Monday, July 30, 2007

Is Lowe Desperate?

1) In lieu of Brian Burke's assertion over the weekend that his counterpart Kevin Lowe (and supposed close friend) is a desperate man 'trying to save his job' by making the 2 RFA offer sheets. The first to Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, and most recently, to Burke's own Anaheim Ducks RFA forward Dustin Penner we decided it would be time for 2 more polls of our readers. First is Lowe desperate?

2) We have already come out on record stating that Lowe's moves are desperate. Edmonton fans have to wonder how he can come up with these wads of cash for these RFA when he was nickel and diming his own captain, Ryan Smyth to the point that he felt the need to unload him? IT seems all these problems would have been mute if the Oliers and Lowe had stepped up long before the trade deadline and locked up Smyth(as he stated he wanted) long term.

3) Both offer sheets are not going to change the fact that the Oliers are NOT a particularly good team right now. Even with Penner. Burke's only move in our opinion is to allow him to go. For one it will bring in a nice 1st round pick(we see Edmonton OUT of the playoffs next season) More importantly, Burke needs to think about NEXT summer when another of his young guns, Ryan Getzlaf will be a RFA. If Ryan has a break out year and Penner is making 4.2, what can Ryan expect? No way could the Ducks afford to have 2-3 guys in their early-mid 20's making 4-5+ million and still remain competitive.

4) Penner won the lottery thanks to a desperate Lowe, and its time to cut him loose. If he becomes the next John Leclair or Todd Bertuzzi, so be it Its worth that risk in our opinion. What do you think:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Poll Closed/Results and other stuff.

1) The results are in and we thank some of our most loyal readers who took the time to respond to our poll the past week. Some interesting results. For one we understand the pol is anything but scientific and can be skewed by bias, but being fans and biased are synonymous, so take it for what its worth.

2) Ryan Smith easily doubled up his closest competition Daniel Briere 20 votes to 10. Only one responder, our own Antzmarching, recognized our tongue in cheek change of Briere's name to Danielle. That in response to his adolescent, almost feminine appearance.

3) The surprises we thought in the result are the fact that Scott Gomez who signed one of the more lucrative deal wasn't voted upon even once. His new team mate Chris Drury received a decent 4 votes. The last of the big signers, Sheldon Suray got ignored as well. Our usual comic relief inclusion of Yashin in all our polls garnered 5 (protest) votes.

4) Stay tuned to Fauxrumors in the upcoming days look for FAUXRUMORS2 annual post where they Rate all the NHL franchises. Its a must read, and we're told will have some interesting results.

5) Following this, all of us in The FAUXRUMORS Group, LLC look forward to going on our (now) annual vacation/summer meeting. This year we will be going to one of FAUXRUMORS2'S favourite hide-aways; a place in the Tuscany region of Italy called Bagni di Pisa. Its some kind of exclusive(which probably means expensive LOL) spa or resort. We've heard FAUXRUMORS2 rave about it, so we'll all get to see what all the talk is about. Anyway, we will probably not post during that week, unless we're alerted to some kind of Earth shattering deal that's about to go down. We promised our families we'd keep the business side of things to a minimum so don't expect too many posts from Next Friday August 3rd, until at least Sunday August the 12th.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Penner Offer Sheet to Force Niedermayer Decision?

1) For those who hadn't yet heard, today Kevin Lowe is at it again. Tendering an offer sheet to Anaheim Ducks RFA, forward Dustin Penner. The offer sheet is a reported 5 year 21 mil contract. The cap hit would be about a little over 4 million.

2) If these numbers are accurate, it could possibly force the Ducks to get an answer NOW from on again off again retired defenseman Scott Niedermayer. Before this signing the Ducks cap liability WITH Scott was a little over 48 mil for next season. Obviously if Scott were to return it would force Brian Burke to either not match the offer for Penner or make another roster move(s) to get back under the 50.3 mil cap. That could be eased/prevented if Burke knew NOW what Niedermayer's intentions were, NOW!

3) As we have written before, Scott has had a great career,etc. However its time to either shit or get off the pot. What's gonna change between now and September? The team was good to you by letting you off the hook and allotting you time to decide this summer. Even though it put a great deal of pressure on the management to assemble next years team without knowing if you'd be there or not. Now its time for you to be a stand up guy and tell the Ducks what you intend to do, now!

4) As for the offer sheet itself, its lunacy. Sure Penner had a decent year with 29 goals, but the 25 year old power forward has only 1 year of NHL experience!! Mr. Lowe is NOT making any friends with his fellow GM's around the league. This simply raises the bar for like-players and forces teams into making premature decisions on giving young players long term deals to lock them up from offer sheets such as this before their potential is evident

Voting to close Tomorrow

1) Either clink on the link in the title or the one provided below to get your opinion known on who you believe was the best free agent signing this summer. We plan to close the voting tomorrow at noon and display the final tally once that is done.

The Balsillie-Bettman Conspiracy?

1) The linked article is by N.Y. Post's Larry Brooks. In it he basically confirms what we at FAUXRUMORS have suspected about the Balsillie-Bettman situation for some time; Its all bull shit for naive fan consumption. The offer from Mr. BlackBerry for the Preds, like his offer to buy the Penguins last year, was bogus. Merely an attempt to manipulate the fans in Nashville and southern Ontario.

2) The plan worked wonders in Pittsburgh where the state and city quickly upped their previous offer once Balsillie and his billions to buy/move the team came into the fray. Not surprisingly, he withdrew his offer in a way that should have made his intentions apparent. Seemingly out of no where, and for no evident reason, he dropped his offer. Sound familiar?

