A quick note..got a great response from my last blog, which was more personal than others. Some may self-indulgent, and a tad maudlin. I appreciate people reading and offering their commentary to me...
ICE DOGS CUT DOWN COMING SOON
The Niagara IceDogs ended their preseason with a fourth consecutive victory, which was a 2-0 shutout of the Sudbury Wolves. Bo Bessette and Marco Lizotte were releases, and the Dogs need to make a few more moves to get down to the required 20. From this end, here is who I see on the roster, though I will try not to speculate too much on who may be let go because my sample size was limited to three games of viewing.
Goalies: Chris Festarini and Brent Moran (2)
Defense: Dougie Hamilton, Jesse Graham, Brock Beukeboom, Shayne Rover, Luke Mercer, Broderick Kelly (7)
Forwards: Ryan Strome, Steven Shipley, Brett Ritchie, Mitch Theoret, Carter Verhaeghe, Joel Wigle, Trevor Peterson, Anthony DiFruscia, Brook Hiddink (9)
I've got two spots left over, and I know there are guys like Mike Robinson, Mitch Bursey, Brian Brosnan, Rio Anzolin, David Sysla, and Kopta still have their fates up in the air. Considering that the IceDogs lost a lot of personnel from last years team (Mark Visentin, Freddie Hamilton, Jamie Oleksiak, Andrew Agozzino, Alex Friesen and David Pacan), they still have a solid core. That said, once the lockout ends, Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Strome could leave a huge void. The season starts Thursday September 20th 7pm vs Erie as phenom Connor McDavid makes his regular season debut. TV Cogeco and the OHL Action Pack with myself, Ed Burkholder and Al Galloway will have the game starting at 7pm.
Those who stand to benefit from the NHL Lockout will be junior hockey and the American Hockey League, as they stand to get more media exposure and also quality of athlete thanks to the trickle down effect of NHL teams sending young talent down to the AHL to get them some reps, and a slew of junior age hockey players who will be returned to their junior affiliate with a decision to me made on their future when or if the lockout ends. Sportsnet will increase their junior hockey coverage , and likely dive into the AHL for people to get their hockey fix. That will give them a wider platform to play on. Junior hockey already has carved out a nice audience niche with their Friday night games and stellar coverage of the Master Card Memorial Cup. The AHL is another thing altogether. Limited to local cable, or specialty networks like Leafs TV, the league has struggled to gain a TV foot hold. Sportsnet did the occasional game last year, and the CBC broadcasted about 10 AHL games the year before, and then took a pass after the audience numbers were modest.
Those who stand to lose in the lockout include administrative and office staff of NHL teams. They will likely be temporarily laid off, or have their hours and/or pay reduced. Arena workers from the guys who clean the ice to the person who ushers you to your seat and everyone in between stands to lose out on game nights. Even broadcasters get the short end in some cases. An article in the Vancouver Sun detailed that Canucks voice John Shorthouse will get paid during the lockout and likely will be assigned to other events, or shows, while Jim Hughson of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada says he will not get paid during the lockout, though I am sure CBC will find him a few things to do. The people I feel for the most are the aforementioned office staff and arena workers along with bars and restaurants who derive a good portion of their income from the game night hockey crowd. Sometimes I think the players and the owners need to get a visit from those workers in the background or at sports bars who derive their income from how busy a restaurant or bar is.
While I tend to side with the players, I wish they would not do these little PR stunts to try and reach out to the fans, because I am not sure the fans really care. They just want to see their team play, and seem to tire of billionaires fighting millionaires on how to dish out billions of dollars.