Saturday, June 30, 2007

T-Minus 12 Hours......

1) OK, here goes. Our final post before the flood gates open up tomorrow at noon(Eastern). Here is a list(not complete) of where we are hearing each is most likely to end up. Unlike trade rumors, there are many times multiple teams in the running for these guys. With the (allowed) tampering, under the radar negotiations have already taken place for quite a few of these guys so be prepared to start to hear about signings not long after the period commences at noon tomorrow!
2) We'll start with the big names first:
  • Daniel Briere- For one, as we have stated repeatedly he's NOT going to Montreal. Not staying in Buffalo. So where? The teams most interested seem to come from out west. Colorado, SJ or LA. What needs to be asked(as it can for many of these guys) is he worth a 7 year, 50 million dollar deal? In our opinion, NO!
  • Chris Drury- The Sabres will work hard to keep him in Buffalo. If that doesn't work out the same teams that are looking at Briere would have the most interest, with a return to the Avs the most possible. For a 5 year 30 million dollar deal. A lot for a real # 2 center!
  • Sheldon Souray- He should give Kimmo Timonen a % of his deal! Once the former Pred signed on the dotted line in Phillie for 6.2 mil it set Souray's price well above what the Habs offered(4.5) As the only real top offensive d-man available, it will be a sellers market. As such Sheldon will get big bucks! The Caps have the cap space and the need for what he brings. If they don't step up and(overpay) other teams like the Islanders/Wings/BlackHawks/ will be in play. He is NOT worth the 6+ mil he WILL get from one of these teams.
  • Scott Gomez- He will NOT be back in NJ! In fact a return to the Eastern time zone is doubtful. Like the other big name UFA centers available, the teams we keep hearing about are the Kings and Avs. The Kings are most interested in Gomez of the 'big 4.' 'Gomer' wants to go west and the fit seems to work. He is NOT worth the 7 million he will get. He has scored 20 goals once. Another 2nd line center who'll get 1st line center money. Will he blossom once he's set free of NJ's defense first philosophy? Its a gamble many will take/pay for.
  • Ryan Smyth- The Isles coveted him so much they made an absurd 8 year offer to retain him. Its become obvious the only way Smyth stays on the Island is if no other team can come close to matching that offer. Assured, the money will be there from several other suitors. Most from the Western Conference where Smyth would prefer to end up. The Leafs will make a huge push, and make an offer for Captain Canada. However, we are hearing that a return to Edmonton is NOT out of the question. Is his grit/leadership skills, etc worth 7 mil/year?
  • Jason Blake- The Isles had a chance to lock him up, but figured they'd need to save that cap space for a Smyth deal. Now it looks like they will lose both. Blake will get considerable interest from the Wild, but also the Ducks who coveted his speed and thought they had a trade to acquire him at the deadline. Will largely depend upon cap space in Disneyland if they are a bidder, else the Wild, Canucks or Flyers may be in play.
  • Brian Rafalski- After Souray, the best offensive defensemen available. However he is a much better all around defensemen that Souray. He will get 5 year/15 mil offers from SJ/Detroit or Montreal. The Oilers may also get in to the mix.
  • Michael Nylander- Many, including FAUXRUMORS thought this was a slam dunk Ranger resigning. However Nylander cleverly held out to see what the market would say he was worth. The Rangers offered a little over 3.5, but with the anticipated deals of over 6-7 for the top UFA centers, Michael is now more in line for 5+ mil given his decent stats and good play-off run. He will probably still play in Gothem, but not at the discount Sather thought he'd have. If that falls through look for him to land in one of the cities that fail to get one of the top 4.
  • Michal Handzus- Originally thought to be a possible bargain(being he's coming off ACL surgery), but we're hearing that teams may take a chance on him, and elevate his asking price above the 3 mil we originally thought. The Hawks will work hard to retain him, but don't be surprised to see a return to Philly where 'Zeus' had his best seasons. Also the Blues may place a bid.
  • Billy Guerin- Clearly has lost a step. His stock may have taken a bit of a hit with his invisible playoff performance, but his regular season was solid. A return to the Blues is possible, as is a return to Dallas where he was well liked by the fans.
  • Dainus Zubrus- Had a solid, if unspectacular playoff with the Sabres after a late season trade from the Caps. He was dealt after he refused the Cap's contract offer. Believing he'd get a 5 year/25 mil offer on the UFA market. Before the Hartnell signing we felt that unlikely, now its possible. A return to DC isn't out of the question if his contract request was reduced slightly to a modest 4 year 15 mil. If not there the Isles have shown interest in the Lithuanian.
  • Roman Hamrlik- With the Flames deal of Aucoin the resigning of Roman became less likely. Still has decent skills, and is under appreciated for his defense. He will get plenty of interest as he would be a good addition for a team looking to add a top 4 blue liner. The Kings have shown interest, as have many SE division(other than TB) teams. He will get a 3 year 12+ mil deal.
  • Paul Kariya- The 'Jap-Kid' isn't a top 5 NHL-er anymore, but he still is dangerous and would make a good addition to any offensively starved team. Originally we believed the Preds would certainly retain him, but now with ownership in flux, its less likely. The Canucks have their sites set on their home town boy, but will they have the cap room to make the needed 3 year/15+ mil offer to get him there? If not them then the Caps, Habs and Isles have shown limited interest if other options fail.
  • Peter Forsberg- First the obvious-He's NOT staying in Nashville. After that the rumors are all over the place. He's only 33, but damaged goods none the less. Does he even want to play anymore? Is his foot OK? We don't have any Swedish sources so right now we're in the dark. Last winter our source kept telling us that Peter would come back to the NHL ONLY with the Flyers. As we haven't been told otherwise we will stick to that, but look for the inevitable Colorado rumors to pop up(if they haven't already)
  • Todd Bertuzzi- Looked decent in spurts (when healthy) for the Wings. They want him back BUT only at the right price. T-Bert is NOT worth the 5 million he 'stole' from Florida last season. If Detroit falls out of the running the Maple Leafs, who seem to love old, over the hill power forwards,(see Lindros) will make an offer.
  • Keith Tkachuk- As we were told all spring, he would return to St.Louis. Its all but assured he will. Too bad for Blues fans as we don't think they can/will ever win as long as the Massachusetts perennial underachiever is on the team.(Can you tell we're not big fans of Keith?) LOL

3) There are several other notable UFAs available. We will reference our 4 UFA analysis posts made a few weeks back. As we mentioned from the outset, the UFA signing period differs significantly from the trade deadline. Here as many as 10+ teams may be interested in the same player and make offers for his services. Additionally, one signing can cause teams to reevaluate and change/withdraw previous offers. One thing is certain, the next 72 hours will be VERY exciting. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Friday, June 29, 2007

D-Day fast Approaching Here/NHL!

1) Firstly we want to thank our founder, FAUXRUMORS for a great interview piece. It was a great read. Secondly, it appears that this site has again attracted jealous folks who seem intent on its destruction. We have been threatened by the same person(s) that removed this blog in February before the trade deadline. We quickly revived it a week or two later, and tried to take greater safe guards against a recurrence, but Google/blogspot are uninterested in hijacking of this nature. If it does occur we already have taken steps to get back up and running faster, and with all past/old posts saved.

2) Now, for the real fun. Its June 30th. The day before the anticipated free for-all for UFA begins. First, it looks like at least 2 of FAUXRUMORS rumors will come true.
  • Keith Tkachuk back with the Blues. When we did our UFA analysis last month, we had the big underachieving American headed back to the Blues. That looks all but assured.

  • Balsille won't buy the Preds. As predicted here as well, we mentioned that Jim was just being used(willingly) to help the Preds either get a better arena deal in Nashville OR a better price from another source.

3) It appears our prediction that the Isles will make a huge offer/push for impending UFA Ryan Smyth is also confirmed with several published reports stating the Isles have made the center a front loaded 8 year deal worth more than 50 million! If Smyth doesn't sign it before tomorrow at noon, we believe there will be several suitors. As we have said all along. Smyth will get a nice pay cheque regardless where he signs. The main issue with him will be comfort. Unless the Isles can convince him that LI is the place to be, we believe Captain Canada will move back to where he is most comfortable; The Western Conference.

4) The Sabres apparently have cut bait with Briere. making him an offer he HAD to refuse. It was an offer that gave him NO increase from last year. Clearly Daniel will get much better offers from multiple teams tomorrow. One teams we do NOT believe is a possible destination despite the inevitable reports, are the Habs. Briere does NOT want to play in Quebec and deal with all the nonsense that Franco-phone players are subjected to there. As we postulated back last month, the Sabres will make a strong pitch for Drury, while allowing Briere to move on.

