There have been a small sampling of topics in the hockey world lately that have lead me to just kinda stare blankly forward and ask out loud “Huh?”. Now, those who know me know, this isn’t exactly an uncommon occurance for yours truly, but hear me out. Have I overlooked a few obvious things out there in the mists of a brain fog or am I just one of those people that’s not succumbing to the easy way out of doom and gloom scenarios?
Topic number one in shoulder shrugging, is this notion of rather intense worry that the NHL’s 2012-2013 season will not start on time. While I can understand that there are a bunch of fans and media members out there who can look at these upcoming CBA negotiations with more than our fair shares of trepidation in light of what happened the last time around, but, what actual concrete reasons are there to predict a third work stoppage under the Bettman regime? I personally don’t see anything outside of just pessimism because of what’s happened in the past, the union being led by Don Fehr, and apparently other aspects that I have yet to recognize.
After the NHL overwhelmingly crushed the NHLPA in the aftermath of the lost season, it is easy to expect the players union to want to extract some sort of revenge to level the playing field in their eyes. While the NHL owners surely have a few contentions with the prior CBA that they would like to adjust as well. Now, I do, very much, expect the negotiations to be contentious, arduous, and certainly worrisome at times, I still have no inkling whatsoever that there is any reason to believe that the season will not start on time. Until there is reason to later in negotiations, I feel comfortable in suggesting that ,despite the popular consensus, the season will start on time.
Another topic of loss for me is in regards to the agreement of terms the Penguins have with Sidney Crosby that will keep a him a Penguin for the rest of his career, no matter the length, and how this spells a certain future expiration of Evgeni Malkin’s time as a Penguin.
It seems all sorts of sudden with concerns that while potentially true, also seems oddly premature. It first began shortly after the talk of the deal being agreed to John Buccigross tweeting that he thought in the recent past that Sid would sign long term and that Malkin would be traded. As much regard as most of us have with Bucci, I fail to see how one can deduce this right away, especially when you consider that Jordan Staal has already been moved .
Several people will site that they feel Malkin wants to be ‘the man’ instead of second fiddle to Crosby. They will site that Malkin plays considerably better when Crosby is injured and out of the lineup. They will site that they feel that Malkin will be in it for the money and be the antithesis of Crosby who yet again agrees to a Penguins cap friendly deal.
All of this while Malkin has often stated how happy he is in Pittsburgh. And how much he continuously states that he likes it being both Sid and Geno. While Malkin has done nothing but express his happiness being in Pittsburgh and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Perhaps its just lazy opinion aimed at another allegedly typical enigmatic Russian. Never once has Malkin uttered a quote that was drama fodder for the media only to fuel the fires of a rumor mill. Never has Malkin made any Jagr-like comments that got the media in a tizzy. And I’m not even referring to the time Jagr stated that he was ‘dying alive’ in Pittsburgh, once in 1999 he was quoted in Blesk, a Czech tabloid, as saying that living in the Czech Republic compared to Pittsburgh was like the difference between heaven and hell. Even earlier, in the summer of 1992 in Sports Illustrated, Jagr had stated that if the Penguins had financial difficulties he wanted traded down south because he had two Stanley Cups and all he really wanted was money and girls. Feel free to express any time Malkin has stated anything of the sort that got the media rolling and then was covered up with claims of a misquote.
Maybe I have missed some signs that are out there, maybe my tin foil hat needs re-sized.
Or maybe, people are just bored in hockey’s summer doldrums.