3) The same/similar actions took place in Nashville. The team was/is losing money,(or so we're told) the current owner Leipold has wanted to sell the team for a while, and is on record criticising the Nashville corporate community for not stepping up. Not soon afterwards we read about the team having an out clause in its lease if they don't have enough tickets sold(14,000) Instantly, like Manna from heaven, Jim Balsillie comes in and makes a ridiculous bid to buy the team. Offering MUCH more than most independent evaluators say the franchise is worth. Not long after Jim makes his bid we hear about a drive to keep the team in Nashville. They sell over a thousand season ticket packages, and local business make a bid to buy the team. Bettman of course supports the local bid even(As Larry Brooks reminds us in his article) though it makes little financial sense. Like clock work, Balsillie withdraws his bid. Covering his tracks with vocal/public out bursts against his partner in crime, Gary Bettman.

4) Now, as they say, the other side of the story. Why would a billionaire like Balsillie play this game for Gary Bettman? The answer is simple, and we have been telling our readers for some time. The fix was/is in! Yes, the NHL made an under the table deal with Balsillie to get one of the two expansion franchises that the league will announce later this or early next year. We're told 2 new franchises will be granted, with the other to be placed in Kansas City, therefore allowing the league to have 16 teams in each conference.

5) By doing the league this favor the Maple Leafs and Sabres will not make legal objections to the new team coming into their sphere of influence (Despite what is fed to the public). There will be indemnity fees paid of course, but no court battles to block the new team from coming to southern Ontario. Stephen Brunt wrote an article linked here for the local Toronto paper. He had the story ALMOST right except he got the 'Toronto to block the move', wrong. There was NEVER going to be a move! The Leafs are fine with an expansion team. They will NOT lose money, as many had surmised, instead it would create another instant rival, like Ottawa and INCREASE revenue.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Latest....

1) Its been a little while since we last updated our readers on what we've been hearing across the league with regard to trade/FA rumors. Frankly there hasn't been a lot of new 'chatter' that we felt was worth writing about (The Dog days are here!) So here is a list of the remaining UFA's and what the latest is with regard to each:

2) We'll start with forwards:
  • Peter Forsberg- Evidently the Swedish phenom is NOT ready physically to play by fall. ( When did he last play a full season?) Try 2002-03 when he was an Av and scored 106 pts. He does NOT need the money!/ The rumors circulating have him returning at the mid point of the season for either Philly, Detroit or Colorado. All 3 have an allure. Philly is where he played last and he developed a good relationship with Ed Snyder the team owner. Colorado for nostalgic reason, and Detroit has so many fellow countrymen. He will likely go to the team that is most accommodative to Peter and is in the playoff race. Forsberg would prefer that to be Philly.

  • Eric Lindros- 'Bobble-head', as we affectionately call him due to his many concussions, is now 6 years removed from his last productive season, and 5 since he played a full year. In our opinion he should retire, but he will probably hang on when offered a contract. We can see a team like Edmonton, Phoenix or Florida looking for a name and a cheap 2nd line center option giving Eric an offer.

  • Michael Peca- Like Lindros, his best days are long gone. If healthy can score, maybe 30-40 points. Not worth big bucks/commitment. A return to TO is most likely, one to Buffalo is not. Although the Oilers may have a spot open for Mike if he wants to return.

  • Teemu Selanne- We thought for sure the Finnish Flash would return to the Ducks. He still may or opt to retire. It would NOT shock us to see him reunited, again, with his buddy Kariya in St. Louis. He still has hockey left and would be worth a 4-5 mil 2 year offer.

  • Anson Carter- We're told by folks close to Anson that he understands why he wouldn't get any big free agent offers, but is fed up that his agent has heard from only 2 teams and both only offered him a one year deal for the league minimum. He's ready to go public and use the dreaded 'R' word. If he does that he can kiss his NHL career goodbye. After the season he had last year he should be happy to hook up with anyone. have a good year Anson THEN see how many offers you'll get next summer!

  • Tony Amante- As we mentioned last month, its time for Tony to hang em up.

3) Now defense.

  • Danil Markov- Looking for his 7th team in his 10 year NHL career. Not flashy, but steady with some minor offensive upside. A good addition for a team looking for a good second pairing-calibre defender. We wouldn't pay him more than the 2.5 he got last year. The Islanders are rumored to be close to signing the Russian.

  • Andy Sutton- He's Markov with an edge. He's 6'6" and uses his body, BUT not the most mobile of defensemen. Another good 3rd or 4th defensemen for a team in need. Right now he's considering several offers from a couple of teams in the East and his original team, the Sharks.

  • Brent Sopal- An enigma of sorts. Puts up decent offensive numbers, yet can't stick with one team.(4 teams the past 5 years) Before this season his output was comparable to Sheldon Souray. We don't expect the new Olier to score 68 points again, and we don't think that Brent deserves 27 mil deal,(neither does Souray!) but he would be a good addition to a team in need of an offensive defensemen. Atlanta has shown interest as have the Stars.

  • Daniel Tjarnqvist- Had some injuries last year, but when he played he was productive. He may be a slightly cheaper option from Sutton/Markov, and provide similar benefits for a team in need of a veteran defenseman

  • Bryan Berard, Janne Niinimaa, Sandis Ozolinsh, Bryan Muir, Luke Richardson, Jamie Heward. Retire already, you're all done. No one wants you! Go away!

4) Goalies:

  • Ed Belfour- 'Mace' as we have called him since his Dallas arrest a few years ago then again in Florida last season. After his year last year, if he were 10 years younger and less of an arrest risk we're sure the offers would be pouring in. However, at 41-42 and a history of a bad back Ed is having trouble attracting offers. He does NOT make for a good back up as he has less than good relations with his fellow tenders. The future Hall of Famer may have to retire.

