Saskatoon troublemaker Ashu Solo is back in the news again, which is where I think he likes to be at this time of year. From now on, I won’t ever refer to him by name in my column should an issue pop up that he’s involved in. The guy is alleging retaliation from the City of Saskatoon over the negative publicity his human rights complaints have received. I can’t speak for the City of Saskatoon, but I can tell you I’d use whatever legal means were at my disposal to make sure this guy isn’t ever on a committee that involves the City, because I feel he doesn’t have the city’s best interests at heart and that’s evident in his beefs with them. He’s also upset his literary submission for the Living In Harmony Contest was rejected even though it was the only submission in the adult age category. I’m not sure what the rules are, but I would hope the City puts regulations in place to guard against submissions that make a mockery or are embarrassing to the promotion. I’m not saying Solo’s submission does that, but just because he’s the only one participating doesn’t mean he gets to win. I do think this self-proclaimed workaholic should spend more time actually working instead of trying to examine ways to tick off the people of Saskatoon. If he spent any time reading the feedback on the news stories published, he would see he could be in the mix for being the most unpopular person in Saskatoon. Maybe he likes that. I can’t imagine why. And, if he does like that, maybe he could use these workaholic traits and use himself as a case study as to why a human being behaves in the manner he does and then issue a report so people like me can better understand his, incredibly, bizarre character. I mean there is an illness for everything now.
I, sometimes, will use the phrase of ‘killing a mosquito with a jack hammer’ when talking about people getting stiff penalties for minor transgressions. I used the same analogy on the Access 7 program Locker Talk the other day when discussing dirty hits and other offenses in the NHL that warrant suspensions. Usually, it’s not hard to outnumber Calvin Daniels during our three person panel as he is quite a bit more right wing than Ron Irvine (or Jay Boyd) and I. However, I was the one outnumbered this week when I suggested Brooks Orpik should have fought Shawn Thornton a couple of weeks ago after delivering a thunderous body check to Loui Eriksson. As I continue to debate, in my own mind, where hockey should go when it comes to fighting and seeking retribution; I have come to the conclusion that Orpik, if he’s going to play a style of game predicated on injuring other players (even if it’s within what the rules say is a clean hit) then he has to answer the bell if the other team’s enforcer comes calling. I have also decided that if people determine it to be wrong for Thornton to approach Orpik after a hard hit like that, then maybe it’s time for the NHL to outlaw hits that exhibit a form of unnecessary roughness. For example, does Orpik need to ‘kill a mosquito with a jack hammer’ by delivering such a crushing blow just because Eriksson doesn’t have his head up? The rule of thumb in hockey is that if you have your head down, you deserve to be pounded into the middle of next week. I’m questioning why? I’m not saying Orpik can’t plant his feet and step into Eriksson and knock him to the ice. But, I am suggesting he doesn’t need to line him up and drill him to the point of what he did. I realize it puts discretion into the hands of the officials, but hockey is a game where all penalties are based on discretion. The only other solution I can think of is that if Orpik hits a player like Eriksson, who doesn’t play Orpik’s style of game, then maybe Thornton should have gone out and taken the head off Sidney Crosby. An enforcer’s job is to make sure the skilled players have enough room to operate and don’t need to worry about being outmuscled by guys like Orpik. If Thornton creams Crosby, Orpik gets the message that he better stay away from Boston’s skilled players or the Pens’ skilled players are also going to get a taste. Of course, the whole thing could be eliminated by putting less equipment on these players. I, often, think of a player like Wendel Clark and how physical he was; yet I don’t recall ever seeing Clark bulldoze a player or launch his entire body at someone like Orpik did. Yes, he was physical; but it was all based on angles.
In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, especially Mr. Solo. If he would ever like to attend church with me, I am extending him an invite to go to any denomination he wants. Even though it may not be my religion of choice, I want him to see I won’t be offended to expose myself to someone else’s beliefs. Hopefully, unlike him, I’ll be okay after the experience. Of course, since he’s atheist he’s not likely to take me up on my offer. Now, I’m offended.