1171 for publication July 15, 2016
Early each and every morning I enter the kitchen, turn on the TV, keeping up with the overnight degree and tone of the news out of the wacky world of sport.
For instance, George McPhee being named GM of the NHL’s Las Vegas entry wasn’t a surprise, at least to me. There was never any doubt he would get another job, and I’ve always believed he was only biding his time until the Vegas job opportunity was filled. It’s simply attributable to McPhee’s patience.
After seventeen years with the Washington Capitals he had that virtue and more. Don’t forget, he was the patient evaluator who hired coach Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau out of the AHL. That same patience was there in handling an immature and headstrong Alex Ovechkin. If both didn’t achieve success in D.C. wasn’t McPhee’s fault.
I also learned from an overly dramatized Sportnet exclusive that P.K. Subban can handle any and all questions about his “impact” on the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators. According to the non-shrinking-violet defenceman, both teams will have benefited from his presence and personality.
First, allow me to explain that Subban, without question, is one of the top D in the league. But, he’s also the most brash, always “on-stage,” and as such he rubs many the wrong way, especially those within the hockey community at the levels of coaches and GM’s.
In the first segment of the interview, Eric Engel was lobbing patty-cake questions to P.K., like a batting practice pitcher tossing soft strikes at the home-run derby, giving the entire interview a feeling of being rehearsed. Problem is, Engel or Subban aren’t accomplished actors.
By the second go-round on Thursday AM, a few of the questions were borderline stiff, but again lacked any harm to a player who thinks nothing of walking through a teammate’s interview and stealing the spotlight. Nor does it cover the occasional tantrums and on-ice gaffes, but at least P.K. owned up to them.
Getting back to hockey, and the shocking trade, Subban will help the Preds. OK, and Shea Weber isn’t going to hurt the Habs. Subban will be out of the limelight, and Weber has never been in the glare that he will have to navigate in La Belle Provence.
In the end it came down to P.K. wearing out a welcome. But that doesn’t mar the fact he remains one hell of a player.
The Jays, those lovable rascals, were losers, 8-7 with the restart of the schedule out on the coast in Oakland where Josh Donaldson began his MLB career as an A’s catcher.
Strange isn’t it, Jays were tied for second in the AL East, while slowly, steadily, getting players back into the lineup. Yet the Orioles and Red Sox had played 87 games, as opposed to the Jays 91. This is another four-game adjustment that bears watching and could go either way, as the others play catch-up.
Regardless, Jose Bautista will be returning to the fold, bringing a legitimate outfield arm besides his at-bats and walks. Also Chris Colabello may return after serving his 81 game suspension for crossing the MLB drug rules. Will he return to the Jays? If so, will he come close to those 2015 numbers?
You sure won’t hear it from… sorry, just looking up the Jays “Front Office” lineup… um, Mark Shapiro, pres and CEO, or Ross… hold it, I’m digging it out… Adkins. Wait! Ross Atkins, the Jays GM. These two execs have successfully managed to stay incognito, but like it or not, they’ll be front and center soon.
On their “needs” list here’s another area they may want to address. The Jays leading base-stealer following the break is Kevin Pillar, with seven. A paltry 24 steals for the rest of the team. It makes the lead-off batter on first in any inning a non-threat.
So gentlemen be advised, bullpen, and speed, are in demand, but don’t forget to hold onto your prospects, and let’s see if you can drum up consistency.