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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Politics of the NHL [rant]

You simply can not say there are no politics in the NHL.. just look at the Edmonton Oilers who have successfully finished in last place for the past few seasons which has conveniently provided them with the first pick in the draft. Now with only a few games left, it would seem they wish for nothing else than to finish in the bottom once again. The Flames playing in Rexall Place for the last time with a huge blow-out was just icing on the cake. Back when the Great One was playing, the attitude would have been much different. It would have been "we need to win all out final home games to show that this is the place to play hockey".. players would look forward to being picked to play in Edmonton but not so much anymore. The players currently on the team are wanting to be traded simply so they have a chance at a playoff run. Let's face it, these are professional athletes that love to play and to win. Nobody likes to lose but it is part of the game--sometimes, but not all the time.

When most teams that know they don't have a playoff chance, they will work to destroy those teams that are making a run for it by beating them when they only need one more win to get in, for example. So it should be no surprise when you are tied for last place in the league, with absolutely no chance at making the playoffs, your best bet is to NOT win and finish in last place for that first pick. In my opinion there should be a penalty for this. The lottery makes sense where the last place team is not guaranteed to get the first pick. Yes, I know they already do this, but I too am very sceptical just as many others are. Something needs to change in the NHL.. starting at the top.. Bettman should retire as I believe this top seat should have a time limit just as any government does. Unless he is elected in to that position where he must win it again and again. Major changes must come from the top and the fact that Gary Bettman continues to be in that top spot I personally don't see enough change taking place on a yearly basis.

Oh sure, there will be those thinking I'm only pissed that there are no Canadian teams making the playoffs this year and you would be right, but I am also a strong advocate of the move for more teams in to the USA where they should be. The fact that there may not be any Canadian teams playing in this years playoffs doesn't meant there aren't Canadian players playing.. in fact the ratio is still about 60/40 .. Canadians vs Americans and all other Nationalities.

I remember back in the late 80's and early 90's, when Gretzky got traded to LA and guys like
Luc Robitaille were there, making a name for the team and boosting fan turn out for Southern California. Now, after a few Stanley Cup wins between LA, San Jose and Anaheim, it has cemented hockey in California. The same can be said for teams like Dallas, however that certainly wouldn't be obvious if you paid attention to the empty seats at most television broadcasts. Oh don't worry, they may call it a sell-out crowd, and it is, but unfortunately those prime seats are corporate seats that have been paid for, just not used because the people are either watching it upstairs in a clubhouse suite or in the lounge. It's very sad.. these are issues that must be address throughout the league and this again must come from the top.
Rant complete!

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