5) The Gomez to the Rangers rumors are also more based upon wishful thinking/writing than actual facts on the ground, as we say. Sure the Rangers would like to add the soon-to-be former Devil, but can they afford him even with the cap set to go to 50 million? Is Gomez even worth the 6-7 million he WILL get from someone? As we stated earlier, the answer is no. Also, 'Gomer' wants to go west! A California team is the most likely scenario we're told.

6) Add to all that, we're hearing the deals that were rumored by us and others to take place at the NHL draft may also occur within the next 72 hours. Once the initial UFA feeding frenzy subsides and GM' see what cap space they have left/what assets they need/want/have to offer, then we will likely see those deals go down. One asst GM told us this morning that 'the next few days will be the busiest they will be all year.' Little sleep will be had by all NHL execs, and many agents for the next week or so. For us at FAUXRUMORS its a great time to be a hockey fan!!

As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Faux Interview:

1) Recently THE FAUXRUMORS Group was contacted to do an interview. Last week we received a rough draft of the question/answers from that interview. Here is that rough draft:

"This past summer before a group of men had an idea to do a hockey rumors blog – just as blogs seemed to be inundating the Internet. The founder and brains behind the operation (who wishes to remain anonymous) had a job with endless travel and a wife and 3 children he didn't see enough of. Ten months later, the men known to thousands of hockey fans on as FAUXRUMORS had become so successful that SportsNet in Canada mentioned them on their trade deadline show. "

I'm fascinated by FAUXRUMORS. I don't believe they have broken even a fraction of the stories they are given credit for by their legion of followers. Faux tells me I'm being unfair, but I believe they have also taken some credit for scoops they didn't break. They also come up with some real goofy stuff that could endanger their cred. Regardless, I marvel at FAUXRUMOR'S success story and they has always come off as such a decent chaps that I can't help but be happy for them. I asked the founder if he was up for a little email Q & A. Faux told me to bring it on.

AH: For starters, where is the "Batcave" where these hockey rumors emerge? Where do you work out of and do you have a staff? Faux: The "Fauxcave" is in a rural suburb, west of D.C When I get up I pull a copy of a Stan Fischler book in my library and a spinning door whisks me to a foggy room with computers and various flashing lights. In all seriousness, we do have a small staff, but we all work out of our homes and thanks to E-mail/IM we communicate throughout the day.

AH: How did you get started? Faux: My friends in and around hockey and I had a chatroom during the lockout where we talked about our frustration of missing hockey, ESPECIALLY the foolishness going on with all these pseudo rumor whores like Eklund saying they seem to know whats going to happen. Meanwhile they know diddly. One day I suggested we create a blog on blogspot where we could put our own thoughts out. We would have to do it anonymously of course because some of the folks were literally risking their lives by telling the truth. I suggested we use the anonymous name "FAUXRUMORS." I had been posting on and off on a HOCKEY message boards for a few years with that name and I thought it would be the perfect guise for the group. They decided that since I had interviewing experience that I would become the voice of FAUXRUMORS here. It was a crazy time last summer, but it was a real testament to the power of hope in times of darkness. We never publicized it but within a few weeks we had hundreds of people reading it, and more and more of hockey's "good people" started coming out of the wood works asking to become 'sources'. What started as 3, grew to 5, then 10, then almost 30 solid league wide sources. That is where many of the contacts we have today were born.

AH: Do you have other jobs? Do you make a living off being FAUXRUMORS? FAUXRUMORS: We all do have other jobs, although sometimes it doesn't feel that way...:) Most of us are financially secure enough that we don't HAVE to work. In fact, the one who calls himself FAUXRUMORS2 is a multi millionaire! We are approaching two hundred thousand unique people who have visited the site, and get thousands of page views per week. So we COULD be making money they tell me, lol. But we didn't get into this for the money. We are a free site and always will be!

AH: Rumors about you include that you are tight with high level people at the Islanders and you have the backing of a major player in the NHL offices in New York. Care to confirm or deny? FAUXRUMORS: We never name names or specific franchises. That is just our "thing" and it continues to enable us to get some better rumors and therefore get some better discussions going. If you knew who we were or who we were talking to you we wouldn't get these quality/accurate rumors. There are people who have a problem with that, and we had our site hacked and disabled by one disgruntled/jealous person(s). This temporarily had us off the air for 2 weeks in late February at the trade deadline. We are now back with increased safe guards against further attacks. Also, blogging is still finding its legs and the rules are hazy, so we have had to sort of set our own rules. To not use a source or our real names and claim that a guy is rumored to be gay is very wrong in our book. The only times we have outed a player/coach was after it was done and we just happened to be the first to report it. We are close with quite a few people at quite a few teams, and the NHL has been amazing to us and the site, probably because they can see that we try and not take the easy way out in sports which is through something negative out there people can complain about.

AH: How do you balance the line of getting good scoops and feeling like maybe you are being used? FAUXRUMORS: With the exception of very few sources, we don't FEEL we are used. We KNOW when we're being used. LOL And it doesn't bother us, because it is guys doing their jobs. Why would someone tell someone else anything that isn't widely known unless they wanted something from us? You hear something and you have to then go and figure out the agenda. Some people are more agenda-driven than others. We're not naive.

AH: Your star rose when you broke many of the late summer signings and trades before almost any other site. You folks have also been lauded for your unique commentary about the game. FAUXRUMORS: The nature of what we do is rumors. We did "break" a few here and there, but that is easier to do on days that aren't trade deadline days. We broke several trades before anyone, Zhitnik to the Flyers for one. We were feeling a bit cocky going into deadline day about breaking trades.When the actual deadline day hit, the hijacking of the site also hit. It was a very dark time for all of us, but we feel we have rebounded and the site is even better than before!

AH: Was that a step back for you? Don't you feel it hurt your credibility by not being there the most inportant day of all rumor days? FAUXRUMORS: It allowed us to re-focus on just rumors and other aspects of the game we may have been overlooking and try to play our game again. We said, And in hunting down what went wrong we solved problems that may have crept up anyway.

AH: You are an amazing success story. What's "the next level" for you guys? FAUXRUMORS: Thanks. That's very kind for you, but WE feel as if we can do much better. We have some fun ideas. But as a wise man once said to me, "You never run out of ideas, you only run out of time and money." : )

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To Expand or Not to Expland?

1) That question is being asked of not only the number of teams, but also the size of the nets! We'll look at each situation separately. Firstly, expansion was vehemently denied by Gary Bettman when asked about this until only recently. It came as a bit of a shock to the media when he took a non-committal view of possible expansion when asked during the playoffs. This was an apparent monumental shift in league policy! Why? Well of course money! Now we're told that miraculously the league has an 'expansion committee'. Guess who heads it? Tim Leiweke, the Governor of the Los Angeles Kings as well as President of the company that owns the rink in Kansas City. Hmmm, what could that mean? LOL

2) Its estimated that a new expansion team would cost the new owners anywhere from 400-500 million for the privilege of becoming the 31st and 32nd teams. That's a possible 1 billion dollars folks, and the kicker is that not a cent would directly go to the owners new 'partners', the players. For the arithmetically challenged that's an easy 33 million for each owner to pocket for doing nothing! If that's not incentive enough, we don't know what is!?!

3) Many will say (probably true) that talent is diluted enough. Adding another team will further erode the already diluted talent. We can't dispute this claim. Many point to the vast 1990's expansion as a big reason that the league suffered from a scoring malaise towards the end of the decade. Teams with large numbers of mediocre players needed to use a 'trap' to succeed. If that is true, then further expansion would seem to be the wrong course.

4) So where would the new teams go? We have heard/read about KC and Vegas repeatedly, BUT our league sources tells FAUXRUMOS that if and when there is new expansion that one team 'will almost certainly be heading north of the border'. The other, probably to a sun belt team west of the Mississippi. KC being the most logical destination due to the arena being ready. "But Faux isn't Jim Balsillie gonna move Nashville to Canada"? Not so fast there folks. We are hearing that Jim may be being used to asst a new lease deal for Nashville, like he did in Pittsburgh in exchange for a new team awarded to him. (He needs this time to build a new arena in Kitchener)

5) Bottom line folks is that the momentum for expansion is building again. We believe it is now inevitable. The only questions are where and when. Has to make one wonder why anyone would sink 400-500 million for a losing proposition? Another of the reasons why we don't believe the league is losing money!

6) Bigger nets? Well, we are hearing that this once crazy idea is gaining momentum among more and more GM's/owners. A secret committee to look into this was set up last year and the designs were recently demonstrated to the board when they last met. The new proposed nets would be about 15% or so larger. It wouldn't be blatantly obvious, but would in theory open up a few holes that the goalie equipment reduction didn't.

7) Scoring was down this season. If one looks at even strength scoring it has NOT increased too much from pre-Bettman lockout levels. Unless they intend to further reduce goalie equipment(pads should go back to 10"!) and we doubt that will happen soon; with refs continuing the supposed crack down on obstruction, and the other rules changes not apparently having the desired effect of increased scoring then the next option is to modify the nets which have been standardized in size since WWI!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Draft 2007: Biggest Winner/Losers!

