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Toronto Sun Article: Fans Fed Up

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Old
12-02-2003, 11:27 AM
  #1
Terrier
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Toronto Sun Article: Fans Fed Up

Just wondering, did anyone here besides me e-mail the Toronto Sun in response to its article last week about the state of the NHL? Here is the article plus the two follow-ups. It's a little depressing, but something radical is going to have to take place to improve NHL hockey(i.e., dissolve a team or two, or three, or four...).

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031126/nhl_two-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031127/nhl_fans-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/Toront...02/274252.html

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Old
12-02-2003, 11:53 AM
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supernova
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrier
Just wondering, did anyone here besides me e-mail the Toronto Sun in response to its article last week about the state of the NHL? Here is the article plus the two follow-ups. It's a little depressing, but something radical is going to have to take place to improve NHL hockey(i.e., dissolve a team or two, or three, or four...).

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031126/nhl_two-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031127/nhl_fans-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/Toront...02/274252.html
I agree 100% with that Campbell guy, " Too many teams, playing too many games, with too many players that don't belong, charging too much money, for something with not enough entertainment."

Betteman should point the finger directly at himself. He's the one that envisioned the NHL with all these southern teams and not enough talent to go around. Now we're stuck with a team called The mighty Ducks and a team in Nashville.UGH. I'd personally like to see them dump about 5-6 teams and hold a draft for the remaining teams.

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12-02-2003, 11:30 PM
  #3
misterjaggers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrier
Just wondering, did anyone here besides me e-mail the Toronto Sun in response to its article last week about the state of the NHL? Here is the article plus the two follow-ups. It's a little depressing, but something radical is going to have to take place to improve NHL hockey(i.e., dissolve a team or two, or three, or four...).

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031126/nhl_two-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/Slam031127/nhl_fans-sun.html

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/Toront...02/274252.html
Skip the first two articles and go right to the reader emails in the third article. It's painful to read and the same sorry things we've been saying here...

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Old
12-03-2003, 02:51 AM
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This is tough, there are no real answers to these questions. How do you make hockey great again? Do you get rid of the red line? Not a bad idea. I was surprised to see so many say get rid of the dump and chase. How can that be done? I feel that the dump and chase creates offense.

Should there be watered down teams in NHL? Who could go? I would say franchises that have somewhat struggled for the past 5 years or more. Well that would mean Chicago, Buffalo, Nashville, Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, Calgary and Pittsburgh. These teams don't draw, are not loaded with talent. I'm not bashing any of these teams. Many of these teams have played poorly just because of bad management and ownership. How do the Rangers fit into all of this?

Here was a major change in hockey era. Expansion and I love this <note sarcasm> teams leaving Canada to go to Arizona, teams leaving Minnesota to go to Texas and teams leaving Hartford to go to Carolina. I can't wait for the Canadians to up and leave for Puerto Rico or Hawaii. How did this happen? How did it get to this state? Player salaries...white collar players playing to a blue collar crowd. Who wants to pay hundreds of dollars to see boring hockey? Trap, Money, Watered down talent, Hockey in places that never see a temperature below freezing, bad officiating low scoring-soccer like games , ect:. Pick your poison, looks like Bettman has. These are the things killing hockey in the NHL.

Time for a revolution. Only problem is you need a leader.

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Old
12-03-2003, 03:33 AM
  #5
Jeff from Maine
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I Agree With Some, and Disagree With Parts

Somethings I agree with, I disagree with others, and still others I see some good and bad points.

1. The Trap...In and of itself the trap is FAR from a bad thing. The Montreal Canadians trapped for years in the hey day. They won championship after championship after championship with the trap as the cornerstone to their transition and defensive games. The trap is a VERY successful, entertaining and fun system...IF, you have talented players who can make quick transitions from defense to offense, with SKILL!

2. Hockey in Non-Hockey Areas...I disagree vehemently with this one. Until roughly 1978, the state of Maine, while certainly a hockey climate, was FAR, FAR from a state that cared AT ALL about hockey. Then a role model of mine Gary Conn and the UM Bears (along with some Acadian imports) started building a successful program under Jack Semler. And after a while, a VERY non-hockey state became a hockey HOTBED! And the same can happen in areas such as Anaheim, Florida and other locals. All you need is SUCCESSFUL teams to generate successful franchises. It can happen anywhere. And the reverse is true also...a franchise can go under, ANYWHERE! Hell, for a while, it was deemed that Minnesota wasnt a hotbed anymore! And Winnipeg closed its doors. And look at other cities in hockeys birthplace...Calgary, Ottawa among others. Who knows if they can stay afloat? And much of it is determined by interest and costs. In Ottawa, the interest is certainly present, but ownership and financial issues have threatened that franchise.

