Monday, December 14, 2009

Handle With Care

I wonder if the Canadiens' media gatekeepers have ever heard of the Travelling Wilburys? Remember them? The super-folk group of all-stars Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne got together for a few years in the '80s and produced a couple of hit tunes. The biggest single they produced was "Handle With Care." I heard it on the radio the other day, and a line in it reminded me strongly of Mike Cammalleri. It goes "...overexposed, commercialized. Handle me with care."

Cammalleri is a treasure for the Habs. He's the team's only proven sniper. He's quick and lethal and sturdy for his size. He's also a journalist's dream because he's well-spoken, thoughtful and original in his comments. That's the problem. He's SO well-spoken, reporters gravitate to him more than to any other player. They know he's always good for a really great quote and he never turns anyone away. He's available after every game and practice, no matter how the team has performed.

As a result, Cammalleri is in danger of becoming the new Chris Higgins. I don't know about you, but I found it incredibly annoying to listen to Higgins, night after night, tell us how the team failed to show up. Or how the passion just wasn't there, or how the team needed to play better in its own end. Ugh. It wasn't his fault though. It was only because he was well-spoken and had a rapport with the journalists, and because he made himself available when others wouldn't. Like Cammalleri's doing now.

Cammalleri will get more leeway though, because he manages to say the same things in new and interesting ways, and because he's better than Higgins on the ice. But even so, if he's always the guy who has to explain poor play on behalf of the team, he's going to become tired and overused. Overexposed, commercialized...if you will.

So, as much as I enjoy listening to Cammalleri, I think the gatekeepers have to send other players out to face the music once in a while. Let Gomez earn his millions by taking some accountability on his shoulders for a change. Or let Hal Gill enlighten the waiting hordes. Cammalleri needs a break sometimes, or he'll not only become overexposed...he'll become associated with explaining losses, and Chris Higgins can tell him how well that's received in Montreal.

Cammalleri is a real joy to listen to, but the Habs have to remember to handle him with care. Unless, of course, he's explaining wins. Then he can talk all he wants!


dusty said...

Agree completely. I guess it's up to the team to protect him better and push Gomez and others to pick up the slack. I hope he or somebody gets to explain some wins soon but that doesn't seem likely. Have watched every Hab game so far this season and they just don't look very good and don't seem to be improving.

Anonymous said...

I do find it a little strange that Cammy is there before and after every single game and practice...

P.S. J.T.,will you be gracing us with your game notes tonight?
*crosses fingers*
I always read/enjoy point of view!

Unknown said...

Good point, and in fact I wish the team in general would be better protected from the media. This whole centennial thing probably would've gone a lot more smoothly if they had. Somebody else wrote about that last year... maybe it was you? :-)