NHL Will Regain Past

There is only one good side to the NHL lockout and its effect in the United States….people here have no long-term memory! No one in this country is still “upset” over the 1994 baseball strike. However, hockey has do to more work since it is not “America’s past-time.”

But what WAS the NHL’s “glory?” Was it being called the “Next Big Thing?” So what! Who cares about being the Next Big Thing unless you turn out to BE the Big Thing. The NHL never did, it never surpassed the NBA in popularity (at least on TV) and it has only declined.

The NHL had “Glory years” where only hardcore fans paid any attention, goal scoring was up and the game was fast-paced and exciting. Well, by the looks of it, thats what the next few years should bring…new rules to open up the game and increase scoring and, well, less fans watching!

The NHL is primed to re-enter its “Glory Years.”

However, there are a few MAJOR differences between then and now.

1) The NYR, LAKings, and Blackhawks were perennial playoff teams. The Rangers were good, the Kings had The Great One, and the Blackhawks fans were able to watch games on TV. All of that is different and while they may make the playoffs, they havent been CONTENDERS in 10 years. I’m sure you in Detroit and Toronto are sick of hearing this, but its true. Look back at where the league was 11-12 years ago.

2) Whos the star? The General Public (GP) knew who Wayne Gretzky was. He was in LA, he was on Saturday Night Live and he was going to break Gordie Howe’s records. We knew this because we were bombarded. Nowadays, no one sees the Stars until the All Star Break. They arent on TV or radio giving interviews. They are only miked(sp) during a select few broadcasts. We dont know who these stars are, adn thats a big problem. If the GP doesnt know, the sport wont grow.

But the NHL can easily regain its “glory” and possibly push itself beyond the NBA. From what I’ve read in the papers, the amount of coverage the NBA Finals got was about 2 or 3 extra pages on average more than the NHL finals.

With fixing the game to bring excitement and energy to the arena and marketing the stars who DESERVE it, the NHL can get back to where it once was. It wont take one season, but likely the WHOLE length of the new CBA.

When it comes time to negotiate the next CBA, the NHL and the PA are going to have to make a decision. The league will NOT be able to afford another lockout/cancelled season. Hardcore fans will be sick of labor issues each and every time a CBA must be discussed. Another lockout will cause the NHLs major fanbase(the hardcore fan) to finally give up.

Whenever the new CBA is up for renegotiation, I hope both the PA and NHL have made significant profits that a few tweaks here and there can fix any issue. Give the players a few more % of the revenue, or change the salary floor and Cap. Whatever it is, there cannot be a lockout.

The NHL has had a strike, a lockout, and a cancelled season in 13 years. Each longer than the previous. The biggest change the NHL can make is that when this new CBA expires, there IS NOT a strike, or a lockout, or a cancelled season.

If they can avoid that, I think the NHL will be poised for bigger and better things.

22 Responses to NHL Will Regain Past

  1. Bishop7979 says:

    It’s funny, when the NHL was really being called the next big thing, ESPN mag was in its first year, and right around the start of the hockey season that year they ran a series of stories, all in one issue, about the next big things. THere were stories about how hockey would be the next major sport to explode all over the U.S and it had stories about the next major players in all sports

    Eric Lindros was the next big thing for hockey,

    Kordell Stewart was the next big thing for football

    how wrong they were on all 3 accounts.

    As for your differences between now and then:

    As I remember it, 94 was the only year the the rangers were considered contenders, 93 they were last in their division, 92 they lost in the second round to the pens, 91 lost in the first round to the caps, 90 lost to the caps in the second, and in 89 they lost to the pens in the first. that isnt what i would call contending.

    Why you would bring up the blackhawks like the franchise has really meant anything more to the league than anyother team since the leagues first expansion I dont know. Granted they had a decent team, but fan support outside of chicago wasn’t any better than that of any other team (exluding waynes kings)

    And the thing with LA. No one could have cared less that it was an LA team. It was Waynes team. He could have played anywhere and had the same effect, as long as it was in the U.S. He was a good player who wasn’t what a typical american thought the steriotype of a hockey player was. He was intellegent, articulate and had personality. All that and he looked like a surfer, add that to the fact that he lead or challenged for the lead in scoring every year and did it without any goony play at all (anouther steriotype of non-hockey knowledgable americans) and you have a media darling for a relatively and unknown sport. Sure it helped that he played in LA, but it didn’t HAVE to be LA.

