Guest blogger: cwgatti


The League That Ate Itself

As a huge hockey fan, July 1 is an oasis. Hockey hype in the middle of baseball season. Cool thoughts on a hot day. In the past, especially for NYR fans, it has been a very important day. Since the days of Neil Smith, the Rangers have basically put the future of the team in the hands of some lucky mercenaries. Even last year when the salary cap virtually precluded the Rangers from signing top UFA’s, the NYR managed to make a splash with Marion Gaborik. This year, they managed to squeeze in Alex Frolov as a UFA. But this July 1st was much different than previous ones, and I believe we may soon see the end of the midsummer big UFA sweepstakes, and hopefully, the end of the NHL as we know it.

The Ilya Kovalchuk saga has yet to be resolved, and may have opened up a can of worms that will only further damage the credibility of a floundering NHL.

“I can’t believe that the preeminent professional hockey league in the world has a Ryan Hollweg in it and no Jaromir Jagr.”

That was a quote by me to anyone who would listen around the time #68 signed to play in Siberia. JJ was past his prime for sure. But how could the NHL say they are trying to grow their sport, entice new fans, and maintain any sense of quality when a surefire hall of famer is allowed to slip away to Eurasia? The answer is the NHL itself.

The NHL is a collection of owners, who for the most part, have no business owning a professional sports franchise. Take away Detroit, New Jersey, and a few others, you have incompetence. The NHL is more concerned with maintaining a mediocre status quo than improving on any level. What has the NHL done (besides removing the two-line pass) to improve the league? An outdoor game? Bettman has put more effort into keeping franchises in cities like Phoenix, Atlanta, and Nashville than keeping the best players in the world in his league!!! Now, Kovalchuk is back in limbo. Conceivably, one of the 5 best players on the planet could be playing for 20 trillion rubles in the KHL, because the NHL has resigned itself to become a league of parody.

Last winter, the NHL made a splash with the Olympics. That Gold Medal game was a game for the ages. Casual fans were glued to their sets. There was talk that Jagr may come back to the NHL. Canada got up off of the canvas to win gold. Hockey had momentum leading up to the NHL playoff chase. When the best players in the world play this game, there is no other sport that comes close.

The only problem is that the NHL doesn’t understand this.

League expansion has watered down the talent in this league to the point where even I am not interested in watching games other than the Rangers. If there is one pro sports league that needs contraction, it is the NHL.

If I were commissioner, my first order of business would be to cut the league to 20 teams. My second order of business would be to eliminate the salary cap. I would hope that the 20 remaining owners would be able to actually afford to own sports franchises, and run them efficiently. I would also prefer to see some of these teams go back to Quebec City and Winnipeg. Cities that will actually embrace the teams instead of the Atlantas of the world.

In today’s economy, contraction may just happen anyway.

Sadly, the NHL is facing another potential lockout/strike. Obviously these owners and (poorly represented) players have learned nothing from a lost season. In fact, that lockout and resulting CBA have made things worse for the game of hockey.

Maybe the next lockout will bring a real change.



Hey, it’s Carp. Great job by cw.

Forty-six days until the opener.

46: Andy Pettitte.

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  1. Good work, cwgatti. I’ll discuss more later, but from what NYPost says this am, it looks quite possible that Kovalchuk ends up in KHL.

  2. bull dog line on

    the only thing I will disagree with is your parody comment. the best PRO league is the NFL, and there success is built on parody, and revenue sharing. everything else, you are right on.

  3. As a fan of this league for as long as I can remember and a season ticket holder at MSG for more than a decade, I have my issues with the league as well but your post is way off base.

    To say not having a washed up Jagr in the league last year is a problem is an insult to any intelligent hockey fan. Last season, especially, we saw the growth of some of the best young talent ever in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks roster alone is a tribute to the improvement in the game. The Team Canada Olympic cuts are better than half the players from Jagr’s prime era.

    If Kovalchuk goes to Russia – A. He’ll be back – the grass is not greener on the other side. Ask Jagr who begged to get back to the NHL last year and no one wanted him. B. The league will be just fine with plenty of talented stars that need to be developed more publicly.

    One of the NHL’s biggest strengths as a fan is it’s biggest weakness in growing the sport. These are team-first blue collar guys born and breed to be that way and when a Sean Avery begins to act like an NFL WR he’s immediately blackballed while generating the most amount of non-NHL press.

    The NHL is and will always be a niche sport and that’s why I love it more than baseball and football. There are no “casual” hockey fans like the other two sports. Most hockey fans are die-hards – which is why the NHL does better than the other Big 3 in terms of Internet and Social Media numbers.

    I do agree about the teams moving back to Canada but it will never happen because of the importance of USA TV money and the “up and down” strength of the Canada dollar. When the dollar goes south up north those teams won’t be able to survive.

    As for your parity remark, the NHL has more parity now than ever before. In what other sport, not even the NFL, does the League’s weakest markets (both TV and attendance) have championships in recent years. TB, Anaheim and Carolina have won CUPS while Edmonton, Buffalo and Ottawa have been to finals. That’s better parity than the NFL can even boost.

  4. That’s a good photo

    Do you guys ever get together personally and possibly have a group photo and ID each. I’d enjoy seeing what you all look like and a face to all of your fun positions.

  5. So, what you’re saying is that team should over pay for over-the-hill players just to keep them in the league.

    Jagr wanted too much money. His contract demands exceeded his eroding talent. It was a wise decision to let him go. To pay players more than they are worth just to keep them in the league is not a good business model.

  6. Morning all!

    Nice post, cw. The league’s marketing people should be ashamed of themselves for how they portray the league and it’s players. If I was them I would pick about a two dozen players who each bring something different to the game- and not just the ‘elite’ players, but some of the hard hat, glue type players- and promote the hell out of the game based on them. Create a series of coherent ad campaigns based on these players- tell their stories, why they love the game, come up with something a little zany that will grab the public’s attention and then cross-promote the heck out of it. Buy ads during all sorts of programming: the other major sporting events( Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, etc) other major tv events like the Oscars, popular shows, pretty much anything that gets high ratings. Put ads in newspapers, magazines, on-line- any place that people will be able to see them and get to understand how awesome the game is.

    Create a brand for the league and stick with it. Promote a guy like Sean Avery- his ‘bad boy’ image on the ice and his varied off-ice interests would appeal to a lot of people. Life isn’t just about the ‘good guys’ sadly, so why not promote the guys in the league who aren’t like that. It would surely be something different than the other leagues do and would help generate interest. Yes, there may be negative publicity from it, but then go with the flow, tell the public that you showcasing the variety of personalities that the league has and stick with those guns. Don’t backtrack on it.

    The best thing to happen to this league would be Gary Bettman stepping down/being fired by the owners. Then, maybe someone who has a fresh view of things, who would be willing to take a few risks and showcase the league, would step in and lead the league into the future.

  7. You want to eliminate the salary cap but put teams in Quebec City and Winnipeg. Aren’t those teams no longer there because they couldn’t survive in a non-cap league? I’m all for contraction and bringing teams to Canada. But I think you still need some kind of salary cap.

  8. Just out of curiosity, when was the last time a team in any of the major 4 was contracted?

    The two major problems with the NHL as well as the two major hurdles to growing the sport are mainstream media exposure and accessibility of the sport to new fans.

