Sunday, August 19, 2007

News This Weak

Based out of the hockey mecca that is known as Toronto, there has been much talk about local newspaper; The Toronto Sun's cover stories this past week.

First we had the breaking news of an informal practice featuring a handful of Leafs and Marlies scrimmaging with one another at Lakeshore Lions Arena. That epic headline was then followed up the following day with the news that Mark Bell pleaded guilty to a DUI and hit and run charge which would lead him to some Hilton-like jail time next summer. And of course, for the 3rd day in a row another astonishing hockey related story featuring a picture of a Swedish girl walking her dog; allegedly on a romantic date with Mats Sundin.

Much has been said about the lack of interest these 3 inside scoops have given the average NHL fan, but I would like to point out that in all 3 cases, these tabloid-like articles all happen to have been true. Which is something that cannot be said about past 'newsworthy' stories such as Balsillie being the saviour of Hamilton Ontario, Sundin's career ending hip surgery and Scotty Bowman's life long dream of becoming John Ferguson Jr's official babysitter.

NHL fans might have the shortest offseason to wait through, but they have always been the least patient. And it is nothing new that non-stories become huge scandals just to wet the appetite of the NHL fan in withdrawal. And it would be safe to say that the city of Toronto leads in that charge.

We have all been guilty of pulling our hair out over Gary Bettman's decision on the future of an assistant coach's future, on quite possibly the worst franchise in the league. We've chewed our fingernails down to the bone over what team the Mike Peca camp can convince he has something left in him. We're ready to tar and feather a player that couldn't squeeze out a 20 point career season, for choosing to fly off to Russia rather than honor his contract in Columbus Ohio. All the while we conjure up new rumors of possible trades regarding players with no-trade contracts and add to our Ray Bourque and Evgeny Malkin shrines. And finally, we all piss and moan about what Commissioner Bettman has done to our league, while we froth at the mouth in anticipation over the next upcoming season.

So, while Sundin's love life might not be the most informative piece of journalism I have ever read, neither is the backlash of the Toronto Sun's decision to put a picture of an attractive young blonde on their front page. It's not as if this was the first time they've done so. And who knows? Perhaps this unveiling revelation of the Swedish paparazzi might just be the thing that makes the normally reserved Mats Sundin, decide to go into hiding. Now THAT would be a story!