Say What?! is an email conversation between sports editor Steve Lyons and sports columnist Paul Wiecek. Look for us regularly but intermittently on winnipegfreepress.com
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/10/2016 (1878 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Hey. What’s up?
So, a woman who works out at the same gym as I do asked me yesterday morning if I thought Sidney Crosby’s career was over. I said I didn’t know, but that maybe it should be. She said ‘If I was his mother, I’d tell him it is. He has his whole life ahead of him.’
As much as I enjoy working with you bud — if they had paid me $6 million to do it last year, I’m not doing it this year!
We’ve chatted about this before. What drives an athlete to continue going forward when you already have millions in the bank? It’s like Tiger’s on-again off-again comeback. Dude, you have $500 million — chill.
As the risks of playing contact sports continue to be revealed, more and more athletes are taking ‘early retirement.’ What do you think — should Sid the Kid hang em up?
I have never understood why people in any walk of life choose to work a minute longer than they need to. All these people who say they wouldn't know what to do if they stopped working don't need to continue working — they need to get a life. Seriously — work to live not live to work. I am so out of here the second I have enough money to retire. Which will probably be never, but that's a different problem.
I'm with you on Crosby — the guy has won quite literally everything there is to win in the game of hockey. He has nothing left to prove and you can't help but wonder if this seemingly never-ending series of concussions is going to damage the guy permanently.
And it's an interesting parallel you draw with Tiger. It sometimes seems like it's the great ones who struggle most with letting go. Did Gretzky really need to play those final seasons with St. Louis and the Rangers? He scored nine goals in his final season. What exactly did that accomplish?
Ondrej Pavelec, on the other hand, still has lots of good hockey in front of him. I don't get this move. I understand the Jets think Hellebuyck is the future of this franchise — although I still need to be convinced. But in what world is Hutchinson a better choice than Pavelec?
So, I’m not going to presume to know more about running an NHL team than Paul Maurice and Kevin Cheveldayoff, but this seems like an odd decision.
Listen, Pavelec is not going to be mistaken for Henrik Lundqvist or Jonathan Quick, but he has provided the Jets with some stretches of very good play over the five years the team has been here. There were times when he stood on his head behind a terrible defence and it was his spectacular play in the final five or six games of the season two years ago that earned this team its only playoff berth since its return to Winnipeg. There's been way more 'Pavy! Pavy! Pavy' chants at the MTS Centre than any other player on this team.
It’s like the Jets — for some reason — had determined prior to camp that they were going to go with Hutch and Hellebuyck. Did he do something in the off-season to piss them off? Wouldn’t mind an honest explanation from someone in the Jets camp. Have they provided that? Did I miss something?
Pavelec took a few shots at the team during his comments Tuesday at Moose camp — any chance his unwillingness to toe the party line in the past cost him? They don’t like that in these parts ya know.
Imagine how hard it would be to get sent down as Pavelec has been, but have to still report for work at the MTS Centre every day because the Moose dressing room is right down the hall? That's a nightmare. I think Pavelec has been extraordinarily classy this week in what has been very difficult circumstances.
Interesting, though, that you'd mention the Jets and the way they don't tolerate any dissent. I was thinking about that the other day as I saw yet another Wikileaks document dump on the Clinton campaign. That campaign has more leaks right now than my canoe. They need to talk to the Jets about running a tight ship. Mark Chipman used to be a assistant district attorney down in Florida — maybe he could be her new Attorney-General?
Hands up everyone in this conversation who predicted months ago that it would be a Jays-Cubs World Series? You're welcome. I've got to admit though, I'm amazed this Jays team that looked like they might not even make the playoffs two weeks ago now looks like the team to beat. I still like the Cubs to win, though. I thought that was a monstrous win for Chicago Tuesday night, sticking a dagger in the Giants just as it looked like San Francisco might author another one of their miracle October runs.
I guess the $4.75 million he will be paid to play for the Moose this season will have to soothe those feelings. And if I’m him — I take ‘early retirement’ after that and rest my aching knees.
Matt Moore was pitching a gem for the Giants Tuesday night, so I went to bed figuring there would be a Game 5 back in Chicago, the Cubs would choke of course, and I would get to say ‘I told ya so.’ Darn!
Is there anything worse to watch in baseball than a brutal bullpen? Yukk.
But, on the subject of brutal pitching — as much as I was happy to see the Jays win Sunday night on ‘The Donaldson Dash,’ I think I enjoyed watching the Red Sox lose on Monday just as much. The whole Big Papi lovefest this season was over the top. What’s with these baseball retirement tours — was it your Derek Jeter who started this nonsense?
And how about David Price’s post-season performance. Ha! But, he was praised for ‘facing the music’ on Tuesday.
Um, again — how much is he getting paid to face the music?
Anyways, October baseball tops everything in my books. Great storylines and great games.
Sounds like I missed a great game on Saturday btw — quite the CFL classic at IGF.
