With the Binghamton Senators series against the Charlotte Checkers not starting until Thursday night, the next few days should be fascinating to watch unfold. Maybe Radek Bonk can join Twitter and we can all pretend to get excited that another Senators third liner uses the social networking tool. (Wait, Radek Bonk has joined Twitter! Or is this the same person who once suited up for the Senators? How many Radek Bonks can there be in the world? Why are his tweets protected? Did he take Jacques Martin’s philosophy on protecting leads and apply them to Twitter? Argh!)
Anyways, here’s some stuff that is floating around the Interwebs during this offseason lull…
International Tournament News
Alright, I’ll make a confession here – I think the IIHF World Championship Tournament is useless. I don’t understand why anyone would care about a tournament that doesn’t feature the best players that the world has to offer. Despite what Ovechkin tweets, it’s more of an exercise in NHL guilt by European players, “Sorry for not playing in my domestic league. Here are 6 games worth of international service to remind you that I’m still a national.”
Why would I want to watch the best players that the worst NHL teams have to offer? It’s bad enough that I have to suffer from Rick Nash Syndrome while watching Ottawa’s best player, Jason Spezza, thrive whiled surrounded by talent on Canada’s first line but Milan Michalek should have spent the offseason in a protective bubble instead of suffering an injury at the hands of Russia’s Yegveni Artyukhin.
Here’s a video of the hit:
According to an IIHF press release, the directorate chairman of the 2011 IIHF World Championship, IIHF President René Fasel, called on Monday at noon for the disciplinary panel to review the hit and upon further review the disciplinary panel decided not to issue any further supplementary disciplinary action.
Fasel and the panel may not have consulted with Colin Campbell but as Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy pointed out via Twitter, they just proved even panels (sans Fasel) make just as bad decisions as solitary decision-markers.
Eric McCarthy of the Journal Pioneer tackled the predictable and lazy rumo(u)rs that Dave Cameron might be the next head coach of the Ottawa Senators:
The script to what happens after the Memorial Cup still hasn’t been written, but some sports writers and commentators are suggesting Cameron is worthy of consideration as the Ottawa Senators’ next head coach. The NHL team fired Cory Clouston immediately following the Senators’ final regular-season game on April 9.
Cameron, who was mentioned as a possible replacement even before Clouston received his pink slip, is taking it all in stride. He said a few reporters have asked him about the possibility of an Ottawa coaching job being added to his resumé.
For now, he insists, the OHL final, this weekend’s OHL draft and then the Memorial Cup are his immediate priorities.
“The hockey world is a rumour world and, certainly, with my connection and having worked with Mr. Melnyk here in Toronto and in Binghamton, your name gets added to the rumour thing,” Cameron said.
Eugene Melnyk owns both the Ottawa Senators and the Majors.
“I don’t want it to be a distraction for my team,” he said of the rumour mill. “Moving forward here, they have a lot at stake, so I’ve avoided it or downplayed it as best I can.
“But I’m no different than the players. I aspire to get to the National Hockey League. That’s always been a dream of mine as a coach, but it’s a hard league to get to. There are only 30 of those jobs in the world, and there are a lot of good coaches out there applying for them.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get there, but at the end of the day I’m up to my neck here in some real good hockey and I’ll address that one when my season is over.”
Call it a gut instinct but a Cameron hire doesn’t seem plausible because it just seems too convenient.
In the last week, Sean Avery’s advocacy ad for Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality Campaign” was released. If you haven’t read Greg Wyshynski’s take on Avery’s advocacy, you should. He hit the nail on the head over at Puck Daddy…
Now, Avery is one of the most divisive players in the NHL because of his antics, and frequently called one of its most hated players. Rangers blog Blue Line Station worries that Avery’s endorsement will somehow be used against him by critics: “You can bank on other fans trying to find a way to make this an example of him being ‘classless.’” But that’s a stretch.
First off, his is not the dissenting opinion nationally. The latest polls show a majority of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage, and that momentum has been building for the last year. It’s also a winning issue in New York: HRC cites a Siena Research Institute poll finding 58-percent support for same-sex marriage, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo expects a bill that legalizes it to pass.
Secondly, it’s inspiring to see an NHL player have an actual on-the-record opinion on something beyond frivolity. Hate the player, hate his politics … how many fans are going to sit there and condemn Avery for doing this? For speaking out? Isn’t it nice to know at least some of these guys give a damn about something?
Granted, this is good business for Avery, too. They’re his politics, but they’re also part of his brand: Fashion, restaurants, whatever sort of commentary he enters into after his playing days. To say something off the cuff is different than a calculated effort to endorse a movement, at least for someone as well-known as Avery.
While Avery’s actions have earned him some praise in the hockey community, one entity spoke out against what Avery stands for. Todd Reynolds of Uptown Sports Management, an agency that represents Professional Hockey players such as Andrew Brunette, Cody McCormick, Chris Neil, Mike Fisher and Carlo Colaiacovo, used the company’s Twitter account to post the following:
Ignoring freedom of speech and the archaic viewpoint that is being taken, it’s mind boggling that someone could lack the foresight to understand the implications of using the company’s account to endorse a personal opinion that may not be reflective of the company’s views or that of its clients.
According to its website, Uptown Sports Management claims to have spent more than twenty-five years representing clients with professionalism, honesty and integrity, and a commitment to integrity and representing players and their families ‘the right way’.
I don’t know what their idea of the right way is, but using such a public medium to convey an opinion that could offend people or their clients is shaping up to be a PR nightmare. After I passed the tweet along to Wyshynski and the story took on a life of its own, it eventually prompted a Reynolds appearance on TSN Radio 1050 and these follow up tweets:
To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal…
But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone.
From his radio appearance (via Puck Daddy):
“… If Mike Fisher or any other client of ours agrees or disagrees, is of no consequence. Nor should they feel the need to comment on it. But I feel Sean Avery or any other player can comment on one side of the discussion … why can I not comment on it as well?”
And this hilarious follow up in the National Post with Don Reynolds, Todd’s father:
“It’s sad. I mean, my personal position is that I do not support gay marriage, and I think it’s wrong, as well. It’s not politically correct to, I guess, give your opinion about a thing like that. It’s politically correct on the other side, for people to say, ‘sure, I support gay marriage.’ But the majority, I think, of Canadians would say that they don’t agree with gay marriage – that man and woman were created to be married, not man and man or man and horse, you know?”
In fairness to Don, I agree - you shouldn’t be allowed to marry a horse. However, the ignorance of Todd’s actions have put Uptown’s clients in a precarious position. Sadly, if they refuse comment, they’re inadvertently going to be painted with the same brush that now stains the company’s reputation.