1) OK, we first will admit that our picks for biggest winners and losers is only an opinion based upon limited knowledge of the players picked and understating that drafting players who are barely 18(or younger) is a crap shoot at best, but we can make some generalizations being that we at FAUXRUMORS have seen/can recall the last 30 or so drafts.

2) The biggest winners:
  • N.Y Rangers- They were way down at the 17th spot. For all intents and purposes they shouldn't have expected to see an impact type player that low. Especially in this 'weak' draft. However, for a myriad of reasons, when Glen Sather, et al stepped up to the mic, Alexi Cherepanov was still available. According to reports:"Aside from Pat Kane, no draft eligible player played the game at as high a level this season". Why was he there? Transfer agreement? Come on. Malkin played last year without one. Inconsistency? Again, come on. That could describe any of the players drafted. Like all picks time will be the deciding factor, but as of now The Rangers were Big winners this weekend!

  • Pittsburgh- Similar to the Rangers. The Pens weren't picking in the top 5 for the first time in years.(20th) Yet, when it was their tun, who was available? None other than Angelo Esposito. The player who scouts not too long ago were saying was a 'can't miss' and will be chosen first overall. The combination of playing under the microscope and having a bit of a down season plummeted his stock, but did he really suddenly lose skill? Going to Pitt, he will have ZERO pressure to perform right away. With guys named Crosby, Malikin and Staal ahead of him he won't have to be an impact player immediately. (Note: As this blog has stated on many occasions, we believe Malkin will NOT be in Pitt long term. Therefore with Staal, Espo and a few other talented prospects in the fold a trade of Evgeni at some point is even more possible.) Mr. Shero definitely had a nice weekend for his Penguins!

  • Chicago- How could a team drafting first NOT be a big winner. With Kane they got a player who all have said is the most skilled player available this year. Add that to last years Towes, who will be in camp in the fall, you finally have something to look forward to in Chicago! (How long has it been since that could be said?!?)

3) Biggest Losers:

  • N.Y. Islanders- If they don't resign Ryan Smyth the trade that landed him will look very bad for the boys on the Island. AS of today 6/24, Garth Snow has yet to sign the center. Rumors are he basically gave him a blank cheque, and was still rebuffed. As each day goes by the chances of them retaining Smyth dwindle. Once he goes on the open market we say its about zero. The Isles gave up 2 former first rounders AND this years(15th) for Smyth. Add to that the 2nd rounder the gave the Caps for Zednik, the Isles didn't afford themselves much to improve the team this weekend.

  • Washington Caps- With a bevy of top defensive prospects/players both in junior/college/AHL, and on the NHL level what did George McPhee do with his top 3 picks? Well of course, he picked 3 more defensemen. Granted their first pick Karl Alzner was the highest rated defender available, but with a huge hole at center and after AO and Semin the team lacks a first line forward, you'd think GMGM would use his picks to bolster the areas which the team was weakest. In addition, and we admit its still possible, they did NOT make the anticipated trade to get that 'top center'. The pick of Alzner does free up the team to deal a defender or two, but will that be enough to get the player they promised their fans/Ovechkin they'd get?

4) The anticipated move to mimic the Ducks and their size wasn't too evident especially in the first round. More than 1/3 of the 1st rounders were 6 foot or under. Evidently the consensus of GM's/scouts is that faster skilled players are still what gets noticed. Size is secondary.

5) We are told that a great many deals were close, but in the end many GM's got cold feet. Perhaps being on in prime time made a few camera shy? Well, not really, BUT we were also told that quite a few discussed deals had "significant ground work" done so it won't be surprising to see a few major type deals come to fruition before the free agency frenzy starts in just over 6 days from now. One asst GM told FAUXRUMORS that a few 'significant shake up of rosters is likely, and its also probable that most teams will have their September rosters almost completely set in 2 weeks! Those are a lot of transactions folks! Stay tuned!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Draft Day-Open Thread!

1) No huge news to report as of this morning. All 30 GM's are safely ensconced in their Columbus hotels in anticipation of tonight's festivities in nationwide arena for the 1st round of the draft. Its almost a certainty that the anticipation will be more for hearing Mr. Bettman say/pronounce" We have a trade....", than in hearing what picks a particular team has made.
2) Many quality sites have gone through this years list of high school aged kids ready to be the 'next one' so we won't jump on that bandwagon here. This thread is mostly for our readers to discuss the deals and picks as they occur as well as break any news. One particular item today was the anticipated trade of Adrian Aucoin to Calgary. Though its not yet been official, or reported who/what Chicago will get i return. For one, they get 4 million in cap space to go after other fish. Other deals are certainly close to fruition and we will report them as soon as we get wind of them. Things are certainly getting interesting in Ohio's capital city!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Giggy stays put, etc.

1) Biggest news of the day is that the Anaheim Ducks have come to terms with impending UFA goalie J.S Giguere. The top back stop of the Cup champs, and the player whom FAUXRUMORS believed deserved the Conn Smythe award signed a 4 year, 24 million deal. As predicted by this blog 2 weeks ago, Giguere stays put! Six million for the only top potential UFA goalie is definitely a home town discount. The Montreal native could have easily received 7+ million had he decided to go on the free market July 1st.
2) Other news of the day is the Florida Panthers have apparently signed impending RFA Nathan Horton to a six year, 24 million dollar deal. Unlike Hartnell, Horton at 22 has already eclipsed the 30 goal plateau, has even more offensive upside, and as such probably a good investment long term.
3) The ramifications of these two deals?

  • For those, who a couple of months ago, were speculating that next years RFA's Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin may sign extensions for about 6 million per will have to reassess that idea. If Horton, who is older than AO and The Kid, can get 4 million, how much should a player who has scored 98 NHL goals in 2 years, or the reigning Ross/Hart trophy winner receive? Even if the two give the proverbial 'home town discount' a salary in the neighborhood of 7-8+ million may be required. Any less and the NHLPA(what there is left of it) and all player agents will be clamouring/be quite unhappy!
  • As for the Giguere deal several repercussions are likely. For one the Wild now are in a great position with respect to trading Manny Fernandez. With their signing of Niklas Backstrom to a 2 year 3.1 mil deal, it made former starter Manny Fernandez, and his 2 years remaining at 4.5 mil expendable. Before the recent deals it wasn't likely that Wild GM Doug Risebrough would find any takers. However with Giguere off the market, and a huge dearth in quality tenders available, its now more likely that the Wild will find a taker for the 9 million left on Manny's deal. Phoenix and theit new GM Don Maloney are one of the likely/possible destination.
  • Also with Gigueres deal, it frees up the Ducks to possibly shop Ilya Bryzgalov and his 1.4 million designated for next season. However Brian Burke may decide to keep Ilya as relatively cheap insurance in case JS goes down with an injury. Or retain him and trade him during the season as a need arises. Clearly Burke is in the drivers seat on that one.

4) Clearly things are still quite in flux and many more signings/deals are soon to come in the next 24 hours. Its an exciting time to be a hockey blogger. We will stay abreast of all the developments as they arise. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Impact of Flyer Moves?

1) As the dust settles on the recent sign and trade of 2 of the summer's bigger available UFA's we have looked into what ramifications(if any) these moves have on the remainder of the league. We called around, and the moves have definitely shaken things up quite a bit in several areas. The Nashville implications were touched on in our last post. Clearly with the impending sale not likely to be approved before July 1st, the current owners are looking to shave salary from the roster. perhaps not gutting it,as a payroll of 30 or so million is mandated by the CBA, but clearly don't look for the Predators to carry a payroll near the limit like they did last season

2) Additionally the cost of the remaining FA's just sky rocketed! As alluded to previously, when Hartnell and Timoven signed those enormous deals it not only removed 2 names from other GM's wish lists, but also significantly re-set upward the values of the remaining names to be had. Hartnell, for all the 'potential', isn't a fuzzy faced 19 year old. He's 25 now. Has 6 years of NHL experience under his belt, and has yet to eclipse 50 points. Yet, he got a 4.2 million dollar deal. Agents for Drury, Briere, Gomez, Smyth, etc should all send Hartnell's agent a % of their commissions! The above folks were rumored to be offered upwards of 6 million. Now, with the resetting of the FA salary structure, 7 or more million is not only possible, but likely!

3) The same can be said of Sheldon Souray. As the only remaining top shelf UFA defenseman the Timonen contract did nothing but help him. Its rumored(correctly) that habs GM, Gainey offered 4.5 million earlier this spring. With that Flyer deal, it now makes that look like a slap in the face to Souray. Last year Chara signed with the Bruins for (at the time) obscene 7.5 million. It would now NOT be surprising to see Souray get 6.5-7 million, or more for his services! Craziness!

