Some random thoughts as I get ready to hit the open road later this week:
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Was the lockout a waste of time? Did I miss a year of hockey for nothing? I am a Flyers fan and I will lay that out first. I love that they signed Danny Briere for a long time and for huge money - because that is what it took to seal the deal. That being said, I do wonder if that lost year of hockey meant anything? The top three free agents - Briere, Gomez and Drury - got contracts totaling $135 million and change. That's a lot of zeros. The Salary Cap is rising - from $44 million in 2006 to $50.3 this year - that is a more than 14% increase in the upper limit teams can spend. The rich get richer and the poorer teams...well...sorry guys. Aren't you glad we lost a year of hockey?
Is the East "good enough to contend for the Cup?" The Ducks proved that having three and four capable scoring lines, with a hard hitting, tenacious defense coupled with timely goaltending can bring Lord Stanley home - but does anyone care in Southern Cali? I might not if I lived there. Can the Rangers, Flyers, Habs, Bruins, Penguins, Devils, Sabres, Senators knock off the best of the West? The East certainly spent like drunken sailors...but will it pay off in the hardware? We shall see...
As reprehensible as Michael Vick is as a human being, is Tim Donaghy's "crime" not that much more heinous? I am a dog owner and the thought of what was purportedly done to those animals sickens me. However, the thought of a ref fixing and then betting on fixed games and NOBODY having a clue - not the crew chief, not the supervisors of officials, not the league watchdogs who are constantly trying to rub the tarnish off of the NBA, is more offensive as a sports fan. Michael Vick and Tim Donaghy do share one thing in common - they both will have their day before the law and that makes me proud to live in a democracy where might (economic or otherwise) does not necessarily make right. The NHL also needs to look at this mess as a wake up call and do the best job they know how to ensure that NHL officiating is above board and its nose is clean.
Man, I am excited for hockey this year...
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