    As far as exposure goes, that’s up to the league to negotiate a better TV deal. I don’t know whether the league was demanding fees that were too high when their contract with ESPN ended or whether ESPN figured they weren’t generating enough ad revenues to offset the production costs of the sport, but not being able to broadcast the sport on a channel that most places use simply as background noise/entertainment really limits the audience. Then having half the championship of the sport played on a channel that most people outside of outdoor enthusiasts and die hard hockey fans don’t even know exists is an even bigger insult.

    However, even if the cable and TV networks put the NHL on prime time during the season and sports programs devoted enough coverage to the NHL as they do to Tiger Woods dalliances with cocktail waitresses and Brett Favre’s holding the country hostage with his annual play/retire saga, the fact that hockey is an extremely expensive sport to play remains a huge barrier to entry for a new fanbase.

    There’s a reason why soccer is the most popular sport in the world. You can pretty much use anything that rolls as a ball and you can draw lines in the dirt to form a goal. You build an attachment to the sport, to the teams and to the players when you’re running around on the field trying to do what they do. Now place that in the context of hockey. If you’re in the deep south where naturally occurring ice and snow exist only on tv screens and computer monitors there is a significantly smaller chance that hockey will be your sport of choice.

    I don’t disagree that the NHL has done itself no favors with 3 lockouts in the past 20 years, 1 of which cost the league an entire season. But the NFL, NBA and MLB have all had their fair share of similar blunders with labor agreements and a large slate of poorly run franchises (the former Seattle team in the NBA, the Detroit Lions, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Kansas City Royals to name a few). But the fact that a kid can turn on a tv and have no trouble finding a channel to watch someone throw/kick/run with a ball and then be able to step outside and do their best imitation of whatever they’ve just seen is what keeps those sports in their own and the general public’s conscience.

  9. What? The thing that indicates everything wrong with the NHL is the fact that a 39 year old Jaromir Jagr plays in Russia?! The NHL should go to 20 teams? The whole argument is ridiculous and on a juvenile level. You also make statements (like after the olympics when everyone was locked into hockey but the nhl is too stupid to understand this…?) without any rational behind it. Regarding the KHL, they have teams that can’t pay their players or even their custodial staff! There are 4 KHl teams that are considered of quality that have some NHL players. NHL players who play over there are paid way more than what they would be paid because their really second level players here and don’t command that kind of money. The elite players in the NHL don’t want to play in that league. They have the money and want to play with the best competition. There’s a reason why Kovy hasn’t signed with a KHL team yet. I mean he was about to live and play in New Jersey! New Jersey! The NHL does make alot of PR mistakes (ESPN needs to be involved with the NHL, ESPN is too big to not have them as a partner and it seriously marginalizes the NHL. Also, Jay Mohr hosting the awards show? Cmon. Things like that make the NHL look like losers). There’s alot going right for the NHL (ratings have been really good, obviously do to larger markets and cities with rich hockey tradition playing long into the playoffs), but obviously there’s quite a bit to work on (these 40 year contracts should’ve been vetoed from the get go…I think DiPietro began all this…it makes the NHL look dumb to arbitrarily start with kovy’s contract to veto.

  10. I don’t think Jagr’s departure was as damaging to NHL as Kovalchuk’s would be. There is always a large degree of pride involved whereby NHL players at high level in their prime don’t want to go to the inferior league. At least they have no desire to be “first”. Well, if Kovalchuk is “first”, then anyone can follow.

  11. CTB, I don’t think that any team in big 4 has ever been contracted by its respective league. Teams have moved or ceased operations due to money issues, but I cannot think of any team that has been contracted. Unless we are talking about the infancies of the leagues, in which case it may have happened.

    And sadly, the NHL will never contract, even though it would make for a better product on the ice and in terms of monetary value for the league as a whole.

  12. Losing Jagr to the KHL was a blow to the league, for sure. But not necessarily in terms in terms of talent. Jagr was at the end of his career as a dominant player. Where the league lost is in terms of his charisma and personality. He, like Ovechkin is these days, was never seen as person that the league could build around in marketing terms. Which is a shame because both players have those traits in spades.

  13. Keeping Jagr on the Rangers would have really helped in one regard, it probably would have taken up too much of the cap space that was used to sign Redden.

  14. CTB- ha! Good point. Would add a few more goals too.
    Jagr also loved in KHL when he played there during the lockout, he has friends etc.
    Speaking of KHL. Fran is reading the book about it and I’d like his opinion on that issue. One thing I can tell you- do not underestimate that league. It is still very weak, but if the NHL starts losing really prominent players, watch out!

  15. The closest the NHL came to contraction was in 1978 when the Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars merged under the North Stars banner and under the ownership of George Gund.

  16. Great post, cwgatti. Your line about Hollweg and Jagr is classic. I do agree with ilb, though, that Jagr was in the tail end of his career, so his departure didn’t hurt all that much, while the loss of Kovy would be devastating.

    Have a great day all! See youse all later! TA!

    Good morning, Mama!

  17. Thanks for allowing me the opprotunity. One bit of advice to future guest bloggers: Don’t rely too heavily on spell check.

  18. 46 – Valentino Rossi.

    CT – that makes me sick to think that one or more years of Jagr would have excluded Slats from making “The Mistake”. I would take Jagr blind and with one leg over Redden.

    Until K’chuk climbs down from his “i’m worth $1m more than Sid & Ovie” stance and realises his market value is actually about $8-8.5m per year then its likely no deal will go through, as i cant see that the league will back down from its stance to let the contract tail off too much, and i cant see Lou taking a cap hit of more than $8m per otherwise he has to blow up his roster to get it to work (bye bye Elias, Salvador and Zubrus).

  19. Comparing the NHL parity and NFL parity is crazy. There are 100 potential, LEGIT owners lining up to buy an NFL franchise. And the league is so well run, and so popular that the available revenue is limitless. The NFL is a much bigger part of North American society. The NHL has to realize it is a regional, secular sport. I bet the NFL could have 48 franchises and not miss a beat. The NHL has to take over it’s own franchises just to keep them afloat.

  20. The Puck Drops Here on

    One thing I think we can all agree on: Bettman has to go! He can take Sather with him.

  21. The White Plains Batman on

    Great article! The sad truth is that without the salary cap, do you think Dubinnsky, Callahan, Anisimov, Lundquvist, and Girardi are Rangers?

    I know it’s not a total youth movement, but a lot of the post lockout success has been because with a limit, even $ather had to change his way of thinking, integrate youth, and concentrate more on scouting and drafting.

    Another strike would absolutely kill the NHL. They can’t have one. If anything, they need to find someway by a vote to get Bettman out.

  22. Jagr’s departure hurt in two areas…on the New York Rangers and with Jagr himself. Jagr on the Rangers in 2008-2009, the team would have actually been competitive in the playoffs. And, as someone pointed out, they probably would have never signed Redden. On top of that, they never would have traded for Zherdev, which would have meant Fedor Tyutin would now be on the Rangers blueline. Jagr leaving reset the Ranger clock just about back to the beginning.

    And for Jagr, he basically just pissed away two years of his career where he could have made a big difference for a team. Having seen him in the Olympics, I can say he’s no longer the electric player he was when he left. Now he’s got another year in the K. If he does come back to the NHL, his role will need to be like the one Shanahan had here and on the Devils.

    I was going also going to say his departure hurt us as Ranger fans, but by the time he left, I’d say a growing majority of them were happy to see him go. I was not among that majority, but such is life.

  23. Great post. It will never happen, but the league should contract two teams and send two to Canada. The talent pool is diluted and if the KHL develops (which I guess it may or may not), the NHL will be diluted even more.

