My sense is that we're just days away from hearing the obvious, that the charade of referring to Vesa Toskala as the Maple Leafs' No.1 goaltender - even with an unspoken asterisk, or adding "by default" - is over.
For that to happen, Jonas Gustavsson's heart troubles have to be solved and he has to string together three or four games without (pardon the pun) missing a beat. It wasn't only The Monster's effort Saturday that drives home the point. The manner in which he settled down the Leafs in a loss to the Buffalo Sabres last Friday was as telling. He looks as if he expects to stop the puck. Toskala seems surprised whenever he does.
Don Cherry can try to run and hide (again), but here's hoping the pressure is jacked up on him this week after he turtled during Saturday's Coach's Corner. Apparently, the Great Canadian can't handle neurosurgeon Charles Tator calling him out for his lack of nuance in espousing violent play.
Not a good year for Grapes. In January he was called out by Michael Sanderson, the father of Don Sanderson, in a Maclean's article after the younger Sanderson died during a hockey fight in a senior game. The father felt the manner in which Cherry tried to hitch his wagon to the family's sadness was unseemly.
The Seattle Mariners' acquisition of Milton Bradley essentially leaves the New York Mets as the only team making a serious play for Jason Bay, which means the native of Trail, B.C., won't likely get a guaranteed fifth year. I don't know, of the list of things it takes to keep Bay happy, I'm not sure the Mets provide many of them. And, no, as of yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays have not spoken to Bay. The best part of this story is that it was Mets general manager Omar Minaya who traded Bay from the Montreal Expos to the Mets for Lou Collier in 2002. The Mets in turn traded Bay at the 2002 trade deadline. Minaya traded Bay when Major League Baseball ran the Expos, a mistake created by the logistical mess left when baseball pulled off the franchise switch in which Jeffrey Loria took over the Marlins and John Henry the Red Sox.
The golf types have pretty much exhausted those embarrassing awards they keep giving Tiger Woods, haven't they? The best take I've read on Woods was penned by Slate contributor Matthew DeBord on The Huffington Post's sports site (HuffPost Sports), in which he notes that Woods has pulled off "more than a decade of intricately orchestrated deception," and that "Nixon wasn't this good. The Oswald-acted-alone coverup-istas weren't this good." I'll admit it: This is one idol whose fall I'm enjoying, and I don't know why.
Since 'tis the season, a hackneyed thing that's going to allow me to get out of here and do some last-minute gift buying, what I'd stick under trees for Christmas:
*Canada's alpine skiers: A rabbit's foot. Something or, on second thought, nothing. No news. No injuries. Just blessed silence until the Olympics.
*Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos: 240 to 300 innings; an early (Bobby) Valentine's Day gift in the manager's office.
*Raptors head coach Jay Triano: Reggie Evans in uniform.
Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo: Reggie Evans in uniform, and no need to constantly remind the fan base the Raps are 10-0 when holding opponents under 100 points.
*Leafs head coach Ron Wilson: the old, 19-year-old Luke Schenn.
*Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin: Cheated and opened his gift Saturday - Andrei Markov.
*Flames head coach Brent Sutter: an answer to the hole on the left side of his first line, alongside Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen.
*The rest of us: the hope that the same sports gods that kept the barbarians (read: Argonauts) away from our precious BMO Field this past week can keep Dana White and the UFC out of Toronto. Let the lowest common denominator types visit some place else.