Editor's Note: All it takes to pick The Omen apart is some patience and an aversion to paying for his entire articles. Read this great fanpost by one of the iconic parts of Wendel Clark to see proof that Damien is multi-talented. Not only can he contradict himself within the same paragraph or the same article but over time his opinion morphs like a Vichy Frenchman.
Call it the Cox Curse but every defenseman picked in the first round that Damien Cox has claimed was ruined by the Leafs rushing them along never won a Stanley Cup after leaving the team, no matter how illustrious a post-Toronto career they had. And when printing this list of never-got-theres for the first time very early in young Carlo Colaiacovo's career, he might very well have sentenced the kid to a lifetime of never drinking from the silver chalice. What's worse, he's now starting to make the same noises about Luke Schenn.
Will his poison pen (or word processor, as it were) condemn both of these poor souls to the hell of a Cupless existence? TIme will tell, but in the meantime I'll present you with some evidence (gleaned from the one or two paragraphs I'm able to read that appear in the "FREE" section when I do an archive search of old Damien Cox columns on thestar.ca, as I'm too cheap to pay for full access) of why I think Cox may be in the process of using voodoo columnist black magic to mess up the hockey lives of these innocent young men.
Cox typed the following sentence:
Should Colaiacovo sign by next week and stay for some or all of the regular season, it would be the ninth time the Leafs have started a defenceman taken in the first round in the NHL before his 20th birthday.
- October 4, 2002
He doesn't go on to name those eight other men in the paragraphs that aren't only available to paid subscribers, but a photo caption without the accompanying photos does appear, with THESE NAMES:
Jeff Ware, Luke Richardson, Al Iafrate, Jim Benning, Gary Nylund, Kenny Jonsson, Drake Berehowsky
Being too lazy to do too much research, I am going to assume the other defenseman taken in the first round who started before his 20th birthday is the greatest hockey player in the history of the universe, but also a non-Cup winner, the recently honoured Wendel Clark (who of course was drafted first overall as a defenseman and played his first game as Leaf at 18). If it's not Wendel, then I will change my theory to be about the PICTURES instead of the NAMES, but the basic premise holds (in this increasingly ridiculous scenario).
Cox was also incensed, as he is today about Schenn, that Colaiacovo was not being returned to his junior team. Compare the eerily similar sentiments expressed in the following two quotes:
As the Leaf defence continues to have problems, it's perplexing why [Pat Quinn] won't give rookie Carlo Colaiacovo a single start given that he also refuses to send the young man back to junior hockey.
- October 22, 2002
It was a mistake to keep Schenn in the NHL - minus-five on this western road swing - and burn the first year of his entry level contract, but again, we'll give Fletcher this one.
- November 17, 2008
Yes, a difference exists in that Ron Wilson is playing Schenn while Pat Quinn was catering to his beloved veterans and sitting Carlo but the fact remains that Cox is saying the same things today as he was six years ago. Can an article grouping Schenn with the above-mentioned walking jinxes be far behind?
Well, we'll know when suddenly Cox goes all Sybil on our asses, starts contradicting himself week-to-week, and espouses two COMPLETELY, DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED PHILOSOPHIES AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME. Oh, wait, that's already started, just as it was back in 2002.
When Carlo was sent back to junior that year, and selected for the Canadian entry to the 2003 World Junior Championship, Cox wrote a number of articles that appear in the few sentences I can see to promote the blueliner as the leader of Canada's defense corps and the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a kid to hold on to at all costs.
Then, three weeks after Canada fell to the Russians and settled for the silver medal, Cox decided that in fact Carlo should have been shipped out months before in a future-mortgaging push to win it all in 2002:
Well, it seems fair to suggest that Alexei Kovalev or a similar player (Pavel Bure?) could have made a crucial difference in the Eastern Conference final against Carolina last spring. The Leafs just might have made it to the Stanley Cup final.
If the Leafs had sacrificed, say, Carlo Colaiacovo back then, or Nik Antropov, just how different would their prospect stable look right now? Antropov's stock is higher today, but Colaiacovo is regarded as the same top-quality prospect he was last year.
- January 25, 2003
A few weeks later, he was at it again, pushing for Colaiacovo to be traded for immediate defensive help:
Now defenseman needed, maybe two
Aaron Miller, 31, Los Angeles Kings: He has the size that Teppo Numminen and Alexei Zhitnik don't, but far less of an offensive game. He can handle the puck effectively and make the first pass, and plays with a superior level of enthusiasm and combativeness.
