Forsberg Story, Defending Bettman, What Could've Been (Crosby), Conroy

The Forsberg story, no longer an interesting one since it has become a soap opera. Once again the Flyers organization creates these dramas that just annoy me. GM Holmgren, I hope that if you are surfing the net you come across this article. Rangers may possibly get Forsberg, but hesitation takes place for Rangers fans; maybe they need some persuasion? By the way, how much can Forsberg really give to the Flyers if traded?

In defense of Gary Bettman. Sounds crazy, does it not? That’s why you must read!

I recall Darren Dreger titling one of his pieces on “What Could Have Been”; in regards to Sidney Crosby possibly breaking (or was it tying?) a record had coach Therrien kept him on the ice. Whatever the heck it was, I have a bigger picture with the same title of “What Could Have Been”. What is it about? Crosby is involved, but with the horrific ratings of the All-Star, the NHL keeps losing popularity. Now, this segment may stir up some heat as some hockey fans may call it “controversial”, but maybe not. I don’t know. We have had this discussion once before, but it’s been over a year since and I feel it is important to look back and say “what could have been (had Crosby ___________)”. Find out what I filled in the blank.

The Craig Conroy trade, will it finally get teams to speed up things and make trades? Okay, before I begin this one I have three things to say.

1) Congrats to Planet USA for winning the AHL All-Star game with just 3.3 seconds left as I heard Rangers surprising prospect Ryan Callahan scored a beauty. Why is this kid surprising? I don’t think anybody expected him to contribute offensively as he has done.

2) Someone from a discussion board I frequent once in a while posted a link of You Tube of Coach’s Corner from January 27. Good segment for about 7 minutes or so and in the end Don Cherry did something that I hope teenagers and other youngsters really paid attention to. If you missed it, well here is a short recap. Five young kids, teenagers, died (an accident I believe, yes?) and they were hockey players. I second what Cherry said, God Bless them and God Bless their families. But now here is what I have to say. We cannot take our lives for granted. This is why I never smoked anything or done something so completely irresponsible to damage my life. There is no need to do it and we should feel happy about having a life, living good times and bad times. We have to respect that because it is just a shame to waste life away or to treat it like crap when there are other people doing all that is right, yet…they lose it out of nowhere.

3) To cheer things up a bit after that, last night I was upset at NHL Center Ice for having cut off the Canadiens vs. Senators feed. Why? The “program” ended. Why? Because Ken Dryden’s ceremony took 48 minutes, which I felt was too long. So I was looking around the Dish Network channels and I just put on this Rockin America program which shows music videos. Well, I just ended up laughing my ass off when I saw this:

I never saw this one. Maybe most of you have, but this Crazy Frog is just histerical. Axel F is the music video and that frog just cracks me up when he goes “rrrrring riinnng ding ding ding”. I mean, look at that face, too funny. They got to have this guy as the mascot for the NHL.

Anyway, back to business.

Ahora, la telenovela de Pedro Forsbergo y los Flyeritos de Filadelllllllllllllfia!

Ok, GM Holmgren, take my advice if you read this. Go watch Austin Powers and get to the part when Dr. Evil tells “Shhcott” to “Shh!!!” and the second Austin Powers where Dr. Evil tells “Shhcott” to “zip it!”. Seriously, ZIP IT! This general manager talks to the media too much. Ever since he took over, he’s been answering too many questions for the media. Shut up already! We don’t need to know that you will have a series of meetings with Peter Forsberg to discuss his future. What is there to discuss? The guy has a bad foot, his contract runs out in June, your team sucks, you have tradeable assets, it’s time to rebuild, so what is there to discuss?! Just get him to waive his no-trade clause and trade the guy! Do we really need to know on a daily basis what is new about Forsberg’s status? And these meetings are supposed to be “behind doors” or “secret”? You call this secret? ran a Forsberg headline, reported he waived his clause, said otherwise.

This guy looks clueless and I believe it’s what I said ever since he replaced Bob Clarke. He talks too much and makes this whole Forsberg situation a stupid drama, a soap opera. We have newspapers in Canada and in the US running the story on Forsberg every day mentioning his status and his injury problems. If I would be a general manager of a team in the NHL, right now I’d look at this as decreasing his trade value. Everything about Peter Forsberg is being put out in public every damn day and not only am I getting sick of it as a fan, but I just think it is utterly stupid on Holmgren’s part to allow this situation to be so openly discussed in public. Watch, someone will jump the gun and call the trade before it is actually confirmed. Guess what? That possibly could screw things up in negotiations. GM Holmgren must keep this as quiet as possible. Yet, it will be a daily thing until the guy gets traded. Former GM Bob Clarke may have been annoying, but at least he never pulled this stupid stuff.

