Friday Foofaraw: Scattershot

For those of you that joined the blog recently, during the summer on Friday’s is when I tend to just write about whatever I want, as do the others on the blog. Feather even went through a streak of reviewing video games and The Walking Dead. So prepare yourself, as I’ve got all sorts of things rattling around this bald dome of mine.

-As the Hawks sit between several rocks and a very hard place with the cap constraints, the past couple days I can’t help but cast my mind back just short of three years ago. That would be Bettman Lockout III. Or maybe even Bettman Lockout II, which got us this current system. During that lockout, most owners were under a gag order. We never got what Rocky was really thinking during all of it, and whenever he did talk he was on the party line, out of fear of massive fines from The Commish.

And owners do that during labor disputes, but those labor disputes, at least these days, aren’t really about owners vs. players. They’re owners vs. owners, and the owners take it out on the players to protect themselves from each other and themselves. They know that when back to normal business, they’re going to do everything they can to put a winning team out there and all those loopholes get closed in the next CBA.

So if you’re Rocky, where are you now? You’ve overhauled this organization for eight seasons now, completely changing the way they do everything. You finally got it into the black (so you claim). You’ve made the Hawks more popular than they’ve ever been in the city and in the sports landscape. You’ve brought home three Cups and a further two Conference Finals.

And now, because you’ve set up your organization so well, you have to watch as the hockey operations that you set up and then left alone is punished for doing their job so well. You’re watching your chances of further deep playoff runs, and all the revenue they bring in and the chances at glory, lessened so that organizations that aren’t run as well or attended or downright shoddy can keep up. What have you done wrong?

Off the record, do you think Rocky and owners like him would kill for an NBA-type Bird exemption right now, making it easier to retain the talent you’ve groomed? With the financial might that Rocky was able to glean from basically scratch in this town, doesn’t he want to flex it a little? Is the league really any stronger by towing along the Arizonas and Floridas of the world by punishing the top end than it would be if they let the Chicagos, Detroits, New Yorks, Montreals press their advantage more? I tend to doubt it.

But we’ll never know.

-Moving on from hockey, and on East Coast US Women’s Parade Day. I watched a little of the Women’s World Cup, mostly because there wasn’t much else on at certain times. But it was fun to watch a whole sect of the sports world devolve into the #PleaseLikeMySport psychosis that hockey fans are constantly mocked for.

Now, obviously those clamoring for more attention to women’s soccer are part of a greater overall battle of gender equality where hockey fans aren’t. So I get the passion to an extent. But it was still highly entertaining to see people post on Facebook and Twitter the same “toughness” memes we see with a picture of a female soccer playing bleeding but playing, juxtaposed with a picture of a male soccer player writhing around on the ground in pain, as if a female soccer player has never, ever dived and tried to get an opponent booked (though the fact most of these contained a photo of Javier Hernandez made me laugh pretty damn hard).

The ratings of the Final clearly blew anything the NHL has ever been able to put up out of the water, but it still has the feel of the 2010 Gold Medal game to me. We all love to get together and wave the flag every four years, but it’s hardly the signal of a seismic shift in the attention of sports fans. Hockey tends to steadily grow, at a pace slower than most would like. The same is true for both men’s and women’s soccer. Sure, we can fill Grant or Lincoln park for a watch party for a World Cup. That doesn’t mean people are flocking to Toyota Park or Benedictine College the following month. And that’s fine. No one’s required to.

These days hockey and soccer fans really have all the coverage and fellow fans they need. You can watch all the games you want, find all the blogs you want, the message boards, twitter feeds, whatever. Ok, women’s soccer fans might lag behind but it’s better than it was. Acceptance by the masses no longer is needed, because there are just so many more avenues than there were. And the food’s better out here in the outer reaches anyway.


  • Annette Frontpresence

    I smell some very Capitalist themes… better be careful that kind of thing is frowned upon in the internets.

    • lisa simpson

  • Black JEM

    As someone who had both men and women in the family play at a serious level of soccer beyond their high school years, the men’s game is making a slow march in this country especially west of the Mississippi. Men’s college game is about to be revamped to make it more like the international game, to try and emulate to a small degree the European club environment. Cable gives you every chance to watch all the big international leagues and friendlies. And if you believe as I do that the lawyers will kill the NFL eventually, soccer only stands to keep growing.