Wow — there's a lot to unpack there. So here we go, in no particular order:
1) Any day that fans of the Red Sox are suffering is a good day in my books;
2) You leave my man Derek Jeter out of this;
3) How ironic that Winnipeg, a city that prides itself on never paying retail for anything, is going to have a minor-league goalie making almost $5 million this season;
4) The only bargain worse than paying a minor-league goalie $5 million a season is paying a backup minor-league goalie $5 million a season — and I think that's exactly what Pavelec will be with the Moose. The Jets are committed to Eric Comrie being the next one up and they can't just have him riding the bench all winter while Pavelec plays:
5) The Jays walking away from David Price and his ludicrous contract demands last winter and replacing him with the best bargain in baseball — JA Happ — might be the best personnel move in baseball in the last year;
6) The Jays better win this year because they're going to lose Encarnacion to Boston and Bautista to wherever and that is a pile of runs to make up next year;
7) That Bombers win was arguably the most entertaining game in the CFL this year and the Bombers showed me a lot with the way they won. The toughest thing to do in horse racing is to "come again" — take a lead, surrender it and then retake the lead. That's a very special horse that can do that and it's precisely what the Bombers did on Saturday. I thought they were done when they squandered a 21-point lead and the Lions took the lead. It says a lot to me that they found a way to win in those circumstances. Also, that was a totally a fumble. The Bombers — and Andrew Harris — dodged a huge bullet there.
Yeah, I’m not sure how that Harris fumble wasn’t ruled a fumble in the dying seconds of Saturday’s game.
I was watching on T.V., and it sure looked like the ball was loose prior to him being down. Only thing in question was perhaps his forward motion had been stopped and the whistle had gone. So, the Bombers are in the playoffs. That is not something I would have imagined back in July. Kudos to the coaching staff and players for turning around what looked like was going to be another lose season. The defence gave up a lot of points again — that’s 29, 34, 40 and 35 points given up in the last four games. They’re going to need to get that corrected going forward.
I’m not so sure EE and Joey Bats will be gone next year. Bautista may be better off accepting a qualifying offer from the Jays, which would likely be around $17 million (assuming they make him one), and trying to have a rebound season in 2017; and I think Edwin really wants to stay in Toronto. The idea of going to the Red Sox to give yourself a better chance to win a title does not apply in this case. The Jays are positioned to be a good team at least through next year because of their starting pitching, and EE may want to continue to be part of that. Especially if they get past Cleveland.
I have a hard time not thinking they are a way better team than the Indians, but I’m biased. I’d ask you, but you’re opposite biased — is there a word for that? Oh yeah — Yankees fan (sorry, two words).
So, in order of what Winnipeg sports fans are most interested in right now — is it Jets home opener; Bombers playoff drive; or Jays?
The correct answer to every question about Winnipeg is always — 'The Jets.' And that's especially true right now. There was an extraordinary amount of hype surrounding this team in the off-season, most of it because of Patrik Laine, and fans are dying to see all the changes they've heard so much about road-tested. I'm not sure they're going to like what they see, at least not early on. But I'm usually wrong, so carry on.
You'd have to think the Bombers would be second on a local sports fan's list right now, but another lousy crowd on Saturday — and all the vitriol I heard directed towards this team and their stadium last week — makes me seriously question where the Bombers rank in this city right now. A lot of people — a shocking number, in my view — have simply given up on this team. Remember — the last season the Bombers made the playoffs back in 2011, they sold out seven of nine regular season games that year. This season, the Bombers have recorded three of the six smallest crowds in Investors Group Field history while finally making the playoffs again. That says a lot about how many fans were lost in the intervening years.
As for the Jays, I've been disappointed in their fans. They have now gone one entire game without throwing a beer at an opposing player or a baby.
Chatting with folks over the weekend, I got the sense the Jays are on a lot of peoples minds — it’s a big big bandwagon. All the younger-folks at the gym I go to are talking Jays over anything else. And no, I didn’t prompt them.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest Jets fans I know said to me on the weekend — he just doesn’t have the same enthusiasm he’s had in the last few years.
Not sure what to make of all that, but it will be Jets on our sports front over the next couple of days — Jays on Saturday.
I guess we could ask the folks reading this — assuming anyone is still with us at this point. What you say.. Jets, Jays or Bombers — what team has most of your attention right now?
Should we wrap on that, or do you need to finish with a confession? Your Carpenters admission last time had a few readers coming clean on their love of the band as well.
Carpenters love runs deep in this town. The soundtrack of my youth was those ubiquitous local TV ads in the 70's for Cliffords — the women's wear store on Portage — that used 'Every sha-la-la" as the theme song.
Good memories — it really is Yesterday Once More.
My confession for this week is that most days I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But people probably know that already.
Ok, since we're confessing love of bands — I downloaded Ted Nugent's Stranglehold () over the weekend. I think there's likely a gun store in Michigan that has local TV ads with that song.
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.
As a young boy in the 1960s, Steve would plead with his mother to let him watch Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights. And CFL football. And baseball. And PGA golf. And… well, you get the picture.