    The league doesnt have that right now. Its best players year in and year out are

    1. foreign. the Jagrs and Kovalchuks and Federovs just can’t connect with a U.S audience like Wayne did. Maybe its some kind of post cold war predisposition or something. who knows.


    2. Come off like D!cks. It seems like every North American Player the league could market comes off as a d!ck in interviews. Guys like Pronger, Hull, JR, Tkchuk, and Chelios are not going to bring new fans in on their personallity, can you see them going on SNL and being funny? I sure as hell can’t. Other guys who have some personality, such as Martin St. Louis don’t have the look that Wayne did. St.Louis looks like a hobbit on skates. Add into the fact that many of these guys play with a nasty streak, even guys with a compelling story such as iginlia beat the living hell out of other players on a regular basis. Your not going to be a role model in the U.S the first time some over protective mom sees you throw St.Louis, a much smaller player, head first into the boards at the end of a losing game and then b!tch about it to the refs when he calls you on it.

    The NHL had its chance. Baseball lost alot of fans due to the strike, and it took time to recover. I mean they had to call off the world series! The Rangers had just won a cup in NY, and people were begining to notice hockey. Then the NHL had a shortened season on a strike of their own, the game became less and less fun to watch thanks to new defensive tactics and poor inforcement of rules.

    And Wayne retired after a few seasons of less than spectacular play in NY. Mario left the game due to Cancer treatments, and guys like Jagr and Lindros were handed the sport. Two drama queens whose problems probably did more damage to the sports rep in the end that anything else.

    I think that the NHL really had its chance and lost it. Its always, at best, going to be a 4th sport on the U.S radar, and who knows that might be a kind assessment

  2. 19Yzerman says:

    When you hit the bottom the only way to go is up. As far as memory goes I think you meant to say that we can from time to time suffer from selective memory here in the USA. No long-term memory? I don’t think so since our country is only two hundred and 29 years old it is easier for one to know our whole history then other countries whose history dates further back in time then BC “Before Christ” or AD “Anno Domini” in Latin or “the year of the Lord” in English. If no one is upset over the 1994 baseball strike it is because of our forgiving nature.

    As a Red Wings fan I don’t mind reflecting on years past. Once upon a time things in Detroit were bad during an economic time such as we have now. Chrysler was about to fold and the Wings attendance average was maybe 5,000. Mr Ilitch thought how it would help to give away a car at every home game. He worked a deal with Chrysler and they were using seat ticket numbers as the drawing numbers for a brand new car. What an idea along with drafting Steve Yzerman. The fans began to see a team evolve into a team that not only would become a good playoff team but, win 3 CUPs.

    I think hockey will have a bright future and I think that the NHL can gain a larger attention span from fans then the NBA and maybe even Nascar. With more owners who think like Mike Illitch. His desire to pack the stands and fill the arena was fulfilled. With rinks popping up all over the USA I think hockey is becoming more popular then it has ever been especially in the southern regions where they have no winter weather for kids to play out doors. It is expensive to put a child through youth hockey and high school hockey. Let alone prepare a child for a pro hockey career.

    I agree with you that there cannot be another lockout, Strike or a Cancelled Season.

  3. Jackman says:

    The NHL has to start with new arenas in the USA. Included in these arenas, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, video games, Mascots, games for the kids, a waterslide, themepark, petting zoo, and other things to attract the American fan. Baseball stadiums have all of these luxuries of life and it’s time for the 24 arenas to have them. We don’t need them in Canada because people will come to see a game that they like and don’t need horseshit to come to games. How many teams have new arenas to bring fans to the games?? We have the oldest arena and it’s pretty young. But there should be a Disney Park, helicopter rides, Reality Game shows with glow in the dark pucks, Reality goaltending for children with Cerebral Palsy, a Reality Gameshow that teaches young kids not to put their hands in shark mouths – and not to swim with them, Clowns, petting zoo, another McDonald’s – this one with a 666 foot waterslide, giraffes, a Beatles display, Jungle Jim™ with a low-cal diet for the fat American that doesn’t know how to eat correctly without Cnn© and ABC™ and FOX™ marketed diets with hot girls to tell them what to eat, Raffi, professional marketing engineers to think of more ideas to bring ya’ll to the games etc. etc. etc…

    It’s sad but these are the things that have to happen so that moronic people will go to the best sport in the world…

    BTW, basketball is Canadian too. Although the 7’0″ black people jumping 2 feet don’t LOOK Canadian, the game was invented here. James Naismith.

