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And it’s hockey weather.
Montreal has been wallopped by a late-winter snowstorm.
• Red Fisher on the Big Game against Boston
• Dave Stubbs wonders, is one hat trick too much to ask?
• Jack Todd on Jacques Martin
• Arpon Basu on the showdown
• Pierre Ladouceur’s Canadiens report card
• François Gagnon the home stretch
• Is Mike Milbury getting soft?
• Stephen Brunt on the Phoenix mess
Thanks Robert (for the link)!
Twisted logic. Taking penalties to exact revenge can be 100% guaranteed as well but I doubt you would recommend that, would you? If you do then are you willing to live with the consequences of a loss? If so then the win is not your #1 priority is it? The desire to have revenge fulfilled in a sporting event via violence is unacceptable.
habs win game against boston if…stay out of box, price has a solid night and we can keep our speed through neutral zone.
bruins will win..if they stay out of the box, be physical without the goon crap and thomas has a great night.
I hope Balsillie does…I was really pulling for him to bring another team to Canada.
But for the record, Bettman doesn’t need Balsillie to make him look like a fool – he does a pretty good job of that all on his own.
The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions. ~Susan Sontag
I couldnt disagree more with Arpon Basu. Yes the bruins laid out the blueprint to beat the habs, just because the other teams aint using it doesnt mean the blueprint doesnt exist! And correct me if Im wrong but didnt most of the players say (before the deadline) that theyd welcome some muscle on the team with open arms?
[Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.
Avs..are not going anywhere…there owned by Walmart folks a fixture in Denver.
Sabres were just recently bought by another billionaire..not going anywhere.
Ottawa..not going anywhere..just need to get the house in order…nothing wrong with a rebuild.
all the rest i suppose need help in some way…florida, atlanta for sure.
Unless you own the sports outlet that carries your team’s game and get all the revenue from the stadium, owing an NHL team in most markets is just a hobby. Buffalo is on its second billionaire – perhaps third, did the Rigas make it to ten figures before they bust? –. I suppose dumping money down a well gets old even for the ultra-wealthy.
Whose leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?
They were struggling paying less than $10m in US (about $14m in Canadian terms) for most of their final years. The cap is multiple of that. Even with a C$ slightly above par, that would mean at least 3x MORE salary than they were paying. If they draw an extra 3000 people (to the max capacity the MTSC), they would probably still come up way short.
North American companies are going global and the NHL IS a money-driven business (other than inexplicably forcing its owners to subsidize Phoenix).
Yes, it would take some smart scheduling with more regional play, but I don’t think an international division it’s that far-fetched.
Travel is tough (great HNIC piece on the Canucks sleep strategy), but flying from Montreal to Stockholm is about 8 hours. Montreal to Phoenix is about 6 hours. Teams would travel to the International (Alpo Suhonen) Division for a couple of weeks and play all six teams. NHL teams have already started the season there, so it’s not impossible.
And, I know NHL fly charters so this is largely irrelevant, but I can fly from NY to London cheaper than NY to Chicago, so the costs would be similar.
Beyond that, we embrace knowledgeable and passionate hockey fans in markets that supply some of the best talent in NHL. Guys like Lidstrom might play until his 50 and a take real home town discount to play in Sweden. Jagr could lace them up at home.
From the first paragraph of the Red Fisher article:
“One day short of a month ago, the Boston Bruins, ho visit tomorrow in yet anther all-important game, enaged with the Canadiens in brawl that had fans in both ities re-living it for days.”
That’s gotta be a record.. ho visit? yet anther? both ities? Digital media doesn’t have to mean no proof-reading/editing.
a vastly improved Canadian dollar
And there’s your answer.
I think he’s had enough.
The NHL had the chance to have a team owner who is (1) very succesful at marketing, (2) creative in business, and (3) a lover of the game. Rather than welcome him with open arms these little mafiosi decided to exclude him instead, and then slander him for good measure.
NO. If anything they should go to the Peg. Not Quebec or Hamilton.
