Login

Brad Stratton (admin)

Tweet-Blogging Super Bowl XLIX

This year, instead of live blogging the Super Bowl, I live-tweeted the Super Bowl. All my tweets were supposed to post to Facebook, but something went wrong and it stopped posting sometime in the second quarter.

So a week later, I present my tweet-blog of Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestEmailPrintShare

Live blogging the Super Bowl, Part III

Another year without the Giants in the Super Bowl, so here I am to give you my ongoing thoughts about the Big Game between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.

6:03pm: Damn, there are two Bowsers, and they are really kicking ass! And the Green Team wins! Yeah, my kids are playing Super Smash Bros Brawl. Time to turn that off!

6:24pm: Hey, it’s a Scott Norwood clip! Wait, are they seriously turning the Bible tale of Noah and the flood into an action movie?

6:25pm: Who doesn’t love polka dot jammies?

6:28pm: Phil!!! WTF is Namath wearing a fur coat? And then he prematurely coin flips. Dork.

6:32pm: Meh! Although I did like Rob Riggle, James Franco, and the tiger.

6:33pm: And here comes Peyton Manning. Let’s see what he can do.

6:34pm: Well, that was a bad start for the Broncos.

6:37pm: That isn’t a reverse! It was just an end around! Come on Buck!

6:42pm: Did he step out? Didn’t look like it. It looks like he might have made it. Initial spot was terrible.

6:44pm: What is the point this commercial?

6:44pm: All that for a car commercial?

6:46pm: Gain a yard, lose 5.

6:47pm: Jimmy? You’re so old! It’s the future! Hmm… That cow commercial was creepy. Cow porn.

6:50pm: The no-huddle!

6:51: Four offensive plays for Denver, none of them looked good. Still too early, but that’s a concern.

6:54: F@$& Shawn!

6:58: Seattle is 3 for 4 on third down. And I said that before Joe Buck.

7:00: This game could get out of hand quickly. And nobody thought would be talking about Seattle.

7:12: Could this game be going worse for the Broncos offense?

7:14: The 80s called. They want their store back. Brilliant!

7:16: Tostitos with cheese sauce mixed with bacon. Delicious!

7:24: Seattle is not going to give up a lot of points. If you’re Denver, you’re worried. They need to get something going.

7:38: Pick Six. That might be game.

7:40: Seattle has recorded 7 INTs of the Manning Bros this season and 1 pick six.

7:44: What happened to your face? I was cleaning the chimney. We don’t have a chimney. Whaaaaaaa?

7:52: Yes, the Broncos are driving. But who else is waiting for the interception?

7:54: Or the turnover on downs.

7:56: That happy moment when you realize there’s still liquid in your frosted mug.

7:59: Halftime. Time to eat…more.

8:33: Finishing the meatballs and missed a touchdown! This game is OVER.

8:51: Set off the fire alarm while cooking, but meatballs are tasty. Morpheus returns. Broncos have not.

8:56: Even when Denver gets a big play, they screw it up. Now hold on a moment, Bruce Willis wants me to hug everyone.

9:01: Kearse with a nifty touchdown. Dunno if that’s a great play by him, or horrible tackling by Denver.

9:07: Remember when the Super Bowl used to be like this every year? We’ve been spoiled for the last few years with close games and classics. The last time we’ve seen a blowout in the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XXXVII, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders 48-21. The Bucs had a 34-3 third quarter lead.

9:13: This is the longest it’s taken a team to score since Super Bowl IX, when the Pittsburgh Steelers led 9-0 after three quarters en route to a 16-6 win against the Minnesota Vikings.

9:24: I hope the media doesn’t do something dumb and give the MVP to Russell Wilson. This is a defensive win. Wilson has played well, but not enough to stand out.

9:36: Voted twice for Cliff Avril.

9:56: Mercifully, the game is over. Granted, been over for a while.

9:58: Final thought. Peyton 1-2, Eli 2-0.

Super Bowl XLVII Live Blog

Two years ago, I live-blogged the Super Bowl between the Packers and the Steelers. I didn’t live-blog the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, because I was at a bar watching the game with a lot of other Giants’ fans. So this year, I’m at home again, so here we go again.

