Friday, August 31, 2007
2) Thanks to our source(s) in the Bay area for getting us this info before any other sites. We're told the Sharks are NOT done, and they are looking to add depth on the back line. They'd prefer to not sign an expensive UFA like Markov to along term deal, but discussions have take place. Sorry Jintzie, Sopal's agent and Wilson have talked a few times over the last few weeks. Throwing around varying terms.
3) We're still working on the "Favourite Player" post which baring further breaking news, should be out tomorrow.
As always keep it here for the latest
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
2) Here is an alphabetical listing of the West and their report card ratings:
- Anaheim Duck: Significant Additions-Mathieu Schneider, Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Hnidy Significant losses- Dustin Penner, Ryan Shannon , Shawn Thornton. Even as of this late date we still are not sure of the fate of Niedermayer or Selanne. They probably don't have the cap space to retain both.(Unless Teemu takes big pay cut) They hedged their bets with the Schneider and Bertuzzi signings. Losing their captain or the Finnish flash would be tough. To lose both would put a big hole in their repeat plans. Though they are understandably hard to grade. Right now. Grade B-
- Calgary Flame: Significant Additions-Iron Mike Keenan, Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich, Owen Nolan, Anders Erikson. Significant losses- Andrei Zyuzin, Roman Hamrlik, Byron Ritchie, Brad Stuart, Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen. The Iginla/Regher extensions/Keenan hiring most significant moves. With next summers contracts(Kipper/Phaneuf) looming Sutter had to be careful not to over extend the team. Basicly standing pat. Grade C
- Chicago Blackhawk: Significant Additions- Sergei Samsonov, Andrei Zyuzin, Yanic Perreault, Robert lang, Kevyn Adams, Jon Toews Patrick Kane. Significant losses- Jassen Cullimore, Adrian Aucoin, Jeff Hamilton, Michal Handzus, Radim Vrbata. Another team that has no place to go but up. On paper at least should be an exciting team to watch. Draft picks most inportant offseason moves. team still owned by Wirtz, so don't get excited. Grade B-
- Colorado Avalanche: Significant Additions-Scott Hannan, Ryan Smith, Jeff Jilson, Significant losses-Ken Klee, Patrice Brisbois, Pierre Turgeon. Won the Smyth and Hannon sweepstakes. Captain Joe instrumental in landing both. The additions should put them over the top back into the playoffs. Grade A-
- Columbus Blue Jacket: Significant Additions- Michael Peca, Kris beech, Sheldon Brookbank, Jiri Novatny, Jan Hejda. Significant losses-Anders Eriksson. None of the additions will help them. Best moves were to keep Hitchcock and remove McClean. Beech and Novotny couldn't make the lowly Caps. This team headed for another non playoff, cellar-dwellar year. Grade D-
- Dallas Star: Significant Additions-Todd Fedoruk Significant losses-Darryl Sydor Ladislav Nagy, Jon Klemm, Patrik Stefan, Dan Ellis, Matthew Barnaby. Did little to add to an already older, declining lineup. Grade D+
- Detroit Red Wing: Significant Additions-Brian Rafalski, Dallas Drake. Significant losses- Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang, Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Calder. Hasek returns, but remains question despite great 06-07 season. Rafalski got a nice payday to replace Schneider, is a slight upgrade. Other losses not huge. Grade C+
- Edmonton Oiler: Significant Additions-Dick Tarnstrom, Denis Grebeshkov, Joni Pitkenen, Geoff Sanderson, Sheldon Souray, Dustin Penner Significant losses-Petr Sykora, Petr Nedved, Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupul, Jan Hejda, Brad Winchester, Toby Peterson. Needed major changes, and got them. Give Lowe an A for effort. Not sold on Penner or Souray's salaries. At least fans will have some new faces to boo. Grade C
- Los Angeles King: Significant Additions-Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Kyle Calder, Tom Preissing, Brad Stuart, Jon Klemm. Significant losses-Alyn McAuley, G Mathieu Garon , Aaron Miller, Tom Kostopoulos, Jamie Heward , Jamie Lundmark, Oleg Tverdovsky, Sean Burke. Summer moves helped augment one of the better young teams in the league EXCEPT in goal where a hole remains. Grade B+
