Monday, September 21, 2015
When I was a young man, like a lot of young men, or at least I'd like to think (!!!) I tended to leap before I looked. I was and am a talker, as one of the guys on Capsule said one time at post game beers 'Oh yeah Pat's a talker, Pat likes to talk' and it's true, Scotty (the man who coined Patty Sandpaper in a pregame stream of consciousness rant) and I are probably the talkiest on the team.
And yeah so when I was young I had a bad habit of speaking and acting without thinking. Like I said I think (hope) that's fairly typical of young men but maybe not. I wasn't trolling for reaction, I was always a bit ahead of myself, fast talking, fast thinking, a bit hyper at times which was the opposite of my old man who speaks slowly and deliberately and who is as calm a man as I have ever known. For that matter my Mom is cut from the same cloth so maybe I'm just becoming them.
And then, as I got older, well I slowed down. I don't know if it's experience or wisdom or that I am just really tired from having three kids but I learned to think before I speak. A lot of this is adapting to having kids of course. I don't make promises that I can't keep and that goes for threats as well. No quicker way to losing the room than not being able to follow through on what you say. And then of course there is work. When you're working at a video store or on a movie set you're not saying much of import that's for sure plus you're higghhhh quite a bit. In my present job, let's call it 'my career' when you're dealing with customers and staff well if you say dumb things then ... well you're not going anywhere fast is what's going to happen.
I think that like a lot of people I get frustrated by what passes for conversation in the hockey media. For me a guy like Bob MacKenzie is the gold standard. He doesn't make wild statements, he says what he believes and is open to new ideas and when he is not sure of something he says 'hey this is something I am not sure of'. To me this is what any guy in the business should be shooting for. Be informative, know what you're talking about, be open minded, keep it simple.
Of course I know that in a lot of cases guys are saying what they say because of what the producer is telling them, I am reminded of Aaron Ward saying on Twitter after one of TSN's quizzes where he took an indefensible position that someone had to, that was part of it. And of course anyone who has seen the quiet reasonable Pierre Maguire who actually makes sensible arguments can see that the loudmouth barking seal act is just that, an act.
What has gotten me on this tangent is the comment that Kelly Hrudey made last year about Ryan Nugent Hopkins being a second or even a third line centre. Not to beat this to death of course, that happened last spring, that horse is nothing but a remote rusty stain on the pavement now but I have wondered about that comment since it was made. I like Hrudey, who seems an affable fellow, although he may just compare well to what is for the most part a lineup of buffoons and angry men on the HNIC set. Maybe it is just me but I seem to recall Hrudey as a far more astute observer but then again maybe he is just part of the general dumbing down of once was the go to hockey broadcast (oh how I miss TSN, even with Jeff O'Neill's antics, it is far superior).
Anyhow Hrudey may have believed what he was saying or maybe he was just trolling, following the instructions of some callow behind the scenes genius, you know the type who thinks it's a good idea to get rid of Colonel Mustard. One has to think it was the latter because other than Hall I can't think of a more important Oiler (not including Mr. C. McDavid of course). Actually there may not be a more important man on the roster amongst the returnees.
Ted is a man now and he gives the Oilers depth at perhaps the most important position on a hockey club. Now the Chicago Blackhawks might win the Stanley Cup with Jonathan Toews and three guys named Moe at centre (Marcus Kruger is a hell of a player don't get me wrong but he's no number two centre with that offence) but they also have (had I guess, so long Saad) a raft of top flight wingers, including two future Hall of Famers in Hossa and Kane, an embarrassment of riches that shunted Patrick Sharp to a bottom six position for most of last spring. Oh and of course those D.
But go back, way back. Fedorov and Yzerman. Datsyuk and Hank. Forsberg and Sakic. Modano and Niewendyk. Crosby, Malkin and Staal. Staal and Brindamour. Kopitar and Carter and Richards and Stoll. Bergeron and Krejci. Lemieux and Francis. Gretzky and Messier. Etc, etc etc.
You get the picture. Like most hockey axioms there are exceptions. You can win without a stud defenceman. You can win without depth at centre. You can win without homegrown talent. But those are the exceptions.
The Oilers have McDavid and Ted and they have Draisatl and Lander and Letescu and four of them are kids and yeah it's wonderful.
Did you know that Ted was tied for thirteenth OVERALL in the NHL last season in ES goals. 13th. Tied with John Tavares and Patrick Kane. I did not know that until last week, tip of the hat to LT for twigging me to that.
He's a stone cold killer, he's 22 (!!!!) and he's ours.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:30 PM