  24. Phil, I think Jagr will play one year with Kladno in the Czech Republic before retiring for good.

  25. cwg
    I have to agree with you on many of your points UFA’s, contraction and the NHL’s media choices. You’ve beat the Jagr drum to long. He priced himself out of the league and Hollweg didn’t and I think he wanted to be closer to home.

  26. Oliver Perez is to the NY Mets as Wade Redden is to the NY Rangers.

    Overpaid, underperforming and not wanted by the fans. Though Redden does get minor kudos for not being as goofy as Perez.

  27. Jay Riemenschneider on

    Cool post… I’ll try too!

    The biggest problem with the NHL is the bizarro rules officiating that leaves noobs clueless. Imagine watching a game for the first time and trying to understand why one check is a penalty and another isn’t or why one stick tug is a penalty and another isn’t. Hell, I’m not even sure what the difference is and I’ve been not only watching, but playing hockey for decades. Professional wresting folks… that’s what the NHL is closer to these days.

    Contraction is a GREAT IDEA! There are far too many marginal players soaking up roster spots on far too many marginal teams in marginal markets.

    Why does every teams website stink beyond imagination? Oh yeah, the league dictates that. So uh, marketing—it couldn’t be ANY worse. I work in marketing. NHL = FAIL.

    Outdoor game? Wow… JOKE. Put a gabillion people in a baseball stadium a gabillion miles away from the ice so they have to watch on jumbrotrons. I wonder how many people are actually buying tickets to these events or if they’re simply being allotted out in huge chunks to sponsors and given away in the office? I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go watch such obviously hokey and outrageously over hyped sillyness.

  28. Jagr over Lundqvist?

    I was very surprised to not see Gilbert or Giacomin on the Puckmore list.

  29. “The NHL is and will always be a niche sport and that’s why I love it more than baseball and football. There are no “casual” hockey fans like the other two sports. Most hockey fans are die-hards – which is why the NHL does better than the other Big 3 in terms of Internet and Social Media numbers. ”

    This is all true but actually serves to underscore cw’s point. The league has expanded so much under Bettman in an attempt to make hockey into much more than just a niche sport. Part of the problem is that not enough people play it or can relate to it, but the other, bigger problem is that it translates so poorly onto television. Unless you’ve been to at least a few games and so have a good fundamental understanding of the game itself as a frame of reference, TV hockey doesn’t do it (although widescreens and HDTV help a whole lot). So Bettman has tried to bring the live sport to as many places as he possibly could by enticing people to buy clubs and put them in places where they may not be all that successful – and then the owners get really PO’ed with him when they cannot make it work and that’s how we get to where we constantly are with the CBA and a league with watered-down talent everywhere.

    It’s a damn shame, too, because hockey is a gladiator sport to a degree and regardless of natural ability everyone that plays pro hockey (or any upper level of hockey) has worked damned hard to get there, and hockey players also tend to be humble, affable guys – in many ways, it embodies this country so well and yet people don’t seem to get hooked. The things that generate the most attention are international competitions and late rounds of the playoffs where the level of play is super high. And that argues for contraction to much fewer, better teams, or continuing to change the rules to favor skills over brute force.

  30. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    good morning ILB and all!


    Good post. Quebec definitely needs a team again!

  31. Jagr? Seriously? Loved the guy when he was here, but no way does he belong on that list.

    The other 3 I have no problem with.

  32. Puck Drops

    Top four what? I’m sorry but I cannot figure out what this means, because it runs all over the place….

    As to Whalers Cap, I was looking to find one in solid green with the flukes logo but could not. I still think that they had the best uniforms in the solid green with white trim, of all the new teams coming in ( possible exception of the Nordiques, who I thought had really class suits.

  33. Wicky – my 3rd favourite biker behind Barry Sheene and Carl Fogarty (and possibly Randy Mamola as his Honda mechanic used to live 50 yards from me)

  34. btw My head is still reeling from the Math histrionics of Gravey…If I could handle mathematics like that, I’d
    become an adviser to some political hotshot and never,
    sweat any bills again.

  35. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    rumour on twitter is the nhl has rejected a 2nd kovi devs contract!

    great link, some cool nords stuff!

  36. You have to include Pat Flatley on the Mount. I mean come on. He was such a catalyst for the……..hahahaoooohhhahahaheheheheheheh, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaheeeee, ok, done.

  37. Tank The Season on

    Lundqvist is the greatest goalie in Rangers franchise history. There, I said it. Jagr has the single season franchise scoring record. No way Jagr belongs on there ahead of Hank.

  38. Coach Beeblebrox on

    20 teams is too few, 30 is too many. I think they were probably good at 28.

    The NHL talent pool is catching up. There are a lot of talented players in the NHL these days who would not have been there even five years ago. Every draft these kids are better and better, and the draft deeper. Even if high end talent is not there, the low end creepers have been weeded from the game for the most part. We are not seeing the big lumbering defencemen anymore.

    Part of this is the new rules, allowing smaller more skilled players to once again thrive in the NHL. This trend of teams taking skill over size, results in better cultivation from the kids already drafted. Teams now spend time developing kids based on skills, not size.

    The Hugh Jessiman picks are dying, you just don’t see GMs taking size for the sake of it anymore. That alone has increased the talent level.

    You also have more American kids playing hockey than every before, feeding into the Canadian Junior systems as well as NCAA.

    So while I don’t agree that were need 30 teams, I think the talent is here now to support it. We are seeing the best hockey being played right now in two decades. If you cannot see that go watch something from 2001 and get back to me. And its only going to get better.

    The problem with the 30 teams, is that at least five of them are in the wrong places. The US “sunbelt” is just not supporting hockey, and there is no reason to assume that will change. We don’t need two teams in Florida, that’s just silly.

    If the teams would all just go younger, you would see the talent level rise to the occasion. There are more talented kids 21 and under in the NHL (and farm systems) than at any time in recent history.

  39. The Puck Drops Here on

    I dare say it is too soon to say LQ is the greatest goalie in Rangers history. Pa-leeeze!

  40. Excellent post CW ! If there is a lockout, you better lock me up, because just the off season is killing me.

    Tonight on Blueshirt Banter Radio live at 8 PM our guests Emile “The Cat” Francis and Ranger D-man for over a decade Rod Seiling.

    To hook up with the show follow the linkage

  41. Tank The Season on

    Report from before- if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can download NHL 2K11 right now from the App Store. It’s buggy, single player only, but still damn impressive (trades, roster management, etc).

  42. >>Losing Jagr to the KHL was a blow to the league, for sure.

    What’s the logic behind such statement? Did the league lose money because Jagr left? Did fans stop attending matches or cancelled centre ice because there was no Jagr? Did potential fans turn away because Jagr was gone?

  43. Great job CW!

    I would love contraction. But it will never happen. People don’t care about hockey in warm weather climates. They barely care in cold weather cities.

    Ways to improve the game

    Got to be more fan friendly – they should be known for the most fan friendly league and best access to players. More interviews, fan fests – 2 for 1 ticket nights – open practices – got to do something to draw more people and create a buzz.

    Smaller equipment for the goalies, 8 minute overtimes, 3 points for a win, 2 for a win in OT or shootout. Let the goalies play the puck again behind the goal line.

    Shorten the season to 74 games. April and May are for the playoffs only and finish by Memorial Day.

  44. It’s not asinine to put Jagr on the Mt. Rushmore for Rangers if you’re going by both *good looks* and talent/meaningfulness to franchise and league.

