This week as George Parros spends time regaining his faculties after face planting the ice causing a huge social media discussion on fighting in hockey I decided to take a step back and look at the bigger perspective.
The NHL is a funny cat. Its goal is pretty much clear and that’s to make as much money as possible for itself, the owners, and yes, even the players and PA. Oh yes, let’s not forget the agents and lawyers.
The only participant left out of the equation seems to be we fans?
I am old enough to remember the Original Six. I remember the adding of the team right up until the WHA folded. What people may not remember about the WHA is that it was viable enough to be a threat to the NHL.
When you look at markets like Phoenix and some of the other hopeless US franchises the brand of hockey that people are being exposed to is watered down with many star players talents being neutralized by less talented Union members.
In MLB baseball the league was flooded with imports from the Dominican Republic and then countries all over. Was it because there weren’t enough home grown talent? Nope; just that players in some of those countries juiced themselves up and wanted success more than some of the good ol US Americans 🙂
Pumped up Sammy Sosa’s led to Pumped up Mark MacGuire’s and Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens; AROd; the list is much larger of course; but the end result is the product which frankly is weaker.
In the NHL the issue is fan loyalty, expectations and value. Do we really want to pay top dollar to watch 4th liners? If you cut the schedule down to 72 or even 54 regular season games and cut the league down to 24 or 18 teams could you imagine the quality of play? Less games equals less injuries and more time on the ice for star players. Less teams; less players, means that star players have to play in more roles.
It really changes things up; especially how we define roles. Would goons still be around without skill? People forget that players like Dave Schultz, Tiger Williams, and even Chris Nilan put up years where they scored more than 20 goals. Would we really have face off specialists that offered little other talent to a squad?
I know. The PA would never go along with that and the NHL would make less money and sell less TV time and beer…. or would they?
Is what’s good for the NHL good for the game of hockey?
In the old days cities like Montreal would be able to lay claim to a local player instead of drafting them. Could that be brought back? Stronger teams with more local players build up better results within communities.
Daniel Alfredsson being forced from the Sens over cap space is utterly ridiculous. The days of players spending their entire careers is almost dead and in this writer’s opinion counter productive for fans and franchises.
Players like Marty Brodeur gave “home town” discounts just to stay in their cities. Should players be forced to move because of “the system”?
If you are still reading you may ask what happen if this came to be? Well if you look at the KHL it would mean that their quality would rise. Just look at Footy in Europe and the world, where many strong regional leagues earn far more dollars than the NHL and its players do.
Remember how the Hockey world buzzed over the Canada Russia series in the 70’s? Imagine if we had World Cup type events if leagues were stronger around the world? It might not help the NHL; but it sure would help the game, and yes, the players.
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. Sometimes brave new concepts have to be considered. Further expansion of the NHL won’t really work. Does someone in Calgary really bond with a Finn or Russian player as much as they do than a Lethbridge boy or even a Quebecer? Honestly? It’s not racism or nationalism. It’s about loving our home grown players and connecting with them. Frankly as nice a guy as Travis Moen is I sure as heck wouldn’t want to spend $200 on a ticket and parking to see him play. Maybe $40, but not $200.
Hockey is Canada’s game. It’s our culture and who we are. It’s an extension of the spirit that created Storm Trooper so fierce that the Nazi’s followed Canadian Troop movements in WWII waiting for an invasion.
It’s Don Cherry and Beer on Saturday night. Isn’t it time that we Canadians took back our game since we pay for it more than our American Counterparts?
What do you think Hockey fans? You can post your comments below.
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News & Former Montreal Canadiens First Video Stat master. And forever a little boy that loves hockey!