Lassie! Go Quick! Timmy Fell Down the Well and Landed in Toronto

July 13, 2011

I’m really going to have to get some new material. There’s only so many games next season where I’ll be able to make a Timmy & Lassie joke.

Earlier today, Sully posted a link to this Steve Simmons story from the Toronto Sun discussing the underwhelming career of one Tim Connolly. I’m of a lot of mixed emotions and feelings after reading this article. On the one hand, the article does seem to cohesively describe a lot of what Buffalo fans have been rumbling about for years. On the other hand, Simmons does kind of write Timmy off before the man even has a chance to put on a Leafs sweater and attempt to prove he’s worth the contract he signed. I mean, look at some of the words Simmons included to describe people’s off-the-record impressions of Connolly:

Soft. Sullen. Difficult. Loner. Spoiled brat. Silver spoon kid. Entitled. Not a team player.

I’d really like to know who Simmons talked to, but I grasp the sanctity of off-the-record. I can understand the use of the first two words because we all know that Timmy’s had his share of injuries and associated issues and doesn’t exactly give off a lot of warm & fuzzy vibes. And there may have been a few times where he’s put self over team, but it’s not like it was an every night thing. I was also struck by the use of the words loner, spoiled brat & silver spoon kid. Those are words that carry a lot of negative weight. However, where are the examples of Timmy’s spoiled brat, loner self? We’re just told that these characteristics are a result of Milbury keeping him with the Islanders rather than let him grow up in juniors. Show me that he’s a spoiled brat. Don’t just tell me.

And what are these “rumors” regarding his off-ice conduct? I’ve only ever heard of one Timmy rumor, and it’s been around since I was in college. What other rumors are out there? Is Timmy a lousy tipper? A puppy kicker? A drunk? Did he steal cookies from a troop of Girl Scouts? Is he a pyro? A flasher? A bank robber? I feel like we’re missing a large part of the picture.

And then there’s this quote from the GM of the Erie Otters implying that Timmy is a screw up compared to his successful parents & siblings.

“He was a kid from a high achieving family. His father was very successful. His mother was very successful. His sisters were successful. You would think he would follow in their paths.”

Now, I don’t know what his parents & siblings do for a living, but I would think that making it to the NHL would mean that one is fairly successful in one’s career, especially if one has been working towards it one’s entire life. I mean, one doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide that one is going to be an NHL player that day. The above quote is very powerful and makes Timmy sound like a right royal loser. (And it makes me kind of feel bad for him!)

Also, what the hell is this story about?

This came after a playoff game in which Connolly skated to the Sabres bench and was asked by a television announcer why he was so glum. His answer, paraphrased: How would you feel if the entire arena hated you?

With how much chatter happens within the press, why didn’t this story hit the Buffalo media? (It didn’t, right?) We know there are some members of the press who appear to get their jollies from writing negative pieces. This item would have been the perfect fodder for a column from one of them.

I think that while Simmons’ intent is to provide Toronto fans with more info on the newest member of the Leafs, I think that he did nothing more that tease the beginning of the Tim Connolly episode of E! True Hollywood Story. All that’s missing is the happy ending or the tragic ending shot of a tombstone overlapped with somber music.

And now that I just wrote an entire blog post defending Timmy, I think I might need a cookie.


  1. Tim Connolly might have the best hands in the NHL. However, when a prominent Buffalo sportscaster recently tagged him as “not an NHL player anymore” you have to start questioning why. Buffalo is a small city. Bad news seems to travel fast. Substance abuse and frequent trips to local casinos are common stories. Throw in his playoff goal scoring drought, an inability to stay healthy, a salary not wothy of his production and the story of Derek Roy punching him in the face during an off ice party and you can see why his time in Buffalo was up. Fans would have accepted him back at a reduced price, instead the Leafs gave him a raise and a promotion to the first line. Good luck with that. It’s not that we hated Tim Connolly, we simply wanted more from him. He is an OLD 29-30 year old player. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good. I just would not have spent $4.75 million to find out.

    G in Buffalo

  2. I’ve never gotten all the Tim Connolly hate, ever. He hasn’t been a reliable top 2 line center in years, but he’s not terrible either. He’s better than the average NHLer, even if he isn’t elite. I think we saw him sacrifice his body last year. He’s injury-prone, but I don’t think I’d ever call him soft. Everything else in the article seems weirdly ad-hominem. Part of me thinks that Timmy is just bad at making people like him. With the possible exception of puck bunnies, but that’s an easy one.

    • I’m a Sabres fan and I think I can add some perspective. Injuries aside, Connolly was a dependable center who played hard every night. I don’t think he ever reached his offensive potential in Buffalo (much due to injuries) – and this has led to a very vocal minority of the fan base to come down hard on him. In fact, Tim has developed himself into a very solid two-way player,as good in his own end as in the offensive zone. This wasn’t natural to him – as he was total offensively minded when he arrived in Buffalo.

      As for the “Difficult. Loner. Spoiled brat. Silver spoon kid. Entitled.” labels, I could not disagree more. I have never heard a bad word of Tim’s conduct on or off the ice. I have met him on two different occassions, and he was respectful and polite to me and my family.

      I hope for Tim that things go well in Toronto. Not everyone in HSBC Arena hated him – just a few very loud individuals.

  3. i’ve always liked him. he never lived up to peoples expectations but i always stuck up for him when people talked bad. especially this past season, he played real hard. everyone is capable of getting hurt, just because he got hurt often doesn’t mean he is soft. each one of those injuries would have injured tons of people in the same situation. IMO, we are weaker at center with leino than with connolly in the lineup. we would not have made the playoffs last year after roy goes down and if connolly did not play as well as he did. yeah, he didnt get the stats one would expect, but he most certainly played strong for us.

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