Olli Jokinen to the Rangers

You’re already aware that the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers have made a rather dubious trade.  The Flames sent Brandon Prust and Olli Jokinen to New York for Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins.  Stan Fischler thinks it’s a steal for the Rangers meanwhile Flames bloggers are trying to figure out why GM Daryl Sutter went and got Ales Kotalik.  SBN’s Matchsticks and Gasoline tried to put together the case for Kotalik (due $3 million a year for the next two years after this one) but basically said he’s doomed to a future of being a healthy scratch.   Never mind the impact of Christopher Higgins, who now finds himself on his third team in less than two seasons and was playing pretty miserable for the Rangers this year.

Of course, the focal point of this is on the Rangers, as far as media goes.  The Rangers are mired in a scoring funk and found a team in Calgary desperate to rid themselves of a guy they thought was going to spark Jarome Iginla but turned out to not do anything of the sort.  In a much similar situation, the Rangers are desperate for scoring from anyone else aside from Marian Gaborik and figure that the change of scenery for Olli Jokinen will be the spark they’ll need to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings.

I dig Olli Jokinen.  He’s a creepy looking dude, he reminds me of New York historical folk lore characters and he gets fired up when it comes time for the Olympics playing for Finland.  Perhaps this is what Rangers coach John Tortorella is banking on happening with the Rangers.  At the very least, Jokinen’s contract ends after this season and the Rangers won’t be paying him (or Ales Kotalik) anymore.

The logical break down here is simple though.  Is Olli Jokinen better than Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik?  Yes, absolutely.  Brandon Prust, for all that he does, is just another guy to fight Aaron Voros and Donald Brashear for pugilistic ice time.  As it was, Kotalik wasn’t seeing the ice anymore in New York so he was dead weight (another brilliant off-season signing by GM Glen Sather) and Higgins was wildly underperforming.  Jokinen’s stats aren’t mind-blowing (35 points in 56 games for Calgary) but with the Rangers he’s a marked improvement and helps the Rangers out salary-wise with an expiring contract.

As for Calgary, I’m at a loss for words.  After making a very beneficial trade with Toronto two days ago unloading the over-hyped Dion Phaneuf  for half of Toronto’s scoring forwards, the Flames get caught up in the excitement of making trades and continued on with the Rangers obtaining one guy who may not perform well (Higgins) and another they have no idea how he’ll work out (Kotalik).  Life is a lot harder in the Western Conference and Calgary was feeling the heat to do something to secure a playoff spot while other teams fighting with them, so far, are standing pat.  I’m not sure if Calgary beating others to the punch is going to help them out, but if chemistry develops quickly it’ll pay off big time as other teams hovering around the 7-11 spots in the West are all figuring out ways to shoot themselves in the foot with better accuracy.

At the very least, the best I can hope for out of this situation is to maybe get an e-mail from Olli’s wife like Puck Daddy did.  Please don’t skimp on the criticisms, Mrs. Jokinen.

RPI: Back To Business

Six weeks ago, the RPI hockey team last played a home game.  A month and a half away from the friendly confines of Houston Field House sounds a bit insane except when you consider that those six weeks all come when the students at RPI are on winter break it doesn’t sound so bad.  After all, home games without the bulk of your vocal home crowd suck ferociously.

For fans of the team that are only aware of the team while they’re at home, a few things happened.  They beat perennial powers (albeit ones in a down year) Boston University and University of Michigan in front of their home fans.  They swept a road weekend conference series at Quinnipiac and Princeton, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2007. They were also humbled by a very tough Michigan State team to lose the championship of the Great Lakes Invitational and also dropped their final meeting with Union College over in Schenectady.

The loss to Union has some folks up in arms because it’s Union College and they’re a local rival and  because head coach Seth Appert was quoted after the game saying this:

“I refuse to believe that they’re better than us. I believe in our guys, I have a lot of belief in that locker room, what we have in there. I have a lot of respect for Union. I think they’re a really good hockey team. I think they’re a Top 10 hockey team. But I don’t believe they’re better than us.”

Cocky words?  Not at all.  After all, each game with Union was decided by one goal this season (Union scoring an empty-net goal in the final game notwithstanding) and Appert did go on to heap a ton of credit on the Union program saying, “They’ve earned where they are.  Don’t get me wrong by what I say in terms of that question. They’re in first place in the league and they’ve earned every minute of that.”

Obviously Seth Appert wasn’t going rogue on anyone and his faith in his own team is quite clear where it stands.  Unlike teams in RPIs recent history, this year’s team hasn’t shown the penchant for fading and letting teams dominate them on the scoreboard like they used to.  However, for this team to spend six weeks away from the friendly confines and play six games and come away with a 4-2-0 record in that span against a handful of difficult opponents in very difficult settings is saying a lot for this team.

In more than a few games this year, situations have arisen where previous Engineers teams would fold up the tents instantly.  The game against Michigan sticks out as a prime example.  It was a game where they were ahead, some shady calls are made against them and Michigan storms back to tie the game and then things hang in the balance.  If that game happens even a season ago, RPI cracks and gives up two more goals to end that game and lose.  Instead, Marty O’Grady says, “Screw this,” and scores on an impossibly accurate snap shot to put RPI up for good in a 4-3 win.  RPI played this exact type of game two seasons ago against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and lost in front of a huge and largely Gopher-biased crowd.  Things change and things are certainly different for this RPI team.  Now they’re back at home and back on the hardcore ECAC schedule the rest of the way.  This weekend they see a couple of teams who in seasons past have been in the upper-middle part of the pack and still lurk as dangerous.

Dartmouth College comes to town not having seen RPI since the Engineers unceremoniously disposed of the sixth seeded Big Green in the ECAC Tournament last year and if you think revenge isn’t on their mind, you’re crazy.  The downside for Dartmouth is they’re just not very good this year.  They’re severely lacking scoring and even more severely lacking good goaltending.  Juniors Scott Fleming and Adam Estoclet lead Dartmouth in scoring with 15 points each and Fleming is the team’s leading goal scorer with eight.  Only two other players on the team are in double-digits in points and their main goaltender, Jody O’Neill, has a save percentage lingering around .890 and a 3.79 goals against average.

This does not bode well for the Big Green against RPI who sits as one of the highest scoring teams in the ECAC averaging 3.10 goals per game in conference matchups while allowing  just 2.40 goals against.  Dartmouth, on the other hand, has been scoring 2.60 per game while allowing 3.60 per.  Dartmouth, in this case, is going to have to turn the tables on RPI the way the Engineers did to them in last year’s playoffs.  The Big Green stumble into this game losers of seven of their last eight and winners of four games all season.

As for RPI’s opponent Saturday afternoon, the Harvard Crimson, there’s reason to believe that perhaps the ship is finally being righted in Cambridge.  After an uncharacteristic and abysmal start to the season where after opening their season with a win over Dartmouth Harvard went winless in their next ten games going 0-8-2 in those ten.  Since then, they’ve won three of their last five games including a win over #6 Yale.  Their two losses in that span came on the road against Minnesota so those can almost be excused since Minnesota is certainly the better team. Harvard’s gotten wins against Quinnipiac and Dartmouth (again) in that time and considering the Crimson were a team many believed would battle in the top half of the ECAC this would seem to indicate they’re getting their act together.

Harvard’s success has come at the hands of freshman and Montreal Canadiens first round pick Louis Leblanc.  Leblanc and his linemates Michael Biega and Maple Leafs Lightning draftee Alex Killorn have been the one sure thing, scoring-wise, head coach Ted Donato can count on.  Those three players are the Crimson’s three top scorers and Leblanc, of late, has been scoring goals in bunches while finally showing off the talent that made him the Habs top choice in 2009 (aside from being French-Canadian that is).

