POINT BLANK: Past Healy, Five-Hole
by Chris Botta
So there was my friend Glenn Healy in the TSN studio on Wednesday night, coming up with a truly original idea to call attention to himself as a tough-talking analyst who'll take on anyone.
He beat up on Alexei Yashin, the eighth-leading scorer in the NHL.
Wow, that must have really impressed the boss and had the hockey fans across Canada howling. Cutting edge stuff.
This all got started when Heals and Chris Cuthbert called the Islanders' shootout win over the Rangers at the Garden for TSN two weeks ago. Glenn was critical of Yashin from the drop of the puck, slowing down only when the Islanders - behind a goal and an assist by, uh, Yashin - took a 2-0 lead early in the third.
Fast-forward to last night. Presumably because there isn't enough to talk about around the NHL, Glenn and Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons squared off in a "PTI"-like showdown in which Healy half-jokingly took credit for Yashin's recent hot streak, saying "he responded" to his criticism. Oh brother. Desperate, Healy blurted out some incorrect facts -including calling Yashin the highest-paid player in the league - while Simmons tried to shut him up. Unfortunately, Steve failed to cut off Glenn before the former Islander goalie went one step too far: he took a lame, but gratuitous shot at the personal life of Alexei and his girlfriend, Carol Alt.
It was sad, really pathetic stuff. A long way from the beloved "Heals and Flats Show."
Why the shots at Carol? Is she fair game because, unlike Glenn's wife Susie or any other player's significant other, Carol is a celebrity? From the moment Yashin came to Long Island, the only time Carol has been in the forefront around the Islanders is when the organization has asked her to, mostly to help on charitable efforts. Carol certainly doesn't deserve garbage like this.
We've taken the little hooks and holds out of the game. Maybe now we can take a look at eliminating the cheap shots coming from the broadcast booth. Have Terry Bradshaw or John Kruk or Bill Walton ever focused so narrowly and disrespectfully on one athlete and his girlfriend? I wonder if Glenn can bring it this fiercely and personally when he feels a player from somewhere like Sudbury or Regina is underachieving. (That's probably a column for another day).
A final note. The day before he worked the game at the Garden, Glenn called me. Over the course of almost an hour, the conversation went from insights to prepare him for the game to his days on Long Island. Glenn told me how much Susie and he loved the Island, the fans and everyone around that '92-93 team. I told him about how every time I speak with Claire Arbour, she tells me, "You know, I think that team could have contended for the Cup for another season or two. But once we let Glenn Healy go, we lost our heart and soul and didn't have a chance." It was a real nice discussion, good to catch up with a guy I always admired as a goalie and a person.
Why am I telling you this? Because I don't want you to get the wrong impression about Glenn, who meant a lot to this franchise in the early '90s. I want to be clear that Glenn Healy is not a jerk. It's just that, sometimes, he plays one on TV.