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World cup of hockey, success or failure


Thomas
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50 minutes ago, the admiral said:

"The IOC is a terrible, corrupt mess that destroys countries and human beings in the name of giant sponsorship contracts that line the pockets of a select few, now resorting to literal slave labor in order to build its opulent but utterly disposable facilities. And anything else is totally illegitimate!"

 

Let's be serious.  Since this got called the World Cup the comparison is even more apt, this was nothing more then the NHL's version of the Confederations Cup.  Send out your best eight, in what is nothing more then a warm-up for the real tournament.  Except in the NHL's Confed Cup, they had to make up two bull :censored: teams, entertaining certainly, but made up.  Illegitimate in this case works perfectly, no one in their right mind would actually call a tournament contested by only six real nations to be a world championship of anything.  

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7 hours ago, twi said:

Since you mentioned it, I thought I'd ask; what's the big deal with the WJC? It's no different than the U-18s or U-16s, just hyped to hell. It always sticks out like a sore thumb to me when people mention Neidermayer or whomever with all their titles and along with the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, World Championship gold, etc a junior title is listed.

Junior hockey is Canada's college football and/or big-time high school football... people getting way too obsessed over kids playing a game for almost no money.

 

I think I'll probably miss the fake teams next time. If you strip away the thin nationalistic veneer, the tournament should have had eight competitive teams; that's good for us fans. The US could have used Eichel and Gadreau, but the management left off three of the top eight US points leaders from last season. Torts was their coach. I think the management is at least as much to blame as Team NA. If the Czechs and the Finns struggled this year, I don't see Switzerland, Belarus, or even Slovakia faring much better next time. The names were dumb; the teams were a good idea.

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It made some money for the league, put hockey on ESPN who had decent coverage where it actually led Sportscenter a few times, and was better than regular preseason hockey so I'm not going to say failure. It could’ve been better.

 

Let’s be honest, 96 and 04 don’t matter. This was for all intents and purposes the first World Cup of Hockey tournament and overcoming the startup inertia in is difficult. If they want people to take this seriously, if you want the tournament to have some legitimacy, you have to hold the tournament on a regular once every 4 years schedule. Nobody's going to care about a tournament if they don’t trust that it’ll be back on a recurring schedule. 12 years in between tournaments is stupid.  

 

The trophy, which everyone properly roasted in 2004 (an exploded exhaust pipe wrapped in the air cast they put on Ruffian's leg) should've been buried with Jumanji. How much money did Frank Gehry steal from them to design that thing if they're still committed to using it 12 years later? I’m convinced they contracted him to make it, he waited until the last minute and grabbed two things that were lying around his shop and stuck them together.

 

As fun as Team North America was, their existence severely handicapped the second most important national team in this tournament, and USA’s poor performance nosedived the ratings in the states. If they do the U23 team again they should let the veterans like Matthews, Eichel, McDavid who still won’t be over 23 etc graduate to their national teams.

 

I vote for leaving the All-Star teams out of the next one in favor of a national teams from Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark, etc to the fill out the field. Yes, they are longshots to advance, but they’re not going to get better by mashing all their players into Europe Stew. That’s a true world cup then. If you want to see U23 play then do a Summit Series style thing in the odd years between Olympics and World Cups. Use the soccer system and have friendlies with a barnstorming group of kids who play a few games against Canada and then a few against the USA, and then send them over to Finland, Sweden, and Russia. Whatever. Just don’t use them to fill a tournament.

 

Speaking of ratings – putting team USA’s games up against NFL opening weekend, Monday night football, and college football Saturday is not smart. Once again, the NHL needs a Director of Common Sense just to talk the league out of ideas like that.

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This tourney actually gave me a bit of a UEFA Champions League vibe.  The best players ending up against one another while not playing for life or death.

2 hours ago, McCarthy said:

Let’s be honest, 96 and 04 don’t matter.

96 matters a lot imo because it was the USA's best possible roster ever & they won.  Between 1996 & Finland's 2011 world title, each of the big 6 had won something.  That's a pretty nice parity with the best players in the world spread out, including Olympic silver & bronze medals.

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I just found it really hard to get into the NHL's thinly-veiled attempt to create leverage against the IOC, for insurance costs in '18. Right now the owners are paying for the "privelage" of having their season disrupted.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love the Olympics, and I think the owners are greedy bastards, but, in this case, I actually have to agree with them. The IOC makes so much money off the games, with the hockey finals being their hottest tickets, they should be covering it, not sticking the league with the bill.

 

I think that the unease that the World cup succeeding might mean no Olympics held some people back from getting into it.

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49 minutes ago, 2001mark said:

 

96 matters a lot imo because it was the USA's best possible roster ever & they won.  Between 1996 & Finland's 2011 world title, each of the big 6 had won something.  That's a pretty nice parity with the best players in the world spread out, including Olympic silver & bronze medals.