    The women’s game is for the time being dead in the water. It is slow and boring to watch. We like to rally around the flag and that’s great. But if I am a guy, and let’s face it, guys watch most of the sports, why watch an inferior sport that a solid young high school aged men’s club team would destroy the best women’s teams in the world. And this isn’t to blame the women, there are biological reasons that cannot be surmounted.

    But that is what they are up against – and I don’t see them getting around that.

    • HostileHawk

      Yeah, but what about someone like Marta from Brazil. She is good enough to play with the men, and isn’t allowed to? She is the best at what she does, and she doesn’t have an outlet to play in. They aren’t all biologically lesser.

      • Black JEM

        The margins of course vary from player to player. And Marta is a hell of a talent. But how fast is her 40, how high can she jump, how much can she lift, and how explosive is she. Male football lineman run as fast. Not a professional men’s club in the world where she would be better than the last man on the bench at her position.

        The article is a nice platitude to her skill. But I have watched way too much soccer to accept the subtle suggestion she is equal to the best male players. She is not equal to the worst male professional players. And in fact she isn’t equal to the worst major developmental amateur male players either. Because physically they are all all superior to her. By alot.

        It is an athletic sport with a bit of specific skill thrown on top – ball handling and striking – sports where skill is the determinant, say tennis and golf, I would expect the gap to be less pronounced. I would never defeat LPGA golfers or the William’s sisters, even in my athletic prime. But in my 30s me and my buddies who were nothing more than high school sport stars would have destroyed any women’s soccer or basketball team in the country – because we were faster, stronger, quicker, bigger than they were. (And still in shape to run with them – LOL!!! – not anymore!) And their superior skill in the sport could not overcome our physical dominance. There is a reason college women’s teams scrimmage against men’s intramural teams. Or boy’s high school aged club teams.

        This is what women’s soccer is fighting against, more than just soccer acceptance in the states. It’s that in the competition for scarce entertainment dollars, their product isn’t very good. Not trying to slam women – my daughters played, I supported them just as my sons. Went to all the games I could and cheered like hell for them to win. I’ve seen the excitement before, after Chastain’s celebration. It was a dud. No reason at all to suggest why it will be different this time.

        • HostileHawk

          Thanks for the really well written and thought out response (no sarcasm intended).

          You seem to have a strong background for your opinion. I am just not totally convinced. Here is a good read about a female baseball player:

          There are issues with drafting women players, but I’m not convinced that skill or talent is the main issue. Furthermore, I don’t think talent or skill is the reason many people watch sports. I think some semi-pro sports are actually more fun to watch. Many people think college basketball is more fun to watch than the NBA. Many people don’t even know anything about the sport they are watching.

          But, on talent, take for instance, Cheryl Miller, who is Reggie Miller’s sister. Many people, including Reggie were quoted as saying she was the better or the two siblings, and could not only play the men’s game, but shine.

          I played a little Tier 1 Junior hockey. I have played in a men’s league between seasons one year for Junior players, and there was a team with 3 girls who were better than guys who were drafted. The current captain of the Canadian Girl’s team plays men’s pro hockey in Europe.

          There is more at work here than just talent and skill, or ratings issues. Baseball is a great example. A game where the best girl players could definitely play pro ball, but we force them to play an entirely different sport.

          Ultimately, most of my arguments basically boil down to value. If we value women competing at the highest level of their abilities, we should make it worth it for them to do so. That Marta story is a great example. She should be able to make a living doing what she does best. If the right campaigning and marketing was done, I think people will buy any crap. Women’s soccer is fun to watch. I go to Chicago Fire games, and Red Stars games. Both are entertaining if you love watching sports.
          Just to be clear, I don’t completely disagree with you.

          • Black JEM

            I understand your response and appreciate the thoughtfulness in your reply. I appreciate Cheryl Miller’s skill – but you know what – not a HS basketball player she could get the ball up against consistently. He’d block almost everything because he is stronger and can outjump her, plus women bring the ball up from further down. The WNBA survives on the largess of the NBA – if they weren’t subsidized they would fold tomorrow. Reggie is being polite. He’d kick her ass every time they play one on one if he tried.

            I could actually see a woman maybe being able to play baseball just because of the skill aspect of the sport. I’m not sure they could ever consistently hit well enough – but to field and maybe even pitch – sure perhaps. I think Serena Williams could give top amateur male tennis players one hell of a go. Again, a skill sport more than an athletic one.

