Essential Reading

Hately, the Lyin King and Leafs struck by Oil. That's it.

The Globe and Mail

Wow. Dany Hately. The Lyin King. Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers giving Toronto Maple Leaf fans a first-hand look at what optimism looks like. It's hard to know where to start, but we'll go with this quote from Clarke MacArthur after the Leafs got smoked 5-0 at home by the 29th place team in the NHL playing on the second night of a back-to-back:

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"We've got to show some pride. Tonight was just one of those games where you just want to find a cliff and jump off almost. It was just so bad."

Depending in where you sit: as a Senators fan; a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, a Leafs fan -- - or maybe just a fan of cosmic fair play - you can relate.

Sometimes it just feels that bad.

Some links

I'm taking my talents to Lake Erie:

• The sports world had its eyes on Cleveland last night as LeBron James took his talents back the mistake by the Lake. For fans who felt embarrassed and angered by The Decision, it was an opportunity to vent: "Quitter! Quitter!" shouted one Cavs fan at James, the veins in his neck popping out. "It's kind of cathartic."

• The problem is that even for James, who grew up in Akron, making him that rarest of breeds -- the superstar native son - sports is business; there's nothing personal.

• As for the game? The Heat won in a blowout and James played so well - 38 points in just 30 minutes - that it looked like he was in Cleveland again.

• For a city with a struggling economy and an uncertain future James' return was a distraction, but also a reminder: Cleveland has 99 problems; LeBron ain't one.

• This story was leaked, not surprisingly, on the eve of James' return to Cleveland, but it really could have some legs and likely some implications for the Toronto Raptors: Did the Miami Heat actively recruit James - and by extension Chris Bosh, likely - prior to him becoming a free agent? That's tampering, which is a big no-no, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert going to spend some money to prove it.

I'm taking my talents to Kanata

• What is the reaction we're looking for when an athlete returns to the city he scorned? Trepidation? Palpitations? Perhaps a choke job so searing and scarring that it compromises future performance? Two of those please! The problem is that athletes willing - as Dany Heatley was - to sign lucrative contract extension and then steadily work their way out of town, aren't the most sentient beings. And we won't even get into the killed his friend in the Ferrari thing.

• Still maybe Ottawa fans should get over themselves. Maybe they should appreciate the four years of brilliance Heatley provided; the warm place in the hockey spotlight he helped make happen, and build him a friggin' statue already. That's the view from San Jose at least.

• And maybe, just maybe, the Senators have much bigger problems than Dany Heatley, given that they did lay down 4-0 at home in what was supposed to be an emotionally charged game, not to mention the 1,000 empty seats at Scotiabank Place.

I've got no talent to bring anywhere; yes, we're talking Leafs:

• I'm not sure if there could be a more emphatic indictment of the Leafs predicament - bad team with little promise for improvement and no high draft picks to salivate over - than getting drilled 5-0 at home by the 29th place team in the NHL, thanks primarily to goals by the Oil's bevy of highly drafted young stars.

• Does Ron Wilson deserve to be fired? That's what they were chanting at the ACC last night.

• Toronto, this is what optimism reads like, as the baby-faced Oilers complete a three-game sweep of eastern Canada.

It's not about the money:

• And in case you were wondering what a 66-per-cent share of a collection of playoff-less sports teams costs these days; Teachers is looking for $1.5-billion for their share of MLSE. Can't buy a win though.

For your amusement:

• If LeBron took on Cleveland in a WWE match; this is what it would look like.