This post has now been updated with the Peca comments on video below.
There’s an old expression that says, “you can run, but you can’t hide”. There’s another old expression that says, “be careful for what you wish for”. We’ve all said them at one time or another in our lives about situations that we, and others have been in. It’s true though that these words can be said in passing and shrugged off, or they can be taken very seriously and applied to specific situations, and have direct meaning. Direct enough to cause a media frenzy? Yes.
For former Florida Panther defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, he of the graceful skating and sometimes crisp passing, and quiet demeanor, the expressions have rung true. Tuesday night the Calgary Flames who Jay now plays for, took on the New York Rangers in a pre-season game in Saskatoon. That’s in Saskatchewan in case you thought it might be in Northern New York. TSN analyst and former NHL player Michael Peca made a statement regarding Jay that has everyone, or almost everyone in a tizzy.
Peca said that he used to like playing against Jay because “he coughed up the puck so much”. Yikes! Strong words by an ex-player about a current player. And that is what lit the match. Calgary Flames President Ken King came to the defence of Jay stating that it was out of line for Peca to make the comment, and that it was said of a colleague, a peer, someone that he played against. How about this line from King:
To diss and take such a low-brow approach to laughing at or ridiculing one of the premier defencemen in the league, I just think is completely inappropriate.”
You can get the entire story here from the Calgary Herald and decide for yourself how idiotic this really is.
Code or no code, Peca was a very respectable player who is now an analyst and is paid to analyze. Harsh words? Maybe. Or maybe not. I mean how many times have you or I said about a colleague that we work with, “Hey that Richard Handler person is a real jerk to work with eh”?
I, like Bob McKenzie from TSN, who gives both sides of the story, see no problem with Ken King standing up for his player. Of course you would expect him to defend Jay, just like I hope that my boss or business partner would in a time of ridicule. I also see no issue with Peca’s assessment either. If anyone can make that statement, and let it be true, wouldn’t you rather it come from someone that played against Jay then from some knucklehead sitting at a computer? (I’m not a knucklehead). First hand experience right?
Puck Daddy himself also weighed in on the controversy.
Let’s face it, and here’s the rub. Jay wanted out of Florida for years. He was offered good money, very good money and never signed a long term deal. He wanted to play for a winning organ-eye-zation that had a city that wrapped it’s arms around hockey. He wanted to be embraced, and feel that he had a chance to be in the playoffs. Perfect. You got your wish. Well at least you got out of Florida. The rest remains to be seen.
Being unnoticed in Florida has finally caught up to him though. Honestly does anyone think that if Jay was still a member of the Florida Panthers, and they had squared off against the New York Rangers that we’d be reading about this? Probably not. TSN wouldn’t have covered it.
And that’s what gets me. I have no problem with Peca saying what he said. He’s an ex player that actually played for quite some time. His credentials. See for yourself about Peca’s career. He won the Selke Trophy twice as the leagues best defensive forward. He won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2002. He scored 465 points in over 800 games, and finished a plus 66 for those that like the +/- stat. Not bad for a guy that was mostly a third line player. So, yea, he can make the statement.
As for Jay’s play, and here’s my .02. He’s a very graceful and skilled skater with pretty good puck handling abilities. For a man of his size I would expect a bit more physicality (doesn’t have to be a bruiser), a harder slap shot, and after all this time of being in the league, be a better interview. That said, he’s overpaid, overrated and the Flames are going to be stuck with a bad contract. Is Jay the next Wade Redden?
I’m actually kinda tired of the careful assessment of players. Ohhhh let’s not say anything bad about anyone so that we don’t break the code. Bull-shiest! If a guy sux on a given night, the announcers should say so, or not be afraid of constructively criticising his play. The NHL sometimes seems to have a thin skin. Pretty ironic for a game that requires such a tough personality.
By the way, I wonder how many other players would say that Jay spends a lot of time coughing up the puck?
Maybe this will toughen Jay up a bit. Maybe he’ll actually get mad or angry and step up. It will be one of many tests he will face.
Hey Jay, turn your head and…….nevermind.
Here’s the video:
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