Wednesday, September 15, 2004


09-15-04: The Darkness and the Light

It�s raining in Vancouver and the NHL has locked out the players. In other words, there was nothing shocking about what transpired this morning. As long as both the NHL and NHLPA are firmly entrenched in their must-have terms, any further negotiations are going to be just as pointless as the recent ones.

"At some point, the owners have to realize the players will never accept a salary cap or a system linking payroll to league revenues," NHLPA president Trevor Linden said after Thursday's meeting, the last between the two sides.

I have a bet with a co-worker that there will be a shortened NHL season and a luxury tax system put in place (In other words, the players will win), while my co-worker believes there will be a hard-cap or a punishing luxury tax (basically a cap) with no NHL season.

I have $5 on this bet, thus I have a minor rooting interest for the NHLPA.

Since the lockout will be a long one, there will be plenty of discussion on this blog, other blogs, and the Face Off Circle message board about this issue. Perhaps it�s time for me to come off of the sidelines a little more eh?

It�s all about the money, in the end ;)


The Golden Age of Hockey in Canada

After last night�s 3-2 win over the boring Finns, Canada has left its fans with a good feeling heading into the NHL lockdown.

After the disasters of the 1996 World Cup, 1998 Nagano Olympics, and 1998 World Junior Champions, Canada was in a so-called �crisis�, and the bigwigs of hockey got together to discuss the problems with Canadian hockey. Apparently, Canada was being passed by the Europeans and we no longer ruled �our� game.

Nowadays, Canadians are clearly at the top of the heap in hockey and we�ve taken back �our� game, so to speak.

The medals from 1999-present

WC: No medals until 2003 and then 2 straight Golds
WJC20: Silver-Bronze-Bronze-Silver-Silver-Silver
Olympics: 2002 Gold
Women�s Hockey: 2002 Olympic Gold, Gold at every single Women�s World Championships.

So, what�s really changed?

We must also remember that *anything* can happen in one game or a short tournament. There is a lot of luck involved (Salt Lake City � Belarus, we salute you!) in short-span events and the Canadians have had the fortune on their side most of the time.

Certainly, Team Canada officials have taken steps to ensure the teams they take emphasize speed and skill over physical play and �role playing�, but things could have easily just remained as bad if the stars aligned a little differently. How would I put it?

�Luck is the residue of design� � Branch Rickey, former Oakland A�s owner.

If the Canadians would like to ensure even more Golden victories in the future, then the development of young players in Canada must change to ensure skill is developed over system place. The sweeping rule changes that the CHL is introducing might just do that, but the practice-to-game ratio must also change if the players are to develop their raw skills.

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