However Many Thoughts
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.