Jun 242008
 

Only a month ago, Howard Berger and others wrote about how things were pretty much all good int he NHL.

And though it’s oddly out of fashion to lay kudos on commissioner Gary Bettman, there is little doubt he has adroitly guided the NHL through its most turbulent epoch. Bettman and deputy Bill Daly administer to an enormous, 30-team circuit that does not have an overbearing crisis at the moment — a triumph fans on both sides of the border should relish.

I wonder if Howard Berger wants to take back those words now. In the past few weeks we have learned that Nasville Predators part owner William ‘Boots’ Del Baggio has filed for bankruptcy, the league has threatened to boot the New York Rangers owner out of the league, and Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli has been suspended from any involvement in the Ducks or the NHL after having plead guilty of making a false statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding his involvement in manipulating stock options while at Broadcom.

That sounds pretty bad but the Nashville situation is potentially even more troublesome and I think we need to take a cautionary stance on the new Tampa Bay ownership as well. The Toronto Star is reporting that Gary Bettman was blindsided to find out that Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz and Minnesota Wild’s owner (and former Nashville Predators owners) Craig Leipold lent Boots Del Baggio a combined $17 million of the $25 million Boots paid for his share in the Predators. In Del Baggio’s purchase agreement he has an option to purchase all of the Predators if the situation in Nashville doesn’t improve and it is believed he would have moved them to Kansas City. Interestingly enough Philip Anschutz owns the arena in Kansas City where the moved Nashville Predators would play.

Clearly it seems the NHL didn’t do its homework on Del Baggio’s financial situation but the whole messy Nashville sale stinks with a lot of back room dealings from Liepold selling and then immediately buying the Minnesota Wild, to the league seemingly pushing Jim Balsille out of the picture in favour of local owners and Del Baggio, to other owners financing the deal. I think there is a lot more to this story than we know and I truly would be surprised if Bettman and his cartel are more involved in this than we have currently heard about.

One has to wonder if Gary Bettman’s control of all things NHL is coming near the end. How long will it be before several other owners, and the NHLPA, say enough is enough and give Gary the boot. He has continuously failed to find or adequitely perform due diligence on new ownership groups while seemingly keeping well financed billionaire Jim Balsillie out of the league. Something is clearly wrong in the NHL and it is time for Gary to pay the price.

James Mirtle has more on the messy situations the NHL is facing.

Jun 192008
 

Sometimes (ok, more than sometimes) I wonder if the NHL has a clue what it is doing. The latest breaking story is that the NHL is threatening the New York Rangers owners (Madison Square Garden, MSG) with possible expulsion from the league for accusing the league of violating antitrust laws. The background is that the Rangers sued the NHL claiming that the NHL had no right to take control of the Rangers website and other marketing and promotion programs. Last year a judge agreed with the NHL and said the NHL was well within its rights to take control of the rangers website.

But instead of accepting victory in a dignified way, as any reasonable organization would, it decided to fight back and “asked a judge to agree MSG has breached its contract by challenging league rules and that it can force out MSG.”

Two thinks come to mind when I read this story:

1. MSG is one of the best owners the NHL could possibly have and in a time when good law abiding owners are seemingly very hard to find (see NY Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, and recently Nashville Predators), it seems very counter productive to be booting out one of the best and most stable owners around. Not only is MSG stable, but they are one of the biggest media outlets in New York and even across the United States. For a league that is starving for hockey coverage in the United States, booting out one of your better owners and media partners seems counter productive too.

2. It seems like this is just further evidence of a Bettman cartel in the NHL where Bettman will do everything he can to get pro-Bettman owners in the league (see Williams ”Boots” Del Baggio) and do everything possible to keep independent minded owners out of the league (see Jim Balsillie). With this action the NHL is trying to send a statement to all other owners in the NHL: “Do what we want or you’ll be gone”. I am no lawyer but it seems to me that this must break some sort of anti-trust laws.

So far Bettman has been successful in keeping tight control over the NHL and silencing those who might want to challenge him and his rule. One has to wonder if and when this might come back to bite him in the foot. Challenging a media giant like MSG with expulsion is a bigger battle than he has undertaken in the past and one wonders when he will have bitten off more than he can chew. Now that the players get a fixed share of revenue I expect the NHLPA is going to want to have a say in matters like this since such moves will potentially affect league revenues. If MSG, Balsillie, NHLPA and possibly other big market owners choose to fight back it could be wildly lopsided fight that Bettman and his cronies are sure to lose. It will be interesting to see how this will unfold.