            In hockey I guess I’d have to see it. Women generally do not have the upper body strength to deal with the total game (Also a problem in BB and soccer). I know they can work out like crazy, but in the end it just isn’t going to happen. A guy will always be faster and stronger. I will grant my hockey background is not as extensive as yours, as my family’s involvement stopped at AAA US club at Major Midgets, but I never saw a girl who could skate on a third line anywhere. Given the NHL is the premier league in the world, I doubt a woman will ever be good enough to crack the top 600 male players in the world. But we will see.

            Someday we will get to watch it because some team will use the publicity to try and sell tickets here in the states. Will be interesting to watch.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    But I’m sure Rocky was in favor of some sort of salary cap, keeping guys like DDN from pulling down the 20 MM salaries you see in the NBA these days. Even in the 21st century, even if you take a franchise from ‘Worst in North America’ to ‘Model Of The NHL,’ you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    • Black JEM

      A league that ins’t financially sound isn’t a good league to be a part of. He’s annoyed that the cap didn’t grow as much as he hoped, but this is way better then the alternative.

  • Bannerman

    My wife got us free tickets to see DC United play the NE Revolution. I have to say it was a lot of fun. Like Hockey, you really have to watch soccer live to really appreciate the game.

  • Sam

    Hmmm…. watch speaking to what you openly declare to knowing little about. It’s true that men’s soccer is more athletic and hence will always be more engaging that women’s, but you’re dead wrong that men and women embellish calls to the same degree. It’s a plague on men’s soccer making it almost unwatchable, whereas the women’s play is fairly honroable. Save for Brazilian and Columbian women’s teams, the culture of lameness was mostly absent in this tourney.

    Stead, how bout using the bleeding head episode to highlight a common issue in soccer (women’s or men’s): the boneheaded rules of FIFA uber alles when it comes to not protecting players against heads injuries. Surely there’s symmetry there that is worth commenting on?

    • Black JEM

      I see the diving everywhere. Saw it in college, hell knew a girl in high level club who practiced diving in her basement. As long as the reward is so high, all players will be tempted to dive.

  • Bob Lanz

    Wouldn’t we all just love a cap that allowed retention of of your home grown ufa and rfa’s. But fuck it these are the rules, everyone has to play by them. learn from past mistakes Bicks I’m looking at you and don’t count on any kind of player assistance Saader that’s you. In Stan I trust. In Q I must. Tazer leads Kaner amazes Toothless(2) grins and the Blackhawks Win!

  • HossasPierogi

    To be fair, NHL attendance is fairly strong across the board, except for Arizona, Carolina and Florida.

    While some of that is due to poor teams, I don’t think these three franchises are worth salvaging — will they ever establish a strong fanbase? Bettman’s allegiance to the sunbelt — adding a team in Las Vegas — when more money can be made in the north — is puzzling. Or perhaps there’s a TV revenue aspect to the sunbelt franchises that I’m not getting.

    • Blaine Jacobs

      More to your point, the NHL should drop Florida and Carolina, and move Arizona to Seattle. It leaves each division with seven teams, and it keeps the league out of the mess that Vegas will be.

  • seabsrat

    Sharp and Johns to Dallas for Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley..

    • Blaine Jacobs

      I can’t believe we traded Johns, but I assume that was the price to convince Dallas to take Sharp. The Stars better be taking on all of Sharp’s salary.

      • seabsrat

        I really didn’t even think trading Johns was a possibility.

        • Blaine Jacobs

          I can’t imagine what Sam is thinking right now.

          • Hockey Newbie

            One of these days we actually have to develop these D-men, especially if we have issues re-signing Seabs after next year. ‘

    • Hockey Newbie

      Doesn;t seem to be a huge salary savings, assuming full salaries. I think salary coming back is 5.1M. Would also think that may mean bye bye to Oduya, no? Do not really want to see Shooter in our division though.

      • Blaine Jacobs

        I’m seeing on Twitter that Dallas took all of Sharp’s salary and are paying some of Garbutt’s.

        • Hockey Newbie

          Oh wow, did not realize that Johns was included. hmm .. wonder how much salary Dal is picking up on Garbutt and or Daley.

        • seabsrat

          Garbutt is pretty much just straight trash, right? This is just a move to basically clear enough salary cap for Kruger or Oduya?

