T.O. in sorry state

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world still trying to figure out why Terrell Owens won't apologize for slandering Jeff Garcia but did apologize for doing nothing wrong on the Monday Night Football opener:

AROUND THE HORN: Lemme get this straight: Paul McCallum crushes the dreams of a province by missing a routine field goal, only to become a local hero because of the stupidity of a horse&#%! Hoppers fan with worse aim than the kicker ... Turns out hockey hasn't been completely forgotten south of the border: Jacques Plante's great-niece is the cover girl for Playboy's 2005 College Girls edition holding a hockey stick and net. We, as Canadians, should be so proud ... What was the more laughable coaching hire -- Pinball Clemons or Matt Dunigan? Well, 4 1/2 years after jumping into coaching, Clemons led his club to the championship game. Matt, the clock is ticking ... Is there a prouder day to be a Canadian than Grey Cup Sunday? ... Here's hoping one positive to come out of the NHL lockout is the players' new appreciation of the wider rinks in Europe. Perhaps those toiling overseas can put pressure on the owners to implement the one change that could improve the flow of the game most dramatically.

HOOPS DU JOUR: Shame on the NBA for Friday night's blatant attempt to take advantage of the NHL's lockout with a good ol' fashioned brawl ... All I want for Christmas are my two front-row seats to the NBA doubleheader Dec. 25 when the Pistons and Pacers meet again before Shaq and Kobe are reunited. And here I was thinking the only thing that could interest me in basketball was a Raptors revival ... As the NBA looks at ways to guard against a repeat of the Motown Mayhem, they may want to look at upgrading the security guards at arenas across North America, who range from 60-year-old men to 90-lb. women.

PARTING GIFTS: Former Hitmen floater Pavel Brendl is making news for all the wrong reasons overseas. The former fourth-pick flop started the season in Finland before being bounced to a lower-level Czech Republic team for which he played before scoring 172 goals in Calgary. Lasting a total of five games between the two clubs, he chased bigger dollars in Malmo, Sweden, where last week he was cut after two days of practice due to his poor fitness levels. Now he's heading back to another Finnish club ... Dave Dickenson's legacy in Montana is such the Lions pivot was recently named the most popular athlete in the state, according to a poll in Sports Illustrated ... As if there wasn't enough pressure to get your weekly pool picks in before deadline, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch is now looking hard into the possibility of securing broadcasting rights for NFL games every Thursday and Saturday.

PARTING SHOTS: The NHLPA has a brand new website design. Well, now we know what Bob Goodenow has been doing the last two months ... A suggestion for anyone who was offended by the Monday Night Football opening last week: Grow up. Haven't heard you complain about the erectile dysfunction ads or the gratuitous sideline shots of the scantily clad cheerleaders. It's entertainment people ... Does T.O. really stand for Towel Off? ... Hands up all those in Calgary who felt sorry for the Lightning players who received their Stanley Cup rings in the basement of the St. Pete Forum. Didn't think so.


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