Free Agent Wingers

 Free Agents  Comments Off
Jun 182008
 
06-07 06-07 06-07 07-08 07-08 07-08 Average
Name Age Team Off. Def. Overall Off. Def. Overall Overall
Teemu Selanne 37 ANA 1.46 1.13 1.32 1.17 1.49 1.31 1.32
Kristian Huselius 28 CGY 1.30 1.25 1.28 1.27 1.06 1.18 1.23
Jaromir Jagr 35 NYR 1.40 1.20 1.31 1.12 1.11 1.12 1.22
Martin Gelinas 37 NAS 1.21 1.10 1.16 0.99 1.31 1.16 1.16
Brian Rolston 34 MIN 1.04 1.41 1.21 1.02 1.20 1.11 1.16
Pavol Demitra 32 MIN 1.20 0.96 1.09 1.40 0.99 1.20 1.15
Andrew Brunette 33 COL 1.41 0.77 1.14 1.36 0.88 1.15 1.15
Marian Hossa 28 PIT 1.40 1.00 1.22 1.15 0.92 1.04 1.13
Niklas Hagman 27 DAL 1.04 1.17 1.11 1.12 1.11 1.12 1.12
Ryan Malone 27 PIT 1.00 1.08 1.04 1.45 0.91 1.18 1.11
Markus Naslund 33 VAN 1.08 1.19 1.13 1.15 0.93 1.05 1.09
Brendan Shanahan 38 NYR 1.23 0.98 1.11 1.15 0.98 1.06 1.09
Georges Laraque 30 PIT 1.11 1.21 1.16 0.81 1.20 1.00 1.08
Radim Vrbata 26 PHX 1.01 0.96 0.98 1.25 1.08 1.17 1.08
Antti Miettinen 26 DAL 0.90 1.17 1.02 1.12 1.12 1.12 1.07
Ladislav Nagy 28 LAK 1.14 1.00 1.08 1.21 0.87 1.06 1.07
Mark Recchi 39 ATL 1.26 1.06 1.17 1.04 0.84 0.95 1.06
Jay Pandolfo 32 NJD 0.68 1.20 0.96 0.97 1.31 1.15 1.06
Owen Nolan 35 CGY 1.13 1.03 1.08 0.96 1.11 1.03 1.06
David Vyborny 32 CLB 1.20 1.16 1.18 0.79 1.08 0.93 1.06
Jarkko Ruutu 31 PIT 0.71 1.34 1.04 0.78 1.32 1.06 1.05
Jason Chimera 28 CLB 1.12 1.05 1.08 0.86 1.13 0.99 1.04
Ruslan Fedotenko 28 NYI 0.92 1.16 1.03 0.97 1.07 1.02 1.03
Miroslav Satan 32 NYI 1.10 0.94 1.03 0.98 1.08 1.02 1.03
Matt Cooke 28 WAS 1.10 1.00 1.05 0.82 1.13 0.99 1.02
Martin Rucinsky 36 STL 1.09 0.99 1.04 0.92 1.06 0.99 1.02
Michael Ryder 27 MTL 1.18 0.82 1.02 1.05 0.93 0.99 1.01
Arron Asham 29 NJD 0.96 1.19 1.08 0.52 1.37 0.93 1.01
Gary Roberts 41 PIT 1.21 0.83 1.05 0.78 1.12 0.94 1.00
Todd Fedoruk 28 MIN 0.99 0.80 0.89 1.07 1.04 1.05 0.97
Cory Stillman 33 OTT 0.91 0.92 0.92 1.07 0.97 1.02 0.97
Donald Brashear 35 WAS 1.03 1.10 1.06 0.61 1.11 0.86 0.96
Shean Donovan 32 OTT 0.86 1.03 0.95 0.79 1.10 0.95 0.95
Scott Thornton 36 LAK 0.76 0.83 0.80 1.04 1.11 1.08 0.94
Martin Lapointe 33 OTT 0.79 0.99 0.89 0.71 1.19 0.95 0.92
Pascal Dupuis 28 PIT 0.59 0.97 0.80 0.93 1.03 0.98 0.89
Brian Willsie 29 LAK 0.86 0.82 0.84 0.90 0.80 0.85 0.85
Trevor Letowski 30 CAR 0.84 0.88 0.86 0.75 0.87 0.82 0.84
Jan Hlavac 30 NAS 0.00 0.00 0.98 1.01 0.99 0.00
Petr Cajanek 31 STL 1.28 0.99 1.14 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

The guy everyone is talking about is Marian Hossa. He is definitley a top tier player who had a bit of an off year this past season but picked it up in the playoffs and that will serve him well this off season. Rumour is Pittsburgh is interested in signing him for 7 years, $49 million. He quite likely will get more on the open market (Montreal, NY Rangers, Chicago, Vancouver, and several others would be interested) but that might be a mistake longer term.

