What's with all these calls from Buf-fa-lo?

5/3/2007 - NHL

Me: "Hockey Talk," you're on the air.

Caller: Hello? [Horns honking in background.]

Me: Go ahead, caller. You're on the air.

Caller: I went to bed last night thinking the Wings were dead, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they pulled it out. Don't you think the Sharks have let them off the hook and now the Wings are gonna … [In background: "HANG UP AND DRIVE, %$#*&$!"]


Me: Uh, Joe, did the seven-second delay work? But to answer the question, yes, Tiger would be saying them Sharks is done like dinner.

Caller: What's going on?

Me: Well, my car got stolen this morning and my insurance company says I'm not covered.

Caller: Great, great. Let me ask you a question. Those Stars stink. I'll hang up and take your answer.

Me: The Stars did the right thing, keeping Dave Tippett and his coaching staff. It's nice to see one organization not take the easy way out, which is scapegoating the coaches any time and every time something goes wrong. Plus, Marty Turco got rid of that playoff albatross. They can't blame him this time, and a wise man once told me: Sometimes you just lose.

Caller: Hey, how ya doin'?

Me: I fell down the stairs last night and broke both of my ankles.

Caller: Fine, fine. You know, Gerry, when are the Sens gonna get the respect they …


Me: Sorry to hang up on you, caller, but the first presidential candidate to add "respect" to the list of the Federal Communication Commission's list of banned words -- at least here in the states -- gets my vote. The Senators have gotten every bit of respect they deserve, and they'll get more if they ever get to the Cup finals. And by the way, I would like to thank the Canadian politicians for making a big deal out of questioning whether Shane Doan being captain of Team Canada at the World Championships is appropriate, because it's nice to know that U.S. politicians don't have a corner on ridiculous grandstanding.

Caller: Good afternoon.

Me: Well, it's 6:22 in the morning.

Caller: That's good to hear. Say, Harry, I was thinking … how come the refs have it in for the Rangers and how come the guys who do the games on TV obviously are rooting for the Sabres? I mean, my God, could they be any more blatant? How come everybody's jealous of New York?

Me: Uh, what state is Buffalo in?

Caller: Aw, you know what I mean.


Caller: How are ya?

Me: I am walking proof that flu shots don't always work and nobody here at the station will go near me.

Caller: Doin' good, thanks. Well, Barry [paper rattling] … Mats Sundin is such a loser, Homer Simpson would make fun of him. As a captain, he's as good as that man wearing the funny hat on the Titanic. Come to think of it, Leonardo DiCaprio would be tougher when the chips are down and …


Me: Sorry, my definition of loser is a person who takes four hours to write something out and calls up a talk show to read it. But I will go along with you that the Maple Leafs were one of the NHL's biggest underachievers this season.

Caller: Thanks for taking my call. What's happenin'?

Me: The fire alarm just went off and I can see the flames coming out of the building next door.

Caller: Good, good. Say, Larry, what do you think Don Imus would have said about the Devils if he still were on the air?

Me: I don't know. Helmeted wimps? But the funny thing is, if Lou Lamoriello blamed Claude Julien and named himself coach, shouldn't he actually coach the team instead of just standing back there and letting the assistants do everything?

Caller: Hey, what's up?

Me: My pet boa constrictor got out last night and ate the neighbor's cat.

Caller: Fine, thanks. Hey, I was thinking … how is your prediction that the Flyers would win the Stanley Cup looking now? Or that the Penguins would be in Kansas City next season?

Me: Well, I don't remember picking the Flyers, but if I did, that was about as good as my pick of Peter Forsberg for the Hart Trophy. So, you need to take this prediction with a grain of salt: Foppa's going to be back in the NHL next season, with somebody, whether the Preds or someone else. And there really is something to this notion you have to lose once to win. So, I'm checking the early odds on the Pens to win the Cup in 2008.

Caller: Hey, is the salary cap working if the Ducks can have both Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer back there?

Me: Brian Burke is a wizard and deserves all the credit in Southern California for getting the Ducks back to where they are. He's loving every second of sticking it to the Canucks. But the strangest thing in hockey is how a Providence-educated, former player and attorney who once was the league's discipline czar has turned into a general manager Fred Shero could love.

Caller: Hey, I'm sorry if this was covered before, but I just tuned in.

Me: That's OK, go ahead.

Caller: Man, the refs are against the Sabres and I'm getting sick of the TV guys falling all over themselves and making the Rangers sound like they're the greatest thing since the '77 Canadiens. I mean, it's so obvious that Gary Bettman and NBC and everyone else wants the Rangers to get to the finals.

Me: The score's now 1-1.

Terry Frei is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. He is the author of "Third Down and a War to Go" and "Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming."