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The Don Cherry/Brett Hull Show

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I think you either love him or hate him. He's a loud guy who says what he thinks regardless.

I don't love everything about him, but you can bet that I still try not to miss Coach's Corner every Saturday. With Grapes you take the good with the bad...he's a proud Canadian, a proud English Canadian, and says things that can get him in trouble sometimes - big trouble. But what I do like about him is that he's incredibly passionate about hockey and isn't afraid to show it. He just loves the game and the people who play it. He loves talking to kids before the games, and shows photos in memory of kids who have passed away recently from illnesses/accidents. He also has tons of tributes to Canadian soldiers who have been killed, or just shows photos of troups overseas.

He can be too much at times and has definitely said things that make you go "Wow, who could say something like that?" but when it comes down it, I personally think he's an entertaining guy.

I'm American and I loved that he said that last night....mainly because I kind of agree and thought it was hilarious because I dislike NBC's broadcast. And I've been watching HNIC my whole life, so I guess I expected it.

That's nice, boonie. You can still keep him up there though.

In the US we have our own version of Don Cherry. His name is *edit* Vitale. :lol:

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If you watched the interview properly....you'd realise that Cherry wasn't accusing American audiences of being "Quakers", he was accusing NBC of treating American audiences as "Quakers".

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Don Cherry was, is, and apparently will always be clueless about hockey. It is astounding to me that Canadians tolerate him and even moreso that a single American gives a sh*t about anything he says. (Guess this tips my hand as being on the "hate him" side of the ledger, eh?)

Hockey has two big problems in terms of winning American sports fans:

(1) It is very hard to follow on TV until you've done so for about a year. And being an immediate-gratification culture, most of us don't have the patience for that.

(2) Because of its often-over-acted "violence" -- not to mention utterly groundless, truly violent moments like Pronger's in the semi-final and final -- it is easy for Americans to dismiss hockey as only a notch or two above Roller Derby. Not saying that's accurate or even justified, but there it is.

I think the recent rules changes have made the game faster, more interesting, and more legitimate. They force teams to emphasize skills over goonery. In fact, what bothers me most about Pronger is that his skills preclude the need for the cheapshots he so regularly takes. This guy is no Moose Dupont; he's a highly skilled player. But when you've got a guy that big behaving that badly, somebody's gonna get hurt badly -- and there's just no need for it, no matter what idiots like Don Cherry (and Brett Hull) have to say about it.

As far as I'm concerned, Alfredssen earned a suspension for shooting at Niedermayer in Game 4, and the League not imposing it probably had a lot more to do with Cherry's little TV tirade than anything else. Up to that point, the League had maintained a very strict zero-tolerance policy for that kinda stuff all year, and sadly, that policy all but disappeared in games 4 and 5.

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Don Cherry was, is, and apparently will always be clueless about hockey. It is astounding to me that Canadians tolerate him and even moreso that a single American gives a sh*t about anything he says. (Guess this tips my hand as being on the "hate him" side of the ledger, eh?)

Hockey has two big problems in terms of winning American sports fans:

(1) It is very hard to follow on TV until you've done so for about a year. And being an immediate-gratification culture, most of us don't have the patience for that.

(2) Because of its often-over-acted "violence" -- not to mention utterly groundless, truly violent moments like Pronger's in the semi-final and final -- it is easy for Americans to dismiss hockey as only a notch or two above Roller Derby. Not saying that's accurate or even justified, but there it is.

I think the recent rules changes have made the game faster, more interesting, and more legitimate. They force teams to emphasize skills over goonery. In fact, what bothers me most about Pronger is that his skills preclude the need for the cheapshots he so regularly takes. This guy is no Moose Dupont; he's a highly skilled player. But when you've got a guy that big behaving that badly, somebody's gonna get hurt badly -- and there's just no need for it, no matter what idiots like Don Cherry (and Brett Hull) have to say about it.

As far as I'm concerned, Alfredssen earned a suspension for shooting at Niedermayer in Game 4, and the League not imposing it probably had a lot more to do with Cherry's little TV tirade than anything else. Up to that point, the League had maintained a very strict zero-tolerance policy for that kinda stuff all year, and sadly, that policy all but disappeared in games 4 and 5.

