Zamboni Ramblings: As the Seasons Change
By Eric Rosenhek
We’re less than a month away from training camp. After reading these new tidbits, I want you to go outside and, you know, enjoy the final days of summer.
Kaberle’s Trade Koverage
Shame on the Toronto sports media for putting way too much emphasis on Thomas Kaberle and his possible departure from the Maple Leafs.
Every single sportscast and update last week literally began with the same statement: Thomas Kaberle is still a Maple Leaf.
Not only was this coverage redundant and unnecessary, it was a complete insult to all the other teams and athletes that compete in Toronto. And believe me, it wasn’t a slow news week. There was plenty going on. Here’s a recap:
- The Canadian Football League’s Argonauts defeated the defending Grey Cup champions (Montreal) and were tied for first (as of Aug. 18) in the CFL’s East Division. It’s been a while since the Argos even had a decent record.
- The Canadian Men’s basketball team played two exhibition games against France at the Air Canada Centre. Canada won both matches.
- The Blue Jays spent the weekend in Los Angeles, winning a three-game series against the Angels.
- The Rogers Cup took place at York University and featured the top eight male tennis players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the tournament winner, Andy Murray.
I understand there was deadline for the Leafs to trade Kaberle without needing his permission. I understand Toronto is a “Leafs Town” and bleeds blue and white. But on many occasions, this passion has caused the city’s media to make illogical choices when deciding the order of importance for certain stories.
It’s embarrassing and it needs to stop.
Changes in the AHL
As the American Hockey League prepares for its 75th season, several of its clubs have changed locations and/or affiliations.
After 17 years, the Albany River Rats have moved to Charlotte and will now be known as the Checkers. However, Albany will still have a presence in the AHL, as the State Capital of New York will be the new home of the former Lowell Devils.
After four latent years, the Toronto/Edmonton Roadrunners have re-surfaced as the Oklahoma City Barons. The new club will be affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Springfield Falcons, the Oilers’ former affiliate, will now align with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus’ previous AHL partner, the Syracuse Crunch, will now be associated with the Anaheim Ducks.
(Finally) A little poem….
Life inside the biggest fishbowl at such a young age.
There is anger and there is loneliness and there is resentment.
Insurmountable pressure on your shoulders, a few more pounds away from surpassing the edge.
Colleagues abound, but no one can kill internal demons.
Alone in the crease.
Thousands of eyes recording every movement.
With all the electricity, you can still pick out every single dirty comment.
Every single derogatory remark.
Every single call for your execution.
Even the ghosts of the Forum are against you.
And you wish you were back home in the mountains.
It was secure and protective.
Colours were just colours.
Logos were just logos.
Banners were just banners.
But not inside the fishbowl, where even the water fountains have a legacy.
The same questions are fired from the same cannons:
How did you feel when you were jeered off the ice?
Are you prepared to share the starting duties?
Is there any anxiety to outperform your colleague?
Are you still the chosen one?
The right answers are always given; a correct order of clichés to appease the critics.
“This is where I want to be. I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team. It’s not about me; it’s about what’s best for this team. I’ll fulfill any role they want me to fulfill. I’m working hard with the coach every day. The fans have every right boo me. I didn’t perform well. I let them down. I let my teammates down.”
There is sincerity, even though it’s always questioned.
Just like the maturity factor, language skills, on-ice demeanor.
It is crucial to personally endorse the right answers; believe in what you are saying.
Talk radio piranhas circle around you, waiting for just a small spec of blood.
They are ready to feast on your insecurities.
You cannot let that happen.
Deep down, you want tell everyone to f *** off.
The soft defense gave you a vulnerable position.
Why is that never emphasized?
Your departing colleague left two big mountains on your shoulders.
Why is that always emphasized?
Autographs were signed.
Smiles were given.
Donations were made.
Visits took place.
But the fans will never worship you like the Rocket.
It was foolish to think they would.
It was more foolish to show them sarcasm.
A deep breath leads to a temporary sense of calmness.
Look up and the action dances in front of you; just like a puppet show.
The strings are visible and soon, you feel being pulled and yanked.
There is no control inside the biggest fishbowl.
There is also no escape.
Yet one day, you hope to prove everyone wrong.
And pull your own strings.