Ok, so everyone is probably wondering where I’ve been right? What? You didn’t notice I haven’t been around? Fine. Be that way! So you don’t care that I’ve been ridiculously busy at work and only have time to make comments on the blogs I read, so what? See if I care that you don’t care about me – I DON’T! Ok, seriously, I do! Please come back and read me! I’m just so busy that I don’t have the time to do this as I wish I could. Plus, I’m searching for a new job which is extremely time consuming, but if anybody knows of a job opening that pays well and doesn’t require a lot of experience, feel free to let me know about it. I’ll take you out to dinner after I get said job, because with it’s great salary, I’ll then be able to afford going out to dinner!
Anyway, I have a specific topic I want to discuss and I plan on pissing someone specific off, so by all means, please comment on whether you think I’m right or wrong and if I am wrong, I’ll definitely apologize – but I’m not wrong, so don’t worry about it.
Ok, in the last few weeks, The Puck Stops Here has managed to anger me in ways that only comes about when I am deeply passionate about something; in this case, it is hockey. If you’ve read my previous posts about hockey (here and here), you’ll know this already. In order to properly understand why he has pissed me off, you’ll probably need to read THIS POST, THIS POST AND all of their subsequent comments. This WILL take a while. It’s ok, I’ll wait. (sung to the Jeopardy theme) Dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum. Dum dum dum dum duuum da da da da da. Dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum. Dum, da dum, da dum. Dum. Dum.
Ok seriously, you had to have read those posts and comments or you will not completely understand my position. Did you read them? Honestly? Ok, if not, you asked for it!
Yes, hockey has changed. It is not the same game it was 5, 10 20, or 50 years ago. That happens. Maybe you hadn’t noticed it in other sports, but it does happen in ALL sports.
Football has changed. The rules have changed. The game is harder hitting, the players are bigger and faster and teams have a salary cap. There was instant replay, then there wasn't, now there is again. The game that Jim Brown played is not the same game that Walter Payton played and his game was not the same game that Reggie Bush will be playing. It’s a billion dollar business played by multimillion-dollar athletes. Many of who have a “me first” attitude, which personally, I despise. Watch films of games from the 50’s and 60’s. The game was brutal, players were almost always bloodied, they played on fields that were not nearly as well-taken care of as they are today, but they played their hearts out because they loved the game. I don’t know how many of today’s players see it the same way as they did 50 years ago.
Baseball has changed too. The players are more athletic, train harder, although they rarely ever play injured (god forbid they have a hangnail), and is also a billion dollar business, played by multimillion dollar crybabies who are juiced up. Ok, not all of them. Nevertheless, seriously, who needs a $125 million dollar/10-year contract? Watch the series “When It Was a Game” and you’ll notice the difference between then and now is dramatic. Babe Ruth used to smoke, drink, and go hunting in the off-season. Now if a young guy doesn’t workout or play in the winter leagues, he’ll probably never make it.
Basketball has changed as well. It is starting to recover from the “Jordan hangover” and has some serious superstars that have taken the game to a different era. However it is still not the same game that Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls played. His game wasn’t the same as the game Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played. That game was not the same game Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain played either.
See my point? Hockey too has evolved; it’s changed. We had Gordie Howe. We had Wayne Gretzky. We had Boom Boom Geoffrion. We had Rocket Richard. We had Mark Messier. We had Patrick Roy. Now we have new superstars and maybe we’re in the same sort of “hangover” that basketball had after Jordan. But, we have some fresh, young talented players who will take the league to new heights in the next decade. Crosby, Staal, Ovechkin, Malkin, Miller. I don’t care that in the meantime, there is, as you have put it, mediocrity. To me, the game is still entertaining; maybe not as it once was, but if you watch the game for what it is - a game - it can be pretty good!**
Life is a series of high and low times. Hockey is coming out of its lowest time ever. We knew that it would never be the same after the lockout last year. Whether you care to accept it is your personal choice and it is certainly your right to express your opinion.
However, here is where I take issue with you. I have said a few times in my comments that it may be too early to tell what the complete ramifications of the new CBA are. I’ve also said that the teams that have had success this year, be it in the regular season or the playoffs, may be the future of the NHL, but unless we have a crystal ball and can see what that future is for sure, we can’t speculate on their successes or lack of until they happen. I realize this gives you something to do and a place to debate and I admit, I have taken part of it willingly. Nonetheless, I think your are so blinded by the past versus the here and now that you are unwilling to look at what the future may hold and you chastise everything that the NHL may be trying to accomplish in its future.
I will openly admit, your arguments and responses are well thought out and make sense if you know what the future holds. But you don't know and it appears to me, as your reader, that you don’t acknowledge the fact that you may eventually be wrong. You argue your points with conviction and I admire that, but you tend to not acknowledge or accept that another point of view exists. It is your way or no way.
Here is my point. If you don’t like where the game is headed; if you don’t like having to wallow watching “mediocre” hockey – THEN STOP WACTHING IT and STOP BLOGGING ABOUT IT. I used to enjoy reading your blog because it would get me fired up about things, but recently I realized after re-reading all of your particular comments on the “elite teams” post, that you’re not going to change unless in a few years you’re proven wrong somehow, probably with some metric system that someone will invent. If you’re not going to change, and it's your right not to, I can't keep reading, because I have better things to do than get all fired up about some guy who craps on the game I love.
It’s too bad it has come to this because I certainly don’t like pissing people off and I never intended to write this sort of post on here, but the passion I feel for hockey brings me to this level of anger after reading your blog.
**Of course I don’t have the time to go over everything about how each of the big four sports have changed, I gave a few examples of each and left it at that. Some of the changes have been for the better of the sport and some, many people would argue are not, but they’ve changed nonetheless and are more popular and make more money than ever before. This is where I hope hockey heads, even if it means we lose a little of how great the game once was.