In goal is where things have gone a bit astray for Harvard.  Junior Kyle Richter returned after a one year absence to attend to “personal matters” and he’s been less-than stellar.  Meanwhile, junior Ryan Carroll has stepped up and provided some sense of sanity of late backstopping the team to their last two wins over Yale and Dartmouth.  In about half as many games as Richter has played, Carroll’s goals against is almost a full goal lower than Richter’s and he’s sporting a slightly better save percentage.  While I’m not sure Coach Donato wants to totally write off Kyle Richter, I’d bet that Ryan Carroll will get the nod this weekend for Harvard.

For as innocent as an RPI-Harvard might seem to be, all is not as indifferent as it might appear.  For instance, one thing RPI is going to have to look out for against the Crimson is the antics of the flying Biega brothers.  Whether its senior Alex Biega, junior Michael Biega or the latest addition, freshman Danny Biega the Engineers and Crimson seem to get together in scrummy fashion when it comes to them.   It all starts with the sandpaper-like play of defenseman Alex who is no stranger to the RPI crowd and he’s usually good for a skirmish or five over the course of a game. Adding in the very talented Michael Biega and his ability to get on the board, that automatically makes him disliked on the road.  It’ll be interesting to see which big brother Danny plays more like.

This game also offers RPI fans the opportunity to once again boo and mock junior defenseman Chris Huxley.  Four years ago, Huxley initially committed to play at RPI but then jumped ship when then head coach Dan Fridgen was not retained by RPI.  Through semi-shady dealings Huxley ended up reneging on his RPI commitment to go to Harvard, something which RPI fans have not forgotten about because each time Huxley touches the puck in Troy he’s booed by the faithful and even given an obvious last-name based nickname.  If you can’t figure out what it is, I’m not going to help you.

The RPI Bedwetter Fan View Of The weekend:

“The Friday night game against Dartmouth lingers as a possible “Superman” game where Jody O’Neill has the game of his life and RPI is stuck looking for answers against a goalie that has the horseshoe firmly implanted in his rectum.  The Saturday afternoon tilt against Harvard sits like a trap game.  Harvard is a team that’s wildly down this year but playing better of late and RPI will find it hard to match up with Leblanc’s line.  Allen York will give up some softies and RPI still won’t get anything done 5-on-5.  I haven’t been happy since 1985.”

The Right Way To Look At The Weekend:

RPI should roll Dartmouth and the Big Green’s porous goaltending should do their part to help solve any questions about their play at even strength.  I’ve got the feeling the game with Harvard is going to be a one goal semi-classic type of game.  Maybe I’m giving Harvard too much credit here, but there’s too much talent all over that team for them to keep losing games all year long.  That said, a solid game out of Allen York and Harvard doesn’t stand a chance.

Listen to this weekend’s games on WRPI online. 6:45pm Friday, 3:45pm Saturday.

Stop The Insanity – Get Rid Of This Rule

Insane.  Just watch.

I thought about this rule a lot yesterday given the wacko spin-job the NHL tried to put on the whole mess with Brad May’s “no goal” against the Dallas Stars. The sport being what it is decided to one-up itself in a game between two severely struggling teams in Carolina and Toronto. This situation happens in overtime and bones Toronto out of an overtime victory, one which they couldn’t secure in the shootout because, you know, somehow winning a game in overtime and in the shootout is viewed as the same fucking thing.


The conclusion I’ve come to on this bogus “intent to blow the whistle” nonsense is that it’s a crutch. It’s a crutch for the officials because God forbid they make a definitive call in a game or do their job effectively. This has to end. Play to the whistle or don’t play at all. Simple as that. I know why the “intent to blow” clause is in the rule books, I understand it perfectly.

