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The National Hockey League: BOHICA!


Keith Nivan

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As in, "Bend Over, Here it Comes Again."

Now there's a marketing slogan to match the brand!

I wonder if there's any enthusiasm for the impending season's puck drop among the league's fans on the board -- past and present.

I'm neither past nor present: color me "future conditional."

I know Marvin is fired up about his Canadiens.

There's a good article about upcoming rule changes here ; can't hurt.

Perhaps BlackHawkPat would deign to address the class on this issue.

"Keith"

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I believe there is a ton of enthusiam from the long time fans about the actual return of the game, but sadly, being a fan of the NHL is still like belonging to the most exclusive club in North America. It's tough to see a game, unless you follow it closely, due to lack of publicity.

I'm from a city where the owner still refuses to televise home games, I believe the only sports team (not just hockey) that doesn't air any, because he is still operating his team like it is 1961, coincidentally, the last time the team won the championship.

There are several new rules, mostly designed to attract the casual fan in Iowa, who isn't interested anyway, and upset the oldtimers, like me, including a shootout (AKA penalty shot competition) to determine winners of tie games. The league gave the fans some lessons on this in the preseason, by having shootouts after every game, even if a team had won (this will not be the case in the regular season). I think it was more than coincidence that 75% of the teams that lost the actual game............won the shootout!

This stat makes me ill! A team that busted their butts for sixty minutes on the road can now lose the game when some fourth liner with too many vowels in his name that has been sitting on the bench all night not breaking a sweat can score past a goalie who made forty saves in regulation time to determine the winner. What next? Home run hitting contests? Free throw contests? Quarterback's hitting the moving bulls-eye? Yuck!

My team has twelve new faces, which is exciting, including the Stanley Cup winning goalie, and a new coach,but it still may not be enough to even garner a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference. I'm hoping for a sixth place spot, expecting an eighth, but I've seen "experts" picking the Hawks for as low as 13th!

My preseason pick to win the Cup this year is Calgary. They added some real character to a team that already is loaded with it.

Game On!

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Im a Redwings fan, but I'm pretty happy for the Blackhawks and their new players since the team has been bad for so long. It would be nice to see them turn it around, especially for all their loyal Chicago fans. I saw the Canadians in Montreal year before the strike and it was a real treat although I think theyll be so-so this year.

Calgary was an exciting team, with a tremendous work ethic, before the strike. Wont be the same though. Cleveland Barons, yes!, where did they move that team to?

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AnneG: Cool! Keep us posted on the season, especially your "lamplighters"!

I remember the old AHL Cleveland Barons. They had a really cool sweater logo featuring a smirking, pointy-nosed aristocrat complete with tophat, monocle, and a smoke dangling rakishly from a cigarette holder.

You could never get away with a logo like that these days as it would undoubtably be highly offensive to pointy-nosed aristocrats.

The AHL Barons were a hot ticket in Cleveland throughout the 50s and 60s. They played at the old Arena, just east of downtown. But they got run out of town by the upstart Crusaders of the WHA, starring ex-Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers, he of the famous "scar-mask" circa '72.

Ah, the WHA ... deserves a thread of its own ...

My high-school hockey team used to practice at the Arena where they foolishly left the kegs connected in the unlocked concession stands. Nothing like a cold one after a hard skate, I always say.

Hockey's a great game, and a totally screwed-up sport.

"K"

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Personally, I think the NHL went a little bit overboard by changing the rules. But I will commend them for the recent surge in promoting the sport.(Hey, why didn't they do it years ago!!)

Before the Barons moved to Cleveland, they were known as the Seals in San Francisco(and later, Oakland). After Cleveland, I don't know.

Don't forget, the Olympics are coming soon to Turin, Italy right after the new year. I think Canada will take the gold in hockey.

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  • 2 months later...

I barely follow hockey but think it's a great sport....if I was 9 again (physically smile ) I might take it up as as a kid I alway thought it was a neat sport. And I rememeber the Chicago teams with Esposito, Hull, Makita etc and the great Bruins teams etc.

But when I turn it on, see the fights, see the referee back-off and let them go at it......when I see this it just seems like a farce....what crosses my mind is that the NHL is so desperate that it stoops to gladiator type fights to promote fan interest.

I have a hard time respecting the NHL and taking it seriously.

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It seems to me that the amount of wanton violonce in the league is off quite a bit from years past. But I know where you're coming from James. There was a definite problem in the past. The league just might be getting past it. But it has a long way to go to get back to where it was in the days of Lafleur (!!!), Orr, Gilbert, Mikita, Dionne, Sittler.

Long live the Original Six!

"K" (Hockey Gray Beard)

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