Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Great Thomas Divide

There is a great divide right now in opinions about the actions of Boston's Tim Thomas in deciding to boycott the team's visit to the White House.

I have not heard anyone say they don't respect his right to have an opinion and to act or abstain based on his belief's.  But if he thought other Americans would agree with him he was mistaken.

I am not an American citizen, so my opinion is meaningless but none the less , here it is.

He should have gone.
You don't like the president, you don't like what government in your country has become, this was not the place to make that statement.  This was a team event and you are a member of the team.  If Tim wanted to make his statement to the media about his feelings its easy.  They are the people with mics and note pads gathered around your locker each day.  Just speak and they will communicate that to the world.

If you can't step into a government building because of your belief's, then try the hypocrisy hat on for size.  There are many, many government buildings you have already been in I am sure.  Ever renewed a drivers license?

Tim Thomas is an outstanding goaltender and from all accounts a great guy.  But admitting that his favorite TV show was Fox's now fired right wing nutbar Glenn Beck made people raise an eyebrow and now this snub of the President and the White House makes people wonder even more.

See you at the rink.

Great 8 is 8 years old.

Alexander Ovechkin is known as the "Great 8" for his work on the ice.  Right now he is behaving like he is 8 years old.

Alexander gets suspended for 3 games for an illegal check.  Its long overdue because he has committed many suspendable offences in the past,  but was always given a pass because he is one of the stars of the game.  The NHL can argue that no player gets preferential treatment,  but we all know that part of the game has, is not and will never be changing.

But Alex obviously doesn't see it that way.  If they want to suspend me of all people, a star, then don't expect me to come to the All Star game and help the league promote itself.  Its classic pouting like you would see from an 8 year old.

The "I don't want to be a distraction" reason is a sad and failed attempt to turn himself into a martyr.  The league's willingness to allow him to do it,  is even more sad.  Players in the past like Nicklaus Lidstrom have been suspended for refusing to go to the All Star game when healthy enough to play.  Crosby went to the game even when he was injured and wasn't playing,  only because the NHL asked him to for the good of the league and he did it.  One superstar behaves like a man the other like a child.

Only Tim Thomas has damaged his own reputation more this week than the 8 year old Ovechkin.

See you at the rink.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ban fighting? Ban the word Ban first.

The debate continues about "banning" fighting in the NHL.  New words are needed here.  There is only one way to "ban" fighting in the NHL.  If you fight you never play another game in the league.  That will never happen.

The only thing that can change is stiffer penalties.  If you fight you are gone for the rest of the game or gone for the rest of the game and suspended or whatever.  There will always be fighting in hockey to some degree.

If you look at the leagues which don't allow fighting you may notice there are still fights.  Baseball, Football, Basketball, NASCAR.  They all have fighting "bans" but yet there are still fights.

Lets at least start using the correct verbiage in this debate and ban the use of the word ban when talking about fighting in the NHL. 

See you at the rink.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Burke weeps for Orr

Leaf GM Brian Burke was both enraged and sorrowful that he was "forced" to send fighter Colton Orr to the minors.  His claim was that the NHL has moved too far away from on ice player enforcement, thus making Orr an un-playable player.

I agree with Brian on many of his points about the NHL becoming a league where weasels prosper (a term I prefer over "rats").  But I think Brian may have used the wrong example in Orr to make his point.  Colton Orr is with the Marlies now because he isn't a good enough hockey player to play in the NHL and his worth is nowhere close to the 1 million dollars a year that Burke pays him.

Now if there comes a time in the NHL when there is no place for guys like Chris Neil, Shawn Thornton, Travis Moen, Matt Bradley, Brandon Prust, Tim Jackman, Ben Eager, Aron Asham, Chris Thorburn, David Clarkson and many many others....then we have a problem.

The NHL will not be a lesser league without Colton Orr or Jody Shelly or Steve MacIntyre or any of the other players who simply cant play and only wear a jersey to fight.

I agree with Burke's point, just disagree with his example.  There are too many weasels in the NHL now,  who don't have to adequately answer for for the dangerous and sneaky things they do.  Matt Cooke has proven that a weasel can change his ways,  but right now why would the likes of Brad Marchand, Patrick Kalleta or Alex Burrows consider changing?  The penalties against those who seek to control their weaselery on the ice are far greater than the penalties for being a weasel,  thus sadly, the weasel method works.

The NHL needs some new anti-weasel rules to control this type of scourge or at the very least a more stringent use of the unsportsmanlike rule and the intent to injure rule.

see you at the rink.

Fight for the sake of fighting.

The NHLPA's recent rejection of the NHL's new realignment and playoff structure is nothing more than posturing by the Association.  With the current CBA set to expire on September 15th, 2012, the players union simply wants the league to know,  they are not going to easily agree to anything, including things they actually want.

That is the great irony here.  The past executive director of the players association Paul Kelly has admitted that what the owners had proposed is pretty much what the players had asked for during his tenure as the union boss.

The players purported concerns of increased travel, playoff inequities and the league's inability to provide a mock schedule for them to inspect, are nothing more than obstructionist dithering.

Everyone knew that any system which involved every team playing every other team at least twice a year would involve more travel for some and less for others.  But its what the players had asked for.

Everyone knows that playoff inequities will be solved once one or two troubled franchises are eventually moved (insert Phoenix, Florida, Columbus or anyone of 5 or 6 teams here) and a wildcard system is installed after the system is up and running.

Everyone knows, that unlike baseball Mr. Fehr, NHL teams do not have total control of their buildings and most NHL buildings are multi-purpose with shows and concerts to contend with and many have another tenant such as basketball, indoor lacrosse, football or indoor soccer to schedule around.  Providing an iron clad mock schedule is simply impossible and everyone knows it.

The Players Association could have started this march towards a new CBA with a positive, collaborative gesture, but instead they erected the first road block.

Is it any wonder that public opinion during pro sports labour disputes never favors the players.  They too often appear to be greedy, delusional and seemingly oblivious to current market and worldwide economic conditions.

In a league where you have some players making 8, 10 or 12 million dollars a season,  its tough to get the average working man to feel their pain.

See you at the rink.