I rant and tear and scream. I diatribe. I solilique. I bitch. I whine. I gnash teeth. I demean. I belittle. I pound the shit out of Blues players, staff and hangers-on (Towel Boy, I'm looking in your general direction).
But then, when I get what I want, I start to feel bad for being so mean.
Case 1: Eric Weinrich. My favorite whipping boy of last season, "The Visor" caught a ration of shit from me every issue we published. I hated his breakdowns. I hated his fishing the puck out of the net. I hated the way Alexander Ovechkin juked him into some sort of pretzel-legged, thumb-sucking, pseudo-retarded lump of skin in hockey skates. And I hated that Visor. Oof. That Visor made me notice just how bad he was.
So I ranted and raved and bashed and broke him down.
Then, when he got traded, I felt bad about it. Yes, I was glad he was finally gone. Yes, I was sorry that I lost a ton of comedy fodder. But I felt bad that I'd treated him in print like a shitty defenseman that had no past and no skills and no intelligence and nothing to offer the team at all. You know, I treated him like Alexander Khavanov.
But Weinrich, in reality, had a long and solid NHL career. He was a classy person and a good teacher of the game. He stood up for his teammates and was smart enough to craft a "Letter To The Editor" to a major newspaper (not GT) shortly after he joined the Blues back in 2003.
So, I'm kind of a dick. But I'm OK with that. I'm a fan first.
When it comes to Case 2, I feel a little bad about it too. Mike Kitchen was the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.
-He doesn't relate to youngsters well.
-He'd lost the veterans. (it was a very pooorly-kept secret that many of them did not like him.)
-He some how had no idea that it was HIS job to get the team ready to play a big game on Brett Hull Night, instead blaming the palyers publicly for not being ready to go.
-He was too spineless to go on a trash-can throwing rant reminiscent of the Drill Instructor in Full Metal Jacket.
[The St. Louis Blues Hockey Club. A six-month college for the phony tough and the crazy brave.]
(I'd love to see this go down with Murray as the DI, Weight as Joker and Cajanek as Pvt Pyle)
He was, in short, not equipped to be a head coach at this time, for this team. In fact, I doubt he'll ever be offered a head coaching job again. I'm sure he'll be an assistant in the N soon enough, but I'm sure you'll see him behind a bench 10 years from now and think, "holy shit, Mike Kitchen is still an assistant in the NHL!"
But still, sometimes I think I was too mean to him.
And then I think about the three words that I keep hearing attributed to the new guy, Andy Murray: preparation, commitment, accountabilty.
And I get all giddy.
One Last Thing...
I have had the conversation recently with a couple people that I would love to be in the crowd when a youngster started in net that I could, someday, say, "Y'know, I was in the crowd the night that [future Hall of Fame netminder] started his first game."
I was starting to think that tonight was the night when Marek Schwarz was standing on his head tonight. I'm going to pretend that about 2:05 of the third period did not happen and that I did see our own no-question starting netminder for the next two decades, Marty Brodeur knockoff, calm, cool and collected starter made his first NHL appearance tonight.
The guy was a first round steal, and seemed to be pretty good tonight (excluding the 2:05, excluding the 2:05). So, put me officially "on" the bandwagon.
Maybe Legace can be the next guy I run out of town and then feel semi-bad about it. Plus, he's probably just a Red Wing mole anyay.