THOUGHTS on the LOCKOUT, HOW THE NEW DEAL AFFECTS PLAY ON THE ICE, THE SHORTENED SEASON, and what it all means.
So at least the hockey pundits on television are excited -- they have real hockey stuff to talk about.
Like Alex Kovalev -- he was invited to the Florida Panthers camp!! Why not!?
Let's wish him well. The guy's 39 and hasn't played for over a year...
So the lockout is over, though not officially. The NHL Board of Governors are voting tomorrow but it should be a forgone conclusion. Andrei Markov decided to stay in Russia... for one more game. He's expected in Montreal on Thursday and training camps open this coming Sunday. Hey he needs all the ice time he can get.
The league officially announced a 48 game season today. Teams will play only within their conference and it breaks down like this:
5 games vs. two divisional opponents (10)
4 games vs. two divisional opponents (8)
3 games vs. ten conference opponents (30)
So another reason the Stanley Cup final will be interesting this year is because in some ways it's akin to MLB's World Series where the competing teams never face each other in the regular season.
Now everyone has been asking me if I'm happy hockey is back and if I will watch blah blah blah.
Of course I'm going to watch and follow it. I mean, I've been following hockey as long as I can remember. I'm not going to let all of these overpaid bums ruin something that I enjoy and care about. It would be like removing my right arm. Forget that. Not to sound like some cheezy Tim Horton's commercial, but it really is who I am!!@
And given I'm not even playing hockey because of my injury, man I need some hockey-love!!
If you're someone who has already committed to tickets, don't buy anything at the games! No beer, no chien-chauds, no jerseys or foam fingers, nothing. Don't spend any money on this league. We the fans who get nothing out of this charade and this is the only way to give it to the man.
Good luck in la Florida Alex. Isn't that where retired folks go?
But what I won't be doing is going to the games. No hockey tickets, no merchandise, no nothing. I already have TSN and RDS, so that money is spent. And I'll try not to watch CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, just because I can't stand the ongoing bastardization of that once proud and true hockey telecast.
TSN ran a poll and two thirds of responders said the league won the lockout. Guess what? There's no winners here. Especially those good folks who make their living working in hockey like the concession people at the rinks etc. No doubt, the business structure of the NHL needed fixing to remain profitable, and that helps everyone involved. ESPECIALLY THE PLAYERS.
I have to admit, it was hard for me to feel any empathy for the players through this affair. I mean, here's a bunch of twenty and thirty year olds, playing a game that we pay to play, make millions of dollars of year, get the top shelf women, the best restaurant tables, dates with Paulina Gretzky -- the perks are endless. Hey, I've said all along, I'd start in nets for the Leafs for a 100K a year. What a deal?
But no doubt, some of the owners are a bit sleazy, they make an even bigger pile of dough, and they're just as greedy as the players.
So how does the deal affect the game we're going to watch this year? Well this year, it's a crapshoot as to who will win, and that could be fun. No real rule changes to report. But one thing the league is implementing is a change in the draft lottery. Now teams can't tank the rest of the season to improve their chances for the top pick because all 14 teams who miss the playoffs will have a shot. Makes the lottery that much more exciting too.
You can read about the specifics about the new CBA and all that stuff, but one thing I'm happy about is the fact that it's a 10 year deal with an opt-out at 8. At least we won't have to go through this in another 5 years and one thing is for certain: Gary Bettman will no longer be the commissioner when that time comes. Now I don't have the same kind of hate for him that other have, but the fact is he's been commissioner for 20 years now, and I can't see it lasting longer then the next few years. This deal is his swan song.
Of course king windbag Donald S. Cherry had to flap his yap and say we wouldn't have hockey at all this season if it wasn't for Bettman. Whatever... you'll be off television next year when the CBC loses Hockey Night in Canada.
And hopefully this is the last time we'll ever see Donald Fehr... because when he shows up it means the fans get the shaft.
PART 3: HOW the HABS will SHAPE UP