No offense dude, but after reading what you wrote, it looks like you're the one who is clueless about the sport of hockey. Your analysis of what is wrong with the game appears to be that of a fair-weather fan. Whether you are one or not, I don't care, I'm just saying that's what your post looked like.

For starters, your opinion of what's wrong with the NHL and assessment of Don Cherry practically contradict each other. "Immediate gratification culture" sounds like something straight from the 60s hippie generation. I'm not willing to believe most Americans lack the patience to learn about the intricacies of hockey, especially when the intricacies of your average NFL play-book are practically a metaphor to a game of chess.

Your attack on violence in the NHL and Pronger made me laugh, but it also made me wonder if you actually understood what Cherry was talking about in the first place....It's really too bad most viewers of NBC only got to see a few minutes of Cherry, because his interview was sort of bland and he never really went in depth about any of his points. I'm not really a fan of Cherry either, because I don't like his Maple Leaf biased sides, but what he was talking about on NBC was nuts on. You can bash Pronger all you want for his dirty play, but Cherry wasn't condoning dirty hockey. If you ever watch him on CBC you'd know that Cherry has been blaming most serious injuries in the NHL today on equipment. Cherry has demonstrated multiple times on CBC "Coaches Corner" the difference between padding equipment of today compared to 15 years ago. Fifteen years ago, elbow pads were much softer and smaller. Today elbow pads are made like armor, with thick plastic padding that protrude out like a weapon.

Old elbow pads.....http://i2.ebayimg.com/04/i/000/a3/30/813b_1.JPG[/post]

New elbow pads.....http://www.inlinewarehouse.com/descpage.html?pcode=800ES

Cherry's point was simple.....If Pronger was wearing elbow pads like they used to make them, he still would have gotten a penalty and his actions still would have been wrong, but at least there's a 90% chance McAmmond wouldn't have been unconscious on the ice.

The rule changes didn't remove goonery from the game, it eliminated obstruction.

Cherry's comments had no affect on the NHL's response to Alfreddson's actions. In fact I don't even see how the two are related, especially when Cherry said at the beginning of the interview...."If Alfreddson did that deliberately, it was a stupid play." He said that like twice.

I could go on longer about how much I disagree with your post, but it's late and I don't want to type anymore....If you are confused about anything you can PM and I'll gladly see if I can clear up things further for you, but right now you just sound like you're upset because Cherry said something negative about America.

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Hockey has two big problems in terms of winning American sports fans:

(1) It is very hard to follow on TV until you've done so for about a year. And being an immediate-gratification culture, most of us don't have the patience for that.

(2) Because of its often-over-acted "violence" -- not to mention utterly groundless, truly violent moments like Pronger's in the semi-final and final -- it is easy for Americans to dismiss hockey as only a notch or two above Roller Derby. Not saying that's accurate or even justified, but there it is.

That's almost exactly what I said when Cherry and Hull were yapping. I also think that in order for hockey ratings to go up in the US there needs to be more hockey players in the US. A sport is a lot easier to watch if you know how to play it because you know the rules and player positions from experience. Hockey really deserves to be up there with the other major American sports. Some sports require amazing strength and toughness, others demand feats of endurance, and some are all about skill, speed, and agility. Hockey combines all of these.

Don Cherry and Brett Hull sounded like two old drunks in a bar. Did Brett Hull actually say that visors should be banned? I think he said "nobody needs to wear one" or something like that.

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Hull said that because visors have had two effect on the NHL....

1) it protects player's eyes (Good)

2) visors have also further diluted the respect players have for each other. They take more liberties on one another because the visors are there. For example 10 years ago, players rarely carried their sticks above their waists, today it happens almost every shift. (Bad)

Here's the real reason why the NHL is such a hard sell on National American television....

*An overwhelming majority of the players in the league are not American.....There is far less grass roots attachment to the NHL then any other professional league in the United States.

If Eric Staal was from Dallas, there would be a lot more people in Texas interested in Hurricane games.

If Teemu Selanne was from Cleveland, there would be a lot more people in Ohio interested in Ducks games.

That's the biggest key to a national tv contract and the NHL doesn't have that.

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Hull said that because visors have had two effect on the NHL....

1) it protects player's eyes (Good)

2) visors have also further diluted the respect players have for each other. They take more liberties on one another because the visors are there. For example 10 years ago, players rarely carried their sticks above their waists, today it happens almost every shift. (Bad)

Here's the real reason why the NHL is such a hard sell on National American television....

