globe & Mail' and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are so far left. The CBC is called by many the Communist Broadcasting Corporation. Please don't use my last name because I don't want the government to know that I'm illegally watching FOX on the satellite. You see, we're allowed to hear only what they want us to hear."

So Doyle, spin that, partner. You're clueless, could be ridiculous.

Could have been written by Chretien 
Rene Levesque wrote in his memoirs of those in his government that wished to succeed him....

And many times I had taken the same opportunity to stress that in the meantime nothing would stand an eventual candidate in better stead than a number of concrete realizations yielding conclusive results, in the form of projects that might carry the name of the person who inspired and executed them. But peple of that stamp, and there are some, generally give themselves so long and unstintingly to the task that when the time comes to enter the contest, they aren't ready; there are others, of course, who have scarcely thought of anything else for years.

Martin fired 
Martin and assistant Don Jackson and goalie coach Phil Myre are fired. I guess that means that assistant Perry Pearn will remain.

Muckler said:
- need new direction
- new voice in the dressing room
- bigger role for Spezza
- the new coach must "fix" the dressing room
- must bring more leadership out of the dressing room
- more focus on the offensive part of the game
- no timeline for hiring new coach
- Bondra - would do deal again
- on the way he was used - could say he might have been used up front on the PP
- looking at all types of coaches

What does 'fix' the dressing room mean? Does this give the clique rumours some legs?

Press Conference at 1pm today 
People are expecting to hear the announcement that Martin will not be back.

Muckler will speak - I guess he's still going to be around.

More from Stevenson - one of the best writers around I think:

"A team you could argue is now the most talented in the league has played 12 playoff series under Martin and has won four of them.

This is not to say that a coach who will scream and rant and rave is the answer, either. Sometimes all it takes is a new message, a new way of looking at things to unlock the potential in a team. Maybe that coach is Joel Quenneville. Maybe it's Robinson, a man who immediately would inspire confidence behind the Ottawa bench.

Martin always looked wound up tighter than Rod Bryden's budget and his teams played the same way in the playoffs. Maybe that wasn't the case, but that was the perception to the fans who buy the tickets. Perception is what they have to go on when they make their purchasing decisions.

Some will argue Martin has gotten the maximum out of this team and maybe a new coach won't do as well.
It's an interesting question.
But at this critical point in the franchise's existence, can Melnyk and his team afford to not know the answer?

The Globe 
From Bill O'Reilly yesterday:

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

A Canadian cable company, citing a growing demand for the FOX News Channel, had petitioned an application with their government to carry us. Now columnists on the far left "Toronto Globe & Mail" wrote: "Bring it on, we're all in a good need of a laugh. We'll find out if this Bill O'Reilly fellow is as stupendously pompous and preening as he appears to be in the rare clips we see of FOX News."

So they see rare clips, but think we're laughable. "The Globe & Mail" (search) sounds like a real responsible enterprise, doesn't it? Hey, you pinheads up there, I may be pompous but at least I'm honest.

What the paid pundits think of Ottawa's future 
Bob Mackenzie:

"Lalime just didn't get the job done and I can't imagine any circumstance where Lalime comes back as the #1 goaltender for the Senators next year. And that may be one of many changes.
I can't imagine any scenario whereby head coach Jacques Martin will be back. Martin is a great NHL coach and a terrific guy but, when you lose as many times to the same team over and over again in a year when you're supposed to get to the Stanley Cup final and maybe win it, that's a likely change.

Chris Stevenson:

"No one in the organization should escape the gaze of a man who knows what it takes to make tough decisions.
You don't get to be a self-made billionaire without knowing who can do their jobs and who can't. Melnyk kept the Senators together this year, a good idea at the time since it had come within a goal of reaching the Stanley Cup final. He has had a year to see this operation in action.
Was Lalime the reason why the Senators lost this series? He has already received his share of blame and will no doubt receive much more. He had a terrible night when it counted the most. The next time they play NHL hockey, do you want to trust he can raise his game to the level required?

