NEW YORK -- If the GEICO Caveman has made one thing perfectly clear in recent years, he is not easily amused. He made that point again Tuesday in his visit to the NHL Store Powered by Reebok.
The perpetually perturbed pitchman still hasn't gotten over how Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery and forward Daniel Carcillo spoiled his recent visit with his long-lost "sibling," Scott Hartnell. Emery and Carcillo had the gall to tell the Caveman they dressed as cavemen for Halloween.
"It was insulting, I'll be honest with you," the famed Neanderthal said. "It was one of those 'best intentions' things, but it hit me after they showed me. I had to be nice in front of the camera, but I was offended."
Not to beat a theme to death but it's not "so easy even a Caveman can do it," it's "only a Caveman can do it."
When will they learn? When will they ever learn?
Well, the Caveman and his ancestors have had thousands of years of dealing with dismissive homo sapiens, so he quickly got over it. He was just glad to see the hirsute Hartnell.
"He blew it," the Caveman said. "He didn't make it to the family reunion so I brought a mini-reunion to him. He's a sweetheart and a heck of a player, too."
Between crashing Zambonis into the boards, comparing locks with Hartnell and skating with the Hockey Is For Everyone kids at Boston's Fenway Park during the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic, the Caveman has had a busy time promoting the NHL and GEICO insurance.
But he wasn't pleased with the GEICO Gecko's rough stuff at Fenway or the fact that he was playing in the kids' game. After years of starring on television, the Caveman is a bit full of himself. It's the only way he can deal with a world that isn't always turning his way.
"Once again, I was told I was going to be playing in the actual Winter Classic game," the Caveman said. "That's what I signed on the dotted line for. A gentleman's agreement, we shook hands. Next thing I knew, I'm playing with little kids.
"It's not like I don't like the Gecko. We do our own thing, like two ships passing in the night. Sometimes, it gets a little contentious. Actually, he knocked me down because he was a slightly better skater than me. He plays men's league while I'm busy planning things like the Winter Classic."
The Caveman's spirits were lifted when he was greeted at the NHL Store by Washington Capitals fans Aidan and Celia Caldwell.
"I want to meet him," Aidan Caldwell said. "I'm from Washington and I've seen the commercials with Mike Green. Mike's been awesome. I think he's got the Norris Trophy locked up."
The always aggrieved pitchman goes way back -- it goes without saying -- as a hockey lover. He became a big fan in the early 1990s, around the time the Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
"Mario Lemieux, he was the man," the Caveman said.
Yes, indeed, he was, and a highly evolved one at that.