Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Devil and Daniel Alfredsson


Throughout history, people have been suspected of evildoing when they experience either excessive misfortune or astoundingly unfounded success. Persistent misfortune was seen as a form of (deserved) divine punishment, and incredible luck was considered a sign of diabolic aid.

For some, the four-leaf clover was just a drinking man's pentagram.

Based on this understanding of evil doers, the Ottawa Senators are clearly guilty of devil worship. They have lost franchise stars (including Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, and Craig Anderson) to terrible bad luck, and yet they continue to win games and maintain a playoff spot.

In previous centuries, the Ottawa Senators would have found themselves chased out of Kanata by a mob brandishing pitchforks and torches. If I hadn’t moved out of town, I’d probably join them in banishing this team of obvious heretics. Nothing short of 24/7 rink surveillance will convince me that the Sens haven’t been using their faceoff zones at Scotiabank Place as necromantic summoning circles. 

I imagine that the Sens’ decision to partner with the underworld happened as follows. Following the Sens’ loss to the Penguins in the 2009-10 playoffs, Eugene Melnyk (like Satan from John Milton’s Paradise Lost) woke up in a lake of fire (in Melnyk’s case, his hot tub in Barbados) and assembled his diabolical council to discuss how to strike back at those who felled them with righteous fury.

After trading away Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, and others who refused to take part in their unholy pact (in a similar manner as Milton’s Satan expelled godly angels from his cohort prior to the war in heaven), the Sens completed an under-the-radar trade just before deadline day in 2011. There’s no longer any evidence of the transaction available online, so I posted a screen capture.




The proof of this devilish deal also appears on Daniel Alfredsson's face, which has grown increasingly frenzied since this deal took place.


Perhaps there's another reason for Ottawa's baffling success. I may end up having to admit (grudgingly) that Paul MacLean is (in the secular sense) one hell of a coach. But if a legion of devils show up to skate with the Stanley Cup this season as part of the Senators' managerial staff, just remember that I told you so.



Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Late-night anti-Leafs conspiracy theories

Is there a mistake with nhl.com list of of the three stars for the Leafs-Bruins game on  25 March 2013? The Leafs lost 3-2 in the shootout, but doesn't getting to that point in the game (even after giving up a two-goal lead) merit at least one star? In case the website has changed the stars, I'll post them below.



Normally this kind of oversight wouldn't bother me, but one of the three stars seems particularly odd. By the look of things, Chara played a solid if not exceptional game, so I won't quibble with his appearance on this list. However, Seguin seems to be listed here simply to remind Leafs fans (once again in case they the game's commentators didn't mention it enough in each of the games three periods and overtime) of that Phil Kessel trade whereby the Leafs acquired #81 and lost the opportunity to draft Seguin.

Seguin's main contribution to the game was scoring one but not the game-winning goal in the shootout. His -1 score on +/- doesn't seem deserving of game honours. So, is he being awarded for spirit or showing good character? Maybe he put partisanship aside and cheered for good hockey when the game was tied. Maybe he smeared moisturizer on the backside of his glove so that he could finish off giving Leafs exfoliating face washes by applying some soothing aloe vera cream.

Or maybe someone in charge of the website just wanted to keep obsessive Leafs fans up all night. Well, if so, mission accomplished.  

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ryanoko

Hearing that Ryan Hamilton would be playing with the Leafs today, I decided to check up on his AHL stats in unabashedly optimistic anticipation of a breakout performance at the ACC tonight. I was horrified to find that his name no longer appeared on the Marlies roster


Last seen leaving Ricoh Coliseum Thursday afternoon wearing a Leafs jersey. Presumed to be abducted by British Navy, Toronto FC, or New York Islanders.

Last year, the Marlies included game stats for players who had been called up to the Leafs, so the absence of Hamilton’s name from the roster suggests that Dallas Eakins has no idea of Hamilton’s current location and has directed the organization to assume the worst. I’ve heard that, in the AHL, if a missing player is not found in the first 48 hours, it’s assumed that he’s been pressed into naval service. Since Hamilton initially went missing on Thursday, Eakins probably figures he’s been captured by an avaricious English merchant, transported to a strange and distant land, and purchased as a slave by the New York Islanders.

