As a former goaltender, Mike Smith was totally in the right.
Great piece by Eric Francis. If Edwards’ statements are accurate (rather than just marketing talking) then it is going to be a bad stretch ahead to be a Calgary Flames fan.
Just when it appeared the Flames were finally ready to move wholeheartedly in the right direction, Edwards issued the type of directive that got this franchise into this mess in the first place.
Instead of building slowly towards something the city can eventually be proud of again, comments like that suggest the organization is destined to, once again, ignore the virtues of patience and better judgment by aiming for something that is not only completely unattainable but counterproductive.
Not so, argued president Ken King, who heard the rapid backlash.
“Trying to win and rebuilding are not mutually exclusive,” insisted King.
“We are not straddling the line of trying to balance — we are completely committed to the rebuilding process and should be judged on our recent and future moves.”
To think a team can jettison Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and likely lose Miikka Kiprusoff to retirement and somehow snap a four-year playoff drought despite receiving no NHLers in return is beyond nonsensical.
So, why even float the idea out there?
While it’s important players continue to strive for wins throughout the process, standings should be irrelevant the next year or two. Improving with a re-stocked lineup should be the goal, however long it takes.
Feaster admitted Monday he hadn’t been as intellectually honest as he could have been the last two seasons by mortgaging the future to help a bad team. Edwards’ stated goal promotes more of the same.
The stage finally appeared to be set the last week for a prolonged rebuild fans have been screaming for. Calgarians are willing to sit through the growing pains absolutely necessary for every organization in pro sport to endure before going from the basement to Cup challengers.
The Flames’ age-old mandate calling for a team to challenge for the Cup every year isn’t realistic. Every franchise in every sport has to eventually take a step or two back to take one step forward.
By trying to emulate the Harlem Globetrotters, the Flames have looked more like the Washington Generals by advancing past the first round of the playoffs once in the last 24 years.
Ask anyone who has had to haggle out a deal with Bettman behind closed doors and they’ll paint a picture of a brilliant, calculating and ruthless negotiator, who seizes every advantage, who when presented with an opportunity goes straight for the kill. He understands his opposition’s weak points, he knows his side’s strengths, and with a cool head and cold eyes he calculates the path to victory. That’s one reason why his employers, the owners, love him, and pay him the big bucks.
Consider the last NHL labour negotiations in 2004 and 2005. Employing classic divide and conquer tactics, understanding that hockey players in their hearts still feel darned lucky to be playing a game for a living, seeing the cracks in the infrastructure around Bob Goodenow, Bettman soon enough had the union membership enthusiastically sticking knives in the back of their own leader.
And the tipping point of that process?
When the players offered up a 24 per cent salary roll back to avoid a salary cap, and Bettman and the owners gratefully accepted their generosity as a starting point, and then ground them into the dust.
The players hired Donald Fehr as their union head because he is Bettman’s equal. He is there to guard them against falling prey to their own sentimentality about the game, to protect their interests in a negotiation in which everyone understood that they would be giving back, would be surrendering rights and surrendering money guaranteed in the previous collective agreement.
Clearly a student of history, Fehr began by restructuring the union hierarchy so that there was no longer a ready-made group of potential Brutuses who might be turned against him. Bettman and the owners have attempted the same strategy this time around, contacting players directly, whispering about revolts in the rank and file, suggesting that Fehr isn’t telling the whole truth, that it’s his presence alone that is preventing a deal. But so far, it doesn’t seem to be working nearly as well as it did against Goodenow.
We have now also had “good cop” owners enter the picture, we have had Sidney Crosby ride in on his white horse, we have had numerous propaganda volleys from both sides. But what’s been going on away from all of that staged drama is a hard, grind-it-out negotiation, with Fehr playing the same kind of frustrate-the-opposition defence that the New Jersey Devils employed in the bad old days.
It is going to be tough getting to the finish, though surely that’s still in the cards. Fehr is going to negotiate against a deadline – a real hard deadline to salvage the season , wherever that actually lies – and try to hold back any impulsive moves by his membership. Along the way, he’s going to grab whatever he can.
