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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Morning After

After the NHL has been actively pulling out all stops to save the Coyotes in that hockey hotbed of Phoenix, word has finally come down that the much anticipated deal to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers by True North Sports and Entertainment and move them to the sunny and warm climate of Winnipeg.

While watching the press conference yesterday I could not help but notice how uncomfortable the commish was.  He looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but there.  Does this spell the end of the dark ages of Gary Campbell and Colin Bettman?  Probably not as he managed to get a quiet extension earlier this season and only time will tell.  Maybe the people who matter (we know it is not fans) will see it - although it is their pockets that are being lined here. ***UPDATE appears Colin Campbell is stepping down - good news (Shanny taking over)*******

I really feel sorry for the hockey fans in Atlanta.  Yes, we up here in Canada do take pot shots at attendance and the attempt at growing the game out of traditional markets.  To be fair some places where hockey seems to have grabbed the attention of local populations have been surprising - on the other side of the coin - they also have had some success on the ice.  

Backing a perennial losing team is not the easiest thing to do - it fact, it is downright awful - just ask the Leafs fans.  But God love em they continue to support the local team regardless.  There are not too many places where a team can put their fans through what the Leafs have.  As their team continues to improve, payback for it all will be awful but necessary - it is all part of the process.

Maybe the NHL and the hockey community in general has something to learn about fandom- How about less bland athletes - There are some exciting players in the game - the thing that is missing is personality. As Dennis Kane pointed out on his excellent site - there used to be sex appeal to hockey players - everyone was different as night and day. Maybe we need to get some of the sex appeal back - suggestion for what is is worth - allow the players to have their helmets designed a la goalie masks - the base colour would have to be the teams colour - it may bring some individuality and personality back - (I miss hockey hair)

The NHL has a lot of things that need fixing - I know, understatement of the decade.  I have also been thinking that perhaps it has become like the WWE.  In that case, the referees are just following the script that was handed down to them - no conspiracies - just script nothing more nothing less.  

If a franchise is not working then by all means try to save it but not in all costs as in Phoenix.  That has been a nightmare for Gary Daley and his cohorts - they have been singing and dancing their way through that one.  I also do not advocate franchises moving willy-nilly either but no community should have to go through unending uncertainties as what has happened in Phoenix.

Perhaps I, as a fan of the NHL for over forty years, am becoming jaded with all the inconsistencies in the officiating and the disciplinary action/inaction.

2 comments:

Tyg said...

I like that Campbell's stepping down, but will reserve judgment until I see what - if any - changes occur under Shanny. He still has to report to Campbell - who will still be in charge of officiating (STILL a direct conflict of interest where Bruins are concerned).

Will Shanahan be me open, more consistent, more accountable? If so then the sport will only benefit from him in this role. Otherwise it's just another dog and pony show. But we will have to wait and see.

I do think this move is awfully convenient in that it occurs as Boston is about to take on the Canucks for the Cup. The intent seems not to correct the league's disciplinary problems, but to avoid the illusion of impropriety should Boston win the Cup. I think it's a case of closing the barn door after the horses have already left though. Given the officiating and discipline (there wasn't any) during Boston's first 3 rounds, it's far too late for that IMO.

Laura said...

I updated the post just after the news broke - now I see that the resignation is not complete - a rush to judgement perhaps. Hopefully there is a way for everyone to save face. Campbell may just slide out of public view - and quietly fade away - will see what if any other changes are made.

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