Canucks and Beyond

Quick Random Hits on the NHL

01/26/2009 at 4:24pm EST

Random, post- All Star weekend thoughts on a variety of topics—some serious, most not.

  • Watching Gary Bettman and Ron MacLeanchatting at the ASG, I was struck by Bettman’s demeanor. He seemed to be almost vibrating throughout that interview and it led me to wonder if he has some mild neurological disorder developing that’s been unreported. (Note: I’m not in any way making a joke here. Hopefully I was just imagining things. But he seemed really jittery…). You can compare this year’s conversation with his time talking to MacLean at last year’s ASG. Bettman seemed—to me—to be much more ‘wired’ yesterday. Is there some mysterious illness at work, or was it just a sign of too much espresso? (Update: alternate theories from readers added below…)

  • Listening to Roberto Luongo while he was working the net in the 3rd period was fun. I wish they’d do that all season long. Spruce it up with stuff like, “Holy crap. Souray, could you please get your ass out of the way of the shot?” etc. A treasure trove of fun for the whole family.
  • People keep talking about howthe games matter now” and that they’re finally excited for hockey. Count me out as one of the voices on that list. The games may “count” more, but I could use a longer break. I don’t think I’m psychologically ready for the emotional roller coaster of Canucks Fan Fear Factor to start again. (Oh, tequila, please give me the strength…)
  • Lately I’ve been thinking that hockey fans are the biggest whiners in the sports world. (Yes, of course I include myself in this.) While it’s true that I don’t have much experience of other sports’ fans to properly compare, I doubt any other fans could be more guilty of ‘eating their own’ than hockey fans are. We’re a brutally insecure group. But to look at this in a positive light, this might be a symptom of the fact that no other fans are as passionate, defensive and protective of their favorite sport, either.
  • And on a similar topic, telling people what is a “true” hockey fan irritates the hell out of me. Please pay attention: A hockey fan is anyone is who claims the title… and the more the merrier. So if you love the game for all its wonders, you are a “true” hockey fan. (If someone tells you otherwise, please tell them where to stick it.)
  • Constant trash talk of Sid the Kid reminds me a lot of the 80s and the similar treatment of Gretzky. I lived in Edmonton at the time, and even in that city there was a lot of negativity about Gretzky. I’ve always felt this was mostly a knee-jerk rebellion that hockey fans have, due to constantly hearing how “great” a player is. We’re a cynical group; we get tired of it. And in the case of Crosby, it tends to be much worse than Gretzky’s era as the NHL itself promotes Crosby so heavily and effectively across so many mediums.But what I’m struck by most of all is how well I think Crosby handles it—and people should respect that, whatever they think of his hockey skills. When I was his age, no-way, no-how, would I have ever been able to handle the intensity of expectations that he does. (If you’re around Crosby’s age and don’t know what I’m talking about, just wait 10 years. As almost anyone in their 30s can tell you, looking back to one’s early 20s, we tend to be surprised we even survived our college years, much less achieving anything more lofty than that. But maybe that’s just me…?!)
  • The 2 Man Advantage show recorded at the Winter Classic was just released the other day. “Huet just got Cristobal-Huet-ed” deserves to become a classic line.

Update 12:15pm PT: I got a variety of responses to my theories of Bettman’s illness on Twitter, including a couple alternate theories:

From cameronfrye: “I think Bettman has a man crush on the lead singer of Simple Plan and was giddy to be that close to the teeny bopper goodness!” and then later, “a little hockey, some music and a few well timed harvey wall bangers turn bettman into the sexy beast!”

From chuq: “nothing here that can’t be explained by the montreal coffee…”

So I guess my assumptions were far too serious. Instead, it may simply be a matter of Montreal just trying to kill him with caffeine. Or, perhaps, what appeared to be signs of Parkinson’s was actually just ‘seductive’ behavior. :)

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