Saturday, January 13, 2007

Senators Video Lacks Respect Towards Gainey Family

It was an unbelievable lack of respect from the Senators organization. Then again, they've never had much class to begin with!

In the moments during the pregame buildup between the Senators and Habs, a scene on the video screen above the ice sent a rage throughout the Canadiens organization.

In an inconsiderate display of brash idiotic arrogance, heartless timing, and ill will, a cartoon featuring the Senators mascot Spartacat teases a Habs fan in a boat, inviting him to jump in the lake, so to speak. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk steers the ship, while the mascot taunts and pokes at the fan, before finally throwing him overboard.

Have the Senators organization no knowledge of the recent tragedy that involved Bob Gainey's daughter Laura, who perished at sea in December, after being swept off a boat during a storm?

I am sure that there wasn't one Canadiens representative, be it a staff member or a player on the ice or on the bench at that moment, that didn't squirm upon seeing such a tasteless sight.

In the RDS broadcast booth, it was said that they had debated whether to make mention of the incident live on air. Hall Of Fame journalist and color commentator Yvon Pedneault spoke of the Canadiens brass in attendance being simply horrified. He said that what he was about to speak of, is outside the bounds of the game, but needed to be addressed nonetheless.

Pedneault stated that the Canadiens members who witnessed the scene were practically out of their heads with disgust.

Apparently this video clip plays before each game, only the sweater of the particular opponant of the night changes. It plays to pumping up the fans at the puck drop.

Would there not be a single person in the Ottawa brass with enough foresight to clue into this disgrace waiting to happen? Are the Senators really so anal as to not take certain precautions prior to this fiasco happening.
You cannot say that there would not be anyone who didn't make the allusion to the Gainey tragedy when seeing this clip play before Senators games leading up to this moment.

It was a disgusting sight! It was reprehensible and irresponsible. There is absolutely no excuse for it.

Upon gauging the reactions of the Canadiens, Senators president Roy Mlakar immediatly offered his apology to Pierre Boivin, the Canadiens president.

I'd assume he was promptly told to go straight to hell!

Mlakar then phoned owner George Gillett Jr. and his son Foster, to offer an apology.

Renaud Lavoie of the RDS team stated the Ottawa brass would be drafting an official letter of apology to the Canadiens.

They should be told right where to stick it.

The person or people in charge of these pre-game video montages ought to get the axe. I hope he is named. I imagine there is hardly any form of apology that could remove the bitter taste this has left with the Canadiens.

The whole indiscretion is quite simply unforgivable.


The Universal Cynic said...

Although the video itself was extremely unfortunate and a horrible mistake, I think to say that there was "ill will" suggests that it was a premeditated act to offend the Gainey family and the Habs organization. I sincerely doubt that is the case. These videos are in regular rotation at Sens games. It was a disastrous coincidence, and I think I can say with complete confidence that it wasn't done in malice. If I ever discover information that indicates otherwise, you can trust that I will make it public.

I'm sure the Montreal media are up in arms, and the entire Canadiens' organization was and is offended, but to suggest that such an act is unforgivable is extreme. Murder is unforgivable. Incest is unforgivable. Making a mistake and airing what should have been deemed an insensitive video is eventually forgivable. Gainey and the organization do possess class -- they'll take the high road. Why would you want to encourage them to lower themselves to the Sens' level?

One last thing -- I've read Montreal fans on message boards holding the Sens fans personally responsible for this incident. Such fingerpointing is overdramatic and totally misplaced. The airing of the video was the fault of whomever is responsible for the A/V -- no one else.

Reality Check said...

Perhaps my using of the term "ill will" reflected the anger I felt at the moment.

The story came to me in the intermission between periods one and two when the score was four zip Sens.

Upon initial reaction, all I could see was Bob Gainey's face reddening. I was relieved, afterwards, to hear he was not present at the game.

I suggested "ill will" in thinking that it was practically impossible for anyone working in a hockey atmosphere to have not come across the story of Laura Gainey's tragedy.

I check the details of my sire meter daily, for knowledge of where hockey fans interests lie, and what brings them to EOTP. This story has gone beyond the game and touched many outside it. My hit counter's most popular search is Laura Gainey. I have had hits world wide from countries I can't even spell that have shown interest. I am linked to two memorial sites in the young womans honour. I can trace that after reading my posts, the outclick is usually to these pages.

How can it be that a story that has garnered front page press in more than just hockey circles, slips by who ever is in charge of these video montages in Ottawa?

I insinuted ill will, likely because it is more easily explained away than absense of conscience.

While persuing the story, I often came upon quotes beginning with, "the entire hockey community mourns", or "the hockey world has been saddened by", lead ins.

Seeing that the tragedy involved a boating accident, I would assume that anyone dealing with nightly replaying of a video involving boats would make something near to a connection with the story somewhere along the way.

Especially when it's gotten such coverage!

Montreal, as far as I can tell, is still but two hours from Ottawa. The story was hardly halfway around the globe. Maybe Ottawa is not unlike Toronto at all, existing in it's own cocoon like trance of obliviousness to outside goings on.

Letting it lip, letting it go by, is simply incomprehensible.

How incompetant can the makeup of an organization be?

Between Melnyk Mlakar, Muckler and Murray, you'd think someone would have caught on and advised about the playing of this clip when the Canadiens came to town.

While it may be a stretch to place the blame on Sens brass for the incident, they are in charge of their employees. If the thought of canning the clip didn't trickle down for them, the embarrassment is theirs to own up to.

Having said all this, who will ever be able to ascertain if it was done in malice?

I'd like to hope it wasn't, but I just cannot envision the multitude of oraganizational braincramps it took to allow this to happen.

While my suggestion that it is unforgivable may be extreme, it is honestly how I feel it should be dealt with.

Not accepting an apology hardly constitutes not taking the high road. In all reality, the incident will be forgotten way before it is likely truly forgiven. Should the Canadiens organization rebuff the Senators efforts at an apology, it hardly brings them down to an Ottawa level.

I won't even go there!

As far as fans of either team on message boards go - they likely need a life, and a focused one at that!

Having spoken to someone who was in attendance after the game, he alluded to a mixed bag of reaction. Like any public sampling, there were those who laughed it off crowded among those who felt the pain of the awkward moment.

All in all, Senators fans aren't to blame. It's a lucridous notion by whoever brought it forth.

Your comments on this matter are much appreciated. My piece was ripped out without the benefit of anything more than sheer reactional anger. Your words are a necessary counterpoint to mine.

But I'd still tell 'em to stick it!

Sherry said...

I've written a bit of a response here.

I understand what you're trying to say and most of my comments are coming from a perspective of a Senators' fan.

All I have to add is that the organizational make-up of a professional sports team is usually very tall so for the brass to be involved with those who work at the stadium is very rare. That's not excusing in any way what happened, but oversights of all types are bound to happen in all franchises.

xinner said...

In my opinion, to hijack a promotional video as an example of the "ill will" of an entire franchise is far more deprecating to the tragedy suffered by the Gainey family than a poorly timed airing of a fictitious and entirely unrelated promotional video clip. Was the video, in the context of the Gainey tragedy, a stupid PR move, hell yes. But, until Mr. Gainey himself indicates his concerns over the video, I think the fan reaction is hyperbole writ large. Should someone be fired...yes. But as a Habs fan you should not feel proud of yourself for defending the honour of your Habs by insinuating "ill will" and the host of other vitriolic comments into the fray. The death of Mr. Gaineys daughter was a very sad and unfortunate event, and we all regret its occurrence. The playing of the promotional video, showing a man being pushed overboard wearing a Habs sweater was filmed months ago, and has been being played with every other NHL team’s sweater all season. Stupid? Yes. Bad Timing? Yes. But truly, out of respect for the Gainey family, do not insult the Gaineys grief by insinuating more into it. Also, it aired during the first period, after a poor HABS start, and like you yourself admitted, this circumstance may have added to some of Mr. Pedneault immediate reaction.
As a Sens fan, I sincerely apologize for my teams entirely stupid playing of this video, and truly hope the Gainey family all the best in the future and hope they can see to forgive us for our indiscretion. To the Habs fans who are hijacking this to soothe their pride after the drubbing their team suffered on national TV...we'll, it certainly says a lot more about your sensitivity than it does about ours.

J.R. Hippe said...

Wow, talk about grasping for straws.

I could see this would be an issue if Spartacat had pushed Laura Gainey off the ship, but in fact it was two separate incidents. Teams run videos like this all the time.

Relax, kid.

Reality Check said...

Kid? What am I, seventeen now. Your comments are downright ignorant. You need a soul buddy!

Reality Check said...

My terming of the incident as "ill will' evidently has lined Senators fans up on the defensive side.

I stand by my call.

I guess some would like to think that my opinions on the matter had some consequence from the game being played, with the score altering the anger factor. In my first comment reply, I referenced the time at which I first heard the story by making mention of the score. I thought I would make that point as the piece was written during the second period, and the facts of the incident had not yet all come forth.

I initially believed the clip had aired prior to the opening faceoff. There are inconsistancies as far as timing, in the different sources I have since read.

Truthfully, no inconsequencial game score, no eventual drubbing could anger me more than what I had just heard. To suggest that any point I made in vitriol had anything to do with "soothing" the loss is ridiculous. This one game means little in grander schemes and this Habs fan isn't so frail and fragile as to need excuses or a cause to vent to make myself feel any better.

Senators fans may pump and pound their chests in a big win. I find it laughable and immature in hockey knowledge, but hey - knock yourself out!

Essentially, that is the only thing I have "hijacked" - the Senator pride of the day!

"But as a Habs fan you should not feel proud of yourself for defending the honour of your Habs by insinuating "ill will" and the host of other vitriolic comments into the fray."

Having been a fan of the Canadiens for 38 years, I've never felt compelled to defend their honour by comparing them to franchises that don't measure. You really wouldn't understand.

I don't believe that Yvon Pedneault was adversely motivated by the score either. He was laughing at Habs mistakes on the day, a mere five minutes after breaking the story.

Again, I stand by my terming of it as "ill will".

With clarity and some chilling out time, it was totally wrong for me to paint the entire organization as guilty. It seems that that is how my words have been taken - I'm not so sure it was my initial intent. My aim certainly wasn't at the fans of the team who had no role in this at all. My apologies are extended if you feel as though I tainted the spirit of your team, or it's dedication to it.

While I called the Sens organization classless, I should have used the term "fumbling" instead.

As for "ill will", someone, somewhere in the organization is guilty of it. No one can tell me that an entire professional structure can all have ethical responsability collapse in sync, allowing this boob to happen.

Some may suggest that whoever is the owner of this foul-up, at some point had to dismiss that playing the video would have any effect. I don't buy that. To have that notion would imply an awareness of circumstance and consequence.

Others have said that it's purely a slip, that it was missed or forgotten. Yet Gainey's tragedy is merely 30 days old, still pretty fresh in the mind, and only two hours up the road in respect to it's emotional center. It's inadmisable as an excuse to suggest that anyone working in the capacity of a hockey PR command could simply miss out on this one.

As I've said before, this clip has run at Senator games for a spell, there were plenty of people with ample opportunity to nip this in the bud. I doubt that all are that incompetant.

I believe that who ever was in charge, pretty much thought it a joke. It's the only conclusion I can come to, considering all eliminated poor excuses.

The Ottawa Senators organization did react promptly and with class in apologizing as quickly as they did. It's commendable. I'm sure the motion was accepted by all parties in the Montreal brass. For myself, the anger has somewhat subsided to the point where I regret fingering an entire organization with charges of ill will.

I'm certain that the person responsible for this will be answering to it in some way. It's all that can be asked for now.

Time to move on.