Hello again everybody...
First of all, my apologies for this getting out so late. I was so lost in the wonder of having a Sunday off after 7 straight days of working that I completely spaced writing it last night. And with all the fill-in hosts during the day, I couldn't put it on auto-pilot and write then.
So, you're getting it now, since the Wild pre-game is under way and I only have to hit one button for the next two and a half hours!
Apologies. I'll try to do better on Wednesday!
Hopefully your weekend wasn't too crazy. It was quite crazy for a few of the local sports franchises. I'll try to summarize and opinionate (spell-checker doesn't like that word, but I do dammit)!
Let's do this...
”The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.”
- John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006), Canadian-American economist.
I don't mean to be down on what's otherwise a good quote. But how far can we really trust a guy who can't decide if he's a Canadian or an American? I'm really not sure you can be both. Come on John, pick a side!!!
There's a reason I'm not very trusting of Canadians at the moment, and that leads us to...
Did anybody get a picture of that guy hanging around the Wild's equipment truck...
Okay, okay, so the Wild brass don't buy into my conspiracy theory. But I think it's awfully fishy that their equipment truck caught fire this past Friday.
I should probably back up and explain for those of you unfamiliar with the story.
Last Thursday, the Wild were in Montreal where they beat the Canadiens 3-1. Then they hopped a bus to drive to Ottawa for a game on Saturday. They reached Canada's capital without incident. But things got problematic after they got there.
After an off-day practice on Friday, the Wild's equipment staff went out to the trailer that they had packed with all the team's skates, pads, helmets, jerseys, etc. Normally when you open a trailer like that, you're overwhelmed with the odor that's unique to hockey equipment (if you've ever been in a hockey locker room, you know what I'm talking about). This time, however, the staff was nearly overwhelmed by smoke. Somehow, a fire had started in the equipment truck, and by the time the staff was able to get it under control, a majority of the Wild's equipment had either been damaged or outright destroyed.
(You can see a picture of the damage at the Wild's website here )
With a lot of last-minute effort and the re-routing of a charter flight, the Wild's staff was able to get enough replacement equipment up to Ottawa to allow the Wild to play their game Saturday night. It was clear, though, that the boys weren't comfortable and therefore not focused as they skated to a 4-1 loss to the Senators.
That's the story. There's no official cause for the fire that's been made public as of yet. I spoke to a member of the Wild's broadcast team off the record this weekend (I think that's the first time I've ever been able to legitimately use “off the record” in this blog... I feel all journalisty now!) and it was his theory that careless storage of a torch they use to bend stick blades was the likely cause.
Personally, I think that's a bit too convenient!
(Cue conspiratorial music)
Instead, I think there's a vast Canadian conspiracy at work here! Our neighbors to the north have never forgiven us for taking over their national sport, and moving two of their teams to American cities.
(And frankly, given the mess in Phoenix - formerly Winnipeg - it's kind of hard to blame them on that score. But maybe that's balanced by Colorado - ne Quebec - winning a cup after they moved? Maybe?)
Since Minnesota is often mistaken for Canada by much of the rest of the U.S., I think the Canadians decided to strike at us first. Especially since the Wild had just beaten their beloved Habitants on Thursday.
Vito Corleone started a nefarious plan with a severed horse head in a movie mogul's bed. Canada has begun theirs with a Molotov cocktail in the Wild's equipment wagon.
So I say listen here Canada! The South Park creators weren't joking when they created a plan to invade Canada. We can make it happen!
You want to mess with the Wild's equipment truck? Don't come crying to us when a thermo-nuclear device “accidentally” goes off in Edmonton's practice rink. (Edmonton's far enough away to prevent the fallout from reaching Montana, right? And if not... what the hell, it's just Montana...)
Of course, I'm only kidding... mostly... Unless we find out it really IS a vast Canadian conspiracy that led to the fire. Then the gloves come off, Canada. And you're going to have a lot more than just Derek Boogaard to worry about!
”Hey Brad... shut up and drive me to the airport.”
As if the loss to Carolina last night wasn't bad enough, now we've spent the better part of Monday dissecting: Favre v. Childress.
First, the story:
In the 3rd quarter of the game, with the Vikings leading 7-6, Childress had watched about enough of his meal ticket (Favre) getting pummeled by a pass-rush that the Vikes' O-line seemed incapable of stopping. So after the latest drive had been snuffed out, he pulled Favre aside and suggested that maybe it'd be best to send the back-up out there to get killed, rather than Favre.
Ever the competitor, Favre heard it as “you're benched” and objected rather vociferously. To the point where he felt compelled to comment on it after the game.
His comments, naturally, ignited a bit of a firestorm (copyright Canadian conspirators) in the local media over questions of whom exactly is running this team. If Childress tried to bench Favre and Brett said “no dice”, then maybe Brad really is just Favre's chauffeur.
Not to disorient you folks or anything, but I'm going to go completely anti-conspiracy on this one.
This was probably just a simple matter of mis-communication.
In his news conference today, Childress claimed that it was a thought that occurred to him as he was talking to Favre and was in no way inspired by poor performance.
Now, usually, I'm suspicious of anything Childress says in a press conference since we've heard him twist the truth in unique fashion before. This time, I think he's probably telling the truth.
I think that Brad spoke a thought as it came to him, and in the adrenaline-fueled chaos of an NFL game, Favre mis-understood Childress's intentions, and took umbrage at the mistaken suggestion that Brett was responsible for the team's poor performance.
What's interesting to me is how this situation highlights the potential pitfalls that come with bringing in a player like Favre. He's a unique talent, but with that comes a unique set of circumstances. According to reports today, this isn't the first time that Favre and Childress have had “creative differences” over game management.
In this past, those disagreements centered around play-calling and audibles. Winning was a salve to most of those wounds. But last night makes two poor performances during the last three games. And it seems nerves are becoming slightly frayed. I'm not going to sound the alarm over an 11-3 football team. But this certainly isn't the way you want to head into the playoffs.
Yes, the division title is secure. Yes, if they win out, they'll earn a first round bye. So at least they control their own destiny. Hopefully they'll beat Chicago and Philly will drop their game next weekend and the season finale versus the Giants won't matter.
Otherwise, things could get a bit tense as Childress tries to balance winning with keeping his money maker healthy for the playoffs.
Oh the drama!
That's going to wrap it up for today. Again, my apologies for the last posting. I'll be back on Wednesday with an early edition of the DFTU. With Christmas on Friday, The Sports Take will be on a well-deserved holiday hiatus. But I don't want to deny you your Update before we sit down to open presents. So tune in Wednesday!
Until then, thanks for reading!