Friday, December 7, 2007

Crosby in Western Canada

This week's Pittsburgh Penguins road trip to western Canada is proof that the NHL needed to change their schedule format to one in which fans in every city are getting to see all of the great players and teams in the league on a regular basis. Sidney & company have put on a great show in Edmonton & Calgary the past few nights, with Crosby providing quite a show in Edmonton in the 3rd period with a comeback win. Then, in Calgary the next night, a thrilling shootout victory for the Penguins, which I know made the Flames fans secretly happy. They really do appreciate the talented hard working players of the NHL in those western Canadian cities.

At one time during the 1980s Western Canada had an embarrassment of riches when it came to having top calibre players playing every night in every game played. There was Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and the rest of the high-flying Oilers. You also had Dale Hawerchuck & Thomas Steen in Winnipeg (now Phoenix) and Lanny McDonald, Kent Nilsson, Hakan Loob & Paul Reinhart in Calgary.

In the later 90s all these teams had to get rid of their great players because they couldn't afford them, but now the league is on a more equal footing and the talent can be spread around and retained for years.

In the 1979/1980 inaugural season of my hometown Edmonton Oilers, there were 21 teams in the NHL and we were able to see every team in the league twice and it was awesome. I got to watch my favorite team at the time the Philadelphia Flyers twice, as well as the Rangers, Maple Leafs and my favorite team to hate at the time - the Montreal Canadiens. What a thrill. Watching the Habs play in person was incredible and I have to admit I have never seen a more amazing team than they were with Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt & Larry Robinson leading the way.

Way to go GM's and Board of Governors, what a great decision for the fans.

1 comment:

Goilers83 said...

I agree, I loved those games.