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Favorite Article Of Fall


TheMessiah
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/10012006/sport...arry_brooks.htm

 

THE past two Stanley Cup Finals each featured a small-market team from the southeast United States defeating a small-market team from western Canada in a seven-game series. The first came under a collective bargaining agreement which contained no salary cap, the second under a CBA that contains the most restrictive cap of the modern sports era.

Five different teams have won the past five Cups, which means the NHL is tracking its parity on a course equal to the '90s, when six different teams won championships in the six years from 1992 through '97.

Then, of course, marquee teams with star power were capturing titles and the imagination of the U.S. sports public. Then, on either side of the first lockout, teams filled with recognizable future Hall of Famers were winning championships, remaining intact for repeat runs and challenges, setting the bar for their competition in the way that a rising tide lifts all boats. But that was before Sixth Avenue became obsessed with establishing a lowest common denominator for the league and its teams. That was before the fall.

The NHL may have its most appealing product in more than a decade, but not by definition. For this appealing product somehow appealed to fewer people than ever, if TV ratings are the measurement by which all leagues live. But have no fear. The league in which all games have a winner but nearly a quarter of them don't have a loser is about to be saved from itself for the second time in 12 years by its most important and most loathed franchise. The small-market league is going bright lights and Broadway again.

The NHL will rest in peace no more. The Rangers are on their way to another parade up the Canyon of Heroes, this time 41 years ahead of schedule.

Our lightning elimination round eliminates more teams than the Lightning, but it sure is ironic, isn't it, that this small-market champion became the first victim of the cap that penalizes success regardless of geography. The question in Atlanta - Bobby Holik and Steve Rucchin in the middle; we must have missed the punch line - is whether GM Don Waddell or head coach Bob Hartley will pay first with his job when the Thrashers miss again. The Islanders will compete harder than they did last season and, with both Miro Satan and Viktor Kozlov, may never lose a shootout, but will remain adrift. That is better than capsizing.

Boston will be better and better organized, but its goaltending isn't close to good enough. Florida is a joke franchise with a GM/coach in Jacques Martin who has never met a talent he hasn't tried to suppress. It would have been interesting had Pittsburgh and Washington actually tried to attract formidable support people for the glittering Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. It will be as interesting to watch the league attempt to sell itself by marketing players who work for teams that have virtually no chance to be in the playoffs; in other words, this isn't exactly Magic and Bird.

Colorado and Detroit, the glamour teams of the old CBA era, are commoners now, neither with much chance of winning, each likely to lose customers and corresponding cache. There isn't much sadder than Hockeytown believing in 155-pound Dom Hasek, is there? St. Louis is years away, Chicago doesn't count; Phoenix doesn't look like any team for which Wayne Gretzky would have enjoyed playing; L.A. is building very smartly; and Vancouver got the goalie a couple of years too late.

We'll be curious which excuses Doug MacLean makes this time when Columbus struggles; Dallas is no longer among the elite; and, given fair talent, isn't it finally time for Jacques Lemaire to be in the mix to actually win something in Minnesota? Edmonton, which crunched the numbers hard and well, looks like a one-and-done finalist, anyway.

No GM has benefited more from family than Brian Burke, who acquired Scott Niedermayer (the world's best player if Jaromir Jagr isn't) and Chris Pronger in successive summers because of familial tugs, though of different natures. Nashville has kept its work ethic while acquiring talent, and Calgary remains as tough to play and score upon as anyone. These are the three best teams in the West - San Jose a meter behind - that stand in the way of a fourth consecutive Eastern champion.

The Hurricanes were as determined to remove Oleg Tverdovsky's $5M over the next two seasons from the books as they were to trade Jack Johnson for immediate help on defense, and that is why the Rangers - and numerous other clubs - backed off. Carolina will be good again, so will Buffalo and so will Ottawa. The Flyers have an abundance of ability of up front, less so in the back, and what else is new? The Devils, as usual, will stand in the way of anyone serious about winning.

Which the Rangers are, from the front office to the coaching staff, from King Henrik of, no, not Sweden, but now of Broadway, to the pre-eminent Jagr. The Rangers added winners to their lineup this summer. They have young players who are likely to emerge over the course of the year. The roster - and ice time - in March is likely to be significantly different than the one that opens the season.

And there is the approximate $5 million of cap space and overflow of attractive prospects with which the team has to work at the trade deadline. In other words, when John Davidson seeks to move Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis will be dialing 212, not 911.

The Rangers will be going for a ride. Once again, the league is welcome to hop on their backs. If that doesn't upset its small-market strategy.

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Great article, end of it made me smile lol...

But since when was Scott Niedermayer the worlds BEST player? 2 mins till game time...

He is not the worlds best player but is the best defensive man in the league...even though Tyutin is a close second :P

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http://www.nypost.com/seven/10012006/sport...arry_brooks.htm

 

Which the Rangers are, from the front office to the coaching staff, from King Henrik of, no, not Sweden, but now of Broadway, to the pre-eminent Jagr. The Rangers added winners to their lineup this summer. They have young players who are likely to emerge over the course of the year. The roster - and ice time - in March is likely to be significantly different than the one that opens the season.

And there is the approximate $5 million of cap space and overflow of attractive prospects with which the team has to work at the trade deadline. In other words, when John Davidson seeks to move Keith Tkachuk, St. Louis will be dialing 212, not 911.

The Rangers will be going for a ride. Once again, the league is welcome to hop on their backs. If that doesn't upset its small-market strategy.

That's my favorite part, the league was all set to break out in 1994 with the Rangers winning the Cup. Think of it a major media market team with lots of exposure winning the Cup was perfect for the NHL, which would have vaulted right over the NBA. NASCAR wasn't relevant yet, basketball was on the decline & baseball had just had half a season cancelled including the World Series. Hockey was primed & ready to become a big player in the "Big 4", instead we got a strike, a half season & a half Cup champ Devils to ruin the sport for a little more than a decade. Someone should have killed Bettman after he presented the Cup to us in 1994 & this madness with 2 strikes would have never happened.

 

He is not the worlds best player but is the best defensive man in the league...even though Tyutin is a close second :P

Tyutin is very talented but sadly nowhere near Neidermayer...... yet. ;)

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That's my favorite part, the league was all set to break out in 1994 with the Rangers winning the Cup. Think of it a major media market team with lots of exposure winning the Cup was perfect for the NHL, which would have vaulted right over the NBA. NASCAR wasn't relevant yet, basketball was on the decline & baseball had just had half a season cancelled including the World Series. Hockey was primed & ready to become a big player in the "Big 4", instead we got a strike, a half season & a half Cup champ Devils to ruin the sport for a little more than a decade. Someone should have killed Bettman after he presented the Cup to us in 1994 & this madness with 2 strikes would have never happened.

 

 

Tyutin is very talented but sadly nowhere near Neidermayer...... yet. ;)

There was an artile in 1994 from SI that was called something like, why the NHL is hot and the NBA is not. When the Rangers do good the NHL does good, biggest market for the NHL besides the Kings and very good for national exposure if we do good. Bettman just goes to show you what happens when you let the NBA get into your league

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