Let’s get Cory Schneider to speak more often

While Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo have been putting up eerily identical numbers for a while now, it’s no secret to Canuck fans that one of the major differences between the two netminders is that Schneider is an ace with it comes to media dealings. Where Luongo resorts to ill-timed gallows humour and can occasionally get himself into trouble by misspeaking or underplaying his sarcasm (not to mention making some genuinely creepy faces), Schneider is well- and soft-spoken, and he makes his points clearly and intelligently.

That in mind, I was ecstatic when I heard that Luongo had made the exceedingly wise choice to plead the fifth when asked about Tim Thomas’s decision to opt out of the Boston Bruins’ White House visit, and I was pleased as punch when I learned that Schneider, on the other hand, had not.

Sure enough, Frecklesnoot had some intelligent things to say (and if you want an example of how correct he came, consider that the Globe’s Eric Wilbur also gnashed his teeth and agreed with the Canuck backup). So what did he say? From the Province:

“I’m not that religious but if I had the chance to meet the Pope, it’d be pretty cool,” Schneider said.

“I don’t believe in everything the Catholic church does, but I’d still show up to the Vatican and say Hi to the Pope.”

“I have no problem with his personal beliefs, but (Thomas) can suck it up for an hour, say ‘Hi’ and be with the team, and avoid all of this.

“Respect the (Presidency). He plays for Team USA and he has no problem making millions of dollars in the USA but he can’t go say Hi to the President? “You get a lot of benefits living in the US and he should have little bit of respect for that.

First things first: I don’t agree with criticizing Thomas for this decision because of the politics behind it. Personally, I think he’s wrong, and if you want to get even more personal, I think the Tea Party to which he’s alleged to have allegiance is little more than a group of people upset that the American constitution allows for ethnic presidents. But Thomas has every right to be wrong, just as I have every right to insinuate that that segment of the political spectrum has some very prejudiced undertones.

In short, Thomas’s politics are his business, and anyone upset that he stayed at home because he leans way right needs to grow up.

However, just as criticizing Thomas’s decision because of his politics is immature, so is skipping out on the special day because of those politics. It’s the equivalent of boycotting your sister’s wedding because the groom votes Green. Thing is, regardless of who’s in the White House, the Stanley Cup winners’ invitation to the mansion is an apolitical and ceremonial team honour.

And in case it wasn’t clear that personal opinions don’t really factor into this honour, consider that, despite living in the area, Barack Obama’s never even been to a Washington Capitals game. Obama cares as little for hockey as Tim Thomas cares for him. Unfortunately, only one of those two men was willing to feign interest out of respect to the Boston Bruins.

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44 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    January 25, 2012

    good comparison by Schneider.
    Schneider definitely should handle as many interviews as possible, especially given Luongo’s penchant for saying the wrong thing.

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  2. sarah
    January 25, 2012

    Comments like this are part of the reason I’m certain that Schneids could have a great career in hockey broadcasting after he retires. [the other reason is his hair - who doesn't want to see a ginger commentator!]

    I thought his response was very intelligent and even handed and respectful. As a fan, it’s nice to see the people you cheer for have the ability to make well-reasoned responses to such matters. Also, it’s nice that he actually acknowledges how good hockey players have it. Often it seems that athletes aren’t aware of their own privilege, but Schneids seems to get it.

    I already miss this kid for when he inevitably leaves the organization.

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    • Canucks Supporter
      January 26, 2012

      What is with the “when he (Schneider) inevitably leaves the organization”? Hopefully not for a long, long, long time!

      About Thomas, it was such a bruinsy move of him to not go to the white house.

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      • sarah
        January 26, 2012

        His name seems to be rather constant on the trade rumour list, no? I would love to see Schneids in a Canucks jersey for a long time, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

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  3. Qris Johnson
    January 25, 2012

    I think there’s a larger issue, as well: Thomas is famous, and is using his fame to make a political statement that would otherwise go unnoticed. There are two reasons hockey players tend to avoid this. First, it’d become an unwelcome distraction. Thomas didn’t seem to mind this. Second, their opinion will be linked to their performance as hockey players. “Al Montoya is such a stud, and he’s a Sarah Palin supporter, so SO AM I.” (I have no evidence Al Montoya is a Sarah Palin supporter.)

    People are going to hear Thomas’s argument because it’s Tim Thomas. If Mitt Romney were the nominee, his being a former governor of Mass. may put that state in play, and Thomas’s comments could very well influence voters in Boston. For that reason, fans and media have the right to question him about his political ideology to see if he has any idea what he’s talking about.

