Your Graphical Guide to the NHL Barnyard

We will fight for bovine freedom

If you’re anyting like Detroit Red Wings’ Senior VP of Barnyard Operations, Jim Devellano, it’s sometimes hard to tell elite hockey players apart from the rest of the herd. But never fear, the handy chart above should help you out if you ever get into a pinch.

Now, far be it from me to judge a Lester Patrick Trophy winner like Jimmy Devellano, but the cattle comment was a bit over the top. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you don’t poke the bear. You lure it with some bait, and then shoot it while it’s not looking.

Wait. No. Not only is that the wrong analogy, it’s the wrong animal.

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We’re talking barnyard animals today, especially those that make up the NHL’s pecking order…

So let’s review.

If you’ve been paying attention to Graphic Comments, you’ll probably have figured out that you and all the other hockey fans are nothing but sheep begging to be sheared.

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The players, as noted above, are cattle. However, it appears that this particular herd is getting stirred up into taking a stand. It’s claimed that they’re the means of production, and now they want to force a redistribution of revenues. It remains to be seen whether they can get up enough revolutionary veal to follow this through. Maybe they just need their own real bovine hero, Cow Tse Tongue: 

Sigh. Where are our chickens in choppers when we need them?

Anyway, that leaves only the pigs, and I think we’re all on the same page as to who they represent given their association with greed and filth(y richness). Just remember, some animals are more equal than others:

Some animals are more equal than others

That takes care of the three main animals on the NHL farm, but there are others.

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In fact, if you’ve been following what’s been going on in the cold, dreary, middle of nowhere, er, I mean in Edmonton, you’ll have noticed that the Edmonton Oilers’ owner, Darryl Katz, is involved in quite the game of chicken with the City Council over how the costs of a new arena should be allocated. And by allocated I mean borne completely by the taxpayers of Edmonton.

I’ll leave the details to others that have covered this situation much more in depth than I intend to, but the latest development saw Katz openly taking an entourage to Seattle where a new arena is being built that could house both an NBA and an NHL team.

This of course is straight out of the professional sports league extortion manual. Katz is definitely making noise about moving the team if he doesn’t get his way. Actually going down to Seattle, is taking it that extra step. What does this have to do with animals you ask? Well, as they say in the NHL farmyard, "If it talks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s probably a weasel."

Really, you have to be a weasel to be threatening to move one of the NHL’s best run hockey teams businesses:

For a small market team, the Oilers have done remarkably well since the last lockout and complete lack of on-ice success aside – should serve as an operational model for the rest of the lower revenue teams in the league. Nevertheless, there was Katz and co. touring around Seattle yesterday, kicking the tires on Key Arena and then taking in the Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. I don’t know which was the bigger farce, but I’m pretty sure I know which one had more money riding on it:

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If it walks like a duck

Ok, enough about the Oilers. This is supposed to be about barnyard animals, not the Hinterland Who’s Who.

There was indeed some Canucks news to digest in one of our four stomachs today. It appears that the team has hired Dan Cloutier as a goaltending consultant. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to cry about this. In the end, I did both:

I laughed. I cried. It became a part of me.

Oh, and if you were wondering what barnyard animal Cloutier represents, he’s the scape goat.

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    • Graphic Comments

      Well, it’s a bit demeaning, don’t you think? I would’ve thought we’ve advanced beyond the point of considering employees mere property to be exploited at the whim of the owners. If that’s the case, then we might really see Cow Tse Tongue before this whole thing is said and done.

      Nice catch on the lines in the chart. That really is rude.

      • Sure it’s a little demeaning to be compared to cattle, but the man who made the statement lumped himself in that group, so how derogetory was it meant to be?

        Why would we have advanced beyond that when it comes to professional sports? Especially the NHL. The League can uproot these individuals’ lives at the drop of a hat, send them to new cities, demote them to different leagues, their rights are owned by the clubs that draft them for a decade. The players are assets first and people second.

        But I think Devellano could have just been better served if he had said something like “The owners built the playground and the rest of us just want to play in it”

  • RexLibris

    What? No Animal Farm references? Or was that the previous lockout under Bob “Snowball” Goodenow?

    I recall Lemieux pulling the same stunt in Pittsburgh with the City and State governments when he took a tour of Vegas and Kansas City.

    I’m feeling nearly as apathetic towards the arena debate as I am the CBA negotiations. Add the IIHF to that and it is quickly shaping up to be a winter of discontent in Edmonton.

    • Graphic Comments

      Come on, it wasn’t THAT subtle, was it? Check the link right above the pyramid chart… 😛

      I only wish I had worked in “two skates good, two Gucci loafers better!”

  • Danger

    @Graphic Comments

    “revolutionary veal” just about made me blow beer out my nose, then you followed it up with Cow Tse Tongue. Well played! I’ll send you my dry-cleaning bill.


    1. You say that like there is a different kind of winter in Edmonton. I lived there for two years, so I know better 😉

    2. At least it won’t be the winter of your discount tent.

    • Graphic Comments

      I can’t take credit for either of those two phrases. They’re straight out of the lyrics for Cows With Guns, which was linked right after those lines.

      Hmmm. I may have just Wented myself here. Hopefully nobody takes this to the Nations’ public editor.