Three interesting players are Selanne, Jagr and Naslund. These three are past star players on the downside of their careers, though still productive. One wonders what kind of contract these guys will command.

Rolston is probably the best two way player on the list but might not command quite as much money as the others on the list. Because of this he may in fact be the best ‘value’ available, particularly for a team with plenty of offense already (he’d be perfect for the Senators though might still be too pricey for them).

Don’t over evaluate Ryan Malone, who when not playing with elite level players like Crosby or Malkin is probably only a 20 goal, 45 point guy. He is good but not worth the $5 million he might get on the open market.

If you are looking for defensive role players take a look at Jay Pandolfo, Jarkko Ruutu, and Mat Cooke. Also, Martin Gelinas is older but can still contribute defensively and as a team leader as well.

Free Agent Centers

 Free Agents  Comments Off
Jun 172008
 

Similar to yesterdays free agent defensemen list, here are this summers top free agent centers.

06-07 06-07 06-07 07-08 07-08 07-08 Average
Name Age Team Off. Def. Overall Off. Def. Overall Overall
Daymond Langkow 30 CGY 1.45 1.04 1.27 1.30 1.07 1.20 1.24
Doug Weight 36 ANA 1.29 1.11 1.21 0.92 1.66 1.24 1.23
Martin Straka 34 NYR 1.22 1.32 1.26 1.15 1.01 1.08 1.17
Curtis Brown 31 SJS 0.84 1.04 0.95 1.28 1.36 1.33 1.14
Joe Sakic 37 COL 1.44 0.92 1.21 1.27 0.77 1.06 1.14
Chris Kelly 26 OTT 1.27 1.17 1.21 1.01 1.09 1.05 1.13
Mats Sundin 36 TOR 1.23 0.86 1.06 1.44 0.90 1.19 1.13
Sean Avery 27 NYR 1.13 1.07 1.10 1.21 0.97 1.09 1.10
Craig Conroy 35 CGY 1.05 1.04 1.05 1.17 1.09 1.13 1.09
Glen Metropolit 33 BOS 1.16 1.23 1.20 0.96 0.99 0.97 1.09
Brendan Morrison 31 VAN 1.09 0.94 1.02 1.08 1.15 1.11 1.07
Trevor Linden 37 VAN 0.97 1.12 1.05 0.80 1.33 1.08 1.07
Jason Williams 26 CHI 0.95 1.04 0.99 1.32 0.89 1.13 1.06
Randy Robitaille 31 OTT 1.13 0.94 1.04 1.14 1.01 1.08 1.06
Mike Peca 33 CLB 1.15 0.93 1.02 1.11 1.07 1.09 1.06
Dominic Moore 26 TOR 0.91 1.23 1.08 0.83 1.14 0.99 1.04
Vaclav Prospal 32 PHI 1.11 0.73 0.94 1.32 0.90 1.13 1.04
Patrick Rissmiller 28 SJS 0.98 1.14 1.07 0.73 1.14 0.95 1.01
Josef Vasicek 26 NYI 1.08 0.82 0.95 0.90 1.23 1.06 1.01
Bryan Smolinski 35 MTL 1.10 1.02 1.06 0.98 0.89 0.94 1.00
Stephane Yelle 33 CGY 1.12 0.99 1.05 0.56 1.27 0.95 1.00
Sergei Fedorov 37 WAS 1.05 0.94 1.00 0.92 1.07 0.99 1.00
Niko Kapanen 29 PHX 0.84 0.86 0.85 0.91 1.41 1.14 1.00
Jim Dowd 38 PHI 0.55 1.27 0.95 0.65 1.33 1.03 0.99
Yanic Perreault 36 CHI 1.10 0.94 1.03 0.98 0.90 0.94 0.99
Chris Gratton 31 TBL 1.09 0.93 1.01 1.03 0.81 0.93 0.97
Stu Barnes 36 DAL 0.96 1.07 1.02 0.75 1.04 0.91 0.97
Bobby Holik 36 ATL 1.02 0.93 0.97 1.00 0.89 0.95 0.96
Ryan Johnson 31 STL 0.80 0.88 0.84 0.75 1.22 1.02 0.93
Byron Ritchie 30 VAN 0.89 1.13 1.02 0.53 0.99 0.77 0.90
Marty Reasoner 30 EDM 0.79 0.94 0.87 0.96 0.87 0.91 0.89
Mike York 29 PHX 0.95 0.72 0.84 0.72 1.13 0.91 0.88
Jaroslav Hlinka 30 COL 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.18 1.11 1.14 0.00
Michael Ryan 27 BUF 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.79 1.14 0.97 0.00
Andreas Karlsson 31 TBL 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.69 1.22 0.98 0.00
Peter Forsberg 33 COL 1.27 1.18 1.23 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

