Thursday, September 29, 2011

But will the Philly Fanatic be in attendance?

The NHL's annual salute to outdoor hockey will shift to Philadelphia this year, that was the message delivered by Gary Bettman on Monday, announcing that this year's Winter Classic will take place at Citizens Bank Park on January 2nd.

Yes, that's a switch of the annual New Year's Day celebration, but even the NHL knows it's telegenic limitations, New Year's Day this year lands on a Sunday, and in the NFL mad world of American television,  running up against that behemoth isn't the wisest of strategies.

So, with New Year's Day now a free day, the Flyers and Rangers can nurse their New Year's Eve hangovers for 24 hours before taking to battle at the home of the Phillies and their Fanatic.

Once Citizen's Bank Park is transferred into the NHL's version of Golden Pond, the ice will stay in for at least a week, as the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms and Hershey Bears compete in their own version of a Winter Classic, set for January 6th.

The path to the Winter Classic once again will be tracked by HBO which last year featured the way with words that Bruce Boudreau had as he inspired his Capitals to be prepared for the match up with the Penguins.

Of course, Boudreau suffered the attention of the grammar and obscenity watchdogs once his pre game and intermissions intercessions became public and the Capitals famously imploded during the playoffs, leaving the marquee value of the Capitals to be lost in the early days of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Likewise, the Winter Classic will be remembered in Pittsburgh, where of course the NHL's main star attraction Sidney Crosby suffered a key hit during last year's Classic, one which many suggest marks the beginning of his now well documented concussion struggles.

Suffice to say, considering how the 2011 season ended for both teams, we imagine the memories of the 2011 Classic and the media attention attendant to it,  aren't all fond ones for the Caps and Pens.

Still, it is the one appointment TV moment for the NHL in America, so the annual trek to outdoor hockey will continue, offering up the Rangers and the Flyers, a match up steeped in modern NHL history and one which of course always seems to border on an all out gang war at times.

Weather as always will play a key factor in the success of the Winter Classic, and the further south the NHL strays for their Winter Celebration, the more finicky the weather Gods could become.  Unlike lets say Chicago, Detroit or Minnesota, Philly could feature anything from a torrential rain to a blinding snowstorm in the always challenging month of January.

Perhaps a sacrifice or two to the weather Gods could help,  Commissioner's choice....

The NHL's PR department was busy on Monday with a number of missives on the New Year's Day plans.

Rangers, Flyers ready for attention of '24/7'
Rangers embrace daunting season-opening trip
Winter Classic coaches have much in common
Foe, proximity have Rangers excited for Classic
Role as Winter Classic host has Flyers awed, excited
Sather sets tone for Winter Classic with remarks
Despite pressure to deliver snow,  Phillies excited
Flyers' AHL team to play outdoors vs. Hershey
Citizens Bank provides new challenges for Craig
Recalling top moments in Winter Classic History
Flyers better equipped to soak in second Classic
Flyers to host the Rangers in the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic

Some of the background on this years Winter Classic announcement, from other media sources, can be found below.

Philadelphia Inquirer-- It's Broad Street vs. Broadway
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Still No Winter Classic ticket announcement
Philadelphia Daily News-- Flyers-Rangers in Winter Classic
Philadelphia Daily News-- Flyers to host Winter Classic
New York Post-- Rangers, Flyers trade taunts to announce Winter Classic
New York Daily News-- NHL Winter Classic to feature NY Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers
New York Times-- Rangers Land inn Winter Classic, Then in an On-Ice controversy
USA Today-- Flyers to host Rangers in Jan. 2 Winter Classic
Fox 42-- Hershey Bears comete in first ever outdoor game

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when Mr. Shanahan comes for you, 2011-12 edition

A new Chief Justice of the NHL takes over the court, former disciplinarian Colin Campbell has passed the gavel (and video replay connection) to former NHL star Brendan Shanahan, who now will administer justice on behalf of the NHL.

Justice Shanahan, seemingly has a new approach to the administration of just punishment for offending NHL players, his pre season appearances a marked departure from the way that Mr. Campbell handled the situations that arose.

Shanahan, who also carries the more formal title of NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, has in the early going appeared with video to outline how the infraction under study has violated NHL rules and provided his interpretation of those offences, a system that has received rave reviews thus far from NHL followers.

