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)?

26 Responses to Has tradition fallen?

  1. Kyleton says:

    With players today it is all about the pay check. From the time the kids are about 13 to 15 and people see they are extremely talented, they are told they are great and they will go to the NHL and make millions. The passion is not for the cup. It’s for the pay check. The only time players get the passion for the cup is when the season is over and they see they have a shot. They’ve already received their seasons pay check and now they have something else to shoot for. Players at the beginning of the season only think about one thing, their stats. The better your stats the more money you can make. It kills team work and because this one great player gets all the stats, the team suffers but a successful team that makes money just buys them come free agency. This kills team loyalty. The passion of the players, and the sense of team is what is dying, and what is killing hockey today. A dynasty comes from a team growing together over the years, teams don’t grow together anymore, because they are purchased.

    That’s my take… like they say Money is the route of all evils.

  2. hockeyhead says:

    well said. expanding the league was a good idea but it has proven to be bad. i think your original six teams will always have that tradition but player loyalty is obviously gone…just look at bill guiren (sp)….about to be a bruins captain and he leaves. of course it does not help that the owner does not want to compete with the spending but it shows they want to build in a traditional way which appears to be gone. teams like the bruins and oilers and islanders and habs of the 70’s and 80’s are probably gone by the dino.

  3. simplyhabby says:

    I feel veclemped with you quoting me! Thanks Hockeyhead!

    The questions you ask are very valid and unfortunately, we both know that the longer this lockout goes, the less teams and the more work hockey needs to do to win the fans back.

    Refreshing to see a different prespective on the lockout.

  4. hockeyhead says:

    what is veclemped? i looked it up and it does not exist…?????

  5. simplyhabby says:

    Could be a spelling mistake. It is from an SNL sketch by Mike Myers. It really means choked up. (how he used it in the sketch).

    It was quite a few years ago now. He played an old lady who would have guest stars and never let them speak.

  6. hockeyhead says:

    oh i see…..not a problem.

    and congrats to toronto people….argos win the grey cup….now you are very similar to new england. out of baseball football and hockey it is hockey that is still waiting and waiting to have a champ.

    how ironic.

  7. 19Yzerman says:

    Where its has been! Where it is! Where it is going!

    Hockeyhead is concerned that the game may take a serious hit if We don’t see—–

    :the exciting plays as we once did

    This is the great thing about hockey is that when a goal is scored the amusement is how it was worked into the net This HAS ,IS and ALWAYS will be EXCITING.

    :an organization build a dynasty

    Dynasty?? Well those don’t happen to often like in recent years NYI and EDM .However with DET, COL, and NJD enrout to become dynasties by

    producing multiple cups in short time frames and fans crying for parity and mandating rules which will “Give each team a chance” the above is going to become a lost tradition and a major impossibility.

    :player loyalty? To Who?

    To the game? Team Logo? Teamates? or FANS?

    To make it into the NHL a player has been raised on a healthy dose of hockey ice time and are likely to have studied its history.So I feel that player loyalty is in fair shape.

    I don’t question the integrity of the development of young committed hockey players who play because they love the game and dream of winning the STANLEY CUP. As far as SALARY goes. The players will continue to be entitled to be paid to play as long as the owners are changing the fans to watch them play.

    As a player.To me it is fun and competitive recreational exercise.

    As a fan it is a spectacle and wonderful form of entertainment. Which like anything else is not perfect and varies by opinion on how to perfect it.

  8. hockeyhead says:

    i can see where you are coming from. i guess i am a traditionalist…

    when watching that program and seeing bobby orr skate circles around people and going around both nets is something that will not be seen in todays game. watching ray bourque rushing end to end and shelving top corners will not be seen in todays game. one because of the players and two because of the lack of room to move.

    i don’t think a team should be punished because they have better development and better scouting and better drafting. the oilers and isle MADE their teams through development. it is ok to trade but so rarely is a team made. number ones are traded before they can emerge or even picked. it is all about a quick fix now!!!!!

    i don’t think players are loyal to the fans or their organization. ray bourque obvioulsy was. but someone like bill guerin is not. how can you want to leave an original six team? MONEY. that is garbage.

    as a fan….it has meant less to me because the players have changed, the game has changed. when the bruins made cup runs in the 80’s i found myself yelling at the tv. the garden crowd gave you chills. now the fleet is 3000 no shows per game and it is 100 dollars to go.

    our society as a whole has lost tradition and morals and ethics. just look at that detriot pistons game the other day. and the players get those monster suspensions….what happens to those fans i ask.

  9. 19Yzerman says:

    Bobby Orr was a once in a lifetime player who came and went and in a short tenure became a Hall of Famer. The mold was broken on that one.

    Bourque had a powerful shot that was deadly accurate. which I think we will some one emerge with again someday. However for someone to have that type of shooting ability , make as many consecutive NHL all star appearances as he and captain a team as long as he we may not see that.

