All sports fans love a good controversy, right? Of course, controversies are a-plenty in the NBA, NFL and let’s not even get started on the steroids drama in the MLB. But occasionally us NHL fans get a taste of the good stuff too.
Some wonderful things have happened in the NHL recently. Viewing was at an all-time high for the second annual Winter Classic in Chicago, the NHLPA announced today that the CBA is not going to be reopened until 2012, and things seem to be on track for a spectacular showcase this weekend in Montreal.
I guess things were just going too well for the NHL. So Brad May thought he would come along and screw it all up for fun-loving hockey fans everywhere.
Arguably the biggest piece of trash no-talent-yet-big-name hockey player out there is, despite all foreseeable odds, returning to the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We all know that Toronto is certainly desperate this season; they’ve lost the best player on their team, Mats Sundin, and only a miracle will get them to a wild card spot in the playoffs this season.
So why bring in May? And why now? Is Toronto this desperate for publicity? It’s certainly not May’s skill that will be helping the Leafs on the ice; to date he has 127 goals in 970 games played (to put that in perspective, Keith Tkachuk to date has scored 515 goals in 1,099 games), but has more than 2,130 penalty minutes. Not something to be proud of, as far as I’m concerned.
And what is even more disturbing to me is that this was a feature on the NHL’s homepage today (for the unfortunate coverage, visit http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=405778). It’s not like we haven’t had enough bad publicity lately, what with Sean Avery being, well, Sean Avery and all. Why would anyone in their right mind be bragging about the fact that a player who once put a price on another player’s head and has one of the league’s longest suspensions is back on the ice?
Of course, this is where the controversy comes in. Perhaps the face-slash that May brought upon the nose of Steve Heinze back in 2000 was just an unfortunate high-sticking accident. Some may say that May has just gotten a bad rap; after all, that whole locker-room-bounty-talk was just talk, perhaps. And you could even suggest that May’s 2007 hit on Kim Johnsson was just a hockey fight that got a bit too, uh, passionate. Right? Wrong.
May has a horrible rap sheet and brings absolutely not value to any NHL team. The Avalanche made what could be considered the biggest faux-pas in franchise history by signing May back in 2005 after he helped end Steve Moore’s career, and the fans have yet to let May or Francois Giguere forget it. Every time May touched the puck in the Pepsi Center, even in his burgundy and navy sweater, he was booed heavily.
If the Powers That Be in Toronto think that May could be another Tie Domi, they’ve got another thing coming. He’s not fun to watch, he’s not even good enough to earn the label of “enforcer” but is rather just a goon, and he certainly won’t be as loyal to Toronto as Domi was.
Toronto, we know you’re desperate… but as an Original Six team, we expect more of you. Even as fans of the Avs.
Now Claude Lemieux returning? I’ll sing a different tune there. But again, that’s another day and another blog entry.
See you next time hockey fans! Enjoy the All-Star festivities this weekend, even though we all know Crosby won’t be there now. And by all means don’t tell me what happens… I’m DVRing the game and will watch it next week when I am back in the States. I’ll return then with my take on the game. My prediction? East will win by two.