I would say that there is a difference in polling the public and asking them if they like fighting in hockey and asking hockey fans if they like fighting in hockey.
And if someone is already not a fan, getting rid of fighting will hardly bring them around. For instance, my mom thinks the fighting is stupid, so she would answer no. But she will never watch hockey unless i forced her to anyhow, so theres nothing to gain for her if its banned.
Heck, he might have a shot at the Hart. Let’s start rhyming off names of players that have been more valuable to the success of their respective teams…
Considered for it- probably yes. But at 31-21-6 (a team stat that does not reflect his play this year.), probably not. He would have to string a lot of zeroes together for serious consideration. With the Habs D the way it is now, with all the injuries, I don’t see too many shutouts upcoming. Still, he has had a great year. Let’s hope the playoffs are even better.
I think the physical might be the defacto winner if its applied smartly. It may force the other team to adapt to do what you want or thats to your advantage. ie like last game, perhaps to get out of the bruteness the habs went into run and gun against the Bruins.
I have heard this a few times. It’s really quite insane to think this would work. The logistics alone are crazy to think about especially in one of the poorest big league sports around.
Let’s not backtrack. You quoted Milbury and said he spoke the truth. But, apparently, all those people who were polled lied. That’s an odd way to justify an opinion.
I can’t think of 3 names that have a better shot at it. I think most would agree that it’s down to him and Thomas. Funny that, in their last meeting, they allowed 14 goals and both had fighting majors.
Its not just the fighting, Lucic was in Price’s face all night.
He should and will be nominated.
With 16 games left, does anyone think Price has a legitimate shot at the Vezina?
Parity is great for the game, but the organisation that knows how this game is to be played properly, will be the team at the cup. We have 100 years of experience my friend.
But parity sure keeps us on the edge of our seats.
Rigas family didn’t sell just because they were broke. They were criminals, and Adelphia, the telecom company they owned was floundering. They got caught in an Enron type scandal and owner’s son went to federal prison. Tom Golisano was a joke and bought the team to make PR inroads as a former gubernatorial candidate who at one point was going to run again, but used all his money to run puppets instead. He’s still got his greasy hands in WNY politics.
Basically there are probably 10-15 teams that would move before the Sabres, and its just not gonna happen with the new owner. Period. He’s got more money than Geoff Molson and hes owned the team less than a month. Frankly the franchise is among the more successful in the league and is a bigger market than at least 2 current Canadian teams, and would be bigger than either Winnipeg or QC.
This region, however, is pathetic in many other ways… just not in team support.
I would be shocked if he was not one of the three finalists. That said, barring a Bruins collapse down the stretch, I don’t see how it doesn’t go to Thomas. With a GAA under 2.00, a ridiculous .939SV%, tied for 2nd in shutouts, and only 2 back of the NHL lead in wins despite having fewer games than both Price and Luongo – he’s just been very very good this year. The flopper.
Go Habs Go!
Over my head! Explain
Even if it is a blueprint, something I disagree with, isn’t the blueprint useless if no team uses it? Also, what Boston did in that game isn’t sustainable, Montreal at some point (hopefully next time it happens) will walk away from mismatched fights, which will force the Bruins players into taking penalties or not fighting. I know the league doesn’t want to punish any Bruin, but one more game like that and they might be forced too.
The Habs just need to be smart and skate away from any lopsided fight, Detroit players did this in their back-to-back following the last Montreal game and Tampa just did last week.
Boston has won 2 games in the last 10 games (start of last season), we don’t need to change a thing. The funny thing is until the last 2 min of the game where the Bruins 4th liners fought Pyatt, and Spacek, MTL players had won the fights, Pouliot KO’d Kreici, Price could have killed Thomas when he was down, and Moen beat Ference.
Todd likes watching Lucic and Chara …
Why doesn’t that surprise me …
I’m just quoting what Milbury said. I do think that most hockey fans like to see a fight, though, polls notwithstanding.
