Food for Weekend Thought
When it comes to the Toronto Argonauts, I have a pretty straightforward way of evaluating their decisions.
If it's okay by Pinball, it's okay by me.
I just trust this man's judgement about football - and, more important, human beings - that much.
So if Pinball Clemons says its the right move to bring in Ricky Williams, then it's the right move, period.
Is he a football coach looking to improve his roster?
Would he be interested in Williams if he wasn't a talented football player?
But then again, look back to last spring when Pinball and GM Adam Rita invited Derek Medler to camp. Medler, after a splendid career at Laurier, had landed in jail, and this was his stab at resurrecting his football dream.
I remember asking Pinball why he would bother with such a potential problem, and he looked at me with an incredulous look on his face.
"Why would you ever give up on anybody?" he said.
That, it seems to me, is consistent with the the message the Argos have been trying to spread in the troubled parts of the GTA.
When it comes to a player like Williams, Pinball says its not just about the Miami Dolphins back coming in and playing like a star.
"He owes us more than touchdowns," says Clemons. "And we owe him more than a pay cheque."
Until proven wrong, in Pinball I trust.
Lots of rumours around the NHL and job openings these days, some true and some not.
While some have annointed Ray Shero as the next Bruins GM, and Shero is indeed a promising young executive and may get the nod. Agent Brian Lawton, after visiting with Harry Sinden in Boston and owner Jeremy Jacobs in Buffalo, has been told he's out of the running.
Too bad. If the Bruins had really wanted to change the face of their franchise, Lawton would have been a very intriguing choice.
In New Jersey, GM Lou Lamoriello definitely won't be back to coach. It looked for some time as though he was grooming his assistant this year, John MacLean, to take over as the head man next year.
Well, not so fast. Pat Burns' name will stay in the mix as he continues his battles with cancer. Meanwhile, the name of former Montreal coach Claude Julien, currently an assistant under Marc Habscheid with the Canadian entry at the world championships, has also surfaced.
Let's see. Flipping back through the pages of Devils coaching history, I see the names Jacques Lemaire, Pat Burns, Jacques Laperriere and Larry Robinson.
Lamoriello sure seems to love that Montreal connection.
Joe Thornton is a special hockey talent, the NHL's scoring champion this season and quite possibly its MVP.
In the final week of the season when the Sharks took on the desperate Vancouver Canucks in back-to-back games, Thornton was as dominant as any NHLer this season.
But then came the playoffs.
It was stunning to see Thornton and Patrick Marleau outplayed by Shawn Horcoff and Mike Peca by such a wide margin in the second round.
Add in Thornton's previous playoff failures with Boston, his play at the world championships last year when he and Rick Nash fizzled as a scoring combination in the final two games and his uninspiring work at the Olympics this year, and it's fair to say Thornton still has to prove himself as a big-game performer.
His best work under pressure, you could argue, came as a checking centre for Canada at the 2004 World Cup.
But that didn't help the Sharks survive this spring.