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Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell April 29, 2007

The NHL lost a fan today at about 4:30 PM EDT. 

He was not an ordinary, everyday hockey fan. He was a long-time season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. He and his family not only attended games at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, but also traveled to other cities that had difficulties filling their arenas (whether it was due to the team’s fortunes or just a general disinterest in hockey).

Like many hockey fans, he became interested playing the game as a young boy until an injury prevented further play. He was also lucky enough to have a dad who had access to tickets at MSG, and he was a frequent spectator.

Like most Ranger fans, his life as a Ranger fan had nothing to do with winning and everything to do with tradition and loyalty. He had to wait 38 years of his life to finally see Mark Messier hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in hockey’s top-rated market. Following the joy of 1994, the ensuing twelve seasons were, at best, frustrating and included some of the greatest team failures in the Rangers’ long history.


Needless to say, you have probably figured out who that fan is. So let me tell you why I am abandoning hockey after 39 years.

The 2006 – 2007 season was shaping up to end in another disappointment, but the team made a fabulous turn-around and finished the season strong. Following a sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers in the first-round, the Rangers’ had the misfortune of drawing the Buffalo Sabres in the second round. The misfortune had nothing to do with Sabres ranking as the NHL’s top-rated team but more with the fact that NHL management and the hockey media already crowned the Buffies as the Stanley Cup champs.

The city of Buffalo had always been a non-entity to me, the northern version of El Paso, Texas. First of all, how can you like a city named after a big, ugly smelly animal? Buffalo is dirty with extreme weather and it makes absolutely no contribution to the culture or sophistication of the United States (if anything, it detracts from it). If Buffalo disappeared, nobody would care. Their sports teams have historically collapsed and choked in championship games, a fact that will haunt them again when they fail to win the Stanley Cup this year.

Let’s recognize that these fans are flakes … three years ago, when the Buffies were also-rans, they sold 5,700 season tickets in a 15,000 seat arena and played to a deserted arena many nights. This is clearly an indication of poor team loyalty. Their third-round loss last year to the ultimate Cup winners, Carolina, made the Buffies the darlings of upstate New York. Carolina’s failure to make the 2007 playoffs bodes well for the Buffies, so fan loyalty is a bandwagon issue.

But this year I developed a personal grudge against Buffalo and their hockey fans. Early this season, in November, the Rangers played the Buffies at MSG and the the usual Buffy fans who were stupid enough to pay three and four times the face value of tickets to get in were there. It was obvious early on, as it is listening to Buffalo home crowds, that Buffy fans know absolutely nothing about hockey. That is almost understandable. However, these Buffy fans were the rudest, most obnoxious people that I have encountered at any sporting event.

You could say that this might be a case of the pot calling the kettle black … after all, the Rangers are New York City’s team. Ranger fans are highly disrespectful to the refs, the Islanders, the Flyers and Denis Potvin. But there is a difference between disrespectful, and rude/crude. For example, Ranger fans will chant at the refs whereas Islander fans throw garbage on the ice.

Ranger fans are at least somewhat conscious of the fact that hockey games are attended by children and women. You will hear the word “s**k” (which is heard on radio and network TV regularly) and an occasional “A**HOLE” cheer for the refs.

But Buffy fans at MSG are regularly removed for starting fights and yelling obscenities that would make truck drivers and sailors blush. My problem with Buffy freaks is that one of them decided it would be funny to throw a plastic beer bottle from the upper level down at my wife during this November game. Fortunately, she was more in shock than injured despite a small cut, bump and minor concussion. Am I blaming a whole city for the actions of one idiot? Yes, I am. But nobody cares about Buffalo except those who were damned enough to end up living there (some instant karma?).

After all, can you imagine anyone saying, “Honey, I have always dreamed of vacationing in Buffalo!” Better yet: “Honey, I have to move to Buffalo now or I can’t face another day.” It is truly a mystery to me why all the great jobs and major corporations have refused to find a home in Buffalo.

Anyway, back to the NHL.

The man at the controls of the NHL is Colin Campbell. No, he is not the commissioner but he is in charge of the referees and, more importantly, the video review team. Campbell was a nondescript NHL player for about twelve years and was lucky enough to be an assistant coach when the Rangers won the Cup in 1994. The following season, he became head coach and was fired four years later when he started the first year of the Rangers’ playoff absence for eight straight seasons. He joined the NHL offices and has been sticking it to the Rangers ever since, and takes every chance he can to screw them.

Today was the last straw.

Campbell’s stupidity in trying to bury the Rangers is that the Rangers and Detroit are the only two teams of the original six NHL teams in the playoffs. Montreal, Toronto, Boston and Chicago did not even qualify for the playoffs. Why would you want to railroad the largest hockey market in the United States out of the playoffs? NBC should be headed for the trauma room because the exit of the Rangers will send the TV ratings for the playoffs into the toilet.

