The River City Renegade

I miss Citizen Kane…$1 million should make Big Buff a fan of 3-on-3 hockey…a swan-diving Dane…and other things on my mind

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I cannot survive in a 140-character world, so here are more tweets that grew up to be too big for Twitter…

Top o’ the morning to you, Evander Kane.

Evander Kane

Evander Kane

I must say, it’s been awful quiet in these here parts ever since you packed your track suit and shuffled off to Buffalo. The boys you left behind are quite the bland lot. I mean, the surviving members of the Winnipeg Jets all pay their restaurant and bar tabs. They pay their parking tickets. They don’t swan off to Las Vegas and tweet selfies featuring great gobs of American greenbacks. They don’t buy billboards on Sunset Strip in Tinseltown to woo back their model girlfriends. All they do is kiss Saint Mark Chipman’s ring finger and play hockey. Bor-ring.

I was kind of hoping that your return to Pegtown for the Buffalo Sabres-Jets joust this afternoon at the Little Hockey House on the Prairie would liven things up. You know, get our motors running. But you didn’t play along. Your chin-wag with news scavengers upon your return to River City was as ho-hum as your offensive output this National Hockey League season. Just another game, you said. Business as usual, you said.

Balls!

It’s never “just another” anything when you and Winnipeg are in the mix, Evander. You had a love-hate relationship with us. Sans the love. You wanted out of River City the moment your eyes made acquaintances with Portage and Main. But you lied to us about that, didn’t you, Evander? You said everything was cool. You even signed a long-term contract that, as we have since learned, was window dressing and not an indication that you liked us, you really liked us.

It’s not quite a year since the trade that sent you from one NHL backwater burg to another and, other than a wardrobe adjustment from Jets to Sabres linen, not much has changed for you, Evander—eight goals and five assists in 30 games, pauperish returns for princely pay.

Still, I miss you and your underachieving ways, Evander. You were interesting. Fun. A walking, talking, 72-point headline.

That’s why you’re in for a rough ride this afternoon. The rabble in River City prefers their sporting heroes to be humble. Modest. Feet on the ground, not nose in the air. You made too much noise, Evander. The wrong kind of noise. And now you’ll be hearing a different kind of noise at the Little Hockey House on the Prairie. It won’t be pleasant and it won’t be polite. But I suppose it will be befitting.

Welcome back, Evander.

Big Buff is no fan of three-on-three shinny.

No. 33 is no fan of 3-on-3 shinny.

So, the successful side in this month’s NHL all-star hijinks in Twang Town, Tennessee, divvies up a $1-million pot of gold. That would be one million U.S. dollars, or about one million, 400,000 loonies. Something tells me that Dustin Byfuglien suddenly is a fan of three-on-three hockey. Big Buff, of course, harrumphed mightily earlier this season after he and the Jets had been beaten in a three-on-three overtime session. It’s not hockey. It’s terrible. It’s stupid. Fine, Buff. Remind us of that when you and your Central Division colleagues are counting the cash in Nashville.

Speaking of cash, I note that Jets’ freshman Nikolaj Ehlers is a bit lighter in the wallet these days. The NHL dinged the not-yet-great Dane to the tune of $2,000 for diving/embellishment, which means he’s a repeat offender. Somebody tell the swan-diving Dane that the pond is frozen. You want to embellishment something, kid? Try your scoring numbers. You had four goals before we carved our Halloween pumpkins. Then you turned into a pumpkin. You’ve scored two since, one into a empty net. Stay on your feet and play the game, Swanny.

Why all the angst over the Jets getting an early first-round pick in June’s NHL entry draft? If grand master Kevin Cheveldayoff is such a wizard on the draft floor, it shouldn’t matter whether he gets his initial call in the top 10, middle 10, or bottom 10 of the first round.

Who is Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun trying to fool? Following the Jets’ 4-1 faceplant against the Disney Ducks in Anaheim, he wrote, “Faced with a back-to-back situation, the Jets were unable to find their skating legs against a well-rested Ducks team.” Really? Well-rested? Wiebe surely is not letting the facts get in the way of his reporting, because the Ducks were playing their fourth game in six nights. Same as the Jets. Up to and including that game, the Ducks played nine matches from Dec. 17-Jan. 3. The Jets played eight. The Jets played five road games during that stretch. The Ducks played seven, including four on the opposite side of the continent. It was the Jets’ fifth post-Christmas game. Ditto the Ducks. So, exactly when did the Ducks have time to rest? Wiebe’s comment smacked of homerism.

Local sports scribes who wrote articles this week that did not include the sport and/or league they were writing about: Ed Tait, Tim Campbell, Melissa Martin, Scott Billeck, Jeff Hamilton, Doug Brown, Ken Wiebe, Paul Friesen.

Prediction: By the end of this month, the Jets will be in a playoff position. Seriously. The Nashville Predators have gone into free fall and the Colorado St. Patricks are legitimate like Jaromir Jagr is a rookie. About the only thing I can see screwing up the Jets this month is the return of Ondrej Pavelec.

Patti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg sports for 45 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 in 2015.

 

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3 thoughts on “I miss Citizen Kane…$1 million should make Big Buff a fan of 3-on-3 hockey…a swan-diving Dane…and other things on my mind

  1. Following the current Winnipeg sports scene is like watching wet paint dry. Hockey and football franchises just spinning their tires in futility because they either don’t want to spend a buck (hockey), or because they have no idea what they’re doing when they actually do spend the buck (the BB giving $400,000 to a sub-.500 Drew Willy, free agent signings like Picard and Moore, etc.). Not to mention the hiring of a rookie football GM and Head Coach.

    No results, no excitement and no one who seems to capable of actually fixing the problems. It’s a sad time to be a Winnipeg sports fan with no relief in sight. The Jets continually struggle to be one of 8 teams of 16 to make the playoffs. And the Bombers year after year are well-below .500. Winnipeg and winning sports franchises have probably never been further apart.

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  2. All good points, Rick. Just the other day, I was telling a friend who has a Jets website how boring I find the hockey team. There’s no there there. Same with the Bombers. Very bland. Both teams hide from the media. They don’t make players accessible for feature articles or in-depth discussion. Their desire to control the message is so intense that they don’t realize they’re biting off their own nose to spite their face. There are no characters on either team anymore. Evander Kane was a character (not necessarily for the right reasons) and they ran him out of town.

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    • Yes, given the play on the ice you would think they would want characters and would allow media accessibility. I don’t know; I’m just frustrated that on neither the hockey nor the football side they make the bold moves necessary to restore, or start, a winning tradition. The Roughriders go out and raid Edmonton to get proven winner Chris Jones. Two years ago the Eskimos trade for the highly-coveted Mike Reilly before he even hits the FA market. These teams want to provide a better product to their teams and they go out and make bold moves. None of that is happening in either the hockey or football worlds in Winnipeg. Both teams make second-class moves that guarantee fans will be fed with average to mediocre play. It’s downright sad. Cheers and enjoy the rest of your week. Happy retirement by the way.

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