Projected attendance for 2013-14 NHL season.
We take a break from our usual posting of gloom this morning, to bring you a little doom.
In the past, the NHL has had work stoppages. There was a players’ strike, then a lockout, then a lockout, and now, a lockout. In the past, fans have come back. The 94-95 Stanley Cup was won by the New Jersey Devils after a short season, and fans were there (at least they had a season, after all). The 2004-05 season got vaporized entirely, yet fans returned. The thing being taken for granted by the league here is that the main reason they returned after the last lockout was that the product had improved. The game was faster without obstruction, the Winter Classic was introduced, and everything was peachy.
I’ve long held the belief that this lockout won’t see fans come rushing back in the same way this time. As I implied, there was something wrong with hockey, not just in the accounting departments, but on the ice last time. This time the league has shot the game out of the sky while it was flying at it’s peak. It’s like Duck Hunt, only without the laughing dog cause nothing’s funny, and the league killed it’s target. Read the rest of this entry »
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is a company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, and and Toronto FC. As you’re likely aware, they basically print money.
They own the wildly popular/expensive “Real Sports” bar located just outside the Air Canada Center, and it’s a hotspot for hockey and wealthy people, which means it’s a perfect fit for NHL hockey players, who fit those requirements perfectly. It even has a lounge up top that Leafs players can enjoy without being hassled by fans. Hey, neato.
However, as the National Post pointed out yesterday, it appears as though Real Sports has been made off-limits by MLSE.
Deep cuts, brutha.
This is a bizarre, petty thing that should further the ill-will between the two sides, which should be good. If hockey is going to go down in flames, it might as well be a blaze.
Nah. You’re good.
Cam Barker has been spending his season with the Texas Stars of the AHL, despite not having a full contract. He was on a 25-game professional tryout, which is the type of standard deal guys put their names on when trying to earn a “real” contract at best, or while waiting for a teammate to get hurt at worst. Either way – it’s a foot in the door.
Welp, Barker’s 25-games are up, and they gave him the axe.
The guy led the team in shots during his time with the Stars, firing 66 pucks on net. He also scored three times and added five assists. Yet, was a healthy scratch on occasion so the Stars could give their up-and-comers – names like Jamie Oleksiak, Jordie Benn and Brenden Dillon – the minutes they felt were necessary.
It’s really crazy how far (and how fast) Barker has fallen. In no way am I defending his play, which seriously bottomed out over the past few years, but man, he’s a 26-year old defenseman who’s approaching 100 career NHL points. And now, it seems, like he just can’t do it anymore. Often, prospects get every conceivable opportunity when they look good in junior, and teams try to force a guy to be an NHL player, but sometimes things just don’t pan out. Maybe that happened here.
I can’t predict what happens next for Barker, but I’m sure it involves another AHL team. It could be an ECHL one while the lockout persists, but once it’s over, he’s no worse than a decent AHL defender. Then again, there’s little reason to think the lockout will end, so Barker could find himself falling from NHL defender to making his debut in his first “four-letter league.” Ex-NHLers tend to want to avoid those.
(S/t to Pro Hockey Talk)
Well, the best so far, anyway.
I’ve been critical of Semyon Varlamov in the past, and until this season, it’s been somewhat justified. He’s been fine enough, but by last year he was expected to be something more than “fine enough,” and he posted a 2.59 GAA and a .913 save percentage, which is just under league average.
BUT HO! Ho, ho, he’s off to a hell of a start this season.
He’s gotten into 12 games for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv (Vitaly Kolesnik has played 13, Curtis Sanford 8), and, well, here’s how he’s played: Read the rest of this entry »
I genuinely spent a few minutes trying to find a post I’d previously written that said, “the owners and players are going to meet again Wednesday,” but figured I’d start a fresh one. So: the owners and players are going to meet again Wednesday, according to multiple sources (I think the tweet below is info-center zero). It’ll be at an unknown location, which I’ll share with you here when it leaks in about 20 minutes.
If there’s nothing new and exciting to report today, I won’t mention the lockout again. Posts on actual hockey coming throughout the day!
Over on TSN’s Facebook page is a letter from Boston Pizza to the NHL. Boston Pizza, for those of you who don’t know, is a huge chain north of the border (oddly, it’s in the US too, only it’s just called “Boston’s” there, from personal experience) that sells pizza, beer and wings. It’s a great spot to watch a little puck too, since they all have bars and TVs and again, we’re talking Canada. And further: I’ve been a dishwasher, pizza delivery guy and server there, so it’s safe to say they have excellent taste in staff.
They reached out to the league in a one-page ploy that in no way is just a viral marketing attempt that I’m biting on because there’s no news, and is surely a completely honest appeal that they think might work. Free wings and beer, I mean, how could extremely rich people say no? Read the rest of this entry »
How about that cheery Monday morning headline, hey?
In a nutshell, talks between the players and owners about getting a new CBA deal done are where they’ve been for some time now: at impasse. Pierre LeBrun reported that Steve Fehr and Bill Daly were in touch over the weekend, but the two sides have no official plans to meet. In fact, here’s the statement Bill Daly gave the Associated Press on Friday night:
“I have no reason, nor any intention, of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.”
Again, with the “no reason” comment. Yes Bill, absolutely none.
As we wait for positive news to trickle out – hell, any news, really – you should take a look at this. It’s the latest way some fans are planning to get back at the NHL for locking them out: every game the NHL takes from them after December 21st, they’ll take back from the league:
Welp. Let’s get this week under way!
UPDATE: We thought Nick Cotsonika had a good string of tweets this morning. That info: Read the rest of this entry »