  • Robert Esche- His career has taken a nose dive. Once a well regarded starter in Philly, he has not looked the same since the lockout. Still only 29, he will attract interest by a team in need of a back up. Nashville has contacted the former Flyer as have the Lightning.

  • Alex Auld- Went from the heir apparent in Vancouver, then starter in Florida, to UFA obscurity. Still only 26, is getting some interest from Calgary.

  • Curtis Jospeph- Didn't have an awful year last season on an awful team, but at 40 isn't getting any interest. Only shot is if a team loses a goalie to injury. He would make a better back up option than Belfour. It may be time for CUJO to retire.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Real Gary Bettman Interview

1) We read with amazement/amusement the interview that SI and later Stan Fischler did with the NHL's version of Napoleon, Gary Bettman. If one wants to read one of the unfiltered interview the link is provided. However we decided to use a high tech device called the 'Bullshit Eliminator'. It automatically translates all evasive/lies into the cold hard truth. The questions will be the same of course:

2)SI: Let's start right now with one of the most violently controversial topics that occured in the first round: Given the business realities of broadcasting, is there any pressure from American television to change the way the NHL decides playoff games? Will limitless overtime ever be replaced by a system that includes, at some point, a shootout?
Bettman: Of course. We can't tell the fans that right now, but that's been the long range plan all along. Get them to swallow the concept during the regular season, then gradually start to implement it in the post season. First after 2 OTs in the first round only, then as time goes by it will be used in place of all but a token 5 minute OT to keep those bastard old fans happy. The clown commentators on Versus amazingly get even worse with each OT so we look at this as a service to our fans.

SI: As we see every year the fans are in a lather, as usual, about the officiating. What are your thoughts on the work of your officials to this past season?
Bettman:The officials do as they are told. All referees have a transmitter implanted in their brains so they can be contacted at any time during a game. If they try to 'Free lance' they will end up like Kerry Frazier, home for the playoffs!

SI:Goal reviews are especially critical in the playoffs, but they've been at issue all season long. One of the criticisms heard around the league is that the guys making the calls don't always have access to the same angles as the broadcasters, or that there are different angles available in different buildings. When will the league standardize the process?
Bettman: Video replay is one of the many ways with which we can get the results we want. Why else would they need to go to Toronto to have calls decided that are clear cut at the arena? We are proud of the job the folks who are manipulating these calls are doing.

SI:I've been a vocal defender of Versus, primarily because of the fine job they did promoting the game during last season's playoffs, but I'm clearly in the minority here. Going by the input we received prior to this interview, the top issue among our American readers is that the league isn't available to them on ESPN. Obviously that horse has left the barn, but what do you say to those fans?
Bettman: We are happy that the face of the NHL is Versus. Their panel of idiots reflects what we believe to be the intelligence of our fans. Who cares that no one is watching? The morons at Versus paid us more than we deserved anyway.

SI: Describe the health of the NHL?

Bettman: Its on life support. Most of the clubs are barely breaking even or losing money despite the salary cap, favorable currency exchange rate, and great economy. Its a sorry state of affairs that the 6 teams in Canada make 40% of all revenue. Thank God for those saps!

SI: What are the major challenges facing the league going forward?

Bettman: We have to find a way to further alienate what fans we have left. We saw some of those efforts shine through with the NBC Preakness fiasco. We knew going in that is was very possible the game would get bumped by a revenue generating sport like horse racing. We were pleased when it occurred, right before OT of a pivotal playoff game. W estimate 50% of the viewers didn't or couldn't follow the game to Versus. We hope to do more of this kind of stunt in the future.

SI: You have been lauded as the savior of the Penguins. What did you do to save that franchise?

Bettman: It seems the useful idiots in the media are doing their jobs(sniveling laughter). In truth, the Penguins were never in danger of moving. We used Mr. Balsille's offer to get a better deal from the state and city. The offer of course was bogus. We offered Jim first dibs on an expansion team in 2010. This plan worked so well we plan on using it again in Nashville.

SI: Why did you schedule games in Europe to start next season?

Bettman: Europeans have shown they are every bit as simple minded and open to be ripped off as their North American counterparts. As such, its an untapped market for us. Besides, it allows us to have 2 games start at 9:00A.M. local time in California. Sure to have zero viewers!

SI:What do you say to your critics who claim you should have stayed with ESPN?

Bettman: Fuck you!. (More sniveling laughter) Seriously, ESPN knew we weren't worth any kind of money. Our ratings were worse than reruns of cooking shows, so what alternative did we have? Of course I will continue to sell the absurd notion that Versus is great for the league.

SI: Where do you see the league 5 years from now?

Bettman:Well, the current CBA runs out around that time. Already we're planning for another long work stoppage. We plan on coming out with another bogus Levitt-type report showing how much money we're losing. (We'll have 32 teams by then) I estimate the report will show losses in the trillions of dollars which will force the league to institute mandatory caps on salaries to not exceed 150% of minimum wage, or $10/hour, which ever is less. Players will only be paid on a per game basis. We feel this will help greatly diminish teams injury problems as well.

SI: What about the Player's Association? Aren't they now your 'partners'?

Bettman: (Loud sniveling laughter) Partners? That's a good one! When I first started to use that line the Board almost fell over in laughter. We now ARE the NHLPA. The Saskin thing was staged. No matter who is' elected' he will be on our payroll and do what he's told!

SI: Thank you for your time

Bettman: That'll be $10,000. Pay my girl as you leave, Thanks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Funniest Post in a Long Time

1) Below is a link to one of the funnier articles we've come across in a while. Islander/Ottawa fans will be particularly amused!

