The idiocy capital of the hockey world is at it again, embarrassing itself as it does almost every spring.
They can't help themselves in Ottawa, they really can't. They don't know when enough is enough and too much is too much and that these are only hockey games.
They didn't invent post-season stupidity -- they've just taken it to a level all their own.
And there they are, year after year, whining about CBC bias, crying over Don Cherry, paying for airplanes to carry crude "Leafs Suck" banners, and that's before any number of elected officials open their mouths and expose their own individual brand of ignorance. Now a radio fool who isn't worthy of a mention should lose his gig -- as if anyone would notice -- because he all but slandered Tie Domi on the air before being forced into apologizing yesterday.
All in the name of Ottawa-type hockey humour.
Ha ha, guys. Away from the arena, the town with short man's disease and a lack of sporting dignity, has made itself into a punchline. And they are so myopic they can't even see how small town they look, how the joke is on them.
Pat Quinn understands that a line has to be drawn between the off-ice rhetoric and pumped-up hype and what really will happen in this first-round series. There has to be some kind of definition between noise and reality.
"The focus has to be inward right now and not get caught up in all of this stuff that happens outside of what goes on on the ice," Quinn, the Maple Leafs coach, said. "Sometimes teams can be affected by it. That's the control of your emotional elements.
"You can't be waylaid by threats or silly stories or fans who are going by honking their horns at four in the morning or phoning your rooms, and that seems to go around in Ottawa, anyway."
It can be a fine line, an emotional line, determining what is a hockey issue and what is a media issue.
The Domi junk from Ottawa radio is a media issue, even though it has to be a distraction the Leafs would rather not deal with right now. "This is tremendous for hockey," Toronto general manager John Ferguson Jr. said of the Leafs-Ottawa Senators series. When asked about the radio comments, he answered wisely.
"Those type of comments, frankly, say more about the speaker than they do about the subject matter. And we'll leave it at that."
The largest hockey issue heading into the series has nothing to do with Domi and everything to do with the health of Patrick Lalime's injured left knee. That is a place where this series can begin or end, be won or lost.
The Senators' Lalime is a butterfly goalie and you can't butterfly on a bum knee.
"Everything is knee drive when you play butterfly," Leafs backup goalie Trevor Kidd said yesterday. "You use it to go side to side and up and down. If it's hurt, it affects everything.
"And the way the last game (the Leafs' 6-0 win over Ottawa on Saturday night) was played they're going to want Patrick Lalime in the nets."
This being playoff time, we will be given little indication as to the extent of Lalime's injury. It is the biggest mystery to hit Ottawa since Horn Chen.
VERSION OF COMEDY
But in between we must first put up with Daniel Alfredsson's own version of comedy and wise-guy newspaper editors putting a clown's nose on his face and planes flying and T-shirts selling and radio idiots screaming, and you almost have to take a breath and stop for a second and realize that Game 1 begins tonight.
Let the hockey start and the idiocy end.
The first shots in this high-stakes game have been fired from off the ice and lost in all the noise is that either one of these teams can win the Stanley Cup. They are that good. They are that talented.
Now why don't we all just dial down the volume and let them play?
Capital 'I' idiots
STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun
, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET