Wednesday, December 08, 2004



Okay, now Notre Dame president Father Edward (Monk) Malloy, says he is angry and embarrassed about the Ty Willingham firing. He says that because is is retiring in 4 months, he deferred the decision to others. Gee, he is still president. He could and should have stopped the firing if he felt that strongly. It's what Father Hesburg would have done. If he is angry and embarrassed, it should be at himself.



The web log All Things Canadian ( has published details of the contract proposal the NHLPA will present to the owners tomorrow. It's biggest feature is a 75 cent on the dollar luxury tax for payrolls over $40,000,000.00. It is serious money. For example, it would cost the Red Wings about $28 mil a year.

This is a terrific offer and the owners should jump at it. First, because it is likely the best offer they will ever get. Second, if they don't, the fans will start to blame them for the impasse. It's bad politics, and it's bad business.

So is there hope? Hard to tell. Depends if there are more progressive owners than dinosaurs like the Black Hawk's Bill Wirtz. If Wirtz is the standard, then hockey is doomed. Lets hope the collective ownership doesn't hail from Jurassic Park.



Brendan Shannahan has organized a conference for players, coaches, gm's and owners to discuss the subject of improving hockey and making it more fan friendly. Well, Shanny, besides the fact that you're not playing, what is really wrong with the game? I am a purist I guess, and possibly spoiled by the recent success of that team from my childhood home, Hockeytown. However, I can remember when they were the deadwings. And besides the size of goalie equipment, I can't think of anything about the game I'd change. But, if changes are in order, these are the ones I'd make.

Every one says that we need to find a way to open up the ice and increase the skating and speed. Well, duh, then do away with the center redline on the offside pass. If you make the offside pass blue line to blue line, as in international and college hockey, you double the skating space at center ice. You make it much more difficult to trap or run a lock. The game will be much faster through center ice, and scoring chances will increase dramatically.

The other change I would make concerns the afore mentioned goalies equipment. Return the equipment to the sizes allowed in 1970. The decades of the 70's, (actually starting about 1967), was the glory days of goaltending. Look at the names. Dryden, Cheevers, Parent, Esposito, Vachon, Maniago, Edwards, Giacamon, Davidson, Smith. These were spectacular goalies, facing slap shots off of banana blades. Bobby Hull and Rick MacLeash's slap shots consistently hit 120 mph. Mike Walton occasionally hit 130 mph. No goalie got maimed, the hockey was great, and the great goalies made great saves.

The truth is there is nothing wrong with hockey. Except, they need to get back on the ice and start playing! It is still the greatest sport on earth. I just thank heavens I live in a college town, where I can see the game played at a high level. At least, that is, when Michigan, Michigan State, or Miami come to town!

Monday, December 06, 2004



H.L. Mencken, as quoted in the Baltimore Sun in 1920: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

As it turns out, Menchen was quite a prophet!

Sunday, December 05, 2004



British MP's are demanding that Tony Blair come before Parliament and confront charges that coalition forces used Napalm in Fallujah. This after the US admitted using the chemical during the invasion of Baghdad.

For those of you too young to remember, Napalm is a horrific chemical incendiary agent that was first used in Viet Nam. A mixture of kerosene and polystyrene, it sticks to the skin as it burns. Banned for use against civilian targets during the Viet Nam war due to public reaction to photos of horribly burned civilians and children, it was banned internationally in the early 80's. The US is one of the few countries not signatory to the ban.

Anyone who remembers the news film of the small Vietnamese child running from a fireball screaming, her back in flames, knows the horror of this chemical. That we would use this chemical under any circumstance is appalling. To use it in proximity of civilians in Fallujah is unconscionable.


Hey Notre Dame, do you realize you look....STUPID?

The Ty Willingham fiasco just gets worse. The presumed heir to the throne has bolted for Florida. The Detroit Lions' Steve Marriuchi didn't think taking a 4 million dollar pay cut sounded good, and politely declined. Leading candidate now is a former domer who is offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, Charlie Weiss. Upside, Weiss is a genuine genius,
I.Q. 160 +. He is smart enough to win close games against superior opponents. He should communicate well with the smarter than average ND student athlete. Downside... Weiss will likely be unavailable until after the Superbowl, 3 days before recruits sign their letters of intent.

So, they either settle for a coach they really aren't sold on, or sacrifice a whole years worth of recruiting. Quick, somebody call George Lynch!

Friday, December 03, 2004



The NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) announced yesterday that it has a new creative proposal they believe will end the impasse with the owners, end the lockout, and BRING US OUR HOCKEY BACK! HALLELUJAH, SAINTS BE PRAISED! JESUS, JOSEPH AND MARY, CAN IT BE TRUE?

Damn.... probably not. According to ESPN hockey analyst and former Blackhawks player rep. Darren Pang, the new proposal does not contain a salary cap. Without one, the deal is probably DOA.

Smart move on the part of the Union though. By making it sound like they have bent over backwards to please ownership, the onus is now clearly on the owners. If the NHLPA can sell this to the fans, the team owners now become the bad guys in the publics eyes. Gives them a lot more bargaining leverage.

I so miss my Red Wings, but I am not getting my hopes up for hockey this year quite yet.



More and more, George W. Bush reminds me of Richard Nixon. The sleazy supporting cast, the over estimation of a mandate. And, the paranoia. First, there was the monitoring of the internet activities of MOVEON.ORG members. Then the arrest of little old ladies at Bush rallies for wearing t-shirts that didn't mouth the Bush line. Now the Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI are monitoring and infiltrating protest groups. Whether they be anti war groups, pro environment groups, even farmers organizations, if you protest, you're likely to be investigated. The DHS says it only monitors groups that may be prone to violence or have members who may be. Yeah, like those violence prone Quakers! Thats right, one of those "violence prone" groups being monitored is in fact, a branch of the Friends.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this administration has completely lost sight of the values it is supposedly fighting to protect in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have long since contended that by surrendering our civil rights, we are conceding the war to the terrorists. Bin Laden may never have to set off another bomb here. Bush and cronies are doing his work for him!



In college athletics, as in life, timing is everything. And once again, Notre Dame's is awful! By suddenly departing from their long standing practice of allowing coaches to work until their contract expires, they have left themselves wide open to charges of racism. and while the alumni may be happy with Tyrone Willingham's dismissal, the student body is not. Coach Willingham was widely admired on campus, both for the way he carried himself, and for the discipline he returned to the football program. He was generous with his time in helping out local charities, and generally was an asset both to the university, and the community at large.

People here have quickly forgotten that a large part of the reason that Lou Holtz was pushed out, and Bob Davies fired, was not their won/loss record. It was the quality of human being they brought into the football program that brought them grief. Every year there were players in brushes with the law, alumni scandals, etc. Ty brought discipline back to the program. He was a great role model and the students and players respected him.

The worst part is, Coach Willingham and staff were having one of the best recruiting years in the history of ND. By all accounts, one of the top 5 recruiting classes in the country, with more prospects leaning toward ND. If they had given him one more year, at least the new coach would have had great material to work with. As it is, most of those recruits will go elsewhere now. It's a shame.

Athletic Director Kevin White has in his brief tenure shown a tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With this decision, his track record appears to be intact.

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