A Seven Year Itch?


Hey all. Quick question: who won the Stanley Cup in ’04-’05? Anyone? Here, check the stats. (www.joemamaisonstrike.com) No one? That can’t be? I mean, are you saying that in less than a decade…wait! Was there another strike?  Wondering why? Look no further than today.

Scouring the Net these past few hours, hoping to see if there was any indication of the type of week we should expect from the League and the disgruntled masses they employ. Nothing. I’ve been asking myself: WWJD?

Right, what would Jimmy Hoffa (ha, yeah right: Jesus has better things to do than save hockey)  do in this situation? Call some guys who know some guys who know a guy, etc! Maybe that’s what’s needed here. Someone call/tweet Obama! Tell him we need to orchestrate a cool, hip Public Service announcement narrated by Morgan Freeman and Michelle, showing pictures of empty arenas, unemployed food vendors and ushers and security personnel, and a guy at a bar, his head hung low, with half a beer mug in his right hand; pan to young children playing hockey at a pond with a makeshift net (in my day, two large garbage cans did just fine) laughing and yelling, chasing a roll of electrical tape that is platooning as a puck. Just having a good old time. Enter Morgan Freeman: “You remember when it was just a game?” Then a shot of Bettman juxatposed with the Fehr and the players. Reenter Freeman: “Well, they don’t.” Then they’ll be a website link that is nothing more than a petition attempting to convince players and owners that the game must be played. Like tomorrow. Of course this is a bad idea. That’s why they call it venting!

In all seriousness, the NHL needs to prepare itself (earmark some funds, boys) for a campaign to win back its fan-base. I’m not worried about the Detriots, Pittsburghs, and Canadas of the world. I fear for a team like my New York Islanders, who have had dismal attendance these past several years, due in large part to an equally dismal winning percentage.  There are many teams in a position to be incredibly hurt by losing an already fickle fan base, and if the NHL pulls the plug on the season, I find it hard-pressed for the average fan, the curious fan really, to bother coming back. Yes, time heals all wounds, but is this nonsense going to happen every seven years? Who in their right, fickle mind would devote time and money to a sport as tenuous as this one?

Just imagine, for a moment, if the NHL/NHLPA weren’t athletes but say, nurses, or teachers, or the police. Hell, imagine if the NYPD had a strike every seven years? Firefighters? How would a public view them in light of what many would deem a selfish, injurious, even dangerous act against a city and its citizenry? Perspective is needed, and in a hurry.

In one of my first entries for eyesonisles.com I said that the Islanders, from a purely managerial/front office perspective (I don’t think I specified the aforementioned, but I’m clarifying it now) could benefit from the strike in as much as Charles Wang would make certain moves, give Ricky DiPietro time to heal his body, sharpen personnel, etc. and prepare for a winning season, leaving the Coliseum with enough momentum to carry over to Brooklyn. I still believe this to be correct, but I was speaking from a die-hard hockey fan angle. Upon further reflection, if the Islanders tank their next season prior to Barclays, how are they to expect people to make the trek to another borough and pay the ticket price increase?

So, it’s time that the Islanders start addressing their fan-base in some way. They shouldn’t sit on their laurels and wait for the NHL to ameliorate the relationship between us and them. New York Islanders need to save themselves in an honest and wholehearted manner resembling a team with a championship pedigree.  By addressing, I mean spend some serious cash to save the fans-on-the-fence and the new fans awaiting them in Brooklyn.

Hoffa once said: “I may have many faults, but being wrong ain’t one of them.” I feel as if this attitude echoes the candor from both sides. Wouldn’t you agree?

Below you will find one of many attempts by the NBA at saving their fan-base. It worked, ladies and gentlemen. For now. #eyesonisles