Monday, March 24, 2008

Your crazy mind games won't work on me, Damien Cox

There's been lots of head-scratching today over Damien Cox's bizarre column in which he suggested that Matt Stajan should be the Leafs next captain.

Stajan seems like a nice kid and has been playing lights out recently. But is one good week really enough to warrant the "C"? Has Cox gone mad?

Rest easy. Cox is actually just following a predictable formula, one that's easy to recognize if you're paying attention.

Essentially, Damien Cox only has four different columns. Sure, the names and details will change, but the overall structure remains. Here's a quick summary of every column Cox has ever written about the Leafs.

Column #1 - The one where he writes about how terrible the Leafs are today.

This makes up the majority of Cox's portfolio. These may include a reference to 1967.

Column #2 - The one where he writes about how terrible the Leafs will be tomorrow.

A slight variation on Column #1, just to mix it up. These will definitely include a reference to 1967.

Column #3 - The one where he writes something positive about the Leafs on the condition that they do something he knows they won't do.

Here's where Captain Stajan comes in.

Even Damien Cox can't be negative all the time. So to mix it up, Cox will occasionally write something nice about the Leafs -- but only with the qualification that they follow his advice to do something he knows they have no intention of doing.

The Leafs can be much better next year -- they just have to put all their veterans on waivers or send them to the minors! The Leafs can fix their management mess -- they just need to hire Bob Gainey even though he's already under contract to Montreal! The Leafs can still salvage the trade deadline -- they just need to trade their best young player!

And that's the key -- the suggestion has to be so ridiculous that there's zero chance of it happening. This way Cox kills two birds with one stone: he demonstrates that he's not always negative, while setting up a future Column #1 or 2 in which he can write about how a "refusal to make the tough choices" has lead to the current predicament.

Column #4 - The one where he writes something genuinely positive

Much like the concept of imaginary space-time, scientists believe this likely exists in theory but can not produce any verifiable evidence of it in the real world.

Feel free to clip and save this list. Now you can read the first few a paragraphs of future Cox columns, mutter a number to yourself ("Yep, this is a number two alright") and then get on with your day.