Monday morning coming down in 3, 2, 1…and the sun is shining, the grass is riz, I wonder where Mike McEwen’s draw weight is…
While watching Blake Wheeler direct pucks into guarded and unguarded nets on Sunday night, it occurred to me that there are some among the rabble who believe he is something less that the most valuable worker at puppeteer Paul Maurice’s disposal.
This year, the name Rink Rat Scheifele is the one I have heard most often in reference to a Winnipeg Jets MVP.
Last year, it was Connor Hellebuyck, who has been no such thing during the current National Hockey League crusade.
But no. It was Wheeler a year ago, it is Wheeler today.
The captain’s four goals in a 5-2 paddywhacking of the Columbus Blue Jackets and their hang-dog head coach, John Tortorella, was both a reminder and confirmation of that reality, and it seems to me that there ought to be a lot more league-wide chatter about the straw that stirs les Jets’ drink.
Craig Button of TSN showed him some love on Sunday.
“Last year I voted for him in the top five MVP in the National Hockey League,” he gushed. “You see, in a game-in, game-out basis why he is so valuable and arguably their most valuable player.”
The numbers to support MVP consideration for Wheeler are certainly there.
The big right winger sits among the NHL’s top 10 point-collectors (80), and only scoring leader Nikita Kucherov has had a helping hand in more goals—75 assists to Wheeler’s 63—and let’s not quibble about primary and secondary helpers. An assist is an assist is an assist.
The thing is, we all know that Wheeler’s worth to les Jets isn’t limited to what the stats geeks tell us. He brings a truckload of intangibles to the party.
Will others notice, meaning members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association who have the final word on these matters? Perhaps not, but let’s not get hung up on any Winnipeg-is-under-the-radar snivelling if Wheeler isn’t the Hart Trophy winner. That Tinytown Canada thing is such a lame lament.
For some reason, Derek Taylor of TSN has decided that Wheeler’s first name is “Ba-lock-ay,” which, I’m sure, makes no sense to anyone except him and is really, really dumb.
Got a kick out of the aforementioned Button’s take on the recent upgrade in Patrik Laine’s play and production. Noting that head coach Maurice now has Puck Finn skating alongside the Stud Bros., Wheeler and Scheifele, Button said: “Paul Maurice recognizing what Patrik Laine needed, and that he has the thoroughbreds to help him, just absolutely brilliant by Paul Maurice.” Yo! Craig! If Coach Potty Mouth is such a genius, why did it take him three months to figure it out?
If the Blue Jackets fall short in their bid to qualify for the Stanley Cup runoff, does John Tortorella survive? Torts’ body language is horrible, almost like he’s given up.
Has anyone noticed what a boffo job Tara Slone does as Ron MacLean’s co-host on Hometown Hockey? Once a wannabe opera singer, Tara is polished, energetic, in the know, engaging…the complete package. Jock TV could use more like her and Andi Petrillo, once a fixture on Hockey Night in Canada.
I’m not sure why Colby Armstrong is one of the voices on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central at Noon, unless it’s to provide a laugh track for host Jeff Marek and meathead Nick Kypreos. Having said that, Armstrong strikes me as the kind of guy who would have been a terrific teammate.
Watched the Tranna Blue Jays exhibition joust with some men dressed in New York Yankees unis on Sunday morning, and I must say that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a load. Apparently there’s 250 pounds of him, and 200 of it must be in the butt and thighs. His backside is wider than a hay wagon. Scary thing is, he’s still growing. Vladdy Jr. committed an error and was tossed out at the plate vs. the faux Yankees, but he also swatted a one-handed double off the left field fence. He’s going to be fun to watch.
Okay, let me see if I’ve got this straight: This is Canada. Curling is a big deal in Canada (at least it is in the western colonies and the Maritimes). The Brier is underway in Brandon. And some suit at TSN in the Republic of Tranna decides that I’d rather watch a bunch of good ol’ boys from south of the Mason-Dixon line make left turns for three hours in Glitter Gulch? What’s wrong with that picture? Who makes the decision to show a fast-car race on the main channel, TSN1, and bump the best male curlers in our country to the boonies (TSN2)? They did it to our women at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and now the guys. That’s just wrong.
For those of you scoring at home, I counted three F-bombs at the Brier on Sunday. There might have been more, but I didn’t catch the afternoon draw because I can’t afford the package that includes TSN2! Mooks!
This is just too rich: Steve Simmons of Postmedia Tranna posted this tweet on Sunday: “What I like least about social media. People can’t disagree in any honourable way. Someone with an opinion different from yours has to be an idiot, a moron, something with name calling.” Holy pot calling the kettle black, Batman. This is a guy who, a little more than a month ago, gave this response to a tweet he didn’t appreciate: “I’m in a mood to mute idiots today and you’re the first in line. See ya.” Last year he referred to Vancouver Canucks fans as “Twitter idiots.” Simmons talks about the “honourable way” and “name calling” as if he stands above the rabble, yet here is a small sampling of name calling found in his nationally distributed column:
College hockey player Cal Makar: “A damned fool.”
Hoops star Kevin Durant: “Gutless.”
Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman: “An annoying kid” and “a piece of (shit).”
Former Jays manager John Farrell: “A traitor.”
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessell: “Small (minded).”
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell: A “flim-flam man.”
Football player Chad Ochocinco: “A big mouth.”
And he expects people to stop calling him an idiot?
And, finally, Ted Lindsay has left us. Terrible Ted died this morning at age 93, and the former Detroit Red Wings great will be remembered for all the right reasons. Personally, I’ll remember him as a most gracious, obliging, proud man and the last person I interviewed as a member of mainstream media.