4) Additionally, we were told by several sources that since the Flyer-Preds deal was announced last week GM's of impending FA's have been inundated with calls from their colleagues eager to mimic the Flyer deal. In particular Garth Snow, we are told by our Islander source, has been contacted by at least 6 fellow GM's inquiring about BOTH impending Islander UFA's, Jason Blake and Ryan Smyth. Our source was reluctant to say who, but did say that most were from the Western Conference.

5) They said that Snow might entertain an offer for Blake, but will NOT deal the rights to Smyth, who that, as we speak, are desperately trying to woo to remain on the Island. The source say that Wang himself is now involved and stated that if they were to not get Smyth to agree on a deal they wanted to have the fans believe they did all they could to keep him. Trading him for a draft pick therefore is NOT on the table.

6) One of the few teams not unhappy with the Flyer trade were the Sabres. The contracts effectively removed the Flyers from bidding on not only their 2 high profile UFA's, but also the rumored Vanek offer sheet. Of course Buffalo will still have to deal with the higher cost of trying to retain their players, but with their surplus of young talent will be just fine even if were to lose both.

7) With the draft only a mere 36 hours away things are certainly heating up on the trade front. We're told the Caps are frantically trying to make a big splash tomorrow night with a deal that could 'excite their fans' about next season. The Sharks we're told will NOT stand pat with their current roster. That one of their 2 big name centers(Marleau/Thornton) are on the block. The reports that Redden is available are true, but only at the right price. With his 6.5 mil salary their won't be too many options.(Washington/Edmonton) come to mind. We're told there is NO truth to the Brad Richards rumors. Which makes sense. he makes 7.8 million! He had an off season and has a no trade clause! Who in their right mind would deal for him? (Rangers?) The McCabe to the Islanders rumor we're told is all 'media hype'. Those and many more are being tossed around. Most are frivolous and we skimmed over them here, but as they are corroborated with multiple sources we will relay them to our readers. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Nashville Nonsense

1) Firstly we know that our regular readers know that Balsillie's comment that he will keep the team in Nashville is 100% BS. The fact that Gary Bettman repeated this fallacy only cements our position about him. As has been written several times in multiple publications, Balsillie WAY over spent for the team. By out bidding anyone he was assured that the greedy owners couldn't turn him down(By selling the team at such an inflated price, the value of other franchises conceivably would go up as well)
2) The only way it makes good business sense for Balsillie to over pay is if he plans on moving the team to a more lucrative city. One that is guaranteed to make money instantly! Meanwhile the Predators are having a ticket drive to 'try to save the team'. While simultaneously tickets are being sold in Hamilton for the same franchise that's 'not moving'. If Mr. Bettman, is an advocate for the fans, as he likes to portray himself (no need, we know that's total BS, that he's the owner's puppet) However, what kind of fan advocate would allow not one, but 2 fan bases to swing in the wind like this?
3) The good people of Nashville, who may not be as numerous as some other cities, but still had better attendance than many 'stable' franchises, are told that their team is sold to a Canadian business man who earlier in the year stated he wanted to move the Penguins to Ontario. But hold on now, he says he'll keep them in Nashville IF they can sell enough tickets, etc. Meanwhile the hockey rabid folks of southern Ontario are told they will soon have another team and 'place your orders now'.
4) If we were fans of the Preds and just saw 2 of our better players 'sold off' for virtually nothing, then I'd see the writing on the wall and not spend another thin dime on the team. Nashville is history folks. Its just a matter of time and where they will end up. Meanwhile the NHL and its leaders(Bettman) who like to say its all about the 'world's greatest fans', mount and screw the folks who by and large pay for their salaries. Great job!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Spit Hitting the Fan!

1) With today's unprecedented 'Sign and Trade' of not one but two of Nashville's impending free agents, Things will now get even more interesting as the draft and July 1st approaches. Apparently the Predators are now in the mode of shedding salary in anticipation of a new ownership. The word is that they gave the Flyers exclusive rights to approach/make a deal with their impending UFA's Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell. A bold move by the Flyers and not a good day in Music City. Especially the loss of Timonen will hurt. Can Kariya be far behind?
2) Additionally the market is now set up even higher than many thought just a couple of weeks ago. Hartnell is a second liner at best. If a 2nd line forward who has yet to accomplish much can get a 4+ mil/year deal, what can a guy like Gomez or Briere expect? Additionally if Timonen can get 6+ mil, does Souray get Chara money(7+mil)? Thank heaven for the salary cap and its ability to keep salaries in check! LOL
3) The next question(s) is this going to become a trend, or a one time deal? Will the Islanders now shop around the rights to Smyth if the feel he can't be signed so they can get something back? Note: The Flyers gave up the first round pick that they received for Forsberg this past season.
4) In the new NHL it appears GM's are getting more creative. earlier this week the Canadians GM Bob Gainey unloaded a headache Samsonov instead of buying him out. In return the Habs got a hawks head ache who cost less for them to buy out. a win-win situation. Instead of a sign and trade, it was a trade and buy-out. Things are sure to get even more interesting in the next few days as the other 28 GM's try to figure out what to do next! Stay tuned, its just getting started!

Monday Morning Musings

1) Firstly a Happy (belated) Father's Day to all the Daddys out there. Now on to our observations from the last few days.

  • Malkin a No-Show at the awards- From what we hear he didn't even let anyone know he didn't intend to show up. Since almost everyone knew he was going to win, it would have been appropriate for him to make every effort to be in Toronto, and if it was impossible, to make appropriate calls/arrangements. Seems Mr. Malkin has a lot to learn from his draft day colleague Mr. Ovechkin, who seems happy to embrace his NHL stardom and the responsibilities that come with it!

  • Dave Lewis Fired!- When we heard that this was about to be announced, all we could say was: "What took so long!" We at The FAUXRUMORS group, LLC. have been calling for that to happen since January! We couldn't imagine Dave being retained for another year in Bean Town. He's one of those guys who's a good asst, but can't make the transition to be the head man. Good guy, but not a good head coach. Seems the only folks who didn't heed our coaching advice are the folks in Nashville who need a new face behind the bench.

  • Samsonov Traded- Well, we had heard some rumblings that BG had finally found a taker (sucker) for the enigmatic Russian forward. We couldn't believe that the rumors turned out to be true! We guess that its a no lose situation for both teams. Montreal unloaded salary and a headache. Chicago got a guy with some offensive potential, who has only 1 year left, and didn't have to give up anything for him. He couldn't make the Hawks any worse! Right?

  • John Muckler Fired! This one has more to it than the main stream press is telling us. Yes, Muck is getting a bit long in the tooth at 73, but he just won the Eastern Conference. Further than the team has gone previously. Why now? Of course the signing of Martin Gerber last spring to a prohibitive deal couldn't have helped. May have Bryan Murray lobbied to have a GM job back? After all he was partly responsible for assembling the Cup winning team in Anaheim. More should be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

2) With the draft only days away, we are hearing more and stronger rumors about draft day deals. We will stay on top of the situation and break any news as it arises. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part IV

1) A continuation of our off season analysis and rumors for the impending UFA's:

  • Andy Sutton, 32 Thrashers. The hard-hitting, physical Sutton has earned a reputation as a shutdown defender who can add punch to a soft blue line. he'll probably demand around $2.5 million/year for three years after earning just under 2 mil this past year. Sutton carved out a good niche for himself in Atlanta, who will surely look to re-sign him, especially if the market doesn't drive his price too far beyond $2.5 million/year.
  • Robert Lang, 37 Detroit. Seems to be on the decline. After finishing the last year of his contract with Detroit at $3.8 million/year, he's probably going to have to take less money and a short-term deal no matter where he goes. Figure on about $2.5 million for one or two years. Where? Rangers, Thrashers, Flames, Blackhawks, Wings, Oilers, Penguins, Blues. His best years were with Jagr so a reunion can't be ruled out, Edmonton is also a frequently rumored destination, but a return albeit at a reduced salary to Detroit is also possible.

  • Curtis Joseph, 40 Phoenix. CuJo was once an elite goaltender in the NHL, but he's reached his twilight now. Many assumed he'd be dealt at the deadline by a team that needed goalie depth, but surprisingly he stayed put. (No takers ?) We can see Curtis staying with the desert dogs another season before calling it a career.

