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Blood Before Skill

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

The tweet came in just before midnight from an intriguing source, future Hall of Famer Mike Modano.

“Really selling the game,” tweeted Modano under the Twitter handle @9modano. “No wonder our TV deals suck ass.”

Joining a growing list of players and former players - Jonathan Toews, David Perron, Henrik Zetterberg - disgusted or frustrated with what has transpired over the first week of NHL playoff competition, Modano’s tweet appeared to be in reaction to yet another ugly incident, this time Raffi Torres - oh yes, Torres again - and his vicious hit on Chicago star winger Marian Hossa that sent Hossa to hospital.

On a night when we should have been discussing Nashville’s second straight win in Detroit, Florida’s comeback against the Devils or 39-year-old Ray Whitney’s brillance in a 3-2 overtime win for Phoenix over the Blackhawks, once again a controversial hit and injury took centre stage.

Modano’s point, of course, and he should know, is that the NHL has constantly found itself with tiny TV ratings and revenue in the U.S. below sports like bowling because it has consistently failed to produce a package in which skill is featured ahead of goons and blood.

continued

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Comments

Vladimir16's avatar

Excellent writeup and I agree with everything this cat says. Hey, I’m all for two guys droppin’ em and squaring off and big booming (clean) checks but this is getting (has already gotten?) out of control. By constantly allowing after whistle scrums without assessing any penalties, the zebras allow the temperature to rise. That has been going on for a while. Then they drift into “I’m gonna call everything EXCEPT the violent acts that are completely uneccesary in the game” territory. Now we’ve got Shanahan confusing the feck out of everyone with his inconsistant punishments, or lack there of and guys are running players all the time and it’s getting worse. These tools better get off their arse and do something before somebody gets killed.

p.s. I hate to say it but I agree with him on the point he made about a lock out. I’m at the point where I’m almost hoping they have one. I’m growing very tiresome of this league.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/18/12 at 10:45 AM ET

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@Vladimir16

Posted by pkkieffer on 04/18/12 at 11:05 AM ET

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@Vladimir16 I’m with you.  Played hockey my whole life and through college.  I never miss a Rangers game and usually watch the first period of whatever late game is on before going to bed.  I look forward to Ranger gamedays, but this is getting to the point where I get so aggravated during games that it is unenjoyable (even when the Rangers win).  There is such a simple solution to all the BS.  CALL PENALTIES!  Why is Brad Marchand allowed to give an extra cross check after every whistle?  Why is Chris Neil allowed to start a scrum after every play at the net?  Because the refs allow it!  Stop taking coincidentals when there is a retaliation.  My favorite is when the refs arm goes up on the retaliation and then they take both.  What message is that sending?  Why was the initial shot not a penalty until there was a retaliation?  I guarantee there would be far less after the whistle garbage if they called the first shot regardless of a retaliation.  I love this sport becasue of what happens between whistles… not what happens after them.  And don’t take this post the wrong way… I love big hits and fights and emotional games.

Posted by pkkieffer on 04/18/12 at 11:34 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

@pkkieffer
Yep. The after whistle stuff is rediculous. Like you said, during scrums why do they take two when only one commited an infraction. Listening to HNIC the other day one of the guys (an ex-player but I can’t remember who) mentioned how maybe if you throw a punch, whether your golve is on or not, you should get a major. Maybe he’s on to something and he made it clear he’s not against fighting, just against the unnecessary hogwash. Babcock has made it know to his players that the extracurricular stuff after the whistle is a waste of energy. I agree with him and maybe the NHL should also.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/18/12 at 11:49 AM ET

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I love this rough stuff. It’s way more entertaining than the “skill package” we have in the Swedish Elite League where players can’t touch eachother. Most entertaining playoffs I’ve seen in years and most people I’ve talked to agree with this.

Posted by xploddan from Stockholm, Sweden on 04/18/12 at 02:17 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I love this rough stuff. It’s way more entertaining than the “skill package” we have in the Swedish Elite League where players can’t touch eachother. Most entertaining playoffs I’ve seen in years and most people I’ve talked to agree with this.
Posted by xploddan from Stockholm, Sweden on 04/18/12 at 12:17 PM ET

I don’t think any NHL fan wants that kind of snooze-fest hockey in the NHL. But there was a time not long ago, my friend, when there were big clean hits, clean fights between fighters and general respect between players. If that’s not what you want well then you got it. But that’s what true NHL fans miss.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/18/12 at 02:38 PM ET

pautna's avatar

@xploddan - What was that about not touching each other in the Swedish Elite League? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ERiGQmJpHUA

Posted by pautna on 04/18/12 at 05:54 PM ET

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“NHL has constantly found itself with tiny TV ratings and revenue in the U.S.”

Of course most NHL games are on NBCSN and NHL Network two networks that most TV homes don’t get. I only get the NHL Network because it is included in my Center Ice package. I have DirecTV and don’t get NHLSN because it is in the expensive Choice packages with 80 channels I don’t want. So I, the hockey fan who would watch it can’t because it is on NBCSN. The money I save on DirecTvVs expensive package I use to buy Center Ice so all year I have channels I do watch. NBCSN blows!

Posted by Puckbubba from FL. on 04/18/12 at 06:16 PM ET

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They have trouble striking a balance.  It’s great when the hitting is hard the action flying at breakneck speed , even a fight thrown in.  But it’s all ruined when some guy like Torres cheap shots a guy and he’s taken off on a stretcher.  Then 59 minute and 55 seconds of great hockey are forgotten because of a cheapshot by a meatnead.  That’s all the media will show and don’t kid yourself deep down they love it. 
If it bleeds it leads.

Posted by 13 user names on 04/18/12 at 08:13 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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