ChrisMember since November 21, 2007
Habs fan since: 1984
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov...who will now be traded because I listed him. Still love Koivu and Higgins as well.
All-time favorite player: Mats Naslund, but also Eric Desjardins, Stephan Lebeau, Kirk Muller
- Comment on Habs’ Subban meets media in Brossard as contract talks continue (2014-07-31 17:47:27)
Just quoting the findings. In Ontario, it is the new Canadians, visible minorities, and increasingly women that are now being targeted for growth by the people who run arenas. With sagging population growth and increased aversion to hockey by the traditional player base, the non-traditional players are being seen as the great hope to avoid arena closures. That being said, I italicized fans because there is still heavy problems in getting the children of any group, including new Canadians, to sign up for hockey. Keeping those kids in hockey with all the other distractions is the other major battle. As for baseball, it is dying because it is simply a boring sport. I hated every second of baseball when I was a kid...you stand around doing very little of anything for two hours. Complete waste of time. I wish that there had been soccer, frisbee, or lacrosse leagues run in the summers when I was a kid, because I simply hated everything about baseball. I suspect that many parents feel the same way...in an age where it is tough to get kids to do exercise because of video games and homework and computer time, I sure as heck wouldn't sign my kid up for a sport that didn't have that kid running a fair bit. None of my friends with kids have any interest in signing their kids up for baseball for that reason.
- Comment on Habs’ Subban meets media in Brossard as contract talks continue (2014-07-31 17:44:24)
Some issues that would need to be addressed: 1) Arenas are generally money sinks for the municipalities that run them. As such, they have little to no interest in expanding programs that generate little to no revenue, such as free drop-in sessions. Most of the pick-up hockey times at rinks here in Guelph (you used to be able to find an hour for about $8-10) are no longer offered, as the various arenas are trying to get as many paying customers as possible. Convincing the general public to shoulder more financial burden to encourage people to play hockey will be an awfully tough sell in this day and age where there are a million different crises demanding public money. 2) Because of the inherent injury risks, sports like hockey, football or rugby will never become mandatory in gym classes. It simply will not happen in this age of litigation. The waiver forms I had to sign to play intramural hockey at the University of Guelph were getting increasingly ridiculous, as the University became increasingly terrified of getting sued. Magnify that risk many times over when dealing with individuals who have not yet reached the age of majority. 3) Definitely agree about road/floor/street hockey. My gym class in high school certainly featured floor hockey. This is the growth industry for the sport, even though it doesn't translate to ice. Ball hockey is cheap: stick, ball, shin-pads (I used my soccer shin pads), and some sort of facial protection and you're good to go. Our floor hockey puck was two thick steel wool pads sewed between two thin leather discs. That thing could really fly, and it would sting when you got hit but it wasn't going to break a bone. We can do all these things. But as Loop points out, the threat of serious injury and the exhorbitant cost is what is killing the sport. The changing climate, where it is no longer a given that we are going to get outdoor rinks in many of our urban centres (in Southwestern Ontario, it is about 50/50 that you will get more than two weeks of outdoor ice in the winters over the past decade). The other problem hockey has is that it is now competing with other sports. Basketball is cheap and massively popular. Soccer is cheap, and growing. Ultimate (frisbee) is probably the fastest growing sport in Canada: it has successfully made huge inroads with both adults and increasingly with teenagers as a legitimate league sport. With increasing numbers of indoor domes and the much more user-friendly field-turf, field sports are increasingly viable in the winters, allowing parents to simply ignore hockey altogether, something that couldn't be done in the past because of a lack of facilities.
- Comment on Habs’ Subban meets media in Brossard as contract talks continue (2014-07-31 17:29:35)
Strangely, many studies have found that the most passionate hockey fans in Canada are frequently first or second generation Canadians. The reason given was that for many recent immigrants, hockey is seen as quintessentially Canadian and engaging in the sport is viewed as beneficial to integrating more seamlessly into Canadian society.
