Monday Morning Musings
We have a date. And, so we are told, this one's written in stone.
Steve Moore will finally get his day in court in his $38 million lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 8, 2014, more than a decade after Bertuzzi's cowardly attack from behind on Moore ended the young Colorado forward's career.
Bertuzzi, of course, served a suspension but has played on, making about $24 million in salary since the attack despite his declining skills.
This will be a jury trial, assuming the Bertuzzi/Canucks camp doesn't settle beforehand, and two elements affected by the long delay will be most interesting.
First, the public's attitudes towards head shots and violence in hockey may have changed significantly since March, 2004. A jury of Bertuzzi's peers may view this somewhat differently next year than they might have back then.
Second, the Bertuzzi/Canucks camp certainly can't argue that Moore's injuries weren't career threatening or that serious. He never played again and still suffers from symptoms relating to the incident.
I hope this goes to trial. I want to see the grotesque side of hockey vigilante justice laid out in public for all to see.
But I'm guessing it won't. Like the NFL did with concussions, I'd bet Bertuzzi and Canucks, after delaying for so long, will ultimately cut a deal.
Other Monday morning musings:
How about a parachutist landing on the mound?: Seriously, what's next between the Cardinals and Red Sox after two wild and bizarre endings to the last two World Series games?
Game 3 ended in favour of St. Lous after a surprise obstruction call on Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Everyone agreed the play was called to the letter of the law, but then again, baseball immediately announced plans to review the rule after the season.
Game 4 on Sunday night ended up with St. Louis youngster Kolten Wong picked off at first base with Carlos Beltran, the tying run, at the plate.
Two weird endings, that's for sure.
So a series that many suggested lacked superhero stars suddenly has a wide variety of intriguing characters - how can you not be fascinated by Johnny Gomes, sort of a real-life Pigpen - and storylines.Watching Clay Buchholz work in Game 4, one was left wondering if he was going to throw a fastball or strip off his clothes and run off screaming into the net.
HD television in the playoffs is baseball's best friend. The tension and drama is carved into every face. No masks, no helmets. Terrific stuff.
Like Billy Harris and Dave Lewis all over again: After suffering through some might lean times on Long Island, you might guess that Matt Moulson would be pretty disappointed to be shipped off to Buffalo now that the Islanders appear to be on the verge of becoming a competitive team.
No worries. Moulson may get dealt again before the season's over, and and he's a free agent next summer, possibly with a big payday coming.
The Isles, it seems, paid a stiff price for see if Tomas Vanek will be decisively better than Moulson, including a first round pick next June. Right now, that would be a top 10 pick, and the Leafs can tell you something about dealing first rounder before you know just how valuable they can be.
Still, Isles GM Garth Snow had to try and do something bold sooner or later with all that young talent, just as Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish will eventually have to do as well. Betting on Vanek for one season? Maybe he'll respond to playing with John Tavares and put up monster numbers.
That, however, rarely happens. Remember when the thinking was that Rick Nash, once out of Columbus, would really start to produce as a Ranger? Usually players at that level are what they are, and Vanek has for some time been an occasional competitor and a talented, if one dimensional, forward.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: If there's something not to like about the NFL, it's the way in which there are so few deviations from the script.
Every once in a while, however, somebody steps out of line, and Detroit Lions fans are thrilled that Matthew Stafford did.
Stafford's little fake job on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday - pretending he was going to spike the ball to kill the clock, then instead leaping around the goal line for the winning touchdown - was a rare, unexpected piece of improvisation.
A gamble? Sure it was. It's something the truly great quarterbacks sometimes do. Stafford isn't in that category, not yet, but this was his moment to show he might be able to improvise his way there.
Welcome to the Last Stop Saloon: Bringing in new players late in the season has always been a staple of the CFL, and so the Argos, heading into the last week of the season, have brought in former Buffalo Bills first rounder Aaron Maybin, a rush-style linebacker.
Maybin was a massive disappointment in Buffalo, dumped after just two seasons, and couldn't get much going with the Jets or Bengals.
It's a gamble, a look-see perhaps as much for next season as this one for Jim Barker. At least it adds a wrinkle to a last week of the too-long CFL schedule that will be, once again, completely meaningless.
More on Saturday night and shutting down Sidney: The 4-1 triumph by the Leafs over the Penguins might have been the most impressive of the season for Randy Carlyle's crew, accomplished largely by the gritty side of the Leafs.
Dave Bolland, David Clarkson, Jay McClement and Dion Phaneuf were all major factors in this one, which turned into a grinding affair by the third and saw the Leafs come out on top.
Phaneuf, now plus-6 on the season, was dominant, and more and more he looks like he would be a lot more difficult to replace if he walks as a free agent next summer. Ditto for Bolland, who has been everything the Leafs would have hoped for coming over in a trade from Chicago but needs a new contract after this season.
McClement is also going to be UFA next July, as will Mason Raymond, a Carlyle favourite, and all of a sudden, even with Phil Kessel locked up just before campaign began, contracts are becoming a very big part of this season's story for the Leafs.