Monday, November 30, 2009

Ovechkin Hurt Himself

I'm a Don Cherry fan. I don't agree with everything he says, but I think he has a good grip on whats right and wrong with hockey. I agree with him in the fact that Alexander Ovechkin gets away with some stuff that he shouldn't. When I saw him go down tonight with an injury, I felt bad for him. When I saw the replay of how it happened, I did not feel bad for him anymore. Take a look:

I took that screenshot about an hour ago. Clearly, he is sticking his knee out to an extent. Don Cherry is going to have an absolute field day with this. All the knee-to-knee hits last week was the issue, and now this? I cannot wait for Coach's Corner.

Alex Ovechkin, I do not feel bad for you, you stuck your knee out in a reckless way and no observer that saw you do this should be shocked that you might be injured.

That is all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Ottawa and the NHL

So I was at the Rangers 2-1 SO Win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon inside Scotiabank Place. Ottawa is great, and even though the arena is in Kanata (about 10 minutes outside the city), there is plenty to do around Kanata as well.

The Senators as a franchise were lucky enough to have the distinct advantage of being placed in Canada to start from a business perspective. Unless they never win a game for the next five years, I don't see how their attendance could ever dive below the top 15 (in terms of percent capacity). The biggest business challenge for the Sens to me? They are going up against the history of the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and even the Quebec Nordiques to an extent.

I was thinking about this at the game. Ottawa is, for the most part, just stuck between Montreal and Toronto. With the Leafs and Habs being apart of the original six, generations upon generations of Canadians grew up supporters of one of the two clubs typically. With the Senators playing only their 17th season this year (16 if you want to subtract the lockout), its no wonder some people seem to think Sens fans aren't as dedicated as others.

To this I say bullshit. I know the passion is there otherwise they wouldn't fill the arena year in and year out. The key, to me at least, is to create a consistently winning team. I mean, look at the fan passion during the 2006 Stanley Cup final. That looks like a lot of fun for anyone. What needs to happen is the team has to give a reason for the roof to blow off Scotiabank, which could easily happen with a playoff run.

To me, part of the reason why the Rangers are so popular (besides being from NY), is because of 1994. The support of the Rangers got passed down generation by generation just like any other original six team, but 1994 awoke many sleeping fans along with creating new ones (including myself, as my dad is a Bruins fan with his parents from Boston). Hockey was hot in '94, and conveniently one of the biggest cities in the world captured the top prize. Coincidence that there are Ranger fans scattered across North America and the World today? Not at all.

My end point is this: I want Ottawa to succeed because I think there should/can be at least two more teams in Canada. This whole southern expansion thing has been good and bad, but the NHL needs to cut its losses in the next three to five years. The NFL did it with NFL Europe, and cut its losses eventually. Canada is where hockey will always be king, and the NHL needs to take advantage of that in a business sense. The great thing about the Senators is that, from my point of view as an American going to games at Scotiabank, all they need to do is put a winning team on the ice consistently. Everything else will fall in line because Ottawa is lucky enough as a franchise (from a business sense) to be located where Hockey is king.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Re-Grand Opening: What a Pass

Few will read this, but for those of you who will (because your either still following or you forgot to delete me from your RSS feeds), I'm back with a new look. Welcome to What a Pass (WaP for short), where I (Rob) give my dilettante-esque opinion on the business of Hockey and Soccer (and occasionally the sports) in North America (for the most part).

If any of you remember Puck Money, this is the same site (with all the old posts), but instead of trying to act like the journalist I will never become, I am just going to write what I think and post it. It may not get much attention here, but I plan on sending stuff around to see if I can make any waves. I would venture a guess to say half the time I will be reacting to a link or story I saw, while the other half I will be attempting to share some ideas with many about improving the popularity and financial viability of Hockey and Soccer in North America.

Why Hockey and Soccer? Well, I've played Hockey almost all my life, and I've suffered almost fifteen years now of being a New York Ranger fan (It doesn't help when one of your first sports memories is the 1994 Stanley Cup win). As for Soccer, I am memorized by the loyal support of the fans in Europe along with the high level of difficulty of the game (similar to Hockey, to me). In a perfect world, I would be singing and supporting the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden with 10,000 other crazed fans like at Soccer games and SC Bern games in Switzerland. But, thats not how Americans work, so I'll have to settle with what I've got for now.

I plan on going into the Business World of Sports in one way or the other. My plan now is to crack in with the MLS or NHL, and go from there. Ideally, I get lucky and get the right connections and end up with decision-making power of some sort for a North American NHL or MLS franchise. Being the "non-traditional" sports guy among friends of NFL, MLB, and NBA fans, I seem to spend a lot of time explaining issues and persuading them to watch NHL and MLS games with me. Big games aren't the problem - even I watch the World Series and the Super Bowl - its the league games that I wan't to improve.

So if you're reading this, check back in eventually. I expect to update the site three to five times a week, so lets see where this ends up going. I'm actually headed to Ottawa this weekend for the Ranger game, so I'm sure I'll have something on that.

Have a good weekend.