          • Blaine Jacobs

            Theoretically, if you move Daley and Garbutt in separate deals for a couple second round picks, then you were able to dump salary and get the picks you wanted–albeit lower rounds than you had hoped.

  • GoldenJet

    Holy crap…how many nhl ready defensemen can Stan get rid of in one calendar year?

  • spotlight312

    TVR and Trevor Daley should be interesting.

  • Blaine Jacobs

    The re-signing of Rundblad makes the trading of Johns even worse. We are moving the wrong guys.

  • seabsrat

    I don’t know much about Daley other than he can push play offensively a bit, but these 2 vids make me like him.

  • HarryBalzonya

    So we traded a top 6 forward and a bottom pairing D-man, for an older bottom pairing d-man, a crappy 4th line goon and 2 mil in cap space?

    • HarryBalzonya

      I sincerely hope we can flip these guys for picks and more room, or use them as part of a deal to launch Bickell and Versteeg

    • Blaine Jacobs

      According to Craig Custance on Twitter, Dallas is retaining 50% of Garbutt’s salary, equal to $900K. When combined with the difference in total salaries involved with trade we saved $1.7M total.

      • HarryBalzonya

        Yeah, for a salary dump trade, we didn’t really dump a whole lot! Sounds like we should have moved Sharp out at the draft when there was a bit more interest. We were greedy and waited for more, but all that happened was the market dried up and we had to pay to unload him.

        • Joe Banks

          Where’s the Dump? – oh, it’s over there… ew.

    • Jim

      Ugly trade. But they needed to unload the 6.5 I guess.

      • HawkIPA

        Garbutt makes no sense unless Stan has plans to flip him

        • Blaine Jacobs

          Does Garbutt have a two-way deal? It would be nice to stash him in Rockford to get another $900K under the cap.

  • jordyhawk

    I hate to see Johns go. I hated to see Dahlbeck go. Paliotta too although at least we hadn’t made as much of an investment in him. All three big, physical, good defenders. I just don’t know about this one. I guess Pokka might even make the club now.

  • Sopel the catfish

    I was ok until I saw that Johns was included, there isn’t any Marko Dano coming back to soften the blow. Time for another drink I guess

    • Jim

      Sharp was expected, Johns is a bitter pill to swallow. And the guys coming back don’t impress, and they’re old. Maybe the Hawks system can get some productivity out of them, not sure.

      Bad trade, but there must have been a very thin market for Sharp.

  • HostileHawk

    It most definitely sucks for Rocky and the team. As you stated, they are basically punished for doing everything right. But, let’s say it wasn’t that way. Let’s say Rocky can keep his team together after winning a Cup. The Hawks might have won every Cup since their 2010 run. Is that what we want for the sport? I wish the Hawks didn’t have to dismantle the team after every Cup, and could have kept Saad. But, where does Saad’s mistake come into play? He could have stayed for a slightly lesser amount, and both Toews and Kane could have played for less as well, allowing the team to stay within their cap.

  • Icdws

    It’s apparently impossible to get Q to commit to playing our so called top prospects. Unless these two duds turn into draft picks this is shaping up to be a poor deal. We are now faced with Bickell versteeg staying, losing our third top young d man, watching runblad try to play d and the core getting older and more worn down. I went from bullish to bullshit in one sentence.

    • HawkIPA

      How could Johns be on Q’s shitlist already? Dumbfounded right now.

      • Joe Banks

        I’m beyond dumbfounded

  • Brandon Murray

    Man I just keep saying “3 Cups in 6 years” to make me feel better about all of the top D prospects we are trading away. Guess Keith can just play all 60 minutes for 82 games next season. Stan is frustrating me.

    • Yep, and now #2 is going to have to play until he’s as old as Chelios, too.

  • HawkIPA

    What an awful, awful trade. Johns should have been untouchable. There was still plenty of time to move Sharp. This move, within the division no less, will haunt the Hawks for years. Easily Stan’s worst move as GM.

    • Jim

      Sucks to see shit teams like Columbus and Dallas feasting on the Hawks. I think Daly can be as good as Rosival. Shame on Bickell for sucking so bad he can’t be moved.

  • HossasPierogi

    Wtf – just a salary dump.

    • Joe Banks

      That’s the problem… not nearly enough improvement in the cap