Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hot Garbage

 As a rule I don't read, listen to or pay attention to anything that comes from the Edmonton media unless its Jason Gregor or erstwhile bloggers Bruce McCurdy and young Willis. I've been blocked by Terry Jones and Mark Spector on Twitter (deservedly I might add) and have unfollowed the rest, with the exception of the aforementioned and the Sun's Tychkowski. Also I respect David Staples as a guy who at least tries new ideas and who is willing to engage his critics. He takes a lot of abuse and stands in there and while I rarely agree with him that deserves mentioning.

 The loss of Dan Barnes was a deathblow to what was already a wasteland, mostly devoid of sense or critical thought. Strong words? Sure, deservedly so. These guys get it consistently wrong. There was Jones writing that any six D at the WJC would be better than the Oilers D and Matheson musing on a three year extension for Whitney at ~ 3 million per. And there are none worse than Spector who felt that Ben Eager, waived through the league, should play in the Oilers' top six and that Cam Barker was a top three defenceman last winter.

 With Spector one often thinks he is trolling with such comments or his assertions that Europeans can't be trusted in a third line/checking/grinding role on a contender (Sami Pahlsson, Tomas Kopecky, Sergei Brylin, Radek Dvorak all come to mind immediately as players who did just that) but its pretty clear that he's just that out of touch.

 One suspects that last spring he was probably one of the many who was bashing Ilya Kovalchuk as someone who didn't care about winning. This despite Kovalchuk playing like a man possessed until his bad back finally felled him. Instead of pointing this out though dummies like Stock and Hughson and Cherry and Healy pushed the narrative that Kovalchuk did not care. Sure he was amazing for the first three rounds but once the Finals came he stopped caring. Yes. Exactly.

 Hilariously there were only minutes left in the final game and Hughson put down Kovalchuk again and was admonished by Healy with an acknowledgement of something that everyone watching the games knew: he was badly hurt.

 Hughson's response? 'Well he shouldn't be playing then'

 The absurdity of the double standard to which Europeans are held cannot be overstated. The Swedes, Russians and Czechs have all won best on best competitions and I doubt anybody would question the competitiveness of the Finns. Pretty well every Stanley Cup champion since the eighties has had Europeans play prominent roles. Europeans have captained Cup champs and contenders. And yet the myth lives on. Euros don't care.

 If a Canadian or American plays hurt he is gutting it out (remember how Yzerman was deified?) but when Kovalchuk tried to do the same? He gets pilloried. He should not be playing! Imagine if he had not played the Finals the shitstorm that would have rained down on him?

 Its a sad joke. If a European player slumps then he doesn't care. If a team loses the prominent Euros (Malkin last spring) don't care about winning while the prominent Canadians (Fleury) get little if no blame.

 A dirty Euro breaks the mythical code or is a diver or does not belong in the league. A dirty Canadian is doing everything he can to win. And going back through the greatest Canadian players? Howe was dirty, Richard too. When provoked both Harvey and Orr would try to hurt their opponents, Orr in a sociopathic cold rage. Mikita was a vicious stickman early in his career, much like Anderson and (sneakily) Yzerman. Watch the 72 series and see what our heroes did on the road to victory. And that's without mentioning Mark Messier.

 Anyway the reason for this rant? On Twitter the other day and someone mentioned that Spector again had the knives out for his favourite target, Ales Hemsky. Here is what that idiot Spector had to say:

But who on the team takes responsibility for Ales Hemsky, the epitome of poor leadership and professional indifference, who stands as an awful example for an impressionable core.

When you talk about changing a losing culture, you talk about moving out Hemsky – a player seemingly satisfied with an April exit, season after season.

Hemsky doesn’t work on his game post-practice; he doesn’t produce during games; he is eternally injured; he is overpaid for his production. If he had signed a five-year deal instead of a two-year contract, and cared a bit more, he’d be Mikhail Grabovski.

When it’s all over, and the 19th game has passed in which Hemsky has delivered but a single goal for his $5-million salary, he didn’t even have the stones to stand in front of a media microphone Wednesday. Again he refused to talk post-game, leaving his coach Ralph Krueger to trot out the litany of excuses that this organization has collectively proffered for No. 83 for years now.

“It’s been a month on a foot injury…,” said Ralph Krueger. “He’s not at 100 per cent … You know he’s limited with the injury he has… That’s been a factor in his lack of production….”

 My fucking blog is tainted just by having these words on it but I sure as shit am not going to link to where he wrote this garbage.
 So much to say. Where to start?

 Grabovski hasn't produced this year because while Bozak and Kadri get to start in the offensive zone against the other club's softies, Grabovski gets to do the heavy lifting. You know, defensive zone draws against the other team's stars. All the while while playing with an illness. But 'hockey journalist' Mark Spector doesn't recognize Grabovski's role (JUST WATCH THE GAMES) or know that the little centre is ill. Nice work pal.

