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Would You Play To See Replacement Players?

from Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun,

By mid-January, could the NHL be featuring replacement players?

In previous labour battles they have cancelled a half season, a whole season and even had a year where they did not award a Stanley Cup.

One former NHL executive feels if a labour deal is not worked out with the players by Jan. 15, 2013, the NHL hiring non-union players could be the owners’ prerogative and very well their next logical move.

And former Maple Leaf assistant general manager Bill Watters said make no mistake, it could be done very easily.

“There are enough free agents around and players under contract in junior, on reserve lists and in the AHL to ice a team in every city,” said Watters. “It is conceivable. It wouldn’t be a long-term thing but a union breaking move.”

continued

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Comments

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George Malik's avatar

No. The end.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/17/12 at 09:10 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Thank you, George.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 09/17/12 at 09:12 PM ET

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I question the legality.
This is not a strike. It’s a lockout. The league, if they decide to hold games, should be forced to honor current contract.

Posted by teldar on 09/17/12 at 09:53 PM ET

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IF it comes to that, of course! Hockey is hockey and at some point you need the league to continue.

Posted by timbits on 09/17/12 at 10:00 PM ET

DocF's avatar

No! 

There is no law that says the NHL has to survive its stupidity.  The players should revolt and, if the lockout continues for very long, form their own league.  There are enough arenas around the U.S. and Canada with ice machines and no connection to the NHL to make this doable.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/17/12 at 10:43 PM ET

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Hockey is hockey and at some point you need the league to continue.

So why would you pay NHL prices to see scabs when you can see hockey at many other levels for a lot less?

Do you really just watch the NHL so you can see guys wearing Red Wings, Canucks, Penguins or Maple Leafs jerseys?  If so, why do you bother with the NHL in the first place?  You can see less talented players wearing Gretzky jerseys in pick up games all over the continent…

Posted by Garth on 09/17/12 at 11:08 PM ET

Chet's avatar

no. this is dumb.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 09/17/12 at 11:26 PM ET

wingsfanindenver's avatar

So why would you pay NHL prices to see scabs when you can see hockey at many other levels for a lot less?

This. Any players they get aren’t yet NHL level and may never be NHL level. I’ve already decided that I’m going to go see Div 1 NCAA hockey a lot more this winter. I can get 3 glass side seats for the price of 1 decent seat at an NHL game.

If the NHL doesn’t have an 82 game season, I’m done. No more going to games, no more merch, and most important to the league, no Game Center/Center Ice package. F em!

Posted by wingsfanindenver on 09/18/12 at 12:03 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Play to see replacement players?

No… or Pay to see them either wink

And whoever mentioned that fact this is a lockout and not a strike is exactly right.  Every other time it’s been mentioned around here it’s been tongue in cheek.  The owners should HONOR the contracts THEY SIGNED with the players they are LOCKING OUT

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/18/12 at 12:40 AM ET

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You can see less talented players wearing Gretzky jerseys in pick up games all over the continent…

I rarely watch hockey for the individuals involved. I watch for the competition and entertainment. As long as the skill level is proficient, which is usually attained at Junior A tier 2 level and above I am entertained. Sure I like better skilled players, but it isn’t my only prerequisite. I would much rather see a fast paced end to end NCAA game than a 1-0 grind fest put on by the NJ Devils. The NHL is a well produced product, available in my living room and has enough drama to be entertaining. I don’t need Sidney Crosby for that. I am happy to have the players and stars we have today, but within a year or two I will forget them and move onto the next generation.

Do you really just watch the NHL so you can see guys wearing Red Wings, Canucks, Penguins or Maple Leafs jerseys?

So to answer your question: Yes, if they guys wearing my favorite teams uniform beats the guys wearing the uniform of the teams I don’t like I am pretty much satisfied.

Posted by timbits on 09/18/12 at 12:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’ve yet to promise a boycott or even a slowdown of my NHL fan tendencies once the lockout is over. I might get to that point in the future. 

The thought of this might do it for me.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/18/12 at 12:56 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

no thx, dont wanna see Joe insurance salesman from Kraft Dinner and HockeyNightInCanada presents Hockeyville. Yeeesh!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 09/18/12 at 02:49 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

I’d pay to see Leo Raccicot in net though. Pretty shifty eh?