2) Also, don't forget to get your votes in on our running poll of who was the best FA acquisition?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Poll: Who was the Best Free Agent Acquisition

1) Its been a while since we ran a poll. As they say, Vote early and often. ; )

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Faux Friend?

1) This may not be directly hockey related, but to many of our loyal/long time readers it will be of interest/kind of a shock. About 2 weeks ago a long time friend, and one of our top Faux sources contacted us. Usually when such a call comes in its almost always to let us know about a trade/free agent discussion, or other juicy NHL related gossip that you the readers have been accustomed to getting here. However this time the reason for the call was to discuss 'patching things up with another hockey blogger'

2) That had us intrigued. When we found out who he was alluding to, we almost collectively hit the floor. Evidently our buddy/source has also been a frequent source for the 'dark side'(Eklund) LOL Anyway, to get right to the point he wanted to arrange a face to face between he and the chief contributors of the FAUXRUMORS Group, LLC. As its the summer and there isn't much happening hockey wise at the moment we agreed. We even went so far as to travel up north from our headquarters nearer to Eklund's turf. Since it was a nice summer weekend we decided to meet at Sea Isle City NJ.

3) We have to say we had never been to a 'Jersey Shore' beach before, but we were impressed. Anyway, the meeting went about as well as we had ever thought it would. We quickly buried the hatchet of the silly name calling that transpired last fall that became a cold war of sorts. We learned that we all had much more in common; with having young families and all, that the silliness of last year quickly dissipated into fun hockey and children stories we all had. We found out we had quite a few of the same insiders feeding us info. We had quite a laugh at one agent who wanted us so badly to publish an obviously false rumor to try to bolster his client's bargaining position. Now, we both know that we're used by others at times, but we do have a limit! LOL

4) We decided that the rumor and hockey blog world was quite large enough(and getting bigger by the day!) to fit both of our respective camps. That name calling and trying to out do the other was pointless. Now, don't think this was all a love fest. We did take him to task for kissing up to Bettman and the owners during the lockout, but that's now 2+ years ago so we didn't press that too very much. Just a subtle reminder that our opinion on this issue won't be swayed by our new approach as colleagues as opposed to enemies.

5) We also agreed to continue to allow him and HIS agents/other posters to continue their anonymity. Like us, he isn't one person, but a group of collaborators who write under one by-line,(Eklund) though the main individual with whom we met this weekend is the driving force behind the blog. We admire their ingenuity and the crafty way in which they have developed quite a following of paying customers. We do NOT begrudge them for this. We in contrast do NOT do this for the notoriety or money(we need/desire neither!), but for our intense love for the game of hockey. On the ladder point at least we are in tune with our colleague from Phillie. As such they are now Faux-Friends!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Deal Imminent?

1) So much for the quiet dog days. LOL We were called early yesterday evening from a reliable source who mentioned that the NY Islanders may be closing in on a deal to 'bolster their roster'. The source did NOT have all the specifics right now other than that its a Western conference team involved and there could be as many as 4 players and or picks involved in the deal.

2) He did mention the name Chris Campoli as part of any deal that is in the delicate stages as we write this. Surprisingly also the name Trent Hunter was brought up. We know he is headed to arbitration, but it seemed as early as yesterday that both sides were working on a long term deal. Of course that does NOT mean he is in the deal, only that his name has been broached.

3) What are the Isles needs? Well for sure a veteran defensemen. No confirmation if the Coyotes are about to move Morris to the Isles for a package that may of may not include Campoli and/or Hunter. If we were Garth Snow we'd be looking to peddle Satan and his bloated salary. This can still fall apart before its consummated. We will stay on top of this story as it continues to develop. Now back to the dog days. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dog Days Are Here!


1) Its official, the 'Dog Days of Summer' are officially here! The excitement of the early part of summer with the entry draft then the opening of Free Agent Season, are waning quickly. The big fish have all been landed. Though rosters are hardly set as of today, most teams have a pretty good idea who they will be going to war with in early October.

2) Speaking of the season opener. As you can see we have published another count down on the site. This one to the 'real' opening night. Though the season officially starts with two silly contests in late September between the Ducks and Kings in Great Britain. The starting times 12:00 noon Eastern here in North America. We wonder how many fans of the teams will be getting up at 9:00 am to see hockey that weekend? More great planning, but that's a post for another day.

3) No huge new items this morning. Reading various hockey columns the past few days one can't be amused by some of the columnists.

  • Of note Larry Brooks of the NY Post. He actually took Henrik Lundqvist to task for his one year contract that will pay him 4.25 mil. Larry apparently believes he should have 'taken one for the team', by accepting what the arbiter surely would have given him. Larry estimates that would have been in the 2.5 mil neighborhood. Now, we won't get into guessing games as to what he may or may not have received from arbitration.
  • Its any ones guess, BUT what is NOT a guess is that without Lundqvist the Rangers aren't even a playoff team. He owes them nothing. Its the Rangers/Sather's responsibility to make sure he can round out a competitive team within the existing cap restraints. We don't see the Rangers having a problem getting in under the cap. They WILL sign Avery and Hossa, and will jettison Kasperitis before opening night to get under the ceiling, but unless another move occurs that will leave them thin on the back line and with little cap-wiggle room for future moves. Thats Sather's fault, not Lundqvist!

4) Our take on the Sutter to NJ hiring:

  • the Devils’ tradition of holding players accountable for their defensive play will clearly continue. Sutter demands the same kind of effort he gave as a player, which is great news for New Jersey’s hockey outlook after losing stars Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski to free agency.