Escape from (Buffalo) New York


Ryan Miller’s recent upbraiding of Patrick Kaleta is only the latest installment of his ongoing disparagement of teammates unfortunate enough to wear blue and gold this season. Based on these actions and his irate dejection following losses this season, it seems that Ryan Miller is desperate to get traded out of Buffalo. I could spend this blog criticizing Miller for being a poor teammate, but it would probably be more helpful I instead tried to facilitate the inevitable separation between the star goalie and his team. Here are three things Miller could do to guarantee himself a ticket out of Buffalo.

1. Hit the franchise where it hurts: One way to force a trade would be to make the costs of keeping a player too expensive. While Buffalo isn’t feeling a cap crunch right now, there are other ways that Miller could make himself an unbearable financial burden. He might consider selling groupons (redeemable for each remaining home game this season) that are phrased in such a way that will incur exorbitant losses for the Sabres. To make it obvious that he’s the one behind this economic espionage, #30 could design the groupons as deals in honour of himself: for instance, he could declare every remaining game a  “Rye and Miller” night in which patrons will get unlimited boilermakers comprising Miller High Life and Jim Beam.

2. Prank the team mercilessly: With access to most of the team’s facilities, it’d be easy for Miller to put Buffalo-wing sauce in his teammates gloves or send Dominic Hasek memorabilia and the team's mascot Sabretooth cascading over Niagara Falls. These options, however, don’t make it clear that Miller is the culprit. In order to give himself away without allowing himself to be caught, the disgruntled goaltender must leave clues connecting him to the pranks. Miller might, for instance, draw inspiration from his surname and suggest that a flood of biblical proportions is imminent and that the team should prepare by building an ark.  With some teammates missing both practices and games to build a vessel big enough to carry two men of each position, Miller can mar the performance of the rest by sneaking up and searing them with a red-hot poker. When Darcy Regier googles the incidents looking for clues, he’ll probably figure out that his starting netminder is to blame when he keeps getting hits for Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale.”

3. Pretend to be insane and drive the rest of the team crazy: If the first two suggestions seem too extreme and criminal, Miller pursue a legal but nonetheless annoying recourse. He could convince his teammates that he’s a deranged fan boy by calling the crease “Miller-dor” and then chastising Christian Ehrhoff et al. whenever they allow someone simply to walk into “Miller-dor.” Furthermore, he could insist upon referring to First Niagara Center as “One Rink to Rule Them All” and address backup goalie Jhonas Enroth as Elrond. He could also use this tactic to boost his own legend. After all, no one on his team would mind if he quoted Fellowship of the Ring when pulling off a save like this:

"You shall not pass!!!"

Following any of these suggestions would definitely make Miller the focal point of the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, but he'd probably have to give up his goalie pads for a padded cell shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

5 Things I've Learned from NHL Centre Ice

In Renaissance England, civic pageants were used to create a sense of community and communal identity among inhabitants of a city. As historical documents, they offer a glimpse into how communities saw themselves and wanted themselves to be seen by others. Today, a close equivalent of such entertainment might be the regional NHL broadcast. I'll leave it to readers to determine what exactly we might glean from observations made while watching a number of broadcasts from different regions.

1. Fox Sports Southwest: this network covers NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, NCAA, and probably other sports leagues that I've never even heard about. Their broadcast is most noteworthy for crimes against humanity. 

FSS has corralled a stable of itinerant groupies: women paid to be fan girls of various regional sports teams. While on location, they wear apparel for various regional teams and do adorably girly things like trying to play man sports while maintaining optimal levels of cleavage, being woefully inept at basic tasks, bizarrely overdressing for sporting events, and, of course, firing guns. They may also dabble in prostitution as the website offers fans a chance to interact with them via email. If that doesn’t seem sketchy enough, their next scheduled public appearance is “near the flagpole outside Dallas Hall.” Take THAT, feminism.

2. To offer a different side of the Fox Sports conglomerate, you only need to look westward to Fox Sports Arizona. For every commercial that objectifies women on FSS, there's an ad that lionizes Shane Doan on FSA. If the amount of time in which Doan appears in commercials were added to his TOI, he would be the first player in NHL history to register playing 2 hours per game. I'm not sure if the network pushes Doan to tape his comments on how players should treat the people handing them towels, or if Doan himself insists on controlling the state's airwaves. I'm tempted to say it's the latter based on this ad in which Doan takes deaths related to tobacco consumption personally on a megalomaniacal level: apparently Phoenix is unable to sell out its area and ensure the team's survival in the desert because of smokers.

