Dave Andrews today confirmed what many have surmised about the events that ended the overtime contest between the Norfolk Admirals and the Toronto Marlies, that the officials made an error and the goal should not have been allowed. I can speak from where I was sitting, I had no idea it was on a delayed offside. It looked like the worst case of bad luck that a team could possibly come across. The crowd in Ricoh Colliseum was stunned when the puck entered the net, and in my life I don’t recall a single goal feeling like such a punch in the stomach. It was like the air got sucked right out of the otherwise jovial crowd.
All of that being said, the Marlies were probably not going to win the game anyhow. Ben Scrivens was the only thing from the middle of the second period onward that kept them in it. The team simply was not getting results, and what resulted was a defense first game which at times was difficult to watch. The one positive thing that I could say is that all of the qualities that the Maple Leafs of recent years had lacked, the Marlies made up for ten fold. They blocked shots, they got sticks in lanes, they actively smothered the puck in the defensive zone and when on the penalty kill, and when they broke down in the defensive zone, the goalie made the saves. He made two breakaway saves that could have broken the game open, and displayed a calm demeanor that carried out to his teammates. Jake Gardiner was interesting at times to watch, as his fluid skating that was evident while with the big club were not really on display. It may be attributed to the amount of hockey he played this year or quite simply just a difficult adaptation to the spastic nature of AHL hockey.
The natural response when hearing of the AHL’s admission this morning is to be upset, but good for Dallas Eakins in delivering his message to his team and the fans that life will move on, despite the disappointment. Eakins response that He has made mistakes as a coach, the players have made mistakes in their development, and the referees are no exception as they are developing as well. This may have been the most mild and mature response to something like this in recent history, as it is easy to become vigilant towards the officiating. It is no wonder that the players have grown so much under his tutelage.
As for Ben Scrivens, he has certainly ran a good campaign to play in the NHL next season. The only argument against him would be the fact that he is still very inexperienced, but a Reimer/Scrivens tandem may not be as bad as a Reimer/Gustavsson tandem. Scrivens for one has been playing North American hockey and does not need any adaptation to the game as the Monster did. If the Leafs do in fact still believe in James Reimer, and they most certainly have a special player in Scrivens, all of which would point to the fact that if they do want veteran help, Roberto Luongo would not be the target they are after. Luongo’s contract would be a signal to the young goalies that at least one of them is not in the Leafs future going forward. For some reason, not based on anything other than the desire to move up in the draft, it feels like the veteran help could possibly come in the form of Nikolai Khabibulin. Food for though, nothing else.
The Money Pit
Not the Tom Hanks “not so classic”, rather the NHL and their pilgrimage into corporate welfare in the city of Glendale Arizona, where the city council is expected to hand close to $400 million to a potential Coyotes buyer. Among the arguments in his favor, the group was passionate about Jamison’s belief in the Coyotes ability to succeed in the Desert. Why should he have doubts? He has almost no risk in this deal whatsoever, as the city is effectively paying him to own the team. The “arena management fee” which is a clever way to avoid legal exposure to granting a subsidy to a private enterprise will pay Jamison nearly double what he is actually purchasing the team for. For a community that is nearly broke and already can’t pay the bills, this is a pretty big car payment.
This whole situation with this city council reads very similar to a brochure available that deals with gambling addiction. When you are at the table or slot and have the mentality that if you could just hit on one more hand you could make up your losses, you more often than not go further in the hole and continue in the vicious cycle until all possible resources to fund the gambling are gone. It is admirable that the city of Glendale council is so concerned that the team may leave and working to keep them, but to ignore all of the facts in front of you when making decisions on how to spend other peoples money, it is incredibly irresponsible. The team has lost money each year in it’s existence, going through multiple owners. The NHL has repeatedly sworn their allegience to the people of Phoenix, yet they have a funny way to show it. The “pay me enough, or I will pack up and leave” mantra that they have shown through all of this is perhaps the saddest thing hockey has been involved in since the swindle Alan Eagleson pulled on the players years ago.
That the Goldwater Institute has failed to ask the most basic question that was already addressed by Judge Redfield T. Baum some years ago is more than puzzling. The NHL in it’s effort to prevent the team from being sold to Jim Balsillie argued that the teams were not treated as separate entities, but rather part of a larger organization (The NHL). With this logic, why should taxpayers funnel any money into a industry recently valued at $3 billion. This will be an interesting case for all sports as the appetite to subsidize private business in the United States is not exactly high, and it could spell the end of public money going into partnerships with professional sports franchises and stadium agreements.
The NHL is getting it’s own sort of karmic justice with game 5 on Saturday going head to head with Celtics-Heat game 7. The views in the United States if this is allowed to happen could potentially be the lowest in the last ten years. Cheers to you NHL.
Finally, pictures from last nights game