  • No matter who was going to coach, Jersey’s offensive stats were likely going to take a small hit anyway. You can’t just replace Rafalski’s power play movement or Gomez’s passes; at least not with the current Devils' roster. While Dainius Zubrus will come in to help replace at least a bit of Gomez’s offensive production. Zach Parise will also have a tad more room to grow and should continue to build on what was a fairly impressive season this past year.

  • Jersey is still going to think D first and having Sutter behind the bench won’t change that philosophy. Jersey’s forwards tend to be a bit less valuable than those on most other teams around the league because of it, but it’s also why a stud goaltender like Marty B can post monster stats year after year.

  • The interesting dynamic is a guy like Sutter coming in to coach in a town where GM Lou Lamoriello hasn't exactly been shy about booting his bench boss. Or is Lamoriello going to groom Sutter to take over for him at some point?

5) With the onset of these dog days our frequency of posting may ebb somewhat. No use in wrting posts just for the sake of it. Certainly we will continue to break and discuss any news as it occurs. As always keep it here for all the latest!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday The 13th!

1) Brent Sutter to become new Devils coach:

  • Word out of Red Deer Alberta this early yesterday afternoon is that Rebels head coach/ GM and owner Brent Sutter has stepped down from all of his positions within the Rebels organization other than ownership in order to pursue an NHL head coaching position. The not so secret destination appears to be the long vacant Devils job.
  • The word from sources tells us that Lou Lamarello has been enamoured with Sutter for some time. He wanted to hire him last year, but Brent, who's son was a member of the Rebels at the time, wasn't ready for the next step. There were many reports last spring that he was in line for the Islander position, vacated when Steve Stirling was fired. However, Sutter not only was not ready for the move, but was warned by some former teammates who were familiar with the Islander situation not to come back.
  • We find that ironic. Though the Devils have been one of the most successful NHL organizations for the past 12-13 years, they have hardly been a place for coaching stability in the last few years! Also, Sutter could NOT have picked a place where he will have LESS say so in player personnel decisions. He very well may be the right man for the job. Time will tell. Good luck 'pup'!

2) Sheldon Souray signs with Oilers!:

  • Not a huge surprise to FAUXRUMORS readers. Though we admittedly never specified the Oliers, we DID say that Souray has changed his asking price AND was expanding his list of potential teams that he's sign with. You can bet the ranch that the Oilers were NOT on his initial 'wish list'
  • As the days passed and the teams that Souray wanted to go to signed players and lost cap space, the offensive defenseman was forced to reevaluate his stance. It was a 'perfect storm' of sorts. A player who was in need of a team with cap space, and a team in desperate need of making a splash in the FA period after getting spurned repeatedly early on. Kevin Lowe and Sheldon Souray deserve each other! LOL
  • It also appears our source was correct in pointing out that Souray would have to seriously come down with his asking price. In the end he got just a tad less than 5.5 mil averaged over the 5 years. Not bad ofcourse, but far from the lofty 7 he believed he would get.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

7-11 News

1) Yashin's Agent Miffed?

  • Amusing to read Alexei Yashin's agent Mark Gandler complaining that his client hasn't received any offers he would be happy with. He declined to say what compensation the oft-maligned Russian would consider fair, but he used the nebulous term ' fair market value'. Gandler went on to make a veiled threat that if his client didn't get a decent offer in the NHL, he would go back and play in Russia.

  • Sorry Mark, that doesn't pass the sniff test. No way does Alexei, after living and playing the better part of a decade+ in North America, go back to a 3rd world country that is Russia. Sure, he would get a decent pay cheque over there, and live comfortably, but its NOT the U.S! Add to that, we doubt his GF/wife-? Carol Alt will happily leave the states for freshly made Borsht.

  • Alexei's problem isn't so much his production, but the other problems that all the GM's in the league are well aware: His lack of heart/commitment. He may be a very nice man off the ice, but so far in his two stops he hasn't made any friends on the rink! What is he worth? He would be a decent 'risk' for a GM to take as a good 2nd line center, paying 2.5-3 mil. We also wouldn't offer any more than a 2 year commitment. If Gandler thinks he'll get much more than a 2 year 6 mil deal, he's sniffing glue! Yashin won't need any telethons if he fails to hook up with an NHL team. he's set to receive about 18 mil from the Isles over the next 8 years!

2) Lundqvist signs one year deal:

  • As we commented on recently, we didn't expect this to get close to the arbiter. The arbitration tool was used by Sather to prevent a Vanek-type offer sheet while negotiations went forward. As of this writing the amount of the contract is in doubt. One published report had the deal for 4.25, and another said 3 mil. We would assume the former is likely more accurate.

  • Its just a tad more than what we thought, but certainly less than the 5 or 6 some believed the Rangers would have to cough up if he went before the arbiter or if Henrik was given an offer sheet from another club. The two sides are prevented from negotiating a new deal until after January 1. Assuming Lundqvist continues to play well, look for the Rangers to step up and offer a 5 year deal extension at that time in the 25-30 mil range to lock up the Swede long term, and into his potential UFA days.

3) Don't feel sorry for Souray!

  • As we wrote about recently, many are surprised that the former Hab defender is still up for grabs a full 10 days into the FA sweep stakes. We have continued to monitor this situation with interest. What we're hearing is that Sheldon/his agent are now beginning to see that they over shot his value, and are considering lowering his salary demands. One insider told FAUXRUMORS late yesterday that Souray would have gone in the first hour if he were asking for less than 6 mil and less than 5 years

  • Souray apparently, as we wrote, limited his availability to only a select number of teams. That too they are reconsidering. Many of the teams on his 'wish list' are now not so deep in cap space. Sheldon WILL assuredly get a nice pay cheque when all this is said and done, but it certainly will not be the 5 year 35 mil deal he thought he would get.

