Don't gamble on Vegas

TED WYMAN

, Last Updated: 11:11 AM ET

We knew the Pittsburgh Penguins owners were upset about their failed bid to get an arena built through a casino licence, but this is ridiculous.

Now the Penguins are openly investigating the idea of moving to Las Vegas, casino capital of the universe, of all places.

Just what the embattled league needs -- another hockey team in the middle of the desert. Another market where hockey could be a nice diversion for the masses but never really makes any impact on the community. A place where superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can become completely anonymous amongst the bright lights and big-name entertainers.

If the NHL board of governors approves such a huge gamble, it will prove once and for all that the league is simply being run by halfwits.

Where are they going to go next? Mexico City?

SO LONG SASKIN: It has come down to finger-pointing for NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin as he tries desperately to hold on to a job many people think he should never have had in the first place.

Saskin is now blaming former executive director Bob Goodenow for blocking and monitoring player e-mails -- an accusation that was originally directed at him -- and either way it appears his short reign at the top of the players association is at an end.

Looks like Chris Chelios and his gang of rabble rousers have been right all along about Saskin, but somebody should have listened to the malcontents sooner. The executive director has a five-year, US$20 million contract that the players need to buy out and they are already paying Goodenow $8 million in severance. How many goals did those guys score last season to rate that kind of money?

Saskin's hiring has been a disaster from the beginning and you have to hope the NHLPA will wise up and listen to their membership this time before hiring his successor.

Or maybe they could just hire Chris Simon. Looks like he won't be doing anything for a while.

BIG BLOW UP: Heard a theory that the curling rocks at the Brier were falling apart or "exploding" and leaving debris on the ice that was affecting play. The theory was apparently disproved, but it's really something the Canadian Curling Association should explore. Wouldn't curling be more entertaining if one of the rocks blew up each end? ... Looks like Winnipeg won't have to do much to improve on the Brier in 2008. Decent ice, rocks that don't crumble and a reasonably large amount of fannies in the seats ought to do it ... Judging from his recent comments, it sounds like Steve Moore is a tortured soul whose life was torn apart in one moment of NHL violence. How does Todd Bertuzzi sleep at night when it sure sounds like Moore doesn't? ... Has it really come to this? Edmonton Oilers fans getting married at centre ice at an arena in Winnipeg? Next thing you know, A-Rod and Derek Jeter will be having a double wedding on the pitcher's mound at Fenway Park ... Is it just me, or does it bug anyone else that people still refer to the Toronto Maple Leafs as being five games over .500 with 32-27-3-6 record. Add up everything to the right of the win column -- all losses -- and they are 32-36 ... That Leafs record is still good enough to have them in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Out West, the Colorado Avalanche are 34-34, have the same number of points as the Leafs and are eight points out of the playoffs ... In case you haven't noticed, the Manitoba Moose have a pretty entertaining product on the ice this season and might be this city's best shot at a hockey championship since Lars-Erik Sjoberg hoisted the Avco Cup ... A man is suing the Indiana Pacers after he suffered a back injury when he was tackled by the team's feline mascot during an on-court promotion. A mascot that attacks fans? So that's what Ron Artest does during his suspensions.

QUICK HITS: Let's start off with Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press, on the Philadelphia Phillies setting June 26 as "Stitch 'n' Pitch Night," where fans can work on knitting or quilting projects during the game: "Yeah, why should the players be the only ones using needles?" ... Mike Penner of the Los Angeles Times, on animal-rights activists getting involved to stop Kansas State basketball fans from tossing live chickens onto court: "Where were these people when Rex Grossman was throwing wounded ducks at the Super Bowl?" ... Penner on former NHL goaltender Mike Richter's plan to possibly take a run at congress: "He played for the Rangers in the 1990s, so he will understand why the Pentagon spends $700 for a hammer." ... One more from Penner: "Jake Plummer says he'd rather quit than play for Tampa Bay. Just like the rest of the 2006 Buccaneers." ... Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has been accused of once spending $1,500 for a night with a call girl, but his lawyer Tony Capozolla laughed it off in the L.A. Times: "You know Lasorda. He wouldn't buy lunch." ... Dan Daly of the Washington Times had this observation about the degrees of pain certain athletes are willing to put up with: "In Utah, erstwhile Olympic wrestling champ Rulon Gardner survived a watery plane crash, a swim to shore in 44-degree water and a shivering night on the banks. In Florida, meanwhile, John Daly hurt himself stopping his swing when a camera clicked and withdrew from the Honda Classic." ... Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on receiver Randy Moss saying he's going to give 110% to the Oakland Raiders this season: "Sounds about right. Divide 110 by 16 games, and you get 6.9% per game ... Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke, telling the Orange County Register about new acquisition Brad May: "He's tougher than a night in jail." ... Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel on the baseball steroids investigation being headed up by former U.S. house leader: "What does George Mitchell's baseball steroids investigation and a NASCAR fan have in common? Answer: Neither one has any teeth."


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