Summer is over - Hockey is upon us and it's time for me to pipe in with my rumblings and bumblings about what I have seen and heard throughout the summer silly season and beyond. The NHL has had an interesting summer, to say the least, and there is a lot to bumble on about. So without further ado:
Buying and Selling and Selling and Buying
Nashville had a buyer all lined up to purchase the team and then do what any smart owner would do, take the team to a place where they were going to be profitable, have corporate sponsorship and likely have problems getting people tickets, not getting tickets to people. Then Balsillie goes and makes a really premature move and starts selling tickets to an arena that is not ready for NHL hockey yet, to see a team that is not even his yet and for a team that has not been approved to move yet. Talk about a way to piss off the old guard of the NHL - Jim you did it. If you really had Balls-silly - you would have purchased the team with your billions, way over paid for it and then moved it after you were actually the OWNER!
Now Nashville is not going to be sold, but it might be sold to this one investor group or that one - no - wait - how about this one over here with these guys. It's insane and idiotic that there is such a circus around a team has/had such great potential. (Please Nashville fans - don't hammer me for being honest!
) I guess the latest is that the local group trying to buy the team is hiring a consultant to do an economic impact study.....are they serious! .....and the beat goes on.
Then Edmonton was up for sale, and then it wasn't. Was it a "rumor" - I hope so as that is what this site is all about.
Not that he ever would wake up and smell the economic disaster that is taking place is some NHL cities, but this should be a wake up call to Bettman and the league that there are serious issues with the "small market" teams.
Free Agency and No Agency
While it has been hashed over again and again, I must bring up the fact that Free Agency was nuts this year. While Philly faired extremely well, IMHO, other teams waited too long and seemed to have been left out in the cold. Did Philly overpay? Did NYR overpay? Did Edmonton overpay? Did any team that hired someone who had a good year last overpay? YES, YES, YES and YES. However, as has been said in the past - the overpayment of these players was done very ingeniously by the GM's in the league. A 10 million dollar player who only has a cap hit of 6.8 million a year! Can you say loophole? Insanity. Nuts. Crazy. While Philly is a beneficiary of this silly system, it's still crazy.
The thing that amazes me is how many players have not been signed, have gone to Europe or have signed 2 way contracts that will start them out in the AHL this year. Some of these players signed some of the most ridiculous contracts in NHL silly season history - read: Cujo. I know - everyone thinks he is too old and can't play solid hockey again, but since when did that stop anyone from signing someone to a ridiculous contract.
Notes to JR and Big E
Just retire already and get on with your acting career man. You are one of the greatest American hockey players ever to play, you brought a lot to the game and you are a great spokesman for the NHL. Use that. Be that guy who does as much for the game after you retire as you did while you were playing.
Dear Mr. Head Case:
Seems as you will be the Jimmy Carter of the NHL. Your work with the NHLPA has been second to none this summer. Your calling is now one of papers and meetings, not pucks and concussions. User your influence to do some good instead of just cause headaches and strife for everyone else out there.
and last but not least the
New Sweaters/Jersey's etc....
When Philly came out with the Orange catastrophe a few years ago after deciding to get rid of the traditional Orange away sweater, all one could do was cringe. Pajama time on the ice? (for those of you with kids you will get the reference!) Were they serious? It's April 1st isn't it, somewhere? You mean they are actually going to wear those things! This is almost as bad as the Cooperalls that they wore in '81.
Some of the new Reebok sweaters are really nice, some are really bad. I have seen the picture of the new Flyers' sweater (I like to call them sweaters - makes me feel cool) and it's not too bad but I need to see it live and in Technicolor.
The Isles sweater has gone the way of pajama's as well.
Boston, Washington, Ottawa, and Detroit all have done good things with their new gear and in some cases - Washington - made huge improvements.
The jury is still out for some of the other teams that have not released their new looks yet. September 15th is what I keep hearing and it will be interesting to see what teams like Pittsburgh, LA, NYR, TO and Philly actually look like.
This is marketing 101 and the NHL is using every advantage they can to get more revenue from merchandise.
As a Philly fan there has not been much to be excited about the last 12-14 months, but I must say that I am very intrigued by the potential of this team.
Briere, Gagne, Richards, Lupul, Smith, Timonen, Carter, Kaponen, Knuble, Hatcher - yes Hatcher - Kukkonen, Richards, Upshall et. al. I think that Philly has the potential to really do some damage this year. OH Yeah - and did I mention that for the first time in about 12 years Philly is going to camp with a #1 keeper - Biron! It is nice to know that there is someone back there that will be able to keep the Flyers in games and actually win one for us when needed. Last year watching him play, I did not get the pit in the middle of my throat that I have for some many years now when someone took a harmless shot from the top of the circle or from a weird angle. It's a good feeling to say the least!
Who's the captain? Anyone care to put in their candidate? Mine is Richards. Set him up now with some solid assistants and let him take this team the distance. Make a player that has been with the Flyers a bit, come up with them and could be a lifer the C.
Heres to a good season and some good bloggin'!