This past weekend my team was on a two game, three day road trip. A long one by Swedish standards. We had a total of about fourteen hours on the old iron lung.
I used some of that time to check out what my team mates do to kill the hours. There were the normal activities like playing cards, reading or watching movies. We have wifi on our bus so we have Internet access. Or, as my dad calls it, the intranet. Youtube was a popular website, but they weren’t watching people fall from ladders; the guys were checking out anything NHL.
In fact most study players and tactics from the league. Whether it’s on the bus, at home on the computer, or at the rink they are learning from the NHL. Somewhere between the cities of Oskersham and Malmo it dawned on me that thanks to the Internet the hockey world has forever changed, has gotten small and will keep getting smaller.
Thirty years ago would any Oiler fan had known about Linus Omark without Youtube? Did fans have direct access to players through Twitter? Would Brendan Shanahan be on camera explaining suspensions? These are all good things, but I can’t help but feel we are losing both the element of surprise and unique styles of play. Can you imagine what kind of impact the Internet would have had on the Canada/USSR super series in the Seventies? Neither team really knew what to expect from the other. That is was made it so great.
After watching the WJC it is also clear that the countries are starting to play similar styles. Swift skating players that attack are the style in favor now. Teams follow success and through video it is easy to copy the most successful styles. Seems to me the days of countries coming to the championship with wildly unique styles of play are dead.
Between my two practices yesterday I had lunch at our rink’s restaurant. I had a tasty little dish called ragmunk but that is another story. The tv’s were playing taped games from the NHL, KHL and the Swedish elite league. It is a small world after all.