Packers-Steelers for the Super Bowl eh? That has a pretty good ring to it (the Packers have been installed as slight favourites already). There is something to be said about traditional clubs and the emotions they can drum up. Steve Brunt touched on that in his preview of the Bears-Packers NFC Championship game; and it will doubtless be a theme in the next two weeks -- meaning any sentient person will be sick of it by Wednesday, but whatever, it's kind of cool for now. You've got a town that makes Buffalo look cosmopolitan and another that needed a fish to save it's basketball team playing for the most over-hyped trophy in sports. Not bad. We've got all kinds of stuff this morning, including why Jay Cutler of the Bears is probably having the worst day of his life; Sidney Crosby news; the Ottawa Senators taking my advice and a pair of Canadian kids helping make NCAA basketball history. Hope you have a good week.
1. Did Jay Cutler quit?
Normally there is nothing that makes me want to puke than fans/media questioning a professional athlete's toughness, as a good majority of them aren't tough enough to stick to a diet. But when an instant poll of a player's peers start questioning if a guy took the easy way out with an injury? That's something else entirely; and while Twitter may seem like a massive time suck most of the time; the way it provided an instant glimpse into what real, live NFL players were thinking when Bears quarterback Jay Cutler came out of the Bears' loss to the Green Bay Packers yesterday was nothing short of incredible. The general theme: Cutler may have been hurt, but he could have/should have kept playing. And at least some voices - though muted -- came from inside the Bear's locker room: Off the record, several teammates looked at Cutler amid the postgame wreckage and shook their heads. "I aint' gonna say nothing," one Bears player said privately, "but I don't see a brace on that knee. Do you?"
After the game Cutler didn't do himself any favours by being pretty vague about exactly what happened and when: "The last series (before halftime) really aggravated it," a stone-faced Cutler (6-of-14 passing, 80 yards, one interception) said after the game. "It hurt. We're gonna do an MRI tomorrow.
Will the knee require surgery? "I hope not."
Was it the doctors' decision for him not to play?
"We gave it a go there that first series but (I) couldn't really plant or throw," Cutler said. "They kind of pulled me …I was going to keep playing, " he said, "but, you know, they made the decision that giving Todd a shot would better suit the team."
2. Crosby out for the NHL All-Star game, and Malkin too: