Twin sisters Dr. Patti van Puck and Dr. Patti van Pigskin are internationally renowned sports psychologists who specialize in what makes athletes/coaches/managers/owners/sports scribes/broadcasters tick. Jocks the world over flock to their clinic, the River City Shrink Wrap, and Drs. Patti and Patti have a waiting list longer than a politician’s nose at election time. They don’t always have the right answer, but if loving the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers is wrong, they don’t want to be right.
Dr. Patti van Puck is in today, and she has general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Jets on the couch…
DR. PUCK: “Welcome Kevin. How can we help you this fine morning?”
CHEVY: “Well, you can start by calling me Chevy. Most of my friends do, although I’m a bit short on friends these days. Who wants to hang out with a loser, right?”
DR. PUCK: “Whoa! Where’s that Gloomy Gus talk coming from, Chevy.”
CHEVY: “Let me count the ways, Doc: I have a coach who trash talks his players in public, and I have players who trash talk their coach and each other in public. I have players who want out of Winnipeg like John and Paul wanted out of The Beatles. I have an owner who won’t let me take a pee without his okie-dokie. And I have to deal with a media that thinks I’m all hat and no cattle. Add it all up: I’m Gloomy Gus!”
DR. PUCK: “Come on, Chevy. You’re GM of a National Hockey League franchise in Canada. You know that headaches come with the gig. So why don’t you tell me the real reason you’re here?”
CHEVY: “Well, I’ve been bitten by the green-eyed monster, Doc.”
DR. PUCK: “Oh? Please share.”
CHEVY: “I’m jealous of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I look at the Bombers and I see them trot out the same core of key players year after year. And what does that same core of players do? They win. They have championship parades. I trot out the same core of key players year after year and what do I get? A pant load.”
DR. PUCK: “Why do you think that is, Chevy?”
CHEVY (snivelling): “Because life isn’t fair, Doc! Is it fair that the Bombers have people who love playing in Winnipeg? Is it fair that they wouldn’t want to play anywhere else? Is it fair that some of them take less coin to be a Blue Bomber? Is it fair that some of them leave for greener grass, then realize the grass isn’t so green on the other side, so they return to the Bombers roost? Again, is it fair that I’ve got players who want out of Dodge the way O.J. wanted out of jail? It started with Evander Kane, then turned into Escape from Alcatraz…Jacob Trouba and Patty Laine and Jack Roslovic and Kristian Vesalainen and Andrew Copp and Big Buff, and now it’s Pierre-Luc Dubois and Logan Stanley. Is that fair? Why, why, why? It’s the same damn city for hockey players as it is for football players! Isn’t it?”
DR. PUCK: “I hear you, Chevy. A pothole is a pothole is a pothole, and 30-below is 30-below is 30-below, and lousy WiFi is lousy WiFi is lousy WiFi.”
CHEVY (pleading): “So what can I do about it? You’re the shrink, Doc. Tell me how I make my players love Winnipeg the way the Bombers love Winnipeg, so Winnipeg can love me.”
DR. PUCK: “What I’m hearing from you, Chevy, is a desperate need to be hugged.”
CHEVY: “Hug shmug! What I really need, Doc, is some of that Blue Bombers Kool-Aid. I’m entering the most critical month in my 13 years as Mark Chipman’s errand boy, and I have to sweet talk some of our key core pieces into staying. Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck and Pierre-Luc Dubois—they’re all due to become free agents next summer, so I need to convince them that this is shinny Shangri-la. I can’t have a Johnny Gaudreau situation on my hands, where they swan off and I’m left with a bucketful of nothing. Again, it was easy to sway guys like Scheif and Bucky when they were fresh-scrubbed and naive, but now that they’ve been around the barn and back they won’t be so quick to swill the Jets Kool-Aid. And that’s not to forget Blake Wheeler. It’s costing me $8 million-plus to keep the old warhorse in harness. That’s money better spent. But letting Wheels go would be like putting down Ol’ Yeller.
DR. PUCK: “I thought your core players were the problem.”
CHEVY: “They are. All they do is bitch and moan, but they’re my bitch-and-moaners and I believe in them. I’d like to give these same guys the chance to bitch and moan again.”
DR. PUCK: “Have you ever considered parroting George Costanza?”
CHEVY: “What do you mean, Doc? George Costanza was a basket case. He was the most neurotic character in the history of TV. A total loser. He did nothing but cough up hair balls.”
DR. PUCK: “Except when he didn’t. To quote Jerry from Seinfeld, if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”
CHEVY: “Giddyup, Doc! I remember that Seinfeld episode when George did the opposite of everything he’d ever done, and he became a success. Chicks loved Opposite George. That’s the ticket! I will do the opposite of everything I’ve ever done with the Jets! Oh, that’s gold, Doc! Gold!”
DR. PUCK: “Well, Chevy, our time is up. Good luck to you in your ‘most critical’ month, and remember to ask yourself this when there’s a big decision to be made: What would the Bombers do?”
CHEVY: “Forget the Bombers! I’ll do what George Costanza wouldn’t do. I’m Opposite Chevy! Stanley Cup, here I come! Thanks Doc.”
Florida Panthers might be the worst thing to happen to the Jets since Big Buff took his fishing pole and went home. How so? Well, Chevy and Puck Pontiff Mark Chipman could be buoyed by the notion of an eighth-seed advancing to the Stanley Cup final. It’s possible they’re thinking, “If the Panthers can crawl into the playoffs and reach the final, we can do it, too.” Thus, no need for a makeover.
The most traded members of the Jets this off-season are goaltender Hellebuyck and fleet forward Twig Ehlers. So far, either one or both have gone to the Republic of Tranna, Buffalo, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Philly, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Detroit, New Jersey and maybe even one or two locales in Russia. My guess? Hellebuyck and Ehlers are in Good Ol’ Hometown when the Jets assemble for training exercises in September.
