Did Nik Antropov Need A Hug? Adrian Dater Hits A Homer

“The whole team is really close here,” Antropov said in a phone interview. “That’s something we never really had in Toronto the past few years.”

I asked one of the Toronto Star headline writers to come up with that gem for me. I mean, mine of late have been about as thrilling as listening to Brady talk to a Marooned Bill Watters on the telephone every night. If only Chipper Jones left me a pair of tweezers I could pluck my eyebrows while listening!

In truth, I find Antropov’s comments interesting. The guy was here for what, 10 years? I have to think he was talking about his entire tenure as a leaf and not just this year. In the various articles with the quote he talks about the reason being player turnover and changes in coaches. That however is pretty normal in the NHL. While I don’t have the statistics to back it up, I would suspect that the Rangers have had as many changes as the Buds over the same 10 year span. What this does suggest to me is the character or lack there of, of the guys who have worn our jersey over the last 10 years. Yes, this is a continued theme with me. Much to my dismay (kidding) the team keeps winning. It is also winning in ways that it hasn’t in years, with heart. What does that say about the departed? That list has to include coaches, managers as well as players. I know I am repeating myself here but Ron Wilson has done so much with so little. There is way less talent on this team as compared with last years, yet the effort is so much better, the results measurable different too.

“Obviously, Burke held on to Grabovski, but I’m not convinced that means he’ll be back with the Maple Leafs next season. When weighing the future of the Potsdam, East Germany native, there are two areas for Burke to consider – above and below Grabovski’s shoulders. The latter region is extremely promising, as Grabovski has a superb set of wheels and is occasionally magical with the puck. The former area is more of an issue, as the Leafs’ No. 84 appears to be a bit of a head-case. Granted, there are language and cultural barriers that may be clouding a more precise image of Grabovski, but it seems as if he’ll present quite a challenge to Burke and coach Ron Wilson… if the Leafs choose to retain him.”

That from Howard Berger’s latest blog. We will see what Ron Wilson thinks of Grabovsky come this summer. I am not in the room so I have no clue what the guy is like. (My travel partner got us on the wrong train one day last week in Berlin and we ended up in Grabovsky’s home town of Potsdam, it was beautiful there by the way.) I for one and I may be the only one think it’s great that he went after Blake in practice. No, not just because it was Blake. I think a guy like him has to play with more fire, and get stronger. You have to show that in practices as well as in games. I would think his threat to go the KHL is fairly hollow but time will tell. As Damien says, if he walks at seasons end Grabovsky will be yet another asset that the buds lost for nothing…Would be nice to still have that 2nd rounder….

I wonder if Howard read Adrian Dater’s work:

“This is why, if I were the owner of a last-place pro sports team, I would be involved in a mega-scandal involving thrown games: If I’m Stan Kroenke right now, my pregame message to the Avalanche the rest of the season would be: “This is a must-lose game tonight. Now go out there and tank it for the team!” Should the Avs tank it so they can get the first pick in June’s NHL draft? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes”

Oh the horror if a Toronto based scribe wrote such a thing. It gets better:

“But if I’m Kroenke, Francois Giguere or anybody else with a vested interest in the Avalanche, I’m praying for 12 straight losses down the stretch. There is a forward in the Ontario Hockey League named John Tavares who most experts say might be as good as Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby. Tavares led Canada to a World Junior Championship title and has 104 points in 56 games this season. Tavares could single-handedly turn the Avalanche back into a playoff team overnight and fill the moribund Pepsi Center again. But the Avs have to get him first. That’s why, if I’m Kroenke, I would think any Avalanche win down the stretch is really a loss. But, of course, you can’t say that”

I guess the press is just smarter out in the Rockies then they are here. At least AD knows what it means to “tank”!

Although neither interview are up on the their respective websites, Mccown’s interview with the commissioner of the new upstart football league last night and the Brady/Watters interview with the one of the league’s four head coaches, Dennis Green were both great listens. Unlike other failed upstart leagues, these guys seem to be doing it right. Among the unusual but apparently smart moves: only having 4 teams to start, each team will be based in one place, somewhere in Arizona, the teams will then fly to 2 of the cities where games will be hosted each week, the league will run in the fall on Thursday and Friday nights. The commissioner, Michael Huyghue said they have already have enough money to run 2 years. Michael Huyghue spent time with both the NFL and the NFLPA. All other league officials have spent considerable time with teams and or the league/union in the NFL. I for one will be watching with interest as this league heads for it’s first game. For more info you can check out their website here. If anyone at either the Fan or 640 are reading this if you get me the audio from the interviews I would be glad to post both on the site.


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