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Pollard: In the NHL, you are always being watched

Dan Pollard
12/18/2008 7:15:31 PM
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Personality should not be confused with anti-social behavior.

That should be the overlying message when considering the fallout from Sean Avery's comments to reporters in Calgary. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it best when he told reporters this week he wouldn't want to explain to his 12-year-old daughter what Avery said. Let it serve as a reminder to players that like it or not, they are in the public purvey.
 
Avery's comments were made a short time after he questioned the character of the wife of television host John Giannone in an unprovoked verbal attack outside the Dallas dressing room at Madison Square Garden.

A 'Personality' is not someone with a simple ability to demean someone else's character.
 
Like it or not. there is another layer of responsibility for being a player in the NHL. There are others watching. Avery sought out attention and got it. There is nothing wrong with being held to a higher standard for retaining the privilege of playing with the best players in the world. After all, it is a privilege and not a right.

We've lost another good man

Years ago when I was working in radio at the FAN 590 in Toronto I had the chance to work with ex-NHLer Glenn Goldup. Glenn was a stand-up guy with a long history in hockey. That apple hadn't fallen far from the tree.

It was sad to hear this week his dad Hank, also an ex-NHLer, had passed away. Hank plied his trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers during his career winning a Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1942.

Hank played 202 games in the NHL and then played the part of the proud parent when his son donned an NHL uniform.

There go those backup goalies again

In New Jersey, Scott Clemmensen has caught the torch thrown by Martin Brodeur while he recovers from his elbow woes. (I think he tossed the torch with his blocker arm because it's the good one) Clemmensen, as of Dec. 18, had won his ninth game of the season. According to the good folks at Elias, the nine wins are one more than he recorded in 28 games for the Devils and the Leafs in five previous seasons. He's 9-3-1 this year and was 8-7-4 in those previous 28 games.

Enjoy it while you can Scott. The star of the play will be back.   

What's that number, junior?

There's no question that Bobby Orr revolutionized the way defence is played. There's also no question that like Howe, Hull and Richard who wore No. 9 before him Orr's No. 4 became a number cherished by kids who yelled out their selection to coaches doling out jerseys at the beginning of minor hockey seasons. The interesting thing is that Orr never wore No. 4 in junior hockey and almost didn't wear No. 4 with the Bruins. The Oshawa Generals recently raised Orr's junior hockey No. 2 to the rafters of the General Motors Centre. As Stephen Brunt documents in his book 'Searching for Bobby Orr' No. 4 actually wore No. 27 in training camp before being offered Aubrey 'Dit' Clapper's No. 5. Orr didn't want to step on the legend of Clapper and decided on No. 4.

'Searching for Bobby Orr' by the way is a great read. Seal Books is the publisher.

Also, it's great to see the St. Michael's Majors retire Dave Keon's junior jersey last week, but if you want to win this trivia bet keep in mind Keon also wasn't wearing his pro hockey number when he played junior. It's Keon's No. 9 hanging comfortably in the rafters of the Majors new home at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Keon spent 3 years with the Majors from 1957-58 to 1959-60. In his first year he played with Mike Draper, father of current Detroit Red Wing Kris.
The Majors have a long and illustrious history in junior hockey. Kevin Shea has chronicled the teams past in a book that would also look great under the Christmas tree this year. Working with Larry Colle and Paul Patskou Shea has penned 'St Michael's College 100 years of Pucks and Prayers.' Frank Mahovlich, another ex-Major, provides the foreword. The publisher is Fenn Publishing.  

From the 'this is a small world and try and stay humble' category Hall of Famer Larry Murphy was telling me on the set of 'NHL on the FLY' that he used to caddy for Keon when he was growing up east of Toronto and working at the Scarborough Golf and Country Club.




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