The third game between the Rangers and the Buffies is about to enter the second overtime. Through the first two games, the refs were calling everything they could against the Rangers and ignoring obvious infractions by Buffy players (click HERE to read my post on CONSISTENCY). Campbell nullified a Ranger goal in the second period today after an instant replay review, a call that baffled the NBC announcers and every other hockey guru watching the game. Later, in the third period, the refs called four straight penalties against the Rangers.

It was then I relaized that watching hockey had stopped being pleasurable.

More important was the realization that some bald-headed geek was sitting in front of a TV monitor in Toronto making arbitrary, self-serving decisions that were controlling my enjoyment of the game. All of a sudden, I started remembering Rollerball, Marshall McLuhan, Wilson Bryan Key and Karen Horney. Damn it! I had fallen into the media trap that I always believed I was too smart and educated to buy. 

Sports are another method for polarizing Americans but, even more frightening, team loyalties and competition provide an arena atmosphere for inappropriate, anti-social behavior. Imagine … praying to God for a team to win or for another team’s player to get hurt! Try to picture adults watching their children curse and scream obscenities. People who call themselves fans boo their own team … better yet, some morons in the upper decks curse out players on the ice, truly believing the players can hear them. It’s a damn hockey game and we are making it into a modern-day version of the Christians versus the Lions at the Coliseum. 

We have made “winning the game” more important than the enjoyment of the game. We can’t appreciate the skill of players because we’re too busy watching the refs decide the outcomes with inconsistent, bad calls (or non-calls). Again, the lack of balance and consistency are the messages we need to address as a people. We need to find things to unify us as human beings rather than dwelling on things that send us to opposite corners. 

For what it is worth, the Rangers won the game in the second overtime. Colin Campbell failed in his mission to have the Rangers swept out by the Buffies. All he has done is cost the NHL a really devoted fan. I’m done.

But I still hate Buffalo.

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26 Responses to “Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell”

  1. mike Says:

    5 years ago adelphia cable almost bankruped the sabres they had to get rid of alot of talent/payroll to survive the fans were pissed at adelphia cable so they refused to go to games until a new local ownership took over. in the 1970’s 80’s 90’s up to the adelphia scandle all the sabres games were sold out. and since new ownership took over they have been sold out agian.

  2. j ames Says:

    Flyers are GUTLESS so is Colin Campbell. Mrs. Campbell has a personnel vendetta against the Bruins. Hartnell should have received a 20 game suspension given the current state of affairs and the severity of the hit. To me Randy Jones’s hit was not quite as blatantly obvious that he was trying to injure someone, but Randy Jones should AT LEAST be suspended until Bergeron returns. Bergeron might never be the same player. Hartnell’s suspension should be longer than Jones’s. – at least 20 games. Do you know how I can write to the NHL to complain?

  3. bluboo Says:

    Hey j ames,

    I always get worried when the Flyers start to play that ugly brand of hockey. As an avid Ranger fan, I have some experience with the hatred towards idiotic players like a certain Islander who ended the career of one of the NHL’s first Euros. I really didn’t see the hits by Hartnell or Jones but my friends who are Bruins’ fans are on your side. The fact of the matter is that hockey is a brutal sport, like football, and injuries are going to happen. When I played football in high school and college, I hit the opposition clean and hard without any regard as to whether or not they might get hurt. In fact, hurting another player was often rewarded with praise from coaches and teammates. However, a tad of maturity and the wisdom that comes with the years of wandering Planet Earth makes me wonder how one pro could deliberately hit a comrade in a way that might end a career. Career-ending injuries are a fact of life in pro sports, but I hate to think that players do it with intent.

    As far as writing the NHL, good luck. You can send an email to the NHL Officials Association from their web site at http://www.nhlofficials.com/contact.asp … you can also express your displeasure at the NHL Fans’ Association (not associated with the NHL)web site at http://www.nhlfa.com/ …. contacting the NHL itself would be a waste of time.

    • Jim Says:

      oh and Avery, sandstrom, samuelson,holik, rolfe, bryan hextall,orr,campbell, domi, jay caufield and there are a few more I can’t think of they were all such angels on the ice, Weren’t they?

      • bluboo Says:

        Jim,

        The point isn’t whether or not the players on your list (and dozens of others) were angels. Every sport has its trash talkers and instigators, but hockey is the only one in which fighting and retalliation are considered acceptable and HIGHLY NECESSARY responses (even though they are penalized. My only point is that all decisions need to be consistent, and the punishment must consistently fit the crime. Yes, the Rangers have had their share of instigators and cheap shot artists, but they didn’t create the process and, like every other team, they did what they needed to do to “keep up with the Joneses” (as it were).

