This would not have been an easy week for Rose Cherry, were she still alive.
She would have fretted the way she always did when her husband, Don, crossed the line. She would have tried to calm the storm.
Rose was like that. It wasnít that she hated the controversy, itís that sometimes she could act as an unofficial editor for Coachís Corner or a sounding board for her outspoken husband. She would tell him, better than anyone could, when he went too far, when he needed to apologize.
Rose passed away in 1997 and I still miss the conversations we used to have. I would call for Don and she would answer. We would talk about whatever pickle he found himself in and how she or he was going to make it right. She had remarkable sense and warmth.
I donít know Donís wife, Luba, but I hear wonderful things about her. Maybe weíve met once or twice. But in a week such as this one, I can somehow hear Rose Cherryís words speaking through a telephone, with an inquisitive voice asking: ďWhat has he done now?Ē as if she didnít know.
She always seemed to know.
THIS AND THAT
Stop if youíve heard this one before: The NHL season has barely begun and Rick DiPietro, Tim Connolly and Ales Hemsky are all hurt. And only one of them is fortunate enough to be in Year 6 of a 15-year contract. For the record, the Islanders goalie is the one with the headache ... The personal business that saw Connolly miss a practice prior to his injury was, in fact, a family funeral ... Money doesnít buy happiness. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup and pay $17 million for their defence this season. The Maple Leafs didnít make the playoffs and were 25th in goals against and pay more than $21 million for theirs .... Another weird dollar match: The best line in hockey ó Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan pull in $15.7 million a year in Anaheim. The Leafsí top line, if healthy, with Connolly, Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, is not far behind at $14.3 million ... This is why covering the Leafs is more fun than raking leaves: Coach Ron Wilson sits Cody Franson out to start the season and doesnít tell him why. Franson speaks out about it, admitting to be confused by his place on the team. Wilson then lashes out at Franson for being outspoken. Then Franson said he was misinterpreted. This is what happens when there are too many days between games.
HEAR AND THERE
If you donít believe statistics lie, consider this. Nelson Cruz ended the major league season with 29 home runs, 87 RBIs and 116 strikeouts. Adam Lind ended the season with 26 homers, 87 RBIs and 107 strikeouts. Lind looked lost at the plate in the second half of the season. Cruz is doing the Babe Ruth thing in the post-season ... Really, how long does Michigan State have to wear those uniforms before they win the bet? ... This is how you know itís October: As of Saturday, David Legwand of all people led the NHL in scoring ... When the Red Sox called themselves idiots a few years back, did they include club owner, John Henry, who went on record the other day saying he was against the signing of Carl Crawford, who has onlysix years and $132 million left on the contract the owner apparently didnít care for ... If Justin Verlander is everything everybody says he is, shouldnít he pitch one great game in the post-season? His playoff earned run average is 5.31 and he has just two wins in four starts ... Now that the Joey Votto-to-Toronto rumours have quieted, a new one popped up Saturday. Some baseball people figure the Blue Jays will have an interest in trading for David Ortiz, who is very close with Jose Bautista ... Speaking of Bautista, every time I watch Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera at the plate in the post-season, and watching how productive they are, I canít help but wonder how Bautista would respond given similar circumstances ... Arizona wants to find a way to keep Aaron Hill, after an excellent end of season and a .435 on base percentage in the playoffs, but they wonít keep his current contract, which would bring his salary to $7 million. Something in the $4 million range is more likely.
SCENE AND HEARD/b>
This is how you know there wonít be NBA basketball any time soon: Bryan Colangelo doesnít have his new assistant ó who may get the GM title ó on board. The much-rumoured deal to bring Ed Stefanski to the Raptors has reportedly fallen apart. The Raps donít have their management team in place and their first draft pick, Jonas Valanciunas, is spending the season in Lithuania ... Yes, Anthony Calvillo is the career passing leader, but Iíd still rank him No. 5 on my list of all-time CFL quarterbacks, behind Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Russ Jackson and Ron Lancaster ... Itís about time Edmonton got its downtown arena. Now all it needs is a downtown ... Am impressed with Travis Lulay in B.C., and Drew Tate in Calgary. There is a future for CFL quarterbacks and it is them ... What I donít see in the CFL right now: A team that looks like a Grey Cup champion ... For those counting, Green Bay has won 11 games in a row. Five this season, four playoff games last season and the last two games of the regular season. And the Pack are the pick if youíre still alive in a survivor pool this weekend, which Iím not.
