Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XVII, Chapter 6:
TRIPLE THREAT: Montreal’s Alex Despatie retired as the only diver ever to be world champion on the one- and three-metre springboards and the 10-metre platform.
As diving triple crowns go, that far outstrips the achievement of a more recent Montreal diver, Canadiens’ defenceman P.K. Subban, who Friday became the first National Hockey League player this season to be cited three times for embellishment (a warning, and two fines), the latest a $3,000 slap on the wrist for flopping after a minor hook by Ottawa Senators’ D Erik Karlsson on March 12.
The three dives took place in a span of a little over two months, so apparently the penalties aren’t exactly working as a deterrent.
Still, the public shaming aspect can’t be pleasant. Never mind the CH or the A on his sweater, P.K. may soon have to don the scarlet D.
No word on whether Subban and Despatie hang out, but Despatie is co-host of Montreal’s Breakfast Television, while P.K. is appearing regularly on YouTube.
PRO TIP: “Don’t you know who I am?” is not the smartest opening line to a cop asking you to step out of the car.
According to Le Journal de Montreal, a police officer testified at a pre-trial hearing Thursday that former Habs forward (and head coach) Mario Tremblay, who was cited for impaired driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test in January of 2014, protested his arrest and said: “You can’t do this to me, I’m Mario Tremblay.”
When it was clear that wasn’t going to get him anywhere, the officer testified, “(Tremblay) compared me to hockey players, (saying) I’m like P.K. Subban and I have no judgment and I’m stupid.” The officer drove Tremblay home, but not before Tremblay allegedly said: “You’re really pitiful. We’ll meet again in court, my little man. I’m also taking notes on you.”
Poor P.K. Dragged down again.
BET ON IT: I’ve got Habs goalie Carey Price for the Hart and the Vezina. Canada’s Olympic “wall” is having one of those once-in-forever seasons … Also, Drew Doughty for the Norris, even if the Kings have struggled. He’s the best defenceman in the world. Of course, the Eastern time zone vote will ensure it goes to someone playing on the other side of the Great Divide. Just watch.
R.I.P., GEEK: Hockey writers and general managers alike were saddened to hear the news that Matthew Wuest, founder and (until recently) proprietor of the hockey salary website CapGeek, had lost a 2½-year battle with colon cancer. A sports reporter at Metro Halifax and founder of the free website that was the go-to encyclopedia for information on player salaries and salary-cap implications for their teams, Wuest quietly shut down the site early this season without explanation. He died in his 36th year, early Thursday in a Halifax hospital.
MEMO TO GARY: A 2011 trade deadline story on Wuest and his website by Michael Grange noted that on the first day of free agency in 2010, CapGeek got 3.5 million page views.
Yet when the NHL expanded its statistics this season to include several advanced categories, commissioner Gary Bettman rejected the idea of a CapGeek-like section, saying cap information is “not something that seems to be driving fan interest.”
Bettman is much too smart to really believe that.
It’s just that financial details have always been the owners’ dirty little secrets, and they know — and Bettman, their paid advocate, knows — that any information given out freely is information that cannot be hidden later.
PHENOM PHACTS: The Next One, Connor McDavid, has 118 points in 46 games this OHL season, at last look, an eye-popping average of 2.57 points per game.
But amazement is in the popping eyes of the beholder.
Mario Lemieux, for instance, averaged an astonishing 4.02 points per game his final year of junior in Laval. Wayne Gretzky, in his one full season of junior in Sault Ste. Marie, averaged 2.84 ppg. In Sidney Crosby’s final season in Rimouski, he averaged 2.71. Even the 2.67 ppg of Brandon’s Ray Ferraro (192 points in 1983-84), 15th on the CHL’s all-time single-season points list, is well ahead of McDavid’s pace.
Of course, the game has changed radically since Ferraro’s junior heyday, and the numbers reflect the eras.
What’s interesting is how those great junior scorers did once they hit the pros. Four times, Gretzky averaged 2.6 points per game or higher in a season … in the NHL. His high-water mark was 2.77. Lemieux twice exceeded 2.6, with a high of 2.67.
Crosby had a 1.52 ppg average his second season in Pittsburgh, and has never been higher than 1.35 since.
EXHIBIT J: More proof that the times have changed, arguably, for the worse? Jaromir Jagr, who is older than dirt, passed Phil Esposito for fifth on the all-time goal scoring list with his 718th the other night. But he’s the only active player in the top 10, and only Jarome Iginla (19th, 583 goals) and Marian Hossa (46th, 485) are in the top 50, though Alex Ovechkin (53rd, 469) is knocking on the door.