Monday, August 8, 2011

Send In The McClowns

I was really hoping that I wouldn’t have to write this article for at least another two months. I was happily enjoying a summer without the naysayers kicking sand in my face, I mean after all we had proven them all wrong right? Unfortunately some still feel the need to throw stones, so I guess our brief break from negativity was short lived.

Last week the great all Seeing Eye that is the Toronto sports media fixed its gaze once again on Winnipeg from the dark towers of Toronto. A leading Toronto sports radio pundit went on the air proclaiming gleefully that he knew first hand of three players that absolutely will refuse to play in Winnipeg. Much chin wagging was done at Winnipeg’s expense during the segment, along with an almost pitiful condescension. This is the same radio man who, at first proclaimed that the NHL board of governors would never endorse Winnipeg as an NHL franchise. Then when governors had endorsed Winnipeg he told us that Winnipeg would only be a placeholder until the club could be moved to southern Ontario. When that idea evaporated under the light of day he announced that Winnipeg partner David Thomson was also looking to buy MLSE. I mean, by god man if you are going to buy an NHL team how could you possibly fathom not buying the US Olympic I mean Toronto Maple leafs.  

I guess the axe grinding has not completely stopped at the centre of the universe. Of course we know that the last pillar of the Winnipeg naysayer is the old standby; “Players won’t want to play there”. I guess I really can’t blame those who fear Winnipeg being in the NHL again. I mean every one of their other myths has been completely shattered; “Winnipeggers will never be able to afford NHL ticket prices”, looks like 13k season ticket holders and 8k on the waiting list have no problem with it. “There’s simply not enough corporate support” , The 55 luxury suites at the MTSC that sell for 180k a pop sold out almost as fast as the season tickets, with a waiting list of their  own. That would appear as though the corporate community has no problem supporting NHL hockey. So at the end of the day they cling to the old chestnut about the players not wanting to come to Winnipeg, like a drowning man clings to a life preserver.

But why? Is it because the Toronto sports media can’t fathom the idea that anything from the uncivilized outposts beyond southern Ontario could possibly challenge their conventions? I mean after all, why would  any player want to play in that cold lonely Hudson Bay trading post known as Winnipeg, that dusty stage coach stop Calgary, or that bleak northern oil camp Edmonton. Vancouver? Pleassseee, those hippies couldn’t tie their own shoes without help from someone in Toronto.  I’m sorry, but everyone at the FAN 590 and the Toronto Sports Network (TSN) are going to have to realize sooner or later that life exists beyond the glowing gates of Toronto.

The bottom line is that there are some players who will prefer not to play in some cities. That’s just an unescaple fact.  Ryan Smyth prefers to play in Edmonton, and Illya Brsygalov prefers to play in Philadelphia, that’s just the way it goes. But to use that as your Winnipeg hating crutch is just weak.

For all of those who are wondering which players the Toronto radio guy was referring to, rumour has it that they are: Bogosian, Antropov, and Oduya. Rumour also has it that TNSE is working a trade that may involve multiple players. So while guys like Kane, Ladd, and Byfluglien have embraced their new home, it looks like the other princesses will be sent packing. Sorry Toronto for every player that wants to play somewhere other than Winnipeg, there are ten more that want to play for a winning, well run organization. It’s a strategy you should suggest to the Leafs some time.

UPDATE AUG 10, 2011: Looks like both Antropov and Bogosian are looking for or have bought homes in Winnipeg for the coming season. Also, suddenly there is a media love-in with Bogosian, who in turn is saying all the right things about Winnipeg. With those two suddenly off the princess list, I'm now also hearing talk that  the big trade is off the rails. Co-incidence?

UPDATE Aug 11, 2011: Hot of the Twitter feed, it appears a deal was being negotiated with New Jersey. It was Antropov and Bogosian for Zajac and Greene. Apparantly what killed the deal was Bogosians insistence, yes that's right insistence on playing in Winnipeg! Take that Toronto sports media Mcclowns.

1 comment:

  1. Who would EVER want to play in Toronto, that "have-not" capital of the "have-not" province?