Monday, November 3, 2008

Somebody Canadian explain the CBC to me, please

passport please

I don't get P.J. Stock

The same network that employs Don Cherry lets P.J. Stock talk on its radio and television shows. I'll give you Don Cherry as a kind of guilty, almost/sort of justifiable pleasure. Maybe he's giving a voice to the Great Forgotten Classic Canadian Hockey Fan, made nearly extinct by new age queers who like Europe and composite sticks.

But I can't excuse P.J. Stock. He's another practitioner of schtick, but with none of the self-awareness or flashes of humor Cherry brings to CBC. He's got the charm of a drunk spoiled frat boy thumbing your eye. No smarts. No charisma. No nothing.

P.J. Stock feels sorry for the Islanders franchise, and can't understand why a team in such a great market, with an owner who has "so much money," is not constantly successful. ("hello P.J. Stock, my name is the Nassau Coliseum ... nice to make your acquaintance." and, while we're at it, "hello P.J. Stock, my name is the Toronto Maple Leafs. I am surprised someone so staggeringly uninformed, arrogant, and grating could be hired by the network that claims it is home to hockey.")

And Jeff "Barley Sandwich" Marek, who never met a guest and/or CBC personality he couldn't agree with, went right along with P.J. on Monday's Hockey Night in Canada radio show as Stock went off on Garth Snow and the Islanders. "What kind of team is this? Where's the character guys to teach the young guys? Where's the veterans?" And, I swear, this was after he rattled on for a minute or two about how the Islanders are "too old."

Too old. The Islanders are too old.

Look, there was a guest on before Stock (I tuned in late and missed his name) who actually had some nice things to say about Garth Snow and, especially, Scott Gordon's aggressive system, so I'm not accusing the show of anti-Isles bias (wouldn't matter anyway), but I am accusing them of anti-listener/viewer bias.

P.J. Stock offers no analysis other than his recollections of the "code" as it was employed during his NHL career. And most of the time he's spouting so much shit you can almost hear the players he competed against laughing from their tree stands in Saskatchewan.

The anti-Islanders prattle between Marek and Stock degenerated into a conversation about the leadership qualities the Isles are lacking, pointing the finger at Bill Guerin and Doug Weight and wondering why the Isles would bring Kyle Oh!poso up to the team and not have him play with veterans. Stock said, "All of the old guys are playing together."

"Islanders Move Okposo to Top Line." Newsday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.

I honestly don't give a shit if Bill Guerin says three words to Kyle O! all year. The franchise has a coach whose job it is to teach the young guys how to play. But, I also know neither P.J. Stock or Jeff Marek has any clue what kind of lockerroom the Isles have, or what kind of leader the Isles have in Bill Guerin. It must be a special Canadian news media power to see inside the minds of hockey leaders and neophytes, because I hear a lot of spouted bullshit about the various off-ice qualities of certain players who are "leaders."

I'm not convinced any of these commentators have a damn clue what they're saying. Too often I imagine younger players rolling their eyes when so-called "character" guys give them another speech full of the same old tired bullshit lines rolling across the Canadian prairies for ages.

I met some Canadians this weekend, and they were really nice

So forgive me for this one ... .

Speaking of Canadian bullshit, here's Daryl Sutter on Doug Weight's hit: "It used to be 90 percent Canadians and 10 percent Americans. So it's changed, even though it's our game, and we should be able to legislate that. It's our game. It's nobody else's game. It's not the Europeans' game. It's not the Americans' game. It's our game, and we should have the say in it.

"If there's a guy who is only going to hit a guy because he's trying to hurt him or if he's going to hit his head, that's where the players should control it. Because that's a lack of respect. That's not how we used to play."

I like the Sutters, for obvious reasons, and I forgive them their reactions to Doug Weight's perfectly legal, moral, and ethical hit because they are protecting one of their own ... but "it's our game"?

That provincial bullshit belongs back in the 70s or 80s.

I actually agree with Sutter on many points. But the issue of big hits and their effects on the human body is for more complicated than "Americans and Europeans are pussies trying to steal our game and our women." Watch an old game. I've seen more hitting in the first period of the Islanders (big, high-speed collisions) than you'll see in a week of hockey from the 80s. The players were slower, especially on third and fourth lines, and they wore pads that looked like rolled up athletic socks taped to their shoulders. You couldn't risk those kind of hits every night.

It goes on, but suffice to say limiting the game to only Canadian players is not going to fix everything Daryl Sutter thinks is wrong with the NHL.

Anyway, it's my game Daryl. I play in the driveway, I buy the hats, I buy the T-shirts, I play the games, I teach my kids to love it. You don't get to claim it for anyone.

Bill James, the baseball writer, discusses the problem with the societal view that professional athletes are somehow exceptional individuals (this is where the "clutch" argument begins) as opposed to people who are just very good at their chosen professions, much like you are very good at reading blogs whilst getting paid to pretend you are doing something else.

Daryl Sutter must be full of a lot of shit if he thinks he can tell us all who owns the game of hockey.

Game update, 9:13 p.m. (full post tomorrow)

It's 3-3 right now. I'm gonna get drunk.

No comments: