Our Latest Posts

12 March 2009

Hockey Lore

Tonight is a very important game, yet not very important in the whole scheme of things. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is one of the three games for the rest of the season we can afford to lose, only because it is a Western Conference team. I don't want them to lose, but if they do, this is the game. Let's face it we can't go on a tear like we did in 1992-93 and rattle off more than the NHL record 17 straight wins. That, somehow was our demise back then. We completely wore ourselves out on that next level all the time. It is almost like the team needed a break. The funny thing that I do remember about that year was that we would have gone longer if the season wouldn't have ended. Who knows, but the bottom line is that we won the Presidents trophy that year with 56 wins. It was an amazing year.
I look at the old divisional layouts and I miss what we had with the Patrick division. We had everyone in our current division in the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, and the New York Islanders, the bonus was that we had the Washington Capitals as well. It was the top four teams in each division that made the playoffs back then, so it was almost like unless you were truly horrible, you were in. Since then we added 6 teams in all obscure hockey places. The Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche. The Hartford Whalers moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes. The Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas and dropped the "North" and kept the Stars. The Winnepeg Jets moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes. Out of all the moves, three out of the four were successful. Carolina, Colorado, and Dallas each won at least one cup, two in Colorado's case. Atlanta added the Thrashers, Florida added the Panthers, Nashville added the Predators, Columbus added the Blue Jackets, Minnesota added the Wild, and Anaheim added the Ducks. Out of all these new teams, only Anaheim has won the cup. The rest barely made the playoffs once, if that in some cases. I like the competition now, but I do wish we had back some of the old teams like Hartford and Winnepeg. Quebec was a good rival, but is successful in Colorado.

The other thing I miss is the incredible scoring numbers back then. I mean, the Pens themselves had an NHL record four hundred point scorers in Mario Lemieux, Kevin Stevens, Rick Tocchet, and Ron Francis. Jaromir Jagr wasn't far behind with 94. The top three in scoring then all had over 140 points. It is unheard of to get 140 points now. Out of the top ten scorers, eight had 50 or more goals. We have one this year that looks possible to hit 50, and that is Alexander Ovechkin. That is only because all he does is shoot the puck. He doesn't play defense or special teams, he just shoots the puck. I could go on about him as a non-complete player unlike Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but I will save that for another post.

The thing I really didn't like back then is that I don't believe that the goalies were nearly as talented and skilled as they are today. I looked at the goal against averages and they don't reflect my opinion, but it is my opinion! If you watch some of the old time goals, most of them are standing up and not covering the crease very well. That era ended with Patrick Roy and his butterfly-style of goaltending. This caught on like wildfire and every goalie uses a version of it today.

Another hot topic today is the fighting rules. I agree and disagree with what they are doing. What we want is to leave it in. The only problem is that it is getting away from old style fighting which was just raw emotion. That would be acceptable now. We have these fights that two players just go out there and talk it out first and then fight briefly and then go to the box. The league wants those to stop. I think the staged fighting is a really lame part of the fighting aspect of hockey. I think they do need to remove that part of it. My problem is that they want to enforce the instigator penalty more. I hate this idea. Right now, the way it is, is that is your goon takes a clean run at a star who is visibly smaller than them, no one can go out and defend that one player. You have to defend yourself. That can't always happen if you are the smaller player. I like the idea that goons are policed by other goons and can be policed without fear of the rulebook being thrown at them. The league is trying for this. They say they aren't taking it out, but there isn't much left with the severe enforcement of the instigator. I wish they would just ask the fans. Maybe we should start a petition for the removal of staged fighting along with the removal of the instigator penalty.

Overall, I like where we are at, but do wish some of the things of old were still in place. In my opinion, Wayne Gretzky is right, no one will get his records, but it isn't because players aren't as good as he was now, it is because the rules don't allow it. Ahh...the memories!

No comments:

Post a Comment