We tried to be nice. We took a leisurely ten day holiday break (I can't believe they didn't give Kim day release over Christmas), hoping the mittenstringers would ease up on the nonsense during the season of giving. Unfortunately, feet were inserted into mouths at the usual rate. As a result, we've got more holiday leftovers than Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen Twins put together. HEY-O!
While there was more icrap than we can cover, probably more than I even know about (not reading Simmons for a week was my gift to myself this year), a couple items demand we poke our heads out and comment before we wrap up the year it was over the next few days.
First, it's been a while since it was passed my way, but I absolutely have to check in on this piece, by Dave Waddell of the Windsor Sta
r. It appears to be a great example of the double blessing bloggers have provided ink-slingers. While many bash bloggers for lowering the tone, living in their mom's basement (will 2008 be the year this meme dies?), and knowing basic math, more far-sighted sportswriters have looked past petty turf wars and embraced the real potential of blogs. Specifically, they're a great place to swipe content which you can fold, unattributed, into your own column.
In his piece on the Flyers mega-deal with Mike Richards, Waddell cites these cautionary examples of young players who failed to live up to their potential:
Recent league history is littered with examples of players who were early stars, but flamed out prematurely.
recently retired Eric Lindros and Pavel Bure are examples of superstars
who through injury had a huge drop-off in effectiveness by their early
30s. Todd Bertuzzi or Vezina-winning goalies Jim Carey and Jose
Theodore are more befuddling examples of players who went from
brilliance to bust before their times.
Good points, but unfortunately for Waddell, many readers found them more familiar than a glove-side goal on Andrew Raycroft. For James Mirtle had written this on his blog the previous day:Where the problem arises, obviously, is if DiPietro or Richards goes in
the tank. A career-ending injury is one thing, as it allows a team to
essentially replace the contract against the cap, but what if
Richards's play falls off considerably, as a result of injury or
otherwise? We've seen plenty of players rise quickly and fall off in
the NHL -- just imagine if the Habs had signed a 26-year-old Jose
Theodore to a 10-year, $50-million deal after he won the Hart Trophy?
What sort of a contract would Jim Carey deserve after winning the
1995-96 Vezina Trophy at age 22 under this CBA? Sergei Samsonov won the
Calder Trophy and was an all-star in his early years, and would now be
only halfway through a Richards-like deal if he'd have signed one
during his 30-goal, 70-point years.
And the list goes on and on
and on when it comes to players who were stars at a young age whose
play fell off or left them completely in their early 30s. Eric Lindros.
Bryan Berard. Jason Allison. Zigmund Palffy. Todd Bertuzzi.
Even more fishy is Waddell's list of recent big contracts given to young stars:
Richards, who has 14 goals and 35 points this season, is the latest to
join a list that includes: Sidney Crosby, 20, (five years for
$43.5-million U.S.), Thomas Vanek, 23, (seven years for $50-million),
Ryan Getzlaf, 22, (five years for $26.6-million), Milan Michalek, 23,
(six years for $26-million, Dustin Penner, 25, (five years for
$21.25-million), Derek Roy, 24, (six years for $24-million), Ryan
Whitney, 24, (six years for $24-million), Zach Parise, 23, (four years
for $12.5-million) and Stephen Weiss, 24, (six years ($18.6-million).
And Mirtle:Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, 20, five years, $43.5-million (8.7/yr)
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo, 23, seven years, $50-million (7.14/yr)
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim, 22, five years, $26.625-million (5.325/yr)
Milan Michalek, San Jose, 23, six years, $26-million (4.33/yr)
Dustin Penner, Edmonton, 25, five years, $21.25-million (4.25/yr)
Derek Roy, Buffalo, 24, six years, $24-million (4.0/yr)
Ryan Whitney, Pittsburgh, 24, six years, $24-million (4.0/yr)
Zach Parise, New Jersey, 23, four years, $12.5-million (3.125/yr)
Stephen Weiss, Florida, 24, six years, $18.6-million (3.1/yr)
Come on Dave, at least move the names around! If this was lifted, it was done with all the subtlety of a hungover first year with a paper on Othello due in two hours. However, the most damning thing is what isn't here. Neither Mirtle's list nor Waddell's includes the recent 7 year, 49 million extension handed to Jason Spezza. I find it hard to believe two hockey observers leave out a contract like that, or others like David Legwand's, independently of each other. Unless an explanation is forthcoming, Mr Waddell, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
And then there's this guy
I've watched a lot of Coach's Corner over the years, and I have to say, this is the worst. Episode. Ever.
What I learned from this six-minute pile-up of Santa, the Van Doos, and everything holy:
1. Like Ricky Bobby, Don loves the Baby Jesus. You can pray to the teenage Jesus, or the bearded Jesus, but for Don, it's all about the little Baby Jesus.
2. If your brother does something, that means you deserve to get gooned. It's amazing Mark Hunter is still walking. Oh right, he's Canadian.
3. It's OK to do something mindlessly violent as long as "no one gets hurt." By this standard, I guess its OK for me to drive a monster truck over Cherry's noggin, since there's no chance I'll kill any brain cells.
4. WTF is MacLean talking about here? Best I can tell is that Chris Simon will keep gooning guys cause he's native and feels like the league punishes him, which is somehow supposed to be a defence of Simon, not something insanely patronizing and racist.
5. Cherry to natives: "Give your head a shake." Fuck. I don't even have a comment on that except "Our Tax Dollars At Work!"
6. When Don's in the middle of a ten-year-old tantrum, there is no better subject to bring up then Sidney Crosby, who Don has apparently never spoken to, and repeatedly bashed on air, all for the sin of not showing up to a charity hockey game. As that goalie said to Roy last year, who's the teenager?
7. Andrew Ference, like David Suzuki and Michael Coren, is a left-winger.
8. "Let's talk about hockey" means "Let's fellate the troops."
Can he possibly top that clusterfuck tonight? Here's hoping...
Make sure and check back later in the week for our year in review. Who will win Mittenstringer of the Year?
There can only be one.