Sunday morning homily XXI

When you're watching the playoffs this week, pay special attention to a specific metamorphosis that's taking place among the players. No, they're not getting taller. And they're not getting any heavier either. What I'm talking about is the time-honored superstition of playoff beards.

Once the second season begins, it's like the razors and shaving cream become healthy scratches, so to speak. With each day, the peach fuzz turns to stubble. Then the stubble turns into scraggly, itchy patches. By June, those patches become steel wool.

Wikipedia suggests this superstition has its roots in the early 1980s, with the New York Islanders not shaving, rather than paving, the way. Thinking back, it's easy to recall the hairy mugs of Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin and even Billy Smith.

I bring this up because I've started mine in show of solidarity with the Buffalo Sabres. I'm not shaving until the Sabres either win the Stanley Cup or, God forbid, are bounced from the playoffs. At the moment, I've officially reached the stubble stage. With a little luck, and a highly tolerant spouse, I'll look like Grizzly Adams come June.

It's down to this

Given my beliefs that the Tampa Bay Lightning won't make it past the first round of the playoffs, I just might be making my final two hounding trips of the 2006-07 season this week. I won't expect much, though.

If players tire of hounds before the end of the regular season, I can only imagine what they'll be like during the playoffs. I'll find out tomorrow as I still have a few items, including a Martin Brodeur model blocker, that I'd like to get signed.

You read it here first

Should my beliefs about the Lightning hold true, and they are a one-and-done hockey team this season, I'll be very surprised if Tampa Bay doesn't hand pink slips to general manager Jay Feaster and coach John Tortorella.

Given what's proven to be a ridiculous signing of Marc Denis, an albatross contract for Brad "Dime-on-a-dollar" Richards and my growing perception that the players are tuning out Tortorella's rants, the future doesn't bode well for the Lightning brass.

As a result, Feaster and Tortorella will have to pay the price for failure.

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