The Last Word

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Jason Allison's numbers with the Maple Leafs can either be celebrated or chastised, depending on interpretation, in the early season.

And that is among the great questions to be analyzed as the Leafs attempt to discover who and what they are.

The good news on the recovering Allison heading into last night's game: Not only has he been healthy, he has contributed 10 points in his first 10 games as a Leaf and has helped the club become the highest scoring power-play team in the National Hockey League.

The bad news: He is second last in the NHL with a minus-7 plus-minus rating, which means not only does he not contribute offence at even strength, he has been scored upon more often than 600-plus players in the league.

Maybe when injured captain Mats Sundin returns, the Leafs will consider utilizing Sundin and Eric Lindros as the 1 and 1A centremen, and wind up limiting Allison's role to that of a power-play specialist.

They can't, over time, be successful by scoring the majority of their goals on the power play and finding themselves among the league's worst in even-strength goals against. It isn't, and never has been, Pat Quinn's way.

THIS AND THAT

Not only did the City cough up $9 million for the white elephant that is certain to be a Toronto soccer stadium, but it had the borrow the money to do so. And that said, why didn't they borrow the $9 million from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., which has perfected the game of having others pay for their playpens? Hell, MLSE paid $9 million for a going- away party for Alonzo Mourning and didn't even get a return on interest .... Little known fact: Big goalie equipment will be allowed during the Olympic Games in Turin ... If Pat Gillick truly is interested in the Philadelphia general manager's job, why are the Phillies interviewing anyone else? Hire him. Who is more qualified than Gillick? ... This is such a Glieberman thing: Poor Joe Paopao hasn't been fired yet, but incoming head coach John Jenkins is out there recruiting assistants for his staff next year. Nice.

HEAR AND THERE

If Wade Belak couldn't play a regular shift in the NHL when hooking and holding were allowed, why would anyone assume he can play a regular shift now? ... When Argos quarterback Damon Allen takes home the most outstanding player award in the CFL this season, he will become the oldest MVP (I know, it's MOP but that never sounds right) in professional sports history. That barrel of laughs, Barry Bonds, won a National League MVP at 40 in 2004 ... Must have missed those Wendy's commercials that said someone would be kicking for a million paid out over the next 40 years ... Next time you go to Wendy's, you can do the Wimpy thing: I'd rather pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today ... Mario Lemieux's one rule for house guest Sidney Crosby: "No sleepovers." ... Sunday stat I: Heading into last night, Crosby had as many books written about him -- one -- as NHL wins ... Sunday stat II: You know it's early in the NHL season when Tie Domi (before last night's game) had more goals than Peter Forsberg, Joe Thornton, Mike Richards and Doug Weight.

SCENE AND HEARD

Maybe Paul Konerko should check in with Nikolai Khabibulin on the other side of Chicago to see what it's like to leave a champion for the greener pastures of free agency? ... Vancouver Canucks players no longer will answer media questions about The Incident. That is until they are deposed by Steve Moore's lawyers. Then they'll be chirping like canaries ... This doesn't happen often, but it did the other night: Antti Laaksonen scored on Jussi Markkanen ... A continuing disgrace: Art Modell, attempted murderer of football in Cleveland, is again a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame ... There have been elections in Third World countries that have gone smoother and easier than Ted Saskin's attempts to get job approval from his own NHL players ... Tough news for Canadian running back Kerry Carter. He worked out for the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday but didn't get the gig. Tougher news: Packers GM Ted Thompson was the scout that brought him to Seattle.

AND ANOTHER THING

While J.P. Ricciardi talks a good game -- and, darn, it's entertaining -- ex-Blue Jay Kenny Williams traded for Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras, claimed Bobby Jenks off waivers and dealt Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik. And, oh yes, won a World Series, as well ... Rumblings persist that Ricciardi is considering bolting the Jays for a similar position with another big league team ... Jack Morris, not yet a Hall of Famer, was a superior big-game pitcher to certain Hall member Roger Clemens ... So when did Joe Crede and Jose Uribe become Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger? And why didn't anyone tell us? ... In my single days, I must have been a Houston Astro: A whole lot of swings and misses ... Now this is weird: The Columbus Blue Jackets started winning because Adam Foote is scoring ... Eric Staal is playing his way on to the Canadian Olympic team ... Should the Jays consider signing Jamie Moyer at the age of 43? He has pitched at least 200 innings in seven of the past eight seasons and had winning records in eight of the past nine ... The most recent time Pat Quinn was fined for speaking his mind, he was predicting NHL "Armageddon" and, as it turns out, he was correct ... Eddy Curry is wearing No. 34 with the New York Knicks, a tribute to his former teammate Charles Oakley ... Did we really need to know that Sheryl Swoopes is gay? ... And hey, whatever became of Mini Mack Herron?


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