IMHO the rise of the NHL has less to do with Bettman, and more with the quality of the game we see today; NHL players getting noticed (and seeing what great guys, and remarkable atheletes they are); strong Canadian $ along with franchise stability in Canada; and most of all - many are beginning to realize what a joke the NBA really is - from Bettman's pal aka the NBA commish David Stern down to the players themselves (really - the average 'baller' IMHO is a total d-bag).
Even though we didn't get what we wanted on HBO's 24/7 - we got a glimpse at how much tougher hockey players are when compared to their pro sport counterparts...How many NBA/MLB/English Premier League players would return to action after losing 10 teeth, or taking 18 stitches in the elbow?
With the Winter Olympics right around the corner - I'm hoping it's another USA/Canada vying for the gold medal...The NHL is prime to overtake the NBA is so many different ways; just too bad that most media outlets (in particular ESPN) have their heads so far up their rectums that they're still too busy sniffing Michael Jordan's jock strap, and dreaming a dellusional dream of how 'exciting' NBA basketball is...A big knock that remains against the NHL is that it doesn't help having franchises in less than optimal markets <cough>Phoenix<cough>.
You’re saying that the Leafs players are “cooler” and more “hip” than Wings players?
Yes. The Leafs came off differently because Phanuef, Lupul, and Kadri are all members of Radiohead. It had absolutely nothing to do with editing.
Kadri’s getting his car with Jai Paul’s super-slick “BTSTU” song playing in the background (even though Kadri probably hasn’t even heard of Jai Paul) vs Helm, Smith, Dekeyser, and Abby eating ribs and fish tacos?
Or how about Phanuef, selecting his suit and bow tie to epic synth M83-style music? Howf****** funny is that? Knowing Dion is part cave-man.
That’s all HBO image-crafting and editing. It has way more to do with their idea of presentation than it does with The Leafs players being hip vs the Wings being boring.
I agree that we're at the mercy of HBO's editing dept as to what we as fans see - however if there was anything remotely 'interesting' - wouldn't HBO want us to see it?
Posted by F.Michael
on 16 December 2013 - 10:18 AM
Man, you guys. It's not even that I necessarily disagree. But you're just so predictably silly about this.
Yeah, no one ever takes a run at your guys when you've got a tough guy in your lineup. (Lemieux-on-Draper, McLeod-on-Kronwall.)
And yeah, a fourth line with Orr and Westgarth and McGratton on it is definitely something we should do. Then, when the offense dries up even more and opposing teams exploit that unholy clusterf*** of a "line," we can all get on Holland's case because ZOMG WE'RE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT WINNING. WHAT OTHER TEAM HAS THREE ENFORCERS AS THEIR FOURTH LINE?
Dressing a fighter, in this day and age, is pretty much a waste. I get the argument for it, and I don't totally disagree. But, if John Scott is gonna take out Loui Eriksson, he's gonna do it. If James Neal is gonna knee Brad Marchand in the head, he's gonna do it. Having an enforcer just means you get to respond after the fact and make some kind of silly "statement" that doesn't really need to be made in the first place and isn't going to do much good. (ZOMG! Our guy who gets paid to take issues with transgressions takes issue with your transgression! What a statement!) Because, honestly, in all our years of not dressing an enforcer, how many times has a guy taken a clear-cut "run" at one of our soft Euro stars and badly injured him? We're talking, what, maybe five incidents? Which is probably at or below the league average over that span of time. Because, again, enforcers don't really deter. They just make "statements" after the fact. And then it happens again, and they get to make another "statement," after the fact.
This isn't the '80s, guys. This isn't the Norris Division. There aren't 18 fights per game. Today's game is not nearly as rough-and-tumble and dirty. It's won mostly with speed and skill. Why are the Avalanche winning so much this season? Because they're fast and they can score in bunches (and their goalies have been great). We can't score to save our lives, so, if anything, we might actually need more skill. Certainly we need to be more fleet of foot.
Not that I don't think we need to get tougher. We do. But we have to be reasonable about it. It has to be a change that'll help us win more games and ultimately win a Cup. Not something to make us feel like bigger men, because, ho ho ho, now we have a face-puncher to hide behind! That's how a man takes care of business! He hides behind a hired gun! I'd rather have more overall team toughness - though, again, we need to find a way to score more. So there has to be a balance. Not saying the two - skill and toughness - are mutually exclusive. I'm saying, basically, you can't just load up on one-dimensional tough guys and think it's going to make things a whole lot better, on any front.
If it were up to me, I'd take a good look at Ott and Westgarth this summer. I'd almost never dress the latter, but I'd have him just in case things get ludicrous and an actual statement has to be made. Or I'd play him with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Because that'd be awesome. (Not being sarcastic.) As for Ott - he's a pain in the ass who's not afraid to mix it up, throw his weight around, drop the gloves. Ott and Westgarth. That might be a nice first baby step on the road to getting tougher as a team.
