Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: We Eat Kids

When it comes to fine dining, pre-game meals or late night snacks, I’m pretty much on the same page as your average male.

When it comes to team mottos, the Maryland Lady Terrapins basketball team is on the same page as just one man.

Their motto is “We Eat Kids,” and yes – it’s a shout-out to Mike Tyson’s infamous tirade. The Washington Post website has a great read on this particular topic.

These girls sound crazier than Tyson in the interviews that Dan Steinberg does with them!

The phrase started as something to keep the energy up during one of their ‘Midnight Madness’ dance rehearsals (do they double as the cheerleaders?), and from there it became tradition.

Even the coaching staff got in on it eventually, saying things at halftime like: “We’re halfway through the kids’ body now, keep going,” and “Get to the feet.”

I’m sorry, but even as a motivational tool, that is messed up!

“Eat their kids is more a statement of domination, it’s a metaphor," said one player. A metaphor eh? Sure, whatever you say.

Whoever does the random drug testing in the NCAA should make their way to Maryland…but don’t bring the kids!

Celebrate good times, come on!

Anytime I ever scored a goal, I was always far too surprised/happy to do any sort of premeditated celebration. It was always: huge smile, hands in the air, find my teammates amid all the confusion ("KERR scored?!").

Had I been a more prodigious scorer in my younger days, I might be playing hockey for a living somewhere instead of journalizing, but one thing's for sure -- I would have had a go-to celly for when I bulged the twine.

That being said, I would have probably dreamed up a more elaborate celebration for a big goal and kept it in the back of my head for the proper time to let it out.

Usually, Alex Ovechkin throws his full weight into the glass, jumps on the nearest Washington player, or skates around beaming like it's the first goal he's ever scored. It's a thing of beauty, really.

But when AO scored his 50th goal of the season, making him the first Washington Capital to have three 50-goal seasons, he decided to use one of those 'special occasion' celebrations.

The thing is, not many people really understood what the heck he was doing and he wound up getting some bad press over it.


In the video, you'll see Ovie drop his stick and hold his hands above it for warmth. I thought he was trying to do the Sean Avery pushup thing, without actually going down on the ice...

Ovechkin has no regrets about the whole thing…as for other people around the league:

Georges Laraque thought "it was awesome." but Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet, who watched it from the opposition bench, told reporters that Ovechkin "went down a notch in (his) books after that."

He also took some flak from Don Cherry, but that's no surprise after his rant about Ovechkin "celebrating like a soccer player."

Misunderstood? I think so. Most people agree that Alex Ovechkin brings a certain flare, swagger and excitement that the NHL hasn't seen in a while...but MY beef with that celebration is that I had no idea what he was going for.

What ever happened to the Teemu Selanne skeet shooting?

When good goalies go Mad
Remember Tuukka Rask?

He first came on the radar as the goalie for Finland at the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships, but hasn’t really caught on in the Big League.

Rask did get his name back in the headlines recently though, but not for his stellar goaltending with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

The Bruins lost a 6-5 shootout decision to the Albany River Rats last Friday and Rask lost his MIND during the extra, extra frame.

Jakub Petruzalek skated in, had the puck knocked off of his stick…and scored a controversial goal. On the next shot, Albany’s Harrison Reed took a shot that appeared to hit the post, which was the game-winner.

Rask, disagreeing with the calls, goes absolutely NUTS, throwing his stick, kicking stuff…if only I could hear what he was saying!


He wasn’t the ONLY goalie that lost his cool this past week!

Martin Gerber flipped his lid when Brooks Laich scored in the last minute of Tuesday’s game between the Maple Leafs and the Capitals to tie it up – a goal that probably would have been called back had it been a player with a reputation of jamming the net.

Laich, and just about everyone else on the ice, was on the top of Gerber’s crease swinging away as the puck was sent out front, and appeared to push Gerber into the net with his stick.

When the referee signaled a goal, Gerber went ballistic and bumped shoulders with him, apparently firing a puck in his direction afterwards.

Since you can’t touch the guys with the stripy shirts, Gerber will sit for three games. Here’s the video of the whole incident:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Playoff bound!

