100 games a season: Gare Joyce's puck blog

Just like being in the scouts' & press' lounge, without the bad coffee and day-old Timbits

Location: Toronto

I've written for ESPN The Magazine and espn.com the last five years. My work has made the "notable" list of the Best American Sports Writing seven times and won four Canadian National Magazine Awards. My most recent book is Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts. I've written three other sports books: When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey's Cold War and Changed the Game; Sidney Crosby: Taking the Game by Storm; and The Only Ticket Off the Island: Baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Very Short Takes / Ian White, Conroy-Lundmark

Travel day today. Have to keep things brief.

Saw Ian White back in the Leafs line-up the other night. Talked to some of his former junior team-mates. Ripped, right across the board. His recent problems in Toronto (a charge of driving while his license was under suspension, sneers when the media asked him about it) didn’t come as a surprise to those who knew him best. Nor did he get much in the way of sympathy or best wishes. The way they paint the picture, White was the epitome of entitlement culture that junior hockey too often fosters. Maybe a couple of cold doses of reality will knock him straight.

Craig Conroy scoring a couple of goals on his return to the Calgary Flames was the story of the day. Backstory: As noted a couple of places, Conroy wasn’t a favorite of Darryl Sutter but don’t read the wrong thing into that. Usually it’s a sour hard-ass or angry troublemaker or lazy malingerer or career malcontent who rubs a GM the wrong way. Conroy, though, is one of the sunniest characters in the league. He was a little chatty for Sutter who believes players should be seen and not heard and should hail from the WHL rather than Clarkson-NCAA. He was also the guy who Sutter’s predecessor Craig Button traded for (Corey Stillman going the other way). When Button traded for Conroy, the criticism was that the Flames had acquired a checking-line forward, an unnecessary part. Hardly. Sutter’s re-acquiring him is billed as a way to juice the offence (and get Jarome onside). I think that's a little shaky given the way his production curve is pointing. If nothing else, though, a great depth acquisition, especially when you saw Daymond Langkow limping the other night.


As for the other side of that deal … I gotta say that I always thought that Jamie Lundmark was going to be a player. I remember him getting drafted—the Lundmarks looked like the family in the Golden Grahams commercials. He was excellent at the world juniors in Moscow (better, I thought, than linemate Dany Heatley). Another prospect mangled when drafted by the New York Rangers. If it was gonna happen, Calgary I’m sure was his last best chance.