We will follow his efforts through the season from this post, watching with interest how he works to keep NHL players on the straight and narrow road.

Offenders may now approach the bench, the court is now in session, Chief Justice Shanahan presiding:

Cases up to date as of March 22, 2012

April 2-- Detroit Red Wings -- Kyle Quincey -- Suspended for one game (details)

March 23-- Chicago Blackhawks-- Duncan Keith --Suspended for five games (details)

March 21-- Phoenix Coyotes-- Shane Doan -- Suspended for three games (details)

March 16-- Carolina Hurricanes-- Jeff Skinner-- Suspended for two games (details)

March 13-- Buffalo Sabres -- Tyler Myers-- Suspended for three games (details)

March 9-- Washington Capitals -- Mike Green -- Suspended for three games (details)

February 19-- Minnesota Wild-- Warren Peters -- Suspended for one game (details)

February 13-- Philadelphia Flyers -- Zac Rinaldo -- Suspended for two games (details)

January 23-- Washington Capitals-- Alex Ovechkin -- Suspended for three games (details)

January 22-- Boston Bruins-- Andrew Ference -- Suspended three games (details)

January 16-- Columbus Blue Jackets-- Dane Byers-- Suspended three games (details)

January 9-- Anaheim Ducks-- Jean-Francois Jacques -- Suspended three games (details)

January 9-- Boston Bruinx-- Brad Marchand -- Suspended five games (details)

January 5-- Florida Panthers -- Krystofer Barch -- Suspended for one game (details)

January 4-- Chicago Blackhawks -- Daniel Carcillo -- Suspended for seven games (details)

January 4-- Calgary Flames - Rene Borque -- Suspended for five games (details)

January 2-- Phoenix Coyotes-- Raffi Torres-- Suspended for two games (details)

January 1-- St. Louis Blues-- Ian Cole -- Suspended for three games (details)

December 22-- Pittsburgh Penguins-- Deryk Engelland-- Suspended for three games (details)

December 19-- Calgary Flames-- Rene Borque-- Suspended for two games (details)

December 19-- Boston Bruins-- Milan Lucic-- Suspended for one game (details)

December 10-- Edmonton Oilers -- Andy Sutton -- Suspended for eight games (details)

December 8-- Buffalo Sabres-- Ville Leino-- Suspended for 1 game (details)

December 8-- Colorado Avalanche-- Kevin Porter-- Suspended for four games (details)

December 7-- Dallas Stars-- Mark Fistric-- Suspended for three games (details)

December 6-- Nashville Predators-- Jordin Tootoo -- Suspended for two games (details)

November 28-- Montreal Canadiens -- Max Pacioretty -- Suspended for three games (details)

November 25-- New York Rangers -- Andre Deveaux -- Suspended for three games (details)

November 16-- St. Louis Blues-- Chris Stewart - Suspended for three games (details)

November 3-- Buffalo Sabres-- Patrick Kaletta -- Suspended for four games (details)

November 1-- Edmonton Oilers -- Andy Sutton  -- Suspended for five games (details)

October 29-- Chicago Blackhawks -- Dan Carcillo -- Suspended for two games (details)

October 21-- Nashville Predators-- Shea Weber -- Fined $2,500 for illegal hit (details)

October 18-- Pittsburgh Penguins -- Kris Letang -- Suspended without pay for two games  (details)

October 9-- Minnesota Wild -- Pierre Marc-Bouchard-- Suspended without pay for two games  (details

October 7-- New York Rangers-- Mats Zuccarello-- Fined $2,500 for boarding infraction (details)

October 1-- Toronto Maple Leafs-- Clarke MacArthur-- Suspended without pay for remainder of pre season and for two regular season games (details)

September 30-- Detroit Red Wings-- Brendan Smith -- Suspended for remainder of pre season and for five regular season games (details)

September 28-- Philadelphia Flyers-- Tom Sestito -- Suspended without pay for remainder of pre season and for two regular season games (details)

September 27-- Anaheim Ducks-- Jean-Francois Jacques -- Suspended remainder of pre season and five regular season games (details)

September 25-- Bufalo Sabres -- Brad Boyes -- 2 pre season games (details)