- Comment on Habs’ Subban meets media in Brossard as contract talks continue (2014-07-31 15:32:45)
Truthfully, Plekanec can be a pretty dirty player at times. He is not universally loved by the players he goes up against, because he isn't shy about using his stick in ways that players don't appreciate. But he's not even close to Marchand on the Scale of Hate.
- Comment on Habs’ Subban meets media in Brossard as contract talks continue (2014-07-31 14:56:13)
Definitely a good program. The problem isn't so much at the house-league level, where a program like Hyundai Hockey Helpers does so much good, though. It is at the rep level that the costs are simply out of control. Ken Campbell's book "Selling the Dream: Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession" highlights the craziness. They used Matt Duchene as the example, with his parents estimating that they spent $322,000 on his junior hockey career between equipment, fees, training and coaching costs, travel and lost income (this one is a bit more nebulous to quantify). Many have pointed out that the return on that investment has been pretty solid, as Duchene is now pulling down $6,000,000 per season as a star with the Colorado Avalanche. Fair enough. But of the players on Matt Duchene's Central Ontario Wolves Midget AAA team, he is the only one that made the NHL. Some would have gone on to the OHL, but most didn't even get that far. Not all would have had $325,000 invested in their development, but it is certainly fair to expect that many would have more than $100,000 invested to get them to the Major Midget AAA level. And if the best realistic payoff is a shot at the OHL, where you get one year of tuition/ancillary fees/textbooks (perhaps $8,000-9,000) per year in the OHL, to a maximum of 5 years, then the idea of an investment is ludicrous. It is playing the lottery, with similarly long odds. The cost of minor hockey in Canada is simply out of control, and it is increasingly killing the sport.
- Comment on Subban, Habs submit salary figures; Lacroix new assistant coach (2014-07-31 14:33:13)
He elected for arbitration...the team decided whether it would be a 1- or 2-year contract. He's asking for a 7- or 8-year deal if they go the non-arbitration route.
- Comment on Subban, Habs submit salary figures; Lacroix new assistant coach (2014-07-31 13:37:20)
Toews also has fellow Olympians and All-Stars Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa as support. Give P.K. that kind of support for 5 years and he might be able to pull off a Stanley Cup ring or two.
- Comment on Subban, Habs submit salary figures; Lacroix new assistant coach (2014-07-31 13:34:02)
Pretty good sign when 6'0" and 194 pound Brandon Prust looks like a smurf!
- Comment on Subban, Habs submit salary figures; Lacroix new assistant coach (2014-07-31 12:02:48)
I hope that was sarcasm. As much as Rejean Houle gets grilled around here, Serge Savard made some pretty bad trades. The one above is obviously bad. But Mathieu Schneider, Kirk Muller and Craig Darby for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov did not work out very well either. While both Turgeon and Malakhov were excellent players, neither was cut out for the leadership roles they were thrust into. Trading Guy Carbonneau for Jim Montgomery was a howler. Trading out Carbonneau, Muller, Desjardins, and Schneider ripped a lot of character from the Habs' dressing room. And I don't think that the trade Savard was working on when he was fired, involving Patrick Roy for Stephane Fiset and Owen Nolan, would have been that much better in the long-term for Montreal than the one that gets Houle so much criticism. And Vernon for Roy was also circulating at the time, and that would not have helped Montreal much either, although Vernon was obviously superior to both Fiset or Thibault.
- Comment on Subban, Habs submit salary figures; Lacroix new assistant coach (2014-07-31 11:54:01)
Subban has already done so, on his previous deal. Subban will accept a long-term contract that he feels fairly compensates him within the NHL salary framework. I don't know what that number is, nor do I suspect that many outside of his family and Don Meehan. There aren't many star players that take a "discount" to stay with their team. Markov, in that respect, was somewhat unique. We just saw that Jonathan Toews, considered the ultimate team guy by many around the league, just accepted a cap-crippling $10.5 million contract. Is Subban significantly less valuable to the Montreal Canadiens than Jonathan Toews is to the Blackhawks? I will leave that to smarter minds than me to debate.