Category: NHL

Captains Of Industry ………………


Captains Of Industry

There’s no mistaking the fact that in today’s world of sports franchise ownership it pays to be extremely wealthy and versed in business. And in terms of being versed, I’m talking champions of corporate America. I’d certainly like to think that many of the owners of such franchises as the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Orioles, New York Knicks , St Louis Rams , Tampa Bay Lightning and St Louis Blues.

Baltimore  Orioles'  owner,  Peter  Angelos  seen  here  being  interviewed  by local  area   reporters  .  The wealthy  owner and  noted  attorney   has  essentially seen  his  baseball  club   fall  upon  hard  times  and  they're  no  longer   viewed  as   serious  competitors   within  AL  East  division  of  MLB.  picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/   Scott   Richardson  ............
Baltimore Orioles' owner, Peter Angelos seen here being interviewed by local area reporters . The wealthy owner and noted attorney has essentially seen his baseball club fall upon hard times and they're no longer viewed as serious competitors within AL East division of MLB. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Scott Richardson ............

On the face it, franchises are there to make money for the vested parties , in this cases the owners. Success is merely a bye product of it all. But how would one equate the fact that so many of these sport franchises owners that we now see operate their businesses as if they’re running their businesses like a flea market stall We’re seeing it all the more frequently, as franchises merely give up of being competitive and now resort to being an entity that solely exists to be part of their respective governing bodies . I’ve heard it said with enthusiasm ……’well our team is building towards the future and then we’ll be competitive.’ More often than not that may well be true. But in large part it’s actually a fallacy. Five years on and that team is nowhere near the point where management and ownership had envisaged where the team should be. But yet those long suffering fans have to live with the charade of it all.

Well here I’ve a suggestion , put yourself in the place of an owner and you’ve at your disposal your estimated wealth of $ 1 billion ($ 1,000,000,000) but bear in mind that you won’t be spending it all . Now make a decision as to which of the four major sports you’d rather invest your money in as the owners . Would it be baseball (MLB), football (NFL) , basketball (NBA) or hockey (NHL ) ? Now as we know three of the four sports has a salary cap, which in essence controls expenditure for the respective franchise, in terms of salaries for the players. The exception to this all, is the sport of baseball.

The decision is now yours as to which of the sports you’d invest your money in as to the purchase of a franchise. First and foremost, I feel that before you assemble the on field personnel you have to have the right management personnel in place. So that of course, starts off with a coach or manager and the general manager. Without those prerequisites pieces in place as part of your jig saw, then more likely than you’re not going to be able to attain the success you’re seeking. Do you go after the best talent available ? Or do you go with someone who you believe has the talent and the skills you desire as a coach and that of a general manger ? These are things that as an owner will be the decisions that you’ll no doubt have to make.

Much has been made of the fact the Seattle Seahawks will hire Pete Carroll as their new head coach . All that is now being left to work out, are the financial details and the amount of ‘say and power’ that he’ll have as the coach, with regard to many of the decision making that there‘ll be in terms of personnel acquisitions. Now as good a coach that Carroll has been at the college level , we all know that success at the NFL level, was anything but that. In fact his record doesn’t even speak that highly as to him being a very good coach in the NFL. If anything it reflects that of a coach who at best , was no more than average. But this will be the person who Seahawks’ owner, Paul Allen will entrust the team to . Much of that now will come down to whether or not Carroll can replicate the success he attained at the college level with the USC Trojans. If Carroll is able to attain that , then there’s a great future ahead for the franchise. If not, then there’s going to be an outcry from not only the fans but also the pundits alike who’ll say that the choice was a poor one from the beginning.

Badly ran organizations tend to have a way of making this even worse at times with their irrational decision making. None more so, when it comes to the choice of a coach. The common thought is that, we’ll go out there and get the biggest name possible. But a lot of the time that choice simply doesn’t equate with the best coach available or for that matter a very good coach to begin with. It comes down to a team wanting to make ‘a splash’ for the glare that the publicity will bring. Certainly the Seahawks now need a coach and all the publicity it needs, as under Jim Mora Jr, the team and the organization simply regressed. No excuses ought to be made, as you could simply see from the outset that Mora wasn’t the right person to begin with for the position, as the coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Clearly the regime of Mora’s predecessor , Mike Holmgren made the decision to have Mora named as his successor. There were far better candidates out there,other than Mora. But somehow Holmgren and the organization saw fit in offering the position to Mora. As to the Seahawks following the NFL mandated ‘Rooney Rule’ . Well, let’s just say the transparency of that edict wasn’t even followed and no action was taken by the hierarchy of the NFL. So once again, we see the stupidity of a regulation put in place by the NFL that isn’t even eagerly followed by a franchise. But we’re to believe that a minority candidate with the qualities that a potential employer seeks but they’re not even prepared to offer them an interview. Or when they do it’s under the subterfuge that they’re a likely candidate for the position but they actually stand no chance of landing the position whatsoever !