Will the Rangers get Forsberg? Most fans would probably not want to get Forsberg as a rental, although Brett Hull may have given doubts to fans when saying that the Rangers would be a Cup contender with Forsberg. In a way, I second that. The Rangers could be a dangerous team IF Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, and Peter Forsberg stay healthy, and Henrik Lundqvist gets hot. Two very dangerous scoring lines will be hard to stop for any team. It’s not so easy to stop Jagr’s line in the first place, imagine what it would be like to see Forsberg and Shanahan get on the ice for the next shift. A team like the New Jersey Devils would also have a tough time as Jay Pandolfo may shut down Jagr’s line, but can they stop Forsberg and Shanahan. They will log a good number of minutes, which means the opposition must play their checkers more than usual. That is Part A. Part B is Henrik Lundqvist. I remember last season that Cam Ward was just a shaky back-up goalie prospect learning to get better. I saw him a good number of times since I see most of the Southeast Division, and I expected the guy to be sent to the minors. Yet out of nowhere, he came up big in the playoffs. Why can’t Henrik Lundqvist do the same? He has proven his abilities and capabilities. If all works for the Rangers if they get Forsberg, the Stanley Cup Finals are not a pipe dream.

The problem is, who gets traded? Well, Prucha is most likely sought after, but maybe the Flyers want a center more than a winger. In this case, Jaarko Immonen may be requested. Still, I would not want to see a deal where Forsberg is only a playoff rental. If Forsberg gets traded to the Rangers, it will have to come with a guaranteed contract extension of one or two years. Why? At least Jagr will never be the only top gun on the team. Why? The Rangers will have a good chance in the playoffs with Forsberg (actually, that’s all you really need him for). And if Forsberg’s injury problems concern you Rangers fans, then look back at the last four NHL seasons, excluding this current one, and calculate the number of games played by Martin Straka and Michael Nylander. Then total the points for those four seasons and compare both stats to Forsberg’s. Case closed on my part.

One other thing. Any GM acquiring Forsberg must have this written in the trade: “future considerations”. If the trade means that he is just a rental player, then future considerations should dictate the required amount of games Forsberg must play for the rest of the year (playoffs included), and if he doesn’t reach that, then the team acquiring him receives a draft pick from the Flyers. If Forsberg is traded and signed by the team acquiring him, then the same method takes place. You must have some insurance with Forsberg.

Still, in the end I think the big market teams to acquire Forsberg are the Red Wings, Stars, and possibly the Rangers. The suspect teams are the Canadiens and the Ducks. The surprise teams are the Thrashers, Oilers, Predators, and Avalanche.

In defense of Gary Bettman. Yes, I may be the only fan defending him for this time, just this one time though as I am not such a fan of him either. But, I am just sick and tired of this guy getting the blame for anything, even the dumbest things. I am sick and tired of reading the complaints and the whining of fans towards the officials and blaming Bettman. It’s getting to a stupid point where if the ice starts to melt during a game, it will be Bettman’s fault as well.

I just find it fascinating that a fan posts things saying like “what horrible officiating, what crap calls, stupid penalties, this is BS, damn you Bettman! Daammmmmnnnnnnnnnn youuuuuuuuuuuu!”. It’s constant, and you know what? It just gets stupid in the end. Here is a new idea for fans. How about actually mentioning the ref’s name for once? This is why I loved Sather’s idea from a few years ago saying that the refs should have their names put back on their jerseys. Yes, Bettman changed the rules, but he is not on the ice making the calls. The rules are simple. Their purpose are to allow more flow to the game. If a stick is put in the mid section of a player in possession of the puck and the intent is to hold him back from skating, it’s a penalty. It’s simple for players. Just don’t do it! It’s simple for the refs, you see it, you call it. Don’t GUESS on it though. Sometimes the stick is not even touching the player with the puck and the ref just takes a guess and says “uhmm, yeah….could be a penalty so…I’ll whistle!” I keep seeing refs making calls that are just so hard for them to call in the first place. In the replays, I rarely look if there was a penalty. I look where the ref was standing in order to make that call. Sometimes I see a ref that is too far behind to make the call and had traffic in front of him. How could he have possibly seen it!? He guessed. I think Mr. Magoo (McGeough) is a bad ref yet rarely do I see his name mentioned anywhere. I only see Bettman’s name and in the end that’s just unfair criticism because it’s only biased and has no point to it.

So, here is an idea for fans and the media. Start RATING the officials. It’s hard for the fans as there is a lot of bias, but for the media? They have all the resources to rate these zebras, yet they do it the easy way and they too mention Bettman’s name. Nuh uh. No. I don’t want to read that guy’s name. I want to know which ref was bad enough to make such calls. And I just want simple ratings too, from a scale of 1 to 10. I think that is the right thing to do and it would actually help the NHL figure out what to do with the officials. That’s the right thing to do; not the usual easy criticism for biased reasons by just mentioning one guy’s name. That’s cheap talk…. it means nothing.

