Happy New Year

- December 31st, 2012

NEW YORK _ Well, I’m in the city that never sleeps for the biggest night of the year.
So, who is going to drop the ball first: The NHL and the NHLPA at the bargaining table or the good folks in Times Square to welcome to 2013.
My money is on the league and the union.
Yes, the clock is ticking on this negotiation, but there is still time to get a deal done. There is no question today is pivotal (I’m sure I said that in September, October and November), but the season is on the brink here.
The two sides need to get a deal done by Jan. 11 to open camp on Jan. 12. People tell me they don’t care anymore. They are the same ones who read every word I write and then tell me why they don’t care.
That’s the thing: People do care. They want the game back on the ice. They want this squabbling in the boardroom to stop.
The NHL has to cool its jets today. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might be upset with what union executive director Donald Fehr puts on the table, but it seems to me there is no time for another hissy-fit.
I am probably wrong. Talks will probably break off one more time and then the union is going to file its disclaimer of interest. There is a lot of racetrack left to cover here.
In any case, Happy New Year. I won’t be watching the ball drop tonight. I’ll be thinking of the year that has gone by, missing my calling my father Jack for the first time to give him best wishes and looking forward to a shortened season ahead (maybe).
Let’s see where this goes.

Categories: Hockey

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17 comments

  1. ChokerHater says:

    Nope, we read you cause we like you, and I hope the people stay away. I think they will iron out the problems this time, because they know if they don’t, the season is over and both sides lose millions of our dollars.
    Quite honestly, I hope that they settle, and the players play the rest of this asterisk filled season in empty buildings.
    I know they won’t, because every arena has a full time janitor.

  2. PaV says:

    Bruce, Don all the best to you on 2013.

    Bruce, the comment about your dad brought tears to my eyes. It puts things in to perpesctive.

    The lockout is a joke. The season will be cancelled. Greed. The things it does to people.

  3. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Bruce, don’t mistake my enjoying you as a SunMedia columnist with my actually caring that much about the lockout.
    My interest in NHL hockey is at an all-time low and even though the Bingo Sens are doing great, I can’t bring myself to care until I see them perform in the post-season.

    Happy New Year Bruce, I lost my own dad years ago (1995) and it’s a huge void in one’s life.

  4. Bobby Goodman says:

    Excellent take Choke…I laughed like hell. I don’t know how accurate your prediction will be should hockey be played this season; my suspicion is the hockey starved fans will populate the rings around the league. Maybe not in the same number, at first, but they will belly up. We hear from the very vocal minority (as we do on ALL issues). Most fans are passionate about his game and their players…very passionate. Playing armchair psychology I believe many felt betrayed by their Heroes, Kings and Gods and their passion turned from love to anger. Like all things, time will change that. A few games and some very calculated/contrived community events will transform the very vocal minority to star worshipping fans once again.

    I was watching Sports Net Radio (I think…) and they have a sport analyst named Grange (I think…) and he was really struggling to articulate his thoughts yesterday (it has to be difficult to fill the air waves with anything of substancxe if the show is all about the NHL). But he did suggest that he hated the Cap. He believes that the league should have a monetary penalty as they do in MLB should a team overspend (Yankees anyone). He then said that that is how a franchise can really show what they can do. Seriously? I don’t know about you guys but I like the Cap, it puts everyone on the same playing field and those teams that cannot meet the Cap should move where fans appreciate the sport! The onus is on drafting, coaching and managing a frachise well. With no Cap the league is reduced to who can buy the best team. Had the Rangers and the Leafs had competent people in charge, they would have and should have won Lord Stanley a bunch of times. But when Holik can be awarded 9m/yr and the same for Sundin (for scoring 30 goals) you know somethng is very, very wrong. Dingbats Neil Smith and Glen Sather (President, General Manager and Alternate Governor – why?) who runs the show in NY were/are God awful! In Toronto, I look at what Lord Burke has done and if I were a fan, I would be up in arms and mad as hell! Certainly there is no guarantee that comes with the largest payroll, but it absolutely should offer a huge advantage.

    All the best in 2013 everyone.

  5. Mike8888 says:

    I agree Bobby. I hate the way the Yankees just buy a team every year. That being said, I may start following baseball more now that the Blue Jays appear to have a team.

  6. Bobby Goodman says:

    Right on Mikey. I became a baseball fan when the ‘Spos got a franchise and got to understand the nuances of the game and the strategies involved (the National League requires more brains than the American League). The Jays should field a very competitive team this year and will be lots of fun to watch.

    I taped and raced through Team Canada fall against the US. I am not surprised at all Mikey. Talking to my brother the day before we agreed that the Canucks really didn’t look sharp vs the Russians and the Yanks although they won both games. Subban had the job between pipes by default as did some others and things will never change unless Nicholson and his band of brothers running the “Program of Excellence” move out!

    If as Nicholson suggested, Spott-off was “the very best coach” for this years entry, we have to assume that the players didn’t come close to meeting the so very high expectations. All those NHLers who would, in all probability be called back to their NHL teams had an agreement been made, didn’t make the difference. I suspect there will be only one who will play this season, RNH. I think this team could have been a lot better and the Coach was awful. I remember Housely, after the teams loss in the round robin to Canada, saying he was very satisfied with the team and how they played. He was right!

    The Americans looked better in every way: crisp and quick passing, playing as a team, team speed, shooting hard and often (many were one-timers), finish and goaltending. They were indeed a far better bunch, period. You didn’t see one line on the ice for the full 2 minutes in a PP. Phil Housely, who played in the Bigs for 21 years has his charges playing hockey the way it is supposed to be played. I suspect the Hokey Canada gurus wouldn’t have even invited Goudreau to try out for TC if he was a Canadian.

    I just checked on some numbers and the 6-2, 195 lb Monohan has 42 points in 29 games playing on one of the worst teams in the 67′s history. He also has a very impressive 0 in the +/-; the rest of the team collectively are minus 245! But, he wasn’t good enough for Team Canada. Nathan Mckinnon was paired with two lunch pail guys on the 4th, line in spite of dominating when the Russian played the Canadians this summer. No one had had to neutralize McKinnon, the coach did it all by himself! The defence was not strong. I didn’t see them really punish anyone. Rhinehart showed me nothing as dod Wotherspoon. Murphy was a liability. Hamilton did very little as did the others. Peumpal and Monohan should have been on the team. They scored goals against lousy hockey clubs but scoring 1 or 2 when it counts stinks, but that is the model that Hockey Canada employ!

    Dale Hunter with Championships under his belt, has led his Knights to 24 straight wins, only 1 short of an OHL league record; could he have been better than Spott-off!? Do you think he would dismiss Monhan and not even invite Peumpal? I certainly don’t.

  7. Daniel Murphy says:

    We sure took a whipping against Team USA. I blame it all on fatigue and jet lag from the grueling trip to Russia.

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    Doesn’t it make you ill to read Stevenson’s article? Salmondsuggests Team Canada needs to be tougher but is forgidden because of the way the tournament is refereed. Who are the tough kids playing for Teams: Sweden, Russia or the United States! I am sick of this mindset. Perhaps…perhaps the team should be made up of Canada’s most talented. Salmond suggests they used to always find ways to win; in my mind there is but one way SCORE MORE GOALS THAN THE OPPOSITION, MORON! Richie was too slow and did diddle squat. Lippon, the kid who went through two drafts empty would only play in the WJHC as a Canadian. Macneil is better than Monohan? Only late in the game against the US did he unite the two 17 year olds. He, like the others before him (especially the fool Dam-moron, looked totally confused.

    Salmond, an Executive with Hokey Canada, loved Downie and Tootoo. I think he forgets that Downie is very physical and an offensive threat! Tootoo is a bum. A player can play physical without earning suspensions. TC’s suspensions were the right call! Late hits that break bones and head shots are not playing a physical game. Swinging a stick and slapping a kid in the head is not playing physical. But, a clean hit in open ice or against the boards are…I didn’t see them.

