Come for the potassium - stay for the rage. Here's a mish-mash of topics that have been irking us lately:
Remember that ridiculous exercise in satire a few weeks ago known as the NHL Research and Development Camp? One of the biggest potential changes setting the Internet ablaze (or a-Twitter, to be more specific) was the discussion of doing away with shootouts, and returning to straight ties. At that time, I conducted an informal survey via Twitter, and found that the preference of ties over the shootout ran at least 10-to-1. Strangely enough, at the same time, FIFA was making news because they were discussing getting rid of ties at the next World Cup.
When the subject came up on Pardon The Interruption, Bob Ryan and Dan LeBatard (yeah, I know) surmised that this change might serve as another attempt at roping in the American audience, who aren't fond of the "everyone wins and let's go have some orange slices" approach.
You see where I'm going with this? I know you do.
Look, no one likes the soccer/hockey comparison. However...
We know that whenever large rule changes based in "excitement" such as the shootout are brought in, it's usually for one reason: To rope in new fans. And who are the new fans that the NHL cares about? The Americans. So don't you find it ironic that one league is headed back to ties, while another attempts the shootout -- but both seem to be failing at reaching the heights in the U.S. market that they obviously dream about? Time to try something else, kids.
Who was the first stringer to say, "Yeah, I'll do it for the exposure!" I'd like to kick their ass down a flight of stairs. This business is hard enough - what, with the lack of money, the super-saturated market with premiums placed on beat reporters (any damn fool can go into the locker room to get quotes; come up with a fresh, inspired opinion about this league in a sea of screaming voices -- it's a lot harder than you think). My latest pet peeve involves the reverence being paid to "the former player." Honestly, this has bothered me for a few years, but it's really beginning to become tiresome. A couple of things: 1) There are a few guys who possess the ability to move into media rather smoothly and they provide quality insight; 2) I understand there will always be a demand for a player's take, if you will -- the fans are intrigued by it. That said, it's getting to the point where if some scrub played 4 minutes in the USHL, he's all of a sudden worthy of a media gig. Woman, please.
I see the Kovalchuk drama train eventually pulling into one of two stations: 60-Points Town, or Blown ACL-Ville. It just dragged on too long for this season to end on a pleasant note for either Ilya or the Devils. If I'm wrong, remind me. I know you will.
Bloggers should be allowed in the press box if they dress without affiliation (i.e. no team gear), do not cheer, and are barred from asking players questions in the dressing room. (If you get the impression that I'm not hot on the idea, you'd be right.) The question still remains -- why the hell do all of you want access, anyway? For years, many bloggers insisted that being being allowed behind closed doors wasn't necessary. Everyone was content to play Bill Simmons. What changed? Furthermore, it bears repeating: The day that the NHL and its teams regard SBN, Yahoo! and similar in the same vein as Sun Media, Postmedia, CTVglobemedia etc., will be the first. The irony of course is that those sites are actually worthy of consideration into the box. I didn't say it was fair. That's just the way it is. It's a matter for the PHWA to settle (and I never wanted to join because I'm a fusspot like that).
One more thing: Please don't ask for season predictions, or to join your fantasy pool, or to participate in your podcast roundtables. The requests are coming in, and I'm turning them all down, largely due to my commitment to other projects. Oh, and I'm generally weary of hockey mania, and it's only September. You know how it is...maybe.
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