Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!

1) Just a quickie note to wish all our readers the very best this New Years! 2008 will be the third calendar year (Technically its been 17 months) we at FAUXRUMORS have been blogging.
2) We are excited to begin the year where we left off; Providing hard hitting, unique commentary, rumors and rumor evaluation, and of course always with irreverent humor.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today's Gamble

1) We're back at it with our picks. We will try to get back above the .500 mark with a huge 13 games schedule today/tonight;

Philadelphia vs-Tampa Bay: Flyers. (Tortorella's last game?)

New Jersey vs-NY Islanders: Islanders (IF DiPietro plays), else Devils.

NY Rangers vs- Toronto: Rangers. (Avery-Fucker rematch? )

Carolina vs-Columbus: BlueJackets

San Jose vs-Nashville: Predators

St. Louis vs-Dallas : Stars

Anaheim vs-Calgary : Flame

Los Angeles vs-Colorado: Avalanche (Crawford's last game?)

Washington vs-Ottawa : Senators. (Tonight's Lock)

Boston vs- Atlanta : Thrashers

Buffalo vs-Pittsburgh : Penguins

Detroit vs-Phoenix : RedWings

Friday, December 28, 2007

Time Running Out?

1) There are clearly 2 coaches in the NHL whom this refrain applies at the moment. LA's Marc Crawford, and Tampa bay's John Tortorella. Both teams are mired in a month+ long slumps that has both teams at or near the bottom of their respective conferences.

2) For LA, they have had that distinction for most of the season. Crawford has been on our radar as vulnerable even before the season began as one can read here: They got off to a slow start and other than a brief spurt in early November, have been either bad or down right awful all season. Right now they are mired in a 1-9 string that SHOULD be the last straw for Dean Lombardi. The Kings and Lombardi admittedly screwed up this off season by not improving their goaltending situation, but with their roster they should be better than they are. Therefore we believe a change is needed!

3) As for Tampa Bay, they have been plagued all season long by inept goaltending. As one broadcaster bemusedly asked last night, "How long until 'Mount Tortorella' erupts?" His in reference to yet another Tampa Bay loss with less than stellar goaltending. The Lightning were hardly picked to win a Cup this season, but many thought they were at least decent enough to be a playoff contender. Like the Kings some blame needs to be spread to jay Feaster for not improving his goaltending. Most saw that as a clear weakness LAST season, and they did nothing to change this. Recent call up, Finnish youngster Ramo doesn't appear ready and therefore, isn't the answer. despite having one of the leagues best lines in St. Louis and Vinny & Vinny, they are now tied for 14th with the caps in the East. As our contributor here Antz says, "the team is probably tuning out Tortorella" and his frequent rants. Unlike LA, there were preseason expectations in the sunshine state, so their current 2-7-1 slide may cost Johnny T his job.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Most Hyped Meaningless Game Ever!

1) We asked and received permission from FAUXRUMORS to stray from hockey discussion for this one post on American football, The NFL. More specifically the game tomorrow night pitting the 10-5 NY Giants against the 15-0 NE Patriots. The reason for the hype for those who aren't football fans is the Patriots would be the first team to go through the entire regular season without a loss since the 1972 Miami Dolphins who won their 14 games to go undefeated. The 'Fish' went on to win all their playoff games and the Superbowl as well for a perfect 17-0 year. The 'Pats' would need to win tomorrow then sweep the 3 playoff games to become the first ever 19-0 team in NFL history. An epic achievement in this day and age of salary cap, injuries, travel, etc.

2) The rub is that both teams tomorrow have little else to play for. The Giants have clinched a playoff berth and would not improve their playoff position with a win. So other than the 'prestige ' of being the only team to beat the Patriots, the Giants have no other real incentive to play hard, or even play their starters for any length of time and risk injury for the post season next Saturday or Sunday. They could use this as a second bye week if they chose. The Patriots for all the desire to make history also do not benefit from a win. They are assured of home field for their 2 potential playoff games already. Do they risk injury to their bread and butter Brady or Moss, etc for that?

3) So here we will have a game that will probably attain ratings just under Super Bowl range for a game that means squat in the standings. It will have ZERO effect of what transpires in the playoffs. So we ask, why would either team risk it? The Patriots as the Super Bowl favourites have MUCH more to lose, even if they should win this meaningless game. The Giants are unlikely to win the NFC, so expectations are not high either way. Should make for the most interesting meaningless game in NFL history! As non biased sadistic observers we're hoping for injuries a plenty!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mike Richards Gets Early Christmas Gift!

1) Yes, it was Happy Festivis for Mike Richards a couple of weeks ago, as the Philadelphia Flyers announced they have extended the contract of the 23 year old forward to an unprecedented (for a non-Islander) double digit (12) year deal! This just as the league was starting to accept that the Islander's long term deal for Rick DiPietro wasn't as bad/dumb/insane as some called it when first announced last summer, came this stunner.

2) It was a mere 15 months ago when there was almost universal (even from then Flyer GM Bob Clarke) condemnation of Charles Wang's deal for his 25 yr old goaltender. The laughter at the Islander's expense simmered down considerably as DiPietro blossomed into a top 10 goalie last season. At his 4.5 mil salary his is already paid at a rate less than many in that same calibre and in a very short time will likely be vastly underpaid. This was what we alone last fall at FAUXRUMORS said might be the result in our post:

3) Of course at the time the Isles were also saddled with another double digit deal (For perennial underachiever and frequent quitter Alexei Yashin) as well as the circus that surrounded the hiring/firing of Neil Smith in a mere 30 days, the formation of the famous 'round table' of Islander hockey minds headed by the admitted hockey novice Charles Wang. So it was easy to 'pile on' and say this was yet another colossal Islander blunder.

4) However that deal and we also believe this one have merit and significantly differ from the Yashin 10 year deal.
  • Both DiPietro and Carter are vastly younger and have much more upside
  • Yashin had already quit TWICE on the Senators. Showing he was no leader and not someone to whom to entrust that kind of monetary investment.
  • Yashin while surrounded by a great cast never seemed to become the superstar the Senators expected, never excelled in the playoffs and was probably at his apex when the trade/contract was signed. The ladder 2 players as alluded to earlier are not yet near their primes yet are already contributing significantly to their teams'.
  • When Yashin was signed almost all (apparently except Wang and Milbury) knew a salary cap was coming in or about 2004, so any deal that went beyond that point better take that into consideration. The result: Yashin instantly became a salary cap anchor/albatross around the Islanders

5) We don't want our readers to come away from all this discussion that these 2 deals are without risk. Both teams took huge risks that the players would continue to mature/improve or worse yet decline prematurely from their current production. In this case the Islanders took a larger gamble as its been shown in the past(See Jim Carrey/Jose Theodore) a goaltender can go from Vezina winner to AHL/NHL back-up in a short time. That would be the worst case scenario. Paying big bucks for mediocrity hurts!

