The Garden City Refugee

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Random Thoughts – Tim Gassen, Ken Dryden, Greedy Unions and More

December 7, 2019

1. About 15 years ago, an Indianapolis Racers fan named Tim Gassen found my website and decided to shoot an email to who he thought was “an interesting guy.” That began an association that would see us partner on my first book and would open many doors for me, including the opportunity to meet many Jets and WHA legends at the Hot Line reunion in Winnipeg in 2010 and at WHA Fan Day in Calgary in 2013. In return, I was able to help him on a couple of his own books as well as develop and maintain the comprehensive stats database at the website of the WHA Hall of Fame, which Tim founded.

Last week, I found out from his wife Sarah that he had passed away following heart surgery. Though we hadn’t been in frequent contact over the past few years, I always admired his unequaled passion for his hometown Racers and the entire WHA. Fans of the WHA lost a great friend.

Thanks for everything, Tim.

2. Perhaps the most interesting item from Ken Dryden’s latest book, Scotty, at least for me, was when he discussed the Oilers of the 1980s, the team the Jets loved to roll over and grease the skids for. Dryden, presumably echoing Scotty Bowman's thoughts, went on and on about Gretzky, Messier, Anderson and Coffey, pointing out all the video-game-type numbers they put up, then only mentioned their goaltending near the end of his essay, almost as if it was an afterthought. He did say Grant Fuhr was “important,” though he left an unmistakable impression that he thought Fuhr and Andy Moog were more or less just along for the ride.

Such an uneducated opinion can only come from someone who didn’t spend much time watching those teams. Without superhuman goaltending, particularly the kind they got from Fuhr, it is likely they never would have even gotten out of the Smythe Division, let alone win multiple Stanley Cups, and history would have looked very differently at this “dynasty.”

2a. I hope Glen Sather at least had the courtesy to send John Ferguson a fruit basket as a token of appreciation for all the Jets did for the Oilers.

3. If Dryden thinks that downtown Buffalo is a disaster, as he said in the book, he ought to take a stroll through downtown Winnipeg sometime. If he survives, he could have enough material for another epic.

4. So let me get this right. The teachers in Ontario who are extremely well paid and make roughly double that of the average working stiff in addition to raking in a gold-plated potpourri of benefits most of us can only dream of are threatening to go on strike because they want even more. And yet no one seems willing to call it for what it is – pure unvarnished greed. Were I Doug Ford, I would be taking that offer of a 1% raise off the table immediately and reduce it by 1% for every day they walk the picket lines. Give them the Clint Eastwood treatment. Go ahead, make my day. Now that would truly be “fair and reasonable,” as the unions have been pushing for.

5. Our mayor and many of his obedient councilors are again crowing about how many lives safe injection sites are saving, yet those fringe extremists seemingly never bother to consider how many lives they're helping to destroy by being enablers of a deadly habit. Nor do they consider how many lives they could truly be saving by focusing their efforts on getting the druggies off the stuff.

6. Mayor Sendzik recently announced that each councilor will get an opportunity to serve as the deputy mayor, as if it was some kind of job apprenticeship program. Funny, I always thought that a municipal government existed to serve the best interests of the city and its residents, not the best interests of the councilors.

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