  • Kimmo Timonen, 32 Nashville. Timonen has developed into once of the league’s best attacking defensemen. He’s great on the power play and led the Predators in ice time last year. For that reason we hear that it will be tough negotiating, but Nashville will keep Timonen. He will likely get a nice raise from the 2.375 he made this past year. Look for a 3 year 15 mil deal for the talented Finn defender to stay in Music City.
  • Brendan Shanahan, 38, Rangers. He's not the physical force he once was, and his poor foot speed has become problematic in the faster, post-cap NHL. That said, Shanahan proved he's still a premiere scorer with one of the best releases this side of Hull and Bossy. Some have whispered that Shanahan favors New York because it puts him closer to the NHL offices, where he may hope to begin his next career. It makes sense to consider the Rangers the favorite to re-sign Shanny, but there will be plenty of other teams involved if he becomes a free agent.he may have to take a bit of a pay cut from the 4 million he made this year. A one year, incentive laden 3 million deal is likely.
  • Dainius Zubrus, 29 Buffalo. Amazing that Dainus is still only 29. Seems he's been around forever. About to start his 12th season, the Lithuanian seems he's finally found his touch and developed into a nice all around,if not over flashy versatile forward. He made 1.85 mil last season and seemed poised to sign an extension with the Caps before the trade deadline deal that sent him to the sabres. He won't get 1st line money, but expect Dainius to get plenty of attention from teams looking to add a solid 2nd liner. A 3 year 10 mil deal is possible if multiple teams step up. We;re hearing the caps would be willing to return Zubrus with his buddy Ovechkin but NOT for the 5 year 25 million he was asking last winter. Buffalo also may try to retain him.

  • Roman Hamrlik 33 Calgary. The former 1st overall pick of the Lightning is going to garner considerable interest from teams looking to add a reliably offensively gifted blueliner. Roma may not be Scott Niedermayer, but he is a good top 4 defenseman. he made 3.5 mil last season. Look for teams to off him up to 4.5 for 3-4 years for his services. The Flames if they can find cap space would like to retain him. Else look for the Flyers, caps, Panthers and Kings to pursue him.
  • Anson Carter 33, Carolina. How the mighty have fallen. This time last year the former Canuck was coming off his best season playing with the Sedins, he felt he deserved a 3 year 9 million deal. The Nucks thought otherwise and Anson had to wait till almost the season to get his deal a one year 2.5 mil from Columbus. He returned to his old ways of inconsistency and had a forgetful season even after a trade to the Hurricane. His stock has nose dived even further. he will get offers, but in the 1 mil range if he's lucky. The Leafs and Bruins may have interest, and the Canucks may even contact him if he's willing to accept a big pay cut!
  • Ed Belfour 42, Florida. To his credit the mentally unstable Panther goalie had a pretty good rebound season. Ousting Alex Auld for the #1 spot, and carrying the team into playoff contention for a time. That said he's 42 and has back problems that are chronic. To say nothing of getting maced and tazered by law enforcement regularly. Still we could see a team giving Eddie the Eagle a 1 year deal as a back up or co # 1. The Panthers may ask him back at a similar salary of 2.5 mil.
  • Scott Hartnell 25, Nashville. One of the younger available UFA. Scott never developed into the offensive power forward, but has become a scrappy decent 2nd-3rd line center. he made a decent 1.75 mil lat season, but will probably get a healthy raise to about 2.5-3.5 depending upon competition. Plenty of teams will show interest including the Predators who would like to retain him, but can't over pay. If he goes on the market we hear the Canadians have interest

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Great Job NHL!

1) Apologies to our Canadian readers (again) as you will have no idea why we're writing this post. For those of us in the states we were again screwed by TV coverage. First it was preempting NBC coverage of an OT playoff game for a horse race, and tonight any US hockey fan who tuned to Versus expecting to see the NHL awards show live, were surprised to see some silly fight show on with a crawl message that the awards ceremony would be shown at 11:00 p.m.!

2) No advance notice or an explanation as to why this change was made. If you go to the Versus web site(link provided) all they say is NHL Awards show: AIRING TONIGHT AT 11PM ET (Originally scheduled for 7PM ET) Instead they showed, 'Fight Night'

3) WE can not think of a reasonable explanation. Unless it was due to technical problems, any other reason is infuriating to say the least! We can only speculate, but we have a suspicion that Versus made the decision because their well publicized fight night would get many more viewers than an end of the year NHL awards ceremony. Hell, the ratings for meaningful NHL playoff games were minuscule, how many folks would have tuned into to see the stars win a silly trophy? Another feather in the cap for Mr. Bettman and the fine job he is doing getting maximum exposure for the game in the U.S.

Awards Discussion

1) The link provided will send our readers back in time to early May when we did our 'Awards predictions' post. Since the ceremony is this evening, and it seems almost every hockey blog is doing their own version of this, we decided we would repost it.
2) Here is the Readers Digest version of who we believe is deserving/will win the major awards tonight. Go to the link for elaboration.
  • HART- Luongo
  • CALDER -Malkin
  • NORRIS- Lidstrom
  • PEARSON- Crosby
  • VEZINA- Brodeur
  • LADY BYNG - Sakic
  • FRANK J. SELKE - Pandolfo
  • JACK ADAMS - Alain Vigneault
  • Rocket Richard - Lecavalier
  • Art Ross - Crosby

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part III

1) Our continuing comprehensive look at the available UFA's with analysis and rumors: With this installment we will list players who we believe are done as effective NHL-ers and SHOULD retire. Not all will of course. Like prize fighters, many hang on until well past when they're effective, and are shells of their former selves.

2) Perhaps the NHL can institute a trophy for that 'accomplishment? That would be an excellent 'Messier' Award. Fo players who were once very good/great who are now average/below average and hanging on for a pay cheque/nothing better to do.

  • Teppo Numminen- Some may disagree with our choice to put the Finn on our list, but he showed his age in the playoffs. He no longer is a top 4 defenseman.

  • Tony Amonte- 10 goals in 80 games is not what Calgary envisioned when they signed the 38 year old Mass native

  • Jeff Friesen- Jeff unofficially retired 3 years ago, but he doesn't know it yet

  • Peter Bondra- Peter needs to be told that he no longer has it. Great career, but its over!

  • Pierre Turgeon- Sneaky Pete's days as an offensive threat are gone. Time to look back non a great carear as the 'good Turgeon'. (Ed note: It appears this may be announced shortly)

  • Bryan Berard- The 'patch' has too many injury liabilities to continue

  • Eric Lindros- His brain has been rattled way too much. Does he even know he played in Dallas this year?

  • Matthew Barnaby- Like Lindros, has been a bobble head too much to stay in the game.

  • Petr Nedved- Time to read the tea leaves Petr. If you can't make the Flyers, you must suck!

  • Sean Burke- He's no Hasek/Belfour! As old, but no longer effective

  • Janne Niinimaa- The Finn may still get a sucker GM to take a chance, but we believe he's done as an effective NHL-er.

  • Mike Dunham- Once a decent back up, he's no longer reliable and probably won't get any NHL offers

  • Mike Ricci- The Geddy Lee look-alike once was a very good 2 way pesky center, but those days are long gone.

  • Eric Cairns- Was considered slow footed in the old NHL, now he's statuesque, and rarely plays in the minimal fighting allowed NHL.

  • Luke Richardson- See above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Its Chilly!

1) Above is a reference article that sent chills through the blogosphere today. Evidently Frank
D'Angelo filed a $2 million lawsuit against hockey blogger, Neate Sager last week in a Newmarket, Ont. court, alleging that Sager damaged D'Angelo's reputation on his blog between August 2006 and January of this year by calling him (among other things) a "huckster" and a "con man".
2) Its a Canadian law suit, but it does kinda have to make one worry about their freedom of speech. From talking with attorneys today its difficult to truly prove 'libel', but just getting dragged into court to defend oneself can be costly. Especially if its just a non for profit blogger such as this site.
3) Now, we aren't at all worried. We as a group have multiple contacts in the legal profession who would probably get excited with the prospect of defending THE FAUXRUMORS GROUP, LLC. over this. However, it is a chilling prospect that some big company/corporation can try to intimidate a little guy on his computer with this frivolous suit, if only because the company president didn't like what was written.

What a Country!

1) Pardon to Yakov Smirnoff's famous line, but we couldn't help but think of that when reading a piece on the Sports Business Journal about how our favourite commish, Gary Bettman was rewarded for getting the salary cap. Apparently the owners were so grateful for getting the elusive cap and vanquishing union head honcho Bob Goodenow, that they gave both Bettman and his chief lieutenant Bill Daly 2 million dollar raises!

2) Gary Bettman makes a whopping 5.8 million/year in salary/bonuses. Of course this still pales what Selig/Stern and the new NFL commish make, but its still an astounding sum considering what his 'leadership' has brought to the game. At least the other commissioners can point to significant improvements during their reigns. (Lets not start with how we feel about Selig!) However, like them or not, the policies instituted by Stern, Selig and Tagliabu can not be diminished nor comparable to what Bettman has done to the NHL.

