In the USA, where I have been on vacation for the past week, there is a makeover show titled, grotesquely enough, “Bridoplasty.” The obvious point of the exercise proposed by this fiesta of self-hatred, is to allow a bride-to-be to turn all her agression, not towards her bridesmaids and future in-laws (as it was in the old days), but inwards towards her own flabby arms, backfat and dimpled, downy chins. The result? A pimped out, spackled, orange thing with poufy hair and hopeless dreams that will not be contained. But I digress.
The time has come for teams to likewise transform themselves in an attempt to win a spot to the Spring dance, and to somehow divest themselves of unwanted flab, pine-riding backfat and unsavory accesories. Having said that, I was not thrilled to hear that Max Lapierre would be moving to a brand new suburban Mc Mansion–this time, in California–and re-decorating all-over again, without the added thrill of having the project filmed for TV. Our Max, a proud Quebecer who sometimes scored clutch goals of pure beauty, was lately known for his belief in the psycho facial expression as an intimidating practise. One to jabber incessantly without the usual dropping of gloves, he resorted instead to an impressive array of theatrically stunning grimaces and bug-eyed grins. And anyone who would rather see him slugging it out had to admit that last season’s comeback win in Round 1 proved the far-ranging effectiveness of the Lapierre Psycho Face against some of the league’s most gifted scoring lines.
Max is gone, but we now welcome Jim Wisniewski, (by no stretch a pretty boy) a D-Man with lots of playing time but a troubling differential back on Long Island. In the absence of Markov and in light of the ongoing saga of PK Subban, a capable and fairly tough defenseman is what the Habs do need. His arrival certainly could not have been more fortuitous, as he scored 2 goals against the Panthers on New Year’s Eve, including the OT winner. Not bad for a guy who made a name for himself earlier this season for having made an obscene hand gesture in Sean Avery’s general direction and subsequently having his exploit replayed incessantly in censor-blurred form on Sportsnet. A two-game suspension followed the classy interpretive miming attempt, perhaps as a result of having been witnessed live in real time and 3D by Gary Bettman, in attendance that night.
Now Jim Whisniewski turns the page and has donned the classiest jersey of all, the holy flannel, so he’ll have to settle for either fisticuffs of psycho faces in order to get under his opponents’ skin.
Meanwhile, the rest of the league also gets set to explore new faces, less flabby physiques and leaner, meaner muscle. In the East, the Leafs appear on the verge of a reno worthy of “La Maison de Maxim Lapierre”: some things have just proven to be bad acquisitions or useless ornaments, Tuscan chandeliers that just do not fit in with the the Toronto glass-tower setting (Mike Komisarek, lousy without his Habs counterparts, Jiggy, he of the porcelain groin, Kaberle, a PP guy who has an acute allergy to shooting, etc…). Buffalo and New Jersey have to do something, anything, to clean up their rosters, and out West, Calgary is sure to make some moves.
The Habs may yet be involved in some of these fixes, retro-fits and renos…
And for today, let us enjoy the so called “Winter Classic,” come rain or come rain…..