I was doing my usual morning reading when I came across a tweet from Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski:
I trust and respect both Wysh and Katie, so when they say I'm going to get dumb writing, I believe them.
Much to my surprise, when I clicked on the link it was a story on the Justin Abdelkader hit on Toni Lydman from a person named Bill Simonson, sports-talk radio host in the state of Michigan. Wysh took his swing at the 'writer' earlier and now it's my turn. My comments are in italics.
The NHL got it so wrong in suspending Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader two games for his hit on Anaheim's Tori Lydman.
His name is TONI, but go on...
Then again, this is a professional sports league that usually gets it wrong on everything it does out of the league office in New York.
I wouldn't say gets 'everything' wrong, otherwise the Red Wings would still be in the Western Conference next season, right? Or they would have picked two new teams for the first of six Winter Classics that bring millions of dollars of revenue to state that desperately needs it, right?
Abdelkader's hit in Saturday night's Game 3 against the Ducks was no more than a four-minute penalty. Not one official blew his whistle on impact. Abdelkader was given a charging major and a game misconduct.
Wow. Ok. You're right, they didn't blow the whistle upon impact. They waited until Toni was crawling to all fours.
Jimmy Howard should really switch mask companies if he's worried about skates cutting his face. Did I think Perry tried to kick Howard in the head? Absolutely, that's what he does. At least I can admit it when my player is nasty.
The Ducks are cheapshot artists who zero in on Red Wings players along the boards, and they go unpunished. Meanwhile, the NHL office sits back and enjoys the view on its NHL network.
Ha! Cheapshot artists? Do they play to the edge? Yep. Just like Tomas Holmstrom when he elbowed James Wisniewski or Brendan Smith when he knocked out Ben Smith. Niklas Kronwall is an incredible physical player, he plays right to the edge of legal. Getting 'Kronwall'ed' isn't a term for hugs.
By the way, the NHL network is garbage. What the NFL and MLB have done with their networks makes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's vision look like old school, black-and-white television.
I do agree, NHL Network needs a lot of work. I will give them credit for not being complete mouth-pieces for the Commissioner.
The quacks from Southern California are getting some help here from the league office. My conspiracy side says the league would love a team such as the Ducks, from the second-largest media market in America, to have a deep run in the playoffs.
HA! HAHAHA! Really??? So why didn't this happen two years ago when they lost to Nashville? NASHVILLE! My guess is that you've never been to Orange County. We are a part of the Los Angeles market but not the primary source of revenue. That would be LOS ANGELES, who has their own hockey team. We proudly hold the title of the lowest rated Stanley Cup Final in league history. Pretty sure that's not what the league is looking for.
By the way, LA is - on a good traffic day, on the weekend at 3:00am - 45 minutes away from Honda Center.
The NHL's mindless cronies loved watching the Los Angeles Kings win it last year. The Red Wings - like most teams from Detroit - get no national media love or attention from the NHL. Bettman is hooked on the big markets. He thinks his sport should be on the same level as the NFL and Major League Baseball in the U.S. He is so wrong.
Are you serious?? Detroit gets no national media love?! Let's play a little game comparing the number of national games the Ducks had aired on NBC, NBCSN and NHL-Network to what the Red Wings received post-lockout:.
Ducks: 0 games on NBC, 1 game on NBCSN and 6 games on NHL-N
Red Wings: 5 games on NBC, 7 games on NBCSN and 9 Games on NHL-N.
Note: With the major cable companies in Southern California, you have to pay additional money to receive the NHL-N. It doesn't come with your basic cable package. Another additional charge for HD.
Any smart business person is going to be focused on the big markets! Call me crazy but why would you put a ton of money into gaining viewers in Tampa Bay when there are hundreds of thousands of more people in New York and Los Angeles? Higher ad revenues come when there are more people watching. Doesn't take a business degree (which I have) to know this is Marketing 101.
NHL could do better
Beyond the few hockey diehards - and bandwagon fans in the playoffs interested in the Red Wings - ask yourself, what does the NHL do to draw you in? They have no clue how to market the sport in America. Name five stars in the league not in Detroit?
Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Zach Parise, Steven Stamkos, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, et. al. I can do this all day. Crosby and Ovechkin alone have been over-marketed but people sure as hell know who they are.
The Red Wings know how to market and run a franchise better than the NHL can run their own business. If it weren't for the Red Wings, I couldn't care less for the league.
Clearly you wouldn't have interest in this league because you know nothing but the Detroit Red Wings and don't want to learn any else about some of the great stories in the NHL.
How about current Wild goaltender Josh Harding and his battle with MS? Or how Boston-native Keith Yandle warmed up in a jersey dedicated to 8 year old bombing victim Martin Richard? It's kind of amazing Saku Koivu and Phil Kessel are still alive, let alone playing hockey at a high level after surviving cancer.
Bettman is by far the worst leader of a sports league to ever walk this earth. He let the league expand when it it was stupid to expand. The NHL has a blind arrogance from the league office that makes you think they have no idea what they're doing.
Totally agree, Bettman is arrogant, as are Roger Goodell and David Stern. I'm not a huge fan of Bettman but you can't ignore his gamble on the lockout paid off. Hockey is experiencing some of its highest ratings in years. I get the expansion argument as a fan of an expansion team. In the next three years, the NHL is projected to collect billions of dollars in revenues, leading to less revenue sharing among the teams. If Detroit wants to pay more, that's fine with me. The Ducks will gladly take the money.
You know what? You should really blame Wayne Gretzky. He came to LA and really drove the growth of hockey to California. Don't forget he kept Phoenix in Phoenix when he was a coach, albeit not a good one. Screw you greatest player ever for growing the game on the west coast!
If Canada didn't like hockey, the NHL would be out of business. Please don't tell me about the number of minor-league teams and people who play hockey. I love minor-league hockey and those who play, but if there weren't cheap tickets, cheap beer or cheap hot dogs, there would be no minor-league hockey. It's entertainment and player development.
Of course there wouldn't be a league without Canada. The teams up there are revenue drivers because it's the country's national sport. If Americans didn't like baseball, basketball and/or football, there would be no MLB, NBA or NFL. Not sure why nationality matters. It's not like the Canadians have forced curling on you.
By the way, hockey players have been my favorite athletes to interview over the years. They are real, honest and down to earth, for the most part. What I have found is that those who play the sport, live it.
Red Wings a model franchise
Well, I guess, if you want to talk about staying power, yeah. Then again, model franchises don't go into a tailspin and have to fight for a final playoff spot when one player retires. That's something the Ducks did when Chris Pronger left and again when Scott Niedermayer retired.
Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment is dysfunctional as all hell but they're worth $1 billion. That business model works.
I fell in love with the NHL after watching a game in person 15 years ago. The speed of the sport live is addicting. The NHL has never had a clue how to bring hockey into mainstream American conversations. I put that all on Bettman.
In 1995, I fell in love with a hockey team based on a movie, despite being born in and with my family hailing from Pittsburgh. Good thing Bettman didn't capitalize on Disney's want to get into the pro sports business because Disney is definitely not known in mainstream America.
I love the Red Wings. From the owners on down, they do everything the right way. The NHL should call Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland and ask them how to market hockey and create a loyal fan base.
Wait. So there is no national attention on the Red Wings but they're perfect at marketing and creating a loyal fan base? Do they go door-to-door? Talk to me about successful marketing when Detroit has to go up against another hockey team, two baseball teams, two basketball teams, a soccer team, collegiate mega-sports, beaches and themeparks and still get butts in the seats.
As far as fans go, history is on the side of the Red Wings. Original six teams have some of the most loyal fan bases in the world. My team has only been around for 20 years and we too have a loyal fan base. It may be smaller but they're still loyal.
The NHL also should say it blew the call on Abdelkader and shouldn't have suspended him.
Flip it around and had this been Lydman (of the cheapshot Ducks) hitting Abdelkader. You'd lead the pack to have Lydman arrested and deported back to Finland or sent to GitMo.
Lace 'em up and let Abdelkader hit you the way he hit Lydman. In the aftermath, you'd have migraines, just like Lydman. You wouldn't be able to do your job, just like Lydman. Then again, the latter wouldn't be a bad thing.