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Contenders & Pretenders

May 5, 2012 Leave a comment

[originally post for www.betonhockey.com April 23, 2012]

It only varies by a couple of weeks to a couple of months each year, but if there’s anything that functions like clockwork in the NHL, it may just be the Vancouver Canucks’ elimination from Stanley Cup contention.

As the Los Angeles Kings gradually got up on the Canucks in their quarterfinal series by one game, then two, then three, the question that kept resounding in my head was, “Are the Kings actually legit contenders this year, or are the Canucks total pretenders?”

Of course, I’ll subjectively take the opportunity to rag on the Canucks whenever I can, but objectively speaking, there’s no reason Vancouver should have been considered a pretender, or lost the series. As much as many mock the President’s Trophy for being meaningless in the long run (myself included), it’s certainly a poignant marker of how darn good you were all year. The Canucks had a good team this season, and their players had productive seasons too — both Sedin’s finished in the NHL’s top 30 for points, even with Daniel missing ten games; Hamhuis was 6th in league plus/minus at +29, Schneider finished eighth in save percentage with .937, and tenth in GAA with 1.96; Luongo finished 14th in wins with 31 – but when it came time to put up, they got shut up. After all, the first seed is supposed to have their way with the eighth seed that just managed to sneak into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, right? Were they looking to far ahead – all the way to their return to the finals – without remembering the first step is the first round?

During the regular season, Vancouver finished 16 points ahead of LA in the standings, and scored 53 more goals than them (LA was second last in the league in Goals For), yet they only managed to split their season series against the Kings 2-2, and were outscored 7-9 by them in those four games. When it came around to playoff time, Vancouver only won 1 of 5 games, and was outscored 12-8, by a team that was synonymous with being unable to score all year. For a team that many thought Vancouver would walk all over (admittedly, myself included), LA kind of had their way with the Canucks all year – most importantly, when it counted.

So what went wrong? The biggest excuses are likely that Daniel Sedin wasn’t around the whole series, but his 2 assists in 2 games were still good enough for 5th in points on the team, ahead of 17 others who produced less. Henrik Sedin’s 5 points were equal to LA’s point leader, Dustin Brown. Two of Brown’s though were short-handed goals in the same game, and absolute daggers at that. All in, LA’s players recorded 30 points amongst themselves, while Vancouver only managed 23.

Goaltending-wise, it’s not like things were all that bad – Schneider’s 3 starts produced a 1.31 GAA and .960 save percentage (actually better than LA’s Jonathan Quick, who posted a 1.59 GAA and .953 save percentage), while Luongo was admittedly worse with a 3.59 GAA and .891; but each had an equal amount of losses to their credit. Quick faced 172 shots, while both Vancouver goalies combined only saw 165.

Many are going to gripe that there should have been a penalty on the play that saw Dan Hamhuis turn the puck over to Jarret Stoll, who buried the OT winner – even if that were valid, that’s one game, out of four lost. That’s why they’re seven game series. Some are even going to point at the extended layoffs between games 3,4, and 5 due to arena booking conflicts – truth be told, that was actually probably more of an advantage for Vancouver, who needed injured players like Daniel Sedin to heal and return. And some yet may just be embarrassed by the diving antics of guys like Ryan Kesler – well, you should be, that was just embarrassing.

But all excuses and kidding aside, now that the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared in this series, we’d be foolish not to consider the Los Angeles Kings a legit Stanley Cup contender – after all, they did just eliminate the league’s #1 seeded team. The Kings proved their toughness through the first round, and have big bodies that can cause a lot of damage against tougher teams. They’ve proved they can neutralize a strong offence with hot goaltending and a potent penalty kill, and their offence is clicking. The additions of Darryl Sutter, Jeff Carter, et al are beginning to make it look like LA’s owner Dean Lombardi knew what he was doing all along.

So if you can beat the best team in the league, who can’t you beat? It’s time the LA Kings are painted as a contender — we know now who the real pretenders were.

My Annual “Canucks Choke” Post — 2012 Edition!

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s such a beautiful thing. And you can count on it like clockwork. The Canucks are gone — 2012 edition!

As far as I’m concerned, Jarret Stoll’s probably done nothin’ for nobody (probably not true), but after this goal, he need not do anything again. His one shot cashed the cheque the LA Kings’ twitter wrote on April 12, “To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome.”

Let’s see that, just one more time:

So who’s fault is it this year?

