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the usual suspects

Maybe we need to take the instigator rule out of the NHL's trade deadline day. Rogers Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos gave vivid evidence of the friction between Team Sportsnet and Team TSN in their current turf war. On Saturday, Kypreos (no stranger to dropping the mitts in his playing days) tweeted about the trade of Bryan McCabe to the New York Rangers from the Florida Panthers.

The tweet drew some derision in Twitterdom. Which led Kypreos to send an angry message to a friend. "I'm confident it will get done. Those [expletive]at tsn try to discredit me all the time. I'm really [expletive] As always … thanks for yo …" Except Kypreos sent the message as a tweet, not a text, making it public.

Needless to say, the Twits (in both languages) went wild at Kypreos' profane diss of his BlackBerry-toting rivals at TSN. Kypreos quickly took down the tweet and made light of his gaffe. "Opps!!!!! [sic]Was I thinking out loud again? My apologies to all … I meant to say how much fun and stress free this trade deadline day is … I passed my Blackberry to Charlie Sheen for one minute and look what happened."

His TSN counterparts had fun with him. Bob McKenzie: "@RealKyper Funny, I always thought when you start thinking we don't hear you so much as we smell the wood burning. :-)" Darren Dreger "@RealKyper. Thinking??? Hmmm." CBC's Elliotte Friedman chipped in with "@RealKyper outstanding."

In an interview Saturday with Usual Suspects, Kypreos first apologized for his language. "I know a lot of kids read these things, and there was no excuse for my language. I'm sorry." But it's clear there's no love lost between the network TV types who'll battle for scoops in the 10-hour deadline day marathon.

Kypreos acknowledged that the defection of executive Keith Pelley to Rogers from TSN has escalated tension between the big cable sports networks. "Absolutely, that competition has made its way down to our level," Kypreos said. "It's definitely changed in the last year."

Rogers broadcasting president Scott Moore said he's talked to Kypreos. "He made a mistake in sending something out to Twitter that was supposed to be a private correspondence. His language was inappropriate. He apologized immediately as soon as he realized what he did. Case closed." Good thing for Sportsnet as Kypreos is Sportsnet's best (only?) asset in breaking stories against TSN's Hydra-headed team of McKenzie, Dreger and Co.

Tamed Tiger

If only NBC golf analyst Johnny Miler would speak his mind about Tiger Woods's wonky comeback. Miller appeared on Golf Channel last Friday and was asked about Woods, who bombed out of the Accenture Match Play Championship in the first round last Wednesday. "It's a little bit like a Mike Tyson story to be honest with you," Miller said. "Sort of invincible, scared everybody, performed quickly under pressure, and until the Buster Douglas came along …"

Miller continued: "His life crumbled and it's like Humpty Dumpty. He was on the high wall way above all the other players and had a great fall, and there's pieces all over the place and [he's]trying to put them together."

Workout Warriors

"My name is Usual Suspects and I'm an NFL combine addict …" The NFL talent evaluation is under way in Indianapolis and, symbolic of the NFL's cultural clout, it's a must-watch on the NFL Channel for football junkies. One player testing is Canadian offensive lineman Danny Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2010 CFL draft by the B.C. Lions.

Glib host Rich Eisen noted Watkins has a hockey background. "When asked what position he played in hockey he said, 'Glorified goon.' His parents stopped going to hockey games because they were getting tired of watching him sit in the penalty box."

The big name on display is quarterback Cam Newton, who led Auburn to the BCS Championship. Newton has claimed his goal is to be "an icon and an entertainer." Hello, JaMarcus Russell. Already the predraft hype for Newton is stifling, NFL Channel talent scout Mike Mayock says. "I'm already Cameron'd out. As media, we are low-hanging-fruit guys. We are going to talk about one guy 80 per cent of the time the next two months."

Duke Snider's Expos connection

One of the outstanding vestiges of the Montreal Expos' legacy has died. Duke Snider, the Hall of Fame centre fielder who was the Expos' TV and radio analyst from 1973-1986, passed away this weekend at age 84. Ralph Mellanby, who produced Snider on Expos' broadcasts remembered him Sunday as a "class act. For a superstar he was very humble, laidback-- a good ol' boy. No ego. He was like your brother. He loved Canada and the Expos. He helped make baseball in Canada with his TV work. He was the guy who taught baseball."

Mellanby recalled producing instructional videos called Pro Tips with Snider. "We were doing Pro tips at Expos' training camp. I told him he had sweetest swing I'd ever seen when he played. I said, 'I'll throw a few pitches for you to swing at'. He didn't want to do that. 'I'm 58' and all that... Finally he got up at the plate and he took a couple of warmups. After a couple of swings, I threw one down the middle and he hit it over the centre field fence. He dropped the bat and said, 'Ralph, that's it. If you didn't get that one I wouldn't get another in 100 swings'.

"With no warmup he hit it over the centre field fence. Amazing. It's funny how Duke dies the same year his broadcast partner Dave Van Horne gets into the Hall of Fame. He was one of the greats."

Snider was also a central figure in one of the greatest sports books ever, The Boys Of Summer by Roger Khan. The book catalogued the Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers for whom Snider was the power hitting centre fielder. The book captured Snider both as a player an in retirement in his native California.