Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time To Take Old One Eye To The Optometrist

I'm sure at least some of you will remember that joke from "Grumpy Old Men" and considering the picture of Lou Lamiriello and that fact that he's a tool, I could easily drop a dick joke in here. In fact I was gonna call this post "Lou's the biggest vagina this side of Silicon Valley" so maybe I've been watching too much porn or something. I mean you have to find something to do in lieu of watching the NHL, right?

Truth be told I'm not missing hockey at all during this
break and the elongated siesta of the NHL has allowed me to finally finish a
couple of books I was reading, provided me with the time to catch up on eps
of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and it's now also been three nights and
counting since I've had to watch the Oilers lose a game and my bile
production has decreased thusly.

Man, this feels great:)

Of course maybe that's the thing because if the Oilers didn't suck or if
they were at least five games over .500 in their last 30 games played, then
you know I'd probably be jonesing for some hockey but at this point I'm
clearly not. It doesn't mean that I've quit on the team, and I'll have some
saucy Oilers notes to close this rant, because right now watching the Oilers
is like being a devotee of Saturday Night Live: you know going in that most
of the ep is going to suck but if there's just one sketch that makes you
laugh then you remember when it used to good and you keep hoping these days
will return. You know right now I might be able to draw a parallel between
Nedved leaving Edm and Jimmy Fallon leaving SNL and how it was so "great"
for their respective careers but no I don't think I'll bother:)

I'm still keeping an eye on all the respective dailies around the league
though and last night I even managed to watch the Accuracy compeition and the 150 shootout
segments that concluded the last hour of the skills competition. I also
managed to catch part of a gala on the NHL Network on Monday night and if
you didn't see Cuba Gooding Jr interviewing some of the league's most recent
legends, well then you missed out:)

What I was really looking forward to during this break was the apparently
inevitable announcement of the league changing it's sked back to the '04 days
when you only played divisional foes six times a year and there was this
cool wrinkle where, over the course of the season, you managed to play every
team at least once!!! I'd imagined there'd been enough grousing from both
management and players alike, hell even Joe Sakic thought the current sked
was a joke and that guy never says a discouraging word, that we'd go back to
the old way of doing things.

But once again I underestimated the contrarian that is Lou Lamireillo. You
know maybe I'm allowing him too much credit and/or giving him too much of
the blame because we know the eastern teams were the ones who voted against
changing the current format and their reasons are all the same, ie it has
cut down on their travel and they like putting more of an emphasis of the
divisional games. Then again Lou's the same guy who's assuaged the league's
salary cap rules to the point where Mogilny's listed as being long term
disabled yet he's playing exhibition games back in Mother Russia.

As an Oilers fan I can't deny that one of the biggest reasons I want a
return to the old sked is because of the competitive imbalance it allows
teams that play in divisions in the WC that aren't the Northwest. The
Pacific houses the Kings and Yotes, the Central has the Hawks, Jackets and
Blues and meanwhile the Oilers division is eating itself. That being said I
also love the fact that the old ways allowed us a home and home series with
the Habs, Leafs and Sens and considering we have six of the say 10 or 12
markets that actually gives two f**ks about the game, then you'd think it
would be a good idea to cater to us somewhat. There's a reason why the NFL
still plops teams like the Raiders and Dolphins onto their primetime skeds
no matter what their records were the previous season and it's because of
history, tradition and the fact that fans of those teams actually care. Of
course I don't want to let the Habs and Sens off too lightly either because
they were two of the 11 teams that voted against changing the current
format. I don't know what the attendance is like in Ott these days but it's
never been all that great and maybe it's better for them personally to keep
those four extra games against TO and Mtl combined that the current sked
affords. Of course it's better for the league if everyone sees everyone
because only through familiarity can the NHL ever hope to truly harvest the
furits of the golden goose, ie the big american TV contract.

And this is where the players come in or where maybe they should've come in
and perhaps Brendan Shanahan could've stopped flapping his gums about
goaltending equipment long enough to see just beyond the trees to a forest
that might even produce even more greenbacks.

Unless you're digging deep, the NHL appears to be healthy. The cap numbers
are rumored to be going up again so everything must be in good order, right?
Well no that's wrong because the cap's going up while attendance is going
down which means the hardcore fan's being charged more for his ticket and
god love him he's paying the increase but this guy's been a far for awhile
now and his money and interest hasn't been enough and won't be enough to
propel the NHL back into the collective conscience of the North American
television populace.

