As much as I’m sure this is an exciting time for hockey fans and media alike, it is also, I expect, a time when the muscles which surround the eyes of coaches, general managers, and other hockey front office staff get a workout. After all, with each column they read, every fan comment posted after hockey articles of one sort or another, I’m sure the eyes begin to roll.
My last column was a well argued (eye-roll) explanation of what the Senators ought to be doing on their blue line this season in order to build for the future(eye-roll). “All you have to do is…” I wrote, laying out a comprehensive plan for integrating young players while using the now surplus (eye-roll) veterans to secure valuable assets (major eye-roll) useful in building a contender in the coming years. My plan is very simple and straightforward (eye rolls completely over and pops out of head).
I always get a laugh when I read comments on seemingly any story about the Toronto Maple Leafs. While I haven’t checked in the last couple of months, in the last 12 months I have seen more than one suggestion by a commenting fan that “we need to bring back Dougie” (Gilmour) or “Clarkie” (Wendel Clark). Now, after I stop laughing, make sure I haven’t wet myself, and restrain myself from making another derogatory comment about some Leafs fans to the Missus (a Leafs fan…), I wonder about what people are thinking.
I sat beside Doug Gilmour about a year ago. I had taken my nephew Matthew to see the Belleville Bulls play the visiting Kingston Frontenacs. Matt and I had front row seats, and were right across the tunnel from the visiting teams bench, where stood the coach of the Fronts, one Douglas Robert Gilmour, or “Dougie”, in Leaf-speak. He was in a suit, not equipment, and in light of his being about eight years older than my then current age of 39, this seemed unlikely to change. I am sure Brian Burke has just broken down at the news. He’ll have to see if Sundin’s agent is still on speed-dial. Then to let the mayor know he can start planning the Stanley Cup parade route…
But I digress.
Right now, Bryan Murray, Percival to Eugene Melnyk’s Arthur, is trying to assemble a team which will succeed in capturing hockey’s mystical Grail as soon as is humanly possible. But he has no Merlin or Lady of the Lake, nor can he look to Melnyk for anything resembling Excalibur. He did have to trade away a guy who thought he was Excalibur, but Dany Heatley is looking more and more like one of those pseudo-Samurai swords you can find in cheap head shops – if you use them for anything stronger than paper, they get dull and useless in a hurry.
Meanwhile, we, the ink-stained pseudo-Merlins of the hockey’s Camelot, provide our wisdom. We give forth elixirs promising a chemistry never before seen on a single line, let alone throughout a dressing room. We anoint one player after another as the next Bedivere. And yet all too often he turns out to be more of a Sir Robin*.
So, as I turn back to my usual job of making coaches’ lives easier, and demonstrating how simple is the lot of a general manager, in direct contradiction of the rest of this column, I wish all those in actual positions of power throughout hockey a good season, and the forbearance not to strangle the next reporter they see on sight.
* – from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
|Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!
|He is packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering up
And chickening out and pissing off home,
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge…