Well, this strike is similar to how the 1994-1995 Strike went down. I can remember it like it was yesterday. The New York Rangers were coming off a Stanley Cup Championship Title in 1994, as Mark Messier carried the Rangers to their first title in over 40 years. Then it happened, a long term work stoppage. This seasons strike actually mirrors that one in that it lasted over a half season. When the league finally came to an agreement with the players, they settled on a 48 game season. This season will be the same type of schedule. Well the 94 strike saw Eric Lindros get voted as the MVP in a 48 game season where the Philadelphia Flyers made it to the Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, the Devils went on to beat the Flyers and win their first Stanley Cup. Well, who knows at this point what team will be the favorite. However, One thing is for sure. The fans will return, but I would suggest that they refrain from spending top rate to go to these games. Let us face it, the League owes the Fans. This has been one of the most frustrating sports strikes in history as there was not a huge gap between what the league wanted as far as the players. Nonetheless, here we are already into January, and now there will be a two week period and then a 48 game season. We will talk later how this short season could benefit a team like the Flyers. Stay Tuned.
Well, here we are October 13th…Millions of dollars later. There is still no end in sight to the NHL lLabor Dispute. Both sides are so far apart, both are being greedy, but the owners are the ones who are killing this sport now. As recent evidence shows…The NHL was on the verge of overtaking the NBA as far as television ratings. As many other Hockey Fans…I still remain optimistic that this league will get it’s head out of it’s ass and settle this dispute as soon as possible. I never knew that you could miss Steve Coats voice so much…lol. Jim Jackson is also deeply missed. By this time we would usually be settling into the regular season in the NHL…observing how our free agents are playing…how far the youngsters have progressed…will the goalie play more consistent from the start…etc. These questions remain far from answered as this strike continues. I mean the NFL is in full gear…but I am missing those 7:30 puck drops…the crisp skating…the sound of those blades going across the ice…those monster hits against the boards…those acrobatic saves…those unbelievable passes….those rocket shots….those deadly wrist shots…those five hole mistakes…those penalties…those power plays…those two line passes…those off sides…those gloves coming off…those fists pummeling skin…those irate coaches…those angry fans…those whistles for stoppage of play…the zamboni in between periods…the five minute overtimes that never seem to end…those shootouts that end quickly…the ones that never seem to end…the loud music as the player hit the ice…the flashing lights and opening frenzy…the National Anthem…God Bless America…Kate Smith…The cuts…the bruises…the stitches…the bone crunching collisions…the buzzer after each goal…the replays that are shown from every angle…the guy in the second level dancing like a wild animal…the young kid donning his teams jersey proud…the father and son bonding…the boyfriend/girlfriend locking lips…kiss cam…THE PECO POWER PLAY…the white and black referees…the chants of assssshoooole….the cold beer…the stadium smell of food galore…the locker room as the players lace up their skates for battle…the open ice turnovers….the breakaways…the penalty shots…the roar of the home crowd after a goal…the oohs and aahhs after the near miss…the puck meets post…the post game interviews…the exciting rivalries…the crowd full of jerseys…the penalty box…the players chirping at each other across the benches…the stare downs…the sound of ice. Hockey is more than a game…and this really sucks. Hopefully the owners and players will realize what this does to fans like you and I….ripping our hearts out at the seam. No Hockey Left=No Fun Left. NHL meets NFL. I mean Football will always be exciting but it only comes along 1x per week. We need our daily fix. End this hypocrisy!
