DG's Quick Hits- August 11, 2002

The Salary Cap: How much longer?

ESPN: Giving hockey the high stick

On the radar screen: Thereon Fleury, Byron Dafoe, Andrew Cassels, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and more

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I’m getting a little tired about hearing the same old story about how the National Hockey League needs a salary cap. I’m not about to disagree with them- it’ll stop all the whining (I hope)- but the talk is beginning to get a little old. I feel we’ve heard the argument once: why repeat it? It’s just getting a little annoying.

Still, the fact that the story still surfaces says something about NHL priorities. It almost seems that no matter how many times the fans bleat about the NHL needs it, the league will always turn a blind eye and not listen to it. Just like a majority of other issues, like inconsistent officiating: turning a blind eye to complaints is just another day in the life of the NHL, or the “No-Hearing-League”.


ESPN, the sports division of Walt Disney Co., has decided to cut its NHL broadcasts by 30% after a year of declining ratings. The Saturday afternoon telecasts on Disney’s main ABC network- often considered “ratings death” in the televison business- will remain the same, but ESPN’s telecasts go down to 71 from 102 last year, and most have been moved to less conveinient slots to accommodate more successful programming.

Naturally, any hockey fan should be appalled to hear this news and I’m one of them. Still, it’s important to remember that, outside of the northern U.S., hockey truly has no following south of the Canadian border, so the decision makes sense. However, considering hockey looks more like a rodeo on ice and U.S. telecasts feature wrestling announcers and high school production values (with the “best” being the chatterbox idiots Gary Thorne and Bill Clement) and it’s easy to see why no one in the U.S. actually takes hockey seriously.

Thereon Fleury has no job. Hmmn, wonder why?…Byron Dafoe has no job. Now there’s a stumper…Andrew Cassels? Yep, he too is unemployed. He wouldn’t be if his old club the Vancouver Canucks actually thought the off-season free agent spree had any value…Apparently, Eddie Belfour of the Toronto Maple Leafs has a hot rod, which would figure since the guy tends to get a little heated every once in a while…Here’s my take on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks: okay, I concede that they MAY be better. However, a young club has so many variables that I’ll have to see it to believe it…Get ready to yell for joy: the Buffalo Sabres could be sold to another Buffalo-area businesswoman. Another NHL disaster averted…After Pavel Datsyuk took the Cup on its longest route ever to the Ural Moutains, Maxin Kuznetsov brought the Stanley Cup to a vodka-soaked private party at his house. Then Igor Larionov brought the Cup for a charity event, putting the trophy to “good use”, as he said. Said NHL communications director Jamey Horan, accompanying the players: “it has been wild and exhausting, with lots of vodka”. Sure bet (quote from the Canadian Press)…Finally, the Ottawa Senators have bitten the bullet and kept Radek Bonk even though his salary has doubled. Shows you that the Senators have a commitment to winning, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if Bonk is shipped for a less expensive player or package.