This was Bob McKenzie's article from today. Don't write McGrats off yet!
Don't look now, but the post-lockout NHL is getting on its game face.
Speed and skill are still obviously the watchword's in today's game, but our handy dandy NHL mood ring is indicating "ornery" right about now.
Last week, the Pittsburgh Penguins were thinking about getting some muscle to ride shotgun for Sidney Crosby. Now, by all accounts, it's become much more of a priority, especially after Montreal's Aaron Downey gave Sid a tongue-lashing on the weekend.
But the evidence is there all over the league.
Exhibit A is the New York Rangers' acquisition of Sean Avery. Say no more.
The Boston Bruins are in the market for an "edgy" player.
Zach Stortini has found a home in Edmonton.
The New Jersey Devils feel like opponents have been taking liberties lately so tough guy Cam Janssen has magically re-appeared from the minors.
Ditto for the Predators, who felt as though the Anaheim Ducks were not so nice to Nashville defenceman Kimmo Timonen in their last meeting. Big defenceman Sheldon Brookbank has been called up from Milwaukee.
All of this must amuse Anaheim GM Brian Burke, who has never made any distinction between old-school NHL and the new game. His Ducks are an elite team contending for first place but no team comes close to the Ducks' league-leading 50 fighting majors and Burke couldn't be happier on both counts.
By the way, all of this nastiness, real and imagined, it's not such a bad thing for the new game.
For TSN.ca, I'm Bob McKenzie.