Posts Tagged ‘NHL’

Will we see the NHL in South Korea?

February 23, 2014

Once again, it will boil down to the ever present sides: The league and the owners clashing with the players.

For the league and owners: Sending the players over to Nagano in 1998 (the first games that ever included NHL players) was a business decision. Hockey needed something to bring in more fans, and exposing the NHL’s best to the world on the Olympic Stage was a great opportunity to do this.

Now, here we are 16 years later and it is a different landscape for the NHL: A $2 billion dollar TV contract with NBC through the 2020-2021 season in the US, a $5.2 billion contract with Rogers in Canada through 2025, outselling the NBA in shared arenas, and a league that once again has stars who have become household names.

Where is the benefit to the league and owners at this point? The exposure is useless, and in fact the only exposure becomes negative: players exposed to injury. Just ask Garth Snow how he is feeling about that. Before the Olympics, the Isles playoff hopes were on life support. Now? Well, Vanek should probably just start packing his bags. While the NHL and owners (and players, albeit more willingly) are the ones putting themselves at risk, it is the IOC that feasts off the revenue and profits. As someone who literally watched only the hockey at the Olympics (And I am surely not the only one), were the NHL players to have stayed home with the league operating, I would have been happily watching each and every Devils game that was played. And the Pens fans would have watch the Pens. And the Rangers fans would have watched the Rangers etc, etc. There is no symbiosis here: The IOC is a parasite in this relationship.

On the other hand, you have the players, who understandably take a great deal of pride in not only playing for their countries, but also relish the opportunity to be able to play hockey the way they first played it: as a game. At home in the NHL, they are still playing the game, but it is also their job which surely at times hinders their enjoyment of the game. For 2 weeks, yes, they are NHL players, but they are part of a greater team. Can you imagine what it felt like for Anze Kopitar, the sole NHL player on the Slovenian team, banding together with his countrymen in a truly stunning upset of Slovakia, or their early loss to Russia where they hung in there? I honestly cannot. That is an experience you simply cannot manufacture.

Business vs Sentiment. As a fan, I vote sentiment. The Olympics provided entertaining, high level hockey with some surprises and ups, downs, and disappointments (Russia and the USA both failing to medal? I am glad I am not a gambling man, because I would have told you no way that happens), but showed us just how passionate these guys are about their sport and representing their countries, and just how crushing one defeat can be. Did you see the bronze medal game?

I fear business may overtake sentiment here however. It is Gary Bettman’s responsibility to make prudent decisions regarding the league’s asset, and from a purely business perspective, I would agree that the right decision would be to keep the players home. But is the league ready to deal with the massive backlash from the fans and players if such a decision is made?

Stay tuned. The IOC is also watching intently.

Tell me what you think in the poll below or the comments section!



After that debacle…

February 21, 2014

Now that the Olympics have officially ended for me after the US hockey team’s elimination, (Yes. I am aware there is a bronze medal game to be played. That is meaningless. It was gold or bust, and we came to the same disappointing end as 2010, a loss to our friendly neighbors up north. At least we didn’t have to watch this again. ) It is time to bring the blog back and for real this time. After the embarrassing effort to revive the blog in March of last year, I am determined to not allow this to happen again.

That being said: Hockey picks up again next week, NCAAB is in full swing as March Madness approaches, MLB players have begun to report (for my fellow Mets fans, TC was really impressed with Syndergaard in a throwing session). The NFL Draft is around the corner (look forward to me constantly bemoaning my Fantasy Football misfortune and trying to rationalize what Jerry Jones does). So, even though we currently are enduring a sporting drought (The NBA all star break contributing to this fact), there is light at the end of the tunnel and I look forward to both entertaining you, aggravating you, and arguing with you right here.

But hopefully, this will not be the only forum you communicate with me on. Definitely follow the blog on twitter (@maximumzinpact). Feel free to make requests, asks questions, call me an idiot, whatever you feel the need to do. I will respond so long as the tweet allows for a response.

So, take this quick introductory post, and enjoy it as it is simply letting you know what is to come. Expect plenty of content this go around. Hoping to create a podcast and once I obtain a PSCamera, combining my love of video games and sports together to bring you a stream where we can game together (or just watch me fail at games) and banter about sports.

Looking forward to it.

