While I’ve never had a problem with fans selecting the starters for an all-star game (they pay the salaries, let them see who they want for one day a year), it’s good to see they picked worthy candidates for this year’s game.


Roberto Luongo’s selection is a refreshing example because it shows the fans are watching more than just the stats’ page. Luongo isn’t the top goalie in the West when it comes to wins, goals against average or save percentage, but he has been the best netminder in the league this season.

That’s not bias; it’s a fact. Ask hockey insiders around the country and they’ll confirm it.

•If you’ve spent the first half of the season lamenting the Canucks’ inability to score goals, how do you think San Jose fans feel?

The Sharks have been among the league’s top offences for the past two seasons, putting up an average of more than three goals a night. Scan the stats this year and you’ll find the Sharks rank 22nd in goals for despite having virtually no turnover in personnel up front.

Though Joe Thornton’s numbers are down slightly, it’s the anemic production from Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo that is really hurting the Sharks. Marleau has just 18 points through 41 games while Cheechoo has contributed just 5 goals and 6 assists in the 34 games he’s played.

Is that simply two players having off years or does head coach Ron Wilson deserve some blame as well? In spite of his potentially explosive employees, Wilson subscribes to a defensive system that has the Sharks among the stingiest teams through the first half of the year.

I have to believe that Wilson is the odd man out if the Sharks don’t make a much-anticipated run in this year’s playoffs.

•It will be interesting to see how Mark Washington makes the transition from player to coach this season with the B.C. Lions. The former defensive back could probably ply his trade elsewhere in the CFL, but Washington sees the big picture.

The Rutgers’ grad realizes that he’s enjoyed an outstanding CFL career without sustaining major injury, and he has an opportunity to extend his future in the game through coaching. Not every organization is willing to offer a veteran player such a chance right away, but the Leos realize that Washington commands a level of respect amongst his peers that will allow him to make the move to coach this season.


Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously. Serve chilled Monday-Friday on the TEAM 1040 from 6-9 a.m. or online at thetoulbox.blogspot.com

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