Like when the owners offered to up their “make whole” offer to $300-million this week, thinking that number would turn heads and shift the emotional tide and lead to the players rushing past the other details in their hurry to get back on the ice.
That’s great, Fehr said. Thanks for the money.
Now let’s negotiate the other stuff.
Gee, where have we seen that before?
It is not an election, of course, so perhaps the NHL is just ignoring public opinion, confident as ever that any anger will pass. But if they are trying, they could perhaps do better. It wasn’t just Romney-esque gaffes, though if you define a gaffe as accidentally telling the truth, then Jimmy Devellano qualifies. The Detroit Red Wings executive and alternate governor managed to offend players in an interview with something called Island Sports News, in which he could perhaps have spoken more elegantly.
“It’s very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle,” said Devellano. “The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there.
That’s the way its always been and that’s the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around. It’s not going to happen.” Listen, average Joe: it’s too much for you to comprehend that the really rich guys are the bosses, and they set the rules. Never happens anywhere else, especially for average Joes. Some players responded on Twitter by mooing, just as Ted Lindsay would have done.
Devellano then talked about the “unwritten rule” about not signing restricted free agents to offer sheets, and the fact that not every owner follows that unwritten rule might be the only thing that keeps it from being an admission of collusion. Which Don Fehr, having successfully fought collusion in baseball, just might sprinkle into his motivational speeches should the players waver.
The US$250,000 fine the Detroit Red Wings received will probably keep any other owner or executive from speaking their minds, but sometimes you can divine an owner’s intentions by his dealings with Edmonton City Council. As the league attempts to reduce the players’ share of revenues, Oilers owner Daryl Katz was trying to increase the share of public investment in an arena that is already slated to cost almost half a billion dollars.
“In our view, it is the team that acts as a subsidy for a city’s arena, which is effectively infrastructure, not the other way around,” Katz said in an interview with The Edmonton Journal. “For our part, on the other hand, we’re taking a lot of risk by committing to one of the NHL’s smallest markets for 35 years.” Well, study after study shows that sports arenas do not actually spur economic benefits, so no, the subsidy actually goes the other way. And while Forbes is no Bible when it comes to NHL finances, it puts Edmonton right in the middle of the league in 2011 revenues, and shows the team to be substantially profitable over the last five years. Oh, and city councillor Tony Catarina told the Journal, “They don’t want to pay taxes. They want help now in operating the arena. They want a guaranteed ($6-million per year) subsidy. They want the city to be their tenant in a major office building. They want the casino licence.” Helpfully, the NHL has told Edmonton city council that “absent a lease, and with no state-of-the-art arena either being constructed or about to be, the Oilers would be a candidate for relocation,” according to Journal columnist John MacKinnon. The Oilers official Twitter account then retweeted a link to that column, which as social media strategy goes is a hell of a way to connect with your fans. Nice little hockey team you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.
Ever since Winnipeg decided to build the MTS Centre to only hold just over 15,000 people, I have questioned whether they would ever get a NHL team back. Well it appears they will but the question remains, will it be sustainable in the smallest hockey arena in the league. The Boston Globe doesn’t think so.
All of which is to say that Manitoba has the kind of open space and passing lanes that could turn even Dennis Wideman into a Norris Trophy candidate. If the NHL is going to land there again, the initial pop will be enthralling, intoxicating. Returning an NHL team to that bit of Canadian soil would be like bringing Paragon Park back to Hull. Initially, everyone and his cousin would rush to the rink.
Until the L’s piled up.
Until Winnipegers realized the sticker shock of $120 lower-bowl seats and $250 suite seats (extra for the handwarmers).
Until American TV interests made it clear that they would prefer to air senior women’s bocce tournaments out of Biloxi to anything happening in Winnipeg. Shortsighted, perhaps, but there is a reason TV is referred to as the small screen.
For all Winnipeg has to offer, in terms of city size and sheer love for everything connected to the vulcanized rubber and carbon stick industry, it remains a real stretch for big-time hockey.
As for stadium size, The MTS Centre (15,015) is smaller than Rexall Place (16,839) by over 1000 seats and is over 6000 seats smaller than many new arenas. It’s even smaller than the old Winnipeg Arena (although it does have luxury boxes and other revenue streams that it does not). There also is the question of corporate sponsorship. While Winnipeg is home to an impressive amount of crown corporations, is there the corporate money to keep paying for the boxes and paying top dollar for sponsorship money?
I think it is going to be tight. Winnipeg doesn’t have the wealth that Edmonton does and even the Oilers have struggled at times to fill Rexall Place (which is still a great place to watch hockey – not the Oilers but a good hockey team) and the Flames had a hard time filling the Saddledome this year. I am not talking about the 2011 season but in 2017, things could be a lot tougher than people want to think about. Oh well, they can always move to Kansas City. via
In today’s Globe and Mail
I wonder what will make people say that about us 50 years from now. What are the big things we might be getting really wrong? Chemicals in our foods? Genetic modifications gone wrong? Climate change?
In sports, I think, the haunting question will be about head injuries. It wasn’t until 1943 in the National Football League that helmets became mandatory; in the National Hockey League, not until 36 years after that, in 1979. The first goalie mask wasn’t worn in the NHL until 1959.
And in a whole childhood and adolescence of playing goalie, I didn’t wear a mask until 1965, when I had to wear one on my college team. How could I have been so stupid?
A football wide receiver, 220 pounds, cuts across the middle of the field at 35 kilometres an hour; a linebacker, 240 pounds, cuts the other way at 20 km/hour. The wide receiver focuses on the ball; the linebacker focuses on the wide receiver, knowing that a good hit now won’t just break up the pass but will break down the focus and will of that wide receiver for each succeeding pass in the game.
Two hockey players, almost as big as the football players, but going even faster, colliding with each other and with the boards, glass and ice exaggerating the force of every hit.
Boxers, snapping jabs and hooks at each other’s head, round after round. (But no hitting below the belt; that’s not fair.) Ultimate Fighting: Fist, foot, elbow, knee, bone against bone – get your opponent down, get him defenceless and pound away.
In addition, there are the countless mini-collisions that never make the “Highlights of the Night.” They make players feel a little dizzy, but then seconds later, almost every time, they feel fine. So they must be fine.
As he points out in detail, they really aren’t.
During the lockout a couple of years ago, I watched a lot of hockey on ESPN Classic. The game in the 70s and even 80s was incredibly different and it wasn’t just the mullets. Even hard hitting physical teams like the Philadelphia Flyers or Boston Bruins played a far less physical than even finesse teams today do. The amount of violent hits just were not there. There were ugly incidents but the game was not nearly as physical as it is today. Part of it was the equipment. The equipment of the 70s was cloth with just a little plastic on you knee pads. Today’s players are using a lot of plastic and composite materials that make players not only feel invincible when they hit someone else but magnify the power and intensity of those hits on someone else. Add the fact that the average player is both faster, bigger, and heavier, you have a recipe for disaster, especially when you consider that the head is still the least protected parts of their body.
One thing that Dryden didn’t get at is this ridiculous idea that is spouted by Bettman is that the players have to govern this themselves. As shown in the NFL, players won’t clamp down on illegal hits, it has to come from the league. It has to hurt players in fines and in games lost (which hurts the team as well). This isn’t about the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty hit (which I didn’t see as dirty) but it’s about a crazy about of players losing not only their careers but being able to function as human beings after they retire. As comments by Tie Domi about the death of Bob Probert show, players won’t even protect themselves from that fate so they need someone to step in and do it. The question is will the NHL do it before the Canadian or U.S. government steps in and does it for them?
But now the combative G.M. had taken the biggest hit of his life. Lying on the side of the road was his 21-year-old son, who had stunned the hockey world three months earlier when he’d come out as the first openly gay man closely connected to the NHL. Listening to the sheriff’s voice down the line, Burke could see Brendan in the snow that was still falling, surrounded by strangers who didn’t know a thing about him. He must be so cold, Burke thought, and he could see the furrow in his brow that Brendan always got when he was worried. He could see the paramedics give up and step away, and already ticking in the background were those ten seconds of knee-buckling fear.
Brian Burke has been taking homophobia since then.
Within weeks of Brendan’s death, gay and lesbian advocates were reaching out directly for some of Brian Burke’s candlepower. It felt impossible to say no, but inside Burke was floundering. "It’s a comfort level," he says. "Before all of this, it was just a circle that I didn’t move in. I didn’t have any gay friends. I still don’t, technically. It’s not that I don’t like it, but it’s new territory, a learning process. I’m 55 years old. I’ve spent a lifetime acquiring habits. Before I went to the Pride Parade I was thinking, ‘Good Lord, I’m a tough Irish Catholic hockey player with six kids. I drive a truck, chew tobacco. I hunt. I kill things.’"
Last May, just three months after Brendan’s death, Burke got an e-mail from Jack Keilty, a senior at Royal St. George’s College, a private boys’ school in Toronto. Back in the fall, Jack had founded the gay-straight alliance at his school. There were only two members in the alliance (three if you count the earnest female guidance counselor): Jack, who is straight, and Andrew Mok, a junior at the time and the only openly gay student at RSGC. Despite its single-digit membership, Jack was determined to push the gay-straight alliance forward before he graduated. His first idea was to get Elton John to come to the school, but when that didn’t pan out, his father suggested Brian Burke. In his e-mail, Jack told Burke that he’d followed his son’s story and admired his bravery. He asked Burke if he’d come to the school and talk about Brendan. Burke fired back a one-line e-mail within minutes: "You name the time and the place and I’ll be there."
The school set up a video camera in the front corner of the chapel to record Burke’s speech. It’s a beautiful church with vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows. Burke introduces himself with a warning: "We’ll see how this goes here. I’ve not talked about my son, and I’ll apologize in advance if this doesn’t go real well for me…. My son, who passed away in February, was gay and, uh, just a great kid, a wonderful kid." Burke is tugging at his ear and his voice is cracking. "And died in a car accident, and I haven’t been able to talk about it since then, and as you can see, I’m not quite ready." He’s fighting back tears, and some of the boys are squirming in their seats, afraid of what’s going to happen next. Burke keeps his head down until he can pull himself together. He breaks the tension by apologizing in advance to the teachers in case he drops a curse word or two.
He tells the boys that it took a lot of courage for his son to tell him he was gay: "If you look at the line of work I’m in, the macho image that I have, I’m probably the biggest proponent of hard-nosed hockey that there is on the planet." He reminds them of the Welsh professional rugby player Gareth Thomas, one of the most rugged guys in the world, who recently came out. Some of the kids are bored, and you can see it in their restless legs. He grabs their attention back with a story about bullying when he was in ninth grade. "We had a boy with a learning disability in our class, and I came out of gym class and someone had tipped his books on the floor. Then someone kicked this kid, as hard as he could, as he bent down to pick up his books. I grabbed the kid who kicked him and threw him right through the trophy case on the other side of the hall. Broke all the glass, knocked all the trophies down. I just snapped. I didn’t think it was right." This is the Brian Burke everybody in the room recognizes.
Burke finishes talking, invites questions, and steps back from the podium. The room is dead quiet until Burke needles them: "Not one question in a whole room full of kids?" When a student asks if he regrets tossing that bully into the glass case, Burke doesn’t hesitate. "No. I know your teachers would like me to give a better answer than that, but no…. It seemed like a really good idea at that time, and the bullying stopped."
It’s not a natural path for Burke
Burke still thinks he shouldn’t have spoken at Andrew’s school. "I wasn’t ready," he says. "I’m still not ready." But people keep asking, and Burke keeps saying yes. Saint Michael’s College, Canada’s premier all-boys hockey high school, has asked him to speak. Last July, on a ferociously hot and sticky day, he marched in Toronto’s Pride Parade. Despite the heat, Burke wore jeans and a hockey jersey with Brendan’s name and the number 88 across the back. In October he attended the annual Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) dinner in New York City. And on November 3, Burke and Paul Tagliabue, the former NFL commissioner whose son, Drew, is openly gay, met in Washington, D.C., to talk about how they can work together to address homophobia in pro sports. "After my son came out, I had Hall of Fame athletes come to me and say, ‘My mother is a lesbian’ or ‘My uncle was gay,’" says Tagliabue. "When Brendan came out, Brian had a top hockey player tell him his sister was a lesbian. Moving forward, Brian and I want to work together to try and pull some of these prominent people together through PFLAG. We can do more together than on our own. I know it makes a difference."
Still, Burke desperately wishes he didn’t have to do any of this. He doesn’t want to cry in front of teenage boys. He doesn’t want to stare at the overflowing basket of unopened sympathy cards sitting on his desk. He doesn’t want to tell Brendan’s story to strangers. All he really wants to do is something he’s the best at in the NHL: managing a professional hockey team and winning a fistful of games along the way.
Mostly, though, he doesn’t want to believe he’s the worst possible person for the job that Brendan started, but he knows it’s true. He’s built a career on not blowing sunshine up his own ass and pretending he’s good at something he’s not. He knows that everything he needs now, to carry this water for Brendan, he doesn’t have. Brendan had it, the poise and natural charm, the easy passage between two worlds. Brendan was perfect for the job. Brendan went first. Now he has to go second.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo up close and personal.
This glass cleaning occurred in the third period of the Blues’ 5-2 loss at the Detroit Red Wings.
I am a big fan of Pro Football Talk and it’s publisher, Mike Florio. Today Florio has a great post on Braylon Edwards in which Florio writes about the hypocrisy of the New York Jets and all of professional sports.
Francesa’s core message is on the money. The Jets could have done much more to Edwards, and the idea that they didn’t out of deference to the union is cover for ensuring that a starting-calibre receiver is on the field.
So when you hear any of the various talking heads on ESPN (we noticed several of them doing it today) explaining that the Jets had no choice but to let Edwards play, it’s simply not true. If the Jets wanted to send a message to Edwards and the rest of the locker room, they could have told Edwards to stay in New York this weekend.
But, as Francesa put it, the Jets care about the Dolphins. And they want to beat the Dolphins. And they think that Edwards will help them beat the Dolphins.
What else should we expect? They traded for Edwards two days after he was arrested for assault. Nearly a year later, they’re merely sleeping in the bed they made.
It’s not just the Jets, it is all professional sports teams (and I include many NCAA programs in with that). All they care about winning which translates into making money for the owners. It’s a world where you can beat your girlfriend and drag her up and down some stairs, not only do you not get cut, you get drafted in the first round. You can drive drunk, you can bring multiple guns into the locker room and pull them on a teammate. You can be involved in drug deals, or vehicular homicide. Look at the clean cut University of Florida Gators, 30 arrests since Urban Meyer has come in as coach. When you have that many players arrested, something is wrong but as long as Urban Meyer continues to deliver SEC titles and NCAA championships, will anyone in Florida care?
I am a big Bobby Knight fan. He said one of the most satisfying thing that he did as a coach was win against teams that he knew was cheating because he knew he was playing within the rules. I wish more university presidents, athletic directors, and coaches felt the same way… at every level.
I am not a big Mike Comrie fan for many, many reasons but if I was a General Manager, I would be reluctant to sign Comrie for this story and picture alone. First of all, any hockey player who allows himself to have such stupid photographs like this taken of him shows a lack of judgment but also being married to Hillary Duff and having stories about his teeth grinding hitting the press, makes your player a mockery both inside and outside of your locker room. Same with Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood stories. You just don’t want them to be associated with your hockey team.
If Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones could keep the chatter under control (outside of her gambling that is), then all players who are dating starlets should keep bedroom gossip out of the media.
This is a great story in ESPN about Brendan Burke telling the rest of the Burke family that he is gay.
Your dad thinks through everything. Dad is big, confident and continuously radiates a persona that is rough, gruff, unrelenting and unapologetic. He has a cold, expressionless poker face straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie. Yet, he does this all with the most subtle of Irish smirks that says there is more behind this thick skin. And there is. He calls you "Moose" because you have always been a big kid. He cares very deeply about you and your happiness. You say he has always been there when you needed him. And he has a great sense of humor. Imagine that.
But on this night in 2007, you are petrified of your dad. Because you, Brendan Burke, at 19 years old, are about to tell your dad, Mr. Testosterone, that you are gay.
This is how he told the family.
It is Dec. 30, 2007, and you are in Vancouver with Dad for the holidays to break the news. His new family lives in Vancouver, and his Ducks are in town. You go to the Canucks-Ducks game, and, obviously, Dad is pretty emphatic about wanting to beat Vancouver, his former employer. You root like hell for the Ducks to win so he is in a good mood. But the Ducks lose 2-1. Of course, Daniel Sedin scores a goal against Anaheim, and his brother Henrik adds two assists to help beat Dad, the man who traded for the twins’ draft rights in 1999 while he was running the Canucks.
You almost don’t tell your dad and stepmom as a result of the loss. But you are flying back to Boston the next morning and you want to tell them in person. You feel as if you are going to throw up as you pace the hallways of their condominium. Just as your stepmom is about to go to bed, your younger sister, Molly, grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go and gives you a look that says, "You can do it. Get it done now. I’m here for you."
Just a week before, your older sister, Katie, is the first family member you tell. You had targeted telling your family at Thanksgiving but got salmonella and spent the entire week in the hospital. So you push back your announcement to Christmas.
You are driving home from a family event in Marlboro, Mass., when you decide you want to say it during the car ride. Finally, after a 45-minute ride, you pass the city limits sign of Boston and you know you have to tell Katie. It is incredibly difficult, but your sister is very supportive. Of course she is, you tell yourself, she’s Katie. That same night, you tell Molly and your mom. Everyone is great. Mom tells you she isn’t surprised and had expected it from the time you were a little kid. Moms.
You tell your brother, Patrick, a day or two later. Patrick turns off the car blaring "The Hold Steady" CD, and you tell him as you are walking out to the car to bring in bags. Patrick, like Dad, never one to be fazed, says something along the lines of, "I love you. This doesn’t change anything. Now pick up that suitcase and bring it inside."
But, now, telling your secret to Dad is another story. Molly’s reassuring hand guides you to the couch for the moment of truth. It’s time to tell Dad, a most public example of hockey machismo, that you are gay.
Finally, you say it. Awkwardly. You basically stumble along trying not to make it a big deal before just blurting out, "And I love you guys and wanted to tell you that I’m gay."
There is a brief silence.
Dad is surprised when you tell him that you are gay. He never suspected at all.
Your stepmom speaks first: "OK, Brendan, that’s OK." And gives you a reassuring smile. Then your dad says, "Of course, we still love you. This won’t change a thing."
Your dad and stepmom both get up and hug you and say they love you. You and your dad then sit there alone for about 15 more minutes watching hockey. Your heart rate is still at a snow-shoveling level. You then hug Dad again, and you go to bed.
The relationship never changed after that.
Whatever happens in your life, whatever career path you choose, you know Dad is in your corner. His long shadow of a hockey résumé that once looked like a crutch might now prove to be just the thing you and others need — a powerful and eloquent voice shouting from the mountaintops.
This is far and away more than what you personally expected from your hockey-famous Dad as you prepared coming out to him. When people ask you about your dad’s reaction to your Vancouver sit-down, you initially say, "He’s been great, but I don’t think we’ll see him at any gay pride parades any time soon. But he has been really supportive."
So, you are startled this past summer when you get a call from Dad saying, "Hey, Toronto Pride is this weekend, you should fly up." So, sure enough, you fly up, and you and Dad go to the Toronto Pride Parade together.
If someone had told you before coming out that your dad, Brian Burke, would be attending a gay pride parade with you, you wouldn’t have believed it. You never suspected Dad would disown you or anything like that, but the way he has handled it and the way he talks about it now has, honestly, really moved you. He was a little awkward about it at first. Today, he doesn’t even think twice about it.
It’s a good story and sadly not all parents reacted the way the Burke family did.
I’ll leave the last word to Brian Burke from the story, "I hope the day comes, and soon, when this is not a story."
So the Calgary Flames jumped to the head of the line when it came to H1N1 vaccinations. Are we surprised? It’s long been a practice in Canada where professional and semi-pro athletes get preferential medical treatment. They get a MRI within hours while the rest of us wait months. Elective surgery comes within days while we wait forever. Yes you can say that their job depends on it but a lot of people whose jobs depend on being able to work pain free get stuck on long waiting lists and have to go on disability.
So naturally the team doctors assumed the Calgary Flames could just jump the queue and I assume the person who set up the private clinic thought it was business as usual like it had been so many times in the past. Now you have the Premier determined to “get to the bottom of it” but the reality is that this kind of stuff has been going on since the winter of 1980 when the Calgary Flames moved from Atlanta and stuff like this happens to almost all pro sports teams.
If Premier Ed Stelmach wants to get to the bottom of it, why not show waiting times for the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders, and the Calgary Flames for surgical and medical procedures and compare it the rest of the population who does not play professional sports. I assume they jumped the queue in almost all cases.
I was planning to take in the Islanders Training Camp tonight at Credit Union Centre. As you can see from the screen shots below, the practice schedule has been posted on the Credit Union Centre website here. These screen shots were taken Thursday morning.
When I called out to Credit Union Centre today to confirm the times, I was told that they were not practicing tonight and when I said, “Your website says that they are scheduled to practice tonight.” I was told, “Your mistaken” and the phone was hung up before I could say that I was looking at the website right now. It seems kind of weird for an event this high profile, Credit Union Centre wouldn’t be able to keep it’s website current or even list the morning practices correctly. Not a great job on their part.
Well the New York Islanders are in Saskatoon for training camp this week. As expected, John Tavares looks to be the Islanders best player. The problem is that he is only 18 years old which can’t be a good sign for the Islanders in 2009-2010. Despite being only marginally better than a good AHL team, it is good to see NHL hockey in Saskatoon.
The plan is to take in the practice on Thursday at Credit Union Centre. I’ll be the guy in the Calgary Flames jersey.
I am finding it really, really hard to get excited to watch the Superbowl tomorrow. At work I told the guys that if they wanted to watch the game, I would provide some chips, dips, and beverages for it. They told me they appreciated the sentiment but no thanks. Someone asked if I was working, they would put the game on for me, when I said it was another staff who didn’t like football, they almost sounded relieved.
On the contrary, Grey Cup Sunday is a HUGE day at the shelter. Scores are announced, sides are chosen, and the kitchen and the staff put on a pretty good party for the guys. I did some “market research” this year for the Superbowl and the response was, “I was pretty excited about last years game but I can’t get pumped up about Arizona”. In other words Arizona has been bad for so long, no one really cheers for them or against them. They just kind of exist but not much else.
That’s okay, some of the guys suggested we go all out on Saturday nights when the NHL playoffs start. I have to admit that sounds like a good idea. Of course the best part of the suggestion was this, “Well we could do that right up until the NHL messed around with the finals scheduling when there are like three months between the games 2 and 3 and we have all forgotten what ice even looks like.”
While the Superbowl may be the biggest global event, it can’t compare the passion and excitement that the Stanley Cup playoffs bring across Canada (as long as a Canadian team is still playing). I think Grey Cup Sunday is bigger across Canada as well. Of course it doesn’t help that there hasn’t been a lot of hype for the game and like I said before, no one really hates the Arizona Cardinals (why would you, they are good for some easy victories most seasons) and unlike the Detroit Lions, they don’t even have much of a fan base (other than Rick Bennett). Oh well the NFL Draft is only 84 days away.