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Island Dreaming

VivacubaEach time I visit the lovely country known as Canada, all the ads touting Cuba as a vacation spot throws me a little.

Cuba for a vacation? Really? I didn't know we could go there.

Well, actually, I can't. But the good folks up here in Canada can. Something about the U.S. having a trade embargo against Cuba because of some sick dictator dude who happens to have not only a ratty beard, but a ratty set of camos too.

Well, got to give Fidel and his tourism people some serious props. They know where to market. You can't cross a street in downtown Montreal without seeing a billboard like the one posted above. According to the billboards, Cuba is a party place where everyone drives around in their 1957 Chevy and has a pretty good life. I wonder if it's really like that there?

It's currently 3 degrees above zero right now, and it was in the negative most of the day. Right now, I don't care if Castro is still in power of not. I want some sunshine and 80 degree weather. And I want it now. So if I have to go to Cuba to get some nice weather, fine.

Actually, I'll just see if the pilot can drop me in Fort Lauderdale on his way to Havana. I don't need a cigar that bad.

Oh yeah,

THE NEWS: Alexei Semenov will be in the lineup today. Spoke with him today and he is in fine spirits. He had already come back to South Florida from Russia to be with his expectant wife (she's due any minute now) when the Panthers called to see if he wanted to play with them again. Since he was already here, he said 'sure, why not.' I have a lot of good stuff on Alexei, but I don't have a notebook in tomorrow's paper so it's going to have to wait a day. It might just be worth it. Key word: Might.

-- Ed Belfour in net. Belfour, Ed.

-- JM says he doesn't expect Olesz or Stumpel to play Saturday against the Tampa Bay Thunderbolts. He hopes one of them comes back next week.

-- More importantly, don't bank on seeing Todd Bertuzzi in the lineup that night either. He won't practice with the team until Friday at the earliest. There's a report floating out there that Bert won't be back on the ice until after the trading deadline passes. If true, that's going to cut down on quite a few rumors.

-- Montreal is cold.

-- A special shoutout to the boys and girls at USAir in Philly: "Thanks for not losing my bag yesterday. Your friend, G."

Getting my bag as scheduled in Montreal broke a four-trip streak where my bag was lost when going through Philadelphia. Get to play Philly Roulette again Thursday. Wish me luck.

-- When in Montreal, try and find Denis Potvin and then ask him to lunch. Dude knows the best places in this town to eat in. Every time we come here we eat at a different place. Every time, it's phenomenal. Today's lunch spot was St. Hubert, a rotisserie chicken place. Good stuff. Try the chicken noodle soup.

-- REMINDER FELLAS: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Get your ladyfriend something nice. It doesn't have to be very expensive, but put some thought into it. You can thank me later. Ladies, you can get us gifts too. We like presents. And hockey.