6) However, these can potentially be mitigated, if that should occur, with AHL demotion. Not preventing the team from paying the player, but alleviating their salary cap hit. Long term injury too is protected under the salary cap system if the player were incapable of playing. All in all we feel that these kind of deals will be more common place in the future as teams try to stay ahead of salary inflation by locking up their best players at earlier ages and to much longer deals. The trick will be to choose the right player to lock in. Mistakes can be costly! In more ways than one (See Yashin)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

1) Firstly we here at FAUXRUMORS want to thank each and every one of our many loyal readers. We wouldn't be here without you!

2) During this hockey hiatus, we at the FAUXRUMORS group, along with the entire NHL, will also be taking a 24-48 hour break. We want to wish all of you and yours the best this holiday season!
Post script: FR2 has delayed their latest post until after the Christmas break.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Picks

1) Well this will be our last pick before the Christmas break. With 11 games on the line we hope to get back over .500(We're right on thatmark as we speak)

St. Louis vs-Boston: Blues

Chicago vs-Ottawa: Senators

Toronto vs-Florida : Panthers

Carolina vs-Tampa Bay Lightning

Montreal vs-Atlanta Canadians

Los Angeles vs-Nashville : Predators (Lock of the Night)

Vancouver vs-Phoenix : Coyotes
2) We're told that FR2 will have their take on the recent Richards contract. That wil likely be our last post until the holiday. Look for it tomorrow or Monday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Trade Freeze!

1) Well the once heralded start of the Christmas trade freeze came and went with a mere whimper. ( THE NHL XMAS TRADE FREEZE PERIOD IS DECEMBER 19-27.)

2) The 'biggest', and really only "deadline deal" that occurred was a swap of marginal players between the Black hawks and Flyers. The Flyers dealt winger Ben Eager to the Chicago Black Hawks in exchange for defenseman Jim Vandermeer. Hardly an Earth shattering deal that will change the balance of power in either conference.

3) What was once one of the more active times of year (behind only the spring trade deadline, and entry draft) the holiday trade freeze has become just another arbitrary deadline that comes and goes with little notice by anyone but team' GM's and some hard core fans/bloggers.

4) The inevitable question would be why? Why is it/has it been so quiet the last few years. The answer(s) are simple:

  • The salary cap: This is the obvious reason for ALL trade inhibition. Teams can no longer simply make a trade without first thinking of the short AND long term salary cap implications. Although the cap has increased substantially(39 to 50 mil) the past 2 seasons, teams are learning the system and reluctant to get too close to the max, if possible, to retain flexibility for a deal later in the season. As we have seen, even then the cap (as well as the earlier trade deadline) helps to retard the number and scope of a trade.

  • League-wide parity: With so many(almost all right now) teams still technically in it for longer periods, almost all GM's are still thinking of this year and not ready to throw in the towel, per se, after 30 or so games and think re-build. So there are very few 'sellers' of quality.

5) Here are some deals that were rumoured to be left on the table that may be revisited again in the New Year.

  • For starters we can tell you the silly Alex Ovechkin trade rumors were just that, silly. They were simply the fabrications(desires-?) of a writer. Our DC sources tell us that while negotiations have stalled, there has been NO attempt by Capital management to trade their resident superstar. Our source went on to say IF that should happen, look for the team to be sold the next day! LOL

  • Bob Gainey, probably in a attempt to see what his worth may be for a later deal, dangled underachieving forward Michael Ryder. One source tells us it was obvious it was a trial balloon as BG 'asked for the moon' for a guy who will be a UFA at years end.

  • We are told that Chicago attempted to deal perennial underachieving LW, Sergei Samsonov, we're told there were no takers but quite a few giggles on the other end of the phone line.

  • Edmonton thought they had a deal in place to send Raffi Torres to an "Eastern Conference Club" before his latest set back. A knee sprain. We're told that team may revisit the deal once Raffi is back and playing healthy.

  • Toronto attempted to see if there were any cheap defensemen available as Bryan McCabe appears to be out 2 months. With their cap issues it seems that anyone they traded for would be only marginally better than what they could promote from the Marlies

  • Our west coast source tells us that we've probably seen the last trade by the Ducks for a while. Perhaps at the deadline, but Burke wants to stop any further roster shuffling to see if what they have is enough to get back to the level of last season. We read that as its likely we''ll see a return of Teemu Selanne. probbaly by late January!

  • That ever persistent rumor that the Penguins are in contact with the agent of former Panther, Star, Blackhawk goalie Ed Belfour persist. Especially with the recent injury to M-A Fleury. The pens don't want to fall out of contention during his recovery and don't feel Sabourin can handle the starting role just yet.

  • The Flyers though not offering any big names this time around are going to be active before the February deadline we're told. Either Jeff Carter or R.J. Umberger our source tells us may be playing in a new uniform once the deadline passes. Who the Broadstreet bullies want in return will depend on the need at the time of the deal. There will be quite a few potential buyers as those 2 are young with plenty of upside

6) These were a few of the stories we were following the last week or so. If any seem to be getting close to fruition we of course will let all our loyal readers in on the rumor as we hear them. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Your Guess is Probably Better Than Mine

Antz' attempt to rebound from a really sub-par past performance... Besides, I haven't predicted without Faux, so here goes:

Ottawa v. Boston - Senators
Pittsburgh v. NY Rangers - Rangers
Tampa Bay v. Atlanta - Thrashers
Florida v. Montreal - Canadiens
Dallas v. Edmonton - Stars
Anaheim v. San Jose' - Sharks
Toronto v. Carolina - Hurricanes
Phoenix v. Philly - Flyers
Calgary v. Columbus - Flames
Nashville v. Minnesota - Wild
New Jersey v. Vancouver - Devils

Monday, December 17, 2007

December Power Rankings

1) Here is our latest Edition of the FAUXRUMORS Power Rankings. We will continue to only do this monthly. Any sooner in our opinion wouldn't give a full view of any possible trends. Anyway here is today's Edition. Number in parentheses is last month's ranking:

1 Detroit Red Wing (2)- The Red Wing have continued their steady excellence with by far the best record in the NHL to date. Winning regularly at The Joe as well as away from Detroit. As always, the key to their continued success will be how their veteran roster holds up.

2 San Jose Shark-(7) Have continued their amazing road record. If they start to win regularly at the Shark tank, they will soon be #1, They have all talent to be THE team , and we fully expect they'll improve their home record and be one of the contenders throughout the season.

3 Ottawa Senators (1)- The Senators started off hot and have finally hit a bit of a rough patch recently. Still the best team in the East, yet seem to be missing something to give us at FR2 the feeling that they are a legit Cup threat. Perhaps its because we're not sold on them in goal.

