No Damon Allen? A disgrace!

The leading career passer in professional football history, who just happens to be the third-...

The leading career passer in professional football history, who just happens to be the third- leading rusher in the Canadian Football League, was not elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame when the Class of 2011 was announced on Friday. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:27 PM ET

The leading career passer in professional football history, who just happens to be the third- leading rusher in the Canadian Football League, was not elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame when the Class of 2011 was announced on Friday.

This is not only a joke, but an insult. And itís an abomination of responsibility. The very notion that Damon Allen was passed over in his first time as eligible for the Hall borders somewhere between absurd and unexplainable.

Most yards passing. Most yards rushing for a quarterback. Not just the CFL. Any FL. Allen has four Grey Cup victories, three Grey Cup MVP awards and twice the number of rushing yards than some backs (Pinball Clemons for one) already in the Hall of Fame.

How do you leave him out?

I tried calling five of the 13 voters on the weekend to try and understand. Calls were not returned. I wanted to make sure this was accurate, because Allen himself wasnít sure he was eligible. However, both Hall of Fame committee chair, George Black, and Hall executive director Mark DeNobile confirmed to me that Allen was eligible but did not receive the required votes to be elected.

Somebody has some explaining to do. No disrespect intended to the rest of the class ó all of them fine football people ó but none of them should be in the Hall before Damon Allen. Thatís just wrong, embarrassing for the CFL, embarrassing for the Hall, embarrassing to the most productive player in football history.

This and that

And speaking of embarrassing, have you had a glance at the National Hockey League lately? Since when did Slap Shot become a reality show? ... Donít know where to start: Matt Cooke. Matt Martin. Brent Johnson. Eric Godard. Fights everywhere, 346 minutes in penalties. If NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesnít step in, show some leadership, and remove the mamby-pamby suspensions from vice-president Colin Campbell he could have an all-out war on his hands, if he doesnít have one already. This is not comedy or slapstick and the NHL at the highest level is party to the ridiculousness. This is train-wreck stuff: You look because itís there. Itís time to start throwing the book at players. Ten games? Fifteen games? The suspensions have to carry some weight and be meaningful. The NHL did everything it could to bring speed and finesse back to its game post-lockout. Now, it offers up a Battle Royale on blades almost every other night. The garage league Mario Lemieux once talked about is regressing. Time to put an end to this rubbish and fast.

Hear and there

Three words that should never go together: Minor and heart surgery. If youíre having heart surgery, as Jonas Gustavsson had this week, there is nothing minor about it ... How much did Nashville need Mike Fisher? Put it this way, the Predators have gotten by this season with Marcel Goc as their first line centre, and before that, Cal OíReilly ... Milos Raonic is no flash in the pan. Heís real and seemingly spectacular, and a month and a half into the year, the leading candidate for Canadaís athlete of the year ... Interesting that James Reimer says his goaltending idol is Ed Belfour because just the other day I was telling someone that I hadnít seen a Leafs goalie this square to the puck since Belfour ... Every year, I get upset when Andre Reed gets passed over by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But thatís personal, not obvious. The Damon Allen thing. How do you miss on that? ... The Raptors play their 500th game at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday evening and this one is actually worth attending. The remarkable rookie, Blake Griffin, is in town. By the way, the Raptorsí record at the ACC is 267-232 ... Francois Beauchemin was a minus-2 in his first game with the Ducks in Anaheim, getting just 17 minutes of ice.

Scene and heard

Before the concussion, Sidney Crosby was the obvious choice to win the Hart Trophy as the NHLís MVP. In the first 20 games, Steven Stamkos was the favourite. Now, itís a wide open race: Maybe Tim Thomas. Maybe Stamkos. Maybe Daniel Sedin or Ryan Kesler. Maybe Nicklas Lidstrom. But no sure thing ... The good news and bad news on Luke Schenn: He leads the NHL in hits for defencemen, but also leads in giveaways ... Hereís the annual Tomas Kaberle dilemma in Toronto: Canít live with him. Canít live without him. Canít trade him unless he says yes. Kaberle has 33 assists on the Leafs blueline. The rest of the defence has 46 assists. So, you donít win with him here, but how do you replace the offence if he goes? ... Bet you didnít know that Coyotesí Keith Yandle leads all NHL defencemen in scoring and is one of five rearguards with more points than any member of the Leafs ... Winning the fastest skater competition at the all-star game has done something for Islandersí winger Michael Grabner. Heís playing terrific hockey and has worked his way into rookie-of-the-year consideration.