AND ANOTHER THING
Just being mentioned in the same sentence as the legend, Dick Thornton, is an incredible honour for big-play Byron Parker, who scored his record-tying eighth interception return for a touchdown in the CFL. Thornton, with eight himself, and should have scored one more in the 1971 Grey Cup, was a true Toronto original ... If you didnít think Peyton Manning was the MVP of the NFL, career, consider whatís going on this season. In the past 12 seasons, Manningís Colts have averaged 11.5 wins a season. This year, with Manning hurt, none ... I guess you donít have to be the coach of the year to figure out the only way the Argos win is if Cory Boyd carries the offence. And most impressive about the 148 yards Boyd rushed for: He did it without the help of Rob Murphy and Taylor Robertson, two of the Argos best offensive linemen ... If the Argos have first or second pick in the CFL draft, they should use it on local receiver Shamawd Chambers, a terrific athlete who has been under-utilized in four years at Wilfrid Laurier ... If I had to pay to watch just one player in the NHL, that player would be Pavel Datsyuk ... Happy birthday to Jay Beagle (26), Paul Kariya (37), Wilf Paiement (56), Tim McCarver (70), Tim Robbins (53), Missy Hyatt (48) and Rodney Scott (58) ... And hey, whatever became of Trevor Kidd?
THIRD TIME A CHARM FOR DOLPHINS?
Could two absolute misses on quality quarterbacks lead to the Miami Dolphins winding up the with the prized pick, Andrew Luck? Could be.
If you go back to 2006, Miami would not be in this position, or even close, had they not passed on free agent Drew Brees, who wanted to sign with the Fins. But coach Nick Saban wasnít convinced about Brees health and had his own suspicions confirmed by the famed sports physician, Dr. James Andrews. Miami passed and went with Daunte Culpepper instead.
Two years later, Bill Parcells, then in charge of the Dolphins, had the first pick in the NFL draft and chose an offensive lineman instead of quarterback, Matt Ryan. Atlanta has been 35-18 with Ryan at quarterback.
The Dolphins, with Parcells and Saban long gone, may end up with dumb luck, and of course, their next great QB.
FIGHTING IS NOT PART OF THE GAME/b>
You hear it almost every day: ďFighting is a part of the game.Ē
In fact, itís not a part of the game of hockey. Itís illegal. Itís against the rules. Itís as much a part of the game as spearing or slashing or hitting from behind is, and when was the last time you heard someone declare that ďspearing is a part of the game.Ē
That the NHL and other hockey leagues have chosen to accept fighting and essentially turn a blind eye to the rule breaking is confirmation, as if we needed it, that they are selling violence and have no difficulty in doing so. Fighting is against the rules in football, basketball and baseball, also, and for those players results in game disqualifactions and usually suspensions or fines.
The anti-fighting movement, or certainly a movement to reduce fighting, is growing by leaps and bounds. Just how the NHL reacts to this so-called ďpart of the gameĒ will make for fascinating study.
CALVILLO ALMOST A STEELER/b>
When Anthony Calvillo injured his ankle in the 2003 Grey Cup, it changed his football life forever. You see, the Pittsburgh Steelers had already made a courtesy call to the Montreal Alouettes informing them they were interested in Calvillo, long before he became pro footballís career passing leader. At the time, the Steelers had Tommy Maddox as their starting quarterback and werenít very pleased about that. They thought Calvillo could come in and challenge for the starting job right away.
Then they brought Calvillo in for a workout post-Grey Cup and he didnít let them know he was throwing on a bad ankle. He had trouble planting in his workout, had trouble delivering the football with an zip or accuracy.
Not impressed, the Steelers chose to take a pass on Calvillo and instead used their first round pick to draft Ben Roethlisberger. In the end, all worked out pretty well for the Als, Calvillo, Roethlisberger and the Steelers.