Thursday, 9 August 2012

24 years ago on August 9th,1988 and the impact it brought to the NHL

    August 9th happens to be the day where my twin cousins happen to be celebrating their birthday. When they were celebrating their 15th birthday back in 1988, a trade happened which brought shock waves throughout the NHL. After needing more money due to his other business ventures falling down the toilet, Oilers owner Peter Pocklington decided that he needed to trade one of his best players. That best player happened to be "The Great One", Wayne Gretzky. At first Gretzky had wanted to stay put but after taking with Kings owner Bruce McNall, both parties managed to work something out. The deal was Gretzky along with Mike Krushelnyski, and Marty McSorley went to LA for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, two first round draft picks and $15 million dollars.
  The impact of the trade happened to of been very significant. Most people in Los Angeles at the time were mostly into watching the Lakers, the Dodgers, and yes both the Rams and the Raiders (both are now relocated). With Gretzky present in the LA night life, the Kings saw an increase in attendance and in fan interest. To add to that, the NHL saw an increase in teams that are located in non-traditional hockey markets in the States all because of Gretzky's popularity. Examples of teams that were established because of this were Florida, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose and Dallas.
   Had Gretzky stayed in Edmonton, there would of been that possibility of not seeing those teams being established because why would the population even bother trying to watch a game that they simply do not understand. As well if the great one had not be traded, would the Kings still stay in Los Angeles with the lack of fan support at the time? Well we would only know the answers if Gretzky had simply not been traded or traded to another market that had cared for hockey at the time.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

What the Impact need to do if they want to make the playoffs

   As the 2012 MLS season is reaching its two and a half month home stretch, the playoff push will be getting a lot tougher. Among the teams in the Eastern Conference who are in the hunt happen to be the expansion Montreal Impact. They currently are five points behind the Chicago Fire for the fifth and final playoff spot, however Chicago do have three games in hand. If the Impact want to become the first expansion team to make the playoffs since the Seattle Sounders in 2009, here is what they are going have to do if they want to achieve that dream.
  I kind of find that the 2012 version of the Impact reminds me of the 2006-2007 Calgary Flames. Both teams were very great at home but did not do to well on the road. While the 06-07 Flames managed 13 wins, the Impact only have one win and one tie away from home. If they are going to gain some sort of traction in the standings, the team is got to find some way to get wins on the road vs teams like New England, Houston, Columbus and Chicago. Teams that also happen to be competing for that final playoff spot.
  The other way that the Impact will make the playoffs is that the big guns need to step it up. While we have seen breakout performances from guys like Felipe, Patrice Bernier and Sanna Nyassi, Marco Di Vaio has to step it up. In the eight games that he has been in the lineup, he has had chances but he only has one goal and two assists to show for it. Di Vaio has to play the way he did in Bologna in order for the Impact to succeed. If he does not play to his superb abilities, well then how will the Impact get chances to score to win games.
  So from a fans perspective, I obviously believe that the Impact will make the playoffs. From a realistic standpoint however, the only way that they can make the postseason is of course the big names stepping up and getting those crucial victories on the road. It should be an interesting two and a half month battle to see who will be participating in the playoffs.