Here is a fun quote from Eric Francis's boot licking homage to Dion: "Phaneuf was caught as off-guard as the hundreds of victims he’s claimed crossing his blueline."
And here is Phaneuf catching one of his 'victims': 3'4, 75 pound Danny Briere:
We are pretty sure even JBlow would have asked his mom for permission to throw the body there.
Listen, we know Francis is on HNIC now, so Toronto is his new favourite team. We get that. And we get that he still has his gig with the fishwrap. Putting the two and two together is even a logical move, and getting an interview with Dion was a way to do that. Cool.
How about asking him some questions he hasn't been asked a million time? How about showing some balls as a journalist? We know it's October, but how about throwing something other than a softball?
As far as we can tell, Francis asked Dion three questions: Tell me about the trade? Tell me about the media? Tell me about your girlfriend?
Which are good questions if you are a Flames junior reporter. However, they fall a little short if you are suppose to be a HNIC calibre journalist. Why? Because everybody and anybody who has a press pass has already asked Dion these questions. Because Francis asked the guy questions that weren't new, we didn't get any answers that were new. This is lazy journalism at it's best, and bootlicking at it's worst. Francis gave the guy an easy interview session in an attempt to gain goodwill with Dion. Fine, that's allowed, but don't think you aren't going to get called a bootlicker when you do that.
The question that should be asked but won't be (because the hockey media in this country is pussy whipped):
That's it, just one question. What happened? What happened between you and the players, between you and the administration?
Francis should have asked the question and he didn't. He didn't need to ask it on behalf of Flames fans, he needed to ask it on behalf of good journalism. The Toronto Maple Leafs made Dion their captain. When you think of captains, you think of people with a lot of character. Anybody round these here parts who has been paying attention knows there are huge questions about Dions character. A real journalist would have explored the contradictions about making a guy who got kicked out of the organization that drafted him, purportedly over his character, a captain.
Francis titles his article 'Life in the Fast Lane' which is ironic, because life in the fast lane is dangerous and unpredictable, and Francis's columns (and line of questioning) are about as safe, boring, and tedious as you can get.
We didn't want to spend all day on Dion, but we just wanted to put this out there: We won the trade.
Eric Francis ends his article with the line: One man’s panic is truly another man’s gain.
This in reference to Darryl, obviously. But we are not sure we agree. To us, a panic move would be one where a GM comes to the realization that he got the job on the basis of being able to build a contender, but has shot himself in the foot because he traded TWO FIRST ROUND PICKS FOR PHIL KESSEL (HOW STUPID COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE?). He then is so desperate to get Toronto to forget how bad a team they have, he has to trade for a name, any name, and doesn't mind trading THREE NHL CALIBRE PLAYERS to get said name. Even if said name, who comes with a 30 million dollar price tag, is being kicked off his team because of his immaturity.
From a pure risk analysis point of view, you have a better chance of getting the greatest amount of production out of three people than from one. Dion at his peak is a 60 point defender. Nothing to sneeze at, but those numbers came when he was playing against the lessor likes of the league, so who knows if he can ever repeat them. Nik Hagman and Matt Stajan are both 50 point guys. For 6 million dollars, the Leafs get 50 points and we get 100. Or from another perspective, we get around 40 goals and give up 20. And that's not even taking Mr. White's contributions into consideration.
Dion was the most talented player involved in that trade. Sure. But winning NHL games takes more than talent. It takes brains, and it takes a willingness to sacrifice that Dion didn't show in his time here. Hockey's a team game, and too often Dion tried to do it by himself. Those players can cause headaches on someone else's team. We fleeced Toronto.
Don't look now, but the Flames are the greatest team in the Northwest division. Every team in that division not named Calgary or Vancouver appear to be fatally flawed. The question is then: Can we win the division?
We reserve judgement, although it is nice to be even having this conversation, one that was unthinkable at the start of the month.
The NHL is a funny league. The cap has spread talent around, and it appears that on any given night, if a team takes that particular night off, any team can beat any team. And at this point in the season, teams are still taking nights off.
Are we really that much better than CBJ or San Jose? Really? Because it appeared to us that CBJ didn't bring their A-game against us, and neither did the Sharks. Detroit never brings their A-game this early in the season, but they didn't exactly take the night off against us either.
Which means that they will have to work for the majority of the 82 to have success. And success at this point is just making the playoffs. This teams main problem has been it's work ethic, which is why the fans are/were getting on them (it takes no talent to work, and you are getting paid, so work). It will be interesting to watch if Coach Sutter can keep them focused.
Also, it will be up to Coach Sutter to keep Joker the hell away from Jarome.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.