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Why Sean Avery Is the Norm MacDonald of Hockey

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

 

[originally post for www.betonhockey.com on November 1/11. Link here]

[this post got a “shout-out” on TheScore’s Backhand Shelf Podcast on November 3/2011. Link here]

When I heard the recent news that Sean Avery was returning to the New York Rangers roster from his earlier AHL banishment , I immediately thought of a similar, non-hockey event, which seemed to match the scenario almost perfectly.

Does anyone remember when Norm MacDonald was fired from Saturday Night Live in 1997, but then was brought back a year and a half later to appear as guest host? If not, click this link, it’s a spectacle. Below is the written transcript:

“When the people here asked me to do the show, I’ve got to say, I felt kind of weird. I don’t know if you remember this, but I used to actually be on this show… a year and a half ago, I had sort of a disagreement with the management at NBC. I wanted to keep my job. And they felt the exact opposite. They fired me because they said that I wasn’t funny. Now, with most jobs, I could have had a hell of a lawsuit on my hands for that, but see, this is a comedy show. So, they got me. But, now, this is the weird part, it’s only a year and a half later, and now, they ask me to host the show. So I wondered, how did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building, to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so goddamn funny?! It was inexplicable to me, because, let’s face it, a year and a half is not enough time for a dude to learn how to be funny! Then it occurred to me: I haven’t gotten funnier, the show has gotten really bad! So, yeah, I’m funny compared to, you know, what you’ll see later. Okay, so let’s recap, the bad news is: I’m still not funny. The good news is: The show blows! Alright, folks, we’ve got a bad show for you tonight!”

And so here we are with Sean Avery. About a month ago, Rangers head coach was quoted as saying, “we have better players than Sean Avery right now”, and promptly demoted Avery to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. Now, not a year and a half later, but only a month later after toiling in the minor leagues, either John Tortorella or Glen Sather (or possibly both) have come to the conclusion that they don’t have better players than Sean Avery, saying bringing him back now “is the right decision”, and have returned him to the Rangers’ line-up after clearing re-entry waivers — without incident of another team swiping him, ala the Red Wings/Islanders Nabokov fiasco.

So if Avery’s thinking anything like Norm thought, he’s got to be saying to himself, “In a month, how did I go from not being good enough to even be allowed in the arena, to being so good I’m back on the starting roster?” Then it might occur to him as well, it’s not that he hasn’t gotten better, it’s that the Rangers have gotten bad. Yes, it is early still, but sitting at 17th overall, and one spot out of the playoffs right now in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are currently mediocre at best.

Though it’s probably due to injuries on the Rangers roster, it’s fun to think that the recall might have something to do with the entire Madison Square Garden crowd chanting “We Want Avery”, and bringing signs requesting Tortorella be sent to the Connecticut Whale instead. Great players have had their names chanting during games they put on memorable performances, but when was the last time a hockey player had their name chanted and presence requested by a mass audience, while said player wasn’t even in the state at the time?

Business in the NHL is about to pickup folks; the attention seeking/grabbing/bothersome-pest/entertainment-piece is en route back to the NHL. I for one can’t wait to hear his first monologue. Err, I mean, interview.

BET: Avery and Tortorella do not finish the season on the same roster. [update: SDC wins]

 

Schwartzel Taps His Inner Seinfeld For Masters Win, Tiger Loses Again, Norm MacDonald, and Hockey Quips.

April 10, 2011 2 comments

Shameless self-promotion: I had my latest newspaper article published; did you pick up a copy of The View on Friday? Click here to read it online if you don’t get the paper. Also, follow @LakeCountryBB and @BlackbeltsLCF on Twitter.

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Sorry if this throws you off, but I’ve got a few golf comments to make. I watched the final round of The Masters today, something I didn’t think I was capable of doing. A big part of making it tolerable was listening to Norm MacDonald’s “Norm Cast” running commentary of the event, and even getting one of my tweets read on the air live by Norm.  You should follow Norm on Twitter @normmacdonald and @normsportsshow , and check out the website.

