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One Thing Wrong With Tim Thomas

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Tim Thomas is a throwback.

He’s a heart-on-his sleeve, all-or-nothing, fight-for-everything he gets goaltender who has stolen the spotlight in the Stanley Cup final.

He’s everything Canadians want to see representing the game they call their own.

But the Boston Bruins’ Thomas is also (gasp!) an American.

Say it isn’t so … a hockey hero inspiring a team in a championship series, who with his bushy ginger playoff beard looks like a lumberjack fresh out of an old-growth redwood forest in B.C., and he calls Flint, Michigan, home?

It just doesn’t seem right.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+thomas

Comments

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Better get used to it, the two biggest heart and soul guys in this final are Thomas and Kesler. Both Americans and when we are done kicking your ass in “your game” maybe you will show some respect for others who love the game and have the passion, like you imagine is only Canadian.

Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 11:56 AM ET

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Geesh, relax.  It’s a fun article, and it’s meant as a compliment.  We Canadians love American hockey fans, okay.  Now calm down and go polish your silver medal.

Posted by Mick Kern on 06/10/11 at 12:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s a Canadian paper/blog writing for a Canadian audience about something other than the Canucks. 

It’s pretty easy to get offended when the whole beginning of the article makes implications that the norm for a Canadian is to play with passion and fire while it’s not the standard for non-Canadians.

But this line is pretty disarming:

It’s a passion we Canadians like to believe we own exclusive rights to when it comes to our national pastime.

Who wouldn’t like to believe that?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/10/11 at 12:16 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

It just doesn’t seem right.

Isn’t this the same racist stuff they get all over Grapes aboot?

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/10/11 at 12:57 PM ET

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Geesh, relax.  It’s a fun article, and it’s meant as a compliment.  We Canadians love American hockey fans, okay.  Now calm down and go polish your silver medal.

Nick if this were the only article ever written about a Canadian predisposition for hockey and the rest of the world is defective in psyche or passion it wouldn’t matter. But this is the norm in Canadian hockey journalism. From Don Cherry to writers for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. This isn’t an innocent, gosh ain’t he great, we want him as our own article. This article starts with the presumption of Canadian superiority and then “benignly” adopts him. Well those of us who have endured Canadian condescension have had our fill, whether it has to do with our sunbelt cities, our love and knowledge for the game or our ability to play the sport we aren’t going to sit quietly and take it any longer.

I listen to your show regularly and I know you don’t carry these values on your sleeve.  Maybe your are too close to really see and hear it. But you should recognize the view we get coming at us from Canada and it is offensive and demeaning. If we saw more Canadian journalist calling their peers out, when they regularly degrade foreign hockey, or spout the myth of Canadian innate superiority, it would help. But, there is nothing but silence or tacit agreement.

Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 01:10 PM ET

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I meant Mick.

Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 01:11 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I listen to your show regularly

Are you sure this is really The Mick Kern and not some member that took the name for their Nick?

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/10/11 at 01:21 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Are you sure this is really The Mick Kern and not some member that took the name for their Nick?

Posted by SnLO from Meeesheegan on 06/10/11 at 11:21 AM ET

I can confirm it is the real Mick Kern.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/10/11 at 01:23 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

I can confirm it is the real Mick Kern.
Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/10/11 at 11:23 AM ET

Thanks Paul.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/10/11 at 01:26 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

I fail to see a problem with that article. Suggesting that Canadians play the game with passion certainly isn’t “racist” as one alluded to above. Ok, it’s a generalization and perhaps a hope, much like “Mexican boxers leave it all in the ring,” but that’s because the sport takes on such a significance in the country. What are the standards and expectations of American hockey? Hard to say since the media has little to no expectations, but still, “never giving up” and “over-achieving” certainly attach to US hockey since Lake Placid.

On top of that, consider the flip side.  Canada is the US’s biggest trading partner (and vice versa). Bigger than China, Japan, Mexico. It took on a significant role doing some of the dirtiest combat in the early days in Kandahar. Does any of that get any press in the US? Canada is treated as a joke by most Americans. Yet we take offense to the slightest thing from the Canadian media? Please.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/10/11 at 01:44 PM ET

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I just wish some canadians not from the windsor toronto area had a little more respect for the amount of hockey developed in the Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota area. Being from Flint MI makes perfect sense.

Posted by Joe from NY on 06/10/11 at 01:56 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It took on a significant role doing some of the dirtiest combat in the early days in Kandahar. Does any of that get any press in the US?

Actually, I remember reading a decent number of articles from U.S. news publications that specifically mentioned things like “joint U.S./Canadian forces working in the Kandahar region.” 

Besides, that’s not really the flip-side of this issue.  The flip-side would be American news articles saying things like “It’s just not right that Justin Morneau is Canadian, since he plays baseball the American way”. 

I fail to see a problem with that article. Suggesting that Canadians play the game with passion certainly isn’t “racist” as one alluded to above.

No, it isn’t.  What’s problematic (I’d say perhaps jingoistic or xenophobic before “racist”) is the implication that it’s not right that a person who isn’t Canadian plays with passion. 