The truth is for much of the series, he gave the Senators goaltending of a quality that was good enough for the Senators to win. It's not his fault the Senators were shut out in three of the Leafs' wins.

Stephen Brunt:

"...count those two whiffs as the effective end of Lalime's career as the Senators' No..1 goaltender.

He can't go back. He'll never again have the confidence of his teammates. However well he might play during the regular season, it's those goals they'll always remember.

That's why Lalime sat at the end of bench after being pulled in favour of Martin Prusek, looking like a guy hoping to be offered a place in the witness-protection program.

The changes can't stop there, though. In the old, tin cup Rod Bryden era of the Ottawa franchise, drastic moves could always be postponed with the excuse that the team simply didn't have the dough.

The Senators have a real owner now, Eugene Melnyk, who has both a passion for hockey and considerable resources.

And he's certainly smart enough to see the pattern here, to understand that there's a losing culture with his hockey club — at least when it comes to playing the Leafs, and at least when it really matters — that isn't going to fixed by a few fiddles here or there.

This cast has got to change — though that's easier said than done. Coach Jacques Martin has got to go — though that's going to be expensive.

The alternative? Just ask anyone in Ottawa this morning how much they'd like to sit through this horror film one more time, knowing that it always ends the same way.

It's a gloomy day here in Ottawa 
On his .LOG blog, Alec says:

We're learning here in Ottawa to be a little more like the Toronto fans... "There's always next year..."

No, I'm not going to sleep on it.... 
Here is what must be done:

1. Lalime can't be the goalie next year - his contract is up anyway - let him walk.
2. Bonk can't be here next year - Spezza, Fisher, Smolinski, and White (not necessarily in that order) are your centers - use Bonk's 3.5mil and Lalime's 2.5mil to fix point number one
3. Martin can't be the coach - I agreed with Cherry at the end of the game that he had his team outplay Toronto - but it wasn't enough - they didn't do enough - the powerplay - whatever - he must take the fall

Why did Volchenkov get a penalty for flattening Tucker? I had enough at that point - Tucker didn't touch the puck but he didn't play the puck - he went to take the hit from Volchenkov - just because he's a little bitch and Volchenkov creamed him doesn't mean it's a penalty.

Speaking of Volchenkov - he's responsible for the other two goals - one letting Domi get the puck out front which Kilger finished and two for allowing Domi to screen Prusek on the fourth goal. Many fans were calling for Leschyshyn to play - now I guess I agree.

Fucking hell.

Enough to make Don Cherry cry..... 
Leaf forwards in ice-time last night:


The Hatfields and the McCoys 
I was not surprised to see Warren Kinsella copy the CP story on Liberal MPs concerns over Martin's team.

The bitterness is so deep, the personal hatred so strong that they want the Liberals to burn out, in Warren's words - "so we can get the result that is now inevitable - and so that we can get rid of these clowns for another 20 years or so".

And if Martin fires his boys and brings in a new team? What happens then? Is Martin himself one of these 'clowns"?

Alfredsson = Mini Mess 
Number 11 - not the size of Mark but will his guarantees (playoffs - we won't mention Mark's 'we'll make the playoffs guarantee') be just as big? Alfredsson was the best player on the ice last night.

Until Chara scored it looked like Ottawa was going to score the game winning goals for the Leafs in the last two games. Smolinski's direction in game 5 and off Pothier's skate tonight. Was it just me or did McCabe celebrate a little too much with that Sundin-like goofy smile after it went in - yeah, you did great Bryan - didn't see Francis and Roberts act like that.

Darcy Tucker isn't helping the Leafs one bit - he's gotta be hurt really badly because whenever the Sens need some momemtum they can count on Tucker getting creamed by Fisher/Chara/Phillips - he's got no jump.

I hope Martin gets some credit for the gutsy move of pulling Spezza out and putting Vermette in - great jump and his quickness set up the winning goal.

