Them's fightin' words

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

There's nothing like a few well-placed jabs below the belt to get the inbox humming.

The Winnipeg vs. Phoenix battle waged in this space Wednesday drew all kinds of response from you, our loyal reader.

Some of you rushed to the defence of your city, after an Arizona hockey writer with the East Valley Tribune landed some blows to our most vulnerable area: the loss of the Jets.

Some of you took the opportunity to take a few pokes at our dearly departed Coyotes.

And some simply wanted a piece of me.

Let's start with the latter, and a letter from Mike, which goes like this:

Friesen: Read your column. My response is... what's it like to be the dissed, rather than the disser? We remember a month ago, during Labour Day and Banjo Bowl weeks, when you and your colleagues took a plethora of shots at the people of Saskatchewan. Now you're getting a payback! Like it? Hope you like the egg on your face... it improves your appearance."

I think you're confusing me with Troy Westwood, Mike. About the egg on my face, I tried it and I think you might be right.

Jonathan B. weighed in and promptly delivered this stinging right hand to my solar plexus, calling my column the poorest attempt at a comeback since Mike Tyson returned to pro boxing (not a bad line, actually).

Hello Mr. Friesen. How you decide to go after one of the largest sporting events in the world (the Super Bowl) and compare it to the Grey Cup I'll never know. Remember the Grey Cup in '98 when we couldn't even sell out our stadium at $100 a ticket??? The Super Bowl will be sold out the day tickets go on sale at $500-plus a ticket. I plan on going to Arizona during Super Bowl week to take in some of their festivities because all we have here for Grey Cup festivities is another 54-40 concert.

So let me get this straight: because Americans buy something, that means it's great? Using that line of thinking, McDonald's must make the best meals in the world.

Hope you enjoy your happy meal, Jonathan.

Then there's this one from Steve, under the subject line "Wonderful column about Phoenix," which I'm pretty sure he wrote with his tongue poking through his cheek.

Nice job riling up the 'Peggers and sending them en masse to the East Valley Tribune web site. I'm sure the site appreciates all of the hits. By the way, for a guy who covers hockey in Canada and likes to throw stones, why don't you have a beat job covering an NHL team? I'm sure you love it in Winnipeg and don't want to move to Toronto or Ottawa or Montreal or Vancouver or Edmonton or Calgary for some reason. But, if you were worth your salt, you'd be covering the NHL.

As a matter of fact I do like it in Winnipeg, Steve. Besides, if I left, who'd keep the Blue Bombers in line?

Actually, I assume you're from Phoenix, which means you should be congratulated for knowing the names of six Canadian cities, not to mention which ones are in the NHL.

Most of you preferred to react to my anti-Arizona rant by piling on, something that may be penalized in the CFL, but gets kudos around here.

Well said, Paul. When you look at the player base that the Winnipeg Jets enjoyed just prior to their departure, the team was a mere two or three skaters, including a second goaltender, from serious contention. The band of talent lacking players they now have couldn't beat the national junior team.

That letter came from Brian S., who, like many of us, obviously looks back at the Jets days through rose-coloured glasses.

Two or three players away from Stanley Cup contention? Sure, Brian -- if their names were Lemieux, Gretzky and Brodeur.

Michael B. of Winnipeg, who was in the stands for last week's Phoenix-Toronto exhibition game here, took the occasion to defend the fact the game didn't sell out.

They're not our team! he wrote. Put a team in Winnipeg and tickets to OUR games will be harder to come by than an Arizonian who knows what icing is!

Hey, leave the funny stuff to me. As far as Arizonans not knowing hockey, I'll bet Steve from Phoenix knows what icing is.

Which brings me to our last two letters, and interestingly enough, they come from staff members at the East Valley Tribune.

Deputy sports editor Craig Morgan e-mailed not to defend his city or the Coyotes, but to provide the following tidbit:

The Coyotes are a mess, Morgan writes. In a recent survey of what our readers want from us, they rank well below high school athletics.

That's incredible, and raises the question, What in the name of Curt Keilback are they doing in Phoenix, anyway?

Our last missive, my favourite one in this whole shootin' match, comes from Paul Giblin, a news reporter at the East Valley Tribune.

Perhaps sports fans in both Winnipeg and Phoenix should do themselves a favor and keep passing that hockey team south, say to Mazatlan.

Sure. Give us all a reason not to go to Mexico.


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