Wednesday, June 29, 2005

To Fight or Not To Fight.....That is the Question

As many of you may know, promoter Darryl Wolski is trying to get the "Hockey Gladiators" fight event into a local arena, wherever it is. They seemed to have found something in Prince George, British Columbia a few week back. However, at first the Prince George city council decided 5-3 that the event could not go on. So, Wolski then threatens to sue the city because he claims too much has been put into this event. That led the City to re-vote and voted 8-1 that it could happen. Of course, it wasn't the pressure of the lawsuit-- it was the fact they didn't want to waste the taxpayers money to fight a suit that has no merit.

If you remember right, both Winnipeg and Fargo, Minnesota were going to have this last year, but because of legal issues and the threat of the fighters getting arrested; the show was cancelled. I wouldn't be surprised that something like this happens again before the event happens in Prince George.

The City Council also rules that anyone in attendance for the event must be over 18 years old. The Jobber, Wolski, took a snipe at the City by saying something to the effect that "many kids see fights in the WHL, but whatever."

I think Wolski forgets that fighting DURING an actual hockey game is different than having washed up "players" fight in a boxing-esque match.

If you want more about Wolski and why he's gone insane-- check out an article posted by the good folks at and learn why he is the way he is.

So, this brings up the age-old question-- are you in favor of an event like this?? Well, if you listened to the show in the past, you know that Jonny P is against it, while Marc "with a 'c'" is for it. Sean is on the fence with me. However, I'm in the "on one hand" camp. What do I mean??

Well, on one hand, this event shows what these guys were signed in their leagues to do-- fight. It's a skills event for the pugalist in hockey to show off what they can do with other pugalist. They have skills events for guys who can skate, score, and save-- why not have one for the fighters. Plus, hockey is a unique game. It's the only sport to allow fighting in the game as part of the "norm." Why not show off one of the unique parts of the game??

That being said, on the other hand, this is a gongshow-- plain and simple. It's a money grab for the promoter and the fighters alike. I'm not against making money for what you're good at-- but to show the sport as this is something that happens all the time and this is what makes the money in hockey-- it's ludicrous. Not only that, but this part of the game creates the more ire when it comes to people not wanting violence anywhere in the world. The game has enough bad publicity as it is-- it doesn't need this "dog-and-pony-show" mucking up the works of the game more so.

So, you could probably put me more on the "No, sir I don't like it" portion of the fence. But with good reasoning. With the NHL the way it is-- there's not need to have this sort of garbage in the hockey world. Sure, for people who only like the fighting aspect of the game above all else, it's they heaven, but for people who like the game as a whole-- it's a bit of a smack in the face. Sure-- the act of fighting is a part of the game-- but not as frequent as we would like to think. Plus-- to glorify someone in the UHL for being the best fighter in the game is a smack in the fact to guys like Bob Probert, Tie Domi, Donald Brashear and so on.

If this event were to be taken really seriously and not just a money grab-- how come more NHLers haven't show interest in this event?? I mean, wasn't Tony Twist going to be highlighting his event 18 months ago-- where is his now?? Probably sitting back and laughing at this mockery of the game like most of the hockey world is doing.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The "Snubbed From the Hall Of Fame" Team

A couple weeks ago, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced the inductees for the class of 2005. Needless to say, many people were talking about who DIDN'T get in, rather than who did get in. Which made me think-- what other great players should be in the Hall. So, being the inventive person that I am, I decided to make a list of the players who I would like to see in the Hall of Fame, who is not in there already. So, this is going to be by position with no set limit-- and away we go:

Ron Hextall: Now, I was never one for rooting for the Flyers, but Hextall was in a class by himself. He had the skills of a great goaltender, he was the franchise of the Flyers for the better part of the '80's, and he was the first "third defenseman", as he ushered in a new breed of goaltenders who could be a rock in net and an offensive threat at the same time.

