Sports Outside the Beltway

Hockey fan buys dressing room toilet for $5,300

I’ve heard the people in Toronto are nuts about the NHL, now I believe it.

If the NHL decides to flush the rest of the season, Toronto Maple Leafs fan Jim Vigmond is ready.

The Ontario lawyer purchased a toilet from the home dressing room of Maple Leaf Gardens for $5,300 at an auction, according to the Toronto Star.

Vigmond had been trying to score a 1967 Stanley Cup banner but he said the bidding became too steep, so he went for the toilet. And he was willing to go as high as $10,000 on the commode, which his friends thought was a little out there.

“They thought I had money to burn, and surely there was something that I could have better spent my money on,” he said, according to the newspaper.


Maple Leaf Gardens was home to the Leafs from 1931-99. More than 100 items from the arena were up for auction. Vacant for several years after the Leafs left for the Air Canada Centre, the Gardens was recently converted into a small arena for nearby Ryerson University and a grocery store.

Vigmond told the Star that the toilet will go in his sports memorabilia room. He’d like to sit on it, light a Cuban cigar, drink some single-malt scotch and watch a Leafs game, if the season doesn’t go down the drain.- ESPN

As it stands, I don’t expect an NHL game to be played between now and December 31st 2012. The player lockout imposed by team owners is over two months old and no resolution is in sight at present.


Waffle throwing fan banned from Toronto Maple Leaf games

Were they with or without syrup?

A frustrated Toronto Maple Leafs fan who threw waffles on the ice at the Air Canada Centre will have to admire his team from afar.

Joseph Robb was charged with criminal mischief and barred from the arena for throwing waffles on the ice at a Maple Leafs game to protest the team’s performance this season. The 12-17-4 Leafs were 28th out of the NHL’s 30 teams entering Wednesday’s games.

Robb, of Oakville, Ontario, says he’s “just a normal Leafs fan, I love them to death.”

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment vice president Bob Hunter says Robb’s actions during Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers were inappropriate.- Associated Press

The waffles in question were uncooked Eggos, but we don’t know what flavor. No syrup was found on the offending waffles.

Robb has been banned from other sporting events because of his unruly behavior. He’s an out of control jerk, IMHO. Normal fans don’t throw uncooked food on the ice and disrupt games.


Where in Canada?- Florida beats Toronto 4-1

Today’s sports media screwup-


Do headline writers actually read the first word of an article? Do editors just post anything given to them? If you need proof of that, look at this piece of garbage written by a sports writer last year.

Florida is winning meaningless games to close out the 2009-10 NHL season. How nice of them. Forward Rostislav Olesz scored his first point since the Harding administration in 22 games too. How nice of him to show up.

Boston beat Atlanta last night. That gives the Bruins a 3-point hold on the last playoff spot. Don’t punch their ticket yet. Boston has two games left with Washington.

Even should they make the playoffs, Boston, Atlanta, or whoever will get steamrolled by the Caps. The only Eastern Conference teams up to beating Washington are New Jersey, Pittsburgh, or Buffalo.


Toronto Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski arrested

That broken wrist he suffered last month isn’t keeping him out of fights. From the Toronto Star-

This isn’t how the Maple Leafs hoped Mikhail Grabovski would be spending his Olympic break.

The 26-year-old centre was arrested at 2:30 a.m. Saturday by Vancouver police and kept in jail overnight after allegedly being involved in a street altercation.

Grabovski was apparently released to his parents at about 9 a.m. Saturday.

Leafs GM Brian Burke said in a news release he was “aware” of the incident. “Since we are presently investigating this matter, the team will not provide any further comment at this time.”

The details of the incident are unclear, but apparently an argument on the street escalated into a situation in which punches might have been thrown, possibly at least one by Grabovski. No charges had been laid as of late Saturday evening.

The wrist injury took place on January 2nd. He was scheduled to play for Belarus in the Olympics.

IMHO Grabovski is an overpriced NHL player and just another example of why Toronto is one of the worst run teams in the NHL. They are paying nearly 3 million dollars for a player with 7 goals and 12 assists scored this year.


