Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two Guys Sharing a Problem

Somewhere in an executive office suite high above 5th Avenue in Manhattan…

The Commish… Brendan, thank you for stopping by. I’m sorry we have to meet under these circumstances, but I wanted to enlist your assistance with this matter of World Peace.

The Director… Mr. Commissioner…

TC: Call me “Commish”

TD: uh, OK…Commish. But I’m not sure what I can do about world peace. I’m just the Director of Player Safety for a hockey league.

TC: Not “world peace.” “World Peace”… Metta World Peace.

TD: Is that a special kind of world peace, like in I-rakistan?...


TD: …Commish?

TC: No, not “world peace” as in the world, Brendan. “World Peace” as in a basketball player.

TD: You have a basketball player named “World Peace?”

TC: “Metta World Peace.” And his problem is one I think you have some familiarity in dealing with.

TD: Who names his kid “Metta World Peace?”

TC: No one…he named himself that.  He used to be Ron Artest, but that’s not the point.

TD: I’d give him five games for that alone.

TC: Now see, that’s why I need your special talents. We had an incident the other night when World Peace allegedly elbowed an opponent in a flagrant manner and rendered him concussed. We don’t have much occasion to deal with these kinds of transgressions, although I understand elbows and concussions are something of a regular thing in your league, am I right?

TD: It has been known to happen from time to time.

TC: Well, we have to do something about this, and we are facing a conundrum. As I said, we don’t generally have to deal with this sort of on-court violence. We have to deal more with criticism of referees, criticizing league management, unauthorized presence on the court, verbal abuse of opponents…

TD: You mean…

TC: Yes, Mark Cuban.

TD: And you think that our experience in dealing with on-ice incidents can be of help.

TC: Absolutely. I’ve been a fan of your work in video. Your calm, yet authoritative manner in explaining suspensions is very Sam Waterston-esque.

TD: Sam who?

TC: The guy on “Law and Order.”

TD: Oh, thanks.

TC: But getting down to business, walk me through your process in arriving at a decision to suspend a player.

TD: Process?

TC: Yes, the steps you take to identify, evaluate, and render a decision on an incident?

TD: We don’t have a process. I have three brothers, and they’re always calling me to ask, “Did you see that hit by so-and-so?” That’s when we get on it.

TC: Sort of like a “discipline committee.”

TD: Sure, like a "discipline committee." Then I look at the film. Well, I don’t exactly “look” at the film. It’s running while I surf Twitter to see who is saying what about whether the player should be suspended or how many games he should get.

TC: So, you depend on social media to assist in your thought process.

TD: I suppose. And if no one is saying much about an incident, I can always find some great places to eat from pics people post when they’re at some restaurant.

TC: Tell me about the videos. You are the first league to provide video explanations of your decisions. What goes into that?

TD: It happened by accident. Early in the pre-season I got a call from one of my brothers about this incident in a game between Calgary and Vancouver. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond…

TC: Who?

TD: Pierre Letour… we just call him PL3. Anyway, my brother says, “you gotta see this hit. Runs him from behind right into the boards.” So I get one of our interns to find me the video, and I head right to Twitter to see what’s happening. Except this is pre-season, and who cares about a pre-season game enough to tweet about it? So, I have to actually watch the video, and as I’m doing it, I’m walking through my mind about what is going on down on the ice, and I’m talking out loud. And my intern has his smart phone out taking a video of it.

TC: These kids today and their smart phones.

TD: You’re telling me. So I see him doing this, and I yell at him to shut that thing off. But he shows me his video of me talking and says, “Mr. Shanahan, if we add some PowerPoint to this, we might have something.”

TC: Smart lad.

TD: Yeah, I guess, but I don’t know PowerPoint from a shot from the point, so I said, “ok, kid…see what you can do.” Not five minutes later he’s back with me on video and what I guess was a PowerPoint thing at the end with the points we made about the player boarding the other player, the rule he broke, and how many games he should get. The kid puts the whole thing up on the league’s Web site, and all of a sudden, I’m a hit… so to speak.

TC: Interesting. But about the number of games you settle on. I’ve seen you give some players a game or two, but this incident with Raffi Torres… 25 games. I’m very interested in that. How did you decide on that many games?

TD: I didn’t. Not directly anyway. I was on my way to the office on the day I was going to announce a decision, and I stopped by a 7-11 for some coffee – there aren’t very many Tim Horton’s in these parts – and I bought a Powerball ticket. The first number was “25.” You might say it was my lucky day, although between you and me, Torres is a dickhead.

TC: I see. I must say, your methods are rather unusual, but I guess it suits your game. I’m not sure if we can apply them to our situation with World Peace. But I do appreciate your taking the time to visit with me.

TD: Sure, Commish. I hope it was of some help.

TC: By way of thanks, I’d like to give you a bit of advice, Brendan.

TD: What’s that, Commish?

TC: If a certain player in a certain town in Pennsylvania gets it in his head to change his name to “Ima Chosen One,” beware.

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