    Unfortunately, Thomas concluded his statement with “This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic.” That’s not something anyone should accept. If this was a personal thing, Thomas could have skipped the event and then just said “I can’t make it for personal reasons.” What he did, though, was take an invitation to the White House he earned as a hockey player, and use it to issue a high profile political statement, which was then repeated by just about every hockey news outlet.

    If he wants to do that, then fans and media don’t have to — and shouldn’t — refrain from asking him political questions. It’ll be a huge distraction for the team, but that didn’t seem to bother him earlier. Once he decides to announce his politics, he’s inviting others to examine them.

    He decided not to attend the White House, and that’s fine, that’s his decision. It was also his decision to speak out about his political beliefs. It’s true that it would be wrong to question his decision because of his politics, but we definitely get the right to question his politics because of his decision.

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    • John Andress
      January 25, 2012

      I agree entirely. Plus. I think that it was either naive or stupid of Thomas to try to sell his remarks as personal and not political. How in the heck could this possibly not be interpreted as a political stance?

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      • J21
        January 26, 2012

        To be fair, if not for the fact that there are certain things already known about Thomas’ politics, his statement was somewhat ambiguous. When people complain about intrusive government, they’re often complaining about PATRIOT Act type measures, “the loss of freedoms,” etc. that resonate more with the U.S. left than the tea-partiers.

        Just to say that while, yes, it’s a political stance, it wasn’t entirely clear at first (though obviously it’s possible to make certain assumptions) exactly which stance it was, and didn’t necessarily invite all that much further questioning.

        All that said, I thought Thomas was a bit of a douche to begin with and believe this whole “What a likable guy’ thing was something of a media fabrication during the Finals.

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  4. tom selleck's moustache
    January 25, 2012

    Another analogy that I heard that’s similar to yours, Mooney, was that it was like refusing to go to a wedding at a Catholic church because your disagreement of what the church has done or stands for. It’s so silly as, just like attending the wedding event being a different matter from acceptance of church beliefs, the event of honouring the achievement of the BB’s by meeting the president is not equivalent to approving of his policies. And to force one issue into the other while placing your teammates and organization is simply a selfish thing to do. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

    I also find it ironic that the people missing the boat by making it a debate of whether he has the right or not to do so, fail to realize that it’s also the right for people to criticize his decision and actions.

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  5. Yuri Kaufman
    January 25, 2012

    …No, it’s the equivalent of boycotting your sister’s wedding because you hate the groom. Not because he votes green. And that’s perfectly understandable. Even though I hate Thomas….

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    • Chris
      January 25, 2012

      Really, you can’t put your petty differences down out of love for your sister? That’s pretty sad.

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      • zach
        January 25, 2012

        ahh im pretty sure you just hit the nail on the head in less than 15 words. That pretty much sums up the entire point of this article. well done sir.

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  6. zach
    January 25, 2012

    Thomas knew that the media was going to make a big deal out of this and that’s why he chose not to go. I am sorry but I don’t buy for a second that this guy is humble and honest, I think he’s arrogant in the way he plays and now more obviously in the way he exercises his political beliefs. However, aside from that, more than anyone, Thomas let his team mates down, and more importantly, he overshadowed what was supposed to be a celebration for his teammates by committing a selfish act, and “exercising his political rights.” I don’t disagree with one’s right to do so, but I will acknowledge that the White House trip was not the time to do so, as it wasn’t about him, it was about his team. It seems taking one for the team just doesn’t seem to apply to everybody.

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    • obituary mambo
      January 25, 2012

      Yes! I whole-heartedly agree with everything written here. This didn’t have to be a news story; Thomas chose to turn it into one by exercising his INDIVIDUAL (Thomas’ capitalization, not mine) rights as an American. Before this incident I had what was clearly a mistaken impression of Thomas as a team first kind of guy. Well, he’s proven beyond a shadow of a doubt what a selfish little turd bucket he really is. As if I didn’t already hate the Bruins enough! [On a side note, I'm really starting to worry about that. I never would have imagined the flames of that hatred would still be burning this long after the fact.]

      Possibly the most egregious bit of this whole debacle is the fact that Thomas chose to politicize an apolitical event and then try to claim it had nothing to do with politics! Sheesh! That is so far beyond moronic I don’t even want to think about it. For the record, I should probably state that, while my ideology couldn’t be further removed from the Tea Party (and I fully agree with Mr Moody’s assessment of them as an organization), Thomas’ political beliefs are not what upset me about this situation. What enrages me is the utter lack of decency evident in his actions. That’s one more crack in my poor little American heart.

      Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention: Schneids rules!

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      • obituary mambo
        January 26, 2012

        Ooops! That should have read “Mr Mooney’s”. I’m still relatively new to this site.

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  7. omenica
    January 25, 2012

    If Luongo had of said the EXACT same words as Cory, he would have been crucified by the RL haters.

    That being what it is, Cory spoke well and it is good Luongo chose to remain silent.

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    • stathead
      January 25, 2012

      I agree – Schneider is really charismatic and appealing & the press likes him. Luongo can say perfectly harmless things and the media finds a way to make it the wrong thing. Like in the playoffs, he was asked to comment on the difficulty of a shot that Thomas missed and said quite correctly that its difficulty was due to the style of play: hard if you play out of the paint, an easy shot for someone who plays far back in the paint. The media blew this up into a criticism of thomas, which it wasn’t at all, and then when Luongo pointed out that he didn’t mean it as criticism and he’d been praising Thomas’ play throughout the series without any praise back from Thomas, they turned it into this “tire pumping” mockery that is actually weirder than milk hot dogs.

      The media’s gleeful dissection and warping of players’ comments to suit the stories they’ve already made (“Luongo is so bad with media, not likeable; Thomas is humble and honest” etc.) is directly responsible for the fact that most of them speak in cliches and we all rave when one of them speaks his mind without being super cautious.

      Unless it’s a guy the media has warned us not to like, of course!

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  8. Chris
    January 25, 2012

    Timmy has every right not to go. And we all have every right to call him an arrogant prick for it. So you see, everyone’s right are being respected this way.

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  9. Dave
    January 25, 2012

    You don’t disagree with his decision because of differences in political beliefs, but you still had to get in a shot against Thomas’ politics? Yep, the whole backlash in the media against Thomas has EVERYTHING to do with his political beliefs. The media is 100% in the tank for Obama (or any liberal politician), and that extends to sports media. If this were a player no-showing George Bush there would be no out-cry, and you can take that to the bank.

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    • Qris Johnson
      January 25, 2012

      You sure? You ever think maybe there’s a reason no one did what Thomas did during the Bush administration, even though all the teams that won during his eight years in office were American teams?

      What Tim Thomas did ISN’T DONE by hockey players. There are good reasons for it. I’m of the opinion that more people are defending him because of his beliefs than there are people who found it in poor taste because of his politics.

      The problem is, political statements should not be made in that way.

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      • Dave
        January 25, 2012

        I don’t hear too many defending him. Personally, I don’t care whether he or anyone else went to the White House or not. I just hate seeing him be derided by a biased, leftist media. And they try to say it isn’t about his political beliefs. Give me a break.

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        • John in Marpole
          January 25, 2012

          Out of 1 side of his mouth Thomas claimed his boycott wasn’t about politics, yet by his own statement the decision was clearly politically based. Thomas made it about politics, not the press. And he hasn’t the nads to stand up for what he claims to believe in.

          Thomas is a hypocrite as well as a petty minded jerk.

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        • obituary mambo
          January 26, 2012

          The myth of the liberal media rears its ugly head. If you actually read a newspaper or watched the news, you’d soon become aware of what complete and utter fallacy that is.

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    • Emily
      January 25, 2012

      …just to make sure I understand you. PitB is a blog associated with a Canadian newspaper. But you think that the Canadian media is “in the tank” for a US politician?

      You do realise that the US and Canada are two different countries, right?

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      • The Bookie
        January 25, 2012

        They might be two different countries but business-wise they can be pretty intertwined. For example, the Toronto based ownership group that owns the Vancouver Sun bought it and many other Western newspapers in 2010 with money from a US equity firm.

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        • Emily
          January 25, 2012

          Are you implying that therefore the Vancouver Sun’s hockey blogs have a political agenda regarding US politicians?

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          • Harrison Mooney
            January 25, 2012

            We totally do. Huge agenda.

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            • kim
              January 25, 2012

              I have to say I’m really disappointed that you equate the TEA party with racism – that their only complaint is ethnically based. Have you actually read anything from the TEA party or what they stand for? Are you aware that they actually have *gasp* people of color in their membership and have successfully supported a number of people of color for office – West (black congressman), Rubio (son of Cuban refugees, senator), Haley (Indian-American female governor) amongst others.

              It’s easier to think that an entire group is a bunch of racists that hates a black president rather than to think that perhaps this isn’t a good president, regardless of color.

              What saddens me the most is that you believed this without checking to make sure it was a fact or to find out what this group actually believes and who they have aligned themselves with.

              Next thing you’ll know is that Sarah Palin really didn’t say “I can see Russia from my house”.

              What.. she really didn’t? Oooops.

              Oh well.

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              • Harrison Mooney
                January 25, 2012

                Hey Kim, feel free to disagree. Hope it doesn’t make you hate the site and I should establish this is just me talking. I wouldn’t dare speak for Daniel on this issue, but I think he leans a little further right.

                As for me, don’t think this is a half-baked observation. I’ve seen a lot of this up close and I definitely think a large part of the momentum is driven by people who have a problem with a black president. I’m just going off the rhetoric, what I’ve read, what I’ve seen growing up in a very pro-Republican, Fox News-y household, and what I’ve observed during the televised rallies. The argument has always struck me as a cover for poor sportsmanship after a lost election.

                And I don’t think having black individuals in the fold necessarily means the tea party rhetoric doesn’t have some alarming racial undertones. Lots of black slave owners back in the day. Money (and the desire to keep it if you have it) tends to trump race.

                That said, like most political movements, I’m sure there are some genuine truths to be found and I definitely don’t think everyone involved in the movement is a racist or is racially motivated. I’m sure there are some very intelligent people involved.

                But I don’t agree with it and it makes me uncomfortable, both as someone who leans left of center and as a person of colour. Here’s an article by Mark Reynolds, who is awesome, that says a lot of this more articulately.

                Anyway. Cheers.

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              • obituary mambo
                January 26, 2012

                They may use coded language “We have to get OUR America back,” but the rhetoric is most definitely there. The sheer disdain they feel for the man — not his policies — is evident in their repeated (and false) claims that he is Muslim who has no right to govern a country in which he was legally elected to do so.

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              • Qris Johnson
                January 27, 2012

                Oh, look, I’m about to get political. Sorry, Harrison…

                Kim, it would be easier to say things like that, if the Tea Party movement weren’t so… ridiculous, for lack of a better word.

                Politics is something I take very seriously and I don’t believe usually in taking a derisive and glib position with regards to another’s politics, but the Tea Party makes no sense whatsoever.

                These are people who watched George Bush forge energy policy with heads of multi-billion dollar energy corporations behind closed doors, and then claim executive privilege in a completely unprecedented way. They said nothing.

                These people watched Bush bring in the Patriot Act, the single greatest attack on American civil liberties in our life time, possibly the greatest affront in history to the fundamental rights that had been paid for in American blood. They said nothing.

                These people heard news of the NSA illegally wiretapping its own citizens, and they said nothing.

                They watched as the government began locking up its own people, giving them no right to trial or attorney, not even bothering to charge them of a crime. They said nothing.

                They heard the United States government was employing tortures both cruel and unusual, with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez saying torture was okay, and they said nothing.

                They watched as an active CIA operative was deliberately outed because her husband dared question the government. They said nothing.

                They watched as their right to protest at a political rally was effectively taken away in favor of designated “free speech zones” for dissenters, away from the public eye. They said nothing.

                These people watched as the Bush administration showed no interest in obeying the Presidential oath to uphold the Constitution, slashing civil liberties, trampling free speech and bullying the free press (First Amendment), committing illegal and unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment), detaining suspects indefinitely without charging them or allowing them counsel (Fifth and Sixth Amendments), torturing detainees in cruel and unusual ways (Sixth Amendment), and completely gutting what was left of the right to privacy (Third, Fourth and Ninth Amendments).

                But now that the new President has the temerity to try to give the nation health care, NOW the government has gone too far? NOW is when it’s gone against what the Founding Fathers intended? NOW is when they feel the Constitution is in jeopardy?

                No. No, a movement that is silent for eight years during the Bush administration, that finds no offense, but is actively vitriolic mere months into an Obama administration for such Constitutional slights as universal health care, can only be ridiculed.

                The Tea Party has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Founding Fathers. Anyone who claims otherwise is either unscrupulous enough to blatantly lie, or just isn’t smart enough to understand even the most basic of the concepts they claim to champion. Your pick which one they should be.

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              • obituary mambo
                January 27, 2012

                Qris, you’re my new hero! Seriously awesome post. ^__^

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      • Dave
        January 25, 2012

        I am aware of that, yes.