September 24-- Minnesota Wild -- Brad Staubitz --Suspended remainder of pre season and three regular season games ( details )

September 24-- Columbus Blue Jackets -- James Wisniewski -- Suspended remainder of pre season and eight regular season games ( details )

September 22 -- Philadelphia Flyers -- Jody Shelley -- 5 pre season games, 5 regular season games  (details)

September 22-- Calgary Flames -- Pierre Luc Letourneau-Leblond -- 4 pre season games, 1 regular season game (details)

Regular Season suspension tally by team

Anaheim-- 8 games
Boston-- 9 games
Buffalo--  8 games
Calgary -- 8 games
Carolina -- 2 games
Chicago--  13 games
Colorado-- 4 games
Columbus - 11 games
Dallas-- 3 games
Detroit -- 6 games
Edmonton - 13 games
Florida-- 1 game
Montreal-- 3 games
Minnesota --  6 games
Nashville-- 2 games
New York Rangers -- 3 games
Philadelphia  -- 9 games
Phoenix-- 5 games
Pittsburgh --  5 games
St. Louis -- 6 games
Toronto -- 2 games
Washington-- 6 games

Total regular season games suspended in 2011-12 (128)

Cash out of pocket  (Fines but no suspensions)

Edmonton Oilers-- Tom Renney $10,000 (April 3)
Colorado Avalanche-- Chuck Kobasev $2,500 (March 25)
Phoenix Coyotes-- Alexandre Bolduc $2,500 (March 25)
Winnipeg Jets-- Mark Stuart $2,500 (March 17)
Phoenix Coyotes-- Shane Doan $2,500 (March 16)
Montreal Canadiens-- Erik Cole $2,500 (March 9)
Ottawa Senators-- Eric Karlsson $2,500 (March 6)
Florida Panthers-- Kris Versteeg $2,500 (February 19)
Pittsburgh Penguins-- Jordan Staal $2,500 (February 18)
Tampa  Bay-- Dominic Moore $2,500 (February 10)
Colorado-- Chuck Kobasew $2,500 (February 6)
Philadellphia-- Zac Rinaldo $5,000 (February 4)
New Jersey-- Patrick Elias $2,500 (February 3)
New Jersey-- Eric Boulton $2,500 (February 1)
Columbus-- Jared Boll $2,500 (February 1)
Montreal -- P. K. Subban $2500 (January 21)
Winnipeg-- Nik Antropov $2500 (January 20)
Calgary-- Cory Sarich $2500 (January 1)
Phoenix Coyotes-- Raffi Torres $2,500 (December 31)
NY Rangers-- Michael Del Zotto $2500 (December 31)
Florida-- Tomas Kpecky $2500 (December 31)
Boston-- Adam McQuaid $2500 (December 15)
Tampa Bay-- Steve Downie $2500 (December 13)
San Jose-- Andrew Desjardins $2500 (December 12)
Boston-- Brad Marchand $2500 (December 12)
Montreal-- Lars Eller $2500 (December 10)
Pittsburgh-- James Neal $2500 (November 29)
Los Angeles-- Ethan Moreau $2500 (November 6)
Nashville-- Shea Weber $2500 (October 21)
New York Rangers-- Mats Zuccarello $2,500 (October 7)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

C'mon Down to Gary Bettman's Franchise Emporium

Deals, Deals, Deals, Gary's got em, you can have them!

It appears that the NHL is finding itself featured on the financial pages this September more frequently than the sports ones these days, what with teams entering bankruptcy protection, others seemingly teetering on the brink of that status and others just up on the block and kicking' some tires.

The latest name to pop up on the Financial 911 Rolodex, the New Jersey Devils, seemingly steeped in a nasty  little internal feud, one which it seems is about to move beyond the not talking to each other phase and into the more nasty atmosphere of discussing the financial parameters of all that angst.

The Devils appear on the radar as word spills out that the Dallas Stars will file for bankruptcy this week in a Delaware court, a move which actually improves their prospects, allowing as it will for Vancouver based businessman Tom Gaglarid to purchase the team, Gaglardi is apparently ready and willing to part with 230 million or so dollars for the privilege of joining the lodge.