The Edmonton Oil Kings are in their second season as the modern incarnation of a storied franchise from the past, but they’re quickly learning how things are done at Rexall Place.

Just like their older brother, the Oil Kings had their playoff fortunes decided at the last possible minute, beating the Prince Albert Raiders in a tiebreaker game for the final postseason berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.

Not only did it come down to a tiebreaker, but they won 2-1 in overtime!

For their part, the Oilers are locked into what will probably be a down-to-the-last-day battle for playoff position in the NHL’s Western Conference.

I’m so pumped for the Oil Kings! If they’re going to go the distance though, they’ve got to play the role of giant killers right away. Up first are the Calgary Hitmen, who boast a 57-9-3-1 regular season record and are ranked number two in the country.

Thankfully, the regular season is over and none of that matters anymore. If you get a chance, get out there and see a game!

Callin’ it a season?


I've been meaning to bring this up ever since I started hearing it around the trade deadline -- reporters accusing the Toronto Maple Leafs of callin' it a season early, in the hopes of landing Johnny T.

Now, John Tavares is probably worth all the hassle, but even if you finish low in the standings you’re not guaranteed to get first pick. Tavares finished his last OHL season with 58 goals and 104 points in just 56 games. Wow.

On TSN during the trade deadline coverage they were implying that the Leafs put Vesa Toskala on the shelf and brought in Marty Gerber to give the team even less of a chance of making the playoffs. (When you think about it, Toskala played the night before the deadline, practiced the morning of the deadline...but then was put on the IR...which is a little bit fishy).

Things sort of came to a head last Tuesday when Ron Wilson got into it with a reporter after Toronto's 3-2 overtime win over the NY Islanders...

Wilson was asked why he waited until March 9th to do something like call for a measurement on Sens centre Jason Spezza's stick, instead of doing it earlier in the season when the points "meant something.”

In reality, it might have been Gerber's expertise as a former Senator on that one...

“That's questioning my integrity as a coach in this league,” Wilson charged. “I've coached almost 1,200 games and have 500-and-something wins and you're telling me that I'm not trying to win.”



Is the Toronto media out of their minds? Would a coach in any other market face accusations like that, ever? I really don’t think so.

And that, my friends, is why most non-Torontonians really dislike the Maple Laughs!


Kellogg dumps Phelps, really!

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the pre-made championship hats and shirts that say the losing team’s name on them?

Lets just say that Arizona Cardinals fans in Africa are a happy, but misinformed bunch thanks to organizations like World Vision.

But what happens to all those boxes of Kellogg cereal that had Olympic hero Michael Phelps on the front, now that he’s got himself into a bit of trouble?

According to a San Francisco food bank, Kellogg donated thousands of the boxes last week.

Kellogg says they routinely donate food that’s nearing the end of its shelf life; but I’m pretty sure the Phelps boxes weren’t on any shelves.

They could probably make some money by selling a few boxes on Ebay!


Marty B makes history


And congratulations have to go out to Martin Brodeur, who passed Patrick Roy on the all-time wins list with his 552nd career victory on Tuesday night.

The fact that he missed about four months of action this year, but still has a 14-3-0 record speaks volumes about what an outstanding goalie he is.

Also, it was great that he tied the record in his hometown and beat the record in the place he’s called home for his entire NHL career. It couldn’t be any more perfect!

Up next for Brodeur is the record that I grew up thinking no one would ever touch – Terry Sawchuk’s 103 career shutouts. Brodeur is at 100.

The scary part is, he’s only 36!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Downie in rare company!

Remember Steve Downie?

The guy who faced a 20-game suspension in the NHL before even playing in his first regular season game is in trouble AGAIN!

A handful of players have been sat down for at least 20 games by the league but not many, if ANY, players have faced equal discipline in the American Hockey League as well…until now.

Steve Downie’s latest 20-game suspension came after he slashed an official after he dropped the puck on a face off. Yeah, not the smartest tool in the shed.

It happened late in a game between Downie’s Norfolk Admirals and the Hershey Bears on February 28th.

