Sunday, October 19, 2014
Elvis Grbac & playing goal in Portland
Elvis Grbac sucks.
I lived in Kansas City when I learned to love the NFL, after moving there in 1999. Elvis was the quarterback for the Chiefs at that time. His story is fascinating - being the child of Croatian immigrants. During his time in KC he lived in a neighborhood with a strong Slavic history.
He was part of a long line of 49'ers backups to play for Kansas City (Bono, Montana, & Alex Smith). Elvis wasn't all that popular in KC. They went through a period of quaterback controversy where they had to decide between Grbac and Rich Gannon. They stuck with Elvis, with little success. Gannon went on to lead the Raiders to their last few winning seasons including a Super Bowl appearance.
Grbac was our guy, and I was backing him. Everywhere you went in that town, someone was on him, "Elvis sucks.....shoulda went with the other guy....." Didn't really matter, did it? The Chiefs went with Grbac regardless of what you heard at dinner or over beers. Sure, he sucked but he was the starter. He was my guy.
Where this ties into Junior Hockey is this: there are no shortage of Portland fans who are all over Brendan Burke right now.
Doesn't matter. He's my guy. He's struggled, sure. Could have stopped a few more pucks so far this season. There's been no shortage of defensive breakdowns, but does every screened shot have to go in? Deflections from the slot? Breakaways? I'd argue the majority of goals against have been plays like these - extremely difficult on a goaltender - yet plays that do occur in the course of a season.
It seems like I have to bring this up daily, but Team USA feels that Burke is among the top 4 US born goalies with junior eligibility this season. If your average Winterhawks fan understands the game better than those in charge of building this country's World Junior team, then as Americans we're in trouble come Christmas time.
Allow me to make the same point about the Arizona Coyotes & their belief in Burke - its pretty damn hard to make main camp for an NHL team. I see over and over again about how they only gave him a shot because his dad works for the team - because that's what folks do: risk throwing away a 24+ year NHL career as a favor to your kid. Happens all the time.
So yeah, the dude who sits next to you at the games who "wants to see more of Adin Hill" knows the game better than a guy who played goal in 800+ NHL games. Checks out.
Of course Adin Hill might turn out to be really good, but right now he's an 18 year old goalie with 8 career WHL games.
This is nothing new about this phenomenon amongst Winterhawks fans. Remember when we fell in love with Cam Lanigan? He had a good 3 games, in front of a good team, and we thought he was a rookie Ken Dryden. We were expecting back a guy with 114 wins in the WHL, but this guy HAD to be better: I mean, did you SEE how well Lanigan played in those 3 games?
Speaking of the WHL's playoff winningest goalie of all time, all I heard for 4 years was how he was a bum. This team won in spite of him, rather than because of his contributions. Hell, one time I thought I was gonna end up in a fist fight with this asshole who made up a fake twitter for strict purposes of heckling Carruth. I figured he was just talking shit on the internet and that was it. Gave him my seat number & told him to swing by. He did, although he was a game late. Turns out he was not actually a hockey fan but just wanted to cameraphone a confrontation for youtube for some reason. I fell right into his trap, before he tried to get at Carruth on the way off the ice after the second period. Mac wasn't even playing that game. It was a day game in the Glass Palace, if your wondering.
I suppose that story really drives home the point of backing our guy, doesn't it?
If Brendan Burke goes on to have success in hockey beyond the WHL I'm going to be temped to retweet every win, every award, every positive development in his career. Shouldn't be much work, since he is terrible and all.
Elvis Grbac? He sucks. I'd love to see him in person to tell him so much. Once we got rid of him in KC I got real busy making up for lost time throwing him under the bus. When Elvis went to Baltimore - following a Super Bowl win - he said, "This is a great team. I can make it better." He did, when he left after one year.