Gav on Sports – Reprinted from County Voice – Jan 27 2011
By Terrance Gavan
We thought for a minute there last week that Sid the Kid Crosby was goin’ rogue.
There, for a fleeting momento, we nearly had Sid the Kid threatening, in a Globe and Mail piece, to boycott the NHL All-Star game slated for Raleigh this coming Sunday (Jan 30).
Word was out that Sydney was miffed – nay pissed – about the NHL’s no-cohones stand re some blind-side hits courtesy of Washington’s Dave Steckel on Jan 1, and a board-job from Lightning big body Victor Hedman on Jan 5.
Neither hit was assessed with a penalty by the refs, and both of those dubious head shots – which now has Sid the Kid out of the game counting I tot’ I taw’ a puddy-tat Tweety Birds – were ignored by the league office.
For a time there last week, we thought Sid the Kid was angry enough to withdraw his services from both the game and the subsequent festivities in Raleigh.
Indeed the Globe and Mail led us to believe that he might use the opportunity – the lingering concussion – to insert himself into the fray against the NHL’s ambivalence toward head shots.
We hoped that Sid’s threat in the Globe and Mail would form a shark-jumping precursor to a stand in the sand against unnecessary head shots.
We thought he’d move to peremptory strike. Call out Colie Campbell and Comish Gary Bettman.
Y’all know what thought did.
Thought withdrew into Sid’s shrinking nether region – and now, even though he won’t be playing Sid would rather tote the company line than turn this into a mandate on head shots.
And now instead of a balk we find a spark and the de rigueur talk from that tepid young man.
Idle whimsy about his sore head. No rally in Raleigh against headhunting.
Instead, a reprehensible bulwark to status quo. So, Sid Crosbie is a weenie precisely because he ain’t showing up for the fight, concussion notwithstanding.
Thus we sally. Forth.
Once more into the breach young men.
Though your careers are shortened and forestalled by those weaker-than lesser bulbs that stalk corridors of NHL dressing rooms like sideshow buskers selling their fists and slow gelling neurons for a piece of the slice of an ersatz career in the National Hockey league.
We could name them.
We could anecdotally annotate those grizzled pugilists with the leaded fists and those oh-so-hard heads.
The Luddite hoard of sucker-punch, board-handed and hormone-laced street brawlers.
We could list them.
But we won’t.
We’ll simply list a few of the careers ended by the faulty and draconian stewardship of an NHL management paradigm that would not see fit to protect a younger Bobby Orr from the leg shots. Targeted mayhem on a youngster by the old guard.
The ugly ones: Steve Moore felled and career ended by one stone-cold asshole Todd Bertuzzi. Eric and Brett Lindros gone from multiple concussions.
Adam Deadmarsh, Jeff Beukeboom (1999), Geoff Courtnall (1999), Paul Comrie (2000), Petr Svoboda (2000), Pat LaFontaine (1998), Geoff Courtnall (1999) and many, many more – far too many to name here.
Let’s all remember Terrible Ted Green too. Felled by Wayne Maki in the bloody denouement of a stickfight. That was back in the good old days – when tough guys had nicknames like Terrible. And fighting often broke the rules of detente.
And of course the NHL has always tended to support the roughhouse and the weaker link.
Who would be dumb enough to forestall progress by not allowing fluid gliders like Gilbert Perreault and Guy Lafleur to strut their stuff with passion and grace?
The NHL of course.
Ugly accoutrements like zone traps and the viral crunch of clutch and grab.
Turning a ballet into a concert of disassembled lane changes. Bumping finesse to the curb.
How many goals could Gretzky have scored if he didn’t have to ramble the ice tied to a cement-headed foot tether.
Davey Boy Semenko as minister of defense. His nickname? Cement Head. We could not make this up folks.
Would a low-leveraged striker named Cement Head ever be necessary in soccer, where the leagues – note the plural there – take stars like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi seriously.
As in DO-RE-MI serious. Soccer realizes the monetary worth of those marquee players – at the gate and in the soul.
Soccer. A game where fans are drawn not by the brawn.
But by the sheer beauty of that lovely dance. Preface to that precise finish.
In soccer they allow the officials to decide what is right and what is wrong on the pitch.
No bag o’ hammer pile of testosterone follows Lionel Messi around the gilded pitch. The rules of footy preclude the head shot or that targeted blindside. Red card my son. Now go, young man, to a shower and remember that the fans pay to see the gentlemen – not the beggars.
Sid the Kid after two very ugly blindsided hits now sits on the sideline for the All-Star game. And who knows how many league games.
And that next concussion from some mentally disheveled misdemeanor waiting for his one shot at immortality? What will that next concussion do to Sid the Kid?
Now is it up to Sid the kid to pop the cherry on this miasma of greasy indifference?
T’was Sid’s perfect chance to make a statement to Gary Bettman and Colie Campbell, who should both be out of town on the next tar-feathered rail.
So I prefer my NHL Eric Lindros style.
Less abysmal and mushy-mouthed rhetoric.
And more cohones.
Head shots and blind sides?
Like the concussions they cause.
And Colie and Bettman?
Just dumb as a bag of hammers.