Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Strong reactions from "The Center of the Hockey Universe"

Uh. That would be Toronto.

My oh my.

The Buffalo Sabres apparently broke some sort of code when their enforcer, John Scott, went after the Maple Leafs "star" Phil Kessel Sunday night.

And the Toronto media, as well as Leaf-nation, has been beside themselves ever since.

Buffalo, the bastard child of the red-headed step-child of North American cities, and their ghetto hockey team had the nerve to come to the hallowed grounds of hockey--Toronto--with total disregard for proper etiquette, according to Torontonians.

Some sort of "code" was broken when enforcer John Scott tried to muzzle the Leafs annoying little Schnauzer that is Phil Kessel.

It's not like Scott was going to "kill" Kessel or anything although Kessel's still cleaning out his drawers at the very thought.

Scott just wanted to pull a Hulk, slap Kessel around like the yapping little on-ice bitch he is, then skate away, "Puny little god."


The Sabres took it all in stride.

It was simple. Although they wouldn't come out and say it, they did not like the way the fight ended between Leafs "tough guy" Jamie Devane and the Sabres Corey Tropp.

Devane looked as if he slammed Tropp's head to the ice with his forearm as both went down.

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller who dropped the glove and flipper for the first time in his pro career said, "from our side we felt that the fight prior with Tropper didn't end in a very classy way. We just felt it was poor taste definitely at the end."

Whoa! What does anyone in Buffalo know about taste?

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star blasted the whole shebang, hockey's "twisted view of manhood," ie:  fighting, called the goalie fight "the most comical sight of all" and proceeded to pshaw Leafs TV for promoting the melee' as if "the Leafs had really accomplished something special on this night."

But what's comical is how high-brow and ill-conceived Cox's article is.

His whole premise is that Sabres bench boss Ron Rolston, whom he slights as a "U.S. college guy no less," was the root of the problem.

After seeing Tropp go down, Rolston, "sent out Scott, because he is six-foot-eight and a fighter of moderate ability," wrote Cox. "It was the classic tap on the shoulder, the 'and don’t dance' wordless missive from the coach.

Rolston wanted revenge, and if [he] hadn’t sent out Scott, nothing would likely have happened. Or perhaps Scott, in the way it’s supposed to work, would have challenged Devane after he left the penalty box, " he concluded.

The only problem with Cox's misguided theory is that Scott was already on the ice. After Tropp scored at 9:57, Scott and Mike Zigomanis hit the ice for the faceoff. The Devane/Tropp fight went down four seconds after that puck drop. The line brawl commenced at 10:01, before the next faceoff.

Oh, and sorry, Damien there's also the point about Scott not challenging Devane, whom Cox calls the Leafs "apprentice tough-guy," before the 10-minute mark of the third period. 

Devane was on the ice with Scott eight times before the Devane/Tropp fight. In fact Scott was on the ice opposite Devane and Tropp at the time.

The "apprentice tough guy" was out to prove himself against the smaller Tropp? After cowering away from numerous opportunities with Scott?

It's Toronto, the "almighty Leafs" are always in the right. Just ask them.

Which brings us to another gem from The Leafs page at the star.com, Buffalo’s not important enough to hate.

Author Cathal Kelly, he of the unisex name, metrosexual flair and flaming hubris, writes, "on the long list of teams Toronto hates, Buffalo's buried beneath 50 feet of compacted garbage."
Cathal Kelly of

Kelly is cute in this piece. He defends David Clarkson for jumping over the boards (not mentioning Clarkson holding Sabres d-man Drew Bagnall while teammate Carter Ashton sucker-punches him) and Kessel for using his stick "like a boning knife" (in the back of Scott who's engaged with Clarkson and a linesman at the time.)

He knocks Scott:  "He spends his Saturday mornings turning to people in the lineup at the grocery store and saying “Wanna go?” He can’t help himself.'

Kelly then proceeds to take shots at the Bills and the Bisons as well.

Buffalo's not worthy of any sort of recognition taunts Kelly, "[the city] is like the kid who won’t stop pinching you in the recess line, Buffalo keeps trying to start something."

Kelly is lucky he was top poodle at an all girls school. His lunch money would've made some South Buffalonians pretty rich.

It's a fun read and Kelly has a way with words, but it's not really a piece about hockey and rivalries. Nor is it about the line brawl because of one glorious, universal truth, "Toronto’s only natural rival is itself," he says.

Having dismissed all sports rivalries including Montreal and Ottawa, Kelly, with the smack of perfectly placed lip gloss, says Toronto has only one recourse while standing alone atop Mount Maple Leaf, "we go back to trying to catch the attention of the only people whose opinion we really care about – ourselves."

Uh, sweetie, when you're done admiring yourself, head to the Outlet Mall and find Kessel matching lip gloss for his purse.


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