Just when we thought that there was no fresh Hurricanes news to write about, a Canadian sportswriter went and threw a nice big, fat softball down the center of homeplate that this blogger couldn't help but to take a swing at.
Of course we all know that Erik Cole was up in Edmonton late last week, trying on his new, (rather ugly) sweater, and telling everyone who would listen just how thrilled he is to be up in the Great White North. We don't think that there is anything wrong with that. Canes Country supports "Colsie" and we hope he has a great season this coming year.
But you can always count on some elitist in the Canadian media to eventually take things too far. Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun recently wrote an article which equated the move from Raleigh to Edmonton as being pretty much the same as moving from the sewers of the RBC to performing on Broadway.
When the Carolina Hurricanes traded Erik Cole to Edmonton, Cole immediately traded in his role as a largely ignored athlete in a third-tier sport.
He's an Oiler now. That means he's a rock star.
He won't be playing fifth fiddle to NCAA basketball, NASCAR racing, NFL Football, and the occasional dog-fighting ring.
Apparently, Mr. Tychkowski wasn't aware that Cole led the state's "click it or tick-it" campaign for seat belt use for several years here. Apparently, making commercials with the Governor of the State isn't enough notoriety for the all-knowing Canadian writer, who probably has never even stepped foot in this state. Although, you really don't need to visit a place or do any actual research before you insult it, do you?
Even when the team is losing you are still front and centre in the city's consciousness. As you go, so goes the city. In places like LA, Phoenix, Florida, Carolina, or any of the other southern centres the league shouldn't have expanded to, NHLers might as well be playing arena soccer.
Here we go again, another southern hockey hater. Why doesn't Mr. Tychkowski ask Ron Francis, Glen Wesley, Tom Barrasso, Steve Halko, and the other retired NHL players who call this area their permanent home how they feel about hockey in the south? I could spend all day defending NHL hockey here, but I'm not going to do that.
Instead, I'm going to throw a couple of stones back at Mr. Tychkowski's glass house.
We have all heard how wonderful it is to play hockey in Edmonton. Just ask Chris Pronger, and Michael Nylander, two NHLers who refused to play there. As a matter of fact, Edmonton is such a sterling place to play that none of the most sought after free agents want to go there. The only way the Oilers can get decent players these days is by trade, draft, or by making ludicrous offer sheets to RFA's.
Speaking of the devil, those offer sheets to Vanek and Penner reeked of being desperate. While we are not necessarily fans of Brian Burke, he was absolutely right with most of his criticism concerning Kevin Lowe and those absurd offer sheets.
In the article, Cole mentions that ex-teammate Cory Stillman called him to inform his buddy about how much he will love playing in a Canadian market. Really? Is this the same Stillman who recently turned down a contract offer by the Ottawa Senators so that he could sign a multi-year deal in Florida? Maybe Cole should also talk to Joe Corvo and ask the defenseman how much fun he had playing in that market in Ottawa and also ask him why the local media tagged him with the nickname "Uh-Oh Corvo". The truth is, Corvo couldn't wait to leave.
Nice guys, those elitist, hockey gurus from Canada.
Look, I'm sure that playing for Edmonton has it's perks. There is a lot of tradition up there and everyone does pay attention to whatever the Oilers do. There's probably not much else to do. And while you are winning, that's great. But it's not so great if things don't go well. Anyway you look at it, things certainly aren't perfect up there.
Before Mr. Tychkowsky throws anymore stones at Raleigh and southern hockey, perhaps he should take a look in the mirror and cogitate a bit about why more free agents don't sign in Edmonton?
One last thought, let's see where Erik Cole signs next year when he is an unrestricted free agent. My guess is that the know-it-all sportswriter from Edmonton won't be sitting on his high-horse then.