Points to ponder on a Wednesday morning:
--That Jays starting rotation after Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow is at best unproven and at worst dicey. If it makes you feel better, AL East rivals Boston, Tampa and New York have pitching troubles of their own. Boston closer Andrew Bailey needs thumb surgery and won't be back for a while, while Tampa closer Kyle Farnsworth will start the season on the DL. With the Yankees, their big off-season acquisition, right-handed power pitcher Michael Pineda, starts the season the DL and Ivan Nova has been blowing up this spring just like Brett Cecil. In sum, everybody has their problems. Its about whether you have substitutes that can produce.
--Looking forward to my first-ever opening day experience at the dome next Monday. Not looking forward to the idiocy which Toronto baseball "fans" believe is part and parcel of the occasion.
--So Kentucky wins the national title and now all of its starters will leave for the NBA. Its not like they're mostly seniors with a junior or two. We're talking three freshmen and two sophomores. This is not the NCAA basketball of days gone by, and the style of play, generally, is unwatchable. The NBA draft rule is now that players must be at least 19 years old and a year out of high school. The league wants to increase the age limit, but the players union was unwilling to go along with any change in last year's CBA negotiations.
--Good for Connor McDavid to be recognized as an exceptional player for this weekend's OHL priority draft. Kid sounds super-talented. But part of the deal is that he must go first overall, which means this 15-year-old has to pack up, leave the country and go play at least three years for the Erie Otters, an operation that has lots of youth but has fallen on hard times. Moreover, there's some instabiity there, with talk the team may move to Hamilton. Its understood this may be McDavid's best option rather than a year of midget hockey or Tier Two or shuffling off to a U.S. prep school, but its a lot trickier than John Tavares going two hours east to Oshawa or Aaron Ekblad leaving his Windsor-area home to play under Dale Hawerchuk in Barrie.
--I have no earthly idea why Mike Milbury would say what he said other than to be intentionally colorful and controversial. You may not like every element of Sidney Crosby's game, but he absorbs a lot more abuse than he metes out, competes like hell and has worked extremely hard to fight back against injuries. Concussions, obviously, are no joking matter. All this said, why would Milbury apologize? If you want to go out on a limb, have the stones to stay there. If he said it, he obviously meant it. This post-comment censorship is silly, iike it makes it all better. Unless he was coerced or somehow tricked, stand by your words, man. Why turtle?
--For a contract worth $58.5 million over nine years, the Rangers have received excellent early returns for their money from centre Brad Richards. The timing of the move was perfect as it coincided with the maturation of many of New York's young players, a group that may add winger Chris Krieder as soon as this weekend. The nature of the industry these days makes the contract an early success, although what Richards will be like in year six or seven of the deal is unclear. But the Rangers are better now and a Cup threat, no question.
--There's something about Ben Scrivens worth liking. Just hard to say whether he can stand up to the rigours of not only playing in the NHL but playing for the Leafs. Love the personality and ability to play the puck, though. He has a great chance in the upcoming AHL playoffs to make a statement about his ability.
--Add Mike Smith alongside Brian Elliott to the list of goaltenders once thought below average who prospers with a little more support around them.