Toronto Maple Leafs complete separate trades with Anaheim and Calgary

They acquire a defenseman and a Goalie. From ESPN-

The Toronto Maple Leafs shook up their roster with a pair of big moves on Sunday, the biggest coming in a trade for star defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the slumping Calgary Flames.Dion Phaneuf

The Leafs also acquired veteran goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim Ducks for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala.

The Leafs acquired Phaneuf, right wing Fredrik Sjostrom and defenseman Keith Aulie in exchange for defenseman Ian White, center Matt Stajan, left wing Niklas Hagman and right wing Jamal Mayers.


Phaneuf had 10 goals, 12 assists and 49 penalty minutes as of Sunday. In 378 career games over five seasons he has 75 goals, 153 assists and 522 penalty minutes, all with the Flames.

The Leafs gave up two of their top scorers in Stajan (16 goals, 25 assists) and Hagman (20 goals, 13 assists) to obtain Phaneuf.

On the surface Toronto looks to have made out well. Phaneuf is a very good defenseman. Giguere replaces Toskala who has been a bust for Maple Leafs since coming over from San Jose.Jean-Sebastien Giguere


Toronto is 17-28-11 this season, or the worst record in the Eastern Conference. There is no chance in hell this trade will get the Maple Leafs to the playoffs this year.

Giguere hasn’t been playing well this year, 3.1 GAA and .900 save percentage, and his trade comes as no surprise*. That’s an improvement on Toskala who has 3.66 and .874 respectively. Still the numbers are worse for Giggy than they are for Washington Capital Goalie Jose Theodore and regular OTB Sports readers know what I think of that Goalie.

Toronto must be hoping for a Giguere bounce back in 2010-11.

Oh you get two defensemen but trade away players(Hagman** and Stajan) who have contributed 36 goals for your team this year. I don’t see these trades helping Toronto short term and long term doesn’t look all that great either IMHO.

*- Anaheim signed their other Goalie, Jonas Hiller, to a 4-year contract yesterday. That made the high priced Giggy expendable.

It looks almost certain Hiller will be in goal when I watch Florida and Anaheim play tomorrow night. Particularly since the Ducks haven’t played since Friday night.

**- I guess that ends the Hagman to Florida Panther trade rumors. Hagman’s first NHL team was the Cats.


Alex the Great- Washington trounces Toronto 6-1

Alexander had his best game of the 2009-10 NHL season tonight.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and a career-high four assists, Mike Knuble scored twice, and the Washington Capitals got 28 saves from Jose Theodore in a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.Tor-Wash

The five points were a season high for Ovechkin, the reigning two-time NHL MVP. He scored his 29th goal with only 49 seconds elapsed to get the Capitals off to a quick start during their third game in four nights, then assisted on Washington’s next four goals.

Both of Knuble’s goals came in the second period, boosting the Capitals’ lead to 4-0. He has five goals in his last five games.


Vesa Toskala, who blanked Philadelphia just 24 hours earlier in Toronto, yielded a goal on the first shot he faced and fell to 7-10-2.

Crazy as it may seem, Toronto who is 14th of 15 in the Eastern Conference points standings, split its four games with Washington this season. The Capitals sub par goaltending creates odd results like this. Last season the Florida Panthers split its 6 games with Washington, and two of those cat wins were by 3 goals or more.

Washington Capital defensemen Mike Green got 2 assists tonight, bringing his total to 34. His 46 points is an obscene total for a blueliner. Nevertheless, Green wasn’t slelected to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics. His defensive skills don’t quite match his offensive.


NHL Eastern Conference at the mid point of the 2009-10 season

Due to the Winter Olympics, the NHL season is being being played at a more accelerated rate than normal. For instance, prior to Christmas week the Florida Panthers had four games in a week, five straight weeks in a row.

A NHL season is 82 games in length. Half of 82 is 41. Most teams are at 41 games or more

New Jersey 39 games 28 wins 10 losses 1 overtime loss 57 points
Buffalo 40 25 11 4 54
Washington 40 24 10 6 54
Pittsburgh 42 26 15 1 53
Boston 40 21 12 7 49
Ottawa 41 21 16 4 46
Montreal 43 21 19 3 45
NY Rangers 41 19 17 5 43

Tampa Bay 41 16 15 10 42
Philadelphia 40 19 18 3 41
Atlanta 40 18 17 5 41
NY Islanders 42 16 18 8 40
Florida 41 16 18 7 39
Toronto 41 14 18 9 37
Carolina 41 11 23 7 29

Bold denotes all teams who would make the playoffs as of this minute.
The above standings are as of 6 p.m. on Saturday January 2nd.

