Saturday, November 03, 2007
9 (39%) chose Gone by Christmas
11 (48%) chose End of season if they don't make the playoffs
2 (9%) chose His contract will be extended
1 (4%) chose He will be promoted to VP position
In the wacky world of MLSE any one of these scenarios is possible. If the team goes into an extended losing streak then the Christmas pink slip is possible. However, relative to other NHL teams, the Leafs have enough talent to prevent a long losing streak. In fact, they are hovering around .500 missing key players,. Wellwood, Tucker and Bell make up a decent 2nd line on most teams. McCabe and Colaiacovo are top 4 defensemen. But the main reason I don't see an early exit for JFJ is that there is no successor in the wings. There is no strong managerial candidate in the organization. The only people outside with the organization that is unemployed and qualified is Neil Smith and Craig Patrick. There may be more but the pickings are slim. If you search during the off season you can always get permission to talk to employed GMs who might be interested in a change of scenery. Brian Burke has been mentioned as possibly moving to Toronto though I'm not sure if there is any truth to this rumour.
Yes, it is possible that Ferguson's contract gets extended though not many blog readers believe that will happen. Obviously the Leafs would have to qualify for the playoffs for the scenario to play out. For that to happen, they would have to figure out how to win at home. On paper this team may not be as bad as they look, yet they are playing some awful hockey. Should Ferguson dump Maurice and the Leafs improve their play then again he could be extended. Finally, there was one person (who may not have been serious) that predicted he would be bounced upstairs to a VP job. Not likely to happen because he obviously doesn't have too much support on the board. If he did he wouldn't be playing under a series of one year contracts and their wouldn't have been a search for a mentor over the summer.
Friday, November 02, 2007
But those restrictions can be appealed: The tree bylaw is, in fact, under review by the Ontario Municipal Board. And the board would likely overrule any attempt to block a zoning change because the land, surrounded by housing, fits with the province's plan for intensification – putting new projects into areas that are already built up.
2. elevator buttons
4. automated teller machines
5. computer keyboard and mouse
6. change-machine bins
7. light switches
8. water-faucet handles
9. telephone receivers
10. the pen you're sucking on
My wife won't touch washroom door handles, disinfects work telephones, keyboards and mouses and carries around a bottle of Purell. When she sees this list she likely will stop using handrails and ATMs. Of course she can always apply some Purell after touching anything on the list.
Although she's often photographed eating fast food, she declares she spends about $4,758 per month dining out. Meanwhile, she spends zero on education, savings and investments and gives $500 a month in charitable contributions, the documents said.
Canadian dealers are reluctant to complain publicly for fear of retribution from manufacturers but their sales have dried up. They are caught between angry consumers and stubborn manufacturers. Consumers aren't stupid although they may not totally understand the intricacies of cross border pricing. They can see how much lower car prices are in American dealerships and would shop in the U.S., that is, except that the manufacturers are being obstructionists. Although it is perfectly legal to sell cars to Canadians, American dealers are being prohibited from doing so. This is only making Canadians more angry. They understand the concept of price elasticity so they refuse to buy and instead waiting for prices to drop.
Already Chrysler has announced incentives and more companies will likely follow, although reluctantly. Meanwhile a class action suit against the manufacturers is humming along. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, the most effective tool to bring down prices is the "empty showroom".
There are strong trade winds blowing through Leaf Nation this week. JFJ has been looking to make a blockbuster deal to shake up his under performing team. He has been talking to several western teams including Anaheim, Phoenix and Colorado. The names that pops up continually on the Leaf side are Kaberle and Steen.
Supposedly Coyotes are hot to make a deal which would suggest that they would have to be offering either Shane Doan or Ed Jovanovski. Remember in today's NHL, if you are trading big salaries in mid-season you have to take back big salaries. The only exception appears to be around the trading deadline in March. The Leafs are interested in Colorado players John-Michael Liles and Marek Svatos. But I don't see that happening because both Avalanche players have low salaries.
The trade rumours have died down involving the Leafs and Atlanta. That trade rumour involved Kaberle and Raycroft for Hossa. Waddel wants to wait until closer to the trade deadline because he believes he can get more for Hossa then.
