It’s one of those good-news, bad-news periods in Vancouver, where the Canucks arecoming together but where B.C. Place is tearing apart.


The Canucks are the NHL’s hottest team, triumphant in their past seven games. The controversial pre-season deal that dispatched forward Todd Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers for goaltender Roberto Luongo has turned out to be as one-sided as imaginable. While Bertuzzi has been injured most of the season, Luongo has excelled and has emerged as a genuine MVP candidate.


"He’s really stepped it up," Canucks centre Josh Green said. "He’s the best player on our team and he’s proving it right now."


The bad news in Vancouver is that B.C. Place is in peril. Its air-filled roof tore open Friday, raising questions about the future of the 20-year-old stadium. Workers spent the weekend trying to repair it.


The Grey Cup-champion Lions are so concerned about B.C. Place, I’m told, they’ve let it be known they have no intention of playing in the building next season unless they’re assured in writing that it’ll be safe. B.C. Place, incidentally,also is supposed to be the site of the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

•A stunner: Cal Ripken Jr. won’t be the first unanimous selection to baseball’s Hall of Fame when the results are announced today. Chicago writer Paul Ladewski has revealed he submitted a blank ballot, explaininghe doesn’t have enough information to consider the merits of any players from the steroids era (1993-2004). Ladewski doesn’t think Ripken used performance-enhancing drugs, but can’t be sure. Thus, the blank ballot.

This is certain, though: Ripken and Tony Gwynn have received enough votes and will be identified today as the newest Hall inductees. Mark McGwire, meanwhile, has garnered fewer than 30 per cent of the votes because of a general suspicion he used steroids.

Rafael Palmeiro, 42, is trying to return as a major-leaguer despite his tarnished reputation as a steroids user ... The New York Yankees need a left-handed reliever and covet ex-Blue Jay Scott Schoeneweis... The Los Angeles Lakers, seeking a centre to replace the injured (and underachieving) Kwame Brown, have approached the Portland Trailblazers about Toronto native Jamaal Magloire... Buffalo Bills running back Willis McGahee, 25, is facing his third paternity suit in two years ... And sources say employees of the Seattle Seahawks sent in an especially slick football for the Cowboys to use just before Dallas quarterback Tony Romo botched the hold on what would have been a game-wining field goal late in Saturday’s playoff tilt.