After the latest state of the NHL, or lack thereof, I want to talk about one of those teams amongst other things . A few teams have etched a place in NHL history and have made eternal memories for various reasons including raising Lord Stanley's Cup.
Remember the special Oilers days which included the likes of Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Coffey, Lowe. The Habs with Robinson, Gainey, LaFleur, Lemaire, Dryden. The Penguins with Lemieux, Cullen, Barasso, Stevens, Coffey. The Isles with Smith, Bossy, Nystrom, Potvin, Gillies. Red Wings, Bruins .
Lets talk about a team who has had a cinderella of a decade plus. A team that came from humble beginnings and have been etching themselves as one of those teams in NHL history until the debacle of the cancellation of the 2004/2005 NHL season.
That team is the New Jersey Devils.
Four Stanley Cup Finals winning three and many Division titles. Great management, developmental program along with an amazing drafting philosophy.
This lockout may mean a new team in two years and next time the Devils begin a season may mean the last chance for this current "DYNASTY" to etch their final words.
Scott Stevens may have played his last game. Scott Niedermayer will explore Free Agency. Sergei Brylin's longevity may be coming due. Ken Daneyko is on the outside looking in. Along with Brodeur and Elias those were some of the pillars of this franchise.
Then there are others who became Devils helping make the train run. Rafalski who will become an Unrestricted Free Agent, Friesen, Madden, Pandolfo, Langenbrunner, Gomez and White amongst a few others.
A new arena to be their new home in a few years may be the sign of a different New Jersey Devils team and the word Dynasty may be used more often. Perhaps Lamoriello should also consider a change of uniforms to preserve the memories of a team that was really special. The chances of that happening are slim as Lamoriello is a purist but it would be special to turn the page and close the chapter of one of the most successful franchises in NHL history. An example in many ways on and off the ice.
A new league will emerge out of this train wreck and the Devils are not the only team that may bid goodbye to some of their greats next time the league drops a puck, whenever that may be. Here are some names, to name a few, that may have seen their last NHL game: Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Peter Forsberg, Brian Leetch, Teemu Selaane, Alexander Mogilny, Peter Bondra, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Eddie Belfour, Dominic Hasek, Brett Hull and a few others.
NHL fans we will see a new NHL when the sun comes up. Perhaps Bettman should go ahead with a league logo makeover, get some rule changes in effect, or whatever he has up his sleeve because when the NHL begins there better be a much better product as the outcome. Us fans need to be convinced the suffering, embarrassment and shame is worth it!
The game has undergone makeovers and changes over time and this is simply part of what has happened; but when will the changes end? When will the game be good enough to share a lot of interest? When will we compete with the NFLs, MLBs, NBAs of the world? When will TV stations bid for what we have?
The answer to the questions above I do not have but one thing I am certain, we may never find out unless we drop the puck.
Along with the changes we need to reconsider weather or not we have the right people calling the shots. To be a leader you have to be able to communicate with any and everyone. Bettman and Goodenow were at one point asked not to be in the negotiations. Many felt they would be able to accomplish more without the aforementioned present. In my mind they have zero credibility. Would shareholders tolerate a company's CEO not being able to communicate to the leader of another company if a possible deal would benefit those shareholders? I DON'T THINK SO!!!!
Arthur Levitt who owns an impressive financial and business background said, during a study on the league's financial situation, that he would not invest a penny of his own money into this company. Guys its not working and something has to be done.
A new era is about to begin and as shareholders every true NHL fan should be heard. Perhaps all of the Spectorshockey family should collaborate and be heard. Sound off and tell me your thoughts, suggestions, wish list, etc In my next column I will be a collection of "your" thoughts and we will put together a "State of the Fans Address". Email them to me at: TheHockeyMoose@aol.com
I will also welcome ideas of where and how to get this exposure and be heard utilizing the Spectorshockey influence. I look forward to this challenge.
Again, thanks goes to Lyle for maintaining this great place where hockey fans turn to for hockey intelligence and expression.
Roger writes for spectorshockey and can be reached at: TheHockeyMoose@aol.com He welcomes ideas, thoughts, criticisms and questions which he answers during his columns.
|The opinions expressed on this page are of the author, and in no way reflect the views of the NHL, it teams or players. All material in World Cup fo Hockey Journal copyright (C) 2005 Spector's Hockey. Reproduction of this material in whole, or in part, without consent by the author or Spector's Hockey is prohibited.|