Friday, 7 June 2013

Healy puts his foot in it, declares Chara is impassive when being hit

Routinely, hockey analysts say whatever crosses their mind to fill airtime.  Showing a replay of a hit by Matt Cooke on Zero Zdeno Chara (if I remember my particle physics profs correctly, shouldn't have this been a case where Evil and Anti-Good combine and spontaneously annihilate in a giant stinking cloud of scumbaggery?), Glenn Healy intoned:

"Chara does not respond emotionally in any way when you go at him."

What the hell has he been watching the last few years?  Aren't the play-by-play guys and the guys down near the benches supposed to be there to add insight and explain to the viewer what he or she is seeing?  How can he say that, after Bruin Thug #1's assault on Max Pacioretty?

As a matter of fact, Mr. Chara is known precisely as the kind of player who has a short fuse, doesn't tolerate getting hit very well, and has a history of exhibiting a long memory and trying to even scores for perceived slights.  An Ottawa columnist wrote a piece after the assault at the New Forum in which he explained that when he saw Max crosscheck Zdeno Chara in the back after his game-winning goal in the previous game, he knew the latter would avenge this insult.  In his considered opinion, after covering him for years with the Senators, Mr. Chara holds grudges and doesn't forgive easily, and would certainly attempt to get even.  And he sure did, out of all proportion to anything that had previously happened.

Mr. Healy's remark is straight from the John Madden school of sports commentary, which dictates that each event of a game has predictive value, or must be expounded on to derive broad generalizations.

"The 49'ers have to make a stop here, it's crucial that they stop the Falcons on 2nd and 9 this early in the second quarter, or they'll lose control of this game."

Each player is the best in the game at whatever skill he has just demonstrated.

"Rod Woodson is the best in the league at covering a short hook route in the middle of the field on first-and-ten."

And so it goes, every play, every incident, instead of being seen in the perspective of a whole game, or a whole series, and being just one data point, must be assigned a crucial importance, or be used as proof of an absolute statement.

Mr. Healy, all you had to say was that Mr. Chara showed good discipline in not retaliating to a legal-under-the-circumstances-as-decided-upon-by-the-refs-at-that-point-in-the-game-with-the-aid-of-their-magic-eight-ball-but-not-after-an-involuntary-nervous-glance-at-the-box-where-Colin-Campbell-is-sitting hit.  You didn't need to make a broad pronouncement that proves you didn't know what you were talking about, which is obvious, because if that was a thought you had, that Zdeno Chara doesn't respond emotionally to getting hit, and you'd done any fact-checking on that, asked anyone who had followed his career, you'd have quickly found out that it was completely off the mark, that it couldn't be further from the truth.

Better yet, you could have decided to take a cue from your ice-level colleague Pierre McGuire, and after observing him motor-mouth his way through a broadcast, decide that a bit of dead air is not a bad thing, that saying less is often better than the opposite.

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