When I played hockey I mostly resented the pest on my team, because unlike pure fighters, very few pests aren’t representing who they really are with their on-ice actions. Fighters are often soft-souls when they doff the hockey hat. Pests are not, which is to say, they’re a f*****g handful in the dressing room.
Seabrook on Shaw: He’s a handful in the dressing room, too. … He’s the same without the skates.
— ESPN Chicago (@ESPNChiHawks) June 13, 2013
Yeah, like that.
Now, that alone is not enough to “resent” anyone. It’s not like you’re going to get along with everyone in the room, and it’s not like annoying people are confined to one role, but I resented them because they always did so damn well for themselves, and I was jealous.
I was an offensive player with good vision and hands; relative terms, given I was a college/ECHL-level player. Essentially, I was a rec hockey threat wasting a 6’2 (okay, 6’1.5″) frame which made my coaches want to run me through a meat grinder (which incidentally I was doing to myself anyway by playing in the ECHL). I was a conserve-and-burst style player from the broken mold of Drew Stafford.
But not pests, no. Coaches love pests. Those guys don’t waste an ounce of their ability, especially their energy. They do things people their size shouldn’t, they get points by “going to the dirty areas” which makes most ED pills unnecessary for most coaches, and gosh darn-it, check out how pissed off those idiots on the other team are now.
From my perspective at the time our pests took unnecessary penalties, swatted the hornets nest I had to play against, then messed with guys’ gear in the room which is ha-ha-ha-larious at 8:30 in the morning when you’re pulling your shinpads off your stall’s top shelf and there’s a cut-off cup of water in there to fall on you. (It has to be cut low so you don’t see it, obviously.)
In reality, their value is probably somewhere between how I thought then – why do we use this guy so much? – and how I think now, which is that Brad Marchand is amazing.
You can’t really make a blanket assessment of them, given that somebody like Brad Marchand, while a true pest, is also an incredibly good hockey player, while someone like Leo Komorov (or whoever, there are plenty of examples of lesser pests, pick who you prefer) is replacement level at best. Some are able to play their game while being cognizant of effing with yours, and some have to devote all their brain power to it, which renders them useless in the process.
In the end, I realize I probably should only take issue with the latter type, the guy who didn’t do enough positive to justify the negatives, like PIMs and having put up with his shenanigans in the dressing room.
All I know is that without having any relationship with Andrew Shaw whatsoever, and without having heard a behind-the-scenes word about him, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with him in the room on a daily basis. When he scores a triple overtime goal like he did last night, you just know there are guys sitting there 10 minutes after the initial relief of winning has washed away shaking their head, dreading the reality that his on-ice success is just going to free him up to be louder, and more…I dunno…pervasive in the dressing room.
But if he’s going to have success…who are those guys to resent him, right?
Sigh…right? Remember: he’s helping. He’s helping. Just remember…he’s helping…
I love shinpads!