Of all that has been improbable about Don Cherry's career in hockey, nothing is more surprising than this: He ended up outlasting his nemesis, Harry Sinden.
Cherry remains a major voice in the game while Hall of Fame Harry announced this week he is distancing himself from his beloved Boston Bruins.
At one time, you couldn't talk about one without the other. It was Sinden who hired Cherry in Boston, fired him when he thought he became more celebrity than coach, watched uncomfortably as Cherry became the most popular figure on Canadian television.
And here's Cherry, back for yet another season of Hockey Night In Canada while Sinden edges his way to the background of a Boston organization where the owner's son has determined this is a toy he now will play with.
Sinden's best years as a general manager in Boston came with Cherry coaching. He'd never admit that, of course. He wouldn't give Cherry the satisfaction of doing so.
THIS AND THAT
Adam Rita isn't having what you'd call a sound season as general manager of the Argos. He has looked for quarterbacks and went after Doug Flutie and Michael Bishop. He needed a defensive lineman and brought Noah Cantor back from flipping burgers. Heck, if he needed a linebacker, he'd probably make his first calls to Gene Mack or Sam Cvijanovich ... If Paul Maurice is telling people Nik Antropov is a first-line winger, how come his general manager, John Ferguson, is trying to trade Antropov to find available cap room to sign free-agent Anson Carter? Better question is, if the Leafs wanted Carter, why re-sign Antropov in the first place? ... Carter had his best season playing with the Swedish Sedin twins and figures a place with Mats Sundin and Alex Steen wouldn't be half bad, either ... So who was officiating the Edmonton-Saskatchewan game on Friday night? Hugh Campbell?... If Rita was running the Blue Bombers, the new backup quarterback -- and boy do they need one -- would be Dieter Brock.
HEAR AND THERE
There is something seemingly frightening about this: Robert Baker, a Bomber ... With Sinden gone in Boston, that means just about everybody involved with the Joe Thornton trade has either been fired or retired ... Three words come to mind when watching Mike Quinn try and play quarterback for Winnipeg: Machine Gun Manucci ... Jason Allison is slow on the ice, slow in the free-agent market ... One of Greg Marshall's first decisions as head coach of the Western Mustangs will be whether to recruit his son, Donnie, an impressive young quarterback ... Offensive coordinator Kent Austin took the high road after being fired by the Argos but felt he was undermined by weak quarterbacking behind injured Damon Allen ... You've heard of the Sports Illustrated jinx? Well, meet the Brian Williams jinx. After major interviews with Ricky Williams, Milt Stegall and John Avery, all three players were injured. He also interviewed Casey Printers for TSN, who reportedly is having a terrible camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.
SCENE AND HEARD
Just once, wouldn't you like to hear Vernon Well say: "I'm a Blue Jay. This is where I want to play. Stop speculating about my future." ... Not well enough to play the Canadian Open, Andre Agassi was well enough to be seen out clubbing in Las Vegas this week ... Why aren't we paying more attention to Canadian Justin Morneau? The only American League player in baseball with more RBI happens to be named David Ortiz ... You can't make this kind of stuff up: In Boston, they're running a contest for a brewery where you can "Win a Day with Hazel Mae." ... Three football giants with their careers in limbo: Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin ... Trying out for the St. Louis Rams: Running back, John David Washington, son of Denzel ... Television distorts tennis in a negative kind of way. The speed and athleticism of the game somehow doesn't translate accurately to the big screen ... So caddie Greg Johnston came home from work and said "Honey, I lost my job today. That 16-year-old girl who can't putt fired me."
AND ANOTHER THING
How's this for gratitude? Or what does it all mean? Ed Belfour, who was given a no-trade contract by the Leafs, a walkaway payment of $1.5 million US, and an extra year when he didn't deserve one, still has nothing good to say about the man who signed him to that deal ... Bet you didn't know that The Sheik once went 127 matches without a loss at Maple Leaf Gardens, three of those wins coming against the recent author, Dewey Robertson ... The failed Raptors pick, Michael Bradley has played his way out of the NBA and has signed to play in Spain this season ... Toronto linebacker Mike Labinjo is listed on the Miami Dolphins depth chart as a backup to Zach Thomas at middle linebacker ... Even with Reggie Bush playing Vince Young last night, NFL exhibition games remain virtually unwatchable ... Why so much noise about the Buffalo Sabres walking away from the arbitration award to J.P. Dumont? The guy is a career 20-goal-a-year scorer. He's not much more than that ... And hey, whatever became of Russ Adams?