Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My NHL Realignment Plan (c/o

Well some of the hockey brass at decided it would be a good idea to submit realignment plans for the NHL. Well if John Buccigross can do it, why can't I?

Alright first off, I would relocate the following teams: the Atlanta Thrashers, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. There's no future for hockey in Florida. And I don't want to hear that the "old folks who retire want to go to the games" bullshit. They root for their teams from back home. If a team is going to move to a new location, it's going to be the young people who create the fan base, not senior citizens. The teams would go to the following locations: Winnepeg, MB; Toronto, ON; Quebec, QC; and an American city...alright, I can live with Seattle, WA. And as to which teams go where, it doesn't really matter.

Well it's obvious the NHL needs to be marketed better. They need to stop saying, "Look at Sidney Crosby! Look at Alex Ovechkin! Look, look! They're good right? Just look!" No, that's not at all how to do it. Why not? Because that's how they've been doing it and it hasn't worked. They need to market hockey. Show non-fans how exciting the game is, not certain players. Show the shootout (which I don't like at all, but it get's non-fans interested, so we'll keep it) and show the speed and skill of scorers as well as goalies. And do you know how to get exposure for the NHL? Put it on ESPN. For Christ's sake, the WNBA is on ESPN! There's no way in hell the WNBA would get higher TV ratings than a Flyers/Penguins game or a Capitals/Bruins game. Most people don't even know what VS is. So, how do you expect people to watch your league if it's on a channel they don't even know exists.

I would change the way the divisions are aligned so rivals play each other more often thus creating higher TV ratings. Some of the division names have been changed as well.

Eastern Conference

Stanley Divison
New Jersey
Hart Division
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Calder Division
Toronto (Relocated Team)

Western Conference
Vezina Division
St. Louis
Norris Division
Howe Division
Los Angeles
San Jose

Thursday, September 17, 2009

JVR Looking Good

The Flyers second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, James Van Riemsdyk, has show many that he not only deserves a spot on the Flyers 2009-2010 roster, but that he deserves significant playing time. In the Flyers first unofficial preseason game (a rookies game versus the Washington Capitals rookies), Van Riemsdyk had four goals (that's 4, one more than a hatrick) and one assist. He was, according to reporters who were there, flying around the ice and looking like a Rick Nash reincarnate. Over the summer Van Riemsdyk put on about ten pounds of muscle and looks to be in great hockey shape. Last night during the Flyers first "official" preseason game against the Red Wings, JVR had the Flyers lone goal on a wrister from the top of the left circle.

Van Riemsdyk has been thought of as a bust by many Flyers fans (myself included). It has mostly been Flyers fans being upset that they didn't get the 1st overall pick in the 2007 draft, the year after they were the worst team in the NHL, and had the worst season in Philadelphia Flyers history. With the 1st overall pick in the draft, the Chicago Blackhawks took the now coverman of EA Sports NHL 10, Patrick Kane. Many Flyers fans have been comparing Van Riemsdyk to Kane and this is the source of the "JVR is a bust" comments. Van Riemsdyk, after being drafted by the Flyers, decided to not go pro but go to the University of New Hampshire to play collegiate hockey. JVR is finally out of college and looking for a NHL roster spot after playing seven games last season with the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Phantoms. If he keeps up his torrid pace in the preseason, there's no reason that he should be kept off the big club's roster.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Shot in the Ribs

I hope no one missed the real outcome of the Eagles/Panthers game on Sunday. No, it wasn't the 38-7 shellacking by the Eagles. No, it wasn't the 7 takeaways created by the Eagles defense, which didn't seem to miss a beat with the loss of the greatest D-coordinator in the NFL, Jim Johnson. The real outcome was the possible loss of Donovan McNabb. Even if Donovan plays next week, he will be in significant pain, and will not be a 100% McNabb, which could be a problem considering the Eagles may need to score a bunch of points to combat the highly explosive offense that is the New Orleans Saints.

Donovan McNabb is not well liked by many Eagles fans, to say the least. Many regard him a a quarterback who cannot win in the clutch or cannot win the big game that the Eagles need him to win. But when your quarterback takes you to five NFC Conference championships and one Super Bowl in his tenure so far, it's really tough to say he can't win the big game. In the NFL every game is a big game, and every playoff game is an even bigger game. Donovan has won 9 career playoff games, no easy task considering he has had possibly the worst wide recievers of any successful quarterback in NFL history. In 2003 Philadelphia's wide receivers caught only five touchdown passes tying the record for fewest in a season. The 2003 Eagles became the first NFL team since 1945 not to have gotten a touchdown pass from any of its wide receivers in the first two months of a season. McNabb is a Hall of Fame quarterback and for the Eagles to lose him to injury is devastating to the team.

To all of the Donovan haters, he will be missed during his time out and the Eagles will struggle without him. Unless Kevin Kolb...wait nevermind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Closer Troubles

With the problems that Brad Lidge has been having in the bullpen, particularly in the closer position, it's about time Charlie Manuel decided to relinquish Brad's duties as closer. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. And Charlie putting Brad out there expecting him to suddenly change and become the Brad Lidge of 2008 was ridiculous. Brad got the bases loaded and Manuel officially got off Brad's d**k and went with an old face when it comes to the closer's role...Ryan Madson. He was the closer this year when Lidge was on the DL. He did very well in the beginning, but faded out towards the end. If Madson uses his changup effectively, he has some of the best stuff in the league, and is downright nasty.
When it comes to the position of closer for the rest of the 2009 regular season and the playoffs, Charlie Manuel should start to groom Brett Myers back into the closer's role. he performed extremely well during his time in the the pen in 2007, and there's no reason to expect that he lost his "closer's stuff." He has the arm to be a closer and he most definitely has the mentality, so by the last week of the regular season, Brett Myers should be the Phillies primary closer.
And with Brad Lidge, he might make a few spot closes up until the last week, then he should become the 8th inning guy along with Ryan Madson. It is possible that Brad is tipping his pitches again like he did in 2007. Or, like many others believe, he is having injury problems and is trying to pitch through them. And if this is the case, Brad needs to realize he's hurting the team and go on the DL.

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