  4. Michael Says:

    He hates the Islanders too.

  5. bluboo Says:

    Hey Michael,

    I don’t think I can disagree with you. The Islanders have been victimized by a number of bizarre calls and video reviews. However, if your comment is a reaction to the Chris Simon suspension for the Jarkko Ruutu incident, I think you are off base.

    It’s been about eight moths since I wrote this article and, other than an obvious prejudice against Sean Avery and Ryan Hollweg, the refs have been more balanced in their calls in Ranger games. However, I have seen games on Center Ice that have made me wonder if the refs are watching the same game as me.

    My concern now is the need for better attention by the refs and the league in protecting players against hits that can injure other players. I will not disagree with Soupy (Campbell) and his 30-game suspension of Chris Simon. I believe that the suspension was far too lenient … Simon should have been banned forever from the league.

    If you want to fight, fine. If you want to rough it up, fine. However, if you intentionally or accidentally cause a severe injury to a player, there needs to be consequences. That includes low hits, aiming for the knees, blind-siding players, charging, boarding, “deliberate” slashing and high sticking, or anything that can be described as a deliberate intent to injure.

    What Simon did was criminal. Deliberately stepping on a player with a skate blade as sharp as the finest knives is not the act of a rational human being. I don’t care how emotional you are or how big a jerk Ruutu is, Simon’s actions cannot be tolerated. Campbell wimped out.

  6. StarsRule Says:

    I just happened across this while looking for an e-mail address for Campbell. Do you happen to have one for him? I have a few bones to pick with him and I intend to find any way I can to get said what needs to be said. Please let me know if you know how to directly reach him by e-mail.

    BTW, I personally think the Vancouver Canucks’ fans are as obnoxious as any I have ever seen.

    I will check this site again from time to time to see if you have responded to my request. Thanks

  7. Bluboo Says:

    Hey Stars Rule,

    I always like a dreamer! 🙂 Not a bad team but some way to go before ruling.

    In the meantime, let me repeat a message I left above:

    As far as writing the NHL, good luck. You can send an email to the NHL Officials Association from their web site at http://www.nhlofficials.com/contact.asp … you can also express your displeasure at the NHL Fans’ Association (not associated with the NHL) web site at http://www.nhlfa.com/ …. contacting the NHL itself would be a waste of time.

    Colin Campbell’s email is probably very well hidden. Snail Mail is your best shot, but don’t expect a response.

  8. ANGRY COYOTE Says:

    ALL THE HOCKEY WHORES MAKING MORE THAN $1 MILLION / YEAR !!!!!

  9. Mike Says:

    The NHL sucks. It is totally slanted to the Canadian teams. How can I voice my opinion to the NHL executive board?

  10. Tyler Says:

    If the NHL was slanted towards Canadian teams, why would god-awful cities like Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida, Columbus and Atlanta have cities when real hockey cities like Quebec City and Winnipeg don’t…

    Honestly, the new rules are terrible. They take out a lot of the grit, and because players can’t fight they resort to cheap shot tactics.

    Real sports don’t need to change their rules every year, look at Soccer and American Football. Some of the best run sports leagues in the world – they don’t run around making rule changes.

    A good 0-0 hockey game is much more fun than 7-6 game all on PPG’s.

  11. bluboo Says:

    Hey Tyler …

    Great comment! I agree with almost everything you said.

    The reason that stupid U.S. cities have hockey teams is money. And marketing. And the fact that players get a better deal tax-wise by playing anhd living in the USA. Also bear in ming that both Quebec and Winnipeg have had NHL franchises that were failures.

  12. Terrible Tore Says:

    The NHL is just a big business; nothing more, nothing less. I get more pleasure out of watching a junior game at the local arena than watching a bunch of over-paid kids try to cripple each other on the ice. The Stanley cup meant something when I was a kid (I even remember the last year the Leafs won it), but anymore, I don’t care. If it wasn’t for Don Cherry, there’d be no entertainment value on the broadcast, and they even tried to get rid of him. THE NHL SUCKS.

  13. Bloodcicle Says:

    I just did a search for Colin Campbell and this blog came up. It’s funny how things haven’t changed much. Colin seems to have a hard on for the Habs and will do whatever he can to assure they extend their series against Boston. No suspension for Lapierre or Komisarek but a one game suspension for Lucic. He’s got his lips firmly planted on Bob Gainey’s knob.

    Are you still staying away from Rags games?

  14. bluboo Says:

    It is amazing how one jerk like Colin Campbell can remain incredibly incompetent and biased year after year, isn’t it?

