That is a very deep Cut

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

FROM THE creme de la creme to the creme de la crumbs of the hockey world, the lure of a potential NHL tryout attracts all types. From fishermen to firemen, bikers to ball hockey stars, more than 4,000 Mario Lemieux wannabees attended Bell's Making the Cut competition this past summer dreaming of getting a shot at becoming an Oiler or a Maple Leaf.

And after watching the first segment on CBC last night, it's evident some of the candidates couldn't ankle-skate their way on to the rosters of the Omeemee Oilers or Madawaska Maple Leafs, let alone those of Edmonton or Toronto.

The goal of the organizers was simple: Hold auditions in seven cities across the country and whittle the numbers to a final 68. Those who managed to make it through the preliminaries advanced to a training camp in Vernon, B.C., where the likes of Scotty Bowman and Mike Keenan decided which six players would receive a looksee from various Canadian NHL teams.

The verdict? If this was Survivor on Skates, some should have been booted off the boat before it ever reached the island.

Kudos to all those who came out. It took guts, if not skill, to perform in front of the television cameras. A little advice to those who did not make the grade:

To the 58-year-old woman who auditioned: If you're old enough to remember a Maple Leafs Stanley Cup win, Bingo might be a better game for you.

To 40-year-old goalie Bob Unger, who referred to the Leafs' Ed Belfour as "an average player" when the two met 24 years ago: Seems the Eagle has improved. What's your story?

And to the guy who almost nailed the scouts sitting in the stands with a shot during the Halifax tryout: With aim like that, please, please never pick up a firearm.

With the next segment featuring the final 68 scheduled to air next week, keep your eyes on a couple of candidates.

Todd Harkins, 35, was a former second-round pick of the Calgary Flames but gave up hockey because his infant son had a genetic degenerative disease. The boy is better now and, for his ninth birthday, wants dad to play in the NHL again. If he can contain his wheezing, the ol' man may do it.

Dan Tessier, meanwhile, is a former captain of the Ottawa 67s who wasn't drafted because of his diminutive Martin St. Louis-type stature.

Come to think of it, didn't St. Louis win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP this past season?

With incentive like that, Tessier could be a frontrunner, too.


Videos

Photos