We move up or drop down 2-3 ranking spots every week. Parity this season is insane. I don’t remember anything like it. Every statistical category is beyond tight this year.
10 teams in the league have 75 to 81 points and 11 goals separate 9 teams. Scorers 5 through 16 range from 60 to 69 points. 7 goals separate players 3 through 20.
You know why the NHL will never allow a team in Hamilton?
Because then Toronto would want one.
Nice article on the “Cursed Hat trick Pin.” Well, okay, the Habs used to be able to generate a few hat tricks a season, but no longer, sigh…
Arpon Baitsyou is correct that the Habs cannot turn into the Mountain Street Morons and try to beat the Bruins in the alley. Speed and skill should eff up the Bs, but blaming Gomez for everything that goes wrong is too easy. 5 other players out there, including a goalie who had his worst game of the season, too. Safe to say that everyone sucked in an 8-6 loss.
Todd says Martin is boring. It’s not his job to be entertaining to media hounds; he is there to get the best out of his players. Considering all that has gone wrong this season, he has done a formidable job.
Do most of the old-school fans like fighting? Yes, but they weren’t concussing each other with the regularity it occurs now. Time to ban it forever.
Ian (my brother’s name BTW), you are a romatic and honorable man.
Very sad. Terrible.
I’m going to say something here I might regret. I was doing some research on injuries and found out the 3 most injurious popular/common sports are hockey, football, and snowboarding. I have a son who plays hockey but not seriously… I wouldn’t encourage him to play… I encourage him to play sports but I never wanted him to play hockey. Let him be a serious tennis player or baseball player or skier. But hockey? The way it’s played now with the hard and fast equipment players use as weapons? No way. We love to go out on the pond with other kids. But no-one is trying to slam your head agasint the boards, or flatten you because you’re too good.
Hockey the way it’s played and refereed has not caught up to the equipment they use. And coaches and refs don’t put enough emphasis on fair play. I love watching it on tv. But no competitive hockey for my boy.
To be honest I would rather a win with no response to Boston’s thuggery. I don’t believe in revenge. What happened is over and done with. No bones were broken, nobody died.
I am just messing with punkster because he confused his analogy. 😉
Unless of course the response is to score 4 PP goals and not allow any on the PK. Couple that with a decisive win and the Habs end up in their heads.
I still contend that the Habs need a Scott Stevens type patrolling the blue line. As SF09 states, the player being groomed for that role is Tinordi.
I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, great column today by Jack Todd. I’ve been trying to come to the rescue of Jacques Martin in conversation with friends and many times on this website. I totally love his old school, responsible hockey, way of thinking. He’s doing a fine job back there, especially compared to all the garbage behind the bench bench, except Gainey, before his arrival.
Another thing Jack Todd said that I agree with are the Habs chances. I look at the Habs as being only a slight dog against teams like Boston or Philadelphia. Maybe they’re technically favored but we’ll give them a run for their money and come out on top our share of times.
Finally, Arpon Basu’s article is fair but predictable. Yes we’re all angry the Habs got beaten up and anybody with a heart in their chest would like to see a bit of retribution in a fight one day. However, not many suggested trading a high draft pick or quality player away for a goon. Most people are unhappy because for whatever reason we don’t have a guy or two that can play the game and also win his share of fights against the heavyweights.
Well I would like to say THANK YOU to all of you who have made this site fun, interesting and even crazy. It was a great run and we had alot of action. However, after reading Jack Todd’s article predicting the Habs beating the Bruins I imagine the world is ending and we are all doomed.
So now that i have seen EVERYTHING, I can die happy i guess….
There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…
So, like throw out all the preparation Martin does and just hack at the Bruins? There is 1 Game Plan. Not 2 or 3 or 4; just 1. Montreal has beaten them 8 out of 9 times and suddenly the Bs are so much better? Don’t think so.
Pekka Rinne’s also in there with a shout:
23 Wins, 2.10 GAA, .929 %, 5 SO.
That’s not a band buncha numbers for someone playing on a dead duck like Nashville.
