Tuesday, May 06, 2008


A gossip website has paparazzi pics of Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf taking an ocean dip in Hawai'i, so you know what's going to be on Page 1 of the Calgary Sun for like the next four days.

The Sun in the UK even has video of Neufbert. Suffice to say, it's no wonder the Calgary Flames defenceman turned down an invitation to play for Canada in the world hockey championship.

Hawai'i with Elisha Cuthbert or Halifax, Nova Scotia with Pierre McGuire? Tough call. Tough call.

Phaneuf is a young guy, so he probably never heard the tired old joke someone will surely make in the next few hours -- "What makes a man gay in Canada?" ... "He'd rather go on a date than play hockey." See, some of us can treat this lightly, but hopefully someone has the stones to go all high-dudgeon and denounce Dion Phaneuf from the bully pulpit for not playing for Canada and for wearing pink swim trunks.

Don't worry, you can go view all the photos and vids it 10, 11 times, because you have to immerse yourself in the perpetuation of the shallow celebrity culture in order to show your disgust with its shallowness.

There's no picture here, since Ms. Cuthbert is scantily clad and it has only the barest tangential relation to sports. Therefore, it's sexist. Sorry.


Dennis Prouse said...

Sorry to go all old school on you here, Neate, but I see this as a classic example of a previously young, hungry player going Hollywood. It really doesn't matter if his girlfriend is Elisha Cuthbert or some puckbunny from Calgary. The fact that he turned down an invitation to play at the Worlds in order to take a Hawaiian vacation (a vacation that could have safely waited two weeks until the Worlds were over) is one of the first signs of a player growing comfortable, and losing his edge.

Again, sorry to go all Don Cherry on you, but this drives me nuts. Yo, Dion, your country, the one whose minor and junior hockey systems gave you an opportunity to make your millions, called and asked you to play. And you said no so that you could go play in the sand with your new girlfriend? Lame. If he was an older veteran player who had a young family and who had done his duty for Canada in the past, then I'll buy it. Marty Brodeur, for example, has answered the bell in the past, and earned his post season break. But 23 year old Dion Phaneuf? That is a load of crap.

/end rant

Andrew Bucholtz said...

It's all right with me if Phaneuf decides to pass up the team to hang out with Kim Bauer: I'd rather have someone who's excited to be there than a defenceman who'd rather be on the beach, and Phaneuf's absence just opens up a spot for someone else who wants to represent his country. I agree with Dennis that it shows he's growing comfortable, and I'm not sure if Canada really wants comfortable players on its team.

In the end, it could hurt him, though, especially as Stevie Y has announced that these championships are one of the first steps towards the 2010 Olympic team. At the moment, Phaneuf's probably still a lock for that group, but if a couple more great young Canadian defencemen develop by then, skipping this tournament could come back to haunt him. He doesn't even have the usual excuse of travel, as it's in North America this time around. It's fine with me if Phaneuf doesn't want to play for Canada, but that begs the question of if Canada should keep inviting him back.

Anonymous said...

I don't know guys - Dion's had a busy year, he's probably exhausted, he most likely wouldn't make a huge contribution to Team Canada if he's running on empty.

The guy's a lock for the 2010 Olympic team. Let him have a rest - he's out in the sand with Elisha Cuthbert. ELISHA CUTHBERT. I'm standing up and saluting Dion, not down on him because he's not participating in Canada lambasting their opponents everyday.


sager said...

The problem is the season's too damn long ... the tourney's really for guys whose teams missed the playoffs, or might as well of (looking at you, Heatley and Spezza!).

Dan R. said...

Wow, Pierre McGuire must be crestfallen. With all due respect, I think the whole business about owing the country is non-sensical. No player owes the minor or junior hockey system anything. The junior system exploits the players financially, only giving them tiny stipends. And I could be wrong but most minor hockey, even at a fairly high level, comes with registration fees and other expenses for parents. What should we do about players like Canada's all-time leading scorer in the world championships, Dany Heatley, Patrick Sharp, Martin St. Louis and Jonathan Toews, who went to college in the States? Those spots should go to people who stuck with the system.

Dennis Prouse said...

Dan, minor hockey in Canada is significantly subsidized. First off, pretty much every city/municipality gives heavy discounts to the ice time they sell to local minor hockey associations. Those minor hockey associations are paying perhaps 50-60% of market rate. Guess who makes up the shortfall? Local taxpayers through their property taxes.

Then there are the volunteers. Minor hockey in this country is almost exclusively run by volunteers, from the coaches to the folks working at the canteen. Do you think that those folks might be fans of their National Team? Just a bit.

Then comes all of the sponsorship dollars these minor hockey associations rake in. Do you really think that the local dry cleaner or insurance broker sponsors a team or association because it is a great business deal? No, it is basically a donation to local minor hockey. Communities across this country are very generous in their support of the minor hockey system. All of this means that middle class kids can still play minor hockey in Canada, whereas in the U.S. it is a rich kid sport along the lines of tennis.

Finally, Hockey Canada's High Performance Program, in which Dion Phaneuf was a member, is how they have developed elite players over the last decade, following up on the recommendations of the Hockey Summit. Hockey Canada, in turn, receives funding from the federal government via Sport Canada and the "Own the Podium" program.

So yeah, Dion Phaneuf does owe a debt to his country, and a fairly large one at that. I doubt he is thinking about that as he frolicks on the beach with his new puck bunny, but I guess it is up to curmudgeons like me to remind him, not that he really cares.

Mikey said...

I disagree with Neate.

Given Elisha Cuthbert's repeated history with fallen and controversial hockey players like Sean Avery and a certain Ottawa goaltender (rumoured of course, although her photo appearance in Ottawa on a Team1200 blog during the playoffs last year while her boyfriend played in another city begs some questions) I do think her possible influence on Pierre's defensive crush is worth of some examination.

sager said...

You're reading something sinister into Neufbert? It's his life and the Calgary Flames' money.