Archive for March 6, 2017

Trade Deadline: the Cure for Insomnia

1210 for publication March 3, 2017

Ross Brewitt 

            The good news these days is Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole are returning to Canadian TV. Good for them, good for us.

I mean, after a couple of years, maybe three, they find out Fox Sports is, as usual, “going in a different direction.” Then comes a memo that could run along these lines, “… take the cardboard box of your personal crap, then follow the burly, stone-faced gentleman in the black suit. He will escort you two off the premises. Thanks for your time.”

Hey, that’s show business. Fortunately, when they last waved bye-bye to us in 2013, they had departed TSN on good terms, and stayed in touch. Therefore, when they were cut loose, it was not a startling surprise, and we surmised they could return to Toronto and take up where they left off. Also, when the time came for change they would be accorded a new-style show, with a new set and backdrops, where they would pretty much have their own way. Can you say Tim & Sid?

To save time and space JoDo, as I’ll refer to them as a pair forthwith, had a certain panache, and flair for the ridiculous, especially when chiding one another. Individually I always thought Onrait, at least for me, tried too hard to assume the leader’s role, while O’Toole had the sharpest wit, and delivered it with great timing and had the smarts to carefully pick his spots.

What will be interesting is seeing where the displaced talent will set up shop. For a long time Kate and Natasha ruled the roost in that late night-morning slot. Not anymore. Can’t say I’m unhappy.

Here’s something you don’t read every day. Terrence Ross, the shooting guard on the Raptors was the guy moved to Orlando in the trade for forward Serge Ibaka. Ross was a Raptor first round pick (8th) in 2012 out of Washington, and to get something you have to give something. Word is he was crushed by the trade having gone through the Raptor rise in the rankings and was looking forward to getting that playoff feeling going again.

But he checked his disappointment and like a professional, and arrived in Orlando with an open mind. But for this 26 year-old there was still something leftover, how he had come to feel about representing Toronto throughout the NBA. In a letter posted in the The Players Tribune, he wrote a moving “thank you, to the team, the city, and the country,” a piece you rarely see from an athlete.

To summarize, after admitting “it hurt” to be the man moving away, he explained that going to Toronto “was the journey of his adult life,” and “representing a whole country is easily the thing I underestimated the most.” He added experiencing in the “melting pot” of Toronto may see him “coming back to Toronto to live.”

It’s a story worth the read.

Also, if you managed to watch another NHL Trade-Deadline Day, a production entitled “Much Ado About Nothing,” based on a comedy written about 1600 by Bill Shakespeare, you can see why the sports broadcast media are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Cover it!

It was another groaner, a sleep-inducing torture test, miles of preparation for inches of copy and sound-bytes. For those who watched the Sportsnet feed, at least you were regaled by the commentary of unemployed Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Fortunately, he was available and willing to appear with the panel and toss off his take, complete with accent and misunderstanding of English on random hockey matters, both big and small:

On his time with the Flyers. “In Philly, win or lose, you’re still overpaid.”        How he introduced himself to first-time teammates. “My name is Ilya Bryzgalov. I’m your new leader. Let’s go.     ”

“Guys! A question! Is chicken meat? Or is it a bird?”

Whoever enlisted him for the entire day should received the thanks of an entire nation. He made another boring day, almost bearable.

Wisest Decision of Deadline Day? Leaf’s Lou Lamoriello standing pat. The plan is working.