Shrinking Teams, Shrinking Heads and a Rough Day for Goalies

From the NY Times Slap Shot blog:

Discussions like yesterday’s about the
attendance woes of the Columbus Blue Jackets
always gets people
thinking about the fate of the weaker franchises of the N.H.L.
Relocation is a frequent suggestion, especially with fans in Winnipeg
and Quebec City clamoring for clubs to call their own again.

Less common is the discussion of contraction, of folding teams and
dispersing the players. Proponents cite what they see as a diluted
N.H.L. that has grown too large and a season that extends too long and
conclude many of hockey’s business problems might be eased by a smaller

The N.H.L. hasn’t done anything like that — no major league team
sport has — since 1978 when the Cleveland Barons (who had been the
California Seals until 1976) abandoned Richfield, Ohio, and merged with
the Minnesota North Stars.

But when N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern floated the trial balloon a
couple of weeks ago that contraction
might be on the table in upcoming labor negotiations
(saying, “I
think that’s a subject that will be on the table with the players as we
look to see what’s the optimum way to present our game, and are there
cities and teams that cannot make it in the current economic
environment.”), it got Helen
Elliott of the Los Angeles Times
thinking that it might be worth
exploring for the N.H.L.

Lots of people think less is more, that contraction would cure what ails
the N.H.L., and Elliott reasoned, “Owners of prosperous teams would
love it: they wouldn’t have to subsidize small-market teams and could
keep greater shares of TV and advertising dollars. It would also put
Donald Fehr, the incoming executive director of the N.H.L. Players
Association, in a tough spot. Should he fight to keep jobs or for
overall stability? Or can both exist?”

Continue reading “The Morning Skate: Shrinking Teams, Shrinking Heads and a Rough Day for Goalies”


  1. MontrealAtheist says:

    Third place is pretty decent … But how about #1 in the conference (which is where Halak’s Blues are right now in the West)?

  2. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Geebus Larissa,you just nailed yourself as a TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Seps says:

    That is very true, I don’t watch any St. Louis games really but I assume that their D can’t leave Halak out to dry as much as the Montreal D do with their goalies.


    “We’re not winning the Stanley Cup in the first exhibition game” – Carey Price

  4. hablifting says:

    Hitting is within the rules, bear hugging not so much 😉  I’m just waiting for someone to tell me what the right play is there?  At the speed the game is run, these guys are on the fine line of disaster with every decision they make.

  5. Everlasting1 says:

    Why a hit? Thornton would’ve been wiser taking a minor for bear hugging lol


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  6. Everlasting1 says:

    The Blues’ D isn’t exactly elite, but they are getting the job done. Without Colaiacovo and Polak too, who are out with injuries.


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

     Don’t pollute the water.

  7. hablifting says:

    Meh, this blindside crap is so subjective.  Pretty much if I look behind me and you hit me it’s a blindside hit.  That is crap.  What we’re asking players to do is either take a major penalty with a hit, a minor with a hook or a hold or just letting the player waltz by.  Thats a no win situation.  People are going to wise up to this nonsense soon enough.  Bottom line, if you spend too much time watching your passes in the NHL, you shouldn’t be there.

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    +5? Wow, that’s an astounding stat.

    He had no size and as strong as he was for a 5’8″ guy, he wasn’t exactly forcing Scott Hartnell or Mike Knuble out of the crease and his attempts to clear traffic didn’t exactly amount to much, especially when he helped the other side score. Career 3rd-pair defencemen with no size and average skating, excuse me for not being impressed.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  9. Everlasting1 says:

    C’mon, Perron was looking to receive the pass and Thornton blindsides him with a shoulder to the head. He got the game misconduct, and rightly so.



    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  10. ManApart says:

    and Pleks just got up and walked away without missing a beat. Either you’re greatly exaggerating the play or Pleks head is made of Stone.

  11. terrygain says:

    Every time he got pushed when ‘attempting’ to defend the crease he lost his temper? Funny. Did he steal your girlfriend? I remember a guy who routinely stood the other team up as they entered our end. Something we have lacked since we dumped him and his modest salary. He also wins his share of the battles in the corner and makes very good outlet passes. He was plus 5 in Nashville last year. 


  12. JD_ says:

    Heh. Not sayin’ it’s gonna be easy.

    If the league is truly interested in those shiny euros, as much as Bettman was recently hintin’, I believe there’d be some major overhaulin’ of the schedule to accomodate the travel issue, includin’ the use of extended, albeit logistically well-coordinated road trips. This, together with a greater degree of intradivisional play, would be a way to work through the issue.

    I have to think a lot of time has already been spent on workin’ the idea, cuz the reality on the ground is that cities absent any natural affinity to the game of hockey, and which, like L.A., have otherwise not had the opportunity to establish decades of hockey equity, generally just won’t cut it.

    There’s a twinkle in Bettman’s eye and I have to believe Europe is a possibility long before anythin’ remotely havin’ to do with contraction is considered.

    Any pro sports league that openly throws out contraction as a possibility is, in my view, just positionin’ itself ahead of labour negotiations. I don’t take it as a serious threat.

  13. hablifting says:

    What’s Thorntons option there?  Get on his knees to deliver the hit?  Perrons head is nearly up his own arse when the hit happens.  Its from a 45 degree angle to his left, had he had his head up he would have seen it easily.  Thorntons shoulder hits Perron and rides up into his head. Perhaps Thornton should have just “held up” and let the guy go by unmolested?  Perhaps he should have hooked him instead with his stick?

    Hopefully the NHL lets it go with a 5 minute major and that’s all.  Last thing we need is to always side with the idiots who aren’t aware of whats going on, and to punish players who’s size works against them as it did here.

  14. Everlasting1 says:

    Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe he wasn’t utilized effectively. He does have a great shot, and that wrister tonight looked like a slapshot.


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  15. avatar_58 says:

    What an a-hole. Uncalled for

  16. terrygain says:

    Try again. It was his rookie season. He scored 12 goals in 53 games. That is nearly 20 over 82 games.  

  17. Timo says:

    Just watched highlight from Philly-Rags game… I am dreading the fact that Habs have to play these teams 8 times this year. Think of a pain… ouch.

  18. Everlasting1 says:

    At least JM made the timely decision to go with Halak late season.


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  19. Timo says:

    That’s what I call coaching.

  20. christophor says:

    perron came right back and scored the blue’s second goal. hopefully that means he’s ok.

  21. Everlasting1 says:

    Not to take anything away from Halak, but the team in front of him are doing their part to say the least..+11 in goal differential so far (though it still reflects on Halak lol)


    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    Don’t pollute the water.

  22. terrygain says:

    The difference between good goaltending and great goaltending is the difference between fighting for a playoff spot and going to the ECF. But what the heh. I love golf as much as anyone.

  23. JasonM says:

    All I can say it… ouch.

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    The one time Jumbo Joe decides to get physical and he goes for the head… Can’t stand that guy. Hope Perron can recover, head injuries are nightmarish.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.