*An overwhelming majority of the players in the league are not American.....There is far less grass roots attachment to the NHL then any other professional league in the United States.

If Eric Staal was from Dallas, there would be a lot more people in Texas interested in Hurricane games.

If Teemu Selanne was from Cleveland, there would be a lot more people in Ohio interested in Ducks games.

That's the biggest key to a national tv contract and the NHL doesn't have that.

It's nice that you have an ability to read Brett Hull's mind, how does one acquire that?

Hull wants visors banned so players will be more likely to drop the gloves. How many times did both he and Cherry say "the fans want more fights" in that five-minute spot?

Look, I've played hockey my whole life. I was in attendance at most of Bill Clement's games with "The Broad Street Bullies," the team Cherry and Hull were waxing romantic about. As a kid, I loved it, and I'll be the first to admit it. That said, overly violent play was the norm in those days: Players climbing into the stands to go after fans, teams clearing the benches and forming human blockades to prevent refs from breaking up fights, etc. I remember when Don Cherry coached the Bruins, and all he did was rip the "enforcer" page right out of Fred Shero's book, trying to mimic the success of the Flyers. To absolutely no avail, I might add.

Now that I've matured (as Cherry clearly has not), I have far more appreciation for the skills hockey requires than for the mindless, endless brawling that made games last 3-1/2 or 4 hours as refs sorted out penalties. I have a reverence for the game and its history, but I refuse to live in the past.

And on that fair-weather fan thing -- you can insult me that way or call me a hippie or whatever works for you, but when it comes to the regular season and playoffs, I'm a Canes fan first, then an original six fan (I rooted for Detroit until they were eliminated) and finally a fan of any Canadian team remaining. It was clear pretty early this year that Anaheim would hoist the cup, but the highlight of my season was the Canes' total dominance of them in Raleigh in late December.

I believe that hockey is the greatest team sport ever devised. I continue to play twice a week. I see the youth coming up and I can tell you that the Don Cherrys and Brett Hulls are the hockey world's cavemen. If the Hockey Hall of Fame ever does a diorama charting the game's progress, they'll be the guys squatting in the dimly lit background, beating the pulp out of a ref.

I do agree that more American players would help the game's popularity in the States, but that alone won't do it -- witness soccer. There's a raft of Americans playing in both indoor and outdoor and the arenas are still pretty empty. The public embrace of a sport is about (1) marketing and (2) watchability. I still maintain that hockey is not a TV-friendly game for those with little or no knowledge of the sport. Unlike football, where you don't need to know the playbook to follow the game, because you can see the ball, touchdowns are usually obvious, and *surprise!* fighting is barely an issue.

Hockey's marketing has gotten much better over the years. Now if we could only get morons like Hull and Cherry to shut up, people might pay attention long enough to learn and appreciate the game itself, rather than being distracted by sideshows like the one that aired in Game 5.

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It's nice that you have an ability to read Brett Hull's mind, how does one acquire that?

Hull wants visors banned so players will be more likely to drop the gloves. How many times did both he and Cherry say "the fans want more fights" in that five-minute spot?

Hull and Cherry like fighting, I'll agree, but you're using that fact to cloud over almost everything else they were talking about. I'm not reading Hull's mind.....Hull has specifically stated in previous interviews that he hates visors because they lower the respect players have more one another. The same argument was made back when helmets first came into the league. There were way fewer head shots taken before helmets were mandatory. I'm not in favour of getting rid of visors, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start tarnishing Hull's name and accuse him of being a violence junky.

Name me one Goon or Fighter in the NHL that wears a visor? You could probably count on one hand (if that)....and if they do wear one, I gaurantee you that they immediately rip their helmet off their heads once a fight starts. When Koivu's eye was injured last year, Cherry spent an entire episode of "Coaches Corner" demonstrating to kids which visors they SHOULD buy to protect their eyes. Cherry's hate for visors steamed from players like Ulf Samuelsson who would stir the pot and then use his visor as a shield when players would trying to fight him and punch him. I think 3 different players on 3 separate occasions broke their knuckles trying to teach Samuelsson a lesson.