Glen Wesley, 34, Carolina Hurricanes: Leaf fans watched this veteran help the Hurricanes past the Leafs in last spring's conference final. He doesn't have the offensive game any more and lacks a physical component, but he's cagey and can move the puck efficiently and help out on the power play.
Of all these players, Wesley is the likeliest to end up in Toronto and a player who would come at a moderate cost. Even if Numminen, Zhitnik or Miller can be had, the Leafs would have to be prepared to sacrifice either Nik Antropov or Carlo Colaiacovo.
- March 7, 2003
Now keep in mind, this is the same Damien Cox who just today wrote an article about why trading a six-years-older, six-years-more-damages, underachieving healthy scratch of a defenseman who was sitting eighth on the depth chart of a blueline crew that isn't exactly blowing the league away with either their solid defensive play or their ability to chip in on offense, along with a forward who had regressed in every year he played for the team and was currently sitting pretty with four points in his first 20 games, for a point-a-game player of the exact same age, playing a position they were much thinner in, who had scored more goals and points than either of the players he was traded for, who had played in more than TWICE the games as Colaiacovo in fewer seasons, was a terrible move and indicative of just how ridiculous an organization the Toronto Maple Leafs are.
Of course, Damien Cox would never trade the future for the present:
With Tanenbaum as chairman, the Leafs have, as has been the case for much of their history, squandered first round draft picks and prospects in search of the quick fix.
- September 26, 2008
Unless of course the present is actually the 2003 trade deadline:
I've never dumped on the Leafs for the [Owen] Nolan deal because I argued at the time it was a good deal for the team...
- March 19, 2008
So apparently, according to Cox, trading top-level prospects for washed-up veterans in order to make immediate runs for the Stanley Cup is okay, and when the Leafs don't do it they're guilty of "yakking and not acting" (January 25, 2003), . But trading former top-level prospects who have proven themselves to be anything but elite at the NHL level after being given several seasons to show that they were worthy of their high draft numbers for a relatively cheap young player who has scored significantly in the top league and is on pace to score 68 points (according to my rudimentary head math), or 48 more than the combined total Steen and Colaiacovo are on pace to score in the highly unlikely circumstance in which they actually play in all of the Blues' remaining games is evidence that the Leafs organization is "behaving as though it was one of the many over-served fans at last weekend's Grey Cup in Montreal" (November 25, 2008).
So Brad Boyes (future 40-goal-scorer) and Alyn McCauley (excellent defensive forward, playoff hero and heart and soul player) for Owen Nolan (42 points in 61 games for San Jose the season he was traded to Toronto) = good; Carlo Colaiacovo (one point in 10 games, regular healthy scratch, 101 games played in last 5 NHL seasons) and Alex Steen (four points in 20 games, decreasing goal totals since rookie season) for Lee Stempniak (13 points in 14 games, 27-goal scorer two seasons ago, same age as Colaiacovo and played in 160 of 162 games in last two seasons to Carlo's 76) = bad.
Now that I've rambled on and on and on about what a weird, schizo, hypocritical ass-covering, logic-impared (did I mention he uses Stempniak's 16 goals scored in his last 97 games as the pertinent offensive fact to prove his worthlessness as opposed to his proportionally MASSIVE production this season as compared to the people he was traded for?) dillhole. I want to tie this all together succinctly because most of this is non-sensical and I really need some sleep. Basically Damien Cox is the devil. When he mentions first-round-drafted players in the context of being ruined by the Toronto Maple Leafs, he's specifically using black magic to taint young Leafs blueliners with the Cup-defying jinx that ruined the lives of defensemen like Al Iafrate and Luke Richardson.
This is because he's pure, unadulterated evil, and this is evidenced by his speaking in many different voices at once (like Linda Blair). You know that he's amping up his evil powers to destroy another young Leaf rearguard's career when his contradictions and seductive-but-flawed, illogical siren song of trading away the future for help now and holding on to prospects at the expense of immediate veteran help are both the reason that the Leafs are the worst organization in professional sports. This is because he hates you, and me, and everyone else who is stupid, naive and good-hearted enough to love the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also, he killed Jesus and probably hangs out with Dick Cheney. He will destroy us all!!!
P.S. I just reread this before posting it. I really fucking need to sleep...