Everything Else

Please, tell me again what a marketing genius John McDonough is and how there should be classes taught at Wharton about his and Rocky Wirtz’s revival of the Hawks. Really, I want you to stuff me full of all your glowing takes and tributes until my eyeballs shoot out of my head like I was a Roger Rabbit character. I don’t even need oxygen anymore, that’s what I need.

There are 20 other players on this team. And believe it or not, some of them don’t actually cause bile to rise in parts of the fanbase, if not outright rage.

I don’t even know where to start with this. So let’s run through the possibilities of the Blackhawks marketing/social media team had go through their pea-sized brains to put this out. And believe me when I tell you that none of these are going to be encouraging.

One, they think the residue from the Kane ’15 stuff has all blown over, or the Madison escapades, or the hundreds of stories about him from around town that you know if you know exactly one bar employee, past or present. Because two years is so long in the internet age.

Two, they’re still actively trying to rehab his image still, even though the only thing he and the team really have ever apologized for is the negative publicity he has caused.

Three, they have no idea why this would be a problem.

That’s the good stuff there, people. Cut it up and snort it.

I get the Hawks can’t really help it if Chevy wants to use him and Toews in their ads, still trying to cash in on the “kids” angle from 2008 (and I’m sure they have to film these separately because I’ll let you in on a little secret, the two of them don’t really like each other). I suppose it’s not the Hawks problem if the NHL still wants to put this dickwagon front and center of their marketing campaign. But what they do on their social media and their marketing campaigns is certainly their choice. And this is the one they made.

What someone is going to have to explain to the Hawks staff, using very small words I’m sure, is that Kane stands for everything that You Can Play is supposed to be against. It’s not just the player himself of course, but his raft of fanboys and sycophants who rubbed their own shit on their chest before professing their love of Kane and their declaration of hatred or even violence against anyone who just wanted the Hawks and their fans to pause for once second two years ago. That would be the opposite of welcoming. That’s intolerance, it’s hate, it’s lack of understanding or empathy.

Whether the Hawks want to admit it or not, everyone basically know what a piece of shit personally Kane was and almost certainly still is. And that’s not cleared up by a Hart Trophy or more goals. And that’s fine, I don’t think anyone thinks we live in a world where the Hawks would cast out anyone they found immoral. No sports team would. Given that they reinstated a minor leaguer who got off on revenge porn charges on a simple technicality, morality isn’t something the Hawks would even know how to spell much less adhere to.

This is where I want McDonough to come out and tell me he’s not tone deaf again, because I haven’t had a good, hearty laugh in a while, one that causes my stomach to lock and nearly vomit. I’d be lying if I said, as a Hawks fan mind you, that there isn’t a part of me that doesn’t rejoice that the Hawks haven’t won a playoff round since they completely embarrassed themselves and sickened some fans on that September day in South Bend. And that part of me thinks they probably shouldn’t until Kane retires to whatever Frat House for 45-year-olds exists somewhere and McDonough and Rocky get to be completely exposed for the frauds they most certainly are.

Speaking of which, do the Hawks think they and Kane are 100% insulated from ducking the #MeToo wave? Because I’d be willing to bet that will end in one hell of a surprise, somewhere down the line. And I’d wager as well that one day we’re going to find out the Hawks cut a check or two or 12 or 100 to keep Kane and /or someone else out of the headlines once or twice, given the Mossad they have following around their players at night. And we know about Kane’s “fixer” in Buffalo. Look what happened to Shaun White yesterday. Took all of five minutes for Twitter to be like, “Hey, this guy is a douch-canoe with a settled sexual harassment suit in his past.” Maybe it’s a forlorn hope, but I get through the days knowing that it’s coming for everyone, even if I’m dead when it happens.

What’s so galling is that it’s so simple for the Hawks in cases like this. Fuck, Tommy Wingels helped found You Can Play! He’s sitting right there. Just accept your star winger is a fuckstick, and that you don’t have to put him on the front page of things that are about acceptance, tolerance, and understanding. Or do I have to remind you about the anti-semitic remarks in Madison again?

The Hawks still operate in service, or in fear of, the loudmouth, male portion of their fanbase that, as stated earlier, rubs shit on their chest. That’s the reason they’ve never hinted at changing the logo or the name. That’s why they’d never appear to be gun-shy about Kane. Because they fear the rantings and ravings of that group, even though we all know that’s the group of fans that would never go anywhere and in fact would be first in line to buy the new jerseys should they ever change the log. So does the NHL as a whole. Speaking of which..

Maybe it’s coming for the whole league one day. A boy can dream. Until then I’ll just sift through this waking nightmare.

Everything Else

Yesterday, the NHL and You Can Play announced ambassadors for YCP for each team in the NHL. Reading the press release, it isn’t really clear what these ambassadors are supposed to do and whether it’s simply ceremonial or not. I’m guessing they just stand there during a press conference whenever a team is having a You Can Play night, and god help us if they have to talk. As far as I can tell the Hawks don’t have a YCP night, but maybe that will change. Trevor van Riemsdyk was named the Hawks ambassador. I don’t know whether he volunteered for it, or was chosen simply because no one else wanted it. I hope it’s the former. It would be really great if someone with real clout on the team was named, who wouldn’t be afraid of being out front on the issue either. But I guess they’re too busy telling me which type of kale I should grow? Is he going to be at Pride in June? The Hawks have had a delegation there recently but the only active player to ever appear was Brent Sopel, and “active” is being kind at that point. There’s certainly more to be done.

Anyway, there was some consternation that Andrew Shaw was chosen as the Montreal Canadiens’ ambassador for YCP. The reasons everyone would take notice of that are obvious, given that Shaw was suspended for calling a referee a “faggot” during Game 4 of last year’s first round and was suspended a game.

I’m not so sure Andrew Shaw isn’t exactly the type who should be chosen, or close to it.

Everything Else

With the NHL season still about two months away from starting in earnest, and the the Olympics in Sochi still six months away, here in the down-iest of summer down time feels like a good enough time for this subject to be addressed now that the dust has settled from the release of the national team roster invite lists. It’s been bubbling under the surface for a while, and is only sure to boil over as time inches closer to the opening ceremonies, and that’s Russia’s flagrant LGBT rights violations, and how it’s going to affect the NHL’s participation in the Sochi games.

Everything Else

I want to take a break from labor stuff and minor league and college hockey, and talk about an issue that’s never gotten as much attention as it deserves. And it’s going to put me solidly in line with Sean Avery, which strangely puts me in a position I’m more than comfortable to be.

As you may have seen, Sean Avery did an interview with the New York Daily News that was picked up by Huffington Post about how the NHL should have language in the CBA about how punishments will be meted out to those who deal in homophobia and gay slurs on the ice. Avery thinks the way the NHL deals with these things is wildly inconsistent, and he’s right. James Wisniewski can get suspended two games in October ’11 for miming blow jobs at Avery but then Wayne Simmonds goes unpunished for calling Avery “a faggot.” Or Cam Janssen faces no punishment for making horrific remarks on an internet radio show. And these are just two of the most obvious cases.