From faceoffs to facial hair, it's been ugly lately

ERIN NICKS

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The Ottawa Senators and I have a lot in common lately -- far too many issues to tackle at once, and not nearly enough time to concentrate on them. However, many of us hit our multitasking peak in December, so it's the perfect opportunity to touch on a handful of topics.

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An old Senators issue has once again reared its ugly head: Faceoffs.

Jason Spezza (45%), Mike Fisher (44%) and Antoine Vermette (33%) struggled vs. the Islanders last Wednesday after coming into the game winning more than half their draws on the season.

That was before an unfortunate reunion with the Isles' Mike Sillinger, who was picked up by Ottawa late in the 2000-01 season to win draws.

The Senators have improved their faceoff record over the years, but they need to push toward the 60% mark as soon as possible. The last thing they need is to revisit problems when new ones have surfaced.

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My new favourite sports celebrity is Indy car driver Helio Castroneves, who recently won the hearts of 20 million viewers (and a mirror ball trophy) on Dancing With The Stars.

Castroneves came off like a Brazilian Dominik Hasek -- similar hair, rubbery legs and an unintelligible accent during interviews (in his case, Portuguese, although he didn't talk to reporters with a towel around his neck).

The coup de grace came late in the competition, when Castroneves cavorted in what is best described as a gold-spangled onesie with an ecstatic grin plastered across his face. Mass humiliation must come easier when you're gyrating against a 19-year-old blonde (his partner, Julianne Hough).

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Why do some media members think they can get away with the five o'clock shadow-style of beard so many NHLers are fond of sporting?

A couple of notable journalists in the business have broken it out during high-definition broadcasts, and it looks like they've glued the sweepings of a barbershop floor to their faces.

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Here's some irony: The Senators fired a full-time goaltending coach before the season to ensure that someone provides constructive criticism to their backstoppers. Now is the time for Eli Wilson to prove his worth.

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TSN.ca's biggest poll of the week naturally pertained to the Leafs' troubles, and what they "should do to reverse their fortunes."

Several options were available, including firing either GM John Ferguson Jr. or coach Paul Maurice, or removing Richard Peddie as president of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment.

I voted for "stay the course," only because "team and front office implosion" wasn't available (it's probably an argument over semantics, regardless). After approximately 11,000 votes, I was disappointed to see only 5% of the concerned public agreed.

It's best to assume that most Ottawa fans lacked Internet access that day. (In case you were curious, Ferguson won in a landslide with 58% of the vote.)

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Have you seen the mascots for the 2010 Olympics? There are three (Quatchi, Miga and Sumi) as well as a sidekick (Mukmuk), and all appear to have a significant amount of Hello Kitty in their DNA.

It could be worse -- Google "Nagano Snowlets" (from the '98 Winter Olympics). Those things were surely drawn by someone using their non-dominant hand.


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