TSN's Bob Mackenzie showed how Francis' near goal at the end of regulation was actually a great save by Lalime - he got just a piece of it to make it hit the post instead of clinching the series!

Sens fans deserved that win - and it's not a small consolation even if they end up losing on Tuesday - it's a great walk out of the Corel Centre when Leaf Nation is quiet and you hear some Sen fan chanting in the distance "67! 67! 67!"

I'm predicting the Leafs will fold their tent like they have done in most of their playoff exits (6-1 loss (18 shots) to the Flyers last year, 5-1 loss (16 shots) to the Devils in game 7 in 2001, and the worst ever - a 3-0 loss and only 6 shots to the Devils in 2000) and a win for the Senators.

Leafs 2, Sens 0 
Sunday's game is as big or bigger than the game six against NJ last year.

Why Martin won't call a spring election 
Posted to Jim Elve's Group Election Blog.

In 1979, in the immediate aftermath of the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup, the Conservatives won a minority government after a long Liberal reign.

In 1984, mere months after the Edmonton Oilers won the Cup after a 4 year American visit, the Conservatives won a majority and held that majority for two mandates. The Cup remained in Canada until 1991 when Pittsburgh won back-back titles. The stress of seeing the Cup go State-side, coupled with the return of Lord Stanley's mug to Quebec and the slow demise of the Albertan teams, broke Mulroney's Western/French coalition and resulted in the One Party Liberal rule we have seen since.

The stage has been set for a Canadian team to win the cup and with it, the return of the Conservatives to power.

The three western Canadian NHL teams have returned to respectability after a long decade in the hockey wilderness. The three eastern teams all made the playoffs with Ottawa and Toronto both sporting solid chances to take the Canadian torch into the final. The strength of all six teams was the major reason that a Conservative merger occured and is why Paul Martin has seen his party's support plummet as the hockey season went on and why he is hesitating in calling an election.

Should the Senators, Flames, Canucks, Habs, or even, God help us, the Leafs win the Stanley Cup it would undoubtedly lead to a Conservative government.

Martin is delaying because he is banking that the impending CBA negotiations will result in a lockout next fall. This hockey blackhole would suck into it all hope that the Conservatives had and would ensure that the Liberal reign continues.

A going concern I have is the depths the Liberals will sink to try to prevent a Canadian team from winning the Stanley Cup. Some of the obvious Liberal manuverings are:
- Fixing the standings to guarantee at least two teams will be eliminated after the first round
- Pressuring 4 of the 6 teams to instill uninspiring European captains - only the Conservative influenced Albertan teams resisted this Federal intrusion
- The Bertuzzi incident
- The patronage appointment of Liberal stalwart Gary Bettman
- The attempt to destroy the Canadian small market franschises by pushing the Canadian dollar down
- Global warming to prevent outdoor rinks

Despite all of these attempts, there is a solid chance that the Cup could return to our country and bring with it responsible government in Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Free Jim Elve! Free Jim Elve! 
Jim Elve, of BlogsCanada fame, has Reg Alcock and his goons on his case.

Thank heavens we have the Legal Counsel to the Treasury Board Secretariat looking out for Canadian's interests. Give me a break.

Sens in Six 
The Leafs gig is up.

I was a little over the top in my post the other day - the Sens didn't need to target Nieuwendyk - just wait for him to slip in the bathtub and bust a hip. Tucker was non-existant and Roberts is now resorting to exaggerations when Chara pushes him around a bit. Who is going to carry the Leaf torch? Domi by himself? Antropov and Pocohontas (as Cherry would say - I'm not trying to make fun of him, I just can't spell his name) can't control themselves. Mogilny, Francis, Reichel, and Renberg aren't going to be a physical impact. Will Perrot or Belak be inserted into the lineup to give the Leafs some sort of response to the Senators onslaught? It was almost embarassing for the mean tough Leafs to have Domi out there in the last 2 minutes trying to stir something up all by himself.