    If Roenick can sound off, we all can. Gotta love free speech!!!

    (4 more U.S. soldiers were killed today…) Heck, the only reason you wouldn’t vote for Bush is if he DIRECTLY affected your family… So go change the Constitution and vote him in AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nah, maybe Schwarzenegger… LMFAO

  4. wingsrock34 says:

    The point of bringing up LA, NY, and Chicago is that they are 3 major markets a sport almost (i say almost b/c the NFL moved the LA Rams and the NFL is just fine but we’re sure as hell not the NFL) needs to have to be successful.

    I think you are underestimating the extra coverage Wayne got b/c it was LA. I mean Mario was a hell of a player I’d say on the same level (PERSONAL OPINION) and because he was in Pittsburgh he did not get the media exposure Wayne got in LA. Which I think if I’m remembering right LA is the 2nd largest market

    But I do agree with you that the NHL does not have that “media star” like Gretz and that’s why people (not me, I want him to be a Red Wing) want Crosby to go to NY to get hockey the most media exposure possible. But that all could backfire too lets say he bombs in NY hardcore that’s going to make hockey look like the biggest joke in sports even worse then now with people calling an UNPROVEN KID the next Gretzky. “The Savior of Hockey” might crack under the pressure.

    The EroStar are a different breed that’s for sure I know from seeing it for years that Feds could turn on the SUPERSTAR switch at will or just skate around like an average 3rd liner.

    Even the teammates don’t seem to connect with them i remember Trevor Kidd had some comments about Bure after he got traded to NY. (not that Kidd has room to talk with how great his game is)

    I think Chelios could be marketed he’s been a fan favorite in the cities he’s played in and has a very successful restaurant (if people didn’t like him they would not go and put $ in his pocket) granted he plays in Hockeytown so im not sure how good and idea like that would work for other cities and players but i think St. Louis could be marketed so many angles; MVP, cup winner, scoring leader, follow your dreams i wasn’t drafted, work hard, underdog size, etc… I think the NHL would be stupid to not market that guy when they come back.

  5. habsoverserver says:

    The NHL’s prior glory was its entrenched knowledgeable fan base that has been alienated by low scoring, chippy play and high ticket prices.

    The new CBA will not change the fact that hockey is no longer good entertainment value. I’m tired of paying $90 to see the Rangers take 20 shots a game.

  6. Habfanforever says:

    NHL hockey will never have a popularity problem in Canada for obvious reasons, one of which is that you can catch any of the 6 Canadian teams on several different channels on tv and also several radio stations. This is the kind of exposure that is lacking in slow growing American NHL markets. The problem is that people don’t see beyond the TV and radio broadcast contracts. There needs to be different and more aggressive ways of exposure of hockey in the USA. I’d say make an outdoor game just like the one in Edmonton or in Michigan. Either in Wisconsin or Minnesota where there is actual cold weather. Other ways would be NHL franchise-sponsored hockey schools where kids could meet their favorite stars or how about the Rangers taking on the Mets in a friendly ball game for charity. Of course as far fetched as these ideas could get, any of them or any other ideas people could think of, are worth a try to help bring back the passion Americans had for the game in the ’70’s, ’80’s and early ’90’s.

  7. wingsrock34 says:

    unless the canadian teams were 1-6 in attendance (and i doubt they were) you can get off your soapbox.

    That is unless there was some more crap you wanted to talk about americans.

    painting every american as the same type of person makes you an idiot. and i say that as being a person that does not suport pretty much anything Bush does

  8. wingsrock34 says:

    I think a large part of the unknowledgeable fan base came from too much expantion too fast.