3) We will repeatedly state that when he took control of the league in 1991 his stated goal was to make the NHL from a largely regional sport with sparse but strong fan bases in US locales into a national sport like the NBA/MLB/NFL had done in the 70's and 80's. Well, its 16 years later and what does Gary have to show for himself? It can be argued that the NHL is no longer a regional sport, but now an ignored sport. Sure there are more teams, but TV ratings despite all these new teams(who are by and large successful ON the ice) are as low as EVER!

4) Some argue that its the owners who deserve blame. Sorry we can't buy that argument in total. Sure hey hired Bettman(largely due to his NBA affiliation) and pay his salary, but over the past 16 years you have not been a leader. You have been a bystander. You must have been working on something all of this time while your league continued to drown in the American sports abyss. What could you have possibly been doing? Oh yes, you were working on new uniforms with Reebok. Nice legacy Mr. Bettman. And by the way, here's a 2 million dollar bonus for your incompetence. What a country, indeed!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part II

1) Here is Part 2 of our Free agency analysis/Rumors.

  • Teemu Selanne, 36 Anaheim. The Finnish flash was back in form with a 48 goal season. Would he also take a home town discount to stay? He made 3.75 this past season, and would probably not get offered too much more than that from Anaheim. Other offensively starved teams like Dallas, Columbus and Vancouver would be happy to make an offer for the rejuvenated Finn. Like Giggy, our source says Teemu would love to stay put.

  • Keith Tkachuk, 35 Atlanta. A huge disappointment as a playoff rental. The over hyped/overpaid/underachiever did as he was expected by us, nothing! He won't be resigned by Atlanta. For one they would forfeit a 1st round pick to St.Louis if they do, and he's not worth his expected asking price of 4-5 mil. He had a decent regular season with the Blues and we fully expect that team to want him back to be reunited with old line mate Doug Weight.

  • Michal Handzus, 30 'Zeus' is coming off a torn ACL that cost him most of this season, which means he may be undervalued. He made 2.1 million last season and probably could be had for under 3. He's got a dash of playmaking, but shouldn't be mistaken for a top offensive threat. Where will he end up? Rangers, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, Bruins, Hurricanes, Canadiens, Flyers, Canucks are all rumored to have interest. Our source in Chicago says the team is interested in retaining him, but if things fall through the Flyers wouldn't mind a return of Zeus to the Orange and black.

  • Ladislav Nagy, 28 Dallas. Acquired from Phoenix at the deadline, the talented but inconsistent Nagy should attract a decent number of teams. Atlanta, Calgary, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Vancouver all have shown that they may that they can tap into the talent that produced 24 goals and 52 points three years ago in Phoenix. He made 3 mil this season, but will be a 'bargain' most likely after this year. He could be had for 2 mil. Our sources say the Canucks are interested, Atlanta will also get into the fray.

  • Mathieu Schneider, 38 Detroit. Was missed by the Wings in their Conference Final defeat to the Ducks. Schneider has always been one of the most underrated offensive defensemen in the NHL. He would provide an offensive boost to any team looking for a top-four defenseman who can rack up the minutes, contribute on the power play, and move the puck out of the defensive zone. Where? Rangers, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Wings, Canadians, Penguins. It may come down to the Rangers and Penguins if Deroit allows the NY native to go unsigned by July.

  • Peter Forsberg, 33 Nashville. Peter was not the missing link the Preds were hoping he'd be for a Cup run this past spring. He wasn't awful, but wasn't a force either. Probably hurting his UFA value. That said, as we at FAUXRUMORS exclusively stated all winter/spring, we didn't believe that Forsberg would come back to the NHL for another year unless it was for the Flyers. When healthy, Forsberg is still a dominant player, but those healthy moments are becoming fewer and fewer. We can't see a team gambling on another big contract on him(he made 5.75 mil last season) We'll stick with our sources and say if he returns it'll be for the Flyers.

  • Paul Kariya, 32. Nashville. People may forget that Kariya was once a dominant NHL player and he’s still only 32.! The Predators would be nuts to let Kariya go. He’s become the face of their team. He’s also highly marketable, which is important in Nashville.(Assuming they don't move north!) Stranger things have happened, but we don’t see any way the Preds let him walk. However they'll probably have to give him a modest raise from the 4.5 he made last year. We are hearing a 3 year 16 mil deal is on the table. If that falls through, there will be many potential suitors starting with his home town team, Vancouver!

  • Brian Rafalski, 33 New Jersey. At 33 years old, teams shouldn't’ expect much more than the 45-50 points he’s averaged with the Devils the last five years. That said, Rafalski has value beyond his statistics, because he’s a smart defensive player, and though undersized, is not a big liability in his own end. (no Devil is allowed to be!) Rafalski made $4.2 million last year. This seems a bit high to us, but he could garner that or more if he's allowed to hit the market in July. Rafalski could fill a void in a city that loses one of its top unrestricted defensemen -- San Jose, Detroit or Montreal. etc.

  • Tom Poti, 30 Islanders. For now, the Islanders would seem to be the front-runner to re-sign him. Poti quietly put up some very impressive numbers in his first season on Long Island, registering 44 points. If the Isles fail to step up or decide to not resign him Boston, Calgary, Columbus or possibly Montreal would be in play at a salary of about 3 million.

  • Michael Nylander, 34 Rangers. A tremendous bargain Nylander this year at $2.28 million. The bargain ends next year! The Rangers will probably get Nylander to sign before July 1, possibly for a slight discount of $3.6 million or 3.75 million per season. If not, they might have to outbid other teams on the open market, and risk inhibiting their ability to go after other top free agents. We are hearing that Sather may have to go over 4 million to keep the productive Swede in Gothem.

  • Mike Comrie, 26 Ottawa. At just 26 years old, Comrie is the youngest of this year's prized free agent pack. He's a speedy offensive threat with the talent to be a No. 1 center. However, Comrie has been criticized for lack of effort and poor defensive play.With so many teams interested, the bidding figures to last well into the first month of the free agent season. Unless someone blows Comrie away with a big offer right away, he'll probably land at whichever team still has a need for him after the big names are off the board. A 3 year, 9 million deal from the Panthers is what we're hearing.

  • Slava Kozlov, 35 Thrashers. The Thrashers would love to get him back and with only eight players under contract for next year, they'll have lots of money to play with. He made just over 2 million this past year. If another team comes up with big money like Detroit Atlanta may lose Slava, else we see him returning to Atlanta for 3.5 for 3 years.
  • Saturday, June 9, 2007

    Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part I

    1) With the conclusion of the NHL playoffs, starts the off season. With that, 29 teams are looking at what they need to do to replicate what worked for the Ducks. Probably about 15 teams believe they are on the cusp of winning a Cup(delusional or not) and just need to add a player or two. About another 10 teams believe they can/will make the playoffs if they continue to improve/add more of this or that. About 4 teams are in full rebuild mode and though they will tell fans they are striving for the playoffs, they realistically know they're are a long shot at best.

    2) As of today June 9th 2007 here are the premier Unrestricted Free Agents as we see them, and to where we are currently hearing they could be headed. Keep in mind that other than their current team, no one else can talk with any UFA until July 1st. However, though this rule isn't directly broken, it is bent to a degree.

    3) As many could see a great deal of UFA's signed the first day last year. How could that be if they couldn't talk until then? "Back channels" is what one asst. GM told FAUXRUMORS. There are ways around without being charged with tampering. In some cases GM's know the game and turn the other way. How? Current players and other non-employed people can approach an impending UFA. (We even mentioned this last month with regard to Ryan Smyth and Edmonton)

    4) So who are they UFA's to watch?:

    • J.S. Giguere, 30 of Anaheim. The player who we believed deserved the playoff MVP. By far the best available goalie this free agency period. Made just under 4 mil this past season. If a true bidding war erupts Giggy could get offers of up to 7+ mil. There is also the possibility he'd want to remain a Duck and give a home town discount of around 5-5.5/year. Our Anaheim source tells FAUXRUMORS that its early, but he thinks J.S. will stay put if the team wants him long term. Boston is the favourite rumored destination if he moves.

    • Daniel Briere, 29 Buffalo. After making 5 million with the Sabres and having a career season this past year look for the center to ask for and probably get 7+ mil for 5 years. One thing we can tell our readers for sure is that Briere will NOT be headed to Montreal! That will undoubtedly be the rumor trend come July 1, but our sources close to Daniel tells FAUXRUMORS that he does NOT want to be part of that circus that is the French Montreal media. The Sabres may try to keep him IF he will give a discount, but the Sabres will try to sign Drury first if they can and see what if anything they have left to offer Daniel. If not Buffalo then? A player this talented will get calls from every GM in the league, but at his asking price. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington have plenty of cash to spend. Our sources tell FAUXRUMORS to not be surprised to see Colorado make a pitch for the center. With an aging Sakic its not out of the realm of possibility.

