The Hit Parade column

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

 If these NHL playoffs are indeed the last hockey games we'll see for the next year or so, we seem to be getting our money's worth.

  The five Canadian squads in the playoffs gave us the maximum number of games in the first round and the maximum number of teams from north of the border advanced to the second round.

 The Calgary-Vancouver series was an absolute thriller and if you believe in the punishment fitting the Bertuzzi crime, the right team won.

 Our only real beef so far in the post-season is the sad old tradition of fans chanting the opposing goalie's name to get him off his game.

 Please people, come up with something new! That should have gone out with Rock and Roll Part II.

 It's bad enough to hear Ottawa fans chanting "Belllll-four, Belllll-four" or the denizens of the Bell Centre shouting "Rayyyy-croft, Rayyy-croft." At least those guys have two syllables in their names.

 In Calgary, it got out of hand when they chanted "Au-uuulld, Au-uuulld" to try to put a hex on Marc Crawford's hunch.

 And we lost our lunch.

 BIG MAC ATTACK: In Montreal, plans were in the works for a Bartman Ball-esque destruction of tapes of the infamous Kovalev-Souray collision that seemed like it would cost the Canadiens their first-round playoff series. Funny thing though, three straight Montreal wins and all the tapes were automatically erased ... Did you hear Mark McGwire has become a pitch man for the American fast food chain Hardees? Not sure what their most popular burger is, but it comes recommended by Big Mac ... In line with the announcement that American brewer Anheuser-Busch will be the sole provider of beer at World Cup soccer events in Germany, our sources tell us the Athens Olympics will serve only Canadian Ouzo, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy have signed an exclusive deal with Pizza Hut, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have an agreement with Foody Goody ... American beer in Germany? Is that in case they run out of water? ... If the NHL dispersed all of its players and held a draft to make up new teams, our top choice would be Jarome Iginla. Our first D man would probably be Zdeno Chara ... Here's wondering if Bob Cole will ever realize just how much of a homer he sounds like when he's doing Maple Leaf games ... Any good Canadian who wasn't yet cheering for Montreal in the Round 1 series against Boston had to switch allegiances when the Bruins fans started chanting "USA, USA" during Game 7 ... Now that it's all said and done, the 20 games Todd Bertuzzi got for his assault on Steve Moore is not enough. Another 20 to start the next season (whenever that may be) should just about cover it.

 NAKED NEWS: Canadian curling queen Colleen Jones is not all that happy about the idea of the men's and women's world championships being held separately next year: "I think the women are going to have to curl naked in order to get people out there," she told the Canadian Press. Only if you promise to retire, Colleen ... Sports fans in St. Louis were shocked when they first heard about the murder-for-hire story involving Blues player Mike Danton -- shocked that it wasn't about a member of the Rams, that is ... With Auld playing so well for the Canucks in the playoffs, he's obviously going to be part of that team next season (whenever that may be). So if the Manitoba Moose are looking for a solid AHL goalie, how about Patrick Lalime?

 QUICK HITS: Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle on Paul Pierce wearing the same number (34) that he once wore with the Celtics: "I know now that there's a great chance my number will be retired ... Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times on mismanagement of the Orlando Magic this season: "You get the idea that if these guys had owned the Hindenburg, they would've added dartboards and a smoking deck... Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post on the Detroit Red Wings goaltending situation: "The Red Wings fate is in the hands of Curtis Joseph, available for most of the season for a case of Bud and 14 dollars in unmarked bills." ... Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the arrest of Blues forward Mike Danton: "Will the Blues have to add "murder for hire" to the list of disallowed activities in future player contracts?" ... Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel on Phil Mickelson's admission that he and his wife took the green jacket to bed: "Amy better hope Phil doesn't win the John Deere Classic. It'll get awfully crowded in the sack with Phil, Amy and a riding lawnmower." ... New York Yankees manager Joe Torre on Alex Rodriguez's recent appearance on Dave Letterman's show: "He had to follow Billy Crystal. I hit behind Hank Aaron for eight years, so I know how that is." ... Syndicated columnist Norman Chad on the Lakers squabbles: "These Lakers bicker so much, their starting lineup should read, 'Bryant, O'Neal, Payton, Hatfield, McCoy.' ... From Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: "In the future, every football player will be an Oakland Raider for 15 minutes, in between the end of his career and the time he officially retires." ... From Elliott Harris of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Jessica Simpson is going to sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500. Provided she can figure out what town the auto race is in." ... Totally absorbed basketball coach Lawrence Frank of the New Jersey Nets recently related how out of touch he is with the real world: "I was on a flight with my wife one time, and they were showing movies and TV shows. I'm watching one of those TV shows, and I start laughing, and I said: 'Suz, this is funny! This is really funny! What is this?' She said: 'Are you serious? This show's been on for years. It's 'Seinfeld.' "I had no clue." ... Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming telling ESPN The Magazine his answer to the offer of a night on the town from Gold Club alumnus Patrick Ewing: "First, my mom would kill me. Then she'd kill you." ... Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon on his team's lack of focus early in the season: "I guess we're not the smartest team. I've forgotten the number of outs twice this season myself. We obviously aren't looking at the scoreboard a whole lot. We must be looking at the chicks in the stands." ... San Francisco Chronicle e-mailer Janice Hough, commenting on a dead body being found on Larry Walker's property: "Usually the stiffs are pitching for the Rockies."

 NUMBERS GAME

 43.1%

 Out of 250,000-plus voters on ESPN.com, the percentage who believe the San Diego Chargers should trade the first pick in today's NFL draft. Thirty-seven per cent said they should select Eli Manning, who has already said he doesn't want to play for San Diego.

 So many fans of the Argentinean soccer club Boca Juniors want to have their cremated remains sprinkled on the team's home pitch in Buenos Aires, the Juniors have purchased land next door to build a cemetery.

 SAY WHAT?!

 "Everybody should have the opportunity to experience it, sitting in the dugout. I think it's probably safer in the dugout than in the stands."

 - Yankees manager Joe Torre on managing at Boston's Fenway Park.

 ARENA MEMORIES

 DECEMBER 15, 2002 -- Anna Kournikova defeats Monica Seles 6-4, 7-6 in an exhibition tennis match before 5,000 people at Arena.

 Got a favourite arena memory? E-mail it to thehitparade@wpgsun.com. We'll run them until the old barn is torn down.


Videos

Photos