NHL Round 4 Picks: ‘One’

Good to see my Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. After this round Natalie Thomas clinched the playoff picks, so congrats to Natalie on the win. Bragging rights to her, since we didn’t come up with a ‘digital prize’ for winning. ūüôā But she just got back from vacation so that’s a prize in of itself. Only place I plan on visiting this summer is Toronto. Exotic Toronto? Not so much. ¬†Will get me out of town for a couple of days though. ¬†Natalie had the lead going into the last round and clinched the victory.

Onto sports. A team trying to win fans in a non-traditional market. Bad ownership and they lose season after season which doesn’t help getting a foothold in the area. They end up moving elsewhere. Talking about the Vancouver Grizzlies of course. Oh, you thought I meant a team in the news this week. Then I guess I’ll talk about them.

Thrashers to Winnipeg. First thought was the fans in Atlanta got screwed. Sad to see so much Canadian media ignoring the fanbase in Georgia and how they were treated. Main point is the owners in Atlanta were horrible and didn’t even act like they wanted the hockey team. Atlanta Spirit group owned both the Hawks and Thrashers. Payroll last year for the Hawks, 7th highest in the NBA. Thrashers in 4 out of the last 5 seasons were the lowest in the NHL. To have the lowest payroll, in a league where the Coyotes are owned by the league itself is a sign you do not want a team. And employees found out about it online. Nice. From a reporter in Atlanta. Great opening to the article.

“This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2011/05/31/thrashers-atlanta-were-never-given-a-chance/

Another article mentioned now we found out they’ve wanted to sell the team as far back as 2004. ¬†While they were lying to fans about wanting to keep the team going. ¬†Canadian media trying to portray it as “Atlanta didn’t want hockey” when it is much more complicated than that.

Back to teams still in the playoffs. Unlike the Canucks and the pressure they’ve been under, for me this has been a pleasant surprise. I still remember the amount of Vancouver fans who jumped OFF the bandwagon after Game 5 against Chicago. Left and right on Twitter there were running away. Vancouver does have diehard fans, but I’ve seen evidence that there is a lot of bandwagon fans. I commented on Carmen Cruz’s blog she wrote about that phenomenon in BC. It’s weird. I lived in Ottawa and Toronto during playoff runs. They don’t have the same amount of flaky fans.

http://www.carmencruz.ca/2011/05/canucks-craze.html

Hockey fans for almost every other NHL team, are die-hards. They’ll either sink or swim with their team. Canuck fans (*again, this is not directed towards the few hardcore Canuckleheads I know*) are so quick to turn their back on their team after a few crappy games. Fickle I tell ya. F-I-C-K-L-E.

As JP Kirby on Twitter from New Brunswick said ‘So it’s all set….Canada’s Team vs Vancouver.’

http://twitter.com/#!/the506

Never subscribed to the silly ‘your team is gone so cheer for a Canadian based team’. Makes no sense. Another quote online was ‘Canada is a country not a city, this is the NHL not IIHF’.

Let’s assume Boston was not in it. I have not visited Vancouver and my family is all from Atlantic Canada. If I go down the ‘jingoistic’ road, there are more Canadian players on Boston or even Tampa Bay. So wouldn’t you cheer for a team with more Canadians? Especially with the Stanley Cup tradition of bringing the Cup home. More Canadian born players means the Cup would be spending more time in the Great White North.

Edmonton Journal agrees with me. I like Edmonton, except in the 1988 and 1990 finals. “Root for the Vancouver Canucks? Are you insane?”

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/05/30/why-i-am-cheering-for-canadas-team-the-boston-bruins/

Dan Cleary won with the Red Wings and brought it home to Newfoundland. First player from Newfoundland to win it. More of a connection to me than the Canucks/Flames/Oilers winning a Cup. Bruins also have Newfoundland born Michael Ryder. Tampa Bay had Teddy Purcell also from The Rock. And San Jose had Ryane Clowe from Fermeuse, NL. I don’t know where this influx of players from my home province are from. Good to see though.

Canadian teams won the Cup all the time until the late 1990s. The ‘Canada’s Team’ idea is one that I think is a media creation. ¬†Did Toronto fans want Montreal getting far last year? No. ¬†Did Habs fans cheer for the Sens when they were in the Finals? No. ¬†Flames/Oilers would never cheer each other.

My team for years has been the Boston Bruins. Still remember 1988/1990 even though I was a kid. Some reason 1988 is more memorable. Probably because I thought we had a shot against the Oilers then during Game 3 realized ‘no, they don’t’. In 1990 Gretzky was gone, which meant Boston lost in 5 games instead of 4. Better than a sweep I suppose.

Bad luck for any team who got to the Finals and had to face those 84-90 Oilers teams. Similar to ‘We got to the NBA finals, this is great….. we are facing Michael Jordan’. That never ended well.

Since then it’s been a long time. Big reason was the owner has been cheap. Infamous in that regard. So he must’ve really liked the salary cap. Forgotten to most hockey fans was that Boston was good for a few seasons after 1990. Back to back seasons lost in the Conference Finals to Mario Lemieux’s Penguins. Again, another team in their prime. If the owner wasn’t so cheap Boston would’ve gotten a free agent to help. They didn’t. If you want proof, I give you Dimitri Khristich.


Following the 1998-99 season, his second year with the Boston Bruins, Khristich took his club to arbitration and was awarded a $2.8 million dollar salary. Feeling he wasn’t worth the money, Bruins General Manager Harry Sinden opted to walk away from the contract making Khristich an unrestricted free agent. This marked the first-time ever than an NHL franchise opted to walk away from a player after losing an arbitration case.

1st time ever, wonderful decision guys. Today this happens quite a bit. However that’s because there is a salary cap so it makes sense. Only have a certain amount you can spend so sometimes you have to cut someone because you can not pay them. 1990s, no such thing in place. Even if teams didn’t agree with the amount a player was awarded, they would sign the player to keep his rights. You could trade him away and get something for him in return. Boston lost a player and got nothing to show for it. Huh? This was the 1990s Bruins in a nutshell.

Hockey Night in Canada has all of Boston/Vancouver. For those in the US it is split between Versus and NBC. Thankfully the last year for that. NBC will air every Cup Final game after this year.

Looking at CBC it will be pretty even when it comes to loyalties [real or perceived] on the broadcasts. Don Cherry, we all know who he is for. If you saw Game 7 of Boston/Tampa Bay you saw him wearing Boston Bruins stuff. Ron Maclean, might not be for Boston per se. However his least favorite player is Alex Burrows. [A link to those who weren’t paying attention earlier in the season]

http://www.nowpublic.com/sports/ron-maclean-alex-burrows-video-hnic-host-rips-burrows-2558287.html

HNIC’s Glenn Healy joked on FAN590 that he’s not liked in Vancouver. He was quoted earlier that he hated the Green Men, and Glenn also played for the 1994 Rangers. Not a good combo. Although, the Green Men are silly. It’s a joke that’s been beaten into the ground.

On the Canucks side the play by play guy will be for them, Jim Hughson. I know he would disagree with that. He’s in the situation where he has to say he’s impartial. Jim born and raised in BC. Called local Canucks games on radio and TV over the years. Now does all the Saturday Vancouver games on CBC. Who does he want to win? We all know. But some announcers have to put on a facade of being impartial. Others don’t. Jack Edwards of NESN is over the top in his bias for Boston. I give him credit for being honest. I can see a journalist trying to be viewed as not cheering for one side over the other. Play-by-play announcers are different. Jim Robson’s call of the Canucks winning Game 6 of the 1994 Finals come to mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSdIHTx1-DE

If he was trying to be viewed as ‘cheering for neither team’ it would have been boring. No one would have put it on YouTube. Cherry is for Boston, Hughson is for Vancouver. We all know this. Nuff said.

This playoff is like the Vancouver Olympics for me. Something I’ve followed but been a bit ‘out of the loop’. I work midnights which makes watching the games difficult. Those afternoon games, forget it. That wasn’t happening. Game 7 of Boston/Montreal I could watch some, however at 10pm had to leave for work. So I missed the overtime winner. It’s always something.

How much of the series I will see live? I’m not sure. ¬†Start time is horrible for me. ¬†I leave home at 10pm, puck drops at 8pm. ¬†So I miss most of 1 period every time as I go to work. ¬†Only game I will be home for is Game 5, if necessary. ¬†So I hope for Boston in 5, crazier things have happened. ¬†Lots of people mentioning the 1995 Finals. ¬†Detroit vs New Jersey. ¬†Red Wings overwhelming favorites. ¬†What happened? ¬†Devils in 4. ¬†I don’t expect that to happen.

Natalie and I are both going with Boston this round. ¬†She had Boston picked before, while I thought they wouldn’t make it out of Round 2. ¬†But a Bruins blogger on SBNation’s ‘Stanley Cup of Chowder’ also thought the same thing. ¬†I told you this is a pleasant surprise for us Bruins fans.

With her win I should link again to her website [which has her blog], Twitter and Facebook. ¬†Not quite a Twilight-American Idol-Reality TV-related thing. ¬†Hey, it’s all I got. [Read her blog and you’ll understand my reference]

http://nataliethomas.ca/

http://twitter.com/#!/NatalieTWN

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Thomas/114191888624177?v=app_4949752878

And I should end this post soon. ¬†Can you say LONG? ¬†Note The Weather Network just started in HD on Monday. ¬†New set and look even if you have it in standard def. right now. ¬†I’ll have to show my tweet that was shown on air. ¬†However, I’m almost at 1800 words. ¬†Think you want to read something else at this point. ¬†Obviously the U2 song in the title is ‘One’. ¬†I went with a simple one.

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