—Hope Springs Eternal—
wow – not only are the Habs “soft” but we prolly have the softest reporters in the league too…come on guys, grow a set.
we all know we are not going to goon it up and turn this game into a gongshow…but this team needs to respond…this is the NHL. Force a few of their guys to fight – win or lose…I’m talking Lucic, Campbell and Seguin…then call it a day.
Stamkos, Hiller if he wouldnt have went down.And my choice, Ilya Kovalchuk who’s been huge.
Well I think there are two things that are working in their favor. First, the building is enormously successful outside of simply staging hockey games, and contributes significantly to the bottom line. Couldn’t say that about the old barn. Second, the ownership is both richer and smarter (and less fragmented) than the previous, with money sources not tied to the local economy. Oh and a third, there’s no such thing as the Winnipeg Enterprises Committee anymore……. .
Still, it’s a crap shoot, but no worse than the one that took the team out of the city in the first place.
A man’s attitude… a man’s attitude goes some ways. The way his life will be. Is that somethin’ you agree with?
I disagree. Speed wont cut it against the bruins, the only saviour is the PP. And we all know the refs aint the habs friends. I dont lose sleep over the habs but even I admit they get the shit end of the stick when the reffing is concerned. And we all know thats JMs plan: to let the Bruins take penalties and kill em on the PP. Im just saying there needs to be a plan B.
For those who follow the Q, and this is quite reminiscent of what has transpired in a few NHL games this year.Something has to be done, at all levels in hockey. This is what happened to my hometown team the Wildcats over the weekend.
I hope you get well soon Ted.
BATHURST – I’ve known Moncton Wildcats head coach Danny Flynn for a long time. And I’ve never seen him anywhere near this distraught after a game.
“It was a sad day for hockey,” he said following his club’s 5-2 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in a dangerous, penalty-filled Quebec Major Junior Hockey League contest that was scary to watch on Saturday night at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre.
“I love tough, hard-hitting hockey, but that’s not what that game was about. That was a game of vicious cheap shots. It’s not the product we’re trying to sell in this league. We’re trying to sell skill and speed. That was something right out of (the infamous goon hockey movie) Slapshot.”
Moncton erased a 2-0 deficit and scored five unanswered goals in the final 22 minutes of the game. It was an outstanding comeback that got overshadowed by several dangerous checks from behind and an ugly display that showed disrespect for the sport.
Wildcats centre Ted Stephens, 20, suffered a concussion in the third period with his club leading 3-2 at the time. He was drilled into the boards with a check from behind delivered by Christophe Losier of the Titan.
Stephens laid on the ice for several minutes and then was helped off in what could be the end of his QMJHL career. This ugly incident could threaten his shot at a professional hockey career because that’s two major head injuries this season and you never know the long-term impact.
Stephens missed three and a half months after suffering a concussion on Sept. 22. Two Rimouski Oceanic players nailed him from behind into the boards, a vicious head shot that left him motionless while rink workers had to come out and scrape blood off the ice.
There was somehow no penalty called on that blatantly illegal hit, an embarrassment to the referees. Even more unbelievable was the fact the QMJHL did absolutely nothing about it after watching video, an embarrassment to the league.
It was a repeat on Saturday as no penalty was called on Losier’s hit on Stephens, who was defenceless on the play. Flynn was on the phone to league disciplinarian Raymond Bolduc after the game and the Wildcats sent video of that and much more to the league yesterday.
If this was the Ontario Hockey League under commissioner David Branch, Losier would surely receive at least a 20-game suspension. Branch rules with an iron fist and is well known for handing out severe punishment for acts that disrespect the sport and the integrity of the OHL.
But this is the QMJHL which doesn’t have anywhere near the same kind of backbone when it comes to disciplinary measures. It will be interesting to see if the league comes down with proper punishment on Losier, gives him a token slap on the wrist or does nothing about it.
