There are numerous reasons I no longer read the sports pages, but the biggest one has to be the pathetic signal to noise ratio. And good old Damien Cox has added yet more noise to the system.
Cox writes (big hat tip to uber Leaf site PPP who save me from having to actually read through this stuff ):
It continues to blow my mind that some insist Mats Sundin "owed" the Leafs the chance to trade him last winter and get draft picks and prospects for him.
Here’s what he owed the Leafs.
He owed them a willingness to play hard under the terms of his contract, to play through injuries, to provide solid leadership, to put points on the board and to set an example for young players. His job was to fulfill his playing contract, period.
To wallow in these ill-conceived, illogical past grievances against the player who was the team’s best for more than a decade is to demean not only him, but the franchise and the sport.
That's all well and good I suppose. I mean, it's not like Cox ever pursues any angles that might demean the Leafs' franchise - oh, wait..well, it's not like Cox was one of the journos who thought the Leaf's rights should be put ahead of Mats Sundin.
Unless of course you were to go to the Leafs TV site and search their video feeds for Fletcher's January 22nd press conference and maybe fast forward to the 17:49 mark. Because if you did that, you might just get to hear Damien Cox ask for a follow-up question about a certain Mr. Sundin (you know, the one who should have his rights come first. The one who didn't owe the Leafs the opportunity to trade him):
Cox: "You said, 'The most important thing is to do what's right for Mats.' Isn't the most important thing to do what's right for the Toronto Maple Leafs? First, ahead of Mats?"
Fletcher: "That's right Damien, but Mats is driving the engine here. He's an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and he has a no-trade clause."
[long, awkward silence]
That exchange made an appearance in Cox's January 23rd column:
When it came to the possible trading of Sundin, Fletcher said: "The most
important thing is to do what's right for Mats." Questioned further as to
whether it wasn't more vital to do what was best for the hockey club, Fletcher
said: "Mats is driving the engine here."
Well, at least we know who's in charge.
That last line is a smug thing of beauty isn't it? Had Damien just let it alone, those first four lines of his column just wouldn't have that je ne sais quoi of sanctimony and disingeniousness that only Cox can deliver.
How great is it to be able to take shots like that and then 13 months later argue the other side?
Hypocrisy: reason number 1,834 that I longer turn to the sports pages for any insight into the game I love.