Look, I've played hockey my whole life. I was in attendance at most of Bill Clement's games with "The Broad Street Bullies," the team Cherry and Hull were waxing romantic about. As a kid, I loved it, and I'll be the first to admit it. That said, overly violent play was the norm in those days: Players climbing into the stands to go after fans, teams clearing the benches and forming human blockades to prevent refs from breaking up fights, etc. I remember when Don Cherry coached the Bruins, and all he did was rip the "enforcer" page right out of Fred Shero's book, trying to mimic the success of the Flyers. To absolutely no avail, I might add.

Now that I've matured (as Cherry clearly has not), I have far more appreciation for the skills hockey requires than for the mindless, endless brawling that made games last 3-1/2 or 4 hours as refs sorted out penalties. I have a reverence for the game and its history, but I refuse to live in the past.

That's the key thing there skill. There's a difference between one or two fights a game in today's NHL compared to bench clearing brawls of the 70s. You're trying to use an extreme to band fighting all together. Fighting was abundant in the 70s simply because there was a lack of talent to go around, which resulted in boring hockey and a lack of interest by fans. To keep fans coming you had to give them something to cheer about, and fighting was an easy solution. This is what that old movie "Slapshot" was making fun of. As for fighting itself, fighting has always been a part of hockey, but the amount of fighting has always been dependent on the amount of talent available in the league. The WHA forced professional hockey to grow faster then the amount of available talent. Top skilled players were severely thinned out amongst a hyper extended roster of NHL/WHA teams. By the 1980s the WHA folded and there was a significant jump in offensive strategies to the game. These two things combined enriched the NHL with more hockey talent then it had in the previous decade, and fighting became less of a necessity to attract fans. However this did not make fighting irrelevant, it simply gave it a new role. Even though there was more talent to go around the league, there certainly wasn't enough Gretzkys, Lemieuxs, or Lafontaines to go around each team (This was evident when Gretzky called NJ a mickey mouse organization). Therefore it became common practice for teams to take runs at the top caliber players in the league just to compete. It became clear that the only way to keep the skilled players in the NHL healthy was to protect them. Fighting was given a new role and guys like Semenko, Domi, Probert, etc played a very important role in the game.

By the early 90s the Cold War ended and there was this HUGE surge of European players flooding the NHL. At first, one might have thought that the NHL's need for talent was finally resolved by this new surge and fighting would play even less of a role then before....But some idiot named Gary Bettman thought that the early 90s would be a perfect time to expand the NHL across the entire southern side of the United States. I'm not saying people in the south don't deserve hockey, but extending the league by 9 teams (nearly 1/3 of the league) in only 10 years drove the NHL back into a recession of available talent. As long as there's a lack of talent to satisfy the entire league, clutching/grabbing/dirty hits will continue to be present and goons will be needed to protect star players. You might argue that the new NHL has cracked down on obstruction and dirty plays, but the desperate acquisition of George Laraque by the Penguins late in this years season proves that fighters are still a necessity in the new NHL. Not necessarily to fight every game, but to exist as a deterrent.

Montreal vs Pittsburgh this year illustrates the need for some fighters in the NHL today still. If Laraque was on the team during that game, I really doubt a tiny pip squeak like Lapierre would have given Crosby a dirty butt end of the stick on the initial face off. And even if he had still done it, Laraque would have fought someone. But Laraque wasn't there, so what did Pittsburgh do? They took a head shot at Koivu. Dirty hits are bound to happen in any level of hockey, and without the presence of at least some goons you're just going to see games get out of hand with players taking severe runs at other players.

I do agree that more American players would help the game's popularity in the States, but that alone won't do it -- witness soccer. There's a raft of Americans playing in both indoor and outdoor and the arenas are still pretty empty. The public embrace of a sport is about (1) marketing and (2) watchability. I still maintain that hockey is not a TV-friendly game for those with little or no knowledge of the sport. Unlike football, where you don't need to know the playbook to follow the game, because you can see the ball, touchdowns are usually obvious, and *surprise!* fighting is barely an issue.

I will agree to most of this. There is really only three times fans cheer excessively loud at a hockey game. 1) goals 2) fights 3) big saves. problem is goaltending has really become less flashy in the last 10 years. Kick/Glove saves are less routine and goalies spend more time cutting down angles.....which tend to be more effective (Broduer) but less entertaining to crowds.

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I couldn't help it but Grapes' tirade against the NHL for attempting to become more spectator friendly reminded me of Rodney Dangerfield's " I once watched a fight and a hockey game broke out."