Acadie-Bathurst, the QMJHL’s second most penalized team, started delivering dangerous checks from behind early in the game and tempers flared from there. There were 16 penalties and several multi-player scrums in the first period.
Those who are entrusted to operate the QMJHL professionally should really watch the entire game and then for a change come down with proper harsh suspensions. Not the typical milk and cookie punishment.
If this had been an OHL game, Branch would have a field day with meaningful punishment that serves notice the league doesn’t put up with this stuff. The QMJHL should actually send the video of this game to Branch and ask how he would handle disciplinary measures. It would be a good learning opportunity for the QMJHL.
“It started from the first shift in this game,” said Flynn.
“We tried our best to ask the referees to call it tight, but they can only do so much. I just hope that Ted Stephens is okay. That’s two major head injuries in one season. I’m sick to my stomach right now.
“That’s not what hockey is about. That type of hockey we saw tonight, I hope that’s gone forever. I’ve been coaching for 30 years and it’s the dirtiest game that I’ve been involved in. It was scary dirty.
“Ted missed 40 games for a check from behind that went unpenalized. He was just starting to get back on top of his game and become an impact player once again. Now, it looks like he’ll be lost for a long period of time for another hit from behind and it’s tough to take.”
QMJHL teams often find themselves trying to recruit players who are weighing their options between major junior and U.S. college hockey.
If I had a son and watched what’s happened to Stephens and how the QMJHL ignored it the first time, I would be pushing him to play U.S. college hockey. I wouldn’t want my son in a league that pays lip service to the importance of player safety, but doesn’t have the backbone to come down with heavy punishment when something happens.
“I can only hope that when the league reviews this incident that proper decisions are made,” said Flynn.
Moncton was leading 5-2 with seven seconds remaining in the game. Acadie-Bathurst had Vincent Arseneau, Garrett Clarke, Jeremie Malouin and Chrisophe Losier – its four most penalized players – on the ice. Three of them have more than 100 penalty minutes.
That’s asking for potential trouble when you choose to finish the game with those guys on the ice. It increased the chances of a multi-player fight or bench clearing brawl. As it turned out, the game ended with Malouin giving a slash to the arm of Wildcats forward Scott Trask.
I have a lot of respect for Titan head coach Real Paiement and he’s a friend, but he wasn’t thinking clearly and showed poor judgment there. He’s a very good coach who’s normally smart.
“Moncton is a chippy team,” he said. “We’re an aggressive team. They were chippy the last time we met. It was hard, tough, physical and probably at times dirty on both sides in this game.”
“We only had three penalties the last time we played them,” countered Flynn. “Was it our hooking or tripping penalty that he didn’t like?”
Wildcats athletic therapist Guy Savoie rushed onto the ice to attend to Stephens. I would’ve interviewed Stephens for this column, but he was too spaced out for that.
“When I got to him, he already had a severe headache,” said Savoie.
“He was dizzy. He was groggy. He felt like throwing up. At one point, he slipped out of consciousness. That’s when I called for the doctor and the other team’s therapist.
“We asked him questions about the past, the present and the future. He had no recollection of how he got hit. He didn’t remember scoring a goal in the game. He didn’t remember who we played against the day before. He didn’t remember which city he was in.
“It’s his second concussion this season. He’s a great kid, a great student and a bright person. I want all our players to do well when they move on from hockey. With hits like that, you hope it doesn’t have a long-term effect.”
* Neil Hodge is a Times & Transcript sports reporter who covers the Moncton Wildcats.
I did read it and I thank you for bringing it here. It’s just that posting articles tend to take up too much space and as much as that one is an important read often times in the past people have posted complete articles at the expense of a good thread. Please don’t take offense. I said the magic word after all. 😉
Haha…I’ll never live down those years of being lost in the wilderness of SW Ontario Leaf Fandom. I offer no excuses and no apologies. I thank the Powers That Be each day that I have seen the light and now follow the true path! But I will never advocate violence is sports.
here is a good article which reviews all of the relevant factors;
population, arena capacity, attendance, ticket prices, corporate support etc.
