Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hey Bettman - You can't be Goodell

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.
The driving force behind the NFL's push for parity can be summed up by their unofficial slogan - "On any given Sunday…" The NFL, with big time help from Vegas and the betting public, believes that parity is the way to keep their fan base and grow it as casual fans tune in to watch the games (read: see how they are doing in pools or with their bookies). Parity in the NFL is helped largely by Vegas who sets lines for the games - thus making every game interesting to the largest number of people possible, instead of just for fans of whatever two teams happen to be playing. It is the ultimate business model - and professional sports being what it is today, every professional league tries to reach the NFL's level of success.

The NHL, under the "leadership" of Gary Bettman has tried hard to promote parity as the way to grow the NHL and attract more fans - the premise being put forth, much like the NFL, is that you never know who is going to win. To promote parity and "improve the game" the NHL instituted a salary cap and tightened rules on how games would be officiated.

The theory was that there was too much clutching and grabbing in the league, which thus prevented the best players in the game from demonstrating their skills. The NHL was banking on a more free flowing game with more goals and excitement to attract new fans. A few years later, what we have is parity in its ugliest form - boring, unwatchable hockey. Goals haven't gone up, the offensive skills of the league's superstars aren't being showcased, and the game is worse than it was before the league's "zero-tolerance" policy.

Parity has given rise to a number of teams playing crap hole hockey, we speak of the likes of the New York Islanders, the Vancouver Canucks, the St. Louis Blues and a few others who are playing a version of "kitty bar the door", banking on great goaltending performances to keep them in games and relying on a counter attack to score the occasional goal. These teams aren't playing to win - they're playing not to lose; so they employ systems like "the wedge" (St. Louis), to "the trap" (Vancouver), to five men behind the red line (NY Islanders) in order to kill the flow of the game. The Devils and Wild have used some or all of these systems to achieve success over the last few years.

The league's new "zero-tolerance" policy has made a number of donkeys look like visionaries and team builders. We speak of the Montreal Canadiens - a crap hole hockey team if there ever was one. Canadian so-called "hockey experts" point to the Habs as one of the league's best teams - funny, from our vantage point, they seem like a below average hockey team, whose fortunes are directly related to how many power plays they get. Montreal, over the course of the last few years, has been outplayed, out muscled, and outscored badly in 5 on 5 action - but having one of the league's best power plays has saved them from being on of the league's worst teams. Montreal's results can be directly linked to the officiating in the game - if the referees call everything, Montreal wins with a few power play goals; if the refs let the players play, they lose - its as simple as that. Is that the measure of a good hockey team? We think not. You can lump in the Pittsburgh Penguins, this year's Chicago Blackhawks, and the Carolina Hurricanes in with the Canadiens.

The NHL is hoping to sell parity to the casual hockey fan as a way of generating interest/revenue - seriously, they're selling it for $20 - $30 bucks a month in the form of the Center Ice Package. After watching a period of last night's Tards/Isles game - we can't imagine why anyone would want to pay for the privilege of watching the "shyte" they called hockey last night. It was a classic example of a team holding on for dear life to get a point (Isles) and then pulling a win out in a shootout (another stupid "innovation"). It is becoming commonplace in the new NHL - does it mean that "on any given night" any team can win…sure, but who cares? Who is watching? Who wants to watch anyone but his or her hometown team? (Unless you are an out of market viewer who wants to catch a NESN broadcast - hahaha).

The NHL will never generate enough interest in the game to get to where they want to go, they're failure to realize that they are making the game worse will end up being the killer in a league that already has four or five franchises failing miserably in terms of revenue.

On one of those rare days where having Canadian broadcasts beat the US - we all get to watch Tony Romo and the Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers - we don't need the NFL Network when we have TSN! A lot has been made about the dream season the Packers are having - the latest "expert" to bow before Brett Favre's altar is "Peyton Manning ball-washer" (used by a Peep who goes by the name of Sparky) Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline - everyone loves their offence and the way their defence is playing. We have one question - just WHO has their defence played, other than a Chargers team that had their heads up their asses when they played at Lambeau? The dream season turns into a nightmare tonight in Big D, when the Packers face the Cowboys.

After ranting about the state of the NHL - no three stars today; they're all crap!

We won't get burned by San Jose or Anaheim again - they're both on the crap list (though we think the Ducks get it done tonight in Calgary). Tonight's suggestions:

Dallas -7 over Green Bay - everyone thinks this spread is too high, they'll change their minds by the end of the 3rd quarter. We've maintained since day one that the Packers are counterfeit, Romo and the Cowboys prove it tonight. Lay $100 on the Boys.

Vancouver over Columbus - read above, crap hole team, but they have the best goalie in the league. Lay $100 on the Canucks - $180.

NY Rangers over NY Islanders - the Isles bank on DiPietro which gives them a shot most nights, it won't tonight though - not with Henrik Lundqvist in goal for the Rangers. Rangers win a yawner (read unwatchable game). Lay $100 on the Rangers - $200.

That's it for today gang - sorry for the late post - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!


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