Some reports say the Bears player was chirpin’ the 21-year-old former first round pick of the Flyers and he was just trying to slash his stick. Other reports will make you think it was just an honest mistake…

Either way here it is, you be the judge!




Downie fans will claim this one is a reputation call – and to an extent it might be.

But at the end of the day, it LOOKS bad and we can’t all climb into his head and figure out if he meant to do it.


The ‘other’ Alex redeems himself

Here is a story of redemption – kind of...

On January 3rd, Alexander Semin became the laughing stock of internet forums, sports talk shows and blogs alike for a hilarious "fight"with Marc Staal of the New York Rangers.

Last week though, Semin scored a goal that I feel redeems him for that silliness.

Unfortunately, this particular goal came in a 5-2 Washington loss to the Carolina Hurricanes...but it’s definitely worth another look.

With under ten seconds to go in the second period and the score 5-0, Alex Ovechkin taps the puck into the corner for the other Alex; Semin stumbles at the face off dot, falls to his knees while stickhandling and beats Cam Ward. Sick!

Here it is:



And as a journalist, I was always taught to localize a story if I can, so on the topic of goal scoring I give you this:

Edmontonian Tyler Ennis of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers lit up the Prince Albert Raiders for SIX goals on February 27th. Here they are as the top play in the WHL Plays of the Week!

The first three are nice…but then things just get out of hand…



TO goes to Buffalo

It took just two days of “where will he go now” discussion for Terrell Owens to find a new place to call home – and it’s good news for Canadian NFL fans!

The Dallas Cowboys released the controversial receiver last week, but two days later he signed a one-year deal with Buffalo, worth $6.5-million.

Yeah, they’re taking a chance on Owens but he’s pulled in more TD passes than anyone else in the league over the last three seasons. So I think it’s a pretty good bet.

Bills QB Trent Edwards is entering just his second NFL season, and it could be a long one! All of TO’s other pivots have had dicey relationships with the six-time Pro Bowler.

Here’s a tip: just give him the ball Trent!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kerrzy’s Notebook: The race for the 'offs

Things are heating up in the Western Conference as the playoffs draw near – but what else is new?

Here’s the story in the West:

Looks like the Sharks and Wings will duke it out for first in the conference as the regular season winds down.

The Flames have big cushion in the Northwest division, but are a good distance back in the race for first overall.

Like always, the battle for the last few playoff spots is intense. As of Friday morning, the Oilers, Stars and Ducks are all tied for eighth with 68 points – but the Minnesota Wild are right behind them, one point back with at least a game in hand over each team.

In what could be a big momentum game for the Wild, they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in overtime in San Jose on Thursday night. That same night, the Stars blew a 3-0 lead too, losing 5-4 in overtime to the Kings. Burn!

With a 4-2 win over Columbus on Thursday, the Nashville Predators move into a tie for sixth in the West.

Who else is surprised by how hot the Predators are right now?

That win over the Blue Jackets was their sixth straight – a stretch that includes an 8-0 win over the Red Wings,

Nashville’s Pekka Rinne is giving Columbus’ Steve Mason a run for his money when it comes to who the best rookie goaltender is.

Just as Mason kind of came out of nowhere last November, Rinne is quietly making a case for himself as a serious Calder candidate with six shutouts and a top five GAA and save percentage.

Not bad!

The Edmonton Oilers picked a bad time to slump.

The Oilers have won just twice in the last eight games and have lost four straight on the road, including a 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Thursday night.

Edmonton responded well after losing a goal 12 seconds into the game but were unable find the mesh behind Brian Elliot until it was already 3-0.

Patrick O’Sullivan and Ales Kotalik both looked pretty good in their debuts.

Is Phoenix out of it?

They’re seven points out right now, but with the players they added at the deadline, could they make a run?

They beat Boston on Thursday (newcomer Scottie Upshall scored and Nigel Dawes set up the game-winner).


To the Eastern Conference...

...Where the battle for playoff spots is between the Penguins, Rangers, Panthers and the Habs.

As of Friday morning, one point separates fifth through eighth place in the East and Philly is just three points clear of the pack, sitting in fourth.

