It was close to 20 years ago that Adam Foote stood at the front of the Soo Greyhounds bus as it entered the parking lot at the Oshawa Civic Centre for Game 1 of the OHL championship series against the Oshawa Generals.
The hype leading up to that series was at an all-time high. The Hounds were set to come face-to-face with Eric Lindros for the first time and everyone in Sault Ste. Marie was anxiously anticipating the showdown.
As the bus pulled in, a gang of rowdy Oshawa fans yelled obscenities toward the Greyhounds, some flipping the bird. For some teenagers, such a reception can be intimidating. But in his usual style, Adam Foote soaked it up.
He loved it.
He embraced it.
There are more Americans playing in the NHL than ever before.
They are the kind of numbers that are sure to make Gary Bettman smile.
Even as several of the NHL’s U.S.-based franchises continue to struggle financially, the reality is that commissioner’s league is becoming more and more American with every passing season.
In a league in which roughly 700 players suit up for a regular shift each year, the number of NHLers from the United States has jumped considerably in the past seven or eight seasons alone.
Last season, for example, 156 American players played in 25 or more games – an historic high for the NHL – which is up from only 101 as recently as the 2002-03 season.
The sale of the St-Louis Blues is getting interesting.
The situation regarding the St. Louis Blues sale grew interesting this week when it was reported NHL commissioner Gary Bettman enforced a deadline that put Matthew Hulsizer’s bid out of contention for now.
This means minority owner Tom Stillman and his group of local partners is back in front. But it doesn’t look like they are home and cooled out. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the details on the murky situation.
Some more thoughts on the NHLPA's move to block the NHL's realignment.
It’s safe to say the two sides in the NHL’s coming labour dispute are digging in their heels. Or at least fighting for better position in front of the net.
That’s the take-away from the last two days of off-ice drama, what with the NHL Players’ Association choosing to hold up the NHL board of governors’ re-alignment plan for the 2012-13 season on the basis that they needed more information Friday night, and the subsequent reaction, albeit slightly rehearsed, that came from both parties the next day.
Saturday, Winnipeg Jets governor and True North chairman Mark Chipman fielded questions on how this delay in re-alignment would impact his club. Questions of projected travel burdens — the current system against the proposed configuration — and possible legal ramifications available to the league were easily addressed, but when the conversation shifted to Friday’s news signalling the start of a potential labour dispute after the current CBA between the league and the players expires after this season, an answer was difficult to locate.
Fans filing into the Bell Centre on Saturday hoping for a Montreal Canadiens win were met by protesters with another goal in mind. They want the organization to be more French.
Several hundred Quebec nationalists, handing out miniature Quebec flags and chanting "Montreal, en francais," held a rally directly in front of the building.
The group was protesting the recent appointment of Randy Cunneyworth as head coach. He is the first Montreal head coach unable to speak French in 40 years.