Brought up today on the Team - was Sundin trying to draw a penalty when he took the long slide into the boards?

Some Ottawa thoughts for the day after:
Todd White was the CBC's first star?
Spezza had the least 5on5 icetime of any Senator. Deservedly so in my opinion. No shots now in the two games he's played in - what's up?
Phillips looks intense and despite his taking 3 obstruction/interference penalties in the last 2 games I am happy to see him return to his playoff form.
Todd White - the wicked cut on his face is going to take away from his 'the professor' look.

Game Six on Sunday in Ottawa - the Sens will slay the beast!
And looks like they'll meet their expansion cousins in the 2nd round - jumping the gun am I?

The Sens will prevail 
Maybe it's the Ipsos poll that came out and got me in a good mood but I'm surprisingly optimistic about the Sens chances in this series. Jay, on the other hand....

Belfour will not steal a series. A game or two - yes - but he isn't going to keep it up.

The Senators have undeniably outplayed the Leafs in every game thus far. They solved their faceoff problems last night. They had sustained pressure in the Leaf zone repeatedly. They are beating up the Leafs physically - Gary Roberts and Darcy Tucker in particular were noticably less effective yesterday than on Saturday. Ron Francis looks tired. The Senators should target Nieuwendyk more as he has been the most dangerous Leaf in the series and might not be able to stand up to repeated hits. Only the goals remain - luck is a result of hard work and it will come.

I do think, however, that the Senators should make another change for Game 4. I would like to see Josh Langfeld in the lineup for Todd White to add someone that can get in front of the net and stay there. Play Langfeld with Fisher and Havlat. Have Smolinski centre Bondra and Alfredsson - a great line during the last two weeks of the season. Bonk would still centre Hossa and Varada and keep Spezza in the lineup on the fourth line with Niel and Schaefer - of course mixing Havlat, Hossa and Alfredsson in for the majority of Niel's shifts.

I wouldn't change the defensive pairings - I think Volchenkov is playing too well to sit and bring in Leschyshyn.

And one last tidbit from Colby Cosh on Belfour:
He's still a crazy drug casualty with a bad back. One of these nights he's going to snort the OxyContin too close to game time and Hossa's gonna have a Darryl Sittler night. I promise.

Cosh's thoughts on Sens vs Leafs 
And Leaf Nation stops buying the National Post - but the big question is this - why would the illiterate have a paper subscription in the first place?.....

These Leafs fans are an awfully bulletproof lot, aren't they? I can't believe how many times I've heard "This is our year" from these people. I've read at least eight printed references to "planning a parade route." Some guy wrote to me randomly the other day, responding to my midseason comments dismissing their chances: "WTF U talkin bout d00d? This is our year!" Can I be forgiven for thinking that all reveals the essential dimbulbishness of Toronto and environs? You people think renting old guys from crappy teams is going to guarantee you a Stanley Cup? Isn't anybody asking himself why those teams were so bad? Clearly somebody in Toronto is hoping for a movie script to happen, some kind of Major League/Slapshot triumph of tough-as-jerky codgers. Ed Belfour is 38 and has a bad back; Ron Francis is my dad's age; Joe Nieuwendyk was scratched for parts of last year's playoffs with gerontological ailments, when he was a year younger; Calle Johansson is 37 and didn't even want to play hockey anymore until a few weeks ago (I guess it was that Leafs magic that brought him back!); Owen Nolan is out with knee trouble. I'll grant you that the Leafs had a good stretch run against a bunch of clubs jockeying for home ice and whatnot. But why would any Leaf fan even care if these eight-week heroes win a Cup in borrowed uniforms?


I still like the Sens a little better in the first round. Aside from the Islanders, who are like chum in the water in this conference, Toronto is the weakest team on that side of the tournament.

Gotta love it!

