Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Battle Of Quebec: Part Deux

In case you have not being paying attention, the Quebec Nordiques will be returning to the NHL as soon as next season. It has not been formally announced but the signs are there. Consider the following:

  • The success of the Winnipeg Jets in terms of generating a sustainable level of revenue.
  • Bill Daley, deputy commissioner of the NHL, has been making the rounds on sports talk radio in Canada saying that the Phoenix Coyotes are still up for grabs to anyone dumb enough to lose millions of dollars by keeping the team in Arizona.
  • The rest of the NHL owners are tired of subsidizing the team in Phoenix when there is Pierre Karl PĂ©ladeau waiting with bags of money to buy the team.
  • Quebecor did not build TVA Sports to broadcast poorly voice over Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays games. The network is in need of flagship content.
What does this all mean to Montrealers and Quebeckers? Simply put, The Battle of Quebec is back (on and off the ice). Here are a few things to look for that will refuel the rivalry.

  1. The battle of the brands. In 80’s, it was Molson vs Carling O'Keefe, now it will be Bell Canada Enterprises vs Videotron. Forget about getting people to drink beer, these corporate entities are going to use their association with the teams to get people to access content on their respective platforms (i.e. television, radio, web, mobile devices).
  2. Talent chez nous. The Canadiens has been taking a beating over the years for not being able to identify and draft prospects from the province of Quebec. No doubt, the Nordiques will make it a point of putting in place a system that will scout the best talent from all regions of Quebec to say that they are the team with best home-grown prospects and players.
  3. Language. Yes, language, the other favourite sport that Quebeckers like to talk about. The franchise returning to Quebec will definitely have a strong French presence to represent their fans. We all saw how the importance of language is when it comes to hockey as the Habs made a complete mess of naming Randy Cunneyworth as interim coach. It is will be interesting to see if the two franchises will get into a virtual pissing contest to see which team is the “l’equipe nationale”
  4. Which is the better team? With the Habs’ poor performance this season and the rebuild that has to be done, the Nordiques will have the opportunity to compete with the Canadiens in the standings. Having the two teams battling it out for a playoff spot will only whip up the late season ferver that is lack this season.
Final Taughts:

  • The National Headshot League expands again. Duncan Keith’s hit on Daniel Sedin once again gives a concrete argument that the NHL deserves the moniker, “National Headshot League”. The hit was premeditated and Keith should have been suspended for at least 10 games. Giving him 5 games actually benefits Blackhawks in their preparation for the playoff in terms of giving the defenseman an unintentional break from the ice. Brendan Shanahan should take a cue from Roger Goodell. Suspend a player severely if he deliberately injures another player, even if it is to prove a point.
  • Where would you rather be? A sports fan, where would you rather be: in Montreal, with only franchises in two “major leagues” (i.e., Canadiens, Impact) or Toronto with perennial losers in the MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS? I’m really struggling with this dilemma.
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  1. can't wait for the NORDIQUES to be returned to quebec city so that they can pound the canadiens into the bell center ice!! why does it have to be phoenix? I want the NY Islanders!! at this time of year montreal or toronto? NEITHER!!

  2. Too much money in NY to let the Islanders go from Long Island.