Friday, April 18, 2008


Okay, Poolies -- Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking this is the best first round of the playoffs in years. My condolences to those backing Ottawa, but frankly, what were you smoking? It's Ottawa! They fold quicker than a CRTC Commissioner in front of a broadcaster. In the end, a geezer like Gary Roberts scored more points than any of the vaunted Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson line.

In Toronto, the joy at Ottawa's collapse is boundless. It's like that old Broadway adage about the only thing sweeter than success being the failure of a friend. Yes, I know they're a Canadian team and will all be featured on next season's CTV version of "Dancing With The Almost Stars" -- which will be shot in Ottawa to get a regional tax break. But on the streets of the Big Smoke, the joke is that for all their griping about CBC coverage, in the end, they won just as many playoff games as the Leafs.

Yet, if you want to put Toronto in its place, you need to look no further than what's going on in Nashville. Man, that astonishing crowd would be tossed out of the Air Canada Centre for making that much noise during a hockey game. I mean, who can eat sushi or grease a politician with that kind of racket going on? If you haven't been watching the Nashville/Detroit tilt, start, because it is not only awesome hockey but proof positive that Nashville deserves to be an NHL city.

For a rinkside view by a Predator fan and some spectacular game photos, visit Paul Nicholson's blog. Paul led the gang of passionate Nashville bloggers who played a huge part in saving the Nashville franchise from a Canadian predator last season and they're loving this to pieces!

The other Western series are also far tighter than anyone expected. Sunday night, I was on a Westjet flight from the coast and every one of those in-seat TV's was tuned to the game. When we boarded, the Flames were down 3-0. But every time Calgary scored, the plane went nuts and we created our own turbulence. When they finally won, we were bouncing all over the sky.

And then we've got an emerging star in Carey Price, Sean Avery finding new ways to annoy the League, not to mention Don Cherry telling "all youse kids" how to wake up with wood. I can't imagine what new twists the next week will bring. Is this fun or what?

The standings as of this morning:

1 Jeff Martel 63
2 Scotty William 62
3 Brian Stockton 61
3 Juniper 61
5 Denis McGrath 60
5 John Callaghan 60
7 Laurie Nyveen 59
8 Will Pascoe 58
9 Peter Allen Rowley 56
10 Michael Foster 53
11 Larry Raskin 49
12 Will Dixon 48
13 Wil Zmak 47
14 Mark Farrell 46
14 Mark Askwith 46
16 Robert de Lint 36
17 Jim Henshaw 28

Good luck to everybody, although it SEEMS I need it the most.

And finally -- my China hits dropped off the minute I referenced Tibet. But if a few of you guys are still getting through, CBC Sports has begun streaming some of the games in Mandarin. Simply go here and click on the Mandarin feed. Maybe next year, we'll get a few of you in the pool.

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