    It has been a long time since I’ve written here, but not because I have given up on hockey. I moved away from New York, so Center Ice is my new season ticket with more chances to watch hockey.

    I saw the game and Lucic’s cross-check was no big deal. Avery takes far worse stuff that the ref’s ignore (I still follow the Rangers for amusement … the soap opera never ends … but I am glad they got Andropov).

    Colin Campbell’s biases are well documented and supported by facts (as the suspension to Lucic bears out). With Toronto, Ottawa and even border-hugging Buffalo already on the golf course, Montreal is the last Canadian team east of the Mississippi that can deliver audiences and substantial advertising revenues to Canadian TV.

    Campbell has never been one to put the game above his own selfish interests. What a shame.

  15. Random T. Says:

    My fellow on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.

  16. Flubber Says:

    I am a hockey fan first and foremost. In a nutshell…my father always taught us to enjoy the sport for the sport and have fun watching the speed , agiklity and skill of all players and not just of your favorite team. This is why we also watched european hockey.
    That being said, my dad (now passed) possibly didn’t understand, but more likely didn’t want to spoil this awesome game for me by informing me about the greed and negative aspect of the NHL. He left that decision for me………………. Well, the decision has been made!

    I applaud this site for bringing the truth foreward. I’m watching the Rangers and Caps in game 6 2009 at the garden. Brashear basically elbows Betts and Betts is helped off the ice by 2 of his teammates…and Brashear gets 2 mins? If it was Avery he’d be gone, followed by a congressional hearing. Avery sneezes and gets 2 mins. Ovechin sneezes and the Rangers get a 5 minute major for not giving him a napkin.
    Of course I’m kidding (except for the Brashear thing), but the bottom line is that Campbell/officials will make sure that the NY Rangers (and any other team they don’t like) won’t have a chance to advance. As everybody knows fair officiating is at the heart of any game, and with all do respect to the referees, if you can’t stay objective enough…get out…. this holds especially true for playoff time.
    I predict the Capitals will win the Cup in 2009. Because the officiating is so biased and clearly tilted against the Rangers.

    I also extend my condolences to the fans of any other NHL team Colin Campbell hates.

  17. Flubber Says:

    I meant to say that the Caps will win the Cup in 2009 because the officiating is so tilted towards the Caps and I have no reason to believe that it will change against any other Caps opponent.

  18. bluboo Says:

    Hey Flubber:

    The “non-call” against Brashear and Campbell’s latest antics inspired my most recent post, “Soupy Blows It Again.” The Rangers have little chance of winning a Game 7 in Washngton, but there is always hope. The Bruins will be the likely team to advance from the East, and I can live with that (as long as it isn’t the NJ Debbies or Ovechkin). Still, I’d like to see Avery do a payback on Ovechkin for the hit on Betts. I would condemn it on principal, but I would be smiling while writing. I would also like to see Campbell do a Gerald Ford and slip on ice.

    Thanks for reading.

  19. dave i Says:

    Colin Campbell is a spineless ass kissing {wimp}. He’s so far up Cindy Crybaby’s {butt} that he has trouble kissing the punk weasle Gary Bettman {butt}. This {effing} homo suspends Donald Brasere for 6 games but gives 0 to Sean AVERY?? then he gives nothing to KUNITZ when he hits a goaltender blatently??? Why is it because this faggot is {expletives deleted} or Campbell just such a pussy that he is afraid to keep the game of hockey fair? Campbell is a worthless pile of horse {poop}and should be fired so he can clean out the stalls in Cindy’s barn

  20. Andrew Says:

    Colin Campbell is an idiot, and has no consistancy.

  21. […] searching for stuff on one of my favorite whipping boys, Colin “Soupy” Campbell (see Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell. Our beloved Soupy issued another in a long series of ridiculous suspensions to Boston’s […]

  22. Jer Says:

    Ummm.. Hockey is really really stupid.. thank you.

    • bluboo Says:

      Hi Jer,

      I guess it is a matter of perspective. After moving to the desert where they think a hockey jersey is from another planet, I’ve learned to let hockey drain from my blood. I don’t bleed Broadway Blue anymore, but have drifted back to my youth where I liked the Bruins, the Rangers and the Red Wings, I still like to see the Rangers win, but I cherish my black #7 Bruins jersey with Esposito in those big gold letters. I have always liked Jagr and cannot wait to see him against the Rangers in the Winter Classic from Philly. I don’t watch MSG anymore, but follow the game on Direct TV and the NHL Network. I am a big fan of the way Brendan Shanahan is handling discipline, and the game has merits. Sports are supposed to be fun, but it sucks when the game becomes nothing more than big business and media frenzy.

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