Sunday, 6 October 2013

Vincent Lecavalier chickened out.

Painful watching that video of Vincent Lecavalier trying to justify his decision to sign a contract with Philadelphia to the assembled Montréal media throng.

"It's a good sport town", he says, "they have football, baseball..."

Convincing stuff.  When was the last time a professional athlete chose a team because its city had other pro teams, in other leagues?  Even Dion Sanders and Bo Jackson didn't choose based on that, and for them that would have been reasonable.  Dion played briefly for both the Falcons and Braves, but eventually even he commuted.  

Does Vincent know about NFL Sunday Ticket?  You can watch pretty much any game any sport any time, and even then there's something called a PVR, he should look into that.

"They have a good organization." 

Yes.  Eric Lindros and Bobby Clarke.  The Broad Street Bullies.  Ed Snider.  The clown circus of goalies they've employed (humangous big hello to you, Ilya).  I'd focus in on the house that Bobby built, like a laser, if I was in his shoes too.

It's unsettling to see him squirm, but also because he's lying to our faces, and we're expected to act as if we believe it.  We've heard mendacity by suppurating NHL dissemblers before, stuff like: "I looked down at the puck and was continuing on and the next thing I know I look up and he's coming out full speed at me. Obviously it was a hard collision and I did everything I could just to brace myself."

Or, "It looks really bad. All I can do is tell you the truth, and my finger getting stuck in my glove is the truth."

And the classic: "With the right economic system we can take the pressure off of (sic) ticket prices, and I believe with the right economic system, many, if not most of our teams, will actually lower ticket prices. I believe we owe it to our fans to have affordable ticket prices."

Now, the three disreputable gasbags who made the statements quoted above were saying whatever was necessary to save their own skins, to try to leap out of the corner they'd painted themselves into with their immoral and dishonourable actions.  Vincent has his fingers in the gearbox, he's getting pulled in, he has to say something to extricate himself.  And that's the best he could come up with. 

And John Lu isn't allowed to say: "Do you really expect anyone to believe you picked the Flyers because of the Phillies and the Sixers?  Come on, tell us why, really, you chose not to come to Montréal.  We don't care why you chose Philly over Dallas or Minny, why did you decide against the Canadiens?  That's all our viewers, our readers, our listeners want to know right now.  Don't snow us about the Flyer organization.  We're trying to do our job here."  

John Lu is a TSN employee, and TSN is a 'partner' of the NHL, so at best he's an embedded reporter, if not a hostage.  He has access, to the Canadiens and the NHL, but if he uses that access to do some actual reporting, he'll lose his access, and his job before that.

So Vincent lied to my face through John Lu when he told me why he went to Philadelphia.  He sidestepped the truth like the landmine it was.  He revealed even more what a small man he is.  

He could have come here and worn the bleu blanc rouge, been the biggest star in town since Guy Lafleur.  Jean Béliveau told him he could take number 4 out of retirement if he wanted to.  A generation of Québec children would have grown up wanting to be the #1 centre, like Patrick Roy influenced a generation to become goaltenders.  He could have been the big fish in the biggest pond.

Instead, he decided to be an unremarkable fish in a cesspool.  He chose to wear vomit orange.  He wanted to be on the team of Moose Dupont, Ron Hextall, Ken 'The Rat' Linseman and Scott Hartnell.  

He worries somewhat about the treatment his family and friends will receive from Canadiens fans.  Fans who get locked out of the sport they love and own.  Who are subjected to the whims of owners and managers when it comes to whether their franchise will be sold or relocated, whether their favourite player will be traded or cut.  Fans whose only recourse is to renounce their sport, or keep buying in, and cheering.  And yes, booing.

The subtext of Mr. Lecavalier's referring to his friends and family is 'Don't hate me.  It was a business decision.'

Thought experiment: you know a girl.  You've always felt there was this connection there, but never acted on that, since she was not available.  You were the perfect gentleman, kept everything above board, but there were signals that kept you hoping.  Until her relationship ends, and now after the requisite waiting period, you ask her out on a date.  And you are turned down.  She says there's another suitor.  Shortly thereafter, you find out that she's is going to Kingston for conjugal visits with Paul Bernardo.  

You're the jilted one, the spurned one, you kind of think you were taken for a ride a little bit.  There were no promises, maybe you built this up in your head, but even so you don't have to be happy about it.  Maybe when she asks you to help her move you don't return her phone call, or if you see her stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire you stare straight ahead and pretend not to see her.  You might even steer into a puddle to make sure there's as big a splash.

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