And another thing

This is how long Jerry Sloan was around the NBA: He was an expansion draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in the year before the Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup. Amazing thing about the suddenly retired Sloan: He coached the Utah Jazz for 23 years and had one losing season. He coached in 202 playoff games. In 16 seasons in the NBA, the Raptors have played in 31 playoff games ... Just in case you were wondering: Brother Marcus Allen was a first ballot Hall of Famer in the NFL ... The Tyler Seguin season in Boston is reminding me of Joe Thorntonís rookie season with the Bruins. Thornton barely played, registering seven points. Seguin is barely playing: He has 17 points ... Wonder what the reaction would be if Dale Derkatch or Steve Tsujiura were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame? Both were amazing junior player but couldnít play in the NHL. How is that different for CIS quarterback, Chris Flynn, being elected to the amateur category of Canadian Hall of his years at Saint Maryís? Hard to cut out Terry Greer because his five-year pro career was too short but accept a college player of lesser tenure? ... A scout told ESPNís Buster Olney that Shaun Marcum would win 20 games this year with the Milwaukee Brewers ... It wouldnít be unprecedented for the Chicago Blackhawks to miss the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup. Last team to do it was Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 ... This should have been the perfect awful basketball game. The Washington Wizards, with no wins on the road this season, versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, with 27 losses in a row. Only Cleveland won Friday night, ending its losing streak at 26 and rendering the great match to so-what status ... Happy birthday to Mats Sundin (40), Randy Moss (34), Mike Krzyzewski (64), and Sal Bando (67) .... And hey, whatever became of Bob Rouse?

The Kessel Watch

The obsession over Phil Kessel is somewhat unhealthy. Will he score? How will he score? When will he score? Why doesnít he score? And because this is Toronto, where hockey hyperbole reigns, the focus is constant and intense and occasionally unfair. Kessel is a streak scorer who had 19 goals going into Saturday nightís game. Truth is: Most scorers do it in bunches. Kessel has had two hot runs this season: So has John Tavares, who had 14 goals in 20 games and five in the other 32. Jarome Iginla, who has never played with a quality centre, has had three prolonged slumps this season. The great Alex Ovechkin has had at least three scoring droughts this year ó one goal in 11 games; one in nine; two in nine. Maybe Kessel has not been everything the Leafs thought he might be. But his scoring inconsistency is not at all uncommon with big-time players.

Whatís It All About Alfie?

In Mats Sundinís final three seasons in Toronto, the Maple Leafs failed to make the playoffs each year. And now it looks as though the great Daniel Alfredsson, his fellow Swede, may be headed in the same direction with the struggling Ottawa Senators. Sundin was a point-a-game player and an on-ice leader who never quite came to grips with the diminished team around him. Alfredsson, just below Sundin in per-game scoring, is now being set up to play the part of leader for a team thatís being stripped for parts. It wonít be easy for someone as driven as Alfredsson. He is not detached the way Sundin often was. Alfredsson began his career in Ottawa missing the playoffs his first two seasons. Signed until the age of 40, for two more seasons, who knows when or if heíll play another playoff game again?

Of UFC and other things

Maybe itís my age and Iím the wrong demographic, but aside from Georges St. Pierre and a few locals, I canít name five UFC fighters. I do know Dana White is in charge. I do know theyíve sold out the Rogers Centre for the first card on April 30. I do know Tom Wright is running the Canadian business. But the champion, contenders, fighters on the move? No clue. I can, however, tell you that when Muhammad Ali was heavyweight champion in the 1970s, the contenders included George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, Earnie Shavers, Ron Lyle, Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Young. Donít know why that seems relevant 35 years later, but it is to me. When it comes to UFC, I seem to be one of those Ďback-in-the-dayí kind of people that I vowed never to be.


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