“Shortening goalie pads is more important to me than this “concussion” nonsense”.
Every once in a while, something happens in the hockey world that compels me to get up on my soapbox and rant about it. The last time this happened, it was the heated debate over the Milan Lucic/Ryan Miller hit. That one helped get me a gig writing for BSB, so unfortunately for all of you, it has emboldened me to stand up on that box once again…
Goalies are getting in the way. Their entire existence is devoted to removing the most exciting play in hockey: the goal. Everyone wants more scoring; the league, the fans, the analysts. Casual fans get into 7-6 barn burners way more easily than 1-0, tightly checked, defense-first games. Ever since Lockout II in ‘04-‘05, the league has looked for ways to improve goal scoring to broaden hockey’s appeal.
They have toyed with wider, bowed-out nets, they have limited the goalie’s ability to play the puck, and implemented a wide range of physical limitations on the size of the equipment goalies wear. Most famously, limiting the width of leg pads from 12” to 11” (which, was a good thing). Not to mention the breathtakingly long list of proposed improvements that the NHL has not allowed for, and incremental disallowance of many commonly used protective features, which could, in theory*, give the goalie an undeserved advantage.
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As I mentioned yesterday, we here at Blue Seat Blogs like to dig deep and cover the Rangers from a very analytical level. Sometimes that’s systems posts, other times that’s advanced stats post, other times it’s scouting report-type posts. Today we wanted to go a different direction and get off our high horse. We reached out to one of our frequent readers, Vince Rosalia, to step back and give you all an overview of the Rangers from a fan perspective. We hope you enjoy.
Man, this team is done. From the coach on down everyone just sucks (except Nash and maybe Cally). We need to get rid of Gaborik, he is just a bum. Can you believe he only had two assists the other night? Please, it was the power play, so it hardly counts. He is only number two on the team in scoring, a whole two points behind Nash!
I don’t care if Gabby’s tied for the top goal scorer on the team for the second year running (as of Monday). It is clear Gabby is done and there is no chance of him picking it up this season. His current pace of 17 goals is a total loss. We had better trade him for top talent while we can. I mean, I am a commenter on a blog, so I know more than a GM and his scouts would.
And look at Kreider, he sucks too. It was clear from the small sampling of last year’s playoffs that he was one of the next numbers to be raised to the MSG rafters. But now he is destroyed due to Torts constantly berating him. I mean, we haven’t heard Torts trash him, and he has even said to the media that the kid is just learning and is fine, but WE know what is really going on behind the scenes and Torts is just feeding us lines.
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With the season on the brink of destruction, and the loyalty of the fans wavering, the NHL is going to need to come up with some very creative marketing schemes to get fans back in the stands. I, along with many others, am fed up with the game of chicken that is going on in the negotiating room, and am particularly fed up with Jeremy Jacobs and his all-or-nothing tactics.
Don’t get me wrong, both sides are to blame for this mess, but it’s the owners and the league as a whole that will need to come up with ways to get back in the stands. Right now they assume we will all be back if and when the puck drops, and I pray that I am not the only one that will boycott and not spend a cent of my own money on the NHL.
Side note: I say I won’t spend a cent of my own money, but if someone wants to buy me tickets, I’ll gladly go. It’s not my money at that point. See? I can make loopholes too.
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Apathy is worse than anger.
We’ve heard all of the arguments from the owners. We’ve heard all of the arguments from the players. They all point to one conclusion: Neither side truly cares about the fans. If they did, they would set egos aside and get a deal done. But they don’t, so we sit and wait while they cancel November and the Winter Classic.
But the emotions let out by the fans, those are the ones that are changing.
When the lockout began, fans were angry. When October was canceled, the fans were angry. When November was canceled, the fans were really angry. The sides aren’t that far off, and it is clear that egos have gotten in the way of true business decisions. Neither side wants to lose, but in collective bargaining, neither side ever wins. Both sides know the obvious deal to be had, but neither wants to put it on the table.
And now the Winter Classic is gone. But also gone are the angry tweets. Also gone are the angry responses. Also gone are the petitions. Also gone are the angry blog posts. Also gone is the trust. What remains is apathy.