 Hemsky is a bad influence. Yes of course. His coach has basically excused him from practice for weeks because he is injured. I once had a cracked bone in my foot. I could barely walk, never mind play hockey. The injury that Ales Hemsky has would probably put keyboard warrior Mark Spector on the couch for weeks but Hemsky has played with it for a month. Spector calls this an excuse and calls Hemsky out for not producing. JOURNALIZM! Not only that Hemsky is setting a bad example, playing hurt as the team tries to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Right.

 Also on Hemsky's resume as a bad teammate? The fact that Taylor Hall said they had better well sign him last spring and the fact that he helps younger teammates with their games in practice. I know this and I am not a superstar journalist with access< I don't even live in Edmonton. But who do you believe? The dummy? Or Ales Hemsky's own teammates?

 The cherry on top of this joke? The fact that almost immediately after  'writing' that garbage Spector published a long whine about how unfair it is to him and to us that he doesn't get proper access to players. This is self important garbage, please turn your head so you don't vomit on your keyboard or smart phone.

You probably didn’t know this, but there are actual written rules in place — “NHL MEDIA ACCESS POLICY,” as agreed upon by the league and the NHL Players’ Association — in place to guarantee access to players so that you, the reader and the viewer, can hear from your favorite players.

So that when a player becomes the focal point of a game, or ‘The Story’ on an off day, you, the reader or viewer, can learn more about it through your friendly neighbourhood journalist.

 Now think about how laughable that is for a second. In a world where we all have access to information at the click of a button we need Mark Spector to have access to players so he can ask his canned questions so he can get his canned answers. Because that's what his precious access brings us. Tyler Dellow (who Spector called an idiot on the radio the other day - class), LT, Willis and McCurdy all give us better analysis than 'Eager belongs in the top six' Spector and when is the last time you learned anything from a Spector column, from his amazing access?


 What a joke.

 And then the topper:

Every team has their Henrik or Daniel, and every team has an Ales Hemsky or Dustin Byfuglien — two guys who wouldn’t pour their beer on a burning hockey writer.

 So on top of the fact that Spector ignores basic facts when talking about Hemsky (not to mention how this guy who 'doesn't care' hurt his foot blocking a shot or that the reason he has chronically bad shoulders is because over the years he has taken a beating from huge nasty men like Regher going into the corners and to the front of the net) but he then admits that Hemsky despises hockey writers. Or at least one specific hockey writer I would guess.

 I'm sure that a standup guy like Mark Spector doesn't let that fact colour his writing though, right?

 Good job, good effort.


David S said...

I'm fairly certain the team has been actively shopping Hemsky for a while now. Far easier to consider a star player going through a dry spell than that same player nursing a foot bone fracture (which can be somewhat indeterminate in recovery time). Get the other teams interested in a deal, then tell them "He just needs a couple of weeks off. Should be OK in time for your playoff push. Now if you'll just sign here..."

The tip-off? During his latest interviews Hemsky has let it slip "They (the team) don't want me talking about it."


Black Dog said...

I wouldn't doubt they have, I mean they're so loaded up front ... ;)

They weren't going to move him this spring though, not with the team in the race. I would bet they move him this summer, probably for ten cents on the dollar.

Anybody could see he was hurt though. I remember when it happened, a few people commented on it.

Anonymous said...

I'd hate to start rumours, but I heard through a friend in Edmonton that Spector is still a virgin. Might explain things.

Anonymous said...

thanks for share....

Jiminho said...

Unfortunately, I heard that bit about Hemsky and about Dellow. He was more than a little creepy with the nastiness that came out of him, like someone scratched him and he bled poison. He sounded like a real ass.

Gregor had a remarkable afternoon, he was in a bit of a lather about the lack of real progress in the Oilers' performance and went on air with a list of stats based comparisons of this and last season to back himself up. He challenged both Spector and Rishaug to pronounce on whether the Oilers had made progress; both pretty much came up with saw him good arguments which Gregor punctured with numbers right away. Both tried to argue and to insist, than they both had to do awkward dances while Gregor held their feet the fire. Neither gave the impression that they knew anything of worth about the subject they are supposed to cover or that they were anything but idiots themselves.

Black Dog said...

lol anon

Jiminho - thanks for that, yeah I'm a fan of Gregor, I don't always agree with him but he's honest and willing to listen. He doesn't sneer at bloggers and he also is happy to challenge the convetional wisdom when it comes to the Oilers.

Wish I had heard that, sounds like great stuff.

Jiminho said...

I don't listen to Gregor too much but heard that show anyway. FWIW, I went back to find the bits on Team1260's podcast archive:

Rishaug 4/9/13 hour 1 49min+
Spec 4/9/13 hour 4 11min+

Rishaug in particular seems stunned and stumped to hear of the stagnation of the Oiler's (negative) shot differential this season.

Both see improvement where arguably it is the conference competition which is notably worse and the compressed schedule has kept the standings close till now.