3. Leafs TV: I should probably feel guilty for shamelessly enjoying the over-the-top glorification of past and present Leafs teams in the opening montage of Leafs TV broadcasts. But, as a fan, I rarely feel anything resembling joy regarding this team, so maybe I should be excused for savoring the high that this spectacular intro offers. My only complaint is that the network offers a poor follow-up (i.e. a Leafs game that typically ends either in a white-knuckled victory or a lopsided loss) to the magnificent pregame pageantry. 

4. Altitude Sports and Entertainment: home of the Colorado Avalanche, this network is perhaps the most idiosyncratic among those carrying NHL teams. That's not due to regional quirks (like broadcasts from Bahston that feature delightful calls like when Mahchand boahds a guy with fah minutes left in the thehrd), but the fact that commentators seem to have no grasp of reality. 

The Avalanche is a mediocre team in the opinion of most everyone outside of this station. Perhaps broadcast from a dystopian future, commentators talk up Avs players as though Big Brother were indeed watching them closely. One commentator in particular seems to think that Matt Duchene is the greatest specimen of human athleticism ever. Don't get me wrong: Matt Duchene is good, but he's not (contrary to ASE's portrayal of him) a divine scourge sent to castigate Western Conference teams like a Marlovian conqueror such as Tamburlaine the Great. Of course, commentators try to give other sides of Duchene--indeed, they try to give every side of him. The discussion of minute details of Duchene's every motion suggests that the commentators are narrating a David Attenborough documentary on #9 in his natural habitat. 

5. Fox Sports Tennessee: I'd like to end this blog with an endorsement. If anyone unfamiliar with hockey wants to learn the basics, he or she should watch Nashville Predators games on FST. The commentators offered detailed explanations (repeatedly throughout each game) of the fundamental rules of "ice hockey" (e.g. face offs, where players go during line changes, and why bad things like icing happen to good teams). The most furiously flowing moments of commentary happen not when there is a scrum in front of a net while the puck is loose but when the game requires overtime. 

Most commentators assume their audience is generally familiar with the rules, but the FST team feels that viewers will lose confidence in them if what they've learned from them about regulation play seems inconsistent with overtime rules. As a result, the dialogue becomes almost stream-of-consciousness as commentators desperately reassure their audience that what they said about the game before remains true except in the bizarro world that is the OT period. Rarely do they manage to make a full account of themselves and reconcile their past and present teachings in the five minutes or less before that section of the game ends.       

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Geek Tragedy, or, The Swede Hereafter


Oswald: What dost thou know me for?

Kent: A knave; a rascal . . . a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, financial rogue; one-trunk inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into a clamorous whining, if thou deny the least syllable of they addition.

(King Lear 2.2.12-21) 

Full disclosure: I’m a Leafs fan, but I’m not writing this to knock the Sens.

Fuller disclosure: I lived in Ottawa for years and attended a number of Sens games.

Fullest disclosure: The only decent type of beer at Scotiabank Place is Rickard’s Red, and it’s hard to find.

From TSN to SportsNet and in numerous hockey blogs, there is overwhelming support for the trade of Alfredsson to a cup contender. I haven’t heard any Sens fans calling for a trade, but I can only imagine that they virulently (and rightly) oppose such a disastrous decision.

Alfredsson simply means too much to the franchise and the community to be traded. Sure, another player could step up and be the face of the franchise (although I haven’t heard anyone cheer “Spezza,” “Michalek,” or “Phillips” when the game clock ticks down to their corresponding numbers.) But it would be best for Alfie to retire as a Senator rather than request a trade or be shipped out for pragmatic purposes.

Why? Because the passion of Ottawa fans that makes them (excessively, I might snark) adore Alfredsson will make them hate him even more if he plays for another team. Don’t believe me? Well, here’s some anecdotal evidence in support of my claim. I used to see a decent number of Sens games when I lived in Ottawa, but I can only recall one time in which the organization used a commercial break to honour their top scorers on the big screen. The response was highly surprising.

