Thursday, April 03, 2008


Some morning tidbits to tide us all over; someone has travel plans today...
  • It's impossible to abide The Canadian Press' Pierre LeBrun saying QMJHL goalie Bobby Nadeau acted like a "Nancy Boy" in a column for

    Cripes, if anyone should be criticized it should be Chicoutimi goalie Bobby Nadeau for standing there like a Nancy Boy and not trying to defend himself when (Jonathan) Roy came after him?
    -- March 26, 2008
    The Tao of Stieb called it "creepy" that LeBrun, for all his virtues as a journalist, is arguing for 19-year-olds whaling on each other.

    (Granted, on-ice violence in hockey never, ever spills over into how a minority of fans behave in normal society. (Tell that to the guy in the Oilers sweater who received a 5-on-1 beatdown in Calgary last Saturday while he's convalescing from his broken nose).

    "Nancy Boy" should never get to the webpage when it's used in such a derogatory way. The term implies someone is gay or, short of that, that being gay is a lesser form of humanity. One reason LeBrun has skated on demeaning Nadeau is that might not get a lot of traffic from Chicoutimi, in the virtually 100% French-speaking Saguenay.

    LeBrun's job doesn't require him to be a "tree-hugger." (His term from the same article.) No doubt he didn't mean it that way. That's not an excuse. It's like that episode of The Office when Michael Scott, Steve Carell's character, gets in trouble for saying "faggy" in front of Oscar, a salesman who is gay. This is not funny -- it's a little funny -- and it's not a firing offence, but LeBrun and should know better.
  • The joke's on Ottawa Senators management that the all-important Sens-Leafs match tonight is a pay-per-view game.

    The first reaction back in August when the team's broadcast schedule came out was, "Why in the hell are they putting that on pay-per-view -- it's probably going to be a nothing game because the Sens will have clinched and the Leafs will be out of it."

    It turns out it might be found money for Sens management. This presumes Sens fans pony up instead of sticking with the radio. Agonizing over a sports event which you cannot see is a much better way to stress-test vital organs, after all.

    Thing is, the Sens organization can't make too big a deal of their windfall, since it would look like they're revelling in rolling in dough while the team goes down the tubes. That's really more of a MLSEL thing.

    It's most likely Ottawa gets in by virtue of beating the Leafs without Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov, but who can be proud of that? Perhaps they back into the playoffs if the Flyers blow it and then there's a chance that they will complete the worst collapse in NHL history, and cause Leafs fans, a la Brent Leroy when the Corner Gas Guzzlers earned their first-ever tie, to taunt, "Ha-ha, you suck as much as us."
  • It's good to see Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin -- each among Sweden's greatest exports not have a name such as Ulrika or Malin --cross paths tonight. (Ignore for a second that Sundin is sitting out the Leafs-Sens game.)

    After all, Mats and Alfie, they're so busy and now it appears that they each might be free to lead Sweden at the World Championships in a couple weeks. Are they going to meet up in Ottawa and take a scenic drive down to Quebec City?

    That's the joke going around. Sundin refused to let the going-nowhere-fast Leafs trade him to the Canadiens because he really, really wanted to play for Sweden in the Worlds in his original home NHL city. Never mind that's the equivalent of a college basketball team skipping the NCAA Tournament to play in the NIT.

    (For the record, cheering for Sweden in hockey, as a Canadian, seemed like a reasonable thing to do two years ago -- before Deadspin's Will Leitch had a chapter in God Save The Fan about why it's American to root against the U.S. in the Olympics. The World Juniors get an exemption since our guys really seem to care about that event.)

A hockey post is up at Epic Carnival, by the way. That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


Dennis Prouse said...

I list a little more to the Don Cherry side of things than you might, Neate, but even a knuckle dragger like me takes issue with LeBrun's comments. Not only are they offensive, it is clear that LeBrun completely misunderstands "the code". The code on line brawls is clear - willing combatants only. Jumping a guy who is clearly not a willing participant, especially a goalie who has stayed in his crease, has never been part of the code, and has always been considered out of bounds. You won't find a hockey guy anywhere, (i.e. someone who actually played the game at a higher level) who would share LeBrun's views.

In fact, I often find that the guys who find the need to talk all macho about how the game should be played weren't that way in their youth. I had a funny moment in coaching football a while back when I discovered that this one chest beating coach, the kind of guy who loved screaming at kids and setting up stupid, sadistic drills, turned out to be a high school bench warmer who, according to my sources, wasn't exactly the bravest soldier himself back in the day. It figures.

As for Sundin, I am growing weary of people bagging on the guy for not waiving his no trade clause. At age 37, and as a long and proud serving captain of that club, he had EARNED his no trade clause, and had every right to exercise it. I find trade deadline rental deals to be really distasteful, so the fact that Sundin refused to be part of one actually makes me respect the guy more. I'm also a guy who loves the international games at the World Hockey Championships, so I hope Sundin does play for Sweden there if he can get himself healthy enough in the next month.

Cherry-esque rant for the day -- nothing bugs me more than Canadian players who turn down the call from Team Canada. When the country whose minor hockey system gave you your million dollar career calls you and asks you to play, you thank them for the honour and you show up, period. When you play for Team Canada, you are playing for every guy who ever dreamed of pulling on that jersey. You are playing for every mom and dad who got up at 5 AM to make a drive to the rink. You are playing for every person and every business who ever made a donation to minor hockey in this country, and every taxpayer whose city taxes went into to providing you with subsidized ice. You get all those benefits, enjoy the luxury of a pro career, and you have the gall to turn down your country when you are asked to represent us internationally? (I'm looking at you, Jeff O'Neill.)

Anonymous said...

Hat of to Sundin for being proud enough of his country to put his personal stuff aside and forgo the almighty $$ of the NHL by being traded to a play-off team. Class act by a classy guy.