For all his flash and dash (the guy truly is electric), Ehlers might be a risky bit of business for any team to take on. The guy appears to be snake bit. He was available for just 107 of 164 regular-season games the past two campaigns, and the Jets haven’t gotten a full body of work out of him since the Covid-shortened crusade (71 games) of 2019-20. That’s not bang for 6 million bucks.
Do I think Paul Maurice is a better bench puppeteer today than when he walked away from Good Ol’ Hometown in December 2021? No. But I will suggest Coach PoMo has more coachable players in Florida than he had in the Jets changing room.
Interesting piece in the Drab Slab from Mad Mike McIntyre on old friend Joe Daley, the one-time holy goalie with the Jets. Seems Joe’s equipment from days of yore has vanished and he’d like it back, especially his mask.
Astronomers have gazed to the sky and tell us there are 151 planet-killing asteroids in our neighborhood, but us earthlings should fear not. “It’s good news,” says study leader Oscar Fuentes-Muñoz, a University of Colorado Boulder researcher. “As far as we know, there’s no impact in the next 1,000 years.” That should give O.J. plenty of time to find the real killers.
I’m no star/planet-watcher, but if an asteroid were to strike our blue orb a thousand years from now, I doubt there will be anyone left to feel it. Except Keith Richards, of course.
NBA legend Karl (The Mailman) Malone auctioned off some used clothing last week, so let’s do some comparison shopping:
Michael Jordan 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team jersey: $3.03 million.
Larry Bird 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team jersey: $360,000.
Magic Johnson 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team jersey: $336,000.
Charles Barkley 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team jersey: $230,400.
Those aren’t exactly thrift store prices and the auction fetched $5 million for a guy whose net worth is estimated at $55 million. Proving once again that one man’s junk is another man’s chump change.
The Malone collection also included some sneakers: Jordan, $450,000; Bird, $91,000; Barkley, $79,200. Frankly, I’m surprised the Barkley sneakers went for so little. I mean, I can’t say for certain, but I think they’re the same pair Sir Charles wears every time he puts his foot in his mouth on TV.
The promotion of Craig Conroy to GM of the Calgary Flames was worth a two-minute bit on Sportsnet Central and three minutes on TSN SportsCentre, and it wasn’t top of the news on either (15 minutes into the show on Sportsnet, 18 minutes on TSN). Now, how do you suppose our two national sports networks will react when a puff of white smoke goes up at Scotiabank Arena in the Republic of Tranna, signalling the arrival of a new GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Try this: Lead story, sound bites featuring everyone from Justin Bieber to Doug Ford to King Chuckie and Her Royal Missus, analysis from Jeff O’Dog, Marty Biron, Noodles, Gino Reda, Bob McKenzie, James Duthie, Pierre LeBrun, Dregs, Elliotte Friedman, Frankie Corrado, Frank Seravalli, Ray Ferraro, Tessa Bonhomme, Craig Button, Mike Johnson, Jennifer Botterill, Kelly Hrudey, Kevin Bieksa, David Amber, Ron MacLean and Anthony Stewart, to be followed by a five-day, five-part documentary on the life and times of the new guy. Why, it’ll be such a grand production that Cheryl Pounder might even drag a brush through her hair.
Apparently Brad Treliving is the front runner for the GM job in The ROT. Little wonder. I mean, look what he’s done for Matthew Tkachuk’s career.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a big extravaganza planned for their home opener on the Flattest of Lands, June 16 vs. Winnipeg. They’re billing it as Dad’s Night Out and it will feature all sorts of dad things, like the inaugural Roughrider Cornhole tournament and a halftime sing-song with Kim Mitchell, who’s actually older than the Canadian Football League. I’d suggest Kim’s a bit too wrinkled to be rockin’ and rollin’, but he’s two years younger than me so I won’t go there.
Looks like the Washington Commanders are about to become a team to be named later due to a patent/trademark snag for the NFL franchise. Seems there are already claims on Commanders. So how about the Washington Swamp? I mean, it doesn’t get much more reptilian than the creatures who inhabit the American House and Senate, does it?
What does Brooks Koepka’s success in the PGA Championship tell us about LIV Golf? Nothing we didn’t already know. We knew there were elite players among the renegades who took the money and ran from the PGA Tour, so it was inevitable that one would win a golf major. It will happen again, and no one should be surprised.
The PGA-LIV golf duality is no different than the NHL and World Hockey Association in days of yore. The NHL housed the majority of the elite players and many among the rabble pooh-poohed the WHA product. Except the upstarts had considerable star power (Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Dave Keon, Bernie Parent, Gerry Cheevers, Mark Howe, Teddy Green, J.C. Tremblay, Andre Lacroix, Marc Tardif, Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg, Vaclav Nedomansky, etc.) and, according to Curtis Walker’s WHA Hall of Fame website, the WHA had a winning record in friendlies vs. the NHL: 35-30-8.
Club professional Michael Block on what it was like being paired with Rory McIlroy in the final round of the PGA Championship last Sunday. “He’s a lot longer than I am. What I would shoot from where Rory hits would be stupid. I think I’d be one of the best players in the world. Hands down. If I had that stupid length, all day. My iron game, wedge game, around the greens, and my putting is world-class.” Ya, and if I could hit the high notes like Aretha Franklin I’d be on a world tour. But I do my singing in the shower, and Block gives golf lessons to put bread on his table.
And, finally, the women in my family have it all over the men when it comes to birthday candles. My Gran made it to age 100 before leaving for the great misty beyond, and my mom turned 95 on Friday. She’s in a care home and I doubt she realized it was her 95th, but it’s quite a milestone. Happy birthday, mom.