So, I'm watching a show on HBO, "Station Eleven." Naturally, because we as a culture don't know how to discuss anything else, it's a post-pandemic-deep-in-an-apocalypse "biopic". Lots of angry people. But...it takes place in Michigan. In fact, the latest episode is set at an airport in Severn. Why do I bring this up? A plane stranded on the tarmac chock full of doomed infectees belongs to "Gitchegumee Airlines". A few minutes before that, you hear an announcement in the background, "luggage from the Edmund Fitzgerald will be in baggage claim..."
And that's what I've been doing. Watching stuff. Getting shots. Doing shots. Calling shots. Golfing (yup...more on that in a bit). Absolutely caving to every whim and request of my granddaughter (yup...I'm a grandpa now).
I'm sure the Emperor was going to get to this soon, but I relish the opportunity to beat him to this particular punch. I stayed up last night just in case I had the chance to witness, and listen to, this...
From Mark Kiszla, Denver Post.
There’s no sound sadder in pro sports than joy slowly hissing from a deflated crowd when the home team loses a playoff game in the oh-so-sudden death of overtime. After Golden Knights winger Mark Stone found nothing except open ice between him and Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer and hammered the game-winning goal only 50 seconds into the extra period, it felt like a stake through the hearts of 10,495 spectators in Ball Arena.
I'm not sure the exact day, or even year, Steve Yzerman took over as Tampa's GM. I do know, however, that it coincided with the first day I predicted, and began to publicly beg, that he take over the same position in Detroit. I have a sneaking suspicion that, grammatically, the previous sentence was not effective. I apologize.
The chatter here has increased in volume the last two days, regarding The Captain's decision to extend one Jeffrey Blashill. I will tell you with zero shame that I was hoping he'd go. I wanted (and still want) Gerard Gallant behind that bench. I'd sell some not so immediate family members for, oh, Barry Trotz.
But, Yzerman made his choice and I--as I may have stated--stand behind any decision he makes 100 percent. I literally cannot imagine a scenario that would change my stance on that.
SY may be a great GM (or not), his free pass for me is expired.
From here on - results baby, own your wins, own your suck!
That's one of us, just moments ago. Laying down the law, letting Steve Yzerman know he is...on...the...clock. Leeway...gone. Benefit of the doubt? None. He'd better perform or the pitch forks will be out and the Twitter GM contingent will be out (from behind their keyboards) in full frigging force, brother.
Why? Because Steve Yzerman, the best GM in hockey, decided keeping Jeff Blashill for the intermediate, or even short, term is the best move for this organ-I-zation.
It reminds me of Yzerman's first mistake as GM, and this was a big one. Holy cow did he bone this one up.
I can only imagine a quiet seething. Earlier in the year, before his recent improvement, when we watched Anthony Mantha float, lend a hapless defensive effort now and again, a passive presence around the net for a guy wh's 6'5, 230 or whatever he weighs. When I saw that enigma-like performance, I would just wonder what his GM was thinking. I imagine he was seething. Quietly.
Now we know. Now we know that one Steve Yzerman had made up his mind to move Mantha and move him quickly. Contract or not, improvement of late or not, Yzerman has zero patience for talent that goes unrealized through lack of effort.
I'm pretty sure that by the end of Tick Tock Kenny Holland's reign, or run, as GM of the greatest franchise in American sports history, I could have been a better GM. Don't get all sad and angsty about that. It's just my opinion and never once, not ever, have I ever given the impression here or anywhere that my opinion was the gold standard of opinions. I'm just a fan, and I happen to be a fan who believes I'd have been better than Kenny by the time he left.
Opinion. That's all that is. Belonging to one chubby guy with nothing to back it up.
But we also deal in facts here. Facts matter. So here's one for you:
Anyone who doubts Steve Yzerman is stupid.