Most of you by now have seen footage or witnessed first-hand Mark Messier going down in flames during his gig as analyst during Versus’ Game 3 broadcast of the Stanley Cup Finals. For those of you who have not, please take a gander:
Obviously, not a very good showing by the hockey hero. To be fair, most former athletes struggle to make the transition to analyst – I imagine it can be downright terrifying trying to speak with all those cameras pointed directly at you.
What most people are not aware of is that Messier would have fared much better if Versus brass would have let him do it his way.
As any Star Trek: The Next Generation dork out there can attest, Messier bears a remarkable resemblance to Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the classic sci-fi series, particularly in the scalpal region. Someone must have informed Messier of this fact at some point – and it clearly went straight to his shorn head.
Bill Patrick: (knocking on Messier’s dressing room door) Mark?
Bill Patrick: Hey, I just wanted to let you know how excited I am that you will be joining the broadcast tonight. It’s going to be great.
Messier: Can I get you something to drink?
Bill Patrick: No thank you – but go ahead.
Messier: (looking at a microwave in the dressing room) Earl Grey! Hot!
Bill Patrick: Are you okay? You seem a bit…off.
Messier: Rumours of my assimilation have been greatly exagerrated.
Bill Patrick: Come again?
Messier: I’m doing my Captain Picard imitation. Don’t you like it? I was thinking I would do it on the broadcast…
Bill Patrick: I don’t think that’s a great idea.
Messier: C’mon! Try it with me! I’ve made some notes regarding some potential banter that could occur between us. Let’s do a little dry run with it.
Bill Patrick: I guess I could do that. Let’s see…”Versus would like to welcome a living legend to the desk: Mark Messier. Welcome, Mark. How about we turn it over to you…”
Messier: “Make it so!”
Bill Patrick: “Okay. Your thoughts?”
Messier: “Dammit, Bill! That is not the is-sue!”
Bill Patrick: “Why don’t you tell everyone how it feels to hold Lord Stanley’s Cup?”
Messier: “Oh, yes! Data, I mean Bill, for humans, touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real…”
Bill Patrick: “Of course. Thanks, Mark. We’ll be back right after the break.”
Messier: (keeps talking) “I’m about to commit a direct violation of our orders. If anyone wishes to object do so now, I will make a note of it in my log.”
Bill Patrick: (now ending the rehearsal) You know, Mark, I don’t think it’s going to work.
Messier: Whaddya mean? I thought it was great! Come on, try it one more time! Come on….come on…come on…
Bill Patrick: How can I say no to one of the greatest? Okay. “And we’re back. Mark, I understand you had some great access during the morning skate of the Penguins…what was there mindset heading into Game 2?”
Messier: “They assimilated me into their collective. I had their cybernetic devices implanted throughout my body. I was linked to the hive mind. Every trace of individuality erased. I was one of them.”
Bill Patrick: “Wow! That is certainly interesting! So, Mark, what did they have to say?”
Messier: “The man you know as Messier no longer exists. I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile.”
Bill Patrick: (breaking from script) You know, Mark…this just isn’t working.
Messier: Just finish up this page.
Bill Patrick: (sighing) Fine. “So Mark, did you give the Penguins players any advice?”
Messier: “Bill, the Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy – and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever someone interferes with a less developed team, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.”
Bill Patrick: “Well put, Mr. Messier. Well put. Your thoughts on how the third period will play out? Will it be a slow period like the first two?”
Messier: “Oh, no, Number One. I’m sure it will be much more interesting. Let’s see what’s out there. Engage.”
Bill Patrick: (breaking script once again) Yeah, Mark, this just isn’t working. It’s creative and all, but will anyone understand this? And even if they do, won’t most folks think it’s stupid?
Messier: We are what we are. And we’re doing the best we can. It is not for you to set the standards by which we shall be judged!
Bill Patrick: Let me guess. More Star Trek talk?
Messier: It’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bill. Picard would have so kicked Kirk’s ass.
Bill Patrick: Maybe so. But we’re still not doing it.
Messier: Fine, fine. I’ll guess I’ll just wing it. No guarantees on how it will go.
Bill Patrick: You’ll do fine.