No more though. Referees are going to drag their asses in games and pretend that they’re bigger than the game itself? Too bad, your time has ended. The fact that more fans are getting to know the names of officials for all the wrong reasons isn’t a good way to seek out fame. People know Kerry Fraser because of his stupid hair but they also know him because he botched a call in the 1993 Western Conference Finals. People know Don Koharski because then Devils coach Jim Schoenfeld called him a fat pig and asked him to have another donut. They don’t know Don Koharski because he’s a swell guy or a good official, that’s crazy. People know Bill McCreary because he’s got a porn star mustache and can’t help but be the center of attention in any game he works.

Stop the insanity already. I want a couple of things out of officials. I want consistency and I want accountability for their actions when they decide they’re better than everyone else.  Consistency is already an impossible thing to get out of any game so I’m shit out of luck there, at the very least I should be able to get officials that don’t think they’re bigger or better than the game itself.  It looks like we’re all screwed there too.

GaryMcMahonHe intends to blow each and every night.  Mission accomplished.

The NHL has to get rid of this bogus ghost rule because any time it comes into play it’s a cop out of the highest order.  “Well, I wanted to stop play, but I was too damn slow to do it.”  What a joke.  Two nights in a row now games have been botched because of this referee crutch.

Get rid of it.

(Much thanks to Jeffler on Twitter for being lightning fast in pointing the video out on YouTube)

To Hit Or Not To Hit (Update)

This weekend has brought about the resurrection of the “blows to the head” debate courtesy of two different yet interlinked plays.  Friday night’s game between Colorado and Carolina brings an added twist of what happens when a bad thing happens to Darcy Tucker.

Tucker was taken off the ice on a stretcher and received a concussion on the play as well as 40 stitches.  Ruutu has been slapped with a three-game suspension for the hit.

I’m not going to be a facetious jerk-off about this, I am going to ask this bluntly:  Who, aside from Toronto Maple Leafs fans who still worship the ground Tucker walks on, feels bad for what happened to Darcy Tucker after receiving that vicious, dirty hit from Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu?

Feel free to comment if you do because I’d love to hear why you feel bad for him because in my mind, I find it very difficult to muster up any sort of sympathy for him because when you play the game the way he’s chosen to over his 16 seasons in the NHL, eventually someone’s going to get you.  Sure, you love the hell out of a guy like Tucker when he’s on your team but the second he’s gone you’d like him out of the league one way or the other.  Just ask Michael Peca.

I’m fighting every urge in me to stay quiet about this entire thing because absolutely nothing good will come out of this, but it’s the elephant in the room.  Tuomo Ruutu lays a dirty hit on an unsuspecting player and does disgusting damage to that player… Only issue being that the player he hit is a guy who often times in his career has done the same exact thing numerous times in his career.

Is it justified?  No, certainly not… But I doubt you’d find a jury outside of Denver or Toronto that would convict Tuomo Ruutu for his offense in this case.  What will happen to Ruutu is he will eventually get paid back, more than likely in January when the teams meet again in Raleigh and Tucker will most likely be able to go after him on his own.  You do have to wonder though if hockey karma wasn’t just getting one up on Tucker itself after all the mayhem and ill will he’s brought upon himself over the years for playing the game the way he does.

Everyone has to pay the piper at some point and while Ruutu was completely in the wrong in this situation laying a vile and disgusting hit…  Perhaps the piper was tired of waiting.

Then you’ve got the oranges to Darcy Tucker’s apples on Saturday night when Philadelphia’s Mike Richards laid an absolutely brutal hit on Florida’s David Booth.

David Booth, like Darcy Tucker, was knocked unconscious and carted off the ice on a stretcher. Unlike Tucker’s situation, Richards’ hit on Booth was, by the book, perfectly legal but with great hesitation.  Watch the replay as much as you can stomach and you’ll see that Booth didn’t commit any of the textbook sins that a player who gets destroyed in open ice commits.  He wasn’t skating with his head down all the way, he wasn’t admiring his pass – he was just playing the game – a game that can be violent and dangerous at times, but that doesn’t mean that Mike Richards has to make a hit like that in that situation and both the Panthers and Flyers are doing their best to speak up for themselves, dander up and everything.