Like I said, the line farther down the article goes a long way to disarming the part that makes it seem like this is what Timbits is talking about as another example of the Canadian media talking down to the U.S. about the sport of hockey.

I will say that it is a drum that seems to be getting beaten pretty heavily north of the border though.  I’ve discussed with another commenter the reasons for it and I think I have a decent understanding, but that doesn’t make it any less tiring to constantly deal with it.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/10/11 at 01:57 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Canada is treated as a joke by most Americans

I don’t know, when D.C. finally succeeds in destroying our country I’m moving home to Montana and starting the “Secede from the Union and petition to be Canada’s 11th Province” movement.  smile

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/10/11 at 02:05 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

JJ, good post. I can argue over some of the details but again, I think that you understand that the bottom line is that it’s a Canadian article, intended for a Canadian audience, speaking extremely admirably about Thomas, not intended to be critical of other countrys’ styles, though that can be inferred if one looks at it with one eye closed.

And it’s certainly not one of Don Cherry’s circa 1980 cough cough 90/2000/10 diatribes. I remember the whole “chicken Swede” thing of his back in the day when Salming was patrolling the blue line for that insane old Leaf owner.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/10/11 at 02:14 PM ET

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Besides, that’s not really the flip-side of this issue.  The flip-side would be American news articles saying things like “It’s just not right that Justin Morneau is Canadian, since he plays baseball the American way”.

Bingo

Posted by steviesteve on 06/10/11 at 02:20 PM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

I’m an American (grew up playing with thomas for the flint icelanders) and i can relate to canadians more than americans. Seriously, football, basketball, nascar, & baseball aren’t remotely close to the sport of hockey. Greatest sport on earth and they choose to watch other sports rolleyes

Posted by Keyser S. on 06/10/11 at 02:21 PM ET

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Paul is right, it is me, for what that is worth.

Timbits, you’re not wrong in your take on the need for most of the Canadian hockey media to lord over this grand ole’ game.  It’s often why I prefer to watch an American television broadcast of a game, because sometimes I don’t want a lesson about, a lecture on, or a reinforcement of Canadiana.  Sometimes I just wanna watch a hockey game.

Having said that, I still feel U.S. hockey fans should relax and let all this wash over them.  The National Hockey League has pretty much been an American based league for decades now.  The vast majority of franchises are in the States, as they should be, considering the population base to draw from.

No Canadian puck xenophobia is going to alter any of that.  Winnipeg getting back an NHL team has to do with economics, and a whole litany of issues particular to Atlanta.  It doesn’t speak of a great Canadian-American divide, nor a sudden migration of team’s north.  Oh, it may happen again someday, but a struggling Southern-based team could more likely end up in another U.S. market, buyer willing.

Hockey has roots in the Northeast of the States that are as old and as deep as its roots in Canada.  It’s very similar to baseball.  That sport developed at the same time in what is now the province of Ontario, as it did in the U.S.  Still, baseball is thought of as one of the tenents of American society, even today when it’s been eclipsed by football.

As a Canadian baseball fan, who knows and loves the game as much as any Yankee, we know the feeling of being dismissed by the bigger power in the sport.  And power in this sense doesn’t necessarily mean on the field prowess.

Most long-time Canadian hockey fans I know, or have talked with, do not subscribe to this “Canada’s Team” mentality.  That’s all a beer company’s creation, going back a number of years.  It is a myth.  It works well for non-sports newscasts that have been told to do some stories on a Canadian-based team getting to the Stanley Cup Final.  It’s an easy angle to take.

Like hell I would ever cheer to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Cup Final.  In 2007, I didn’t really care who won the Cup.  In 2006, I was pulling for Carolina.  In 2004, I was pulling for Calgary.

Don’t get pulled into an emotional tug-of-war with some Canadians over who really loves/knows/owns the game.

We all do.

Go Bruins!  (Can’t believe I would ever type those words…I ask for forgiveness).

Posted by Mick Kern on 06/10/11 at 02:31 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Doesn’t really matter what they say about Americans really.  And yeah Mick, we’ll go polish our silver.. that’ll be the Stanley Cup.  When’s the last time it took residence in Canada?  Weird, you’d think the Canadian teams would be more passionate, at least passionate enough to do a solid for the country and bring them what’s “rightfully” theirs, haha.  Viva America!

A disclaimer that Red Wings Fandom overrides nationality

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/10/11 at 02:34 PM ET

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Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 11:10 AM ET

Someone’s cranky and needs a nap…

Posted by Garth on 06/10/11 at 02:36 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

alright, that took all the fun out of my jab at you posting something that actually made sense.


It’s all fun and adds to the flare.  I personally would rather be the under-dog than the favorite.  Whether or not it’s all beer company stuff I’m not so sure.  Too many writers chose to write about that to just be a couple individuals who subscribe to that, but it’s all good.  Like I said, I’d rather be the under-dog ANY DAY.  And I get what you’re saying about baseball.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/10/11 at 02:41 PM ET

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Most long-time Canadian hockey fans I know, or have talked with, do not subscribe to this “Canada’s Team” mentality.  That’s all a beer company’s creation, going back a number of years.  It is a myth.  It works well for non-sports newscasts that have been told to do some stories on a Canadian-based team getting to the Stanley Cup Final.  It’s an easy angle to take.quote]

Don’t get pulled into an emotional tug-of-war with some Canadians over who really loves/knows/owns the game.