    30 teams might have worked IF before you kept bringing in more and more teams you get the new teams competitive and allow time for a fanbase to form so when the team is on national TV people care enought to watch and not have ESPN 2 darts or something beat you in the ratings.

    i’m inclined to agree with you about the CBA, but i hope im wrong. If the teams can all be on the same level and the rules change i would hope the teams play a more open style. and when they start to make money lower the prices

  9. Bishop7979 says:

    THe thing with mario was that, until the cancer, until the team had money problems, and before the comeback, mario wasn’t a personable player. I have grown up in Pittsburgh, and have been watching the pens since i was 9 maybe and Mario was always a quiet keep to himself kinda guy. His post game comments were short, kinda curt, and lacked any charisma. It wasnt until recently that he has opened up to the media and shown he can be a personable guy.

    It was always guys like Ron Francis and Kevin Stevens, Luc Robitaille, RicK Tocchet and Later it Martin Straka and Johan Hedberg who spoke to the media and let guys like Barrasso, Mario, Larry Murphy and Jagr off the hook.

    I agree that Mario, in terms of skill, was as good a Wayne, but whats on paper in terms of stats cups and of course games played, Wayne will always be thought of as the better player. It is unfortunate.

    Chelios could have been a marketable player. Especially the way he stepped up and handled the Olympic incident. He made it right without really pointing the finger at any one teamate, i thought that was a very classy and honorable move. But the problem is that first he played on the blackhawks when they were kinda percieved as the bad guys of hockey, and then he moved to detriot where he kinda just blends in with all the other over 35 stars.

    Its too late at this point to really market him anyways, I’m not even sure if he will play again.

    As far as St.Louis, hes a great player and I would like to see him be marketed. He did get the cover of the most recent NHL2k series and he is a great story, but its one that even after his MVP run hasnt really been told, even on national (u.s) hockey shows.

    As far as Crosby goes. I’m not sold on him, and would hate to see him land somewhere that he would be considered the savior of hockey where all eyes would be on him, like Ny. He’s still a 5-10? 18 year old kid who thinks he can be a center in the NHL. The first time he has to take a face off against bobby holik or Keith Premeau or has to battle Pronger or Jovonoski infront of a net I just dont see him being as dominate as everyone thinks he will be. After a move to wing, and maybe a few years to adjust to the NHL I’m sure he will be a good player, but the next wayne or mario is a concept hard for me to swallow.

  10. hockeyhead says:

    hey, jackman….this isnt face the nation or any other political agenda.

    no one cares about your political views. really. i don’t even care about your hockey views.

    and i have said it before and i guess i gotta say it again but hockey was put on ice by canadians but the idea originated in europe.

    americans invented a lot of things canadians use like the telephone. does that mean that you dont deserve to use it or play it (sports).

    and i love the racism too. so there are no black canadians? wow, you really are an idiot.

    youre canadian???..you sound like an american that is painted by an american hater. how ironic.

  11. wingsrock34 says:

    i agree Cheli is too old to market now but the type of player he is could be good to market b/c Bad boys of sports get money and publicity the only neg. i see is the kind of image you might be making to the masses.

    I guess thats an option the NHL will have to weigh but we all remember the bad boy of any sport; Tyson, Probert, Rodman*, Cansaco,* Macenrow* (idk how to spell if their wrong)

    The point is all those players got attention and money for their sport b/c people wanted to see them

    people will disagree about this and thats fine but this is just what i think

  12. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Hate to go off topic, but I love the new User info bar.

  13. wingsrock34 says:

    hey Hockeyhead did you notice these 2 things he said

    “We don’t need them in Canada because people will come to see a game that they like and don’t need horseshit to come to games.”

    making it sound like he’s canadian, but then says…

    “We have the oldest arena and it’s pretty young.”

    The oldest area from what i remember is Mellon arena in Pittsburgh and last time i looked at a map Pittsburgh is not in Canada

  14. Flyers_01 says:

    For Hockey to grow the players and owners must work together under a national marketing strategy. No glowing pucks but the game and players must be made more accessible for the average fan. The owners are going to have to keep an eye on the health of the league and not just their own teams. One thing the league really has to do this season is find a way to get Pittsburgh a new stadium.

    As long as Goodenow is gone this all has a chance because the man does not know the meaning of cooperation or doing what’s best for the league.

