1202 for publication January 13, 2017
A week ago the late start, 8:00pm for the World Junior game, found me with not enough time to write my full column on the Canada-USA final. It also didn’t help when the Yanks took their time putting the game away, a 5-4 winner in the shootout following four full periods of and seven rounds of one-on-one to settle the score.
With my Thursday deadline normally at 4:00pm, it was 9:45pm when in a panic, I forwarded what I had, with instructions if possible for typing in the final score. It was that or an empty white space.
Canada had their chances, but the eventual dramatic end was a final goaltender’s save. I hate shootouts. This isn’t soccer.
Yet I would have focused my words on Thomas Chabot, the left-side defenseman and captain of Team Canada, who was chosen MVP of the gold medal game, topped off by also winning the tournament MVP. It also could have been the two excellent referees.
But odd that a lanky nineteen year-old, a 6-2, 185-pounder would be considered a power-house in today’s game. With 200-pounders up-and-down any lineup at the pro level, that lack of tall beef he lugs around allowed him to play just under 44 minutes in the marathon final game, and almost 30 minutes the day before, a 5-2 win over Sweden.
To use the considered description of a former NHL defenseman friend of mine, “Chabot was a horse.”
It only proves the size most prospects once tried for heading into the 2017 NHL training camps isn’t necessary. With Chabot’s superior passing and playing skills at either end of the rink, this young man is what used to be called “a student of the game,” a player with the demeanor to play tough and smart, on the same shift. The good news? He’ll be 200 in another season.
He also comes under the heading of many coaches wish list, a no-worry sense of conduct and responsibility, on and off the ice, plus the smarts to relax and recover even when on the bench. Put him down as a “10.”
Last April the end of the 2015-16 season, there were no Canadian teams in the playoff races. None. Seven organizations had failed to crack the post-season lineup, a black mark to be sure. So I stopped whatever it was I was doing at the time and looked up the seven failed teams, rated their potential, stability, and chances of ever going forward again, went out on a limb, and made a prediction. Actually I guessed in my own mind that three Canadian franchises would break through this season.
Right now, we have three. Maybe even a surprise fourth. The Montreal Canadiens, second in the East, have Carey Price back. Need I say more. Ottawa is in 8th tied with Florida, with the Leafs in 11th just two points behind.
Fifth place in the west belongs to Edmonton, Calgary sixth, Vancouver 9th and Winnipeg one point back.
How about San Diego losing their NFL Chargers? The voters there turned down a new tax for building a new stadium. I wonder if this is an opening salvo at the NFL battleship, or the last gasp for Roger Goodell? For a while it seemed a contest for who had the newest, most impressive stadium. I’ve always wondered if the costs of getting shovels in the ground, the armies of lawyers to work out the details and deals, or the escalating cost of playing personnel, will shut down NFL expansion.
Maybe we’re about to find out. The new L.A. Chargers will begin playing out of a 30-thousand seat stadium in La-La Land.
Just wondering, is there anything more disgusting than a hockey player yarping up one of those bilous-coloured tooth-guards, then rolling it around into a revolting position in their mouth? No? The smart players take it out altogether. It certainly doesn’t make them look tough, or menacing, intelligent or worldly-wise. However, if it’s done to convey lack of class and an abundance of crude, you’ve nailed it.
Last, who’s the worst poker player in baseball? Jose Bautista.