Friday, May 21, 2010

WANTED: Backbone for IIHF, Sorely Needed

See this? This is Dats. This is Dats fishing. If Dats is fishing, he's not playing hockey. Know how I know this pic isn't recent? Because Dats is playing hockey. But WAIT, weren't the Red Wings eliminated from the NHL Playoffs? Why yes they were. So what black-market, underground illicit organization is Dats playing in if not the NHL? Oh right, there IS that whole, y'know, WORLD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP thing going on.

That's right, Pavel Datsyuk hasn't had enough hockey yet this year, and is currently heading into the semifinals with his Russian comrades after eliminating Team Canada from the tournament. But HOW can that BE? How could they beat good ol' Sid the K-oh wait, he declined to go. Right.

Now I'm as loathe as any Wings fan to give Sidney Crosby credit for...well, anything; however, it's hard for me to believe that a YOUNG MAN who is paid to play hockey year in and year out is suddenly too tired to play. What happens to poor Cindy if the Pens happened to win Game 7 against Montreal? Is Crybaby too tired to play against Philly in round 3? No, Sidney Crosby declined the invite to the WHC because going there, even winning there, would do nothing for him. It's not worth his time to go and even attempt to aid his fellow countrymen on the international stage, which now could be considered one of the key factors in why Canada has taken an early exit from the IIHF tourney.

And speaking of the IIHF, I had been ready to write a blog post congratulating them on calling the little snot out. Unfortunately, I can not post anything from the letter that was issued calling out many players who opted out of the tournament, as the IIHF has stripped their site of the letter and has now gone from scolding these young players for having better things to do than represent their countries, to getting down on their knees and begging for forgiveness!! Just recently, the IIHF President Rene Fasel issued a statement that he has apologized directly to Sidney Crosby's agent and also produced a blanket I-sort-of-apologize statement to the other players.

My question is: WHY?

Let me get this part straight with all of you first: Of the players that were named, unfortunately Henrik Zetterberg was among them. Now I love Hank as much as any Red Wings fan living, but I still have to say I'm disappointed that Z would turn his country down. I will, however, note that Henrik's decision to sit was so lacking fanfare that for the longest time I didn't even know he'd been invited yet, let alone had a chance to decline!! To me, any of these players refusing to at least go and be part of the team sends a horrible message to kids that they don't have to worry about international play, that it's insignificant in the grand spectrum. One thing Fasel said that I agree with is that for these young men to turn down this offer is not only turning your back on the team and its players, but turning your back on the hockey programs that made you into what you are. That is why I'm disappointed in Hank's decision to sit. That is why I have no remorse for Sidney Crosby and anything ill said of him. That is why I love my man Dats for simply putting the game before the fame.

Too bad Dats won't get the respect deserved for his choice, because Sidney Crosby has just proved to the world that if you cry hard enough, you can make anyone apologize to you.