What the league needs is more fans and specfically more fans who'll tune in
on television and if that ever happens then then revenues will really
explode. If the NHL can ever sign a deal that even somewhat resembles the
pacts currently enjoyed by the big two sports leagues, ie NFL and NHL, then
revenues will soar, the cap will rise and once again the Bobby Holik's of
the world can make five million dollars while doing virtually nothing. So,
how does this happen for the NHL? Well I don't think it ever will but I can
guarentee you that a good way to ensure this never even becomes a remote
possibility is to keep certain fans in the dark about certain players. You
see a lot of GM's grousing that teams are only complaining about the current
format because Crosby and Ovechekin are in the East and this is a special
case that may not repeat itself and to that I saw so what? Isn't it better
to use it when it comes around and with the NHL never being lower on the
causual fan's totem pole how can the respective brass sleep at night knowing
they're turning fans into certain cites into virtual isolationists when it
comes to the appreciation of the league's talents?

And this is where a more sensible schedule format is needed. Fans in all
cities must be made aware of all the league's treasures in hopes that there
eventually comes a time where say a fan in Anaheim decides to watch a hockey
game on a night even when Anaheim isn't playing because he's so impressed
with the talent spread throughout the league that he's looking forward to a
Pens/Thrashers matchup. No one's talking about a fully balanced sked so
there's no chance that every team will visit every rink every season but
under the current format every team isn't even playing other team so how is
the causual fan to learn about the star players in the other conference? The
truth is that they most likely won't and until you find a way to educate all
of the league's fans on all of the league's players, you'll never have the
interest to facilitate the big money TV contract that the NHL craves. And
until that happens any increase in the league's salary cap should be
considered at best tedious and perhaps even temporary.

I can understand why teams on the eastern seaboard would want to to keep the
current format. There's no question it cuts down on their travel and over
the course of a year probably provides them with some kind of tangible
comepetitive advantage as simple as less man games lost to injury. That's
just me stretching there but it seems to make sense off the hop. At the end
of the day though you have to think about the future and how the present
impacts it. This league can only go so far with it's current TV contract and
it's current television potential is hamstrung by the current schedule
format.

Those with older parents know how time can reverse the role of
caretaker/dependant and how where once petulance was the domain of the
child, it's now passed over to the elder. And sometimes the folks get a bit
stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor and ultimately you have to get
firm with them and if it means taking a day off work to assure they keep
their appointment, than that's what you do. Lou probably knows he's just
doing what's best for his own team but I doubt he understands just how
shortsighted he is. Some of the players should've known this though and it
was their place to step in and they didn't. The end result is that once again
the NHL's lacking the longview.

Finally, there were some Oilers related items so let's take a shot at them, shall
we?

1. To no one's surprise, Mihknov has decided to go back to Russia. He wasn't setting
the A on fire and the Oilers weren't overly impressed with him and then to setmatters
in stone his old club team offered the Oilers a signficant amount for him to return home. And we all know how the EIG loves to have extra money around so that they can get as tight to the cap as possible;) Oh wait...that's right..

2. If they were so inclined to spend money though maybe they could waste it on former King and current Senator Joe Corvo and the word from the Ottawa Sun today is that the Oilers might be interested. He's making 2.5 mil a year and he's signed until 2010 but he's a guy that really seems built for the PP and nothing else. Or at least that's how it's going for him this year in Ottawa. Last year in LA he played 19.59 a night TOI with just over five of those coming on the PP. He finished at 16-40-81 and a +16 with 21 of his 40 points coming on the PP. This year though he's 6-21-48 and is -8 on a team that's +33. And right now he's playing on the third pairing. If the Oilers needed a PP guy and they had money to burn and they didn't have to give up much, then I'd be all for this trade. But they don't like spending a whole lot of money and they need dmen that can do more than just play on the PP. Yes Corvo would be great at making the first pass but he'd also need to be sheltered and do we need yet another one of those guys? That's even mentioning what we might have to give up for him though with the Sens being so tight to the cap and with their belief in current swingman Schubert, I have a feeling the Sens might be just looking to dump salary.

3.Speaking of dmen that need to be sheltered, my old friend Laddy Smid was at the YoungStars game on Tues night and he was just as ineffective as he is playing against old stars:) Here's a quote from him regarding his participation, "Not my type of game, lots of skilled player," said Smid. Sooooo, we know the guy isn't physical and that's not his game but now he's not a skilled guy either? What is it this
guy is good at again?;)

2 Comments:

Blogger Bank Shot said...

Smid is good at diverting the blame from guys like Horcoff. :P

1/24/2007 8:11 pm  
Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Kill those hard returns.

1/25/2007 12:00 am  

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