4 Dallas Star-(21) Make the 2nd biggest positive move of any team this rankings. They continue to prove many prognosticators(including us) wrong with their strong play. Since the Armstrong dismissal they have been record wise the best team in the NHL. It will be interesting to see if they can continue this pace.

5 NJ Devils-(24) Made THE biggest move upward of any team. Left for dead by many. We even called for Sutter's dismissal, the Devils have been one of the best teams in the east the past month. Propelled into 1st place in the competitive Atlantic. No team with Brodeur can ever be over looked!

6 Minnesota Wild-(12) Move up 6 spots. After starting off on fire, they abruptly came back to the pack, but have turned back up the throttle again . Injuries hurt them on offense last month, but they are more healthy and playing solid hockey once again, in 1st place in the tough NW.

7 Boston Bruins- (13) Have risen 6 spots, and continue to generally play good hockey for Julian. Even with goaltending injuries(Fernandez likely out for the year) are playing very good hockey in the very competitive NE division. Looks like these bears are for real!

8 Carolina Hurricanes (3)- The 'Canes have struggled of late with consistency. Looking like a contender one night and a pretender the next. dropping the boys from Tobacco Road 5 spots in our rankings. The SE division again seems to be weak which is probably, helping the boys from Carolina pad their win totals a bit.

9 Vancouver Canuck-(18) Gained significantly in this months rankings. Up 9 positions. Fighting for 1st in the NW. If they could somehow play better on home ice they'd be tough to fight off for the title.

10 Pittsburgh Penguins- (25) No team with the reigning MVP can be over looked or stay down long. The Pens have turned up their game the last few weeks to get back into the playoff race. Much like last year when they had a rough start, but this years team had expectations to live up to. The injury to M-A Fleury may be a blessing as we didn't think he was/is ready to carry this team. can Sabouin, or will they make a deal?

11 Colorado Avalanche(4)-Move down 7 slots with their continued struggles on the road, but thankfully for them continue to be lights out in Denver. If they get their road situation turned around they could be competing for the Conference title, but 5-10 away is not the record of a Cup contender!

12 Calgary Flame-(23) Another team that looked lost a month ago, that now seems ready to compete for a playoff spot if not the division. Despite continued goaltending issues, the Flames continue to score and win. A recent successful road trip propelled them back into the thick of things.

13 Montreal Canadians(5)- Dropping 8 slots, despite the Habs potent PP unit. Their PK has not been as impressive. Its an oddity for a team from Montreal to not have a stellar home record so its hard to look at them and see that .500 home record and wonder why?

14 Toronto Maple Leafs-(17) Though they continue to be inconsistent, they did manage a nice run of games the past month to get back into playoff contention. We still maintain that they will be among several teams that will likely stay on the bubble throughout the season. Vesa Toskala seems like he is now the #1 tender which would explain their recent success.

15 Anaheim Duck-(19) A modest rise for the defending champs. Still they have yet to play consistently well for any stretch so far. With the return of the selfish Scott Niedermayer( many expect the team to solidify. However there has been significant turn over(no thanks in part to Scott) so we wouldn't expect they will suddenly become a top 3 team, but should still be a playoff contender

16 Philadelphia Flyers-(8) Fall 8 more slots as the boys from The City of Brotherly Love return to Earth. Have continued to basically play .500 hockey the last 6 weeks, falling behind the red hot Devils from the top spot in the Atlantic. Still despite that, they appear to be the real deal and shouldn't fall apart and out of the playoff race.

17 St. Louis Blue-(22) Have risen a few spots this month in our rankings, still are playing well above last years team. The recent trade of McDonald for Weight could conceivably push them into playoff contention IF they get the required goaltending. Regardless, things are looking up in St Louis!

18 NY Rangers (6)- After moving up an incredible 19 slots last moth the blue Shirts drop back into the pack, dropping 12 spots with a very poor last 2 weeks or so. Coinciding with the loss of super agitator Sean Avery. Even their team MVP from October/November Lundqvist looked human at times. They may need to make a move or two(a new coach?) and/or get Avery back to get back to their winning ways. Patience is NOT something that the Ranger faithful/brass usually display

19 Buffalo Sabres-(26) They couldn't have gone much lower. Especially with a roster full of young talent and a world class goalie in Miller. They have improved considerably. However, they have yet to fully recover from their early season awful start. They clearly are NOT a Cup contending team at this point, but will probably compete for one of the bottom 3-4 playoff slots by years end.

20 Edmonton Oiler-(27) We originally didn't see them as a playoff team, but not as awful as they started the season either. They move up 7 spots. The return of Souray seems to have helped bolster the team with them playing quite solidly above .500 most of the past month putting them squarely back into the playoff hunt. Not sure they have the horses to stay the course, but shouldn't fall too far back if healthy.

21 Florida Panthers-(29) Haven't exactly been world beaters, but have clawed themselves off the door matt at least. Is this a start toward respectability or a temporary improvement? Vokoun had a very good month helping to carry the team toward the .500 mark. At least temporarily saving Jack Martin's job

22 Columbus Blue Jackets-(12) Move back down 10 levels. Were one of the pleasant surprises here early on. However they appear to be stumbling a bit lately. Still far better than in years past, but certainly not appearing to be playoff ready as of yet. Continued kudos to Hitch to get this bunch playing this well

23 NY Islanders-(10) Move down 13 spots. Have played well below the level they showed the first 6 weeks. They are by no means out of it, but their goal scoring woes could keep them out of the playoffs. DiPietro has continued to be the team MVP, and helped them stay in games they had no business getting points from. The recent Simon incident we would surmise won't help team morale either.

24 Chicago Black Hawk-(14) The youngsters(Towes/Kane) from the Windy City have not been able to maintain their placement above the top 15. Once one of the surprises in the central, they have fallen back into the bottom eschelon with a very poor 2-3 weeks. However with those 2 things are still looking much less bleak in Chicago than in many a year!

25 TB Lightning- (15) The Lighting take a significant slide 10 spots as they have a mediocre to below par month. Their goaltending must have Tortorella pulling his hair out as neither tender seems to be able to stop a beach ball. On the bright side Lecavalier is having an MVP type season, else things would be far worse. Continue to be good at home and God-awful away from the St Pete Times Forum!

26 Nashville Predator-(11) As amazing as they rose 17 slots last time around, they dropped 15 in this months poll. As with the rest of the Central, they had a good November, but poor December thus far. falling back in the standings in the process. basically where we figured they'd reside.

27 Phoenix Coyote-(28)Seemed poised to turn the corner when they obtained former Duck Ilya Bryzgalov and went on a nice spurt. However in the last couple of weeks they have been less than consistent. Looking good one night and poor the next. They don't have oodles of talent up front, so they will need Ilya to play well if they are to salvage their season to respectability. the playoffs are a pipe dream at this point.