3. One that I dont at all agree with is the notion that a blue collar crowd is bad for the game. A 6 figure lawyer cant love hockey? The VP of Prudentials attendance at a B`s game is somehow a bad thing? The ONLY way that is a bad thing is if costs prohibit anyone other than th white collars from attending games. But much of this is the result of the fad of building new stadiums. You see it all the time...each new stadium has more luxury boxes than the previously newest one. who can afford those boxes? I CANT! Who can? The 6 figure lawyer and his Pru VP buddy can! And they are in large part how the arena is funded....naming rights neccesitate luxury seating and that high profile/wealthy clients are in attendence....hence Ray Bourques job. If we didnt have that need, Bourque would have no use for the otrganization. He certainly isnt going to show up to shmooze myself and Black Eye at a game.

4. Player salary. If their is one reason for the decline of the game, and if I was told that I had to choose 1 factor...it would be the escalation of player salary. Salaries have risen exponentially over the years. We have heard all the reasons for why it needed to happen....players cant afford to retire because they dont have any saving; hockey players are the lowest paid pro athlete in NA. Well, all of that sounded great a few years ago. And in many cases, those of us who complain about the ills of the game today, thought that raising salaries sounded great a number of years ago. Luckily Bettman and the owners seem to trealize that one way or the other, they HAVE to lower the salary scale. No longer can a Thornton be able to collect 10 million per yer....thats an absurdity. Althought it should be allowed to happen it still likely will. Its always very difficult to take what the "haves" have, away from them. And Bobby Hull isnt helping things either by giving the NHLers an option to play.

5. Expansion. I seperate this from hockey in non-hokcey climates becaue I dont feel they are the same thing. Expansion is its own problem. And along with player salary is one of the 2 biggest ills of the hockey product. As we all know, EVERY team has a 1/2 dozen guys who flat out are AHL players, guys who 20 years ago would have been cut in the 2nd week of camp. EVERY team is littered with this garbage. Teams cant play beautiful hockey because they dont KNOW how to play the game that way. Each team has virtually a full line, 1 defense pairring and a goaltender who shouldnt be in the NHL. And thats a freakin joke. This wouldnt be an issue if we didnt have to account for my next point....

6. Decline in teachinhg creativity in youth hockey. As I have railed on a million and 1 times, we dont allow for creativity in youth hockey anymore. We tecah the trap because we seldom care about anything but winning. Coaches want to make a name for themselves via 10 year old kids and parents want to raise the next multi millionaire kid. I wont get into this too much because I have done so ad nauseum a number of other times.


All of these things work TOGETHER to ruin the game.

Poor teaching at the lower levels results in too low of a skill level for kids entering HS and Jr. hockey. We no longer have a talented talent pool to draw future NHLers from. And in this age of expansion, instead of drawing from a well stocked pool of talent, we draw from a much delapitated and inferior gene pool. Had we taugh appropriate skills, expansion wouldnt affect the talent nearly as much...you`d still have a well stocked pool!

And how do you win with inferior talent? You focus HEAVILY on defense and play a system that stifles creativity even more! You turn the trap from a beautiful thing into an ugly stepsister.

Then you add to this the fact that teams are stocked with inferior players who make more money than the stars of the previous decade...and you have a miserable situation that gets worse and worse and worse.

MANY things need to change in the NHL....and I havnt even touched on the officiating!

Too many ills with this game. But it can be fixed over TIME. It wont happen overnight. And with any such siatuatiion that calls for major change...things will get worse before they get better!

Later

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Old
12-03-2003, 04:24 AM
  #6
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Defense should be eliminated from hockey:
http://sportssatirereport.com/Articles/059_NHL.htm

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Old
12-03-2003, 05:00 AM
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Jeff, I am responding to your post, but I didnt cut and paste because it was so long!

Anyway, I am not trying to bait you as I agree with almost all of your points.....for once!

