Sunday, August 12, 2007

Get it together part 1

Every year since the lockout we have gotten a new rule or rules to guide the NHL in an effort to “fix” the problem. I have to say I disagree with that. Instead of changing rules and unveiling new flashy jerseys , perhaps they should begin with enforcing the owners to put competitive teams on the ice. With Chicago, Montreal, and Boston, half of the NHL’s Original 6, in such disrepair; It weakens the league. Period.
If Chicago could get it together you could re-invigorate the league. Don’t believe me? In football and baseball, When the Cubs and Bears do well both leagues do incredibly well. When both teams are down and out the leagues suffer. Chicago is the 3rd largest U.S. city. The Blackhawks sported one of the lowest average attendances in the NHL, while Chicagoans tuned out of hockey in droves. Losing the 3rd largest American city’s ratings because the owner is an assclown is unconscionable . It deprives the entire league of good revenue due to lack of interest when they visit other teams.
As a life long Chicago Sports fan I can tell you this. When a Chicago sports team, any sports team, starts doing well the people come out to support in droves. Chicago LOVES a winner. If the Blackhawks could become even play off contenders playing better than .500 hockey, you would see the fans venture out again. With a fresh new young team emerging, it may be a major key to seeing a rejuvenation of the post lockout NHL. It may be a big key to re-adding the 3rd largest US Market to the NHL’s assets. And the league will feel that in dollars and cents.
Boston has had it’s share of greats playing there. The list is too long to really submit. We all know them anyway. But the Bruins have fallen from a world class team to a 1st round playoff ousted team to a no show in the post season. Having an iconic team such as the Bruins sitting on the edge of being the new Blackhawks is not only sad for fans of the B’s, but also a league tragedy. Bells and alarms should be blaring in Bettman’s office on his Batman phone. Instead we see small non-traditional hockey market teams soaking up the good players . These players should be skating to the cheering of classic NHL teams’ fans not sweating it out for the uninterested.
Montreal is slightly different. While they do have a competitive team, it is nowhere near the major powerhouse it was up to the mid-90’s. With more Stanley Cup wins then any other team in the NHL, not to mention being the oldest franchise in the league; this should be a team to gauge yourself against. The past two years have not really shown that. They are no different from many middle of the road teams. They may stumble into the playoffs, but no one believes they have a chance.
The real point of this blog is this: Tradition and Pride of the Original 6 has fallen. Traditions of these teams seem like legends of a by gone era, because those years are so far behind them. When Gary Bettman and the Board of Directors finally opens their eyes and fixes these problems, will be the day the NHL launches itself forward instead of spinning in small circles gaining ground so slowly you can barely tell. Those are my thoughts.

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