  45. JBytes

    I think the point of that statement is that it begins a slippery slope.

    I don’t agree with that, as Jagr was at the tail end of his career. However, like ilb said, if Kovy leaves, it would definitely be a blow.

  46. Tank – all due respect however Hank is currently a great goalie but no way is he the best goalie in Ranger history yet. He may get there some day but as of today, Mike Richter is easily the best goalie in Rangers history. Hank hasn’t even done what John Vanbiesbrouck did, let alone Ed Giacomin, Chuck Raynor, Davey Kerr, John Ross Roach, Gump Worsley, and John Davidson. Those guys all won either a Cup, a Vezina or two, a Calder, or in JD’s case in 1979 by knocking off the best team in the league and then almost winning us a Cup.

  47. Top 4 of ALL TIME? Man that covers anawful lot of ice, and a really invasion of the standards of yars ago, when the p;ayers were not as big nor strong, nor skilled, no fast as they are today..Modern hockey players at the top of the chain ( NHL) are the best players who have lived, due to those features. Now if you are to insert such other attributes such as pure courage, then you have to go a bit further back. just think about playing helmetless nowadays…you’d have to be out of your minds. Goaltenders
    …no face masks and the advent of the slap shot ( which was indeed hard to control with those older straight blade sticks (which Gordie used right to the end. ( Ambidextrous you know. Could shoot equally well both sides without using a backhand ( although he could and very well..)

    Remember Gerry Cheevers and his white face mask with all the scars stitched in ink all over it showing what his head would have looked like without the mask? It was Jacques Plante that insisted on developing a goaltender’s mask, ( the the powers that be in the NHL questioned his courage! This after having suffered a horrible facial injury one night. Read up on his plight. ( And by all means get around to reading that book, Net Value that will really open your eyes about what the NHL was once a time ago.

    I do think that one of the top Rangers had to be Vic Hadfield. He had a brief career relatively speaking, but he was every bit the power that Jagr was, and a lot better “Team” player. I;m not really that enthralled by Jagr. He played his own game, regardless the situation.

    Rod Gilbert…in fact that whole GAG line could easily have
    taken up most of the top four. ( And Rangers traded away Jean Ratelle to Boston at the height of his career. ( We’ve had some dumbos up there.)

    Pretty tough task to come up with only four as there were many. But I would have to include Leetch.

  48. The nigh-on immortal J-F Jomphe wore #46. Can’t believe nobody’s mentioned that yet.

    wicky – You’re welcome. What did I do?

  49. fran

    I absolutely love your posts and your sharing of many great memories, and cannot wait for Friday’s post!

  50. “Sadly, the NHL is facing another potential lockout/strike.”

    “Maybe the next lockout will bring a real change.”

    1. slap yourself, idiot.

    2. wrong. the nba and nfl possibly are. this is the time for the NHL to jump at the opportunity to steal some fans. of course they are going to lose players to the KHL and other leagues because of the economy but it’s not just our economy that is failing.

    the NHL won’t survive another lockout they know they can’t. The owners got their salary cap, the players knew they played their hands to strong (as Jagr said himself), so why the hell would they do this again after it almost killed the sport? why?

    please never guest post again.

  51. Hockeyman Rangers on

    My thought to better the NHL, they have to market it better or market it period. Try to buy anything NHL, they have plenty of team NHL stuff how about just NHL stuff. And how about a few announced games where they teach people the rules of the game. When the olympics were going on, people I work with came to me and were asking me all kind of questions, rules and why did they take the goaly out. How about a few games of hockey 101, where as they play the game they ( announcers) explain why the player did this or why the refs called this, and so on????????? Not that I want this to happen but a lot people don’t like hockey b/c of the fighting. They don’t understand why players are allowed to fight and DO NOT THINK IT IS A GOOD THING. Not sure what you do about that??? We realy do need someone new to run the NHL some with some marketing skills. Ok that’s my 2 cents, now I can go eat my lunch. Cheers boneheads.

  52. Thanks Nasty! Much better!

    sorry CR, but no Jagr belongs in top 4 Rangers. haven’t even read the link yet, but it’s still silly.

  53. CT – Good points. I agree with you that the league has to work on ways to improve the game. I would love to see the schedule shortened to about 70-74 games. Unfortunately, that is never going to happen. With the salaries that players are getting paid, teams need as many games as possible to generate the revenue they receive from each game. If the schedule was ever shortened, you can bet that ticket prices would increase significantly to make up for the home games that would be lost. Ticket prices are already through the roof as it is now.

    Really the only way I see ticket prices going down would be if the league got a lucrative television deal. I’m not exactly sure how to make that happen. The only major sports network in the US doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about hockey. I can’t even count how many times this summer alone that NBA news has been the top story on their site – even with baseball games and football camps going on. I wish I knew what the answer was.

  54. Keep in mind that the Puckmore thing is the 4 most INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE in a club’s history, meaning you could, as some teams have, include execs/coaches. It is not simply the 4 best players. That in mind, no Lester Patrick?

  55. “Bettman has put more effort into keeping franchises in cities like Phoenix, Atlanta, and Nashville than keeping the best players in the world in his league!!!”

    Last time I checked those teams are doing better than your beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton, or any other potential Canadian teams you want up there. If teams bust they will go bust no need to be a fascist jerk and say get rid of these teams and put teams here or there.

    Nashville.. didn’t they get knocked out by the Stanley Cup champions last year? Don’t like guys like Shea Weber, Dumont, Suter, Kostitsyn, Rinne? Wait you’re a purist so if the team was from Canada or some place in the northeast or midwest you’d be okay with that right?

    PHX went toe to toe with the Red Wings 7 games if you don’t remember. You don’t like Shane Doan or Bryzy or the brilliant coaching and drafting/trades of this team? You don’t like hockey.

    How is Atlanta not an exciting team? They have made great acquisitions in the UFA market and trades. Nabbed Byfuglein, Bergfors, Evander Kane, Little, Mason, Peverly, list goes on at their depth. I’m convinced you know nothing about hockey.

    never post again please.

  56. Great post, CW.
    First of all, Jagr wanted to play on the Rangers, but Sather wanted Naslund, Redden and Rissmiller. Jagr waited in NY to negotiate, but Sather didn’t have the class to contact him until July 1.
    When Jagr played in New York, the arena was filled, and Europeans followed the league overseas and visited the Garden and spent a lot of money. The Rangers destroyed their chance to build their brand overseas by “going North American”. That is a good example of their incompetent business strategy.
    As far as their incompetent team-building strategy, that is self-evident.
    Jagr brought this team the only success it has seen, in the past 11 years, and both financial and playoff success. He also attracted players. Now, John Tortorella has succeeded in making the Rangers into a laughingstock team that players avoid like the plague.

  57. Sorry folks,
    I think noonan has a ha*d on for me. Can someone tell him I only like women.


  58. Parity has become parody. And spell check can make you look like a genius or a fool. . . . .sorry.

  59. sorry blogmama. i read some of his stupidity and had to post then read the rest and post again. this guys iq is VERY low.

    sweet no response to my analysis of the teams you mentioned and why you are wrong, cwgatti.

    less teams? sure. let them go bankrupt.

  60. and sorry for everyone who had to read that. i just cannot stand these psuedo hockey traditionalist know-it-all mental midgets who run around screaming how there is going to be another lockout tomorrow FOR NO APPARENT REASON.

    they were ranting about it as soon as the Kovalchuk deal was rejected. yea i’m sure the league will all just up and quit for one mercenary.


