Sunday, October 02, 2005

Crystal Puck Gazing

Do it for too long and you'll go crazy

Trust me.

With the start of the season just a matter of days away there still is no consensus emerging from hockey fortune tellers regarding how the grand experiment will go. That however hasn't stopped any of them from gazing into their crystal balls... err I mean pucks and reporting back on what they see.

Some are pretty positive. In fact this one lists 12 reasons why he is and we should be also.

here's #...
8. Shooting the puck will be back in style. It won't be like the 1970s and '80s when Guy Lafleur and Mike Bossy used to roar down the wings and uncork long slap shots past netminders. The science of goalkeeping won't allow a complete return to those times, but forwards are now getting up to top speed through the neutral zone. Also, downsizing the goalie equipment has made more of the net visible. If there is more net showing, players will shoot. Count on that.
Others whose job it is to know these things have absolutely no clue what to expect or how to handicap the races and it's causing some big headaches. for oddsmakers - they'd sooner take an Al MacInnis slapper to the groin than go about hanging NHL lines, a market where their profit margin has always been razor thin.
"This is creating a huge headache for us," says oddsmaker Shane Catford. "There are a lot of things that we still don't quite have figured out."

...for now, sportsbooks and their customers find themselves on even ice when it comes to betting the new NHL. It's nearly impossible to say which teams will thrive in this reconfigured league, but with scoring the order of the day, look for clubs that can ripple the mesh.
"The more skilled teams that struggled in the past, when defense ruled, will likely rise to the top,” predicts Murphy. "Detroit, Dallas, and Colorado are the teams that will probably still be overvalued in the early going."
And then there are the cynics (no, not the rock band).
So how do you like the new NHL?
Because, after all, it's your NHL.
It certainly isn't mine any more, despite what the ads say.
My NHL wouldn't have 20 power plays a game in order to end "obstruction," only to forget about it during the postseason. And you and I both know that will happen.
But hey, there's now a tradition of having one set of rules for the regular season and another for the playoffs. Like, for example, ending those first "meaningless" 82 games with a shootout — that contemptible sideshow that ensures a winner in every game it's featured in, without a single pass being completed or a defenseman on the ice.
Why not just have them play a hand of Texas Hold'em instead?

Maybe then ESPN would have invited us back.
Ooooouch! That one left a bruise.

Me? Well I'm still Mr. Positive. The league has survived many other tough times they will these. As far as the rule changes go did you know that at one time a player couldn't pass the puck forward or that the net had no crossbar? The sport has weathered rule changes before, I'm not worried about it now. The game is much bigger than the people who run it, play it or watch it and it will be just fine. So relax... rejoice and enjoy it's long awaited return. Besides, I just noticed DirecTv turned on OLN for me... for free!... AND I saved a ton on my car insurance!


See, how could I not be positive? I'm seeing a future so freakin bright I'm just going to have to put some cool shades on. Wait a minute... this all couldn't be because I've been staring into the Crystal Puck for far too looooooooong? Could it?


... to be continued.

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