For what it’s worth, Richards received a five-minute major for interference which will allow Colin Campbell to spin his Wheel of Justice to see if he wants to send a message for hitting a prone and unsuspecting player or not.  It’s at a time like this where maybe, just maybe, sitting down a high-profile team’s captain down for more than a few games might send the message that the league intends to be serious about protecting its players.

I know it gets mentioned again and again whenever you see a terrifying scene like this unfold where paramedics with stretchers come out to cart a guy off the ice but at some point the NHL needs to jump in to help the players.  Hell, if the NFL has done something in their ultra-fast, ultra-violent sport then perhaps taking a page from their book isn’t the worst plan of action, even if it results in quarterback-like complaints being raised by fans and players.

The problem with the situation with Richards’ hit is that by the books it’s legal and suspending a player for a technically legal hit seems completely backwards.  The problem here is that Booth had no chance to protect himself because by the time he sees Richards coming, he’s already eating his forearm and shoulder.  This is where the NFL tie-in works.  The NFL has start penalizing players in games and fining them after the fact for hitting players who are in a defenseless position.  I’m thinking mostly of wide receivers in this case when safeties or linebackers use the occasion of a pass thrown too high or out of reach to decimate the receiver trying to make the play.

Would it be unreasonable to ask the same of NHL officials?  After all, when the league added the five-minute major for interference it was meant to curb out of the way hits where players would end up injured.  The penalty was semi-correctly called in this instance (it wasn’t textbook interference, but the violence was there), but to say it is a deterrent would be stretching the truth.

Sure the Panthers will get their shot at redemption at Richards a few times this year, but they didn’t even really stand up for Booth tonight so… What then?  The Panthers are now without one of their top players indefinitely and the Flyers will be without their captain for perhaps a few games.  You never know what will happen with that crazy Wheel of Justice.

My problem with it is that Richards has to know better than this, he is the captain of a team after all, even if it is the crazy Flyers.  He has to know that by gunning for a guy in that matter you’re going to be hitting him in the head, unless he’s just a really crappy judge of a guy’s skating speed.  Hitting a moving target is certainly hard enough, but hitting a guy is pretty easy to do when you’re skating as hard as Mike Richards does and he has to know he’ll make a more effective play if he hits him body-on-body rather than body-on-head.  So why does it appear when watching it and taking into effect how it plays out when you’re watching it at full speed that Richards is gunning to hit him up high?  I’m not going to go all Zapruder film on you with this but if Richards’ intent is to hit Booth shoulder-on-shoulder he missed badly.

What does anyone learn out of this anyway?  At this point, nothing at all, just keep playing the same old way because there’s no need to rock the boat.  Both Ruutu and Richards did wrong here, one more obviously so than the other.  One guy did so by the book while the other guy burned the book on Darcy Tucker’s doorstep while the neighbors all are secretly happy he did so since he’s had it coming to him for a while.  Does it make any of this any better?  Not in the least because you’ve got two guys out of action thanks to unnecessary head shots.  Perhaps Mark Messier better get a move on with his new helmet to help players out.

Better yet, perhaps the players can just have a little bit more respect for each other on the ice and not look to kill each other whenever they’re given the opportunity whether it’s by the rules or not.

Update: Mike Richards will not suspended by the NHL for his hit.  With me not having my wits about me and forgetting that Colin Campbell’s son plays for the Panthers, I forgot that he cannot hand down a punishment.  Instead, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly got to spin the Wheel of Justice and it came up “zero games” for Flyers captain Mike Richards.   I’m not entirely surprised by this considering it was a legal check, but chalk it up as another blown opportunity for the league to start sending a message to the players.