I think most of it actually comes down to Babcock. He needs to preach a tougher, more aggressive and intense style. We generally play with no life, no oomph. Or, we'll have little flashes of intensity, but that's it. That has to change. We, as a team, have to bring it. Every shift, every game. We have to push the pace. We have to play to win, not to "not lose." We have to win those little battles that add up over 60 minutes. We have to be engaged and electric. I'd take all that over throwing three fighters into the mix.
Years ago there was this silly joke when I was little...
Kid #1 - snaps his fingers.
Kid #2 - why are you snapping your fingers?
Kid #1 - to keep the lions away.
Kid #2 - there aren't any lions around here.
Kid #1 - see - it works.
Having guys whom are capable of playing the game, and capable of the 'extracurriculars' when needed is one of those luxuries we simply don't have, or it appears the Holland isn't willing to explore at any great lengths (Tootoo is an example of such, and is currently in GR - so much for that UFA signing)...To be honest - I feel it's best we draft these players rather than overpay via UFA.
It's hard to gauge the true value of these players, and their deterrent factor when taking into account the speed of todays game, and the physical play that includes questionable hits, and/or borderline/predatory/dirty play.
Unless we're on the ice, or in the dressing room - how can anyone here at LGW honestly say what the value/deterrent factor is with any player who is capable of defending a teammate when things get dicey on the ice?
I tend to lean towards what players both past, and present have to say regarding this matter...I don't ever recall reading anything about having a legit tuff guy/goon, or a guy who can stand up for a teammate when needed claiming that he was capable of thwarting each, and every threat to the smaller/more skilled players on the team...I find it to be a subtle reminder during the warm-ups as to who the opposition will most face that night, and it just might make some wary of how they may conduct themselves throughout the game.
Contrary to what some would like to believe - there's a reason why many here prefer the 97/98 Cup rosters over our 2008 roster...It's not just about winning - it's about winning with swagger - the confidence that you can handle your opponent not only on the scoreboard, but also in the 'trenches' if things were to get ugly...This is what I miss about our beloved Detroit Red Wings.
Posted by F.Michael
on 16 December 2013 - 07:22 AM
Before the season began Holland addressed this issue with a wait and see approach. I dont think he liked the answers he got. Sadly they will not bring in immediate help in the shape of an enforcer, but if I remember correctly Holland worded it as that it will be a gradual change over several seasons. I feel bad for the abuse players like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Tatar and Nyquist must endure because of this philosophy. And while it is true that an enforcer would not prevent all cheap shots, slashes etc against our skilled players, it will still do more than Shanahan or the PP will.
Probert, and Kocur mentioned in their book 'The Bruise Bros' that they did their best to protect the stars - however every so often a cheap shot was taken against one of the skilled guys...If they couldn't take care of it that game - there was always the next game where they could finish their business...Many opponents had to keep their head on a swivel when Probie/Joey were on the ice, and that to some extent created some space for others.
Posted by F.Michael
on 12 December 2013 - 06:27 PM
Sure, Thornton crossed the line in a disgusting way but it's not like the Penguins are a clean-team by any ways. Also Thornton has been in a lot of heated situations and never ever has been suspended, huge kudos to him and I would love to have a guy like him protecting Pasha, Z and the young guns instead of only one guy who is willing to stand up for them in Sam...
Loved what McCarty did back then and now that I'm older I love it even more! Rock'em Sock'em hockey, even Lemieux said he wanted a guy like McCarty on the Stars because of how well DMac played his role.
I don't know your age, and maybe it's a poor generalization on my part, but I tend to believe that many of us mid 30's, and older tend to be indifferent towards these sorts of violent acts (meaning that we were around in the 70's/80's when pro ice hockey was arguably it's most violent).
I'm not condoning what Thornton did to Orpik, and indeed it was a cheap shot...Now with that said - I'm the sort who's felt if a certain player has a habit of running, or injuring opponents, or is generally known around the league as a cheap shot artist - well - that player better grow eyes on the back of his head.
Posted by F.Michael
on 12 December 2013 - 06:07 PM
There are a couple things that I think are very odd, when I read this thread. Everyone brings up the knee by Neal. I don't get what that has to do with anything. One suspension-worthy offense doesn't validate another.
Also, I don't understand the focus on the result of the incident. It shouldn't matter if orpik was hurt or if he jumped up and started river dancing. Thornton assaulted someone, on the ice. It's the same reason emery should have been suspended.
Before anyone brings up McCarty, if a wings player did that now, I would say he should be suspended. When I was 8, McCarty turtling Lemieux was the most awesome thing ever. Now, I'd be troubled by it, especially if it was done the same way. What Bert did to Moore is a perfect example of why there should be no tolerance for this stuff. He never intended for the result to be what it was. But, stuff happens. Especially when you attack someone when he's not expecting it.
I think the proper punishment for this kind of attack is an automic 20 game suspension. A subsequent offense should be a year or more. This isn't like an illegal hit, for which it is harder to determine the intent. When you attack someone or swing for the head, it's pretty clear what you're trying to do.
I was 26 back then, and thought it was awesome that someone finally gave Lemieux what he deserved...Even better it being a Detroit Red Wings.
I'm 43, and still feel the same way - then again I'm a fan from a different era.