Mike Holmgren  (left) former  head  coach  of  the  Seattle Seahawks  seen  here  hugging  team  owner  and  Microsoft  co-founder  , Paul  Allen.   Holmgren  having   announced   his  retirement  last year  has  since  returned  to  the  NFL  to  become  President  of   Operations  for  the  Cleveland Browns.   Allen   has  since  the  Seahawks   as  a  franchise   labor  over the  last  four  years   and  recently   fired  incumbent  coach,  Jim  Mora Jr,.   His  replacement  is   none  other  than  USC Trojans'  coach  Pete  Carroll.    As  to whether  or   not   Carroll  can  turn  things  around   for  the  franchise   remains  to  be  seen.   The former  coach's   previous   forays in  the   NFL  as  a  head  coach ,  has  proven  to  be  less  than  successful.   He previously  coached   the  New  England Patriots  and  the  New  York  Jets.       picture  appears  courtesy of   Getty  Images/   Rick   Parfitt  .........................
Mike Holmgren (left) former head coach of the Seattle Seahawks seen here hugging team owner and Microsoft co-founder , Paul Allen. Holmgren having announced his retirement last year has since returned to the NFL to become President of Operations for the Cleveland Browns. Allen has since the Seahawks as a franchise labor over the last four years and recently fired incumbent coach, Jim Mora Jr,. His replacement is none other than USC Trojans' coach Pete Carroll. As to whether or not Carroll can turn things around for the franchise remains to be seen. The former coach's previous forays in the NFL as a head coach , has proven to be less than successful. He previously coached the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Rick Parfitt .........................

Instances such as mentioned here, with regard to Pete Carroll just doesn’t happen within the NFL only. It also happens within baseball , hockey and basketball. In the professional ranks, it appears to be all about the perception of getting the biggest name , rather than the best possible candidate available. But such are the vagaries in the world of sports, that you can never be sure what to expect nowadays. Especially when it comes to the owners of a professional sports franchise . There was a time when it was about being ambitious and about winning for many of them. But now it appears to be about little more than the perception being viewed as seen to be competitive ,making money and not much beyond that. However, in the world of ‘Corporate America’, were you running your business the way that many of the owners are running their franchises. There’d be no productivity much less profitability to many of these companies. ‘Captains of Industry’ actually meant something but in the world of sports it gives us the perception that these individuals aren’t really all that bright or intuitive when it comes to the running of a sports franchise.

The owners may well come from a wide , diverse backgrounds and many champion themselves as ‘captains of industry’. But in large part they do come across as being no more capable of running a sports franchise than they are of running a lemonade stand ‘for profit’ . And that’s how asinine the world of sports has now become ! These owners may well be good on ‘Wall St’ and ‘Madison Ave’ but once they’ve dipped their toes into the arena of becoming a sports franchise owners. They in essence become demented lunatics embracing the philosophy that they can conquer the world. Nothing could be further from the truth ! As the world just isn’t simply about them !

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The Tampa Bay Lightning Are A Different Sort Of A Team ………………


Well  without much of  a fanfare  the  days of renowned ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose  came  and  went  without  much of  a furore in Tampa Bay. Such was the  consequential hiring and then all too abrupt firing.  That as  a sound byte it didn’t  really  create that much of a  seismic  wave within the sport.  Melrose brought in to replace John Tortorella  was seen  more of as a figurehead  who’d  garner the respect  of  his  players  and at the same time  bring  back some of the luster  and  pizzaz to a franchise  that’d fallen  somewhat on hard times.   Their home base of  the  St Pete Times Forum  wasn’t  the  same  place  that it once  was  when they  were  indeed the Stanley Cup champions and held sway over all of  the  NHL. 

 

Avalanche goaltender  Andrew Raycroft makes a golve save  against the  Lightning's  Martin St Louis ..........
Avalanche goaltender Andrew Racyroft makes a glove save against the Lightnings' Martin St Louis ..........

Avalanche goaltender makes a glove save  against the  Lightning’s Martin St  Louis  in the penalty shootout between the  two teams. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Chris O’Meara ………………..

 

But then  again as  we  all know  the  aftermath of  the Lightning’s  triumph  was shortlived  as  the  NHL and  its  players  spiralled out of  control  all by their sheer  inability  to see  what  was  happening  to the game , the greed  therein  and  the  naivete’  of  NHL  governor Gary Bettman.  Such as  things are now for the  franchise those  heady days  are now long  gone and  they’re  now  mired  in  mediocrity  with Rick Tocchet  now  charged with leading  them back to some  semblance  of  respectability. 

 

Mike Smith(41) the Lightning's  goaltender  disputes  the  call made  that he  threw his stick at  the Avalanche's Milan Hejduk  during the  penalty  shooutout  that  decided the  game in the Avalanche's favor ............
Mike Smith(41) the Lightning's goaltender argues a disputed decision with linesman David Bisebois where it was adjudged that Smith threw his stick at the Avalanche's Milan Hejduk during the penalty shooutout that the decided the game in the Avalanche's favor.