For a more in-depth/objective analysis by me of the LA/VAN series, click here for my article at betonhockey.com

 

2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Canucks vs. Kings

April 14, 2012 3 comments

Canvassing the Caucuses: An Election-Style NHL Playoff Preview during Election Season

PART 5

by Peter Nygaard (follow him on Twitter)

We’ve already taken a look at the Eastern primaries, so now let’s examine the polls out West.

Western Primary

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (8)

[also see: St.Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks,  & Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings]

  • The Issues:
    Family Values — In the 1999 NHL Draft, Vancouver held the second and third picks in the first round. After drafting left-winger Daniel Sedin, the Canucks opted to use the third pick on his twin brother, center Henrik Sedin. The Canucks have played them almost exclusively on the same line throughout their entire collective career. When Henrik won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in 2009-10, he was even considerate enough to get injured the next year, giving Daniel a chance to showcase his skills.
  • Health and Fitness — Nobody asked to see Ryan Kesler buck naked in this year’s Sports Illustrated “Body Issue,” but that having been said, you can’t deny that the dude’s in good shape.
  • Political Dirt:
    The Canucks enjoy tremendous depth. Some teams have gone as far as accusing Vancouver of stealing its players when they were turned around. The NHL has yet to file a formal inquiry.
  • Campaign Promises:
    If elected, the Canucks promise not to riot. Seriously, we only riot when we lose in Game 7 of the Cup Finals. Or when we get to the Cup Finals. Or when we beat the Blackhawks. Promise. :o)

  • The Issues:
    American Exceptionalism — Team captain Dustin Brown and starting goalie Jonathan Quick are two prominent members of the Team USA hockey club. They are also prominent reasons why the Kings are where they are. Quick posted a Vezina-worthy season, winning way too many 2-1 and 1-0 games for a goalie’s comfort, while Brown led all L.A. forwards in plus-minus, while dealing with the responsibilities that come with wearing the ‘C’.
  • A Winning Combination — Less than a season after the Flyers took such great care in breaking up forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, the two were reunited when Carter was traded to the Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson. The Flyers soured on the perceived immaturity displayed by the talented twosome, but they both played key roles in Philly’s run to the Cup Finals in 2011.
  • Kingdom Confidence — according to the LA’s Twitter, the Kings are playing for every Canadian that does not reside in British Columbia.
  • Political Dirt:
    The Kings are the second-lowest scoring team in the NHL and score less than all of their playoff peers. Can such a chaste team rally support in Hollywoodland? The Kings score less than A.C. Green.
  • Campaign Promises:
    If elected, the Kings promise to make hockey relevant again in the City of Angels. L.A. was rabid about the Kings in the Gretzky days. It’s a stretch to say they’ll become that popular again, but a playoff run would certainly be a start.

Vote For: Vancouver Canucks in 7

[editors note: SDC has LA winning the series]

Hockey Talkie: Status Report on the NHL’s Long-Term Front-Loaded Contract Signings

December 16, 2011 1 comment

[Originally post for betonhockey.com on December 6/2011]

Alright all you NHL teams that tried to weasel your way around the NHL salary cap by signing players to long-term front loaded contracts, how have your deals been working out for you so far? You thought you were pretty smart by signing those sneaky but legal deals, so let’s see what you’ve come up with so far.

New Jersey Devils, you made the most publicized deal of the bunch, signing Ilya Kovalchuk at age 28 to a 15 year, $100 million dollar contract; keeping him as your property until 2025 when he’ll be 42 years old. That very same year, Kovy appeared in 81 games and put up his worst year’s point total (60) since his rookie year when he only had 51 – a far cry from the 98 he put up as a Thrasher in 05-06. Oh, and you missed the playoffs last year too. You better hope he picks his socks up, because no team in their right mind is ever going to be involved in a trade for that much money for a player with such relatively poor point production. The only offsetting factor is that Kovalchuk’s an outstanding player. He could neutralize most of this heat by playing like a superstar again. If he doesn’t, the Devils get a FAIL on this one.

