Sidney Crosby


We need variety. We don’t wear the same clothes too often, we don’t eat the same types of food too often and the teams we follow shouldn’t be playing the same damned opponents too often.


And yet the NHL voted yesterday to keep its ridiculously unbalanced schedule next season, meaning teams such as the Maple Leafs, for instance, will again be compelled to face, say, the Boston Bruins far too often. And the Leafs won’t be facing the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames at all in 2007-08.

Instead of shining in a spotlight during this week’s all-star break, the goofy NHL is making absurd decisions.

•A wise e-mail in my inbox yesterday pointed out that many sports journalists have been too quick this week to quote Sydney Crosby about how wonderful the new NHL attire is without mentioning that the Pittsburgh star is actually a paid shill for Reebok, which is manufacturing the threads ... And why will Bill Guerin be in tonight’s NHL All-Star game when Paul Kariya, the league’s 15th-leading scorer, won’t be? ... And why does bottom-feeding Phoenix have two all-stars when league-leading Nashville has only one?

•While the Blue Jays signed no-name pitcher Tomo Ohka yesterday, their main rivals in the AL East were making strong bids for Roger Clemens. Both Boston and the Yankees covet the future Hall of Famer, and New York second baseman Robinson Cano already has given up his jersey number so that Clemens would be able to wear his usual No. 22 in pinstripes ... Mind you, another AL East club, Tampa Bay, has done zilch and will begin 2007 with a puny $24-million payroll — down 30 per cent from the start of last season.

John Shannon, an NHL broadcasting exec, has been interviewed by a headhunter for the vacant position of CFL commissioner ... The CFL annually identifies three finalists for its coach of the year award but, truth is, it’ll be tough to emerge with a trio of legitimate candidates for last season. Winnipeg’s Doug Berry probably will prevail, while B.C.’s Wally Buono and — it’s a stretch — Toronto’s Michael Clemons likely will be Berry’s opponents. The finalists will be identified in about three weeks.