I think Grapes did have one valid point during his lead-in though, when he claimed that fans get excited when there is a fight. I can't dispute that because personally, I like a good fight as the next, but when Grapes and his flunkey side-kick tried to make their case by giving examples that Americans are no strangers to violence in sports, I think they fell quite short and sounded about as bush-league and absurd as Grapes' taste for suits and ties.

Sorry Grapes, I don't watch a car race just because I love to see drivers getting run into a wall or cars blowing up like you claim; or love Baseball because, what? I want to see a batter getting beaned upside the head? or love Soccer or Football because of limbs snapping tackles and hog-piles? or love Hockey because of the fights, goonery or bench clearing brawls? Nah, I don't want more of that, but I can respect a fight if it is a spontanious reaction to a perceived wrong. In that case, may the best guy win. What I don't agree with, and you don't see it in the more favorite American sports and Hockey rivals either, is the need to use goons, fighting or brawling as a game tactic, to provide a side show for its spectators, or to intimidate an opponent because your own skill can't win a game.

Just my 2 cents

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or love Baseball because, what? I want to see a batter getting beaned upside the head?

Ever seen an ump eject someone from the game? That'll get violent. FAST. Especially with the crowd egging the player/coach/owner to throw a punch.

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or love Baseball because, what? I want to see a batter getting beaned upside the head?

Ever seen an ump eject someone from the game? That'll get violent. FAST. Especially with the crowd egging the player/coach/owner to throw a punch.

Only a few times, because I don't watch Baseball that much.

Now, if they had more managers kicking dirt at umps, or low-crawling between the bases or throwing base pads into the outfield .... now THAT could persuade me to watch more games! ;)

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Hull and Cherry like fighting, I'll agree, but you're using that fact to cloud over almost everything else they were talking about. I'm not reading Hull's mind.....Hull has specifically stated in previous interviews that he hates visors because they lower the respect players have more one another. The same argument was made back when helmets first came into the league. There were way fewer head shots taken before helmets were mandatory. I'm not in favour of getting rid of visors, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start tarnishing Hull's name and accuse him of being a violence junky.

So taking Hull's (brainless) argument to its logical conclusion, then, he must feel that not only should visors be banned but helmets, too? Even if that's not what he's saying (and I'm sorry, but it's frankly VERY hard to tell WHAT he's saying MOST of the time), the message of banning visors is lunacy -- and based on everything Hull said in that intermission, he IS a violence junky, pure and simple.

... Cherry's hate for visors steamed from players like Ulf Samuelsson who would stir the pot and then use his visor as a shield when players would trying to fight him and punch him. I think 3 different players on 3 separate occasions broke their knuckles trying to teach Samuelsson a lesson.

So I guess that (fighting) didn't work out too well for them, eh? Maybe they oughta learn how to put Samuelsson on his butt with a clean hip check instead?

That's the key thing there skill. There's a difference between one or two fights a game in today's NHL compared to bench clearing brawls of the 70s. You're trying to use an extreme to band fighting all together. Fighting was abundant in the 70s simply because there was a lack of talent to go around, which resulted in boring hockey and a lack of interest by fans...

...I'm not saying people in the south don't deserve hockey, but extending the league by 9 teams (nearly 1/3 of the league) in only 10 years drove the NHL back into a recession of available talent... As long as there's a lack of talent to satisfy the entire league, clutching/grabbing/dirty hits will continue to be present and goons will be needed to protect star players. You might argue that the new NHL has cracked down on obstruction and dirty plays, but the desperate acquisition of George Laraque by the Penguins late in this years season proves that fighters are still a necessity in the new NHL. Not necessarily to fight every game, but to exist as a deterrent.

I'm so tired of the "lack of talent" myth, because that's just what it is. Every Canadian boy grows up dreaming of playing hockey professionally, not to mention an ever-growing slew of American kids, and that is thanks PURELY to the game's expansion. Say what you will about Bettman, but he realized that protectionist policies (i.e., protecting on-ice jobs primarily for Canadians, and don't try to tell me there is not a bias among the league's old-timers against players from other countries) would permanently stunt the growth of hockey and quell any hope of it capturing American (and international) TV revenue.