Philadelphia Flyers, you signed Chris Pronger at age 37 to a 7 year, $34 million deal that locked him up in orange until 2017, when he’ll be 43. You also made him your captain. You’ve had decent playoff success, but still failed to win the Cup. Pronger’s been injured on numerous occasions, with a knee and eye injury being the most recent. Last year he only appeared in 50 games, his lowest since 94-95, and consequently had his lowest point total since then as well. This season he’s missed games due to a virus, the afore mentioned eye injury, and surgery on his knee. Is he going to make it to 43? Although Pronger brings a lot of veteran leadership and experience, I’d say Philly is behind the count on this one. [update: on December 15/2011, it was announced that Pronger will miss the remainder of the NHL season and playoffs due to post-concussion syndrome]

New York Rangers, looks like you didn’t think your signing of Scott Gomez in 2007 for seven years and $51.5 million was that great a move after all, considering you paid him $18 million of that contract before flipping him to the Montreal Canadiens for them to pay the remainder. Might have been a good play though, Gomez’s point production is constantly under criticism, and he’s coming off a career worst point total of 38 (his best was 84 in 05-06 with the New Jersey Devils) — pretty poor for a centerman. He’s the Habs’ problem until 2014, when he’ll be 34 years old. In the end, a win for NYR for moving him, and a tie at best or loss for Montreal when it’s all over.

Vancouver Canucks, you inked Roberto Luongo at age 32 to a 12 year, $64 million contract, keeping him a Canuck until 2022, when he’ll be 43. As much as I hate the Canucks, there’s no question that Roberto is an elite goaltender, so I understand your wanting to keep him around. Thing is though, as great of a run you had last season, Roberto let in more than 20 goals during last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. Between that and your stars not scoring, you failed to win your franchise’s first Stanley Cup, and your fans destroyed your city. And that was only year one. You’ve got 11 to go, and Lu has already been shaky; giving way to “backup” Cory Schneider multiple times this season. Many think that Schneider should be the team’s #1 goaltender. Do that, and you’ll have $5.3 million dollars sitting on the bench every year you allow it. It’s great to have a President’s Trophy winning season and all, but if you fail to win the big trophy, it’s all for not. If Luongo can’t be consistent when it counts over the next decade, Vancouver loses this one. And maps may have to be re-drawn over the area that used to be the city of Vancouver, if rioters are given any more reason to cause carnage.

And New York Islanders, the pièce de résistance unquestionably still belongs to you. In 06-07, you signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67.5 million contract – keeping him on Long Island until 2021, when he’ll be 40 years of age. Apparently you were not informed that Rick needed to be kept in an antique store with a “FRAGILE” sign around his neck. You got two decent seasons out of him right off the hop, but it has been downhill from there. Due to injury, Rick played in only five games in 08-09, eight games in 09-10, and just 26 last season. Goaltending has been nothing short of a metaphorical revolving door, as DiPietro has shared the net with multiple goalies – none of which seem to be able to keep pucks out of it. The team has been, or close to, dead last in league standings the last number of years. You haven’t made the playoffs since Rick’s first season with the team. Between hip surgery, knee surgery, groin problems, neck injury, concussions, facial fracture, and sickness, DiPietro has only been able to play in a fraction of the games you surely hoped he would. And when he did play, the team still ended up being bad. Sorry NYI, there’s just no way you come out on top from this one. [update: on December 15/2011, DiPietro was placed on injured reserve yet again, after suffering a groin injury]

So, NHL owners, what have you learned?

My Annual “Canucks Choke” Post, and some Vancouver Riot Commentary.

June 19, 2011 7 comments

 

There’s just so much ammunition to fire.

First of all, the Canucks BA-LEW ( with a GAA of 8.05, Ba-“Lou”, perhaps?) IT, and successfully, once again did NOT win the Stanley Cup; once again shattered the hopes and dreams of fans who, quite frankly, should have known better, and sent the city into a cannibalizing, lawless, character-altering, violent riot.

I’m going to tackle this in two parts: the hockey part and the insane aftermath part.

Hockey-wise, the Canucks had everything going for them in Game 7 (the home-ice advantage winning pattern seemed to be the primary leverage, as well as the Olympic hosting/Cup winning tradition), and none of it ended up mattering because the goalie who was supposedly the best in the world let in too many goals, and the regular season’s leading scorers didn’t score any goals. You can collect all the regular season trophies you want — President’s Trophy, Western Conference Championship, Art Ross, maybe even a Vezina Trophy – but if the players who won or helped win those trophies don’t perform in the final circumstance, said team will never win the Stanley Cup, THE ultimate trumping trophy.

