Mainstream sports media: Don’t blame them if they don’t get the whole story; blame the system

I don’t think I could work in mainstream sports media today.

Oh, I could write in MSM. I would love to write in MSM again. But I couldn’t work in it. Too many inconveniences. Too much protocol. Too many 140-character bites that say nothing. Too much in-house video. Too many scribes tweeting and texting instead of telling it like it is. Too much thin skin. Too much distance between scribe and subject. Too little respect.

I suppose this might come across as the banal bleatings of an old bag burrowed in a time warp, but that simply isn’t so. Yes, I’m old school. Cripes, man, I’m so old school they should name a wing of the old school after me. That, however, does not mean I’m the anti-Steve Jobs. More to the point, I’m all for the new-fangled gadgetry. It just isn’t for me.

Give me a notebook, a pen, a tape recorder and a keyboard and I’ll get ‘er done, as Matt Dunigan is wont to say.

I find myself in ponder of such matters this day due to a recent pilgrimmage to Winnipeg, which, thankfully, fell shy of living up to its slanderous nickname of Winter-peg. It was warm, welcoming and, much to my delight, several springlike celcius above zero upon my arrival, thank you. That made for rather slushy snow-shoeing, but nary a discouraging word shall be heard during a January thaw.

At any rate, during my three-day escape to good, ol’ Hometown in the middle of nowhere, I had occasion to chin-wag with numerous MSM sports scribes and talking heads, each of whom I hold in great regard. They are talented, clever, humorous, witty and oh…so…cynical. (After one gum-flapping session, I retreated to my hotel room and wondered aloud if I had been as derisive during a three-decade stretch as a jock journalist. The answer, of course, was “yes,” although I like to think my 15 years removed from that biz has served to mellow myself and my musings.)

There is, of course, very good reason why sports scribes are cynical—they work on Planet Pinnochio. That is to say, people are always lying to them. Every minute of every hour of every day, an athlete or coach or manager or team owner is telling a news scavenger a big, fat fib and his/her nose grows longer than a Winnipeg winter. This breeds cynicism and leads to spillage, like mistrust.

Here’s something else that sports scribes are up against: Access that really isn’t access.

I have often wondered why there is a dearth of personality pieces in our sports pages. You know, feature articles to remind us that we’re dealing with people first and athletes second. Time was (sorry, I’m going old school on you again) when we would write about the people who played the games, not simply the score, the goal collectors and division standings. We hadn’t even heard of Corsi or Fenwick. We got to know the players, coaches and managers. I had John Ferguson’s home phone number. And Chris Walby’s. And Cal Murphy’s. I could call them and let them tell fibs day or night.

Well, we don’t read personality pieces because the scribes aren’t granted the time. It isn’t their editors holding them back. It’s the system.

Yes, news scavengers have access to team personnel. Very limited access. Some players actually monitor the number of times they face the press. They document the number of questions. The minutes. Players do it in Winnipeg. They do it in Toronto. They do it in Vancouver and Calgary and Edmonton and Montreal and Ottawa. A one-on-one chin-wag is as rare as a Grey Cup parade on the downtown streets of River City. It’s all so structured and team dictated now. And if a player doesn’t appreciate the tone of a question, sorry, time’s up. Gotta go. That’s why we’ve seen and read about those unfortunate Phil Kessel-reporter scenarios in the Republic of Tranna.

Why do you think you hear so many dumb questions? It isn’t because the scribes and talking heads are dumb. It’s because they don’t have the time to sink their teeth into meaty subject matter. Hence, you get dumb questions and even dumber answers.

Bottom line: Don’t blame mainstream sports scribes for any absence of what I call “people pieces” in our news sheets. How do you write about people if you can’t get to know them?

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 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.

Winnipeg sports media: Farewell confessions from a pain in the ass

Jennifer Jones and Evander Kane are not athletes who happen to be people. They are people who happen to be athletes.

It is, as Cal Murphy was wont to say, time to sack the bats. It’s over. I’ve had my innings.

Scribbling about the River City jock scene for the past 43 years has been equal parts rush, curse, joy, job, passion, privilege, hobby, obsession, fun and pain in the ass. No doubt there are many who believe me to have been a pain in the ass since my byline first appeared on the pages of the Winnipeg Tribune in 1971. I can’t say that I disagree with them.

Being a pain in the ass comes with the territory. I mean, when you’re a jock columnist, you traffic in opinion. That means you’re often poking and prodding good, ol’ Home Team. A great many readers do not embrace that. The Jets, the Bombers, the Goldeyes…they’re sacred cows. As are the players.

So, yes, I plead guilty, yer honour. I have been a cheeky, irreverent, screw-you-if-you-can’t-take-a-joke pain in the ass.

Today, Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun and Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press are the two biggest pains in the ass in town. I don’t envy them. I read the comment threads that accompany their columns and I often wince. I empathize. I understand the gig. I know the difficulties of delivering a daily sports column. It’s burdensome. Some days you just want to mail it in. But you can’t. As long as your column flag flies at the top of the thing, you want your words to dangle, but never your participles. You stew over topics. You fuss over your turn of phrase. Sometimes you’re quite pleased with what you’ve written. Other times, not so much. Either way, it’s guaranteed that some reader is going to call you a moron.

I tip my bonnet to both Friesen and Lawless, and also to my favorite jock journalists of the day, not just in Pegtown but elsewhere—Ed Tait, Shakey Johnson, Cam Cole, Bruce Arthur, Cathal Kelly, Ed Willes. I admire them for their talent and their stick-to-itness.

I survived 30 years in mainstream media, which was approximately 15 calendars too many, and I’ve goofed around as a freelancer/blogger for the past 15 years.

So why have I chosen to stop now? I can’t say for certain. I know I find myself granting a greater amount of time to reflection. To what has been. To what might have been. And that’s odd, for I am a person who lives very much in the now.

Perhaps it’s my approaching birthday, which reminds me that I am about to begin my 65th year on the third rock from the sun and, at the same time, tells me that I should probably devote my attention to the two books I began scribbling months ago but put on hold. Both, like others I have written, are LGBT-themed with a sports and/or newspaper backdrop.

LGBT issues are important to me. Since my retreat from mainstream sports media, my writing focus has been on the gay community and its people, bringing their challenges, triumphs and ongoing crusade for level footing in society to a different audience. It has been rewarding, more so than anything I have written in sports, because it’s real life. They’re real people.

I think that is perhaps something we tend to lose sight of in our sports writing. We forget, or refuse to acknowledge, that we are dealing with people.

For example, we see Jennifer Jones and her Olympic gold medal mates as curlers rather than wives and girlfriends and mothers and daughters and sisters. We see Evander Kane as a hockey player and only acknowledge the human element of his being when he forgets to pay his parking tickets. We tut-tut and tsk-tsk their missteps, often to the point of being harsh and unforgiving.

This is wrong-thinking. Jennifer Jones and Evander Kane are not athletes who happen to be people. They are people who happen to be athletes.

I believe sports writing is much more dynamic, also credible, when we attach the person to the play. When we accept that athletes, like all of us, are flawed human beings who lead lives of imperfection. Phil Kessel should not be crucified for his refusal to discuss a lost hockey game with the Toronto media. He should be recognized as a shy, introverted person who is in considerable discomfort when placed in the spotlight. In other words, cut the guy some slack.

It shouldn’t be about the score. It should be about the people who produce the score. It should be about recognizing their frailties and strengths as human beings as much, if not more so, as their strengths and frailties on the playing surface. I can see what makes the player tick, so tell me what makes the person tick?

I confess to being guilty of all the trespasses I’ve mentioned at different stations during my 30 years in mainstream sports media. But being away from the arena has allowed me to learn the arena. To know the arena.

It’s the old story: I wish I knew then what I know now.

At any rate, my time is up. This is the final entry in The River City Renegade blog. That’s all she wrote.

