Archive for the ‘Fans’ category

Are NHLer’s Playing in the Olympics Doing What’s Best for Hockey?

February 28, 2010

Olympic hockey has come to a close.  Canada took the Gold thanks to pure adrenalin amidst legs that were quickly tiring of 4 on 4 hockey.

Now that it’s finished I too will join the chorus of people asking: Should NHLer’s be allowed to play in the Olympics?

Short Answer: It depends.

Long Answer:

The Olympics are supposed to highlight the competition of the best; best individuals and best teams.  However, there is a phenomenon well known in sports that the best teams don’t always have the best individuals.

Throughout the various telecasts announcers made reference to how many NHLer’s were on every team, as if that on its own determined whether or not the team would be able to compete.

I don’t think anyone needs reminding that the “Miracle on Ice” team had ZERO NHLer’s on it at the time they won the Gold in Lake Placid.  Oh, sure, many of the players went on to play in the NHL, but if you could time warp this year’s US team to then, there would be no doubt that this year’s team was superior in talent. 

What’s my point?

Hockey is team sport.  If the sport is to be respected and if it’s to truly grow, it needs to continue to be connected to its roots – it needs to be a sport of passion, commitment, skill and teamwork.  What will showcase that is multiple teams competing that have played together for more than 48 hours before the Olympic tourney. Having a two week, round robin, All-Star series, however exciting, is not what hockey is all about. 

But what about the players?  They overwhelmingly want to participate and play for their respective countries. 

Why wouldn’t they?  They get a chance to compete in the Olympics and if they fail they come back to multi-million dollar contracts and a shot at the Stanley Cup. 

Alexander Ovechkin said he would walk out on his team to play in the next Olympics if the NHL didn’t suspend operations and send its players like it did this year.  I would venture that other players might do the same.

This perspective is interesting.

Ovechkin (and others like him) are basically telling their native countries: “You can work for two to four years to pull together a team but in the end, you’ll want me there anyway.”

Maybe….Maybe not.

If players in the NHL really cared about showcasing hockey in its best light, they would leave the NHL for two years and go back to their native countries, tryout for, and if they made it, work to build their respective teams in intra/inter-national competition.  That would make for some really great hockey in Sochi 2014.

Okay, so I’m polling NHLer’s: I know you all bleed to play in your native lands, to go for the Gold in the Olympics.  So I’m asking you,  how many of you will leave your NHL teams in two years, go to your Native lands and go to work to prepare for Sochi? 

Now don’t all raise your hands at the same time…I’ll wait….

New Hockey Point Proposal and AHL Goal Video Review

December 1, 2009

Let me first say, I actually like shootouts.  Yeah, I know, it’s not the best way to end the game, but it’s exciting and I like it- though I actually like the AHL’s version better with 5 shooters vs. 3.

Having said that, I don’t like the fact that losing teams come away with a point in shootout games.  Why?

Because it actually rewards a team’s lack of finishing ability. 

Let me explain.  What do you usually hear when games end regulation in a tie?

“Each team earned a point.”

Fine.  They then play 5 more minutes and each team still comes away with a point.  Therein lies the problem.

The purpose of overtime is for the team with the most guts and gumption to put away the other team.  If a team can’t do it, they don’t deserve to be rewarded with a point, especially if they lose in the pseudo-chaotic arena of the shootout (which, as I said before, I actually like).

So this is my solution: If you make it out of regulation with a tie, fine, you get a point.  But if you don’t win in OT,  both teams lose the point.  The MOST a team can then get for the game is one point.  So the breakdown is as follows:

Win in Regulation- 2 points

Tie at end of regulation – 1 point each team

Win in OT – two points total for winner, one for loser.

Tied at end of OT – Teams lose the one point they earned during regulation. Zero points for either team

Winner of Shootout – One total point for winner, none for loser.

So what do you think?  Would it make OT more exciting and make teams want to win?  Heck, teams might pull goalies in OT to get two points instead of one.

Oh, and the AHL still not video reviewing goals? A college game on tv had video review and the AHL can’t do it?  What gives?

Don Granato Has Got to Go…

October 16, 2009

sinking-ship Jason Krog has never received a misconduct in his professional career…until tonight when he slammed his stick against the glass and shattered it (the glass not his stick!) during the Wolves’ 4-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs.

This team looks as bad this year as it did at the end of last year.  At this rate the Wolves will be out of the playoffs before the season gets underway.  Although Coach says he hates to lose, apparently there’s a disconnect because with the exception of Jason Krog, losing has become the norm with this club.

Wendell, I know that letting someone go is never easy, and it’s a drag that as the new GM you’re going to have to be the heavy to a guy you coached with, but it needs to be done. 