28 Atlanta Thrashers-(20) Jumped 10 spots last month, only to back slide 8 slots this time around. Has the post Hartley firing adrenaline push evaporated? How long can Don Waddell last if the team again falls into oblivion? If this team were in a good sports city, we would hear tons of rumblings/rumors of his imminent dismissal. He has been a disaster fro the franchise and needs to get the boot!

29 Washington Capitals-(30) Since last month they have changed coaches. They seem poised to turn their season around and could find themselves significantly higher in our poll if they can. However they have been just a tad over .500 the past 3 or so weeks. A breakout season for defender Mike Green is tempered by the invisibility of forward Alex Semin. Also starting goalie Kolzig may be showing signs of his advanced age. Not good for a team with noone ready to step right into his skates any time soon

30 Los Angeles King-(16) We thought that they had finally turned their season around a month ago, only to fall back into dead last in the league. The Crawford watch is on, and we'd be shocked to see him still as coach if they continue to wallow near or at the bottom of their conference.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stupid is as Stupid Does?!?

1) Anyone who witnessed either first hand or on replay the Chris Simon stomp on Penguin forward, and agitator Jarkko Ruutu has to come away with no other conclusion that Chris Simon should be banned for life from the NHL. We say that as past supporters of the Islander enforcer. Simon has over come a great deal to get to where he is today, but that can not excuse this second incident in a mere 10 months that exposed his apparent selfishness, apparent lack of judgement, and dare we say, stupidity?. To add insult to injury the play resulted in a 5 minute penalty with his team trailing by 1 goal with only 5:50 remaining!

2) For those who haven't seen the play Simon seems to have taken vengeance for some unknown reason against Ruutu right in front of the referees as players from both teams crossed paths at the red line while heading to their respective benches. Simon stuck out his left leg, hooked it around Ruutu's right ankle and pulled his foot out from under him, causing him to drop to all fours. Then, Simon stepped down hard with his left skate blade on Ruutu's right boot before stepping off the ice to the bench.

3) If not for his coach and fellow native Canadian, Ted Nolan, Chris Simon would probably not be playing this season. Our Islander sources tell us that Nolan lobbied hard for Chris. Snow didn't feel his return was warranted. Evidently in this case Nolan was wrong. Last night Simon not only embarrassed himself, and his team, but most especially his coach. If we were the Isles, we would immediately place Simon on waivers. Not waiting for the NHL to levy a likely 20+ game suspension. For what he did here was yet another display or recklessness and as previously mentioned, selfishness/stupidity. Two things that a team like the Islanders, who would need every point to have a playoff chance, don't need.
4) Just a quick note. We're told the FR2 Power Rankings may be delayed a day or so. Apparently there is some nasty weather in their part of the country this weekend! They hope to have it in the next day or so.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stand Up and......Boo!!

1) Since almost everyone has already weighed in on this issue we decided we'd make the definitive post about this. We have been on record early on saying that Scott Niedermayer should not be lauded, but be derided for his selfishness.

2) Most are following the lead of the team and welcoming back Scott like a hero. Sorry folks, we can NOT look at his return in that way. If he took time off for injury/family emergency reasons we would be fine with this. However, we do NOT buy the argument that he was 'exhausted' with all the hockey he's played, etc. Thats total Bullshit!

3) We understand that professional athletes do have to work and are under a lot of pressure to perform, BUT so do every other working person! While a pro athlete works for about 3-4 hours a day for 7-8 months and is treated like a God/celebrity wherever they go the other 99.99% of us work 8-10-12 hour days, 5-6 days a week, for 50+ weeks a year. Regardless of our 'mental fatigue' we are bound to continue to do our work, be responsible to those around us, etc.

4) We also would NOT be as adamant about this position if:

  • Scott didn't have a valid contract. By signing that deal he pledged to play for the Ducks for another 2 years at a very nice salary. The Ducks in turn made a commitment to Niedermayer. In a salary capped NHL the Ducks had to look at this long term commitment in the realm of all other players. As we wrote this past summer when the Oilers made that silly penner-offer-sheet, it was THEN that we felt Scott should have told Burke of his intentions to take a few months off, and not wait until training camp started to do so. Utter selfishness!!

  • Had he retired and walked away(Permanently) from the game. We would have been OK if on June 30th (2 weeks after his last game and plenty of time to 'think it over') Scott informed the Ducks of his intention to retire. This would have given his team time to reassess their short and long term options, and not forced them to assume, and try to fill a hole that may or may not be there in October

  • Then even in September Scott still was allowing his team mates to twist in the wind with his indecision. Nothing creates in house team problems like the uncertainty of who the team leader is, etc. As captain he owed his team more than what he gave them this past summer. As we wrote this past September before training camp.

5) To add insult to injury Scott's return after December 1st placed the Ducks into a precarious position as it relates to the salary cap. We won't try to outline the details as folks with PHD's in accounting are themselves unsure how this works, but you can read about how it affects the ducks. In a nut shell it forces them to shed payroll to accommodate Neidermayer's return. If Scott had returned a month earlier the Ducks apparently would not have had this issue. Thanks Captain! So while others may be giving this overpaid self centered nut case a standing ovation we at FAUXRUMORS will be giving Niedermayer a hearty, well deserved Boo!

6) Note: We at FR2 will have our December Power Rankings-Holiday edition out either later this weekend or at the latest this Monday. Look for it! Also as the trade freeze gets closer (THE NHL'S CHRISTMAS TRADE FREEZE PERIOD IS DECEMBER 19-27, 2007) e will soon be putting out the latest rumors that our sources have been reporting. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In The Cards Tonight?

1) We can't go anywhere but up, right??

New Jersey vs-Boston Bruins

Montreal vs-Philadelphia: Canadians

Ottawa vs-Pittsburgh : Senators

Colorado vs-Nashville : Avalanche

Florida vs-St. Louis : Blues

Phoenix vs-NY Islanders : Islanders

Edmonton vs-Detroit : RedWings

Calgary vs-Tampa Bay : Lightning

Los Angeles vs- Dallas: Stars (Tonight's Lock)

Vancouver vs-San Jose: Sharks

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And the Award Goes To......?

1) We were looking at some of our past posts and realized that we had yet to hear about any of this year's monthly winners of the once heralded "Messier Leadership Award". After all, the Moose was just installed into the hockey HOF, and all, so we should have known who the October and November winners were. Right?

2) To review for some, last season a new 'award' was instituted to be given out monthly, and then also at the end of the year a special year-long Leadership Award would be presented by the Bald One himself. We commented on the messier award last year. Questioning not only the merits of such a nebulous, difficult qualitative measure such as 'leadership', but also naming it after a living individual. Unlike all other trophies/awards which are named after departed former NHL players/builders.