That is unless Mark Cuban decides to wade into the NHL pool and put in a counter offer, a move which would solidify his hold on the United Centre of which he currently is only a 50 percent owner (no word on what he might want to do with that other tenant, the one with the funny shoes with blades on them, featuring guys that carry sticks)

The list of properties available at Gary Bettman's Franchise Emporium shows listings that could soon be down one, the Commissioner anxious to post up the old SOLD sign on the St. Louis Blues.

It's said that the Blues may have a deal in place for Board approval by the end of the month.

Good news indeed we imagine for the listing agents at Gary Bettman's Franchise Emporium .

The tally board of troubled franchises looks something like this

Dallas Stars
St. Louis Blues
New Jersey Devils

Hmm, we forget anyone, oh yes, every one's favourite NHL orphan

Phoenix Coyotes  

and of course there is the matter of the New York Islanders looking for a home

The nature of the US economy these days probably doesn't bode well for any other franchises currently teetering on the brink, no doubt a worrisome thought for the Commissioner and his sales agents.

Quebec and Hamilton might want to put a few bucks aside, formerly dismissed locales may soon become much desired investors.

Good deals available always, so c'mon down to Gary Bettman's Franchise Emporium.
Six miles east of the Interstate right, Bill... Right Gary...

Globe and Mail-- Another week, another ownership crisis
Wall Street Journal-- Devils, Stars Could Skate in Bankruptcy Together
Businessweek-- Dallas Stars Lenders Said to Vote for Bankruptcy Court Auction
ESPN-- Stars sale still expected to move into courts this week
Forbes-- Gaglardi Step Closer to Getting Dallas Stars for $230 Million
St, Louis Today-- New group interested in buying Blues, source says
Fox Sports-- Owners of cash-strapped Devils reach deal
Globe and Mail-- Devils have time to get financial house in order
National Post-- Devil's deny report of impending bankruptcy
Newark Star Ledger-- Devils insist team is not going bankrupt, despite report
New York Post-- Devils deal in the works
New York Daily News-- New Jersey Devils strongly deny report in New York Post of organization being near bankruptcy
New York Daily News--  A Devil-ish mistake: Team not for sale
Montreal Gazette-- More tales of woe in NHL
Vancouver Province-- The New Jersey Devils Are "Blowing Up"
Toronto Star-- Unfinished business dogs NHL

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Hockey mourns once again

The news from half a world away still resonated across North America late into Wednesday night, word of a tragedy so horrible that it has left the entire hockey world shaken, wondering why this summer has provided for so much heartbreak and sorrow.

Word quickly spread Wednesday morning of the crash of a Russian airliner, the Yakolev-42 into the Volga River, taking  43 passengers and crew to their death, leaving two behind in hospital clinging to life. All members of the KHL's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team, a squad that was to begin their KHL season in Minsk, but now no longer exists.

It's a tragedy for the hockey world that joins the register of past horror, Grande Torino of 1949, the Manchester United crash of 1957, the Marshall crash of 1970, indeed the list is longer than one might think of sports teams, or athletes that have suffered such a terrible fate, a reminder of the dangers faced by those that travel frequently in pursuit of an opportunity to play a sport.

The Lokomtiv crash has come home to Canada as well, beyond the shared bond of hockey and the awareness of the distances that athletes sometimes travel, there were players and coaches on the Lokomtiv squad that were familiar names to Canadians, whether born here or having forged their careers here.

With the NHL featuring such an international make up now, the deaths of the 43 in Russia will no doubt touch many players on every team in the NHL, in the closed knit world of hockey,  one or more of the players on each team will no doubt know someone who has perished.

Hockey like soccer, has perhaps the largest pool of players that travel far and wide to ply their craft, so when the flight manifest was released, Canadians recognized many of those that perished, leaving many of us to pause and perhaps reflect on our thoughts about "pampered athletes", a term we hear from time to time.

Travel is a part of the sport, whether it's bus trips in Junior, college or minor pro, or the coast to coast swings of the NHL, but in the KHL travel is something much more than a five hour tour in first class, it at times can resemble a marathon as opposed to sprint.

Dave King spent time coaching in the KHL and provided an amazing glimpse into the life of the KHL in his book King of Russia (reviewed on HockeyNation in November of 2007), a league where costs are sometimes cut it seems, payments at times delivered in black bags, and where a road trip could mean a thirteen or fourteen hour flight across any number of time zones from one side of a vast nation/continent to the other.