    Bill Guerin being a MASS native would lead one to think that allegiance to the B’s would be where his loyalty would lye. However that was a business decision and If some one offered you 10 million to where HABS garb for life you would be insane not to do so.You know inside where your heart would be anyhow.Pride can be expensive as well as sinful.

    A Dynasty is defined as

    1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent

    2 : a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time

    nowhere did I see in the Merriam-Webster dictionary any reference to the construction of a Dynasty which leaves that to OPINION. This is where a true traditionalist would be of the opinion that using finance to construct a Dynasty would be the proper route since traditionally that is how the Dynasties were created historically.If you feel you disagree with this than I would suggest that you study the History of Art Ross and how he bounced to various teams and anchored cups for them.

    As far as that Pistons game situation goes. That will continue to be a potential problem anywhere that alcohol is served. I recommend last call for alcohol being 3 minutes prior to the end of the period PRIOR to the FINAL period of play in any game.

  10. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    One thing ed Snider and Bobby Clarke have done really well is make Philly a TOP hockey city. You might suggest that teams like the Devils, Tampa and even Nashville might could do the same but the NHL has been poorly run.

    Scoring is down. Stars like Lindros, Jagr and Kariya aren’t anywhere the near the power of Mario and Wayne. Teams sell 5500 seats for a game (think Carolina) and then don’t have the money to develop the market.

    Teams like Anahiem have the pockets (thanks to being owned by Disney) and the demographics (thanks to the incredible wealth in the OC) but don’t have the team building and marketing skill to have a franchise that draws the entertainment jaded OC consumer (and there are millions of them) into the building. Heck, put a good enough team on the ice and people from LA and San Diego will make an effort to go to the games. If Sidney crosby was going to be playing his only game in So Cal next year (I am fantizining right now) and it was at the Pond – you better bet I would be rolling on down the 5 freeway in the most punishing traffic anyone has ever seen to OVERPAY for the tickets to see him. See how Kariya, Lindros and Jagr failed?

    If Mario (more in his prime) or Wayne was playing – dad’s would make sure their kids grew up watching them. They would invest in season tickets. They would TiVo games. They would buy merchandise and so much more.

    If teams put more ephasis on building excellence in their overall organization, they would have a better fan base. There is a reason why the Red Wings, AVs, Flyers and Devils are so good all the time. they not only have money, they have GREAT scouts and farm systems. THIS model is what Gary Bettman should be preaching. In the event an owner like Edmonton can’t keep up – Bettman needs to have the game SO HEALTHY, profitable and lust worthy that some rich guy wants to buy a team and dump his money in. right now you have an EX-player/owner praying for a slot machine liscense to make his hockey franchise work. Anyone else feel bad for Mario? I do.

    The stakes are too high to keep this BS going with this lockout. I predict it will be solved by mid-Jan.

  11. hockeyhead says:

    my whole thing with teams building a champ has to do with the idea of guys playing together for years. building a foundation. being a team (see the ny rangers for opposite idea).

    with free agency today…that dream is dead. who cares about a team….it is me me me. who cares about tradition with this team. it is about me me me. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  12. 19Yzerman says:

    That which you speak of is the NEW aged NHL franchise concept of team creation methods and not that of HISTORICAL and TRADITIONAL ways of which DYNASTIES were built.

    So with teams that had names like

    Vancouver Millionaires

    Ottawa Silver Seven

    Renfrew Millionaires

    Teams that had no money also had no players thus they had no CUP.Kenora is the smallest town (population 4,000) to ever win the Stanley Cup.You think that they didn’t some money backing that team?

  13. hockeyhead says:

    i don’t understand……OK…i guess what i need to say is that i am a tradionalist including the time i have been a hockey fan and only the time i have been around.

    i can not speak for the decades that have preceded me.

    i think that the early 80’s to mid 90’s were the prime of NHL hockey. the NHL today, the way it is run and the attitude of certain players and agents and owners is very selfish. it does not reflect on how and what a team is about. working together fighting together and winning together. make sacrifices for your teammates and so on and so forth.

  14. EmptyNetter says:

    No offense, hockeyhead, but I think you’re looking at the past with rose colored glasses. Instead of being objective, you’re taking the best player of his generation (Orr) and comparing him to an overrated player of today (Guerin) who doesn’t stand a chance of being inducted into the HOF. Here are some things to keep in mind when comparing different hockey eras:

    1. There was little money (compared to today) in playing NHL hockey and players didn’t have the option of free agency. The closest comparison was the emergence of the WHA, and there were a decent number of NHL stars who jumped ship for a big jump in pay. Derek Sanderson, member of two Cup winning Bruins teams, comes immediately to mind.

    2. The only way for a player to leave a hockey team back then was to be cut from the roster or to be traded at the team’s discretion. The good players were generally the ones who stayed with one team throughout their career. The ones with untapped potential were traded for other guys with untapped potential. Poor players became goons or were released or sent back to the farm. Shopping your services to the highest bidder wasn’t really an option.

