Rant answers: Entertainment vs. respect, Coyotes new lease, relocation options

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
11:32
AM ET

As I get set to answer some rants, yet another reminder folks that this weekly forum is for "rants," not questions. If you have a hockey question, ask me during my Wednesday chat. But come Mondays, rant, rant, rant!

csoula5: I'm sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick sick of "respect for the game" being called out by players ... Dear Steven Stamkos, the fans loved Linus Omarks goal, go ahead and check out how many hits he gets online by people watching that one goal, I think its too close to the number of people watching your sweet goals, wait a minute, could that be the issue?? Oh and that wasn't the first time this year, lets not forget about P.K. Subban getting the first degree for being a confident cocky brilliant young player, thanks for putting him down because he got to you Mike Richards (you should only start talking when you start showing up to games on the regular) ... bottom line is that the NHL needs players like PK and his big ego, and Linus and his high risk, high reward style. The proof is in the pudding, the fans love it, its good for the game, and oh yeah the fans love it. We love it, please more Subban, more Linus ... maybe the Flyers and the Lightning will grow up one day and stop being jealous children. Guess what, I've never heard Sidney Crosby rattle off about respect, never heard the Wings cry over respect, oh yeah they are winners ... let your play do the talking guys, and remember you get payed to play for OUR (THE FANS) entertainment!! So do your job and entertain us!! This is our game, get back to work!!!

thoefel77: With the Omark spin I don't get what all the hoopla was all about. Isn't the whole point of the shootout to score but if you do a really impressive move you get a bunch of frowny faces on all the opposing players. Yeah it was flashy but I think the shootout needs some flash like that just to get people to watch it. Why can't guys have more freedom to do what they want in the shootout without being criticized.

My take: Funny how the Omark debate has split the hockey world evenly between fans versus the hockey establishment. That's not surprising, given that NHL GMs hate the shootout and hope to minimize its impact by once again possibly looking at Ken Holland's 3-on-3 OT proposal in March at their next meetings. I think the Omark shootout goal, even though he fanned on the shot, was exciting for Oilers fans, and I'm OK with that. But I'm also a fan of the history of the game and how young players earn their respect, keep their head down, etc. Let me ask you this: Would you picture a young Steve Yzerman doing that? Yeah, didn't think so.

denile17: I can no longer put into words the level of frustration I have with my favorite team in all of sports, the New York Islanders. The crazy thing is, the frustration has almost nothing to do with hockey! I can't be mad at John Tavares for not producing when he's surrounded by no talent, and I can't be mad at James Wisniewski for not playing like a top two defenseman. Wang (and the yes man Snow) simply will not field an NHL caliber roster. Players like Wisniewski, Bruno Gervais, Jack Hillen, Rob Schremp, P.A. Parenteau, etc. are forced into roles they simply cannot handle because the ownership refuses to spend a dime on anyone not named Rick DiPietro or Alexei Yashin. And for all the people criticizing attendance and saying that Quebec deserves a team over NY, take a look at the islanders history before you start bashing the fans. Islanders fans have been the most tortured fans in pro sports over the past 20 years, and we have to sit in the worst building in pro sports. No one shows up to watch a perennial loser, look at the Blackhawks. However, if we can rid of Wang, and put in an owner who will be reasonable in his search for an arena, the islanders can once again become a thriving franchise. Gary Bettman, you were once a fan, please give us isles fans a break, I think we deserve it!

My take: I absolutely agree regarding Islanders fans. They are a loyal group. This isn't the Thrashers or Coyotes you're talking about moving, this is a team with four Stanley Cups and a solid following. Right now most Islanders fans are fed up with the league's worst product and aren't going to games to the league's worst arena. Can you blame them? The solution here is Charles Wang selling the team, and the new owner -- with deep pockets -- building a new rink. It's a long shot.

mochabacon: Why can't I be given $100 million and another 97 million over five years to own a hockey team? I mean I too have played hockey in college and I have a deep love for the game. I also have grandparents that live in El Paso, Texas. They need to experience hockey too so lets relocate the Leafs.

