Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hockey Is Back ... Finally ... and Thankfully

It's been Eighty (83) days since my last post/rant on this blog.  I'm glad hockey is back, and I will be restarting more regular posts here, though I do not expect to make posts daily or even necessarily after every game.  I've resolved though to post/blog regularly on this blog at least twice weekly between now and the Stanley Cup finals.  I may end up posting more shorter blogs after a game or event during the season, however, I'm going to try and have something cogent and worthwhile to say at least twice a week here on my usual hockey musings and "fan-boy" stuff with regards to the Capitals here - probably every Tuesday and Thursday or Saturday weekly.  I've decided I've missed blogging, I enjoy it as a creative outlet.  I've also decided that since this blog has a following that is mainly hockey/NHL/Washington Capitals Centric, since that's been the main content in the 600+ blog posts over the past four years to just continue to keep this blog "hockey-centric".

I have another blog "In Peace and War" that was meant to be U.S. Merchant Mariner, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy centric when I started it that I have benignly neglected for the sixteen months since I started it.  My plan with that blog is to generate and make a post on those subjects at least once a week (nominally on every Wednesday), I'll also be inviting other USMMA grads and Marine Industry friends and acquaintances to use the venue to post their thoughts and content, if they do not have access to better, more widely acknowledged current marine industry trade media (e.g. gCaptain, Maritime Executive, etc.)  Simply put, the title of the blog, which is the motto on the U.S. Merchant Mariner's flag is what has generally brought and generated regular traffic from search engines, etc so far, given I've only made ten (10) blog posts there in the seventy (70) weeks since the blog has been up.

Finally, I'll see how it goes over the next couple of weeks and how "back into" blogging I get over the next couple of weeks.  Since I started constraining my posts her on "Mark's Musings" to mainly NHL & Capitals items, I've begun to miss the ability to "muse" on other subjects relevant to what I think of as "typical middle aged guy" sorts of things and thoughts.  I'm "noodling" on the idea of trying to capture those thoughts and topics and put them on a blog that is centered on those sorts of things a different set of days twice a week.

The above is really just an set of background stuff in case you are a regular follower and have started to wonder what's going on with this blog as it's basically been dark (like the NHL season) since October.... Now as they say - On with the show.


I don't know about you but following a lot of the message board chatter and blog post comments during the #Lockout, I certainly got tired of people a) taking sides in general, especially so many obviously uninformed and biased folks taking sides in general, and b) so, so many people somehow equating how, what and why players they liked and/or disliked did or said during the #Lockout to be seeds for rants by them against players they did not like.  In particular, and remember this is a FAN blog, not a Journalist's blog, so many @Ovi8 haters venting bile against my team - the Washington Capitals' Captain.  To those that just ranted, and ranted that they hoped Ovechkin would just go away and stay in Russia, after he said he might do that if the results of the negotiations ended up with his current contract being invalidated or otherwise affected, I say what planet do you really live on?  I say that for very simple rationale reasons, here they are:

1) If you were in the same situation Ovechkin was when he made those, even handed, and likely pretty unemotional, straight talking, genuine comments, wouldn't you have said the exact same thing?  Yes, every player in the NHL, even the "grinders" make lots more than the average upper middle income season ticket holder, let alone the average middle income fan.  However, the average career length of a player in the NHL is substantially less than pretty much any other profession, other than other professional athletes.  Further, any injury, even seemingly minor ones, that might slow them down even a quarter of a stride, etc. could be enough to mean they are no longer able to play the game at the exceptionally high level required to be competitive in the most talented, highest level/quality of play league in their sport. When that happens, for reasons that may, and often very well are, entirely outside of their control, their career earnings' potential is drastically reduced.  In other words, professional athletes, ALL of them, know the simple truth is, they need to make it while they can.  In Ovechkin's case, and the haters will hate and spew as much bile as they normally do for me saying so, I think it's even more justified for him to say what he said.  Here's why: i) his entry into the league was slowed by the last lockout and that, in my opinion, no doubt cost him money and took away from his time here in the NHL - at age just 27 years of age to have had your earnings ; ii) the contract he is playing under was negotiated and signed in the middle of this last CBA, and it's not a contract that seeks to "get around the rules" (e.g. no end of contract "tack on cheap years", no signing and signing bonusright befor the end of the current CBA, etc.)  He had every reason to believe the cntract would be honored for its full term.  Yetat the time he made that statment, things were looking 50/50 for it being otherwise.

2) Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin, Weber, Kopitar, Richards, etc. - the stars of today's NHL - wether we admit it as fans or not - they are why we go to see games.  Sure there are die hard fans in every city but the stars and the amazing athleticism and moves they make when they play "the world's fastest major sport" are why 2/3rds or 20 of the 30 NHL teams basically sellout every game.  I mean sure I like and root, in a big, big way all "the grinders" etc. but I have season tickets because I want to see what sort of "sick" play that only four or five humans on the planet can even contemplate, let alone make, that I've come to expect @ovi8 make at virtually one out of two Capitals games I attend.  I expect the same can be said by sason ticket holding fans about their own team's star players in virtually very NHL city.  Without Ovechkin or Kovalchuk or Crosby or ...   the game wouldn't be as exciting or fun to watch.  Sure the game is bigger than any one player, even Gretzky says that, but to fail to admit the "water level" of the NHL wasn't lowered when a superstar leaves the NHL, is in my opinion intellectually dishonest.

3) Most people ranting about Ovchkin's commets - where were they coming from?  From what I could tell they just for their own reasons are indeed "Ovi haters".  They're out there.  Just like there are Crosby Haters and Ovi Lovers (like me) and Crosby Lovers and Malkin Lovers and Haters, and ... the list goes on.  There's nothing the guy could have said or done they wouldn't have commented negatively on.  And for those that talked about how Crosby's comments on Hamrlik were classier and more articulate, I say three things: i) get a grip and be real; ii) how many languages do you speak? and iii) most people sound a lot more professional and articulate when they converse in their first langague then a second langague; and iv) I think you probably really think the reason Crosby didn't go play in Europe is loyalty vice the truth which is that he couldn't easily get insured, and you're likely as naive as you are foolish.

Okay enough of that, other than taking a look at what and why there likely was a #Lockout and during a slow hockey week this coming coff season, this blog is jut going to be forward looking and all about hockey as it's being played on the ice for the rest of this NHL season.  I'm quite bullish about the Caps new head coach and the team that is coming back.  I truly can't wait for the home opener, of course it would be nice if we knew when that was.

In the meantime...


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