The most intriguing trade possibility involves the Ducks. The Ducks have had an awful start and have a worse record than the Leafs. The Ducks are another Stanley Cup team that are at risk of missing the playoffs the year winning the championship (Tampa Bay, Carolina). They have only scored 29 goals in 14 games and need some offensive help. As well, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both become restricted free agents this summer. And after losing Penner to Edmonton last summer, Brian Burke may be concerned about what it will cost to sign both. JFJ would love to land Gefzlaf since his the team doesn't possess a prospect or young player of his calibre.
The bottom line is that Kaberle is the Leafs' most tradeable commodity. McCabe won't waive the "no movement" clause in his contract, Kubina is too slow to help a team in need of offense and Sundin doesn't want to go either. If a blockbuster happens, Kaberle will likely be involved.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sloggi, one of the world's leading underwear brands hosted the finale of its global model contest "Show me your sloggi" to find the world"s most beautiful bottom.
The female winner was Kristina Dimitrova, 19, Bulgaria and the male winner was Andrei Andrei, 24, Romania were awarded the title "Most Beautiful Bottom in the World" by sloggi, a modelling contract for the next international sloggi campaign, EUR10,000 ($14,400) prize money and an insurance cover for their bottom.
There's a real ugliness when it comes to language issues in Quebec, as a few zealots seek out platforms to attack people like Koivu for not conforming to their standards.
This entire story is an embarrassment given the lengths Koivu has gone to be a big part of the Canadiens organization. He's the team's captain, it's longest-serving player, and his battle with cancer turned into a crusade to help others, as the Saku Koivu Foundation fundraised millions to provide cancer-treating equipment to a local hospital.
I'm sure every potential hockey free agent has picked up on this story. Good luck to Bob Gainey when he tries to sign some of them next summer.
The Conservative government held by-elections on September 17 but only in 3 Quebec ridings. That is because the other 4 ridings are pretty safe Liberal seats. The Liberals lost their Montreal stronghold in Outremont to Thomas Mulcair, the NDP's star recruit. The loss was not unexpected. In the Saguenay, Conservative candidate Denis Lebel sailed to victory in the sovereigntist-rich riding of Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean. Signifying that the Conservatives were the first choice federalist party in Quebec. And in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, east of Montreal, Bloc Québécois candidate Ève-Mary Thai Thi Lac beat Conservative Bernard Barré.
The Conservatives have used the by-election results to demonstrate that the Liberals are a mess and the media and public have partly bought in. That's not to say that the Liberals don't have problems.
The Conservatives want to avoid holding by-elections in the remaining 4 vacant ridings and are hoping that their government loses a confidence motion before the by-elections must be held at the end of the year. The four ridings are:
- Toronto Centre where Bill Graham has resigned and Bob Rae is the Liberal nominee
- Willowdale where Jim Peterson has resigned and Martha Hall Findlay is the Liberal nominee
- Vancouver Quadra where Steven Owens has resigned
- Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River where Gary Merasty has resigned
In fact, Graham and Peterson intentionally resigned in the summer in anticipation of the September by-elections. The Liberals didn't expect that the Conservative would out-maneuver them by only holding the 3 by-elections. Obviously, the Conservatives don't want to see the two failed Liberal leadership candidates in the Commons before the next general election. Also the 4 potential Liberal wins will remove some of the lustre from the results on September 17 where the Conservative in fact only gained one seat.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Liberal MP John Nunziata voted against his government’s first budget in protest of their flipflop on the GST and was later expelled from the Liberal caucus for doing so. Liberal MP Sheila Copps, then Deputy Minister and Minister of the Environment, had vowed to give up her seat if the Liberals did not eliminate the GST. In 1996, she honoured her pledge and resigned from Parliament, only to be re-elected in a subsequent by-election for her riding.
Move forward to 2006. The GST again became an important political issue in the last federal election. The Conservative Party, led by Stephen Harper, promised to reduce taxes by lowering the GST from 7 to 6 percent. The incumbent Liberals, in contrast, supported keeping the GST at seven percent, and lowering income taxes instead. Following the election, the new Conservative government included the GST cut in its first budget; the reduction came into effect in July 2006.
