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Seven in the morning

No question: Crosby better than Leafs; MMA; best MLB interview ever and more... Add to ...

So a reporter walks up to a baseball player at the winter meetings, asks a few basebally questions and three minutes later is having a conversation with a gun-totin’ conspiracy theorist in spikes. You have to read the interview below, but first, while there are a few stray dissenters regarding the possibility raised here yesterday that Sidney Crosby is already better than Wayne Gretzky, there can be none that Sid is better than the Leafs, all by himself; Roberto Luongo finally makes a save in a shootout etc. etc.

Please continue after the jump to Seven in the morning, you won’t regret it.

1. Canadian teams, B Division

• You know who’s a big Sidney Crosby fan? Leafs coach Ron Wilson. He seems to admire his ‘motor’ and appreciate his ‘compete level’ (got my hockey talk on!), though because he’s smiley Ronnie, he delivers his compliment to Sid backhanded, while simultaneously denigrating most of his own lineup. Having watched the game where the Leafs fell behind 4-0 on their way to losing 5-2, it’s hard not to be sympathetic. Said Wilson of Crosby (via the Globe’s James Mirtle): "Well he competes. You know? I wish we had more guys [like that and] our top players play as hard as he did. You get to him and he stands up for himself and when his teammates see him doing that, they play hard, too."

• And while Crosby continued his "tribute-to-the-80s" scoring pace after potting two goals last night he slapped away suggestions of scoring 50-in-50. "Honestly I think it's pretty far fetched for that to happen," Crosby said. "Maybe someday somebody will and that's unbelievable but I think it's pretty easy not to think about it because I don't see it happening. It would be incredible and whoever does it, hats off, but I don't think it's going to happen."

2. Canadian teams, A Division

• Thanks to Ryan Kesler’s third-period heroics the Canucks managed to force their game with Anaheim into overtime, which was good, but then it went to a shootout, which was bad, because Robert Luongo was winless in two previous shootouts and having allowed five straight goals. He stoned the Ducks though, and improved his shootout save percentage to .375, good for 37th in the NHL. Credit goes to some extra time spent stopping breakaways, according to Canucks coach Alain Vigneault (via the Globe's Matt Sekeres): “He’s been working real hard with Rollie [Melanson, Vancouver’s goaltending coach] ... we’ve been doing more work on [shootouts] than anytime prior.”

• The Canucks aren’t without their issues though. Apparently the Sedins are trailing evil Sean Avery in write-in votes for the NHL all-star game. This has people in Sweden justifiably upset (via Puck Daddy and Rangers Blog) -- it’s worth reading in full if only for the Google translation from Swedish: "Even worse, it is for twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Despite scientific progress during the season, and Henrik Sedin are the NHL's reigning king of points, they are placed on the 23 th (Henry) and 24th place (Daniel) - with a player like Sean Avery in front of him."

3. We regret the (facebook) error

Before even starting spring training, the newest Blue Jay Brett Lawrie has done a service by introducing clueless fans to a drinking game called Edward Fortyhands where you duct tape a 40 oz bottle of malt liquor to each hand until you’ve drunk each. Needless to say the authorities aren’t big on it. Joseph Califano, chairman of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and former United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, wrote of the game, "one night of Edward Fortyhands may seem like a fun way to spend a few hours, but it can quickly spiral out of control and land your teen in the hospital—or the morgue." Anway, Lawrie assures all the next time he tapes booze to his mitts, there won’t be any cameras around: “I’m still continuing to mature as a baseball player and as a person as well,” Lawrie said Wednesday during a conference call. “I’m still a young guy and those pictures were just something that happened a long time ago, a couple of them three or four years ago, on Halloween night. It was just one of those Halloween things.

“And obviously, it’s something I’m maturing about and I know it won’t happen again. I can promise that.”

4. Ask a boring question and you get an INSANELY good interview

Luke Scott of the Orioles wandered into baseball’s winter meetings because he was going to visit with his agent. And because reporters have nothing to do at the winter meetings but wait for nothing to happen, David Brown of Yahoo Sports hit him up for a chat, asking him about the Orioles off-season moves and stuff. And then the subject turned to hunting, and the interview just got better and better, if you enjoy a bit unfiltered American right-wingism, that is:

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