  15. hockeyhead says:

    i dont get it. why would americans and canadians not get along?

    why would canadians blame americans for hockey not being popular? i love hockey and im american.

    and JR is as we say in new england is a masshole but how does his big mouth get associated with a nation of people????

    it appears to me that this jackman is a hipocrit (sp?)

    i guess it is too boring to talk about hockey now…but why pick politics and world problems???

  16. 19Yzerman says:

    The Canadians should be credited for refining hockey in particular Frederick Arthur Stanley Lord of Preston for his idea and vision of the need for a challenge cup.

    The problem is that since that time the commercialization of hockey and its marketing have been a more lucrative venture in the USA. The Real Money for a hockey players to earn has always been in the USA this fact has stood for the last century. A glowing testament to this fact is how the very first PRO league was formed in Michigan. I don’t get it though. Somehow the USA patrons had no idea what they were spending their hard earned money on for over 100 years because the sport was invented else where.

    Instead of stepping up to the plate and challenge his fellow Canadian civilians to out revenue the USA he feels it is more appropriate to thump his chest and lay claim to the invention of various sports which have managed to thrive from the massive amounts of fans who buy tickets to watch. To that I can only say thank you very much for Such wonderful forms of entertainment.

  17. d0rd says:

    I think Americans and Canadians do get along. No idea why Jackman is sounding off. Really not fair to paint everyone with the same brush. Quite ignorant.

    And not to be a stickler or anything….but the telephone was invented by a Canadian in Canada…basketball invented by a Canadian in America. but who cares really? all things we enjoy, no?

  18. 19Yzerman says:

    Your Correct d0rd.

    Learn something new every day.

    If not for this post I wouldn’t have done the word search today on Alexander Grand Bell. Todays lesson.

    Each year, he sought a way to escape the heat and stress of the city. In the early years in Boston, he went north to Canada, visiting his parents in Brantford, Ontario. There, he sought out his “dreaming place,” high on a cliff overlooking the Grand River. It was there he conceived the basic principle of the telephone.


  19. seanman99 says:

    One of the biggest problems that hockey has in America is that its not a pickup sport. Up here in Canada every kid has his own stick and skates. In the winter there are rinks everywhere to go play pick up. But what about in the U.S . No ice in Florida. Plus its alot cheaper to go buy a football for a pick up game, a baseball and one bat, or a basketball. Face it Ameica just doesnt have time for our Canadian game.

  20. hockeyhead says:

    dOrd, i knew that if i threw out a random invention i would be wrong. how ironic indeed.

    how bout ben franklin? anyway, i think my point is taken…..and i know i love canada just as much as i love america. i am half french canadian.

    i feed of this stuff unfortunately and jackman had been posting some pretty nasty shit.

    i think everyone in north america feels pretty bad that young men and women are killed everyday over what appears to be a very illadvised decision.

    no matter who is in office…someone will complain….how this has to do with the state of hockey i don’t know……..you could blame bettman and he is american but really does the location of where he lives really mean anything?

    it is entertaining in its own way but i would rather be giving habs fans the business over a playoff defeat by the b’s.

  21. hockeyhead says:

    i agree….we do however play street hockey or field hockey.

    that is why ice hockey is regional. new england and michigan and colorado are just a few areas that are big on hockey.

    look at the other countries as well. all cold. finland, sweden, russia and so on.

    don’t laugh too hard tho, with global warming, canada might be like the us someday

  22. 19Yzerman says:

    Global warming is a scary thing!

    I am sure that the heat produced from all our indoor rinks are not helping the thermal retention properties of the Earth’s polar caps. However don’t count on the USA giving up on trying to build on hockey as a youth sport here. Its growing but, the only real problem we are faced with is how expensive it is to put a child through ANY hockey program. You should consider yourselves blessed when the cold weather freezes your ponds and park rinks. Things are changing and one of them is the diversity of sports offered to our youth at school. We didn’t have Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer or Field Hockey teams when I was in high school. Now sports for women are even being expanded. I am still waiting for a WNHL. Gotta love womens hockey! Who cares if they don’t check or aren’t as skilled? Just hearing the pretty voices and seeing those pretty eyes inside the visors is enough to make it worth watching.

    You forgot Minnesota HockeyHead.

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