They chase a puck around a rink for multi-millions and reside in the U.S. preventing the imposition of Canada’s high rate of tax while you tote the j.o.b. for nickels in comparison. You pay into Canada’s social welfare state and sometimes irresponsibly pony up a three figure event ticket for an apparent privilege of sitting in beer and mustard stained seats. All the while your backdrop is emblazoned by the corporate logo of Scotiabank. Your neighbour to the left needs a pee break again because getting wasted is his idea of a night out on the town at the good ol’ hockey game. You lest not wait yourself for period intermission should the bladder be acute to line up anxiety. By the way – those multimillionaires want you to pay more tax for their new age arena and as for the Olympics….forget about it – the spirit doesn’t quite align with the profit motive and the violent spectacles for which you cheer, pay and celebrate. The hockey establishment has successfully marketed a strategy with a belief that in the absence of your own progressive realization of a life purpose, you will annually pay thousands for season tickets and the opportunity to witness another’s actualization of a capitalist ideal transmuted through a game. As a bonus you might get to see a street fight on skates and the manifestation of legal thwarting and impunity from assault laws.
Some credit to the NHL is in order as I took in a couple of periods of the Flames vs Hawks last night at Big Al’s pub over at International Avenue. No fights! Some inspired play by John Goudreau of the Flames. Fairly tight checking with low scoring and the O/T shoot out didn’t conclude until the 7th round. The goalies prevailed over the course of thirteen straight one on one encounters. Some sharp stick handler tallied the winner with a somewhat controversial deposit following a deke which arguably entailed backward movement of the puck – hence testing the rules. In fact, I’m surprised that officiating didn’t utilize video replay for confirming the game winning goal.
The game has taken positive steps to enhance the entertainment value. In spite of there being regulations around the size of goalie equipment, in my opinion those goalie pads are still too big. The Hawks may have won the game had the Flames goalie been fitted with a smaller catching glove. There weren’t many penalties and much to my surprise the game was played quite cleanly. Moments of suspense were endured by Flames fans when their team was shorthanded in the overtime period. However; the dump and chase style of play is still evident asking one whether coaches believe that offense can penetrate to the net with the three on two rush. This particular game was defensive dominant thereby limiting the excitement factor. The four on four format for the overtime is a definite positive. Advertisement interference was pleasingly tolerable – especially when matched up against the adjacent screen carrying the Broncos and Texans. I did not witness any acts of poor sportsmanship and coverage by Sportsnet was good. Given my criticism of the NHL, some balance was due. A shout out to Big Al’s for your warmth as my host!