Quick Hitters: There’s a lot going on

December 5, 2011

It has been a whirlwind few weeks in the sports world and I’ll do my best to hit a number of things in this post. Let’s lead off with:

The BCS: The Big Con Series has once again proven that it is absolutely bogus. First of all, as stated in a Yahoo! Sports article, nobody even really knows what the BCS formulas are, how they’re used, and if the algorithm owners even input the data correctly. Former President Bush needs to call them out for this “fuzzy math”. As I’ve previously posted, I expected the LSU/Bama rematch, even if I think Oklahoma State’s 44-10 thrashing of archrival Oklahoma in the Bedlam game did warrant some attention and that is the game I would have preferred to see. The big question lies in…

The Sugar Bowl Teams: Michigan against Virginia Tech. Really? No Boise State here? No TCU? No Michigan State? No, none of these teams. Instead you have a Michigan team that lost to a Michigan State team that took Wisconsin (the Big Ten Rose Bowl representative in what should be a hell of a game against Oregon) to the wire in the inaugural Big Ten title game. Then, you have Virginia Tech, who’s nonconference schedule consisted of local peewee squads and just got absolutely run off by Clemson (for the second time this season) in the ACC title game. Yes, the same Clemson team that had come in losing 3 of its last 4, including back to back blowout losses to NC State (WHAT?) and South Carolina. Listen, I could argue for the pick of Michigan. They are an electric team, a massive fan base, and really did have a fantastic first season under Brady Hoke. There is no excuse for taking Virginia Tech. Send Tech to Las Vegas and bring Boise State in here. Boise against either of the Michigan squads would have made a far better choice than this nonsense.

Tim Tebow: The guy actually threw some good balls on Sunday, but I (and most logical people, including John Elway) still can’t see him as a franchise QB. If it is close in the fourth, this guy has some clutch gene that is going to allow his team to win, that I cannot argue. But the defense simply cannot continue to keep them within three points every week (see: Lions game). Tebow is the only player who can make Byron Leftwich look like he has a lightning release, and while he is a strong runner, there are running backs for that. The wing option gimmick will wear out soon, probably in the first round of the playoffs. And while we’re at it, can we please start giving Willis McGahee the credit he deserves in this Bronco win streak. Yes, Tebow is under center, but McGahee has consistently been a monster on the ground, allowing Tebow to go 2 for 8 in a win. Tebow fever has simply not struck this guy.

AFC Favorites: The Packers are the NFC favorites, so I have no need to discuss that, but the AFC is far more interesting. I think you have 4 teams with a legitimate chance of A) representing the AFC in the Super Bowl and B) Derailing the Pack Attack freight train. Those four teams are the Steelers, the Ravens, the Texans, and the Patriots. And in the Zinman power rankings, they fall in that order, reason being, that would be the descending order of the defensive excellence of the particular team. The Steelers and Ravens defenses wash each other out, so I went to the QB tiebreaker, and as much of a Joe Flacco fan boy that I am, Roethlisberger is always the way to go come playoff time. As for the Ravens over the Texans, the Ravens have the much stronger defense and a Schaubless Texans offense isn’t exactly making anyone shake in their boots (although kudos on the 17-10 win over the Falcons Mr. Yates). The Patriots still have Brady which is always a huge x-factor, but their defense is more porous than Spongebob. So there you have it, I’m thinking there is a huge chance we see a rematch of last years Super Bowl.

Icing the kicker: We have all seen it, the opposing coach calling a time out to make the kicker think about it, get wound up, and miss the kick. For the first time yesterday, I saw a coach ice his own kicker. When Jason Garrett called a time out just before Dan Bailey’s kick sailed through the uprights, you had to know he was going to miss the real try. What in the world was Garrett doing here? This was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen as a fan. The Cowboys would go on to lose in overtime, as the defense folded like an origami swan. The NFC East race got that much more interesting thanks to one of the stupidest decisions I’ve seen in a long time.

Jose Reyes: Switching gears, lets hit this monstrous baseball note. The first major free agent domino fell, with Jose Reyes being poached from the Mets by the Marlins. You are indeed reading that correctly, as the perennial minnows have now given big time deals to Heath Bell (3 yrs, $27 million) and Reyes (6 years, $102 million). The key in the Reyes deal is can the guy avoid injury. As a Mets fan, I have repeatedly watched his hamstring go bad and needless to say the Marlins know this, but it was not enough to scare them away. Now they have to deal with what is sure to be a disgruntled Hanley Ramirez, the team’s star shortstop, who has openly stated he isn’t feeling a move to third base. Reyes is definitely not playing third base, so something here has got to give. In other news, Albert Pujols is still on the market. Will Epstein net him for the Cubbies?

12-0-1: That would be the Boston Bruins record for the month of November (and they haven’t slowed since December began). They started off in a brutal slump, but that’s because they were trying to “B” something they are not. Now the Bruins have embraced the fact that they are a hard hitting, tough team who is going to grind opposition down en route to victory after victory. The Lucic trucking of Ryan Miller exemplifies the hard nosed style this team employs, and needs to continue employing, if they are to repeat their hoisting of Lord Stanley’s cup. Frankly, watching this team buzz around the ice is scary, and with Tim Thomas backstopping to the tune of a 93.6 save percentage and a 1.93 GAA, this run of dominance is unlikely to end anytime in the near future.

