Monday, 7 October 2013

Vincent Lecavalier can go pound sand

To those who say Vincent Lecavalier doesn't owe me an explanation and is free to do as he chooses, you're being entirely too reasonable about this.  I'm a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, and will cheer and boo accordingly.  Vincent Lecavalier chose to turn up his nose at my boyhood team, chose to not seize the day and be A Story.  He could have been a Legend, he chose to be moderately richer and unremarkable.  Well I'll exercise my right to be heard accordingly.

You ask if I'd be angry if he signed with the Rangers or the Bruins.  I'd be livid if he'd signed in Boston, much more neutral if he'd signed in New York.  That's precisely the point.  He went with the Philadelphia Flyers.  I thought he was a phenomenal player who landed in Tampa Bay because of the system, and proved to be a dedicated player once there, making a home and being a great representative of the game.

When he was in the Finals against Calgary, I cheered on the Lightning, to the consternation of friends and coworkers who thought I should support the Canadian team.  I cheered for Vincent and Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards.  And I never begrudged him the fact that he wanted to stay in Tampa, if he'd malingered or extorted his way out of town, that would have been a blight on his record.

But that he became a free agent, and chose to sign with our mortal enemies, with the team that exemplifies all that is wrong with the NHL, from the owner on down, I will take that personally, and will hold him accountable in my own small way.

He didn't P.A. Parenteau it.  The latter said he wanted to get an offer from the Canadiens, but they didn't call so he went with the Avalanche.  Marc Bergevin quibbled on that, so we know that the story is essentially true.  That summer, they were interested in Brandon Prust, they visited him at home on July 1 to convince him to sign here.  So Mr. Parenteau doesn't earn my scorn, he'll be on my fantasy team when possible.

On a related matter, some say that the questions the journos were asking Vincent Lecavalier were 'trap questions', unfair ones, since he had nothing he could answer truthfully without offending us.  I understand that, I believe that's why he feebly tried to motivate his decision otherwise by obliquely claiming to be a big Eagles fan.  The thing is though, the reporters' job is to not assume anything, to ask the questions, rely on the 5 W's, and allow the subject to give their side of the story, to be heard on the matter.  So if they go in and don't ask the 'tough' or even "unfair" questions ("Mr. Wiener, can you tell us if that picture is of you or someone else?..."), they're actually presuming that the subject is 'guilty', that he doesn't have any worthwhile reasons or answers to offer.

To me, it was proper that he be asked these questions point blank, neutrally, and be given an opportunity to speak on this.  They dutifully recorded his non-answers and let the unhinged fans like me make their own decisions.

The thing is, I was hoping that he'd have some better reasons to desert and join the Kempeitai.  I remember Mark Langston telling reporters that he wanted to go to Southern California to help further his wife's acting career.  As an Expo fan I was bummed, but understood it, and didn't hold it against him.  If Vinny had said "My daughters go to an equestrian academy in Westchester, they hope to one day go to the Olympics," I'd have been disappointed, but accepted it.  Any likely reason would have worked.

"I'm good friends with a business partner who's from Philly, and we have been going there summers and have a couple of investments, it was a good opportunity for us to live there and be closer to our businesses."

"It's a funny story, there's definitely a Ryan Malone connection, he used to play in Pittsburgh but lived in that area and ..."

Another answer I would have accepted would have been:

“I was really interested in coming to Montréal, we negotiated with them for a while, but in the end I couldn’t turn down the Flyers offer, they were really interested and I really liked what they had to say.”

That I would have accepted, because it’s the truth, they wanted him more. Rumour has it Marc Bergevin opened the dance with a 3 year, $9M offer, the Flyers offered more money and term right off the bat. The fact that it was the Flyers he signed with would have stuck in my craw, but I’d get it. Instead of this “I like the organization, sports town, …” BS.

Anything at all would have sufficed.  But he had no reasons to offer other than he didn't want to come here, not for the lowball offer he received from the Canadiens.  So the reporters only asked the questions which needed to be asked, and if it seems like they only gave him enough rope, it's because he was guilty, and he will be a condemned man in Montréal forever more.

Sorry about your nieces and nephews Vincent, they're going to hear about it for you.  Should have thunked about that before you took the thirty pieces of silver.

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