Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lame Moments in Sports #13

In which Steve Yzerman apparently is possessed by the ghost of Tiger Williams' career.

Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman has voiced his opinion about the new NHL - and so far, he's not a fan.

"Everybody keeps saying this is great. It's not great," Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press.

"It's not hockey."

Erm, baseball perhaps? Or golf?

"There are penalties all over," he told the Free Press.

Ya know, Steve, if the NHL had been calling penalties throughout your career the way they are now, you'd have about half again as many career points as you do now, so stop complaining.

"I'll just use Mathieu Schneider's penalty as an example. He steps up and takes his guy out, and his stick gets caught and the crowd cheers so the referee puts his hand up. There has to be some discretion. The referees have to use some judgment on what is a penalty and what is not. They've taken judgment out of it and I think it's somewhat made it easy on the referees just to call anything, because there is no judgment.

"Good referees used to have good judgment. Now they've taken that out of the game. I'm not saying I'm blaming the referees for it, I just feel the whole thing has to be adjusted and they have to look at this seriously. They can't continue to call irrelevant things that have no business being called."

Ok, this is actually the lame part of this whole thing. Read those two paragraphs, and try to find some sort of point in it, beyond some sort of vague sense that referees=bad. It's a beautiful example of jock-talk.

Yzerman, in his 22nd and possibly last NHL season, has two goals and four assists for the Red Wings in 2005.

You know, I do have a lot of respect for Steve Yzerman. Twenty-two seasons, several Stanley Cups, one of the biggest goals in the history of Team Canada, and generally a class act through it all. And that's why this whole thing is so disappointing. With interest in hockey up, a more entertaining game, in general, on the ice, and a heightened sense of parity across the league, to hear something like this from one of the game's supposed "ambassadors" is just sad. He'll probably get fined for this, and rightly so. Steve, the next time some media chappie asks you your opinion on the new NHL, please keep your mouth shut.

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