There have always been safety concerns when it comes to aviation in Russia, some of which King outlined for George Johnson on Wednesday. Since the days of end of the communist era, the path towards a change in their political structure has been filled with shortcuts, alleged fraud and falsifications.

King and Eric Duhatschek touched on some of that internal strife in the nation, the peculiar inclinations of the KHL and of course the horrendous travel schedule that KHL teams must endure during the course of a season. The book they put together is perhaps the best insight into the KHL and the current state of affairs in Russia today.

To read the dispatches from Russia yesterday, the question of air safety seems to loom large, the very style of plane that Lokomtiv took off in on their ill fated flight, is reported to have been a plane that was to be replaced, though it seems in Russia replacement timetables seem slow compared to North American standards.

Deadly crash devastates KHL team, shines spotlight on Russian air safety
Workers search for crashed Russian plane's data recorders for clues
Medvedev calls for changes in Russia's troubled air industry
Poor quality fuel emerges as possible cause in fatal Russian jet crash
Russian investigators probe KHL jet crash

Investigations will be launched, changes will be demanded, but for the 43 passengers and crew of a flight to Minsk, those findings will come far too late,  any changes more a testimony to their deaths and the sadness it has brought far beyond the Russian borders.

The KHL schedule has been delayed while the KHL takes time to mourn its losses, collectively vowing to rebuild the proud Lokomotiv squad, though one wonders how officials will even begin to tackle such a monumental task, every day a reminder of friends who passed away in such a tragic fashion, their thoughts of an opening night in Minsk banished forever, traded in for ones of fear or prayer in the mere minutes that their plane plummeted back to earth.

One of the headlines of the day on Wednesday simply put it as Lokomotiv is no more, short and to the point, leaving us to mourn 43 fellow citizens of the world, most of whom simply wanted to play a game, make a living and dream the dream that many of us held when we were young.

In a summer that has brought much sadness to the hockey world, the news of September 7 only adds to the burden.

As though to reinforce the fragility of life and the whims of circumstance, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star outlines the remarkable  story of Jorma Valtonen, the goaltender coach for Lokimotiv, who was supposed to be on the flight, but a decision by management at the last minute left him off the passenger list.

We can't imagine his thoughts today, reflecting on a decision which while saving his life, will no doubt leave him with haunting memories of his team for the rest of his life.

Below some of the items of note on Wednesday's tragedy, many offering much insight into the particulars of hockey in Russia, others providing snapshots of some of those who perished in the crash.  All offer up a picture of a day that the hockey world will long remember. We lead off with one of the deans of Canadian sportswriters, Roy MacGregor, who as always it seems, strikes the right chord for a horrible day.

Globe and Mail-- The 'darkest day' in hockey's annus horribilis
Globe and Mail-- McCrimmon, Demitra among 43 killed in Russian plane crash
Globe and Mail-- Brad McCrimmon: A plain spoken guy with a heart of gold
Globe and Mail-- Demitra was a hero is native Slovakia
Globe and Mail-- Notable NHLers among dead in Russian plane crash
National Post-- Hockey world endures its darkest day
National Post-- Friends mourn McCrimmon
National Post-- "We have no team any more"
Toronto Star-- Dark shadow over hockey world grows longer
Toronto Star-- Lokomotiv will play in KHL this season, vows league chief
Toronto Star-- Plane crash claims KHL club: 'The team is gone'
Toronto Star-- Hockey world in shock after jet crash involving Lokomotiv team
Toronto Sun-- Another tragedy rocks hockey world
Toronto Sun-- Former NHL players die in plane crash
Toronto Sun-- Hockey's saddest summer
Toronto Sun-- KHL postpones start of season
Edmonton Sun-- KHL tragedy's echoes widespread
Wiinipeg Sun-- McCrimmon's brother loses "best friend"
Winnipeg Sun-- Jets mourn death of McCrimmon
Vancouver Province-- Canuck GM close pals with two crash victims
Vancouver Sun-- Ex-Canuck Pavol Demitra among dead in Russia plane crash...
Vancouver Sun-- NHL players aware of the risks in flying
Ottawa Citizen-- Russian air travel a "white knuckle" experience: Ex- hockey player
Ottawa Citizen-- Senators shocked after losing friends in crash
Ottawa Citizen-- Lidsrrom remembers McCrimmon as a tutor and a friend
Ottawa Citizen-- 'There is no hope. The team is gone'
Ottawa Citizen-- Russian hockey to help rebuild Yaroslavl team after deadly crash