I’m Still Around – Kessel To The Leafs

I know I’m woefully lacking in updates but forgive me, things are a little busy personally.

Instead of begging forgiveness, I’ll just show you how spanking pretty Phil Kessel looks in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform in video game splendor.


Not a bad look for the kid.

Will it work out though?  We’ll see how well he handles the hockey insane fans of Toronto.  Then again, maybe Ron Wilson won’t bench the guy for just wanting to play offense while giving the finger to back-checking.

As an added bonus to trying to buy your love, here’s a video of virtual Phil batting home a rebound goal.

A big week lays ahead as five teams will get euthanized by yours truly as the season looms closer.  Stay tuned.

New Faces In New Places: Montreal and Toronto

Because I’m a video game dork, in particular with NHL games (well, OK EA Sports’ NHL game) and the summer leaves a dearth of fun NHL news to talk about, it’s time for me to flex my video game photo taking skills and give you an idea of what some of the new players in new places are going to look like in their snazzy new uniforms.

I’ll do a few of these photo galleries because I’m that bored and I have that kind of time. Suck it.

This gallery will feature two teams who have done quite a bit this off-season. It also helps that they’re huge rivals with each other.

I bring you the newest Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Feel free to click the photos to enlarge them at your leisure.

Scott Gomez slams on the brakes in front of Matthew Stajan and Colton Orr.

Brian Gionta celebrates a goal he didn’t score.

Mike Cammalleri lets a shot rip from the slot while Mike Komisarek sprawls out to block it.

Paul Mara skates head to head with Colton Orr.

Mike Komisarek lurks behind the net while Garnet Exelby defends. Jonas Gustavsson holds down the fort.

Jaroslav Spacek races through the slot to let a wrist shot fly.

Hal Gill does something other than stand around.

Travis Moen celebrates like a douchebag after scoring a back-breaking shorthanded goal. Francois Beauchemin stands by stoically.

NHL: Where Ruining A Good Thing Happens

The last two New Years Days the NHL has taken the holiday to seize the day and make sure to do something that allows them to get airtime on a day when they know everyone is going to be home nursing a hangover or at the very least laying about on the couch.

The NHL to their credit came up with the idea to play an outdoor regular season game on that day during the afternoon. After all, it’s January 1st and most of the northern US and southern Canada is in a deep freeze or at least winter-like conditions that lend themselves perfect to playing a game outside in a huge venue.

Two years ago, the Penguins and Sabres played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY and last year the Red Wings and Blackhawks played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. January 1, 2010 will see a game featuring the Boston Bruins played at Fenway Park and the opponent to be announced later on this summer (rumors abound that either the New York Rangers or Washington Capitals will be involved).

Again, this is a great thing and a perfect setting for a game given the rejuvinated hockey fan base in Boston and getting a game with either the Rangers or Capitals is ideal because you’re either getting your biggest media market involved or the team with one of the biggest stars in the world. You can’t lose here…

…Unless you get the bright idea to do an outdoor game doubleheader on New Years Day with a second game set to take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Coming soon to the back of trucks all across Canada.

From the National Post in Canada:

Sources say the NHL is looking at building on the success of the Winter Classic by hosting two outdoor games on New Year’s Day. The first is rumoured for Fenway Park with the Boston Bruins hosting the Washington Capitals. The second is pencilled in for Calgary between the Flames and another Canadian team – likely the Toronto Maple Leafs.

CBC TV is a major push behind the Calgary proposal.

“I can’t see anything that jumps out to me that would be a roadblock logistically,” Haverstock said.

Now, I understand that he’s talking about logistics of doing a game in Calgary. Obviously its going to be cold as hell there and having conditions able to sustain the ice outdoors won’t be an issue.

