Dany Heatley as a goal and five points through three games with the Sharks. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
For today’s column, I present to you some random ramblings:
• I’ve seen a couple of light-hearted references to the possibility of Dany Heatley demanding a trade out of San Jose should things not go well between him and the Sharks.
There’s just one small problem with that line of thinking: Heatley’s infamous no-trade clause that got him out of Ottawa is no longer valid; that much was confirmed exclusively to The Hockey News for our most recent cover story (issue date: Oct. 12).
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• Let me get this straight: Ray Emery puts a picture of Mike Tyson on his goalie mask and the hockey community reacts as if Gordie Howe has been put on a worldwide no-fly list. But Blues owner Dave Checketts embarks on a professional relationship with Rush Limbaugh and nobody in the NHL bats a lash?
For those unfamiliar with Limbaugh – and in this instance, ignorance truly is bliss – he is the alleged “entertainer” for the easily entertained who recently opined, in all seriousness, that the United States ought to return to the days when African Americans were banned from sitting in the same areas of public transportation as Caucasian Americans.
You think I’m paraphrasing, or that Limbaugh’s comments were misconstrued or taken out of context?
Limbaugh’s exact quote, made on his syndicated radio show just last month: “We need segregated buses.”
A real class act, wouldn’t you say? And quite the philosophical display. I’m sure the people working on the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative will appreciate it.
You are judged by the company you keep, Mr. Checketts – and certainly by the people you own companies with. If the NHL commissioner cares about the game he and at least some of his owners profit handsomely from, he will politely, but firmly demand that you either remove Limbaugh and his racist notions from any and all of your other business dealings, or divest yourself of the Blues.
That way, that franchise and this sport won’t be so much as tangentially connected to any loathsome pant load who would order Jarome Iginla, Herb Carnegie, Kevin Weekes, Tony McKegney, Wayne Simmonds or any other human being to be subjected to dehumanizing behavior.
Say what you want about Gary Bettman working solely in service of the owners. This is about Bettman servicing his own conscience.
• It’s quite sad to watch the character assassination and internecine warfare that’s been going on at the NHL Players’ Association since Paul Kelly was dismissed at the end of August – particularly the assault on the reputation of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference.
Former NHLPA bigwig Glenn Healy went off on Ference during a Toronto sports radio interview this week, calling the former Bruins player representative “an absolute mouthpiece” and “a distraction” who “is going to pay” for his role in ousting Kelly.
I’ve gotten to know Ference a little bit over the years – and in my experience, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more conscientious, passionate, intelligent NHLer than him.
This is a guy who’s been a driving force behind the union’s Carbon Neutral Challenge, as well as someone who practices the environmental awareness he preaches, making his home life as green-friendly as possible.
No matter what perceptions (or misperceptions) may have led to Ference and others taking action against Kelly, any efforts to ostracize him are small-minded and counter-productive in building a stronger NHLPA.
Most players already fear severe repercussions for speaking their minds – and if Ference or others are shouted down and punished for attempting to improve the lot of themselves and future union members, we might as well duct tape the mouths and lobotomize the brains of all NHLers right now.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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