1) The Toronto Maple Leafs have been around for almost a hundred years, ninety-eight to be exact. During their first forty years of existence they had only two general managers, Charlie Querrie and Conn Smythe (who was also their principal owner for thirty-five years), since then they’ve had fifteen. Amazingly, in the team’s long history only three GMs have won Stanley Cups: Querrie (2), Smythe (7) and Punch Imlach (4). The team was originally called the Arenas and then the St. Pats. When Conn Smythe bought the team in 1926 he changed the name to the Maple Leafs. I recall when I was a kid that there were a number of people who called them the Toronto Maple Leaves; mostly the same ones who referred to the Chicargo Black Hawks.
2) Mentioning “Chicargo” reminds me of one of my favourite lines by a comedian. Many people in PEI use the two-syllable word “slippy” instead of the three-syllable “slippery.” Comedian Lorne Elliott, doing a skit on PEI vernacular, said “For many years I wondered where the ‘r’ from slippery had gone. I found it. It’s in warsh.” While on the subject of Lorne Elliott, here’s an example of how his fertile mind works. While a student at Memorial University at St. John’s, Newfoundland, he formed a band and called it “Free Beer.” He then engaged in a very successful run at a local pub, fuelled no doubt in large part by the sign in the window which read “Free Beer Tonight at 9:00.”
3) I realize that the English language is constantly evolving to reflect common usage, but “very unique” is an abomination
4) Many years ago, when I was a member of the executive committee of Hockey Canada, I suggested two major rule changes, neither of which received any support. The first was that unless a goal was scored or a penalty called, teams had to change on the fly. The NHL went part way a few years ago by disallowing player changes after an icing, a move which has been so well received that I don’t see why they don’t fully implement my suggestion. The other change I wanted was to allow a team to decline a penalty shot and instead have the offending player serve a two-minute penalty.
5) Still on the subject of hockey, is there anything more futile than a player who breaks his stick not going immediately to the bench for a new one? He would be usefully back in the play within seconds instead of uselessly floundering around, sometimes for a minute or more, and quite often ending up taking a holding or interference penalty.
6) I’m a long-time avid fan of the TV show Jeopardy, but it’s despite Alex Trebek, not because of him. I think he’s a smug, condescending, supercilious, elitist snob. When someone misses a clue, his facial expressions often convey a “my, aren’t you stupid” attitude. I wonder how many he’d know if he didn’t have a script. A couple of other annoying Trebek traits are his habit of frequently adding a syllable to the end of a word (such as wivesuh and hundredah), and sometimes referring to the first double jeopardy clue in the double jeopardy round as the double jeopardy when there’s still another one to come.
7) This past week marked the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, the largest Great Lakes freighter in history. The sinking was the inspiration for Gordon Lightfoot`s song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the most boring song in history.
8) This week also marked a Sesame Street anniversary, its 46th. Have you ever noticed how much NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman looks like the Sesame Street character the Count? Bettman could have been the model for the puppet. The first person I heard point out this resemblance was Bob McCown, host of Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet.
9) If I had a bucket list it would include seeing Donald Trump with his hair combed straight back.