Monday, November 11, 2013

Mayoral cheap shots, root causes and other Monday musings

It was shitty of Montreal Mayor-elect Denis Coderre to go on Twitter and publicly humiliate David Desharnais by recommending a one-way ticket to Hamilton for the embattled Canadiens forward.  I can fire brickbats at Desharnais with the best of them, but that's my bailiwick as a marginal media figure, and elected officials need to be held to a higher standard than internet blowhards.

We didn't learned anything new about the Canadiens during their recent tailspin as much as we've been forced to acknowledge pre-existing realities.  In particular, the losses to San Jose and St. Louis provided a window into how the Canadiens are still a level below the NHL's elite teams.   With a solid core of talented players in their early to mid-20s and blue chip blueline talent developing in Hamilton, the potential is there for the Habs to reach the elite level within the next two or three seasons - contingent on how the front office and coaching staff handle the assets, which is more critical than ever in the era of inside media access, salary caps and restricted free agent offer sheets.

It hasn't been a banner season for the National Football League's public relations department.   With the league already in full damage control mode over traumatic head injuries, a second front flared up when Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin quit football rather than endure the incessant bullying of teammates - in particular Richie Incognito.   It's easy to vilify Incognito - and he certainly has a lot to answer for after allegedly harassing a younger teammate to the point where Martin walked away from a lucrative, high profile living - but even the most cursory look at Incognito's personal background and pro football's locker room culture reveals Incognito himself is a tortured soul who was placed in an environment that enabled him to lash out.   Root causes aren't always a popular topic (see Islamic jihad) but credible conclusions and effective solutions are impossible without an honest examination of the complete picture.

I don't care that it smacks of jingoistic bias: if Calgary running back John Cornish's numbers compare favorably to co-nominee Ricky Ray's (and they do) the BC born-and-raised Cornish should be honoured with the CFL's Outstanding Player award.   It's the CANADIAN Football League, and there's nothing unseemly about seizing a rare and legitimate opportunity to celebrate a Canadian player above all others.

I'm not sure if it speaks more to stress, genetics or the lottery of life when seemingly fit former pro athletes like Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapse and get rushed to the hospital, while human train wrecks like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford careen from one personal disaster to the next with no apparent ill effects.  Meanwhile, has it occurred to anyone that if Ford was actually addicted to crack, he probably wouldn't weigh 350 pounds?

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