The confusing part of the Suter decision: He didn’t win in Nashville with Shea Weber beside him and Pekka Rinne in goal. He didn’t win with Barry Trotz coaching. What are the odds he doesn’t win anything in Minnesota? ... There are really only two locations for Roberto Luongo. There would be three if Vancouver would consider trading him to Chicago. Otherwise, it’s Florida or Toronto for Luongo. No matter how long this drags on .... The weird dichotomy of the NHL: There are more quality players in play, more teams unhappy with their rosters, more trade talk, and almost no deals of consequence getting made ... If J.P. Parise were my dad, I’d probably want to go home and play in my hometown, too ... Not all is wonderful with the Wild, though: It still has Dany Heatley ... Still trying to understand why Eric Tillman traded Ricky Ray. Can’t remember the last time the Argos had a quarterback who threw downfield with such accuracy or touch ... So I’m watching Nik Lewis of the Stampeders catch the ball on Saturday and I’m thinking: Is that a gut he has? Offensive linemen have large guts. Sportswriters have guts. But receivers? ... Years ago, when Jesse Lumsden was getting all kinds of attention as a Canadian running back, legendary Argos scout Nick Volpe pointed to another back and said: “I think he’s going to better.” The back he pointed to was Andre Durie ... Not often I’ve said this in recent years: But that was a terrific Argos game Saturday. All kinds of twists and turns. Just entertaining football.
HEAR AND THERE
Do you ever get the feeling there’s an NBA going on and we’re just not part of it? Steve Nash goes to Los Angeles. Ray Allen goes to Miami. Joe Johnson goes to Brooklyn. Dwight Howard is going somewhere. And Kyle Lowry is a Raptor. Oh, wow! To be a Raptors fan is to be perpetually disappointed ... And really, if Nash’s goal was to be close to his kids, to work with people in the movie business, to not carry the Canadian flag, why didn’t he do the polite thing and just say thanks but no thanks to the Raptors’ extreme $36-million overture. In the end, all his politics did was lead to bad feelings and more heat on the sad-sack Raptors, who can’t draft, can’t retain players and can’t attract free agents. Other than that, they’re fine ... And lost in all the noise over Nash’s move to the Lakers: The Raptors relinquished another first-round pick in the Lowry deal. Last time they moved their first-rounder, they ended up with Jermaine O’Neal and missing out on Roy Hibbert ... One more Nash question: The Raptors had Wayne Gretzky on their video, trying to convince Nash to come to Toronto. Is that the Gretzky who happens to live in Los Angeles?
SCENE AND HEARD
Turned on the TV the other night and saw Carpenter pitching for the Blue Jays. And I thought: ‘This is great, this is one of those flashback Fridays’ until I saw it wasn’t Chris and a home run was leaving the park ... Yes, the Jays have injuries. But no, it’s nothing when compared to the Boston Red Sox. The Bosox are playing without two starting outfielders, their second baseman, their closer, two setup men, a backup outfielder and three starting pitchers. And somehow, like the Jays, they’re hanging in there ... My choice for the Jays next pitching coach: Tommy John ... Shouldn’t Alex Anthopoulos, who lives to pluck disgruntled gems from National League teams, be targeting Justin Upton in Arizona? He’s only 24, is supremely talented and the Diamondbacks have basically had it with him .... Congrats to Jeff Beukeboom, who is going home, sort of, as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. Nice to see good things happen to good people ... Bet you didn’t know that in my lifetime, the Ottawa Rough Riders have won five Grey Cups, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have won just three ... How much historical parity is there in the CFL? Over the past 55 years, Edmonton leads in Grey Cups with 10, followed by Hamilton and Winnipeg with seven apiece, B.C. and Montreal with six, Toronto and Calgary with five each, and the Riders with three ... Should neither Nazem Kadri or Morgan Rielly make the Leafs team in October, and it’s probable neither will, Toronto will be one of few NHL teams without one of their own first-round picks on their roster ... If the 1,500 new season-ticket holders of the Minny Wild pay an average $75 a ticket and stay with the team for the 13 years of the Suter-Parise contract, the team will take in an additional $60 million over those years, assuming those tickets wouldn’t have already been sold. According to NHL statistics, the Wild played to 98.4% capacity last season, but I find that hard to believe ... That’s a lot of money Tampa Bay paid for Matt Carle, who was not exposed when he partnered with Chris Pronger, but was rather ordinary after Pronger went out.