Here’ my take, for what its worth.
Pro Sports always places the burden squarely in the fans pockets – that’s the bottom line.
If Winnipeg gets the franchise, and I believe they will, it will be “up to the fans” to pay ridiculously inflated ticket prices to justify fielding a competitive team.
In the first 5 years (minimum) there will be so much excitement around the team, there will be no problem.
After that – it all falls on the fans to fork out huge dollars that most of them can not afford – especially in and around Winnipeg.
Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.
It’s just that the Bruins have been physical forever, and our record is pretty darn good against them, even when they were supposedly the better team. So, I think there’s more to it.
I agree. Look how well the Isles have been doing since they responded to the penguins.
It happens. Some teams have the voodoo on others. Chicago does over Vancouver, certainly doesnt mean Chicago has been that much more brilliant than Vancouver in the past. The panthers had the voodoo on the habs for a while too. Just saying you got to look ahead and you got to be prepared for everything thats thrown at you.
Did you even study the polls to see who they asked?
And how are you going to grow the game in the States if the vast majority of parents say that they won’t take their kids to a hockey game because of the violence and fighting?
While many of the replies below have good answers, let me remind you of one important factor, THE factor: winning.
Those attendance numbers? Tiny. The team? A laughable abomination. Easily the worst-run franchise since its NHL inception. You thought the Habs had a run of bad drafts? Winnipeg’s record EASILY beats it. It’s not even a fair comparison.
The Jets were a franchise run by idiots from the (NHL) start. The team was never built into a winner, and essentially got shafted by stikes and lockouts. As a lifetime Expos fan you can imagine how that still smarts. Worse than trading Willy Lindstom for Laurie Boschman, or Morris Lukowich for Jim Nill. Or Kris Draper to Detroit for $1. Ugh.
So you gotta keep in mind, after many, many years of total futility and literally no hope, people in the city started to give up. The attendance reflects that. BUT you put Moose head honcho Craig Heisinger in charge on Day 1, and build from what minor success is on the table on Phoenix and THAT is what will be different this time.
The Winnipeg Jets never in their lifetime had 1 day under a competent GM. Not one. (Let me repeat, Kris Draper for $1.) Ditto for ownership. So it goes in the boardroom, so it goes on the ice. We’ve seen this be true for many franchises. The next time this city gets a team, if ever, there will be the right hockey people here on day one, instead of a titanic screwup-fest of greedy people with no hockey acumen.
That said, they will have to compete with the same grifters at City Hall as always, but Chipman & Thompson hold more water in the end than Sam Katz; if they want to badger city council they should have no trouble doing that with an NHL team in their pocket and a 100%-owned arena smack in the middle of downtown.
its not revenge via violence per say – its way more about standing up for yourself and your team. like it or not – it is part of NHL hockey in 2011 – thats a fact….I am willing to live with the consequences of a loss having stepped up. In my opinion this will have more positive long term affects than squeaking out a win while being punked all over the ice. its just my opinion but its based on many many years of experience studying, playing and coaching the game…I don’t advocate violence as a means of solving problems but I understand the reality that in life – every now and then – you have to stand up for yourself….but I digress…and hope Habs win this game.
No but he’s right. If we come out tomorrow trying to give the Bruins a beating we’re going to be doing just what they want. We beat them 3 times this year with speed and skating. We should not let them dictate that we play to their strength. We should dictate. Anyway, we’re playing at home. I doublt the broons will try the same thing here.
Besides, it was an 8-6 loss. Not like an 8 – 0 owning.
Revenge is nice, but winning tomorrow night is sweeter.
Masochism. Sadism. People say the Habs need to be more Disciplined. We all want to Dominate them and not Submit to their violence.
What’s next? Bondage?
I can see the headlines now. Habs versus Bruins. Bring your whips, leather and latex. It’s gonna get kinky!!!