  • One of the teams Souray reportedly wouldn't mind going to is the Devils. We're told Lou IS interested, BUT can not/will not dole out more than 5.5 mil. With his own potential "Vanek" in Zac Parise, Lou has to tread carefully in the UFA waters.

3) Is Ovechkin Worth "Crosby Money?"

  • This has been a recent discussion among several of us on this and other blogs since Sid's contract extension was signed yesterday. Some like 'Antz' believe that both players have contributed the same for each club, with the Pens having a far superior core helping the Pens achieve more team-wise than the caps have to date, so AO deserves the raise/comparable salary as Crosby

  • While others like 'Sauce' have postulated that there is no immediate need to extend AO's deal now, as even if a team were to give the Cap forward an offer sheet it wouldn't be for much more than what the Caps will have to give Ovechkin anyway. Why not see what he can do this year and see if he is worth a long term deal.

  • We at FAUXRUMORS can understand both positions. Sauce makes good points, but in the end its MORE than about the money. As our Islander friend correctly points out, the team will have to pay big bucks to retain the Russian regardless of when, BUT we feel that by doing the deal now instead of waiting another year lifts any possible cloud from the team that a contract can have. It also would give apparent stability to the team's fans. Ovechkin is the teams face right now, and knowing he will be there for many years to come would only help boost/increase interest. It also allows the Caps, not some other team, to set the terms of any new deal.
  • BTW, though he isn't quite in the same class as the 2 aforementioned forwards, Calgary's Dion Phaneuf is also a player who may benefit from the Crosby extension/Vanek offer sheet! The Flames are also in a bind with their star goalie, Kipper due to become a UFA next summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crosby Re-ups Early

1) Reports out of Pitt early this morning tells FAUXRUMORS that the Pens are set to announce they have extended the contract of superstar teen and defending Hart/Ross/Pearson trophy winner Sidney Crosby. The word is that is could be as high as 9 million over the 5 years of the deal.

2) As reported here last week, we postulated that the Vanek offer sheet would not only make GM's reassess their approach to potential RFAs ,but it would significantly escalate the salaries that these players would demand. Before the offer sheet these players were free agents in name only. Now with the mere possibility that an offer sheet could come their asset's way, teams will be forced to be proactive.

3) Published reports this past February had the team and Crosby working on a deal in the 6 mil range. A good piece of change for a teenager in his second season, BUT even then we at FAUXRUMORS were skeptical that Sid could be had for such a relatively paltry sum. With the escalation of salaries for younger players/potential offer sheets, it made Crosby's extension a top priority now before things got further out of hand. What will this mean?

  • As we at FAUXRUMORS alone have been saying since last summer the Pens will be forced to move one of their budding superstars in the next 1-2 years. There is NO possible way that they will be able to afford Crosby/Fleury/Malkin/Staal,etc. Even with a continued cap escalation/new arena it will not be feasible.

  • It makes our story of a trade of Malkin, that many scoffed at last year, a more likely scenario. Probably not this summer, but if he struggles through a sophomore slump, it could be sooner than later. Certainly this could be his last season in the yellow&black.

  • The ball is now in George McPhee's court to resign Alex Ovechkin. From the way the market is going, it may be wise to do what the Pens did and do a long term deal now and not wait for another team to set the terms with an offer sheet next summer. Doing it now would also avoid any distractions and give the team a good idea of its options going into this season and the future.

Monday, July 9, 2007

July 9th Observations

1) Lots of chatter about the Lowe offer sheet to Vanek. What IS apparent/clear is that the new CBA/salary cap does little to help incompetent GM's.

  • Lowe should/could have locked up Captain Canada Ryan Smyth for about 5.5 mil in February, but failed to step up and then proceeded to ridicule his former captain once he was traded. Way to burn them bridges Kevin!

  • Lowe proclaims he WILL make a significant trade on or about draft day. Looks silly when that doesn't materialize.

  • UFA opens, player after player passes on Edmonton's dough. One, Michael Nylander even takes much LESS to go to Washington instead of Edmonton. Lowe proceeds to blame geography and player wives. Nice job Kevin!

  • Sabres GM, Darcy Regier gets all bent out of shape when another team(run by the aforementioned dunce in Edmonton) actually makes an offer to one of his (former) players. Former, because as of July 1 Vanek had no contract. Yes, he was restricted, but he was free to negotiate with anyone. For almost an entire year Regier could have negotiated and signed the Austrian forward at a fraction of what he was 'forced' to do. He and he alone should take responsibility at that ineptitude.

  • Speaking of ineptitude and Darcy Regier. We're told that an extension contract was accepted by Drury last fall. The Sabres failed to get it done in a timely fashion(losing the paper work if you can believe that!) and Drury decided to step back and stop the negotiations until after the season. We can see now where that got them. Not only did they lose their captain, but it forced them to have to match the silly Edmonton offer for Vanek.

2) What else is going on FA/trade wise this morning?

  • Sheldon Souray was supposed to be one of the big name UFA's that teams were going to bid big bucks for. So why is the former Hab still unsigned 9 days into the process? We're hearing that he did receive several offers, but none in the range his agent was seeking. He also preferred to go to a contending team. One asst GM who we frequently talk, told us the 'request sent to about 9 teams was for 5 year 35 million!' No wonder everyone passed on it! There aren't too many defensemen in the league worth 7 mil, and Souray is NOT one of that select 2-3 guys who might. He will have to bite the bullet and come down slightly with his request or make himself open for all 30 teams to bid. He better act soon, else GM's will have their budgets set and not have the cash to spend on him!

  • Former Islander, Alexei Yashin's agent is talking with at least 1 or two SE division teams. The underachieving center is getting much more attention these days now that the big fish have been hooked.

