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Leafs Look To Be Busy At Deadline

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs

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I think it’s important that president and general manager Brian Burke has pointed out he’s willing to take on salary at the trade deadline as long as there’s draft picks coming back the other way.

As everyone knows, the Leafs don’t have a first or second round pick this year or a first round pick next season due to the Phil Kessel trade. So now is the time to pick up some picks and deal some veteran players who can bring back a positive return including Matt Stajan, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Lee Stempniak and even Jason Blake.

Burke has vowed not to trade Tomas Kaberle but would a first-round pick sway his mind? Kaberle has been a bright spot in an utterly forgettable campaign, both on and off the ice. Right now, the Leafs appear mired in 28th spot overall and need to maximize whatever assets they have.


If it’s atmosphere that you crave ladies and gentlemen, you couldn’t do much worse than the Lakers-Raptors game at the ACC on Sunday night. Raucous in the waning moments as the locals hung tough and gutted out their best win of the season, it was a pleasant reminder to these ears and eyes of just how supportive a basketball town this city can be when the home team is performing well.

And what a game it was. Andrea Bargnani was terrific, pouring in 22 points and Marco Bellinelli’s 15 points off the bench were another sign that his shooting slump is history. And Jarrett Jack has been superb his last six games at the ACC, averaging over 20 points per game. Even when Chris Bosh couldn’t get to the free throw line for the first time since late December of 2007 versus the Spurs, CB4 still contributed 18 points and 13 boards.

Yes, Kobe was awfully impressive, narrowly missing a triple double and setting a career high in rebounds, but after he, Gasol and Bynum, the rest of the Lake Show was apparently already brushing up their remarks to President Obama who they were about to meet at the White House. Ron Artest and Lamar Odom were offensively challenged, which on this night, meant another impressive win for the Raptors.


- Fantastic to see Jeff Bridges win the Best Actor prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Looks like he can brush up that well deserved Oscar speech for playing an alcoholic country singer in search of redemption in Crazy Heart. More troubling to me is the knowledge that Sandra Bullock is now the favourite for Best Actress. I thought the book the Blind Side by Michael Lewis was terrific but fear the movie will be a treacly mess. Now, I’ll have to see it. Also reassuring to know that Christoph Waltz and Mo’nique are officially locks for Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

- Classy of Conan to thank NBC in his close. His barbs in their direction were warranted but were also unprofessional so it was nice to see him go out in style.

- Saw the White Ribbon Thursday night after it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Suffice to say it was jaw-droppingly boring. I’d rather watch a tree grow or snails in a race. Even more stunning it’s gotten great reviews on the much-cherished Michael Haneke has shown some flair as a director (think of Cache) but sadly this early 20th century head scratcher is not one of them.

- Got together with ten of my old Score buddies to watch the finish of the Saints-Vikings game. Who dat, who dat gonna beat dem Saints? Poetic justice to see Brett Favre once again end an NFC Championship game with an interception. I’ll be cheering for New Orleans in the Super Bowl since I love jazz, Cajun cooking and would love to see that city uplifted after Hurricane Katrina.

- Have I lost my mind or is Ludacris on the new Justin Bieber song? God help us. Everyone.
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