Garbage Time: Go Away, Billy

February 6, 2009

by Rob Rave…

I know I’m not the only person who’s tired of hearing about Billy Steele. No, not the gay porn actor. You know, the numbskull 17-year-old Rogers camera jockey who was barred from working in the General Motors Centre in Oshawa because he talked to Don Cherry. It’s the type of subject matter that gets all hockey moms over 50 clickity-clacking away at their email’s “FW:” button. It’s also way fucked.

And now his dad has filed a human rights complaint? Seriously, Billy – go away. And take your dad with you.

First of all, this wasn’t an innocent, isolated incident that a BIG EVIL CORPORATION!!!!!! jumped the gun on. Billy Boy pestered – sorry, “chatted with” – Don twice on two consecutive days, and the second time, it was after being explicitly told not to by his boss. Baseball cap on too tight, Billy?

And he was also reprimanded within the same month for bringing a buddy of his onto the ice after a game. Didn’t know that? That’s because I could find it in only one of the many stories written about Billy. I guess it doesn’t jive with the sexy-ass “no justice” storyline the Toronto Star is trying to spin.

And just for these repeated instances of breaking very simple rules, Global Spectrum, who runs the arena, got him canned. Wait – no they didn’t! Billy still, inexplicably, inconceivably, has a job. They’re letting him work in the video truck outside the arena. Sounds like justification for a $100,000 dollar lawsuit to me!

Yes, I know the guy has a learning disability. But I’ve also known many people with learning disabilities who were only that much more driven to be fantastic employees because of it. Truth is, the company made the right call. And the only reason Don Cherry is defending the kid is because it’s squeaky-clean positive press for a guy whose name usually shares a headline with “XENOPHOBIC TIRADE”.

Global Spectrum has hopefully taught Billy an important lesson: which is, if you want to become a well-paid professional, don’t snap pictures like a little girl, and definitely treat the on-air personalities with the respect and privacy they deserve, whether they claim to appreciate it or not.

Or blow Darren Dutchyshen. You could always blow Darren Dutchyshen.

Garbage Time: Let Them Flip Their Lids

February 2, 2009

by Rob Rave…
I don’t like when corporations try to fix things that aren’t broken. New Coke almost drove my father to insanity, and Windows Vista is a POS of epic proportions. And now there’s talk that the NHL is going to ban players from removing their helmets to fight. It’s backlash from the death of Whitby Dunlops player Don Sanderson, after he took his off and ended up hitting the ice, and both Gary Bettman and the NHLPA’s Paul Kelly say it’s worth exploring.

Sanderson played for Major League Hockey. You know how you can tell it’s not “Major League” level? They have a team called the Dunlops. What the hell is a Dunlop? Who cares what a Dunlop is? We’re talking senior league hockey here, which is basically beer league without the beer, and with more Rogaine. And the NHL is going to knee-jerk based on this isolated incident? I must be missing the scads of players cracking their gourds open and dropping like flies. I must be missing some supposed epidemic that this is in regards to.

Of course the Ontario Hockey League was first to pass a rule that doesn’t allow players to doff their caps for a fight. But it just comes across as a desperate attempt for positive PR, or, you know, any PR. More importantly, it just doesn’t make sense. What better way to drive fans away from struggling OHL teams that are charging more than ever for tickets? Imagine being an Oshawa Generals fan right now. A month ago, you could have counted on seeing the insanely-skilled John Tavares and a couple full-tilt, balls-out brawls. Now you’ll see neither. I guess that’s what you get for living in a cesspool of teen pregnancy and camo jorts.

And then there’s another dumb-ass rule: the instigator penalty. Because of that, now you’ve got waifish superstars like Crosby (pathetically) fighting their own battles. Revise the rules further to keep helmets on and you’re going to have more stars missing more time when they break their hands bouncing their fists off of each other’s rock-hard skull buckets.

A lot of people say brawling is a necessary evil, but really, it’s a necessary spectacle. It indisputably sells tickets and keeps fans interested. And if you say “all helmets, all the time”, chucking knucks loses a lot of its TV appeal. Hell, the networks want the players to lose their helmets for the shootout so the big-timers are more visible. If you hide their faces even more, the NHL won’t just be giving their games away for free to NBC anymore. They might have to pay them. And you can forget about ever again seeing the rare and hilarious spectacle that is a goalie fight.

Even if changes are needed, when you’re the biggest hockey league in the world, you don’t base major overhauls to your rulebook on something that occurred in an eleventh-tier wash-up game. So let them rip the freaking helmets off and go. Mandating otherwise is simply hare-brained, reactionary and overly cautious. And since this is the NHL we’re talking about, look for it in ‘09-‘10!
Goodnight everybody!