And the debate is being repeated this year as the Conservatives plan to reduce the GST once again to 5 percent. Liberal leader Stephane Dion has even stated that he would consider reversing the tax cut if elected. Where have we heard that type of promise from the Liberals before?
So the tax introduced by the Conservatives and opposed by the Liberals is now supported by the Liberals and opposed by the Conservatives.
And politicians wonder why voters are so cynical.
Ontario Superior Court Judge Michelle Fuerst said Wills is facing a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.
Wills was accused of hitting Mariani in the head with a baseball bat and strangling her with a skipping rope, then stuffing her body in a garbage bin and hiding it behind a wall in the basement of his home in Richmond Hill. A bat and skipping rope – the latter wrapped three times around Mariani's neck – were found with the body when Wills led police to it four months after she vanished.
The defence maintained Mariani, 40, died after falling down stairs at Wills' home, while the Crown alleged he killed her because she wouldn't leave her husband. Wills, 50, said he hid
Mariani's body because he wanted to bury her later near his family cottage in Wasaga Beach, as they had agreed in a secret lovers' pact.
It was revealed this week that taxpayers were on the hook for an estimated $1.3 million in defence costs. Wills applied for legal aid after handing over his estate to his family, but refused to agree to terms of repayment offered. After unsuccessfully seeking that the attorney general either pay his legal bill or have the charge stayed, Wills took over his own defence. His outrageous behaviour at the 2004 preliminary hearing forced Justice Bryan Shaughnessy's hand in granting the order for legal aid.
Wills hired and fired about 7 lawyers during this period.
This had to have been one of Ontario's most bizarre trials. The accused challenged the justice system with threats to prosecutors, verbal abuse of court officials, meandering monologues and behaviour so bizarre that he was exiled to the 'rubber room' for three months. Richard Wills admitted to stuffing the body of his lover in a trash bin, but swore he didn't kill her The judges responded by taking every step to ensure a fair trial. In doing so, they tolerated extremes of behaviour and assented to orders that led to defence lawyers being paid at least $800,000 of public money to defend him. It was, in a strange way, a triumph of the system because his antics did not succeed in letting him walk away from justice.
First it was a throne speech that thumbed its nose at opposition demands on the environment and the Afghan mission. Then the government put an election gun to the head of the other parties to ensure passage of its law-and-order policies. Now it will be implementing a GST cut that has been criticized by most economists and all the opposition parties.
Yesterday's economic statement was designed to launch the Conservatives' campaign strategy, big tax cuts. It may have been more appropriate to wait until the Spring Budget but with the large surplus and a weak opposition, why wait. Harper would dearly love to campaign on $60 billion tax cut package.
Although their record has been only fair, wrap some significant tax cuts and it will look dramatically better to voters when they go to the polls. The only question is when will the government "fall". The Bloc and NDP quickly announced they would vote against the GST cut. So again the Liberals will be backed into a corner and will either choose to abstain or be absent for votes which prevents an election but continues to ensure that the Conservatives' agenda is advanced.
Who says minority governments don't work.
UPDATE: Liberals ended up abstaining at today's non-confidence vote on the mini-budget.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Former Ontario Premier William Davis was quoted as saying that shuffling his cabinet was the most painful aspect of governing.
It requires the premier to tell someone, often a friend who’s laboured in the trenches with you that their political career was either over, or seriously derailed for awhile.
Dalton McGuinty did that today to four members of his former cabinet. Monte Kwinter and David Ramsay were both elected in 1985. When the Liberals were in power, both during the David Peterson years and in McGuinty’s first term, they were both in cabinet.
The new Liberal Cabinet has 10 newcomers which could be a formula for trouble. Rookie ministers are more prone to make mistakes that can embarrass the Premier.
You wonder what horrific acts these folks must have done to warrant being dropped from Cabinet when the likes of Harinder Takhar who received censure from the Integrity Commissioner held onto his Cabinet seat.
