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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Hockey Canada selection meeting, Fall, 2005:

"We're almost done picking the Olympic team, Kevin, so let's get this job done", said Wayne Gretzky, the smartest man in hockey.

"Sure thing, Gretz," said Kevin Lowe, shuffling through a mound of player scouting reports and statistics.

"First thing, we need leadership, leaderhship, leadership."

"Gotcha, Gretz," said Lowe. "We've got no less than a dozen captains or associates on the roster so far, plenty of leadership to go around."

"That's not enough," said Gretzky. "We also need experience. Is Foote on the team?"

"Yes, but he was looking slow back during the 2004 World Cup, let alone this past year."

"I don't care. He's a proven winner. Not only was he the third best defenseman on the 2001 Stanley Cup winning team, he was also key to Colorado's championship team in 1996. Fantastic. Who's next?"

Lowe shuffles his papers. "Uh, you have Kris Draper on your list. He's not having an exceptional year, you know."

"What? You're crazy! Draper won three Stanley Cups plus a gold medal four years ago. Experience, Kev! Experience!"

"Sure thing, Gretz," said Lowe. "What about Bertuzzi? He's been sluggish this year and, to be honest, he's more of a small rink-type of power forward. Plus, he's prone to bonehead penalties during key moments of the game."

"Ah, Bert's harmless. That criminal charge and $19 million lawsuit haven't affected him whatsoever. He's tough, talented, experienced ... well, he has no international experience, but still. He's in."

"What about Staal?" asked Lowe. "He's, like, third in NHL scoring right now."

"Big deal," said Gretzky. "He's what? Twenty-one? I led the league in scoring when I was 18 years old. The guy needs more seasoning."

"And Crosby?"

"Same thing. Wasn't he in the Q last year? When I was his age, I already had a Hart Trophy." Gretzky continued, "I would have had an Art Ross too if it weren't for that porky Frenchman down in LA."


"Yeah, that jerk."

"Right. And I see you have Bouwmeester on the taxi squad," said Lowe.

"What about him?"

"He hasn't scored a goal yet this year."

"So he's due."

"What about 'leadership'?"

"Look, I'm picking my guys. I didn't stop playing hockey in order to sit around and not have my way nor anyone to care what I said about this or that. I don't care that my coach hasn't won any championships aside from the 2006 gold medal. I don't care if the defense is slow and unsuited to the big ice. I already dropped MacInnis and Yzerman. What more do you want?"

"I just think that we can't rely on what was successful four years back," said Lowe. "Things have changed since then and I think maybe we ought to look outside the box a bit."

"Hey, I got endorsements. I got to make a living. I don't have time to, quote, scout players, or, quote, look at statistics. I got to pick this team and it's got to be done now. Are you with me?"



"Yes, yes I'm with you," conceded Lowe. "I just wish you would take a look at who is hot this year and at who is not. We had a squeaker in Salt Lake. We can't afford to pick players only on hunches."

"Relax, Kev," said Gretz. "I'm the Great One. What could go wrong?"

Posted by Rob Huck on February 22, 2006 | Permalink


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What could happen? A cranky, bitter easterner could write a weak attempt at a fake satirical dialogue.

Face it. Leafs suck, Oilers alumni still rule hockey, and if the blame lies anywhere, it's with Pat Quinn for being such a shitty coach. Team Canada played kind of like the Leafs always do.

Posted by: Robert Seymour | 2006-02-22 4:54:22 PM

Thank you, Russia, for beating the fascist state of Canada.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-22 4:55:13 PM

I'm a Saskatchewan ex-pat living in Calgary, actually, but thanks for the note.

Posted by: Rob Huck | 2006-02-22 5:03:15 PM

PS Wayne Gretzky had more talent as a hockey player in his pinky toe than Bobby Orr had in his entire body.

It's an insult the two are ever compared. It's really only because the main media market is in T.O., a city where people can't get over the fact that Edmonton and Montreal are the only two hockey centres in Canada that know how to win.

And Scott is right. Canada is fascist (tobacco controls, government healthcare, drug bans, language laws, gun control, environmental restrictions, etc.).

