Saturday night in Edmonton, Vancouver went down 4-0 early on. At no point did Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault call a timeout. After the second goal, on the second shot of the game, he pulled starter Cory Schneider and replaced him with journeyman backup Roberto Luongo. After the fourth goal, the game was again paused to clean up hats on the ice.
So it got me thinking… when is the best time to use a timeout? If you looked at it at a macro level, I’m quite sure that using a timeout after giving up a couple of goals in quick succession means pretty little in the long run. Mike Babcock called one when the Red Wings went down 3-0 on Sunday, a game they went on to lose 7-1. I think even more notably, Barry Trotz called a timeout 3:42 into Thursday’s game against Phoenix, after which, this happened:
We’re nearing that ever-ominous September 15 deadline, friends. When it hits we will officially be locked out; it is going to happen. The sooner we come to grips with this the better our lives will be — acceptance is the first step to recovery.
For players overseas this is a time of great trepidation. The reality is slowly setting in that unless you are a star on your club you could very well be out of a job soon, or at least in heavy competition to keep the one you have once NHLers head your way. (The ethical conundrum of NHLers shipping off is another matter which I hope to address next week)
The fact is many hockey players will soon have to go home to their families and tell their loved ones that they’ve been put out of a job by a National Hockey League player. For many, it will as simple as “Player X is here now, and he took my job” but for others, it will be the beginning of a gutwrenching path of deception to conceal the identity of said replacement player.
Go To --> "Tools" Click --> "Adjust Size" 'Hmm, possibilities...'
Isn’t it almost time for prospect and training camps to open up? Forget it. We won’t see those until November at the earliest and possibly not until December. The economic reality of the current National Hockey League structure suggests that to gouge every single penny from the fan as possible, some teams may have to shut down for a month or so.
One thing that strikes me about the current labour negotiations is how determined the NHL seems to be at beating the union in every way possible. Their initial offer was pretty laughable and takes away a lot of the power from players. After a year without hockey last time around, the union had little power and an agreement was forced on them. There was a salary cap, originally a non-starter for the Player’s Association, was now implemented and tied to modest league revenue. No way the players had won this round of bargaining.
I even heard the “idiot-proof system” mantra floated about. Owners had cost-certainty and there would be parity. Seven years later, player salaries and league revenue have escalated. Are we really convinced that if the player’s share of hockey-related revenue is reduced, that player salaries will stop escalating?
Revenue, from my standpoint, is tied to demand of the product, not how much it costs to run a hockey team. The current system will be changed, but not overhauled, for the simple reason that too many big-market clubs have everything to gain by keeping their revenues high and player salaries low.
It’s sort of amazing what happens when people who don’t get a lot of attention get a bit of attention. The expressions of emotion at the Olympic games, unlike any other sport, seem genuine and not forced.
Who knows why this is, but perhaps because the day-to-day routine of athletes visiting with a few beat writers or appearing in scrums is all we know of most professional athletes. This makes a sprinter much different than a hockey player. A sprinter walks into a building with 80,000 screaming fans once every four years in front of the world media and world audiences. Of course they’d soak that up a little.
I really enjoyed the 100m dash. There isn’t a practical use to being able to run really fast for a short distance, but it’s become the staple of the games. It’s simple and nearly everybody can do it. I could walk three blocks to a park and calculate my own theoretical time against Usain Bolt or Asafa Powell and it won’t be a blowout by thirty or forty minutes like the 10k run would be, if I could even finish 10k. Anybody has the endurance to sprint 100 metres.
And they’re all showmen. That’s become part of the allure of the sport. As the sprinters were lining up, each had his own few seconds of face-time, and as athletes competing in an amateur event, they need to raise their stock and awareness. They need to smile for the camera and do the things the sponsors love. Richard Thompson danced and, like Bolt did in the semifinals, did some shadow boxing before saluting the crowd. Asafa Powell glared at the camera. Yohan Blake struck a pose before laughing at the reaction of the crowd. Justin Gatlin walked away from the camera and saluted the crowd.
This is a smart man. Listen to him. Look, he's got grey in his beard so you know he must be wise.
There are few players as ubiquitous to hockey, at least from my point of view, as Mark Recchi. This is why, when he weighs in on a matter, I tend to listen. So, when I happened to come across an article by ESPN’s James Murphy (not the James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem despite my initial excitement. Seriously, how awesome would that be?) discussing the CBA talks with Recchi, I decided to take a peek.
I know we all have our own takes on the negotiations and most are (justifiably) cynical, Recchi offers a surprisingly optimistic view on how everything will shake out. The quote that jumped out the most, for me anyway, was this one:
Both sides realize we can’t afford another lockout. The game has grown so much in the United States over the past six years since the last lockout. The Kings winning it all this year, Boston the year before and Chicago before that, so you won back those Original Six cities and it’s going so well now. So you have to believe, and based on talks I have had on both sides, everyone realizes how bad another lockout will be. That’s why I think we’ll be OK and they will find a solution and avoid that.
"One foot in front of the other. You can do this, Mike. Puck in net."
I want to take you all back to a simpler time. A time where all that we cared about was what the hell was going on with that island in Lost (it’s magic or something!). A time when “Yes we can” meant more than a phrase on an ironic t-shirt at Urban Outfitters. A time when “the good Manning” was referring to Peyton. I speak, of course, about 2009.
In 2009, all my friend and I were concerned about as it related to hockey was trying to figure out who was going to be selected to Team Canada for the 2010 Olympics. To be fair, because we don’t have lives, we had been asking this question pretty consistently since the 2006 games ended yet our questions fell on deaf ears. It was a lonely time.
Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild was an obvious fit. Parise is a Minnesota native, his father played for the since-relocated North Stars, he played for the famed Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school program. The homecoming narrative is a popular one in professional sports, and the Parise homecoming is one that certainly made sense.
These connections were all readily apparent before the $98 million price tag they slapped on him. That much money tends to sway you in favor of a move.
Ryan Suter was less obvious. Detroit was the odds-on favorite given their glaring need to replace Nicklas Lidstrom. Nashville was adamant that they wanted to bring Suter back. Other teams cycled in and out of contention. Minnesota was a relatively under-the-radar candidate to bring him into the fold.
However, upon closer examination, it could be a series of ties between the Crimson of Harvard and the negotiating parties that tipped Suter’s scales towards the Twin Cities. Read the rest of this entry »