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All week here in Philadelphia we have talked about Andy Reid trying to “ice” the New York Giants kicker just prior to a game winning field goal attempt. That got me thinking about the greatest sport on ice that is once again on the sidelines because of a labor dispute. For the third time since 1994-95, NHL players are locked out because they can not agree with owners on a new collective bargaining deal.
Now like most fans I have come to understand that sports is a business and labor disputes will happen. But how is it possible that a sport that struggles for attention and ratings would allow this to happen 3 times in under 20 years? The NFL was in a similar dispute prior to the start of last season. They could of missed games and bounced back very quickly because this country is addicted to football. Even the NFL and their almighty and sometimes arrogant Commissioner Roger Goodell realized missing games just did not make sense. The NFL managed to come to an agreement just before training camp and no games were sacrificed. So if Mr. Goodell realized this how does NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman allow this to happen over and over again to a sport that this country barely pays attention to? I realize Mr. Bettman works for the owners but a strong commissioner would step in and make all sides realize what needs to be done for the good of the game.
If the owners really want to grow this sport it is time they find a strong forward thinking person to lead it. Gary Bettman has proven during his time with the NHL that he will only take the game so far. The NHL has a lot of things going for it right now that they need to capitalize on. They have a TV network (NBC Sports) dedicating hours of coverage to the game. They have young superstars to market like Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby. The Winter Classic has been a revelation and this year the game is scheduled to take place at the University of Michigan in front of over 100,000 fans. Most importantly more kids are playing hockey across the United States exposing them to how great a game this is.
Despite all of that it appears the league is prepared to throw a great opportunity away and actually decimate an already thin fan base. So it is time that NHL fans call on the owners to step up and save the game we love to watch. Get a new deal done and then find someone not named Gary Bettman to take this sport to another level.
Follow me on twitter @TLouden3
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As the Phillies finish up what has been a frustrating and disappointing 2012 season we should all take a moment to remember what this team has given us the past 5 years. From the moment they were 7 games behind the Mets with 17 to play in 2007 until now this has certainly been a run to remember. So today I present the top 10 playoff moments of the last five years. Enjoy the memories as we look forward to 2013.
10) September 27, 2008 - “A Perfect Double Play” Jimmy Rollins makes a great play to start a game ending double play giving the Phillies their second straight division title. The double play also saved Brad Lidge’s perfect regular season.
9) October 12, 2009 - “Get me to the Plate Boys” Trailing by two runs going to the top of the 9th inning, Ryan Howard tells his teammates to get him to the plate. They do and he delivers a game tying double. Jason Werth would bring Ryan home to give them a series win over Colorado and a trip back to the NLCS.
8) October 20, 2009 - “Jimmy does it” Jimmy Rollins caps another comeback off Jonathan Broxton with a game winning two out double in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Phillies a 3-1 series lead over the Dodgers.
7) October 28, 2009 - “Unbe-Lee-vable” In possibly the best single game performance during “The Run” Cliff Lee dominates game one of the 2009 World Series and gives the Phillies a 1-0 Series lead over the Yankees.
6) October 6, 2010 - “Doc Dominates” Roy Halladay throws a no-hitter in his first ever postseason appearance. Only the 2nd playoff no hitter in history.
5) October 2, 2008 - “Walk and a Slam” In possibly the most unlikely at bat of “The Run” Brett Myers works a walk from C.C. Sabathia to load the bases. Shane Victorino would follow with a grand slam that had the ballpark rocking.
4) September 30, 2007 - “Nothing like the first time.” The Phillies win the NL East for the first time in 14 years and complete the amazing comeback against the Mets. The ballpark was buzzing even before the game began when Florida took a 7-0 lead over New York up at Shea Stadium.
3) October 13, 2008 - “In case of emergency use Stairs” Possibly the most memorable single moment of the run…Matt Stairs pinch hit bomb against Jonathan Broxton to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead in the NLCS.
2) October 29, 2008 - “Champions” Brad Lidge gets Eric Hinske swinging to win The World Series
1) October 31, 2008 - “The Parade” On an absolutely perfect weather day 2 Million fans converge on Broad Street for the Parade that was 25 years in the making.
I’m sure there are moments I missed…let me know what you think.
Follow me on twitter @TLouden3