I guess you could say Canada played like our healthcare system.

Posted by: Robert Seymour | 2006-02-22 5:07:06 PM

I would like to see the "Pro's" get out of the Olympics and for it to go back to the amateurs only. I don't think it is fair to those teams who are going to risk their whole seasons because of injuries to one of their best players. (Ottawa, Vancouver, Philadelphia all have significant injuries to some of their star players)

We could still ice a competitive team. The pro atheletes being there was interesting but the novelty has definitely worn off for this rabid hockey fan.

Otherwise, let the Greztky/Quinn slagging begin although you won't hear any of that smear from me.

Posted by: Lemmytowner | 2006-02-22 5:31:36 PM

Great entry and spot on. If anyone knows anything about hockey whatsoever, they know that Gretzky is to blame for picking a team full of old guys. Sorry, but just because they're your golfing buddies and you go waaaay back with them doesn't mean they should be on Team Canada. They couldn't keep up with the young guns and that is all.

Is Gretzky to blame? You bet.

Posted by: Howard Roark | 2006-02-22 5:40:02 PM

Robert seymour; I am putting out a fatwa on your life ! You infidel, kafir, camel humping....you get the idea. Please, Orr was THE best, Gretzky may have been second best...

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2006-02-22 5:48:30 PM

I would have loved to see Sidney Crosby up against Ovetchkin's talent today. It was frustrating to see Canada lose, but Ovetchkin (sp?) is a great player to watch.

Posted by: Angela | 2006-02-22 7:07:30 PM

Don't tell the Taliban.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2006-02-22 7:53:12 PM

Hey Scott , I guess too many players from the East , not enough talented Westerners . Maybe they should have copied the skeleton team , training regimen.

Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-22 8:18:33 PM

hmmm, a bunch of stinking rich game players who wanted to add an Olympic gold medal to their pile of wealth and accolades? ummm, whatever...

Posted by: simpleton | 2006-02-22 8:22:23 PM

In 2010, it would be nice to see a Western team compete in the Olympics. BC, AB, SK, MB and the territories would clean up at these games without the deadweight of Ontario, who would rank just above Senegal (yes, they sent a team to Torino).

If Puerto Rico, "Palestine" and Chinese Taipei can have teams, the West can too.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-22 8:53:59 PM


I totally agree, let's just all focus on what we do best for Canada. The West can win the medals and Ontario can stick to keeping busy being the economic foundation of the country.


Posted by: Agreed | 2006-02-22 9:40:40 PM

Yeah good point scott. the first ontarian to win an individual medal was just today.

Posted by: WinnipegLibertarian | 2006-02-22 9:42:13 PM

To agreed

That is one shakey foundation

Posted by: WinnipegLibertarian | 2006-02-22 9:43:41 PM


Well said. I bow down to the Wheat Board.

Posted by: Agreed | 2006-02-22 9:51:27 PM

Ontario is the economic foundation of the country? Well they do make a small contribution, but their population holds everyone else to their agenda whether we like it or not. Fortunately, Brian Mulroney destroyed much of that power with NAFTA. Harper should finish off the rest.

Ontario's ability to compete with in the US market is subsidized by keeping their taxes down. The extra cash comes from non-Ontario, particularly Alberta. The greatest asset Ontario has is Alberta's oil wealth, but it's not like they appreciate it or anything. This also explains why Ontario's social services are in terrible shape.

The other greatest thing was the implementation of the FTA and NAFTA, which removed Ontario's ability to bargain non-Ontario's fate for their gain, through things like oil prices. Ever since NAFTA was implemented, above Ontario's violent objections, prosperity has now reached every part of Canada. If it hadn't passed, then Canada would still be in a Trudeau-esque fantasyland where the Toronto corporations ruled by force of law and the military (as in 1970).

What agreed has stated is that Ontarians are a form of master race, or to be more precise, a ruling class that should be respected. Well F THAT! We don't need you people anymore.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-22 10:11:11 PM


Yikes dude, calm down. I celebrate Alberta's oil wealth too, I enjoy you guys piping it down to our refineries here in Ontario.

The "master race" bit was classic WS blogtelligence....I don't know how you guys get so funny, but keep taking hits from that oil bong!

Posted by: Agreed | 2006-02-22 10:23:47 PM


Oh, and just for the record, Ontario's diversified economy in banking, manufacturing, resources and services has the province doing just fine.

We're all very happy that other provinces are prospering. So happy we'd like back some of the $23 billion more in revenue that Ontario contributes to the federal government than what we get back in spending.

Cheers fellow Canadian!

Posted by: Agreed | 2006-02-22 10:40:12 PM

Agreed: deduct the $23 billion from the $1 TRILLION that Ontario owes everyone else:

1) the entire national debt of $550b
2) $100 billion to Alberta for the NEP
3) $100 billion to Quebec for various crimes, such as the abuse of their human rights in 1970.
4) $50 billion for the Indians for centuries of abuse at the hands of Ontario's corporate demands. The 1869 and 1885 "rebellions" were brutally suppressed by Feds to protect their investors in the railroad.
5) $200 billion to the other provinces for various abuses of power, such as funding the CBC while closing hospitals in SK.

The 'master race' analogy is my own interpretation based on living your land for a while. White people there are rich, arrogant and easily excitable. They're like the white slave owners of the American South fighting against Northern attacks on slavery. Racism is standard policy in Ontario. I've found that the best way to deal with Ontario is to avoid them at all costs.

You people have done nothing for us, and in fact have abused Alberta at every turn. I think it is time that Alberta seceded and joined the US.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-22 11:47:10 PM

What the hell has NAFTA got to do with hockey?
The Canadian Team played well against the Russians, the talent was more or less equal on the ice. But in any competitive sport there is an
element of luck, the Russians got luckey, the
Canadian's did not. One of the fastest games ever
recorded, great goal tending at both ends, and
the event could have gone either way. Unless you
can skate as well as our young players, shoot the
puck and make an NHL roster, you can't justify
some of the nasty remarks. Aside from that, it is
afterall, just a game for boys and girls, played
by men and women.

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-02-23 1:30:01 AM


Would you like a tissue for that crying?

Posted by: Agreed | 2006-02-23 6:06:34 AM

don't some people have more to do that percieve team canada's loss (or any canadian topic) as an east coast west coast thing? get a grip. i thought the original post was funny. gretzk bears part of the blame, but first and foremost the players and all of the coaches underperformed. they deserved to lose the way they played.

Posted by: dogstogo | 2006-02-23 7:21:03 AM

Scott , you guys should be happy to sit on your fat as - er oil wells and rake in the coin . And if you think the States will be some sort of Valhalla , dream on , there are about 46 states or so which would welcome grabbing Alberta oil , for their monster homes and SUV`s. You guys would be tapped out in about 4 years. How about Alberta succeeding to Krapistan and forming a hockey dynasty ? Then you could drive around in Yugos or whatever piece of crud they make . Oh thats right ; all our cars are made in Ontario , I forgot. I think we even make the hockey sticks.

Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 7:58:04 AM

daveh; Wasn't Gretzky also made in Ont.?

I am no hockey fan, but I've been involved in another sport for 30 years. Sport is sport, and business is business. During the Olympics the two separate. In such intense competition any distraction is just that, a distraction. The moment the gambling story broke, Gretzky should have stepped back. Even this may not have been enough, but I was the least he should have done.

Bertuzzi should be sharing a cell with M. McSorley, not representing Canada.

Posted by: dan | 2006-02-23 9:21:35 AM

Lets just say for a minute that Canada had won gold with this team. How many of these players would be picked for the next Olympics in 4 yaers in Vancouver?

I guess not very many, so who are going to be the guys with experience to lead that team, and just how many rookies can you have on a contender? I really do not understand why Crosby was left out.

Isn't it obvious that the game on the big ice is very different from the standard NHL type of close contact. Why then did the player and coach selection not take this into account?

We need a return to the type of team the Habs had in the 70's, quick forwards headmanning the puck, strong but AGILE defensemen ready to lead the rush.
In the NHL a guy like Koivu is ok but in the olympic rink he shines, its not a coincidence.