Mike Smith(41) the Lightning’s goaltender disputes the  linesman’s assertion that  he  intentionally threw his  stick at the Avalanche’s Milan  Hejduk  during the penalty shootout.  The  game was won 2-1 by the  Colorado  Avalanche  which  was  played  at  the  St Pete Times’ Forum in Tampa, Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Chris O’Meara …………………..

 

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s season so far  can be  best described  as abysmal  to say the least.  And  though I’ve never  been much  of a hockey fan , to  my mind a  competitive and combative sport is  still  a  sport  no  less.  Tampay Bay Lightning for all of its  vagaries  has been playing as if it lacks  on confidence on the  ice and  has at this moment  in time no real leadership on it.  The  hyperbole  and  furore  surrounding the new  owner Oren Koules led one to believe  that after his purchase of  the  the from the  Davidson family. The  franchise would be on the rise to even bigger and better things.  But  then again when it comes  to  Hollywood  hype  Koules knows a thing  or two  about  the  whole  transiency  of the system  therein.  As a producer of  the  low  budget movie Saw, the   series  that has  become  a blockbuster as well  as  being an accredited producer for  the  CBS sitcom Two And A  Half Men.  It  can be said  that Koules  knows how  sell  make  and sell a  good product. Even when it happens to be  mediocre  in value.   That being  said  Koules’  penchant  for the  game  is  unquenchable  and  it’s his passion for it  and  the franchise  that  may  well also in some way  determine its  success on and off  the rink.

 

Peter Budaj of  the Avalanche celebrates  with teammates after the team's  OT victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning ...........
Peter Budaj the backup goaltender of the Avalanche celebrates with teammates after the team's O/T victory over the Lightning 2-1 in Tampa, Fl...................

Backup goaltender Peter Budaj of the Colorado Avalanche  celebrates with teammates after  the  team’s  O/T victory 2-1  over the  Tampa Bay Lightning  at the St Pete Times  Forum in Tampa, Florida.  picture appears  courtesy of getty images/ Doug Benc ………………

 

It has to be said  that it is  never  good  to see a professional sport’s franchise  mired  in mediocrity. But then again it’s  never  good  to see anyone be in such a predicament. Be it  self inflicted or not  which  in  many  ways this  whole  situation  for  the Lightning  wasof their  own making. They served up a platter  of  delicacies to the  fans by shedding  players who’d served  the franchise well.  And  brought in  players whom in many  respects didn’t  fit  the mould  of what the franchise had been  about  to begin with and  what  had originally  brought  about  its  success. Now as the  season  has got under way and  with  no real  identity  to speak of this  team struggles  to even show  some  semblance  of success.  No  leadership  from the  likes  of  Vincent ‘Vinny’ Lecalier  and  from even  his  teammate Martin St Louis. But yet the  fans  are  led  to believe  that  all  will be  right once  they  find their  footing.  And  even with their  young rookie  Steve Stamkos  now  realizing  the  rigors  of  playing  in the NHL isn’t  all  that  it’s cracked  up  to be.  One  can summize  that this  team’ll be in for a hard  time as the season progresses.

 

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft of  the Avalanche looks on as teammate Adam Foote(52) guards the  puck on defense  as  the Lightning's Martin St  Louis  tries to  makes his presence  felt .............
Adam Foote(52) of the Avalanche handles the puck on defense as his teammates goaltender Adam Raycroft looks on. In picture also is the Lightning's Martin St Louis.................

Adam Foote on defense handles  the  puck as  teammate and  goaltender Andrew Raycroft  looks  on as  the  Lightning’s Martin St  Louis on offense tries to make his presence felt. picture appears couertesy of  getty images/ Doug Benc  ……………………

 

If there’s one thing  that  has  become  apparent  for  both Tocchet and  Koules with regard  to the  team  is that it’s certainly  not playing  with  any  confidence  at all. And as  it sits at the  bottom of the  Southeast  Division  with  just 22 pts , just two  points  adrift of the Atlanta Thrashers and some 19 points out  of first place where  the  Washington Capitals who hold the lead.  Much as many  feel that it’s not  out  of the  realms  of  possibility for  the  franchise  to  make a run at a playoff berth. I’m  inclined  to believe that unless  they can catch  lightning  in  a bottle  and play  out  of  their  skins. The  only thing  that this team has  to play  for  now is pride and  self respect. And no matter  what assurances  and  rhetoric  that’s  forthcoming  from interim coach  Rick Tocchet.  The fact of the matter is that  this team just isn’t  good enough  to  hang  with  the  big dawgs of the  NHL  at  present.   Nor  are  they  likely  to  be  until they  get  a backbone.  Defensively they’re abysmal  and  on the  offensive side of  things at times  they’re  all somewhat gunshy.  A far  cry  from those halcyon days  of  being  called champions  and  their  bravado on the ice  went  unquestioned.

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