Dirty hits are bound to happen in any level of hockey, and without the presence of at least some goons you're just going to see games get out of hand with players taking severe runs at other players.

Keeping games from getting out of hand is the last thing the goon squad is interested in, let alone repsonsible for (thank goodness). It is the refs and league that need to do their respective jobs. For example, given Pronger's first transgression in the Semis, his elbowing incident should have left him suspended for the rest of the Final, it's that simple. And Alfredssen should have been suspended for Game Five for that shot he took at Neidermayer.

The league must decide: Either it's about the game or it's about a tightrope walk between the game and uncalled-for aggression, and all the liabilities that go with that second option. Until the league truly puts its foot down and punishes players appropriately in terms of their infractions, the tightrope walk -- and the game's wider public image as Roller Derby on Ice -- will continue.

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Well said, TopShelf. It's an old arguement with great points to be made on both sides of the issues but everyone has covered the points well. The players are now armored vs armed, and the mixed messages being sent out of the league office re: infractions don't help setting a straight course for everyone. The league needs a mommy and daddy who are consistent about the rules and punishing transgressions so that the kiddies know exactly where everyone in the family stands and what consequences are for infractions. Too bad, so sad, but let's clear the ice for the fabulous skill hockey that is now on the ice. The "product" that is modern hockey is truly an athletic marvel. These are among the top athletes in sport and hockey is a thrill. I can't wait for the rest of the country to catch on to what is right under their nose.

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I'll reply with the same tone and arrogance you used with me....

So taking Hull's (brainless) argument to its logical conclusion, then, he must feel that not only should visors be banned but helmets, too? Even if that's not what he's saying (and I'm sorry, but it's frankly VERY hard to tell WHAT he's saying MOST of the time), the message of banning visors is lunacy -- and based on everything Hull said in that intermission, he IS a violence junky, pure and simple.

I never said Hull was right about wanting to ban visors. I simply showed you where his argument was coming from. Just because visors protect player's eyes doesn't mean they don't come with other consequences. You're blinded passion to turn NHL players into pansy figure skaters with sticks allows you to conveniently ignore these consequences.

So I guess that (fighting) didn't work out too well for them, eh? Maybe they oughta learn how to put Samuelsson on his butt with a clean hip check instead?

Last time I checked oughta wasn't a word, and on top of that I question if you've really seen Ulf Samuelsson play. If you had, you wouldn't have said that.

I'm so tired of the "lack of talent" myth, because that's just what it is. Every Canadian boy grows up dreaming of playing hockey professionally, not to mention an ever-growing slew of American kids, and that is thanks PURELY to the game's expansion. Say what you will about Bettman, but he realized that protectionist policies (i.e., protecting on-ice jobs primarily for Canadians, and don't try to tell me there is not a bias among the league's old-timers against players from other countries) would permanently stunt the growth of hockey and quell any hope of it capturing American (and international) TV revenue.

Thanks :rolleyes: I give you a historical break down of NHL talent over the years and you throw it all back in my face by calling it a "myth". I don't even know why I bother responding to you. First of all, your "myth" argument shows a total lack of knowledge or ignorance towards Canadian demographics. The ENTIRE population of Canada isn't even that of California, yet you seem to think that that is sufficient enough to supply 60% of a 30 team league with quality players. Second of all, most American "AA" sometimes "AAA" teams have trouble beating Canadian "A" teams. Yes there are more kids growing up playing hockey today then ever before, but the numbers don't come close to those who grow up playing basketball/football/baseball.....and just because more kids play the sport doesn't mean they all belong to quality programs (this goes for both American and Canadian youth).

Keeping games from getting out of hand is the last thing the goon squad is interested in, let alone repsonsible for (thank goodness). It is the refs and league that need to do their respective jobs. For example, given Pronger's first transgression in the Semis, his elbowing incident should have left him suspended for the rest of the Final, it's that simple. And Alfredssen should have been suspended for Game Five for that shot he took at Neidermayer.

You obviously didn't listen to a word I said about equipment. And there is no such thing as the "Goon squad" anymore. The new CBA and salary cap have made it almost financially ineffective to carry a line full of fighters....Most teams today carry only one fighter in the lineup and they usually only give him considerable ice time against teams with aggressive players. If flashy "no-touch" hockey was the most attractive and effective form of selling the sport, the top players in the world would be over playing in Russia and the rest of Europe, with enough billboards strapped onto their equipment to look like Nascar on skates.

