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-   -   OT: A letter to Rutherford (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=901901)

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 05:38 PM

A letter to Rutherford
 
After sitting through yet another fate-deciding last game of the season and watching the fanbase once again get nothing in return for all the energy/momentum/good vibes/whathaveyou they sent out from the beginning of the game onward, I've decided to try and get in contact with Rutherford, Maurice, the players, whoever I can get in the organization and express some thoughts that have been weighing on my mind for a while now.

Now, I don't want this letter to come off as melodramatic or reactionary to a poor season, which I'm sure Rutherford or whoever gets a lot of when the season ends. So I've come here to get some criticism, advice, etc. on how to improve it so that the message gets across without it seeming like hate mail.

So without further ado:

Quote:

To Mr. Rutherford/Whom it may concern,

During one of the television timeouts of the Tampa Bay game on April 9th, 2011, CanesVision put up an "Ask the Canes" segment asking the players to describe the Caniac Nation in one word. The responses varied, saying they were "loud", "wild" and "awesome". The response that came up the most, however, was "loyal".

And I think that's an accurate description of the fans. They show their loyalty by continuing to sell out the RBC center, despite the organization missing the playoffs more often than they make it. They showed their loyalty during Game 7, standing the entire game, a symbolic gesture of unity with the players, not resting until the players did. And they showed loyalty once again on Saturday night, giving a standing ovation to the players, despite the end result of that game and the playoff implications because of that result.

However, Mr. Rutherford, even loyalty has its limits. There's only so many times you can stab a person in the back and expect them to remain loyal to your cause. And that's exactly what the team and this organization has done to the fans, over and over again.

Twice now, the organization has had the chance to earn a playoff spot on the last game of the season in front of their home crowd. Once at the end of the 07-08 season, once this past Saturday night. And twice now, the fans showed up loud and proud, pouring their hearts and souls onto the ice in support of the players, opening themselves completely in an attempt to will the team to victory. But twice now, the team has taken that vulnerability and hope that the fans have expressed and promptly crushed it.

This is inexcusable. To have it happen once was devastating. Words cannot describe the crushing emptiness that the 2008 game against Florida produced. But to have it happen twice, when many of the same players took part in both the Florida game and this past Tampa game, it's as if nothing was learned at all.

Home ice advantage should be massively important to the players. Ideally, a team should win every game at home, given the advantages home ice awards a team. Including, but not limited to, last line change, shootout order decision, and of course, the fan advantage. Perhaps a perfect home record seems like a lofty goal, but the goal of every player on the team should be to achieve as close to that number as possible. And while I hope that should be obvious to the players, after this year, perhaps they need to be reminded of that.

The fans were loyal to the team at the start of the year, selling out the last preseason game before the Finland trip. The fans gave their all to the team, knowing that they wouldn't see the players until late October. And when the team finally returns to the RBC Center after their intercontinental road trip, how to they treat their sellout home crowd? By getting shutout their first two games there.

The players and the organization say all the right things when it comes to this fanbase. "Best in the NHL", "Loudest House", whathaveyou. And at the end of every year, the organization has the "Fan Appreciation" games. But if Saturday night is an example of the player's and this organization's appreciation of the fans, don't be surprised if the fans starting "appreciating" the organization in the same way: Saying the right things, but not showing up when it matters the most.

[Insert name here]
Sounds reactionary now, so I'm trying to figure out how to make it less so. And feel free to add any additional comments and concerns, since I believe this issue is one that needs to be addressed.

geehaad 04-10-2011 05:50 PM

What do you hope to get out of this letter?

In other words, if JR read this and did something because of it, what would it be?

Scorvo 04-10-2011 05:59 PM

Wow, I think you need to relax man. I love this team as much as anyone else, but sending a letter to management? Again, what do you want to get out of this, do you think the team isn't upset that we missed the playoffs? I think you are taking this a bit too personally.

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 06:03 PM

Ideally, I'd like the players to somehow get the general message of the letter and start taking home ice advantage more seriously. And if it's delivered by Rutherford, it's more likely to have an impact. At least, I'd like to think so.

As far as Rutherford doing anything in the organization, this is a pipe dream, but I think it'd be cool to have a more open relationship with the fans. Maybe create a position where the fans can express their thoughts on the team layout, what's working/what's not, who might be a good offseason/trade deadline acquisition. Obviously, it'd be have be filtered for crazy ("Trade for Crosby!", etc.) and reactionary stuff, and Rutherford obviously gets the final say for anything, but I think it'd be cool to have more of a voice as far as the direction of the team goes. Or at least, some consideration.

And as far as the team being upset, I'm sure they are. Just like I'm sure they were upset back in 08. But them being upset back in 08 didn't stop them from screwing up this year, now did it?

Finlandia WOAT 04-10-2011 06:07 PM

I'm all for open letters, but this really doesn't leave much room for a response...

