Thursday, February 17, 2005


The Morning After

Now that the world has woken up to the nuclear winter world without NHL hockey, the remaining people who still care about the league are pouring out their souls through various channels.

Personally, I do have a large rant/analysis of the job Bob Goodenow has done through the past year, and the crucial mistakes he’s made. I’ve already stated most of my thoughts in yesterday’s post (and previous posts) regarding Gary Bettman and the NHL’s role in all of this.

I just don’t have the resolve to write such a rant right now. My emergent apathy continues to devour me slowly, like rust on a ’69 Mustang.

Jason Kirk, a fellow hockey blogger, cancelled his season tickets with the Nashville Predators and wrote a passionate and well thought-out letter to GM David Poile.

Brian Burke, and the rest of the TSN panelists, gave final thoughts on the deal not done:

Brian Burke: My challenge to both sides now would be to please fix one part of this. This thing is blown up. You can say it's going back to square one, but please fix one part of it. Even with a CBA will you stop this useless, senseless wrangling over the financial data. Form a join audit committee and start giving the players a true picture of each team's financial position so we don't have to talk about that anymore.
For the life of me, I could never understand why the NHLPA so refused to have their own auditor look into the NHL’s finances (the NHL even offered this suggestion) or go into a joint-audit with the NHL. Was the NHLPA afraid that the findings would be bleak? Was the NHLPA afraid of the truth? Was the NHLPA just too stubborn? We may never know...but it seems foolish that they would spurn this opportunity to prove the Leavitt report was a total sham.


The Replacements?

The media will obviously shift a large part of their focus to the prospect of an impasse and possible replacement players.

I know a few angry fanatics claim that they will cheer for the uniform, and not the players. They will support their Maple Leafs/Canadiens/etc no matter who is wearing the uniform.

Would you?

Let me ask you this: Do you watch AHL hockey on a regular basis? Did you watch IHL hockey on a regular basis?

For many fans, including myself, the answer is a resounding ‘No’.

I admit I am a bit of an NHL snob (although I enjoy live Giants games). The difference in pace between the AHL and the NHL is very noticeable to me. Although the NHL is not nearly as entertaining as it was 10 years ago, it is still considerably faster than the AHL. I cannot really stomach too many AHL televised games.

If you get a league of ‘replacement’ players, you are going to have a lot of Lonny Bohonos’s and no Markus Naslund’s. The NHLPA is not going to break that easily (despite the recent bumblings of Goodenow), and the legal red-tape to even get to using replacement players is thicker than the hull of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

I am not a pro-union guy, so I wouldn’t shed many tears for ‘breaking’ a union that may have just demanded too much. Still, I wouldn’t feel comfortable supporting a league and its greedy owners that couldn’t form a partnership with its players.

I may watch such a league, but probably with far less enthusiasm and vigour than the real NHL.

Since I don’t expect we’ll ever get to this point, I don’t feel the need to discuss it further.

I’d probably be better off buying a massive satellite dish and beaming in games from Europe, unless the North American channels pick up more games from the other side of the salty pond.

I'd like to preface this comment by noting that it is in NO WAY a personal attack. I will, however, try to articulate an opinion.

It's not surprising to see the "NHL only" fans are the ones that are primarily whining about the NHL lockout.

I'm a hockey fan. When I say that, I mean AHL, ECHL, UHL, major junior, college... the works. The NHL is a SMALL part of my hockey life. I can live without it, especially being located just 90 short minutes away from five separate AHL markets (Providence, Hartford, Bridgeport, Worcester, Springfield).

The AHL will not serve as a substitute for the NHL. It doesn't doesn't have to be, and it never will be. I'm actually getting very tired of whiny "NHL-only" fans complaining about how they can't "stomach" AHL games because the quality of play is so inferior. Well, no kidding?! It's MINOR league hockey. You can buy four tickets for $48... I suppose you get what you pay for.

There are legions of hockey fans that LOVE attending AHL games. We understand it's not the NHL, and in a lot of ways, we're damn happy it's not. I think it's great the A has gotten more exposure, but it's really annoying to see that some NHL fans are using their being "forced" to watch the A as an opportunity to piss on minor-league hockey.

Josh Langfeld had this to say in the Binghamton, NY newspaper this morning:

"People here (in Binghamton) think the cancellation of the season is great because this team is going to stay together, but this league is going to have trouble getting players next season. Ottawa won't be able to sign guys like me, Spezza, Vermy, and I'm not signing in Binghamton for $30,000."

Funny thing to say for a fringe player that has performed marginally, at best, at the AHL level this season.

These are the egotistical players we are so desparate to see?

I can take a few more months without Josh Langfeld.

I appreciate your candor and I don't mind you attacking my NHL snobbiness. I'll try and address this issue (and your comments) in the near future since there are a lot of 'NHL only' types here in Canada and I have a good perspective on why that is the case.
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