Continuity, clearly, is not the theme Ontario's Premier is going for. Instead, he's trying to send a signal that his government won't be complacent in his second term - and that he's not going to sit idly by while ambitious ministers carve away at his leadership. Which is why Bryant was "promoted" to aboriginal affairs. A portfolio from which it will be hard to find the spotlight. Meanwhile, he's avoided the phenomenon that helped bring down Jean Chretien - the sense among backbenchers that they have no hope of ever making cabinet as long as he's leader.
The complete list of cabinet appointments include:
. Rick Bartolucci, minister of community safety and correctional services;
. Chris Bentley, attorney general;
. Margarett Best, minister of health promotion;
. Jim Bradley, minister of transportation;
. Michael Bryant, minister of aboriginal affairs;
. Donna Cansfield, minister of natural resources;
. David Caplan, minister of public infrastructure renewal;
. Aileen Carroll, minister of culture'
. Michael Chan, minister of citizenship and immigration;
. Leona Dombrowsky, minister of agriculture;
. Brad Duguid, minister of labour;
. Dwight Duncan, minister of finance;
. Peter Fonseca, minister of tourism;
. John Gerretsen, minister of the environment;
. Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines;
. Deb Matthews, minister of children and youth services;
. Dalton McGuinty, premier and minister of intergovernmental affairs;
. Ted McMeekin, minister of government and consumer services;
. Madeleine Meilleur, minister of community and social services;
. John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities;
. Gerry Phillips, minister of energy;
. Sandra Pupatello, minister of economic development and trade;
. Monique Smith, minister of revenue;
. George Smitherman', minister of health and long-term care;
. Harinder Takhar, minister of small business and entrepreneurship;
. Jim Watson, minister of municipal affairs and housing;
. John Wilkinson, minister of research and innovation, and;
. Kathleen Wynne, minister of education
After his party shot a bird on Friday, Harris put his gun down and crossed a fence to retrieve it. That's when things went to the hunting dogs, who stepped on the weapon and bang!
In fact the parents of the North Toronto Selects minor bantam team offered to work out a deal with their opponent for a game on Halloween to reschedule at no cost to the league, proposing that their 7 p.m. game against the Vaughan Selects be moved to their own ice time on Saturday. The parents even offered to foot the bill.
But the request was denied by the North York Hockey League, which insisted they must play on Vaughan ice.
Interesting that JFJ is trying to move 3 of his top 6 free agent signings (the others are Tucker, Kaberle and Blake) over the past 2 summers. An admission that they were all mistakes. All three carry hefty contracts that are as good as "no-trade" clauses in today's salary cap era except around the trade deadline. McCabe has a "no movement" clause and Kubina can only be moved to certain teams. Gill is the only one without a no trade or movement clause, but again his salary makes him almost impossible to shop right now. As for Markov, his salary demands are more than "a little rich" for a team bumping up against the cap like Toronto, and really, why add another high priced veteran with an injury history to the most expensive blueline in the NHL?
The fight ended in the street in front of the club, where police say members of two groups fled after an exchange of gunfire that struck an innocent bystander. Polic have found 27 shell casings at the scene.
Monday, October 29, 2007
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Sunday, October 28, 2007
Bergeron was chasing after a loose puck in the Flyers zone late in the first period when Jones closed in on him and drove his head into the boards with his forearm.
Jones was given a five-minute boarding penalty with a game misconduct.
At first glance, it looks like an ugly, dirty hit from behind. Bergeron's face was rammed face first into the ledge on the boards, and the latest reports say he has a broken nose and a concussion, but all feeling in his extremities.
Flyers defenseman Randy Jones issued the following statement"
“Words really can’t express the way that I feel right now. I am very apologetic for the hit and what I did. It was not intentional. It is something that I have never done before and it is not part of my character. I am extremely sorry. I hope he does ok and everything works out for him. I wish him nothing but the best in his recovery.”
UPDATE: The NHL has given Randy Jones a 2 game suspension. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell says that he didn't believe Jones intended to injure Bergeron, but that he did deliver a "hard check to a player who was in a vulnerable position." I'm fine with that.