Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 06/05/12 at 05:00 PM ET
While waiting for news from Shark Territory, there has been plenty to think about. I’ve seen Sharks fans call for a shedding of dead weight from the team, several still hoping to acquire Rick Nash, presumably in exchange for that dead weight. Some names that come up on the fan “to go” list: Patrick Marleau, Douglas Murray, Ryane Clowe, Antti Niemi. I hate seeing anyone called dead weight, or specific players being blamed for this atrocious season. I’m sure I’ve said angry things about players, I wish I wouldn’t. I wish none of us would.
I’ve tried to come up with something to say about the Sharks’ plans for the offseason. I tried to speculate about what sort of philosophical change they need: true meritocracy? Something more Marxist? From each according to his ability….? On another tack, I convinced myself that there was some direct correlation between Ryane Clowe’s concussion and the second-half slide the team took. That required me to speculate about when that concussion occurred, which is, at best, unreliable. In any case, it was probably just another piece the in the puzzle of what went wrong, even if the (probable) timing looked culpable. So none of that seems like sharing in greater depth right now.
Tim Thomas gave the NHL community something to wonder about, announcing a leave of absence that will presumably eat up the last year of his contract with the Bruins. On Backhand Shelf, Justin Bourne rightly points out that there is probably more to it than Thomas being eccentric. Eccentricity is a fun easy explanation for odd or unexpected events, but often there is something understandable, even upsetting behind it.
Against that Twitter backdrop came the news of Katie Moore’s illness as the real reason for the Dominic Moore’s absence during the playoffs. The announcement did not specify how long she has been ill or what the long term outlook is. Regardless, it is very distressing news. It should also serve to remind a lot of fans that much of the time we have absolutely no idea what is going on in the lives of these players.
It is understandable for people to get frustrated when they feel let down. When little or no details are shared, people have no reason to assume a player is not simply lazy or incompetent. On the other hand, we don’t have reason to assume there is no legitimate, private explanation for uncharacteristic behavior.
I’m not saying people don’t have a duty to do their best under all circumstances, or that people have to be satisfied with disappointment. But when we don’t know the circumstances, we should be careful about throwing stones.
Is Tim Thomas crazy to walk away from millions of dollars? How much money do you need? How much can money buy anyway? Bourne asks if he couldn’t have done what he needs to do at 39 instead of 38. Only Thomas knows. Maybe he is walking away from the Bruins instead of towards something else. We simply don’t know, we won’t know unless he tells us, and he has no duty to ever tell us.
Maybe not each and every player who underperforms, says or does the wrong thing has a reason that would make you ashamed to have criticized him. As long as we don’t know either way, I wish observers would think twice before assuming the worst about anyone. What someone says reveals more about the speaker than about the subject. I know I’ll forget that rule in the future, so I’ll regret it in advance.
For now, I’ll send prayers and good thoughts for Katie Moore and her family, as many others are doing.
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About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at email@example.com