Archive for the ‘Just sayin'’ Category

Ways to improve the All-Star Game

January 7, 2009

In case you haven’t seen it, Sporting News‘s Craig Custance asked the hockey world how the league should improve the All-Star game. There’s a lot of neat (and a few crazy) ideas in there, but why not throw in a few more? Some of these might be reaches or smell like mad science. Just roll with it.

First, a few of my favorites from the article:

Love the pickup game idea

Is there anything cooler than the idea of highly paid professional athletes acting out an experience almost any non-home schooled person went through in junior high? Just imagine players weighing skill versus friendships versus their teammate’s egos would be great. Seeing which players were picked last probably would be the best part of all.

Also, helmets off is a must

Maybe we’d find there’s a guy whose eyes bug out when he sees some open net like a modern day Rocket Richard.

Any excuse for international ice is a good excuse

Since the league would never give up that prime seat revenue, we’ll probably never get the kind of open ice that could really make a bigger difference than less organic moves like widening the net. So at least tantalize audiences with the larger ice surface for the All-Star game.

Now, a few of my own:

Real estate and All-Star games: all about location

In the last few years, the league keeps shoehorning teams into opening their seasons in Europe. If those teams struggle, fans immediately (and not completely unjustifiably) blame said struggles on the extra travel.

And look at the New York Rangers this season. It seemed like a brilliant idea to have the Rangers play in the Czech Republic … until Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka left the NHL. That’s not to say that those games were failures because of a lack of prominent Czechs, but no doubt the league must have been thinking hometown fans would love to see Jagr play in those games.

Put the ASG in Amsterdam or Paris or Rome or some other awesome, tourist-y location and watch the mainstream media members suddenly catch hockey fever. Plus, having All-Stars instead of NHL teams play would allow people who never see the Crosbys and Ovechkins in person get to watch a bunch of big names at once.

Before you say “but the big names won’t show up” … don’t you think Martin Brodeur would be more inclined to play if the game was featured in some exotic location instead of, say, Columbus, Ohio?

And to take care of issues with travel:

Move the All-Star Game to the preseason

This would make the traveling concerns weaken. Also, instead of wedging the All-Star game in the middle of the season, why not play it when people are jonesing for hockey? By positioning it in late January, people already have seen 40-50 games per team. But hold it in September and hockey fans will be much more likely to tune in. And if you’re worried about competition from the NFL, just televise it on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

If an outdoor game becomes an annual event, why not give the ASG at least one snowflake boost?

Imagine watching the best players in the world skating and passing in an environment like Wrigley Field. Sooner or later, the novelty of the Winter Classic will wear off for the non-diehard hockey people so making one of the outdoor games an ASG would keep it fresh. What you’d lose in hometown team ratings you might just gain in nationwide ratings (maybe).

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These events are that one time of their year when people don’t need to worry about empty shootout points, dirty hits and other scandals. So why not have a little fun with it? And what better way to schmooze sponsors than to showcase hockey in such a grand, borderline romantic setting?

It’s BERTUZZDAY!

October 14, 2008

In the olden days (before today) Tuesdays used to suck. Say what you want about Monday, at least it was the first day of the work week. Tuesdays are like the bad sequel or an ugly twin to Monday. There’s really not a whole lot that can be said for Tuesdays.

Until now.

Here at Cycle like the Sedins, we’re going to celebrate each Tuesday by chronicling the lowest, most vile and/or most humiliating moments hockey’s ever seen. And really, there cannot be a better person to attach to such an event than the infamous Todd Bertuzzi.

To start things off, it only seems natural to explore the event and man behind this historically bad pun. So with that, let’s take an off-beat and tasteless journey into the shameful event (is it Punchgate or Bertuzzigate? Because everything has to be “X”gate. It’s like, a rule or something).

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In my mind, there are three reasonable candidates for The NHL’s version of “The Zapruder film” but only one moment that could be hockey’s version of the JFK assassination. Sure, hockey fans might not know Where They Were When They Found Out It Happened … but few should ever forget the strange feeling of seeing hockey looped relentlessly on CNN.

And it sure as hell wasn’t for a breathtaking goal.

Here’s a link to a soundless clip that also features Steve Moore‘s hit on Markus Naslund, which inspired the Wild West-style bounty that was placed on Moore’s head.

Obviously, the toll this moment took on Moore’s life and career are not a laughing manner. But the Vancouver Canucks at fault deserve to be mocked and berated for their involvement (whatever it might be).

It must have been fate that implored me to watch “The Karate Kid” on Hulu.com last night, because the Vancouver Canucks – Cobra Kai parallel is STUNNING. Especially if you feel that Marc Crawford did indeed encourage Bertuzzi’s actions.

Disclaimer: my imaginary legal team must acknowledge that Marc Crawford claims Todd Bertuzzi acted “in direct disobedience” during the infamous attack. Therefore, this INGENIOUS analogy is based on the EXTREMELY DUBIOUS premise that Crawford promoted such behavior. My use of all caps is IN NO WAY an expression of sarcasm.

(Phew)

Now, watch this famous clip from “The Karate Kid” and see if you can match certain characters with their theoretical (former) Vancouver Canucks counterparts. Skip to about 1:30 if you want to limit your exposure to awesomeness:

In case you don’t have my Patented Deductive Skills, here’s the Cast of Characters:

Canucks/Cobra Kai from left: Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Marc Crawford, Brad May


Marc Crawford as “Fascist Douche Coach.”

Could you imagine Crawford telling Bertuzzi to “sweep the leg”?

Todd Bertuzzi as Standard ’80s Teen Movie Villain with Aryan Features

Heat from the media neutered Todd Bertuzzi’s game. Say what you will about Zabka/Johnny’s underhanded techniques, at least it took a crane kick to humble him. Advantage Zabka.

Strangely, this image comes from www.sharkblog.com.

Doesn’t this quote seem eerily familiar to Brady May’s “bounty” comment? Just sayin’.

Seriously, the similarities are endless (or there’s about three). I’m not sure who would be Mr. Miyagi though.

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To wrap up our first ever Bertuzzday, let’s end it with an interesting question. E-mail us your answers and we’ll feature the best responses on next week’s Bertuzzday:

What would it take – within the realm of possibility – for Bertuzzi to absolve his sins in your eyes? In other words, suggestions related to death and breaking his own neck will be read, possibly laughed at but then ignored. I’d especially like to hear from Colorado Avalanche fans (and, hell, Teemu Selanne if he’s got a second). To start things off, here’s what he could do that would appease me greatly:

“The Jesus” thought that what the Canucks did was “Bush league stuff … laughable mang.”


Do you remember that scene in “The Big Lebowski” where Walter gives a little background on “The Jesus”? How he had to go door-to-door to let his neighbors know “he was a pederast”?

Bertuzzi would have my reluctant forgiveness if at a designated time during every road game, the Jumbotron would display a recorded message of Todd Bertuzzi admitting to being a confirmed neck breaker (or something like that). Fans could even mock him in a “Kiss Cam” kind of way. It wouldn’t repair Moore’s vertebrate and Bertuzzi would still be making crazy money to play a game he’s clearly no longer passionate about.

But it would make a difference if he was DIRECTLY shamed in public for this moment until he concedes and retires. Enough of that “dark cloud/carrying a mental burden” crap.

I want that burden to be TANGIBLE.