In the court of public opinion, Jake Virtanen’s crime was a misdemeanor.
The Vancouver Canucks winger went out to a downtown nightclub called Celebrities, which wouldn’t have been open unless declared so by Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer. However, in an Instagram video that has since been taken down, he was seen not wearing a mask or practising social distancing.
Virtanen wasn’t the only culprit, just the most recognizable.
As such, on Twitter he was criticized for being careless when his brother, as well as Canucks captain Bo Horvat, have recently added newborns to their respective families, and with teammate Brock Boeser’s dad fighting cancer.
But the bigger attack came from the gaggle of tweeters who blasted Virtanen for going out to party when he and the rest of the Canucks are about to join NHLers from other teams in a Toronto or Edmonton bubble, where they could remain for a couple of months.
In his defence, Virtanen is a 23-year-old millionaire, and you’re probably not going too far out on a limb by guessing other NHLers getting ready for the play-ins and playoffs have bent some COVID rules as well. That doesn’t make it right. But mostly he’s guilty for being irresponsible enough to get caught on video.
For that, he wouldn’t even do community service.
What’s most fascinating with the NBA and NHL treading carefully into a pandemic reopening is the concern for what all the bubble boys are going to do when they’re not playing and practising. Oh, their safety and health is top priority, as it should be, but organizers seem to be overly worried about what the players will do in their spare time. All sorts of activities, shows, menus and luxuries are being set up for them so they don’t get bored.
It’s a little much. Their jobs are about to call for them to go away for 2-3 months. It’s probably a one-time deal. If they have to be away from their families, so be it. Their occupations also pay them obscene amounts of money. Being isolated for such a short time shouldn’t be a considered a huge sacrifice. People are sick and losing loved ones these days. Pro athletes could always use their spare time to think about how lucky they are to provide those who are suffering a little relief.
STOPS AND STARTS
You may watch SC with Jay & Dan on TSN and consider them part of your family, or you may have never seen the show or its hosts. Either way, you had to feel sick to your stomach when Dan O’Toole revealed on Instagram Thursday that his one-month old daughter Oakland has gone missing. Please say prayers for him and his family … If the nickname has to change, why not make the Redskins the Americans? Fitting switch, especially for a team located in the U.S. capital … When Bobby Orr says Sidney Crosby is one of the top five players in NHL history, it sparks a debate. At first I disagreed. Then after considering Sid’s 12 individual trophies, the three Stanley Cups, the six-100 point seasons, and all the accomplishments at the international level, and the fact he always has played a very strong two-way game, I changed my mind. I’m with Bobby, which feels like the right place to be.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
The ratio of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred opening his mouth to the times he puts his foot in it is becoming too great. Telling The Dan Patrick Show , “the reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went” was totally needless. If anything, it just angered the players more … Joey Chestnut believes he can break his record of 74 in 10 minutes at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. “There’s a little bit of a bonus ‘cause we’re going to be eating in air conditioning, and there are less eaters so they’re going to be making less hot dogs, so they might taste better,” said Chestnut. He actually tastes them?
ON THIS (July 3) DATE
Exactly 47 years ago, the Maple Leafs paved the way for Eddie Shack’s second stint in Toronto by purchasing his contract from the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Daniel Alfredsson has yet to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for a career that saw him score 444 goals and 1157 points in 1246 games, Shack, a career third-liner, was enshrined with 239 goals and 465 points in 1,047 games. And he fully deserved it. Known as “The Entertainer” or “The Nose”, the now 83-year old Sudbury native has his own song and catch phrase — “Clear the track, here comes Shack” — and was always worth the price of admission. Even after the final buzzer. Nobody celebrated being named one of the game’s three stars like Shack … Exactly 39 years ago, the St. Louis Blues traded Paul MacLean, Bryan Maxwell, and Ed Staniowski to the Winnipeg Jets for Scott Campbell and John Markell. It was a heist of major proportions for Jets GM John Ferguson, and not just because Maxwell is from North Bay. MacLean, who went on to become a Jack Adams award winning coach in Ottawa, averaged slightly more than 35 goals a season over the next seven years for Winnipeg …. Exactly 22 years ago, Brett Hull signed a three-year, $17 million free agent contract with the Dallas Stars. The move ended his 10-year run with the Blues in which Hull had seasons of 70, 72 and 86 goals. “When Dallas called, I thought they were as close as anybody to winning a Stanley Cup,” Hull said at the time, citing his desire to be a champion. “It’s a great honour they want me to be a part of that.” Eleven months later, Hull scored the triple overtime goal that won Dallas its only Cup to date … Exactly 19 years ago, NBA owners approved the relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis. It’s rather surprising there remains just one Canadian team in the league, given the popularity of the game and the defending champs north of the border …
TSN’s Craig Button suggests Robin Lehner is a free agent goalie who would be a good fit back with Ottawa’s local NHL team. While I agree he is much better than anything they have in the system, I like The Lehner too much to wish that on him … When closer Aroldis Chapman shows up to Yankees spring training 2.0 this week he’ll be driving a brand new custom six-wheel, Kevlar-lined Jeep that cost him $150,000. This story was in the New York Post and will be passed along to my overly generous mother, who is looking to buy me something nice for my birthday …
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020