Manning cuts a wide swath in criticizing his fellow teammates
"I want to win. I think I'm alone" declared an angry Gord Manning after last week's game.
But you did win Gord.
"I know, but I want to destroy them, every week. I just don't think some of my teammates share that urge"
I caught up with Gord after last week's decisive 8-5 victory. The intense third year defensive juggernaut was less than pleased, criticizing his fellow teammates for a lack of toughness, professionalism and winning drive.
"I guess all they care about is how much money they can make or how long their hair is or how much "bling-bling" they can wear."
Bling-bling? Is that a new aftershave?
"We were tied at one point, we should never be tied with those Harp guys. Maybe all that jewelry they were wearing was slowing them down"
Jewelry? What? Surely not in the dressing room! Though not mentioned by name, the Lee brothers are known to have an extensive collection of "sport" jewelry, including a limited edition 1988 Ricky Henderson St. Christopher medal and a 1992 Madonna cross. The flashier Gord Lee seemed to be the main target of Manning's ire.
"Do you ever see him going to the net any more? Its like he's on vacation out there"
Gord Lee, who came into the TNH with Manning has been a minor disappointment this year. Everyone expected the human bowling bowl to have a breakout season after tantalizing fans with 14 goals down the stretch last year.
And Lee wasn't the only one in his sites. Wiithout naming names, Manning criticized players for complaining about not getting the puck enough, for not working hard enough in the warm up - even their demeanor when going for beers after the game. Last week only one White Team player showed up.*
"It's frustrating when you've got some guys playing 100 percent and some guys not," Manning said. "That's what I'm talking about, that competitive heart. We don't have that – yet!"
Manning is widely respected for his work ethic and unglamorous style, and he never has hesitated to confront teammates about on-ice issues. Though Manning said he'd spoken with the young players about his complaints, they were news to Lee.
"What's he yipping about now" was Lee's only comment. "He's always complaining about something. Someone should up his prescription"
And whether or not his dosage is upped, the message is clear- Manning is definitely unhappy with his teammates performance. One can only wonder how long this dissension can last. Stay tuned for details.
Till next time
*Ed. note - That was Ed "Chameleon Boy" Chassé, and he doesn't count.