(Sincere thanks to the more than 5,000 people who visited in the past 4 1/2 months, and to those who followed me in the Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Sun for 30 years. It’s been a slice. I can’t say that it was all a slice of heaven, but it was a slice of something.)

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 and comfortable at a keyboard (although arthritic fingers sometimes make typing a bit of a chore). She also now knows 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.

Sports media: Who critiques those who critique?

I have been asked (more than once) why I am such a loud critic of mainstream sports media, most notably the lads who record the daily deeds of play-for-pay practitioners in Winnipeg.

The reason is quite basic: Because they’re there. And, because they’re there, it has long been—and remains—my position that jock sniffers ought not to be exempt from the same performance-based scrutiny and assessments that they themselves place on those who work in the business of frolic, whether their target is a player, coach, management or ownership.

Let’s consider the recent scribblings of Gary Lawless as an e.g.

He has written a stinging, aggressively worded piece advocating the ouster of Gary Etcheverry, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beleaguered defensive co-ordinator. He skewered the man. He wants him fired. No muss, no fuss, just kick him to the curb. Now.

“(Head coach Mike O’Shea) should Band-Aid his defensive co-ordinator and move on,” Lawless writes. “Tear it off quickly to minimize the pain. Keeping Etcheverry on staff is the wrong move from the tactical and survival perspectives. The entire city wants Etcheverry clipped. No one would question the move.”

Lawless cannot be discredited for delivering opinion (assuming it has a foundation in fact and fair analysis). That, of course, constitutes a large part of his gig as main sports voice at the Winnipeg Free Press. It is, however, one thing to act as the self-appointed adjudicant of all things Bombers and quite another to presume to speak for the totality of a populace. While others perhaps share his views, Lawless’s column speaks for himself and the Freep, not an entire city (unless I missed something and he actually won last month’s mayoral election). For him to believe otherwise suggests he is an extremely vain or horribly misguided man.

Those who follow this blog know that Lawless is among my favorite whipping boys. He and Little Stevie Blunder (Steve Simmons of Sun Media) have often been in my crosshairs, for a variety of reasons. Both are columnists and radio/TV commentators. They are public figures who flog other public figures. Thus, I ask: Should it not work both ways?

Ah, but who critiques those who critique?

Where in our newspapers or on their websites do we find writers taking writers to task? William Houston and Bruce Dowbiggin once scribbled sports media columns in the Globe and Mail. Gone. Chris Zelkovich did the same for the Toronto Star. Also gone. The print sports media in Canada does not eat their own. Not publicly, anyway. Privately, it’s a different head of lettuce. They are very much disposed to ransacking the reputations of other scribes.

Bottom line: If it’s sports media critique you seek, there’s only one place it can be found—in the blogosphere. And the MSM guys don’t like it.

I have written that there is no creature roaming the third rock from the sun with thinner skin than a print sports journalist. I have been advised, for example, that Lawless refuses to read my blog because I have been too biting in my criticism. Yet he freely trafficks in naysaying on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

As do most others in sports media.

Last week, I listened to Daren Millard, Scott Morrison and Gord Stellick of Sportsnet criticize the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee for bypassing Eric Lindros yet again. Then I listened to Dave Hodge criticize those who would criticize the HofF selection committee (without naming names, of course).

Yet, no matter how long and hard I search, I cannot locate a sports talk show on Canadian television that critiques sports talk shows on Canadian television.

Mainstream sports media (print division) in our country offers much to critique, not just for what is written and shown, but in its very makeup. It is, for the most part, a fraternity of white heterosexual men. An old boys club, if you will. Females need not apply because we all know women know diddly about sports, and men don’t want their daily dose delivered by a girl. And the thought of a gay man writing sports…ugh. Go cover the ballet, Nancy boy.

It isn’t much different on the electronic side. The chin-waggers on discussion panels are all white heterosexual men, the notable exception being TSN’s Off the Record. Host Michael Lansberg has often featured female voices, but not necessarily media-based female voices.

So, yes, I lift a loud voice in critique of the media. I’ve been there and I’ve done what they’re doing. And if they’re going to be there, I want their there to be top-drawer and all-inclusive.

