Chris Tanev received the compliment of a lifetime from Kevin Bieksa following Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
It was the then 21-year-old’s third career playoff game and the calm, poised front he presented had Bieksa quip that Tanev “could have played with a cigarette in his mouth.”
This season Tanev has added another 14 games to his NHL resume and further impressed Bieksa to the point that “he’s graduated to a stogie.”
Steady as he goes is the name of the game for the kid from Ontario, while keep calm and carry on appears to be his motto. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Zen master as tranquil, composed and unruffled as Tanev; he’s not quiet, he’s chill.
How, Bieksa and I wondered, could Tanev be so cool when 99 per cent of others in his shoes would burn up?
I took that a step further and went shopping for the ultimate Tanev test: The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht.
Sure Tanev is all that and a bag of Old Dutch BBQ chips on the ice, but how would he handle the worst-case scenarios known to man?
Editor’s Note: The following situations and suggestions are not to be reenacted. Only Tanev, who is hilarious by the way, and maybe Chuck Norris could pull them off.
How to fend off a shark attack…
Tanev: “So I’m out in the middle of the ocean and a shark attacks me? I’d probably kick him, you have to kick him, I’d probably get eaten though. I don’t think that would turn out too well, but at least I would have kicked him.”
Book: 1. Hit back. 2. Make quick, sharp, repeated jabs in the eyes or gills.
How to deal with a bird trapped in your house…
Tanev: “Open the door and let it out. Or maybe open the window actually and hope that he flies out. Maybe throw a couple of breadcrumbs around the window and on the windowsill to lure him there.”
Book: Use a broom to gently maneuver the bird into a room with a window and a door.
How to survive if your parachute fails to open…
Tanev: “(laughing)…hope that there’s water underneath, I don’t know. Yeah, that’s it, you’ve got to be able to maneuver yourself in the air towards some water, somehow.”
Book: 1. Signal your partner as soon as you realize your shoot is bad. 2. Hook arms with your companion. 3. Hook equipment together. 4. Open the chute.
How to retrieve a candy bar stuck in the lunchroom vending machine…
Tanev: “Start shaking it, body check it a couple of times. This has happened to me before, but I usually don’t hit hard enough to get it out though, I’d have to call Eddie or Juice to come help me.
Book: 1. Wait severeal seconds. 2. Purchase the item again. 3. Choose an item from the row above. 4. Jostle the machine.
How to foil a UFO abduction…
Tanev: “Do I even want to? If they were friendly I’d probably go up and visit. I’m not sure if I believe in aliens, but I think there’s something out there. I’d go and see what’s up and it would be cool, unless they tried to probe me. Then I’d be in trouble and I’d just hope that someone sees the rays of light from the ship and maybe helicopters come shoot the thing – I don’t know."
Book: 1. Do not panic. 2. Control your thoughts. 3. Resist verbally. 4. Resist mentally. 5. Resist physically.
How to treat the hiccups…
Tanev: "It happens to me a lot, I try to swallow four or five times in a row, that’s supposedly gets it out. That works sometimes. You can hold your breath for 30 seconds, that works too sometimes, once and a while. People have told me other things to try as well."
Book: Fill a tall glass with water; drink the water while leaning forward.
How to survive awkward elevator silence…
Tanev: “Keep being silent. Or I’ll say ‘hey, how are you?’ and if they’re not into it, that’s about it. That’s my go-to: ‘hey, what’s up.’"
Book: Mention current weather or temperature, time of day, day of week, month, season, or approaching holiday, and wait for comment.
How to make your child eat vegetables…
Tanev: “Tell them to eat them or they’re grounded, or no TV for the night, that worked with me. I ate my vegetables when my parents made me, but I hated brussels sprouts.
Book: 1. Eat vegetables yourself. 2. Talk in euphemisms. 3. Let the child select the vegetables. 4. Sneak vegetables into other dishes.
How to open a coconut on a desert island…
Tanev: “Look for a sharp rock and start banging the coconut on it. I have not been in this situation before, but I’ve seen it on TV. Works every time."
Book: Drive the end of a stick into the ground and sharpen the top end. Smash the coconut.
How to survive going unselected in the NHL draft…
Tanev: “Just watch it and have fun. Then persevere.”
Book: This was not from the book, obviously.
To be Zen like Tanev remember the following lessons:
-Kick a shark
-Birds like breadcrumbs
-Always skydive over water
-Friends are better than body checks
-Aliens might be friendly, give them a chance
-Swallow and hold your breath to rid hiccups
-Don’t rush into breaking elevator silence
-Brussels sprouts are the devil
-TV never lies
But most of all: “Stay calm and think twice because the first thing you think of might not always be the best. Think it through.”
It’s ironic because Tanev’s first reaction to this ludicrous story idea/interview request was yes. Clearly it should have been no.