In this week’s Thursday links, I mentioned that Jamie Benn was awaiting what I assumed would be further discipline on his hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson. I assumed everyone would be disappointed with the ruling as it would be less than expected. However, Benn didn’t even get a hearing and it was decided no further action would be taken against him. I don’t agree with Evander Kane much but maybe his rant about George Parros and the entire disciplinary department should be taken more seriously. I assume the leniency came from the fact that no serious injury had happened but here’s the issue; now the NHL is saying a hit like this is acceptable. They’re saying that the player being hit should be responsible for his stance more than the player giving out the hit. Luckily, Ekman-Larsson was not injured this time but let us hope the players aren’t confused going forward and injuring someone else in the process.
The Curious Case of Jean-Gabriel Pageau:
Are we keeping him or are we trading him? What do we want to do? What does this team need to do? There is no denying there is a sentimental value to Pageau among fans mostly for some incredible playoff performances. It seems contract talks have started in the past two days which is odd since once again Dorion is putting himself in a weaker position with these last minute negotiations. Whether something gets worked out or not, there is a good side to keeping him or trading him at this point assuming the terms or the return is suitable. The question is, does keeping Pageau provide fans with some memory of the good old times? Does he act as this one last connection to the days the fans had something genuinely good to cheer for? I truly believe Pageau wants to stay in Ottawa and with all the talk from Jim Little about reconnecting with the fans, will Pageau staying be the first sign of an olive branch?
We often remember good memories through certain players and games. The Chris Phillips retirement ceremony definitely reminded fans of what this team is and how we truly feel about it. However, sometimes we have some special items that serve as reminders of how exciting it was to be a fan a few years ago. 11 years ago, I got a Jason Spezza and a Sens mug as birthday gift. I use that mug almost every day through University and then took it to every office I moved to. Yesterday, I came into the office and it was gone. I am still hoping it shows up again but the point is I didn’t even realize how valuable it was to me until I lost it. It was just always a little reminder of how being a Sens fan was always the first thing people knew about me. It was also a harsh reminder that there was once a time I thought a Spezza jersey was the safest choice I could get. Does anyone else have a piece of memorabilia that they’ve carried for so long, it’s become part of who they are as a fan?
There was an outpouring of support for Canadian women’s hockey when their league folded. So much was said to be done but has there been any true progress? While I understand that any real action will need time to implement, it is heartbreaking to see the upcoming talented players have their dreams put on hold as well as those more veteran players being deprived of playing out what could be their final seasons. All-star invitations were nice to see but is the NHL truly looking into an actual permanent solution or is it just at the bottom of a long to do list that would be eventually forgotten.
We are a week away from celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sidney Crosby’s infamous golden goal. While talk between the league and the union remain on the positive side, not very much is being said about Olympic participation. However, in a chat with TSN’s James Duthie, Crosby had this interesting statement to say:
“It’s an awesome opportunity to showcase hockey to the world. I’ve had two unbelievable experiences in the Olympics, and I think it’ll happen but we’ll have to see,” Crosby says.
Crosby seems a bit more optimistic about the situation than the league and IIHF. Is it possible that the players may have a larger voice in the decision this time around? Bill Daly did state that the only way a decision about participation would be seriously considered is if it came from negotiations with the players association and would have nothing to do with how much the IOC offers the NHL. This gives a lot of leverage to the players as they now have a strong case to fight for their right to represent their countries. Firstly, the IOC is providing the NHL and players many incentives to go (mostly financial) and second, the league would probably much prefer the labour talk continue in a friendlier manner and if it comes down to choosing between another dispute or sending the players to Beijing, I think we know what decision Gary Bettman will take.