  61. noonan,
    ummmm. . . .the point about Nashville, Phoenix, and Atlants wasn’t about individual players. It was about forcing franchises into markets that just don’t care about hockey. Atlanta is the apathy capital of the world. I know you are a genius, but were you aware that they couldn’t even sell out Braves playoff tickets!!! And they are gonna support the NHL?!? 99% plus understand my guest blog. Maybe you can’t.

    I would love to read yours though. . . .

  62. Mama

    i SAID if the Mount Rushmore included *GOOD LOOKS*, Jagr would be in the top 4. And without a doubt, because he is one of the top 10 sexiest men in the world.

  63. The Puck Drops Here on

    Noonan, you have a lot to say. Why don’t you do a guest blog? Carp will fit you in.

  64. NYR Mt. Rushmore should be:


    It’s the only group of Rangers that have done anything in 70 years.

  65. “Sadly, the NHL is facing another potential lockout/strike.”

    Why exactly?

    “Obviously these owners and (poorly represented) players have learned nothing from a lost season.”

    They are still recovering and needed a salary cap which made the league more competitive. Less teams sure but tell those counties to quit bailing out their bankrupt teams. Otherwise what is your argument?

    Losing ESPN sucks but ratings are way up. Outdoor games are gimmiky but attract fans and the last two have been barn burners.

    “In fact, that lockout and resulting CBA have made things worse for the game of hockey.”

    The lockout made things worse derr. It wasn’t the “resulting CBA” it was the fact that hockey screwed over its fans and was in a recovery period.

  66. Thanks for all the kind words.

    There is always gonna be some bitter, unemployed guy living in his mother’s basement, bashing people in between his visits to the porn sites. I am not affected.

    I really appreciate the chance to blog. I like writing, and I like sharing opinions. Great group here at RR for sure.

    Thanks again.

  67. “ummmm. . . .the point about Nashville, Phoenix, and Atlants wasn’t about individual players. It was about forcing franchises into markets that just don’t care about hockey. Atlanta is the apathy capital of the world. I know you are a genius, but were you aware that they couldn’t even sell out Braves playoff tickets!!! And they are gonna support the NHL?!? 99% plus understand my guest blog. Maybe you can’t.”

    Dude I get all that. I was mentioning your suggestion to replace them with North American or Canadian teams. As I said in my post above let those teams go bankrupt and where the opportunity arises let them seek it out. Everyone knows about the “forced markets” but they still exist and the game is still competitive and growing. The free market will fix this soon enough I hope.

    Here is what I am asking: where is your lockout CRAP coming from?

    20 teams too? In a league that couldn’t take Jagr for another year IN A CAPPED LEAGUE? Jesus talk about losing great players…



  69. Just want to say again, great job CW. When a fellow Rangers fan puts their self out there, they should not be insulted and berated. We are supposed to a family, a Rangers family.

  70. Jagr is on two Rushmores? How many is Gretzky on? Has to be at least two. . . . .

    . . . . how many will Pronger be on?!?

  71. yes a great job explaining why there is going to be another lockout soon, CW. brilliant argument backed by… nothing.


  72. Thanks CR9,
    I am not insulted. I think it’s funny!!! There is always one guy that has to be a clown. I think next time I am gonna blog a positive theme and watch EVERYBODY rip me to shreds!!!

    No more negativity.

  73. just refreshed to see if CW posted why there is going to be another lockout soon.

    what a surprise no response.

  74. JBytes, what I meant by that statement (“Losing Jagr to the KHL was a blow to the league, for sure”) was that the league was losing a player who, while on the downslope of his career, was still an exceptional talent that helped to showcase the talent in the league. Also, losing a player of charisma is never a good thing for the NHL.

  75. Doodie Machetto on

    Alternatively, 4th one can be Glen Sather, shameful as it is. The guy has been at the helm for a decade.

  76. Doodie

    Staal wants offer sheet
    9:57AM ET
    Marc Staal | Rangers

    * Top
    * Email

    RFA Marc Staal had no arbitration rights so he has no leverage in his negotiations with the New York Rangers. So now, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, he is hoping for an offer sheet.

    The only other offer sheet we saw this offseason was the one Niklas Hjalmarsson got from the San Jose Sharks — and the Chicago Blackhawks matched the offer. Rangers GM Glen Sather has also said he would match any offer sheet, which might be why teams are hesitant to really sign him to a deal. But perhaps a team like the Sharks would take this gamble again on Staal, especially if they miss out on signing Willie Mitchell.

    But there might be a rival out there willing to take that risk for the right price. Because if the Rangers match, that rival would be forcing the Blueshirts to pay more for their own player. But if they don’t, they would add a solid young blueliner at the likely cost of a first- and third-rounder, if the deal is for more than $3.1 million a year.

    – Alvin Chang

  77. noonan, chill, for the love all that holy, please. Or you will give yourself an ulcer and those are never fun.

  78. Somehow I doubt that Staal wants an offer sheet. Neither he nor his agent have said anything to that effect. People are just freaking out about him not being signed, but he’s not the only RFA that hasn’t been signed by his team. And hello! We went through this last year with Dubinsky, should be old hat by now.

  79. Jagr had a couple down years on a dog poop team. I think fans forget that. When the rest of the NHL figured out the way to beat NYR was to stop Jagr, JJ’s #’s suffered. Not to mention the guy was getting fouled every time he had the puck. Jagr could have drawn a penalty EVERY SHIFT he was on the last few years in the NHL. I remember when he would control the puck down low, using his backside to protect it. Cross-check, cross-check, hook, slash. It was ridiculous. Any rational person would tell you he was in decline, but he was BY FAR the best Ranger, and still a VERY good NHL player.

    Imagine if he had Gaborik on another line to take some of the heat off.

  80. Jagr as a part of the Mt Puckmore was a bit much. I rather have seen a member of the 70 rangers like Gilbert or Giacomin or even a guy like Harry Howell who was there for the horrible years of the 50’s through the beginning of the resurgence of the late 60’s/70’s.

  81. Noonan (and others that are interested):

    >>>The current CBA is set to expire in September 15, 2012. The 2011-12 NHL season will be the final year of the current collective bargaining agreement as the NHL Players’ Association will no longer have the option to extend the current CBA. A new version of the collective bargaining agreement must be ratified by both the NHL and NHLPA in order to prevent another lockout.<<<

    The last lockout occurred with escalating players salaries as a huge focal point. The NHLPA essentially had their pants taken down and were spanked behind the woodshed with a hard salary cap and a rollback on salaries. Now that the NHL has gotten some ammunition from rejecting the Kovalchuk contract(s), it may go after other long term deals. I would fully expect the PA to really dig their heels in during the discussions for the next CBA. One aspect of the salary cap that I believe the owners would like to modify is the salary floor. Due to the floor, many teams are forced into spending more than they were spending pre-lockout.

  82. Of course Staal wants an offer sheet why do you think it’s taken so long to strike a deal? Each side is waiting for the other to blink. His agent wants a team to drive up his price a bit so Sather matches the offer.

    It’s a jerk move but some teams do it.

    “noonan, chill, for the love all that holy, please. Or you will give yourself an ulcer and those are never fun.”

    I will “chill” when CW explains his whole lockout crap. Since he refuses to respond to my questions regarding his stupid statements, I guess he agrees with me that he was wrong.


    But I’m done with that unless he responds (which he won’t).

