Bryan Little said some stuff today about Winnipeg as a sports town that paints Winnipeg in a bad light. It should happen. Not because Winnipeg is a bad place to live, but because every little off ice event is blown up to massive levels of insanity. Little was absolutely right to say that because when TJ Oshie missed a game following the birth of his daughter, no one said a thing, but in Winnipeg it was a big deal that Andrew Ladd missed a inconsequential game at the end of the season to be at home with his family.
Jonathan Willis from Edmonton wrote about how Winnipeg is perceived by players thanks to the media. If anyone should know how damaging this type of perception can be to a city it would be the people of Edmonton. Little decided to sign here long term. That is a really good thing for Winnipeg because as of this exact moment, he is their best centre and arguably their best (not most talented) forward, but will this act move players to not want to sign here? Will they feel impeded from living a normal life and doing things like attending the births of their children - without being shit on by (some) of the local media?
Former editor of AIH, Derek Gagnon, went onto his radio show yesterday and had Melissa Martin of the Winnipeg Free Press on as well. One of the many things that they talked about was the whole Ladd affair. Melissa made a really good point that Winnipeg is a small market with a big fan base, which lets the noise reverberate more. This becomes a major problem when the players constantly hear about how the media makes life harder because every little thing they do becomes an issue.
This conversations has to happen because Winnipeg gets worked up about everything. If people from other markets talked about Jets fans the same way they talked about Canadiens fans, there would not be an issue. Instead of making a big deal out of Ladd missing a game to be with his family or making a huge deal about Dustin Byfuglien's weight, we should be focused on the sub-optimal team that we watch every game. A team that regularly ices three 6/7 defence men in their top six. A team that plays one of their best players far out of position, allowing for their blue line struggle without him. Or how about we call out the goalie that does not perform beyond replacement level standards. Just once we should focus on the lack of success on the ice.
This entire Ladd thing started on the Twitter account of a personality who works for TSN1290, the official station of the Jets. Maybe that played a part. Hard core fans were listening. Radio stations have to fill air space and fill air space juicy topics can help. Or maybe it was just one man's opinion, but at any rate we are all complacent. Them, us, you. Everyone. Here at AIH we try to address topical issues. Maybe we should stop addressing things like this that are potentially said to get a rise out of people.
The more people react, the bigger the issue becomes. We can all do better at stopping this type of overreaction to the most mundane things. There is nothing wrong with what Ladd did and that is that.
Maybe we all reacted to Troy Westwood's reaction wrong. We should have all stepped back and said nothing. Let him live on an island alone. If people agreed with him, let them join him. Facts do not matter when you are going for hits and though hits are nice for AIH, they are not the be all, end all. Quality is. Maybe a better reaction to a controversy is to let it burn until it dies off. Maybe the best reaction to any and all perceived controversy is to let it die off. This isn't exclusively a Winnipeg thing, but is a thing that Winnipeg needs to work on.