The tweet I got read was, “If Tiger Woods wins the Masters today, expect Michael Vick level forgiveness of transgressions from the masses.” Valiantly try as he might, Tiger did not win. Charl (es?) Schwartzel did wins The Masters, and subsequently lifted the “Seinfeld Curse”(dubbed by Norm and company, as Charl has a striking resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld, facially). So I guess this means Tiger is still a dirty man-whore. How slutty do you think Tiger was over the weekend to play as well as he did? Also, do you think Tiger Woods was rattled that Lee Westwood’s wore his same red shirt, black hat/pants/shoes setup for Masters Sunday? That’s Tiger’s Sunday getup, Lee, everybody knows this.

I felt painfully bad for Rory Mcilroy, watching his Masters-sized meltdown. Guy was leading until he hit a shot onto some guy’s front lawn (who has a house on Augusta, btw?), and basically collapsed from there. Had a chance to be the youngest guy since Tiger to win the Masters, and then he BA-lew it.

I was closet-cheering for South Korea’s KJ Choi to win, and he was in the hunt. I bet KJ Choi played a lot of screen golf in Korea as a youngster. Only people who have lived in Korea will understand that comment. Basically, screen golf is virtual golf; and most Koreans play it instead of real golf because there are very few real golf courses in Korea as there’s very little previously undeveloped land to build them on, and the ones that exist are extremely expensive and exclusive. I am a little surprised Jinro Soju isn’t KJ Choi’s major sponsor (another Korean inside joke, sorry). SK Telecom must’ve won a screen golf bet for his rights.

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So the last place Edmonton Oilers beat the Canucks back to back before the end of the NHL regular season? Can anyone else feel Vancouver’s first round slipping out of their hands?

Vancouver’s Raffi Torres’ hit on Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle seemed like a classic tall guy’s elbow naturally falling at short guy’s head level. Clean hit if Raffi got lower. I honestly thought it was a good, hard, borderline clean hit. The Chara-Pacioretty thing has every call on eggshells, and discipline is expected everytime someone goes down. I think Torres said it best himself, saying he was just finishing his hit, and if he hadn’t he probably wouldn’t be seeing much more ice. I like Eberle, but if players can’t hit, the NHL turn into touch hockey before we know it.

I’m happy that my LA Kings won’t be facing Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs, especially now that they are without Anze Kopitar. I’m also happy that Vancouver will be meeting Chicago in the first round. I’m a casual fan, and I don’t invest my entire existence into my hockey team, nor their playoff hopes. If LA doesn’t win, no big deal. However, for Canucks fans, if Vancouver bows out early yet again, look out innocent civilians residing in the lower mainland of BC….

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Rookie Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes and seasoned veteran Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils both have 30 goals this year. The difference between them? $97.3 million in salary. That seems fair. Oh, Jacques Lemaire just retired again, and Brodeur sucks now? New Jersey is in trouble going forward. Jeff Skinner on the other hand, not so much. Calder?

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Martin St. Louis sure is content using those obscenely yellow Easton sticks, isn’t he?

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I have a hunch that more NHL players are going after Gordie Howe hat tricks on purpose and as a real stat these days. Not that I mind.

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I enjoyed Toronto’s late playoff push. I love how mad so many people would have been if they got in. I think the Leafs have a lot to look forward to next season, as long as Brian Burke doesn’t Niemi/Halak his #1 goalie and trade James Reimer in the off-season, in favour of backing Giguere or Gustavsson (who is anything but a monster. Unless he’s one from Monsters, Inc).

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And finally, Cory Clouston gets tossed out of Ottawa. After getting the worst out of every good player Ottawa had under his regime, feuding with Dany Heatley to the point of a no-trade clause waiving trade, and finishing nearly last in the league over and over, how did it take this long for this to happen?

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