1) About the only positive in this tedious Canadian federal election campaign is the emergence of three new similes: as phony as a Mulcair smile; as naive as a Trudeau pronouncement; as evasive as a Harper answer.
2) As a Toronto resident who had to endure all the abuse from Americans about Rob Ford when he was our mayor, I’m thoroughly enjoying watching the Donald Trump sideshow.
3) New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey’s agent, Scott Boros, demanded that the Mets limit his client’s mound appearances to 180 innings in order to protect his arm after Tommy John surgery. This is ridiculous for two reasons. First, an agent has no business trying to dictate a team’s lineup. If Boros wanted to request such a limit that would be fine; but he has no right to demand it, unless, of course, he had negotiated that stipulation in Harvey’s contract. We know he didn’t because Mets management would have laughed him out of the room. The other reason Boros’ demand is ridiculous is because an innings limit is meaningless. A pitch limit might be meaningful, but even then it would depend on the type of pitches Harvey throws and how often he throws them.
4) At a family dinner the other evening the conversation got around to broken bones. My list was: toe (tobogganing); nose (hit by a friend’s elbow when he suddenly turned around, not realizing I was right behind him on a stairway); wrist (playing touch football); hand (as a baseball catcher); arm (umpiring baseball); tail bone (tobogganing again); and, jaw (at the dentist). The jaw was actually my second broken bone (my toe being the first), but I left it to the last because an explanation is clearly required. I was having a back tooth extracted when I felt a sneeze coming. (Any of you who’ve been present when I sneeze will know that it’s a Richter scale event.) I grabbed the dentist’s wrist, but he thought it was because he was hurting me and ignored my attempt to get him to stop. I sneezed. The tooth came out. But a lot of other things happened, too. I spent four hours in the emergency room at the Toronto General Hospital, mostly because they had a very difficult time stitching my lacerated gum. And, my jaw was broken. It’s interesting that even though I played goal for many years, including Jr. B in Toronto and Senior A in the Maritimes, none of my broken bones were hockey-related. My daughter-in-law, Beverley made an interesting observation when she pointed out that I also had played mostly in an era when goalies didn’t wear masks.
5) Jake Kennedy died this week in Charlottetown. He was seventy-four. Most of you reading this will have no idea who Jake Kennedy was. His brother, Forbes Kennedy, played over 600 games in the NHL back when it was a six-team league. Jake was a very promising hockey player himself when, as a teenager playing a game in the old Charlottetown Forum, he suffered a severe cut in his leg. As I understand it, a Good Samaritan came out of the stands and put a tourniquet of some type on Jake’s leg with a view to stemming the blood flow. Unfortunately, this person didn’t really know what he was doing and Jake had to have the leg amputated just below the knee. I first encountered Jake when I played goal for the Charlottetown Royals back in the 60s. By this time Jake had mastered the use of his artificial leg to the point where he often practised with the Royals. One time he travelled with us on a road trip. Jake and a few of us dropped into a pub in Halifax after our game. Some Halifax fans recognized us, and started to razz us. It was entirely good-natured until one particularly obstreperous Haligonian questioned the toughness of people from PEI. In response, Jake challenged the guy to a shin-kicking contest, enticing the Haligonian to take up the dare by giving him the first kick. Of course, it was no contest.
6) If you’re puzzled by the Maple Leafs giving up five minor leaguers for Michael Grabner, consider the following. None of those five had much chance of ever making the Leafs, and their departure frees up four roster spots which the Leafs might well fill with good prospects by trading one of the regulars that Babcock feels is expendable. (And make no mistake about it; this is going to be Babcock’s team.) Also, Grabner is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and an excellent penalty killer.