  83. My GOD CTB you really think the players are going to all going to strike because:

    1. CBA expires

    2. Kovalchuk contract (clearly trying to circumvent the cap) was voided?

    you think they want to ruin the sport? the last lockout was because there was NO CAP and now the owners have it. THAT WAS IT. They may haggle over some things but the cap was the lockout and the cap isn’t going away unless the sport goes away completely in North America.

    Some of you are just delusional and believe anything you read.

  84. “Sadly, the NHL is facing another potential lockout/strike.”

    Potential. Not imminent. Read it. Understand it. Then say stupid stuff.

  85. nobody’s getting Staal at anything close to $3.1M per, so nobody will bother with an offer sheet. If they want him for $5 or $6M per … bye, bye, Marc. Not gonna happen.

  86. Noonan how is recognizing that an expiring CBA, one that the PA got raked over the coals with, won’t be potentially a huge reason for a lockout to happen again?

    There’s been 3 lockouts in the past 20 years, so there’s very compelling evidence that when the PA doesn’t initially get what what it wants, it will sit it out.

    And if the league starts trying to void other deals along with Kovalchuk’s, the PA (and owners) will be very sure to elaborate on which type of contracts and salary structures will be allowed and which will not. Which in and of itself is a huge source of conflict.

    The PA’s main obligation is to protect the interests of its members, not to protect the best interests of the sport itself. So your line of thinking that the PA will allow itself to get spanked again without putting up a good fight is pretty delusional too.

  87. Staal wants his price to go up. That’s why he wants an offer sheet. Thecompensation is crazy tho. I see the Dubinsky saga all over again. But with all the young D the NYR have piled up, can anyone else see a Staal for Ryan trdae going down?

  88. I would say that the NHL/NHLPA would not let an entire season go down the drain, but there will be an impasse. Count on it.

  89. cwgatti, I agree. I don’t think they’d let another season go by.

    And I think the salary cap is here to stay. So the tug of war on that issue won’t be as prominent, but the sticking points will be if the NHL tries to close the loophole that the decade (plus) contracts try to exploit and how the PA will react to it.

  90. By the way, the situation with Kovalchuk’s contract didn’t increase the lockout chances at all. In fact, it made it less likely. Now everyone knows it will need to be addressed. I doubt any player or any owner would like to have another lockout. Nor they have any compelling reasons to have one. Most of the glaring issues have been resolved. The NHLPA, however, needs to get their act together, otherwise the NHL will eat them up alive. Again.

    And by the way, it was cwgatti’s opinion only. No need to call names or make it personal.

  91. ilb,

    Ok, I agree that players will now know they can’t go for a Kovalchuk-like deal. But on principle alone I have to imagine the PA will want to know what the limits are on contracts in the next CBA and that right there could be a reason for both sides to take their balls home and leave the playground.

    I also think if the NHLPA brings in Donald Fehr as its chief (rather than advisor) it will have an impact on how hard of a line the PA will take on issues related to players salaries. Fehr was instrumental in building up the power of the MLBPA.

    There’s never a good reason to have a lockout or strike and with the NHL the weakest of the major sports, they’ll get no support from the general public (not that players unions have much anyway), but the last two times that CBAs (and their extensions) have expired there’s been a stoppage.

  92. Another thing to consider is that the Cap has yet to DECREASE. When that happens, you will see the union start close ranks. And if Donald Fehr leads them. . . . .

  93. All signs point to a potential for another lock-out/strike. No one is saying it will happen for sure. But isn’t that what always happens when a CBA between a union and ownership expires, no matter what job market it’s in. It’s the nature of the beast, the eternal struggle between employees and management.

  94. CTB- I think that is a relatively minor issue which could be resolved without the lockout. Changing the cap, if NHL wants to bring it down, or changing the floor may become much more threatening.

  95. I’d actually LIKE to see Don Feht take over as head of the union. The NHLPA is been rudderless for years and for a strong leader like Fehr to take it over (his warts with the MLPBPA and all) would be a good thing for union.

  96. I’d like to see recently retired Riley Cote take over the NHLPA for a day and beat the bejesus out of Bettman and then hand it over to Fehr.

  97. CTB, hah! The league could sell tickets to that. They’d make a mint.

    8 networks. Sheesh.

  98. This is the Rangers schedule on VS:

    10/18 vs. Colorado
    11/9 vs. Washington
    11/17 vs. Boston
    12/15 at Pittsburgh
    1/24 at Washington
    2/1 vs. Pittsburgh
    2/7 at Detroit
    3/1 vs. Buffalo
    3/30 at Buffalo
    4/4 vs. Boston
    4/7 vs. Atlanta


  99. “I will “chill” when CW explains his whole lockout crap. Since he refuses to respond to my questions regarding his stupid statements, I guess he agrees with me that he was wrong”

    Kind of like how you wouldn’t elaborate your statement aboot Boogaard ending all physicality against star players in the NHL? Hmmm?? I’m assuming since you never backed that up, you chose not to believe your moronic statement.

  100. Someone who knows the answer to this, if the Rangers were to sign Staal for $3-4 million/year, wouldn’t that put them under the summer cap but over the regular season cap, which they have to be under when training camp starts? And also, they cannot waive Redden or send him down until after camp, correct? So is it possible that Staal will just have to miss camp, or Tortorella will have to simply forget about it and let him partake in camp? Anyone? Bueller?

  101. Izzy Mandlebaum on

    cwgatti- Wow! Did anybody ever tell you you look a lot like Bettman?

    Seriously, just imagine Bettman’s photo with a Hitler mustache. It would be scary close…

  102. The sole purpose of the lockout is for the owners to protect themselves from other owners. Because that doesn’t sound so good to the masses, the NHL spin machine makes the players sound greedy and blames them. But as in all businesses, it’s the owners and management who write the contracts. They are the problem, and that’s who Bettman represents. He doesn’t care about fans or even players, unless they are individually making money for the owners. That’s is CW’s point.

  103. Peter – i think Redden can be waived during camp, hence solving the problem of getting under the cap by the end of training camp.

  104. Izzy Mandlebaum on

    Nice article CW. While I don’t disagree with contraction, maybe cutting it down to 20 is a bit too much. I always thought 24 to be the ideal number to adjust the schedule to have each team at least get a home and home with every other team in the league. We could easily lose franchises like Florida, Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa, Atlanta, and Islanders without too much heartache.

  105. Finally figured this place out after seeing ridiculous love-in between posters the other night, “Why this blog is best”, “Top 10 reasons we’re the best”, etc….

    It’s one big revolting circle jerk!

    Also had a great idea for a guest blogger….CARP!

    Later losers.

  106. Willie Mitchell got signed today. I’m sure somebody posted a couple of weeks ago that he would sign for one of 29 teams on a day ending in “y” sometime between July and October, but I can’t remember who it was.

    Shame. I’d be sending a lot of props his way if I knew.

  107. cwgatti

    I admire your grasp of the entire picture of the hockey environment at the professional level, and your observations are not only cogent but well explored. I’ll be interested in your further observations as the season progresses.

    In due time, the book Net Value will be making the rounds… you will be amazed at what enfolds.

  108. The Rangers and Ducks have made 2 trades this off-season. You gotta think that a Staal for Ryan trade had to at least been brought up by one of the teams.

    It wouldnt be so far-fetched to assume that they have and could still explore that trade option

  109. Ely

    I’ll tell you somethings that really makes the NHL look like amateurs, and one is Bettman himself. the other that I can think of off hand was to have made that deal with Versus to TV games. I just don’t watch Versus because I subscribe to NHL Center Ice and Vs blocks their games out when they are airing. But every once in a while I see excerpts from a Versus game, and it is the height of amateurism. And they never learn.