NHL Realignment: Now that it seems the realignment in College Football has calmed down for the moment, the debate rages in the NHL. Detroit, Columbus, and Nashville all want to join the East, Winnipeg needs to go to the West, and travel needs to be better thought out. The NHL’s latest proposal is spot on. Essentially, the league is shifting to a “four conference” system. Winnipeg would be the only team shifting conferences, but a guaranteed home and home with everyone outside of your division alleviates team’s travel concerns. In the East, you have the old Northeast division with the addition of Florida and Tampa Bay and the old Atlantic, with the addition of Carolina and Washington. As a Devils fan, this arrangement particularly excites me, as we keep all of our old rivalries, and get to further groom the one that has brewed over recent years with the Canes. Bringing the Caps into the fold with a number of teams that dislike them (Pens, Rangers, Flyers) will also make for some great “in-conference” action. In the West, Minnesota, Winnipeg and Dallas join the former members of the Central division, while the remaining four members of the Pacific and Northwest join together to form the fourth and final conference. This proposed system dynamically changes the hockey landscape, and the first round “divisional” playoffs within your own conference will spark bitter rivalries. All in all, I couldn’t be happier. I feel like a pig in slop.

NBA Lockout ends: Oh how riveting. The bickering millionaires finally settled their differences (kind of) and we won’t be without an NBA season. It just continues to amaze me how these professional sports leagues just can’t get their act together at the bargaining table (credit to baseball for quietly making a new deal through 2016). This lockout was embarrassing and unnecessary, and frankly, while I already cared little about the NBA, I now somehow care even less. I’ll know what’s going on, because that’s what a responsible sports fan like myself does (why else would I know Tony Stewart let his crew chief go following his Sprint Cup Series Championship), but it really won’t matter to me. I found out the Knicks home opener is on Christmas. Thanks, but I’ll be watching football.

Carlyle out, Boudreau in?

December 1, 2011

Got to be honest here, I do not love this hire for Anaheim. They fired Carlyle because “he had lost the ear of his talented team.” Funny, two days ago a team in Washington was saying the same thing about a coach that they let go.

By the way, that’s who the Ducks hired.

I just don’t see Boudreau being the man to take the Ducks to the promised land. His system has proven itself to be gangbusters in the regular season and an absolute egg in the postseason, from getting Halak’d in the first round one year to being swept away by the division rival Lightning the next, the team just could not keep it together come the postseason.

Usually, I’d be the last guy to fully adhere to a player or coach’s past as he moves on to new and greener pastures, but there’s something about Boudreau that doesn’t strike me as a winner, and it’s not just his Cherubic appearance. His offensive gameplan is very appealing to watch and results in plenty of goals on the board. The problem is, the lack of defensive responsibility leads to the other team lighting the lamp frequently as well. Once Boudreau finally tried to implement some semblance of defense into the system, he quickly lost superstar Alex Ovechkin’s ear. Don’t think for a second Anaheim players didn’t observe this from across the country. If Randy Carlyle lost this team’s ear, why the hell do the Ducks think Boudreau can find them?

In fact, of the two Southeast division coaching casualties, I think Paul Maurice would have been a better fit in Anaheim. While his team in Carolina, may have felt he misused them, I feel like Maurice would have a better go of it in Anaheim, effectively using guys like Getzlaf and Perry and jumpstarting them. These are the fun and gun guys Boudreau had in Washington. 

I hope Boudreau proves me wrong, because he is a genuinely good guy, and a true hockey guy. And humble.

Unfortunately, color me skeptical on this one.

Quick Weigh-in on proposed four “conference” NHL Realignment

October 31, 2011

I am absolutely fine with the idea on principle, including the “divisional” first round playoffs. It also matters not to the whether the Wings or Jackets end up in the East (or Nashville for that matter).

My major problem with the current proposed “conferences” if the separation of the Penguins from all four of their current division rivals. Not only that, but it essentially beaches the Pens from their non division rivals as well, most notably the Capitals.

Penguins Flyers is one of the most, if not the most, heated rivalries in the game. To be limited to a simple home and home series every year as would be the case here is absolutely ludicrous. Ditto for their rivalry with the Rangers. The idea is just stupid, plain and simple. Toss the Lightning or Canes in with all the former Northeast division teams and put the Pens where they belong, mixing it up with their true rivals.