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Tag: NHL lockout

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Everything wrong with hockey this week…

Toronto, ON It’s hard to believe that this could have been a bad/irritating week for hockey with the NHL Lockout ending just a few short days ago, and opening night just around the corner. Who could possibly say this was an off week? I could. So, as the eternal pessimist, who doesn’t even see the return of Don Cherry’s suits as something to smile about, please tolerate a few of my shorter rants about all the things that have irritated me in the world of hockey over the past few days. Enjoy!

The big W-T-F surrounding the Leafs decision to fire Brian Burke?!?!

OK… It’s not that I don’t understand that the era of Burke wasn’t exactly a successful one, but I for one never entirely blamed him for the Leafs extended period of suck. I mean, it seemed to me that he didn’t have much to work with or bargain away. Can we really blame him for the Leafs missing the playoffs every year that he was in charge?

That being said, rumours surrounding the decision to fire Burke include his hesitation to make a move to sign Luongo for top dollar in the days leading up to the new season. I’m not sure if that’s true, but if I ever had a criticism over anything Burke did as the GM of the Leafs, it would be his occasional style of negotiating, which seemed to involve convincing players to sign for less money to enjoy the perks of playing in Toronto. Maybe that works some of the time, but in most cases I would say a lot of players would want to be paid more for having to put up with the Toronto media scrutiny. Plus, the current young vets in the NHL are of the instant gratification generation, who think they deserve 30 goal money, for a career high of 15.

Was Burke’s stinginess with the cash (minus Kessel, of course) the key to his undoing? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, this is a bold move by the Maple Leafs so close to the start of the season. Something seems suspicious about the whole thing, but I’m sure that will reveal itself in time.

P.S. By the sounds of things in the Nonis presser, I think Luongo is definitely Toronto bound??? Is that possible? Hmmm….

The NHL Lockout doesn’t end so much as it fizzles out…

If you were like me then you were awake and glued to your phone waiting out the last few hours of the Lockout. It was hard not to stay up late over the past few months, as the reporters covering the talks in NYC really don’t appear to handle their caffeine well. Their tweets quickly turned from informative to laugh out loud amusing as soon as the clock struck midnight, which I suppose was one of the positive highlights of the senseless Lockout of 2012.

However, the way the Lockout ended was almost as blood boiling as the way it began. What that final night of negotiations meant to me was that the NHL/PA were a mere all-nighter away from getting a deal done. Why weren’t they locking themselves up in the summer?! The other thing that really enrages my beast is that no one got screwed in the Lockout and the new CBA seems to be only moderately different from the old. Call me old fashioned, but if we are missing hockey over negotiations then someone better be getting raped any and every possible way. Sadly, nobody was… Except the fans.

Paulina Gretzky lands TV show in Canada.

There is nothing worse than spoiled little rich kids getting TV shows because Mommy and Daddy threw money at a greedy network executive. The Hiltons, Kardashians, and etc are all loathsome individuals. That being said, when those spoiled brats happen to be hockey children, then that disrupts the delicate balance in my personal sphere. Sadly, not only did this ditzy, spread eagled, camera whore of a Gretzky get her own TV show, it is unfortunately also in my country. Oh God… Get me on the next plane out of here!

By the way, they interviewed her on TV the other day. What a @#$%ing moron! Of course, it was too much to hope she’d actually be intelligent and interesting. Hooray for nepotism!

The Marlies front office still can’t do anything right!

On a more personal note, this rant relates to my game experience at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday. You see, I’ve been feeling really run down the past few weeks, and it was really hard to get out of bed on Saturday morning. Alas, I had free tickets for the Marlies game after bringing in two teddy bears for their annual Teddy Bear Toss before Christmas, and I can’t disrespect free tickets by not going to the game.

Yeah, giving out free tickets sure was nice of them. They definitely didnt have to do that. However, on the day of their tilt with the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Marlies had an unexpected sellout, and gave away the tickets that should have been designated to the Teddy Bear Toss people. We were all banished to the standing room located on top of the upper bowl all because the Marlies didn’t stop to consider that perhaps the last home game before a three week road trip would be a major seller. This isn’t the first fuck up in the 7 year history of the Marlies sales team (think pricing disaster of ’06), and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Nevertheless… I rolled out of bed that morning, absolutely exhausted and achey, with no place to sit, and dicks standing in clusters all around me. Yeah, I would have definitely stayed in bed if I had known.

Cosmo attempts to dabble in hockey, fails.

Once again Cosmopolitan magazine proves they know absolutely nothing about hockey or the attractiveness of hockey players, as they released another horrible Top 30 list of the hottest NHL players. Henrik Lundqvist didn’t even make the cut! Don’t worry, our resident puck bunny, Psycho Bambi, has rectified the injustice with a Top 30 list of her own. Click here to check it out!

Top Photo: Korea. Got a parcel in the mail with the Toronto Star’s sports section. Brian Burke’s Draft Day face 2010.

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Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Future of the NHL Fan: Should the League be worried, or is this all a bunch of smoke and mirrors?

