04 May 2007
After watching the Rangers-Sabres games 4 and 5, Sharks-Detroit, Luongo trying to single handedly carry a team to the finals all on his own, Ottawa's fantastic display of hockey against an aging goalie legend I think we can all join together and tell these people that think that a minor problem calls for drastic measures...
SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!
If people want to know "what ails hockey" maybe, just maybe, it's a bunch of idiots who supposedly love the game telling everyone and everyone that there's something wrong with hockey, and they have the cure. That way when a casual follower of hockey comes around and tries to read something about hockey and gain some interest, all he, or she, reads is how a playoff overtime needs to go to a shootout, or goals need to be widened, or some other bogus junk.
One of the best things I have read, about hockey, in a long time was the second paragraph in an article appropriately titled NHL needs to focus on the games. That paragraph reads
The people who run the NHL should get up every morning and thank whatever supreme being they believe in — apparently the almighty dollar — for the players. Despite all the encumbrances from above, the players are carrying this league and if it is ever to find its salvation, it will be the players who lead it there.
Now from there the guy misses his own point and complains about semi-silly stuff like ice surfaces, and goal reviews etc. These aren't the biggest harm to hockey. The thing causing the biggest harm to hockey right now are all the hockey columnists who apparently didn't have enough make believe as a child and like to have knee-jerk reactions and play Hockey Commisioner after every game.
Listen I'm no fan of Gary Bettman, and yes there are some things in hockey that need to be changed, especially if you want to draw a bigger crowd in the USA. Let's get 2 things straight though:
1)Most of the changes that need to be done are administrative. The on-ice product is pretty damn good, as anyone who has watched any of the playoff games can tell you.
2) Hockey is not going to grow or pick up fans if the people writing about it on national sports sites and in newspapers, the people who are supposed to love and care about this game, are screaming from the rooftops what's wrong with it all the time.
Spring is a time of blooming flowers, and the emergence of life. It's the time of year to celebrate everything that's right with hockey. Drury's Clutchness, Lundqvist's emergence, Niedermeyer's excellence, Brodeur's legend, Luongo's determination, Thornton's vision, Datsyuk's stickhandling, Alfredsson's heart, these are all topics which a semi-talented writer can turn 500-1000 words or so on. Writing 2 columns a week, I have just given a national writer enough to write on for the next 4 weeks. Not to mention they could write about, and this is a novel concept my friends, the great games they are (supposed to be) watching.
There's an entire slow season coming up where we can fill space with absurd talk of OT-shootouts, ice surfaces, and widening goals. For now, while the greatest tournament on Earth is being played out right before our eyes. As grown men sacrifice their bodies for the chance to lift and kiss the sweet silver chalice, we should be learning about these men and what they go through day in and day out to provide us, and themselves, these wonderful moments. If only there were some storytellers out there to convey that message.
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