I meant they don't matter as far as restarting this tournament in the year 2016, that this tournament might as well have been the first one. If you're only going to hold this thing once every 10 years on average that's not frequent enough to get people engaged. Why didn't they have one in 2000, or 2008, or 2012? 

 

 

I love the 96 USA team because that's our only Best-on-Best win ever. I recently watched Game 3 of the final on Youtube. For as much as the game's changed it's also stayed the same. Canada was loaded then, the USA had probably more hall of famers then than we do now, but didn't have Canada's depth (35 year old Joel Otto was taking faceoffs in the last two minutes for us). For the US to beat Canada right now is the same as it was then. It requires mistake free hockey, some lucky bounces, like they got in 96 and in the group stage at Vancouver, and phenomenal goaltending like they got from Richter and Miller, respectively. If we played 100 times USA hockey could beat Canada maybe 20 times.

 

Canada will always have the best skill and depth. Your down periods are always still going to be very high and your up periods you're unbeatable, which is probably where you are right now. We, US, have to hope to catch you in a period where that's not quite as high as usual while we're on the peak of our next wave of talent, and then we have to play perfectly to win. 

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4 hours ago, McCarthy said:

It made some money for the league, put hockey on ESPN who had decent coverage where it actually led Sportscenter a few times, and was better than regular preseason hockey so I'm not going to say failure. It could’ve been better.

 

Let’s be honest, 96 and 04 don’t matter. This was for all intents and purposes the first World Cup of Hockey tournament and overcoming the startup inertia in is difficult. If they want people to take this seriously, if you want the tournament to have some legitimacy, you have to hold the tournament on a regular once every 4 years schedule. Nobody's going to care about a tournament if they don’t trust that it’ll be back on a recurring schedule. 12 years in between tournaments is stupid.  

 

The trophy, which everyone properly roasted in 2004 (an exploded exhaust pipe wrapped in the air cast they put on Ruffian's leg) should've been buried with Jumanji. How much money did Frank Gehry steal from them to design that thing if they're still committed to using it 12 years later? I’m convinced they contracted him to make it, he waited until the last minute and grabbed two things that were lying around his shop and stuck them together.

 

As fun as Team North America was, their existence severely handicapped the second most important national team in this tournament, and USA’s poor performance nosedived the ratings in the states. If they do the U23 team again they should let the veterans like Matthews, Eichel, McDavid who still won’t be over 23 etc graduate to their national teams.

 

I vote for leaving the All-Star teams out of the next one in favor of a national teams from Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Denmark, etc to the fill out the field. Yes, they are longshots to advance, but they’re not going to get better by mashing all their players into Europe Stew. That’s a true world cup then. If you want to see U23 play then do a Summit Series style thing in the odd years between Olympics and World Cups. Use the soccer system and have friendlies with a barnstorming group of kids who play a few games against Canada and then a few against the USA, and then send them over to Finland, Sweden, and Russia. Whatever. Just don’t use them to fill a tournament.

 

Speaking of ratings – putting team USA’s games up against NFL opening weekend, Monday night football, and college football Saturday is not smart. Once again, the NHL needs a Director of Common Sense just to talk the league out of ideas like that.

Agree, wholeheartedly.  Admittedly, I don't follow this too closely so I found myself wondering why there were "Europe" and "North America" teams alongside teams from countries within.  I had to look it up.  I know there are not as many strong counties in hockey as in soccer, but I agree that if you open it up, there may be some interest from some of those countries in expanding their national teams.

 

The contrived teams (and 90s video game logos) did not do it for me.

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I just spent two weeks in Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France) and nowhere over there was the tournament no more than a footnote on the sports pages. Kind of a "Oh by the way, there was a hockey tournament and these are the scores", but no more than that. Those countries are not considered hockey hotbeds, but I got more MLB scores over there than from the WCH, and I speak fluent German, so it wasn't a translation problem. They just didn't care. Might have been different if those countries had their own teams rather than a Team Europe, but even the players from those countries barely got a mention.

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I agree with everyone. The other two slots need to be teams from one country. The all-star or contrived teams were interesting but it doesn't do anything to generate interest from most parts of Europe. The teams may not fair too well but it may generate more interest from other parts of Europe.

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I really don't care about getting the Swiss interested in the World Cup of Hockey. I think the tournament is best served by having more teams with a chance to win... it keeps things more interesting for the bread-and-butter US and Canadian markets. If you want hockey at the highest level possible from a pool of mostly NHL players, I think you need a second Canadian team in there somehow.  They make up half the league.

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10 hours ago, McCarthy said:

It made some money for the league, put hockey on ESPN who had decent coverage where it actually led Sportscenter a few times, and was better than regular preseason hockey so I'm not going to say failure. It could’ve been better.