Teams all but certain to make the playoffs- Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington
Team that won’t make the playoffs- Carolina

That’s hardly rocket science based on the above.

I will be greatly surprised if Florida, NY Islanders, or Toronto are playing in the post season. The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years and this will be no exception. How is a team that hasn’t won more than 3 games in a row since March 2008 supposed to get the momentum up for a playoff run?

Tampa Bay and Atlanta have been pleasant surprises this year. I’m still not convinced either team can make the playoffs. Particularly so in the case of the Lightning who are most impotent offensive teams in the league,(28th of 30 teams)

Honestly I think the teams who are currently 1-8 will all make the playoffs. There will be reshuffling but I think the 7 other teams each have enough liabililites that it will keep them out of the postseason.


Toronto Maple Leaf Goalie Jonas Gustavsson to see cardiac specialist

The 25-year-old is a NHL rookie. From AP-

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson has returned to Toronto and is scheduled to see a cardiac specialist.

Gustavsson’s return Wednesday came a day after he was taken to the hospital with an elevated heart rate following the first period of Toronto’s 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Toronto took the precautionary move Tuesday night because the Swedish rookie needed minor heart surgery during training camp following a similar incident.

Toronto general manager Brian Burke said the Leafs are “just being ultra-cautious.”

Gustavsson was seen at a Montreal hospital and released. Cautious is good. There are some heart ailments(like a aneurysm) or a defective heart valve that offer few symptoms. I know, last year I had Open Heart Surgery for both of those. MLB third baseman Aaron Boone had valve replacement surgery earlier this year. Athletes are not immune from undiagnosed heart ailments.


Keep firing- NY Islanders beat Toronto 4-3

Would you believe 62 shots on goal?

It’s been 18 years since a goalie had a night like Islanders netminder Dwayne Roloson.

Roloson turned aside 58 shots to help the New York Islanders beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime on Monday night. It was the most saves since Ron Tugnutt stopped 70 shots for Quebec on March 21, 1991 according to STATS.

“To me, it’s just another night, another game,” said the 40-year-old Roloson. “It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s one shot or 100 shots, I’ve got to do the same things, try to give my team a chance to win.”

The victory improved Roloson’s record to 2-0-2 on the lengthy trip, and 7-2-5 overall this season. The Islanders went 3-2-2 on the seven-game trip to improve to 9-8-7 in 2009-10, but they know they wouldn’t have been so successful if not for the tireless Roloson in net.


Roloson, who signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer, made several great saves — the most painful of which was No. 52, a hard shot from Mikhail Grabovski that hit him directly in the mask. It’s the kind of performance his new team has come to expect.

Craig Anderson, while still playing for the Florida Panthers, turned back 51 Islander shots in a 2007-08 NHL game. Anaheim Duck Goalie Jonas Hiller stopped the same amount of shots in a game last December. Only Anderson got a shutout.


Florida Panthers sign C Dominic Moore

The cats split the first two games of the 2009-10 NHL season. From AP-

The Florida Panthers on Monday signed unrestricted free-agent center Dominic Moore to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.

The signing adds more depth down the middle for the Panthers, who also acquired Steve Reinprecht during the offseason before signing him to a three-year-deal.

Moore posted 12 goals and 29 assists in 63 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres at last season’s trade deadline. He had just three points in 18 games in Buffalo.

The 29-year-old center has 35 goals and 100 points in 305 career NHL games.

The Panthers are thin at Center. They have Gregory Campbell, Bryan Campbell, Steve Reinprecht, Kamil Kreps, and Shawn Matthias. Weiss is a good player, but his faceoff winning percentage was poor in 2008-09. Campbell is coming off his best year ever, Reinprecht I think is just a run of the mill player, Kreps has shown little in his NHL career so far, and Matthias is very green but a good prospect. Moore will help the Panthers win more faceoffs, and I think his acquisition is a good one. Who will the Panthers cut or send down to Rochester to make room on the roster? I’d keep Matthias over Kreps but I’m betting the Panthers do the reverse.


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