Gary and Bob easy targets

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

A weekend offering of dots and dashes while watching the snow fall and waiting for the football playoffs:

THIS AND THAT

A prominent player agent's depiction of Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow as the NHL season rots away: "The wrong people for the wrong time," he said ... Has a 16-1 team, with a starting quarterback who has never actually lost an NFL game, playing at home, ever been deemed an underdog before?... Something to remember: The first time New England played Pittsburgh this season, the Patriots did so without Corey Dillon in the lineup and ended up rushing for only five yards ... Canada's highest-paid athlete, Jalen Rose, may not like it, but he is a more effective player coming off the bench -- and far more effective when he plays in the post, with his back to the basket ... It has come to this: The NHL has reached such a low point that dead people are taking shots at them in their obituaries ... Quarterbacks chosen before New England selected Tom Brady in the 2000 NFLdraft: Chad Pennington, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, Spurgeon Wynn and Giovanni Carmazzi.

HEAR AND THERE

There is significant pressure on Mats Sundin to begin playing in the Swedish Elite League. And now that it's a new year and his tax dilemmas are behind him, he'll likely sign up soon ... The final score last Sunday: Mike Vanderjagt 3, the rest of the Indianapolis Colts, including Peyton Manning, 0 ... Who are all these people voting for Vince Carter on their all-star ballots? We wants names, addresses, telephone numbers .... This is why bureaucracies and sport can never co-exist: It took more than three weeks for Hockey Alberta to figure out a way to clear Theo Fleury to play senior hockey. The decision should have been made in about 10 minutes ... The Australian Open is to tennis what the PGA is to golf: The apparent major that nobody seems to care about ... What does it say about Nik Antropov when no one in the Russian League wants him?

SCENE AND HEARD

Will someone please explain to me why NHL players, who will happily play in Europe for a couple of hundred grand, won't allow themselves to be exploited by a salary cap that will pay them 10 times as much? ... After Jermaine O'Neal called himself the best forward in the NBA, Charles Barkley responded: "I think I'm skinny, but that doesn't mean I am." ... The minute some intellectual pens a blueprint on how and why Canada can win more Olympic medals is the minute my eyes glaze over ... Go figure the Houston Astros. They throw $18 million US at Roger Clemens for one season after letting Carlos Beltran and Jeff Kent get away. Like, why bother? ... Did you see where six football players were caught stealing $18,000 worth of equipment at South Carolina? The joke going around, wrote Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel: "Steve Spurrier's guys haven't played yet, but they already lead the SEC in takeaways." ... Talk show host David Letterman, on Prince Harry's latest royal embarrassment: "He showed up at a party dressed up as the Jets kicker."

AND ANOTHER THING

The smartest man in basketball remains Lenny Wilkens' agent. His client never gets fired, calls it a resignation, leaves his teams -- see Knicks, Raptors and Hawks, his last three stops -- in a shambles while getting huge money for going away... Ex-Leaf Cory Cross is telling people his work is so involved in the oil patch in Alberta that he is not necessarily planning to resume his NHLcareer whenever the league, in fact, resumes ... Apparently, the minor hockey parent banned for choking his son's coach lists Latrell Sprewell as his favourite NBA player ... Roberto Alomar was the choice in St. Louis to play second base but he chose to play for a non-contender in Tampa Bay instead ... Quote of the day goes to Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane: "If you're worried about what a couple of sportswriters say and let them make decisions for you, you're an absolute coward and a fool." ... And hey, whatever became of Tim Cheveldae?


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