Tag Archives: Pat Hickey

Pat’s back; the new RDS; Hockey special section

Gazette Habs beat writer Pat Hickey, who disappeared for a month to get his knee replaced, is back in time for the beginning of the regular season (this is how hardcore he is – he schedules major surgery around the Canadiens’ playing schedule). His first Standing Pat column back on the beat explains his recovery process and mentions the sympathy he now feels for athletes who have to keep themselves in shape.

Pat also participates in the first episode of the Habs Inside/Out PuckCast, which returns for a third season.

Meanwhile on another page, Stephanie Myles (who with Dave Stubbs has been covering the Canadiens in Hickey’s absence) has a feature on the RDS guys, Pierre Houde and Benoit Brunet, the latter replacing Yvon Pedneault as the play-by-play analyst. Near the end it goes into Pedneault’s dismissal:

But both Houde and Brunet said they were surprised Pedneault got the axe.

“I didn’t know it was in RDS’s plans,” Houde said. “That’s what’s happy and sad about our line of work, we’re all freelance workers who work together. And as BenoĆ®t has said, it’s like a hockey team. Your linemate is traded, or retires, or he becomes a free agent. You stay and work with someone new.”

Given the superhuman ratings during last year’s playoff run – close to 3 million viewers – Brunet also didn’t see the decision on Pedneault coming.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “But the phone rang. I always said I’ll wait, and when they give me the sign I’ll be there. It happened this year. I was surprised.”

The article also goes in depth about technical and programming changes for the new season.

Myles Someone who may or may not be Myles, what with this byline strikyness, also writes a sidebar about anglo Canadiens fans watching French broadcasts (and vice versa).

Finally, today is the first appearance of The Gazette’s new roughly-monthly Hockey Inside/Out special section, which includes in-depth coverage of the advertising goldmine very popular Canadiens. Eight of them will be produced over the coming centennial season.

The special section includes an article from Mike Boone on how the Habs Inside/Out site was born (it was an idea of Editor-in-Chief Andrew Phillips), as well as the usual season-preview fare.

TWIM: Violence in the NHL

For those wondering, today’s paper has another Bluffer’s Guide from yours truly (Page B5, but not online) about violence in the NHL. It deals mainly with Chris Simon, who was suspended for 30 games (the longest suspension the NHL has ever given for an on-ice event) for stepping on another player’s foot with his skate. This, after he had just come back from a 25-game suspension (which itself had set a record) for a deliberate slash to the face.

The debate over the level of acceptable violence in the NHL is going to continue forever, and probably only get worse, until the seemingly inevitable point where someone dies on the ice as a result of a slash, a collision or a fight. Players (at least those who speak out publicly) tend to be in favour of fighting because they think it regulates tempers and protects star players. That is, until they themselves become the victims of violence.

Others, like Gazette columnist Pat Hickey, say this is all nonsense. Football doesn’t allow fighting, and it’s a much more physical sport.

UPDATE (Dec. 25): The Toronto Star says the NHL only pretends to hate fighting, while Dave Stubbs reminds everyone of Billy Coutu, who was banned for life in 1927 for attacking a linesman off the ice (though he was reinstated 5 years later to play in minor leagues — he never played an NHL game again). This is why we hear the term “on-ice” in most explanations.