  110. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    Rod , I write the top tens …big deal you shmuck.

    cwgatti ,another long winded rant that mean absolutly nothing. If we had no salary Cap then Kovalchuk would be making 12 million!!!! You are one depressed kid. You stay at blueshirt bulliten for 5 years and now come here to write this garbage? This post sucked, Big time . Carp , I really do not know why you let this guy do this stuff. His views are garbage and he whines like a baby. I hated Jagr gone to the KHL ,,,whos fault is that? …not the NHL’s . I tried to like this post but in all actuality it sucked just like his last one.

  111. C’mon guys give the poster of parity and parody a break.
    (Whomever it was.)

    Try to remember when you didn’t imagine a word pronounced, was taken to be what it’s phonetically apparent spelling
    would be. I’ve had the urge on numerous occasions….so
    what. No red faces in this blog for such slippages. Remember, let he who never screws up spit out the first Nyahh Nyahh.

  112. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    No Rangers has ever scored more goals in a season then Jaromir “Jarda” Jagr. NO ONE . Jagr did what no player has EVER done in NY. He scored alot of goals and carried this team on his back. Jagr may not seem to belong on Mt Rushmore but to knock him off…ya gotta beat his most goals in a season . Apparently Hank has let in more so him getting the nod over Jagr is a joke. Hank has done squat here but get a fat raise . Hank need more time to cement his legacy cuz right now Jagr is head over heals above him. Just ask Hank himself.

  113. Twas I, fran. All meant in jest, I promise. And I’m fully capable of screwing up. The two words don’t actually sound the same where I come from. I’ll faucet no longer…

    Of course, if a league of parody really did exist, it would probably be a league where Mike Milbury would be a long-tenured GM turned valued media analyst, Glen Sather were a Hall of Fame executive and philanthropic team owners would fight hard in a protracted labour negotiation to secure the ability to lower ticket prices.

  114. I agree with you, Greg. I love Hank, but he hasn’t proven anything. If he’s not complaining aboot an injury, then he’s complaining aboot the lack of defense, and/or physicality, and rightfully so. If and when we get a capable defense, and physical defense, then we’ll get to see if he’s truly “elite”.

    Point being, he still has a whole lot to prove to be in the same company as the Rangers of the past.

  115. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    I just read what Noonan wrote. WOW . He is 100 percent right. Why would cwgatti say this to him?

    ” There is always gonna be some bitter, unemployed guy living in his mother’s basement, bashing people in between his visits to the porn sites. I am not affected”

    cwgatti , I have a job , live alone in my house and I don’t visit porn sites . I know , I know you said it to noonan but I agree with him so what do you have to say about me?
    Guys like you , is why the NHL would have a lock out. Cloudly brain cells have you crying the NHL is worse then Football? Get lost. Get to the NFL site.

    please never geust blog again.

  116. fran, excellent post.
    Greg, you’re channeling CR almost with Jagr :)

    Most importantly, Carp posted a new blog word! sigh, I miss my soft fuzzy sister blog :( (but, psst, you can still click on my name and give me hits….!) help the cause!

    Almost as important. I’ll be sad to see August go (hate end of summer) but mainly cause I have to turn the page on my Rangers calendar from Sweet 16. But….next month is the King! Whooo Hoooo.

    so, we talking hockey yet??? :)

  117. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    Thanks for your honesty ORR , I love Hank too . We are definatly on the same page here about his legacy and “elite” status.

  118. BlogMama

    Leave me out of it, with the Jagr stuff. Im trying to keep my nose clean and newspaper free. :GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR: ;)

    also, I go to P&C every day in the hopes that some miracle will bring it alive again! So Im still giving it hits 4 ya!

  119. Greg….you’re starting to make mama sad with your negative posts toward the “geust” :) That is not the Greg I know and respect…c’mon dude.

  120. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    Momma , Your mistaking me with someone else. I always tell it how it is and I have respect for all fellow boneheads. cwgatti is NOT a bonehead. He isn’t . I met him ( he probally didnt realize its me ) over 5 years ago and he was and still is a regular with BB+ membership with that site and fellow posters. Alot of peeps ( few years ago) were forced to stop commenting over there cuz thay never paid money for anything. Dubi , the editor didnt like people commenting if they didnt pay for his magazine. ORR left and came here , so did I. cwgatti stayed there . He never came here and stuck up his nose like the others did on that site .Just ask ORR.

    Momma , go back and read all my comments on every guest blogger, you will see im very fair and quite nice.

  121. First, I’ll say this: I’m not going to get in the middle of an intra-bonehead fight, and I welcome all (well, jackwagon’s excepted) who come here and join the discussion, debate, fun, heat and j/gibberish that is the report :)

    plus, folks are allowed to post elsewhere, even though I think it’s a waste of time away from here :)

    That said, Greg, I appreciate the response and I hear you. You are still my wordictionary pal :)

    Yuck, when did I become such an emoticoner.

  122. ThisYearsModel on

    CW—excellent read. Thanks.

    The thing that kills me is how the league makes/changes/enforces/ignores rules. Have you seen any other “major” sports league make new rules in the middle of the season or playoffs? Have you seen players suspended 6 games for saying something dumb? Have you seen rules purposefully ignored by referees by decree of the central office? It makes the league look silly, but the league office does not seem to realize it or does not care.

  123. with all this kovalchuk stuff i’ve yet to see anyone anywhere say this:
    what you make in a season counts against the cap. the average salary thing is completely ridiculous.

  124. Olga Folkyerself on

    Dubiiiiii- It’s been said and I totally agree. It’s so obvious, why didn’t they do it right the first time?

    NHL! Keep it simple, stupid.

    And if there’s a God in Heaven, FIRE SATHER!!!!!

  125. Olga Folkyerself on

    46 bottles of beer on the wall, 46 bottles of beer- take one down and pass it around…

    And you’ll be out of beer for Opening Night!

  126. Still bickering? Good, that means we are alive.

    Greg, it’s spelled “schmuck”. Otherwise I liked the way you used it.

  127. Looks like I missed quite the heated debate throughout the day. I had to go up to saratoga and throw some money down the drain. Since I kinda missed the boat I will just make a quick general statement. Although I dont really agree with much of what cwgatti wrote, I still say it’s a good post as it stirred up a lot of debate. Unfortunately it looks like the debate got a wee bit out of hand.

  128. izzy…24 teams is perfect…12 in each conference,two six team divisions….each team plays six games vs.division rivals,four vs. other division in the same conference,and home and road games vs. the other conference…78 games….rivalries ,check conference games,check everyone plays everyone else every year(twice).check great hodkey,no hollwegs,fewer(if not any) pure goons you listening,mr. bettman?

  129. Dubiii, totally agree.
    Joke, thanks.

    Oh no, the Folk family is back. Time for me to go. LGR!

    when we get to 11, I want to see anything but Mess posts. Too obvious. FYI:

    Messier 11 (M11, NGC 6705) is “One of the richest and most compact of the galactic (open) clusters,” to say it with Robert Burnham, Jr. M11 contains an estimated 2900 stars, about 500 of which are brighter than mag 14. An observer at the center of M11 would see several hundred first magnitude stars! So rich and dense, it was classified by Trumpler as II,2,r (some newer classifications have it as I,2,r).

    Sorry, I just channeled Gravey.

  130. Olga Folkyerself on

    46- number of states in the US.