    3. Freaks upset the status quo. Put simply, Bobby Orr was very skilled, but he also played his position in a way that teams had never seen before. The rest of hockey had to catch up to him. I just read about the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, and that the secret to their success was to employ the revolutionary conditioning methods we learned from the Soviet team. Gretzky got from one end of the ice to the other, not by grinding through checks, but by outskating the cheker. Talent isn’t enough to make you a superstar — the NHL is full of talented players. Talent plus a new, winning strategy might win you a Cup.

    4. There are still players who are loyal to the team. Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman come to mind. But in today’s game, a guy has to be a franchise player to even have the option of staying with one team for the entirety of his career.

    That’s my two cents.

  15. EmptyNetter says:

    BTW, you’re much too young to be doing the “Kids today got no respect!” shtick. 😛

  16. hockeyhead says:

    i take no offense….i based my opinions on those brought up by park, orr and bourque. i put the hour discussion in my article. it made me think about the game then and the game today and frankly i think it was better back then.

    i see todays game as being like the 70’s…some players bolting to the WHA…now some players bolting to europe….but will the roads lead back to the NHL.

    just trying to get a new talk going…we have been going around and around. i thought that maybe we should look at other perspectives of the game and players. what can we take from the past? i don’t know.

  17. 19Yzerman says:

    The interesting thing about hockey history is that there was a Stanley Cup Long before an NHL and that can boggle the mind with info that one wouldn’t likely think could be possible.


    one eyed Frank McGee whose record of 14 goals for the ottawa silver seven in a 1905 Stanley Cup game against Dawson City.

    Hockey has always been about money. If you were to study the history of hockey from the end of the 18th century to current day you will find that as far money and PR goes not much has changed.

  18. big_booty says:

    Where was Sakic’s “team loyalty” when he signed that ungodly offer sheet from the Rangers in 1997?

    You know, one of those insane bonus and salary deals that helped put the NHL in its current state?

    Where was it then? Huh?

  19. 19Yzerman says:

    Sakics LOYALTY?

    Let me get this straight.

    He was going to leave a team that won a cup in Denver after Quebec City suffered for years for the team to become what it was to go to an origanal six team and earn more money? Maybe he was never in favor of his team moving to colorado in the first place and that NYR may have put him closer to his family also. Maybe as a child he idolized Gretzky and saw a chance to be on that same team. Maybe he knew the AVE’s would match the NYR offer and had no intention of playing there.

    You make the current finacial state of the NHL sound as thought the players are guilt of robbing the owners at gun point or having embezzled money that was entrusted to them.

    These owners sign contracts and the players are vilified for accepting them.

    understand this.

    Ones loyalty should be to themselfs first. If one cannot look out for themself how can anyone expect them to look out for anyone else?

  20. EmptyNetter says:

    Until Sakic becomes an NHL General Manager, I don’t expect him to worry about whether a salary offer is in the team’s best interests. However, any player who sells his services to the highest bidder will not stay in the same place for very long.

    big_booty, help me out and name 3 greedy bastids who played their entire career for the same team. Do you think Marion “I know what I’m worth” Gaborik will stay in Minnesota?

    Lastly, it’s easy to pick out individual incidents in a player’s career to sneer at but after Sakic retires I doubt that signing an offer sheet from the Rangers will keep him out of the HOF. For that matter, it would be funny if signing an offer sheet from the Rangers was an automatic disqualification. There would be nobody left to induct. “They’re like the town bicycle. Everybody’s had a ride.”

  21. 19Yzerman says:

    this is the tough part about being an NHL fan is that players move around.

    Carly Simon said it best with her song So Far Away,

    “Your so far away!! Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?”

    As a lions fan I knew when Barry Sanders retired it would be a long time till there is a lions jersey I would be compelled to buy.

    The same goes for Stevie Y who never signed an offer sheet with anyother team ever. Thus he would be a HOFer under those prerequisits.

  22. hockeyhead says:

    Enetter….that was my intent in writing this…there is no loyalty today….and i hate repeating myself but there are no ray bourques. he could of skipped town tons of times and made more than boston ever gave him.

    gaborik is one of several examples why there is no team loyalty. look at the sox…now that they won a title..the excitement is gone…time to strike it rich with the highest bidder.

  23. 19Yzerman says:

    Bourque got Dissed of the list by going to denver and winning a cup there. The loyalty breakdown in that situation was not Player to Fan or Fan to Team. It was Team to player/fan breakdown of loyalty. You see the B’s owed it to Bourque and B’s fans to make its own run at the Cup.

    That loyalty thing is a two way street.

  24. EmptyNetter says:

    Lol! I’m stuck arguing between hockeyhead and big-booty. I still say that Sakic is a good example of a loyal player, as is Mats Naslund, Jarome Iginla and Mario Lemieux. Next few years will show whether Martin St. Louis or Ilya Kovalchuk want to be the standard bearers for their teams or a couple of hired guns.

    hockeyhead, I agree that there are a bunch of hired guns in the league now, but that’s more because the rules and the competion among teams creates a system where this is commonplace. If this system existed in the 1970’s I think the same thing would have happened.

  25. EmptyNetter says:

    oops. Mats Naslund = Mats Sundin.

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