Oh, fart! I might just have to defect to Habs Nation if Chevy doesn’t shape up

I’m placing myself on waivers.

Seriously. I no longer believe I can be part of Jets Nation. Not in the wake of the Peter Budaj, Patrick Holland and Eric Tangradi ménage à mess that went down on the Sabbath and continues to spawn more head-scratching than you’ll see at a lice clinic.

First the Winnipeg Jets wanted Budaj. Less than 24 hours later, they didn’t want him. Now? The poor guy’s psyche has been gutted like the Montreal Forum in 1998. After all, this loyal foot soldier who served le bleu, blanc et rouge for the past three National Hockey League crusades has been banished to The Rock. Yes, in a shoddy exercise of heinous hocus pocus by the peculiar man who generally (mis)manages the Jets, Budaj has gone from the mecca of hockey, Montreal, to Portage and Main to the oft-angry shores of the Atlantic Ocean, where he shall stop rubber for the St. John’s IceCaps of Newfy Land. All that in less than 48 hours.

Quick! Someone order that man a shot of screech! He’s going to need it!

Surely Bye Bye Budaj is quietly cursing the fates that conspired to deliver him from a cushy job as Carey Price’s caddie to the demoralizing realization that not even the outfit with the worst starting goaltender in the NHL (hello, Ondrej Pavelec) has any use for him. I mean, it’s one thing for les Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to deem you expendable. He has street cred. But when Kevin (The Possum) Cheveldayoff tells you that there’s no room for you in the Winnipeg goal crease…well, that’s like saying Charlie Sheen couldn’t use a good lawyer.

Lord knows what warped thoughts scatter through the grey matter that’s located between Kevin the Possum’s ears. Let’s just say the Jets general manager has irregular ways.

That’s why I’ve placed myself on waivers, hoping someone will take in a homeless wanderer. I’m confident, though. I’m certain there’s another hockey nation out there, waiting with open arms, when a refugee from River City comes knocking on the door.

My first inclination is to approach Habs Nation, because once upon a time—in a distant galaxy when Guy Lafleur had all his hair and the Roadrunner was a right winger named Cournoyer, not a cartoon character making sport of a hapless, conniving coyote—I pledged allegiance to Le Tricolore. Oh, yes I did. I worshipped at the shrine of le Club de hockey Canadien. Loved les Habitants, I did. Used to curse CBC most Saturday nights for force-feeding us one of the Hewitts and the Toronto Maple Leafs rather than treat us to Danny Gallivan and Les Glorieux, La Sainte-Flanelle.

I even made a weekend pilgrimage to Montreal one summer during the 1970s, just so I could wet my whistle at Brassierie Henri Richard on Avenue du Parc. It was a Saturday afternoon, the tavern wasn’t terribly active and the Pocket Rocket himself was working behind the bar. Served me a quart of brown pop with an O’Keefe label on it, as I recall, then signed a paper placemat that featured a caricature of the former Canadiens captain.

So, ya, I think the prodigal daughter might return. Trouble is, if I were to be plucked off waivers by Habs Nation, I’d have to root, root, root for P.K. Subban. Don’t know if I can go there.

I’m uncertain what it is about P.K., but I’ve never been able to warm to him. He’s brash. He’s cocky. He’s loud. He’s a showboat. And now I find out he farts in front of the net. Yes, he farts. In front of the net. On purpose. Is this why Peter Budaj requested a trade?

Time was when the Habs were known as the Flying Frenchmen. Now they’re the Flatulent Frenchmen.

Oh, the headline writers are going to have fun with this:

  • P.K. and Habs run out of gas in Beantown!

  • Habs’ defence running on fumes!

  • P.K. toots own horn!

  • Habs roar from behind, beat Bruins!

  • P.K. raises big stink about not getting C!

Yup, P.K. and confreres are going to be the butt of some really bad jokes, but here’s the deal: The Habs don’t stink. Kevin the Possum’s brain farts do.

Habs Nation, here I come! Maybe.

rooftop riting biz card back sidePatti Dawn Swansson has been writing about Winnipeg hockey and the Jets for more than 40 years, longer than any living being. Do not, however, assume that to mean she harbors a wealth of hockey knowledge or that she’s a jock journalist of award-winning loft. It simply means she is old, comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore) and she doesn’t know when to quit.
She is most proud of her Q Award, presented to her in 2012 for literary contributions to the LGBT community in Victoria, B.C.

Winnipeg Jets are good to go now that TJ No Dots is on board

Boy, you can’t slip anything past our man Kevin Cheveldayoff. No sir. It’s like trying to sneak the sun past a rooster. Or a blue-eyed blonde past Tiger Woods.

No surprise, therefore, that while 28 general managers were taking a mid-summer siesta and Marc Bergevin was distracted by that pesky P.K. Subban thing, Kevin the Possum swooped in and plucked TJ Galiardi from the bones of the 2014 free-agent carcass. He sure showed that Jim Nill dude in Dallas how to generally manage a hockey team, didn’t he?

And let’s make one thing perfectly clear: There’s no truth to the rumor that the Possum actually believed he was signing T.J. Oshie, not TJ Galiardi. Our man would never get confused like that. No way. No one need tell the Possum the difference between a T.J. with dots after his initials and a TJ sans dots. The Winnipeg Jets GM knew exactly what he was doing when he added TJ No Dots to the ingredients of his Possum Stew.

So what does this development tell us?

Well, it tells us that the Jets now have the second best TJ in the National Hockey League. Not only that, it tells us that the Possum is a myth buster. Oh…yes…he…is.

It has been suggested—ad nauseam—that free agents will avoid River City like Brits avoid the dentist. Uh uh. Not true. TJ is evidence that some players really do like us, and so what if he comes from the dregs of the bin and would have been happy to see a contract offer from any outfit this side of the Kremlin. Mathieu Perreault is additional evidence of the Possum’s myth-busting chops.

I guess I’ve been wrong about the Possum all along. I mean, he somehow sold Perreault on The Forks and a non-playoff team against Disneyland and a Stanley Cup contender. Imagine that. Winnipeg, the Magic Kingdom. Again, take that, Jim Nill.

***

I don’t know if the recruitment of Perreault and TJ No Dots represents the Possum’s final touch in advance of Camp PoMo a little more than a month hence, but when I look at this Jets outfit I see…well, gosh darn, if I don’t see Don Waddell and Rick Dudley. Still. Three and a half years after the caravan from Atlanta rolled into River City.

And, to think, some people say the Possum does nothing.

(Just a thought: In a game of river hockey, which team would win? My money would be on Waddell/Dudley, even with Ondrej Pavelec in goal.)

TEAM WADDELL/DUDLEY

Dustin Byfuglien

Evander Kane

Andrew Ladd

Bryan Little

Zach Bogosian

Toby Enstrom

Ondrej Pavelec

Jim Slater

Chris Thorburn

Blake Wheeler

Paul Postma

Mark Stuart

THE POSSUM’S STEW

Mark Scheifele

Anthony Peluso

Matt Halischuk

Mathieu Perreault

Eric Tangradi

Grant Clitsome

Keaton Ellerby

Adam Pardy

Jacob Trouba

Michael Hutchinson

Michael Frolik

TJ Galiardi

rooftop riting biz card back sidePatti 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, comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore) and she doesn’t know when to 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.