Since I’m neither a famous athlete or a washed-up celebrity, I have no idea how it feels to dole out my autograph to every snotty-nosed kid and whiny teenager that crosses my path. Still, I think it’d be pretty friggin’ cool to be so adored that some dumbass would actually want my signature on some scrap of paper for them to put in a scrapbook (or masturbate to).
Retired NHLer Brendan Shanahan was one of those snotty-nosed kids. He recently told a story about the time when he was 14-years-old, and, as luck would have it, he had the opportunity to get his favorite player’s autograph. That player was former Toronto Maple Leaf Rick Vaive, and, well, things didn’t go all that swimmingly for Shanny.
“When I was 14 years old I was skating in the summertime at a rink in Toronto,” Shahanan recalled. “Rick Vaive happened to be skating at an adjoining rink and we were actually in dressing rooms that were right next to each other. I went in when he was sort of settled and asked him for an autograph. I didn’t get the best response from Rick Vaive at that time.”
I have no idea what “best response” actually means–but I watched Vaive play when I was a kid, so I can assume it was something along the lines of “get the fuck out of my face before I ram this hockey stick up your ass sideways, ya little prick.” Why would I think that would be Vaive’s response to young Shanahan’s autograph request? I have no other explanation than to say it sounded plausible when I pictured it in my warped mind, so I went with it. Got a problem with that?
Ah, but revenge is a dish best served cold. Like ice-cold, as in a hockey rink.
Jump ahead four years. Vaive has moved on to Buffalo, and Shanny is an 18-year-old rookie with with a chip on his shoulder, playing for the New Jersey Devils.
“Fast forward four years later and Rick Vaive is waiting for a meaningless faceoff in Buffalo,” Shanahan said. “He’s now playing for the Sabres. He’s lined up next to some 18-year-old kid from New Jersey. When the puck dropped, I attacked Rick Vaive. It was a quiet, uneventful game. He couldn’t believe the rage I had, not only in attacking him, but it took two (linesmen) to restrain me afterwards and throw me in the penalty box.”
Nothing like unleashing four years of pent-up rage on an unsuspecting opponent to get a game going. Definitely a big “fuck you very much” to Vaive that night.