TV Picks 
Sportsnet Playoff Tracker:

John Garrett: Ottawa's played 10 of their last 13 games on the road. So Saturday's 6-0 loss was tough, but not the end of the world. Patrick Lalime will come back and give the Sens the kind of goaltending they need. Senators in 6

Gord Stellick: Ottawa has a better and younger team, but the Leafs have that in tangible edge that has worked for them in years past. If Ottawa beats the Leafs, look for them to also win the Stanley Cup. Leafs in 7

Nick Kypreos: Two key questions: Will Lalime be ready? And if so, will he be effective? Leafs in 7

Bill Watters: The Sens are the most skilled team in the NHL. They have to realize that they don't have to play tough. The problem is they aren't sure of their goaltending. Leafs in 7

TSN's predictions:

Pierre McGuire TOR
Bob McKenzie OTT
Gord Miller TOR
Dave Hodge TOR
Gino Reda TOR
James Duthie OTT

Vancouver Canucks Op Ed prediction 
The guys from outwest like the Leafs:

Toronto v. Ottawa
J: Toronto in 6
A: Toronto in 7

Cox Predicts Leafs in Seven 
A lot of people will be predicting this series will go seven - here is what Damien Cox has to say about the Sens/Leafs:

As far as the Leafs and Senators, it all turns on the status of Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime and the willingness of Sens forward Marian Hossa to finally prove he has the will to deliver against the Leafs.

In general, this series is less about the Leafs and more about what the Sens will bring to the competition, and the likelihood is that they'll bring more than most believe.

Still, Leafs in seven

I will again say that Hossa can play a major role in this series - if the Sens 2nd line plays like it can it will make the difference in this series.

Battle of Ontario 
No, not the Conservatives vs the Liberals. Though it is still good vs evil - the Sens vs the Leafs.

Am I worried after Saturday's 6-0 debacle? No more than I was before. It's going to be a great series and anyone who thinks either team has an edge going is wrong. Blowouts happen - 6-0 Leafs or 7-1 Sens a few months ago - it doesn't matter.

The matchups are going to be this:

1. Belfour vs Lalime
Can Lalime come close to Eddie - he has to approach him but doesn't have to beat him. The Sens defence and team defence is superior to the Leafs but Lalime must play like he did to end the season - not like he did most of the season

2. 2nd lines
Bonk-Hossa-Varada or whoever is playing the left side must outplay Nieuwendyk's line - that's one thing that Saturday's game showed.

3. Chara/Phillips vs Sundin/Mogilny
Chara can shut down lines and must shut down the Leafs top line.

Much more to come over the next few days.

Feeling sorry for former Prime Ministers 
I thought this was interesting - I'm going to change a couple of words (in italics):

Question period on Wednesday:

Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.):
The fact is there is a former Prime Minister of Canada who is relegated off to the corner, whose heart is broken because the great party of Sir Wilfrid Laurier (John A. Macdonald) has had its heart ripped out of it because I am a control freak (that hon. member broke his word).

Members do not need my word for it. Ask Sheila Copps, John Manley, Herb Dhaliwal, or my good friend Warren Kinsella (the Conservative senators in the Senate). Ask the former Prime Minister of Canada why he is sitting over there. He is doing it because I have (that member has) no principles.

The point is this - why is Martin feeling sorry for poor Joe Clark - the former Prime Minister - when his former PM Chretien, the PM of 3 Liberal majorities, is being painted in such a light by Martin and his troops that his legacy will forever be a reputation for corruption and scandal - done so partly, if not solely, to accentuate the new Prime Minister's differences.

Rock stars 
I was curious to know if anyone was talking about my complaining in the post below so I checked out Sitemeter. The answer was no, but more interesting...

What I did find out was that Warren added this site to his list of "rock star bloggers" on his index page. Funny since I recently read Matthew Fletcher's comments a few days ago regarding his inclusion.

Rock star blogger I am not but another thing I learned from Sitemeter was that a new blogger who actually is an up and coming 'rock star', Jim Bryson, is linking to this site. I've just finished listening to a couple of his free singles - Sleeping in Toronto and Satellite. I think I'll listen to a few more when I have time.

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