Patrick Kane didn't want Savard to go, but he has six points in two games under Joel Quenneville. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
I guess Blackhawks sophomore Patrick Kane read this Screen Shots column of mine during the off-season and realized that big boys do, in fact, cry.
Of course, right on cue, the heartless miscreants in the hockey community slunk from their caves and ripped Kane without mercy on message boards everywhere for his endearing display of emotion after his now-former coach Denis Savard was fired by Chicago on Thursday.
Now, I’m the last guy who wants to see the NHL turned into an episode of Oprah – although I do believe a past-life regression with Chris Chelios as the subject would be fascinating on a number of levels – but phooey on anybody who would deny a 19-year-old a, you know, human reaction to a human situation.
Kane’s tears didn’t demonstrate weakness, nor naiveté, on his part.
Rather, they showed he’s not an automaton to be toyed with simply for the delight of the paying customer. They showed a young man can emerge out of the hype and megabucks associated with being a No. 1 overall pick and the reigning rookie of the year and still keep his head on straight. They showed the kid’s guts extend far beyond being willing to skate into corners with the likes of Ryan Suter or Robyn Regehr a half-stride behind.
As much as it pains me to borrow (and slightly alter) a lyric from Phil Collins – and no, not this Phil Collins – I have to: don’t let them steal your heart away, Pat.
Always let the bastards see you cry.
• Felt the need to chime in on a white-hot topic among the hockey blogademia: the decision by the Edmonton Oilers to revoke the media credentials of a blogger who was accredited to work for one outlet, but live-blogged for another outlet during a game.
First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that J.J. Hebert and the Oilers PR types have been nothing but helpful to me in my dealings with the team, even in the years The Hockey News was Public Enemy No. 2 in Edmonton – our eternal thanks to Chris Pronger for putting the top spot out of reach – for picking the Oilers to plummet down the NHL standings.
But at the very least, I have to join the chorus of those who already have written about working for multiple media groups, while wearing a single press pass.
Up until this season, I freelanced with the Canadian Press for Maple Leafs games at the Air Canada Centre. But while I was gathering quotes in post-game media scrums, if I had a free moment to talk to a player or team employee regarding a story I was putting together for THN, you’re damn straight I’d do it, and without a second’s hesitation. There simply aren’t enough opportunities, nor hours in the day, to conduct separate sit-downs with people whose time is precious enough as it is.
Somebody might say both of the organizations I was writing for have been respected in the industry for decades, which separates them from some fly-by-night Internet outfit that exists only to belittle players and management (which is not to imply that’s what this particular Oilers blogger was doing). That’s fair. So is the notion that the sheer number of bloggers in some cities makes it practically impossible to accommodate all of them in the press box.
However, it’s important to point out just how difficult it is these days to get hockey on the tongues and typing machines of many mainstream media groups. That may not be the case in hockey-mad Edmonton right now, but it wasn’t all that long ago the Oilers couldn’t sell out their games and might have jumped at any chance to build some buzz.
And that scenario may yet come around again in Northern Alberta.
So long as writers are accountable – i.e., prepared to defend their positions to the people or organizations they’re writing about – they ought to be allowed to build that buzz, in any way they see fit. And if I were overseeing the velvet rope separating the wheat from the chaff in the press box, I’d rather have 100 passionate writers in there creating a negative buzz than a single wire-service reporter writing a neat, non-critical game story.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog normally appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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