(Note: Old friend Brian Smiley sent me a note last week wondering if I was going to pull a Brett Favre and unretire my retired River City Renegade blog. Damn you, Smiles! Just call me Patti Favre! I swore I wouldn’t do this, but Jacob Trouba made me do it. Thus, the retirement of The River City Renegade lasted less than a week. She’s back in the saddle. So sue me.)
I cannot survive in a 140-character world, so here are more tweets that grew up to be too big for Twitter…
After all the hand wringing, teeth gnashing and the braying of the rabble and journos since Jacob Trouba’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, went public with his client’s trade request, what have we learned about the relationship between Trouba and the Winnipeg Jets?
Only this: The man who generally manages the National Hockey League outfit, Kevin Cheveldayoff, has photographs on his office wall of himself and Trouba shaking hands at the 2012 entry draft. Awwww. That’s so sweet.
That singular, warm-and-fuzzy revelation aside, however, we know nothing of the intimate details that convinced Trouba to finally stir from his sofa and join his teammates in their 2016-17 NHL frolic, the first 13 assignments of which he spent playing video games or whatever it is that 22-year-old guys do to amuse themselves these days.
Thus, what we have witnessed for the better part of two months, ladies and gentlemen, was an episode of Seinfeld. It was about nothing.
Trouba didn’t stay at home in Michigan because of money. He didn’t stay at home because of geography. He didn’t stay at home because of on-ice deployment. He didn’t stay home for more of mom’s home cooking. No, no, no, no. The young, truant defenceman stayed at home because…well, just because.
That, at least, is my conclusion after listening to 18 minutes of Kevin Cheveldayoff and news snoops flap their gums during a telephone tete-a-tete on Monday.
When asked to speak directly to the issue of Trouba’s trade request, Cheveldayoff allowed that his chin-wags with Overhardt and/or Trouba were “private.” He then added this nugget of nothingness:
“I’ve got pictures hanging in my office of the day that I shook Jacob’s hand when we drafted him.”
I’m so glad Chevy cleared up that trade matter.
So, again, other than framed photos on a wall, nothing Cheveldayoff said or didn’t say enlightened us.
Trouba’s stated reason for withholding his services was on-ice deployment. His desire is to play on the right side of the blueline, and he doesn’t see room for growth if the head coach, Paul Maurice, insists on slotting him third on the depth chart, behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers. Conspiracy theorists, of course, scoff and submit that the playing arrangement is a smoke-and-mirrors argument to deflect attention from the actual issue—Trouba wants out of Winnipeg, he wants out of Canada.
But those are theories. Nothing more. Neither Trouba or Overhardt have publicly stated an aversion to River City and the True North, before or during the rearguard’s self-imposed work stoppage that stretched from the opening of training camp until the signing of a two-year contract this week that will compensate him to the tune of $2.5 million this season and $3.5 million a year from now.
We, therefore, are left to speculate, and here’s what I think: There’s as much chance of Jacob Trouba finishing his career in Jets livery as there is of palm trees sprouting at Portage and Main in January.
He’s gone. It’s just a matter of when.
The rabble might not be ready to prepare the fatted calf for the prodigal rearguard’s return and, indeed, they might be rather hostile the first time he messes up in a game, but I’m guessing Trouba’s teammates will offer a warm welcome. Except perhaps Mathieu Perreault, the all-talk, no-walk forward. Among the Jets, only Perreault spoke out against Trouba’s reasoning for a trade and his holdout, branding him “selfish.” I don’t know the dynamics between the two players, but if I’m Trouba I’m telling Perreault to take his opinions and stick them where the sun don’t shine.
Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press might want to find a different source for Jets-related intel. In a Saturday dispatch out of Detroit, he wrote this of Trouba and the Jets: “When it comes to resolving an increasingly bitter dispute that has deprived the Jets of one of the NHL’s most promising young defencemen, you couldn’t help but get the feeling the two parties have never been further apart.” Two days later, those two parties had a deal. And where did that “increasingly bitter dispute” stuff come from? Is there something Wiecek isn’t sharing with us? Seems to me that the Trouba situation was handled in a very business-like, professional manner. If bitterness existed, I never heard or read about it. Perhaps Wiecek could enlighten us.
Patti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg sports for 46 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 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.