Making things all the more interesting, the Sabres and Hurricanes are just three points back of eighth.

Of the seven teams I just named, none of them play more than three non-Eastern conference teams in their remaining games – which will make for exciting hockey as we come down to the nitty gritty.


Look who’s back on Broadway…

Sean Avery is back in the NY Rangers lineup after some time off from hockey. I’m all for second chances and if he’s sorted out whatever was troubling him earlier in the season, he could be a good addition to that team.

Also I must say, I don’t think John Tortorella will let him run wild under his watch.

He was pretty outspoken about Avery when he was a part of the TSN panel and I just don’t see Torts taking much attitude from a guy like him.

When he’s not trying to make everyone hate him, he’s actually a good player believe it or not. Maybe we’ll see that down the stretch here…

That’s all for now!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Trade Deadline special!

After years of ducking out of class, texting friends that might be near a computer or faking illness to find out who went where in the hours leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline – I’m finally getting paid to keep my eye on all the wheeling and dealing around the rinks!

Last year the big deadline day deals were Marian Hossa to Pittsburgh, Brian Campbell to San Jose and Brad Richards to Dallas…who will it be this year?

Come back to this page throughout the day for my analysis of whatever deals go down (including the deals in the week leading up to the deadline), and you can participate too by commenting and letting me know what you think!

(Okay, so the day ends with 22 trades...I'm going to skip some of the trades that don't do anything for me)

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TRADE - Oilers, Hurricanes, Sabres make a deal

-LA Kings trade Patrick O'Sullivan and a 2nd round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for F Justin Williams. Carolina sends O'Sullivan and a 2nd round pick to Edmonton for Erik Cole. The Oilers then trade that 2nd round pick to Buffalo for Ales Kotalik.

The Edmonton Oilers get two players with 30+ points for Erik Cole, who has less than 30 points and would probably have left Edmonton on July 1st. O'Sullivan is a young forward who is under contract that could slot into the Oilers first line right away, Kotalik will be a great addition to the powerplay (but is a UFA after this year). I think Oilers fans should be happy with this two-for-one deal. Will it give them the boost they need to make the playoffs? Maybe!

TRADE - Sharks add depth with Moen and Huskins

-Anaheim trades Travis Moen and Kent Huskins to San Jose for for Prospects G Timo Pihlmeye, F Nick Bonino and conditional draft pick.

Travis Moen and Kent Huskins add some grit to a San Jose lineup that's dealing with a few injuries right now. When the whole team is healthy, they're not short on grit -- these two big bodies will only add to that.


TRADE - Christensen to Anaheim

-Atlanta Thrashers trade Eric Christensen to Anaheim for Eric O'Dell

Christensen went to Atlanta as part of the Hossa deal last year at this time. He's a good young sniper who, with a bit of development, could have pretty high potential.


TRADE - Morris to Rangers for three players

-Derek Morris has been dealt from Phoenix to the NY Rangers for Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Peter Prucha.

Wow! Three players for Derek Morris -- like I say a few posts down, the Coyotes did very well for themselves at the deadline. THREE players for a guy who asked for a trade and may have just sat out if he didn't trade. Nigel Dawes is a heck of a player, maybe one of the best secondary scorers in the league.


TRADE - Upshall to the 'Yotes

-The Phoenix Coyotes have dealt F Dan Carcillo to the Philadelphia Flyers for F Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round pick.

The Phoenix Coyotes did well for themselves at the deadline, maybe not for this year but who knows. Never say never I guess. I like Upshall, good Alberta boy. I see him fitting in well with the style of the Coyotes. Carcillo is a gritty forward that fits the Broadstreet mentality.


TRADE - Antropov to the Blue shirts

-The NY Rangers have acquired Nik Antropov from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2nd round pick and a conditional pick.

I like Antropov, he's a big body with nice hands around the net. He's one of those European guys that plays more of a North American style game. The Rangers can use the help up front, that's for sure.


