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NHL in Vegas?


Well, Gary Bettman has done it again: He just announced that Quebec City’s NHL expansion bid has been denied, but Las Vegas’s has been approved:

Bettman said the NHL board of governors unanimously accepted an expansion bid from Sin City on Wednesday, with the new team set to begin play in the 2017-18 season.

I have so many questions. Starting with:

1. Does anyone in Vegas other than the bookies actually know or care that hockey exists? Seriously, it’s a city in the desert which has zero hockey culture whatsoever. Who are they planning to sell tickets to, disgruntled tourists who lost big at slots?

2. How do you evenly divide 31 teams among 4 divisions? (Okay, not that 30 divided by 4 was much better, especially with 2 extra teams in the east. But still. 31 is an odd number that will create scheduling nightmares.)

3. What are the Vegas odds on the team being named the Las Vegas Nordiques?

4. How the hell is Gary Bettman still in charge of the NHL?


The lockout has dragged 113 days and I wasn’t holding out much hope for any kind of season, shortened or otherwise. But this morning, I woke up to fresh snow outside and a shiny new agreement-in-principle that could see the NHL returning as soon as next week:

Depending on when a new CBA is reached, the league – according to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun – has 50-game and 48-game schedules drawn up. A 50-game season would start on Jan. 15 and a 48-game season would start on Jan. 19.  The existing 2012-13 NHL schedule was already canceled through Jan. 14.

Now, there are an awful lot of people — even here in hockey-mad Montreal — who are responding with “who cares?” Fed up with the labour disputes and with the bickering between millionaires and billionaires, they’ve long since declared a curse on both houses and have merrily gone about finding alternative sources of entertainment. There’s a very real question about whether the NHL can truly recover from this, and if so, how long it might take.

But I’ve missed hockey. A lot. I daresay I’m not the only one. In absense of hockey, we naturally look for other blood sports to draw our attention. The red square protests, the Charbonneau commission, the ugliest Quebec election in decades, the rekindling of the language wars… we desperately need a distraction from all of it. And if the bleu-blanc-rouge can provide one, even in a compressed season, well, I’ll take it happily.

Welcome back, hockey. Don’t do it again.


I miss hockey


There’s nothing more depressing than a pub in late October with no hockey on the big screen. Players, owners, settle this thing already. We need our hockey back.

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On Chara-gate


By now, everyone in Montreal, Beantown and everywhere in between knows about the ugly hit by Zdeno Chara that landed Max Pacioretty in the hospital with a possible career-ending fractured vertebra and concussion: It still hurts to re-watch. And not just because we all know the outcome. With the news that no discipline would be [...]

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Things I’ve been thinking about


A few things that have been on my mind lately: 1. Idiots are their own worst PR nightmare. Let ‘em talk long enough, they’ll shoot themselves in the foot. No need to do it for them. 2. Laziness is an addition, just like alcoholism. And it has enablers. Don’t be one. Next time someone asks [...]

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Hey NHL R&D: Stop killing hockey!


The NHL research and development camp is testing a series of potential new rules, with the aim of deciding which ones - if any – should be rolled out during the regular season. Here’s my recommendation: None of them. With the possible exception of no-touch icing – which is long overdue - most of these new rules would [...]

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New hockey blog


As the season kicks into gear, check out Illegal Curve, a new and very promising hockey blog with a very plugged-in list of contributors.

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Ducks win Stanley Cup


Ducks take it at home in 5. I’m disappointed for the Sens – this marks the third straight year that a Canadian team has made it to the finals and lost. And it means that *still* the Cup hasn’t come back home above the border since 1993, when my Habs took it. Sad, ain’t it? [...]

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Hockey lives here


Montreal will be hosting the 2009 NHL all-star game. Anyone know where I can get my ticket?

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Crosby going to Pittsburgh


The results of the NHL draft lottery were just announced, with the top pick going to the Penguins, who will surely draft rising star Sidney Crosby. The Habs got the fifth overall pick, which is not bad considering. We’re the top Canadian team in the lottery, and Toronto is way down there at number 21. [...]

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