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.

Winnipeg sports media: Only half a dozen female sports writers in almost half a century

There are guy things and there are girl things.

Girls, for example, like shoes. Lots of shoes. We collect shoes like Adam Sandler collects bad reviews (does anyone other than 14-year-old boys actually think he’s funny?). Guys, on the other hand, are loath to discard their underwear.

Seriously. I know some guys with gitch older than a Bob Hope joke. Why, just last week, a friend of mine touched on that very topic. She had noticed that her hubby’s boxers were as tattered as Roger Goodell’s reputation, so she went on a shopping safari and, after bagging half a dozen pair of shoes, she made a pit stop in the men’s wear department.

“I bought him two packages of new underwear,” she advised me. “You would have thought I’d bought him tickets to the opera. He grunted something about his underwear being ‘perfectly fine.’ Good gawd! He’s still wearing the same skivvies he had in high school, and that was 50 years ago. I want to burn the bloody things, but I’m afraid I’d be breaking some kind of city ordinance against air pollution. What is it with men and their underwear?”

So, yes, there are guy things and there are girl things. Which is probably a good thing (ratty, old undies notwithstanding).

I am, however, curious about one thing that apparently is not a girl thing but should be a girl thing: sports writing, whether it be in newspapers or blogging.

It has been 45 years since I received my baptism in journalism. In that time, how many female sports scribes did I work with, or against, at the three Winnipeg dailies (Tribune, Free Press, Sun)?

a) 0
b) 5
c) 8
d) 12

The correct answer is b)—five. In close to half a century! Jack Matheson brought Peggy Stewart on board at the Trib during the 1970s and she was followed by Rita Mingo. The Freep, meanwhile, hired Barb Huck in the ’70s and Ashley Prest arrived on the scene in the late 1980s. Judy Owen worked the Blue Bombers beat, among others, for the Sun in the 1990s.

It can be said that, of the five, only Peggy Stewart was out of her element. The others were quality reporters, quality writers, quality people. Three of them—Barb, Ashley and Judy—have been inducted into the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Roll of Honor.

So why just a handful of damsels?

I mean, women are cops, firefighters, business leaders, religious leaders, political leaders, education leaders, astronauts, boxers, blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda. Yet, in River City, a Jill writing about jocks is as rare as a full set of natural teeth in an old folks home. Today, there is just Melissa Martin at the Freep.

The scarcity of distaff sports scribes extends to the blogosphere, as well.

I scrolled through five Winnipeg Jets sites and found the grand total of two female names—Cara and my own. We both contribute to Arctic Ice Hockey. There was no evidence of female authorship at Illegal Curve, Jets Nation, Winnipeg Hockey Talk or Winnipeg Whiteout.

I surely can understand a reluctancy on the part of women to join in the blogosphere fun, because it is very much a boys bastion and the lads can get rather raunchy. Also rude, crude and flat-out disgusting.

Once upon a time, for example, I contributed to Bleacher Report, but bailed for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t allowed to write satire (apparently, their readership is quite limited in scope and has difficulty distinguishing hard news from parody; 2) the comments were too often personal attacks about my gender and/or body parts as opposed to the issue at hand. (Go ahead and call me a boob if you like, but my boobs are off limits.)

Why would a woman wish to expose herself (no pun intended) to lewd language and the pitiable come-hithers of mysogynistic trolls?

Sara Orlesky
Sara Orlesky

There is also the issue of cred. Many men still harbor the notion that women don’t, and can’t, know sports. That, of course, is horse-and-buggy thinking, yet it remains a prime example of perception being reality. Many men don’t want a woman feeding them their sports information/opinion unless she looks like Sara Orlesky, who’s very good at what she does. Even at that, apparently it’s more important that Sara Orlesky look like Sara Orlesky than what she has to say.

That’s why Sara and all the women we see on TSN look like they just came in from a Glamour mag or Cosmo photo shoot. (The guys on TSN? Bridge trolls. I mean, have you ever watched The Reporters with Dave Hodge? It’s been suggested that Steve Simmons looks like a hamster with glasses. Nuff said about that.)

