Has tradition fallen?
Talk about beating a dead horse. Many of the members who continue to visit loyally have expressed their opinions of the labor problems in the NHL. We have, a dozen times over (at least), tried to put blame on certain individuals. Players, unions, agents, owners all have taken shots. The game itself, well the north american pro league anyway has taken shots. It is boring, it has too many teams, there are too many terrible players. We have even tried to come up with several resolutions (sp?) to help the game get back and be better. As Habby would say….Blah Blah Blah.
My title of the article comes from watching an hour program shown on the New England Sports Network called Bruins Retro. Host Tom Carron sat in studio with Hall of Fame blueliners Bobby Orr, Brad Park and Raymond Bourque. The show consisted of talking shop, highlights (which were great) and remembering what it was like to be drafted by an original six team. Then come in as a youngster and for the first time learn what it was like to learn what it meant to put on that sweater. Tradition, pride and commitment. You learned from those around you, the vets, what it meant to play for this team. Not how the game is played but what it MEANT.
In reflection, I think of the highlights that differ so much from the game today. The wonderful end to end rushes by the blueliners. The disturbing knee to knee hits that were inflicted (sp) on Bobby Orr. Lastly, the enthusiasm of the Garden Crowd.
I have come to the conclusion that the game may take a serious hit if it has not already. We don’t see the exciting plays as we once did. We don’t see an organization build a dynasty through the draft and have cup run after cup run. We don’t see player loyalty.
In closing, I ask you, has tradition fallen? Aside from these expansion teams, have players lost the pride? What is the motive? Is it a Cup? Is it a salary? Could this be like the 70’s when some players took off to the WHA? So many other questions fill my head that look at the game of ice hockey. What does the game mean to them (players) and what does it mean to us (fans)?