I think we can expect Daymond Langkow to re-sign in Calgary (apparently he has a verbal agreement which won’t be signed until the final salary cap figure gets announced) and Joe Sakic to re-sign in Colorado. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Forsberg stay in Colorado as well. The next best and most talked about center is Mats Sundin. Sundin keeps a pretty tight lip and no one really knows what he will do but it seems he wants to stay in Toronto or close to Toronto. Toronto, Detroit, Ottawa, and Montreal are the most likely destinations for Sundin but I wouldn’t count out Vancouver or a few other teams. My bet is he stays in Toronto if the Leafs can make a few quality changes in the roster. Otherwise he goes to Detroit.

Those of us in Ottawa believe Chris Kelly had an off year, but even though it wasn’t as good as 2006-07 it was still pretty good. Any team looking for a versatile two-way forward who can kill penalties with the best of them will do well picking up Kelly. Craig Conroy is another Kelly like player but might cost more. Mike Peca fits into this group as well.

Everyones favourite, or lease favourite pest, depending on your perspective, is Sean Avery and clearly his antics produce results on the ice. The questions with him are two fold: 1) How many teams will put up with his antics and possibly dressing room disruptions and 2) if he cuts back on some of his antics will he be the same productive player. Only time will tell.

There are a few other interesting players like Martin Straka, Brendan Morrison, Vaclav Prospal and Jason Williams but after that there is a lot of mediocrity.

Jun 162008
 

In preparation for the off season, over the next few days I am going to be posting lists of most of the NHL unrestricted free agents that played fairly reguler roles in the NHL last season. In my lists I am including the player offense, defense and overall ratings that can be found at stats.hockeyanalysis.com for 2006-07 and 2007-08 plus each players two year average overall rating.

It should be noted that these ratings do not take into account ice time, just how they performed in the ice time they got. Clearly some of these players played far more significant roles with their teams than some other similarly rated players but I think these ratings should give an indication of what each player is capable of. It also might point out players that just posted big numbers either because they got a lot of ice time or just played with really good line mates as these ratings do factor in who each player has played with and against. I’ll also point out that the more ice time a player plays the more reliable the ratings are. For players who played a lot over the past couple seasons you will generally find the lowest season to season difference in the ratings.

So lets start out with defensemen. After the table I will post a few of my thoughts.

