Monday, February 28, 2005

NHLPAHL?? Euro Elite League??

There has been many people in the past couple of days talking about how the players could be forming a new league under their control. This has also been fueled by the comments by Jeremy Roenick today saying that they players have a "plan B" if need be. However, how logical and feasible is it??

Granted, for the players to have their own league and have to deal with all the ownership issues, day-to-day facility maintaince, and all the fun stuff that has to go with being an owner. That could either show them how hard it is to be an owner or how easy it is to control the destiny of their own team and employees. The players could think they would be on easy street with this idea, but how much do you think that they'll try and use someone elses money in order to get the job done for them??

You have to realize that if this league doesn't fly, the players will have to look at some way in order to cut even for their investment. Whether this means getting a wealthy investor or just getting out of the business altogether, then you can bet they'll do it.

Running a league isn't all as easy as some people may think. Just ask those fine folks at the IHL, WCHL, and the WHA2. It's not as it's cracked up to be. Those in this venture would have to find some ice time, find some people to do their marketing, find employees to work in the office to set up some of the ticket sales and everything, and so on and so forth.

If the players want to get their own league started. Good on them, they need to find a way to see it from the other sides. However, I think we'll see the European Elite League before we'll see the PA's league off the ground.

Speaking of the Euro Elite League, our good buddy Lyle Richardson wrote a little about it in his Fox Sports column. He mentioned about how it's been brought up in the past by some hockey pundits, but making the talk become a reality is definitely harder than meets the eyes.

If they players and owners over in Europe want to try something out like that-- then good on them too. You have to realize that this will help the respective countries keep their star prodigies and will let those owners reap the benefits of having that at their disposal. Of course, this will expose hockey even more and to a wider audience.

Of course, what will become of the North American game?? Well-- if you look at history, you would have to think the game would have to go back to the early-80's and the "Firewagon" style of the game where it was hard-hitting, high scoring, and very wide open. Of course, this is just speculation because of the primarily North American players in the early-80's. Something like a wide open and hard-hitting could be a deal-breaker for some fans turned off by this whole lockout situation.

The fans will have a choice in the long run, much like some of them have now. With the minor leagues and some of these leagues that are supposedly going to play, people will have the ability to choose where they want to spend they cold, hard cash.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Let's Talk Draft

Sure, I know, I know-- we may not have a Draft in June like usual. But who cares, why not have some fun with it?? With the fun, fantastic access to the Central Scouting Rankings-- I think we'll have a little fun with it.

So, we all know that both Sidney Crosby and Gilbert Brule are going to be going high in the Draft, whenever that may be. Both have almost identical playing styles with Crosby getting more press because he's tearing up the scoreboard. Brule gets lost in the fold because he's an all around player not worried about having flash and dash.

Those two aside, who's left out there?? Well, I've decided I'll put together my top guys with a little note beside them. Why not, huh?? So strap in, here we go....


1. Carey Price, Tri City Americans (WHL)-- Here's a relatively unknown goalie coming into this season. However, with a little help from Olaf Kolzig, Price has been able to show the WHL and the rest of the scouts what he can bring to the table. A moderately sized goalie, he can play bigger than his 6'2.5 frame.

2. Ben Bishop, Texas Tornados (USHL)-- You want a large, agile goalie-- here's the kid you should be looking for. At 6'5, 205; Bishop plays up to his size and can play like he's a little smaller. With 28 wins this season as I type this, he's looking at a successful future and could be the darkhorse of the Draft.

3. Alexandre Vincent, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)-- The main reason Chicoutimi is doing so well is because of this man. Another one of the tall goalie stock, he can play with the best of them and come out big when needed.


1. Jakub Vojta, Sparta (CZE Jr.)-- Vojta is going to be a great two-way defenseman when he comes over to the NHL. The fact of the matter is that he's going to be bringing in the new breed of d-man coming in. He can score when he needs to and he can stay back and play stay-at-home style when he needs to. You get a double weapon when you pick Vojta.

2. Bobby Ryan, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)-- Ryan is going through his breakout season this season. So far, Ryan has put up 29 goals and 44 assist. This offensive defenseman can start a rush, jump up in the play, and QB a powerplay when needed. A lead-by-example player will definitely turn heads in the NHL.

3. Jack Johnson, US NTDP (NAHL)-- Climbing up through the rankings undetected, Johnson brings everything you would want in a defenseman. His work ethic is second to none and he can make a play at the drop of the hat. Although he's commited to the University of Michigan, you can bet any team would be willing to way on someone like Johnson.