    Kentucky, Massachusetts,Pennsylvania,and Virginia are Commonwealths.

  131. Carp, good game, but I’m passing. Thought it was the year that shall not be named.

    Hugo, ohhhh. so many responses in my head! But I’ll pass on that too. Mama has to maintain some decorum…

  132. Im sorry. But any Rangers fan who doesnt want to hear 1994 gets me angry.

    What Rangers fan wouldnt. It was a dream season with a dream leader and a dream weaver. The best, most exciting, and most impactful on the game of hockey in a long time.

    And if anyone disagrees, please remind me, because I can barely remember last year’s Cup winner! LOL!

  133. Hugo Folkyerself on

    Uncle Otto! Sit down and drink your Schnapps. Who let him get near the keyboard again?

  134. Hugh Jess Folkyerself on

    Just ask me CR. It’s my teammates, the Chicago Black Hawks! Stanley Cup Champions.

  135. sorry for sounding so standoffish everyone. classic case of awesome weekend turned into rough week

    but i stand by my statements. lockout isn’t happening bet me on it. otherwise the sport is DEAD. The players are NOT this stupid. the ceiling will rise for the salcap and there wil be some rule changes that’s it.

    people said salcap would stay the same or even go down this year lolz of course it’s going to go up a bit think of it as a tax but with limitations.

    anyways sorry if i was a jerk. and i’d guest blog some time after all the venom i’ve spewed. deserve the feedback.


  136. CR, just saw your earlier post…LOL!

    All. ha ha. It’s blogmama. Get it right for hartnell’s sake! (but cr, ha, blob was funny for a second!)

    wicky, you can start counting after this:


  137. I come to the site and first thing i see is a photo of Mr. Buttman! Then i see headline- guest blogger, cold sweat ran through my body! Wouldnt it be something to have Buttman to guest blog??

    anyway, good post cwgatti! Its been a good day at the blog i see…lots of great comments! Bring on the season!

  138. Hugo Folkyerself on

    Mama, sorry about Uncle Otto. He’s old, and a bit senile. Olga says we are going to send him to some Young People’s Camp in China. I think it’s called Youth in Asia.

  139. we are all capable of making mistakes ( and I should know, cause I’ve made plenty of them.) Like just a sort while ago, I actually used the word enfold , when I meant unfold…changes the meaning entirely. ( maybe I better go
    out and chew on a tree.)

    And how others see you as opposed to how you see yourself.

    A few years ago my wife had gone in for a minor operation and I went to the hospital to visit her. She’s actually only a bit over 4 years younger than I am, and when I got there and asked a nurse which room she was in, she took me by the arm and said ” Oh, don’t worry, your daughter’s doing just fine”

    I said to her ( thru gritted teeth), well you just made her day…(.arrrgh.) It’s life’s little moments like this that has a way of humbling you, and placing yourself in the proper perspective. When I told her of this, she laughed out loud and treated me to her dynamite smile.

  140. i see we have entire Folkyerself’s family granting us with their presence… how do you do, Folkyerself family? :)

  141. hugely late to the festivities but:

    CW..another thought provoking & interesting guest blog, well done. You got everyones blood pressure revved up 23 days before training camp!

    Jackwagon…love it!

    Greg, cw IS a bonehead, it says so on the FB page :-)

    LW, brilliant as always and Fran, your posts are tremendously tremendous!

    Mickey, late late late, but good luck with your meeting

  142. Yukon Al Folkyerself on

    Good evening from the family. It’s our annual family reunion. We invited all the neighbors to Folkyerselfs, but so far no one has showed up. I think they’re mad at us for some reason…

  143. Hugh Jess Folkyerself on

    Greg your spelling is atrocious, Its chAmPs. Hugh Jess will be carrying the Cup around next year. Wait and see…

  144. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    Yo Hugh , my spelling is so so . It’s not that bad. I have used some perty big words and I oviously do not “google” the words or use spell check. I reread what I type and try my best when its a word I can’t spell . I sound it out and give’er a go. Ty for caring . Tell Olga , that if she wants a real man ..she can see me alone without the “folkyerself” family.

  145. Olga Folkyerself on

    Oh greg. You’re not toying with my affections are you? Is it true? Do you know a real man?

  146. Hugo Folkyerself on

    Don’t pick on Greg. He’s doing the best at typing that he can. Obviously, he has no opposable thumbs. It’s probably hard to hit the right keys with his elbows…

  147. Yukon Al Folkyerself on

    Why doesn’t he type with his nose? That way he will see the keys right up until his face smashes into the keyboard.

  148. Midas Will Folkyerself on

    Yukon, it will cut his typing speed in half. And what if he has a cold. His nose will run all over the keyboard. That’s snot funny!

  149. I’m one of the fans that hates talking aboot or hearing aboot 94.

    That was 15-16 years ago. It’s just a reminder that NYR hasn’t come close to that in so long, which is depressing.

    I want a Cup now, which sadly isn’t a realistic possibility these days.

  150. wicky (Our D is SOFT and give Prust an A!!!!) on

    that’s four!!!!!

    If the NHL is dumb enough to let another lock out happen, they deserve all the consequences (They better not).

    If staal hopes for an offer sheet from someone else……c ya!!! Play your damn contract dubi jr!!!!! He isn’t worth more than 3 or so mil per year at this point in his career.

    I’d trade him for ryan straight up in a heartbeat!!

    bro ,we have to talk!!

  151. I don’t like people that successfully cash in on their last name because of their brothers.

    Marc is trying to be like Michael Jackson, but he’s not even Janet Jackson. He’s like, Tito or something.

    Jared is Randy, the unknown guy who gets mistaken for the guy from American Idol.

    For the record, I know nothing aboot the Jacksons, other than the fact that one is a dead child molester, and one’s boob slipped out during the Superbowl, and they all have weird noses and creepy voices.

  152. Hugh Jess Folkyerself on

    That’s why I like the Chicago Black Hawks. I can talk about 2010, 2011, 2012… then the Mayan Calendar ends. What happens after that?

  153. #45 “you gotta believe” Tug McGraw best reliever Mets ever had notice I said reliever and not “closer”

  154. ZzZz NYR ZzZz " Go Rangers !!! ...says Greg L. on

    “You’re not toying with my affections are you? ”

    You bet I am!!!

  155. ONe thing that I really miss about being up there is the ability to get the old fashioned hard shell glazed bagels, that the old Jewish bakeries used to make, and those poppy seeded fold over hard rolls, that I grew up on. There was one right below us in the apartment we lived in as a kid, and we’d go downstairs, and get the “Jewish’ rolls ( those soft
    and my mother taught us to enjoy them with cream cheese. You cannot find them down here ANYWHERE. And I’ve surely tried.

    If I had the recipe and know how to make just those two items,
    I’d take out a loan, open a Jewish bakery and make a fortune just on those two items alone.

  156. Part of my sentence in the above was cut for some reason….it should have read (those soft rolls that are disguised as “Hard Rolls” just don’t do it. As far as my family was concerned, these new things are just “Maryland Biscuits”)

    nothing more.

  157. Was he the guy I got the Graves night ticket for? Or was he the guy I ran over at the Hockeybird roller hockey game? I thought he got over that. I didn’t mean it. He was tiny and couldn’t skate. He just got caught on the tracks. . .

  158. PuckDaddy has a blog about how Kovi could still end up in the KHL, and how the NHL is more concerned about gimmicks than KEEPING KOVI IN THE NHL!!! Wonder where I heard that before?!?

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