Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Is it Really Worth it to Have a Season?

So, the NHLPA Guild offered to accept a $52 million cap while the NHL countered with a $40 million cap that had none of that dreaded ‘linkage’.

Maybe they’ll just meet halfway and we’ll get a $46million cap (Yeah, and Gary Bettman will save the NHL...riiiight)

To those who pray and worship at the Temple of False Hockey Rumours and are guided by the delusive gospel of ‘Eklund’, this will no doubt show that there is a ray of hope in salvaging an NHL season.

Is it really worth it? Do you really want hastily-thrown-together 28-game schedule with playoffs ending in July?

To me, the Stanley Cup is like Frodo’s long journey in Lord of the Rings. One must surmount a long road with many obstacles, enemies, injuries, and balrogs to achieve ultimate victory in the Quest for the Cup.

I think it’s an insult to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings, and all other past winners of the Stanley Cup that a team could simply win the Holy Grail after a venal 28-game season and subsequent playoffs.

When Dave Andreychuk held aloft the Stanley Cup after over 100 regular season & playoff games in 2003-04 (not to mention the 1000+ before then), the scars, fractures, and bruises just showed what an exceptionally long and arduous road it takes to win it all.

If the Vancouver Canucks finally won their first Stanley Cup (we all have dreams) after such a shortened season, I wouldn’t feel ‘right’ about it. I could never feel that the Canucks have really ever achieved the same lofty goals that the other championship teams have attained.

Like James Mirtle, I don’t want to see Markus Naslund or any other player etched on an NHL trophy for achievements in a miniscule 1/3-of-a-real-season.

(Given Brian Savage's penchant for fast starts, I could see him winning the Rocket Richard trophy....ewwwww)

Oh, if the NHL *did* come back and there were games on TV in 2 weeks, I would definitely be watching. I won’t be one of those who pretend that they wouldn’t watch the NHL once it comes back to our television screens.

At the same time, I’m almost hoping that the NHL and NHLPA don’t work out something before the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday. I want the NHL to fix its on-ice product just as much as they claim to be fixing their off-ice problems.

If the NHL spent more time than Brendan Shanahan actually looking at why the game is exceeding boring at times, I would probably not think so negatively. If the refs would actually call obstruction penalties, and the NHL front offices had the balls to tell the refs to call obstruction penalties, I would probably not think so negatively. If we got more than 2 goals a game, I would probably not think so negatively. Given the fact that many players aren't even playing hockey (or hockey at a high level) right now, I wouldn't really be too enthusiastic to see disjointed hockey.

It is truly a bad sign for the NHL when a hardcore hockey fan, such as myself, doesn’t care too much if this NHL season ever takes place. Even if the NHL ‘solves’ their financial problems in the next 24 hours (and they won’t, even if they get a deal negotiated), the damage may never be repaired...not with Gary Bettman in charge.

I agree that this season will be borderline legitimate. But if a deal is not done, the pressure will be off, and nothing will happen until a year from now. In short, if you have a season now, you can have a normal off-season, which means you can have a normal season in '05-06. That is why this is important.

If people decide to stay away, that is their choice. But if anyone thinks this will "get better" merely by blowing up this season, I think they are mistaken. It sounds great in theory to say, "let's just blow it up and start over," but I don't think that happens in reality.
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