Like now…

Town Hall with Wolves’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

February 21, 2009
Town Hall meeting Prior to Game Against Milwaukee

Town Hall meeting Prior to Game Against Milwaukee

"Chevy" Addressing a Fan's Concern of Team Inconsistency

"Chevy" Addressing a Fan's Concern of Team Inconsistency

 

I attended the Wolves TownHall meeting with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff before the Wolves played (and lost) to the Milwaukee Admirals.

The GM was extremely candid and answered all the fans questions with candor, not dodging any questions at all.

Insights (and quips) from the GM:

  • When asking his players why they play hockey at the beginning of the season, they answered, “for the money,” “because they love the sport,” etc.  The ‘correct’ answer (paraphrased) according to the GM? “I’m playing because I want to win the championship.”
  • Boris Valabik needed someone to have shot him before he’d admit to being injured.  He used Valabik as an example of how pro athletes need to know the limits of their own bodies, know when exceeding those limits would hinder play, and communicate this to the coaching staff.
  • When Mike Hoffman was recovering from his first hand injury this year and he was at the end of his healing time, he called the team doc to ask permission if he could fight in the upcoming game.  “Yes, Hoff, you can fight.”
  • Also joked that “Hoff” has a problem with breaking his hand on other player’s faces.
  • A pet peeve of his is when players miss the net on shots.
  • Believes that the AHL will stick with one referee due to cost constraints.  The times that two refs has been used is usually when a seasoned ref is paired with a rookie.
  • Players need to shoot more but it’s something that can’t be forced, players need to grow into that habit.
  • Players develop more fully when they’re on winning teams as opposed to losing teams.  Experience gained by Wolves players in the Cup run last year has helped players know what it takes to succeed and helps them deal with pressure more effectively.
  • There are players that have not performed to their expectations . The coaching staff and management noticed this and players have received a talking to.
  • He said on multiple occasions (paraphrased): “You see the same things we see, you know the game…” when discussing problems with the team’s performance. (This was nice to hear as we’ve heard players and coaches  in other sports in Chicago who don’t hesitate pointing out that the fans or the press aren’t playing and so somehow don’t know the game.)
  • Poor Special Teams have been one of the reasons for the inconsistent play.  He pointed out the importance of a good powerplay and how in some games this year he almost hoped the Wolves wouldn’t get powerplays early.  The reason being that the team had no rhythm and a bad powerplay would be worse than no powerplay.  Also reiterated that on the power play, the four guys out on the kill will be working extra hard, so contrary to popular belief that it’s easier with a man advantage, the guys on power play have to step up and play even harder and work to find the seams.
  • This management team is committed to winning a championship.
  • Pointed out the new President of Business Operations, Mike Polisky ,  reiterated the commitment to the fans and how there will be some great new things for the fans next season (he hinted that maybe some things will be seen this year, but  for sure there will be changes next year to heighten the fans’ experience.)

First class all the way.

If you were there, what were your thoughts?

Anything you wish would have been asked but wasn’t?

Why Wrigley? – Seating For “Winter Classic 2009”

December 12, 2008
Layout for the Winter Classic (Courtesy of ChicagoBlackhawks.com)

Layout for the Winter Classic (Courtesy of ChicagoBlackhawks.com)

 The Blackhawks have released some more info on their WinterClassic.  I don’t know about you but I’m a wee bit underwhelmed.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a cool idea and one long overdue.  I love the idea of pros playing hockey outside.  It’s how most of us first played ice hockey – outside (Personally, I relish the opportunities I can play outside in the winter.)  But, I think the Blackhawks’ own headline says it all:

Wrigley Has AUnique Feel For Classic.

That is marketing talk for, “This is really cool and really expensive for the fans but the sight lines are going to stink!”

For tix that are $75, $225 and $325 this game should be deciding who gets the Stanley Cup, not who can keep their binoculars from freezing while players keep their A%%es from freezing.

Great Hockey Tonight!

December 7, 2008

Tonight was a hockey game.

 Good speed, checking, fights, a bit of blood and the Wolves won.  I called it.  

The Blackhawks, while mustering another point in the standings (Though it’s a good thing, for some reason I’m really getting tired of OT and Shoot Out losses and STILL getting a point! Either 2 points or NO points), blew a two goal lead in Detroit tonight.

Perhaps even better was the drunk group of fans in the row in front of us.   The elder statesman of the group shared the story of his youth: “I gave up hockey for alcohol and drugs”

Oooooookay.

Soon he began singing, “Too too, shy shy, hush hush, eye 2 eye.”  His buddy, on the other hand, eyes glassy from what was probably herb smoked between periods, yelled, “That’s bulls**t!” and quickly leaned over to the row in front of him:

“Sorry, Father…”