It’s pretty brutal when the team that was picked to win the Cup before the first puck of the season was dropped can’t even score a single goal in a franchise-defining game like in this year’s Game 7. I hate to question the heart of players in that situation, but it seems like Boston was the only team that showed up to play that night, and they were unquestionably the better team at the game of hockey (which it should all be about, but more on that later).

On paper, the Canucks should have Harlem Globetrotter’ed the Bruins; instead they got their show ran by a team whose top scorers had at least 40 less points than theirs, a goalie who beat them up, and a 43 year old (Mark Recchi, who seems like he could still play 2 or 3 seasons with his level of production). Don’t you dare blame it on injuries either, as both teams were filled with players ready to fall apart if a strong enough gust of wind blew through the dressing room. If you’re going to do interviews and tell people how playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was something you dreamed of as a kid, or how your team is going to become legends after you win (Kesler), try not to embarrass yourselves and your fans in your home rink by not even scoring one measly goal in the most important game of your lives.

Now, regarding the riot that followed. I mean, it was just so predictable, wasn’t it? If you Google image search “Vancouver Riot”, you have to specify which year you want pictures from (seriously, look for yourself).   Like I said, fans were told their team was going to win it all from the outset of the season (and every season prior). You place that level of expectation on a city that still had memories of 1994’s Game 7 failure in mind, mix it in with being dubbed “Canada’s Team” (though every team from a Canadian city left standing in the playoffs is named that), and the further expectation of living up to the Olympic success in that very building, as well as the sea of people outside of it watching it on the big screen; was the outcome anything but predictable, especially from a riot-prone city? It became more than just about a hockey score a long time ago.

Everyone, from Vancouver’s mayor and the Premier of BC to the Canucks’ staff and players, have vocally condemned the riots, and rightfully so. What those people did was atrocious. Their actions were comparable to those of the citizens of Middle Eastern countries today amidst conflict – only instead of fighting for their democratic freedoms and right to live, these jokers were fighting and burning police cars because their favourite hockey team lost.

While everything about the riot bothers me, one thing that bugs me just a little more is the blatant minimization of the participants by the afore mentioned delegates. Every commenter has gone out of their way to say that the people rioting were a small, isolated group of anarchists, which were not Vancouver Canucks fans. And while perhaps (and hopefully) that is true, I just don’t see how you can tell me that out of the thousands of people congregating in downtown Vancouver outside of Roger’s Arena, and the nearly 20,000 people who were inside the arena, and would eventually leave and join that mass, that not one of those who started/participated in the violence was a Canucks fan. Wade through the uncountable amount of riot pictures and video; these people are wearing $200 replica Canucks jerseys with the name of their favourite player stitched on the back, they paid thousands of dollars on tickets to go to games, they painted their faces, dressed up in team colors…. Those just aren’t the kind of investments a non-fan makes. If these people aren’t fans, I just have to wonder – what exactly is the criteria for being a Canucks fan? Wasn’t it the Vancouver organization that came up with the “We Are All Canucks” marketing campaign slogan? I support the condemning of rioters and their actions, and even the disowning of fans actually; but denying that these people were fans of the team seems like a stretch, even for a city in full-blown damage control. Vancouver, you have plenty of upstanding citizens and loyal, civilized fans (very encouraging to see the droves of people coming out to clean up the city the next day); but for once just admit, you’ve got a whole lot of crazy ones too. How many more riots will it take before someone finally admits this?  For those who make the case that Vancouverites would have rioted no matter what the outcome of the game, I counter with Newton’s Third Law (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction); they went bananas in the best, most peaceful way possible when Canada won Olympic gold in 2010 in the very same location, but in times of defeat the people congregated in that area seek to implode the place.  For their team being 40 years old, “bad” Canuck fans sure act like adult-sized, criminal versions of small children throwing tantrums because they didn’t get what they want.

And what is there exactly to be cheering about, when you’re standing on top of an upside down, burning police car, with your hands in the air, yelling at the top of your lungs, posing for pictures? Morons, I tell you. Probably the same people that smashed the windows of the Chapters and didn’t steal a single book.  And did it annoy anyone else that the media was more concerned about discovering the identity of a couple making-0ut during the riot than idenitfying rioters they said they were going to punish to the full extent of the law?

For me, it all comes down to this tried and true formula, yet again: The Vancouver Canucks choked, and their idiot fans took it too far and rioted. Every reason I don’t cheer for Vancouver underscored itself once again; not for the first time, and likely not for the last. Don’t worry, Ryan Kesler, at least Kevin Bieksa thinks you’re a legend.

