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How About A Nice Tall Glass Of ....Shut The Hell Up!

Maybe the saying should be a foot in the mouth is worth two in the behind!

The repercussions of opening that big yap without thinking ahead could have been the theme of the NHL in the past week. Players, player agents, a former player, and the league itself all need to take a hard look at how their words make them appear in the eyes of the general hockey fan public.

Mark Messier, had more than a few heads shaking recently when out of nowhere he proclaimed he wanted to be the next GM of the New York Rangers. Messier, who arrogance has been known to have turned off more than a few, spouted this left field declaration before discussing anything with any of the involved parties in the Rangers organization, namely current Rangers GM Glen Sather.

One can only imagine Sather's reaction upon reading the headline.

I had a problem with the sheer cockiness of the statement. No matter whether Messier perceives himself as the "greatest leader the game has known", this is simply not how one goes about things. Notice how the word "class" is rarely attached to the Moose's resume of achievements.

I took all of a day's time for a response from Sather, who reacted as if blinsided by the declaration. Sather stated in no uncertain terms that he saw no timetable for the ending of his GM duties and that Messier would be well advised to discuss these matters in private in the future.

I take that as a "No"!

Sather gets my vote for the next Mark Messier Leadership Award!

Likely the most hilarious exchange in the league this season comes from the wisdom of Aaron Downey.
Downey, who is a press box regular in the Montreal Canadiens scheme of things, took it upon himself to lecture and admonish the game's biggest star in Sidney Crosby. Despite the mismatch talent wise, Downey pulled no punches in telling Crosby that his act of dropping to ice regularly upon being given the slightest of shoves or knicks was quite unbecoming of his superstar status.

Crosby responded in mock desbelief, stating defiantly "It's funny how you get a high stick and you're not supposed to go down any more."

My question is, when were you supposed to?

Had the words come from an icon the likes of Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic, everyone would shout "About time!" Being that it came from Downey made it ridiculously strange and surreal for the kid, but it is no less truthful. Let it be useful to him!

Sergei Samsonov and his agent Neil Abbott make a fitting pair. Seems that whenever the player stops talking on the ice and is rightly punished, the agent starts talking. It's a ventriloquist act of sorts. Perhaps it has never crossed Samsonov's ( or his agent's )mind that he ought to try working harder. Instead of waiting for a puck to magically appear on his stick, do something like going and battling for it might help his cause.

For the second time this season, Samsonov has been given a press box seat, and his agent has shot back both times with trade demands. Has either not considered that if there was any inking of the slightest demand for Samsonov's services at his lofty pricetag, he would have been gone by now.

Habs GM Bob Gainey was left (read cornered) with no choice but to waive the unproductive winger.

No teams took the bait!

It must have been a complete surprise to Samsonov that he can't even be given away. Now he will be pulling on a Hamilton Bulldogs jersey, more than likely, while the Habs await a sucker willing to gamble on him.

I doubt that proving his worth at the AHL level will do Samsonov any favors. Should he be recalled to the NHL, teams can snap him up at discount dollars. He would still be overpriced. Adding to the risk of claiming Samsonov for any team, is the fact that his baggage now includes an agent who believes his underachieving client is easily wronged.

The only smart thing said by the duo in this mess was Samsonov alluding to coach Carbonneau seeing him as part of the problem.

You got that right, Sergei, and now you can wonder why!

Did Brendan Shanahan expect an overnight about face from NHL officials in regards to non-calls to infractions supposedly committed on team mate Jaromir Jagr?

Since when does complaining aloud work in cases like this? Jagr is well known for whining, rather than sucking it up, and ought to know by now that the NHL hardly revolves around him. So should Shanahan. If anything, a player should make such statements across the board, and give the league a heads up wakeup call that officiating is consistantly inconsistant. The examples are ranpant. Focusing the problem on one particular player achieves nothing but remorse.

Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior VP of hockey operations had this to say:

"I think criticism is a great form of adjustment for us. The more honest criticism directed at us helps us watch our department close to make sure we do things right."

Well isn't that an earth shattering claim. What a load!

Murphy goes on to add that "Criticism isn't something we run from."

Oh yeah! Since when?

Rangers coach Tom Renney, after the Rangers most recent loss, had this to add:

"I'm not suggesting they didn't miss a few on us, too. It was one of those games where it would have been nice if we could have decided the outcome."

Well isn't that nice.

As usual, the NHL is more than happy to talk about issues, rather than actually do anything about them and confront it head on.

It's the same old, "We know, we know, everything is just fine" stance.

How they can continue to take an ostrich approach to the game's woes and perceptions is awful enlightening.
Countering every "the games never been healthier" claim, are knee buckling admissions that all is a state of flux in the game's best league. News of constant bickering over scheduling proposals, the second look at radical goal nets to increase scoring, and talk of unstable franchises sends a completely different message to fans looking for some form of stability in the game.
Each time anyone opens their mouth to complain about the game, it shoots itself in the foot. With the foot in the mouth, such actions are suicidal.

Having owners name the other franchises that weren't in favor in balanced schedules was ill-advised and reckless. Releasing the findings of an NHL fan poll stating they found things to be best just the way they are, was almost slapstick in it's timing and damage control execution. The league needs a Commissioner who can control and enforce its owners and its people in charge.

The perception of the league takes a hit each time negative press reaches the ears of fans. While they cannot control what media outlets write, they absolutely can limit the type of information they wish to have known from it's member clubs and league personel.