    Salmond went on to suggested “We haven’t found ways to win lately.”“We’re going to look at everything we do, how we do it. I still believe we are the most prepared country in every aspect, off the ice, on the ice. I think our coaches do a tremendous job”. Is this not contradictory? Why look at everything you do when you have alreay determined every that was done was right? Could Salmond say anything but? In my humble opinion they need a complete overhall. The Coaches were awful and it startred late in the summer when Spott-off frightened some from playing the way they can by declaring he would not tolerate any mistakes….big mistake! Let the kids do their thing….responsibly. Canada has this vision of reducing all players to the most common denominator…big mistake. One thing that the team needs to do is focus on speed but the next attribute needs to be skill! Salmond’s declaration everthing done was tremendous is a confirmation that things will not change. Why wouldn’t someone who has access ask the hockey gurus of Hokey Canada why they feel compelled to ignore the coach in London, Ontario. He played in the NHL for many years and helped develop many young kids who have gone on the have succesful NHL careers….just like Phil Housley!

  9. OD99 says:

    Well the USA certainly handed us our hats…they were much faster all over the ice and didn’t allow the us much at all…we were flat but they came out hard and deserved their lopsided victory.

    Hard to keep coming back here these days…at one point it was well over a week before the posts were updated.

    I think there will be NHL hockey now but don’t really care either way – think the owners are going to take this to the wire and wring every last bit of blood they can get from the players.

    Will be watching the B-Sens tonight and will try to post a summary as well.

    Happy New Year all – maybe we can get this site to recognize it is 2013 and get rid of this pesky moderation…

  10. Mike8888 says:

    I agree Bobby. Monahan was cut very early. It was almost as if the coach didn’t want him there in the first place.

  11. KevinF says:

    Scores of posts since I checked in at least 3/4 from 1 guy, at least we will know who is bangin who. Whack whack! Can’t wait for another breathless recounting of the Bsens tremendous conquering of the record setting Norfolk team that everyone knows resides in Syracuse.

  12. Bobby Goodman says:

    I look forward to it Davey!

    Don’t you find it comical to read that “Philips is fuming…the Owners were trying to pull a fast one”? If he is fuming, I would loved to have seen it his play on the ice over the last umpteen years. I don’t think the “Big Rig” has dropped his gloves once! Oh, he had many opportunities when the Leafs were thumping the Sens during the days of Green, Tucker, Domi, Roberts et al. But we never saw it. But…we are to believe he is fuming because of the delays?

    Is it even possible with the Legal team representing the Players, for the Owners to pull a fast one? Lets get serious here! Every spoken or typed word, including the punctuation is scrutinized. If the Owners were trying to Pull a Fast One…I might ask when did the Player’s pension plan become an issue (it is already one of the very best in the world!). To hell with them and Big Rig…stick to pouring drafts and playing the very soft game you have been since your arrival here in Ottawa.

    I wonder now that Canada has been left out of the medals if Hokey Canada will endeavor to do something different? I suspect not. They committted so many mistakes right from the get go, it is hard to keep track. The notion that “the coaching staff did a tremendous job” is ridiculous. The Notion that they will look at every aspect but confidently concede they did everything right (per Salmond) is ridiculous. Someone, anyone tell me why Seth Griffin the leading scorer in the OHL (like Toffoli) who has posted 67 points in 41 games wasn’t wearing the read and white; was he even invited? Why couldn’t Sarault with 61 points in 38 games, or Nick Cousins and Max Domi with 58 and 53 points respective in 38 games be representing Canada? Me thinks the Gurus think far too much. Hokey Canada promote the team as unbeatable from the get go. Big mistake. They contradicted themselves often in the selection process.They will not wasver from the notion that Team Canada must defend; I would build a team the other teams need to defend against! This magnificent game is all about speed and skill. When you own the puck, you reduce the number of opportunities the other team has to score. Toughness comes in different packages; you can hit someone across the face with a stick or you can go into a corner to take a hit to get the puck. I prefer the latter. If you have watched Max Domi or Seth Griffin, you would see what I am talking about, I have watched the OHL this year and the kids I mentioned are magic with the puck and they put up points. Lets call a spade a spade here, For Canada to not even win a Bronze is a total embarrasssment, collosal failure and proof that something is amiss in the ivory towers of Hokey Canada. I even wonder what their objective really is? Do they want to build a team that will give kids experience for the next year (thats what it looks like to me). Win today and win now!