A girl doesn’t have to be Cosmo cover-worthy to write sports, though. She doesn’t have to be J.K. Rowling, either. As long as she knows her stuff and has a nice turn of phrase, she can look like Rosie O’Donnell and pull it off.

I have theories to explain why there aren’t more Jills writing about jocks in River City, but I don’t have an answer. Perhaps they aren’t given the opportunity. Perhaps it’s an anti-female bias. Perhaps they don’t want to put up with the BS from a boy-centric readership. Or perhaps they simply have better things to do, like shop for shoes.

I do know this, however: Half a dozen female sports writers in slightly less than half a century and two female bloggers is not a glowing example or endorsement of equality.

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 sports media: Don’t expect the boys on the beat to be cheerleaders

Welcome to Jock Journalism 101, kids.

Today, we will discuss sports scribes, and we are here to praise them. Well, okay, we’re not going to praise them, but we shall defend them.

It seems to me that there is a school of thought that insists the boys and girls who track the trials and tribulations of professional sports outfits should be cheerleaders for the teams they accompany throughout the season. I read this constantly on the comment threads in both the Winnipeg Sun and Winnipeg Free Press.

You should be more supportive of the (Jets/Bombers),” people write.

Why are you so negative? You’re a Winnipeg writer, so you should be boosting the team, not knocking it down.”

Wrong.

Sports scribes are not paid to wear team colors. They are not paid to spice their copy with a dash of siss-boom-bah and a pinch of rah-rah-rah for good, ol’ Hometeam. They cannot possibly wave pom-poms and type at the same time. Some, of course, do that very thing (figuratively). They come across as a house organ for the team they cover. The team’s cup is always half full. Nary a discouraging word is written. It’s all sunshine, lollipops and roses and their copy reads like something straight out of the club’s communications department.

It’s also pure pablum.

The sports scribe who kowtows to a specific outfit is a shameful bit of business. He/she is in violation of the first commandment of sports scribbling: Thou shalt not cheer in thy press box. I have great difficulty with those who are in opposition to that ordinance. They are, quite frankly, a disgrace and the lepers of the sports writing lodge. I have no time for these “homers.”

Having said this, I also know that sports scribes are human beings (honest, some are) who have feelings (honest, some do), so separating the person from the hockey player can be a delicate balancing act. Especially for the beat writers.

Think of your beat writer as a music or movie critic on game day, not as a member of the team’s booster club. It’s his/her job to critique a performance. If the team soils the sheets, you write that it soiled the sheets. If a player is a minus-4 on the night, you write it. You don’t candy coat it with gooey plaudits about good, ol’ Hometeam giving it the old college try. The task is to provide readers with a fair and objective analysis of the team’s/players’ performance, good or bad.

It is the beat writer’s duty to provide the five Ws—who, what, when, where and why—on a daily basis, whether it be a game story, a sidebar, a feature or an off-day analysis piece. Toward that end, you spend as much time with the players/coaches as possible. Basically, you live with them for seven months. You travel with them, you joke with them, you swap stories with them, you sometimes eat with them or share a pint with them…you get to know them, you realize they’re good guys. Thus, on a personal level, you wish for these people to succeed. It’s only natural. You cannot, however, permit that to creep into your copy.

The main writers on the Jets beat are Ed Tait of the Freep and Ken Wiebe of the Sun. I guarantee you they have favorites among the players. If they were to tell you otherwise, their pants would be on fire. I know I had faves when I worked the hockey beat. There were guys I truly liked, both on a personal and professional level. The Swedes were my favorites, most notably Willy Lindstrom and Kent Nilsson. Willy was flat-out funny and Kenta had a dry wit that made me laugh. I was quite fond of guys like Terry Ruskowski and Rich Preston, who were among the group to join the Jets from Houston for the final World Hockey Association whirl. There were many others, and you can’t avoid silently cheering for them.

