Thursday, June 21, 2007

Diary of a Sports Diva June 21, 2007

The NHL board of governors announced it has elected Boston Bruin owner Jeremy Jacobs to replace Calgary Flames' Harley Hotchkiss as its chair. This could be significant because Hotchkiss has been the quintessential voice of reason in times of uncertainty and has led the ownership group in an admirable way. He is a world class act and while the Flames may have had its on-ice struggles over the years, the organization itself has always exuded class and respect. (Will let you know if any of that changes by November with the new Mike Keenan era.) We will all miss Harley at the NHL helm and hope that Jeremy Jacobs can fill his shoes as well. Although, I can't help but have some concern, given the sorry shape the Bruins have been in since the end of the Cam Neely era.


So given that the Anaheim Ducks come from California and the oblivion of the western half of North America, will President Bush lend an invite for the team to appear at the White House?

Do you want to know why the Ducks were more "Canada's team" than Ottawa? It's because of the shove-Toronto and Ottawa-down-our-throats broadcasts western hockey fans are always forced to watch. So in that controversial argument about the unbalanced schedule, the west already knows how good some of the eastern players are. But the east has less knowledge about the west.

It also explains why it's hopeless to even have a western-based player or coach nominated for an NHL award because the chances of him winning are slim and none because he doesn't play in the east. (See Jarome Iginla versus Jose Theodore for the MVP a few years back.) Scott Niedermayer and Joe Thornton are the only exceptions because they played much of their career out east and are well-known there. I'm sure most of the voters never once laid eyes on Scott in Anaheim or Joe in San Jose. It's also a miracle that Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award this year. But then again, he coached in Montreal for four seasons.

There are so many fabulous players out west that if we never see Sid Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin in person (and believe me, their games have been broadcast every week on TSN), there is enough talent to watch out west (Iginla, Brian Rolston, Roberto Luongo, Rick Nash, Joe Sakic...). That just means there should be two sets of NHL awards and voting if the eastern voters won't consider the west. The California-based teams especially get a bum rap. When is the last time you saw a book written about the Sharks, Ducks, or Kings?


With the aboriginally-owned Canadian North as a sponsor, the Edmonton Oilers are the first NHL team to relocate its rookie camp to the Northwest Territories. The site of the camp, which will run September 6 to 9, is the Yellowknife Multiplex Arena, located 512 kilometers from the Arctic Circle.