TRADE - Pens add Guerin

-The NY Islanders have sent Bill Guerin to Pittsburgh for a conditional draft pick (a 5th rounder that could become a 3rd rounder depending on how the Pens do in the playoffs)

The Pens add some grit, some scoring and some leadership to their roster without really giving up anything. Great move. Guerin is a solid right winger that generally scores at least 20-odd goals a year. The leadership qualities are maybe the most important thing he'll bring to the Pittsburgh lineup, given all the scorers already on their team. I can't believe Pittsburgh only had to give up a conditional pick!


TRADE - Recchi traded at the deadline again

-The Tampa Bay Lightning have sent Mark Recchi and a 2nd rounder in 2010 to the Boston Bruins for prospects Matt Lashoff Martins Karsums.

Say what you want about Mark Recchi -- he's 41-years-old, has 45pts in 62 games, and set a Tampa Bay franchise record with five assists a few nights ago. Put him in a position to score, he'll make a play. It's the fifth time Recchi's been traded at the deadline, which tells you something about how valuable he is in the minds of GMs around the league. Good deal for Boston; Recchi could be the missing piece of the proverbial puzzle.


TRADE - Jokinen to the Flames

-The Phoenix Coyotes have sent Olli Jokinen to the Calgary Flames for Matt Lombardi, Brandon Prust, 1st round draft pick.

Olli Jokinen will play in his first ever playoff run now that he's a member of the Flames. Most Edmontonians are hoping it's a short playoff run, but it'll be interesting to see HOW he plays when it counts. The Flames gave up quite a lot to get Jokinen, and will probably have to make another move to get back under the salary cap. I like Lombardi, he's quick with good hands.


TRADE - Leopold (back) to Calgary

-The Colorado Avalanche are sending Jordan Leopold to the Calgary Flames. Going the other way is Lawrence Nycholat, a prospect (Ryan Wilson) and a 2nd round draft pick.

Leopold has potential to be a strong puck-moving blue liner and had some of his best years in Calgary. He's out of the woods in terms of the injury problems he had earlier in his career, so this could prove to be a very big move for the Flames.


WAIVERS - B-Mo to Dallas

-The Dallas Stars have claimed forward Brendan Morrison off of 24-hour waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

The Stars add a bit of depth with this move...Morrison hasn't had a great season, but gives Dallas another guy to lean on when the going gets tough.


WAIVERS - Gerber to Toronto

-The Toronto Maple Leafs pick up G Marty Gerber off of waivers from the Ottawa Senators.

Why would they make this move? Not long after this move was made, it was announced that Vesa Toskala will be undergoing season-ending groin surgery. Surprise, surprise! Gerber is a good band-aid for now, I mean almost anyone associated with Ottawa has had a sub-par season. Might mean the end of the line for Cujo if the Leafs decide to bring up Justin Pogge in a backup role.


TRADE - Tellqvist to Buffalo

-The Phoenix Coyotes have dealt G Mikael Tellqvist to the Buffalo Sabres for a 4th round draft pick.

Is the injury to goalie Ryan Miller more serious than the Sabres are letting on? Perhaps that's why they made this deal. Tellqvist is a dependable backup, which is what Buffalo needs right now.


TRADE - Leclaire to the Sens

-Ottawa Senators acquire G Pascal Leclaire and 2nd Round Drat Pick from Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for C Antoine Vermette.

When Steve Mason took over the starting position in Columbus, it was inevitable that Leclaire could be moved. He's a solid goalie, and that's what Ottawa needs. In Vermette, the Jackets get some secondary scoring, and a guy that can win some draws. Good trade for both clubs.

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TRADE - Havelid to the Devils (March 2, 2009)

-The Atlanta Thrashers dealt defenceman Nicolas Havelid and forward Myles Stoesz to Atlanta for defenceman Anssi Salmela.

Negotiations must not have been going well between Atlanta and Havelid, a soon-to-be UFA. The 35-year-old isn’t super flashy, but he’s good enough to have an Olympic gold under his belt as part of the Swedish national team. Salmela is young (24) and has potential.


TRADE - Begin to the Stars (February 26, 2009)

-The Montreal Canadiens sent forward Steve Begin to the Dallas Stars for defenceman Doug Janik.

