It’s not unknown in hockey but this sort of thing (Canucks vs. Coyotes, last night) IS rare, not to mention embarrassing beyond belief:
The “own goal” I remember most… and with GREAT pain… is this one (from The Wiki):
Detroit Red Wings' Paul Coffey accidentally swiped the puck into the Wings' own net during Game 1 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. The goal proved costly as it forced the Wings to tie the game late to force overtime, where they would eventually lose.
went on to win the series 4-2. Colorado
Yup. That one hurt. A lot. It hurt Coffey more than it hurt me (and all other Wings fans), tho. Coffey was traded to the Hartford Whalers in the off season that year after a reported falling out with Wings coach Scotty Bowman. Coffey’s “own goal” could well have been the beginning of the animosity between the two. But that one moment of ignominy shouldn’t be the basis for judging Coffey as the man had a damned fine career, all things considered. “Stuff happens,” to everyone.
Photo: Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
Hard times in
… and elsewhere (NYT: “Harley, You’re Not Getting Any Younger”): Milwaukee
SPUCK BENNETT’S dealership just outside
, is cluttered with 65 shiny Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including the chrome Sportster and the sleek V-Rod. Last year, Mr. Bennett, 79, sold 200 bikes, down from 280 the year before. This year, sales have slowed to a crawl. Ocean City, Md.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in the 33 years I’ve owned a dealership,” he says. “We’re just trying to survive.” He has cut expenses by trimming hours and overtime, and laid off 7 of his 49 employees.
After riding high for two decades, the company that makes the hulky bikes that devoted riders affectionately call Hogs is sputtering. Harley’s core customers are graying baby boomers, whose savings, in many cases, have gone up in smoke in the market downturn. Few are in the mood to shell out up to $20,000 or more for something that is basically a big toy, and the company, in turn, has not captured much of the younger market.
Well… all that is interesting and more than a little predictable. We are in a recession — toys are usually the first things to go in times like these — and a mo’sickle ain’t nothing but a toy in these
. But what caught my attention is Harley’s very own sub-prime crisis: United States
As much as one-fourth of the $2.8 billion in loans issued by Harley-Davidson Financial Services last year were subprime, with interest rates as high as 18 percent. As the downturn took hold, some borrowers started defaulting on loans and investors stopped buying the securities, forcing Harley to write down $80 million of debt last year, analysts said. Although it recently tightened lending standards, the company is still chasing buyers by offering credit.
“It’s an unsustainable strategy to continue financing this way,” says Robin Farley, an analyst with UBS. “In the last few months, they’ve been running into a liquidity wall.”
Tom Bergmann, Harley-Davidson’s chief financial officer, defends the company’s lending practices. “It’s not easy in this environment,” he said. “We have to give loans to customers, but only to those worthy, and we’ve been disciplined and prudent in granting credit to our customers.”
In large part because of loan problems, though, profits at Harley fell 30 percent last year, to $654.7 million on revenue of $5.6 billion. Operating income of the financial subsidiary fell 61 percent, to $83 million.
Interesting, eh? It ain’t just subprime real estate loans… it’s bikes, too. I’m betting there are similar situations in the boat and RV markets as well, or any other industry requiring the significant financing of a purchase. This, of course, tempts me to drag out my soap box and talk about things such as self-restraint and financial responsibility in the sense of “we have met the enemy and he is us.” And to re-post the famous Walt Kelly cartoon which I will do, yet again.
The cartoon is as far as I’ll go down this path, other than to say the collective “we” brought a
LOT of the current economic crisis upon ourselves through our instant-gratification culture. The sales, marketing, and finance asshats who encourage and exploit that attitude ain’t helping things, either. I really don’t know which is worse…the clue-free consumers who really DO believe they deserve every damned thing in life… NOW! … or the aforementioned blackguards who make mindless acquisition possible at exorbitant cost to everyone involved (bike loans at 18-frickin’ percent?), including those who hold more reasonable and prudent values.
One is tempted to think we might deserve to reap this economic whirlwind… but I keep reminding myself there ARE responsible people left inWell, now. I should remind you that the Harley article isn’t about values and financial peccadilloes… it’s mostly about the bike bid’niz and its product. And the article IS a good read, regardless of the fact most of us bikers have seen this movie before… like back in the early-80s when Harley was on the brink and cajoled temporary tariffs out of President Reagan and the Congress on imported bikes over 700 cc displacement while management saved the firm. Forgive me my massive digression and pontification, Gentle Reader.
. Somewhere… America