I've always heard that chicks from the Czech Republic are a little "wild." They like to drink, party, and have a good time. It seems the men of the Czech Republic are no different. Just ask 19-year-old Maple Leafs rookie Jiri Tlusty...
The morning after the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, it was Tlusty who made the front page of the Toronto Sun. And not because he scored a couple of goals in the game.
Nude photos of Tlusty ended up online on a Canadian gossip website, isthishappening.com. Tlusty took the photos himself, last year, on his cell phone while standing in front of a mirror. The pictures, it seems, didn't leave much to the imagination. Neither did the Sun's headline: "Lusty Tlusty."
After the game on Tuesday night the Leafs released two press releases: one from Tlusty, apologizing for the photos and his poor judgement, and one from general manager John Ferguson Jr., addressing the photos and showing support for the soon-to-be maligned rookie.
Leave it to the Toronto media to blow the story completely out of proportion and make it a much bigger deal than it should have been. While the topic of discussion at Leafs' practice yesterday should have been another squandered third period lead, all everyone wanted to talk about was Jiri's, well, "Tlusty."
As for The Toronto Sun, I'm not sure what their editorial board is smoking, but it's definitely some high-quality stuff. While our great nation is set to launch a public inquiry in to one of our former Prime Minister's, The Sun chose to go with Tlusty on their front page. Brilliant. Once again, the Toronto Sun showed why it's the laughing stock of Toronto's daily newspapers.
Here's my question regarding the nudey shots of Tlusty: who gives a damn? The Leafs have bigger problems to deal with. You know, like being the worst defensive team in the league. Yeah, that little issue.
Sure, it's a tad embarrassing for Tlusty and the organization, but it's not like he set up a dog-fighting ring and put down a few Old Yeller's. It's not like he beat his girlfriend, or set up a drug deal. He didn't get piss drunk and get behind the wheel (sorry, Mark Bell). So what's the big deal?
The pictures were taken last season while Tlusty was a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Let's be honest folks, there isn't a whole lot to do up in the Soo. Tlusty was probably drunk (at least I hope he was), was trying to get in some girl's panties, and took some glamour shots of himself to help his cause. He made a stupid decision and got taken advantage of when someone leaked the photos online. Life goes on. How does it effect his play, or the team's play, on the ice? It doesn't, but all the negative media attention certainly does.
The Globe and Mail's Tim Wharnsby called it "another low" for the Leafs while The Star's Damien Cox wrote a whole freaking column about it. Cox really kills me sometimes. I love the guy's writing, partly because I disagree with him most of the time and he gets me going, but his column yesterday was just too much.
Cox went as far as saying Tlusty soiled "the team's famous emblem" and that upon hearing of the photos, Tlusty should have been sent back down to the minors. Cox said the Leafs are no longer a team of real tradition and only push propoganda like their slogan "The Passion That Unites Us All."
Well, I take exception to that. In part because I've got the Leafs logo with "The Passion That Unites Us All" written underneath it as my desktop background on my computer at work. It ain't propoganda to me, regardless of Tlusty's photo-op.
The truth is, I don't give a damn what hockey players, and professional athletes in general, do when they're not at the rink. If Tlusty enjoys taking nudey glamour shots of himself in the mirror and posting them on his Facebook page, by all means Jiri, knock yourself out. If Tlusty is gay (the photo on the cover of the Sun had him tonguing another male), all the power to him. All I care about is wins and losses and, right now, there aren't enough wins in the win column.
Vesa Toskala could be cross-dresser when he's not at the rink for all I care, but if he stops the puck 91 times out of 100 shots when he's on the ice, he's the man. It's as simple as that.
Tlusty's only 19 years old. He's a kid. Let's keep that in mind, Damien Cox. We all pounded a few beers back in our teenager days and did some stupid stuff we're not proud of. Heck, sometimes I didn't even need the beer to perform random acts of idiocy. Luckily, for those old enough, the internet wasn't around back then to document our stupidity. For Tlusty, now a public figure in the most scrutinized hockey market in the world, it's a valuable lesson learned. I'm sure after yesterday, he's got it written down on a post-it note - no more posting or emailing nudey pics. It's a no-no. Especially in this town.
Get over it, Toronto. The Leafs have much, much bigger fish to fry...