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Sunday, January 29, 2006 

The Birdman Commeth

Plot Summary

It's 2006 and the patron's of 'The Last Chance Saloon' have gathered for their evening of methamphetamines and LSD to contemplate their lost faith and dreams, when David Stern (played by Lee Marvin) arrives. Stern is out to convince everyone that he can help them all find peace of mind by ridding them of the foolish dreams and by bringing them back to reality. Stern is working especially hard on Chris Anderson (Robert Ryan) a former anarchist who has lost his will for life and is awaiting the eventuality of death. The Birdman is not affected by the cajolings of Stern, but his young companion Chris Paul (Jeff Bridges) is strangely affected and this leads to revelations about his own mother and feelings of betrayal and loss. As the night wears on the mood changes as everyone has the their faith and dreams slowly destroyed by Stern. As the anger builds everyone turns on Stern about his wife and the Birdman. This leads to more revelations and with Stern having the faint questioning of his own new found convictions.

I know, the movie plot sounds unrealistic. There is no way that Stern would ever question himself. But it's the best I could do. I'm sure most of my readers are of the younger set and won't get the description anyway, so let us all just move on. The reference is, of course, to Chris Anderson's banishment from the NBA. The rules state that a player only can be disqualified for a fourth positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, or a first positive test for drugs of abuse. The list of such substances is as follows:

Amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, PCP and opiates, including heroin, codeine and morphine.

So, basically if you are caught taking performance enhancing drugs, which have a direct effect on playing Basketball, that isn't worthy of a banishment until you are caught 4 times. But if you've been caught taking morphine, something that would not positively affect your game, you are done on the first offense. Does anyone else have a problem with this system? Shouldn't it be steroids that are frowned on the most by a professional sports league? The crackheads that I see on the street can barely walk in a straight line once, even if you give them all day to try. I'm pretty sure that if a professional athlete in the modern environment had a real drug problem, they would weed themselves out of the league. But if they blatantly try to cheat and put themselves at an advantage, they get a few slaps on the wrist until they screw up more times than even a 3 strikes and your out rule would allow.

I'm sure that the Birdman was merely at a party and unwisely decided to take illicit drugs with some friends. Anyone that saw his antics in the last Slam Dunk contest, however, could easily argue that this is a man who has had drug problems for a long time. In either case, I in no way at all condone such actions, and in fact I think that drug crimes should all bring higher sentences than they currently do. But to be caught by a random drug test after what might have been a one time mistake and be forced to lose your career, when someone who blatantly cheats, and has with regularity for a long time isn't nearly punished as harshly just isn't right. Not even slightly. There needs to be, at the very least, equal treatment of the two offenses. In fact, if the player does have a drug problem, he should be helped, not punished. A temporary suspension that comes with mandatory rehab would be a much better punishment than banishment. What better way to make someone in danger turn more to drugs than by taking his life away from him. Someone in the Players Association was not taking the good of their own members into account when they agreed to these conditions. This system is tragically flawed all around, and needs to be properly assessed.

The end result is that there are no more mullets in the NBA, and we won't get to see the Birdman in any more dunk contests from now on. I don't think that we shouldn all be punished for these actions in such an extreme manner. I for one have already lost some interest in the dunk contest this year. Interest in seeing just how many tosses Anderson can miss this year before dying of embarrassment. I already had my money on 17. Maybe Half-a Man Araujo can take his place this year, if we're so lucky. It's about time that he'd be good for something.

Les Habitants vs. Les Dommages

Two struggling teams faced off in Montreal Saturday night, as the Leafs were in town to face the Canadiens. The good news for the hapless Canadian teams was that the game went to overtime, so they each were guaranteed a point. The bad news for Toronto fans is that the Habs won the other point in overtime, allowing them to catch the Leafs and Thrashers for a 3-way tie in the battle for the 8th and final playoff spot. The other bad news is that without McCabe the Leafs have now dropped 8 straight games for the first time since 1996. Anyone who remembers the first 3 seasons following the lockout, known as the Nick Beverly/Mike Murphy years, knows that these are the last years in post 80's Leafs history with which they want to be associated. So, what are the highest bids for Sundin, Tucker and Belfour anyway?

Groin Watch

Groin injuries are out of hand in the NHL. Someone really needs to figure out what is going on. Was it just that groin injuries were listed as leg or lwer body injuries in the past out of childish embarrassment, or has there really been a drastic increase in this injury this season? It seems that injuries sometimes come in bunches. I remember a few years ago when concussions were being discussed as a big problem in the NHL, and it seemed every week someone got one. Since then, they are occuring much less often. Maybe this is just the year of the groin. It's just too bad that it's not as good as it sounds. Here is a listing of the 12 players who were affected by groin injuries in the past week:

Ed Jovanovski: January 27, day-to-day, Groin, may reuturn next week
Bryan McCabe: January 24, IR, Groin, 1-2 more weeks
Evgeni Nabokov: January 22, Groin, returned to action
Dave Scatchard: January 28, day-to-day, Groin, may play next game
Joni Pitkanen: January 27, day-to-day, Groin, may return next game
Peter Forsberg: January 27, day-to-day, out 1-2 weeks
Chris Higgins: January 27, Groin, returned to action
Sheldon Souray: January 28, Groin, returned to action
Eric Belanger: January 28, day-to-day, Groin, may reutrn next game
Brian Leetch: January 38, Groin, returned to action
Peter Bondra: January 24, Groin, returned to action after missing 22 games
Markus Naslund: January 28, day-to-day, Groin, out 2-3 games

I entirely agree with your comment concerning the stupidity of the current drug rules ("The Birdman Commeth").
I also endorse dumping the name "Mighty Ducks"...but leave those "Maple Leafs" alone.
PS - Since so many Canadians follow hockey teams in the US....lets call them the "California Snowbirds" eh ?

i know this is completely off topic, but i had to point it out. the penguins lost 7-1 last night, but yet somehow gonchar ended the night with a +/- of 0. how is that possible?!? my first thought was that he must have only played for a couple minutes and then went down with an injury, but no, he played 19:03 of the game. i think that just might be his greatest accomplishment this season!!

I'd like to see Dauber in the dunk contest

i wish someone woud watch my groin

gonchar must not get much time on the PK.

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