Hockey Headlines

Sunday, 8 November 2009

One More Reason I'm Not Tweeting

I still don't understand this Twitter craze that is sweeping the nation. I understand what it does, I just don't see the purpose. And with all of the sports stars getting in trouble from their respective teams and leagues for tweeting at inappropriate times during games, it makes little sense for me to even pay attention to it. So while Shaquille O'Neal is the most followed person on the Twitter site, I will not be one of those hanging on every word he publishes to the site. With that being said, it comes as no surprise that Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak is caught in some serious controversy thanks to his agent's Twitter feed.

Allan Walsh tweeted the following on Saturday night following the Canadiens' 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning: "Interesting stat of the night....Price is 10W, 32L in last 42 starts. Hmm."

As some of you in the greater Montreal area might be aware, there is a serious goaltending controversy brewing in La Belle Province as Jaroslav Halak's success is being swept under the rug as head coach Jacques Martin opts to play the statistically-inferior Carey Price over Halak.

While Walsh downplays the comments by claiming he was simply joking around, the truth of the matter is that it is his job to find Halak a place to ply his trade. Whether that be in Montreal or elsewhere, Walsh is doing his job by tweeting about Carey Price's woeful win-loss record. It is the same thing he would do in a face-to-face meeting with GM Bob Gainey: tout his client's stats as a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

Where the story goes off the tracks is that by doing this over Twitter shows that Walsh may have a small issue with ethics. It is slightly unethical for an agent to run down a player who is competing with his client for playing time. It is worse when he cannot bring his client's complaints to management for some unknown reason. It is entirely inexcusable, in my view, to then try to dismiss the slight to his client's competitor as "a tongue in cheek comment not meant to be taken seriously".

While I'm not suggesting that Walsh should be dismissed by Halak at this point, I am suggesting that Halak give his representative strict rules on what he can tweet about when it comes to team solidarity. After all, no matter how well Halak plays, the teams sinks or swims based upon the efforts of the other 21 men as well. If Montreal's players don't trust one another, this will be another season of heartbreak and dismay as the Canadiens struggle. With agent's undercutting other players on the team, Bob Gainey may also want to meet with Mr. Walsh and explain the nuances of good taste.

This isn't a phenomenon limited to just Twitter, though. People always seem to have a little more courage to say things they wouldn't normally say in everyday life when it comes to writing it down on a website. Chatrooms are full of alpha males who think that they are smarter and better than others because they can say things they would never dream of saying if those people were face-to-face. Twitter is no different. And with every tweet made, even those that are made in jest normally contain some amount of truth to them.

And to be honest, why is he speaking about this to thousands of people who can do little to change the situation? Does he think the fans will rally together and force head coach Jacques Martin to play Halak because he through out some meaningless stats? Chances are that he's done more to limit Halak's playing time than helping him get more. No coach or GM likes to be called out by an agent. And Bob Gainey won't stand for it.

Again, what Walsh wrote is true. Carey Price's stats in Walsh's tweet? Entirely accurate. However, the appropriateness of Walsh's tweet in helping his client get more playing time is nil. Especially when you consider he is most likely welcome to speak to Mr. Gainey at any time he feels necessary.

If I'm an athlete competing for playing time, that's the kind of agent I'd want. Someone who is outspoken and not afraid to take the fight to a neutral area where embarrassment always is countered with swift retribution. Because that's a smart career move for both him and myself. Excuse my sarcasm in this paragraph.

Next time, Mr. Walsh, use your head for more than a hat rack.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

3 comments:

Blake said...

I doubt that this will have any affect on the players themselves. Everyone joining the Habs knows that the media climate is absolutely suffocating and hence I think the majority of the guys simply turn of their TVs and get away from the madness at the rink as often as they can. It's the only way to stay sane in Montreal. However if I was Halak I'd walk up to my agent and tell him that one more slip up and no more paycheque for you. What he did was very immature and I know I wouldn't want to be associated with that type of person. But in the end this echos loudest in the streets and on the television. Halak and Price and probably keeping as low a profile as ever.

Teebz said...

I agree. I'm sure there will be some quiet retribution for Walsh on Halak's side, and I'm sure that Gainey will tell him to keep quiet as well.

A bad mistake, but a mistake none-the-less.

Stephen said...

Fascinating.

The medium is (partly) the message, but (mainly) the messengers are the message. Self-selection drives choice of media. Do I want to play the fame game, the fan game, or the friend game (whatever 'friend' means anymore)?

The 'answers' come as we fine-tune the questions. As usual, there's no one right answer, other than "it depends." On what does it depend? There's a good question