6:44pm: Missed the Ravens’ first touchdown. Was at Target getting cranberry sauce.

6:50pm: For two strong defensive teams, there’s a lot of offense right now. 49ers knocking on the door.

6:52pm: As soon as I post this, Kaepernick misses an open receiver in the end zone, and the Ravens sack the QB on third down. 49ers settle for a field goal. This was my plan.

7:14pm: No doubt that was a fumble.

7:37pm: Was making dinner. Saw the Ravens TD on replay. Bonus points to B’More for the fake field goal.

7:47pm: OK, I saw that one. Heck of a play by Jones.

8:08pm: Is Beyonce lipsyncing?

8:23pm: Just a note. Live-blogging with three kids is damn near impossible.

8:30pm: Ravens just returned the opening half kickoff for a touchdown. 28-6. Not over, but San Francisco is in a really bad place. In just had a happy.

8:36pm: While the lights are out, Jim Harbaugh is out looting 20 of the Ravens’ points.

8:42pm: Who turned the lights out? Click… Click, click, click…
Who turned the lights out? Click… Click, click, click…

8:59pm:  I hope it doesn’t snow for the Super Bowl next year. God, that would be a DISASTER.

9:18pm: That’s a catch Crabtree HAD to make.

9:29pm: Are the Ravens self-destructing? Punter shanks the punt, 49ers about to score again.

9:50pm: Leon Sandcastle!

10:20pm: Huge, huge, HUGE stop on 3rd down. This feels like a game where the 49ers win 35-34.

10:26pm: Ravens D running on fumes right now.

10:30pm: If Baltimore holds here…wow…

10:32pm: Fourth down. Not the game, but close.

10:33pm: Cue the “we were the better team” BS from San Fran.

10:38:pm: The 49ers might have one Hail Mary in them.

10:39pm: Punter took a TON of time off the clock! Eight seconds! It’s come down to a lateral play. There’s a reason we simply call the main successful ones “The Play” and the “Music City MIRACLE.” It doesn’t happen often. To be fair, a TD here would be the greatest play in Super Bowl history.

10:56pm: Congratulations to Baltimore, Super Bowl XLVII Champions! Not a Ravens fan, but happy for my friends who are Ravens fan. Especially happy that the 49ers lost.

11:02pm: Flacco gets MVP. I thought they might give it to Ray Lewis, like a career achievement award.

11:07pm: See you next year in New York for Super Bowl XLVIII! Giants vs. Broncos! Good night!

Preservation of the World

So last weekend, the family went camping with one of Xander’s school friends and his family. We went to Elk Neck State Park in Northeast, Md., arriving that Friday and leaving on Monday.

A post shared by Brad Stratton (@bramton1) on

The weather was great for most of the weekend. The highlight was on early Saturday afternoon, where we spent a few hours at the beach, swimming in the Chesapeake Bay. The first 50 feet or so into the Bay was very rocky, so I started wearing my sandals into the water, and held them in my hands once I got past the rocks.

As we were swimming, we watched a storm front drift across the Bay. After leaving the beach, we stopped by Walmart to pick up a few items we needed, when the sky opened up. Instead of cooking that night, we ate at Woody’s Crab House.

The following day, we hiked out to the lighthouse in the southern tip of the Elk Neck peninsula.

A post shared by Brad Stratton (@bramton1) on

It was the first time the boys have gone camping before, as well as the first for Christine and I since September 2004. I can’t wait to go back.

The Lonely Weekend between Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl

The Bad News: New York Giants’ QB Eli Manning and DE Jason Pierre-Paul will no longer be playing in tomorrow’s Pro Bowl, and WR Victor Cruz, a 2nd alternate for the NFC team, will not get an opportunity to be a Pro Bowl… at least not for this season.

The Good News: That’s because the Giants are in the frickin’ Super Bowl!!!

Left for dead in mid-December after a lifeless performance against the Washington Redskins dropped New York’s record to a pedestrian 7-7, the Giants have rattled off five straight victories to claim the title of NFC Champion and play in next weekend’s Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. And their opponent: the New England Patriots. Hmm… where have we heard this story before?

In fact, the similarities to 2007 are incredibly eerie. After a lifeless performance against the Redskins in Week 15 dropped the Giants’ record to 9-5, the Giants were viewed as having their playoff hopes in serious danger, and a definite one-and-done even if they did get in. Then the Giants came back twice to beat the Bills in Buffalo, lost to 15-0 New England in a game that still felt like a win, beat a NFC South team in the first round (Tampa Bay), beat the No. 1 seed in the divisional playoffs (Dallas), and then won the NFC Championship against the No. 2 seed (Green Bay) in overtime, with the winning field goal by Lawrence Tynes getting set up by a turnover (Brett Favre interception). Finally, the Giants wore their road whites and upset the (heavily) favored Patriots.

This year, the Giants beat the Jets and Cowboys in Week 16 and 17 to clinch the NFC East division title, beat an NFC South team (Atlanta) in the first round, beat the No. 1 seed (Green Bay) in the divisional round, then won the NFC Championship against the No. 2 seed (San Francisco) in overtime, with the winning field goal by Lawrence Tynes getting set up by a turnover (Kyle Williams fumble). Finally, the Giants will wear their road whites and and hope to upset the (slightly) favored Patriots.

Here’s another similarity. In 2007, the Giants lost 38-35 to the then-undefeated Patriots during the regular season, then avenged the loss in the playoffs. This year, the Giants lost 38-35 to the then-undefeated Packers during the regular season, then avenged the loss in the playoffs.

But here’s a big difference. In 2007, the Giants lost to the Patriots during the regular season, then beat them in the Super Bowl. This year, the Giants beat the Patriots in the regular season, so it’s actually New England that will look to avenge the earlier loss.

The Patriots finished 13-3 this season, although did not beat a single team all regular season that finished with a winning record. That ominous streak did end in the AFC Championship Game however, where they beat the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens. To be fair, the Patriots did beat the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Oaklands Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles, all which finished with an 8-8 record and might have had a winning record had they played someone else.

The Giants finished 9-7, but have probably been the hottest team since Christmas. New England has been pretty hot as well, having won 10 straight since losing to the Giants in Week 9.

A big question, however, if how the off week will affect the two teams.

I’ll be back later this week with my pick, and I will be again live blogging during the game (although I obviously have more at stake than Packers-Steelers).

Giants stomp out the Falcons

The Giants put together their most complete game of the season, dominating the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the first round of the NFC Playoffs. Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, two to Hakeem Nicks, and the Giants’ rushing attack had a season best 172 yards.

But the true star of the game was the defense. A laughing stock for most of the season, the Giants pitched a shutout, with the Falcons’ only score being a safety when Manning was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. The defensive line had two sacks, but pressured Matt Ryan constantly. Michael Turner ran for just 41 yards for the Falcons. And Ryan was stopped twice on fourth and 1, both times on a QB sneak.

Now the Giants head out to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for a rematch with the Green Bay Packers. The two teams met in Week 13, with the Packers pulling out a 38-35 win on a last second field goal by Mason Crosby. The Packers were without two linebackers, while the Giants were without Osi Umenyiora, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Mario Manningham.

It’s also a rematch of the 2008 NFC Championship Game, when the Giants ended Brett Favre’s career in Green Bay with a 23-20 overtime win en route to a Super Bowl title.

The Giants are definitely peaking at the right time, like they did in 2007 and the Packers did last year. It should be a great game.

Penn State vs. Indiana State game review

Indiana State Sycamores atPenn State Nittany Lions

Yes, it was against a middle of the road team in the big bad Missouri Valley Conference, but this was one of the more satisfying season openers in recent memory for Penn State. Perhaps it was the game’s opening play, a 95-yard kickoff return by Chaz Powell that quickly put the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard.

Maybe it was mentioned previously, but I was unaware that Paterno was going to using both quarterbacks, Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, pretty equally. It remains to be seen if this is a trend that will continue throughout the season, or it’s just a prolonged quarterback competition between the two. Considering that Penn State wouldn’t let Bolden transfer over the offseason, it’s kind of hard to delegate him to the bench. That being said, Bolden completed 50 percent of his passes, while McGloin connected on 75 percent.

It was a nice performance by the defense, allowing just 170 yards of total offense to the Sycamores. But it seems like kicker Evan Lewis might make us long for the good old days of “Kevin Kelly miss range.” Lewis was 0 for 2 on field goals (unofficially 1 for 3, with him connecting on his first attempt, which was negated by a false start) and missed an extra point. It looks like Evan Lewis miss range might start at the 1 foot line. Frightening.

All in all, a good performance. But we’ll learn a lot more about this team next week when they host Alabama.

Wait, there’s a basketball team?

Chambers already fan favorite at Penn State – ESPN college basketball blogger Dana O’Neill wrote a great article in new head coach Pat Chambers. Gotta like the idea of the head basketball coach handing out water bottles and t-shirts over in East Halls.

How Nowitzki was almost a Nittany Lion – This article was actually written five years ago by re-published by  The Patriot-News earlier this summer. Great what-if story. Damn Germans.

Super Bowl XLV – Live!

Ok, a little late with this.

7:08 Trying to type, watch, and make noodles. Was about to type that the Packers look better so far, then Green Bay gets a Pick 6. Time to panic in the ‘Burgh yet?

7:18 Is anyone actually expected to go to GoDaddy.com to see more of Joan Rivers?

Pittsburgh showing life after Big Ben started limping. A touchdown would have been big there, big third down tackle on Wallace. 14-3

7:26 Yeah, another special effects laden extravaganza with no plot and racist characters, brought to you by Michael Bay.

7:32 Reminded why I never manage to blog at all. Is it my kids’ bed time yet?

Love the Star Wars commercial. Probably since I “use the force” with automatic paper towel dispensers.

Pittsburgh converts a 1st and 20, starting to drive. Green Bay reminding me of being up 14-0 on the Giants and then giving up two quick touchdowns.

7:41 Biggest hit of the night so far is a log on Roseanne. 15-yard personal foul on the log?

Fun betting line as Ben throws another interception: Better Big Ben QB rating in Super Bowl 40 or 45?

7:48 Anyone know if Jessica Simpson was at the bar where Ben ran up the huge tab a few days ago?

8:09 Halftime. Green Bay still in command, but the Steelers picked up a big score before the half.

Hey, what happened to the Geriatric Super Bowl halftime show?

I’m typing all of this on my Android. Everytime I swype “Super Bowl,” it comes out as “Super Bowel.”

8:18 Fun stat. No team in Super Bowl history has come back from 10 or more points down to win.

8:35 Got bad info. No team has come back from MORE than 10. Washington trailed Denver 10-0, won 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII.

8:51 Second half has been all Steelers so far. The Packers’ offense has been lifeless, and their defensive line is giving up too many yards. Key third and one coming up at midfield. I’d be shocked if Green Bay stopped them.

8:56 First down.

9:01 Thank God the Steelers got rid of Jeff Reed. I could have kicked that better.

9:10 Kinda lame trying to push a player into a punted ball.

Aaron Rodgers is playing lousy right now.

9:31 Packers have 21 points off of turnovers. Only stat you need.

9:38 Admittedly, the Steelers aren’t giving up. Charles Woodson being out is huge right now.

If Steelers lose, this much is clear. God does not want Flozell Adams (rightfully so) to win a Super Bowl.

And the Steelers score on a pass to Wallace. Get the deuce on the conversion on an OPTION! Three point game.

I think the GoDaddy.com server just crashed.

9:50 Earlier in the game, Buck and Aikman commented on the Packers’ play balance so far. Since then, no balance. The Steelers get pressure every play because the Packers aren’t running the ball.

As I typed this, the Packers ran the ball twice. Damn.

Packers are 8 yards from putting the game away.

9:56 And they can’t close the deal. So here we are. 2:10 left, Green Bay up by 6. Only QB to lead a game-winning drive in the final two minutes when nothing less than a touchdown would suffice… Eli Manning.

10:03 Fifty-six seconds left and fourth down.

10:05 Incomplete pass. The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl XLV Champions!

Again, 21 of Green Bay’s 31 points came off turnovers. Nuff said.

10:17 Trophy presentation on the field. Aaron Rodgers wins MVP. Favre never was a Super Bowl MVP. Poor Brett needs a hug somewhere.

That’s it for me. Promise there will be more posts!