    • Chris Drury, 30 Buffalo. Made 3.1 mil this past year. Of their 2 UFA enters, the Sabres would love to retain Drury more than Briere. Stats don't tell the full story for Drury, who has a much-deserved reputation as one of the game's best clutch players and playoff performers. He's won a Stanley Cup and is an accomplished penalty killer. All of this means he'll be worth just about every penny of the $6-$7 million four/five-year contract he's likely to get. If not Buffalo? Like Briere there will be many potential suitors should Drury hit the open market, but we are hearing that won't happen unless Tom Golisano (owner) refuses to increase their payroll.

    • Todd Bertuzzi, 32 Detroit. 'T-Bert' better think again if he thinks he'll get another 5+ mil/year contract. After burning the Panthers last year for virtually no production for oodles of cash and giving up Vezina candidate Roberto Luongo, teams will probably be wary of the big RW. That said there will be interest, but only if the price is right. The Maple Leafs have in the past shown a penchant for older power forwards (Lindros). A contract of about $3-$4 million per year range,is possible, but it will largely depend on demand.

    • Sheldon Souray, 30 Montreal. Souray couldn't have picked a better time to have a career year. He scored 26 goals, including an NHL-record 19 on the power play! Also played with an edge with 135 penalty minutes. However there is a downside. His minus-28 rating, was last among all Montreal players. Plus/minus can be a deceiving stat, but when it's tilted so far to one side, it can't be over looked. Lots of potential suitors though: Islanders, Canadiens, Thrashers, Flames, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Wings, Devils, Flyers, Capitals. Of these we are hearing the Flyers and Caps will make a big push for the offensively gifted blueliner. He won't come cheap. A 5 year 30 mil deal is possible if a bidding war ensues. Its assured he will make at least double what he made last season. (2.4)

    • Scott Gomez, 27 New Jersey. For all the hype Scott is/will get, he is not a dominant player in our opinion. He only scored 13 goals this year, and only once in his career has he scored more than 20, Once! That probably won’t stop him from getting a huge contract, probably something approaching $6.5 million. Where? After accepting an arbitration award of 5 million we are hearing its doubtful the Devils will even try to get into a bidding war for Scott. He very well may use the other NY metro area teams as leverage to get his price, but we are hearing he'd love to go out west. The Kings will try very hard to land the Alaskan native, but don't count out Colorado either.

    • Jason Blake, 33 Islanders. Jason Blake continued his rise to stardom to become one of the NHL's better goal scorers, finishing 10th in the league with 40 goals. The diminutive spark plug has always impressed with his hustle, but now has seemingly become an effective scorer to boot. He does has a reputation for being a bit of a puck hog, but , Blake will be a valuable addition to just about any offense. He gives a complete effort, or close to it, on just about every night. This past year he was a bargain at 1.55 million. Look for Blake to ask for a 4 year 20 million deal, and will probably get it. Where? Islanders, Wild, Ducks, Flames, Kings, Canadians, Flyers, Leafs, Canucks will all be rumored, but if his home state team of Minnesota is in the ball park, look for Blake to join former team mate Mark Parrish with the Wild come September.

    • Ryan Smyth, 31. Islanders. After a surprising trade deadline swap of Smyth from Edmonton, the Albertan showed Isles fans why he was known as 'Captain Canada'. His work ethic and leadership skills were evident in the Isles dressing room from day 1. Smyth has been a consistent goal-scoring threat throughout his career. His grit and prowess around the net make him a dangerous force unlike any other player the Islanders have. The decision will not come down to the Islanders will to sign him; it will instead depend on Smyth's desire to remain on Long Island. We are hearing/have written that Edmonton has already made subtle overtures to their former captain. Unless Smyth gets blown away by a Wang-type offer he will probably return to the west, most likely back to Alberta. (Ofcourse Leafs rumors will be inevitable!) LOL

    5) Be sure to stay tuned for our next of our 4 part installments of UFA: Rumors/analysis! As always, keep it here for the latest!

    Friday, June 8, 2007

    Two "Small Markets"?

    1) Just a brief post this HOT Friday here in Faux-city. We have come across several post Cup articles that described the abysmal TV ratings here in the states. In most, they use one excuse as there being two 'small market' teams in the Finals. That got us at FAUXRUMORS to collectively scratch our heads.

    2) Two 'small market' teams? When did the Los Angeles metroplex become a small market? More like a small revenue generating market. Who's fault is that? The man at the helm the past 15+ years, Gary Bettman. He wanted to make the NHL into a national sport from a regional one. Well 15 years later and it has gone from a regional sport to an obscure sport! Nice job Gary when a team from the nation's second largest city is considered a small market! No wonder why he defensively mentioned that hockey in California is 'alive and well' when he came on the ice to hand off the Cup. Gary, like 75% of the US based teams they are alive, but on virtual life support under your 'leadership'!

    3) Note that our series of free agent rumor/analysis posts will commence starting this weekend. Don't miss it. We all spent a lot of time/research on this. Using our many contacts to get the scoops on where these many talented players may end up next fall.
    As always, keep it here for the latest!

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Ducks Cop Cup!

    1) Hearty congratulations to the the Anaheim(Very mighty) Ducks for bringing California, and for that matter the Pacific coast, their first Stanley Cup. Up until tonight the furthest west Lord Stanley had traveled was the Mountain time zone. 5 times to Edmonton twice to the Avalanche, and once to Calgary.

    2) Hopefully this will finally put to bed the notion that a Western Conference team is hindered from winning a Cup due to increased travel disadvantages. The best team won, as it usually does each year. In fact the argument that the West is a stronger conference can not be denied this year. We feel that both Detroit and San Jose would have been better than Ottawa as well, while we don't believe any other East team would have fared any better than the Senators against the Ducks.

    3) Few made the suggestion that the West was at a disadvantage when Alberta won 5 of the 6 available Cups from 1984-1990. We argued the same could not be said now. Especially with the unbalanced schedule, western teams make far fewer long treks back East. As there will never be a resolution to the time zone difference and increased travel for the West we believe this will continue to be debated.

    4) The offseason starts tomorrow. Some important dates to keep in mind:

    • June 14th- NHL awards ceremony. Here's hoping its not as lame as in year's past.

    • June 15th- Teams can buy out contracts- Yashin the biggest name already announced

    • June 22nd- NHL Entry Draft. Most exciting non game related time for us at Fauxrumors. We hear that several big deals are in the works to spice up the day!

    • July 1st- Free agency commences. If its like last year it'll open with a bang!

    As always keep it here for all the latest!

    Albatross Flies the Coop!

    1) The N.Y. Islanders have finally released their salary cap anchor Alexei Yashin. Their highest paid player and captain for the past 6 seasons was becoming more and more of a lightning rod for their fans. We're told that season ticket holders were calling/writing in that if Yashin was part of the team in 07-08 that they would NOT renew their season ticket plans.

    2) Wang did NOT want to do this, but was basically forced to either eat the contract and sell out his tennis buddy, or face the possibility of an even more empty NVMC this fall just when he wanted to impress Nassau County officials to get his new arena deal consummated. Contrary to some reports we're told the Ryan Smyth Jason Blake impending free agency had NOTHING to do with this decision, but it does give the team about 5 million more in cap space

    3) Last month Wang and Yashin initiated a 'trial balloon' of sorts by having Yashin state he'd voluntarily relinquish his captaincy if he were retained. Hard core Islander fans were not swayed by the offer. Knowing that not only was Yashin a huge drain salary cap wise, but had become a locker room problem. Not because he was a complainer(he's actually well liked by his team mates off the ice) but his lack of production and apparent desire have become increasingly evident. To the point that Coach Ted Nolan benched the Russian on several occasions.

    4) Now, what happens? Firstly, do NOT feel sorry for Yashin. He's assured of receiving 17 million over the next 8 years. Not a bad golden parachute. Additionally, he still has value as a hockey player. Definitely not at the 7.6 million he was set to receive from the Isles next season, but a team looking to add a center who could potentially score 50-70 points might 'gamble' on Yashin with a 3 year 9 mil deal. Early destination favourites are the D.C Capitals who have a dearth at center. Yashin even played with Cap's star LW Ovechkin at the 2006 Olympics. (Don't look for a return anywhere north of the border!) Yashin is still vilified by Canada for quitting(twice) on the senators, and is widely hated.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    Game 4 Observations

    1) Another exciting game. There was definitely as edge to the game/series now. That sure garners increased interest. Many, including FAUXRUMORS felt that Ottawa played their best hockey of the series in the 1st period. Thereafter it was pretty even. The difference was that the Ducks capitalized on more of their few chances than the Sens. They are the all around better team and deserve the Cup. As simple as that.
    2) Probably the hilite of the night was listening to Don Cherry on NBC. For those who are unfamiliar with him it may have been a bit of a shock to see the oddly dressed, older gentleman speaking bombastically about the game/politics. However, he is a Canadian icon of sorts. He frequently says the wrong/dumb things, but his observations last night about fighting were DEAD-ON! As we have pointed out frequently here at FAUXRUMORS fighting sells! To try to reduce or even sillier eliminate that part of the game to mollify people who don't like the game anyway is well beyond stupid. Americans are not unlike their Canadian counter parts, we love a good scrap. No one up and leaves their seat/changes the channel during a fight!
    3) The uproar about the Alfredsson shot on Niedermayer was silly. Should he have done it?Probably not, but it is NOT an 'infraction'. IF he had shot the puck AFTER the whistle, or at a player NOT on the ice it should be. As it was Niedermayer was in front of him. An unspoken hockey etiquette not to do, but not a rule per se.
    4) While it would be preferred to see the Cup awarded at a team's home rink, FAUXRUMORS hopes to see Ottawa extend the series. If for no other reason than to reduce the long off season by a few more days. A 5 game Finals is NOT what we would prefer. Seven would be quite nice. It doesn't appear likely though. It will take quite a bit for Ottawa to win tomorrow. They'd have to do what they've been unable for 4 games: Play 60 minutes, have their best players BE their best players and get top flight goaltending.

