Are We There Yet?
Consider all the headlines and new stories surrounding Tie Domi and his personal life this week. Now imagine what it would all have been like, and would be like for weeks on end, if he was still playing for the Leafs. You can bet Paul Maurice has. ... Gee, more exhibition hockey still to come? How wonderful. Nobody in the sport believes this many pre-season games are necessary, or even particularly helpful. ... If there was any doubt that the Leafs will be a three-line team this season featuring more ice time for Mats Sundin, it was dispelled after Wednesday's game against Ottawa. "I thought Mats looked good," said Maurice. "In a three-line rotation.". ... Even sportswriters have hearts. Honest. So it is without reservation that I can tell you I'm rooting for Jay Harrison to crack the Leaf lineup this fall. He's an honest player, anything but flashy, but also a player who has fought diligently in recent years just to be considered for NHL work. "I'd like to be here next week," he said last night. "It would be a dream to be here. But dreams and reality are sometimes close, sometimes far apart. I'm hoping they see something in my game that can contribute to improving this team." A coach's dream. ... Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is taking medication to relax his facial muscles and prevent a reoccurance of the migraine headaches that bothered his vision in last spring's playoffs. He has two shutouts this month already. ... New Boston head coach Dave Lewis has broken up last year's top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes and Marco Sturm. Sturm has been replaced by 19-year-old Phil Kessel - important note for you poolies - while Sturm has moved to an alignment with Marc Savard and Glen Murray. There are those who believe the B's will be a strong offensive club this season. ... Speaking of poolies, don't forget the strong playoff enjoyed last spring by Steve Bernier of the San Jose Sharks. Bernier was the played selected by the Sharks with the first round pick they picked up from the Maple Leafs in the Owen Nolan deal. ... Once again, the CFL has made the correct decision regarding football in Ottawa. Just as folding the Renegades was the right move, so too is waiting to bring back the game in the nation's capital until new owners have all their ducks in a row. ... As a rich, successful and hugely talented athlete, Terrell Owens is the object of many. I'm not as rich, successful or hugely talented, but I just feel sorry for the grosteque public figure he has become. ... For those watching to see if there might be a market out there for Mikael Tellqvist or Jean-Sebastien Aubin that might bring help to the Leafs, 38-year-old Wade Flaherty allowed five goals on 15 shots for Vancouver against Edmonton Wednesday night and was pulled after two periods. In Philly, meanwhile, it's expected Antero Niittymaki will need surgery on his left hip. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that GM Bob Clarke turned down an offer of Sean Burke to fill his goaltending needs. There's absolutely no way Robert Esche can be a 65-75 game goalie, so the Flyers are looking hard for more than a warm body. ... In Montreal, there is great concern over a shoulder injury suffered by defenceman Sheldon Souray, particularly with Francois Bouillon not expected back from a knee injury until late October.