"Lyle Richardson, mastermind of Spector's
Hockey,one of the brightest
A sort of diary of Richardson's view of NHL events over the end of the '98-99 season and all through 1999-2000, Shots on Net incorporates much of the often reliably incisive editorial material on his website. The book's divided into three main sections -- "Pre-season," covering the spring of '99, "Regular Season," spanning all of last year's NHL fixtures, and "The Playoffs," examining the 2000 Cup match-ups -- but it feels a little more like three periods of a game.
A rookie at writing of this length, Richardson plays it a little too safe in the opening stanza, overly mindful of his mechanics and hesitating to assert himself. There are minute, meticulous dissections of nearly every personnel move made by an NHL club, many of them less than compelling. So things move rather slowly at first, although it's actually kind of nice to have several months' worth of hockey news put into the telescoped perspective of a digest motif. For us, the action was also slowed by reading a beta version of the text from which a few hundred typos hadn't yet been removed; there's every reason to expect a cleaner, smoother read when the e-book's actually on the market.
The author recovers nicely in the middle period, though, and comes out firing on hockey's hot-button issues, showing the same confidence in his intelligent opinions that makes his website so absorbing. Richardson is one of the Web's leading proponents of Correct Thought, and this is where he hits his stride and his Shots on Net find the mark.
He nails the NHL for its repulsive overexpansion and for its refusal to drastically improve its revenue-sharing arrangements, accurately divines most of the reasons behind the late-'90s scoring drought, demands the game be called by the book and rips the escalation in dangerously dirty play, smartly assesses Canada's standing on the international hockey stage, stands up on the NoGoal disgrace, and slags Bettman, the owners, and the NHLPA in correct measure for their respective parts in making today's NHL a mess. And Richardson doesn't fire blindly; he reasons his positions at length, and well. We're not always in complete agreement with how he arrives at his conclusions, but the differences we have are few and small, and his conclusions are right.
He plays a more conservative third period in dissecting the 2000 playoffs series by series, but the digest form is even handier and more welcome here. A sort of post-game star awards ceremony, chapters four and five offer Richardson's personal take on hockey's best, or at least his own favourites, from the last thirty years -- he again shows his good taste and hockey smarts here -- and an eloquent encomium to the Rocket. We'd expect nothing less from so staunch a defender of the game's history and tradition as Richardson." - Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif, authors, "The Death of Hockey".
"The thing I like most about Lyle's
e-book is that he writes like a regular guy, not some pontificating
windbag. That does not mean that he doesn't know what he is talking
about, it just means that he isn't hitting you over the head
with how smart he thinks he is.... For me it is a great book
for new fans and old fans because it takes a look at some of
the big stories and explains them in a way that is very readable
to the new fan, but thought provoking enough to keep the interest
of the fan that remembers these events first hand.... Another
good thing about Shots On Net is it is a collection of self-contained
stories. So if you aren't interested in Alexei Yashin holding
out, skip to the section about Ray Bourque bailing on the Bruins
or the section on Marty McSorley wigging out. Of course there
is so much more, but go get the book yourself" - Ron Jones.
Publisher, HockeyRage.com E-zine.
"Shots on Net is an excellent snapshot
of the NHL in the late 90s. It is
The 1999-2000 season, and the
months leading up to it, was one of the most tumultuous
Some of the more notable events included a superstar player holding out for an entire season, rather than return to his team and honoring the final year of his contract. This situation had the potential to create far-reaching effects on the state of future contracttalks for all players.
One hockey legend would retire,
and another would pass away. The number of serious
The league, and in particular
its Canadian franchises, would pressure the federal
Player salaries would continue
to rise, as would ticket prices, amid warnings of financial
It would be a season that, despite
the leagues efforts to better market the game, would
There would be the emergence of a new powerhouse in the Western Conference, and the beginning of the decline of a former one. Teams expected to fulfill lofty ambitions came up short, while other clubs that anticipated failure instead succeeded beyond expectations. Finally, there would be a thrilling playoff between a defending champion and a club most had written off as a serious Cup contender.
Ive been a devoted fan of NHL hockey since 1970. Over the years, like most fans, Ive come to form strong opinions about the league, its players and the game itself. I have shared those opinions with other fans, who themselves had strong views about the game, some which sharply contrasted from mine. Thanks to the Internet and on-line services, I found a venue to exchange and debate opinions with hockey fans across North America and around the world. Ive found that, regardless of where one stands on issues pertaining to hockey, all of the fans share the same passion for the sport.
In 1998, I decided the time
was right to set up my own hockey web page, where I could
It is my opinion the views of hockey fans have been largely ignored by the league, its players and the media covering the game. This is particularly true of hockey books. Every year, we are bombarded with books ghost-written for former players, or commentary on the state of the game by professional hockey writers. However, we see very little, if anything at all, from those who have no professional ties to the sport, but love the game and have passionate viewpoints. I dont profess to speak for all hockey fans with this book, but merely to offer the opinion of one fan. I leave it up to you, the reader, to determine if we share the same views.