Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Five: Off-ice Thoughts of an On-ice Event

It's been a crazy week and it's now time for a short recap of the odds-and-ends of the week with the Friday Five. Maybe, just maybe-- someone would want to cash in on this fantasticness, because like "Wayne's World"; I do bow down to sponsors.

1. Is Air Canada using this as PR or do they actually think the NHL couldn't get another airline for 11 teams, so they pose a threat??

The Air Canada stunt was ridiculous and was only used to put themselves over. Odd how it "leaked" out and if any other sponsors raised issues-- still hasn't come out yet. While I understand the position of Air Canada and wanting to put the NHL under the gun, but this sponsorship is beneficial to both sides and kind of cutting the nose off to spite the face. Plus, if a sponsor starts to dictate how the game is play, the slippery slope of what could come after it would be monumental. That'd be like a patient telling a dentist how to go about drilling. In the end, I think that while it's a great stunt; Air Canada has a lot more to lose than win in a situation like this, because I'm sure other airlines are out there looking for 11 teams to be under their umbrella and others waiting to be the marquee name on the Toronto Maple Leafs arena. Bad spot that Air Canada put themselves in.

2. When it comes to the headshot issues-- how can the GMs actually change the rules and enforce it better without taking hitting out of the game??

Another fine-line issue, but there has to be something to discourage shots to the head-- whether it's by not playing and losing money or something; but the respect between fellow players just isn't there. I don't believe that any new rules in place will be a landmark change and actually make players not play as cheap as they have been. The league doesn't want to take hitting out if they don't have to, because it is a part of the game that appeals to some sectors of fans and is really what separates this from other games, to the extent of whether it's clean or not. It's more of something that the player's have to talk about themselves and start to respect each other.

3. The NHLPA seems to have hedged their bets when it comes to not directly coming out against one player over another in this event-- smart or silly??

The comment Donald Fehr made in the official statement, saying the injury of Max Pacioretty could have been caused by lack of padding, showed that he may have been led wrong; but at least his first statement saying he wasn't knowledgeable on the hit or dynamics behind it was honest and truthful. This padding thing could be silly, but the fact they haven't gotten to the point that the disrespect between union members is running rampant seems to be like an ostrich with its head in the sand. Granted, Fehr is new-- but at the same time, the people around him should have been seeing this for the longest time and should have brought this up to their members. While the NHLPA is looking out for their player's wallets and all of that, they should get more concern for their player's health and safety-- and maybe the padding is the first step, who knows-- but doesn't seem like it.

4. When it comes to Gary Bettman, he signed a five-year contract extension last fall. Fans hate it, but are they missing the bigger picture??

Of course they're missing the big picture. Bettman is a heel, he knows he's a heel, and he plays it well and almost embraces it. He doesn't kowtow to pressure from outside sources and has made great business for the NHL since he's come into the league-- bigger revenues some good and not so good expansions/relocations, and all around growth of the game. While people may hate him and his Count Count statue/appearance-- he's a great guy to have as the figurehead because he doesn't care what you call him and the Board of Governors have been making money out of his regime. He's good for everyone and should have been retained. (Sure, this all could be because of the fact the CBA is coming up and they want to look strong, but still-- all the things I said hold true.)

5. It seems after Chara-gate, the rest of the on-ice product has been ignored-- sans for hits and what-not.

Considering it's the same week (and same day, I think) that the Bertuzzi-Moore event happened back in 2004, the debates ramped up hardcore and, sure, the games got lost in the mix-- but that's going to happen when something this crazy happens. Sure, we've had some fancy shootout moves from Mike Ribeiro and Martin St. Louis (that caused its own controversy), but nothing too out of the ordinary happened. Maybe it wasn't the best time for teams to go into hibernation with excitement, but that's the way the universe works.


That's it for the week that was, which seemed very Chara-bomb heavy-- oof. In any case, you have a topic or a question to submit-- is the place to send it and I'll get to it, post-haste.

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