Just a few winters back, Hockey Canada sent a team to the world junior championship and every player wore a bright red STOP patch on the back of his jersey.
The idea being: If you can read the STOP sign, it acts as a symbolic deterrent, preventing players from hitting from behind.
This week, when Hockey Canada names its Olympic roster, it will be ignoring its own advocacy for safety if Todd Bertuzzi is somehow named to the Canadian team. And every indication is the Vancouver bad boy will be on the team.
But consider the message of the action: It is win at all costs. It is damn the consequences. It is do as we say, not as we do.
The question of whether Bertuzzi belongs, based on his play or his season's work is stimulating enough. But it shouldn't be whether he belongs, but whether anyone can stomach his inclusion.
Canada can win Olympic gold without Bertuzzi. It can win it without him wearing a hypocritical IIHF "respect" patch on his practice jersey. It can win it without compromise on what Hockey Canada tries to sell the public.
It can -- but quite likely won't.
THIS AND THAT
Why Rob Babcock must be saved from us or himself: He still insists he would make the Vince Carter trade all over again. A general manager who pays no attention to history is doomed to repeat it ... You have to wonder: If the Maple Leafs had any idea that goaltender Justin Pogge was going to be this kind of prospect, would they have passed on local kid Andrew Cogliano to draft Finnish goalie Tuuka Rask in the first round last summer? ... Any chance of a recount on Craig Patrick's 2001 induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame? Since then, all his Penguins have done is finish last, last, last and are currently last in the Atlantic Division ... If Team Canada is thinking about retiring No. 19, it should do it for Paul Henderson, not Steve Yzerman ... A 2004 quote John Muckler would like to have back: "I like (Patrick) Lalime. I also like (Martin) Prusek. As a tandem we're very happy." The former Senators goalies both cleared waivers this week ... Runaway coach- of-the-year in the NHL: Tom Renney of the New York Rangers. People forget he coached Team Canada to an Olympic silver medal with not much of a roster in Norway in 1994.
HEAR AND THERE
Head coach Greg Marshall had his contract extended by one year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Why? ... Another query: Why did the best candidates want nothing to do with the head coaching job of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers? Mosquitoes, maybe ... With no sure-thing Hall of Fame candidates on the baseball ballot this year, will the world's angriest man, Jack Morris, finally get a shot at what he truly deserves? ... Just when you are feeling good about the Blue Jays, along come the World Series champions to blow them away: The White Sox have increased payroll from $76 million US to $90 million, adding slugger Jim Thome and Javier Vasquez to an already strong lineup ... Just re-read the bestseller Moneyball, a book that doesn't age very well. The very premise that computers can pick ball players better than scouts becomes almost laughable upon further review ... Among the charges against Daunte Culpepper is he sat still for a public lap dance, which means if he can't cut it at quarterback, the Vikings he can always enroll as a freshman at Western ... If Sam Mitchell can't get the Raptors to play any kind of defence, then he can't be a head coach in the NBA.
SCENE AND HEARD
Phil Kessell threw four touchdown passes and four interceptions in the one season he played quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders in 1982. Five years later, Phil Kessell Jr., hockey star in waiting, was born ... Little known fact: Peyton Manning's backup quarterbacks in college include receiver Jermaine Copeland of the Stampeders and Tee Martin of the Bombers ... The hottest Canadian goalie nobody talks about: Martin Biron of Sabres ... Now that there is an Olympic taxi squad, there has to be a place for Jason Spezza, Sidney Crosby and Eric Staal in Turin ... Would hate to be a baseball writer in Kansas City now that they've signed both Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz. Those are tough names on deadline ... No coach in hockey is more disliked by his own players than Marc Crawford of the Vancouver Canucks.
AND ANOTHER THING
According to NBA rules, you can't wear what you want or say what you want. Ron Artest was fined for asking to be traded. Since when did the land of the free and the home of the brave become so stifling? ... If both the NBA and NHL have already failed in Kansas City, why does the NHL seem so intrigued by going back there? ... Shouldn't Simeon Rice be some kind of side dish? ... And if not him, then I'm ordering the Oleg Kvasha ... Team Canada's first two important hockey games at the Olympics come against Finland and the Czech Republic. In other words, they likely will be up against Miikka Kiprusoff and Dominik Hasek ... Leo Cahill, who should have been inducted as a builder in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, is out of last chances. He has been struck from the ballot ... Jorge Posada, who had 19 home runs and 71 RBIs last season, likely will bat eighth for the New York Yankees next year. Lyle Overbay, who had 19 home runs and 72 RBIs, likely bats cleanup for the Jays ... You won't find me here for the next two Sundays as I steal a page from Stan van Gundy: Time to spend more time with my family. Happy holidays to one and all ... And hey, whatever became of Willie Brossart?