What they need to do is make the NHL rinks Olympic size, where faster players are hard to catch and players are more spread out. Dirty hits would occur less often and there would be no need to completely eliminate fighting from the game. Bettman and the BoG know this, but they will never make that change because a bigger rink would reduce the amount of Gold seats around the boards and sadly decrease ticket revenue. THAT is the truth.

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Bettman and the BoG know this, but they will never make that change because a bigger rink would reduce the amount of Gold seats around the boards and sadly decrease ticket revenue. THAT is the truth.

Maybe you can't accept my use of slang ("oughta"), but the above calls into question all your glorious statistics. If you increase the area of a square, circle, triangle, or even (gasp!) a hockey rink, you also increase its perimeter. Thus MORE "Gold" seats.

And how Canada's total population compares to California or any state is also not germane. The fact is that there are over 10 million Canadians at the moment between the ages of 15 and 34. If half are male, that's a pool of 5 million. To fill less than 1,000 NHL slots, and maybe, - what? - 10- 15,000 in all of professional hockey? That's less than one-half of one percent of that pool of 5 million, and that's WITHOUT taking talent from Europe or the U.S. into account. Puh-leeze.

Look, the problem here, as IrishIce said, is behavior. Once you get to this level, you either know how to play clean or YOU DON'T GET TO THIS LEVEL. That should be the standard, not some nebulous notion that enforcing the rules consistently and evenhandedly will "turn NHL players into pansy figure skaters with sticks." Every time the NHL has ignored people like Pronger it has come back to bite the League and further the idea that hockey can't police itself. You watch. One day Pronger or someone of his ilk will go off completely, and the League will have only itself to blame for (yet another) black eye. Can you say Marty McSorley?

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Bettman and the BoG know this, but they will never make that change because a bigger rink would reduce the amount of Gold seats around the boards and sadly decrease ticket revenue. THAT is the truth.

Maybe you can't accept my use of slang ("oughta"), but the above calls into question all your glorious statistics. If you increase the area of a square, circle, triangle, or even (gasp!) a hockey rink, you also increase its perimeter. Thus MORE "Gold" seats.

Not really....take a look at the map of your average hockey arena....

RBC.png

Here's the RBC....circumference of the rink doesn't really mean much. What matters are the seats in the red box I drew for you, to demonstrate which seats would be lost if the RBC were made Olympic size.

And how Canada's total population compares to California or any state is also not germane. The fact is that there are over 10 million Canadians at the moment between the ages of 15 and 34. If half are male, that's a pool of 5 million. To fill less than 1,000 NHL slots, and maybe, - what? - 10- 15,000 in all of professional hockey? That's less than one-half of one percent of that pool of 5 million, and that's WITHOUT taking talent from Europe or the U.S. into account. Puh-leeze.

Grrr.....it's getting frustrating explaining the same thing over and over to you. It doesn't matter if 5 million kids across Canada are playing hockey. You're assuming all 5 million are good and that majority of them have the potential to go far. Yes Canadians general are better at playing the sport in large numbers, but that doesn't mean we produce all-star players off an assembly line. And for god sakes, that's NOT all we do up here. Next you're going to tell me every Canadian kid walks to school in a plaid jacket, listening to Rush, trying to imitate Ghetti Lee emasculated voice....fly by nights

God I hate Rush!

But seriously, your argument still doesn't hold up. You ever wonder how teams are segregated as "AAA", "AA", "A", "EA"? It's not based on how good the kids are, but on how many kids are eligible to try out. If only about 20 kids try out, there's a strong chance that the talent pool will be weak and the team won't be that good, but if 50-60 kids try out for the team, then there's a stronger chance that the talent pool will be better then the final roster will be "AA" or "AAA" material. The same logic can be used on a professional level. Just because there are 5 million kids across Canada playing hockey, doesn't mean they're all capable of being "professional athletes". How many kids across America grow up playing football/basketball/baseball?....I guarantee you a hell of a lot more then 5 million.

Look, the problem here, as IrishIce said, is behavior. Once you get to this level, you either know how to play clean or YOU DON'T GET TO THIS LEVEL. That should be the standard, not some nebulous notion that enforcing the rules consistently and evenhandedly will "turn NHL players into pansy figure skaters with sticks." Every time the NHL has ignored people like Pronger it has come back to bite the League and further the idea that hockey can't police itself. You watch. One day Pronger or someone of his ilk will go off completely, and the League will have only itself to blame for (yet another) black eye. Can you say Marty McSorley?

