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The Don Cherry/Brett Hull Show

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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

This is where I get my feelings towards fighting. The way I see it is if having the opportunity to go out on that ice every shift & playing your heart out to get you & your team that much closer to winning that 3' shiny trophy isn't enough to "boost the morale of the team & light a fire under their *edit*" isn't enough, then maybe some of them shouldn't be playing in the NHL. If you're fighting w/ a player that took liberties & made a cheap shot at you or even a teammate, then I agree w/ the element of fighting - let 'em drop the gloves, get it out of their systems & get on w/ the game. If it's a player such as Avery, then lay his rump out & get playin' w/ the hockey. Goonery & fighting just for the hell of it & to fire up the team, I have no use for, & to me, it still doesn't require a whole lot of talent to take a shot at someone & start a fight. Sorry, but it really doesn't.

And to play on a phrase that you used about the actual player, Hoyle: when I hear or see someone that states what FW did w/ the "it's the new fans that want to bring this game down", that type of phrase & attitude trivializes one fan's attitudes & opinions simply because whoever said that about the newer fans prefer another. Fans like FW & yourself enjoy (I think you do from what I've seen you post, anyway) enjoy the way things were throughout the years of this sport being played up until recent years, whereas someone like me & others tend to get more enjoyment out of the cracking down of certain things, like the fighting & delay of game, etc. So where's the middle ground then? How do you make all sides happy w/ how the NHL allows the players to play? Who's "right" & who's "wrong"? To me there's a somewhat of a delicate balance to be found here, so that this great game that we ALL enjoy can appeal to newer fans, IMHO.

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This is where I get my feelings towards fighting. The way I see it is if having the opportunity to go out on that ice every shift & playing your heart out to get you & your team that much closer to winning that 3' shiny trophy isn't enough to "boost the morale of the team & light a fire under their *edit*" isn't enough, then maybe some of them shouldn't be playing in the NHL.

I can't disagree with you here, but it's such a "soccer" mom answer. Not every situation on the ice is very black and white.

I enjoy the faster pace of the new NHL....but keep in mind that the rule changes in the post-lock out were not made to entice new non-traditional fans. These rule changes were not even made by the league, they were made by the NHLPA (particularly Trevor Linden and Brendan Shanahan). Their goal was to bring hockey back to the open ice skating it once was back in the 80s. Their rule changes tried to eliminate obstruction, which isn't favoured by any fan both new and old. What FW is complaining about, and I certainly agree with him, is this illusion that hockey games have to have scores that are 10-11 just to attract non-traditional fans.

* Modifying the nets

* 75% of the game spent on the PP

* shoot-outs

* eliminating the blue line

* penalty if forwards skate backwards in the neutral zone

* no line changes in between face offs

* eliminate icing on the penalty kill

* moving the distance of the net from the boards (this happens like every season now)

* bonus points to high scoring teams

* overtime point

Theses are all possible changes constantly being thrown on the table or already been implemented to cater to new fans.

If you can name me one other professional sport that is continuously flirting with such drastic rule changes I'll shut up, but I doubt you'll find one.

To illustrate what I mean....imagine the MLB sat down one day and decided..."we need to increase the family oriented excitement level of baseball" and then laid down a list possible rule changes....

a) adding a fourth base.

b ) standardizing stadium sizes (eliminating such attractions as the green monster in Boston)

c) adding an extra run if the home run reaches the top bleachers

d) allowing corked bats

e) design a new baseball that is harder to grip but easier to hit

f) only 2 outfielders

g) making the DH mandatory in both AL and NL

h) shrinking baseball glove sizes

i) allowing two DH

j) take away 2 points if a team has a bench clearing brawl

k) If a hitter is beaned or walked he walks two bases. (nothing more boring then watching a pitcher throw 4 balls on purpose)

I could go on forever. I'm tired of my favourite sport being treated like a guinea pig to attract fans that aren't interested in the first place. Every other professional sport scrutinizes any possible rule change for years before even thinking of implementing it. Recently the NBA decided to introduce newly designed basketballs with different material. The players hated it, so the league tossed the idea immediately. You'd never see that sort of respect for the sport in the NHL....they'd say something like "Well it's good for attracting new fans blah blah blah".

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Lots here to digest, and I appreciate the more deliberative tone everyone's taking. But I'll quickly ask Hoyle, do you seriously think teams would just kiss those gold seats goodbye, rather than increase the number of them AND the prices for the remaining seats on the first level? I sure don't!

I agree that fighting and intimidation is something of an art (I was good enough at both in my high school days to finish third in the league in PIM!). But it's still kid's stuff as far as I'm concerned. If a group of guys ranging in age from 20 to 50 (and up) -- and in skill from novice to old hand -- can get together a couple of times a week to play pick-up -- with no ref -- without it ever coming to blows, it just logically follows (for me, anyway) that the best players in the world should be able to play clean. And that's what I'm talking about here. I've never said (nor would I) that there are not times when dropping the gloves is the only option. But I do think that when obvious cheapshots, like those I've alluded to in prior posts on this thread, go unpunished BY THE LEAGUE, the league is not sending a clear signal. And this league has been doing that -- saying one thing and doing something different -- for all the years I've watched hockey.

Then you get two guys like Cherry and Hull, loudmouths to begin with, trying to compress their points of view into 5 minutes of network TV time; points of view in a discussion that we're nearly up to four pages on -- and it just looks, frankly, overdone and stupid. It might as well be the WWF.

You've got to remember, there are people who do not follow hockey all year but who tune in to watch the finals. This is a group from which harder-core fans could be enlisted. But when "hockey" looks like the same old sideshow instead of the classy display of talent it could be -- simply because Don Cherry chooses to shoot off his outsized mouth -- it's no wonder the game has trouble attracting fans.

