Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They're big! They're yellow! They're big yellow guys!!

You knew it was going to be a good night when you saw them wearing the yellows. So violently ugly to be beautiful, that’s the way my Belleville Bulls look. Logically, I know that the cartoon logo they sport today is more in line with what a big time hockey team’s jerseys are supposed to look like, but if cheese-ball yellow was good enough for Dunc MacIntyre, (I wrote that Wiki entry, you know. They edited it to make it read like crap, but as a writer you get used to that...) it’s good enough for Shawn Matthias.

And, Matthias was damn good—well, he got his butt in the right place at the right time yesterday and by doing so keep the Bulls season in the Bulls hands. Win three straight games and you win the Memorial Cup—no problem.

Belleville's win irritated the Kitchener faithful to no end.

With the loss, Gatineau is a little more screwed. Since the M-Cup plays a tiebreaker for the third spot, they still have a chance, but they will need to bounce back quickly tonight against Spokane. A Gatineau win tonight would assure that the tiebreaker would be played, against the loser of the Kitchener and Belleville game Wednesday.

If Spokane wins then we face the bizarre situation of Belleville and Kitchener playing, essentially, a friendly a day before playing the national semi-final (unless you think last change is worth risking injury by playing full-out that is. Seriously, what purpose would it serve playing the game if the semi was set? Oh yeah, the money).

Notes:

  • You have to feel a bit for Josh Unice, who has been decidedly mediocre in the tournament thus far. Despite what they are saying now, when Kitchener acquired World Junior goaltender Steve Mason at Christmas time they were not so subtly sending the message that Unice wasn’t quite good enough to be the starter in the tournament. Remarkably, he appears to have maintained his confidence.
  • It appears that the Intel did in fact show up!.
  • Yes, this Laurier guy just made a Queen's reference in the title of this post. I know all the words to the Oil Thigh too. It's embarrassing.

14 comments:

Dennis Prouse said...

That's the problem with round robin tournaments -- quite often, you end up with mean nothing games. This mean nothing game is pretty much a given, as I don't expect Gatineau to be able to beat Spokane. Stranger things have happened, of course, but Spokane should be hungry to lock up a berth in the Finals, while Gatineau is probably a pretty downcast bunch right now. There comes a point for every team in the post season when some guys start thinking, "Oh well, it's been a good season anyway." That is likely where at least some of Gatineau's kids are at this morning.

Dennis Prouse said...

My mistake - Spokane already has locked up their spot in the Finals. That means Spokane has nothing to play for tonight, with the possibility of another mean nothing game tomorrow night. As long as the Memorial Cup keeps selling out in the host cities, I doubt the format will change, but is there much doubt remaining about how lousy the current format is?

sager said...

I was going to write a post to that effect last night but this is Rollins' baby. Essentially, if the Spokanes win tonight, they get a 4-day rest while Belleville and Kitchener, who already played a seven-game playoff series, will play a two-game series that will ensure both teams will be running on fumes by Sunday.

Raise your hands if you would be shocked if the Chiefs win by a score of, say, 4-0 on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

sager - it is always about the money. we live in north america.

sager said...

Please don't close yourself off from thinking it could be different. It's incumbent on the media to point out that yes, this is very profitable for the host team and that's why they persist with the current format. The only argument for the current format is that it's profitable.

The country's population is too spread out for the Mem Cup to be an event that's followed coast-to-coast in the manner of the NCAA Tournament in the States. That's the reality today.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Given my WHL bias, I wouldn't be shocked if the Chiefs won the tournament without the long break (come on: they've got George Brett on their side!), but the rest will probably help. The scheduling really should be looked at for competitive reasons (and also to make it so we don't have to watch meaningless games, especially between two teams from the same league that have been playing each other for weeks now), but it works from an economic standpoint, as has been pointed out. It could be different and it should be different, so I have no quarrel with people pointing out that it's a problem, but I don't see it being changed unless the new solution works just as well or better on the economic side. Any thoughts on how that might look?

Dennis Prouse said...

Neate spoke earlier of an NCAA style Final Four, except for this one you would have eight teams. Four quarter final games, two semis, and one final. Win and you move on, lose and you go home. Every game is sudden death. Same number of games as the current tournament, but with 100 times the excitement and drama. You don't think that would attract fans and sell tickets? You bet it would.

sager said...

Hey, this CIS nut has no quarrels with another sport holding its own Final 8. The question becomes how you could do that and not have what occurred in the Belleville-Kitchener series (or Ottawa-London in the OHL final in '05) when both teams are just playing for a trophy, with no stakes.

One suggestion to throw out there is to allot 3 berths to the teams which are leading the league on Jan. 1. Hold an "early bird tournament" (which could also be a showcase for scouts) to determine a spot -- for instance, you could have two QMJHL teams and two OHL teams play on one weekend in Montreal or Toronto, give the kids a thrill. I'm not married to the idea, but it's something.

Anything would be better than not really having (unless the Gatineaus win tonight) a meaningful game again until Friday.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I like the Final 8 idea. Seeding might be enough to avoid the Belleville-Kitchener meaningless OHL final: if the winner gets the second seed and the loser gets sixth or something, that's (theoretically, at least) quite a difference in who they have to face, so that might be enough on the line to motivate the players. You could also work the seeding to try and prevent too many intraleague matchups, which would make things more interesting.

sager said...

It's pretty high-handed of us to expect that the Hockey Establishment would ever have to deal with the public in a transparent way, eh?

Big V said...

Meaningless OHL final?
Don't they win a big Trophy and bragging rights for being champs? Thats meaningful enough for me.

Big V said...

On another note...
Why would the NHL wait until saturday to start the stanley cup finals?

Same thing happened last year... everyone was pumped for the series to start yet they waited a week... killing all excitement.

sager said...

The NHL assumes it isn't going to lose the audience -- it doesn't have one to lose in the U.S.

Besides, hockey fans are just supposed to sit on their hands until it's deemed that it's been long enough and they've all been good little boys and girls.

Dennis Prouse said...

The NHL has pretty much sold its soul to U.S. network television. As such, the schedule is designed to accomodate NBC, given that they know their Canadian audience will watch regardless.