Friday, January 30, 2009

Snark break ... drop the hockey shtick and walk away, Renée

The Florida Panthers are rolling with Pete DeBoer and Jim Hulton behind the bench. Meantime, in the 613, the teams which respectively could be employing them, the Ottawa Senators and Kingston Frontenacs, are third-last and dead last in the NHL and OHL, respectively. (It's like their owners, Eugene Melnyk and the Fronts' Doug Springer, are on the same Ork cloud.)

One suggested nickname for the Senators' owner: The Eunibomber.

One sportswriting trope which must be allowed to die is segueing into a feature on a Canadian athlete by referencing his hockey experience. It was cute once and now it's just tired, like Renée Zellweger's acting shtick.

Not to nitpick, but the "grand total of the Canadian content in Super Bowl XLIII is wrapped up in the well-travelled right leg of Pittsburgh punter Mitch Berger?" The Cardinals' Sean Morey makes his off-season home in Toronto with his spouse, who played hockey for the Brampton Thunder (she was known as Cara Gardner) before "she broke her femur in a snowmobile accident and decided to have a family." (New York Times.) It doesn't get any more Canadian.

If MMA training can help the Minnesota Vikings' Tarvaris Jackson improve as a quarterback, then it should be legalized in Ontario.

Two words which can never again appear together in print: "Star punter."

A Yale student was taken aback that author Buzz Bissinger "swore often" during a talk he gave there recently. It pisses the shit out of me to know some people are so well-adjusted that they don't follow sports obsessively, thus missing out on Bissinger-Leitch.

TSN's Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire are great on most nights and McGuire's anti-fighting stance is admirable, but then there's the times when, no doubt by some producer's edict, they have to jazz up a mid-season game, like the Panthers' pounding of the Habs.

The low boiling point was reached somewhere between McGuire describing a play as "fantastically good" (forgetting Rick Reilly's ASS rule, Adjectives Sorta Suck), praising a referee for having the "courage" to award penalty shot after a (uh, he made the correct call, and it favoured the home team) and Miller saying, "These are not your father's Florida Panthers," and repeating it during the next intermission.

Of course they aren't your father's Florida Panthers. When my pops was the age I am today, it was 1984. The Panthers did not exist.

This post is worth nothing, but this is worth noting
Please tune in to hear Kinger's sports show, Offsides, today at 4 p.m. on CFRC 101.9 FM and elsewhere. The campus radio station is in the middle of a funding drive. Don't make them have to send in the muscle. Kinger hates it when he gets his knuckles all lined up for nothing.


Dennis Prouse said...

I'm glad to see deBoer doing well in Florida, but I am unconvinced that he could have worked any magic with the Senators line-up. Coaching in the NHL typically gets you a few wins either way per year, but beyond that the gmaes are really determined by the make-up of your roster.

For instance, I think there is a pretty clear consensus that Ken Hitchcock is a fine coach, but he didn't instantly transform the Blue Jackets. Ditto for Andy Murray in St. Louis, another very smart coach who prepares better than anyone in the NHL. Murray managed to squeeze every last drop he could out of an injury ravaged bunch in L.A., but not even the ghost of Toe Blake could coach up that roster he has with the Blues right now.

As for the Sens, their depth has been decimated by a series of boneheaded roster moves, started by Muckler and continued by Murray. (Over the last year, for instance, the Senators have essentially exchanged Joe Corvo for Jason Smith on their blueline. Can you say, "skill downgrade", kids? I knew you could!) Combine that with the fact that every last one of their top six forwards is having a a subpar year, and you've got what you've got.

The story on deBoer, BTW, is that Melnyk and Murray didn't like the fact that he was negotiating with two teams at the same time. They thought he should have been tripping over himself to sign instantly with Ottawa, and they were peeved to discover that he was also talking to Florida. As it turns out, DeBoer had a four year contract offer in his pocket when he was talking to Ottawa, which made him reluctant to sign the three year deal Ottawa was offering. Melnyk got mad and went with Plan B, which was Hartsburg.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Nice Bissinger reference. I'm skeptical of any rule designed by Rick Reilly, though. Also, why can't there be star punters? Yes, their role in the game is extremely limited, but, like at any position, there are some who stand out (like Mike Scifres) and some who lag behind (such as the aforementioned Berger). In my mind, good players should get credit for their skill regardless of position.