    Salmond please identify for us who the tootoos are playing for S, R or the US?

  13. Daniel Murphy says:

    I heard from Warnsie on TGOR (Team 1200) Friday morning that perhaps rust may have played a factor in losing to the USA. That extra day off is a killer.

    In my opinion, I think Canada’s problem is that we no longer truly develop skilled superstar-like players. All, or most of our players, are robotic in nature with no particular superskills like stick-handling, play-making etc… We simply produce huge thugs who crash and bang around the ice hoping for a screen shot or a deflection to go in. If the likes of Scheifele, Nugent, Strome etc…are superstars, why were they so invisible against Team USA?

    Back to the drawing board. By the way, can anyone explain to me why Cleveland signed Swisher to a 4 year 56 million dollar contract? The man has modest power, (20HR’s or so), can barely hit .260 and is a defensive liability. With bonehead signings like this, I really believe anyone can be a baseball GM.

  14. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    I laughed when I saw that Phil Housley was the US bench boss, a guy that could only find his own end with road map, has never won at any level and had the label “Defenseman” but never played defense. Thank the stars Mark Osiecki was there to have the team take care of those pesky, annoying things like defensive positioning and takeaways and so on. There’s a reason why Housley still isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame…who knows that it is though. After Adam Oates (what has he ever won?) got inducted it just reinforced the fact anyone can get in if they compile enough goals and assists.

    Now we hear the mewling from players and media. Doug Hamilton saying that maybe third place is fine.
    Memo to Doug: Third place is not fine. If you aren’t playing for gold, whether at the Olympics or the World Juniors then you have failed. If participation is all you care about then sign up for a rec league but boy oh boy I hope you don’t carry that loser attitude with you to Boston.

    Moderation is 100% fine. No one should be taking shots at Bruce, Don or other posters. I only wish that the Ottawa Sun reader comments were moderated. I volunteer to do it myself, no charge! Would get cleaned up in a hurry.

    Hockey next week and already Don is stirring the pot by absolving Craig “Chicken Hands” Anderson of all blame.
    Couldn’t disagree more Don. It is indeed Anderson’s fault he’s never won in the playoffs, just as it is Murray’s fault the big club is medicore and just as it is to Murray and co.’s credit that their prospects are doing well!
    The buck stops with the individual. When I have a bad day at work I don’t blame the last guy that had my job (a Murray Special as I like to call them) I pony up and take the blame like any adult would! But athletes are apparently not adults but kids in 25-35 year old bodies.

    Happy New Year!

  15. OD99 says:

    What an incredible weekend for the baby Sens They played gorgeous hockey and all of their players and just amazing and will always be amazing and awesome and just, oh my, so exciting to watch.

    Only thing breathless is fat Kadri trying to haul his ass around the rink in a Marlies uniform.

    The B-Sens did have a fairly successful weekend though even if most of the hockey was pretty ugly (except for the goaltending which is still consistently very good). Some of the highlights and lowlights:

    1. Stone played well in all games, showing his play-making skills and his shot. He wasn’t rewarded with a goal on two different occasions (one he rang off the crossbar after a nice move to create space and the other he sniped top shelf from high slot but was called back for too many men penalty) but he did pot two EN goals. It would be nice if he was in a better position to create more offense but I like that he is playing a 4th line role with no pressure to score. He has been coming on lately and his line with DD and Grant looks good every game.

    2. Shane Prince has blown me away – the kid competes and has scored some dirty goals this year. At the rookie camp he was noticeably bigger and he is playing like a guy who knows that he needed to change his game to become a pro. I like his upside a lot more now than I did when we drafted him.