Why not ask questions like "What are you planning to do about this problem, or What have you talked to Ronnie about the PP" or whatever.

canesnecu 04-10-2011 06:08 PM

Calling all trolls - calling all trolls -especially the slug fans who love to prey on caniac weakness, this is your thread to let us have it again.

Dude, its reactionary and drama ridden. Let the loss settle for aweek or two then reevaluate what you wrote before hitting send. If the players didnt have a clue how important the home ice clinching games were, they dont deserve to be in the NHL and no fan letter to the GM is gonna make them an NHL player.

one edit you might think about, the last pre season game before Finland was FREE to all fans. Building was full but can you call a free game a sell out?

Gibson19 04-10-2011 06:16 PM

I wouldn't send it. Certainly not in the form it is currently in. Losing games happens. We had a pretty good streak near the end of the season, just to be in the position to have a shot at 8th seed.

Ya, there were things that need to change, and as fans we should help point them out or ask for solutions. Home ice advantage helps but not to the point where you can easily win a game. We played a little lazy last night, and everyone was probably more worn out from the Atlanta game then the fresh bolts. Thats just how it happens sometimes.

I like whats been suggested though. Ask questions. What is the team gonna do to win more faceoffs, or capitilize on powerplays (we get enough of them). That way you point out a flaw in the Canes game without offending anyone.

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by canesnecu (Post 32271489)
Dude, its reactionary and drama ridden. Let the loss settle for aweek or two then reevaluate what you wrote before hitting send.

Didn't plan on sending it for a while for that exact reason. Figured sending it now would seem reactionary. It's really not though. It's something I've thought about for a while. I really take the advantage home ice SHOULD give seriously. The fact that it doesn't seem to be taken seriously by the players concerns me to no end.

Quote:

Originally Posted by canesnecu (Post 32271489)
If the players didnt have a clue how important the home ice clinching games were, they dont deserve to be in the NHL and no fan letter to the GM is gonna make them an NHL player.

You say that, but it's now two home-ice clinching games that were lost, using many of the same group of players. If they understood the importance of the game, they should have put a better performance back in 08. And if that game suddenly made them realize the importance of it, they DEFINITELY should have put on a better performance last night.

Quote:

Originally Posted by canesnecu (Post 32271489)
one edit you might think about, the last pre season game before Finland was FREE to all fans. Building was full but can you call a free game a sell out?

All that matters is the building was full. I love preseason games as much as the next guy, but paying regular season price for preseason games is ridiculous.

As far as asking questions go, I'll just get more lip service. "Oh, we need to get better in the faceoffs", "We need to be more physical", etc. The same crap that's said after every game recap.

wallym 04-10-2011 06:27 PM

During the jersey off the back ceremony, it was clear several of the players had been crying in the lockerroom. Probably because stabbing you in the back makes peoples eyes water.

canesnecu 04-10-2011 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wallym (Post 32272203)
During the jersey off the back ceremony, it was clear several of the players had been crying in the lockerroom. Probably because stabbing you in the back makes peoples eyes water.

Yeh, I hate when the players want to really stick it to the fans and dont care whethr they win or lose. Home ice is just the perfect place to stab fans in the back.

Quote:

I love preseason games as much as the next guy, but paying regular season price for preseason games is ridiculous.
One more time, the game you referenced was FREE, no charge, no dinero, zero, ziltch, nada

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 06:40 PM

What's your point? The fact of the matter is, the building was full as a sendoff to the players before they went to Finland. Why it was full doesn't matter. The whole point was they come back to another sellout crowd in late October, then get shutout at home. Twice. Great appreciation there.

There should be zero reason why this team plays as poorly as it does at home, especially if they really believe the lipservice they give to the fans. It's home ice. They should be feeding off the crowd's energy. Instead, most nights, they come out flat and don't really get into a game until they're down by a goal or two. How is that appreciation?

Maybe the reason "loyal" was picked the most last night was because they realize most other fanbases wouldn't stand for that kind of crap.

Sens1Canes2 04-10-2011 07:13 PM

OK, if you're going to be melodramatic, at least get your facts straight.

Your position is that the Hurricanes are not up to the task of defending their home ice? That they're a bad team at home?

Well, they had the best record at home of any non-playoff team in the East, AND had a better record at home than Buffalo, NYR, and Boston.

You're flinging **** at the wall and hoping it'll stick.

TheBigKahuna 04-10-2011 07:31 PM

Rewrite that demanding that he fire Paul Maurice, and I'll care.

dogbazinho 04-10-2011 07:33 PM

This team makes the playoff with Babchuk and Laviolette.

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sens1Canes2 (Post 32273923)
OK, if you're going to be melodramatic, at least get your facts straight.

Your position is that the Hurricanes are not up to the task of defending their home ice? That they're a bad team at home?

