How wildly obscene trash talk helps hockey appreciation – New York Post

“Didn’t we lock you in a Dumpster one time?”

“Yeah, I got out.”

“Cool man, I’m glad you did.”

— “Old School”

So I’m here to report that I’ve emerged from a YouTube rabbit hole, one I willfully stepped into but struggled to get out of. I started innocently enough, reading this terrific first-person essay from former Islanders’ great Bryan Trottier, writing a letter to his younger self about all the experiences that lay in front of him.

Trottier pulled it off well — talking about his father pushing snow off a frozen creek near their house so he could skate, leading into his time in juniors with “Tiger” Williams as his coach teaching him to fight, and then through all the six Stanley Cups he won. Good stuff.

But buried in there was an anecdote from the late-2000s, about how he went to a school in Minnesota to talk to the kids and one of them referenced a famous clip of Trottier trash-talking North Stars’ forward Brian Bellows.

“Hey Bellows!” Trottier remembered the kid saying to him, mimicking the clip. “You’re a superstar, Bellows!”

Luckily for Trottier, the kid didn’t repeat the rest of it. Which, when I read that, I somehow didn’t know.

So I went to YouTube, and found the clip, watched it, and almost wet myself laughing. It’s entirely unsafe to watch at work, and it’s entirely inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18 — or anyone who might lean toward being offended by something that is now horribly politically incorrect. If you want, here’s the video:

Warning: very inappropriate language

And if you want, the related links next to it give an assortment of mic’d-up NHL players talking trash. (In hockey parlance, that’s “chirping.”)

A shallow dive into that pool allows you to take away an appreciation for the mutual respect had between guys that get into fights. So often it ends with, “Good job, big boy,” or something along those lines. It also allows for a look into the humor, spoken with deep Canadian/upper-Midwestern accents. There are hysterical one-liners that are poignant and not too abrasive; ones you’d like to share with your friends over a pint or two.

But when I came up from my deeper dive, the biggest thing I took away is a better understanding of how much fun these guys are having playing a game. They’re laughing out there a lot, even if it’s not through a smile. They are so familiar with one another that it’s hard not to laugh or crack a joke every now and again.


Keith Yandle throws a check on Joel Ward.Photo: Getty Images

I happened to offhandedly mention my foray to Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle on Wednesday morning, only because one of the videos had him in it. He was asking a then-Coyotes teammate about a player on the opposition, and if he was a fighter. Apparently, the guy had just asked Yandle to go, and he wanted to know what he was getting into if he accepted.

“Huh,” Yandle said when I brought it up, obviously not remembering what would have been a fleeting moment in a career of 600-plus games. “Yeah, well, it’s a lot of fun out there.”

It hearkened back to the point Trottier was making to his 10-year-old self:

“A final word of advice from the future: Enjoy all of it,” he wrote. “Even some of the crap.”

Earlier, when describing the Bellows incident, Trottier dropped this piece of advice:

“So remember, kid: There’s always a mic somewhere. Be careful.”

Here’s to always hoping there is a mic somewhere, and to hoping hockey players do NOT start being any more careful than they were 30 years ago. It’s more fun that way.

The GM & a public contract extension


Marc BergevinPhoto: AP

Who would have guessed — a general manager of an NHL team has his contract term made public, and then stands in front of the media and answers questions … even on the road! In direct contrast to the way the general managers of the three New York-area clubs work, the Canadiens — you know, small market, little attention — sent out a press release saying their general manager, Marc Bergevin, was given a contract extension through the 2021-22 season.

“Whether it’s a one-year or five-year contract, I’ll always manage the hockey club for the future and the present,” Bergevin said when he formally met with the assembled media before his team’s resounding 5-1 win over the Rangers at the Garden on Wednesday. “I’m never doing things to help the team immediately that might hurt us long term. For me, [my new contract] changes nothing. I’m not the kind of person that would’ve ever made a deal to save my job.”

Well, Glen Sather had [and has] a lifetime contract with the Rangers — even though he hasn’t always acted that way, and even though Jeff Gorton took over the general manager title this season while Sather kept just the president gig. Goodness knows what the deal is with Garth Snow’s contract with the Islanders — though that might become a talking point after this season, when the new owners take a majority stake. And though Ray Shero has been a breath of fresh air in releasing contract details after signing players in his first year in New Jersey, his own deal with the Devils (plural) is still a mystery.

I’m obviously biased, but I don’t think transparency ever hurt anyone in a case like this.

Disappointing digs

It’s understandable the NHL comes out with different jerseys for the outdoor Winter Classic and Stadium Series games. Alternate jerseys sell well, and some of them have been pretty cool.

But, really, these are the sweaters for the Red Wings when they take on the Avalanche at Coors Field in Denver on Feb. 27?!? I know they wore them in white for the 2009 Winter Classic, but it was bad then, too! The Blackhawks-Wild game on Feb. 21 at the stadium at the University of Minnesota has two jerseys that aren’t quite as offensive. Same for the Bruins-Canadians game to be played in Foxborough, Mass., on New Year’s Day.

So who’s excited for the outdoor hockey season! (Hint: The NHL, as it counts the millions coming in.)

I bet she goes out with one of the Yankees

Forbes magazine came out with the annual evaluations of all 30 NHL clubs, and the Rangers took the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2004, valued at $1.2 billion. The publication cited their recent long playoff runs, and the $1 billion renovation to the Garden.

Someone might want to let Lou Lamoriello know, who now infamously said the Maple Leafs “should be the Yankees of the NHL” when he took over as general manager in Toronto this summer. Lamoriello’s “Yankees” are ranked third, at $1.15 billion, while the Canadiens are second at $1.18 billion.

The Devils are ranked 21st at $330 million — David Blitzer and Josh Harris paid somewhere near $320 million for them in 2013. The Isles, in their first year in Brooklyn, are ranked 22nd, at $325 million.

For that kind of money, the owners should stop meddling, right Ted Leonsis? Yeesh, and the Capitals’ owner said that with a straight face?

Stay tuned …

… to the Sharks. Anyone realize they had won six in a row before Wednesday night’s 5-2 cooling-off loss to Blackhawks? The Devils always knew Peter DeBoer was a good coach, but maybe now he’s getting a little more recognition in his first year of turning around the work ethic of that perpetually underachieving San Jose squad. Of course, they have had good regular seasons plenty of times, and in a weak Pacific Division, they ought to make the playoffs — then we’ll get to judge them, and DeBoer, in earnest.

Parting Shot

If you don’t love Mike “Doc” Emrick, I’m reporting you to the NSA. But how about after this HBO Real Sports profile, when he said he missed calling the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 because one of his dogs was sick?

Here’s the snippet about the dogs — when he does play-by-play of their backyard race:

And HBO was kind enough to put the whole 13-minute segment online, as well, if you want to watch here.

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