No touch icing is back in the news again due to a serious injury suffered by a player racing for the puck. The debate rages from both sides of the red line from hockey purists and hockey pacifists alike. Surprisingly, this debate fails to make it to the annual general managers agenda each year. Personally, I like to see these guys open up and skate like the wind, but I have a problem with a small guy like Koivu beating a giant like Chara and knowing it could end the formers career. Wouldn't it be a simple thing to still have the race but eliminate the subsequent hit? That way you can still have the puck races and instill some respect between the players.
A recent article in the New York Times, GAY FANS CRITICIZE RANGERS, prompted more posts on the Fannation page than any other NHL headline rumor I have ever seen before, including a few from yours truly. The irony is that this article was not about hockey. It was about the environment at Madison Square Garden, an arena, not exactly known for it's polical correctness. Who can ever forget the the famous chants from the MSG faithful like, "buy a Porche Hextall, buy a Porche," relating to the death of Pelle Lindbergh a former Flyers goalie killed in his Porche. Then there was "beat your wife Potvin, beat your wife." That piece related to a confidential news article that was leaked during Potvin's devorse. Both chants proving that the fans at MSG will sieze any opportunity to raise their voices regardless of the subject matter and carry on. But isn't that what fans do? Make noise and carry on? Yes, the MSG crowd can be harsh and even cruel at times, but you have to take it all with a grain of salt. I'm sure Hextall and Potvin did. Can you imagine for one minute the absolute futility in even attempting to ask NYC fans to be politically correct? I mean has'nt that been tried before.
In many sports arena's around the NHL there is an atmosphere within that makes it a unique and different experience. Look at the flyer fan who broke down the glass in the penalty box to get to Tie Domi. That incident is used over and over again to typlifiy the Flyer fan. The old Chicago stadium was famous for the decible levels of noise produced there for years. Nobody cared what the noise was about, the idea was to just make noise. Go to the Bell center in Montreal for an entirely different experience. The list goes on. The bottom line is fans are there to have fun and get silly in some cases and forget about their problems and the troubles in the world for a few hours. They also pay a good price to do that. Fans will and always have latched on to anything that creates emotion and noise and togetherness regardless of their real world beliefs. Why do you think the wave was so popular? It got everyone involved and people out of their seats yelling. People just get caught up, its normal. How many of you know how to dance the Macarana or do the Bus Stop from an earlier generation. Do you think it was because they liked Disco music? Look at the Village people and remember all the straight guys out there rocking and chanting to "Macho Man" and how many weddings would not be complete without people dancing the "Y.M.C.A" song and dance. People like to have fun.
I for one would not want to change the diversity of the sports stadiums nor do I take anything personally when going into one. If a person or a group of persons have an issue with that, they should not go to sporting events. You want abuse, imagine what a guy wearing an Islander's jersey puts up with during a game at MSG! How about a Maple Leaf jersey at a Habs game? Better still, any Jersey without a Flyer logo on it in Philly, including ones that only advertise, I'm with stupid and stupids with me. You do not see these folks complaining to the stadiums or soliciting the Mayors of these Citys. No, for me buying a ticket means I am not just going to watch a game, I can do that with a television. I'm going to experience the stadium and the atmosphere with no politcal views whatsoever.
So my advice, leave your beliefs and sexuality at the gate, relax enjoy the game and make noise and take in the diversity of the traditions specific to each City. If you cannot do that, watch it on t.v and avoid MSG. Especially the next game since you made this issue public. MSG fans like to latch onto things...just ask Hextall or Potvin or the fan in the NYI shirt.
WOOD I? How many more points would the Leafs have if several of their hockey sticks didn't explode and shatter this year. Is it reasonable to assume they might even be holding the final playoff spot?
I still cannot get into my head why players insist that these composite sticks are better than the wooden ones. There really is no rational argument to support it.
Have players scored more goals since switching to them? Well O.V in Washington is the first player since Mario to score 60 goals. So I don't think so and Mario was not using composite. Does it make you able to shoot harder or faster?
The two fastest and hardest shots ever recorded in the NHL were by two guys using wood sticks. Bobby Hull and Al MacInnis could both slap the rubber harder and faster than any other players retired or active today. Those guys could shoot upwards of 118 mph. A guy named Al Iafrate holds this particular record for the Leafs. He too, used wood. Rick Vaive had more 50 goal seasons in a Leaf uniform than any other player in the blue and white ever, not that the list is that long. Vaive was known to not only use wood but in fact use one of the heaviest sticks in the NHL. Was Vaive an overly gifted and talented player or is it just possible that he scored a lot more goals than he should have because his stick didn't break. How many 50 or 60 goal seasons might have been squandered by Mike Bossy by one timers ruined by his stick exploding and being caught off balance and without a stick in his hands putting his team at a further disadvantage?
Puck handling skills, well I don't think wood hindered the likes of Adam Oats, Doug Gilmore, Bobby Orr, Pat Lafontaine or Gretzky when he was tearing up the league early in his career.
So, is it that there are fewer scoring chances now a days. Then wouldn't it be prudent to go with the percentages of using something that will not break when the opportunity arrives to let one go?
Quicker release maybe? I don't think Brett Hull was complaining, which is, in hindsight a pretty strong endorsement all on its own.
So, what does that leave?
I've got it!
It must be the price! Surely these new composites are saving the teams thousands.