If this is your first visit to TheLeafsNation.com, welcome! Stay a while, and enjoy the vast variety in topics we like to talk about. If it isn’t, you’ll know very well that we’re big fans of Tyler Bozak on this site. Cam Charron loves him (also this, and this, and this, and this, and this). Jon Steitzer thinks that he’s right up there with other first line centres. Blake Murphy is also a fan. Steve Dangle wants to throw him a party. Emily G has been proven to be in love with him. I’ve got nothing for you on Ryan and Justin, but I’m sure they also have shrines in their rooms. Last but not least, I am his biggest fan. More than anybody else. I’m changing my middle name to Bozak. He’s the best.
…okay, maybe not so much. Anyway, like everybody else on the Internet that has ever said, thought, rapped, or improvise danced a negative opinion or feeling to or about Tyler Bozak, I have been blocked by him on Twitter. When? So long ago, that I still thought that he was a good solution to the Leafs top line problems.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate Tyler Bozak. I think he brings down the first line by being an obvious not first liner, I think his intangible abilities are grossly overstated, and I think his production doesn’t make his paycheque, but I don’t hate him. I think he is an NHL level talent. I think his contract is even okay compared to market value, and I don’t blame him for signing it. He seems like an good guy 364 days a year, and he appears to get along with his teammates well. He’s a decent player that his management sees far too much in.
But he also has me blocked on Twitter. I don’t like that, to the point where last year, I tried to get everybody who has me blocked on twitter to unblock me. Even Damien Cox gave in. Now, all that remains are Bozak, Alan Walsh, and a few Leafs fans who dislike my point of view so much that they decided they never wanted to see it again. Today, I tried to fix that.
At 11:47 AM today, Tyler Bozak tweets this (which Daft Puck sends me a minute later, because, you know)
— Tyler Bozak (@Bozie42) September 7, 2013
For those who dont’ know me, I live less than 2 kilometres from Yorkdale Mall. I can get there in about 15 minutes on foot without putting a ton of effort into it. On a bicycle? Five. So at 12:05, I headed out. Nine minutes later (elevators, locking up my bike, etc), I was checked on Foursquare (for the 42nd time at Yorkdale. Go figure). Right after I get to SportChek, one of the employees (hi David!) tells me he’s a fan of my tweets and articles on here (WE HAVE READERS!!!!). From there, I wait for my moment to jump in.
Of course, there’s lots of kids eager to meet him and Brad May. Tyler Bozak, nice guy, is good with everybody who approaches him. So I just stay off to the side, pretending to look at equipment (okay, I was salivating over Easton sticks and actually considering options for skates this winter). Bozie makes sure to introduce himself to everybody, except me who he passes three or four times. Odd, but no big deal. Another employee comes up and asks me if I’m "the blogger", at which point I start to get nervous about the entire thing.
Eventually I have to leave and I decide I’ll go up to him after the next kid is done buying her gear. It’s already 12:30 at this point, after all. But hey! They decide shopping time is over and that Tyler and Brad will be signing autographs. I get to the back of the line, talk to May for a bit (there was a brief period where we intersected in terms of reporting on the Marlies), and finally get to Tyler. The conversation essentially went like this:
"Tyler! What’s up?"
"Not too much"
"I have an odd question.. how hard would it be to get you to unblock me on Twitter?"
"I don’t know, pretty hard… what did you say to me?"
"Not sure, it was a long time ago.. probably wasn’t to you, I’ve said plenty of stuff about you though"
"Okay, what’s your username?"
"Well, you’ve been pretty critical about me"
"Yeah.. but it’s not like I’m saying you’re a bad player. I talk about per dollar, per minute kind of stuff."
"Oh. Well, maybe I’ll unblock you. I’m assuming you don’t want this autograph?"
He left me ample opportunity to be a dick, and I could kind of tell he was holding back what he wanted to say, so I bit.
"I don’t, but somebody else might. Thanks!"
I left Sportchek, made a couple stops elsewhere in my favourite mall, grabbed my bike, and went home. In the end, I don’t think Tyler Bozak is unblocking me, but I got to ask him and politely get a dig in while still making a point to say I didn’t think he was flat out terrible. He isn’t. He’s a decent hockey player who appears to have been overestimated by Leafs management. The hockey gripe isn’t with him. He’s doing his best, he’s good to his fans, and probably even gave the Leafs a lower price than other interested teams, but management should have realized that in his current role, it quantifiably isn’t good enough for a team looking to win a Stanley Cup.
I hope he proves me wrong, but in the mean time, I’ll settle for a not-coming unblock on a social media website just because I think that would be nifty.
BY THE WAY! I’m not kidding when I say I don’t want these autographs. There’s very few players who’s scribbles I care about. Leave a comment with your Twitter username in here, and I’ll pick a random one that’s following me and mail them the signed 4×6’s of Bozak and May.
(If you don’t get the ‘Brozie’ part of the title, I run a Bozak parody account. Nothing to do with him, I’m running a long term experiment on how the parody community works and he was relevant at the time of creation. Contract, Kessel, and "LOL GRABOVSKI" jokes are easy, so…)