firside

Fireside Chat

The takes are coming in hot today (woooooo baby, are they ever) so it must be the perfect time for another Fireside Chat with yours truly.

Where to start?

How about with the All Star Game, something that this year has proven to be quite the canker sore in the gums for the league. Much of which was by their own doing and truly an incredible achievement when you think about it.

Not to go Rovell on you, but All Star Games are incredibly profitable events for all sports leagues. They offer a chance to market your game’s biggest stars, charge top dollars to corporate sponsors and make a weekend out of celebrating the greatness in your league, all while charging a premium rate for tickets, events and whatever else you can slap the shield on.

So anyone that says burn down the All Star Game, it’ll never happen. There’s way too much money to be made with little to no downside. Unless, of course, you’re the NHL this year and continually shoot yourself in the foot with PR disaster after PR disaster. Then the negative backlash will probably do more harm than any amount of cash that flows in.

Until they prove otherwise, this year seems to be the outlier (in terms of negative backlash) so let’s just all enjoy the stupidity and recount recent events:

  • Fans rally around untalented goofball and start a campaign to vote him in the All Star Game, primarily so they could laugh at his inability to keep up in the 3 on 3 format.
  • The campaign actually worked and untalented goofball gets voted into game.
  • League overreacts to the umpteenth degree and starts making unsubtle, heavy handed moves to keep him out of the game by sending him to minors, bringing him back, trading him, declaring him ineligible and having someone leak information to Uncle Bob that the trade was orchestrated primarily to keep him out of the All Star game. Then after a huge backlash, finally relents and agrees Scott should play in the game.
  • Finally, untalented goof puts himself up on the cross and has a ghost writer at the Players Union pen 1,200 words about how the league insulted his parenting skills (THE HORROR). Yes, the man who once gave a vicious cheap shot to Loui Eriksson and tried picking a fight with Phil Kessel (just two in a long list of his most courageous battles) wants you to know he has feelings and that people care about him. Meanwhile, the same fans that wanted to laugh at Scott are seemingly unaware of their role in this, are incensed someone who’s paid to injure people had their feelings hurt and are currently building the world’s largest hill on which they can die upon.

Only in the NHL.

The easy thing for the league to do was just embrace the stupidity from the outset and wear it like a badge of honor. That would’ve avoided this whole debacle that followed Scott’s participation in the exhibition game. Alas, here we are.

–Closer to home, Jonathan Toews was on the receiving end of a 1 game suspension for a little known rule. The rule being that a player is subject to a 1 game rest if they do not play in the All Star Game after being named or voted in (Insert John Scott jokes here). This has happened a few times before, most recently with Sidney Crosby last year.

I certainly understand the league’s positioning on this. They don’t want it to be the Pro Bowl where half the league is named because everyone bails with a case of the Al Czarnik arm injury.

And I get the frustration for teams like the Blackhawks and Capitals (Ovechkin was hurt last night and will not attend) where they will miss vital pieces for one game because they’re being cautious.

Not sure if there’s a better solution out there and it’s only one game anyway.

–To issues that don’t deal with exhibition…The Predators were starting to come into their own before the break and riding a four game winning streak. I will say, prior to the Johansen trade and with Seth Jones, the idea of the Predators in a 7 game series scare the bejeezus out of me.

Now…not so much. Even if the Predators are this year’s Minnesota Wild and take the league by storm in the second half, Pekka Rinne is who he is at this point. The 27 year old, non infected hip of him is not coming back.

Plusssss, they’re only 4 defensemen deep now and Barret Jackman doesn’t have the benefit of Seth Jones bailing his ass out every night. Two glaring weaknesses they didn’t have before they made that trade and make them all the more vulnerable now.

–The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, are getting that dead cat bounce from human corpse Vinny Lecavalier they hoped for when they acquired him. Now that is something worth fretting about. Lecavalier, while nowhere close to the player he once was, does stabilize the Kings down the middle and gives them another scoring threat within their line up.

This is assuming, of course, that Lecavalier can make it to the finish line. Something he may or may not still be capable of.

–Might as well finish this off with some X-Files thoughts. First off, seeing Scully and Mulder back together is like getting your old binky back. Such a warming and comfortable feeling.

I’ll skip the piling on of the first episode only to say that it seemed like certain scenes were filmed when David Duchovny was on the set of Californiacation. I didn’t get the Fox Mulder vibe from him at all while he was riding with Joel McHale in the limo.

The second episode was a much better viewing experience and by all accounts of those who’ve already seen it, the third episode is supposed to be dynamite. I’m optimistic for this brief six episode set and really, it has to be a total dud for me not to enjoy it. Nostalgia earns a lot of miles around here, gang.

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