Well, they had the best record at home of any non-playoff team in the East, AND had a better record at home than Buffalo, NYR, and Boston.

You're flinging **** at the wall and hoping it'll stick.

Actually, going off point totals, they had the 15th best home record in the league, behind Boston, but yes, ahead of Buffalo and NYR.

But since that system benefits better teams (IE: Those with more wins in general will usually get more wins at home), the better system would be, of a team's total points, what percentage did they earn at home? That evens the field for a team like Edmonton, who didn't get many wins in general, but had a better home point percentage than Vancouver.

And my position is that the Hurricanes could improve their home ice play, not that they're a bad team at home. Going off my research, they're actually the 7th best home team since the lockout (this year's data not yet included), with 123 wins at home out of their total 215 wins. Columbus actually leads that category, with 106 wins at home out of their total 175.

Ideally, I'd like a team to earn 65% of the possible points at home on any given year. I don't think that's a big stretch. It's only a slight increase from how they did this year (where they earned 60%), and it puts them in the range of Montreal/LA as far as home ice goes.

It's really not even the result of Saturday. If they were like Dallas right now, and they lost the playoff-deciding game away from the RBC, I'd have little to no problem with it. But when you get two chances at home, and you blow both of them, you can't do that to your fans. You just can't.

Jerry Lundegaard 04-10-2011 07:53 PM

I'm fine with Rutherford. his second round drafting has been impeccable lately.

totalkev 04-10-2011 07:53 PM

So, you wouldn't be pissed if the game was in Tampa Bay?

Sorry, but there are about 1,000 things to be angry with the club over right about now, but losing two particular home games -- separated by three years -- is not that high on the list.

Off the top of my head, I'd probably want to know if he's going to A) sign Joni Pitkanen to a contract that we will almost certainly be looking do dump on *anyone* within two years or B) lose him for nothing.

Or, I'd ask if he realizes that the reason he and his buddy in Detroit are having trouble finding minority investors is that most big-money folks around here kinda think the two of them are jerks?

Actually, I'd start with that one.

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by totalkev (Post 32275961)
So, you wouldn't be pissed if the game was in Tampa Bay?

Sorry, but there are about 1,000 things to be angry with the club over right about now, but losing two particular home games -- separated by three years -- is not that high on the list.

Those two home games, against teams that had nothing to play for, cost this organization two playoff runs and millions of dollars. The issue has always been money for this team, and missing the playoffs when given every opportunity to make them isn't helping the situation.

wombat 04-10-2011 08:26 PM

Quote:

Perhaps a perfect home record seems like a lofty goal, but the goal of every player on the team should be to achieve as close to that number as possible.
And does this not also apply to the 29 other teams in the NHL? So you wouldn't get upset if the Canes won 15 road games next year?

Quote:

And while I hope that should be obvious to the players, after this year, perhaps they need to be reminded of that.
Very intelligent of you to remind them, don't forget to tell them to score more goals and play good defense

Quote:

The whole point was they come back to another sellout crowd in late October, then get shutout at home. Twice. Great appreciation there.
You do realize there is another team made up of professionals as well correct?

Quote:

If they understood the importance of the game, they should have put a better performance back in 08
Completely asinine. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/boxscore...gid=2008040407
The shots were 46-17 in favor of Carolina and you whine about their performance?


Quote:

And at the end of every year, the organization has the "Fan Appreciation" games. But if Saturday night is an example of the player's and this organization's appreciation of the fans, don't be surprised if the fans starting "appreciating" the organization in the same way: Saying the right things, but not showing up when it matters the most.
3 Eastern conference appearances, 2 finals appearances, and most importantly of all a championship all in the last 9 seasons. Also since the lockout Carolina has been in playoff contention for 5 out of 6 seasons giving their fans meaningful hockey to watch all the way to the end of the season and yet you ***** that the 'fans' aren't appreciated?


Quote:

The fans were loyal to the team at the start of the year, selling out the last preseason game before the Finland trip.
I have a serious question, do the Canes even sell out their weekend games? I really hope so because it will sound so ridiculous of you to talk about the 'loyalty' of the fans if weekend games don't even sell out with a team in playoff contention.

Don't mean to bash the fans but I really hope all Canes fans aren't this spoiled because this is insufferably annoying. You're not the Red Wings or Devils but you have it a lot better than many other franchises in the NHL.

This letter threatening not to show up to games anymore, sounds like a 13 year old threatening to run away from home because her parents because won't buy her a pony.

VAcaniac 04-10-2011 08:36 PM

Why isn't anyone discussing JR? He's the idiot that hired Maurice and gave him the crazy contract.

Frankly, I'm sick of JR re-acquiring washed up ex-Canes. Could we maybe try something new? The team was flipped upside down before 05-06 and IIRC it turned out pretty well.

I can't remember the last offseason JR didnt reacquire some loser.

