Thursday, January 25, 2007


Oh, say does tha-at

A few thoughts on the All-Star game:

**New uniforms: so far, so good, for the most part. All-Star jerseys always look stupid, so it's pretty hard to judge just on that basis, but they did still look like hockey players.

The real test will be when we see the new team jerseys, and can compare them to the old ones. Preliminary indications are fairly promising; Uni Watch's Paul Lukas is all over it with lots and lots of photo links:
For example, the Blackhawks' jersey logo will still be chain-stitched, the Red Wings will still use vertically arched nameplate lettering, and the Rangers can still use a lace-up collar.

I wish the commissioner wouldn't insult my intelligence by saying, "This was never about fashion, it was never about marketing." Oh, heaven forfend! I realize I'm well outside the mainstream in my enthusiasm for the free market, and voluntary exchanges between buyers and sellers. But is it seriously better to blatantly lie than to simply say, "We think they're really cool, and hope that jillions of people will want to buy one!"???

**I enjoyed the game itself, at least relative to my expectations. Especially compared to the YoungStars game the night before, the players were battling, by which I mean although they weren't hitting, they certainly didn't look scared to touch each other.

My appreciation of Joe Sakic continues to grow year by year. He never seems to do anything "fancy", yet continues to make phenomenal plays. Head and hands -- he gets rid of that puck so damn fast, to the right place. I also like that he seems to be getting a bit more opinionated (or at least, willing to share his opinion) as the years go by.

I can't find a link right now, but there was at least one story early this week that had Brendan Shanahan crediting the emergence of Crosby (among others) to the obstruction crackdown ("Just ask Mario, Hull about how bad it was, how tough it was" etc.). Further down, the same story had Joe Sakic's take, where he disagreed about as strongly as he could without using the word "bullshit"; he basically said that Crosby would be a dominant player regardless of the era.

Well, yeah. I don't see how you could watch a few Penguins games and conclude otherwise. He has 72 points in 43 games, and likes to mix it up. If he was 19 in the '03/04 season, am I supposed to believe that he'd have (say) 30 points? Ridiculous.

**Dallas. I didn't pay much attention to the crowd, but I love how they bellow STARS! at the two appropriate moments in the national anthem the song.

I'm surprised, but it seems like the Stars did a pretty shitty job of organizing the whole thing. Mirtle noted a couple of "bush-league" things. And the PA announcer - brutal. Good on Hrudey for pointing out in the intermission how stupid and pointless it was to begin Andy McDonald's announcement with, "Replacing Henrik Zetterberg, ...". What the hell? Plus, dude butchered about a third of the names, on Tuesday night at least.

Also, by way of illustrating a couple of points I've been making this week, here is a question and answer from Gary Bettman's press conference yesterday:
Q: Talk about all the growth of hockey in the sport in Dallas, but look at south Florida as a market, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, do you think it's stagnated and does that worry you it hasn't grown as much as other places?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: It's grown. There's more hockey than there was. Are there as many rinks in South Florida, by way of example, as there are in Dallas? The answer is no. But that will take time.

Adopting a sport is something that doesn't happen in five or ten years. It takes time. It gets passed on from generation. From parents to kids. But I have no doubt in the future of the south Florida market. It's a great market. They're great sports fans.

The climate, I suppose, poses a challenge, but that's something that you can deal with over time. I'm not concerned.

I think it's unfair to perhaps compare south Florida to Dallas. The Stars have done an amazingly spectacular job. And they've had, you know, Tom Hicks as an owner for a very long period of time. He's been committed to developing the sport here.

I think he gets it right in the last three sentences, which is why it's perfectly sensible to compare south Florida to Dallas. Those franchises have been in operation for roughly the same length of time, working under the same Economic System good or bad. I hope you'll forgive me for dismissing climate as the reason for the difference in the present fortunes of their respective markets.


The CBC intro to the all-star game made me embarassed to be a hockey fan. I mean, c'mon. The intro to Dallas with a few lame-assed jokes? Someone gather up the crew at CBC, put them on a firing range, and start launching grenades at them. They've hit rock bottom. I hope the person who came up with that idea has been sacked. And the person responsible for sacking that person, sacked. As well as the person responsible for sacking the sacker.

I did think the even was well organized, though. Am I the only one who gets REALLY annoyed when some hot-shot singer decides to make the anthem "their own" and totally buchers it?

Oh, the Canadian one was painful. I liked the US one, except for the "technical difficulties" that turned a couple of stanzas into scratchy feedback.

The Wreckers were good but who was the freakshow that sang the Canadian anthem? THat was embarrassing.

I'd be willing to wager that Florida ends up moving in the not-too-distant future. What I'd really like to see if that were to happen, is Ron speaking with Bettman and referring back to this press conference. Bettman is so full of hot air that it really is infuriating to hear him talk. At the same time, it allows you to realize exactly why he has the job he does.

There's no way Crosby would have 72 points in 03/04. No way. Derian Hatcher would have cross-checked and slashed him so many times. he'd have had surgery twice already. He might have 40-55 points, but not 72. Let's not forget that Marty St. Louis lead the league with 94 points in 03/04. Forsberg had 106 in 02/03. Jarmoe had 96 in 01/02. No way Crosby is so good that he has that same total two years ago. I'm sorry, but I call bullshit on that one.

I'm not sure anybody believes Sidney or anyone could have had 72 at this stage of 03-04 -- but he would clearly be among the scoring leaders of that season. That might mean he had 55 points at this point of the season. But whatever his numbers, that little puke St Louis would not have had as many trophies on his mantle in the summer of '04.

I was seriously disappointed when the PA guy in Dallas called out Patrick Evans for Eaves...

That's pretty low.

Man. How much do I envy Matt for being able to appreciate the "STARS" shout in the anthem as a remarkable novelty in the year 2007. For some of us it's the aural equivalent of a high colonic.

For some of us it's the aural equivalent of a high colonic.

No doubt. I hate that damn chant, almost as much as I hate that damn horn after a goal.

Ha! What can I say -- though it wasn't the first time I've ever heard it, "novelty" is a fair description. You really never see/hear the anthems except in the playoffs.

As for the horn -- that's another thing that was kind of cocked up there. Hughson said they sold the goal judge's seat, but I suspect that the horn is usually latched to the goal light. Anyway, the horn was weirdly late on a whole lot of goals in both games.

Kind of random comment for this subject, but unsure where else to put it. As a new reader I'd like to thank you guys for having a forum where we can discuss the BofA without degenerating into the typical crap show that happens when myself and my buddies get into it.

Every year I hope "death valley" returns and we seem to be getting closer.

Thanks again

First, full kudos to the mention of "death valley" in the previous comment. I remember that phrase growing up and I too think we are inching back towards that reputation.

Second, as far as franchises and success go, Florida is currently a terrible hockey market. If it hadn't been for their teams each having a run to the cup in the last decade, hockey would already be dead in Florida. I think Texas is a better hockey market by default, being that they love beef and everything rough... but the way the Dallas franchise has been run compared with both the Florida teams (especially the Panthers) is the big difference in success in my mind.

Don't underestimate the importance of the sport's history in the state. There was a team in Dallas as far back as the 40's. My parents lived in Midland TX for a few years, and it always surprised me how many people were familiar with the game.

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