Happy Easter to everyone. Well, except that moron in St. Paul that forced someone to remove the Easter bunny from City Hall because it's allegedly a religious symbol.
I-Perfection is not Curt Hennig's son. Full credit to the Florida fans who run Every Day Should Be Saturday. They found this guy, who used to play football for Georgia Tech. Even better than I-Perfection? His brother. I-Supreme. You can't make this stuff up. Nice work, Orson and company. I'm still laughing.
The Duke scandal takes another turn. A tape released yesterday indicates that police tabbed the alleged victim as "passed-out drunk" after the Duke lacrosse party in mid-March. Meanwhile, the stubborn district attorney, who is up for re-election on May 2, is still pursuing the case, and there are reports that charges could be filed as soon as Monday. I wonder if Duke President Richard Brodhead has any regret over cancelling the team's season before the DNA results were released, a move that came after the team captains offered to suspend the season until those results were announced. Unless something happened that hasn't shown up in the physical evidence, Brodhead should resign. There's nothing like pre-judging your own students and failing to allow the judicial process to carry itself out before acting on accusations. Brutal.
Finishing off the NHL season. The playoffs start next weekend, and the Vancouver Canucks won't be involved. I can't overstate how happy this makes me. Such justice for an organization that has coddled one of the most notorious thugs in the history of the sport after one of the worst hits in the history of the sport. Even though Brian Burke, one of the biggest Bertuzzi apologists alive, has left the organization, they still treat Bertuzzi with kid gloves. Oh, and their goaltending still sucks. That might also be a minor reason why the Canucks are out. The eight in the West are set, though the order may still change. Right now, the Red Wings would play Edmonton in the first round, while Dallas takes on Colorado, Calgary plays San Jose, and Nashville draws Anaheim. Those four series should all be very good. In the East, the current bracket shows Ottawa taking on defending Cup champion Tampa Bay, Carolina vs. Montreal, the New York Rangers vs. New Jersey, and Buffalo against Philadelphia. The intrigue in the East is whether or not teams like Carolina and the Rangers can keep up their season-long momentum and continue to surprise. The Rangers may have to do it against a playoff-tested team like Jersey or Philly, while Carolina will have to show that their speed and skill can survive what is normally a league-wide backoff on the enforcement of obstruction rules. No matter what happens, it will be nice to see the Stanley Cup actually awarded again this year. It'd be even better if the league allows teams to actually play the game, instead of the muck-it-up style that usually prevails in the postseason.
Scoring is up big-time this season. With one or two games left for most teams in 2005-2006, there are four players currently with 100 points or more points (four others are within three points of 100). Four players have 50 or more goals, with Dany Heatley of Ottawa at 48 goals with two games left. 40 players have 30 or more goals, with 15 more sitting at 28 or 29.
In 2003-2004, the final season before the lockout, only Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay scored more than 90 points (94). Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk tied for the NHL lead with 41 goals. 18 players scored 30 or more goals.
If that doesn't show you that the NHL made some good moves to clean up and jazz up the game after the lockout, I don't know what will. But you can still call me a skeptic, because I will believe that the obstruction-laced game will return in the playoffs. I hope I'm wrong, even though I'll be watching either way.
The feds are after Bonds. It's not a real shock, though the timing is strange. I wonder what the federal government thinks they'll find. If you haven't heard, Barry Bonds is now reportedly being investigated for possible perjury charges that date back to his December 2003 grand jury testimony in the BALCO case. Bonds could be charged with a felony if the feds find anything, but you should keep in mind that they have to prove not only that Bonds lied, but that he knew he was lying and lied intentionally. Proving that means proving that Bonds knew that he was taking steroids (he said he never knowingly took steroids), and that's a pretty steep hill to climb for any prosecutor.
DECC update. The Minnesota House passed their version of the state bonding bill in a vote on Wednesday. Because their near-$1 billion bill is vastly different than the one passed by the Senate, the two branches of the Minnesota Legislature must now get together in a conference committee and reconcile the two bills. Even though the DECC project was only granted $3 million in the House bill and nothing at all in the Senate bill, it's not dead yet. The DECC project was fully funded in Governor Pawlenty's proposal, and he has been an outspoken supporter of the project. House Repulicans have also voiced support, led by Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum. And even though our DFL representation has been largely silent publicly, I still have (blind?) faith that they will fight the good fight to make this project happen. If they don't, we have to make sure they are heard from, both now and at election time. We won't, because one of my fish could run on the DFL ticket and win in this area. But we should.