Friday, September 26, 2008

The dream of a 12 goal, 35 point NHL season fuels the nation

The easy thing to do would be to link today's nice little feature on Brett Sutter's attempt to become the latest NHLer from Viking, Albt.

Perhaps add a line or two about how amazing it is that so many players from the same family could make it to the big league. That is a good story. It's a testament to a lot of grit and determination.

Pretty much every Canadian knows the Sutter story. The brothers have long ago been canonized.

So, it would be easy to just make a little note of the story and move on. The only problem is that it's possible that the Sutter boys are quite possibly the worst thing that has ever happened to Canadian hockey (looking nervously over shoulder waiting for CSIS agents to burst in and revoke passport).

Not individually. Each on his own is fine. They are mostly hard working, grinding Prairie boys. Third line types. Sandpaper and all that. No one should have any issue with any single Sutter.

But the collective myth that surrounds them, well that's a different matter. The lesson that every Canuck kid that puts on skates takes from the Sutters is that the quintesential Canadian player is tough, works hard and finishes his checks. All valuable assests. All good qualities. If the Canadian dream continued from this point all would be well. The problem is that we as a nation have fetishized the hard working third liner as the ideal player. Although they wouldn't likely frame it as such, most Canadian players would rather be a hard working grunt with limited talent than a skillful player that always looks for the goal.

Our dream player wins the Selke.

Thankfully, we produce so bloody many players that the odd one slips by that hasn't had every ounce of creatitivity sucked out of him from listening to the old, creepy crank that hangs out at the rink all day yelling "SHOOOOOT" every time he touches the puck. Brett Sutter is likely a good kid. We should wish him well. Let's just, as a nation, aspire to be a little bit more than checking forwards.


Jordie Dwyer said...

Alas sager you are right in one aspect... the fact that every WESTERN CANADIAN hockey player is told to be tough, work hard and finish your checks.
It's the guys in the east that dipsy-a-doodley their way to front line creative forward jobs (or if you're from Quebec, a 38-shot a night puck stopper, but I digress)
Maybe one day the gang out west here will begin to produce the fancy, playmaking, shot taking player you dream of...
But until then, we'll have to be satisfied with grinding, battling second and third liners or stay at home physical defencemen.

sager said...

The Prime Minister would have you believe that ordinariness was next to Godliness in this country.