10. Chris Phillips, cheered. 9. Shawn McEachern, reticent applause. 8. Mike Fisher, loudly booed. 7. Dany Heatley, savagely booed. 6. Marian Hossa, slightly-less savagely booed. 5. Radek Bonk, mildly applauded. 4. Wade Redden, mockingly cheered. 3. Alexei Yashin, hatefully booed and jeered. 2. Jason Spezza, enthusiastically cheered. 1. Daneil Alfredsson, NSFW levels of adoring cheers—possibly the same frenzied jubilation that Orpheus heard before he was torn apart by groupies.

"Alfie! Alfie! Alfie! Alfie! Alfie!"

Ottawa fans apparently hate players who did well for them and then left the organization. Mats Sundin created a lot of controversy during his last days as a Leaf, but he still received a standing ovation when he returned to the ACC as a Canuck. Upon returning to Scotiabank Place as a Penguin or Bruin (or whatever else the rumour mill would have him), Alfredsson would probably be torn apart just like Pentheus when he put a damper on a rowdy Bacchanalia.  

Apparently it's not a REAL toga party unless someone loses limbs.

Trading Alfie could mortally wound the spirit of Sens fans and the franchise itself. Without Alfie, I’m not sure many fans would endure the long bus ride to and from Kanata to watch the team. Alfredsson’s performance in Ottawa’s rink and in the community in general has endeared him to people so much that Ottawans probably believe that he could turn the water in the Rideau Canal into Lingonberry wine. If the organization trades him, he won’t even be able to show his face in any of the 3,000 Royal Oaks in the city (maybe not even the one in Kanata). It would be better to let the cornerstone player retire as a Senator and continue working in the organization at some level (I’d suggest having him replace Denis Potvin as the colour commentator for Sportsnet Sens) rather than pursue a trade that would damage Alfie’s enviable reputation and perhaps undermine the very foundation of Ottawa’s franchise. 

For another perspective on this topic, check out Michael Langois’ excellent post.  

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Agony and the More Agony


Kent: Is this the promised end?
Edgar: Or image of that horror?
(King Lear 5.3.262-3)

The Leafs, as Michael Langlois has pointed out, veered into their first true losing streak of the season following Tuesday’s loss to the Jets. Most fans would see a rough skid like this as inevitable for any team and, therefore, no reason to panic. Leafs fans (at least those like myself) cannot dismiss the fear that this rough patch will turn into a path of scorched earth that will lead this team to another top five draft pick.
Last season’s dismal end for the Leafs prevents fans from feeling any confidence in the team. A one-goal deficit seems insurmountable and a three-goal lead appears precarious. If the Leafs tank again and miss the playoffs this year, Leafs fans will likely never believe that the team has a chance to win a game again. Even 6-0 beat downs like the one against the Habs last month will be written off as a fluke or a league-wide conspiracy to get the fans’ hopes high again before plunging them into the abyss that is hockey-less Toronto in May.

That bleak vision is likely the eagerly anticipated future for at least one hockey insider. The NHL scheduler, knowing the Leafs tend to tank for half of any season, must have had a restless night in which he woke up frequently in fits of laughter after arranging for the Leafs to play the first of their last 24 games in the 2013 season against the Bruins. Coincidences are rarely so poignant and malicious.

Ultimately, it’s the team itself that torments the fans by releasing hope from Pandora’s box before shaking out all the terrors of the earth upon them. This team has been consistently maintained a spot in the lower half of the Eastern Conference’s top eight over the short season. There hasn’t been any of that ridiculousness like last year when they led their division and even the league for a brief time. No, these Leafs practice better decorum—winning and losing games in a way that makes them look capable but not arrogant, which raises reasonable expectations in fans without setting them up for a huge embarrassment in the long run.

  Last year's team flew their 18-wheeler too close to the sun, causing the maple syrup holding everything together to melt.

Some will read this gloomy blog as a hysterical response to a mild hitch in the team’s current performance, and those readers are right to some extent. Nevertheless, I’m forecasting the Leafs’ continued losses and likely failure to make the playoffs for two reasons. First, if it happens, I want to be able to point to this post as proof that I saw it coming so that other fans can’t claim that my pessimism toward the team was pieced together from hindsight and that I was as uncritically enthusiastic about the Leafs’ early fortunes as everyone else. If I’m wrong, I will be too busy watching Leafs playoffs games to be bothered by being wrong.