3) Of course the award was more a commercial enterprise(Some say Messier never turned down a chance to make money regardless of how) for a sports drink and NOT an NHL endorsed award. Still, it is surprising how fast this 'award' has faded. Not lasting beyond its inaugural season last year when the season winner (Chris Chelios) wasn't even among the 5 regular season awardees.
NovemberBrendan Shanahan
December Scott Niedermayer
January Sidney Crosby
February Vincent Lecavalier
March Roberto Luongo

4) Anyone want to wager if the dubious award will be prominent in Mr. Chelios' trophy case now that it has been shown clearly to be nothing more than a way for an aged, money hungry former player and soft drink maker to make a few bucks?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why Is Attendance Down?

1) To start this blog entry we feel the need to employ a popular Mark Twain phrase: "There are Lies, damned lies, and there are statistics" by having to again mention the method that the NHL uses to determine it's attendance figures is a joke. They use the number of tickets distributed. Not the number sold, or number of folks who are actually at the game. While the ladder figure would be the ideal, we'd settle on the former to at least gauge what income a team is attaining, and not the number of freebies/comp tickets a team is distributing.

It was one thing to see/hear about empty seats in traditionally poor southern markets or in cities with bad teams, but this season there seems to be a disturbing trend developing; namely good teams in traditionally good US markets are having attendance issues!

2) Gary Bettman can talk about 'cost certainty' till he's blue in the face, but as many had postulated, there are always unintended consequences to a year without hockey then a huge change in the way the league does its finances. In this case, the object of the salary cap was to ostensibly help the smaller markets compete for talent that before the cap would usually go to the larger revenue teams .

3) Through about 1/3 of the season there have to be some disturbing trends that the board of governors have to be worried about. Even with Bettman's silly proclamation that the league set an attendance record for November.

  • Detroit- despite having one of the best/most exciting team to watch, the Wings play before less than a 90% full Joe Lewis Arena. This was supposed to be "Hockey Town", remember? One of the hardest tickets to come by. Not anymore. We don't buy the argument that the local economy is the cause.

  • Colorado- WAS the most difficult ticket to get of a US based hockey team. Not anymore. Gone are the days of consecutive sell outs. Now the team is barely breaking 90%. Shocking. The team hasn't really had any true down years either, They spent $$ to improve, have a good core of young exciting players and have been in contention for their division most of the season.

  • Chicago- An original six team in one of the biggest US markets. Have 2 of the most exciting young players. Have been quite competitive all season. yet they play to the LOWEST % of fans, a dismal almost embarrassing 66.7%! We understand the Wirtz factor of alienating their fans for years, but he's now gone and the team is exciting to watch/in contention

4) Sure, Gary will point to the significant gains made in St. Louis, Carolina, and Pittsburgh, and even New Jersey as examples. However, those numbers should be tempered with a dose of reality:

  • The Blues had to significantly lower ticket prices to re-attract fans back. They also had no where to go but up! It doesn't hurt that they've been playing very well. The same can be said of Carolina. Just a year removed from a Cup, they didn't enjoy much of a honeymoon with poor attendance last season. Its improved this year, but is it a stable following?

  • While the Devils increase is significant, they are playing in a brand new arena. In reality they SHOULD be playing in front of packed/full houses, instead of the relatively embarrassing 85% full figure we are seeing thus far. If they fall from contention will the Rock be even more empty? So much for 'If you build it they will come'!

5) Which leads us to ask, why? What is the cause of this problem? There are many proposed causes. Some say its too early to make such claims, but we say it's not too early to point out that the NHL continues to lose ground in certain U.S. markets, including some long-standing hockey towns. Or that some franchises are badly run and poorly located, a reality that won't be altered by any of the changes meant to make the game more appealing.

  • The Lockout! Yes, its been 2 years since the SECOND Gary Bettman imposed work stoppage, but the after effects are still profound! While the Canadian markets have shown no weakness, and in fact are as strong as ever, the US where hockey was struggling before the second Bettman lockout is on life support. The league gets minimal press coverage. Their national TV contract is with a channel that many can't find/don't have. Even local TV ratings are in the toilet in most areas. In some, the announcers could call each viewer by name if they wanted!

  • The Salary Cap- Yes, the same device we were told would solve all the ills of the game may be contributing to its demise? Some have surmised (and we're not yet sold on the idea) is that the cap prevents some teams from spending money to improve their teams, and as a result fans aren't as excited(especially in big markets) like they were in years past. Certainly, its not yet a sure thing that the cap is helping to financially stabilize the small (non-Canadian) franchises. Which is why we are hearing that expansion is no longer on the front burner. That its possible/likely that we will see a franchise move before anew one is established.

  • Less fighting=less intense rivalries? It was thought that the unbalanced schedule would fire up old rivalries and create newer ones to increase/revive fan interest. The NHL forgot though what helps increase those rivalries, and that is fighting. Nothing gets fans going like an emotion filled contest. What aids in generating emotion? Scoring, yes. A meaningful game, of course. However, NOTHING creates more emotion/intensity than a fight, or the potential for a fight. Next game you go to, watch the crowd during a scrap, and immediately afterwards. The interest in whats going on the ice increases immeasurably, and that can/will carry over.

  • Too many teams! As we have written in the past about how to improve the game we have proposed contraction. There simply are too many franchises in cities that don't deserve them/haven't supported them. Its time to cut bait and move on. We won't list them here again, but if the league moved the bottom 2 teams into Canada where they'd sure to get a huge following(Winnipeg/Hamilton, etc) then contracted another 2 or so teams the overall health of the NHL would improve immeasurably.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

We Take Our Best Shots

1) We try to extend our modest one day streak and stay ahead of the Mendoza line with tonight's 9 contests.

Carolina vs-Montreal: Canadians

Atlanta vs-Washington : Thrasher(Tonight's Lock)

NY Islanders vs-Tampa Bay Lightning

Pittsburgh vs-Vancouver Canuck

Buffalo vs-San Jose Shark

Boston vs-Toronto MapleLeaf

Minnesota vs-Columbus Blue Jacket

Anaheim vs-Nashville Predator

Phoenix vs-Los Angeles Kings

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Team Accountability?

1) With the latest suspension of a Flyers player (Riley Cote) many are clamoring to not only punish the player who commits the foul, but also the coach/GM/ the entire organization. Some of the ideas put forth by some in the print media/blogosphere include:

  • Severely fining/suspending the coach

  • Fining the GM

  • Fining the team

  • Taking away future draft picks

  • Taking away points in the standings

  • Loss of current/future Cap space

2) First to review for those keeping score at home. So far this season the Flyers have been the perpetrators in what seems to be an inordinate number of questionable/dirty incidents that have resulted in various suspensions. To review:

  • Steve Downie- (September 24) hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond during the preseason resulted in a 20 game ban. Downie is dispatched to the minors to 'serve his suspension.

  • Jesse Boulerice- (October 10) cross-checking Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler in the head getting him a 25 game ban. Later released by the team.

  • Randy Jones- (October 27) Hits Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron with a hit from behind that very well could end his NHL career. Jones received a mere 2 games.

