Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is?
Not even a week until Spring is here, although looking out the window wouldn’t convince many of that.
It will likely be April before even the driving range is open at Birchbank and Redstone is next best thing to snowed in.
The Smoke Eaters season is done, and very soon the Commercial League and curling will also be history for the year.
The Habs and Oilers are done, the Leafs will be in that category soon, the Jets improbable dream may be fading and Calgary is in a dogfight, so few Canadian teams will be around for post-season play and a lot of fans have tuned out.
But, in this area there has been excitement aplenty on the ice. The KIJHL playoffs have been as dramatic as one could want.
Of 12 series to date, half have gone to seven games, two more were decided in game six and only one has been a sweep.
The thing of it is, the KIJHL has no mechanism for promoting what the pros call, “competitive balance,” but have achieved it anyway, for the most part.
The pros, of course, do everything short of penalizing excellence in order keep that balance – although there are still good teams and very bad teams all over their leagues.
The KIJHL just lets the people that run the teams, run the teams. They have no salary cap to manipulate balance and no draft process with which to reward and support weaker clubs.
Yet, the competitive balance, at least among the 16 teams who made it into the playoffs, is phenomenal. Of the 72 post-season games played so far, 33 have been decided by one goal, 15 of those in overtime, including the deciding contest in the only series that was swept.
That’s tight competition.
Apparently the KIJHL encourages teams to get good hockey people to run things, and all franchises try to do just that, within various budget limits. Apparently, that approach is working.
Someone should suggest that approach – hiring people that understand their sport to actually organize it – to Gary Bettman (NHl), Roger Goodell (NFL) and Bud Selig (MLB).
It couldn’t hurt, for sure.
Bantam Hockey provincials are in town, the schedule will be in the Times. Check it out.
For those few of you out there who appreciate big time soccer, I recently discovered, with the help of a like-minded friend, a site with very good streaming of many games from around the world. Try links2football.com.
A minute of work to get past early ads, then very good broadcasts. If you have a so-called smart TV, almost any newer flat screen, you can plug your computer into that with good results.