Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Original Six Love

Original 6, original 6, original 6. It is a saying that only holds value in the NHL. No other sport talks about the foundings of it as much as hockey does. In no other sport are 6 teams as important to its success, and it's failure. For years the NHL had been dominated by the Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers. That was until this awful idea that the NHL had to expand to all reaches of North America. Cities that had and deserved teams were moved to places like sunny Southern California or Ft. Lauderdale "F***ing" Florida. I think it is time we put our foot down and say that the life and death of the NHL rests in the Original 6.

Gary Bettman is looking down (or up) from his seat thinking about how lucky he is that were 4 Original 6 teams in this years Stanley Cup Playoffs. 5 of the Original 6 teams are in the Top 10 of their respective countries regarding Television markets, with Detroit being the lone-one on the outside at number 11. As the Original 6 teams succeed, so does the NHL. A sign that maybe we never should have expanded after all...here's to you Columbus Blue Jackets for destryong everything awesome, here's to you.

My favorite player from each Original 6 team:

Montreal Canadians: Jacques Lemaire

Won a remarkable 8 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadians dominace of the late 60s-70s. Between him and Bobby Hull, it was close call who had the most powerful slapshot at the time. Can also be attributed as the person who destroyed hockey, by his developement of the "Trap"

Toronto Maple Leafs: Wendel "Captain Crunch" Clark

Most known for his bone-crushing hits and kick-ass moustache. Honorable Mention: Barry Melrose

Detroit Red Wings: Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe

All that I can think about is how many decades this man played through, as well as the oft-mentioned "Gordie Howe Hatrick" which includes a goal an assist and a fight. When I have a child, I will teach him to play hockey just like that. Left it all on the ice.

Boston Bruins: Bobby Orr

Man, from everything that I have read, heard and seen this kid could fly. I love how he flies under the radar today, living quietly. But that's how he played...flew on the ice, quietly did his job and moved on. Who can forget the "Superman Goal".

Chicago Blachawks: Tony Amonte

I loved him on the Rangers, but he had his best years as part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. The guy scored 30 goals 5 times, and 40 goals 3 times without missing a game in a 5 year span. Goal-scoring and resilience...that is impressive.

New York Rangers: Joey Kocur

Few people knew that Joey Kocur was actually the third goalie on the 1994 New York Rangers team tha tone the Stanley Cup. But I feel as though this man's work ethic on and office the ice was New York. Hey, do you want to fight him?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whatever Happened to Nicknames in Hockey?

Is it just me or do you long for the years when hockey players had nicknames that envoked a certain level of respect and fear. Gone are the days of "The Great One", "Super Mario", and "The Russian Rocket". Today I can't think of but two or three nicknames. What was so great about the nicknames in the past was that it helped the NHL market these individuals. What would Detroit have been without "Mr. Hockey"? If you were a small market team, you were automatically going to generate a lot of revenue by emphasizing these players! Admit it, names like Wayne and Gordie (not withstanding the fact that these names do already envoke somethign special) taken on their own are not as memorable as "The Great One" or "Mr. Hockey".

Today, a few of the nicknames that we are still left with are remnants of the last death rattle from the 1990s golden-age of the NHL. Yes, you may realize that I am refering to "The Dominator" or "CuJO"...ahh "CuJO"...I love that nickname so creative a Canadian could have thought of it.

I myself will openly admit that I am a dye-heard Rangers fan, but am left with sincere dissapointment as the biggest market in the United States hasn't had a nickname since the retirement of "The Captain"...but I could never really tell if that was actually a nickname or just a gross understatement of the man, the legend Mark Messier. Today, anyone that has ever gone to a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden: "The House that James Dolan Destroyed" has been dissapointed with the nicknames heard around the team. Scott Gomez: "Gomer"; Brendan Shanahan "Shanny"; Brandon Dubinsky "Duber"...I'm going to give the Rangers two points for "King Henrik". But come on, what do you think about this instead: Scott "Flash" Gomez; Brendan "Two Pints" Shanahan; Brandon "Dinky" Dubinsky...

I will admit that this is a problem around the league. If the NHL is ever to figure out how to market itself AND it's players, it needs to come up with better nicknames then "The Next One".

A few possibilities:

Sidney "Bing" Crosby
Alexander "Give me a Big O" Ovechkin
Todd "Jailbird" Bertuzzi
Joe "Thorn" Thorton

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 10 Reasons why "Vs" Sucks

10. It seems like every time there is a game in HD or, at least what they're pawning off as HD, the feed goes out. As a hockey fan who has come to look fondly upon the "glow puck", I demand better from my hockey channels!

9. Does anyone else remember that this channel used to be called the "Outdoor Life Network"? Now they're pawning it off as cool by calling it "Vs". I don't really get who the channel is playing against. As the only channel on tv with the rights to showing hockey, they should really change their name to something more appropriate. From now on, we shall think of "Vs" as standing for "Very S****y.

8. The announcers for "Vs" are complete idiots. If I have to sit an listen to Mike "Doc" Emrick (Proof of his PhD to come later), Brian "I need a haircut" Engblom and Joe "Benign" Beninanti one more time I might freak out. Thank God that when my team is playing it is blacked out on "Vs". Later in this list, I will explain who SHOULD be doing the play by play...