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 09/18/12 at 02:50 AM ET

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but within a year or two I will forget them and move onto the next generation.

Is that what you would think will happen if the NHL uses scabs?  It’s going to be the next generation of stars rather than this generation?  Because that’s not what’s going to happen.  It will be guys who aren’t currently good enough to get jobs in the NHL and who will happily cross the line in order to stay in North America rather than playing in Switzerland or Ireland.

So you’d be happy to have scabs if they’re of the same calibre as NHL players, but the point is they won’t be the same calibre.

Getting the NHL back with scabs would be like Homer Simpson getting to own the Denver Broncos.

Posted by Garth on 09/18/12 at 07:46 AM ET

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As a general rule, replacement players only make sense when there’s money to be made from it.  Since 50% of the NHL’s revenue is gate-driven and attendance at replacement games is going to be awful, opening up the arenas and staffing them would just a) cost them money and b) strengthen the players case.

As far as how long it would take to get the players level back to true NHL level after using replacement players, I’d say 6 months to 2 years.  6 months assuming that players will begin to cross en masse, 2 years assuming it takes longer to completely destroy the union.

Speaking broadly, using replacement players isn’t any more of a fan/sport betrayal than it was for teams to trade all their good players away before they had to pay them, back in the days before a salary floor.

Here’s an unlooked-for upside to replacement players, though:  Rooting for Osgood to pass Espo with wins rung up during a replacement season!  Good times!

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 08:19 AM ET

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No, because I would want replacement prices.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/18/12 at 08:50 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

One former NHL executive feels if a labour deal is not worked out with the players by Jan. 15, 2013, the NHL hiring non-union players could be the owners’ prerogative and very well their next logical move.

And former Maple Leaf assistant general manager Bill Watters said make no mistake, it could be done very easily.

What the what is all this scab talk lately? I don’t think so. No way.

What the fuch is this?  The 1950s’ where the bosses,(owners) and, their minions(Bettman) wield all the power?

Sounds like the ghosts of Jack Adams and Conn Smythe, making threats to send a guy packing if he doesn’t tow the line…............Just sayin’...................

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! In ‘13?

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 09/18/12 at 08:57 AM ET

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well i would actually pay to see the replacement players by way of center ice, but probably not actually purchase tickets.  But to be honest, if the level of play was reasonable, i may be convinced to purchase tickets also.  I mean, why not.  Hockey is hockey.

I always wondered if there was a few players out there who maybe never got the right opportunity, or an injury put them out of the running for an opening.  Maybe this would be the chance for a few guys to show that they can play in the NHL.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/18/12 at 09:22 AM ET

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I always wondered if there was a few players out there who maybe never got the right opportunity, or an injury put them out of the running for an opening.  Maybe this would be the chance for a few guys to show that they can play in the NHL.

This.

Also, people are hugely invested in the games of teams that play at non-NHL levels.  College hockey in particular has a significant and heavily interested fanbase, and maybe 10-15% of college hockey players ever go on to significant NHL success.

Were the season going to start tomorrow there would be exactly 3 people on the Wings roster who were here for the 2003-4 season: D, Z and Kronwall.  There are only 7 people from the 2007-8 season that played more than 8 games, D, Z, Kronwall, Cleary, Sammy, Fil and Franzen.

The names on the backs of the jerseys change all the time.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 09:40 AM ET

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The names on the backs of the jerseys change all the time.

True, because those players are replaced by better players, not worse players. 

On the one hand many fans favor contraction because there aren’t enough quality hockey players and now we are looking at removing the top 600 players and hoping for the same quality of hockey? If this were possible, the owners would have been signing college players every year to two year deals before the last CBA was put in place. I think few people realize the gap between NHL and even the AHL, nevermind college levels.

 

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/18/12 at 09:57 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I would not only NOT attend, I would actively picket any replacement games near me. If the NHL iced scabs, it would be the death knell to an already struggling league.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 09/18/12 at 10:25 AM ET

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True, because those players are replaced by better players, not worse players.

Not really true.  I for one hated seeing Mario leave… The guy was still putting up on average 1 point a game.

Who on the wings is better than Lidstrom?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 09/18/12 at 11:21 AM ET

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True, because those players are replaced by better players, not worse players. 

I would imagine that if you walked that comment back and forth a couple times in your head, you might come up with some points which need redressing.

I think few people realize the gap between NHL and even the AHL, nevermind college levels.

Which is the point.  Sure, if a pro team was playing a college team the hockey would be night and day.  Two college teams, though?  At relatively equivalent skill levels, assuming a level somewhere beyond beer leagues, hockey looks like… hockey.  It takes a pretty high-end connoisseur of a sport to actually have their enjoyment of something lessened by an overall appreciation of lack of ability.

 

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 11:25 AM ET

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It takes a pretty high-end connoisseur

Thanks for the compliment, but flattery will get you nowhere. The games can be compelling at many levels, but actual well played hockey at the lower levels is rare.  I am sure you can tell the difference between Corey Conacher and Evgeni Malkin regardless of who they are competing against

some points which need redressing

Nope, not at all. Teams tend not to get rid of their best players to bring in new players that are worse. They may juggle third and fourth lines to get the best bang for their buck, but not their best players.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/18/12 at 12:27 PM ET

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Not really true.  I for one hated seeing Mario leave… The guy was still putting up on average 1 point a game.


Lidstrom and Lemieux were not being replaced they retired do to age and/or ill health. If Lidstrom wanted to keep playing the Wings were NOTreplacing him.  And yes even a post-concussed Crosby is currently better than a 47-year old Lemieux is.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/18/12 at 12:31 PM ET

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It takes a pretty high-end connoisseur of a sport to actually have their enjoyment of something lessened by an overall appreciation of lack of ability.

Not really.  I’m no connoisseur, but while an OHL game can be very entertaining, the difference between an OHL game and an NHL game is night and day, and to pretend that it isn’t would simply be dishonest.

Again, I can appreciate and enjoy OHL (and AHL) games, but there is a clear difference between games at those levels and games at the NHL level.

Posted by Garth on 09/18/12 at 12:57 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So you could get mites playing at Madison Square Garden and as long as there’s parity, the product will be interesting enough to draw the crowd?

Every league below the NHL is an inferior league because it’s an inferior product, whether that be by circumstance of the age of the players or circumstance of their maximized potential being low, the truth of the matter is that if college hockey competitions were as entertaining as NHL games, then college hockey would already be a direct competitor to the NHL for eyeballs (or… more likely would be used as a complement to the big league like NCAA Football is).

If the charge is that you have to be elitist to prefer better hockey, then I’m as guilty as anybody here.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/18/12 at 01:12 PM ET

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Thanks for the compliment, but flattery will get you nowhere. The games can be compelling at many levels, but actual well played hockey at the lower levels is rare.  I am sure you can tell the difference between Corey Conacher and Evgeni Malkin regardless of who they are competing against

You’re not getting the point.  The point is that when Evgeni Malkin is playing against Corey Conacher he looks like a god.  When he is playing against a guy almost as good as him… he only looks a little bit better.

And that’s just one-on-one.  Think in terms of the overall game, now.  When two pretty evenly matched AHL teams play the hockey, just the actual on-ice hockey mind, looks pretty similar to what is done in the NHL.

Yes, the shots are a little slower, the skaters not as agile, the passes not as perfect… but unless you’re watching an NHL game right next to an AHL game, it’s not the kind of thing that 90%+ of fans would even notice.

I’m serious.  I would bet that if two NHL teams you weren’t familiar with played a game but had replaced both of their rosters with AHL players but kept the same names on the jerseys, the general fan would be hard pressed to notice a difference.

There would be a difference.  There would be people who could notice it, just not most fans.  The same percentage of people can smell a glass of wine and tell you what year it was pressed.

I’m no connoisseur, but while an OHL game can be very entertaining, the difference between an OHL game and an NHL game is night and day, and to pretend that it isn’t would simply be dishonest.

“Sure, if a pro team was playing a college team the hockey would be night and day.  Two college teams, though?  At relatively equivalent skill levels, assuming a level somewhere beyond beer leagues, hockey looks like… hockey.”

I’m repeating that comment because you appear to be unclear about what I actually said.

If the best offensive player in the world is playing against the best defensive player in the world and shooting on the best goalie in the world… what does that look like?  It looks like a forward struggling to get past a defenseman and get a puck past a goalie.

If the 100th best offensive player in the world is playing against the 100th best defensive player in the world and shooting on the 100th best goalie in the world… what does that look like?  A slightly slower forward struggling just as much to get past a slightly less competent defenseman and get a puck past a goalie. 

And unless those two sequences were occurring in split-screen, not too many people would notice.

The offensive guy isn’t as good at shooting, but the defender isn’t as good at stopping nor the goalie at saving.  Beyond the 5-10% of fans who are well-versed enough in the sport to be scout-level assessors of in-game, in-flow talent, ability and responsibility… it’s going to look like exactly the same sequence.

I mean, come on already.  Probably more than half of the NHL as it currently is revolves around dump and chase, screening the goalie, and generating turnovers instead of puck control.

‘Gritty goals’
‘Traffic in front of the net’
‘Getting the puck to the goalie’.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.  Heck, when you actually watch games at the AHL, NCAA and OHL levels you don’t see much of that at all.  You see guys making moves on guys and trying to get shots from scoring zones rather than through 4 car pileups in front of a goalie.

The hockey, speaking solely about the type of hockey rather than the level at which the hockey is executed, is a lot more entertaining at lower levels than it is in the NHL, where regimented systems of defense are so prevalent, and conformance to those systems so necessary for the continuance of careers, that most creativity in the game at the NHL level is gone.

Would an NHL team crush an OHL team by 20 in a serious game?  You bet.  Would an NHL team crush an NCAA team by 15?  No doubt.  Would an NHL team crush an AHL team by 5+?  For certain.

Does the game of hockey look dramatically different at those levels when similar teams are playing against each other?  Nope.  And any noticeable difference gets smaller and smaller the farther up the food chain you go.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 01:25 PM ET

snafu's avatar

Nopity nope.

Posted by snafu from North America on 09/18/12 at 01:27 PM ET

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So you could get mites playing at Madison Square Garden and as long as there’s parity, the product will be interesting enough to draw the crowd?

So unless the 80 best players in the world are split up into 4 teams, the hockey’s not going to be good enough for you?

In other words, come on JJ.  Try and actually debate a point honestly without rushing to wrench it all out of proportion.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 01:31 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Sounds like the plot of a very bad movie.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 09/18/12 at 01:39 PM ET

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I’m repeating that comment because you appear to be unclear about what I actually said.

I completely understand what you said.  You may not have understood that I disagree with you.

Slowly, for you.

OHL hockey.

Is not.

As good.

As.

NHL hockey.

OHL players playing against one another?

Not as good as NHL players playing against one another.

My comment had exactly nothing to do with NHLers playing against OHLers.  I’m saying that the quality of hockey being played in the OHL is not as good as the quality of hockey being played in the NHL.

Period.

Does the game of hockey look dramatically different at those levels when similar teams are playing against each other?  Nope.

Hmm, all that typing and you clearly didn’t even pay attention to what I wrote.  You could’ve wasted a bunch of time and energy by READING before RESPONDING.

Because my entire point was that YES, the different levels of hockey DO look quite different from one another, and if you can’t tell the difference in skill level between the OHL, the AHL and the NHL, maybe you should just watch pick-up games on the pond.

See that?  I can condescend too, except I did it from a point of understanding and disagreeing with what you said.  You did it from the point of being an pompous dickbag who didn’t even bother to try to read, nevermind understand what I said.

Posted by Garth on 09/18/12 at 02:15 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So unless the 80 best players in the world are split up into 4 teams, the hockey’s not going to be good enough for you?

In other words, come on JJ.  Try and actually debate a point honestly without rushing to wrench it all out of proportion.

Well sure, when you stop reading at the first sentence to rush down to the comment box, it sure looks like I wasn’t debating the point honestly.  But why bother with comprehension?

The concept you’re getting (deservedly) beaten over the head with is that you’re absolutely wrong when you claim that OHL vs. OHL or college vs. college is as good as NHL hockey. It’s even better when you throw random elitist numbers about how those of us who disagree are part of the 10% of fans who are actually capable of seeing such a difference and therefore must be out of touch.

Let the real numbers speak for themselves. If college vs. college were as entertaining as NHL vs. NHL, then collegiate hockey would be a direct and serious competitor for the national audience. If people can’t tell the difference, then why aren’t the Windsor Spitfires playing in a 20,000 seat arena? Is it really because only 10% of fans can tell the difference?  Or maybe it’s some voodoo bullshit about how sheeple are just trained to automatically prefer the higher-level club thanks to ‘THEY LIVE!’ marketing bombardment?

Grow up.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/18/12 at 02:29 PM ET

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When two pretty evenly matched AHL teams play the hockey, just the actual on-ice hockey mind, looks pretty similar to what is done in the NHL.

No not even close. Logic fail, error. When Corey Conacher plays in the AHL, and I chose him because I think he was the leading scorer he in the AHL, he in no way compares to what Evgeni Malkin can do at the NHL level against higher competition. No comparison. None.  Zero. I don’t know what HD does for you that standard def didn’t if you can’t see that basic difference.

I can enjoy hockey on many levels but, I can also enjoy McDonald’s if I am hungry enough, but it sure isn’t a steak house. I also don’t pay steakhouse prices when I go drive through and wouldn’t really try to say they are comparable either.

 

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/18/12 at 03:22 PM ET

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Because my entire point was that YES, the different levels of hockey DO look quite different from one another, and if you can’t tell the difference in skill level between the OHL, the AHL and the NHL, maybe you should just watch pick-up games on the pond.

I agree that they look different.  I disagree that they look different to most people, or even all that many people.

And also, in an environment where it is the ‘best looking’ hockey available, whether it looks as good as some previously available form of hockey is mostly irrelevant.

And further still, the farther up the levels you go, the less dissimilar the games look from an execution standpoint.

Given the resources available to NHL players that are not available to AHL players (better coaches, more roster stability, better playing and travelling environments, etc.) that gap would narrow even further.

The concept you’re getting (deservedly) beaten over the head with is that you’re absolutely wrong when you claim that OHL vs. OHL or college vs. college is as good as NHL hockey.

You mean, that point that I never actually made, and in which you and the others here who struggle so with comprehension like to immediately rush out to constantly mischaracterize, either because you’re too lazy to figure it out and think it through or because you’d just rather be intentionally misrepresentative?

The hockey at lower levels isn’t as good, but between the AHL and NHL there’s not a large enough disparity in talent as to make the hockey significantly less enjoyable to most fans.

Are you capable of discerning between that point and ” that OHL vs. OHL or college vs. college is as good as NHL hockey”, or am I going to have to post again to further explain it to you?

Let the real numbers speak for themselves. If college vs. college were as entertaining as NHL

Who claimed that it was?

No not even close. Logic fail, error. When Corey Conacher plays in the AHL, and I chose him because I think he was the leading scorer he in the AHL, he in no way compares to what Evgeni Malkin can do at the NHL level against higher competition. No comparison. None.  Zero. I don’t know what HD does for you that standard def didn’t if you can’t see that basic difference.

So then you watch Corey Conacher a lot, enough so that you are informed on this position of yours?  Let me make a guess… you’ve never actually seen that guy play a single game in your life.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/18/12 at 05:39 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

  Let the real numbers speak for themselves. If college vs. college were as entertaining as NHL

Who claimed that it was?

You did, when you said this:

The hockey, speaking solely about the type of hockey rather than the level at which the hockey is executed, is a lot more entertaining at lower levels than it is in the NHL

In fact, you said it was MORE entertaining.

Then you said that fans wouldn’t know the difference.  Which still doesn’t answer the question as to why, if most fans can’t tell the difference between AHLers playing against AHLers or collegians playing against collegians, that the NHL is significantly more popular.

Simply put, if 90% of the fans you claim wouldn’t know any better, then explain why there’s a big disparity between the leagues’ popularity.