And that's a shame, because it may be the most physically demanding sport of all, with some of the most skilled athletes in the world, yet it does next to nothing to promote itself -- or its players -- as such.

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Lots here to digest, and I appreciate the more deliberative tone everyone's taking. But I'll quickly ask Hoyle, do you seriously think teams would just kiss those gold seats goodbye, rather than increase the number of them AND the prices for the remaining seats on the first level? I sure don't!

I don't understand what you're talking about here. How are they going to increase the number of seats in the bottom bowl? It's physically impossible. Or do you mean, taking pre-existing non-gold seats and suddenly calling them gold just to charge more? I don't think that would go over well with STH of those seats. And the last thing the NHL needs to do is increase ticket prices again, the fans have already been penny pinched enough.

I agree that fighting and intimidation is something of an art (I was good enough at both in my high school days to finish third in the league in PIM!). But it's still kid's stuff as far as I'm concerned. If a group of guys ranging in age from 20 to 50 (and up) -- and in skill from novice to old hand -- can get together a couple of times a week to play pick-up -- with no ref -- without it ever coming to blows, it just logically follows (for me, anyway) that the best players in the world should be able to play clean. And that's what I'm talking about here. I've never said (nor would I) that there are not times when dropping the gloves is the only option. But I do think that when obvious cheapshots, like those I've alluded to in prior posts on this thread, go unpunished BY THE LEAGUE, the league is not sending a clear signal. And this league has been doing that -- saying one thing and doing something different -- for all the years I've watched hockey.

Stop trying to compare the intensity of professional hockey to the beer league you happen to play for. Most beer leagues exist for one reason and one reason only, to have fun then drink beer in the dressingroom afterwards while cracking jokes about their wives. No referee is required because beer is priority #1, socializing priority #2, winning priority #3. Just because a local game of shinny doesn't break into an all out brawl, doesn't mean professional players should "know better".

You've got to remember, there are people who do not follow hockey all year but who tune in to watch the finals. This is a group from which harder-core fans could be enlisted. But when "hockey" looks like the same old sideshow instead of the classy display of talent it could be -- simply because Don Cherry chooses to shoot off his outsized mouth -- it's no wonder the game has trouble attracting fans.

And that's a shame, because it may be the most physically demanding sport of all, with some of the most skilled athletes in the world, yet it does next to nothing to promote itself -- or its players -- as such.

How much power do you think Don Cherry has? The NHL has rarely listened to his point of view and certainly have never implemented any of his ideas. Whatever the marketing problem is in the NHL it certainly isn't Don Cherry :rolleyes:

I really hate it when people blame the NHL's attendance problems on the intricacies of the game. You have no idea how arrogant that argument sounds. It's like these people are saying "I'm too good for your sport of hockey, so until you change it to MY specifications I'll keep ignoring it". Who the hell died any made non-hockey fans god? I don't care what they like or dislike, or what ever excuse they give for not watching the sport, because that's exactly all it is, an excuse. The TRUTH is most fair weather fans or non fans don't even pay enough attention to the NHL to notice Pronger's hit, or Alfreddson's poorly directed icing. Nor do I believe any non-traditional sports channels gave these incidents any considerable air time during sports highlights. If major media outlets across non-traditional markets refuse to give the NHL any standard exposure, I highly doubt they take the time to talk about dangerous hits or fights.....just so non-fans can look at their newspaper and say "See...this is why I don't watch hockey".

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You know Hoyle, trying to reason with you is pointless. You complain about arrogance and "non fans" who want to change the game. But there's nothing more arrogant than a know-it-all. Your posts reek of a superiority complex. You infer that fans in markets anywhere south of Montreal are newbies or fair-weather fans, and ipso facto inferior to you, the Great Canadian Hockey Encyclopedia. But as we like to say here in North Carolina, "You know everything and you don't know nothin'."

For the record, I don't play in a "beer league," I play in a college town with players from the college team and older guys. There's beer neither on the premises nor adjournment to a watering hole afterward. Hockey rinks in this part of the world are scarce; many of us drive an hour or more each way for the privilege of playing, and that's the point you have continually missed in this thread: Playing in the NHL is a privilege.

Regardless of all your rhetorical gymnastics, I think (hope) we can agree that hockey deserves a bigger audience. I say it has consistently failed to garner one through a combination of poor marketing and a willingness on the league's part to look the other way when a particular player demonstrates a pattern of ugliness -- not good old-fashioned fights, but uncalled-for cheapshots. I notice you have yet to address that issue, and in fact seem to be an apologist for such behavior, given your attempts to cover Pronger's cheapshot by calling it a "hit" and Alfredssen's slapper at Niedermayer as "poorly directed icing." Just who are you trying to fool?

Until the league begins to treat playing in the NHL as the privilege it is, and to heavily penalize -- or better yet, ban -- the cheapshot artists for abusing the privilege, the sport is going to have image -- and thereby, marketing -- problems. It's been that way for the 40 years I've been attending games and it will stay that way until the league grows some testicles and stops listening to would-be "traditionalists" such as you. To me, your posts sound bitter, as if you're upset that "your" sport has decided to find a global market, when that's exactly what the other major sports you keep dredging up and comparing to hockey are doing/have done. And -- surprise! -- those sports now enjoy the financial stability that proves their good sense in doing so.

My advice: Accept that you're living on a planet as opposed to in a country and go to Disneyland -- and while you're in town, stop by the Honda Center. Current home, much as it may annoy you, of Lord Stanley's Cup.

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