(Hey guys, the Loober here. I suppose an explanation is in order here. I know you're all used to only seeing me on Sundays during the regular season, where I get all ridiculous and was poetic on what member of your Calgary Flames sucked the least for that week, thus earning the FABLED Al "Wool" Coates Coat, a noble tradition indeed. But seeing as there is no regular season, and I was fired from my position as relief fry cook in concession stand B for Flames games on Thursdays, I needed a new job, and writing a touch semi-regularly for Matchsticks and Gasoline was the best I could do)
I suspect a lot of developments that occur during this now tired and routine NHL lockout business will leave us surprised. Not, say, left at the altar for your cousin who is also her cousin and is Burt Reynolds but you only thought he was Geraldo Rivera (which leaves you a bit relieved somehow) surprising. It's more, you found out your friends don't really all have separate night classes, it's just they're all going out for wings every week without inviting you because they don't like you surprising. Everyone hurts during the lockout.
One such development came to light on this day, and it's sure to shock and astonish you. Word on the street is that newly-ish acquired Flames defenseman, having yet to suit up for so much as a training session with the Alberta team committed to paying him Matt Stajan money, was spotted hobnobbing with the stars and studs at the Rangers practice session this morning.
This, of course, raises a lot of questions.
- Is Dennis Wideman now a Ranger? When did he become a free agent?
- Why would the Rangers take on that kind of contract?
- Your cousin married Burt Reynolds? That's insane, how can you speak about it so nonchalantly?
- Isn't there a lockout happening? How is it possible that NHL teams can trade or sign players when it's decidedly NOT business as usual?
The whole scenario leaves everyone grasping at straws looking for answers. This whole transaction went down very quietly. Considering the league wide hubbub that went viral when the Flames signed Wideman to what many are calling an "asinine" amount of money (at least that's what I said), how did no one hear about what would be such a blockbuster move at a time when no one can make blockbuster moves?
Oh, probably because this whole thing went down with the Kitchener Rangers. Did I forget to mention that part before?
Yes, in an effort to keep in shape, and impart some knowledge on how to play hockey the Dennis Wideman way, the OHL's Kitcherner Rangers approached league commissioner David Branch about extending an honourary overage card for Wideman so he could attend practice and help out the kids, while not officially joining the coaching ranks in any capacity.
The only question remains is whether or not Wideman will be in the lineup for Kitchener on Thursday when they stroll into Windsor to take on the Spitfires. (note: Dennis Wideman is 29 years old and will not be playing in the game, as that would be ridiculous)
This is good news for Kitchener citizens, as it serves as a distraction from what is now daily news in the area, about whether or not any of the locals will unwittingly stumble across a broken and sobbing former Research in Motion Jim Balsillie, Research in Motion CEO, bemoaning the fact that his company is broken and he can't get an NHL team in the area.
This is also, however, a sad reminder of what the lockout has reduced us to. Stories about would be NHL stars essentially serving as glorified hockey school instructor for soon to be millionaire teenagers are making the rounds and passing as news, when it should be "Oh hey, look how good Sven Baertschi has been so far in camp. Bet it'll be hard to justify giving minutes to Blake Comeau with this kind of performance from the Swiss Wunderkin"
(Which, by the by, would be exactly the news we'd be hearing out of training camp)
If nothing else, it's good to see that Wideman is doing something. I'd rather he be out playing in Europe or something, but considering, in no way shamelessly shilling something else I wrote, that there's a severe lack of Flames players doing anything with pucks and skates as this lockout looks to be looming large for an ever increasing timeframe, it's good to see he's doing something. And these kids are good, so he might be getting a better workout than we would anticipate. As an example:
"When his team lost a scoring drill, he joined the rest of the lads for the 20 push-up punishment"
And we all laugh and laugh and laugh, but considering this guy is a defenseman for the Calgary Flames, that's just really not funny.