Second, another spectacular failure like last year might be a mortal wound to the Leafs fan base. This year, I’ve noticed that fans have watched games with apprehension. If the Leafs tank again this year, apprehension might turn to incredulity toward the team’s ability to win. If they again frustrate whatever meagre expectations can be raised, then fans might just resort to apathy as a defence mechanism that blocks them both from experiencing any disappointment but also joy associated with the team’s performance. Apathy is particularly dangerous for a sports team as it resists both future injury and future remedy (renewed enthusiasm for the team). If these events coincide with an expansion team moving into the GTA, then the Leafs might find themselves both fanless and winless.  

Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis try to temper expectations by continually insisting that they have no expectations for this team as it continues to rebuild, but the team’s performance halfway through the season is stoking expectations nonetheless. Maybe the fans should (like moths with singed wings) blame themselves for being drawn into the alluring flickers of hope that the current Leafs roster has glanced on the future. Regardless of what expectations should be and who’s to blame for disappointment, no team in the league (except perhaps the Jets for fear of their fanbase evaporating) needs to make the playoffs for the sake of just ‘cause more so than the Leafs. Even if they get swept, breaking the playoff drought and giving fans something to point to as a marker of improvement will show that this team has begun (however the slight the angle might be) to turn a corner.



How Nazem Kadri is a lot like Eddie Murphy. No, really.


Recently, Steve Dangle asked if Ron Wilson was an idiot for not using Kadri during his tenure or if Randy Carlyle is a genius for realizing that the young player had great potential. Here's video evidence of this claim!

Like other people, I enjoy reading attempts to answer questions like these, but I think we all can agree that there’s no way to resolve this debate conclusively. In all likelihood, keeping Kadri in the AHL under Dallas Eakins’ tutelage may have been a catalyst for the centre’s success just as much as not allowing him in the NHL may have delayed his progress. Dangle asked this question following Kadri’s first professional hat trick; he hadn’t scored one since playing with the London Knights, so the extra AHL conditioning certainly didn’t give us a clear forecast of #43’s recent offensive downpour.

What I think we can discuss is the perception of Ron Wilson who, in my opinion, is the hockey equivalent of Jean Doumanian. She the producer who took over SNL following the departure of the original “Not Ready for Prime-Time Players” and Lorne Michaels. (I promise that this is the last hockey/SNL blog in a while but not the last forever since I’m not giving up on the campaign to get an NHLer to host again.)
Her brief (not quite full-season) tenure at SNL was fraught with problems, and the show was tanking as badly as the Leafs during the second half of the 2011-12 season. Like Wilson, she had a resource available to her that she didn’t use, one that her colleagues urged her to utilize (perhaps not with as much ferocity as Don Cherry urged Wilson).

Despite free-falling ratings, Doumanian refused to let Eddie Murphy (then an inexperienced teenaged actor) perform in a significant capacity. Instead, he was relegated mostly to non-speaking, extra-type roles, which we might consider the SNL equivalent of Kadri’s usage under Wilson—as a call up when a roster player was unable to play. 

Doumanian kept him off the show because she felt the young actor wasn’t mature enough to handle the pressure and responsibility of being on the show (sound familiar?). Murphy used his spare time as an underused cast member to wander around NBC offices and test his material with anyone willing to listen to him; he quickly became a popular person in the offices as he sent everyone into laughing fits. In a similar manner, Kadri became an AHL all-star while awaiting his chance to stick with the big club—one that wouldn’t happen (coincidentally or not) until after the Wilson era. In perhaps the same way, Doumanian’s replacement immediately made Murphy part of the main cast where he thrived in the spotlight and quickly developed into a cornerstone performer.

It’s too early to tell if Kadri will have great success as a Leaf. Regardless of how he plays over his NHL career, it seems certain that the usage of Kadri will be a black mark on Wilson’s reputation. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Where's the NHL on SNL?


For my first post, I’d like to reflect on two things that I enjoy watching on a regular basis: Hockey Night in Canada and Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, these two programs usually conflict for my attention as the late HNIC game airs at the same time as SNL. This impasse perhaps explains why I’ve never seen an NHL player host SNL.

