Donald Brashear to Chirpers: "Come and See Me"
I spent a few moments yesterday asking several members of the Caps about on-ice chatter. As an admitted newcomer to this sport, it's something I'm not too familiar with. And it's a lot harder to piece together dialog than with NBA trash talk, which is plenty easy to hear from court-side, or NFL yapping, which players constantly describe to the media.
In the NHL, it's universally called "chirping," and it seems considerably more under-the-radar. I'll have more on this in a bit, but I thought Donald Brashear deserved his own entry on the topic.
"Well, guys like Brash, they don't even need to chirp," Brian Pothier explained. "His lefts speak for themselves."
So I asked Brashear whether any of the league's most notorious chirpers had ever gotten under his skin.
"Not really," he said. "Not just from chirping. Because I think it's stupid, quite frankly. You know, if it's from the play, if I hit a guy and then the guy starts chirping at me, then yeah, I get into it. Like, 'Yeah? Yeah? you don't like it? Well, I'll do it again. Come and see me.'
"You know what I mean? I do the real chirping. Like, 'Yeah, you want to chirp, come see me and we'll figure it out,' you know what I mean? That's the chirping I like to do."
That's some real Godfather stuff there, Donald Brashear asking you to come and see him so that together you can "figure it out." I think I'd decline the invitation, more often than not.
But I asked Brashear whether he hears a lot of this talk from others, and he said he doesn't, and that he tunes it out regardless. "Why would you say anything to him?" a colleague pointed out.
"Some do," Brashear said in response. "But a lot of times it's more screwing around than anything, or maybe they're just making fun. Because quite frankly, they know they're not the ones that are gonna come out and fight me. Basically they're trying to get under your skin. If you just turn around and smile at them, then they stop. If you start chirping at them back, then it goes into a chirping battle.
"Sometimes it's good because it keeps you in the game. You get lulled a little bit if you're sitting on the bench, but if they do something, you chirp at someone a little bit and then you get into the game. Sitting on the bench for five, six minutes, it gets long, it gets boring, you can fall asleep, you start looking everywhere and you don't focus on the game any more. So you want to stay in the game and you'll try to do something like that."
There's a lot to chew on there. And actually, a lot of beat writers keep detailed play-by-play notes, even though teams in every sport hand out play-by-play sheets; the beat writers are trying to keep their minds in the game. Guess they never thought of chirping. Anyhow, more to the point, Brashear confirmed Pothier's view that he's not much of a chirper.
"Sometimes it gets into that," Brashear said, "but...I always felt the guys that chirp, most of the time some of those guys are the most likely not to do anything. The guys that chirp, it's because they need the attention, to try to do something, to try to get under your skin. That's their role. They're trying to do something different. I just like to focus and play the game. And I'll hit when it's time. No matter how much you chirp me or how much I chirp, when I go out there I've still got to do the job. That's what's most important."
Ok, more on this in a bit.
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