Friday, October 24th, 2014

However Many Thoughts

14

I see lots of things to comment on around the web these days, but very little that deserves an entire post. (Or maybe they deserve it but I’m too lazy to do them justice.) I’m not promising anywhere near Thirty Thoughts like Elliotte Friedman, but we’ll see how it goes.

1) Speaking of Elliotte, he does a good job at setting out the issues the league faces in realigning after Winnipeg gets the Jets back. I’ll bet the Southeast owners are happy to be hosting Winnipeg three times a year – and travelling to Winnipeg three times.

2) Speaking of scheduling, the Stanley Cup Final schedule makes me want to weep. I can understand the early start and it doesn’t affect me personally, but a lot of people in Vancouver will miss the start of all but the single weekend game. I thought 6 PM was a decent compromise, but 5 PM? That’s harsh. (Yes, I know about that the game can be recorded, but its not the same shared experience. Most people will probably settle for seeing two periods.)

And next Wednesday? We have to wait until Wednesday? How does the league expect casual fans to stay interested outside the home cities? I even feel sorry for the pundits. They have to come up with hockey stories for another week? Yowza.

3) The Canucks are going to be the overwhelming favourites no matter who wins in the East. In 1982 the Canucks had no chance and we knew it going in. In 1994, the Canucks were underdogs, but lots of us – including me – were very optimistic. This year is very different.

I can’t imagine this group of Canucks not putting their best game on the ice in this series. If they do, they will very probably win. They are too fast and too physical and too skilled and too responsible for either the Bruins or the Lightning.

4) Eric Duhatchek has a column about the lucky bounces the Canucks received in the final game against the Sharks.

Is it karma? Destiny? Or just the randomness of a game that moves fast, where the momentum can turn on a single play or shift, and the only truism that really matters is that in the end, you make your own luck?

It is the randomness that is part of life. Fate has always been, and always will be, fickle. The hockey truism is nonsense. Luck cannot be made. It is an illusion, this belief that we can bend randomness to our will. Teams do not make their own luck. All they can do is be good enough to take advantage of the good luck and overcome the bad.

I think the Sharks are good enough to win a Stanley Cup. They might have won this year if Luongo had not made a save on Patrick Sharp and Burrows had not scored to win the Chicago series. They may have lost game five on a bad break, but they lost the series to a better team. There was no injustice done.

5) Adam Proteau on the awarding of the Stanley Cup:

Each and every year – and it doesn’t matter where the Cup final is – the Cup-awarding ceremony loses a bit of its luster when Bettman comes out with the trophy and is mercilessly booed by the crowd. Taking the focus off of him, and putting it on the players (either by having the captain of the previous year’s Cup winner or by having it handed out by a beloved veteran of the winning franchise), is an idea the NHL should have adopted long ago. Here’s hoping the league comes to its senses.

I agree that the league should try to keep Bettman invisible in almost every respect but I’m not sure I hope the league does come to its senses. Bruce Dowbiggin reports this nugget from a new book:

Talking to the authors of Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN about how the NHL left the all-sports U.S. cable TV giant after the 2004-05 lockout, Bettman is quoted as saying: “People say, ‘It’s ESPN, you had to be on ESPN.’ You know what? I was also the first commissioner to shut down a sports league for an entire year. We weren’t going to be treated the way we were being treated.”

Maybe it does take some of the shine off the presentation of the Cup, but maybe it is a good thing for the owners to hear what the fans think of the guy who is the face of the league, the first commissioner tough enough to blow off the fans for an entire year.

A chance to unmercifully boo Bettman? Fans like that. They don’t like hearing him or seeing him, but they like booing him.

6) I think it will be terrific if Manny Malhotra can get back for the Stanley Cup Final. I can’t – and don’t – expect him to play really well or make a real difference after two months off, but it will be really nice for him to hoist the Cup – and get his name on it. He deserves it.

Go Canucks.

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Comments

14 Responses to “However Many Thoughts”
  1. beingbobbyorr says:

    . . . by having it handed out by a beloved veteran of the winning franchise)

    Would that beloved veteran even be willing to touch it — even just to hand it off to today’s franchise captain — had he not himself hoisted the Cup as a player?

    . . . the first commissioner tough enough to blow off the fans for an entire year.

    The fact that those fans didn’t punish said commissioner — by witholding a lot more of their post-lockout dollars (in protest of his hubris) — speaks volumes. Consumers deserve what they get, because they get what they reward.

  2. Tom says:

    Would that beloved veteran even be willing to touch it — even just to hand it off to today’s franchise captain — had he not himself hoisted the Cup as a player?

    Yes. According to Garrett, the superstition ends when the player retires. I don’t think this is a good idea anyway. It is not the beloved veteran’s Cup to present. It is the league’s championship trophy.

    The fact that those fans didn’t punish said commissioner — by witholding a lot more of their post-lockout dollars (in protest of his hubris) — speaks volumes. Consumers deserve what they get, because they get what they reward.

    I’m not sure what volumes it speaks. It says fans are willing to pay big money to watch the best players play hockey (in hockey markets, that is). It doesn’t say anything about Bettman.

    • Dean says:

      I wonder.

      Can you imagine if in Game 5 or 7 what it would be like if in Vancouver, Linden came out to present the Cup to Henrik?

      • beingbobbyorr says:

        Pardon me (I’m not a Vancouverite), but does Linden get the nod that easily over Smyl?

        • Tom says:

          The more i think about it, the less I like it. Yes, Linden would get a great roar. But it makes it seem like a Vancouver party. The recognition, the presentation, the championship, has to be presented by the league. It is presented by the league to mark the league’s championship team.

          It should be the commissioner. The only reason this is being discussed is because the current Commissioner can’t appear without embarassing the ceremony.

          • Numbers Guy says:

            Disagree. The Commissioner is more about the business side than the puck side of the NHL. The Cup pre-dates the NHL, for Pete’s sake. It’s about more than winning – it’s the culmination of years of sweat and sacrifice and it’s the realization of boyhood dreams.

            The Cup is all about the players, and the game. Let a legend – a Hall of Famer, or team favorite – pass the cup to the captain. Making it about the league cheapens the affair.

            Though I do agree with you, Tom, that it is a good exercise to trot the Commissioner out in front of the fans so that he can experience, first-hand, their derision. Perhaps the NHL can make “Crapping on the Commissioner” it a special event between periods at the Winter Classic, instead?

  3. Kel says:

    I think Malhotra has already played enough regular season games to ensure his name would be engraved with his teammates should they win.

    • Tom says:

      Did they change the rule/custom on this? I know that at one time you had to play in the playoffs.

      • Kel says:

        I don’t know what it used to be, the current rule is:

        Prior to 1977 only players who had completed the Stanley Cup playoffs were eligible. Today, players appearing in 41 regular-season games or one Stanley Cup Final game for the championship team have their names engraved on the Cup. The NHL makes exceptions for players who do not meet the standard because of injury or other extenuating circumstances.

        • Tom says:

          Thanks, Kel. Jeez, my memory is stuck in 1977?

          I still think he’s going to play, I’m still really happy for him, and I think he looks pretty damn good in a full facecage. Assuming he can’t hurt himself, he can’t hurt the team replacing Hodgson. The quality of his play can expand his role from there.

        • Roberto says:

          That part about “or one Stanley Cup Final game” reads like Hodgson wouldn’t be eligible if he doesn’t dress for a game against the Bruins in these finals. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

  4. Bruins: Multiple players who can score and a goalie that’s on his game. Canucks: One consistently good scorer and a decent goalie.

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