Taylor Wins, Hayton Loses

Let’s start with the negative Soo Greyhounds news and then we will touch on a feel good Greyhound story shall we?

Yesterday the whole country generally speaking tuned in to the Russia/Canada World Junior game to not only witness Canada’s worst game in goal differential, but they also witnessed some very poor sportsmanship by one of our own in Soo Greyhound forward Barrett Hayton.

After Canada suffered a humbling 6-0 drubbing by the Russians, 19 year old Barrett Hayton was so pissed off he lost his respect and sportsmanship as a Canadian and decided to leave his bucket (helmet) on during the playing of the Russian national anthem which is, and has been customary for the winning teams for decades at the WJC’s.

The fact that across from him 23 other kids took theirs off to expose their sweaty locks and the fact that teamates down the line to his left and right did the same, did not seem to matter to him. As Captain, he took this loss angrily, but set the wrong example for his teamates, Canadians, and young kids watching the game in attendance.

This isn’t Barretts first international rodeo and he has removed his headgear hundreds upon hundreds of times before for national anthems in junior hockey and in the NHL, where he is a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

If I wrote that this bad behaviour was not a big deal I would be cheating the reader of my integrity and honest reporting. I write the truth as I see it, whether it’s a Greyhound or not. Barrett is 100% Soo Greyhound and will be until he is traded to a contender after the WJ tournie is done is very likely. After a long playoff run, he will return to Arizona. This is just my speculation and not fact.

Now, I do not know Barrett aside from one interview I did with him a few years back, but I am sure he is a fine young man, but he lost some points with me on this one.

Having been up with the Coyotes for many months where he was being taught how to be a professional on and off the ice ; well… obviously that wasn’t 100% successful.

An apology was immediately made, but it doesn’t wash with me or many many Soo fans, as per the comments running wild, with words like “Bushleague”, “classless”, “disgusting”, “terrible” being thrown around; other words used, I will not print.

If Barrett had gone on camera, as my friend Jay had suggested, the apology would have partially sat better with me, but it was issued and written (obviously) by the CHL and Team Canada’s PR/Media people which may have included a lawyer. It was too well written in most aspects, but poorly written with the excuse.

The apology written by his minders included this “I’m sorry for leaving my helmet on for the Russian anthem following today’s game and I apologize to the Russian team and its fans,” Hayton said in a statement.

“As a leader on this team, I was trying to process the game and evaluate how we can regroup. I was lost in the moment.”

Lost in the moment? and processing?

I’m sure the assistant captains and other Candadian players were feeling the same. That apology was bogus; the writer should have known better that as Canadians we would have actually respected Barrett for being honest, but the writers buried him a bit, as people call BS on this one.

Anyone with a normal brain will not buy this; we know better, the world knows better. It should have included the phrases “I was angry, upset, and my emotions got the better of me and poor sportsmanship creeped in, and as Captain I need to be better and honest, as now I sit and reflect, it was an embarrassing moment for my country, my teamates, my current junior team where I am still on the roster, and the Arizona Cayotes organization and most importantly to the Russian team and the Russian fans in attendance and at home watching.”

Barrett Hayton is a celebrity these days of sorts; he’s rolling in the dough; he’s an Arizona Coyote, Captain of Team Canada, and most talked about player in the Soo, but this kind of attention is certainly not what he wanted.

Russian and Czech based media outlets now have him as a main topic as well as TSN, Sportnset, CBC, Arizona Sports, The Score, Yahoo Sports and Russias own nationally funded and for non profit Russia Today, which is not different than the BBC and CBC in their funding for those that like to slam Russia because the White House says so.

Aside from this topic; seeing comments on social media like ” f*** Russians, who cares it’s only Russians, or “…Man those Russians are dirty” is in no way helping bring the world together and that is not cool where I stand. The Russians are just as dirty as the Canadians have ever been, the Americans have ever been. I have seen it on both sides and that is fact.

Barrett, this isn’t personal, as I have only interviewed you once , spoke at length with your father a couple of times; I hope you learned a big lesson and make us proud by coming out in the next game or two with your own apology when asked by the next reporter about the situation.

As Soo Greyhound fans; we don’t want to leave our lasting impressions of you on a sour note. I met your father btw and I am sure he will have a talk with you.

NOW FOR SOME GREAT NEWS !!

Last night your Soo Greyhounds managed their second dramatic comback in a row, and all the thanks goes to young gun Ethan Taylor who came in the game midway through the first period after veternan Bailey Brkin was forced out of the net as per a couple goals let in. These goals were very saveable and were from far out. On the last goal it looked like Bailey was swatting at flies. Maybe, too much turkey over the holidays and the tryptophan left in his system made him groggy was the reason. Anyway, Bailey it’s ok to have a night off; we all do in every aspect of life.

Anyway, Taylor came in cold as he had not played in about 5 weeks and I’m sure he was happy to and the pressure wasn’t on. His team was down 3-0 and even if they lost 4-2 or whatever, the game was not lost because of him.

Now, with the Hounds battlng back to make it a hockey game again and make it 3-2; I am very sure the nerves were kicking in. Ethan knew he had to make the best of the start and he did, by making save after save after save on routine shots, but he stoned Wolves players on at least two occasions, where I was sure the puck was going in the net. On one in particular, he shot out his left pad to steal a goal that the Wolves player surely had nightmares about last night.

Taylor has sucked it up like a professional all season when not playing and displayed great sportsmanship by always being a positve influence on the bench.

It was a no brainer that he got the first star of the game and the smile he displayed was worth a million bucks. I am sure his parents had tears in their eyes or close to it.

John Dean is going to have his hands full deciding who starts Monday. On one hand you want to reward Ethan but on the other hand, we play Saginaw next and need the points. My gut tells me he will go with Brkin and Ethan will get a start next weekend.

Go Hounds Go

Ernest Skinner

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