Saturday, May 31, 2008

Looking Forward While Looking Back

On the even of Game 4 of the Cup Final. the Winnipeg Free Press took a look at the remaining visages of the Jets in the NHL and how several are reflected in the Red Wings. It's a great read.

It makes mention of the final moments of the franchise and tells of its unfortunate demise - a move to Phoenix is as good as death. There are some Manitoba folks who have been trying to keep the flame alive and return a NHL team to their fair providence - the Return The Jets campaign and Jets Online are two really good sites to check out.

Who knows what would happen if the NHL had been willing to bend over backward to keep the Jets in Winnipeg? The league bent rules to keep the failing Penguins in Pittsburgh until they could fix the draft and bring a saviour back to the town. Don't even begin to pretend that Cindy's draft wasn't a hoax - the one team in the NHL that was in the biggest danger of moving at the time was the Pens and in a draft lottery that supposedly gave every team a chance at "the Next Gretzky," the team that needed him the most to keep Bettman's promise of no franchises relocating after the lockout got him. Disagree? Too bad. The league held the official drawing behind closed doors so they could have done whatever they damn well pleased and they did.

If only he had made that promise not to let any teams fail out of markets back during the last labour problems, we may still be able to enjoy the Jets. And, if the numbers mentioned in this article are true, the league would be in a far better spot financially had they kept the former WHA team around.

So what's the big conclusion? What's the point? I just hope that the bandwagon fans who have returned to fill the Igloo this season realize just how lucky they are, because their fair-weather habits nearly cost them their team. If not for Bettman's work to cover his own rear end, Pittsburgh would have become another in a line of teams that we can only look back on and reminisce. They would have gone the way of the Whale, the North Stars, the Nordiques and the Jets and the sport would be all the worse for having lost them after already having lost so much.


The Legend of Vincent Tremblay said...

Section C28, Row B, Seat 2.

I was there when Mario's hips kept breaking down.

I was there when Dick Tarnstrom was our leading scorer.

I was there when the Penguins tried to build a marketing campaign around Rico Fata and Guillaume Lefebvre.

I was there when Alexei Kovalev was traded to your beloved Rangers, two weeks before his own bobblehead night, for three buckets of pucks named Samuelsson, Lintner, and Bouchard and enough cash to make payroll for the month.

I was there when it looked like our bumbling city and county officials, the ex-mayor of Philadelphia, and a crooked state gaming board were going to railroad the Penguins straight to Kansas City this season.

And I was there earlier tonight for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Have you ever investigated the political mess behind Pittsburgh's new arena?

Had you seen the clusterfuck Howard Baldwin left behind when he left the team in bankruptcy? (We still have more Chapter 11s than championships.)

Have you ever been to Mellon Arena, to see for yourself how much of a shit box it is compared to the rest of the NHL's venues?

Have the Rangers ever suffered an utterly demoralizing five-year run, so devoid of talent and strapped for cash that they couldn't afford to be mediocre?

One last question: Where were you when the Knicks drafted Patrick Ewing?

Scotty Hockey said...

VT - I was not saying that the fanbase wasn't dragged through hell, I was just pointing out that it abandoned the team. Maybe it was justified, but that is irrelevant.

I will address two of your questions. The first - "Have the Rangers ever suffered an utterly demoralizing five-year run, so devoid of talent and strapped for cash that they couldn't afford to be mediocre?" - I answer with a question of my own: Have the Penguins ever become the joke of the league because they throw your hard-earned ticket money out the window on free agents like Igor Ulanov, Bobby Holik, Stephane Quintal, Valeri Kamensky, etc. etc.

And as for your last query, don't bring up the NBA here. That league has always been a self-serving joke and has thankfully been exposed as being as corrupt.