If You’re Going to Gimmick, Get the Gimmick Right

hockey_canada_640Every blog I write I need to choose which category it is going under.  This one could go under the IIHF heading, but let’s be honest about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.  It is the league and the players association putting on this production, and it is 100% a cash grab.  It’ll be ok to watch, but it’s not for anything.

 

The Canada Cup was a good way to bring in more money, but it meant something.  The 1996 World Cup of Hockey meant something.  2004 did to, although it was played with a sense of doom lurking as the 04/05 lockout was to commence immediately following the final game.  But this one means nothing.  This is basically the model that MLB uses for their World Baseball Classic.  They have the countries best, but then they have gimmick teams like Italy in there made up of players of Italian descent.  Not players who are actually from Italy (full disclosure there may have been a few, but for the most part it was guys who maybe had never even been to the country).

 

I understand what they’re trying to do.  The U23 team is to showcase the young stars in the game.  Peter Chiarelli is the GM for the team, and he even said the other day that he’ll be looking at Auston Matthews for the team(projected top pick for the 2016 draft).

 

And then we have team “Euorpe” which again, I get it.  You have a scenario where countries like Germany, Slovakia, Latvia, etc. have some players, but not nearly enough to be a threat.  Anze Kopitar is about the only player even to be drafted from Slovenia.  So again, I understand it.  I’m not sure why you’re calling it team “Europe” though when you already have Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Russia already in the tournament.  There must be some other name you could give them, no?

 

Anyway, so we have 8 teams.  That’s a nice number.  But they missed out on a gimmick that could have been awesome.

 

It has been suggested lots before that Canada really could send 2 powerhouse teams to the Olympics every time around.  That should have been the case here.  The U23 team will be solid, but it still leaves probably 10-12 all-star calibre players from Canada off in favor of probably 7 or 8 kids who really have no business in an event like this.

 

One option if you were going to go with 2 Canadian teams would be to split the country in half and go with Canada East (Ontario East) and Canada West (Manitoba West).  But what is the fun in that?!  This whole thing is a cash grab, remember?

 

What should have been done is 2 Team Canada’s, and then in mid July next summer, in a made for TV event, you have a draft.  You do it in Toronto, you do it on the Wednesday or Thursday after the MLB all-star game when there is no other sports on, 2 GM’s and their staffs are all there at their own tables strategizing, and you have a simple coin flip to determine who gets the top pick, and then it is a snake draft.

 

So allow me to play the role of both GM’s here and give an example of how this would shake down.  No, I’m not going to go pick by pick on here, but I have done the leg work and this is how it shook down for me:

 

Canada 1

Tavares (8) – Crosby (1) – Stamkos (9)

Benn (12) – Seguin (17) – Carter (24)

Ladd (36) – Monahan (20) – MacKinnon (33)

Nugent-Hopkins (44) – Couture (37) – Gallagher (41)

Johansen (40)

 

Barrie (28) – Weber (5)

Keith (4) – Seabrook (13)

Hamhuis (32) – Burns (21)

Letang (29)

 

Holtby (16)

Luongo (25)

Crawford (45)

 

Canada 2

Hall (19) – Toews (2) – Giroux (14)

McDavid (23) – Getzlaf (7) – Perry (11)

Lucic (34) – Bergeron (18) – O’Reilly (26)

Marchand (39) – Duchene (31) – Shaw (43)

E.Staal (42)

 

Giordano (10) – Doughty (6)

Bouwmeester (27) – Pietrangelo (15)

Vlasic (30) – Subban (22)

Ekblad (38)

 

Price (3)

Fleury (35)

Dubnyk (46)

 

I forgot guys at times.  I may still have forgot some guys.  I still ended up leaving some pretty good players off.  And I put some guys on there who I don’t think will be factors next summer.  Anyway I tried to split it as good as I could and as realistic as I could.  I didn’t simply take the BPA, because you’re splitting hairs with most of these players.  So I built them both with the biggest need in mind.

 

But how cool would that be?!  It’s better than a U23 team.  Hell, the U23 team will have a lot of D-men and goaltenders who won’t even be in the NHL this season and might not be there next season!

 

This way you get more of the actual stars in the league showcased, and the Americans can actually have some of their top players like Jack Eichel, Brandon Saad, and Seth Jones.  It is beyond ridiculous that the Americans won’t have access to some of what would be their top players.

 

But what do I know.  It isn’t as if Gary has ever introduced ridiculous concepts before and made the league look amateur…

 

I just really believe that if you are going to go the gimmick route, do it full on.  Don’t treat the fans like they’re stupid.  Anyone who watched that sham presser the other day with Stamkos, Doughty and Chara could tell these guys aren’t going to take this tournament seriously.  Having 2 team Canada’s and having an actual draft of the 2 teams, it would be huge ratings and even more cash.  We’ll all watch next fall, but we would watch next fall if there were 2 team Canada’s, AND we would watch in huge numbers if they held a draft like this.

 

I can’t stand this gimmick no matter how they do it.  BUT…if you’re going to go this route, then do it right and milk it for all it’s worth.

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups

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