What Could Have Been (Had Crosby Been a Ranger). I know, I know. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes or just going “Oh come on!”. Well, just give me a shot here. First of all, I am saying this as a hockey fan, not as a Rangers fan. Frankly, I am not even such a huge fan of Crosby and even if I strongly believe that the draft lottery was rigged that season, I am very thrilled as a Rangers fan to have Marc Staal, possibly a steal. I believe that the NHL wanted to revive the Pittsburgh Penguins and create a new Super Mario Era with Sid the Kid. If so many people guessed correct that the Penguins were going to get Crosby, I was one of them, then it was obvious, too obvious. Regardless, the intent was good, but it failed miserably. Hockey is still unpopular and the TV ratings for the All-Star game prove that. Also, why even bother putting the All-Star game in Dallas where it obviously would have gotten little attention? The All-Star game has to take place in large hockey markets. Keep it for the Original Six, it draws more ratings and more interest in general. Back to the point, Crosby ended up on a team that is financially unstable and may have to move. I mean, would you really want Crosby playing in Kansas City, MO? In Las Vegas? In Portland? Ehh, maybe that is more acceptable.

Sidney Crosby has to become the face of the NHL. He has to become the NHL’s identity. He should be recognized as a top 50 young athlete in the world. How is that supposed to work when he is on a team that does not have any resources to market this guy properly and is on a not so popular NHL team? This is a time when the NHL is NOT growing. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, the NHL WAS growing. When it was growing, Wayne Gretzky became an LA King, and he was greatly recognized. Mark Messier became a Rangers and hockey was starting to grow rapidly even further when he brought the Cup to the Big Apple.

Now, imagine if Crosby was on a big market team, in general. But to specify, imagine if Crosby was on the New York Rangers playing along Brendan Shanahan, Jaromir Jagr. If I heard correctly, the Penguins at Coyotes game sold out, or nearly did. Why? People want to see the Sid Kid. But, was that shown anywhere in particular? Did anyone make a big headline about a game being sold out just to watch Crosby? No. See, that is the problem. Big kid, small team. It’s not supposed to work that way.

The New York Rangers generally draw good crowds on the road. Why? People love to see the big NY-metro area teams play. I was shocked when I attended the Panthers game against the Devils. It was nearly sold out! Not even the Devils can draw that kind of crowd at home. So, imagine if Crosby AND the Rangers came to town. People already want to see the Rangers, but they also get the bonus of watching Sid the Kid play with real stars as well.

If Crosby was a Ranger, you’d be seeing a lot more exposure. Why? The Rangers have all the resources available to create the fuss about him. The New York Times runs wires through other US national papers, so the stories in New York would run across the nation. The popular New York late night shows would treasure Sid the Kid. And, ESPN would definitely try to expose him as well. This would all mean big time popularity for Crosby which draws more popularity for the NHL.

Of course, I would be upset as a hockey fan if such a thing happened because I would say the lottery was rigged and the NHL needed to market Crosby. But, at least the “rigging” would have been worth to do for the NHL. If Messier managed to get the NHL on the map with the Rangers, so could have Crosby. And say if Crosby would win a Cup with the Rangers. It would be HUGE news across the US and in the sports world in general.

Yes, some of you may be upset at this discussion I brought up, especially Penguins fans, but I am talking in a hockey fan’s point of view. I could apply this story by switching Rangers with Red Wings. Maybe the LA Kings would have been just as good, as they were with Gretzky. So there is no biased involved here. I think the NHL made a horrible choice by putting Crosby with the Penguins if it wanted to get the game popular. If the NHL thought that Crosby would pull a Mario Lemieux and would get hockey on the map with the Penguins. Wow. What a HUGE and PATHETIC mistake. And I am not even slamming the Penguins organization on this. It’s not their fault. But, Crosby should have been used as a marketing tool for the NHL and right now…he is, but too unpopular. I truly beleive that things for the NHL would have been much different (in a very positive way) had Crosby been a Ranger.

Will the Craig Conroy trade to the Calgary Flames speed things up for other teams? The answer is……………………… NO! Sure, the Canucks may start to look more aggressively now, the Oilers may want to push for a defenseman, or re-sign Ryan Smyth. But, teams are still just too close. Two days from now will be February, and maybe then we will start to see a trade occur. But I would not expect anything major to happen until, and after, February 15…16. By then, teams should be more spaced from each other to know what to do.

That’s it for now, and as always thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni


p.s Ringringringdingdingdingbambambam! Crazy Frog, rocks.