Monday, July 18, 2005

Even a Resolution Doesn't Shed Negativity

So, I know you hockey mad readers understand there's a resolution forthcoming on Thursday the 21st, of course pending ratification; but that's not stopping those jobbers at most of the papers in the US to have a full on negative spin on things. There's plenty of culprits out there who are starting to talk down about the "slam dunk" view most have when it comes to the players' side of ratification.

I think Erin Nicks of the Ottawa Sun nailed it on the head when she said:

"When the news broke on Wednesday that the league and its players' association had reached a tentative agreement, it was easy to assume what the reaction in Canada would be. Watching the story emerge across the border -- where the majority of teams and significant income emanate from --was a different matter.

Who exactly has been broadcasting the lockout information to American fans -- ESPN or Fox News?

The sensationalistic "reporting" has been delivered with unwavering opinion, and the message is clear: The NHL, regardless of its imminent return, is a lost cause.

This is a loser's league that isn't worthy of anyone's support. The NHL is making its first attempt to climb out from the massive hole it created, but the American media is not content to simply throw dirt on them. They're trying to beat the league down with the shovel.

After being force-fed these negative opinions for nearly a year, you would have to assume that being a fan of the NHL in the U.S. is a highly covert operation."

Personally, if you read the headlines coming out of the woodworks, you'd feel the same way. All over the newspapers and websites of the newspapers, you see headlines like "Hockey's Back; Are Fans??", "NHL's Return: Do Fans Really Care??", and "When (if?) Players Ratify Deal, Game's On For NHL."

Now, let's face facts here, most of these jobbers (especially in Bakersfield and Toledo) haven't covered the NHL at all, much less the happenings of the Lockout. I said it when the whole Todd Bertuzzi situation happened and I'll say it again: It's amazing how many people are coming out of the woodworks thinking they are an expert of the game and the happenings that surround it. I mean, if there were this many people coming out claiming they know something about the game, why is it in so much trouble??

I'll tell you why, because they only report on what they hear from second and third hand sources. Hell, watch "Pardon The Interruption" and "Around the Horn" and you'll see that even most of the top sportswriters don't give a damn about a game; mainly because they don't understand it. It's quite sad that these ignorant people have the airwaves to promote stupidity, but our show promotes the game as something that is a must see and we can't get a syndicated deal. Odd how that works, eh??

Another main culprit in this whole ordeal is former Atlanta Journal Constituation beat writer and whore extraordinaire, Scott Burnside. He seems to just beat down the new CBA, what it's all about, and insults the intelligence of the fans by telling them that it won't work, rather than letting you go out and take a look for yourself.

In the end, we're not sure how it is going to work, but the people who matter think it will all be something that will benefit the game rather hurting it moreso. However, you would never know this from what you read, the insulting of YOUR intelligence, people who have probably never covered a NHL game deciding what you should or shouldn't see. It's almost like most papers would like to see the game be demolished so they can focus on the seven-month NBA playoffs, or game 64 of the MLB season.

I'd be naive to say that hockey isn't a second-class citizen in the US sports outlet, but it doesn't have to be. If the fans turn out to see hockey, then people will have to take notice. They'll probably notice and spin it into a negative, but they'll notice all the same. But, for them to notice the NHL, NHLPA, and fans need to make them notice. They need to show them a new look game, a more fan-friendly, edge-of-your-seat, game that will entice the fans to come back and entices the sponsors to get on-board.

Papers will depict hockey as a regional sport that has no place South of the Mason-Dixon line or West of the Mississippi. It's funny because they pretty much generalized NASCAR in the same light and now, NASCAR is the fastest growing sport on the planet with a multi-billion dollar empire to boot. Seems like you can't always judge a sport by its cover.

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

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Out of the Woodworks; Into the Fire

It started with Brendan Morrison, moved over to Jaromir Jagr, progressed to Manny Legace, and now is coming to a head with Sean Avery. The NHLPA Members are far from happy campers when it comes to the possible new deal that is going to be delivered in the next week or so. But over the last week, it was interesting what was to be said by people like Legace and Avery, whom are among the middle of the road players, voice their opinion of Bob Goodenow and the NHLPA Executive Committee.

Legace put it a little more softly by saying that sitting out was a mistake and a "farce." Of course, in his comments, he didn't sell out one person for being at fault. He basically said that it was the work of Goodenow and the Executive Committee. He did say that the intentions were good at the time, but in hindsight; probably not the best idea to mess with the ownership. Legace went onto say how it's not just him and the players who lost out on a season-- the businesses around the arenas and the fans were hurt more than he could ever imagine.

Fast forward almost a week later to today when Legace's former teammate, Sean Avery, made his move to become the next Brett Hull. When talking to the Los Angeles Times, Avery says that he and the rest of the NHLPA was "brainwashed" into thinking that sitting out was the best thing to do. Avery then went on to lambaste Union Head Bob Goodenow saying that he (Goodenow) thought he was bigger than he was. Avery claimed also that he never knew the "real story" when it came to the progress of talks and what happened at the meetings. Avery went onto apologize to the fans for wasting a year and he hopes they come back to the buildings.
When you look at this, you can see where guys like Avery and Legace are coming from. You heard it at the beginning of the Lockout with players like Mike Commodore and Andrew Ference said that sitting out was something that probably wasn't in the best interest for the players.

However, the Players thought that the Owners would fold like they did in '94. Unfortunately for them, the owners were stronger than they appeared and worked the well better than the Association. The NHL Owners are hardly "winners" coming out of this whole ordeal. No one won this battle, it was a matter of who could be less of a loser coming out of it.

Will we see more players come out either for or against the PA?? Time will tell, but I think plenty of players will come out saying both negative and positive things. Probably more of the negative than the positive. If the "lunchpail" players were treated like Avery described, then you can bet your bottom dollar that plenty more will come out against the brass of the NHLPA then for it.

Licking of the wounds seemed to have begun and it seems that when the NHL comes back, there could be plenty of ruckus in the NHLPA side of things. Possibly with the installation of a new Union Boss and divided factions amongst the players after this whole mess is done with. However, I'm sure that as long as there is NHL hockey on the ice with NHLPA members-- everyone will be somewhat happy with that.

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