March 2004

Cup of Soup

Wed, Mar 3, 2004

In Tough

The top seven teams in the Eastern Conference are separated by a mere 8 points. Four of the five teams in the Northwest Division sit solidly in playoff position. The standings shuffle and jostle on a daily basis. The Maple Leafs are sitting in the league's strongest division, in a conference as tight as can be.

The Leafs just added Brian Leetch to their lineup in a trade with the New York Rangers. Boston just acquired Segei Gonchar. Ottawa got Peter Bondra, Montreal got Alexei Kovalev, Tampa Bay got Darryl Sydor, Philadelphia got Sean Burke, and New Jersey got Viktor Kozlov. And, there's still a week until the trade deadline.

Every one of these teams just got significantly stronger. Securing one of those top four spots for home-ice advantage just got much more important. It's going to be a long and difficult playoff.

Fri, Mar 5, 2004

The Life Of Brian

Brian Leetch had his debut as a Maple Leaf last night, and the city is buzzing about the performance of our new future Hall-of-Famer on the blue line. Three assists on his first night, having barely just met his new teammates and unfamiliar with the team's playbook; that makes for a good first impression.

So what makes Leetch worth two prospects and two draft picks? Well, aside from the fact that he can play 25 minutes per game and has near-psychic abilities regarding knowing where the puck will be, I've noticed - using a goaltender's perspective - the he has what I call "The Rubber Stick".

Look at the replays of his assists, particularly the last one. He makes a half-wind-up, good enough for either a snap shot or a quick pass to his defensive partner. Then, he twists his stick around such that you can't tell which way it's pointing when he hits the puck. Done quickly, it's kind of like that trick bored school-kids do with their pencils by waving it around between two fingers so it looks like it's bending. Leetch starts a little "Rubber Stick" effect, and suddenly the puck is on his teammate's blade, and a fraction of a second later it's in the net behind a goalie who's wondering what Leetch's stick is made of.

With skills like, Brian Leetch will be greatly appreciated in this hockey town.

Sun, Mar 7, 2004

Liberal Dethroning

Sheila Copps lost her Liberal nomination yesterday as riding boundary changes have set many sitting Liberals against each other, mostly between supporters of new PM Paul Martin and those of the old regime of Jean Chretien.

The latest is in my riding of Mississauga-Erindale, where Chretien cabinet misister Steve Mahoney was defeated by Martin-supporting Carolyn Parrish, who is most famous for calling Bush and his team bastards. Copps was deputy PM for Chretien, and lost to one of Martin's cabinet ministers, Tony Valeri.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing. With the change of leadership and the sponsorship scandal, the Liberals need to clean house and rid themselves of loyalists to an old leader that leaves a bad taste in many people's mouths. As for Copps in particular, all I've heard out of her over the past few months is nothing but various plays of the gender card. To that, I say "good riddance".

Mon, Mar 8, 2004

Travelling Man

A couple of weeks ago, my snowman took a little trip to Florida. Now, some may say that the sunny climes of Florida is not a tenable location for a snowman to spend his leisurely afternoons. There is truth in that, and so I can't say I was not at all worried.

However, I breathed a sigh of relief today as I discovered my snowman is healthy and in good spirits, and is thoroughly enjoying his travels. His latest stop was in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

I suppose it may be a little typical for a snowman to visit a ski resort, but if it makes him happy, then that's all that matters.

Tue, Mar 9, 2004

Spudles Solstice

Ring solstice bells!

I turn 26 today, just a wee bit closer to the world of old-fogeydom. I'd better start practicing. Where's my cane? You crazy kids! Slow down! Back in my day, we didn't have fancy mobile phones; they'd be attached to the wall with some doohickey called a "wire"...

It's also deadline day for trades in the NHL. This day, and the days leading up to it, are some of the biggest of the year for hockey fans. Blockbuster deals, unexpected moves, and rising hopes as the playoffs draw near. So far today, with an hour and a half left until the deadline, the Leafs have signed free agent defenseman Calle Johansson, claimed LW Chad Kilger off of waivers, and traded a 5th round pick for future hall-of-famer Ron Francis.

Why does this day have such a grasp over guys across the country? I think it's because it's the only time of year that guys can act like girls and still be macho. Yes, it's all about the gossip.

Rumours, speculations, and announcements. Days of guys discussing "Hey, did you hear so-and-so might go there?", and "Do you think this guy is worth that guy?". Replace the beer and wings with tea and crumpets and you've got a sewing bee.

Mon, Mar 15, 2004


Beware the Ides of March!

No reason in particular; just have a general awareness about your surroundings.

Oh, and stay away from meetings with the senate if you've received death threats.

Maybe there is such a thing as karma.

The Leafs have had an awful time against the Buffalo Sabres for inexplicable reasons. Today seemed like much of the same, with some terribly flukey goals by the Sabres and some of the worst officiating I've seen since the women's Olympic Gold Medal game in Salt Lake. After a loss in a game against Pittsburgh that the Penguins had no business winning and a tough loss in a tight game against Montreal, the hockey gods finally decided the Leafs needed a break.

And then they gave them several. Two Buffalo posts, two goals deflected off of defenders and one scored from behind the net preceded a last minute goal (and Mogilny's 1000th point) with the goalie pulled to tie the game. Then, despite the referees' best efforts, they fought off an overtime penalty and rushed for the game winning goal with a textbook Mogilny passing play.

Karma. It's gotta be.

Tue, Mar 16, 2004


A while ago, Red Wings' washed-up goalie Dominik Hasek declined several million dollars of his salary because he has missed all but 18 games of the season due to injury. Some say it's because he wants to be fair. Others say it's because he wants to pull favour to give him another chance to play next year.

I call it a payoff for giving him a reason to come back to North America and avoid going to jail back home in the Czech Republic.

Wed, Mar 17, 2004

Top o' the Mornin' to Ya...

...and the rest o' the day to me self.

A happy St Patrick's Day one and all, where we all pretend to be Irish for the sake of getting drunk and whooping it up.

As part of the celebration, I am wearing my Toronto St. Pats tuque, and my name for the day is "Blarney Stone".

Thu, Mar 25, 2004


Yesterday, I inherited the office curse.

There is a little plant that used to sit on a coworker's desk. At first glance, it seems like any ordinary plant, but looks can be deceiving. This plant lives in sparse, crumbling soil. It grows under nothing but fluorescent light. It drinks only a small puddle of water at the bottom of a styrofoam cup. Somehow, however, this plant grows lush and bright green. This plant - this mutant thing of vegetation - is a spawn of cubicle hell, and raised on corporate corruption.

Also, it causes rapid turnover.

The owner of this plant left the company in January of last year. He bequeathed it to our team leader, who let it flourish in his corner until he, too, left the company three months later. It was passed on to the individual that sat in front of me until he was let go about a month afterward. The plant shifted itself one desk over until its new owner moved away to California mere weeks later. It moved over one desk again and laid dormant, while it's fifth owner spent nearly a year mulling over finding a new job. But there she stayed, and there the plant stayed, waiting... waiting...

Until yesterday, when my neighbour finally emptied her desk for opportunities elsewhere, and left the plant to my "uncare". And, there it sits, eyeing me with every stalk on its leafy bulb.

Considering what they pay me, I have no intention of leaving in the near future, but organizational restructuring could possibly see me working from home by summer's end. It's the doing of the plant, I know it.

What evil lurks in the hearts of businesses? The shadow plant knows...

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