Don't blame Jaroslav Halak for the Canadiens coming up short in Toronto. Yeah, John Mitchell turned Halak inside out with a terrific move on the winning goal in a shootout, but the die was already cast. It was my daughter's fault. Halak is now winless in all six of his starts with Lauren Bird in attendance at the game, which she was Saturday courtesy of Dad's friend Randy Redden, who parlayed a litte legwork, a lot of luck and four months' advance notice into a pair 26 rows up behind the Canadiens net. Randy and I must both be doing something right - earlier in the day, we had lunch with him and his 16 and 13 year old daughters, Rebecca and Virginia, and it was 90 minutes of wall-to-wall hockey talk, with the girls carrying most of the conversation. What Canadian father doesn't treasure a daughter who's passionate and knowledgeable about hockey?
-Meanwhile, I saw more of Maple Leaf Gardens than I ever wanted to when I lived in Toronto and covered the Leafs from 1979-84, but Saturday was my first game at the Air Canada Center. Some thoughts on the visit and the rivalry tonight on CTV's Bird's Eye View at 6:40 and 11:45.
-Headline on tsn.ca: "Satan powers Bruins to much-needed win over Rangers." Well, if the Prince of Darkness was going to play hockey for anyone, it figures that he'd play for Boston. (Sorry, but as long as Miroslav Satan is in the NHL, I am compelled to trot out that joke or some derivative thereof.)
-No bright lights or big city for "Regular" Joe Mauer. The three time batting champion and reigning American League MVP has signed an 8 year, 184 million dollar contract extension with the Minnesota Twins, who were spared a potential bidding war with the the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs et al when Mauer decided to stay in the Midwest town where he grew up and broke into the big leagues.
--For the sake of consistency, figure skating competition for the visually impaired at the Paralympics should be marked by visually impaired judges. (By the way, if you don't read that joke to the visually impaired, they can't be offended.)