Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The 'revenge' factor

The media heave here in Toronto has one singular focus today, and unfortunately it all centres around the two least talented players that were on the ice in last night's game.

The whole 'let's get Cam Janssen' storyline has been a limp noodle for the past few weeks, but that hasn't stopped it from being batted around ad infinitum. Wade Belak, meanwhile, has had more radio and television appearances the past three weeks than the rest of his career combined.

Not that he's had much to say.

Last night was the culmination of all this silliness, when Janssen and Belak 'did the deed' and atoned (?) for the late hit Janssen put on Tomas Kaberle three weeks ago. Except... wasn't that what Janssen's three-game suspension was for?

"You know what?" Janssen said. "If none of this had happened, we would have fought anyway. I was trying to get the guys going. I respect the hell out of Wade. He's a great guy, a great fighter."
So the sideshow, the antics, the anticipation — the mountains of copy! — well, that's all that's new here. If there hadn't been the buildup to Janssen 'meeting his maker' (someone who, luckily enough for the poundee, fought like a B-grade goon who couldn't trounce someone well below his weight class), then this would have been another one of those prearranged bouts where one thug hits another then trots to the penalty box for far longer than he'd possibly see the ice.

Ho hum.

But at least we've got lots of stories to read today about a nonevent during another snore of a hockey game.

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At 6:36 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger Hossim said...

Lisa once told Bart that he'd never fail appealing to the lowest common denominator. Violence, it can be said, is one of the lowest denominators. The NHL, some bloggers, the media, seem to fail to realize that mass public is not above being pandered to with violence.
Instead, the NHL is taking a inept marketing stance by trying to stifle the violent fighting aspect of hockey in order to sell the game to a niche audience which might appreciate the grace that skating and stickhandling provide. At the same time it has been hemorrhaging franchises in regions of the United States, regions where the most popular sport can be described as car-go-fast-whee.
In my limited viewing of non-NHL sport, American based blogs, I have yet to see a video post showing a highlight of a goal this year. Every single NHL video is of a fight/hit.
My point is, people enjoy fighting. If you want to sell something to the people, give them something they will enjoy. James, you are right, asides from the "holy-crap another post" feeling from last night's game, the only thing I remember is the fight (as a Leaf fan I must admit I was looking forward to it). The game was a bore, as many regular season ones are. But people are talking about the fight.

At 6:59 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Really, though, I'd prefer it if, in the desperate pursuit of the lowest common demoinator, the NHL were to choose sex over violence and give us underdressed cheerleaders.

At 7:04 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Could the naked cheerleaders fight?

At 10:17 p.m., March 21, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Oooh, not fight, wrestle! But getting the jello pit into the rink could get messy.

All joking aside, someone had a link to a survey that showed that over 50% of the respondents like hockey for the 'total package' which presumably includes some form of fighting. You cannot deny that the crowd gets up for a fight and you'd be hard pressed to see anyone turning their backs to show their disgust.

At 11:21 a.m., March 22, 2007, Blogger ninja said...

Belak isn't the best scrapper, but he is becoming more effective. He really surprised me when he beat the snot out of Peters earlier this season.


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