My take: Indeed the City of Glendale, Ariz., is set to vote on the lease agreement with prospective owner Mathew Hulsizer later on Tuesday night. While the terms of the deal are not terribly appealing with to local taxpayers, I think Glendale has come to the conclusion that it beats the alternative -- losing the team entirely and having an empty arena at Westgate, which would be a bigger financial hit for the city and its taxpayers. This isn't ideal, but it's the best solution at this point in time, with the NHL clearly warning Glendale that the team will be relocated if this wasn't ironed out before the New Year.

gladius710: So personally I am getting pretty sick of all of this crazy hype building up around the Canucks. They are only ONE game ahead of my Colorado Avalanche. I know the Western Conference is tight but in this week's power rankings they are a whole 13 spots ahead sitting at No. 4 while the Avs fall out of the imaginary playoff picture at No. 17. Again I wish to emphasize ONE game separates the teams. This is frustrating as an Avs fan to see your hated division rival with all of this over rating going on towards Vancouver. When will the Avs be ranked within sight of the Canucks? When they are five games ahead of them???

My take: I did the power rankings this week, so blame me. Hey, three points separated 12 teams in the Western Conference on Monday morning. You have to rank teams even though they're basically all tied! The Canucks are closer to contending right now than the Avs, but I love where Colorado is headed with its young core and, quite frankly, some of the most exciting hockey played right now. If they keep winning, next time I'll have the Avs higher in the power rankings.

prashanthiyer: Why can't the NHL wake up and smell the coffee that certain cities need to get a franchise and certain cities need to lose their franchises. New York could stand to lose the Islanders if thousands of old Nordiques fans are willing to travel and make more noise than the Islander fans. Phoenix doesn't deserve to have a team if it can't manage to fill its stadium to 60 percent capacity despite having a great season last year and having one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Ilya Bryzgalov. And finally, take away the Thrashers (even though this will never happen according to Bettman) because despite their incredible season this year and the signs of promise shown by the front office and the team, the stadium still barely tops 60 percent capacity. This year I attended a Thrashers-Blackhawks game in Atlanta and was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of Blackhawks fans. The game went to the shootout and the only players cheered for were the Blackhawks shooters, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Its getting ridiculous and with cities such as Winnipeg, Quebec, and Windsor having willing and waiting fan bases, it seems imperative that the NHL capitalizes on the possible lockouts of the NBA and NFL and start generating some real money by moving teams to revenue generating markets.

My take: I traded e-mails with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday regarding all the Quebec Nordiques fans traveling to Long Island for the Thrashers game. "No one has ever doubted the passion of hockey fans in Quebec City," Bettman told me. Remember, the team only moved in 1995 because they were playing in an old rink and there were no plans to build a new one. But while Bettman has always been publicly and, quite frankly, privately coy about his intentions for Quebec City and Winnipeg, I believe he wants to eventually put NHL teams back in those two cities. Whether that's by expansion in the next decade or by relocation, which would be his last resort because he doesn't want to move teams, I think Bettman wants to see NHL hockey again in Quebec City and Winnipeg before he retires as commissioner.

fbullock: Help Wanted: (D.C. Area) Team in need of kick of the pants after horrible six-game losing streak. Applicants most be able to take superstar talent and man handle accordingly. Must be able to understand that expectations are high (Cup or Bust) and the ability to speak Russian is a big plus. Must be able to mold young talent without breaking them and must be willing to show some sort of patience when forming lines (Boudreau goes through more line changes than a three year old through diapers on bad poutine). If you feel you meet the above requirements please see GM at Verizon Center. References Required. Pay based solely on how many past teams you have either buried or resurrected. Caps are an EOE. Plus if your references include Burnside, LeBrun or Mr. Cherry, you may just have landed one tough positon.

My take: A clever rant, well done. Listen, it was pretty obvious to anyone that coming into this season no NHL team would have more pressure on them than the Caps after the first-round playoff loss to Montreal last spring. The Caps are the new Sharks, since San Jose lotted its playoff monkey with a Final Four push last season. But at this point, I don't feel replacing Bruce Boudreau is the answer. As I wrote over the weekend, I think facing some adversity right now isn't the worst thing for this Caps team, which lolly-gagged wire-to-wire last regular season before folding in April once it finally faced adversity. This little bump in the road will toughen up this team.

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