Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Double Standard

It is official the world is going to come to an end as here I am going to defend 2 people who I am not really fond of with the New York Rangers.

Oh Monday is supposed to be a day off for me but the day after trading Ethan Werek's rights to the Phoenix Coyotes, Glen Sather is royally getting trashed for the trade. Too bad the only thing he actually did was pick up the phone and call Phoenix.

Anyone who has spent any time talking to me about the New York Rangers knows that I was against hiring Glen Sather in the first place. I thought he was (and on many issues still is) the wrong person to fix the Rangers.
His track record with the Rangers is suspect at best and it is understandable that the first reaction to the Ethan Werek trade was negative. The problem here is that this was a no-win situation for Sather and the Rangers.

The whole business of player development is at times as easy as trying to do anything while being blindfolded. You have to look for signs as to whether or not a move is the right one to make.

In the case of Ethan Werek, the decision was made that he was not going to pan out into the player the Rangers had hoped for when they drafted him. Oh for sure this might come back to one day haunt the Rangers as there is absolutely no question that Ethan Werek has the talent to become not just an average NHL performer but a very good one at that.

But the problem is that over the last year, there was a series of signs that said signing Werek might not be a good move for the Rangers. There was no one sign that said not to sign Werek but a whole bunch that one could not ignore.

Take this article from the Kingston Whig Standard the newspaper that covers the Kingston Frontenacs and at the bottom of the article are these words:

Werek's departure is not great news for his former team, which loses a front-line player without receiving anything in return. If widespread speculation is any indication, it already was a good bet that Werek had played his last game in Frontenac colours. Too many 'soft' games from the rugged 190-pounder didn't exactly ingratiate him to the coaching staff.

The Frontenacs were a mess to begin with and even Werek admits that his relationship with the team was "strained". Like I said there was not just one thing but a bunch of things that even I have to concede raised the red flags.

It would be easier if Ethan Werek was a bad person who did something criminal so you had that very visible reason to not sign him but there isn't here. Just as the Rangers gambled when they used the 2009 2nd round pick on Werek is another gamble here.

The only thing that is clear here is that Ethan Werek in the judgement of the Rangers was not going to become the player they had hoped for. And while you are trashing Glen Sather on this move then remember how much you like Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinsky and even Ryan McDonagh.

Remember how you are so excited about the Ranger's first round pick in the very same draft Chris Kreider. Like it or not there are going to be times where you need to trust the Ranger's judgement and in this case it is hard to not agree with this move.

Holy cow I am also going to defend Sean Avery in the same post as Glen Sather. Buy the lottery ticket now or build that ark cause the world as you know it is going to end.

Sean Avery in my eyes is an average hockey player who has done a masterful job of getting himself a ton of publicity for himself on and off the ice.

He is not as good a hockey player as he may think he is but he does a great job of stretching his "15 minutes of fame".

Having said that I also have to acknowledge that I agree with him when he says he supports the rights of gay people to be able to marry. And while I do my very best to keep controversial topics away from here this is one time I can not.

It is not what Avery says here that bothered me but rather the reaction from Todd Reynolds, the vice president of Uptown Sports (NHL agents) who are based in Burlington, Ontario. Reynolds took to twitter to call Avery's support "misguided".

Before I go any further, I am not a bleeding heart liberal or a diehard right winger. What I am is one of those boring card carrying American patriots who believes in what this country is about.

Reynolds first tweeted "Very sad to read Sean Avery's misguided support of same-gender "marriage". Legal or not, it will always be wrong,"

Reynolds found himself being called out by a rather diverse group of people so he responded with these words:  "To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal..."

See my reaction are for the words "we are all equal" as when you say that then you either believe in equality or you don't. There is no middle ground when it comes to being equal.

Nothing drives me more nuts than when someone says "we are all equal" but then tries to add a disclaimer to it. Even worse is that those people never seem to realize that you can not have partial equality you have to have it or don't have it at all.

"But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone."

And I will respect his right to believe in such a manner but I just wish that those people who misuse the word equal would realize you just can not add a disclaimer to it.


Guess I might as well go for the hat trick at ticking people off. The day started so nicely when Portland Winterhawk Sven Bartschi was named WHL Player of the Week.

Bartschi is doing nothing but raise his NHL draft stock with each passing game. For the week Bartschi was 5-2-7 including back to back 2 goal games in the WHL finals.

It still angers me that Bartschi did not get the WHL Rookie of the Year because one has to seriously wonder if the birthplace on his birth certificate says Langenthal Switzerland had anything to do with it?

But as good as Bartischi was last week, those deciding discipline at the WHL offices got it part right but also part wrong when it came to handing out punishment for what happened during Game 2 of the WHL finals.

Taylor Jordan rightfully got a game suspension for his "checking from behind" major as Jordan hit Kootenay's Steele Boomer right between the numbers face first into the boards so no complaints on that call.

Riley Boychuk was not suspended for his "elbowing" major which was fixing a call that was wrong to begin with. But the suspension that really boggles the mind is the "indefinite" one that Brad Ross got for this play:

(Stick tap to Dylanb for posting video)

Ranger fans will recognize this as the "Sean Avery Effect" where you get punished for something based not on what actually happened but your reputation. Ross who is a lot like Avery with his "in you face" style.

The announcers are from Shaw not either team so even they are confused as to how this was called. They even noticed that Max Reinhart of Kootenay got away with a penalty.

Brad Ross gets an indefinite suspension that he does not deserve but because Ross already served a 3 game suspension in the 2nd round of the WHL playoffs most likely means he is done for the season.

I will repeat what I said after Game 2; that the on ice officials created the conditions by their calls/non-calls which led to the chain of events in this game.

Very disappointing that in a championship playoff that the quality of officials becomes suspect. Even worse when one official was named "WHL Official Of the Year" was the lead ref for this game.

This is one group that should sit out the rest of this series because of their failure to control this game.

(Images Sather/New York Rangers, Avery/Hockey News, Bartschi/Portland Winterhawks)

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