If the enjoyability gap is that small, why is the gap in ticket prices that large?

It could just be that you’re full of shit.

 

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/18/12 at 05:59 PM ET

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The hockey, speaking solely about the type of hockey rather than the level at which the hockey is executed, is a lot more entertaining at lower levels than it is in the NHL

I refuse to believe you are this dense.

Let me put two sentences back to back and see if you are capable of discerning a difference:

1) College vs. college is as entertaining as the NHL.

2) The hockey, speaking solely about the type of hockey rather than the level at which the hockey is executed, is a lot more entertaining at lower levels than it is in the NHL

Seriously try and explain to me the malfunction you are experiencing which prevents you from understanding the difference between a STYLE of hockey and a LEVEL of hockey… not to mention somehow fixating on the college level in exclusion of every other level of hockey out there.

Then you said that fans wouldn’t know the difference.

And here we have example, oh, around 200 of you being incredibly poor at either reading, remembering, or honesty.  I will put two sentences back to back again in an attempt to clarify your error in ‘interpretation’.

1) Fans wouldn’t know the difference.

2) I agree that they look different.  I disagree that they look different to most people, or even all that many people.

I’m reaching a point here where it’s getting pretty tough for me to give you the benefit of the doubt with all of these errors of ‘interpretation’ you’re making, JJ.

I’m pretty sure that doesn’t matter to you in the least, but still.

Simply put, if 90% of the fans you claim wouldn’t know any better, then explain why there’s a big disparity between the leagues’ popularity.

Because the NHL is the pro league with the best players with the biggest teams in the biggest cities.

My point isn’t that other levels of hockey are more popular.  My point is that if all the NHL players got called up in the rapture, within a pretty short period of time the NHL would be just as popular as it always was.

Because when it’s played at a significant level (good OHL clubs and upwards to the NHL level) hockey looks a whole lot like hockey… it’s just the names that change.

For instance, does Olympic hockey look ‘better’ than NHL hockey?  After all, we’re talking about essentially All-Star teams of talent on a very limited number of rosters.  Hey, more talented rosters must mean the hockey looks different, right?

Except, um, not so much.  It’s certainly good hockey, no doubt about that, but it’s the same game being played out there because you have great players matching up with other great players Irresistible forces and immovable objects.  Malkin’s are going to have as hard a time getting scoring chances on Chara’s and goals past Miller’s at that level as Palmieri’s are going to have getting chances on Postma’s and goals on Bishop’s at lesser ones.

When the talent levels are a) at least competent and b) roughly equivalent, the flow of games, the way chances happen, the way ice opens and closes, is all pretty much the same.  There are stylistic differences that crop up between leagues based on ice surface, rule changes, officiating and whatnot, but the musculature of the sport operates in much the same fashion.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/19/12 at 08:15 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s cute that you take stupid hipster positions for the mental exercise of arguing points and then backing off of them when other people call them out, all while at the same time simply claiming that they must have just misunderstood you.  You’re a very poor communicator if you’re as difficult to understand as you seem to think.

I mean, nobody else around here seems to think I have a problem understanding what they’re saying. It’s only you.

Seriously try and explain to me the malfunction you are experiencing which prevents you from understanding the difference between a STYLE of hockey and a LEVEL of hockey… not to mention somehow fixating on the college level in exclusion of every other level of hockey out there.

That’s easy. You said one thing. I said it was stupid to say that. Then, you said that one thing you said didn’t mean what you said.

And here we have example, oh, around 200 of you being incredibly poor at either reading, remembering, or honesty.

Fun! Randomly-created numbers again, just like when you threw out the 90/10 garbage about how many people would find an appreciable difference in their entertainment level.  If you can’t get your message across to 200 people, then the problem is with you.

My point isn’t that other levels of hockey are more popular.  My point is that if all the NHL players got called up in the rapture, within a pretty short period of time the NHL would be just as popular as it always was.

They’re not getting called up in the rapture, they’re still going to exist. There’s a significant disconnect between the world’s best hockey players disappearing and the world’s best hockey players being told not to do their jobs while less-skilled people do it. You can’t just kill off 700 people in your fun little fantasy and pretend that this happening has zero hypothetical effect on the difference in fan reaction.

