Big Bert's rehabilitation continues . . . and other gems

 

Very quietly, the Flames slipped the assistant captain's 'A' on Todd Bertuzzi's jersey this week.

 
 
 

Very quietly, the Flames slipped the assistant captain's 'A' on Todd Bertuzzi's jersey this week.

According to the Flames, no final decision on whether he keeps it will be made until the final days of camp. (Management, not the players, decide the captains).

Robyn Regehr wears one 'A,' while the club will probably decide between Bert and Dion Phaneuf for the second 'A,' worn last year by Rhett Warrener.

While Bert-as-leader may amuse some players in Anaheim, Detroit and Florida, the gesture fits with the Flames' rehab program for the controversial winger. Bertuzzi had a decent first week in the preseason, and that was enough for many in the 'Dome to cheer their former villain, which should surprise no one who knows the hockey culture. (Remember, folks, Todd is the victim in all of this.)

The litmus test, say those familiar with Bertuzzi, will come if/when his ice time is cut.

Young, Restless

A few years back the Flames worked the slogan Young Guns. Unfortunately, the Flames' ordinance fizzled back then. But the play of Dustin Boyd, David Moss and Mike Cammalleri so far is hinting that maybe there might be a few more bullets in the gun this season. With openings in the top six forwards now that Alex Tanguay and Kristian Huselius are gone, getting scoring depth is crucial to Mike Keenan.

Cammalleri is in a contract year, so you know he'll be motivated -- especially if paired with Jarome Iginla. Then there's Mikael Backlund, the 19-year-old prospect who got a bracing whiff of Keenan's affections this week. The No. 1 pick in 2007 went from first line to fourth line to lining the bench Friday. Something to do with the other end of the rink, we hear. But it's also a tough-love exercise to see if the Swede is "tough" enough for the Sutterite colony. Prediction: Backlund boards the big bird back to Ikea land any day now.

Tikhed Off

Based on his early performance with Phoenix, Viktor Tikhonov may leave many teams with some 'splaining to do after he slipped to 28th in the draft. According to Wayne Gretzky, the grandson of the legendary Soviet coach is the real deal. Despite the fact Viktor was raised in the U.S., some teams passed on Tikhonov, believing he was a Russian who'd need time to get used to North America. Duh. Tikhonov could be one of four rookies starting the season for the cash-strapped Coyotes.

Point Shots

You think your RRSP had a bad week? RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie -- Gary Bettman's best buddy -- lost over a billion dollars on paper this week as his stock dropped by $28.43 a share. A billion here, a billion there. Could add up to serious money one of these days. . . . The best thing about Paul Newman's portrayal of Reggie Dunlop in Slap Shot is that so many in the hockey world didn't understand that it was a satire, not a documentary . . . RIP Jack Falla. The former Sports Illustrated writer passed away this week at age 64. His book Home Ice was a classic . . . IDLM says if Bertuzzi has a job then Martin Gelinas should have a spot in the NHL, too. . . . Lots of tears around the NHL for Ducks GM Brian Burke, who's been pancaked by the salary cap. Not. The Genius was forced to deal Mathieu Schneider this week for a ball of twine after getting caught over the cap when he wanted to sign Teemu Selanne.

D for Drama

Once more, the 9-4 Stamps were bailed out by play on one side of the ball. Did IDLM say it was the defence again bailing out the offence, which stalled in the first half in Toronto? Who'd have seen that when the season started? Co-ordinator Chris Jones was without Mike Labinjo and Wes Lysack, both key pieces, yet still gave the offence enough chances to jell. After squashing a few patsies in a row, the Stamps get a reality check now with back-to-backers against Saskatchewan. IDLM hears the watermelon crop was left in the field.

Singh Song

Riddle me this, Batman. Camilo Villegas, the winner of the PGA Tour Championship, doesn't win the biggest cheque on the day? Vijay Singh, the guy who finished 16 strokes behind, does? Why does IDLM think that the FedEx Cup system was designed by the same guys who thought up the subprime mortgage system?

Dan Like Dinner

So how cool was it to hear Dan Federkeil of the Colts say, "University of Calgary" on the Sunday night NFL game on NBC? Almost as cool as the Dinos gassing UBC on Saturday. Stamps in the Grey Cup and Dinos in the Vanier Cup? Be still our restless heart.

Take Me Out of the Ball Game

New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon was feeling nostalgic about the closing of Shea Stadium. So he interviewed famous fans and legendary employees during Thursday night's game at the park, which opened in 1964. While interviewing beer pourer Seth Miller he was apprehended by security; interviews with fans and employees are forbidden. His credentials were pulled, and he was escorted out of the park. Kilgannon's revenge: the Mets gagged at home to miss the playoffs. Film that, Ken Burns.

dowbboy@shaw.ca

 
 
 
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Who will be the NHL's worst?
 
Sabres, easily
Hurricanes
Some other team
Don't know, but would love for my team to get McDavid!