Monday, February 21, 2011


This is not a game review, because a game review implies that the reviewer actually saw the game. I may have slapped down 300 bones to sit 50 yards from the ice, but that doesn't mean I saw the game. The setting may have been (somewhat) unique for a professional hockey contest and certainly unique in this town, but that doesn't mean I saw the game. It may have been my absolute favourite team playing my adopted hometown villans, but that doesn't mean I saw the game. There may even have been several wagers placed on this game that meant its outcome was particularly interesting to my choice of waredrobe this week, but THAT DOESN'T MEAN I ACTUALLY SAW THE GAME.

If you want a game review, I suppose the one for the last Alberta-based embarrassment will do just as well for this Alberta-based embarrassment. But that's obviously not want I want to talk about today.

It was cold, but I'd like to think it would have been much more bearable if there had been the distraction of a hockey game to keep one's mind off of the icicles forming around one's toes. That's not really what I want to rehash.

This is what I want to say: I hate the NHL right now. Why sell seats with views so poor and so obstructed by TV platforms that perhaps 10% of the ice was visible? You've got a venue double that of your regular indoor arena and temporary seating that more than made up for closing off the first 10 rows or so, at least in the corners.

Okay, the NHL is a business (and when I say "the NHL", I mean to include all of its teams and its broadcast "partners"). And judging from the fact they packed an outdoor football stadium on a Sunday evening in the middle of February, they've obviously got the pulse of their fanbase. Yet I can't help but feeling betrayed considering all the cash I've dropped on NHL-type stuff of all sorts, just to be taken for granted once again.

And then I started to think of the best hockey games I've ever seen. As you know what? I can't think of one NHL game since 1993. All of the standout highlights have taken place in international hockey, like the Olympics, World Juniors and World Cup. And they don't even all involve Canada - I vividly remember Slovakia's upset of the States at the WJC in 2009. And most Olympic games (between top countries, anyway) offered 10 times the excitement of most NHL games. There's also junior hockey at different levels and, of course, beer leagues for those of us who like to get in on the action ourselves.

The NHL likes to think of itself as the only entity that matters in hockey. They can get away with moving pro teams from cities with lifelong hockey fans, from people who actually understand, enjoy and often play the game. They can rearrange playoff schedules to better lure foreign broadcasters who too often put on second rate efforts both in terms of production and exposure. Wouldn't it be cool if they actually made decisions with average hockey fans - and not bottom lines - in mind?

But when that same organization can attract 45,000 people in conditions like yesterday's, whose fault is it that fans are taken for granted?

All I know is that the NHL has made an extremely powerless enemy in me. All I can say is that I don't plan on giving any more money to the NHL anytime soon. I'm also pretty sure the NHL doesn't care - but of course, I knew that yesterday.


Anonymous said...

CHL: Canadian Hockey League. Period.

b said...

Clearly, you would support an NHL franchise in Madison, Wisconsin right about now. 70,000 fans in the cold, demanding collective bargaining. Can fans organize and demand a seat at the table? What would the owners do if there was a fan strike for even one game?

moeman said...

There must've been at least one hot babe at the game, no?

Anonymous said...

Steve said: google hates me

Gaddafi Duck today, Bettman tommorow and Wed the heart of darkness, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Want to fight back, do what i do, when you need some new kit, wait until a player is traded and buy his stuff at half price. Take that Mr Molsen, I only paid $30 for my Havlak tshirt.

HabsFan29 said...

amen Panger!

but how much did you drink?

HFF33 aka Panger said...

Enough not to remember parts of the day. But I'm kinda happy about that, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Hadulf said...

Depends how you define an exciting game...But since 1993, I do recall that game against the Rangers in (I think) 2008...

Trailing 5-0, came back to win in SO...That was a pretty exciting game. Meaningless, sure, but exciting.

I was not at the game in Calgary but, from my couch, I was not "feeling" the crowd might just be me but it seemed overrated.

Bill 101 said...

I am having no luck deleting from my mind the expression, "backing into the playoffs"

Even worse, this seems the best to hope for.

*pokes another pin in the Chara & Thomas voodoo dolls*

Anonymous said...

If you and the other 17 Thrashers fans out in Atlanta would say that, Bettman would listen.
I love those markets. Where else can a "hackey" fan get:

- $20 tix (including free parking & program)
- Visit of players' room
- Home announcer explaining to the crowd why the ref whistled the play
- 1/2 tickets with student I.D.
- Buy 2 tix, get 2 more free
- 1000's of empty seats so you can move to better seating during game
- Bettman guaranteeing NHL money for struggling franchises...

Anonymous said...

Another deal completed. dallas & Pittsburgh this time.

A Z R said...

Ya'll should have asked us before the game. You gotta sit high. We had real man tickets up in row 46. Great view from up there. The miniwalkway at row 43 was filled with beerguys all game. We didn't even need to get up to get down.

Whatever. Bourque looked great in a no hit hockey game, eh?

moeman said...

Mex practising on the 1st line. Maybe The Goat is showcasing him. Or not.

HabsFan29 said...

@ A Z R:

You gotta sit high

i have no doubt that Panger was sitting. high.

and thx for not gloating or needling us, even though we totally deserve it

Number31 said...

The NHL: It prints money! (Unless you're South of the Mason Dixon line). I still think Mike Keane should have borrowed Halpern's jersey and snuck in. No one would have known! (Except for maybe scoring goals in a no-hitter).

That Pens/Stars deal reeks of League meddling. Who owns the Stars now? Are they doing this to make Mario happy a week after he bitched at them? Couldn't have thrown in Brad Richards too? What the fuck is Nieuwendyk smoking or what nefarious text message is Shero holding against him? How in the hell do you trade a guy Pens fans call Goalagaintski for a budding power forward and one of your fairly good defensemen? That's a Niinimaa Trade. If that's the market, Carey Price is worth a whole fucking NHL team. Add in PK and you can get a whole fucking AHL team in the deal.

Anonymous said...

Chris Phillips traded to Habs imminently... as a rental.

Anonymous said...

Was not impressed with the "Outdoor game", although I LUV the concept....I too woulda been pissed if i spent oodles of cash for an ubstructed view....!!
In retrospect I am sure glad I didn't fly out from Vancouver like a buddy wanted me to.

Now seeing as the HABS just went 0 for ALberta and I am going to the game tonight in VAncouver....
I was NONE to pleased to learn, through a friend who works there, that PK, and Carey and 4 other HABS were out at "The Roxy" on Granville St. until 2am last night.....ALL I can say is they better NOT Suck monkey balls in tonight's game.....!!

IF the effort is ANything like last year's 7-1 DEBACLE then I am definitely sending my ticket stub to THE GOAT for a FULL refund....!!
He can go down to the dressing room and pass the Fuckin' hat around for all the under producing millionaires to reimburse this "Actual Working MAn" for his wasted $$$ and the total embarassment when my team doesn't bother even fucking showing UP......!!!!

OH yeah.....and PS......
BRUINS SUCK..........!!!!!