Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Open Letter To J.R

evenin' peeps, Hazel (if your name is Hazel and your last name isn't Mae...keep reading) and anyone else who isn't one of the aforementioned but is checking in tonight or whenever.

Happy Belated 4th of July to all of the "peeps" and readers checking in from the U.S. Happy long weekend to Hazel too - noticed she wasn't on the NESN broadcast picked up by Rogers last night - that sucks.

Mondays on "Thoughts of Hazel Mae" are weekend recap entries - I'm going to break with what has become tradition and instead devote some time to address Jeremy Roenick of the Philadelphia Flyers - and in particular his shameful display at Mr. Mario Lemieux's charity golf tournament. This is probably unnecessary, but I will say it anyways - the thoughts and opinions expressed have not be authored, reviewed, approved or sanctioned by Ms. Hazel Mae - though I'd like to think she might smile and agree with some of what I have to say.

To Jeremy Roenick
Your actions over the past 10 days have left me thinking that you don't deserve to be addressed with the term "Mister" - not out of respect or courtesy. Your actions were more reminiscent of an obnoxious teenager, rather than a grown man who was speaking for his industry/colleagues/peers. This letter will still show you more respect that you have shown fans of the NHL and of hockey in general.

I watched in disgust as you launched into an adolescent diatribe about how much NHL players are giving up in this round of collective bargaining. I watched you, with contempt in your eyes and venom in your demeanour, lash out at fans of the game - I won't get into specifics, you know what you said; everyone who watched you heard what you said. Out of respect for the person this blog is named for (Hazel Mae) - I won't hurl obscenities at you, which you so richly deserve and likely all you understand - I don't think that would be her way of addressing this if she was speaking to you.

I would start by asking, what made you think using a charity golf tournament as your forum would be a good idea? How dare you use a venue that is about helping the less fortunate to put yourself and the NHLPA at the forefront? You spoke about how much money you were losing, how much money other players were losing, all to get the game back on the ice for the fans and for the good of the game. Please don't patronize us, or talk to us like we are fools - you signed the deal because:
  1. you saw it wasn't going to get any better for your union - you said yourself that you knew the PA should have signed the deal in February, that the you guys were going to get a worse deal...this was as good as you were going to get - for yourself (spare me the "my family" nonsense).

  2. your membership is crumbling - while multi-millionaires like yourself could have held out another year, a good portion of your membership couldn't...they don't make as much as you and the other "stars". You guys folded, it sickened me to hear your membership (your peers) talk about how you guys were going to sign a deal that would hurt future players in the NHL. Tell that to Sidney Crosby (who's rookie signing bonus will be capped). You guys rolled on "the future" NHLers - you don't care about anyone but yourselves. The deal you are about to sign shows that - there is no getting around it, for all the talk of the PA, you guys sold the future of the game.

  3. the NHL (both owners and players) have come to the frightening realization that your fans (I mean that in the collective sense - I'm not sure how many you personally have right now) have gotten along fine without hockey. Some filled the void with the NBA, others with European soccer, and others found something else to do. If you don't believe that, the next time you are in Toronto or Ottawa hit a mall and see what kind of jerseys kids are wearing these days - a lot of Lebron jerseys, lots of Beckham jerseys - not too many NHL jerseys. You came to the realization that you are losing market share plain and simple.
All this to say we know the NHLPA didn't agree to any deal for the fans or for the good of the game - you signed it for the good of your bank accounts. There is nothing wrong with signing for your own self interests - just be man enough to admit it, don't blame the fans of the NHL.

You attacked fans of the game Jeremy - not necessarily fans of the NHL. I'm not talking about you personally telling any fan who has the audacity to think that todays players are spoiled, to kiss your ass. Your attack on fans shows a real disconnect on your part (probably the PA too) and shows a disturbing level of ignorance. You said it clearly, it's all about the money - you want the fans that come to pay to watch you play. What you failed to take into consideration is that the fans who don't pay to go watch the NHL at an arena (probably because you have priced it out of the reach of many...and more than likely because people aren't going to pay $100 bucks a pop for what you are showing)...Jeremy, these people watch the games on television.

See Jeremy, television is a way to promote your game and bring in revenues - some teams make good money from television revenues. Your commissioner and players association wants to see television audiences increase (somewhere about the Pro Bowlers Association would be nice) so that the NHL can charge national networks more that a $1.50 (yes...a buck fifty) for television rights. So Jeremy, those people you don't care about, they mean revenue to the NHL and by extension you. They watch television, they might even buy a jersey or a hat or a t-shirt or something to bring revenue to the NHLPA. I wouldn't expect you to realize that, given that you are too worried about feeding your family and stuff like that - stuff that everyday stiffs and fans of the NHL wouldn't possibly understand. It would serve you and the NHL right if the dumb fans stayed away for a few games - a boycott of the 1st 10 games of the season, and no merchandise...that would send a message.

Enough said about your embarassment at the golf tournament. You couldn't leave "bad enough" alone - after insulting hockey fans, you went back on television a few days later, making a buffoon of yourself telling us that we didn't understand what you were trying to say. You love the fans, you want the fans...the media...that damn media huh Jeremy? The media who filmed you...who let you keep talking...they did it to you. Jeremy, that is almost as offensive as what you had said the week before. I guess you were read the riot act by the NHL and the PA - but that performance (yes, I said performance) stripped away any shred of credibility you had (for being a straight shooter). I can only say that it was a complete and utter sham - and embarassment to you and the PA...you fooled no one, least of all any self-respecting fan of the game.

After all this nonsense, you should consider yourself lucky. I think you have gotten off rather lightly. The media has let you off the hook; they haven't roasted you to the extent they should have - probably because someone who talks as much as you is always good for a quote a day and their livelihood hinges on people like you continuing to talk. But if American hockey writers knew you like Canadians do - if knew how much you have talked throughout your career, even going back to the Hull Olympics - they'd know that you are incapable of not talking...you'll always come back to talk.

I will end this letter by saying this - while on a number of levels I find your recent actions deplorable, disrespectful and disgusting - I by no means am foolish enough to think that you are the only player in the NHL that holds these views. I think a great number of your peers feel the same way - except they are smart enough to keep their opinions to themselves.

So Jeremy Roenick, in a way I guess through all this mess you can be looked at as a hero of sorts - you have confirmed to me and to a number of other fans that today's players are indeed spoiled, disrespectful, ungrateful brats...all the things you fought so hard to show fans you weren't.

Does this mean I have to pucker up now?


A coming to be "former fan" of the NHL

That's it for me gang...I'm out for the night. I hope you see some value in it...if Hazel is peeking (I hope you smiled and nodded - our secret...hahaha). If you now J.R - pass it along to him.

The song of the day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo - in honour of our friend Jeremy Roenick

You Talk Too Much - Run DMC

You talk too much
You never shut up
I said you talk too much
Oh boy you never shut up

twenty four hours
eight days a week
thirteen months in a year
is when you speak

If you haven't heard it...download it...a rap classic from the 80's.
Peesth Out


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