Saturday, December 09, 2006

An Original Six Matchup

I'm sitting here watching the Wings throttle Toronto, and even though it hasn't been a great game in terms of competitiveness, it really makes me wish that the NHL would allow these matchups more often. Last year, these teams didn't play--which is absolutely absurd in my mind. Basically the fans in Detroit will only see the Leafs come to town once every three years.

It's just a travesty that the Wings will only face four of their Original Six peers once a year at most--barring a playoff matchup. The NHL is so intent on saddling us with facing the teams in our division "to develop rivalries", wouldn't it make sense to just let us face our traditional rivals more often?

There was electricity in the Joe tonight unlike I've heard in a long time in a regular season game. The teams were hitting, the passing was outstanding, and even though the Leafs got smoked, it was a fun game to watch. This game was hockey the way it was meant to be played, and we need to see more of it.

The league could still have divisional teams play 6 times a year, and it would open the door for four home-and-homes against "traditional or geographic rivals". It would allow us to play Toronto, Boston, the Rangers, and Montreal in a home and home series every year. Who wouldn't want to see that?

It'd be even more preferable in my eyes to make sure that every team plays every team at least once home and once away in the season. We shouldn't have to go three years with only seeing Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in Detroit (or in any Western Conference city) one time.

This has been one of the issues that I feel the league has made a big mistake on. You've got several awesome rivalries. Why eliminate them rather than showcase them? Detroit/Montreal, Detroit/Toronto, Chicago/Montreal.

As I type this, FSD just had a quote from Chelios that the people running the league don't realize how great these matchups are. Something needs to be done. It may not get the fans coming back in droves to watch hockey, but the fans in these old time hockey markets should at least get to see the great rivalries of the past more often than we're seeing them currently.

The Wings looked great tonight. 5 PPGs for, they just missed scoring 6 with the man advantage for the first time since 1942. Datsyuk has found his game again--though I still think they should be looking to move him. Dan Cleary is fast becoming my favorite player on the team, and not just because he's scoring now. I love the way that guy plays. And Hasek was outstanding tonight.
It's nice to see the Wings' special teams clicking again. The panicking about the power play was unwarranted. This team has far too much talent for it to not start clicking sooner or later. It looks like they've got it going now. They've been scoring at a 30% clip over the last 5 or 6 games.

For our game against Ottawa, Ken Daniels is going to be calling the game from between the benches. Somehow, I don't think this is going to work so well. There's a reason that play-by-play guys are usually up high, that being it's extremely hard to see the near corners of the ice when you're down that low. There's going to be guys in front of him constantly when there are line changes. I just don't get how this is going to work. It would make much more sense in my eyes for Mickey Redmond to be down low. It worked great when NBC stationed a reporter down there. Mickey would have time to be listening to what the players and coaches are saying. Ken won't because he's going to be calling the game. We'll see I guess, but I have the feeling this is going to be a one-time thing rather than the start of a trend.


Tom said...

I agree with your views on scheduling. I think that the NHL realizes that the fans in Toronto, Detroit, Montreal, etc. will be there no matter how badly they screw up (the lockout proved this). Now they seem to be more concerned with building the newer markets. It obvious that they would rather see Detroit playing in Columbus/Nashville than in Toronto or New York.

Anonymous said...

The easiest solution is just to move the Wings to the Eastern Coference, that preserves all the Original 6 rivalries except Chicago. If the Pens end up moving west I could see it happening.

Packer487 said...

Brad, I read somewhere that if a team does move west, the Wings actually do have the first right to switch even though Columbus is very slightly East of us.

I would love it. We'd get most of our Original Six rivalries back, plus I wouldn't have to deal with those fricken 10:30 starts anymore.

I would miss playing the Avalanche, but that rivalry has unfortunately died down with most of the players gone from the heyday.

In the meantime though, the league really does need to make an effort to allow these teams to play each other. I typed this post during the game, but following the game there were stories on TV, in the papers, pretty much everywhere quoting players about how they really miss playing the Leafs.