7. Who really cares about watching teams from the Western Conference? Really, do you care about watching the Vancouver Canucks play the Dallas Stars? An aging Mike Modano vs....wait, who the hell is on the Canucks anyways?

6. A serious lack of Hockey on the actual channel. For a sport that plays 82 games a season per 30 teams, "Vs" might only show a hockey game twice a week?! How can you acclaim to be the channel for the NHL and NOT SHOW ANY F***ING GAMES?!!!!

5. "Vs" is available in significantly fewer television households than ESPN. As of April 2007 the channel was only availbe in 59 percent of the households in the LA media market. In contrast to ESPN and ESPN2 that were available in, well....ALL OF THEM!

4. Okay, I will admit this next one is an isolated incident that the channel has thus rectified, but it must be brought up because of how awful and classless it was on the part of the "Vs" programmers. In Game 1 of the 2007 Western Conference quarterfinals between the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks, Versus cut away during the third overtime intermission to show a paid infomercial in many markets. Some Versus viewers were left unable to see the fourth overtime in which Henrik Sedin scored the winning goal at 18:06 into the period. Awful...

3. Barry "Brown Pin-Striped Suit" Melrose. Where fore art thou Barry?

2. Okay, in reference to the beginning of the list when I spoke about the current announcers of "Vs", I must say my utter dissapointment that such acclaimed hockey analysts as Darren "Juicy Rebound" Pang, Ray "Chicken Parm" Ferraro, and the greatest hockey play-by-play man of all time Sam "Comb-over" Rosen are NOT DOING the games for "Vs"...if you had a channel trying to highlight the best and brightest of the sport, shouldn't you have the best and brightest from around the league working with you?!

1. "Vs" you are just not ESPN. Shame on you "Vs", Shame on you...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Friend Writes in..

"National Hockey League Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell today issued the following advisory on the interpretation of Rule 75 - Unsportsmanlike Conduct: "An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play." league release

The NHL is changing the rules in the middle of the series to specifically go after Sean Avery. As if the Devils didn't get enough f***ing calls last night - now they're making up penalties to give them more PP time. And they still had to kick a puck in and luck into a victory. And this quote from "NHL purist" John Madden:

"Here we are trying to sell the game, and stuff like that is going on," Devils forward John Madden said. "I just find it childish and I don't agree with any of it."

Yeah, really f***ing childish to PLAY A F***ING GAME OF HOCKEY. I had no idea that a guy playing hard and trying to help his team win in innovative ways will deter children from playing. Maybe he should yell at fellow Devil class-act Mike Rupp, who was audibly heard on my VS broadcast yelling "YOU'RE A F***ING P***Y" and "YOU'RE A F***ING BITCH" over and over at various Ranger defensemen who were smart enough not to drop the gloves against that guy who is apparently not acting childish. Maybe if Avery just stood by the goal and yelled at Saint Marty he'd be okay. Here's an idea - if you don't like him parked in front of the net: hit him. Don't go crying to your daddies at the league office begging for help.



Sean Avery Rule

What are your thoughts on the newest rule that the NHL has instated?! I will publish all creative and well-thought out responses.

A First Post

Hi everyone,

I decided to create a blog for all fans of the NHL who are frustrated with what the league has been doing to our most precious sport. We have been through a lot for the last few years, seen new excited players come into the league and been left feeling empty. Who among us hasn't searched for hockey on television in the last few years only to be unable to find it?! Who among us hasn't felt betrayed by the sport when we have games decided by shootouts?! Who among us is tired of hockey players complaining about the "sanctity of the sport" when the game has changed beyond our wildest comprehension?!

My most recent complaint is with the NHL directly and their newest rule involving a certain New York Ranger and protecting their clearly beloved goaltender on the New Jersey Devils. I can't sit here and say I'm not completely bemused by their reactions! Sean Avery is known as an agitator, I get that. But seriously, this is the NHL. If the New Jersey Devils are so upset with Sean Avery then punch him in the head. This is hockey, the only sport where you are allowed to fight someone. Don't sit here and complain about it. I must point our attention to one Marty Turco, mind you a goalie who had nothing to do with the action highlighted above who said "If they have to change the rule because somebody wants to be unsportsmanlike and deface the game of hockey, I'm all for it, hopefully, guys understand the integrity of the sport. That's just something you don't do. It's kind of bush league. Hopefully it's the last we see of it." Ahem, excuse me but the "integrity of the sport?" Wasn't that taken away when the NHL decided that it didn't need to be on any major network? When they decided that we should have a shootout to decide the game? That the schedule should be about the rivalries and not highlighting the individual skill that it takes to play the game? Marty Turco, you my friend get the first "What the Heck is he talking about?!" award. Congratulations...stick to your own problems, like winning in the playoffs.

I can sit here and rant all day. But the truth is you don't see Sean Avery complaining to the NHL everytime Marty Brodeur gets his hands up and punches someone in the face. Good for you Sean Avery!

What shocks me the most is that noone else in hockey is complaining about this rule, which mind you is being changed in the middle of the playoffs?! Hey Colin Campbell, did you know that in Football and Basketball, two sports that are NOT struggling to find people attracted to their games, it is legal to put your hands up and distract the player without the ball. And in those sports you CAN'T punch someone...this is hockey...the Devils need to shut up and put up.

Coming up tommorow: Why "Vs" Sucks.