06-07 06-07 06-07 07-08 07-08 07-08 Average
Name Age Team Off. Def. Overall Off. Def. Overall Overall
Marek Malik 32 NYR 1.33 1.32 1.32 1.19 1.22 1.21 1.27
Brian Campbell 28 SJS 1.40 1.07 1.25 1.26 0.92 1.10 1.18
Keith Carney 37 MIN 1.19 1.25 1.22 0.99 1.19 1.09 1.16
John-Michael Liles 26 COL 1.28 1.05 1.18 1.15 0.98 1.08 1.13
Michal Rozsival 28 NYR 1.12 1.30 1.21 1.03 1.06 1.04 1.13
Jassen Cullimore 34 FLA 1.22 0.85 1.01 1.11 1.33 1.23 1.12
Mark Streit 29 MTL 1.20 0.86 1.05 1.31 0.93 1.15 1.10
Chris Chelios 45 DET 0.85 1.23 1.07 0.97 1.25 1.13 1.10
Wade Redden 30 OTT 1.26 0.87 1.08 1.35 0.86 1.12 1.10
Kurt Sauer 26 COL 0.97 1.00 0.98 1.20 1.22 1.21 1.10
Jan Hejda 29 CLB 0.87 1.06 0.97 1.15 1.26 1.21 1.09
Jaroslav Modry 36 PHI 1.04 1.29 1.17 0.98 0.94 0.96 1.07
Paul Mara 27 NYR 0.98 1.06 1.02 0.88 1.29 1.08 1.05
Bryce Salvador 31 NJD 0.93 0.96 0.95 1.22 1.08 1.14 1.05
Steve Montador 27 FLA 0.84 1.15 1.00 1.14 1.03 1.08 1.04
Matt Walker 27 STL 1.05 1.13 1.09 0.94 1.03 0.99 1.04
David Hale 26 CGY 0.87 1.26 1.07 0.82 1.18 1.00 1.04
Patrice Brisebois 36 MTL 1.05 0.92 0.99 0.83 1.30 1.05 1.02
Freddy Meyer 26 NYI 0.94 1.12 1.03 1.05 0.97 1.01 1.02
Karel Rachunek 27 NJD 1.09 0.93 1.01 1.07 0.97 1.02 1.02
Andreas Lilja 31 DET 1.17 0.98 1.06 0.93 0.98 0.96 1.01
Dmitri Kalinin 26 BUF 1.26 0.97 1.11 0.76 1.06 0.91 1.01
Mike Weaver 29 VAN 0.93 0.89 0.91 0.82 1.33 1.09 1.00
Petteri Nummelin 34 MIN 0.94 0.92 0.93 1.00 1.10 1.05 0.99
Jim Vandermeer 27 CAL 0.92 0.93 0.93 0.93 1.15 1.04 0.99
Brad Stuart 27 DET 1.19 0.80 0.98 1.10 0.88 0.99 0.99
Jason Smith 33 PHI 0.96 0.94 0.95 0.96 1.06 1.01 0.98
Steve McCarthy 26 ATL 1.14 1.39 1.24 0.51 0.92 0.72 0.98
Mike Commodore 27 OTT 1.16 0.86 1.00 1.06 0.86 0.95 0.98
Ron Hainsey 26 CLB 0.94 1.02 0.98 0.89 1.05 0.96 0.97
Adam Foote 35 COL 0.70 1.03 0.87 0.88 1.20 1.05 0.96
Mark Eaton 30 PIT 0.85 0.87 0.86 0.96 1.10 1.04 0.95
Rob Blake 37 LAK 0.98 0.90 0.94 1.04 0.82 0.93 0.94
Doug Janik 27 TBL 1.02 0.84 0.93 0.73 1.13 0.93 0.93
Aaron Miller 35 VAN 0.86 0.92 0.89 0.94 0.96 0.95 0.92
Sean Hill 37 MIN 1.14 0.99 1.06 0.84 0.68 0.76 0.91
Andrei Zyuzin 29 CHI 0.67 1.15 0.92 0.88 0.73 0.81 0.87
Jeff Finger 27 COL 0.00 0.00 1.27 0.96 1.11 0.00
Luke Richardson 38 OTT 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.01 1.06 1.04 0.00
Nolan Pratt 31 BUF 0.00 0.00 0.76 1.27 1.03 0.00
Mike Mottau 29 NJD 0.00 0.00 0.84 1.15 0.99 0.00
Sandis Ozolinsh 34 SJS 0.00 0.00 1.11 0.78 0.97 0.00
Magnus Johansson 33 FLA 0.00 0.00 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.00
Bryan Berard 30 NYI 0.00 0.00 0.84 0.94 0.88 0.00
Dick Tarnstrom 32 CLB 0.00 0.00 0.82 0.91 0.86 0.00
Alexei Semenov 26 SJS 0.00 0.00 0.74 0.83 0.78 0.00
Teppo Numminen 38 BUF 1.36 0.96 1.16 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

In my opinion the potential steal of the defense free agent crop could be Marek Malik. His play dropped off a bit last year but he always seems to get it done defensively dating back to his days in Vancouver. His +/- ratings the past 5 seasons are +23, +35, +28, +32 and +7. But because he had a bit of an off year last year he could be had for a very reasonable price.

A defenseman to be real cautious on is Ron Hainsey of the Blue Jackets. Statistically he had a very good year in Columbus but my ratings rate him as average at best. There is talk that he might command upwards of $4-5 million but that would likely be a huge mistake. This is a guy who benefited from playing a big role on a weak team.

Mark Streit and Wade Redden might be identical players. Too bad for the team that pays Redden as if he were a well rounded defenseman as opposed Mark Streit who might earn half of what Redden will get more as a PP specialist.

Carney and Chelios show that getting old doesn’t mean getting bad. Their roles and overall contribution have diminished but in the right role they can still contribute to good teams.