    Monday, June 4, 2007

    Caps Center of Attention?

    1) Word from several FAUXRUMORS sources have informed us that the Washington Caps are indeed VERY interested in upgrading their center position. Now, that alone is not news and would NOT have made us write a post, but the names that they dropped certainly got our attention.

    2) As with about 10 other teams the Capitals are looking to acquire a 1st line center. Most press reports so far have centered(sorry) around impending UFA's such as Drury, Gomez, or Briere. However, the sources have told us that GM, Goeoge McPhee feels that the market is such that it would be a gamble to expect that any of the top line centers would be available come July 1st. Also, the price in such a sellers market will be prohibitive( 7-8+ mil/year)

    3) To that end we're told, that McPhee is already exploring trade options to get 'his man'. Ideally at or near draft day, before the free agency period even commences. Who will George look to get? We're told that the Sharks may be looking to move one of their top line centers. Either Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton. Why? For starters the Sharks GM Doug Wilson believes his team underachieved the last couple of years in the playoffs. Secondly BOTH Marleau AND Thornton will be UFA's next summer and its very unlikely the team could afford to retain both. With that possible distraction(see Buffalo this past year) hovering, Wilson wants to be proactive if he can get back something(s) that will help the team.

    4) What will/has George offered? We're told he will dangle the 5th overall pick and an active roster player or two. We're told that Caps would be willing to part with young defensemen Steve Eminger and possibly another defensive prospect. If talks appear to stall, McPhee has permission to offer left wing Alexander Semin. Our sources tells us that 'Semin would HAVE to be thrown in to get the deal into even the serious discussion stages.' The Russian had a break out season this past year, posting numbers that even surprised the Caps, netting 38 goals.

    5) Semin on any other team would be the first line LW. However with another Alex roaming that side of the ice, Semin was relegated to second line status. Despite that, and not having a real NHL center, the 22 year old still managed to flirt with the 40 goal plateau. He also comes cheaply at 1.2 mil next season. The same could be said of Marleau. On any other team he's the number one pivot, but with Big Joe, he's the second fiddle. He did mange 78 points, but that paled to Joe's 114! However in the playoffs Joe has NOT exactly been Mr. Production. Scoring an anemic 9 goals in 58 playoff games!

    6) So who would/will SJ trade? Well, its no guarantee either will go, but the source in California tells FAUXRUMORS2 that Thornton would be the one most likely to go if one is dealt. His higher salary and lack of playoff production would be the tipping points. However we were cautioned that deals of this magnitude are NOT sure fire done until the final announcement. As things are still in the early stages, things are far from set, but the discussions are on going, and could persist into the summer if the Caps don't get a deal done at the draft and/or don't land a top flight center from the UFA class.

    7) There are a few more rumors flying around that we promise to share as the days procede. As always, keep it here for the latest!

    Saturday, June 2, 2007

    Bizzare Game!

    1) Excellent hockey game indeed this evening in Kanata. There were several notable firsts for us at Fauxrumors. During the contest after the weird 5 on 4 , even strength goal by the Senators we at FAUXRUMORS had a conference call amongst all our members. Not one of us(collectively comprising over 2 century's worth of hockey) could remember such a mistake, ever!

    2) There were SO many levels of non/miscommunication/lack of attention from SO many folks to lead to that result that its almost incomprehensible how it could EVER happen, let alone during a Stanley Cup Finals game! This is something you might see during a peewee game not at this level.

    3) To summarize; The Ducks had a face off deep in their end. They completed(or so they thought) a player change and got ready to take the draw. Trouble is, Moen, the other forward didn't make it to the ice, leaving the Ducks with 4 players to the Senators 5. How Carlyle, and all the assistant coaches, the goalie, and the 4 players on the ice could collectively NOT see this is, as we said, unbelievable!

    4) Next, we have another crazy 'kicking the puck in' call. We also can NOT understand this rule. It has been called and interpreted differently from one game to the next. It appears even the officials on and off the ice are confused as to what the rule IS concerning such calls. To add to the confusion was that the referee emphatically whitewashed Alfredsson's goal. You'd have to believe that it would take irrefutable evidence on replay to overturn the call on the ice. The replays were inconclusive and open to interpretation. Which usually means the on ice call would prevail. Not tonight. Now, we're not against players using skates to score. We believe that the rule should allow ANY amount of skates usage to be legal, but until the rule is changed, we are all in the dark as to what in fact the rule, IS!

    5) The next bizarre play involved the usage of another players sweater during play. Apparently Ottawa forward Jason Spezza had his jersey significantly damaged to the point that it couldn't be used, and needed repair. Well, instead of finding another 'Spezza' jersey(do they only have one?) he dons Patrick Eaves' (who wasn't dressed tonight) sweater and goes on to play several shifts as 'Eaves'. Another first for all of us at FAUXRUMORS.

    6) None of us could recall this ever happening, and didn't think it could/should be legal. Did they get a special dispensation from the officials or is it allowed in general? If there are no specific rules, what's to stop coaches from being coy and sending out guys with different jerseys to throw off an opponent, even if its just a momentary distraction?

    7) The game itself was very exciting. Chris Neil was the game MVP, he was all over the place throwing his body and also contributing offensively. Ray Emery showed why many thought he was the Achilles heel of the team. Giving up weak goals and juicy rebounds all evening.

    8) Also, can someone please tell us how 4 officials missed Pronger's obvious elbow to the head of McAmmond. The Senator had just gotten a shot off from the slot, and was skating past Pronger when he appeared to stumble. Pronger then struck McAmmond across the cheek with a forearm, sending the player to the ice and into the end boards. McAmmond was knocked cold and required assistance to leave the ice. NO PENALTY?!? A suspension is almost a lock here. If McAmmond is concussed Pronger needs to get 3-5 games(done for the series) That's unlikely and the league will probably wimp out again and give the Duck backliner a 1 game, again. The only good thing was that Pronger put the Senators winning goal into his own cage.

    9) All this sets up a very exciting scenario for Game 4! As we always say, we at FAUXRUMORS have no rooting interest for any team, but in the case of the playoffs we want the games to mean something and be exciting. So to that end we were happy to see the Sens win/make a series of the Finals. Hopefully we'll see a continuation of the exciting hockey Monday night!

    Friday, June 1, 2007

    Pendulum To Swing The Other Way?

    1) With the series shifting to Canada Saturday, we can sit back and reflect on not only the first two games of this series, but the rest of the playoffs and regular season in general. One of the striking revelations is that Size Still Matters! The conventional wisdom after the Bettman lockout and the subsequent rule changes were that a more open style that would ensue and this would benefit the smaller, faster skaters and the big guys would soon go the way of the dinosaurs

    2) GM's and teams that may not have looked at a guy under 6 foot, were now looking for the 'next St.Louis', and started drafting the smaller, faster guys much higher than in previous seasons when size was a huge factor. With the Ducks and their red wood forest of forwards seemingly going through and punishing the Senators, will the shift revert back to the old days of drafting for size?

    3) The man who symbolizes this possible shift is Ducks forward, Ryan Getzlaf. The recently turned 22 year old has been a power to be reckoned with. His size and talent giving some Cam Neely flash backs. At 6'4" 210, he wasn't supposed to be such a factor in the "new NHL". However as many postulated back in 2004, players would eventually adapt to the new rules, and old conventions would return before long.

    4) As is usually the case; teams try to emulate what seems to work for the Cup winning squads. In the 80's, teams played the open, run and gun Oilers style. In the 90's that meant many teams went to a NJ trap style. Yes, this is a bit of a simplification of things, but trends can not be ignored, and the question that will likely be asked among teams; is size still as important as it was in the past? Thus far it appears a clear and loud YES!
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