The sort of logistics I’m thinking of here are those involved in wearing out the NHL fans and the wonderful novelty of the whole thing. Obviously Canada is bothered that they’ve, again, been left out of the NHL’s reindeer games in regard to doing an outdoor game. After all, it’s Canada that got the ball rolling with this thing back in November 2003 with the Oilers and Canadiens playing an outdoor game at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

Now with NBC and the NHL teaming up to make sure all the US marquee teams get taken care of with mid-season showcase event, Canada wants back in and for that I can’t blame them. Problem here is that a second game will get no attention in America.

The Heritage Classic in Edmonton nearly six years ago was an event that ESPN and ABC should’ve gone bonkers over to cover considering how much went into it with the legends game featuring the all-time greats for both franchises playing an exhibition game and then the real game itself. Instead, the event was largely ignored in the United States and video and highlights of then Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore playing with a toque over his helmet in the frigid Edmonton air were about all we were left with to soak in.

When Buffalo and Pittsburgh played on January 1, 2008 the event was heralded as incredible and amazing a magical and all that with very little credit in the way given to what had happened five years previous but now this event was going to take over as a yearly staple – and hey, why not? It generates attention, looks great on the air and manages to steal airtime away from putrid college football bowl games.

Should the NHL decide to double its pleasure in 2010 to throw viewers a bone in both countries, because God knows Americans won’t watch Canadian teams on TV and Canadians are ruthlessly nationalistic and wanting some attention from Herr Bettman for all the financial propping up they do – sure, why not – let’s just slaughter the novelty of the whole thing and cave into everyones television demands.

Bettman has already shown that he’s got very little backbone to stand up for any sort of principles for the NHL and is now on the brink of selling out to both countries national broadcast partners at NBC and the CBC. This does come with a catch, however:

No one bothered to clue in the NHL Players Association.


From TSNs Darren Dreger:

”This is all news to me. We are breaking news, this is an insider moment that Calgary is potentially going to get an outdoor game and this is the first I’ve heard of it,” Glenn Healy, the NHLPA’s director of player affairs told TSN.

The NHL confirms the outdoor twin-bill will be discussed on June 25th at the competition committee meeting, however based on Healy’s reaction; there is reason to believe the event may be in jeopardy.

”We have never been approached by the league about a second outdoor game ever in Calgary and if they want to approach us, then our numbers are in the book.”

Then again, why would the NHL ever communicate something with the group of people they dislike more than NHL fans when its so much simpler to have someone at CBC let something slip out and get the buzz started instantly.

I can’t really top that because this is all it boils down to.

A man sits in his lonely board room cooking up ideas with his media pals… You know, the ones that he’s trying to win over so that they’ll give him some kind of money to turn a profit after he’s already given them carte blanche to boss him around and make a joke of the league by bumping off playoff games from their air in favor of horse races.

He cuts his deals, he makes his promises, and gives no regard for how things will work in the future when he’s trying to figure out a way to do an outdoor game in Tampa, Florida. You know he’ll have to do that because he’ll running out of ideas on where to do the next game or two on New Years Day all the while the fans have gotten over the novelty of it all and the idea just gets stale.

True Bettman style:
Get a hold of a truly great thing and abuse people with it simply because it “works” and then be forced to ride the negative tide that sweeps in when things get out of control.

Take a guess what tide rolled in today with this rumor of a New Years Day doubleheader.

Don’t get lost in what I’m ranting about here.

The Winter Classic as a singular game and big-time event yearly on January 1st is a great thing. Turning it into an annual circus having to look for new locations at all times to the benefit all the teams looking to cash in on a sideshow-like spectacle is a BAD idea.

The novelty is killed, the interest is nullified and pretty soon people stop noticing and giving a crap altogether. Doubling up sets a terrible precedent for this event in the future because you’re not only continuing a bizarro hockey xenophobia that exists with American and Canadian audiences, the simple greatness of a great spectacle event is worn out twice as fast as it would otherwise.

Leave it to Herr Bettman to continue his version of Sherman’s march to the sea to make sure anything good that happens with the NHL is soon burned to the ground.