Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why Don't We Just Move Everything to Canada While We're At It?

Maybe I'm still a little peeved about the first round -- passing on Filatov is going to be a huge mistake -- but I'm sick of all the Canadian rhetoric. I'm not sick of it, I can't freaking stand it. Yes, I've been to Canada. Yes, the experience in a hockey setting is different. Yes, it's better. BUT -- and this is a big one -- there are venues in America that may be as good, if not better than some venues in Canada.

Buffalo comes to mind. Pittsburgh, Philly and Detroit are right up there.

Of course, you could just pick on the sunbelt teams or the ones with crappy attendance and tell them their fans are subpar. It's easy. But that's about as useful and intuitive as yelling at second graders for not understanding chemical engineering. We know, we've heard it a million times and it's not likely to change anytime soon. Nonetheless, some writers feel to drive this point home another 1,000 times.

"Draft belongs in Canada ... always"

Written by Damian Cristodero of Tampa

Forget all that (though the Internet problems were so bad, league reps came by at the end of the night and apologized), Friday night's draft reminds that this event should always be held in Canada. No offense to Raleigh or Columbus or Nashville, all cities that recently had the draft, there's no comparison. Where in Raleigh there were mostly crickets in the seats, In Ottawa, the building was full of fans who just came to watch and cheer and boo.

When the Senators were introduced during the pre-draft role call, the place went wild and chanted Go Sens Go. On the other hand, when the hated Maple Leafs were introduced, the reaction was like someone turned on a switched as boos and catcalls deafened. Wayne Gretzky, the Coyotes coach and governor, got a two-minute standing ovation. Steve Yzerman, representing the Red Wings, was cheered as well. Commissioner Gary Bettman was booed, except when he was announcing trades, just the thought of which sent the fans again into cheers of anticipation. Bettman even seemed to get into it.
Holy crap?! So you're saying that fans in Canada boo Bettman? WHAT A REVELATION!!!

Well, funny story. Americans can do the same thing. About 3,000 fans at the Islanders draft party did exactly. The same. Thing.

They cheered the Islanders draft table (until they messed up Filatov). They booed Bettman and John Davidson. Wayne Gretzky drew cheers. The one guy in the crowd who had the guts to wear a Rangers jersey was booed and was a catalyst for the starting of anti-Ranger chants.

Small sample size, maybe. But I think it's a good indicator of what would happen if the draft were held in the right American city. American fans know their stuff. The building might not be full. It may be way less than full, but it doesn't make any of us dumber.

And please, try having the draft in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Philadelphia or New York City and tell me how that works out. I bet it would be a horrible experience. Absolutely terrible. At least there would be internet, right?


  1. Totally agree. I was at the Thrashers Draft Party last night. We bood Bettman, bood Stamkos, and got really nervous when Bettman announced there was a trade right before the Thrashers were picking at #3. And were very releaved that the trade didnt involve us. We were cheering "Bogo-Bogo-Bogo". As far as fans go, the draft can be held anywhere. The only reason to hold it in Canada is because that is where the majority of the draft picks and their friends and family.

  2. The fans in Columbus last year gave Gretzky a lengthy standing ovation; they booed Bettman; they went crazy when the Jackets made their pick; and the arena was pretty full and very energetic.

    All of this in a young hockey market.

  3. What is this "hockey" that you speak of?

    Hm, guess I'll just have to get back to watching the NFL, eating Micky D's and maybe even worship my George Bush shrine, since, ya' know, that's what us Americans do.

  4. Yes, there are some American cities that would do a fantastic job hosting the draft. But, you could hold the draft in any Canadian city and have a building filled to the roof with knowledgeable fans. You don't have to cherry pick to one of five or six viable American cities.

  5. Thats another point I meant to make but forgot to... Everything around the blogworld from people who were in Columbus last year was overwhelmingly positive...

  6. J, you beat me to what I was going to say... I would think that we'd do pretty well here if Atlanta hosted the draft. Tons of nice things were said with us in regard to the ASG and hospitality, Philips is top of the line (if all else fails you can mooch the attached Taco Mac's wifi), and we have some pretty strong hockey fans here.

    If they could get the A/C to work next draft party, I think our chances would improve.

  7. Man Kev, you are bitter about Filatov. Look at Zherdev in Columbus ... a ton of skills on the wing and nothing else. One guy doesn't sell tickets - unless his name is Gretzky. While I, of course, hope Filatov becomes the next Bure and the Islanders continue to suck, your team got the help they needed up and down the depth chart. Relax and enjoy getting that tan ...