Penn State vs. Alabama review

I don’t think there’s been such little enthusiasm for a big game since Penn State hosted #1 Miami in the season opener. Sure, Penn State fans were rooting for a Nittany Lion upset, but I think most fans knew a victory was highly unlikely and were just hoping for Penn State to make it respectable. Instead we got a 24-3 loss that was pretty one-sided and probably should have been worse.

The Good

Rob Bolden didn’t have a good game, but for the most part, I thought he played with a fair amount of poise. A lot of people expected the true freshman to look and play scared shitless in his second start and first on the road.

Colin Wagner is 4-for-4 on field goals this season, making his only attempt against Alabama on a 36-yarder. He probably would have gotten more opportunities, but the Penn State offense had a bad habit of shooting itself in the foot in the red zone. That said, so far we can’t make any jokes about being in “Kevin Kelly miss range.”

The Bad

Evan Royster had a few decent runs against Alabama, with his best being an 11-yard scant in the first half. But he still only finished with 32 yards on 9 carries. For a running back who’s poised to become the Nittany Lions’ all-time rushing leader, he hasn’t been able to get going yet this season. Now, plenty of that blame does lie with the offensive line, which has done a piss poor job of moving the pile. The line was marginally better protecting Bolden, who had time to pass on most plays.

The defense did a crappy job of tackling in the first half, allowing Alabama to move the ball at will. When the Crimson Tide wanted to run, there found open receivers over the middle with ease. When they wanted to run, Trent Richardson breezed through countless holes and broke a countless number of tackles. The worst offense was the Crimson Tide’s third series, which started at their own 3 but three plays later was at the Penn State 37 after runs of 11, 16, and 33 yards. The only thing stopping Alabama was Alabama, who occasionally tried to convert third-and-shorts with short passes that missed their targets. With Alabama running at will, throwing on third and short was just trying to be cute. The only thing keeping the defense out of the ugly section was they were respectable in the second half, as they forced two punts and stopped Alabama on a fourth and two on the last play of the game.

The Ugly

Penn State really should have made the game look more competitive. Three times the Nittany Lions drove the ball down into the red zone, and they handed the ball over with two interceptions and a fumble. Both interceptions came with Bolden getting pressured and unable to step into his throw. On the first interception, with the score just 7-0, Bolden got hit as he threw, and the ball was essentially a jump ball for Alabama to come down with. On Penn State’s first possession of the second half, Bolden threw a wounded duck that got picked off. With Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger commenting on Penn State still hanging around at 17-0, there was a fair amount of optimism for Penn State before the interception. There was this pipe dream of taking the ball in for the touchdown and being down 10 and back in the game. The interception pretty much killed those dreams.

Penn State’s fumble in the red zone was actually a gift from the officials, and I still don’t understand what happened. Down 14-0 and a 2nd and 6 on the 16, Bolden completed a short pass to Chad Powell, who fought to get to the sticks. Instead of getting the first down, he coughed the ball up, and Robert Lester scooped the ball up for Alabama. Lester looked like he was heading for the end zone, until he was brought down at the Penn State 2. Lester fumbled as he went down, and Penn State recovered. However, at least one official (thought it was the referee) signaled a first down for Alabama, leading me to believe that Lester was ruled down by contact before fumbling. A replay seems to confirm that, and the officials confirmed the ruling on the field. BUT THEN THE PENN STATE OFFENSE WENT OUT  ON THE FIELD. I still don’t understand this.

Rankings

Penn State dropped to #20 in the coaches poll, and #22 in the AP poll. The Nittany Lions amazing are ranked BEHIND Michigan in the AP Poll, after the Wolverines won in the final minute to glorified mid-major Notre Dame.

Next up

Penn State goes back to patsies, as they host Kent State, then Temple. They’ll be 3-1 entering Big Ten play, but they it’s on the road at Iowa, which smacked around Iowa State 35-7 on Saturday.

NHL wins at exercising double standard, Kovalchuk free agent

The NHL succeeded today, as arbitrator Richard Bloch ruled that that Ilya Kovalchuk contract signed with the New Jersey Devils was indeed circumvention and should by nullified.

The Devils signed Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million deal on July 19, which would have paid the Russian winger $6 million for each of the first two seasons, then $11.5 million for each of the next five seasons, $10.5 million in 2017-18, $8.5 million the next season, $6.5 million in 2019-20, $3.5 million in 2020-21, and $3.5 million total over the last six years.

