Thursday, January 01, 2009

Where's the Real Larry Brooks and What Have You Done With Him?

They say that even a broken clock is right twice a day which is why weren't too surprised when on November 30th Ol' Lar joined us on "the dark side" and agreed that fighting should be banned from the NHL. His reasoning? Well it actually made sense too in that, if the NHL is looking to outlaw hits to the head in the normal run of play, how could they continue to allow hits to the head during a fight?

Not exactly the reason we want to see the thuggery end but hey, any port in storm right? We agree that this concern for the health of the players has to include fighting especially when fighting majors are on the rise with even clean, legal, open-ice hits now becoming cause for dropping the gloves. (And the UFOI knuckle draggers say that we want to take hitting out of the game...) Of course some of the commenter's said Larry was just seeking to protect his boyfriend, Sean Avery, from ever having to defend himself instead of addressing the logic as obvious as the nose on their own faces. But it sure beats the red herrings of no touch icing and "softer" equipment.

We had just recovered from the shock of Larry actually agreeing with us when on December 14th he said the NHL should freeze ticket prices. Larry is 110% absolutely correct. The NHL would score a PR coup by freezing ticket prices for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2009-2010 Season Ticket Packages, and single game prices. We don't know (and neither does Larry) if it will actually stimulate ticket sales with certain "Hockeytowns" having trouble selling tickets at their current prices to begin with, but we do know that NHL needs all the good PR it can get.

What makes this so amazing is that a Union Thug Mouthpiece like Brooks suggesting the NHL freeze its best revenue source under a Collective Bargaining Agreement where the players receive a guaranteed portion of the revenue. How bad does the NHL economic outlook have to be in order for Larry to say that something needs to be done now? Because folks, we all know the "I told you so" column is coming when the salary cap takes a huge step backwards.

But what has made us forget all probabilities and seriously wonder if somebody has hit Larry over the head, hard, is last week's plea to get more coverage of A.O. out of the NHL. This isn't the first time Ol' Lar has joined the backlash against the Canadian Diving Team Captain, Low Blow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby, but this is by far his strongest argument since his love letter to A.O. from last year. We too get that the NHL wanted to ensure a sellout of its First Winter Classic in the U.S. (well, if you consider Buffalo part of the U.S. because Buffalo doesn't) and wanted to help revive an original six franchise with this year's game; but we again agree with Larry that there's no excuse not to have the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers playing next New Year's Day in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

The NHL would only have to sell a minimum of 46,000 tickets (5K more than what they're selling at Wrigley Field today) with the current configuration of RFK and could sell up to 5K more if the ticket demand warranted. Furthermore, the folks at the Eagle Bank Bowl have already gone ahead and dubbed RFK as "Historic"; something the New Yankee Stadium does not have going for it. Finally, when Caps fans get the stadium bouncing it will more than make up for the lack of a "snow globe effect" because you're not likely to have a snow storm in D.C. on January 1st. You'd have the best player in the NHL going up against an original six franchise, you might even be able to get the Obamessiah to come and drop the ceremonial first puck (forget that, we can't mix politics and sports), and we would love to see certain heads explode around here as the NHL does up a commercial with Frank Herzog's famous "and now the stadium is rocking" call as "Hail to the Redskins" plays in the background that is endlessly repeated.

But we digress folks, if Larry keeps this up, we'll have to find a new punching bag. So could somebody please hit Larry over the head, hard, again and give us our old Larry back?

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