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I live in the UK. I have been to America and Canada numerous times in recent years spending an obscene and difficult to justify amount of my spare income; all visits inspired in part thanks to my love of one thing: hockey. We won’t discuss which countless bars the income was spent (yes, it wasn’t just spent on hockey tickets).
Here’s the thing. Hockey is different to sports in Europe. Yes we have hockey, and yes we have significant sports and sporting events but for me NHL hockey is different. The quality, the intensity, the long climb to the top only to fall one step from the summit only to get back up and do it all again. No league, no competition comes close to the NHL for the passion it can draw from its hardcore fans. No league frustrates you more and keeps you coming back. Ok, maybe if you’re a Jets fan you may disagree but I digress.
The moment the league and the players association (*gasp* in unison) decided to disregard its entire fan base – globally as well as domestically – it decided it wasn’t serious about growing its sport. I fight the corner of hockey to anyone that’s willing to listen where I live. I tell people that no sport is more exciting, no trophy is harder to win or more glorious when it’s raised and I plead with friends locally to be antisocial and stay up late and catch games in the hope they’ll catch the bug. Just like how I caught the bug when I first saw the Rangers’ Mark Messier steam-roll some hapless fool on Channel Four at some unacceptable hour when this then 13 year old should have been in bed anticipating the next day’s maths sermon…
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By now you’ve read a million of these, but here’s another post lamenting the looming lockout.
A friend posted this yesterday in response to the anti-lockout video by the great Janne Makkonen that’s been going around the hockey community:
“That just got me ridiculously excited for a hockey season that may not happen. But that was a great video.”
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As the players are set to release their counter proposal to the owners offer last month, the focus is on greed. As I ranted on Sunday, there doesn’t appear to be any good reason why these negotiations are progressing in the manner that they are. Without rehashing the entire rant, both sides are to blame here. The owners are being unreasonable and fail to see that revenue sharing is the only answer to their problems. The players delayed their response by a month, and it can only be blamed on waiting for the owners to provide financials.
I don’t buy either side, and in the end it’s the fans that lose out.
We are the same fans who sat through a lockout-shortened 1994-1995 season. The same fans that lost an entire season in 2004-2005. And we are the same fans who are now facing another lockout in four weeks. Fans now have an answer in @UnfollowNHLSept15.
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When the owners made their ludicrous first offer last month, there was a lot of panic around the interwebs. We all know that the offer itself was “a bit” in the one-sided realm, but there wasn’t really much cause for concern at that point. Sure, it was an offer that generated a lot of talk, but the talk was in the media and on blogs and on Twitter. The talk was not where it should have been.
The talk was not among the NHLPA.
Now, almost a month later, we are finally going to get the NHLPA’s counter offer. Yes, it took them a month to respond. That’s as ludicrous as the initial offer itself. It appears to be a message to the owners that the players won’t concede as much as they did in 2004-2005. But why did it take them a month to send this message? It took a month to tell the owners “no?”
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For years I couldn’t stand Glen Sather. The man steadfastly refused to stop star chasing and as a result the Rangers failed to make any progress, stuck as a perennial borderline playoff team and incapable of putting together a true contender.
Sather learned his lesson and now just as stubbornly refuses to abandon his plan of sticking with youth by including prized youngsters as trade pieces in pursuit of the latest high-priced stars around the league.
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I am a firm believer that the outcome of a game is never directly effected by officiating. If you blame the officials for a loss, then about six or seven other things went wrong prior to the loss. Inconsistent officiating goes both ways, and while it may seem like your team is getting hosed, the calls and non-calls are going both ways. There is no conspiracy theory against a club.
That said, the officiating in this year’s playoffs is alarmingly terrible. As a player, you can generally deal with refs calling everything or not calling anything at all. That’s consistent officiating, even if you may or may not agree with it. The most frustrating official is the official that does not make consistent rulings; an official that lets one slash of a stick go, and then calls a penalty on the same type of play three minutes later; the official that misses someone leave their feet to decapitate someone, only to have that player suspended for 25 games later that week.
The last example may be a case of a ref just having his head turned the other way, but there have been way too many examples like this of officials just being completely inconsistent with calls. I’ll even let the Ilya Kovalchuk delay of game call from the other night –the one where it clearly went off of a Flyer’s stick– slide as just a blown call. Blown calls aren’t the issue. It’s inconsistent calls.
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