We all do.

 

Bravo Mick!

This is what all true hockey fans should believe!!!  North and South of the 49th.

Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 02:45 PM ET

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Doesn’t really matter what they say about Americans really.  And yeah Mick, we’ll go polish our silver.. that’ll be the Stanley Cup.  When’s the last time it took residence in Canada?  Weird, you’d think the Canadian teams would be more passionate, at least passionate enough to do a solid for the country and bring them what’s “rightfully” theirs, haha.  Viva America!

You do realize that it…LIVES…in Canada.  Right?  Like, literally, it resides in Canada for the vast majority of the year?  Every year?

I hate this Canadian nationalistic Hockey-Is-Canada BS, but even more than that is what I hate how Americans, who generally belittle and condescend to Canada in every way they can possibly think to, cry about Canadians trying to own ONE thing and you act like Canadians are the big bullies and you’re poor little America, just trying to make it in the big scary world.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/11 at 02:50 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

even more than that is what I hate how Americans, who generally belittle and condescend to Canada in every way they can possibly think to

That’s a good generalization.  We have meetings and everything where we brainstorm ideas on how to belittle Canada.

We’ve decided that an increase in moose jokes and monopoly money references should suffice for the next quarter, but we’re really looking into revamping our long-term strategy.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/10/11 at 02:53 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Isn’t this the same racist stuff they get all over Grapes aboot?

I dislike having to explain myself, it just means that I didn’t communicate effectively enough in the first place, but I can see that I should. Also, it seems that I’m guilty of a poor hyperbole.

I was writing to the hypocrisy of the Canadian media in regards to xenophobia. The media is cocked and ready to go on the offensive when Don Cherry makes a comment about soft French Canadian players or visor wearing Europeans, but it is no problem for them to say / write about American indifference.

It really doesn’t bother me what they write, but I do find the hypocrisy interesting and worth making comment. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Paul is right, it is me, for what that is worth.

Not much. Just about $.02 CAD wink  hehe

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/10/11 at 02:53 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

garth, did you bother to read my follow up post or did my first one send you into a canadian rage and you jumped right to the comment box?

And it may LIVE in Canada, but it’s not yours wink

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/10/11 at 02:58 PM ET

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but even more than that is what I hate how Americans, who generally belittle and condescend to Canada in every way they can possibly think to

As an American who lives in a border state, has a best friend who is Canadian and with half of my relatives living in Canada, I know this isn’t true. Most Americans I know like Canada, many visit it often and appreciate the differences Canada offers its people.  America may be self absorbed, but there is no ill will towards Canada. Yes, Canada gets ignored in the US media, but that doesn’t mean it is disrespected. Far from it, Canada is held as a model on many economic and political issues. Don’t forget that hockey fans are potentially Canada’s best advocates, but with the rise of anti-Americanism in the Canadian hockey media that will be gone. Besides as Mick said we all know and love the game, if it is made a national issue we will all lose out. We all need to challenge the nationalizing of the game, especially at the NHL level.

Posted by timbits on 06/10/11 at 03:06 PM ET

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Please give me one example where Americans speak ill of, condescend or belittle Canada outside of a hockey blog? This idea that Canada is disrespected in America seems to be a lot like the fabrication that the Canucks are so put upon.

Both countries have great hockey fans,  the main difference is hockey in the US is a more of niche sport and that makes its fan base that much more strident. The average Canadian hockey fan by comparison is like a US football fan and resides in the comfort of a national past time.

What I think the real point is, is that each country used to have a more unique STYLE of hockey. That is evolving as teams and players compete with and against each other. I never thought there was ever a difference in passion or love of the sport. A player that dedicates his enitre life to a sport is no more or less dedicated if two people are cheering him or if a whole nation is,

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 06/10/11 at 03:06 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Yes, Canada and the rest of the world gets ignored in the US media…

fixed. I couldn’t resist.

There is a lot of truth behind that thought though. That is why my primary souces for news are either the BBC or the CBC.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/10/11 at 03:15 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Tim and many Michiganders were born northwest of Canadian territory (I was born 3 miles directly north of Windsor), so if they want to adopt someone from a state that’s lovingly embraced a sport we’d like to think that we share, hey, that’s cool by me.

But knocking Flint, well, that’s dangerous business. Flint natives aren’t as numerous as those who call Detroit their spiritual, cultural or literal home or birthplace, but they’re tough in Flint and love their rough-edged town.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/10/11 at 04:03 PM ET

blammo's avatar

I love America (though her foreign policy leaves room for criticism).

Tim Thomas is my favourite goalie.

An American is my favourite Canuck.

Like Kesler, I “hate” the US during Olympic hockey (unless they are playing Russia).

Some people take this stuff too seriously.

Posted by blammo from Vancouver, BC on 06/10/11 at 04:05 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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