I’m sure that I am not the only person right now wondering WTF NHL Commissioner Gary Betman was thinking when he let this season go into a full on lockout! Remember the last lockout…1994….it took about 15 years for the league to fully recover to the point where the sports tv ratings and live attendance figures matched that of those before the lockout of 1994. I will never forget that lockout…the New York Rangers, of all teams had won it’s first CUP in 54 years on the Shoulders of Mike Richter and Mark Messier. The league was having the same sort of disagreement on a variety of issues at that time also. The 1995 Lockout lasted over 3 months and reduced the season to 48 games. I remember that year very well because the Philadelphia Flyers made it to the Conference Finals against the Devils and it marked the first season of the classic Legion of Doom. Eric Lindros won the Hart Memorial Trophy for the MVP if the regular season when he scored 70 points in only 46 games. However, although they did end the lockout that season they lost a ton of fans and revenue that took over 15 years to regain. In those 15 years such things as new teams, new playoff formats, rule changes, an attempt to make the game more offensive, and all sorts of other promotions were used in order to regain the fan base that they so desperately need. I know many more people enjoy Football, Baseball, or even Basketball but those of you who are die hard hockey fans know exactly where I am coming from when I say there is absolutely nothing that compares to “Playoff Hockey”! This is a sad state of affairs right now and both sides are being greedy. The biggest fool of all though, is the sports commissioner who sees no problem with the lockout and actually believes it will have no negative effect on the sport! BULLSHIT…tell that to season ticket holders who pay lots of hard earned money to support their teams. Tell that to the lower level employees of these teams who have been laid off and are unemployed. Tell that to children with disabilities who idolize their favorite players in every sport. Tell that to the players who are only effecting their futures and their families. Tell that to the owners who will never get back to the point that this sport had risen to up until recently. Tell that to the Die Hard fans who are left with nothing to so right now unless their football or baseball team is successful. Many towns that have hockey as their sport do not even have professional Baseball and Football teams. This is a travesty. The NHL should be ashamed of itself. Then Alex Ovechkin….one of the faces of the league makes the statement…that if any one player loses more than a penny in this…he will not return to the NHL. What is he smoking. Or I guess he doesn’t care. He can go back to his homeland where he is more comfortable and can still make millions of dollars and date six hot Russian models at the same time. This is why this league is a joke. More Americans should become involved with this sport but it remains so expensive at the teenage, high school, and college levels. Well…Bettman better get his head out of his ass and rectify this dilemma quickly or he will risk losing a great majority of the league. What is stopping all of these foreign players from signing overseas. Nothing right now because the Collective Bargaining Agreement has expired. Well all you Hockey Fans…we should all be pretty pissed right now at these greedy BASTARDS. Millions of dollars and cannot even settle a disagreement. Hell I wish I could make 100 grand! Oh well…we sit back and watch a bunch of babies cry about money and all while homeless people are starving…sick people are dying…and the national debt keeps increasing…and the unemployment rate keeps skyrocketing. What Does the NHL stand for now? NO HOCKEY LEFT!
Tonight begins the start of the 2012 NFL Season. Since I was a young boy…there hasn’t been much more than the anticipation of a New Eagle’s season. Every year I think the Eagles have a shot at winning the Superbowl. This year I have a different feeling. I think this may be the deepest team the Eagle’s have ever fielded. Last night was my fantasy football draft lol…nothing like waiting until the last minute. Anyways…Fantasy Football Drafts are always a good time where the guys (and sometimes girls) get together to embark on another exciting journey through the fantasy season. Last night was no different for me…I have been in many leagues throughout the season but this one was special as I saw people that I grew up with and probably have not saw in fifteen years! As I was preparing for the draft…I couldn’t help but reminisce about the old days of fantasy football. Yes, back then I was a Commissioner and let me tell you it was like a 2nd job keeping the statistics together and up to date manually. My my have we come along way. I guess it’s just like every other aspect in this world today…the technology monster. The monster that keeps growing and replicating and getting bigger and better. Yes I remember back in the day when the most coveted picks were Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner and Issac Bruce and Tory Holt. Yes the “greatest show on turf” was something to marvel about and these players were the top picks for many years. I also remember years before that when Priest Holmes was the #1 Fantasy Pick every year. There was also Marvin Harrison, Terrell Davis, Tony Gonzalez at Tight End, John Elway, Steve Young…the list goes on and on and we could be here for weeks debating the Greatest Fantasy Players of all time. You would have to include Barry Sanders and Emmit Smith on that list. Also Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss would get favorable votes. Today its Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. It’s Ray Rice, Lesean McCoy, and Arian Foster. It’s Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Wes Welker. It’s Jermichael Finley and Grotowski. It’s Akers and Crosby. It’s Baltimore, Philly, and New York on Defense. Every year the players change. Every year injuries play a major role on one’s finish in the fantasy game. But one thing still remains the same today In Fantasy Football and that’s the stiff competition and passion that each person puts into drafting a roster and then making it successful. Now in the world of Computers…it’s like the Real NFL Draft…live drafts on computer. It’s so much easier to be a commissioner these days…no doubt. Back in the day it was as I said a 2nd job. During a 3 year span I got the 1st pick in the draft 3 years in a row and I rode Priest Holmes and Brett Favre to 3 Fantasy Titles. I have not come close to winning since those years but every year I expect to win. So as we sit down to watch the First Game of the NFL season let’s count our blessings that we have it so much easier today. We all have access to the Internet and live up to date stats. So much has transpired in the realm of Fantasy Football. It’s so fun…it’s a hobby that keeps many people occupied. Some people are even obsessed. Well the point of this story is that we always have so much to be thankful for and I thank God that another season is upon us. To all the Fantasy Football Owners…Good Luck and Have Fun. Enjoy what we have today…something our parents never had. Until the next rushing touchdown….stay tuned!