  • Scott Hartnell (November 25) came across the ice to hit defenseman Andrew Alberts with a head shot that resulted in a 2 game suspension

  • Riley Cote- (December 1) with a high head shot to Stars defenceman Matt Niskanen resulting in a 3 game 'rest'

3) On one hand one can look at these as a trend. That the coach and organization must be saying something to their players as a whole to have such a rash of incidents to one team over such a short time. On the other they could be looked at individually and see what may have provoked/caused each, who was the culprit, and the intent if any. See if there is any commonality with the 5 plays in question. Then ask if this was an institutional issue, why would the Flyers as a team want to take such a course?

4) Ironically the worst of the incidents, the Jones hit on Bergeron, was probably the least as far as premeditated intent to injure. It was more careless than sinister. Downie and Boulerice have checkered histories that should not make it surprising that they would be involved in such a play. If neither ever played another shift no one would care/notice. Hartnell has no such 'rep'. He simply made a bad decision. Its hard to fathom that he was instructed to do what he did there. Cote is a tough guy/goon trying to make a name in the league and went over the edge as a result. Unlikely he was under orders from the team. Jesse Boulerice, the worst(most blentently trying to hurt the opposition) offender and the team promptly released him after the incident

5) Now, before the anticipated backlash starts, we are going to go on record to say we are NOT fans of the Flyers and their organization. We merely hate it when the media gets into a feeding frenzy like here and tries to link everything together into some kind of conspiracy where there is no evidence one exists. We also have no issue if the NHL wants to have rules in place that fines more than players for such incidents. As we listed in our post crime-and-punishment.

6) However we object to the apparent de-facto rules changes that Gary Bettman seems to be doing with Philadelphia now. We can find no precedent in the NHL rule book that allows the commissioner/league to link separate incidents together and suddenly fine/suspend a coach/GM/team. Individually that has occurred, but never because one team had a 'rash of suspensions/separate incidents. Some severe some more mild.

7)If they want to change the rules, thats fine, do so in the correct manner; at the GM's/ownership meetings. Set firm outlines of what teams and players can expect. There is entirely too much arbitrariness in the punishment process NOW. Imagine if the league starts to levy fines/suspensions to non involved parties(coach/GM) and/or take cap space/points away, etc.? Meanwhile what do the Flyers do now that they are under 'Double Secret Probation from Dean Bettman? Worry every time they throw a check or drop the gloves? Not knowing what may happen now that the league microscope is upon them. There has to be a better way Gary. This current system is broken!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Back To Our Winning Ways?

1) We try to get back on our winning ways tonight with 10 games up for grabs:

Boston vs-New Jersey : Devils

Colorado vs-Columbus : Blue Jackets

San Jose vs-Dallas : Star

Los Angeles vs-Phoenix: Coyote

NY Islanders vs-Atlanta: Thrashers

Ottawa vs-Florida : Senators (Tonight's Lock)

Vancouver vs-Chicago: Blackhawk

Pittsburgh vs-Edmonton: Oilers

Buffalo vs-Anaheim: Sabres

Monday, December 3, 2007

Was the Price Right?

1) The link above is to a very interesting piece done by spector at how the big/high priced free agents (unrestricted as well as restricted as there is less of a difference these days)are faring thus far. He lists the guys who signed the megabucks this past off season and see how they are doing/project their final totals then decides if they are worth it.

2) What we find interesting is how predictable the vast majority are doing thus far. We decided to go through his list add some of our own and make our own commentary:

3) For example these players are playing at or below previous years:

  • Scott Gomez- Got off to a slow start(as the rest of the Rangers did). However, as we mentioned when he was signed Scott is a gifted player for sure, BUT he has never been a goal scorer. His current pace of about 60 points would be only slightly under an average season for Scott, regardless of the 10 million dollar salary.

  • Keith Tkachuk- One of our least favourite players. We feel he has stolen money from teams the last few years. He again(see Bertuzzi) somehow managed to convince a GM that he deserved big money. This time the Blues (after trading him to the Thrashers) got him back over the summer(as we predicted) fora 2 year 8 mil deal. Unlike Bertuzzi though so far at least Keith is earning at least part of that money. projecting a 20 goal/70 point season would make the Blues outlay appropriate. But we still dislike him nonetheless

  • Thomas Vanek- Along with Dustin Penner won the NHL's version of Lotto when Kevin Lowe made his offer sheet for the Austrian forward. The pressure is on Thomas and thus far he hasn't lived up to the 7+ mil cap hit the Sabres were 'forced' to accept. He is on pace for a decent season with 25 goals 60 points, but far from what his contract makes him need to be.

  • Scott Hannan- Was one of the more sought after defensemen this past off season. Many teams coveted the former Shark for his ability to log a ton of minutes, his grit and and leadership qualities. The Av's thought they won the sweepstakes, throwing 4 years, 18 mil at the B.C. native. Thus far they aren't getting their monies's worth. A 'plus player 'through out his career, he is on pace to finish with an abysmal -43!

  • Chris Drury- The Trumbull, CT native was another of the more sought out forwards this past summer. Like Gomez, perhaps teams over estimated his offensive ability as Drury, despite his post season heroics, has never breached the 70 point plateau. he makes a good 2nd line center, but a 7 mil/year cap hit was over payment in our opinion (Unless of course he leads the Blueshirts to a Cup!)

  • J-S Giguere- The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner(2003), and current Stanley Cup winning goalie was resigned by the Ducks for a 4 year 24 mil deal over the summer. No one can fault the team for placing their faith in Giggy. Unfortunately thus far(along with the rest of the team) he hasn't been playing like champs. His GAA and Save % are only mediocre. Given his past, we wouldn't be worried.

  • Mathieu Schneider- The NY,NY native has been one of the more productive offensive defenseman to play and not be noticed in the league. This year, when he plays he is productive/earning his big cash deal, but his age may be showing with a series of injuries which have limited his games played thus far.

  • Ryan Smyth- The NY Islanders did all they could to land the wing; having traded some decent assets to get him at the deadline. However Ryan chose(as we at FAUXRUMORS told all prior to his decision) to stay in the west where the Banff Alberta native felt most comfortable. Like Drury his offense is decent, but unspectacular. The Avs(and Isles) also coveted his intangibles that led to his nick-name of 'Captain Canada'. Also, like Drury, the jury will be out until the post season to see if the investment (6.25 cap hit) was appropriate.

  • Scott Hartnell- This one falls under the heading of 'What were the Flyers thinking!' The guy is a 3rd line forward. Thus far he's playing well(for a 3rd line forward) not a guy making 4.2 mil! He's on pace to accumulate an unimpressive 10 gaols and 28 points. Of course Flyer brass will point toward their improvement as a team and give Scott some of the credit for bolstering the roster. We would not have given him 6 years with his concussion history either!

