If it’s Sunday, it’s time for another Larry Brooks update on the lockout. Some might say he is player-centric, but it would be far more accurate to say he simply doesn’t drink Gary Bettman’s Kool-Aid and sees the owners’ play for exactly what it is – a blatant money grab at the expense of fans and the players they pay to see play.
The lockout, writes Brooks today in a succinct and accurate state of the players’ union address, is “about ensuring windfall operating profits for high-revenue clubs and guaranteeing dramatic escalation in the re-sale value of all 30 franchises.” The players know that. Too bad the majority of fans and media don’t – more pressure from those quarters might force the NHL to consider compromise.
Lots of Hall of Famers are weighing in on the lockout, like Guy Lafleur saying the NHL should declare bankruptcy. But when Ted Lindsay speaks, people should listen – Terrible Ted [right], after all, jeopardized his own career to lead the first attempt at organizing a players’ association about a half-century ago.
"I look at 30 teams and say they have enough good players for 14-16 teams," he said in a radio interview. The NHL’s economy, he correctly understands, is due to the need to "fill rosters on 30 teams," a ruinous supply-demand equation that [and the rest of this is our opinion, not his] will not be solved by a hard salary cap.
Neil Smith talks to Joe Lapointe of the Times, in the aftermath of Boston’s World Series win, about curses and how winning changes the Bad News Bears mentality and expectations of long-suffering fans, based of course on his experience in managing the Rangers to their 1994 Cup win.
Our man down on the farm, Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant, updates us on the Wolf Pack’s phenomenal start. His report on Friday’s win is cloaked as a best start ever piece, and that best start ever was padded to 6-0-0, with only seven goals against in those six games, after Saturday’s 4-1 win over Portland.
The Rangers’ ECHL affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, is also off to an undefeated 4-0-0 start to the season – bona fide prospect Juris Stals of Latvia scored two third period goals, according to Cliff Mehrtens of the Charlotte Observer, including the game winner, after the Checkers blew a 3-0 first period lead and a 4-3 third period lead.
Hugh Jessiman’s Dartmouth team opened their season last night. Despite outpolling Quinnipiac by an astounding 46-11 in shots on goal, Dartmouth lost 2-1, Jessiman being held scoreless. Over in another battleground state, Michigan State, Al Montoya needed to pitch a shut-out just to gain a tie. His 150-plus minute shut-out streak ended when the deciding goal was scored in a 1-0 loss. More prospect updates at the Ranger web site.
[Photos courtesy of Bruce Bennett Studios]