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit to Howard Berger for pointing out another inconsistency of the Brian Burke era in his online hockey blog. Burke on trade deadline day: “We make more mistakes at the trade deadline than we make the whole rest of the year combined. The pressure to win is so intense and unrelenting and unremitting that we, as a group, make horrible, horrible decisions at the trade deadline.” Burke on July 1, beginning of free agency: “I believe our group (NHL GMs) makes more mistakes on July 1 than we do all the rest of the year combined. We hand out contracts with unrealistic values and unrealistic terms. When you’re in a hard-cap system, it bites you right in the bum at some point.” So tell me again why The Fan590 fired Berger? Ridiculous ... Wonder what the old journalism professor, Burke, thinks of Brett McLean’s mom providing a reporter with updates of her son’s health situation ... So, is this it for Jason Blake at 38? Or will someone sign him? ... My quick list of intriguing NHL free agents still available: Peter Mueller, Wojtek Wolski, Cal O’Reilly, Chris Campoli and Alex Semin ... The chase to bust Lance Armstrong reminds me a little of the movie Catch Me If You Can. Eventually Tom Hanks caught Leonardo DiCaprio ...Happy birthday to Alan Ashby (61), Terry Puhl (56), Mike Labinjo (32), Jack Lambert (60) and Sonny Weems (26) ... And hey, whatever became of Joe Barnes?
START OF SOMETHING BIG?
Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal made history on Saturday by winning the junior singles title at Wimbledon.
No Canadian has ever done that before, although she and others, have been champions in the doubles event previously. What does it mean to win Junior Wimbledon?
It’s hard to know exactly.
In 1998, a Swiss kid named Roger Federer won both the singles and doubles titles.
From most years, though, you wouldn’t know the name of past victors.
It’s the same on the women’s side, where previous champions include Caroline Wozniacki and Wimbledon finalist, Agnieszka Radwaska.
But again, so many of the junior champions did not emerge as professional stars. Clearly, Bouchard is a talent to be watched and her accomplishment at Wimbledon is enormous. But only one out of every six Junior Wimbledon champion becomes a pro of significance.
MAYBE THIS TIME, RED WINGS?
Ken Holland loves to keep track of the number of times I’ve predicted the beginning of the end for the Detroit Red Wings’ run of 100 point seasons. And so far, his record is close to perfect and mine, well, is nowhere close.
You know this has been a difficult off-season for the Red Wings when their best acquisition has been the signing of assistant coach, Tom Renney. They’ve lost the irreplaceable Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement, probably won’t bring Tomas Holmstrom back, have traded Brad Stuart away, said goodbye to 25-goal scorer Jiri Hudler and missed out on Ryan Suter in free agency.
So we will say it again, this time with some certainty: The Red Wings’ string of 12 straight 100-point seasons will end this coming year. And as you read this, Holland is getting his scissors ready to clip this out — and save it.
WHAT ABOUT THE 1983 ARGOS?
The 1971 Toronto Argonauts, losers of the Grey Cup, champions of nothing, remain one of the most compelling and in other ways tragic teams in the history of this city.
That’s why a documentary is being made about them for the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup. That’s why they’re forever being honoured and having reunion after reunion.
For those old enough to remember, those were the halcyon days of Toronto football. But with all this attention, you have to wonder how the 1983 Argos team feels about being basically ignored. They were the drought-breakers, the first Argos team in 31 years to win the Grey Cup.
But for whatever reason, teams that didn’t win, like the ’71 Argos, like the ’93 Maple Leafs, maintain our curiosity. The ’83 Argos, for whatever reason, do not.