1. Devin Setoguchi, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)-- Lost in the crowd on a team with Wacey Rabbit, Ryan Keller, and Mike Green; Setoguchi is a player who is the leader of the team. He may not be a flashy player, he may not put up the big numbers, but this first line wing is consistant. He'll be a great pick-up and a great depth move for whoever picks him up.

2. Anze Kopitar, Sodertalje (SWE Jr.)-- This Slovenian center is probably the third best outside of Crosby and Brule. Last season, in 30 Junior games, he put up 60 points, and when he went up to the "senior club", Casino Kranjska Gora, he put up 15 goals in 21 games. He left Slovenia to go to Sodertalje where his stock continues to rise. He is an elusive player and can make the most of a little space.

3. Benoit Pouliot, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)-- Some see Pouliot as this season's Andrew Ladd. He's was a late bloomer on the Major Junior circuit being picked in the 11th Round in 2002, Pouliot has put up 67 points this season, leading the Wolves throughout this season. The big question mark is if he can continue to put up these numbers in the long run.

So that's what I have to say, if you think differently, we have the comments on-- reply with what you think.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Time to take it all in

So the past couple of days have been a little crazy. Let's take a step back and soak it all in. With all this conversation about "un-cancelling" the season and then "re-cancelling" the season; some people have gotten plenty crazy about the situation. But from all this, we have some good, some bad, some ugly, and some reflection.

The fact of the matter is that both sides have kept the communication open. They have talked and brought in some other outside opinions like a mediator and even the help of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in to see if they can jumpstart the talks and get some players to see that there is truly some peril with the financial state of the game.

Yet, since they have done nothing in accordance with the talks and getting something going, they made a mockery of the game and make it in worse shape when it comes to the state of the game in the US. Not only that, the NHL and NHLPA has toyed with the fans emotions to the point where they don't care if the season comes back or not.

People like Mats Sundin said there is an outside chance that the NHL is going to come back this season. Plus, former USA assistant coach Greg Poss said that Jochen Hecht, Sven Butenschon and Cristobal Huet have played their last game for Adler Mannheim of the DEL, the team which is coach's. Could there be an outside chance that the NHL could come back for some sort of a season?? Maybe, if the two sides agree to something in the next week. Since neither side has anything schedule and that neither side wants to get anything going because they have nothing to gain-- you can write this one off.

Of course, the good in all this is that all the other league benefit. From the Juniors to the AHL, the attendance and the level of play is up. People are coming out and enjoying the game even though the pros are out debating over money. These kids are playing for the love of the game and in order to develop their skill further more, so when the NHL comes back, some could achieve their dreams of playing in the NHL.

In the long term, if the NHL were to come back by some kind of divine force making it so, then they have much more damage control aside from getting fans back. The fact ESPN has said they probably won't carry the NHL anymore because of this and most the mainline sponsors have given up on the NHL, they have to get to the big fish and sell harder than they ever have before.

In the end, the fans are the ones that lose out. They haven't had a voice and even if they did, you can bet that neither side wants to hear about their voice. Even though, they are the ones that are paying the owners and players alike, they don't get any say when these millionaires battle the billionaires in a stupid game of chicken.

Like Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan said: "Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM, get the money; dolla, dolla bill, y'all." Well said Meth, well said

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe......

So, it seems that it took the NHL season to be cancelled for the NHL and the NHLPA to truly get serious about talking about a new CBA.

TSN was the first to bring it to everyone's attention that the NHL and the PA will meet on Saturday in order to maybe save this season and whatever is left and most definitely save the 2005-06 season, as well as the Draft.

Now, the question I have, like everyone else, is why did it take the cancelling of the season for these sides to take the talks into overdrive??

You have to think that the Players didn't want to believe that the Owners, the Board of Governors, and Gary Bettman would actually go through with what people have been buzzing about, that being the season going kaput. Yet, it was a gross miscalculation by the NHLPA in trying to wait out Gary Bettman and the owners hoping they would be the ones to crack first. That didn't happen and an apparent upheavel took place between the members of the NHLPA.

Maybe thoughts and reports of backroom and back-alley talks happening made it hard for many people to believe that the deal was dead. That coupled with the fact many news outlets saying that Gary Bettman left the door open for the season to resume, even after he cancelled it.