The best way to not submit to their violence is by putting more of the little pucks into the big net. Maybe the bondage slant would work for their fan base. I lived in Boston but only for 5 years or so. Not enough time to meet an actual Bruins fan. Celtics fans, Red Sox fans and even Pats fans yes but not a Bruins fan.
Habs should be trying to take the NE and forget about this distraction. It starts with beating them tomorrow night.
Ah. I missed that one. Then I’m with you. Go Habs.
What’s next? Bondage?…
Well we do often hear how one player ties up the other along the boards. I’d say we’re there now. 😉
———————————————————————— “Young people have seen that a team can play electrifying, fascinating hockey while still behaving like gentlemen.” ~Serge Savard~
Mara & White no brainer AT LEAST
Scenario: Habs get an early 2 goal lead and then Lucic starts heckling Price (we watch? or does 52 year old Hamerlik step in and have Campbell cut up his face?) – maybe Chara 2 hands MaxPac AGAIN – do we watch? is that what happens?
You know if the Habs start beating them in the game – they’ll start getting dirty – so we’ll watch (I assume thats the gameplan)
Good, level-headed discussion Adam and I see your side of it. It is part of today’s NHL and in many ways a part of our society too. I wonder which has more influence on which, pro sports on society or society on pro sports? Outside pro sports stepping up to injustice is right in my view. If the injustice is serious enough then violence can be justified or even desirable. The degree of the injustice may temper the degree of response I suppose. Is the use of goons, fighting or intent to injure justifiable in pro sports, in a game, in a form of entertainment? Not for me. Everyone’s different.
I think if the NHL goes this route, it will coincide with a dramatic reorganization of the league. A MLB-like realignment, with little or no crossover games between the divisions (say 10 in N.A. East, 10 in N.A. West, 10 in Europe) with the top 4 teams or something like that meeting for a tournament style championship. Travel is not going to get cheaper, for a variety of reasons. This might not be as sure a thing as we might think.
The other huge issue is arenas. The biggest arenas in Europe are, with a couple of exceptions, not large enough to field financially viable NHL teams. Consider:
Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena – seats 13,850 (built 1989)
Prague’s O2 Arena – seats 17,360 (built 2004)
Cologne’s Lanxess Arena – seats 18,500 (built 1998)
Bern’s PostFinance Arena – seats 16,789 (built 1967)
Minsk’s Minsk-Arena – seats 15,000 (built 2010)
Moscow’s MegaSport Arena – seats 12,126 (built 2006)
Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena – seats 13,349 (built 1997)
I doubt there would be an appetite for the kind of buildings that the NHL would require (17000+ capacity) in so many of these cities where rinks have only been built over the past 10-20 years.
For this reason, I think the far better route would be for the NHL to form partnerships with the European leagues and combine to create a socceresque “Champion’s League” arrangement for the Stanley Cup. They could create a “Wayne Gretzky Trophy” for the NHL’s champion, or some other such winner.
To be honest, I think the research being done right now on brain injuries might signal the end of hockey (at least as we know it) and North American football as sports. It might take a couple or even a few decades, but I do believe that the mounting evidence of severe brain issues is becoming a big threat to these sports. At the junior levels, soccer coaches are already being asked to minimize the amount of heading practice we give the kids as there is growing evidence of long-term brain injuries amongst professional soccer players in the U.K.
What insurance companies are going to be willing to put themselves on the line to protect players in those sports? What universitites/schools are going to be willing to risk litigation over the long-term by continuing to field teams in sports where there is growing evidence of serious brain trauma even for players who didn’t suffer a single “concussion”? Waiver forms obviously save the universities/schools from much of that risk, but it is not hard to see how this might become ugly in a hurry.
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
“Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
thanks for having DIGNITY and HONOR in support of your HABS
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If Hiller comes back and the ducks make the PO, hiller. Then again, if the devils make the PO and Illya keeps doing what he has been, then yeah.
Balsillie doesn’t have a case for that. He was rejected on grounds that the other NHL owners didn’t think he was good enough in a vote. Which, while obviously a joke, had nothing to do with relocation technically.
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