  • Jason Blake- The former Islander spark plug seemed to come into his own on the Island. Putting up career year stats in 2006-07 of 40 goals. The Isles tried to resign him, but Blake wanted an additional year which the Leafs obliged (4 year 12 mil) for the 34 year old Minnesota native. So far he hasn't lived up to the advanced billing; projecting for an underwhelming 10 goals. However, no one could have predicted his health issue(Leukemia). We wish him the best!

  • Kimmo Timonen- The 32 year old Finn defenseman was another(along with Hartnell) of the pilfered Predators that the Flyers acquired last summer when the Nashville ownership problems caused them to cut payroll. Also like Hartnell the Flyers gave him a 6 year deal worth about 40 mil! Even with his numbers(projected to be 46 points) he is NOT worth that kind of out lay! His +/- also are NOT impressive!

  • Dustin Penner- Another off season lottery winner. The 25 year old projected power forward had a very nice rookie season with the Ducks; Combining with fellow youngsters Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry they formed a formidable power trio. However in our opinion he was undeserving of the 4.2 mil/year 5 year deal a desperate Kevin Lowe gave him. Dustin is having a typical sophomore season that under different circumstances would seem OK, but for his salary he is underachieving.

  • Todd Bertuzzi- Five years removed from his last productive season(Injuries and poor play) Big # 44 somehow convinced Brian Burke to give him a 2 year, 8 mil deal. So far Todd is producing as expected. Garnering an unimpressive 1 goal/6 pts in 14 games. Looking like one of the bigger busts this off season.

  • Michael Nylander- Will probably come close to what most expected production-wise, but that minus jumps out like a sore toe! He may rack up 76 or so pints(he had 83 last year) but he also projects a minus 36! Also, thus far he hasn't been the answer to the Caps need for a true #1 center for Ovechkin. To his credit, he has been a mentor to rookie, and fellow Swede Nick Backstrom; becoming Nylander's 7th child some have written. However, the Caps made a big investment in money and years(4 years 20 mil) Perhaps they expected more/too much?

4) Some have(thus far) earned their dough:

  • Pavel Datsyuk- The Redwings rewarded the 28 year old Russian center with a contract extension last April that pays him 6.7 mil for the next 7 years. So far the investment seems to be paying dividends. Along with Zetterburg, they have propelled the Detroit Sextent to the top of the league. He is on pace for 30 goals and 90 points, possibly eclipsing his production(87 points) the prior 2 seasons.

  • Danielle Briere- Many, including us at FAUXRUMORS have been Briere detractors in the past. However the diminutive center from Gatineau, Que is surprising many. We didn't see him living up to the big contract(8 years 6.5 mil cap hit)the Flyers gave him this summer. Coming off a career year is always a gamble, however Danielle may surpass last years numbers. he is on track for a 40 goal, 100 point season. making him worth every penny. Of course some will say that if the Flyers fail to win in the post season it makes that moot.

  • Mats Sundin- May provide leadership, but thus far his production is what got him noticed by us. Has really been well ahead of what most expected. The 36 year old Swede is on pace for his best season, offensive-wise since 1993 when he garnered 114 points for the Nordiques. Even if he tails off a bit he is on his way to earn the 5.5 mil he is currently receiving.

  • Paul Kariya- Another player enjoying a bit of a renaissance. He was once one of the top players in the NHL. Though he has tailed off a bit the last few years he still has been productive. His days of 50 goals and 100 points may be over, but 30 goals 90 points is possible. Helping the resurgent Blues regain some respectability. It remains to be seen if the Blues investment for 2 additional years(6 mil/per) for the 33 yr old pays off. Thus far, it has.

  • Sidney Crosby- The Penguins made a VERY wise decision to extend the contract of their resident superstar as early as they did. The deal kicks in after this year, but will pay him 8.7 (no coincidence) for the following 5 years. If Sid had wanted, or if the Pens had waited(see caps and Ovechkin) he could have easily garnered as much as 11 mil/year(assuming the salary cap goes up again next summer). However they came together early, and Sid decided to place the team first and take the home town discount to leave room for others. On pace for another 120+point campaign.

  • Brian Rafalski- Before Niedermayer left the Devils he was a highly underrated offensive type defenseman. He was signed by the Redwings this summer to replace the departed Schneider. So far the Wings don't miss Matthieu one bit with Brian on pace to have a career year; Possibly as much as 70 points for the high flying Detroit team. Making the 6 year 30 mil deal for the Michigan native look very good so far.

  • Andrei Markov- Habs fans forgetting quickly about the 'loss' of Sheldon Souray. Andrei even has a decent minus(projected to -25) to mimic the departed former Canadian defender. The Russian will need to tighten up his defensive game to make the 4 year investment look good, but most Habs fans would still prefer him to Souray

  • Roman Hamrlik- May not be putting up huge offensive numbers, but has been the quieter/steadier of the big three Hab defenders thus far. The 33 year old Czech is now far removed from being the top draft pick overall by the Lightning in 1992. He never developed into the Czech version of Bobby Orr some stated at his draft, he has quietly become a steady two-way defender. Much more reliable in his own end now then in years past. Making the Habs investment of 4 years looking like a sound choice.

  • Sheldon Souray- Incomplete. Having missed most of the year its unknown what a difference(positive or negative) his presence would have made. We should know soon.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Today's Puck-Picks

1) We go into today's games trying to end our recent skid. Where once .600 looked possible, now we're trying to stay above the Mendoza line(.500)

NY Rangers vs-Ottawa: Rangers

Phoenix vs-Detroit: Red Wings

Atlantavs- NY Islanders: Islanders

Pittsburgh vs-Toronto: Penguins

Boston vs-Tampa Bay: Lightning

Columbus vs-Calgary : Flame

Carolina vs-Buffalo: Sabres

Nashville vs-Montreal : Canadiens

Dallas vs-Philadelphia: Flyers

Washington vs-Florida: Panther (Tonights Lock)

Chicago vs-St. Louis: Blue

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Tad Too Soon?

1) We are barely past the quarter-pole and we already have been subjected to a series of articles listing projected NHL Individual award winners. We were at first amused when we read about this nonsense over at our friends at dearlordstanley . He sites ESPN's George Johnson's article here where he makes his picks

2) Now we see there are others getting in on the act Here. We probably shouldn't have been surprised to see an ESPN writer come out with such a story. Seeing that Linda Cohn did much the same thing last year espn.nhl columns.

3) The question that 'Lord' correctly asks and we also ask is why? Is there such an incredible dearth of NHL news out there right now that they feel compelled to assemble this? Its one thing for a hockey blog to discuss such topics, but quite another when professional writers for one of the biggest sports enterprises to dispense such meaningless drivel.

4) We can understand doing this exercise in the preseason to go along with the other meaningless(usually wrong) predictions, or even at the midway point when half the games have been decided and stats are more meaningful, but to come up with who should receive a season long individual award based upon a handful of games played is the epitome of lame.

