Doug Wilson probably has one of the most even-keeled (re: predictable) public personas in hockey, and you can almost always figure out what he's going to say. If you had a Doug Wilson soundboard with his ten favorite sayings, you'd easily recreate some of his press conferences ("Everyday is a trade deadline," "I don't comment on rumors or speculation," "Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup and we didn't make that goal," "I can't comment on other teams' players because that would be tampering," and so on).
While this can be frustrating for fans, I actually prefer my GM works this way. He keeps his cards close to the vest, says the necessary boring things in public, and basically works a fairly clandestine operation.
That's why I was a bit surprised to actually here him make this definitive quote about Patrick Marleau: "Patrick Marleau has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause."
I actually read a Canadian analyst that theorized that if Thornton said Marleau wasn't the problem, then there must be one...but what was it? WHAT WAS IT?
Or maybe it was just Joe Thornton sticking up for his buddy. Because, you know, people say stuff like that and then it disappears into the ether when it's not under the spotlight of Team Canada's orientation camp. (Did you know that Team Canada hockey in a Canadian city is, like, the biggest thing since the fall of the Roman Empire, or at least since The Empire Strikes Back came out?)
Which brings us back to Doug Wilson's quote. For someone who usually does a very good job of saying nothing in a lot of words, this absolute statement just seemed out of character and it got me wondering about Wilson's motivation for doing it. Was he just trying to set the record straight? But he always says that he doesn't comment on rumors and speculation. Was he trying to show support for his beleaguered ex-captain? Well, that can be handled internally, like just about everything else Wilson does. Was he trying to drum up Marleau's trade value by saying he's not available? Possibly, but Wilson's not known for public negotiation. Or...maybe a beat writer caught Wilson in a moment of simple sincerity and he just told the truth.
Doug's ex-counterpart Ron loved using the media for motivation and/or flogging -- something that Marleau knows all too well. Doug, however, doesn't usually manipulate the media that way. He usually delivers measured honesty, so you get a hint of what he's saying but it's jumbled up in all these diplomatic terms that the whole thing sounds pretty grand until you realize you can summarize his meaning in two words. I've stopped trying to figure out if he means X or Y when he says stuff, and maybe I'm just growing impatient with the way our instant-gratification culture devours anything send and spits it out into a twisted sound bite.
In any case, we know that Marleau's not hasn't been asked to go anywhere and I'm betting he won't be moving in the near future.