(I've been waiting far too long to post that photo.)
So it's been a while, right? Sorry about that. Let's get to it, and stay tuned for an important announcement at the end.
Do I Sound Like I Care?: The whole "Ooh...the Sens are looking for a head coach!" has turned into a big mess of indifference for me. Some of us (read: my loser friends and myself who care far too much about this) have been gunning for Pat Burns for a while now. The thing is, he was originally our second choice. Our first was Ken Hitchcock, who was only free for 21 days before Columbus scooped his ass up in November of '06. If you'll remember, the Sens were heading down the merry road of suck at that point, and a coaching change seemed imminent (regardless of insistence to the contrary). Sure, they eventually got to the Finals with Bryan Murray, but are you going to tell me Paul Bearer couldn't have done the same?
Anyway, back to Burns. The Senators need someone who can crack the whip and get this franchise back to a defensive mindset. It may only be a short-term solution for a couple of years (Burns' act can wear thin), but it's better than watching Bryan Murray wear two hats. He's currently the right choice, which obviously means the Senators won't get him. And don't talk to me about Bob Hartley, okay? I want a coach who knows about building a foundation -- I don't want a guy behind the bench who wears it. (Combine the over-gelled hair and the eerily smooth skin tone, and you've got a walking corpse running the team.)
Bob Cole Will Cut A Bitch: I was not happy at all to read that the current Stanley Cup Finals will be likely Bob Cole's last. Look, I don't really have a problem with the man. Sure, he messes up, but a) you almost always know what he means and b) it's hilarious. Even as a septuagenarian, he's still the best voice in the business and I love that he calls a straight game -- no cheese, with minimal back story. I don't need a synopsis about a kid's junior hockey career in the Q. Give it a freaking rest. And did you notice that no one ever attempts to get a word in edgewise when he's talking? Don't mess with a man who works with his pants undone. The idea of Jim Hughson taking over the post makes my stomach turn. "Grrrrreat save, Luongo!" 20 bucks to the first cynic who can snap a photo with Hughson while holding a box of Frosted Flakes.
Regardless of my (likely surprising) appreciation of Bob Cole, my favourite call of the playoffs thus far has come from Chris Cuthbert -- Game 5 of the San Jose-Dallas series. You can check it out here (the call begins at approximately 1:50).
The Finals? No Bandwagon Here: I'm sure it will come to the surprise of absolutely no one when I admit that I am pulling for Detroit, but this isn't a new-school affiliation. I'm not one of those Ottawa jackasses who just remembered that Steve Yzerman is from Nepean. I grew up as a Detroit fan after they became Thunder Bay's U.S. television affiliate in the late '80's. Flight 255, Coleman Young in his twilight years, Devil's Night, Bill Bonds doing Bonds On, as opposed to commercials for Gardner-White...I remember all of it. The coverage done by the local stations for the Red Wings at that time was nothing to sneeze at, and the club's incessant choking through most of the '90's served as a prerequisite for what I would eventually experience as a follower of the Sens.
I'm pretty certain Detroit can still pull this off. They've played on a different level than everyone else for the majority of the season, and if you'll recall, Anaheim had a flat game in the Finals as well. It didn't seem to hurt them too much in the long run. A couple of thoughts:
* When Malkin doesn't show up (listless play, buggering up passes, giveaways), he's the spitting image of Jason Spezza.
* I still can't condone the media's double standard when it comes to Crosby. In one breath they're goobering over his leg strength, as if he could asphyxiate a person with his thighs like Xenia Onatopp in James Bond's Goldeneye. But when an opponent makes contact and No. 87 mysteriously tumbles over, well..."he must have caught an edge". Woman, please.
(Aside: That'll be the last time I link to a YouTube clip with the phrase "Jungle Orgasm" in the title. Don't worry, it's PG.)
* Those responsible for audio at Mellon Arena deserve credit for playing Jawbox during a break in play. Just saying.
* If Marian Hossa fails to show up during the Finals (he has 2 assists so far), what purpose did he really serve if the Penguins can't pull this off?
* If this is the Penguins' time, they'd better get it done now. The idea of a window being open for several years is over, and holding onto your snipers while discarding other pieces isn't going to cut it.
And, Finally...The Announcement: Many have asked where the column has been (I've never taken two weeks off in a row). Well, after nearly four years, Sun Media and I have parted company. Details will remain few, but the thanks will be plenty:
- To the Canadian readers -- the ones who followed me here, and the ones who didn't. Thanks for always being appreciative of the different angles I attempted to provide.
- To the American readers -- funny, polite and astute. Loved you guys.
- To those in the business who took the time to write, "Hey...you don't suck" e-mails -- thanks to the ones at Sun Media, ESPN.com, The New York Times, CBC Newsworld, AOL Sports, The Globe And Mail, Sportsnet.com, TSN.com, The Hockey News, Slate.com, Deadspin, Yahoo! Sports, Rogers 22, all the European outlets...your support was always appreciated. Special thanks to the television outlets who never bristled when I constantly responded, "No, thank you -- I don't do tv."
- To the sources -- thank you for spilling, and for your trust.
- To my confidantes -- thank you for listening, and for always remaining supportive.
I can say with nearly unwavering certainty that my days with traditional media are over. However, I will soon have an announcement to make regarding my next move. What can I say? You can't keep the Scott Norwood Section down for long.
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