As a Kansas City native and current resident, the idea of having a sheet of ice down at the Sprint Center, national television cameras warming up to cover the action, and Pierre McGuire espousing wisdom concerning “active sticks” and “big body presence” was a moment I have long looked forward to. Of course, that dream usually featured an NHL team that Kansas City could call its own, but the 2012 NCAA Ice Breaker tournament this past weekend managed to give fans a sneak peek of what a season of high-level hockey might look like on the Sprint Center ice.
Forget Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama and the 2012 Presidential Election. A more heated exchange of verbal joust is taking place between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr. Both sides have entrenched themselves in a stalemate as we enter week three of the NHL lockout with no resolution in sight.
Now that the 2012-2013 National Hockey League season is almost certainly delayed at least for the foreseeable future, hockey fans will be looking for other venues to channel their emotions and dollars during the long fall and winter months ahead. Once they move past the “cursing Gary Bettman and/or Don Fehr” anger stage of grief and into the bargaining stage, many will surely be looking for NHL alternatives in order to get their hockey fix during those cold January nights when Iowa versus Michigan college basketball just isn’t getting the job done.
On the day of his retirement, Steve Yzerman shared these parting words, “Players have come and players have gone. Coaches have come and gone. The one biggest reason that this organization has been able to do well, has been successful and will continue to be successful is because the Ilitches will do whatever they have to do… to make this organization successful.”
On April 21, 2006, Dean Lombardi was named General Manager of a struggling Los Angeles Kings, a franchise that had missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Under the management of Dave Taylor, the Kings had struggled to find consistency and had great difficulty in drafting and developing a solid foundation in net and on defense. Although the Kings won only one playoff round in eight seasons under the management of Dave Taylor, a significant amount of credit for the success of the Kings in 2012 goes to Dave Taylor and his staff for drafting three key players, players who helped lead the Kings to their first Stanley Cup victory in 45 years. On the day of his hiring, Lombardi said, “I chose the Kings for a number of reasons. First off, I’m a builder, and I see the foundation put in place by Dave Taylor.”