Posted by: David | 2006-02-23 9:52:40 AM

Dan , your grasp of the principle of proportioality is staggering.
And re the gambling , only a complete self - introspective fruitcake would allow himself to be diverted by such a minor blip on the radar screen . If Gretzky fits in that category then he should not be a coach , he should be back in Bel Aire where he belongs.[ with the rest of the fruits ].
And it was not Bertuzzis` 'fault' ; it `s the fault of the TV driven board of governors who call the shots re the rules

Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 9:56:37 AM

daveh: I'll concede on the Bertuzzi issue. It was slightly overblown. Prison is a bit harsh.

The small blip on the radar was probably a lot bigger over there. It gave every American reporter the opportunity to change the focus of Canadian players. It's what they do best. Don't forget that Team America includes the American press corps. It's an advantage we don't have with our politically correct CBC. One of our newest coaching techniques is imagery. If an athlete can imagine and visualize victory, then many phsycological obstacles are removed. The best way to interfere is with distraction. The opposing teams can also use your distraction as a phsycological boost by visualizing your weakness. It all sounds kind of goofy but it works.

Posted by: dan | 2006-02-23 10:44:39 AM

Dan ,I will agree on the press corpse er corp . Their entire raison d etre is search abd destroy. I actually thought that the caffeine laced sports drinks and maybe the powdered phosphatidycholine before the game was the big motivater. I mean they play like they`ve got ants in their shorts, what with nervous spitting , and glancing at the clock at every break in the action , along with the omnipresent and mandatory ' you knows ' and ' giving 110 percent' cliches . You`d think they were robots.

Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 10:59:38 AM

I won

Good thing I did not bet on Canada

I would have lost and been sent to jail likley too

Posted by: American | 2006-02-23 11:05:25 AM

By the way, I'm not blaming Gretzky or anyone else on the team for poor leadership. My beef is with the Canadian Olympic Commitee.

In the 04 summer games there was a squabble over a boxer who did not qualify. He had moved to a small town in Alberta from Ontario. This town spent a fortune on him and wanted their name up in lights with an Olympic athlete. He did not meet the proper criteria to qualify for the olympic team, but a local business man threatened a lawsuit and the olympic commitee backed down and sent him along. There were two issues at play here.

1. This athlete deserved to go because he was the best in Canada, and had international experience. The rules for qualifying are insanely complicated, and need to be changed.

2. Stupid as these rules are, they should be adhered to. If a lawsuit can get me into the olympics, I think I'll try for a medal in decathlon in 08.

Posted by: dan | 2006-02-23 11:18:52 AM

If you need an extra coach , I recommend Scott to keep you motivated and focused.

Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 11:25:11 AM

Draper wasn't on the 2002 team.

Posted by: Chris Selley | 2006-02-23 3:21:18 PM

He shoots, he didn't score.

Crank up the sterio to Alice Cooper's hit - Million Dollar Babies...

No one figured these old farts are past their prime...no one figured on playing 7 games in less than two weeks...doh.

Scott...the "dead weight" of Ontario populated most of the Oiler dynasty teams...Gretz is from where again?

Where do most of the best goalies come from? N'est pas?

Get the best team for Canada.

Posted by: tomax | 2006-02-23 9:34:04 PM

They picked people who were consistently underperforming all year, and expected them to turn it around for the Olympics. They didn't.

Meanwhile, our hot hands didn't play.

One more thing, probably the most disgusting political pick was Bryan McCabe.

Posted by: Not Hot | 2006-02-23 11:55:11 PM

"Isn't it obvious that the game on the big ice is very different from the standard NHL type of close contact. Why then did the player and coach selection not take this into account?"

David sort of made a note here that is almost-bang on and he probably didn't even notice.

Why on earth was Team Canada spending 2/3rds of their time in the offensive zone against the boards? Not just in the Russia game, but against every team since the easy win against the bloody I-Ties. It's a Olympic-sized rink, so grinding against the end-boards shouldn't be the entire available option. So why were a bunch of grinders (Bertuzzi, Iginla & Co.) occupying valuable spots on the roster?

Posted by: Feynman and Coulter's Love Child | 2006-02-24 5:25:27 AM

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