  • Rangers go to arbitration with Lundqvist. We don't expect it will get there. We're told negotiations are ongoing for a multiyear deal. King Hank is quite willing to give the proverbial 'home town discount'. He loves playing in NY, and would prefer to stay there long term if possible. Many might recall how Fauxrumors outed Lundqvist's partying ways last fall as a possible reason for his slow start. Look for the party boy to sign a 3-5 year deal at a cap reasonable 3.5 mil/year. In the mean time the arbitartion process does stop any possible offer sheets from coming his way.

  • The Sharks continue to explore ways to improve their defense. We're told Marlaeu is still available, BUT only for the right price. He wil be a UFA next summer. They took a pass on Souray at his asking price. A deal with Nashville that may or may not involve the life long Shark could be in the works

Friday, July 6, 2007

Vanek Wins Lottery!

1) That's what it has to feel to be Mr. Vanek this afternoon after receiving the first real high profile offer sheet seen in the NHL since the Sakic/Federov attempts back in the late 90's. Not a huge surprise either. We at FAUXRUMORS, and to be fair, several other sites, have postulated just such a offer was likely in the current market. First we will deal with the item immediately at hand, then will go deeper into the more important aspects; What this will mean for the rest of the league now and the next few years.

2) To review the Edmonton Oilers made second year pro Thomas Vanek a 7 year 50 million dollar offer. Vanek had a very good offensive season with Buffalo, BUT he was but one part of a very deep offense. He was not the 'go to guy' on a team filled with offensive talent. Also he was a virtual no-show in the playoffs. Now at that salary he will be forced in essence to become a top line man and have the pressure to produce.

3) Did Buffalo make the right move to match?

  • Well, they had no choice really. From a marketing perspective they already lost 2 of their marquis guys in Briere and Drury. To lose Vanek now would be a huge hit at a bad time. We believe that if they had retained Drury as they wanted, Vanek would have been considered expendable.
  • We also wonder why the rush to announce that they will match. We would have let Lowe swing in the wind a few days and announce the decision at the very last possible moment. It would prevent Edmonton from doing anything free agent wise for a full week!
  • Strictly speaking we believe it was NOT a good move for Buffalo to match the offer. For the reason already outlined, we do NOT believe Vanek will live up to the salary/increased expectations. His contract will make it impossible to trade Vanek if he should fall flat. We feel Edmonton would NOT be a playoff team even with Vanek, and as such Buffalo may have received one or more 'Lottery picks' in the deal.

4) So what are the other ramifications?

  • First, the 'genie is out of the bottle' in a way. As alluded to earlier GM's have held back from making such offers to RFA's for almost 8+ years. We fully expect this will embolden other GM's to use this option both as a way to get talent, but as important, as a weapon against rival clubs. Don't be surprised to see Parise in NJ, Lundqvist in NY, etc get offers in the next few days/weeks.
  • The GM's of Pittsburgh and DC for example can NOT be happy this evening. Early this spring there were reports that Ross/Pearson/Hart Trophy winner Sid Crosby would sign an extension with the Pens for about 6 mil. There can be no way that his agent would allow that with the market as it is now. By next summer when Sid the Kid is a RFA, it is conceivable that he could easily get a 9-10 mil/year deal if the Pens don't step up first with a much larger offer than 6 mil. The same can be said of the Caps with their resident superstar Alex Ovechkin. Both may take a small 'home town discount' but no way will they settle for less than what Vanek is set to receive!

5) No matter, we are very happy here at FAUXRUMORS! The major UFAs may have signed, but there is no telling how many or who will be the next RFA to get an offer. Its staying quite interesting! We're just happy we're NOT an NHL GM. Things just got a bit more complicated this afternoon. As always, stay tuned for the latest!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Early July Rumblings

1) The Free agent frenzy has come and essentially gone. As there are still some decent players out there, and more moves to be made we will hold back on issuing the obligatory 'winners/losers' post until later this month when more of the dust settles. From the first week some interesting stories have occurred/are developing:

2) Nylander-gate:

  • The alluded to name all the more appropriate since the Swede center is going to Washington, the site of the famed Watergate hotel. No, deep throat on this one. LOL Apparently Nylander and his agent came to terms with Edmonton late Sunday night, but according to Kevin Lowe his agent told the Oiler GM his client was too tired to sign the papers that would make it binding. Lowe awakens to find that Nylander had subsequently signed with the Caps the next morning.
  • So who is at fault here? If Lowe's story is accurate, and we haven't heard otherwise as of this writing, then it appears that either Nylander, his agent or both played a bit of a slimy business move here. Our legal council tell us that unless Nylander actually signed a binding contract any verbal agreements will NOT hold up in any court. Moreover, as it appears the Caps were innocent participants, and did not have knowledge of the shenanigans that Nylander/his agent pulled on the Oilers they can NOT be held liable, so compensation can not be expected. At most the NHL can sanction the agent and or Nylander, but his contract with the Caps will stand, and he will be a Cap on opening night 2007-2008

3) Isles/Snow blame arena:

  • Our first reaction was give us a F'ing break. Our second reaction was the same as our first! Snow must really be feeling the heat and or that line was spoon fed from Charles Wang who has been trying to build a new NVMC since he purchased the team 7 years ago. In fact, it is the reason he bought the team; As part of a broader real estate venture. Building a complex of office buildings/shops in the immediate vicinity to go along with the new arena. Local officials have been dragging their feet, and this is probably just a bit of a tantrum by Wang(through Snow) to get the project moving faster.
  • The main reason the Isles failed in retaining Smyth has been documented here numerous times. It seems only Snow/Wang didn't know they never had a chance of keeping him! Even if the Isles played in the Taj Mahal Smyth would not be their captain next season. To say otherwise is disingenuous to their dwindling fan base. Which is another factor. Ownership instability has plagued this franchise from day 1. At least in the first 20 years of the team the absentee owner didn't try to influence lower management's player decisions.
  • Since1995 the team has had a (sad) story book of: bad trades/cost cutting moves, coaching changes, GM's fired after a months service, and silly 10-15 year contracts, etc. To an outsider the Isles look like a circus. Who would come/stay willingly? Adjunct to that, how many new fans would all this nonsense attract? Few! How many old fans has it disillusioned? Too many to count! Its not the arena Garth/Charles, its what has been coming from your and your predecessors offices that has damaged your team's credibility!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Old Time Economics?

