Monday, February 27, 2012

Can Vancouver win a second Stanley Cup?

The Vancouver Canucks are up against it. In spite of having (arguably) the best team in the NHL, it's not just the other teams they need to battle to win. They need to defeat the league too. What league? The National Hockey League.

'Oh,' you say, 'Here we go again with the everybody against the Canucks' conspiracy theory.'
Sore loser from last year? Not so.
The irrational argument is that you need hundreds of people to be involved in a conspiracy. If the NHL wanted a certain team to win, surely of all those players someone would tell. Gary Bettman couldn't keep it quiet. And what team would do it? And for what reason? You can't fix a hockey game by bribing the players. They're already millionaires! Hmm.

But we're not talking about the old Gangster style Chicago Blacksox. And it's not 1919 anymore, it is 2012! Yet we all know about players in various leagues who were caught shaving points. Or dropping just too many catches in the big game. And I'm not even mentioning boxing. There is gambling on every sport now. Even though most gangsters don't even know what ice hockey is!

But it is about engineering the league, the whole NHL. Maybe it should be called the GML? the Genetically Modified League. The NHL needs all the publicity it can get from big games. Stanley Cup finals especially. Big TV networks need more than coaxing to air hockey games. They all need ratings to sell advertising. It is suspected the NBA, NFL and MLB all are actively working against ANY league that could threaten their supremacy for the people's dollar and that television revenue. And now the NHL wants to play to those big markets. And get its share?  Ah, there it is.

You see? For the benefit of the whole league, the NHL powers that be need to have the big market teams as Stanley cup winners. So they WILL play to the big markets. So the TV execs will come calling. Or at least answer the phone. Would Tampa Bay versus Columbus in a cup final sink the league? Maybe.  So how to avoid that disastrous matchup?

Look at the last few champions: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings. It is already going the way of the league fix. The GML. And who is next on this list of preferred winners? New York Rangers of course, with the Philadelphia Flyers close behind, probably in 2014. They're already gearing up New York for the win if you watch closely enough. The team is almost good enough with a little help. Hmm again. What kind of help? What would do it?

In the playoffs. Perhaps only a few calls or non calls from the refs.
We all saw what the non calls did to the Canucks last year. Had the Canucks been playing in games where the regular rules applied, their power play would have sunk the Boston Bruins, instead, the rules were tossed out and all the penalties that would normally have been called in a normal hockey game were ignored in order to have the big market team win the cup.

How is that achieved? A careful eye reveals the conspiracy. It doesn't take ALL the referees and linesmen to change the face of a game. only a couple. And they do it all the time anyway. The NHL is desperately afraid of lopsided games. Has been for years. If your team gets called for, say three penalties in the first period, two of which result in goals scored against you, you are free to cross-check, board, tackle and slash for the next period until you score too. No one wants an 8 to zip game. I must be 3 - 2, or 5 - 3.
The game has been controlled that way for years now. Always admitting that the refs are supposed to control the game, however they also often control the outcome of the game.

What about Canadian teams? Montreal and Toronto are so far below the talent line there is no possibility of a threat there, even though they are hotbeds of hockey. And the Village of Vancouver is so far west we might as well be in radioactive Japan! If Vancouver won the cup the league would probably LOSE viewership and money for the rich Eastern owners! So conspiracy sneaks in a side door. Prevent Vancouver from getting there. They were too close last year and in the final, all the TV viewer markets like New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia etc were tuned out! Nothing to sell for the networks.

So we have the Canucks, upstart Westerners, (even after 40 years) determined to have another go at the Cup, and we have the league, just as determined that they don't win it. Gary Bettman and the insiders want to share the cup only with the core where the money is, the Northeast.

Hugh Lehman
So the Canucks are up against it. Will have to battle Gary Bettman, certain league officials charged with the duty of controlling certain games, (read playoffs) and the opposition teams, also determined that they are going to win this year. It can all boil down to timely calls or non calls by the officials. Blink or don't blink.

I'm not sure what the Vancouver Millionaires needed to overcome to win our first Stanley Cup in 1919, but almost a hundred years later, in my opinion, we are battling more opponents than the other team on the ice to win our second.

Just sayin', but it's my prediction.