A wise man once said:
“I am too drunk to taste this chicken” -Col. Sanders via Talladega Nights
That might nicely size up this past week in the sporting world. The sports of hockey and football and studio wraslin’ all combined into one.
Starting on Jan. 18th John Tortorella, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, decided to have a boxing match with a hockey game to follow. Known for his brash style of coaching and personality, Torts decided to match Calgary Flames coach, Bob Hartley’s 4th line against his on the opening faceoff. For the Canucks, a defensemen took the draw, never a good sign…
While it looked like a scene out of the iconic hockey film Slapshot (Johnstown Chiefs reference #1, shout out to Dad and Denise) the first few seconds looked like a yard sale with sticks, helmets and gloves strewn across the ice surface. This is old news to hockey. What is new and a classless act on Mr. Tortorella’s part is that he took extreme offence to this line choice by Hartley, ala Patrick Roy trying to push down the bench divider to get to Sir Topham Hatt look-a-like, Bruce Boudreau and tried to bum rush the Flames locker room between the first and second periods of the game. Not a good idea at all. That flash of brilliance landed him on a 15 day (6 game) suspension along with a $25,000 dollar fine. As my Mom used to say: “good for yourself” when we got in trouble and knew what we did wrong, I am not sure if Torts ever thinks he is wrong.
What I do not agree with is that Hartley received the same fine! Why in the world did he get this? How was this a slight at the NHL or poor sportsmanship to put your fourth line out first? In the NHL, the visiting team puts their line-up in first and the home team counters. Maybe he wanted to push Torts hand (he surely did his buttons) and see what the mastermind came up with. He was an innocent bystander in this one and did not deserve that fine. I am not sure if Commissioner Bettman or perennial tough guy/rule breaker in his prime/NHL Catholic School Nun Brendan Shanahan levied the fine. Regardless all I can say is: C’Mon Man!
So, you are probably getting bored already of my first post and saying, “JSB where is this going?” The Pres is getting too his point, all great politicians do this. Richard Sherman’s great tip to his teammate to seal the fate of the 49ers in the NFC Semis (my heart goes out to Harry, wherever in America you are on the road) is the bridge. He then goes on a rant which I have no particular feeling about and the new media frenzy since Sunday, Jan. 19th. As you can see the media’s focus changes quickly. Two days ago, the 23rd,while being interviewed, he said that the media is looking at him for what he did during the game and the night before there was less hockey and more fighting! I sighed deeply on this one. Yes, Richard I agree it was more “thuggish” than your speech and “butt-slap” to Crabtree was. However, that is the beast of hockey. Am I proud of it, no. Is it apart of a game that used to be played with a pinecone, yes. Does my girlfriend agree with fighting in hockey and gets disgusted any time she has seen one, yes. Does this make me have to agree that I have a disdain for fights, yes…I mean no! I have been no to give someone the rough stuff if they are getting chippy, all in the work of an enforcer. It is us the media (weird to call myself that) that sensationalize, blow the story up and make a mountain out of a molehill.
How do we change this, I am not sure of that. The NHL has made strides to calm the fighting down and make it less vulgar. Making sure jerseys are tied down before games so that they cannot be pulled over their faces, assessing stringent penalties and fines for taking their helmets and other equipment off when fisticuffs occur as well. Yes, I know the Youth are watching, however in an interview going off on how you are the best this and then, maybe a cuss or two is no better than mauling someone. We all must watch we say and do regardless of it being the heat of the moment. Take five, a breath, eat a Snickers®, splash some cool water on your face, etc. Just do not let your emotions make a fool out of you and ultimately your sport and teammates.
Both Torts and Sherman showed us the Folly of Man and what testosterone poisoning can do to anyone.
As another wise man one said: “You never know who is watching” –Pap
Who is watching is us: the consumer, the fans, the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker and we will be for years to come. This is sports and the nature of it. Our athletes and coaches will make poor choices regardless if they know the red light is on in front or behind them. A lighter wallet or bad publicity only reaffirm their guilt and stupidity.
Agree or disagree this has been the Presidential Address, thank you for your time, God Bless these United States of American and most importantly this ThunderBlog.
I am Jarred S. Barnes and I approve this message.