But how fractured is the NHLPA in this state?? Many thought that Bob Goodenow and the rest of his minions could actually get something going for the season and make some last minute push. That never happened and reports are saying that the PA was bitter even giving up the "No Cap" motto they've had for the many months leading up to this moment. There are even several players who are "beefing" with Chris Pronger who was the one to help spark the latest talks by contacting NHL CLO Bill Daly.

People had talked about it for a while when players were coming out of the woodworks to say they would be able to look at accepting a Cap if it was right terms and all that jazz, but the NHLPA insisted that there was no problems in the inner workings of the situation. This all but seals the turmoil that many people have been assuming for a few months.

In the end, what will come out of these meetings?? We can only hope for the best, because it really cannot get any worse for this sport. All this could do it make fans even more pissed because once again there's that glimmer of hope in the haystack.

A note to the NHL and the NHLPA-- if you keep toying with the fans; make sure you have a back-up plan when they give up worrying about both of your petty indifferences. You can only toy with people for so long before they stop caring what you do. Make sure that's on your agenda when you are in that meeting room.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Closure, but at what cost??

So, as many of you know the NHL closed up shop for the 2004-05 season. Gary Bettman finally pulled the plug on the season at about 1 PM ET on Wednesday the 16th of February.

Of course, this is a long time coming. No one really should be surprised that this was going down like this. The NHL wanted something to assure them that the 30 teams they have out there now could be strong and stay stable throughout the long haul. The NHLPA wanted to get their money without having to be restricted by the almighty dollar. From the start, the NHL wanted cost-certainty, which can be seen as linkage of salary and revenue; the NHLPA wanted anything but that and no salary cap.

Well, that resolve lasted until it got to the breaking point when everyone and their father folded like a cheap card table.

Why did it take so long for both sides to be in the same universe when it comes to discussing the CBA?? How come they couldn't do this five months ago when the getting was good and interest was still there and there was time enough for a season??

Looking at all the things that have gone on, is it better now that this season is toast as opposed to having a shortened, bastardized schedule??

Though having the schedule, many people would get up in arms that this was a sham of a season and that it would have made a bit of difference who won the Cup because it wouldn't mean much; it would get the NHL back into the mainstream. There also has been rumblings or thoughts of a NCAA tournament to determine a Stanley Cup winner, something that would be interesting to see how it would be set up and how it would come to be.

As for now, we can only assume now. There's not much else we can do now. The big question is what now?? As for this season, we can only assume it's done and that the NHL and NHLPA will try to hack it out in time to get a season started in October of 2005. But how soon will it happen??

You can bet that the NHL and NHLPA would need some cooling off time in order to go about this in another direction. Yet, now, with no season, the cooling off time could be as long as this lockout has been to this point. The NHLPA has nothing to gain because they aren't affecting any of their paycheques until October 15th. I'm sure they don't want to get to the table that quick in order to go around and getting the deal done in time for the '05-'06 season.

How about the NHL thought?? The owners have set their line in the sand and they have gone through with this, this season. I'm sure that the owners have other business ventures which is making them money and they don't need the NHL to help them make their money.

How about the replacement players that could come in?? You have to look at what happens with the NLRB and if the Board of Governors want to have replacement players. It's a tricky subject and an even trickier concept to sell to the fans. Sure, the talent will not be of what many are accustom to and some could be turned off by it, but some would welcome it. However, they have to get the "okay" by the NLRB and some Canadian courts. Right off the bat, you have 28 teams as the Provinces of British Columbia (Vancouver Canucks) and Quebec (Montreal Canadiens) will not allow "scab" workers in a lockout situation.

But in the end, the fans-- where do they go from here?? With the die-hard, you have to think they'll be bitter in the beginning, but as the season goes along, they will eventually come back to it. The fans that the NHL is losing out on is the casual fan that will be the one to start turning into the hardcore fan and will pump money into the business. I'm sure that the NHL has lost many of the of interest of the casual fans. Since it's really not a big four sport (and let's face it, it hasn't been since 1998), then you have to take what you can get when it gets to the point of the casual fan.

The cost that the NHL will pay is to be seen in the future. In the end, this will be the lowest point for the NHL. There's no other way but up when they finally get back to the game we all know and love. When that will be, we're still not completely sure in all of this.

In any case, you know the Face Off Hockey Show will be around for the long haul. We have enough stuff to keep you entertained week in and week out. We don't take a break from the game because we know you all have the passion out there to stick around. So stay with us, we'll stay with you. Deal??

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!