Peace signs or devil horns? I guess that all depends...
Yesterday, Katie Strang of Newsday tweeted:
KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang
Which was expanded in this Newsday article, stating:
Everyone's favorite tattoo enthusiast--Kirill Kabanov--was chumming around with fellow European prospect, defenseman Andrei Pedan, during testing. In between drills, he told me that 1) he is done with Twitter ("It's boring. I'm more of a Facebook guy") 2) he still needs to make some revisions on his newest neck tattoo (No. 17) and 3) his mom is really loving living with him on Long Island.
No other reason was given for him abandoning the medium, but it seems curious after last weekend, right?I mean, a kid who just recently moved to Long Island, living with his mom...doesn't know too much about the area or many people his age? So he walks away from a big social media avenue that many current Isles and prospects use pretty often and is great for information and quick updates on pretty much anything you can imagine?
Well, over this weekend, our future scapegoat did something that many millions of 18-year-old kids do. He said that he was bored. More specifically, it was a tweet (that since has been removed with his account) saying something to the effect of, "Why Long Island is so boring?"
I believe the fallout from that statement is where this decision stems from. Almost immediately after that, Twitter went a little bananas...not that you'd know it now since just about everything has disappeared like Minitruth got at it.
At least two well respected hockey writers (re)tweeted on the topic, only feeding the panic in the Twitter jungle. Brian Compton (tweet since removed) wanted fans to remember that Kirill is of course, "low risk/high reward." Dmitry Chesnokov's tweet just had a small sense of panic...like "uh-oh." [Note: Maybe these tweets have disappeared because they were retweets of Kabanov's original; I am still an admitted newbie and am not sure of this.] From the greater Twitter universe, there were also offers to sneak Kabanov into clubs and get him drunk (who knows how serious they were).
I wonder exactly what those expressing panic thought might happen? Perhaps Kirill would get on the horn with his dad and convince him to renegotiate his contract with Snow? Maybe he was going to....ahh, who the hell knows what they thought, but for God's sake, let's not treat the kid like he's some kind of recovering heroin addict who just got his hands on a stash, huh?
The resulting influx of support was nearly as confusing and unbelievable, as many tried to give Kirill some good Long Island venues for low-danger activities like movies, miniature golf, and going to the beach.
Does he really need that? Are we starting to believe he does? I really hope this kid gets some benefit of the doubt, because those responses were from a lot of the people who cover or follow the Isles religiously. I guess even his supporters believe his character is somehow hopelessly impulsive and damaged.
All this about a finalist for the QMJHL Humanitarian Of The Year.
But the real part of my rant comes with remembering that this is an 18-year-old kid (19 next week, but whatever). Granted he's had some difficulties, but who hasn't? Really? If I had to guess, just about everyone on this site, and others including Compton and Chesnokov have probably had far worse behavior than having spats with a coach and being late to work twice. Step back now: Would we call any other 18-year-old "low risk/high reward" publicly when speaking about their character? If he wasn't famous, would strangers trying to offer him alcohol be tolerated? If he wasn't foreign, would his parents try to find the punk offering to get him into the club? If he was your kid or a kid you knew, would you be upset at people talking about him like that?
Everyone loves a good triumph or tragedy story. Unfortunately, most people are more intrigued by the latter. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but my personal opinion is that you never, ever, give up on a kid that is trying and making an honest effort. I watched this kid go out of his way all night at the draft party to engage with fans, take pictures and chat, sign autographs, meet people outside in front of the building...far more than any other player. I saw him last week reaching out for help trying to find good places to eat and expressing his happiness about buying his mother a computer on Twitter. ...Which is now gone because he had the audacity to indicate that he had nothing to do on a weekend and everyone gasped.
It's not fair, but it probably is the best option for Kirill. It's not an easy lesson for an adolescent to learn, but sometimes, you have to stay away from the negative influences surrounding your life. For as much bad press as the Isles seem to get, you figure that at least they could avoid insinuating that an 18-year-old is a character failure...I'm sure if that was done with a lot of us, we wouldn't be where we are...I know iI sure as hell wouldn't be where I am.
So, if boredom is what's going to start to signal the downfall of our kids, maybe everyone should take a good hard look around at their kids watching TV or playing video games and ask yourself, "Will they be a failure?" When you come back with "absolutely not!" maybe you'll have a handle on how overblown the reaction to Kirill actually is.
If he's that fragile, he will fail, but he shouldn't have everyone waiting for him to fail...or catch him before he hits the ground.
While this story was being written, the team site published "Kabanov: A Man Determined." While it's nice to see, I felt like again, it is focused on damage control for Kirill of last year. The money quote:
He also said that he has matured over the last year. The media has questioned his dedication in the past, but Kabanov is committed to proving them wrong and showing the Islanders coaching staff and front office that he’s taking his time on Long Island very seriously.
"I am trying to change their (perception) of me," Kabanov said. "I want to show the (Islanders staff) that I’ve changed a lot and my attitude has gotten better."
Kabanov made sure to make a quick impression in his second mini-camp. He was a half-hour early for the 7 a.m. start time and one of the first prospects to arrive at the Coliseum this morning.
I guess this is what it will be until he scores 30 goals. But oh boy, I'll bet that he has "an attitude problem" as soon as he slumps...amirite?
Keep digging out of that perception hole, Kirill...but do it for you.