Kyle Turris’ NHL life didn’t exactly get off to a rip-roaring start. Maybe it was the expectations that came with being a third overall pick in 2007 that had him believing he was owed opportunity and success, or maybe he didn’t feel that way at all and things just unfolded the wrong way for the kid, but by the time his entry-level deal expired with the Coyotes, he was becoming a thorn in the side for the organization.
As recently as the 2010-11 season he still found himself playing the odd game in the AHL, and the ‘Yotes weren’t over the moon about his 46 points in 140 games their presumed offensive stud had put up. Here’s how Wikipedia describes how things played out at the start of the 2011-12 NHL season, when Turris held out:
With Turris absent from Phoenix’s training camp, ESPN reported in September 2011 that Turris had requested a US$3–4 million salary. His demands caused speculation in the media that he wanted to be traded from the team. By late-October, a month into the season, Turris’ agent, Kurt Overhardt, confirmed that the player had requested a trade, asserting that contract negotiations had “never been about money”. Turris agreed to a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Coyotes on November 22, 2011.
Turris wasn’t happy, Turris wanted out, and after getting him signed, the Coyotes were more than happy to oblige. He got his way, and has since signed a five-year 17.5 million dollar extension with the Ottawa Senators.
Well, during the lockout, Kyle Turris was among a large group of players who decided to try playing some puck overseas. He didn’t really “decide” as much as the place he was skating at was running out of players because they were all heading over, so his agent found him a deal in Karpat (Finland) to play in the SM-Liga. He apparently gave the place a quick google, agreed, and headed over.
He’s since arrived back in Canada after a two month stint in Scandinavia, and on December 13th he gave an interview to Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun, in which he said all the right things:
“Oulu was awesome. The organization was great. They treated us really well. I was lucky to be put into a position where I was playing 20 minutes a game. It’s a great league, really competitive. Any team can win on any given night. It was fun and a great experience.”
Here’s a few choice quotes from Winnett’s column (which was taken down yesterday, but re-posted today). On the lifestyle:
“There’s nothing to do here. Nothing,” Turris said recently while playing in Oulu. “If we’re not at the rink, we’re sitting around playing video games.”
For perspective, on the day of the interview the sun rose in Oulu just after 10 a.m. and quickly set shortly after 2 p.m. On top of the four hours of sunlight, it was also minus-20 C.
“I’m going stir crazy over here.”
On the travel:
“The travel here is horrendous. It’s worse than junior,” he said. “We’ll fly into Helsinki then hop in a bus for four to six hours, meanwhile, we’ll make three stops on a six-hour bus trip for no reason. It’s awful.”
On the food:
“The food here is awful,” he explained. “On the road, we eat at truck stops. ABC truck stops. I’m not kidding. We file out of the bus and head off beside the highway for a buffet truck stop pregame meal. It’s ridiculous.”
Notice how specific the last two quotes are. As in, they’d be really tough to up and fabricate.
And finally, on dealing with the media:
“It’s so awkward. They don’t understand anything that you’re saying, staring at you confused,” he said. “I feel like a complete idiot, trying to use hand signals to help communicate.”
That part’s only natural. I’m sure Malkin and every other non-English speaker felt that way when first coming to North America.
Obviously, the folks with the Karpat organization didn’t much care for being torn down. According to Finnish journalist Matias Stroyzk (via Puck Daddy), here’s what the team’s head coach Hannu Aravirta had to say about the comments:
“They were like a slap in the face. The fact here is that we don’t have private planes to fly with. … Maybe he doesn’t understand our reality. We don’t have any five-star restaurants en route to Pori.”
He’s upset, but also seems to confirm the complaints Turris made.
Welp! Backpedal backpedal backpedal, herrrre’s Turris!
To Whom It May Concern,
I read an article in the Globe and Mail today regarding my experience in Oulu. It made me extremely upset that it was so negative, and that it had very inaccurate and untrue information. I really enjoyed my time in Oulu, and those who are around me know that. I want to make clear that the sole reason I left is because of personal reasons that required me to be home with my family. The entire Oulu organization treated me very well, and I feel terrible that people may now feel that I was not grateful to be a part of the organization. I know that I was very lucky to play for such an awesome organization that welcomed me with open arms and treated us very well. Everyone I met in Finland, the coaches, management, fans and people of Oulu were all very nice and made my time there a memorable one. I was also lucky to have great teammates, with whom I have made good friendships. For all this I am very thankful and wish the Karpat organization great success in the future.
“…very inaccurate and untrue information.”
So ten billion words in, here’s my point: fuck you, Kyle Turris. More specifically, fuck that backpedal and fuck placing the blame on the Globe and Mail. (A similar thing happened recently when Gary Bettman claimed Daily News reporter Frank Seravelli “made up” what he had been hearing about Ed Snider earlier in the lockout.) But seriously, Kyle. That’s brutal.
More on that in a second, but first, here’s what Turris’ agent Kurt Overhardt said in a phone interview Tuesday about the Globe’s column:
“The Globe & Mail article completely misrepresented Kyle’s experience in Finland,” said his agent, Kurt Overhardt, who called the article “erroneous” in a phone interview on Tuesday.
“He has nothing but positive things to say about the team, and the way they treated him.”
Get. Lost. With this image management bullshit. Why the extreme level of damage control here? It’s not like he stole a baby or something.
So what if Kyle Turris had a shitty time? Lots of guys do when they join new teams, especially in foreign places. I say he was being a bit too honest, he’s 23 and he didn’t filter himself appropriately – it happens. He doesn’t need to point the blame gun at Jordan Winnett and pass the buck. Total cop out. The implication there, then, is that Winnett did an interview with Turris, and just made shit up when he wrote the piece. Do Turris and his agent realize what a huge accusation that is to level at a journalist?
He’s a young guy who seems to have some mild entitlement issues. This can be a learning experience. He could’ve said “I spoke carelessly, and I’m genuinely appreciative of the opportunity they gave me, but hey – it just wasn’t for me over there. I apologize for the way I put it, but again: wasn’t my style.” We could respect that. There are plenty of people in North America who are like “different power outlets over there? THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”
Now, I respect him even less because he’s put himself on par with the people who tweet something over the line then claim they had their account hacked when they clearly didn’t. It’s piling on the problem – I said something dumb, then lied about it. In Turris’ case, it’s “I said something dumb, lied about it, then threw someone else under the bus.”
So, bullshit, Kyle Turris. You don’t have to like every place you play, which you clearly don’t. And it’s sorta normal to look out for numero uno as much as possible. But don’t piss on people and tell them it’s raining. You’re making a mess of a minor issue.