Your comparison with Maine becoming a hockey hotbed to Anaheim and Florida teams is understandable, but perhaps a bit short sighted. I am saying this as a person who loves Maine and love to visit, but you have to admit there is not a heckuva lot going on up there. Compare this to places like Florida and California where there are 4 pro teams, college is huge, weather is great, and all sorts of other stuff happening the LAST thing that these people will do is support a losing NHL team. Sure, when they win people will show, but inevitably every team struggles, and therein lies the problem. IMO trying to convinve the whole US that hockey is great didnt work, we should pull back the reigns and improve the sport for those who appreciate it.

I agree with your points on salary issues, lack of youth creativity, and expansion. This league would be flat out NASTY (in a good way) with 24 teams. My wife might divorce me because I would literally watch 2 full games per night because the intensity, creativity, and talent would return. It would be the single most important thing (and re-establishing rivalries) that would bring this sport back to the great 80's!

This is going to sound odd coming from someone who doesnt think gooning is a good thing, but the NHL should not care about being so damned PC with everything. Fights will happen, people like them. What they have to get away from is teams carrying useless players on their bench just for fighting. I am all for dropping the gloves if it is in the heat of the battle between two players who are playing the body all night and really hate each other. Like when Joe fights...I think that is great....reminds me of how Neely used to be. It does help build rivalries and rivalries and more talented team playing better hockey is what this team needs.

And of course lastly...they should be threatening these officials with their jobs. What they do is unacceptable. If I did my job that poorly I would be fired............oops..I better get back to work!

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Old
12-03-2003, 05:50 AM
  #8
Jeff from Maine
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I Like Your Thoughts

I didnt neccesarily mention Maine for any other reason than to say that a non-hockey area CAN become a hockey area.

Certainly Maine had advantages such as the presence of the Maine Mariners, and the fact that Maine is a winter "wonderland".

But I understand why you would question the relation.

As far as officials are concerned...I agree that they should be threatened.

But only on one condition.

I am not sure of the state of the officials and their contracts are concerned.

Are they FULL TIME officials? I ask this because I know that in the NHL, in particular, many officials were part time officials. They were not recognized as a full time NFL profession. That may not be the best way to phrase it, but I am trying to put it in the best terms that I can.

Suffice it to say that they were part timers. They earned part time pay. They had to pay their way to games and pay for their meals. Many officials, especially yonger ones, quit the game because they couldnt make ends meet. It was a very low paying job, with a LOT of stress.

It makes you wonder WHY anyone would do this!

On a different level...I coach girls varsity basketball. I am an VERY intense person/coach. But one thing I try as hard as possible to do is to NEVER yell at or demean any refs that we have. These guys are underpaid, take crap from fans, coaches and players ALL game. They start this crap catching from the fans as soon as they arrive with their stripes on.

We have a deep shortage of refs in Maine. And its easy to pinpiont as to WHY their is a shortage....the job SUCKS! Its long travel, you are overworked and your working conditions stink....all for a measly $35-50 bucks per game!

On the larger scale, its much the same. A good friend of mine who used to coach a local boys team, has been officiating now for about 5 -6 years. He has done a number of UMaine womens D-1 games. Its better pay than a HS game, but the pressure is MUCH greater and things happen at a faster/quicker pace. And the fans, coaches and players are just as bad, and usually WORSE than a HS game. He works many of those games pretty much so he diesnt get blacklisted. You dont EVER turn down work as a ref...the assigner will never call you again!

And you can extend this to the highest levels of play as well! At the NHL level, what incentive do these guys have to bust their ass to call everything?

They get crap from the players, coaches, GM`s, fans, owners, the supervisor of officials, the league Commissioner....

They catch it from EVERY angle.

And to top it all off...they are officiating an awful product of which they could legitimately blow the whistle on each team about 25-50 times per game! The game is chock full and littered with illegal play. The NHL is like the NBA....every sequence of action could have, as a general rule, at least a couple penalties called during it.

Refs have to pick and choose what they call. Ifthey called everything that DESERVES to be called...the ame would have no flow.

And then they would be ripped for slowing and ruining the game.

I agree that they need to be held accountable. But the "how" of it needs to be addressed.

And it needs to be improved as a profession!

I for one would want NOTHING to do with it! I think that would be one of the worst jobs imaginable!

Later

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