As a beat writer, you tend to favor players who are go-to quote guys. You know, guys who’ll reply to your dumb questions win or lose. Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler would be examples of that with the Jets, which is why you see them staring at notepads and microphones so often post-game. It also means Ladd and Wheeler are less likely to be assailed in print. The go-to quote guys are seldom, if ever, taken to task by the beat writers.

Trust me when I tell you this: The human element comes into play, very much so, and the boys on the beat want the Jets to win. They really do. I mean, would you rather spend seven months traveling with a winner or a loser? It’s a no-brainer.

That being said, it’s the beat writer’s job to tell you what happened and why it happened, not what they wish had happened.

So don’t expect them to join the cheerleading chorus with their copy.

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.

Winnipeg Jets: Headlines and scandal ‘R’ Evander

rooftop riting biz card back sideOh, woe is Evander Kane. The poor guy opens his mouth and another 72-point newspaper headline pops out.

Doesn’t matter if he’s in Vancouver, Las Vegas, Toronto, River City or at the barber shop, the Winnipeg Jets left winger attracts attention like Ondrej Pavelec gives up goals. Has it been fair? Has the mainstream media in Winnipeg given Kane a fair shake? Of course not! I mean, a haircut is news? Unpaid parking tickets is news? A selfie is news? Not reporting to training camp three days early is news?

And it’s about to get worse, folks!

My spies in the Winnipeg Free Press newsroom tell me the paper is working on the following scandalous stories about Kane and, as you shall see, the headlines have already been written…

  • Winnipeg drinking water still brown—Kane refuses to turn it into white wine!
  • Kane defies city bylaw…sings and dances on bus!
  • Hawerchuk praises Winnipeg; Kane still refuses to buy home in North End!
  • Kane visits Journey to Churchill display at zoo; complains because polar bears aren’t black!
  • Manitoba still Slurpee Capital of Canada; Kane’s never had one!
  • Chintzy Kane makes $6 million; only gives $4 million to charity!
  • Southern Manitoba on flood alert; Kane won’t help sand bagging efforts!
  • Mosquitos infest Winnipeg; why is Kane in Vancouver?
  • New evidence discovered: Kane responsible for Wagon Wheel and Kelekis restaurant closures (didn’t eat enough)!
  • Kane stops at Into the Music—tells clerk “the Guess Who and Neil Young suck!”
  • Kane scores 50th goal, still hasn’t found cure for cancer!
  • Kane has lunch at the Sals—says cheese nip is “worst burger ever!”

Meanwhile, at the tabloid Winnipeg Sun, shinny scribes are digging up dirt on Kane’s antics inside the Jets’ sanctuary at the Little Hockey House on the Prairie. My sources tell me they are about to blow the lid off a Kane coverup, whereby team officials are hiding the fact that Kane has been in serious and continual violation of certain club rules. The Sun will reveal these are his team-related infractions:

  • Kane wouldn’t stop when head coach Paul Maurice told him to quit making farting sounds with his arm pit during a team meeting.
  • Kane rolled his eyes and groaned, “Oh, no, not him again!” when Ondrej Pavelec was announced as the starting goaltender.
  • Kane refused to give an exclusive interview to the Official Newsletter of True North Sports & Entertainment, also known as the Winnipeg Free Press.
  • Kane parked in the spot reserved for Mark Chipman.
  • Kane insulted Dancing Gabe…said he dances like a white guy.
  • Kane replaced a picture of Claude Noel with one of Paul Maurice on the team dart board.
  • Kane stole Dustin Byfuglien’s lunch money.
  • Kane refused to shout “True North!” during the singing of O Canada.

(FOOTNOTE: I invite your comments. I do not, however, welcome some of your comments. If you believe what I’ve written is the natterings of a nincompoop and belongs at the bottom of a bird cage, let ‘er rip. Tell me why. I enjoy healthy debate. That can be fun. If, on the other hand, your idea of a critique is to attack/insult me about my gender or sexual orientation, then we aren’t going to get along. Let’s put it this way: It is permissible to question the size of my IQ, but not the size of my boobs. Bottom line: I don’t get paid to write this crap, so play nice, kids.)