Thursday, November 01, 2012


Well, interesting to us hockey fans and most especially to Wings and Leafs fans.  Cam Cole, writing in The Vancouver Sun, the first few grafs of which read like this:

VANCOUVER — Not to be a contrarian here, but all the gnashing of teeth over the National Hockey League’s reported intention to cancel the Bridgestone Winter Classic later this week is completely misplaced.

If the league does it, it won’t be despite the fact that it was Toronto versus Detroit, two storied franchises, a first inclusion of a Canadian team, in all ways a potential bonanza.

It will be precisely because Gary Bettman and his soulless owners — and their crisis management team and the lockout specialists at the law firm of Proskauer Rose and whoever else is advising the NHL on acceptable risks — have concluded that in those two hockey markets, the game is bulletproof, backlash-proof.

Torontonians return to the ticket windows like trained pigs every year, no matter how terrible the Maple Leafs are, how much they charge for a seat and a beer and a hotdog, how many generations go by without any real sense of something good in the offing.

Detroit is Hockeytown, USA. The Red Wings, at the opposite end of the performance scale from the sorry Leafs, consistently reward their intensely loyal fan base with excellent ownership, management, players and prospects.

Whenever hockey comes back, no matter how shabbily the two sides in this labour war treat them, whatever the fallout might be in lesser markets, Bettman and his henchmen know that Detroit and Toronto will never punish them for their sins. And the casual fan will forget it was supposed to be on, anyway.
Read the whole thing; it's a great rant about hockey fans, the lockout, the NHL, and Gary Bettman, in general.  I was tempted to get in Mr. Cole's face with a "don't be so sure about that" kinda retort, but the man is right.  Wings fans... AND Leafs fans... will be right back as soon as this is over.  That's pretty sad in a way, because we... the fans... have ZERO leverage over either party in this stupid-ass lockout.  Nope, we just sit here and take it, waiting impatiently for it to be OVER so we can get back to watching the sport we love.

Pretty damned sad, all around.

This, however, is not so sad... or mebbe it is:
Detroit is dying a little without Datsyuk right now, and Datsyuk is dying a little without Detroit. Asked if he missed Detroit, he did not hesitate. 

"Yes," he said. "A lot."

What about it?

Datsyuk said he misses much about Detroit, but he's not following the NHL lockout closely. 

"Hockey," Datsyuk said. "Fans. Locker room. People. It's tough a little bit. After over 10 years, you kind of change atmosphere, it's a little bit different."

Datsyuk has played for the Red Wings and lived in the Detroit area since 2001 – except, of course, for the '04-05 NHL lockout, which he spent with Dynamo Moscow. He has won a lot of games. He has made a lot of friends. He has made Detroit his adopted home.

He said he is not following lockout news.

"Remember, Russia is closed country," he cracked. "Nobody knows what's going on."

No Internet?

"No," he continued. "Too expensive in Russia."

Just Datsyuk being Datsyuk.
We miss you too, Pasha.  More than you can or will ever know.  

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