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's always best to go to offence when pleading your defence

It's an interesting headline that appears in the Globe and Mail today, dateline of Vancouver:

Vancouver blasts NHL for lacking anti-riot strategy

Now, over the years we've found many things to hold the NHL accountable for, poor financial acumen, misguided franchise location and re-location, questionable managerial decisions,  and of course the perception that there is a lack of understanding that its players are perhaps the leagues most valuable asset and maybe should be protected a little bit better.

But, we can't' say as we can point our finger of shame at the league for the behaviour of any of its member towns miscreants, nor the particularly ineffective plan of response by a city, which seemed to put its police department behind the eight ball well before the crowds gather to wreak havoc in the city's downtown are.

John Furlong and Douglas Keefe opined in their lengthy tome (at a cost of $313,022) last week, that "In spite of four Stanley Cup riots in the last five years (the NHL) has no approach, no policy and no apparent strategy to work with host franchises and municipalities on this issue".  Suggesting that the leagues very brand could be at risk due to league inaction on this issue

Now perhaps the NHL could offer up some advice thanks to those previous five riots something along the lines of crowds may gather, best be prepared, but really, we can't have it both ways.

On one hand after each and every one of these unsavoury events, the officials make a point of suggesting it wasn't true "Canuck, Canadien, (pick you team) fans, but unsavoury elements who took advantage of events.

So, to assess some portion of blame to the NHL while a handy deflection, isn't a particularly correct placement.

It's particularly cynical in the Vancouver incident, which is still very fresh in our minds.

The Mayor of Vancouver, not Gary Bettman, set up the fan zones downtown, eager to return some of the 2010 Olympic spirit to the city.

They did that with significantly less police resources than available to the Olympics however, the thousands of RCMP and municipal officers culled from across Canada, not to mention the support of the Canadian Armed Forces not available this time.

Instead, it would appear that the usual rotation contingent of Vancouver Police augmented by a few extra, but clearly not enough members were left to handle a crowd that had reached those Olympic proportions, the idea of calling in reinforcements not seriously considered it seems until the riots had raged out of control.

The Mayor, Gregor Robinson seems to have been give a pass on all of the events, not so much as a slap on the wrist for poor party planning, let alone misjudging the proper allocation of police resources for protection of life and property in the face of a swelling and out of control mob

Nope, instead the blame it is suggested by this provincially funded and  sanctioned report, should be shared with the NHL for offering up a hockey game that lit the tinderbox. As always, when in a corner, point the other way.

Perhaps the CBC should be singled out as well, they too hosted a Live site, part of the great mass of humanity along Georgia Street, a crowd that degenerated into a raving mob that one point seemed to put the Post Office in peril, surely the City will wish to tsk, tsk towards the national broadcaster as they seek out convenient accomplices to the madness.

We have nothing but admiration for that clearly very, very thin blue line in place on the night of the riot, those officers on duty and the eventual reinforcements that arrived, held as best they could the lines in an attempt to reign in a mob.

Despite the planning of their employer, both the management of the police department and the city itself, they eventually gained control of the streets, no thanks to the weasels who now look to deflect any sense of responsibility for what led to those events.

The much trumpeted policy of meet and greet seemingly was abandoned on the night of the riot, owing to the volume of visitors to the downtown live sites. The sheer numbers overwhelming any ability to react to liquor violations, or evict troublemakers before things reached the levels of violence we were witness to.

That's not a failing of the vastly undermanned officers on the scene, that's a management failing, a civic failing, really folks, its hard to understand how that one is on Gary Bettman. 

It's enough to make you shake your head at what seems to be the focus of accountability from this incident.

Beyond the clear lack of preparation by the City of Vancouver and its police management for the infamous day, the wheels of justice are spinning equally slow.  To this date, few of the participants in the mayhem in Canada's third largest city have faced charges, compare that to the recent incidents in England and you have to ask why British Columbia justice can't work quite as fast as that of the British in the UK.