McSorley was taken to court, banned from the NHL and charged, yet players still high stick....so I don't quite see where you're going with this?

I also think it's very unfair to claim the NHL doesn't know how to "police itself"....especially when....

a) the MLB can't even keep it's heavy hitters off steroids.

B) the amount of NFL players caught with narcotics is ridiculous

c) basketball players climb into the stands to fight innocent bystanders.

d) the MLB lacks any hard rule to prevent bench clearing brawls.

Hockey is not a gentleman's sport, and that's what it sounds like you want.

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God , do I miss old time hockey..........Hoyle, again I agree with you. It's the new fans that want to bring this game down

LMAO!! You need to read Topshelf's posts, which if you had been doing, you would've seen this entry:

Look, I've played hockey my whole life. I was in attendance at most of Bill Clement's games with "The Broad Street Bullies," the team Cherry and Hull were waxing romantic about. As a kid, I loved it, and I'll be the first to admit it. That said, overly violent play was the norm in those days: Players climbing into the stands to go after fans, teams clearing the benches and forming human blockades to prevent refs from breaking up fights, etc. I remember when Don Cherry coached the Bruins, and all he did was rip the "enforcer" page right out of Fred Shero's book, trying to mimic the success of the Flyers. To absolutely no avail, I might add.

Just because someone has a difference of opinion & prefers the new NHL over the old doesn't make them a new fan & doesn't mean that you can just brush them off as such & give people the impression that their opinion is irrelevant because YOU think this is a new fan & his/her opinions don't agree w/ yours. I'm not a new fan & I like the new over the old. Doesn't take much skill to get into a fight - it takes skill to play the game & play it well. Fighting = stop & go, stop & go, stop & go of the game. Boring. I get annoyed just over the games having to break for radio/TV. Fighting in hockey is boring to me & I just kinda sit there & look at the banners hanging in the rafters when one happens, 'cause what's going on over my head up there is much more interesting than the stopage in PLAY on the ice. So, does that make me any less of a hockey fan or any newer of a hockey fan than you? No. Instead of busying yourself w/passing judgement on fellow hockey fans, contribute something useful to the conversation.

And if this is how you look at & treat a new fan of this great sport, no wonder there are some problems in trying to attract & keep new fans - I wouldn't want to be a fan of a sport where the "old timers" acted so snobish.

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it's not about just the fighting or TSA. That was a blanket statement. It's about fans who call for bigger nets, who don't understand why the NHL needs to remove the instigator rule. How bigger equipment has changed the way players play. How visors allow more high sticking. It's how the game has become a joke to attract new fans. How every hit is a penalty and some fans cry for suspensions. Sorry, I want my game back.....call it what you want

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Doesn't take much skill to get into a fight - it takes skill to play the game & play it well.

I completely disagree....

Let's try not to pass judgment so quickly on fighting as something that lacks skill. If you find it boring 300Section, I support your right to express that, but let's not trivialize one players attributes simply because you prefer another.

FW made a mistake by not reading TopShelf's post more closely, which is why I pointed it out to him myself, but his argument isn't entirely ill founded. Fighting has been a part of hockey since the sport was invented (literally). Yet whenever there is talk about eliminating it from the game, it's usually brought on by the NHL's desire to attract new fans. This is why most traditional fans blame these sorts of criticisms on "new" fans.

The terms "new NHL" and "old NHL" are really just a farce. It's not like we are now watching an entirely new sport. I'll admit that I use these terms as well, but in reality the "new NHL" is really just the "old NHL" with a tighter crack down on obstruction. Fighting doesn't really slow down the game, not nearly as often as shooting the puck over the glass (which is why they have now made that a penalty). Fighting was getting out of hand because coaches were making it a habit to send out their goons to drop the gloves in the final 5 minutes to save team morale if they were losing. In response, the NHL finally introduced a rule that laid a heftier penalty if a player fights in the remaining 5 minutes of the game. This is why you rarely seen fighting in the third period this year and last.

Everyone who is against fighting, usually change their minds after watching their team play a series against Sean Avery.

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