Ottawa and Tampa Bay came into the NHL together, which makes it interesting that both clubs appear to be at a crossroads in this NHL season. Ottawa has been getting homped of late, giving up goals at a rate once unthinkable in the nation's capital. After seeming to get it all sorted out three weeks ago, the Sens are officially in distress once more. With the Lightning, the time to fire coach John Tortorella was in the summer. This team not only doesn't respond to him any more, it doesn't respond to anything . . . Four coaching openings have come and gone in the NHL and still Pat Quinn remains unemployed. A strange fate for a man who a year ago was poised to lead the defending gold medallists into the Winter Olympics
A year after the fact, it seems even more unbelievable that Wayne Gretzky didn't choose Sidney Crosby for the Turin Games, but did choose Todd Bertuzzi . . . One wonders why NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would want to get involved as the broker in the unending Bertuzzi-Steve Moore battle. One supposes the new owners of the Vancouver Canucks, one of 30 teams that employs Bettman, would like this put to bed . . . So much for the Legion of Doom. Mikael Renberg has left the NHL and John LeClair doesn't have a job. Only Eric Lindros is still a meaningful NHL competitor, the last vestige of what was for a time one of hockey's great forward lines . . . With Charlie Taaffe set to go in Hamilton, all the coaching jobs are now filled. Now they can start working on a commissioner.
Strange to see a SunMedia writer blasting the Lou Marsh Trophy selection process this week for being too eastern-based. The reporter's research failed to unearth the fact that an Edmonton media outlet was supposed to participate but did not, and that the chairman of Lou Marsh panel, Silken Laumann, is from British Columbia. Could it be the real story was the fact that for the first time in a long time there wasn't a SunMedia voter? Naw, that would be too petty . . . Completely understandable why Craig Hartsburg didn't take John Tavares and Angelo Esposito for the world junior team. But it would have been fun to watch those two play. That said, it will be enjoyable to watch Sam Gagner, son of ex-Leaf Dave Gagner, skate on the world stage . . . Canadian hockey fans better be very familiar with a hockey player named Leland or one named Carey by next month or gold will not have been captured at the world junior championships. That's as in Leland Irving of Swan Hills, Alberta and Carey Price of Anaheim Lake, B.C., the two goalies selected by Hartsburg on Friday.
Best name on the world junior roster? Has to be Quebec junior winger Marc-Andre Cliche. Let the headline writers begin their work.