Greetings to all and welcome back to the newly named weekly column called “What’s the Fouss?”
First, I would like to thank all of you who participated in the poll to pick the new name for my weekly column. “What’s the Fouss?” is the name that received the most votes in the poll. I am a big fan of the new name of my new weekly column.
In this latest edition of “What’s the Fouss?”, I am going to continue to rant about the World Cup of Hockey. I am going to discuss the good and bad of the tournament, and things that I would do to make it better for next time. In my last column, I took a look at the demise of Team USA.
I am a big fan of the World Cup of Hockey tournament. I think it provides a wonderful showcase for the game of hockey. It is an event that can appeal to the casual fan, or the diehard fan.
Most of the fans enjoyed the format of the tournament, and I can say that I did too. The tournament was just right with the total duration. It did not feel stretched out, but it did not feel too short either.
Another thing I was happy about with the World Cup of Hockey was ESPN’s coverage of the event. Steve Levy, John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, Kevin Weekes, and Darren Pang were the main personalities that were heard during World Cup of Hockey, and they all gave the fans good analysis during the games. There were some fan complaints with Chris Chelios and Brett Hull during intermissions, but I do feel both guys were steps above NBC’s Mike Milbury and Keith Jones in their assessments of the game. Chelios and Hull did not take personal jabs at players, which Mike Milbury tends to do during every NBC telecast.
The only thing missing from ESPN’s broadcast was the duo of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement. They are two of the best hockey broadcasters of all time. At some point in the future, hockey will need to return to ESPN full time, and find a way to ditch NBC. But I will save that topic for another day.
My main issue with the World Cup of Hockey is the dates of the event. I think it is stupid to have the World Cup of Hockey interfere with NHL training camps.
The World Cup of Hockey began on September 17, which is right around the time players (rookies/veterans) begin to report for their respective training camps. If the World Cup of Hockey Final had gone the distance, it would have ended on October 1. The NHL regular season is slated to begin on October 12.
For the players participating in the World Cup of Hockey, it does not give them enough time to get acclimated to new teammates or new coaches for their respective NHL teams. Players that participate longer in the tournament miss valuable time with their new teammates and coaches with their respective NHL teams.
The World Cup of Hockey needs to be moved to a different time, and needs to take place during the mid-summer. Hockey’s “down time” is in late-July to the end of August. This is the adjustment that needs to be made for the future of the event.
Another reason the World Cup of Hockey needs to be during mid-summer is because of injuries. Team Europe’s Marian Gaborik was injured last Sunday in a 3-2 win over Sweden. It was a devastating blow for Team Europe and the LA Kings, as Gaborik sustained a broken foot and will be out of action for the next 6-8 weeks. Once the NHL season begins, Gaborik will probably miss about 20 games of action.
Injuries are something that cannot be avoided in any sport. It is a tough blow for Gaborik and the LA Kings, as Gaborik is a major piece to the Kings puzzle.
But this goes back to my original point on the dates of the World Cup of Hockey tournament. If the tournament takes place in mid-summer, Gaborik would probably not miss as much NHL action this year.
There is nothing wrong with watching hockey during the summer. Change the date of this event for the future. Find a better balance, so players do not miss NHL training camps.
By: George Foussekis