December 14, 2006

So Much On My Mind...

I'm not sure where to begin. I've got so much to say. I always try to make my posts short, but it never happens, and I'm not sure why. I'll try to get to everything that's on the brain right now - the Raptors, V-Dubbs (that's Vernon Wells), the Leafs. I'll try to keep it short. But don't hold your breath.

1) Andrea Bargnani

I caught the Raptors game tonight as they were in Orlando to face the Magic. And there was definitely magic in the air, in the form of the Raptors #1 draft pick. I hope Rafael Arraujo is taking notes because this is exactly how a first round draft pick is supposed to develop.

Bargnani was on fire tonight from beyond the arc. He came in off the bench and supplied some much needed offense for the Bosh-less Raptors. The first two games without CB4 were a joke, and I was elated to see Bargnani step up and hit big shots in order to get this team a win it badly needed. He hit four 3-balls in the 4th quarter. Bargnani's my boy, he's got a sweet shooting touch for a big man, and I think the future is bright for our Italian friend.

And get well soon Chris Bosh. You are certainly missed.

2) 7 years, $126 million

That is reportedly the contract the Blue Jays have tabled to Vernon Wells, the franchise. That is certainly franchise money right there.

I was shocked when I heard the news that such a substantial offer was made. After scoring a big fat zero at the winter meetings, Wells is clearly the number one priority for the Jays right now, as he should be. My cut off date for Wells to have signed an extension is January 15, 2007. If he's not signed by then the Jays have to trade him. It's a harsh reality, but a simple one. The Jays can't afford to lose him for nothing. It's as simple as that.

If signed, this contract would be the 5th highest in baseball HISTORY, and would be worth more annually than the contract Alfonso Soriano just signed.

I didn't know the Blue Jays had this kind of loot. It reminded me of Elaine Benes when she saw that Jerry Seinfeld was rollin in cash. She offered to drop him off to the airport, pick him up, and run his errands. The power of the almighty dollar. I'm Ted Rogers' bitch, he practically owns me, so it's good to see that he's putting his money into this baseball team.

Now the big question, will Vernon sign with us long term, or wait it out and become a free agent? Imagine you're Vernon Wells right now. He must have perma-grin just plastered on his face. He knows he's in for the payday of his life. Now I know there's no loyalty in sports, I'm old enough to have figured that out by now, but I hope Vernon stays with the Jays. He's a born and bred Blue Jay and he's a fierce competitor. There's nothing as fierce as playing in the American League East against the Yankees and Red Sox. The ultimate satisfaction will come when the Jays win the World Series and beat the two Evil Empires along the way. It just can't get any better than that, and I think Vernon knows that.

I love Vernon Wells. I'll support any decision he makes, because he's got to look out for himself, but I'm praying he sticks around. Toronto loves you Vernon Wells. It would be our pleasure to watch you for the next 7 years. JP and the Jays have shown you the money, now sign that dotted line my good man.

My friend Murtaza put it best when we parted ways yesterday evening:

"Pray for Vernon."

3) The Streak Is Over

The Leafs finally won a bloody hockey game Tuesday night against Tampa Bay. The streak is over, as I said it would be. The Leafs, who blow leads with a passion, needed a game like this - a game where they came from behind.

The game started well as Poni finally got back on the Express for his 9th goal of the season. But then it got ugly and the Leafs were down 3-1 only two minutes into the 2nd period.

That's when Paul Maurice called a timeout, and the game changed. JS Aubin, who got the start in goal, was yanked from the game for Raycroft. It was disappointing to see Aubs not really play well, although he didn't have much help. He got the start and I thought he might run with it like he did last season, but Raycroft came in and played well. He let in his customary weak goal of the game, but the Leafs held on for dear life and won 5-4.

HUGE PROPS out to Paul Maurice for the timeout. That's a coach right there. Call a timeout, blaze the hell out of the troops, and change the goalie. Those are the three things Pat Quinn would NEVER do, and that's why Paul Maurice is such a great teacher for this team. He let everyone know they were not doing their jobs in that timeout, and Aubin was gone because of those around him. Accountability, baby.

Two goals from Kilger, that was good to see. He works hard out there, and always finishes his checks. I love that about Kilger. The effort's always there, even if the results are not.

OK so my calls for Steen to be sent down to the minors were not necessary, because it's not going to happen. It can't happen. He's got to clear waivers if he gets sent down. So that idea's out the window. Now, instead of bitching him out, I'm going to support him. He's hit rock bottom, and there's no place to go but up.

My favourite part about the Leafs' first victory in almost 3 weeks? Matt Stajan watched most of the match from the bench, where he belongs. He played less than 7 minutes, and John Pohl took most of his icetime. It's about time Stajan took a seat, and I like Pohl and don't mind seeing him play a bit more at all.
I've decided to support Steen, but I'm still off Stajan. He's a bum.

4) Sidney Crosby

Crosby tallied 6 points against the Flyers last night. Sid The Kid is absolutely incredible. He now leads the league in scoring with 47 points in only 27 games. He's putting up astonishing numbers, and he's only 19 years old. It's almost unfathomable.

I didn't think he'd be this good, this fast. It's unusual for a boy to come into a man's league and dominate the way he has. My friend Neil made a pretty bold statement and said Crosby is the next Wayne Gretzky. Upon hearing that I gave him the Leo Rautins "EASY BIG FELLA!" but I think I'm starting to believe. Sidney Crosby is definitely someone special, who comes around only once every generation. Gretzky dominated this game, but no one has filled his shoes since he left. Maybe Crosby can. He's only getting better, and he's only 19 years old!

The thing that just blows me away is that Crosby, now the leading scorer in the NHL, is still eligible to play in the World Juniors tournament that starts next week. That is absolutely RIDICULOUS.

Sidney Crosby truly is the boy wonder, and he's damn exciting to watch. He is the next one, and is the perfect superstar to lead the NHL into the next generation.

It's been a whirlwind few days. So much is going on, and it's exciting.

Hopefully the Raps and Leafs can stay on the winning track, and we'll learn the fate of our beloved Vernon Wells.

Goodnight, Toronto...