Where do I Begin…Janik is a depth player for Montreal on the blue line. Begin is a hard-nosed gritty player that can take some of the load off a guy like Steve Ott with Dallas.


TRADE - Kunitz, Whitney switch teams (February 26, 2009)

-The Pittsburgh Penguins traded defenceman Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

The Pens wanted someone to play with Sidney Crosby, the Ducks wanted a strong, puck-moving defenceman incase their blue line changes at the deadline/in the offseason. Kunitz has 5pts in 3 games since joining Pittsburgh (and Crosby’s been out that whole time). Whitney is playing 20+ minutes and is a +1 so far with the Ducks (including being even in a 6-0 loss).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Close call for Caps!

Occasionally professional athletes, like the rest of us, make dumb decisions.

Whether it's NFL star Plaxico Burress facing jail time for shooting himself in the leg or Erik Johnson of the St. Louis Blues missing the entire season after falling off a golf cart during a team outing - sometimes these guys are just too much.

Here's one that would have had Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis sweating.

In a clip from NHL.com, $15-million worth of hockey players and no doubt the future of the Caps just about gets decapitated.

Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are shown cruising around in a...Well, I'm not quite sure what it is. It looks like a golf cart, but clearly isn't one.

Anyways, they rip towards a closing door with Ovie at the wheel and the door comes inches away from closing on the Great Eight's throat.

If I were his coach, I would probably put an end to that fairly quickly!

Here it is:


What would YOU do if you saw the future of your team doing something stupid like that? How about if the world saw it via the wonders of the internet?

What's the dumbest thing you've seen/heard a pro athlete do? Hit me up at jkerr@inews880.com! Best submission wins...my admiration.

Out of the doghouse (the rise of PETH)

Word has it that Michael Vick will soon be out of prison and living at home because there's no room for him at a halfway house.

The former star quarterback is serving a 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in Virginia and being involved in the killing of underperforming dogs.

Vick will still be monitored electronically and will only be able to leave his house when his probation officer says it's okay. After July though, he could be a free man, which brings me to my point.

Michael Vick wants to play football again, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he'll review Vick's suspension when the time comes...but who will take him?

The Atlanta Falcons have said they'll try to trade away his big contract (which runs to 2013 and will see him make $15.43-million next season, including bonuses).

Some teams have said they won't take on Vick though, because they don't want to deal with all of the drama organizations like PETA will bring about.

I will lose all respect for PETA if they make a fuss over Michael Vick resuming his NFL career. In fact, I'll take it a step further and start my own organization: PETH.

Yeah, you heard me: People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans.

What good is sending someone to prison if you don't let him have another shot once he's served his time?

Seriously PETA, I value your role in the grand scheme of things, but I'll know you're just in it for the headlines if you continue to hound Vick (no pun intended)...and PETH will be comin' for ya!

Tough times in Toronto

Oh, to be a Maple Leafs fan in Toronto right now.

Your team hasn't made the playoffs since a second round exit in 2004, they're in real danger of not making the playoffs this year...and the owners are talking about raising ticket prices? Wait, what?!

It's true! Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is upping the cost for season ticket holders by 3.5%, stating that rising costs and the falling dollar have left them "no choice."

Imagine that - your team is underachieving on the ice, they probably won't compete for the Cup this spring AND it'll cost more to see them next season. That's a tough pill to swallow!

It must be hard for a team like the Phoenix Coyotes to hear the Leafs playing the victim like that when there's probably rarely an empty seat at a Toronto home game.

And speaking of throwing money away...

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers is apparently ready to throw away a $6-million bonus and $15-million in guaranteed money because his new coach didn't say hello to him!

Rogers says that coach Eric Mangini has seen him twice now and hasn't stopped to chat with him - something that he says is disrespectful.

According to an Adam Schefter blog at NFL.com, Mangini walked into the Browns training room and didn't acknowledge Rogers and then at a public charity the same thing happened. Mangini later said he didn't know Rogers was there.

Imagine that - you're so mad at a guy not saying hi to you that you're willing to part with $21-million.

I could never be that mad at someone!