Sunday, 28 April 2013

Tait's Timely Tune — Track No. 1


For some time now, Edmonton Oiler defenceman Ryan Whitney has been rumoured to be on his way out of town.
On Sunday, he made these comments about being a healthy scratch, and other things, to the assembled media:

“I’d like to think I’m a professional. You have to eat ... once in a while. When your boss tells you things, that’s how life works. I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of it, but that was there decision.
“I’m looking to prove them wrong.
“I still believe in myself and I’m hoping for a fresh new start. It’s not about making money. I’ve made lots of money. I think I can still play. Obviously, there were games I didn’t play well, but there stretches where I thought I did."

Obviously, Whitney doesn't buy into the Oiler's future.  So ...

That may have been an elbow!

Our son Darren, Gordie Howe, Cam Tait
Just before we looked into the camera Friday, Gordie Howe turned to me and smiled.
“I better give you one of these,” he said, and then lifting his left elbow against my chin.
An elbow from Mr. Hockey. Wouldn’t miss it.
Our son Darren and I went to the luncheon for the Scotiabank Pro-Am forAlzheimer’s at River Cree. Before lunch we lined up to get our picture taken with Mr. Howe. He was as polite and talkative then as in 1978 when I first met him with my father in Llodyminster.
I introduce him to Darren. He turned to Darren with that glint in his eye.
“Hear what he said?” Mr. Howe asked Darren. “He said he wanted me to meet his ‘Damn son’.”
And then laughed. I wonder, though, if that’s how my father introduced me.
Mr. Howe turned 85 at the end of March. There had been some talk about signs of him slowing down.
Darren and I certainly didn’t see that — and, I have an elbow to prove it.
Other nuggets from the lunch ..
•Great story from Tom Webster who roomed with Mr. Howe on the road when he first joined the Red Wings.
Tom Webster
Webster got in the room first one night and retrieved close to 100 telephone messages for Mr. Howe.
When Mr. Howe entered the room Webster handed him the list of paper of names.
“Did Colleen call?” Mr. Howe asked about his wife. Webster said no.
Mr. Howe then took the list and ripped it in half.
“These people will all call back.”
•Former legendary Oiler play-by-play man Rod Phillips had a great chat with former Edmonton coach Ron Low. It looked just like a scene from the mid-1990’s.
•Jason Gregor of The Team 1260 did a great job as the MC guy during the event, especially the Hot Stove portion with Marty McSorley, Webster and Bryan Trottier.
McSorely told the story of when Los Angeles King Wayne Gretzky broke Mr. Howe’s scoring record.
“I felt sorry for Gordie because he was traveling with us for a few weeks, waiting for Wayne to break the record. Someone once said ‘Wayne why don’t you ask Gordie to show you to score … he played the game for 33 years, you know’,” McSorely said.
Gretzky repeatedly told his teammates what an idol Mr. Howe was.
McSorely held his hand up one and said: “He’s an idol for all of us.”
Greg Christenson
•Nice touch from event organizer Greg Christenson, who had his ever present red and white pro-am jersey on — with a white baseball cap. But he wasn’t the only with a white baseball cap on: all the committee members had one.
Great way to salute the unknown heroes such a big event needs.
•Reminder: Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story airs tonight (Apr 28) on CBC at 8 p.m. Edmonton time.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Edmonton Oiler nuggets - 7-2 over Vancouver

 A  few things to chew on after the Edmonton Oiler’s 7-2 win  Saturday night over the Vancouver 


•Oiler new GM Craig MacTavish said he isn’t afraid of making some bold moves — and they will happen over the summer.  So who could have played their final game in Oiler silks Saturday?

My list has Ales Hemsky, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Whitney — and keeping with the three R’s — Ryan Smyth.

Hemsky: He has been on borrowed time, I think, for a while. Should have been moved last season rather than re-signing.

Nugent-Hopkins: I hate to say this but his shoulder could mark him as damaged goods. And that’s too bad. Great young player, but if the Oilers move on of the young guns, No. 93 could very well be it.

Smyth: The old warrior has really slowed down in the last half of the season. He will admit it.  I don’t think Smyth will be on the bench next year: he will be behind I as an assistant coach.

As Saturday night's win, and 12 days on the job, MacTavish — who always has a one-liner on the tip of his tongue — told Hockey Night in Canada's After Hours: "Mission accomplished."


•There has been some comment —right, Don Cherry? — about Nail Yakupov’s celebrations after scoring goals. Yakupov showed his emotion in the third period when he scored the Oilers’ second goal.
For all those who don’t think he should be so exuberant, three words: he’s a rookie.

•Overheard interesting comment over lunch last week could Phoenix Coyotee Tippet be replacing Ralph Kruger as head coach? Now, wouldn’t that be bold?


•And … was Saturday the last time the CBC Hockey Night in Canada crew will be at Rexall Place? The CBC TV rights deal with the NHL is up at the end of the season.

It's all Marty's fault

It took 25 years, but my buddy Marty Forbes finally  agreed to do something with Tait Talk.

The first time I called Marty with the idea was 1988 when I was staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver.

Somehow, I got into little screw-top bottles with my favorite adult beverage.

Marty was program director of KISS FM in Vancouver.

I was writing a daily editorial on K-97 called Tait Talk,  but it had a different slant.

I have cerebral palsy and don’t speak that clearly. I always wanted to be in the radio business, but my voice didn’t let me.

So I wrote the copy. And announcers Randy Kilburn, Robin Allen and Barrie Harrison (shown bellow) read my words.

The focus of the show was to create awareness about people with disabilities.

I always wanted to take it to a national level.

So I called Marty, that afternoon in Vancouver, and pitched the idea.

There was a long pause at the end of the phone line.

“It might not work here in Vancouver,” Marty said, which was a nice way of saying ‘have some more fun with the little screw-top bottles.'

So I did.

Then, on Thursday, Marty and I had lunch with Bryn Griffiths at Ruth’s Chris in Edmonton.

“Why aren’t you writing a blog?” Marty asked, in that tone of voice that tells me I should know better.

Frankly, I did not have an answer.

I’ve been writing newspaper columns since 1979 for the Edmonton Journal, but a blog?

I’ve been humming and hawing.

Marty reminded me of how fortunate I am to meet hundreds of people in Edmonton who have great stories to tell.

So we’re going to do that. In fact, I have one in coming up about my son Darren and Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe sharing a great moment in west Edmonton Friday.

We might even have a few opinions on things in Edmonton. I hear they are building a new arena in town …

And we will also share some tender moments.

Marty looked up from his Rueben Sandwich.

“Why don’t you call it Tait Talk?” he said — and then offered to set things up for me.

So here we go.

And I will try to stay away from little bottles with screw-tops.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hey look at me - I'm blogging!

Yes this is my Tait Talk blog.  

After many years of writing for the Edmonton Journal I'm branching out and launching this brand new blog.

With Tait Talk my plan is to continue focussing on what is going on in the great city of Edmonton.

Tait Talk will talk about amateur sports - all the wonderful community work done here - but most importantly it will be about people and especially the amazing folks that I meet day to day in Edmonton who make this city such a wonderful place to live.

Often space is limited in the paper but now I can add more content (and pictures, etc)  to compliment what makes it to the final copy of the newspaper.

Most importantly PLEASE continue to call me - email me - or write me about what YOU would like to see in this blog and in the newspaper.

If you're on Facebook and/or Twitter PLEASE feel free to forward TAIT TALK to your friends as well.  The more the merrier I say.

I'm reachable @camtait on Twitter - and at - via email.