The game may be fast because of less clutching and grabbing, but the lack of comparable star power and the robotic consistency of today's goaltenders has made it less exciting for me. The top players don't put up big numbers anymore as there's more balanced lines and goalies are too good. And yes, the lack of fighting and big hitters hasn't helped it any in my mind.
My guess is the NHL is not as popular for the everyday American sports fan Joe as it was in the 90's. Don't have any stats on that, but that's the way it seems. It's hard to promote a more exciting product but not have the big name power to go with that. Kind of like TNA wrestling.
There is less fighting, there is not less "big hitting". There's just less reckless hitting. I just provided a 15 minute long video of "big hitting" from this season alone. It's still there, regardless of how many times people say otherwise.
Again, I agree that there is less "star power" than in the 90's. But in saying that, you're arguing against the original point that others were making. Namely, that the old game was more exciting because it was "tougher". You're saying it's less exciting because there's not as much scoring, and because the goalies are too good. That has nothing to do with toughness.
As far as the popularity goes, the NHL keeps setting records for attendance, revenue, and TV ratings (despite not being on ESPN). If you accept those measures as proxies for "popularity" then I'd say it's MORE popular than it was, not less.
Because the Wings are so soft that even a women would toughen them up. Hardy Har.
Sports jokes that connect the perception of a weak athlete to a women are soooooooo funny.
You just don't get it. Because you're part of the PC police and also because you want hockey to become the same thing as women's soccer (which is significantly tougher than Men's soccer BTW). Admit it.
The game has all the hitting it ever had, AND it has all the speed and skill that it lacked during the clutch and grab era. Those who romanticize the "good old days" are speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They say they want hitting and aggression, but they willfully ignore all the hitting and aggression in the modern game? Why? Because they don't JUST want hitting, they want a PARTICULAR KIND of hitting. The violent kind. The dangerous kind. The kind they hurts people. Many people say they want the reckless hits out of the game, but they don't actually mean it. They all secretly long to see Scott Stevens out there blindside hitting guys in the head, because that was AWSOME!
Except it wasn't...at all.
Here's a "best of" video for the season, showing many of the big hits. Nobody took toughness out of the game, they just took recklessness out of the game. And lots of folks, contrary to what they say, don't actually like that.
Yandle's so affordable I don't know why you wouldn't let him play out his contract. Assuming, of course, you think you'll still be in the hunt later on. Hang on to him, and trade him at the deadline for a fortune if you don't want him later, but throw the baby out with the bathwater? You're not going to get a more talented defenseman for 2.75 million dollars.
He gave up 14 goals in the 4 games he lost to Tampa. He gave up 14 goals in the 4 games he lost to Los Angeles last year. Gave up 13 goals in the 4 games he lost to Boston the year before that. Gave up 15 goals in the four games he lost to NEW JERSEY the year before that.
Jonathan Quick or Tim Thomas he ain't. That's all I'm saying. He's pretty pedestrian when it matters.
His offense would have had to average 4 goals a game to win any of those games. Kinda hard to blame them.
Bologna. There is no "Bowman Affect". Chicago wins because they have superb talent (not drafted by a Bowman) and superb coaching (not hired by a Bowman).
People just want to attach Bowman's name to it because they love hero worship. Everybody loves piling on to a legacy. Scotty Bowman's affect on the Chicago Blackhawks is negligible. They were trending up before Bowman came around, and they'd have been a winner without him.
Take a look at the guys Dale Tallon is drafting down in Florida. Look familiar?
To tell the truth, I'm happy about this. I don't want a division rival winning the Cup. I didn't want the Stanley Cup in the south, getting gawked at by mildly bemused tourists and local swamp rats. I don't ever want to hear "The Stanley Cup gets a sun tan" ever again. *Puke*. I don't give a crap about "Stevie winning one", because he stopped mattering to me the second he started working for a rival organization. In short, NOTHING about Tampa winning the Cup would have felt good to me. I don't care about their players, coach, staff, GM, city, or state.
Secondly, I don't feel threatened by this. At all. The new Chicago dynasty is (so far) more impressive than our dynasty from 97-08. So what? We still won 4 Cups in 11 years, had top end talent to watch, and made the playoffs every single year. It's still SUPER impressive. Just because the 80's Islanders weren't the 80's Oilers doesn't make them any less awesome. This just put a stamp on something we all already knew. We're no longer the league's model franchise. Oh well, doesn't make our run at the top any less impressive.