On Friday morning as I was watching CNN a line came across on the ticker that caught my attention. It read "putting red line back won’t make NHL safe". It has bothered me since I read it.
I went onto their website to read the whole article. Nothing really new. The writer was talking about the general manger meetings coming up soon and his feeling that some of them would like to reinstate the red line to slow down the game and thus reduce the number of injuries. His actual article doesn’t really interest me but the line on the ticker does. Rarely is a NHL ticker line seen on CNN and when it does it has a negative slant.
"NHL safe?" I feel this leaves a lot of interpretation for the viewer. Is the whole NHL not safe? Is it like a ride at a random amusement park that has been on the fritz and needs to be overhauled to protect its riders?
Lets assume for a second that a father is thinking about taking his family to a game in Phoenix. He has heard from friends that hockey games are entertaining and fast paced but that they can also be very rough.
There are many big hits which can lead to fights, maybe not entertainment always suitable for kids. These are typical comments I would hear from people when I played in Chicago or New York, two established hockey markets. Phoenix is a long way from that.
The father is on the fence. If he saw that ticker line yesterday I bet he would just pull the plug on the idea and not go. The line "NHL safe" implies that the league is dangerous. Is this true? Sure, it can be. Injuries happen when sports are played at high speeds. I don’t think many bowlers or darters – if that what they are called? – spend much time on the injury reserve! But hockey is also a great sport played by great athletes. That is not implied in the CNN ticker line.
In order for this game to grow south of the border, it is not only the responsibility of the NHL and its players but also the media to get a positive message across about the sport.
I know I am a little late on this topic but I just have to put my two cents in. I feel strongly that keeping Hemsky on this specific deal is a no brainer for both him and the Oilers. It is not often that can be said. Take a look at the deal just signed by Mikhail Grabovski with the Toronto Maple Leafs, an average of just over 5 million a year for the next 5 years. Anyone want to bet if he finishes that deal with Toronto?
When healthy, Hemsky is an electrifying puck carrier. He creates plays and headaches for defence man out of seemingly innocent situations. It is an unique ability.
If he would have been moved there would have been a hole left in the line up to filled. There are many prospects in the Oilers organization but will they all come up aces and be able to fill a 60-points man’s spot? I hope so but it is very unlikely. Keeping Hemsky keeps the spot filled now and doesn’t force the issue to rush a prospect. I have seen so many players careers get derailed or totally off track by teams rushing them. Does Detroit rush their young players?
Finishing off the season healthy. getting a good summer’s worth of workouts in and then coming into camp with all the injury talk behind him will prove that he is still the player that he believes he is and everyone wants him to be.
END OF THE ROAD
The mighty SSK came up a little short in our bid to reach the qualification series. Never sits well when you come up only a few points short of extending your season. It was a great experience though. Sweden is a great country filled with great people.
I am bringing home with me many new ideas on training, both on and off ice. I really respect the way they practice and prepare. I now understand why the Swedish players are so polished and professional when they come to North America to play.
If anyone visits Sweden make sure to get some pancakes with a side of Lingon berries. Hello!