Psyduck 04-10-2011 08:40 PM

Oh yeah the Canes lost on purpose just to stab the fans in the back...

You want to know why they lost? They were playing a better team. We all seemed to think that TB was going to fold last night because they were locked into a playoff spot. They knew we were going to treat this like a playoff game so they did too and used this game as preparation for the playoffs. So what happened when things didn't go our way and we gave up some quick goals? The young team started getting nervous and cheating. Getting away from what made them successful. That only made things worse and eventually they're in a 4-0 hole. They're going to learn from this experience. Trust me, no matter how upset you may be the Canes are more upset. To work that hard and to play so well only to come up short must be horrible. They will use that as motivation to improve during the offseason. Taking their loss as a stab in the back to fans is just silly. You think they didn't want it? I could tell they did. They just weren't good enough to make it happen this year. It's not as if the team that wants it more is always going to win. Experience and talent are often more important factors in winning big pressure games. TB has more of both at the moment.

Finlandia WOAT 04-10-2011 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VAcaniac (Post 32277424)
Why isn't anyone discussing JR? He's the idiot that hired Maurice and gave him the crazy contract.

Frankly, I'm sick of JR re-acquiring washed up ex-Canes. Could we maybe try something new? The team was flipped upside down before 05-06 and IIRC it turned out pretty well.

I can't remember the last offseason JR didnt reacquire some loser.

The entire 06 Cup Champ team was a bunch of losers.

The best of of that FA signing batch was an "over the hill" Ray Whitney.

Also, Cory Stillman was far and away the best player dealt this trade deadline.

Kovalev and Penner fell of the face of the Earth.

Psyduck 04-10-2011 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VAcaniac (Post 32277424)
Why isn't anyone discussing JR? He's the idiot that hired Maurice and gave him the crazy contract.

Frankly, I'm sick of JR re-acquiring washed up ex-Canes. Could we maybe try something new? The team was flipped upside down before 05-06 and IIRC it turned out pretty well.

I can't remember the last offseason JR didnt reacquire some loser.

Oh yeah like Cole and Stillman didn't play extremely well this season.

tarheelhockey 04-10-2011 08:45 PM

There are 2 teams on the ice, both trying 100% to win the game. Depending on one of those teams to "not care" is almost as unrealistic as thinking the other team would get better results if they "cared more".

I agree with the comment above, that you would do better to ask for a specific response within reasonable limits. To me, if I were in JR's shoes, any letter demanding changes on the ice would receive a nice canned response from an intern. The front office wants to win even more than we do... for us it's a hobby, for them it's a livelihood. So, don't condescend to ask about the PP or draft choices or whatever. Ask about matters where your opinion holds weight -- ticket prices/options, community interaction, promotions, incentives, etc. Otherwise it's a waste of your time as a mere fan to write a letter of complaint.

Blueline Bomber 04-10-2011 08:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wombat (Post 32277130)
And does this not also apply to the 29 other teams in the NHL? So you wouldn't get upset if the Canes won 15 road games next year?

Depends on the situation. If they only won 15 road games, but won 25 home games, I wouldn't be upset in the slightest. If they won 15 road games and 15 home games, I'd be upset. If they won 30 road games and only 15 home games, I'd be upset.


Quote:

Originally Posted by wombat (Post 32277130)
You do realize there is another team made up of professionals as well correct?

Not an excuse, unless the Canes team aren't professionals themselves. Games at home should be, at the very least, competitive. There's zero reason why they shouldn't be, especially if there's a decent crowd in the building. So to get shutout in the first two home games of the season, that's not going to work.

I don't expect 41 wins at home, but I expect the losses that happen at home to be because the Canes played hard and lost, not because they didn't show up until mid-way through the 2nd and only after the 3rd goal was scored.


Quote:

Originally Posted by wombat (Post 32277130)
3 Eastern conference appearances, 2 finals appearances, and most importantly of all a championship all in the last 9 seasons. Also since the lockout Carolina has been in playoff contention for 5 out of 6 seasons giving their fans meaningful hockey to watch all the way to the end of the season and yet you ***** that the 'fans' aren't appreciated?

In the 13 seasons the team has been in Carolina (excluding the lockout), they've made the playoffs 5 times. A poor number in and of itself. But add to the fact that of the 8 times they missed the playoffs, twice they had the chance to make it, at home, on the last game of the season. Yeah, that's not exactly fan appreciation.


And unless you were at those games, don't speak about being spoiled. To go through it once was unbelievable. To have it happen again, there are no words.

No where did I claim I was going to stop showing up for the games as well. I love the sport and the Canes are the closest outlet for the professional variety. I simply said if the team doesn't start taking home ice more seriously, if the organization doesn't stop being so hypocritical as far as what they say about the fans and what they actually give the fans as far as what's put on the ice, don't be surprised if the fans return the favor.


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