So, this is what happens when you attempt to control the message by saying nothing.
That’s what the Winnipeg Jets have been doing since Evander Kane arrived for a team meeting (allegedly) adorned in a track suit, which Dustin Byfuglien (allegedly) hurled into a tub of ice-cold water (or the shower) in a classic display of message-sending, which led to head coach Paul Maurice (allegedly) making Kane a healthy scratch, unless it’s true that Kane (allegedly) quit on his team by (allegedly) refusing to play because Byfuglien (allegedly) hurled his track suit into a tub of ice-cold water (or the shower).
Except for the cryptic comments of coach PoMo, Jets officialdom has remained mum on the matter of Byfuglien (allegedly) delivering the peer, dressing-room discipline that resulted in the mercurial left winger (allegedly) withdrawing his services Tuesday night in Vancouver.
In this case, silence equals all hell breaks loose.
I’m not sure what the Jets would have, could have, should have said about the frat boy behaviour that (allegedly) transpired in the team boudoir during their recent visit to Van City for a joust vs. the Canucks, but even one of the daily lies all teams tell would have been better than saying squat.
The Jets are not unlike any other National Hockey League outfit. They don’t want the media controlling the message. The thing is, when you say nothing about one of your most-significant workers being told to take the night off because he has (allegedly) breached club dress protocol, news scavengers have no choice but to dig, dig, dig. And we all know what they’ll discover under all that dirt, don’t we. That’s right—more dirt.
I find it curious that we have yet to hear from the phantom who generally manages the Jets. Groundhog day has come and gone, but Kevin Cheveldayoff has yet to pop his head out of whatever hole he’s hiding in while his club implodes.
Perhaps this Phantom of the Soap Opera doesn’t feel that the rabble in Jets Nation have the right to know if it’s true that the club’s highest-salaried worker (allegedly) quit on his teammates. If it is true, what does he plan to do about it? Trade Kane? Suspend Kane? It’s one thing to put him on injured reserve, but what course of action does the GM take once Kane is in fine fettle?
Inquiring minds, and the people who pay those handsome salaries, would like to know. So what say you, GM Groundhog?
I have not been a strong advocate of a Kane trade, but I also believe that once Wayne Gretzky was dispatched all those many years ago, all bets are off. No one is untouchable. I believe Kane to be a terrific talent. Troubled, yes. But terrific, nonetheless. Having said that, I’ve long held that he’s been working on borrowed time in Winnipeg, if for no other reason than the fact a large majority of top players are moved at some point. Examine the list of the NHL’s all-time point-collectors and you’ll discover that only three of the top 10—Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic—began and finished their careers with the same franchise. Add Stan Mikita to that list, and it’s four of the top 30.
Thus, the likelihood of Kane running the table with the Jets was remote.
An argument can be made that GM Groundhog should have moved Kane last summer, when a number of teams were (allegedly) sniffing around. Chevy would have received maximum value in barter. Making bold strokes is not how he rolls, though. Some say he has the patience of Job. The hell, he does. Cheveldayoff makes Job look like a flaming knee-jerkist.
The Jets GM has positioned himself whereby he now would be peddling damaged goods. Not because of whatever mystery owie has placed Kane in sick bay, but due to this week’s tempest and past trespasses.
Cheveldayoff could have made this mess go away long ago. He chose not to. He chooses not to do a lot of things. Like talk.
Speak up, Chevy. Tell us what you think. You’re the team GM. Allegedly.
Patti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg sports for more than 40 years, longer than any living being. Do not, however, assume that to mean she harbors a wealth of sports knowledge or that she’s a jock journalist of award-winning loft. It simply means she is old and comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore) and she apparently doesn’t know when to quit. Or she can’t quit.
She is most proud of her Q Award, presented to her in 2012 for her scribblings about the LGBT community in Victoria, B.C., and her induction into the Manitoba Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour.