Friday, February 24, 2006

Three Prophets: Modano, Gretzky, and Mohammad

-- The ship has sunk and the rats are running:

Mike Modano packed up his stuff and left Italy on Thursday morning, skipping a final meeting with his Olympic teammates after they were eliminated a night earlier in the men's hockey quarterfinals.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said the longtime Dallas Stars forward -- who sharply criticized team management after the Americans' elimination Wednesday -- was the only member of the 23-player squad not to gather at the arena where the Americans were knocked out by Finland.

Modano lashed out after he was benched by coach Peter Laviolette for most of the third period of the 4-3 loss.

"A lot of guys have been there for many years, and maybe we need some new blood in there to run things a little differently," said Modano, who has represented the U.S. in 11 international competitions. "It's probably time some things changed."


-- Canada we feel your pain. Gretzky questions future role with Hockey Canada:
"I'll take, and deservedly so, the responsibility of us not winning," Gretzky said in a news conference following Canada's 2-0 loss to Russia. "That's the situation I'm in, the position I have. I feel tremendously responsible that we didn't win."

"Quite honestly," a tired Gretzky told the throng of reporters, "I'm going to re-assess where I fit and what I'm going to do in the future. Hockey Canada is wonderful, my country is great, and I love it dearly. But I'm also human, too. It's tough and it's nerve-wracking. It's not fun when you don't win."

"Honestly it's been a horrible three months for me," said Gretzky. "Personally, as you move forward, your health becomes more important than anything, and it's been a rough three months."

"It's a hard tournament to win," Gretzky said. "In saying that, it's horrible to lose. We all have a hand in this, we all have a responsibility in this loss. But there's no words to describe how devastating a loss this is."

-- WARNING: don't cross-check, slash, or high stick Mohammad

You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull The mask off The Ol' Lone Ranger. And you don't mess around with Mohammad. So says one hockey fan.

The Prophet preached restraint, not violence, says Dr. SHEEMA KHAN (honorary chair of Council On American-Islamic Relations Canada).

I could never quite understand why Edmonton Oiler's coach Glen Sather put Dave Semenko on the same line as Wayne Gretzky. Semenko was a huge, bruising forward. Then Don Cherry explained it with clarity during an episode of Coach's Corner: Mess around with Gretzky, and Semenko would make you pay, Grapes told viewers. Deterrence through physical intimidation. Or in kinder, gentler terms: keeping the opposition honest.

As the [Mohammed] cartoon fiasco has raged, some Muslims have opted for a similar strategy: Mess with the Prophet, and we will make you pay. We will boycott your goods, and recall our ambassadors. Others have chosen far more violent responses. Flags have been burned, embassies destroyed, calls for death and destruction shouted in the heart of Europe. It may not be pretty, many argue, but it works. The West will dare not go there again.

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