Rogie Vachon: It's a shame that one of the key cogs in putting Los Angeles on the NHL is not in the Hall of Fame. In a time where "firewagon hockey" was the norm, Vachon maintained a GAA of under 3.00 for his career (2.99 to be exact). Plus, he had only three losing seasons in 17 NHL seasons. Add that to his participation in the first Canada Cup, helping the Canucks win the tournament should be more than enough to get him into the Hall.

Kevin Lowe: The man who anchored the Oilers back line for the better part of 15 years, defined the way "stay-at-home" defensemen should play. He was the perfect contrast to the free-wheeling Paul Coffey and gave the needed help out to Grant Fuhr, Bill Ranford, and Mike Richter get Stanley Cup rings in the process. The Hall of Fame is chocked full of defenseman, but Lowe is one who's contribution to the game still goes overlooked.

Dale Hunter: He could score, he could hit, he could fight, but most importantly, he could lead. Hunter was always someone that the youngers could look up to, ask for help and imitate, but you could never dupicate what he could do out there on the ice. With over 1,000 points in his career and over 3,500 PIM's, the Hall needs to give the devil his due-- Hunter was one of the dominate face-off men in the business, he was never a flashy player, but he got the job done.

Brian Propp: Probably most remembered for getting his skull cracked by a Chris Chelios hit, the style of play that Propp possessed is almost a lost art-form. He was a grinder to the max and that helped him get over 1,000 points in his career and helped the Flyers maintain their "Broadstreet Bullies" mentality after the 1970's. But, like Hunter, he was never a flashy player, but got the job done just the same.

Steve Larmer: Another grinding forward who had over 1,000 points in his career. Best known for being with the Blackhawks, Larmer and Jeremy Roenick could have been considered one of the best "1-2" punches in the league at the time. His ability to see the ice and amazing passing skill, let him flourish in Chicago and New York.

Dino Ciccarelli: Here's a guy who you could considered to be a "black listed" player. He has 1,200 career points, he's 12th on the All-Time Goals list with 608, but he's not in the Hall. Sure, he's had some off-ice problems, but it should be overshadowed by the remarkable career he had in the NHL. There are very few right-wingers who were as effective as Ciccarelli in his hay-day, but because of the debacles off-ice; he's not in.

Glenn Anderson: Here's another guy, who like Ciccarelli, is a "black-listed" player because of off-ice issues. He has six Stanley Cup rings, he has 498 career goal and is one point shy of 1,100 for his career. He helped out the Oilers in their dynasty years and was one of the main players in the Rangers '94 Stanley Cup. He got the job done, helped who he needed to, but still cannot get any respect.

I know there are some others I'm leaving out, but this is my main list that I have put out there for the time being. Now, looking at this list, there are some pretty impressive people who have been overlooked. This means one of two things: (1) these players got lost in the shuffle of the whole voting process or (2) the Hall of Fame needs to look at maybe expanding the number of players who could be voted in.

I'm sure many people would choose the latter than the former. The fact of the matter is that sometime, four inductions is often not enough. At least have the ability to carry five or six at a time. That's not to say they need to be used up all the time, but to consider that would be key in the grand scheme of things. Until that happens, we will just have to sit around and bicker about who got overlooked, rather than who gets the great honor of being the next in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Minor Leagues, Major Movement

If you have listened to the show in the past month, you will realize we pride ourselves in our coverage of minor league teams demise. Sure, it's a little cynical to think about that as one of our bright spots, but we're a little on the cynical side. In any case, that trend will continue this week as a couple teams in the AHL have decided to say good-bye to their AHL affiliate.

The Edmonton Roadrunners will suspend operations for the '05-'06 season and there are rumors that the San Antonio Rampage will suspend their operations as well. For the AHL, they will be down to 26 teams for next season as of right now. Along with Edmonton and San Antonio, Utah and Cincinnati will be done for next season. Even with four new cities coming in (Peoria, Omaha, Des Moines, Toronto), the AHL loses those four other cities and Worchester, who will move to Peoria. This coupled with the unknown fate of the Cleveland franchise wouldn't make Dave Andrews a happy camper. However, this does show that going that far West didn't work out for the better of the AHL's long-standing future.

