Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
If you’re the kind of person who gets off watching NHL highlights, you no doubt turn on Pavel Datsyuk shootout compilations during sex. Well, consider this the belt around your neck:
(If that first paragraph seemed like a cheap way to force in a metaphor for sexual deviance, you’re right. It was.)
But, the news should not be taken lightly. As hockey people, we (collectively, I’m assuming) are easily excited when former greats return to transfer their magical mental powers onto players now below them.
We did it when Steve Yzerman became general manager of the Lightning and then led Canada to an Olympic gold medal. We did it even before him, when Stevie Y was playing for Canada and Gretzky was called in to assemble the 2002 team.
Because these guys are familiar. We know them as puck handlers and puck stoppers, and we’re easily swayed when it comes to our opinions on head coaches. It’s hard to argue against someone like Scott Niedermayer, even if there are better coaches out there.
It’s no different than seeing former athletes on sports shows, or taking jobs as sports analysts.
TSN’s Mike Johnson is not a good speaker, but he’s easily excitable and we’ve seen his face before. He’s also a good looking dude, but his skill at the broadcast booth pales in comparison to almost everyone else inside Bell’s Toronto studio.
Jamie McLennan is the last person you’d want to see talking about goaltenders. He was a goaltender, sure, but he was a career backup. Still, he has the job on TSN2 because we’ve sene his name before.
Ditto for Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, and especially Paul Bissonnette.
It’s easier to go that way than it is to hire someone with, say, experience or training.
And, if you’re the Anaheim Ducks, it gets you to the top of the page.
But, make no mistake… Scott Niedermayer is a beast. A legend. He’s the second-best skating defenceman of all time, ahead of a guy named Paul Coffey and just behind somebody named Orr. Niedermayer was the one guy your dad told you to watch when you were a kid, whether you were a forward, a defenceman, or even a goalie.
There. That’s my overdue tribute.