    3. The Hoffman, Silfverberg and DaCosta line has looked very good since they were put together and are dangerous almost every shift. I think it took Luke a while to figure out how to best use these guys but since DaCosta’s return they show they work well together. Silf broke a pretty good streak of 6 or 7 games with a goal and Hoffman picked one up that went 4 games I think. I know you don’t think he has what it takes but DaCosta is just filthy some times…great hands and vision. The one thing about him that to me will make or break his NHL chances is desire. He seems to only compete when he feels like it but I think his skills are NHL caliber. Hoffman got going after a slow start and is showing the speed and shot we expect him to use. Silf is going to be a key player for the Ottawa Sens for years – kid really is a full package.

    4. Defensive coverage remains a shambles – freewheeling in the defensive zone seems to be the call of the day and if the goalies weren’t playing so well the Sens record would be much, much worse (obvious statement of the day) and Boro cop has been part of the problem. His game has settled down some but he still is looking for the big hit and gets out of position too often…will be interesting to see what happens now that the NHL is back on. As a 6th or 7th slotted guy I hope he can maintain an even keel.

    5. Wiercioch is certainly looking like a prospect again and I expect he will get a shot once the season starts.

    6. Nothing to report on Zibby or Petersson…no idea what the problems are but they haven’t played in a while.

    We will see who is left after…

  16. KevinF says:

    Gee that fat guy in the Marlie uniform only trails one of the galaxy of potential superstars in Bingo! And that’s super duper fantastic prospect Silverberg by 2 whole points in 5 les gp! Imagine if he gets in shape!

  17. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, I know that Eakin (I don’t like the guy at all) dumped all over Kadri at the start of the year and I believe it is but a carry-over from what Lord Burke started last year. I have seen the kid play a bunch of times this year and really like him. He possesses some soft/fast hands and is truly a skilled player (like all kids who do well in the AHL level, the question is, can he/they make the transition to the bigs.

    The Baby Sens are fortunate they have two good goaltenders.

    No doubt Silfverberg is a good player but we will see how he does playing in the NHL. As a 23 year old, he should be as ready as he will ever be. He has played professionally for a few years now. My issue with him is his extremely soft play; I don’t know how someone could play 33 games in any league and not be assessed more than 2 minutes in penalties (which leads the team).

    You have to wonder why no one wants to give us (in spite of my efforts) to tell us what is going on with “the man who will be Spezza’s right winger for the next 10 years” and another who is “NHL ready”. Petersson and Zibanejad have gone dark and are off the radar screen entirely. I have heard through the grapevine that Zibby has been concussed but this will be two years with excuses for poor performances (to think the team could have had Coutourier).

    The media are all in on the “selling” assignment and keeping things from us is part of the their role. In the other paper today there is a full page dedicated to: “Next stop, Ottawa?”. The writer is all to keen to reveal the stats of Benoit, Sly, Wiercioch, Borowiecki (physicality) but only shares the reader what Stone did the last two years; I suspect Panzeri thought 13 pts in 27 games wasn’t worth sharing with us. I like Stone a lot and hope his skating improves!

    Kevin, you must be broken hearted today, one day after Lord Burke got fired. Eveyone is trying to identify the reasons why but there are only two: 1) in spite of all the BS that spews so profusely from his yap, he failed to build a team that could challenge for a…playoff spot. Indeed the Toronto centric media loved him (they have all soured now, shocker) and he was quotable; who could forget the “truclence…blah blah blay” crap. He was God awful and that is a fact. 2) His behaviour was not acceptable. It looks like I wasn’t a rumour mongerer afterall; Steve Simmons makes reference to Brian’s late night activity. The man is a joke but he doesn’t know it. Is this two marriages now that have gone south? He is a bad actor, everything is contrived. He allowed the Clown Prince of HNIC get under his skin. He was prickly/short with the media. He was crass in interviews….he is unprofessional and a liability to any major corporation. I don’t know why you liked him Kevin but you did…will you now say that Cryboy Nonis is a great GM. Do we see a trend here with this guy…Anaheim, Vancourver, Toronto…..” he Burkie, be patient, I will be along shortly…….”

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