1) The first day of the UFA feeding frenzy is over and what seems to be apparent is that there may be 'cost certainty' with a salary cap, but it seems with yesterday's signings the big revenue squads stepped up and scooped up the big names, while the lower revenue teams had to sit back and watch.

2) We were told repeatedly that Gomez wanted to go west, but when it came down to it, to borrow/paraphrase a popular God Father phrase, he just got an offer from the Rangers he couldn't refuse. The amount and length they gave Scott was way more than LA could or wanted to give, so they dropped out of the bidding and Sather got his man. Not to be out done, Glen then set his sights on another prize, Chris Drury. The man that helped sink the Rangers playoff hopes this past spring. By offering the former Sabre to a 5 year 7+ mil deal, they out bid almost all others, and Drury didn't mind staying in NYS either.

3) Add to those signings the Ryan Smyth to Colorado, the Philly acquisitions of Briere yesterday, Hartnell, and Timonen last week, Rafalski to the Redwings, Jason Blake to Toronto and the it appears the former big spenders were back at it! In fairness other teams were in the running for some of these players. The isles actually offered Smyth MORE money than the Avs, but in the end(as we predicted) he went back to his comfort zone, the Western Conference.

4) Its not over either. There are still a few big fish left. Noteably, Sheldon Souray, Hamrlik, Handzus, Guerin, Forsberg, Bertuzzi, etc. Now, other than Souray, those are the second string of UFA's, but they will get decent deals now that the others are gone and teams scramble to try to fill their rosters. We may also see our first offer sheet in the next few days. One asst GM said to us jokingly that a team should offer Ranger RFA goalie Henrik Lundqvist a huge offer sheet, just to stick it to Sather. We're sure the rangers would match it and somehow get him signed, but it would definitely hurt them. More possible would be an offer sheet for ray Emery or Zac Parise. The Isles have lost out on Smyth, and Blake, so they may try to force Lou to match a mega offer at this time. The same might be said of Vanek in Buffalo, but with their losses of both Drury and Briere it appears they have plenty of space to match any offer he might receive.

5) Additionally, with the first wave of UFA's under contract it is much more likely we will start to see the trades that were initiated last week in Columbus to come to fruition. Its an exciting time! We will do a post in the upcoming week or so and go through the biggest winners/losers of the UFA period. Still too early to make any firm determinations, but already some teams have helped themselves while others need to make significant moves to shore up their rosters

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Its Quiet... Too Quiet!

1) Yes, we know there have been a couple of signings(Tkachuk,Schneider/Zednik, etc, and an extension(Thornton), but the top 15 or so UFA's that we profiled yesterday are still available as of now(3:30 p.m. EST) Here is what we are hearing right now:
  • The Thornton deal makes a move to trade Marleau all the more likely. Though its not certain when. Certainly, he may turn out to be more affordable to some teams than the available UFA's. One source also stated that the Thornton deal was a sign and trade, though at the relative discount price Joe gave the Sharks, we couldn't see him dealt, unless it was a substantial return.
  • The Panthers OVERPAID for Zednik. Yes, he did have injury issues last season, but when healthy he was inconsistent at best. Not worth 1.75/year in our opinion
  • Briere and the Flyers are getting close, but it may come down to a no grade clause Daniel is demanding
  • The Schneider to the Ducks does NOT mean Niedermayer is about to retire, BUT will mean the RedWings will be significant players in the Rafalski/Souray sweep stakes.
  • Tom Poti to the Caps for 4 years/14 mil. Decent deal for both sides. Poti had a good season for the Isles. Can he be counted upon to help a very young, but talented Caps rear guard? Will this also allow McPhee to use one of those players to trade for a 1st line center? The Marleau deal is still being discussed!
  • The Iginla extension,like the Thornton extension was a huge home town discount. Both of those deals can NOT be making the agents of the UFA too happy. If a Joe Thornton and Jerome Iginla are worth no more than 7 mil, how could a Briere/Gomez/Drury/Smyth get anywhere near that? (They probably will)

2) So why has it been so quiet unlike last year? Well the amazing inflation for one. Sure teams can spend an additional 6 million more than last year, BUT few GM's want to be up against the cap before the season starts. As we have stated in our UFA analyses, few of the players available are worth their expected asking prices. Many GM's got scared off. Will this, and the Iginla/Thornton extensions help hold down salaries? One asst GM told FAUXRUMORS: "don't count on it!" He is hearing that the old 'big spenders' are all too happy to "give away their money" once again. It just may take a bit longer than last year

3) The fly in the ointment this time around is also the rumors swirling around possible offer sheets to players like Vanek in Buffalo, Emery(who would want him!?!) in Ottawa, and Parise in NJ. Those teams would have trouble matching a significant offer if they also try to retain some of their impending UFA's. So their may be a bit of a chess match going on among the GM's. Who will blink first? Its getting interesting folks. Stay tuned. As always, keep it hear for all the latest!

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