In SNL’s history, a total of 35 athletes have hosted. Given America’s greater enthusiasm for football and baseball, I’m not surprised to see that there have been 11 hosts associated with football and 5 associated with baseball (though counting Deon Sanders in the latter category might cause some controversy). Still, hockey players (who have only been represented by Wayne Gretzky’s single hosting gig in 1989) have been outperformed by professional wrestlers (4 hosts with seven appearances thanks to The Rock’s hosting hat trick), Olympians in general (3 hosts) and tennis players (2 hosts). This dearth of NHL hosts is surprising given their knack for acting—Brad Marchand, anyone?
   
In order to address hockey’s underrepresentation on SNL, I’ve made suggestions for three potential hosts below.

Let’s be honest. We rarely get an athlete who can be as funny as Peyton Manning in the United Way commercial parody or The Rock in the Nicotrel skit. With that in mind, it would be at least more entertaining to get someone who will keep us on edge with what might go wrong at any minute during a sketch.

Hosts that would appeal to New Yorkers

1. If the Rangers win the cup this year, my bet is that either Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Richards would host the following season. Both Rangers fill the stereotypes of the athlete host (a good smile and bland good looks), but Richards also speaks English with greater fluency than Lundqvist. Given that advantage, Richards is probably the safest bet to give an uneventful but pleasant performance.

2. Henrik Lundqvist: My hopes of having another NHL host rose when Lundqvist made a brief surprise appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon right after the 2012-13 work stoppage ended. He and his jam band (with John Mcenroe on guitar) might be better suited to appearing as a surprise musical guest on SNL, but if Lundqvist did get asked to host, he’d at least give some stellar pictures for the still images that bookend commercial breaks. His ability to pose for extended periods of time would also translate into a decent performance as one of the murderous animatronic Merryville Brothers in the amusement park sketches.

3. Martin Brodeur: Over the last few seasons, SNL has shown an interest in joking about New Jersey, and Brodeur would be the best NHLer to deliver some of those jokes tongue-in-cheek.  Maybe he couldn’t carry a full episode, but I bet his commitment to saving poor plays will translate to live television. Plus he could potentially scorpion kick a joke that falls flat.  

Hosts with Star Power

1. Sidney Crosby: He’s an undeniable star who has some acting experience (his Seinfeld pastiche was certainly amusing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp1DMQ-x33k). SNL could pick him as host for the same reason that they picked Gretzky: Crosby is arguably the best player in the NHL and will definitely attract an audience. Maybe he could parody his Dempster’s commercials (concussed by toast?).

2. Alex Ovechkin: While he may not be notching up points on the score sheet every night like he used to do, Ovi undeniably has star power. Like Crosby, Ovechkin has a lot of on-camera experience through advertising. Unlike Crosby, Ovechkin’s commercials tend to be (intentionally) funnier. And Ovechkin can deadpan as well as Walken. Maybe SNL could reboot a Christopher Walken character and cast Ovechkin as the Kontinental (Hockey League player).

Generally Entertaining/Unpredictable Hosts

1. Ilya Bryzgalov: His monologue would likely be the most unpredictable moment in SNL history. Even if he sticks to the script for that portion, there’s no telling if he’ll stray from the cue cards and adlib something that would strain the improvisational abilities of the cast. Potential sketch: Bryzgalov hosts a Brian Fellows-like nature show in which he offers Harry Carey-like non sequiturs on Russian animals (so he basically elaborates on his contributions to NHL 24/7).

2. Tim Thomas: The most available of the players mentioned, Thomas might be the best host to feature in an SNL 24/7. The Monday meeting with the cast and host might be particularly interesting. Okay, to be honest, I’m making this suggestion to pay back NBC for firing Norm Macdonald.

3. Don Cherry: I can face the fact that none of the suggestions in this third section of my list will make it on the air. But Grapes on SNL would be amazing. I’d watch this episode even if it were just a 90 minute Weekend Update segment in which Cherry commented on current events and tried to out-drunk drunk-uncle or traded tirades with the girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party. Which, let’s face it, is pretty much every Coach’s Corner. Bonus cameo: in a parody of Coach’s Corner have Ron play Don and vice versa; it’d be funnier than that time Mick Jagger played Keith Richards.