Anyone else notice recently that it's Tuesday, and there's still no Satire Friday? I took matters into my own hands.
Sidney Crosby made headlines in Pittsburgh recently by skipping the line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is apparently DMV policy to let anyone above a certain level of fame straight to the front to avoid an influx of autograph- and photograph-seekers. However, many of the people in line were quite miffed that a hockey player, especially one so highly regarded as a class act, took advantage of his status to cut in line.
"You call a hockey player a celebrity?" asked one indignant Pittsburgh-area resident. "Can he throw a football or hit a baseball or hook up with a girl on the Jersey Shore? Then he’s not worthy of jumping the line in my books."
"Hockey’s all about teamwork and fair play," grumbled another. "Crosby would never be the kind of guy to whine or embellish to gain an advantage. Why take an advantage over us here in line?"
As newsworthy as this may be among NHL fans in early August, it has recently been reported that Crosby is hardly alone in his line-cutting. It has been suggested that upward of 90% of NHLers have jumped lines in the last month alone.
"Dustin Byfuglien was a repeat offender," said one of the researchers for the study, speaking under condition of anonymity because results have yet to be published. "He appears to cut buffet lines almost daily. Dustin Penner has been known to never have to wait for a table at IHOP, regardless of the number of people waiting. Pascal Leclaire, back when he played, actually had a reserved spot for him at the front of the line at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa."
She does note that there were some cases where subjectivity crept in. "When in line for ice cream, Zdeno Chara doesn’t really cut to the front, he just reaches over everybody in line. It was unclear where that fell in the realm of this study. And when Raffi Torres goes anywhere near a line, people run away. Does this count as line-cutting if there’s actually no line by the time you show up?"
NHL players agree with the assertions of this study. "Tyler Seguin never waited in line at a club, that’s for sure," commented the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron. "Or a bar, or a house party, or a strip club."
"Normally Crosby’s line-cutting goes the other way," commented line-mate Chris Kunitz. "When we want Subway, we walk in, the whole line goes over to Crosby for autographs, and I go get us a couple subs. Works every time."
"Back when Alex Semin was here," said Capitals forward Troy Brouwer, "he’d always be putting himself ahead of the ordinary people. Did you know he once jumped the line at the DMV? Some of those people wait there for an hour and a half! You’d never see a Canadian doing that. What an enigmatic Russian."
Most NHL owners seem to think this is a normal part of doing business in the NHL. "These are busy guys," commented one owner. "They’ve got workouts, they’ve got afternoon naps, they’ve got all sorts of things to get back to. All those other people in line can just wait. I’m not paying millions of dollars so my guys can hang out in line."
Back at the DMV in Pittsburgh, not everyone was upset. "I got to breathe the same air as Sidney Crosby," said one young lady. "Any more and I might have exploded. It’s probably good they got him out as soon as possible."
"I’m a Flyers fan," said another, "and I have about a 10-second window after seeing Crosby’s face before I want to punch him." The fan may have tried to say more, but he was interrupted by strikes to the face from people on both sides in line.
Despite the naysayers, it appears that practice of hockey players jumping lines is here to stay, and that most of the general public are fine with it. From a media perspective, this is fortunate, as it gives us something to write about in August instead of another article lamenting that Mikhail Grabovski has yet to be signed.