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Virk Looks At The Monster's First Win

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

If Jonas Gustavsson can keep putting together 25 save performances like Monday night in Anaheim, there’s going to be a rush on monster truck sales in the GTA. That stupendous save in the first with his pad energized the club and finally, the special teams started clicking.

Five point game for Kaberle, four for Stempniak, hat trick for Hagman-talk about breaking out in bunches. A tip of the hat to the Ducks for their undisciplined play which clearly benefitted the boys in Blue and White. Sometimes, the hardest win of the season is the first one and while the club is by no means over the hump, the 26 day nightmare is vanquished.


I had the pleasure of stuffing my face on Sunday night at Maro while the Raptors served as celebrity waitstaff with proceeds from an auction benefitting MLSE’s Team Up Foundation.

Chemistry is such an issue for this club with nine new faces from the end of last season but I have to say, there seems to be a lot of camaraderie. Prior to the event starting, I was downstairs with the team and the light ribbing that characterizes all successful clubs was in full effect, with Hedo being one of the prime jokesters.

Turk is enjoying living in Yorkville, particularly the fine steakhouses, but on this night was in charge of doling out salmon and veggies with coach Jay Triano. As for Jay, he said his mother told him prior to seeing the special on him that aired on Raptors NBA TV, “If I see any dust on those trophies, you’re dead!”


Yes, that was a terrible way to end the season at the Meadowlands, which contributed to interim head coach Chris Cummins parting ways with the club. But let’s bury that loss with Jimmy Hoffa somewhere in New Jersey.

The Reds have a bona fide star in Dwayne De Rosario, picked up another stud in Julian de Guzman and Mo Johnston has drafted well with the likes of Sam Cronin and Stefan Frei. Now, this club needs a staunch centre back and a premier striker, and the playoffs, which the club was on the precipice of this season, will become a reality.


- Comic great John Cleese is 70 today. A friend of mine saw him perform at Just for Laughs this summer in Toronto and said his bit on his ex-wife was hilarious, molten fury. He also performed with a jacket and tie but no shirt. Ah those goofy Brits. Let’s all do a silly walk in honour of Cleese whose turn as Archie in A Fish Called Wanda still has me in stitches.

- Saw the Damned United, the new film starring Michael Sheen as soccer coach Brian Clough who lasted only 44 days as the manager of Leeds United before being axed. At times, it felt like episodic British television but Sheen turns in another of his sterling roles playing real-life Brits (Tony Blair in the Queen, David Frost in the brilliant Frost-Nixon).

He’s working with the same screenwriter Peter Morgan, adapted from a novel of the same name and although it helps to have some familiarity with that era of English soccer, it’s by no means a prerequisite. Clough’s downfall was his arrogance but as the movie makes clear, he was successful both prior to and after his infamous run with Leeds so clearly he was not a one-trick pony.

- A fine turn from Seinfeld on this week’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’d love to be a fly on the wall just to listen to him and Larry in all their neurotic glory. Bare midriffs will never be the same.

- For fans of Mad Men, check out January Jones on this month’s cover of GQ. Betty Draper over to the wild side.

- I like the Yankees in 6 over the Phillies. Superior starting pitching, and the best pitcher in postseason history in Mariano Rivera. A-Rod has been a monster and Melky Cabrera has picked up the slack for the likes of Hideki Matsui. But the Phillies outfield is appreciably stronger and their offence is fearsome. Will be surprising if there’s not at least a couple of homers in every game. Can’t find more rabid fans than in New York and Philly. Cheesecake versus cheesesteaks!

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