• By: Dave Gross

It’s cold-and-flu season, here’s how to deal with it (or not)

It’s either the flu or it’s a heavy, heavy cold.

Either way, I’ve got it and it’s going to be seven days tomorrow. (And before you roll out the old man-cold line, my friend Steph also has it. She’s bedridden and she’s also tough as beef jerky, so there.)

It’s bad.

My mom – if she were still here – would lecture me on the flu shot, you know, the one I skipped out on this winter?

Regardless . . . I share the above information because there’s not a lot you can do with yourself while watching this thing (hopefully, eventually?) fade. With that, the bug hit me last Friday and at the very least, I thought, there’d be ample opportunity to enjoy the fruits and flavours of my new television during a full, rewarding weekend crammed with QUALITY SPORTING EVENTS.

Then it turned out to be . . . NHL all-star weekend.

Then the realization hit – the Super Bowl was next weekend.

Spring Training? Not quite there.

NBA and the Raptors on a run? Not close to being quite there.

I was even Amazon-Primed out and Paramount+ed out and BritBoxed out.

So after spending the weekend staring at the walls, listening to my dog Maggie moan and groan, checking in on the all-star festivities (it was actually pretty entertaining this year), reading Tom Rachman’s The Rise & Fall of Great Powers (ahem, and la-di-da) and meeting up briefly with friends (at a safe distance . . . don’t get your pants all knotted up over there), the world got back in motion while I did not.

By Monday, hockey of the NHL variety was back. The Leafs-Islanders tilt looked digestible. And it was, well, ‘fine’ I guess.

But it was still the Leafs being the Leafs: Remarkably composed for full seconds at a time then discombobulated and jumpy for the next five minutes. If you think you have a case of vapidity here in Ottawa regarding your defensive awareness/puck control, the fellas down the 401 are right there with you.

Tuesday came around, and with the Rachman book read, it was back to the Kleenex box and another attempt at hockey.

This is where the sting came, not that any of you who’ve been suffering through another year of sub-par Eastern Canadian hockey wouldn’t understand. Tuesday night: Vancouver was on (in Carolina), Winnipeg visited Pittsburgh and the streaking-close-to-the-heavens Edmonton Oilers were in Las Vegas.

The bloody West.


I’d love to be living in B.C. or Alberta this hockey season to truly appreciate the local vibration. It’s just-so-damn-good. (I’ll leave the living in Winnipeg jokes aside here).

As discussed in last week’s piece, being up close with the Oilers, Jets and Canucks this winter would be a delight. It’s supremely entertaining hockey, fast-paced and smart in all three centres. The storylines are cheer-worthy as well.

Who couldn’t root for a guy like Rick Bowness in Winnipeg? What’s not to like about watching Connor and Leon dissect a defence? Is there a better classroom being run on team-concept than in Vancouver under Rick Tocchet?

You leave these games shaking your head. Not because your entire team left another guy clear-open in the slot or couldn’t get the damn puck off the wall and out. Nope. You’re shaking your head because these three beauties make it all seem so simple and clear.

The excellence of execution?

Welcome to the West, Canada.

Now back to the Kleenex.

THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: The happiest of birthdays to ‘old’ pal and former Ottawa 67 legend Tim Higgins, a great supporter of this column (frankly a lot of the ideas I get here I just steal from Tim. Directly. So there – rigorous honesty). I won’t say how old Tim is but think: Mario Lemieux’s jersey number . . . Tim is still ‘stuck’ living in LA for the next few weeks. Twenty-one degrees and sunny. I don’t like you Tim . . . Speaking of local legends, was nice catching up with CTV Ottawa sports guru Terry Marcotte as well this past week to get some North Carolina travel advice. Terry’s enjoying retirement and the plaudits continue to roll in for his book Hockey Moms: The Heart of the Game . . . Terry mentioned he still meets up with Brian Kilrea for weekly chinwags, wings and beer. Killer turns 90 this coming fall (which his buddy Donald S. Cherry did just this past Monday) . . . There are some genuinely genuine people in the sporting media and Terry’s right at the top.



Saturday, Feb. 10: Toronto at Ottawa (7 pm)

Tuesday, Feb. 13: Columbus at Ottawa (7 pm)

Thursday, Feb. 15: Anaheim at Ottawa (7 pm)


PHOTO: Courtesy Winnipeg Free Press