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    • tom selleck's moustache
      January 25, 2012

      Ah, yes, that’s what it is, those “lefty” media types.

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    • superreggie
      January 26, 2012

      I’m absolutely stunned. First off, that the US media is overly liberal-biased… I won’t get into that… But to think if a hockey player didn’t go visit Bush, that this would have all blown over? He would have been absolutely flayed alive. Right now there’s a culture of protest on left and right. You seem to forget that for most of the Bush presidency there wasn’t really much open protest, and people were often deemed ‘unpatriotic’ for criticizing the president. Nowadays it’s open season on Obama.

      I suspect you just support his beliefs (and his team maybe?), and so don’t like to see him criticized…perhaps… you’re the one that’s biased?

      Although I must admit I’m biased. I’m a Canadian living in the US, and people eat willful intellectual slavery and self-delusion for breakfast down here…

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      • superreggie
        January 26, 2012

        woops, that was supposed to be a reply to Dave

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  10. BP
    January 25, 2012

    You should give Janeane Garofalo a hug. I don’t agree with most of the Tea Party’s sentiments, but the racism accusations are intellectually lazy.

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  11. sunnydee46
    January 26, 2012

    The whole visit of any winning team to the White House is nothing more than PR and symbolism. The President (representing the country) get to congratulate the winning BBs (who represent their city and fans). In years to come, it’s not going to be individuals (Obama, Marchand, Lucic) that people remember as being there, it will be the Boston Bruins at the White House. Tim Thomas is the one who decided to make it a big deal of this and make it political when he refused to go and insisted on releasing a statement. He could have easily said he couldn’t make it for personal reasons and that would have been that. It was selfish of him to steal the day’s limelight away from his teammates as they celebrated, and very naïve of him if he didn’t think that would happen.

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  12. Erin
    January 26, 2012

    Wow, I didn’t know that when I came to a hockey blog I would have to read about politics. Mooney, you have no knowledge of the American constitution or the Tea party organization if you think it is about a minority president. Perhaps living in Canada, where I was born and raised, you don’t recognize socialism when you see it, because you already live it. You have swallowed the media’s lies, hook line and sinker. Wait, it might be better said that you Are the MSM. Maybe you could find a second job and keep it off your HOCKEY blog.

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    • tom selleck's moustache
      January 26, 2012

      Wow, really? I think you may be missing the main point of his article.

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    • Michael
      January 26, 2012

      Goodness, this horrible, shifty socialism that I dwell under. I went to the doctor the other day, it cost me nothing. I attended college last year, it cost me little. I spoke to my local MLA Spencer Herbert a while back and had a reasonable discussion untainted with left/right bile, I didn’t have to throw up in my mouth.
      How are things going in your country?

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  13. omenica
    January 26, 2012

    TT has reportedly said one of his hero’s is Glen Beck. That says all you need to know about TT.

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  14. Dave
    January 26, 2012

    A Bruin backed down!!

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  15. akidd
    January 26, 2012

    wow , things are really heating up on this blog. so much for the great escape. but thomas put it on the table so it’s good to get it out of the way. in my dream world i see sports as an apolitical place where folks of different ideologies can put them aside and cheer for the same team or the sport, develop completely other ideologies based on the dungeons-and-dragon-like accumulated info we get fro hundreds and thousands of hours of hockey input. if we’re not going to actively do anything about say…16 self-immolations in 12 months in tibet then maybe it’s better roll over it all with a coat or two of all-weather hockey paint.

    i think the thomas is probably already looking onwards to his next career as a politician. this was all business for him. just like the nhl and phot-ops for the white house.

    gotta love the smart and articulate schneider though. i think you left out some stuff he mentioned about the importance of individual’s right to of choice. it counterbalanced everything nicely. please keep him. i’d vote for schneider any day.

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  16. Chicky
    January 27, 2012

    Eep, two things should never mix, Politics and Hockey. I’m a “don’t eff the country up” and we’ll be fine kind of person. I’m ok with that. I vote, because people died to give me that right, and people keep on dying and fighting so that I can. End of story. I do not have strong leanings though. Do a good job, and you get my vote. Mess up, I’ll look elsewhere.

    Two thoughts. 1) TT is a diva, IMO. He loves the spotlight, and hell, lets admit it, he’s on the backside of his career, gotta have the limelight while it lasts.
    2) Harrison, it makes me weep that you grew up with Fox News. Hell, Fox News makes my ears bleed in general. LOL

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