- Nashville Predator: Significant Additions- Jed Ortmeyer, Radek Bonk, Greg Devries, Martin Gelinas. Significant losses- Kimmo Timonen, Tomas Vokoun, Scott Hartnell, Paul Kariya, Sheldon Brookbank, Vitali Vishnevski, Peter Forsberg. Seem hell-bent on self destruction. Retained underachieving coach, Trotz. This squad will show how good/bad he really is. Grade F+
- Phoenix Coyote: Significant Additions-David Aebischer, Alex Auld, Mike York, Radim Vrbata, GM Don Maloney. Significant losses-Owen Nolan, Dave Scatchard, Kevyn Adams, Jeremy Roenick(his loss can be considered an addition!), Mike Ricci, Jeff Taffe. They sucked on toast last year, and nothing they did this summer will change that this next season. Grade D
St. Louis Blue: Significant Additions-Keith Tkachuk(an actual subtraction!), Paul Kariya, Hannu Toivonen. Significant losses-Radek Dvorek, Curtis Sanford. We didn't like the Tkachuk move, and we're not sold on Toivonen. Team needs further development from existing players to show improvement. Grade C-
- San Jose Shark: Significant Additions-Alexei Semenov Significant losses-Bill Guerin, Vesa Toskala, Mark Bell, Scott Hannan. Still a team that is young AND has a lot of cap space to shore up any holes. The Thornton extension was biggest move they made. Grade C
- Vancouver Canuck: Significant Additions-Ryan Shannon, Byron Ritchie, Aaron Miller, Brad Isbister. Curtis Sanford. Significant losses- Brent Sopal, Jan Bulis, Josh Green. Seem content to continue The Luongo/Sedin show. Not any better. Grade D+
- Minnesota Wild: Significant Additions-Nolan Schaefer, Eric Belanger, Sean(over the) Hill. Significant losses-Manny Fernandez. Management feels this team was OK without major changes. Pressure will be on Backstrom to show that the 29 yr old 'rookie' wasn't a fluke. Grade C+
Monday, August 27, 2007
- Peter Forsberg
- Scott Niedermayer
- Teemu Selanne
3) Niedermayer's situation is different from the other two on our list. Scott has a valid contract for this AND next season for a bout 6.75 mil/per. Right after his Cup win, he mentioned he MAY retire. Since then it has been apparent that his team the Ducks were anticipating he would(signing Schneider), but still held out hope he'd return. To their credit they have remained on the high road. All along saying they'd 'give Scott time'. Even during the Penner situation when Brian Burke could have legitimately demanded an answer, the Ducks didn't publicly call out their (former-?) captain. As we have mentioned previously, no matter his recent/long term success Neidermayer's lack of a timely decision is disdainful and self centered. If reports are to be believed that he has enrolled his kids in Anaheim schools, then it may mean he's returning after all, but Scott, say something NOW!
4) Selanne, unlike Niedermayer, is a UFA. He could go where ever he'd like. To this point, other than some unsubstantiated rumors in July about a likely Flyers destination things have been quiet with regard to the Finnish Flash. Brian Burke has noted he'd like to have him back, but has already invested in other players making it difficult for Teemu to return IF Niedermayer also returns. Retirement is also a possibility, but after a resurgence in Disneyland, we don't see that as a likely hood. If he was dead set on the Ducks and Scott also returned, Teemu would have to take a modest pay cut and have a lions share of his salry in performance bonuses. That way the Ducks could defer his cap hit. We are hearing that this is the most likely scenario, and he doesn't want to uproot his family and leave for another NHL team. Else a return to Finland would be more likely.
5) Meanwhile on the other extreme players like:
- Anson Carter
- Brent Sopal
- Robert Esche
- Jason Allison
- Tony Amonte
David Tanabe, etc. are all still looking for a job.
6) Some like carter and Allison may be pricing themselves out of a job. certainly Allison should fire his agent or kick himself in the shorts for not taking a bit less last year. We're told that he'd get little more than the league minimum now. As for Carter, after last year most GM's would be wary of giving him anything more than a 2-way deal, which the proud Anson will never do. A trip over the pond is more likely is no one comes calling soon. Brent Sopal is more of an enigma. he puts up decent enough offensive numbers, but seems to get bounced around more than one would expect. Of all the listed players, he is the most likely to be on a starting roster come October.
Note we are complating our Off season Report cards-West. We hope to have it out Wednesday. As always, keep it here for the latest!
