Curious timing on Gaston rap

GARY LOEWEN

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Sometimes, timing is everything.

For instance, RimJim Balsillie’s bid for the Phoenix Coyotes seemed to be going well until he hired Doug MacLean as a hockey adviser ... y’know, just sayin’.

Now we have a firestorm surrounding Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston being unpopular with the players.

The intention isn’t to throw water on the story, but instead to point out the coincidence of how criticism of Gaston is leaked at a time when J.P. Ricciardi is taking most of the heat for the team’s misfortunes.

The general manager, Honest John himself, was on The Fan 590 yesterday, talking about how he communicates regularly with the players.

“The players approach me about a lot of things,” Ricciardi said, “about what condition the field is in ... players always ask, hey what direction are we going, where is the club going?”

Asked whether he has fielded complaints about the manager, Ricciardi said: “No players have come up to me and said to me they dislike Cito Gaston.”

So, the players and Honest John discuss everything from the plastic sod to the future prospects, but no mention of issues with the manager.

Shame on us for thinking, even for a moment, that Ricciardi was the source of the Gaston story.

Well-red

It’s not just the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames who are featuring the colour “red” these days.

While the Ottawa Senators are pushing a “Forever Red” marketing plan, the Washington Capitals’ theme this season is “Rock the Red.”

The Phoenix Coyotes could follow suit and be “In the Red.”

Coach bristles

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk yesterday was asked on a DallasNews.com chat: “What’s the deal with Marc Crawford’s hair? Have you discussed or suggested any ways for him to fix it?”

(To put it kindly, Crawford, the Stars’ new coach, looks to be wearing a porcupine on his head ... think Lyle Lovett with straight hair instead of gravity-defying curls.)

Replied Nieuwendyk: “Yes, we’ve had discussion. We believe a hair products contract is a possibility.”

Crawford will fit right in with those big-haired Texas women.

Blades of glory

Speaking of hair, Gillette Fusion razors will be sold with the Team Canada hockey logo in celebration of the world junior and Olympic tournaments this winter.

Guess that means no playoff beards.

Flu foul

Houston Texans rookie tight end Anthony Hill was hospitalized this week with swine flu.

It’s the first such outbreak in the NFL since the Washington Redskins offensive linemen named running back John Riggins an honorary hog.

gary.loewen@sunmedia.ca


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