Coming to the silver screen: Madness

GARY LOEWEN

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Three new hockey-themed movies are showing (maybe) in a theatre near you:

Madagascar as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore: Escape to Africa.

A hockey player (Jason Blake) finds the last place on earth where he can get a first-line job. Learns to hit the broad side of an elephant with his shot.

Zack and Jiri Make a Porno.

A fringe Leafs winger (Jiri Tlusty) follows up on his photogenic debut on the Internet last year. It's rated R, which is somewhat higher than his hockey skills. Opening in AHL cities only.

Slumdog Millionaire.

A member of the Minnesota Wild (Marian Gaborik) is treated harshly by fans after being embroiled in a contract dispute. He then refuses to play, claiming he has a lower-wallet injury. Alexei Yashin makes his directorial debut.

Seven years of J.P.

Jeepers, peepers, it was seven years yesterday that J.P. Ricciardi arrived in town, all bright-eyed and bespectacled.

Now, after one five-year plan and seven years of bad karma with the Blue Jays, J.P. remains bright-eyed, but the specs are gone and the vision is, well, foggy.

Baseball's equivalent of Boxing Week is getting under way and Ricciardi will have some cash available to throw at free-agent millionaires, depending on if A.J. Burnett excepts or rejects their contract offer.

The Jays could use a starting pitcher or two, a catcher, a shortstop and a new wrist for Lyle Overbay at first base.

But, geez, J.P.'s free agent acquisitions haven't been great in the past. He's usually okay when he shops for bargains at the dollar store but he seems lost when he goes into those places where you need to wear a shirt and shoes.

A few examples:

2007: David (Goliath) Eckstein, Shannon (Is Gone) Stewart

2006: Frank (The Big Ouch) Thomas, (Rolls) Royce Clayton.

2004: Corey (Costly) Koskie

2003: (Grand) Tanyon Sturtze, Jeff (Grand Slam) Tam, Doug (Paddle-free) Creek.

In 2005, Ricciardi was so-so (a career high) with the big-money signings of A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan.

Burnett put in a few good months while Ryan was sharp when healthy. But in the latter's case, no point in having a $10-million closer when your team is barely above .500.

But where Ricciardi has been successful is in the bargain bin: Brian Wolfe, Brian Tallet, Jeremy Accardo, Jesse Carlson and Marco Scutaro ... Maybe Ricciardi is a low-budget Moneyball type after all.

STRIKE TWO

Prepare to cross your legs. A 21-year-old man has been awarded $1.2 million as compensation for being hit squarely in the bojangles by a pitch in a batting cage.

Lhyvann Felipe was drilled by a fastball after an employee at a batting cage in West Miami mistakenly told him it was okay to retrieve balls (no, not those ones).

The pitched ball was humming at about 60 m.p.h. when it struck the startled Felipe in the groin.

The judgment called for Felipe to get $160,000 for medical expenses and $1 million for pain and suffering.

And 50 bucks for a jock.

GENERALLY MONTORING

Not that there is anything wrong with Jermaine Oh'Knee, but the guy the Raptors traded to get the big guy is doing fine in Indiana.

T.J. Ford is averaging 17.1 points a game and shooting .479% from the field. He has 28 assists in his past three games.

So far, this Ford doesn't need a rescue plan.


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