Friday, August 24, 2007
2) Anyway, here are approximate cap space for all 30 teams as of today. We say approximate because there can be differences depending upon what the final make up is of a teams' roster. Some teams are set, while others have a RFA or two to sign. Most won't be huge impact signings. We used various sources to get these numbers and they DO included cap space lost by contract buy-outs,etc. That said, here is the list first the East then West. Numbers in millions:
- Atlanta: 8.75
- Boston: 2.75
- Buffalo: 5.25
- Carolina: 4.50
- Florida: 7.75
- Montreal: 5.00
- New Jersey:5.00
- NYI: 9.25
- NYR: -1.75
- Ottawa: 4.5
- Pittsburgh: 9.00
- Tampa Bay: 7.50
- Toronto: 1.25
3) Now the West:
- Anaheim: 1.25 (Ofcourse thats WITH Niedermayer)
- Calgary: 5.00
- Chicago: 10.25
- Colorado: 6.75
- Columbus: 11.00
- Dallas: 5.75
- Detroit: 5.00
- Edmonton: 5.25
- LA: 6.25
- Minnesota: 3.75
- Nashville: 17.00
- Phoenix: 20.50
- St. Louis: 5.50
- San Jose: 14.25
- Vancouver: 4.50
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
2) We'll start in the East and go alphabetically:
- Atlanta Thrashers: Basically stood pat. Significant losses- Viscnevski, Sim and Devries, Significant additions- Perrin, Todd White, Ken Klee. We don't see them particularly better. The playoff disappearance of Hossa and uneven goaltending of Leitonen puts the team into a bit of doubt this upcoming season. Grade C-
- Boston Bruins- Significant losses-Hannu Toivonen, Shean Donovan. Significant additions- Manny Fernandez, Peter Schaefer, Shawn Thornton, Carl Soderberg. The key addition is Fernandez. Will he finally be the missing #1 goalie the B's have been without for so long? If so, it was a good offseason for Chirelli. Grade B
- Buffalo Sabres- Significant additions-Jocelyn Thibeault Significant losses-Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Dainius Zubrus. probably the worst offseason of any team. The Sabres on paper go from Cup contendor to playoff bubble team. Still have a good group of youngsters, but can Vanek live up to his salary? Grade D
- Carolina Hurricanes- Significant addition- Matt Cullen. Significant losses-none. Though they made only one significant addition, don't underestimate the help Cullen will provide. This team still has the tools to be back in the playoffs, and didn't need to do more. Grade B-
- Florida Panthers- Significant additions-Tomas Vokoun, Richard Zednik, Radek Dvorak. Significant losses- Chris Gratton, Martin Gelinas, Alexei Semenov, Ed Belfour(probable) Others are impressed with their offseason changes, we are NOT! Vokoun will NOT be ahuge improvement over what belfour provided last year. Unless the kids step up, the Panthers will only be marginally better. Grade C
- Montreal Canadians- Significant Additions-Roman Hamrlik, Patrice Brisebois, Bryan Smolinski. Significant Losses- Sheldon Souray, Alexander Perezhogin, Radek Bonk, David Aebischer, Sergei Samsonov. Another team spurned by the top FA's. Rumors were they went after Briere hard, but came up empty. Their overall summer filled holes by other departures. Don't see that they improved their lineup. Grade C
- NJ Devils- Significant Additions- Dainius Zubrus, Karel Rachunek, Vitali Vishnevski, Kevin Weekes, Arron Asham, Ian Moran, coach Brent Sutter. Significant losses- Scott Gomez, Brian Rafalski, Brad Lukowich. The Devils lost significant offense in Rafalski and Gomez. Their additions are solid but are not going to replace the lost offense. Their kids(Parise) are going to have to step it up. Adding Sutter should mean they will be a hard working squad. Though it can't be forgotten that Brent is still a rookie coach! Grade B-
- NY Islanders- Significant additions- Andy Sutton, Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko , Jon Sim , Josef Vasicek. Significant losses- Alexei Yashin , Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake, Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov, Richard Zednik, Arron Asham, Sean Hill. We can't recall a team undergoing so much off season change. Not for the good either. The team lacks a true first line. Nolan may get the most of his players, but if he gets this team in the playoffs he should get coach of the century! Grade D+
- NY Rangers- Significant additions- Chris Drury (UFA, Buf), Scott Gomez. Significant losses- Michael Nylander, Jed Ortmeyer, