July 31 2009 08:46PM
First, a quick rebuttal to a recent reader comment at FlamesNation. The comment reads as follows: “That’s actually the most terrible article I’ve ever read. I come for news and analysis, not this BS.”
Let me just say that I resent that and I believe the criticism is uncalled for. Furthermore, I’d like to make it clear that . . . oh wait a sec, it seems that for a very rare time, that remark wasn’t directed at me. My apologies, the defensiveness is just a force of habit.
OK, on to today’s business. The truth of the matter is that we should all be thankful it’s July 31 (as of this writing, anyway) and that August is almost here. Of course, August isn’t hockey season but at least now we can say training camp starts NEXT month and, well, that’s a start.
It’s not just that we’re getting closer to the time when the boys of winter will be in action again, it’s also that we’ll soon get to the stage where tedious summer topics of discussion will be a thing of the past. Yes, even without the daily drama of the Where’s Mats Going? soap opera that you all loved so much in the Summer of ’08, the late-July activity in the hockey world makes a fan long for a good mid-season debate about Miikka Kiprusoff’s career trending, Robbie Schremp’s potential or even the merits of the left-wing lock.
Witness some of the hockey material that has been populating sports pages, messageboards and blogs:
1) The Boyd Wonder: In Flamesland (but not necessarily Flames Nation) there was all kinds of hand-wringing about the fate of restricted free agent Dustin Boyd until — Hallelujah, Hosanna and Praise the Lord — the club announced they had come to terms with the Human Cabbage Patch Doll. Fans have just cause in being hopeful for Boyd’s future with Calgary, but the angst about his status was completely out of whack for a chap who has collected 38 career points in 132 games. This is precisely what happens when there’s not enough to occupy hockey fans’ minds. That and reminiscing about the good old days of Jason Morgan.
2) The Kyle Wellwood re-signing: This puppy survived for three days in the feature section of TSN.ca’s hockey home page, which goes to show there’s no end to the appetite for news about ex-Leafs with no end of appetite. Sorry, that wisecrack would normally be far too easy, but the shortage of fresh material forces us all to resort to vaudeville.
3) This space for rent: NHL league officials acknowledged that they are open to the possibility of slapping sponsor logos on their game jerseys. This naturally led to apprehension among the fans that their local heroes would soon look like Greg Biffle’s NASCAR ride or some schmuck from the Eisbären Berlin. But how big a deal is this really? How bad would a McDonald’s logo look on a jersey compared to sweater striping that makes unexpected turns or doesn’t go anywhere at all? Or those gawdawful apron-spring thingies sported by several clubs? Or that weird under-arm design on the Sabres jerseys?
4) Sock it to ’em: Need more proof that these are slow times in the hockey world? Recent examination of the 2010 NHL video games has led to the discovery that the Flames are ditching those funny-looking socks with the stripes that refuse to meet at the calf and will go with more traditional socks this coming season.
5) Two words: Jim Balsillie. Or maybe the two words are actually “bankruptcy court.” In any event, the Phoenix Coyotes situation has nauseated many people for months now, as has the seemingly endless string of major announcements that supposedly resolves the whole mess once and for all. The funny thing about this one is that the NHL has apparently settled on Jerry Reinsdorf as the knight in white armour who will save the Coyotes from financial ruin and Hamilton (not necessarily in that order). That may prove to be so, Jerry Moyes appeals and injunctions notwithstanding, but know that Reinsdorf, as owner of MLB’s Chicago White Sox, was one of the “hawks” who during the 1994 work stoppage was adamant the sport would not resume business until a sensible salary system was in place. He and the other hard-liners were so firm on their position that the 1994 season was cancelled (a cruel blow to the Montreal Expos and their fans). Still, the owners never did get the players to cave in and just a couple of years later, Reinsdorf gave slugger Albert Belle a then-outrageous (and still pretty unfathomable) five-year, $55-million contract.
That was going to be it, but we offer one more example of how inane hockey ramblings have become and another reason it’s high time to drop the puck.
6) This article: We offer our sincere apologies. The refund line is forming on the right.