 

Speaking of ratings – putting team USA’s games up against NFL opening weekend, Monday night football, and college football Saturday is not smart. Once again, the NHL needs a Director of Common Sense just to talk the league out of ideas like that.

About the only way ESPN was going to be able to keep the US games away from football was to play all their games on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  For a tournament that lasted just two weeks, there's almost no way the US game wasn't eventually going to go head-to-head with football.

 

And I thought ESPN's coverage was kinda lousy, to be honest.  Thrashers great Chris Chelios and 2nd-best Hull were alright, but the announcers for the game were kinda awful.  Levy and Melrose are great for previewing/reviewing or yucking it up on SportsCenter, but on-the-fly live action isn't their strong suit.  And Linda Cohn may have new cans but is still as annoying as ever.  NBCSN may get flak because they're not the 4-Letter Network, but their studio and game crew work is pretty good.  Miles ahead of what ESPN threw out there.

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On 1/10/2016 at 2:25 AM, HedleyLamarr said:

About the only way ESPN was going to be able to keep the US games away from football was to play all their games on a Tuesday or Wednesday.  For a tournament that lasted just two weeks, there's almost no way the US game wasn't eventually going to go head-to-head with football.

 

And I thought ESPN's coverage was kinda lousy, to be honest.  Thrashers great Chris Chelios and 2nd-best Hull were alright, but the announcers for the game were kinda awful.  Levy and Melrose are great for previewing/reviewing or yucking it up on SportsCenter, but on-the-fly live action isn't their strong suit.  And Linda Cohn may have new cans but is still as annoying as ever.  NBCSN may get flak because they're not the 4-Letter Network, but their studio and game crew work is pretty good.  Miles ahead of what ESPN threw out there.

:lol::D

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In terms of ESPN coverage:

 

Levy on play-by-play and Pang on color were great. I always enjoyed Levy's pre-lockout hockey play by play, and I've actually quite liked his college football work this season. Always a fan of Levy. Darren Pang is just a fun yet informative hockey color guy. Like seriously, can we switch out the bald-guy-between-the-benches job from Pierre to Pang. Holy jumpin, what a switch that would be.

 

Buccigross on play-by-play is just not good. Little too quirky for that. A little too eager and tired to be too "hockey bro" about it. (Like calling long hair "flow" or "salad" is a fine joke/term in hockey circles or once in a while on a highlight or tucked away on his ESPNU college hockey gigs. But that schtick doesn't work for a top-notch "serious" tournament.) Conversely, when his PxP duties were done and he was in the studio for the semis/final, I thought he was great. Better than Cohn was in the studio.

 

Melrose on color was bad. He's palatable in the studio, and that's only because we've accepted him as ESPN's voice of hockey over the last 10+ years. But he's just not good.

 

Weekes is kinda what he is on NHL Network. He's good technically speaking, but he lacks... something. Idk. Sometimes it seems very stilted. Also, never a bad thing to say about anybody. 

 

Linda Cohn was Linda Cohn, but with the added eagerness of being allowed to embrace her hockey fan. Like a little too eager. Brett Hull was great for the USA coverage only because he was able to kinda rail on them. But we've tried him on NBC and he doesn't work long term. Chelios was technically sound, but hell was he boring. Borrrring. And honestly seemed annoyed at Hull the entire time.

 

Also props to Adnan Virk for stepping in to help fill the void of John Saunders. Virk is Canadian, so duh he's a hockey fan, and he had the same enthusiasm for covering it like Bucci and Cohn did without overdoing it. Virk is just good at the job.

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8 hours ago, Still MIGHTY said:

 Like seriously, can we switch out the bald-guy-between-the-benches job from Pierre to Pang.

I almost had a heart attack in seeing the first shot of Pang in the USA-Europe Game. The camera was just out far enough that all you could see was a bald guy wearing glasses between the benches. I could have sworn that it was Pierre, but then it zoomed in, and the play-by-play guy said "Darren?" I was so relieved...:D

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Pang is Pierre, but less annoying and more insightful. I don't care where every single player in the NHL played junior or college hockey. Why is your first thought after a guy scores a playoff overtime winner to shout that he played for the Medicine Hat Tigers? That's really weird, right? 

 

Buccigross is a good studio host, but doesn't have the voice for play by play. His #CawledgeHawkey schtick is forced and tired. His eagerness to awkwardly work in some hockey slang that the players themselves don't really even use comes across as trying too hard. I know he loves the sport and is one like 3 people at ESPN who champion for it, but dial it back, John. 

 

Linda Cohn and Steve Levy were good. I liked Hull and Chelios because they were Statler and Waldorfing Team USA's BS interview answers and somebody needed to say something like that. I found them way more watchable than Roenick and Milbury. 

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