Told you so!

Anti-Canucks Assessment, Gretzky’s Gall, and a Lebron/Heat chime-in.

June 12, 2011 2 comments

This year’s Stanley Cup Final is just so incredibly polarizing in terms of how valuable home-ice advantage is, it’s amazing.  Name another series where you’ve seen one team lose on the road either by shutout, or only by 1 goal (and not score more than 2), but then upon returning home absolutely obliterate their opponents by scores more fitting of low-scoring football games.  I’ve never been much a believer in home-ice advantage affecting the outcome of games – obviously it’s nice to play in your own digs, not have to travel, have extra prep time, the comfort of your own dressing room, and the support of your home fans – but in the end, all those things are only small advantages, not game outcome determiners; and all those things can go right out the window if the visiting team gets up a goal or two.  But to see the home team’s scores in each game; it’s enough to think that those little advantages have added up somehow.  Besides the fact that the Stanley Cup will be awarded in the next 2 games, it’ll be interesting to see if the winner claims victory on the road or at home.  As I’ve written about before, for the winner’s sake, I hope it’s on their home turf (which now, can only be Vancouver).

Speaking of which, I’ve been contemplating my storied anti-Vancouver Canucks stance more and more as the Canucks have pushed the envelope as far as they have this season.  If I had to whittle down to the root of my hatred, it’s always come down to 2 ultimate factors:  1) The Canucks are always heavily favoured to win by local fans and media, always choke, and have never won the Cup; and therefore 2) their crazy, rabid riot-prone fans cannot accurately claim them to be the best (though they have always continued to do so) without having done just that.  You may or may not hate the Oilers, Flames, Leafs, Habs, Ducks, Bruins, Hawks, Avalanche, Stars, Wings, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, or Penguins; but the fact remains that those teams have all got it done (at least once), and they and their fans will always have that to hang over Vancouver and their fans until they win. 

I guess it comes down to your fandom rooting – I respect a fan that has been cheering for their team from the start, through the dark times, and finally has their cheering rewarded; but I also respect cheering for a team that is rooted in success.  Both Finals teams offer desirable conclusions to both scenarios. 

My latest thought on my personal stance is that if indeed the Canucks were to finally win their first Stanley Cup, I would have to at least reconsider my policy on cheering against this seemingly cursed-to-lose franchise, and perhaps even motion to enter fandom of said team.  Geographically, I should be on board as a resident of BC (though I’m from Kelowna, not Vancouver; a city that prides itself on not being Vancouver), but truth be told I’ve always been an “against-the-grain” kind of guy, and have no problem cheering for or aligning with the less popular.  This is a whole other ball of wax too; as it’s come to my attention that the Canucks are the object of many people’s hate throughout this continent (outside of BC of course); and that in itself, is oddly attractive to me.

I can’t say I care for bangwagoners, and I would be afraid of being viewed as such.  If I were a current Canucks fan that learned someone like me was considering jumping ship to their side, I probably wouldn’t welcome me with open arms after the deserved slogging I’ve given them since I was aware they existed.  Hey, if Wayne Gretzky can jump ship from endorsing Coke to Pepsi, and Bret Hart can come back to WWE, then maybe I can come around on the Canucks.  I have to admit, I love the U2 game-entrance music, and the Vancouver fans are probably the best at singing O Canada as a group.   

I’m not saying this will actually happen (they have to win first, of course), but it’s running through my mind.  I think in the end I’m most likely too far gone, but it may be a very brief window to rid some hate from my brain.  Maybe I’m just proving myself a poor anti-fan. 

************************

And lastly, the Miami Heat.  I don’t have much to say other than wow, that sure didn’t work out like it was supposed to.  Quite frankly, I think Lebron deserved the negative attention he drew, but I can’t say I wanted to see such an incredible athlete lose.  They probably should have paid more attention to the Mavericks though, who apparently also really wanted to win.  One other thought I had was of Gretzky and the Oilers’ dynasty days – they didn’t win the Cup the first time they made it to the Finals either (I know the Heat have won before, I am comparing the current roster to that roster), and we all know what ended up following.  I’d be very surprised if Lebron James wasn’t an NBA Champion at some point.  

"You F*$& promised me we were gonna win if I came here, dude."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crap, even Wayne's wearing a Vancouver jersey.

Hockey Talkie: Boston’s Beating Ability, BP’s Bandwagons, Bettman, and some Winnipeg Saga Thoughts.

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

So it’s become abruptly apparent that the Boston Bruins can beat the Vancouver Canucks. And I use the word beat with two definitions: one, mercilessly on the scoreboard; and two, physically mauling them all over the ice… Lucic slapped Burrows around, and even Tim Thomas hammered a Sedin. When I was debating who would come out of the Eastern Conference to play Vancouver, I reasoned that Tampa would offer a strong skating and finesse challenge, while Boston’s would be of a far more physical, bruising variety. I’m dumbfounded why it took Boston until game 3 to figure out the strategy to success, but nonetheless, here we are. With game 4 leading to either a 3-1 Vancouver lead, or a 2-2 series draw, “pivotal” seems to be an accurate descriptive term to use. I wonder which Boston team will show up.

An interesting tidbit I heard on Sportsnet was about how in Round 1, when Raffi Torres hit Brent Seabrook, and how that seemed to be an awakening point for Chicago. The Rome hit on Horton and the resulting game score doesn’t seem to be straying from that pattern.

Speaking of that hit (and the people who have to deal with it), why did they replace Colin Campbell with Brendan Shanahan mid-playoffs? Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a good move and Shanahan will be a great fit, but why not start with a clean slate next season? Now an inexperienced Shanny is thrown directly into the fire, and has to deal with this exact high-stakes scenario, instead of Campbell, who’d surely been down that road before, and probably has a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book to reach a conclusion through.  By the way, this is a clear late, blindside headshot, that he left his feet on.  Open and shut.  There’s no reason Rome should play next game, at the very least.

Also on NHL decisions, I want to know why they can’t strike a deal with the NBA to start one of the leagues one month earlier so the seasons and championships don’t overlap. Seems like a dropped ball in the ratings department, or in the how-can-we-make-Dave-care-about-basketball department. Wait a minute… didn’t Bettman used to work for the NBA??

I haven’t decided yet whether I think Tim Thomas’ laughy-smiles after making saves are Cool Hand Luke-like, or Joker-like.

PICK A TEAM ALREADY

Does Boston Pizza not seem like the world’s worst bandwagon jumper? First they “changed” their name to Montreal Pizza, now they’re Vancouver Pizza…. all the while, their ACTUAL NAMESAKE was in the playoffs the whole time, and doing just fine. If there’s any Boston Pizza restaurants in the actual city of Boston, I wouldn’t be surprised at a rise in police reports of suspicious arsons.

The gym I work at has the TV’s on mute and uses closed-captioning for shows while the satellite radio is playing. Fair enough. But I do have a couple of balks at the CC system…. one: closed-captioning spelled Ryan Kesler’s last name as “Koestler”. While his jersey was on the screen; namebar and everything. Are blind people CC writing for the deaf? And, two: Do sports closed-caption writers put the text boxes right over the score on purpose? It’s bad enough I can’t hear the game, must I be deprived of the score at all times too?

***********************************

“So you want me to pack my life up in Hot-lanta, and move to Winter-peg? No thanks.” said every Atlanta Thrashers player and staff member, upon learning of the franchise’s relocation.

So chasing the Coyotes franchise was just a gigantic waste of Winnipegers time, hey? Why did they not just pursue the Thrashers from the start? Was it just nostalgic sentiments that wanted the Coyotes franchise back? I mean, what would have even been the same, besides Shane Doan? All I know is, it’s gonna get awkward next season when the Thrashers are in Winnipeg masquerading as the Jets, and the Coyotes/real Jets still don’t have legit owners and need a new home. Also, the Coyotes playing in Winnipeg will be interesting too.

So Gary Bettman comes out at the True North press conference and says it’s not going to work in Winnipeg if the building isn’t sold out every night? What kind of deal did you make, Bettman? He’s so proud of himself for making stable deals, and doesn’t like to move franchises, yet he basically threatens to take away Winnipeg’s team again if there aren’t enough people in the rink? Good thing Winnipegers already bought 13,000 season tickets. Well done, Manitobans.

Interestingly, Bettman also said if True North wants the Jets name for the franchise, the NHL will make it available to them.

Forget rennovating the MTS Centre to seat more people, Winnipeg needs to immediately spend every dollar of its cap space on trading for Teemu Selanne.

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