Weekend news n' views you may or may not be able to use:
Â– What an unbelievable rash of injuries for the surprisingly good Chicago Blackhawks. First, Tuomo Ruutu goes down to a dirty hit from Columbus' Rostislav Klesla in the pre-season. Then leading scorer Marty Havlat sprains his ankle last week, knocking him out of the lineup for a minimum of three weeks. And after Saturday's game, starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is sidelined until at least early November with a broken finger Â– and, worst of all, No. 1 center Michal Handzus could be gone for the season with torn knee ligaments. Cruel doesn't begin to cover it.
Â– In his first game back in Montreal since the Canadiens found a sucker taker for him, Jose Theodore looked awful as his Avs got shellacked 8-5. That this was as far away from Patrick Roy's triumphant return to the Habs' home rink in 1997 Â– Colorado won that one 7-1 Â– is further proof that Theodore is no second coming of the soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer.
Â– Let the record show Major League Baseball teams and their players were able to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement nearly two months prior to the current deal's expiry date. After what the NHL and its players put their fans through not too long ago, they'd best not wait that long to re-up next time around.
Â– Nice to see Janne Niinimaa kick off prediction season months ahead of schedule. The Canadiens defenseman says he and his teammates will hand Buffalo their first loss of the year when the two teams clash in Montreal tonight. But I've got a inkling Maxim Afinogenov Â– he of the league-leading (!!!) point total Â– and the 8-0 Sabres are going to provide the Habs with an unwelcome reality check.
Â– Nicer to see Ron MacLean hold up the latest edition of The Hockey News on Coach's Corner this week, even if it was only so Don Cherry could fling more pro-fighting nonsense against the wall so he can see what sticks.
If you haven't heard, the best way to motivate hockey players is by instructing two grown men to purposefully try and disfigure one another. Forget about playing for the fans who pay the salaries, or for fellow teammates, or for the purely selfish opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars through personal achievements Â– nothing lights a spark like wanton violence. Another sterling lesson for all you amateur coaches out there, courtesy of the guy who wants kids to play the game the Â“rightÂ” way. Puh-lease.
Â– Lead paragraph of the week goes to Associated Press sportswriter Andrew Seligman for this beauty:
Â“One moment, Robert Cheruiyot was about to celebrate his victory at the Chicago Marathon. The next, he was on the ground, bleeding from the head, and dazed.Â”
That's a fantastic allegory for life, isn't it? One minute you've gutted it out and won yourself a marathon; the next, you're half-loopy and bleeding from the head. Couldn't agree more.
Don Cherry is absolutely right about fighting. Proteau you are so wrong on this issue. Fans love it.
- Doug Gray