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The Vent: The end of true NHL rivalries; in praise of Brett Hull

Greg Wyshynski
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The Vent is a column that hands the mic on Puck Daddy over to hockey fans to rant, rave and react to everything in the game. If you have a pitch for an editorial, or have one written, and want it featured on Sunday, email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com with the subject “The Vent.”

The ‘Pansification’ of NHL Rivalries

By Bill Ushock

When we think of the old Edmonton-Calgary rivalry, or Detroit-Colorado, what’s is the common denominator? Passion and fighting. Rangers-Flyers? Toronto-Islanders? Lets switch sports for a minute: Knicks -Bulls battles? Sox-Yanks? The passion of the rivalry boils over and fights erupt on the ice and in the stands.

Hockey is a violent game and fighting is a wonderful part of it. In life, we watch the injustice unfold daily: an imperfect judicial system, rich getting ahead, lawyers protect the wicked. In hockey, you cannot hide.

Unless that is, the present course of pansification continues unabated.

Claude Lemieux had to answer for the Draper hit- and then he had to answer for turtling vs. McCarty. He finally manned up and dropped the gloves: I think it changed him for the better. In the new NHL, guys like Sean Avery made a mockery of a once proud game. The insane attention given to a selfish twit like Avery is pathetic and never would have occurred in decades past.

The liberal media is drunk on a potion of self righteous subjectivity and whining about the Emery fight. This is a cause of concern to you? Why? What was so bad in the outcome? Maybe the Caps should have attacked the crease next game and stop crying about it.

In the NFL, we have a 7 on 7 game now, with wide open passing the new norm. No hitting hard, no touching the wide receiver or QB, no yelling or hurting the feelings of a rookie. Is the game better? No. It's popular but not better.

The NHL is a fourth-rate sport, at best. In the quest for popularity, the NHL may cave to this liberal pansification of sports. I'd guess they end fighting in the next few years. I'd also guess that the days of intense rivalry and blood boiling passion are gone....forever. Lets hope the NHL doesn't turtle and fights the cry babies.

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Albany Is Not Sabres Territory

By Martin Curro

To the decision makers of the NHL.

I live in Albany, New York, which is about 2.5 hours from Manhattan. I am a loyal NY Rangers fan. For some utterly unknown reason, the NHL has declared the Capital District Buffalo Sabres territory.

That means that if the Rangers and the Sabres are playing on the same night, the Rangers will be blacked out in favor the Sabres. Meanwhile, the NFL continuously prioritizes the Jets and Giants games here every Sunday, not the Bills. It seems like you are ignorant of the fact that NY fans outnumber Buffalo fans here in Albany .

FYI NHL... Albany is not Buffalo Sabres fan territory. Sure, you can find them here scattered about but most of the Capital region bleeds Rangers blue. There is even an online petition to have you consider changing ‘territories’.

I and many others DON’T want to watch the Sabres, we want to watch the Rangers. Please please please consider changing.

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Brett Hull Got His Way

By Melanie Rau

Let's all take a few minutes to truly appreciate and admire the new Executive Vice President of the St. Louis Blues.

That's right, Number 16 himself has come home to St. Louis to stay. The fans are certainly glad to have him around with the next generation of our St. Louis Blues. Several hundred fans came to support Brett at his 'Welcome Home' press conference. He looked just as elated to be here. While interviewing, he signed autographs for many eager fans. He even signed a man's bald head. If that doesn't tell you that Brett Hull is a legend in the city of St. Louis, than I don't know what does.

Growing up with the legendary Chicago Blackhawks player Bobby Hull as your father must really have an impact on a guy. They were the only father and son duo to get over 600 goals and 1,000 points each. Their jerseys have both been retired. The magic numbers are 9 and 16. Bobby was nicknamed the Golden Jet, so naturally Brett Hull is nicknamed the Golden Brett. Bobby won the Stanley Cup once as a player and Brett won it twice as a player.

Brett Hull was arguably the most skilled player to ever wear The Note. Some may say that I've forgotten about Gretzky and proceed to call me crazy. Mind you, Gretzky is known as the best player to have ever played the game, hands down. However, Gretzky only made an impact on the Blues organization for 31 games, with 37 points. Brett managed to play around 850 games with the Blues, including playoffs, with a grand total of over 1,053 points. I remember when I was a little girl going to my first few Blues games and admiring the Hat Trick list at the Scottrade. I asked my dad, "Who is this Brett Hull guy and how did he get his name up on that board so many times?!"

Gretzky may have more career points and his number may be retired league-wide, but Brett Hull takes up a more substantial place in the hearts of Blues fans everywhere. He was such a show-stopper that everyone had to come and see him. He is the reason the Blues didn't relocate in the 90's. He helped to form this amazing fan base that we still have today.

While his skills on the ice are phenomenal and unforgettable, it is his love of the fans and the city of St. Louis that wins him my respect. Every time he went out in public, there were fans that recognized him and wanted his autograph. He would go out of his way to sign for all of them. From what I've heard, he got in a great deal of trouble with Mike Keenan, the Blues head coach at the time, because he signed so many autographs. Brett was constantly late to practice or team meetings because he would sign every autograph. He knew he wouldn't have been where he was without the support of his loyal fans. He felt it was the right thing to do and took the negativity from his coach. He has always regarded the Blues as a great organization and thanked his teammates and coaches for what they did for him. When his jersey was raised into the rafters of the Scottrade Center in 2006, he said, "To have an organization think that much of you is more than one guy can ask."

In 2011, the Blues unveiled a statue of Brett Hull outside the Scottrade alongside Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis.

He said, "You guys are here because you have great leadership...You're going in the right direction and you have the best fans hands-down in the NHL...The Blues organization respects and loves your support you give and you've got to keep coming out supporting the organization because they are doing all the right things to bring you a championship."

During his VP press conference he said, "I never wanted to leave 15 years ago and I'm glad I'm back." He goes on to say, "I'm really proud to be a part of Tom Stillman's vision to bring the Stanley Cup to the city of St. Louis and the great fans that we have here...The future is bright and the Stanley Cup is well within grasp...LET'S GO BLUES!"

Brett Hull's happiness to be back makes all the fans happy. We've all been waiting for him to come home since that terrible day in 1998 when he packed up his bags and left for Dallas. Every time the song "My Hero" by The Foo Fighters plays on the radio, I think of him.

"Kudos my hero; leaving all the best. You know my hero, the one that's on. There goes my hero, watch him as he goes."

He's never really been gone in our hearts, or in his for that matter. As the sign below Clark Avenue reads, Brett Hull got his Way.

Melanie Rau is a student and staff writer for the Marquette Chronicle and the St. Louis Blues fan website stlbluesfans.eu.

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