That Johnny Mac Sure Can Talk
Had one overwhelming thought after the MLSE-Rogers press conference on Tuesday that unveiled plans for the two to boldly go forth where no sports conglomerates have gone before. While the Jays at least got a mention because of a promise to give J.P. Ricciardi more dough to work with, it was abundantly clear that the Maple Leafs are a very small part of MLSE's overall business. Larry Tanenbaum et al are in business for business, not primarily the hockey business. . .Came this close to mentioning Mark Bell as a possible breakthrough player this season. Ooops. On the bright side, it got young Bell in the same news category for one day as Paris Hilton and the Detroit Lions assistant coach who likes to drive in his birthday suit. . .Interesting that Matt Stajan has yet to come to terms on a new contract. Have to figure after delivering not very much at all for three quarters of the season and then playing well in the final portion after being moved to centre, Stajan would be intent on being in camp on the first day to get a centreman's job no matter what. Deserving of a raise? I don't think so. He probably signs in time, but if he's not there when camp opens, either he needs to give his head a shake or a new agent. . .Okay, it's opening night for the NFL, kinda weird on a Thursday. But how flashy a night can it be with, ahem, Charlie Batch starting at QB for one of the teams?. . .Mikhael Youzhny deserves double kudos for his work at the U.S. Open on Wednesday. First, he dispatched the No. 2 seed in men's singles, Rafael Nadal. Later in the day, he was part of the tandem that eliminated the No. 1 doubles seeds, the Bryan brothers. . .How does John McEnroe just keep talking and talking and talking and never seem dull or repetitive? For my money, he's the best commentator in any sport. Period. . .One of the rumours floating out of the very strange Mike Keenan situation in Florida is that he was handed a new release by a public relations person and told he might want to read it. The release was the news of his resignation. . .It probably won't be a fit now, but the Leafs are still keeping an eye on Anson Carter. That means Jeff O'Neill might want to come out firing. . .In case you notice a rather large hole in The Star's hockey coverage over the next little while, it's because we've lost the dogged Ken Campbell to free agency and The Hockey News. Poor Paul Hunter. He'll seem like Abbott without Costello for a while. But our resourceful GM, sports editor Graham Parley, will plug the hole ASAP.