The Sunday Soapbox: My Kingdom For A Hook!

On the whole, I don’t really mind overt homerism from a play-by-play crew, provided, that is, I’m watching a local broadcast. 

As a certified, accredited and fully licensed hater of all things Leafs, Joe Bowden’s nightly Odes Upon a Toronto Jockstrap makes me want to punch a nun, but do I begrudge him for it?  Of course not.  It’s called “LeafsTV” for a reason.  Similarly, when tuning into a NESN Bruin broadcast, I fully expect to be awash in the poetic waxings of Jack Edwards’ faux outrage every time Milan Lucic falls down.  I get it.  It’s a biased broadcast in a biased market to a biased fan base.  Fellate away, my good man.

Which brings me to Dean Brown, SportsNet East/SportsNet Sens/occasional HNIC voice of the Senators.  The man…the legend. 

For those of you not blessed by regular exposure to Dean’s charming idioms such as the alarming obsession with the word “stanchion” or the direct neural interface between his mouth and the NHL statistical database, one of his more homerific tendencies is to pick one egregious (to his eyes) injustice per year and ride that hobby horse until the legs fall off.  Two years ago it was opponents running the Sens’ crease.  Last year?  Hooks, holds and various shenanigans behind the play.  This year he seems to have embraced a more generalist approach, and has spent many otherwise useful moments (and by “otherwise useful” I mean “JUST TELL ME WHO HAS THE FUCKING PUCK!!”) during the last few games decrying the vast gulf in the number of power plays our boys have enjoyed when compared to…say…good teams.

“Just as a point of comparison” he’ll intone ominously after yet another uncalled foul on our precious preciouses, “only the New Jersey Devils have had fewer power play opportunities than the Ottawa Senators”.  After casting the bait, he then sets the hook…”I guess all of the Senators opponents are perfectly angelic gentlemen”.  Or words to that effect.  The implication being, of course, that the Sens are getting jobbed on a nightly basis by the officials (and by extension, the League I suppose) on purpose.  Why?  Maybe it’s payback for all of those years the Sens ruled the Eastern roost and THEY were getting the calls.  Maybe it’s karmic justice for having once employed Andre Roy.  Maybe Gary Bettman’s long lost ancestors were once enslaved by the Roman Empire.  Who knows.  But Dean knows there is a conspiracy afoot, and HE WILL NOT REST UNTIL THE PERPETRATORS ARE BROUGHT BEFORE THE WHEEL OF JUSTICE AND PROPERLY PUNISHED!!

Well, bless his little tinfoil hat, but I might have a better explanation.  As is my understanding of the sport, in order for one to draw a penalty such as a hook, trip or hold, one must actually be in and maintain some form of forward motion.  As a rule Ottawa forwards seem loathe to do this, for whatever reason (lack of skill?  laziness?  gout?).  QED, there is no need for an opponent to seek to impede forward progress by illegal means because, well, there isn’t any.  He merely needs to wave his stick and scowl in a menacing fashion and whatever Senator happens to have possession of the puck will immediately and forthwith abandon that possession, leaving naught but a puddle of urine in his wake.

So the next time you’re watching a game and hear Dean hop into that particular saddle (and you will), just remember: Don Brennan notwithstanding, there is no sinister fifth column conspiracy against the Ottawa Senators.  We suck.  New Jersey happens to suck a little more.  That’s it.  That’s all. 

Now if Dean wants to talk about the mystery of Bob Cole’s continued employment…THAT’s a conspiracy!

Jump as we riff on the MSM “Fire Somebody!” bandwagon, why I think they’re all morons (natch), Snoopy’s future career prospects, the WJHC unpleasantness and anything else that may flit through my consciousness before I collapse onto my keyboard in a drunken stupor.  Hey look!  Unicorns!

