Will Vince show?

JOE WARMINGTON, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

MARK IT down in your calender. April 15, 2005. Yes, that's the first time the New Jersey Nets are in town since the Vince Carter trade. And after what Vince said late this week, that ought to be a hot ticket. When asked by TNT basketball broadcaster John Thompson if he didn't "push" himself in T.O. "In years past, no," said Vince.

"Years!" says my colleague and huge Raptors fan Jason Botchford in amazement.

We both laughed because we are pretty sure he was paid some $24-million U.S. during this time which if nothing else took some energy out of Larry Tanenbaum and Richard Peddie in cheque-writing alone.

But Vince had more to say: "I was fortunate to have the talent ... you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it. Now, with the all the injuries, I have to work harder; I'm a little hungrier. Getting a fresh start has made me want to attack the basket."

This guy is starting to make me like the guy with the kidney transplant, who won't report, but earns $17 million better. At least Alonzo Mourning didn't sandbag.

Well, Carter might want to keep his head up on the floor April 15. "I am getting tickets for that game," says Botch. "He's enemy number one."

The thing is, you just know, Vince and his mom won't be there that night anyway. That baby has got a couple of months to figure out what muscle to pull. Or there must be an honorary university degree to go get somewhere.

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Who says we don't have one of those big transport planes in Canada to bring supplies to the tsunami disaster zone? Heck, we even have one of those Russian Antonovs like our government rented for big bucks this week. Scrawler knows this because I saw it when I was up fishing in Goose Bay, Labrador, last spring. And I called Mulligan's pub in Happy Valley last night to find out if it's still there.

"It sure is," says bartender Honora Cooper -- the real reason I did this item and why I am planning to go fishing up there again this year.

The story goes the Russian crew stopped in there to refuel and a Quebec company impounded the plane since the holder owed them $60 million. The plane has sat there for two years ever since. Maybe Paul Martin didn't know that -- although I am not sure I would want our crews flying in that thing anyway. Meanwhile, beautiful Honora said it was a balmy -51C there and "there's too much snow." But at least they have Mulligan's, one of Canada's warmest pubs where the caribou sausages are as good as you'll find anywhere and, did I mention, they have Honora behind the bar.

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I liked this quote this week from police board boss Pam McConnell on the hiring of a new chief. "There are lots of people right across the country and the world who are being tapped on the shoulder and asked whether they are interested."

Across the world? I wonder if any of the fine senior Toronto coppers are part of this "world" and "Canadian" search. First of all, they should stay with the guy with all the job offers right now in Julian Fantino, but if not, there are many top-flight candidates in the Toronto Police Service. Hopefully deputy chief Steve Reesor, as well as retired deputy Mike Boyd, have been tapped on the shoulder or senior coppers like Gary Grant, Mike Davis, Keith Forde, Bill Blair, Gary Ellis or Rolf Prisor. All of them are quality and there is no need for the expense of a world search to call them in for an interview. Heck, before I'd go outside the country I'd even consider Const. Neil Belland, a former NHLer, for the job -- especially since he's to be inducted into the Parry Sound/Bobby Orr Hockey Hall of Fame. Those are some good Canadian qualifications. Congrats.

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Hot jazz at the Reservoir Lounge on Wellington where Jake Rude and his Swing Sextet had them swinging. Awesome. Way to go Leaside Wildcats players Brittany Wong and Alison Duffy who have made their own NHL Lockout caps to protest this crazy labour dispute. I nominate Brian Mulroney for mediator. Have a good weekend. Scrawler out.


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