At this point of the season, it's easy for any kind of hockey news to really jump out. Today, it involved New Jersey Devils "forward" Cam Janssen. You know Cam Janssen. He's the guy who averaged 4:40 per game in 48 games last season, sat in the press box for the entire playoffs, scored no goals, took 17 shots, take 75 PIM, got one weak assist, played the weakest competition at evens on the team, and second-to-last in on-ice Corsi. He was the terrible "hockey player" not named Eric Boulton. He was re-signed for one season on a two-way deal for a little more than the NHL minimum according to CapGeek. So why is he talked up on Twitter and the like?
Well, I found out when I asked. Two days ago, Janssen did a candid and uncensored interview on the Thom & Jeff show and he's said some terrible things on it. And it's getting attention now. Thanks to @kaworus_lover on Twitter,
here's a video of the whole interview - and it's down so here's a post with video from SBN (Warning: NSFW for obscene language). I listened to the exchange and I want to make the following points on what he said after the jump. I'll give you the conclusion now: Cam Janssen is terrible - and, no, it has nothing to do with the cursing.
First: I'm surprised that Janssen had an opinion about the Los Angeles Kings and what it felt like to lose to them. It's not like he played against them or at any of the other three teams in the playoffs. He did get a good view from the press box, possibly better than the TV, so whatever.
The interview turned to Janssen's play style and that's where the dirt piles up. Let me be less than blunt for a change. It is utterly laughable that Cam Janssen thinks he scares people. Ha! Janssen can only play against the weakest competition for a handful of minutes and he can't do anything good against them. Cam Janssen sucks at hockey, why would any opposing player fear him? The only one who should be scared when he's on the ice is his coach, who must be hoping and praying the other team doesn't score a bunch whenever he's out there. Scary guys don't get less than five minutes of ice time and scratched in the playoffs. Useless players do. Throw in the fact that he's not some super fighter per HockeyFights' record, and I find it really, really, really hard to believe that Janssen scares anyone on the other team. Or at least he should be seen as scary.
At least, I thought that way until about 8:35 into the video. You're likely going to see this quote in some other places real soon, so here it is:
"You want to be scary. You want to put the fear of [expletive] God in people's eyes - and not just 'Ooh, I'm gonna beat you up.' No, I'm going to catch you with your [expletive] head down and hurt you because you're not going to know I'm coming 'cause I can hit too."
Two thoughts come to mind. Here's the first, a minor point. Cam Janssen tends to miss a good number of his hits - especially when he's lining guys up. No, I don't have a number on how many times he hits the glass or the invisible man instead of his target. Just trust me that he tends to whiff on checks. Of course, he also ends up out of the play because of it. So in addition to all the other things Janssen does poorly, he's not even a good hitter either.
Second, goodness gracious, Janssen just admitted he tries to hurt people on purpose! He wasn't laughing or joking, he said this in a serious tone. Neither Thom or Jeff laughed in response. I get and understand that it can be a form of trash talking. But this wasn't a game or a heat-of-the-moment situation. This was a part of a radio show in July. I get, understand, and appreciate that hitting is a part of the game, but intent to injure is far beyond just checking a guy with the puck. It's simply unacceptable and deplorable. Especially now with all of the attention on headshots as well as knowledge about concussions. All I can really do is shake my head.
The sad thing is that upon transcribing that quote from the video, I'm not so much outraged as much as I am disappointed. He's a goon. His meal ticket is punching people and "being tough" and "good in the room." Of course, he would think like this. The past and current hockey culture approves this behavior and the fact he keeps getting contracts is further justification of this line of thinking. Of course, as much as I can say that Lou and hockey as a whole are culpable to a degree (and they are), Janssen makes the choice to continue in this way. He not only approves of it, but he relishes it. Just see how he beamed when he talked about gooning it up in St. Louis. Or go to the very end and hear how he says he feels depressed when he's not training or practicing. I don't think Cam Janssen is the worst figure in hockey; it's not like he killed anyone or intentionally broke someone's neck in anger. Still, I can't approve of anyone who believes he's got to play with an intent to injure. It's disappointing because Janssen should really know better just from his own humanity much less his teammates, coaches, etc.
The second massive-facepalm moment came in an exchange at about 12:17. After Janssen explains how one does not go "too deep with [expletive] because we all have our [expletiving] issues" in terms of trash talking, this happens:
Host: "But if the guy was sucking [expletive] four weeks ago, you're going to let him know about it."
Janssen: "Ah, if he's sucking [expletive], then he's definitely getting his [expletive] kicked."
Clearly, Janssen isn't going be part of the You Can Play project. I shouldn't be surprised since, well, Janssen can't play.
Seriously, that's just absolutely awful from Janssen. It's an anti-gay statement, laughter aside. It's the sort of thing that raises barriers to the game. It's the sort of thing that hurts the Devils and hockey at large. That's arguably as low as the last quote I highlighted. It's disgraceful. You may see a lot of fans, Devils or otherwise, condemn Janssen for this and the other quote. And I agree. They're condemnable.
Let's review. We knew after last season or any of his past seasons that Cam Janssen can't attack, can't defend, can't hit well, can't make good passes, can't generate shots, can't play anyone who is remotely close to average, can't play any significant amount of ice time, can't even win most of his fights, can't stay out of the penalty box, and can't be trusted to play in any important hockey games. Cam Janssen is a terrible hockey player. This alone makes his re-signing regrettable. This is not news. What is news is this interview. Now have further confirmation that Cam Janssen may be just terrible.