The ECHL is in a little better shape-- albeit barely better. They will lose the Pee Dee (SC) franchise only to have them move to Myrtle Beach. However, we don't know if that will be the real story or if it'll all fall apart. In addition to Pee Dee, the Louisiana Ice Gators have suspended operations for the next season, the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies will move to Stockton (CA) for next season, the expansion Gulf Coast Swords needed another season to get their stuff together, and the fate of the Toledo Storm is still up in the air. However, the ECHL is going to Phoenix (AZ) for the next season.

Staying with the ECHL, it would almost make sense to have the league split into two different factions again, then play for the Kelly Cup in the end of the regular season. When you look at the geography (not to mention the budget as well), it would seem that for the betterment of the league and AA hockey that the league split up. Granted, there is only 11 teams now, but there is rumors around that the Utah Hockey Contingent is looking to get into the ECHL for '05-'06. If that were to happen, you would have 12 teams (6 in each Division), and then at least 14 for the Eastern side of things, then in the final; West faces East. However, that would be too simple for the grand scheme of things.

Moving to the UHL-- you want to talk about an odd situation for the league-- the Port Huron Beacons will be moving to Roanoke Valley and becoming the Vipers. All is lost for Port Huron, right?? No-- they will get an expansion team and name it the Flags. So, instead of losing another team, along with the Kansas City Outlaws, the Port Huron community gets a new team and seemingly a new start with new owners and all. Of course, Elmira (NY) is rumored to be demising soon, but that's been around for a while.

The UHL is an interesting animal because of the fact that the league started out as a Midwest hockey league which would be a just one rung below the ECHL on the AA level of the game. However, because the want to make a name for themselves, they expand to the Northeast and to the Mid-Atlantic. This could spell doom for the teams who don't have the major money that some other owners have in ways of transportation and such. The UHL hasn't had the best of luck in the past few years (see Columbus Stars incident), but maybe they could turn things around and have people take them truly seriously.

Moving onto the CHL, this could be the weirdest movement ever. The New Mexico Scorpions suspended operations for the '05-'06 Season so they can wait for their new arena to be built. So instead of the team playing and getting some sort of revenue into their system to build for the next season-- they'll lie dormant and try to start up again. Along with New Mexico, the San Angelo Saints will not continue their stint in the CHL because of money issues. The Topeka Tarantulas shut the doors just after one season. You could see this trend continue with the addtion of the Youngstown (OH) Steelhounds to the mix.

Finally, the SPHL did reasonably well in the first season, but not enough to save them from losing some teams. The league runners-up, the Macon Trax, suspended operations; as did the lowly Winston-Salem Polar Twins. That, along with the threat of Ashville (NC) being kicked out if they cannot sign a lease with their arena, puts a damper on the arrival of the Pee Dee (SC) and the Florida teams. The SPHL had a great design for the league, much like the CHL did. They have a centralized base for teams to not have much travel. However, much like the CHL, they could commit business suicide if they continue to expand outside of their financial boundries.

Now, it may seem like I'm pointing out the downfalls of the minor league hockey and bashing it for going outside it's bounds. Not exactly. Sure, leagues like the AHL, ECHL and UHL have made mistakes in where they would put their teams and how much the travel would have to work into the budget, but that's just my common hockey sense coming through. All the leagues have exceeded the expectation that their forefathers thought of when they started their leagues.

There are some teams in trouble, but that's because they don't get enough support to make ends meet. People need to get out and SYLHT (Support Your Local Hockey Team) if you want to keep them for generations to come. The game itself could rival that of the old NHL we have seen and it could actually be more exciting than you would expect hockey to be.

However, if you don't go out and SYLHT, then you may never get a chance to see how good the game play really is. No one is exempt from losing out. Most of the teams I named have a various history when it comes to minor league hockey. That not withstanding-- they still had to pull out of their respective leagues for one reason or another. It's a crying shame in the long-run. Just SYLHT and show them you really care. They won't disappoint.

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