Jun 102008
 

This whole HNIC theme song fiasco can be sumarized by one word: MONEY. The creator of the song, Dolores Claman, through Copyright Music & Visuals has sued CBC for an unreasonable sum of money ($2.5 million) for supposedly using the song in ways not allowed by their agreement. I believe the Copyright Music & Visuals then used that unreasonable sum of money as a bargaining chip against CBC by saying ‘ settle this lawsuit or we won’t renew’ but when CBC refused to settle the ridiculous lawsuit for a ridiculous sum of money they were forced to say thanks but no thanks. CBC even offered one last ditch effort by offering to go to arbitration to settle the issue once and for all but apparently Copyright Music & Visuals didn’t like that avenue, possibly because the inevetible outcome would be far below their rediculous $2.5 million claim and instead sold the song to CTV for what is rumoured to be around $2.5-3 million. If that sum is true it tells you exactly how rediculous the Copyright Music & Visuals $2.5 million lawsuit was. They were suing for as much as the song was worth.

What I find odd is why CTV would even be interested in the song. Yes, the song has a lot of tradition and intrigue to hockey fans and even Canadians in general, but does it really bring added value to TSN hockey product? The tradition was related to Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, not hockey in general and although the song has tradition and intrigue, I really don’t see it as something that will add to a hockey broadcast. In fact, for me it will detract from the hockey broadcast because I not view the song not as a symbol of hockey but rather a symbol of money and greed and commercialism at its worst. TSN does a lot of creative and original stuff with their hockey coverage and are very good at what they do (Pierre McGuire excluded) and effectively outright stealing someone elses open music just seems cheesy and amateurish.

Even more dumb is how CTV is trying to sell their buying the song as saving the song from “obscurity” and that they only got into the negotiations after CBC backed out on Friday. The song was not going to fall into obscurity and had it not been for CTV I expect it would likely still be on CBC next fall. I am almost certain that CTV has been in contact with Claman and Copyright Music and Visuals far before Friday. I am sure Claman knew they had CTV as a backup and thus felt at east putting all the pressure on CBC to agree to their demands and not vice versa. If Claman had no other suitors there likely would have been an agreement with CBC earlier.

So there we have it. Money and Greed have ruined yet another great tradition in hockey and we can no longer start our Saturday winter evenings with the same song we have for so many years.

Jun 062008
 

There is nothing I hate more than being used and I think everyone, from the media, to the bloggers, to the average joe fan, has been used the past few days by the write of the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. It was the day of game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, the final game of the NHL season, that the owners of the HNIC theme song, Copyright Music & Visual, put out a press release saying that CBC had decided not to renew their license to the song and thus that night would be the last time it will be heard.

The press release tried to make it clear that this was a CBC decision:

“The CBC has been offered a new license on terms that are virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade (the cost to CBC to use the theme is approximately $500.00 for each game broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada). However, the CBC has chosen to move in a new direction.”

But was it? We now find out that the CBC is being sued for a ridiculous $2.5 million because they used the song in ways there were not licensed to do so. If CBC did use the song in ways they shouldn’t have they should pay up, but it seems pretty clear that the sum of $2.5 million is outright ludicrous. CBC is accused of using the song in “commercials for Hockey Night in Canada, an advertisement for Ford Motor Co. and broadcasts including the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, curling competitions, the Royal Canadian Air Farce, a Guy Lafleur tribute, and a Rick Mercer special.” So lets say the CBC used it 50 times more than they should have. At $500 a shot, that would only amount to $25,000. So at $2.5 million the lawsuit seems downright ridiculous at best and I don’t blame CBC one iota for not wanting to deal with such a greedy and overzealous group of people.

As for myself, I feel used. I was first outraged that the CBC would just ditch the theme song either to save a few bucks or to rebrand a Canadian television staple just for the sake of rebranding it. But I now feel used because it seems clear to me that it was the goal of Copyright Music & Visuals to create this fan outrage and to force CBC’s back to the negotiation table and to negotiate not only a new license agreement but a settlement to their ridiculous $2.5 million lawsuit. I hate being used and because of that I have decided to support CBC in ditching the song and going in a new direction. I hope the owners of the song never make another penny off of it. CBC and HNIC made this song what it is and made the creators of the song a whole boatload of money and if the creators of the song choose to bite the hand that feeds them then I can only hope they they never get fed again. It’s time for CBC and everyone else to ditch the song and its greedy overzealous owners.