Toronto, ON The mainstream media (or rather the self-proclaimed non-basement dwellers) are calling today the make it or break it day in CBA negotiations, and hysteria has swept the hockey community. With the possibility of hockey being back in time for the holidays, one can’t help but wondering how much damage these past 82 days have done to the NHL fan base.

It is easy to swear off buying tickets, Center Ice/Game Center packages, and merchandise while the League is locked out, and quite another to follow through with it once play resumes. Some of us (i.e. me) take hockey fandom to the level of a serious addict. There have been times in my life where my “call” or “need” to travel to a live game practically consumed me. A few seasons back I estimated that I spent $30,000 on my NHL adventures (this figure also included flights, hotels, etc) that year alone. I spent the entirety of the 2011-12 season living in Japan, yet I still managed to see 5 NHL games live, and for 3 of those games my tickets were in the $300 price range. Luckily, this Lockout has helped me in kicking the habit, and that’s saying a lot.

I am the type of fan that the NHL would love to cultivate. That is, I am the fan that supports the NHL as a whole, before declaring any sort of team allegiance. I am not a Leafs fan, or a Flyers fan, or a Ducks fan, although I have supported them all. I support the NHL, and consider myself to be a hockey fan first, and generic NHL fan second. As much as the NHL loves people like us, we are the fans that they have really put on the line when they started this lockout. We have given a lot, and have officially been shat upon. Yeah, you can’t be surprised that we’re both devastated and pissed.

Team fans, and by that, I mean, fans who don’t give two shits about anything that doesn’t apply to their team, will have a harder time sticking to their NHL boycott. Team fans are essentially a fan of their team colours, which is a passion that has the power to transcend the ever changing rosters, owners, and management. Lockouts are to them mere pains in the ass. I am sure most of them will be back whether or not the League tries to win them back. Post ’04 Lockout fans are also less likely to be as disgruntled as the rest of us.

As for the League trying to win us back, I’m not sure what happened in the rest of the League after the last lockout, but here in Toronto the Leafs “gave back” to the fans by knocking a few measly dollars off of their already staggering ticket prices. Yeah, that lasted one year, and ticket prices have since shot up well past what was considered face value in 2003-04. I don’t expect the NHL to do much more than that to win us back this time around, if they do anything at all.

As for me, I would like to treat the 2012-13 NHL season like it has been cancelled, and not pay for tickets or merchandise for the remainder of the season, if we have one. That’s a huge commitment coming from someone like me, and I’m going to try my hardest to honour it. That being said, I do know my personal limitations. If someone offers me free tickets, I probably won’t turn them down, but I also wouldn’t have used MY money to pay for them. I’ve been in talks over a job placement in Winnipeg or Edmonton. If I decide to go, and there is a season, it will be hard not to go to one game when I’m physically living in the city of one of my 4 unvisited NHL rinks. Likewise, I’m in talks over a placement in the Middle East, so it will be hard not to go to a game before I leave, especially knowing I will miss most of next season, too, and that there will be no Asia League to compensate me this time.

Maybe I suck, but these are major NHL related reductions for me, and that does matter at the end of the day. Just like the fan who opts to keep his/her season seats, but decides to stop buying a new NHL jersey every year, that matters. I mean, come on, I don’t think anyone with Leafs season tickets is going to just give them up, as they know they’d be on a waiting list for years to get them back! However, maybe those fans will stop buying $13 beer from the ACC concessions, and that matters, too.

Some people believe that all these fans that have vowed to swear off the NHL full stop for this season and/or seasons to come, are just blowing smoke. That may be true in some cases, but we can’t forget that the NHL lost a significant number of fans during the 2004-05 Lockout. I still meet people that say, “I haven’t followed hockey since 2004.” That lockout did more damage to their pre-Lockout fan base than most people care to acknowledge. The crazy thing is that the last lockout wasn’t unjustified, and any hockey fan with a brain knew that it was necessary. Yet, many fans were already growing tired of the NHL. They felt like it had become too glitzy, and didn’t agree with some of their mandates like growing the game in places without ice. The Lockout of ’04 pushed their dissatisfaction over the edge. With this entirely greed-driven Lockout of 2012, only the completely naive would suggest that all fan declared boycotts are empty. I suspect there will be significant casualties in the fan community. Salvaging some portions of the season is probably the only hope the NHL has for these casualties to not reach catastrophic numbers.

One last thing that must be said before I close off this post. Whether you choose to stop supporting the NHL, or will continue to support it like nothing has happened, is entirely up to you. That said, the choice to stop supporting the NHL does not mean that these people “were never fans to begin with.” Attending hockey games and buying merchandise does not automatically make someone a fan. Nameless jerseys are $140! The cheapest seat in the Air Canada Centre is close to $60. Some people cannot afford these luxuries, and yet they are fans. Likewise, there are millions of people living in non-NHL cities and simply don’t have the opportunity to see live NHL hockey, yet somehow they manage to be NHL fans, too. If someone chooses to stop supporting the NHL, whether it’s permanently or temporary, it is because they have given a lot to the game, and rightly feel that the players and League have taken their support for granted. And, quite frankly, that’s exactly what the players and owners have done.

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