5) OK, being that everyone else seems to be doing this, here are our list of award winners:

Hart: Kevin Lowe: Yes, he's not a player, but he's done more to get his team where it is today than anyone who is skaing in the NHL!

Norris:Rory Fitzpatrick- Who cares if he's having a bad year. He got screwed out of an All Star selection by Bettman last year!

Calder:Adam Burish: Sure he's scoreless in 24 games, and a minus 8, but his 43 pims show he's doing his job well!

Vezina:Andrew Raycroft. We understand he has a crappy save % and astronomical GAA, but he has to put up with that Toronto media day after day!

Selke:Steve McCarthy A -13 in only 12 games is no easy feat!

LadyByng: The Flyers get the award as a team!

Jack Adams: Glen Hanlon. We predict he doesn't lose another game all year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today's Choices

1) We attempt to try to rebound from our recent funk with tonight's 9 games.

St. Louis vs-Buffalo: Sabres

Dallas vs-New Jersey: Stars

Florida vs-Washington : Capitals

Tampa Bay vs-Chicago: Black Hawks

Los Angeles vs-San Jose: Sharks

Philadelphia vs-Carolina : Hurricane

Ottawa vs-NY Islanders : Senators

Phoenix vs-Minnesota : Coyotes

Edmonton vs-Colorado: Avalanche (Tonight's Lock)

Monday, November 26, 2007

All-Prick/Most Hated Teams

1) With the recent bout between two of the games most despised players, The NY Rangers' Sean Avery, and Toronto maple Leafs Darcy Fucker we at FR2 decided that perhaps we'd throw out our current "All-Prick team". The starting 6 players that were jerks, dirty, or just plane assholes/disliked by the rest of the NHL.

First team

Center: Sean Avery

  • Right Wing: Chris Neil

  • Left Wing: Darcy Fucker

  • Defense: Rob Blake

  • Defense: Chris Pronger

  • Goalie: Dominick (The Dominator) Hasek

  • Head Coach: (Iron)Mike Keenan

  • GM: Brian Burke

Second team:

  • Center: Alex Ya$hin

  • Right wing: Jarkko Ruutu

  • Left wing: Todd Bertuzzi

  • Defense:Chris Chelios

  • Defense: Dion Phaneuf

  • Goalie: Ed Belfour

  • Head Coach: John Tortorella

  • GM:Kevin Lowe

2) We also thought that we'd look into an 'All-Time Prick/Most Hated Squad'. Of course we welcome your opinions. As with most "All -time" teams there is a generational bias that's inevitable.

    First team

  • Center: Bobby Clarke

  • Right wing: Chris( Knuckles)Nilan

  • Left Wing: Dave (Tiger) Williams

  • Defense: Marty McSorley

  • Defense: Dave Manson

  • Goalie: (Battling)Billy Smith

  • Head Coach: Don (Grapes) Cherry

  • GM: Bob (No longer call be Bobby) Clarke

Second Team

  • Center: Dale Hunter

  • Right wing: Claude Lemieux

  • Left wing: Ken (The Rat) Linseman

  • Defense: Dennis Potvin

  • Defense: Randy Holt

  • Goalie: Ron Hextall

  • Head Coach: Fred (The Fog) Shero

  • GM: Harry Sinden
Honorary mention to: Mark Messier, Stan Jonathan, Dino Ciccarelli, Matthew Barnaby, Dave Schultz, Terry O'Reilly, Tie Domi, Eddie Shore, Esa Tikkinen, Ted Lindsey and of course, Gordie Howe. Feel free to add your picks!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Todays Games

1) We take on tonight's 12 big games hoping to get back on track to our previous winning ways. No gimmes on the docket this evening, but we'll give our best shot as well as our usually safe 'Lock of the Night!'

Buffalo vs-Montreal : Canadians

Philadelphia vs-Ottawa : Senators (Lock of the Night!)

Carolina vs-Washington: Capitals

Detroit vs- Columbus : Red Wings

New Jersey vs-Tampa Bay Lightning

Chicago vs-Edmonton Oilers

Boston vs-NY Islanders Islanders

Calgary vs-Colorado Avalanche

Toronto vs-Phoenix: Coyotes

Atlanta vs-Pittsburgh Penguins

Minnesota vs-Nashville: Predators

Los Angeles vs-San Jose : Sharks

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caps (Finally) Make Move!

1) In a move that almost everyone in the hockey world expected, the Washington Capitals were the second team to fire their head coach this season. Ironically the team(Atlanta) that was first, put the final nail into Hanlon's proverbial coffin with a resounding win at Verizon Center last evening.

2) Even before last night's game it was clear that a change was going to be needed. Though the players were publicly supportive of their now former coach, very few in recent weeks have put their words into action. The caps signature all out effort on every shift has been missing this year, and most clearly the past month. Last night was no exception, as the Thrashers seemed to move the puck at will, and the caps seemed to almost just be going through the motions. Even Alex Ovechkin, one of the few Caps who has not looked like he's quit, was off his game despite scoring his 14th for the teams only tally.

3) Those close to the team could sense that they were almost expecting/wanting this change to come. The usually jovial sextet's locker room had become a veritable morgue in recent weeks. The team as everyone expected promoted Hershey's(The team's AHL affiliate) head coach, Bruce Boudreau. It would also seem that he may be GM's George McPhee's final hire if the team doesn't significantly turn things around. Owner Ted Leonsis had been a strong supporter of the rebuild, which has been the teams position for the previous 2 1/2 seasons, but prior to this year Ted pronounced to fans on his blog that "The rebuilding is over". Meaning its time to not only show individual improvement, but for the team to show it in the standings. Thus far it has not. It would seem the playoffs for this season are a pipe dream. For the team to get to the anticipated necessary 92 points to get in, they'd have to go 39-21-1, a .639 clip in their last 61 games.

4) As was mentioned here this past Monday Hanlon was only one of several coaches who's jobs are on the line. We should add to that list Pittsburgh's Michel Therrien. Before the season we didn't think he was vilnerable, but so far the Pens have significantly underachieved, and Shero may not want to wait for the team to turn things around. Michel probably has only a few weeks at most left to show that the team is ready to rebound.

5) We want to wish our readers across the U.S. a very Happy ThankGiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Turkey Day Picks

1) For our readers in the States, tomorrow is Thanks Giving. We want to wish all our readers a wonderful holiday. Before we get there though we have to pick tonight's 11 scheduled contests.

2) Philadelphia vs-Carolina: Hurricane

Atlanta vs-Washington : Thrasher

Ottawa vs-Buffalo : Sabres

New Jersey vs-Pittsburgh : Penguin

Florida vs-Columbus: Blue Jackets( Tonight's Lock!)

St. Louis vs-Detroit: Red Wings

NY Rangers vs-Tampa Bay: Rangers

Anaheim vs-Dallas: Ducks
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