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TERRANCE GAVAN – EDITOR
Alas poor Claude Noel. Fired by the Winnipeg Jets this week and media types like me will miss him.
Because Claude Noel brought a little life to the post game nut.
Some coaches come to the post-game scrum with a brick on their shoulders and spittle on the side of their gaping maws.
John Tortorella comes to mind. I have nothing against Torts, except for the fact that his umbrage and self-serving attitude does not turn my crank. He is one of those coaches who picks his fights and likes to embarrass reporters.
Brian Burke is the same and in my lifetime I can recall a number of professional coaches that fall short at the podium. Bobby Knight and Earl the Rat Weaver spring to mind as two of the most outrageous coaching personalities ever.
There is the other end of the spectrum. The dull as brick guys who don’t get mad and never opt for joy. They remain stoic in adversity and dead mum in the good times.
It’s those fellas, and the Sutter family springs with alacrity to mind, that bring the post game nut into the dead zone.
Would we had more coaches like Claude Noel.
He brought himself to the press conferences and as it turns out? Claude Noel is a very funny guy.
I am going to wish Paul Maurice well in his journey with the Winnipeg Jets.
Here’s what I know for sure.
Winnipeg sportswriters will be lamenting the loss of Claude Noel for some days and weeks and months to come. It will be a long season for sports pundits in Winnipeg.
Because Paul Maurice is a snooze fest. I think he’s a good coach and I’m glad that he’s back in the game. But he is the antipathy of Noel. His post game vents are not legendary and when he stands on a podium Maurice makes Brent Sutter look like Dice Clay.
I know that it was probably time for departure. As they say it’s easier to fire a coach than get rid of six players… or 10 or 14. And I think a case can be made for some kind of wholesale blameathon where the Jets are concerned. Even the players stood up and said it was on them.
But I will miss Claude Noel and his bon mots. I will miss that sardonic smile. I will miss that self-deprecating style. He was a rumpled housecoat hanging with 28 pinstriped wise guys.
An old slipper stepping on patent-leathered toes. An iconoclast, an island, an idiosyncratic old soul.
I will miss Claude Noel. But remain a Jets fan.
These are business decisions that men who ply their trade midst the shaky whims of upper management must face on a yearly basis.
Paul Maurice knows that as in interim mid-season coach? His nuts are on the line.
And TSN? If you’re reading. And I know you do!
Get this guy Noel a new suit and a pair of comfy slippers. Sit him next to a hot stove. Keep him away from the lean mean business guys like Duthie and McKenzie. Get him on a panel with a good straight man. Give him a cherry spot in the first and second intermission of your big games.
Remember Howie Meeker? Yes, the Golly Gee Trolley. And? Still the man most remembered by HNIC diehards. Of my ilk. And age.
Howie Meeker set the stage for guys like Cherry and MacLean.
I’m just spitz and gigglin’ here, but I think someone at TSN should be looking at snapping up this guy before I hire him for my blog!
Farewell Claude Noel.
Get Gav @terrancegavan