Maybe they are using some kind of NHL scale of suspension and punishment policy in BC, thus making it easier to blame the NHL for that particular problem as well.

We'll agree with one component of the report, that which suggests that the league should review its handling of fans inside the arena, reports during the playoffs offered up some comment that Vancouver's fans weren't particularly accommodating to anyone wearing an opposing uniform, let alone the Commissioner.

The Canucks should have been more proactive in enforcing their own code of conduct in the rink, casting those that didn't want to behave out of the rink (where it seems they would find a welcoming group mere metres away from Rogers Arena). But to suggest the NHL failed where the NFL soars, is a bit much, for reference perhaps the review committee and civic officials can Google up Raiders/Forty Niners and violence, that might bring that concept into a bit of perspective.

We imagine some mistakes were made at the rink through the playoffs, though at one point in the night on question the Canucks security were holding fans int the rink and advising that they stay out of the downtown area, tis' a wee bit of a stretch that somehow the NHL contributed to the events of May.

One imagines that if the league is to be held accountable for the behaviour of people outside of the rink, they could always recommend to move Stanley Cup games to neutral site cities for that those teams that host playoff games in cities where violence has a history.  We wonder how the City of Vancouver might react to that idea.

More to the point  the review it seems  is a rather handy piece of political deflection, leaving the placement of  real accountability undelivered.

The Furlong/Keefe report can be accessed here.

The full Globe story on the riot report can be found here.

To refresh your memory on the night in question, we invite you to peruse our archive of the night of madness in Vancouver.

With the release of the report, there are now other resources to catch up on how they're thinking it all out in Vancouver, some of which can be found below.

in addition, the topic was discussed on the Bill Good show on CKNW, (Tuesday 10 - 10:30) the comments and observations might prove helpful to the debate.

Perhaps the city officials who currently feel no share or ownership of the events of that night, could review them and see what really happened that night and where the opinion rests on who or who is not responsible.

Globe and Mail-- Mayor's political aspirations intact as "Robertson Riot" tags fails to stick
Globe and Mail-- Police miscues fuelled smouldering Vancouver riot
Globe and Mail-- Key findings and conclusions of the independent review of the 2011 Stanley Cup riots
Globe and Mail-- We blogged the Vancouver riot review release
Vancouver Province-- Riot response plan marred by 'glitches,' says Vancouver police chief
Vancouver Province-- No surprises no officials to blame for riot
Vancouver Province-- Police lacked early-warning trigger to adequately read riot crowd
Vancouver Province-- 'Drunken rioters' to blame, not police, says premier
Vancouver Province-- Report fails spit test
Vancouver Province-- Editorial: Riot report offers more blah, blah, blah
Vancouver Province-- Legal system ignoring louts who caused riots
Vancouver Province-- Only 446 officers on the streets
Vancouver Province-- "Get Ready for a Riot, Vancouver"
Vancouver Province-- Too few cops and communications breakdown played role in Vancouver riot
Vancouver Province-- Riot report pretty obvious: Willes
Vancouver Province-- Stanley Cup riot timeline: The night the city became a stadium
Vancouver Sun-- Bigger liquor fines, better SkyTrain screening would help avoid another riot
Vancouver Sun-- The likelihood of a Stanley Cup Riot was obvious to everyone - except those in charge
Vancouver Sun-- Council report considers limit on access to downtown core
Vancouver Sun-- Full list of Stanley Cup riot review's recommendations
Vancouver Sun-- Business leaders push for CCTV cameras
Vancouver Sun-- Riot review, by the numbers
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks vow team will encourage 'responsible fun"
Vancouver Sun-- TransLink is on board with report's recommendations
Vancouver Sun-- Cup riot 'was not beyond imagining'
Vancouver Sun-- Sorry, Mr. Furlong and Mr. Keefe, but mayor should own up
Vancouver Sun-- Opinion: Riot review lacks accountability
National Post-- Vancouver riot report suggests more questions than answers
CBC-- Vancouver police defend riot response
CBC-- Stanley Cup riot report says police late to react
CBC-- Chief says Vancouver riot review backs police