This Week In Self Perpetuating Tripe:

That noise you may have heard over the final horn of the Leafs’ debacle a week ago last night was the sound of every single member of the Ottawa MSM sprouting spontaneous chubbies.  A perfect storm had brewed up the perfect bucket of shit for their stirring pleasure: a losing record, unrest amongst the groundlings, a humiliating defeat at the hands of an arch rival…and a gaping six day hole in the schedule.  All of that time, all of those column inches needing to be filled and the team obligingly handing them a hatchet with which to fill them.  Oh mercy, but Brennan must have been drooling all over himself.  Even more so than usual that is.  And as sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, the usual suspects (along with a few of the unusual...really Kingston Whig-Standard?) took turns reading the lint trapped in their respective navels, shitting all over the centurion and imparted upon a breathless populace the wisdom of their years.  Clouston will be fired!  Okay, Clouston hasn’t been fired yet…but he will be!  Murray will be fired!  Nope!  Hasn’t happened yet either!  Well they should be!  It’s an important distinction!  ‘Cause we said so!  Shut up!  And where are we now?  Exactly where we were a week ago last night.  Not to worry boys, just keep cashin’ those paychecks.  Job satisfaction will follow later.  Maybe. 

Next Week in Self Perpetuating Tripe:

So now it’s my turn.  You read/heard/had it read to you here first.  Both The Bryan and The Little General will be gainfully employed by the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club Ltd. until at least the end of this season.  Fin.  I say this for two main reasons.  First, the only part of the room Cory seems to have lost, if any, is the geriatric ward.  Anyone under the age of 30 not named Milan Michalek is still listening and still busting their collective ass playing his banzai forecheck (Mssrs. Smith, Winchester and Shannon to the white courtesy phone).  And it’s working.  But secondly, and most important reason is simple logic.  If I’m the Emperor (gawd, but that would be sweet), I can see no value in pulling the trigger on either the coach, or GM or both right now.  What would that accomplish?  Would Kovy suddenly begin to give a shit?  Would the defence magically develop the ability to hit someone?  Would Snoopy’s testicles finally drop making him strong enough to play through his myriad hangnails? No, it would not.  And in case you haven’t noticed, this season is lost anyway.  So what would be the point?  Finish out the year, hope for the lottery pick, wipe the dead wood from the books come July 1st, sign the odd UFA (without NTCs, thank you very much Bryan) to help the prospects already with the team and see what happens out of camp next year.  Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and if I’m wrong may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow.  Hey, unlike the august MSMers above, I get paid in expired shrimp.

Time to break through the porcelain curtain:

Much has been made this week about Snoopy’s on again-off again relationship with manhood.  Is he back?  Is he not?  Will he play or will his hair hurt too much?  Gee, another last minute “set back”?  Too bad.  Poor muffin.  Quick!  Throw Lehner on a plane!  Nope…don’t care if he doesn’t show up until the end of the first period!  Just get him there!  Rushing a raw prospect into the backup spot at the last minute is a PERFECT grooming mechanism! 

Here’s what I would sacrifice a great many things, up to and including my imaginary first born to see.  I’d love to see The Bryan call a presser to discuss what to do about a problem like Pascal.  I’d love to hear him express his ongoing frustration with the continuous mind fuck this fragile bag of phlegm is pulling on the team.  I’d love to see him look squarely into the assembled cameras and with a firm voice announce that the Senators have released Pascal Leclaire from all contractual obligations, effective immediately and wish him luck with whatever future awaits weak-ass, pansified, hypochondriac twat wipers who can’t seem to tie their skates without straining something.  Then he would wrap up the conference with a hearty “FUCK THIS GUY!”.  I’d give almost anything to see that.

The kids are will be all right:

Yes, watching Team Canada blow a three goal lead in the third was kick-in-the-junk painful.  And losing to the bloody Russians made it even worse (sorry, US of America…not to bust your bubble, but you’re still very much the annoying little brother in the International Hockey Rivalry Clubhouse).  But consider this.  Had it been our boys scoring five straight to wipe out a three goal deficit and win a gold medal, we’d be building statues and renaming elementary schools in their honour.  HNIC would need to hire a staffer for the sole purpose of keeping Don Cherry’s engorged penis out of camera range as he turned Coach’s Corner into a shrine to “good Canadian boys, dere eh?”.  These kids were just that.  Kids.  And they made mistakes.  Yeah, losing sucks, and the way they lost sucks even more.  But to label them “chokers” and shower them in derisive paroxysms of hate and loathing is just plain unfair.  They were 19 year old kids playing a game for nothing but each other and love of country.  For our scorn of these young players, these kids, we should all be ashamed.  

Everyone knows it’s not okay to do that until they’re 19 year old men getting paid to play the same game.  Right?

Have a good week everyone.  Go Sens.