Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Day After

I'm still reeling from the news of Joe Thornton's trade by the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks. I feel bad about it and kind of good, but mostly I just can't believe it happened. Is this as big as Gretzky being traded to Los Angeles by Edmonton? Actually, it's bigger. To trade your franchise player, the face of your organization, at the height of his career; when his stock is the highest it's ever been not only in the NHL, but on the world stage, and when you just signed him to one of the highest three-year contracts in the league, it's absolutely unheard of. I keep thinking that the Bruins' ownership and management are going to say, "Oops. We didn't really mean to do that. Can we have a mulligan?" It boggles the mind that it happened.

Or does it? People may think that this is the equivalent of trading away Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but when you think about it, it's not. Joe Thornton is a great player, with wonderful skills and a lot of toughness. But the difference between him and key players on other teams is that the Bruins don't win because they have him. The Patriots and Colts win because of their quarterbacks. They lead their teams to victory, both by exploit and by example. Same for Shaq in Miami and Tim Duncan in San Antonio. Joe has done a lot of great things for the Bruins, but he's never been the reason for their success. He's been an element of it, but not THE reason. He's never been the leader a captain should be. He's never been the one to light a fire under his team's ass to get them motivated to win. Jerome Iginla of the Calgary Flames is that kind of captain. Steve Yzerman is the Platonic Form of what a captain should be. Joe just isn't that. Still, that reasoning justifies demoting him from Captain status, or trading for Patrick Marleau, the Sharks' great captain. But to trade him for two mid-tier talents and one veteran utility guy doesn't really make sense. They've given up a lot more talent than they needed to to achieve the shake-up they're looking for.

That said, I think that the trade may pay off somewhat. The team is deeper on offense, if lacking Joe's contributions on the top line, and by all accounts the defenseman they got is very good and should help out with ghastly holes they've shown on defense. Probably what they should have done though is traded two good offensive players like Sergei Samsonov and Brad Boyes and a draft pick for goalie Evgeni Nabokov and the same defenseman, put Andrew Raycroft on backup status, kept Joe and made Nick Boynton captain. That would have improved the goaltending and sent a message to Joe and the rest of the team that things better change soon. And that's all I'll say about the trade.

As for my doctor's visit, there really isn't that much to it. I just thought the word "proctologist" would catch your attention. My "problem" started bleeding a lot on Sunday when I was climbing ladders and walking around my roof putting Christmas lights up. Turns out that's normal, and everything should go away just fine. While I was in the waiting room, though, I was forced to listen to Sean Hannity's smug, wrong ass. Before I left, talking to the doctor in his office, I noticed he had a picture of the President and First Lady on his bookshelf. My ass-doctor is a neo-con! He's actually a really nice guy. Just the sort or temperament you'd want someone with that job to have.

iPod: Beethoven shuffle.