Written by: Sean McEachern
Let’s begin this little Tea Party of sorts with a statement of categorical fact – I am a Bruins fan, have been for 40 years since my father gave me a #4 Bobby Orr jersey for my 4th birthday. I still own a Bruins jersey and 5 Bruins hats, even one that has the #30 on it right above my name and I proudly flaunt all of them whenever I get the opportunity, so long and painful has been my frustration until that glorious 15th day of June, 2011. When Tim Thomas raised Lord Stanley high above his head in enemy territory and collected the Conn Smyth as Finals MVP, I felt the frustrations of years of ‘could have’, ‘should have’ and ‘please trade Byron Dafoe’ melt away and I was a kid again, watching #4 wind up from behind his own net, cruise effortlessly the length of the rink, give and go and finish up suspended in mid-air – triumphant. One’s memory has poetic license. So while the City of Vancouver ‘reorganized’ its downtown core with what is politically correctly termed ‘a reverse celebration’, I reveled in the knowledge that not only had the Bruins ended the longest streak without a Cup amongst the Original Five ( sorry Maple Leaf Fans – we all know North Side Chicago will be throwing a Cubs parade long before confetti hits Yonge Street) but that this new re-incarnation of The Lunch Pail Gang, of rough-and-tumble, in your face, working-class millionaires was above all else, warts and all – a team.
And then, on January 23rd of this year, as the Boston Bruins received the tour of the White House customarily accorded to Champions, while President Barack Obama received his jersey and spoke eloquently of the trials and tribulations of this squad, making special note of the efforts of Tim Thomas, the Conn Smyth winner was conspicuous in his absence. Instead social media was lighting up like the proverbial scoreboard with this freshly posted little nugget from the Bruins netminder:
I believe the Federal government has
grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an individual.
This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT
Where, oh where shall we begin? Let’s start with something to clear the air first and then go from there. It goes without saying that goalies are a unique breed – they are the catchers and kickers of their sport, they beat to their own drum and harbor superstitions and game rituals that would make a Haitian Voodoo Princess’ head spin. It also goes without saying that Thomas and I are extremely unlikely to share a spot on the same political couch, best illustrated by his yen to spend some quality time with Glenn Beck whilst I would rather break bread with Jon Stewart in the Comedy Central cafeteria. What is most pressing to say though is this – I completely and utterly 100% support TT’s right to make his statement. However, and this is where mine and many people’s support dissipates, not showing up and choosing to draw your political line in the sand is one thing – posting your stance on Facebook about how the sky is falling is quite frankly, a pile of something Chicken Little might have left under the oak tree post-acorn.
By using social media as Thomas has here, he has unfortunately cheapened his deeply held beliefs and left his detractors feeling that TT is a camouflage-clad, hunkered in the bunker, mystery-militia man who is hoarding canned food and can’t understand why the Feds are bugging his mask. Believe me, I would have been a lot happier with TT had I spotted him front and center of the White House team picture, head down, blocker emblazoned with Tea Party symbol raised over his head in some kind of parallel universe tribute to Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Yes, many others have chosen to not attend the White House celebration – Michael Jordan had golf plans which probably involved relieving Charles Barkley of his annual salary, Larry Bird incorrectly assumed Ronald Reagan would know where French Lick, Indiana was (“If the President wants to see me, he knows where to find me”) and James Harrison most likely felt uncomfortable relinquishing his side-arm – but this Commander-in-Chief snub has proven the most polarizing because Thomas chose individual politics over team recognition. He chose the name on the back of the jersey over the name on the front and did it through a medium renowned for airing out one’s emotional dirty laundry after a night of hardcore partying with strippers and blow.
Let’s bottom line this. If TT thinks that writing that this will be his only public statement on the subject makes it so then perhaps it might be time to look for a new PR team because with Ovechkin choosing not to attend the All-Star Game in Ottawa this weekend while suspended and Sid The Kid still sidelined with concussion-like symptoms, the Canadian media snipers will have a bulls-eye on Thomas’ jersey where the B used to be. With all the frenzy around him and Zdeno Chara drafting, let’s see where Thomas gets picked when the All-Star Draft rolls around although it’s probably a safe bet he won’t skate away with the Kessel car. God forbid the Bruins somehow repeat with a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and TT has to prove that this was not about politics and skip the chance to catch the eye of Newt or shake Mitt’s mitt. I guess only time will tell but until then, as a wise man once said: “Keep your stick on the ice” people.
Written by: Matthew Blunk
The Philadelphia Flyers aren't the only NHL team keeping busy this summer.
One week after locking up left wing Taylor Hall with a seven-year contract, the Edmonton Oilers signed forward Jordan Eberle to a six-year, $36 million extension. The newly "man-strong" Eberle posted 34 goals and 76 points in 78 during the 2011-12 season, in a breakout campaign for the 22-year-old right wing.
Written by: Matthew Blunk
Amidst the uncertainty of this NHL offseason, with murmurs of a potential lockout to come, the Philadelphia Flyers have signed two more players to long-term deals.
Philadelphia signed forward Wayne Simmonds to a 6-year, near $24 million extension on Aug. 16. On Monday, the Flyers agreed to extend forward Scott Hartnell with a 6-year, $28.5 million deal. …
Written by: Matthew Blunk
1) Evgeni Malkin, C - Pittsburgh Penguins
2) Sidney Crosby, C - Pittsburgh Penguins
3) Claude Giroux, C - Philadelphia Flyers
4) Steven Stamkos, F - Tampa Bay Lightning
5) Jonathan Quick, G - Los Angeles Kings
6) Alexander Ovechkin, F - Washington Capitals
7) Henrik Lundqvist, G - New York Rangers