Sunday, November 04, 2012

Rod Hockey Man

The boy is four games into his hockey career and he has already told us that he prefers it to soccer, which he has played for years, and that he wants to play next year. He is enjoying it, apparently, I say apparently because getting anything out of him these days is a difficult proposition. One word answers are in vogue suddenly.

'Did you have fun?'

'Yes'

'How was hockey?'

'Good'

His team is pretty good (2-1-1 so far) and one of my best friends is coaching him. He's an excellent coach and wonderful with the kids and my son couldn't ask for a better introduction to the game and I'm sure this helps because quite frankly the boy is terrible.

He's the smallest and probably the youngest in a two year age division and his skating is a ways away and so there are long stretches and entire shifts where the puck comes nowhere near him and when it does he swipes at it, often misses and then watches as the play goes the other way. Jenn has seen him play once and she found it painful, its hard to see your kids struggle.

He has to start somewhere though and his last game he improved quite a bit, he has a bad habit of pushing with his right leg when skating (he did this last year during lessons as well) and I reminded him before the game to use both of his legs and to keep pushing and so he was quicker and suddenly he was around the play a lot more. He had a shift at centre so he got to take some faceoffs and get his nose dirty a bit there and as the game wore on he got into a few of the scrums and whacked the puck the right way and overall it was a great day for him. When the puck was in the other team's zone he was able to skate quickly enough to get near the net (and actually had a chance in the slot all alone, unfortunately it was a swing and a miss). Baby steps, right?

Talking to my buddy last night at our Capsule game he said that the thing about the boy is that on the bench he is constantly asking questions so my guess is that much like his old man, he is probably going to be one of the smartest guys on the ice. Hopefully he will have better physical tools (!) ;) but for now whenever one of the other parents asks me which one is mine, I just point to the guy playing his wing. While the majority of the other players follow the puck like a rugby scrum, back and forth, back and forth in a mass, you can see my little guy, much like a rod hockey player, up and down his wing, up and down his wing. So he's got the playing your position thing down anyhow.

Of course the main thing is that he is enjoying it. Nothing else is important really and i have to say that I am very happy that this is the case. Its made for a great autumn.

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I think at this point there's going to be an NHL season. If the rumour is correct and the NHL is going to cover existing salaries then really there is no reason for a deal not to be made.

There is a small part of me, a cynical twisted part, that would like to see it all go up in flames. I love hockey and this fall I've watched the boy play and my own season has had a great start and we're very busy otherwise, we're always busy these days, and so I really haven't missed the NHL or the Oilers at all. Once winter comes I will also be playing outdoor shinny once a week and will probably help to flood the neighbourhood rink and once that is up and running the boy and I will hopefully spend some time there workingon or games.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Watching Katz botch what was a pretty terrific deal for a new arena because of greed or ego or 'negotiating tactics' has reminded me that the Oilers remain an organization that is entirely unlikeable as well as incompetent. I'm sure that when they return the addition of further young talent will probably push them up the ladder of the standings, finally, and Yakupov and Schultz will make the team that much more fun to watch.

But it would be nice if the public face of the organization itself wasn't one of slimy incompetence. Cheering for a club that is such a disgrace requires some serious compartmentalization, much like Bill Clinton claiming he didn't have sex with that woman or a Republican being gay.

As for the NHL well if it were my NHL there would be eight or nine teams folded and I'd start with those clubs that are apparently driving the bus on this latest lockout, those clubs that will never succeed until the revenue split is 90/10 in favour of the owners. A lot more teams make a lot more money than people think but when you have teams losing twenty, thirty, forty million dollars, the only way they will ever make a profit is if you have a cap around twenty to thirty million dollars. And that's not going to happen.

With a third of the league always going to lose big bucks you're never going to find a system where everyone makes money unless you have full on revenue sharing and that won't happen and shouldn't. Its one thing to have a league where you have a couple of big money makers, a majority of clubs who make money and are strong and a couple of small markets. The NHL will never be that league. And there is never going to be that massive TV deal and with every interrupted season you kill your revenue sources, you alienate sponsors and fans, you stop any momentum you've built.

Nothing good is going to come out of this lockout except I would guess that its the loathesome commissioner's last, more because of his age than anything else. What a legacy he will leave. Failing franchises everywhere, three lockouts, a league that still, as it always has, gives the impression of making things up as it goes along. As Mario Lemieux said, a garage (garbage) league.

But they'll be back. And pretty soon I guess.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want to give everyone hope. I have been working like a dog for the past few months. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is next weekend. It conincides with the OKC Barons playing in Abbotsford. I live in Vancouver. I will watch Nuge et. al. and get drunk guilt free and it will be glorious. Except that dink Bettman will screw that up for me too by concluding a deal with the union on Thursday. Wait and see.

Anonymous said...

It's tough trying to teach a kid to play his position the right way, when all the other kids are mobbing the puck and won't pass in any event.

Getting open isn't much fun if you end up just hanging out by yourself.

Bruce said...

But they'll be back. And pretty soon I guess.

More importantly, You are back. Good to see.

My boy played 12 years of minor hockey, never got out of the middle tiers, but loved it all the way. I wouldn't trade those years for anything.

Black Dog said...

lol anon one, thanks very much

anon two - true but the boy is pretty proud of himself, its one thing he can say, rightly, is that he plays his position better than anyone on the team ;) And when the puck does skitter over there then he gets an unencumbered whack at it

Black Dog said...

Thanks Bruce, have been so busy and of course no hockey so ... but will try and write a bit more.

I just hope he enjoys it, I hope that, like me, he is playing decades from now. Great game.