The Rangers vs. The Islanders, The Four-Cheer TheoryShareThis
Quick personal life update before puck stuff: I’m feeling very American these days, as Bri and I are doing our best to stimulate the economy with money we don’t have. Bri bought a sharp little 2008 Volkswagen Passat yesterday (white, black leather, tint), and I’m heading to Verizon today to get the Droid 2 that came out yesterday (with my “free” upgrade).
I’m going to be USELESS to the world for the first week or two I have it, since I clearly get far too engrossed in trying to figure my new toys out. I spent the entirety of my Kelowna – Phoenix flight customizing settings on this year-old dell my Aunt just oh-so-generously donated (thanks again!). BOOM, NEW WINDOWS OPEN AS TABS NOW. (UPDATE: Not eligible for an upgrade after all. Excuse me while I swan dive into a wood chipper)
Also on the personal front, AHHHHHHHOMGARIZONAHHHHH!
It was dead, so we’ve hypothesized that Tyson (our owl-eyed kitty) ninja-snapped it’s neck before it could do any harm. And then, um, removed it’s neck, or something. HI-YAH!
Since this is, in fact, a hockey blog, we should talk a little puck. (Duuuude, sports are almost happening again!)
First off, yesterday I tweeted the question: Who’s going to finish higher in the East, the Rangers or the Islanders? According to my @’s, it appears that the NHL doesn’t even need to play the games this year, because the Rangers will clearly finish higher. OBVI.
I asked the question, because I think it’s gonna be pretty close. I think the Rangers will finish seeded in the 7-9 range, with the Isles in the 8-11 range.
After the 2009-10 season, I had thought that the Isles were going to be a lot better team heading into 2010-11, and could contend for a playoff spot. All their young stars would be starting to become actual stars (that’s the big one), the d-corps would be better (didn’t realize that would be even more true thanks to aquisitions, which was a bonus), and the team had money (it now needs) to spend.
The problems have been: (a) They haven’t really spent that money yet, at least not in a way that meets the “here’s what they could’ve done” standards most fans have.
(b) Their goalie situation is stressful. It’s been the summer of available goaltenders, and I’m not comfortable counting on Roloson or DiPietro. DP for the obvious (you have to protect him with another starter like last year), and Rolly, while great in 09-10, is quite frankly getting old, and that scares me. I know Brodeur is old, but he’s also one of the best in the history of ever.
And (c) the biggest reason I’m not as stoked on the Isles as I could be, is EVERYONE ELSE got much, much better. Especially the lesser teams from the East, which increases both teams degree of difficulty factor. Toronto improved more than the Isles. Tampa Bay improved more than the Isles. Atlanta got a whole hell of a lot better.
So this NYR vs. NYI debate is legit because…. did the Rangers somehow get a ton better? I got messages about Lundqvist and Gaborik (72 and 76 GP respectively last year, BTW), but…. weren’t they there and healthy last year? So is Frolov going to be enough to push that team above and beyond? I dunno, but when you only have a few cogs to count on (same goes for the Isles), it really comes down to which team has better injury luck.
I think the Rangers will probably finish higher, but not by much. They’ll be highlighted in the same graphics after 70 games that show “games remaining” and “points” for bubble teams. And for Ranger fans, let me plant this seed…. after watching the heart and grit it took to get teams into the finals last year (think Richards, Pronger, Toews, Bolland, etc) are you comfortable having your two studs be Gaborik and Frolov?
I know I’m comfortable with Okposo and Tavares. Go Isles!
I talked to someone who used to manage a team in the AHL/IHL, and he said he made sure his owners did one thing so he could take care of his job filling the seats - they needed to take care of the “four-cheer theory“.
That being that basically, fans feel like they’ve got their money’s worth if they can cheer hard at least four times in a game. Ideally, that’s a minimum of two goals, one fight, and a win. If your team can take care of that, you can sell tickets.
This came about during one of the ten million “Coyotes Attendance Solution” talks that happen everyday, featuring Joe and John Blow. He brought up the four-cheer theory as an addendum to my point, which was that since Phoenix isn’t a rich hockey culture, you need at least a star that people can look forward to watching.
They try to do here what they should do in Edmonton – get great value out of up-and-coming players (and an honest workhorse in Doan), play a solid team game, have great work ethic etc. Everyone appreciates that in Canada. Here, it’s less valued by the casual fan. Would they be better having one Datsyuk over a bunch of Pyatt/Hanzal/Korpikoski/Ebbett’s etc’s? I think they might. But I do know that Coyotes fans should be able to get those crucial four cheers on any given night next season, so they’ll be worth checking out.
(I’m gonna be sorry I started that thread, aren’t I?)
That’s it for today folks, off to buy my first fancy touchscreen machine that I’ll inevitably wreck within the first month (serious hunch that I’ll be running that sentence again, only in quotes, and like three weeks from now to start a tale of woe).
TGIF, hope it’s a great weekend!