Kovalchuk would have been 44 when the contract expired.

“(Playing until 44) is not impossible,” Bloch said, “but it is, at the least, markedly rare.”

Listen, no one was arguing that it wasn’t circumvention. Since the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement calculates a salary cap hit by the contract’s average (the deal would have paid Kovalchuk an average of $6 million a year), rather than that year’s actual salary, the Devils loaded a lot of cheap years on the back-end to allow the average to drop far lower than the $11.5 million each year from 2012-17. It was a shady deal, no doubt.

But it wasn’t that simple. Marian Hossa signed a 12-year, $62.8 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks in May 2010 that pays him an average of $5.233 million despite being worth $7.9 million for each of the first seven seasons. Hossa, who will be 42 when the deal expires, lifted the Stanley Cup above his head at the end of the season. The NHL investigated the deal, but let the Blackhawks off with a warning.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo signed a new 12-year, $64 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks in September 2009 that paid him an average of $5.33 million despite being worth $10 million in the first year and $6.7 million for each of the next seven years.  Luongo will be 43 when his contract expires. Once again, the NHL allowed the deal to pass.

Chris Pronger signed a new 7-year, $34.45 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in July 2009 that paid him an average of $4.92 million despite being worth $7.6 million in the first two years, $7.2 million in year 3, and $7 million in the fourth year. Pronger will be 42 when the contract expires. The NHL’s only action was to force the “35-and-older” clause onto the contract. That clause, under Article 50.2(c-iv) of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, states that when a team signs a player who is 35 or older (as of June 30 prior to the season the contract goes into effect), the team is still responsible for the annual salary cap hit if the player retires before it expires. The Flyers argued otherwise, since Pronger didn’t turn 35 until October 10, 2010, but eventually decided not to officially dispute the decision.

That’s called precedent, and it’s the reason why few people seemed to expect the NHL to win at arbitration. But that’s exactly what happened. Apparently playing until 44 is extremely rare, but 43 isn’t?

Also interesting is that Bloch noted that he didn’t believe the Devils or Kovalchuk acted in bad faith. Supposedly, the NHL chose not to reject the Hossa, Pronger, or Luongo deals because they couldn’t prove the deals were not done in good faith.

So Kovalchuk is now an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team. According to Devils’ president/general manager Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey and Kovalchuk are already having discussions on a revised contract. New Jersey probably still remains the best chance for Kovalchuk to sign in the NHL, unless he’s willing to sign a one-year contract.

Kovalchuk reportedly has an offer on the table from SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia for approximately $9 million a year. Losing one of the NHL’s elite scorers to Russia would be a disaster, but the NHL talking a hard stance on these long term contracts, the Russian deal is probably looking pretty attractive right now.

So the NHL rejected the Kovalchuk contract, after allowing the Hossa, Luongo, and Pronger deals to stand. But it’s not too late to do the right thing. The NHL now has precedent. They had an arbitrator side with them to reject shady contracts that appear to circumvent the salary cap.

According to Article 26.10(b) of the CBA, the league is allowed to open investigations of contracts that have already been approved for suspicions of circumventions. Furthermore, 26.10(d) states that there is no time limitation that would prohibit the league from looking at the Hossa, Pronger, and Luongo deals.

It’s time for the NHL to do the right thing. If they refuse to take another look at these deals, it creates an appearance that the league was singling out New Jersey. You might start to wonder if the Detroit Red Wings offered Kovalchuk the same contract, would the NHL have rejected it? If the league fails to act, you might have to say yes to that question.

The Los Angeles Kings were the primary team vying to sign Kovalchuk. The Rangers were also becoming a rumor late in the process, and throughout the grievance uncertainty.  Would the NHL rather have one of their premier players on the only team in the No. 2 market in the country, and on the No. 2 team in the #1 market in the country. Despite being better than the Rangers for most of the last 15 years, the Devils still play second-fiddle. Even with Martin Brodeur, Zack Parise, and Ilya Kovalchuk, the Rangers will still outpace the Devils in attendance and TV ratings. New York may love in a winner, but in hockey, they love the Rangers more.