Well… you could, but that would once again be a fallacy of assuming things happen in a vacuum, which is a common problem with your writing.

Because the NHL is the pro league with the best players with the biggest teams in the biggest cities.

You don’t get to use the “best players” argument here, having previously stated that all it takes are the “good enough” players to satisfy 90% of fans (remember that 90% figure you randomly threw out?  Yeah… good times with the random number).  The Toronto Marlies play in the biggest of the most-saturated hockey markets of the world. Their coliseum seats about 7,700 people. Last season, they averaged about 1500 empty seats per night in a place less than 2 miles from where the Leafs play to 103% capacity.

Is it the higher ticket prices? The allure of the (admittedly awesome) Air Canada Centre? The 10% of fans who would be able to look at a split-screen comparison of the two teams playing and tell the difference? Maybe the Marlies’ trip to the Calder Cup finals while the Leafs sat at home again? Maybe it’s all the advertising?

Sure, all of those factor in to the reason the Leafs draw way-higher numbers by both raw counting and by percentage. But the biggest factor is that going to an NHL game is appreciably more entertaining to fans.

My statement, as it has always been is that if you changed the variable to say that the appreciable difference in entertainment value to match what you suggest the “reality” is, then market forces which drive fans to watch hockey would drive a lot more of them to watch lower-level hockey already.

For instance, does Olympic hockey look ‘better’ than NHL hockey?  After all, we’re talking about essentially All-Star teams of talent on a very limited number of rosters.  Hey, more talented rosters must mean the hockey looks different, right?

Except, um, not so much.

Yes. Olympic hockey looks “better” than NHL hockey, especially when you match up the best teams. Are you one of the 90% who can’t tell the appreciable difference?

The NHL would struggle with attendance using replacement players. The struggle would last longer than the lockout and I predict it would break the owners before it broke the players union.  Part of this is because a lot of fans would be turned off by the idea of using replacement players and part of it is that fans would not pay NHL prices to see inferior hockey being played because they know the difference.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/19/12 at 08:54 AM ET

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So then you watch Corey Conacher a lot, enough so that you are informed on this position of yours?  Let me make a guess… you’ve never actually seen that guy play a single game in your life.

See when you make false assumptions you are no doubt going to be wrong. I do watch AHL hockey and I do watch NHL hockey as well as Juniors and Olympics even the occasional NCAA game. So yes, I have seen Conacher play and he cannot do the things a Malkin can no matter who he is playing against.  I’ve attended a Frozen Four, two Olympics, One Canada Cup, One World Cup, a pair of Stanley Cup Finals and a Memorial Cup.  I’ve been toa few AHL games, but no signifcant event and I haven’t been to a Winter Classic yet, but so far the hockey has been pretty shitty so I don’t feel too bad about that.

For instance, does Olympic hockey look ‘better’ than NHL hockey?

When the top teams are playing and have had enough time to play together. Then yes, Olympic hockey is better. When Belarus plays the Ukraine, the answer is no because they are essentially AHL teams.

My point is that if all the NHL players got called up in the rapture, within a pretty short period of time the NHL would be just as popular as it always was.

So is AHL hockey with NHL logos better than NO hockey at all. Then I agree, but that doesn’t make it nearly as good and there would be a dropoff in interest as if the NHL has any to spare

College vs. college is as entertaining as the NHL.

This is quite simply an opinion that I do not agree with. It just isn’t as good as NHL hockey. I went to the Frozen Four and not having a rooting interest I thought the game was worse than an Islanders vs Blue Jackets game. Sorry, that is my opinion, because to me, the execution matters. For example, how Lidstrom played the game means as much to me as the results at the end of the game. I am not a Wings fan, but I would pay and have paid to see Datsyuk and Lidstrom play.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/19/12 at 09:12 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/19/12 at 08:54 AM ET

You may wanna follow my mantra. Just pass over HockeyinHD’s posts. They’re long winded for long windedness sake and argumuntative for arguments sake.
i.e. BORING!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 09/19/12 at 09:48 AM ET

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