steve russell/torstar news service
I’ve been thinking — always dangerous, granted — and I’ve decided that:
•The Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup this season. And the club’s general manager, Dave Nonis, will be chosen the NHL’s premier executive. And both developments ultimately will be attributable to the same reason — the off-season acquisition of goaltender Roberto Luongo, who has become peerless.
•B.C. native Steve Nash won’t be chosen the NBA’s MVP for a third consecutive season, after all. Nash’s old buddy, Dirk Nowitzki, will garner more votes.
•For that stick to his opponent’s face, 25 games was a light slap to Chris Simon’s face. He deserved harsher, although his NHL career seems over. Who’d want him next year?
•The Maple Leafs won’t make the playoffs and John Ferguson Jr. will be dumped as their general manager.
•I miss the Expos.
•The Blue Jays may be slightly better than last season but they’re suffering from a dearth of respectable pitching, aside from Roy Halladay and B.J. Ryan, and, realistically, they can’t finish atop the AL East.
•The Raptors will be in the playoffs, but it’ll be a one-and-done situation, followed by the dismissal of coach Sam Mitchell. Before Mitchell leaves Toronto, however, he ought to ask — no, beg — Argonauts coach Michael Clemons for lessons on how to deal with people, especially in the media. Unlike Clemons, Mitchell is neither humorous nor intelligent in his interviews.
• The CFL needs quarterbacks. While Damon Allen, Danny McManus et al still occupy roster spots, clubs have been unable to find new QB blood. It’s ridiculous.
•The CFL’s failure to find new QBs is even worse than its inability to find a new commissioner — and that’s bad.
•There’s no point in the Edmonton Oilers playing another game this year. Without Ryan Smith, the Oilers are winless, listless and hopeless.
•Paul Stastny and Andrea Bargnani will be rookies of the year in the NHL and NBA, respectively.
•Josh Barfield, Jesse’s kid, will lead the AL in stolen bases this season. Josh, acquired in the off-season by the Cleveland Indians, learned from the best base thief in history, Rickey Henderson. After Jesse was traded by the Jays to the New York Yankees in 1989, he introduced his then 7-year-old son to his then-teammate, Henderson, who began to tutor him. Henderson now predicts stealing stardom for Josh, just as he did before last season for another of his pupils, the New York Mets’ Jose Reyes. Reyes wound up with an NL-leading 63 bases in ’06.
•Ted Saskin should try to preserve whatever’s left of his dignity and resign as the NHL Players Association’s chief. Today. I’d e-mail this suggestion to him, but …