Of Spezza, Sharks and Jim Hart
What's this? The Cardinals into the Super Bowl? Sacre bleu. And without Terry Metcalf gaining an all-purpose yard, or Jim Hart finding Jackie Smith once for a big play.
Sadly, it ends in two weeks at the hands of the Steelers. How did Pittsburgh beat Baltimore yesterday? By being even more physical and intimidating than the brawny Ravens. It was not a day for the faint of heart, watching one Ravens player after another taken to the locker room right to the end when Willis McGahee was carted off the field.
Live by the sword, die by the sword (and by the rookie quarterback).
|Sens turnaround starts about here.|
The weekend also included:
The sense that the current plight of the Ottawa Senators may be worth it if it prompts Jason Spezza to play with the urgency and fire he did against Montreal Saturday night. Spezza was a house-afire out there, and simply looked like a totally different player.
People are going to point at Mats Sundin when it comes to the state of the plummeting Vancouver Canucks, and that's fair. When you attract that much attention, people will notice. But if Kevin Bieksa can skate backwards and doesn't get beat by Kris Russell, and if Roberto Luongo can stop Jason Williams on a shootout, the 'Nucks maybe don't lose to Columbus on Sunday night. That said, in a storyline familiar to Leaf fans, Sundin missed in the shootout. Didn't even hit the net.
|Drew Doughty: Young Kings can fly.|
If you're a Leaf fan that wants to get a sense how a careful, patient rebuilding effort can piece together a promising roster over time, watch the L.A. Kings some time. Its a lineup that includes Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Peter Harrold, Wayne Simmonds, etc. etc., all deployed effectively these days by underrated coach Terry Murray.
If you're a Leaf fan and can't wait as long as it has taken in L.A., just consider that it was just over three years ago that the Boston Bruins traded away Joe Thornton and essentially got nothing for him that lasted other than winger Marco Sturm. The B's, at that time, seemed to be a nightmare going nowhere, and now look at 'em.
Just wondering. When, or who, was Bryan Colangelo's last home run in terms of personnel? Turning Jermaine O'Neal into Shawn Marion shouldn't make the smell of the lousy deal made to get O'Neal in the first place go away.
|Pumped over Wings-Sharks.|
Detroit-San Jose is now the NHL's best rivalry. Saturday night's 6-5 Sharks win was a classic, all accomplished, somehow, without a fistfight. Of the many impressions left from that game, one was that Detroit's blueline didn't look very sharp at all. Nicklas Lidstrom isn't having the year he usually does - so far - and that may leave Detroit in need of defence help before the playoffs.
How cool is it - at least for tennis enthusiasts - to have a Canadian singles player actually seeded at a Grand Slam event for the first time in a long time? That honor falls to Quebec's Alexandra Wozniak, seeded No. 30 at the Aussie Open, which began yesterday.
Cameron Wake has left B.C. to sign with the Miami Dolphins. And not a single other CFL team is sad about it.
Amazing, really, how the fighting debate has taken off again in hockey in the wake of Don Sanderson's death. Those in favour of fisticuffs are clearly on the defensive, which means as usual their only verbal strategy is to call people who disagree with them names like pansy and granola eaters. Yawn. Just imagine for a second an NHL that didn't carry all the controversy that fighting brings with it, but instead was able to somehow free teams to make more trades again and thus attract more attention that way.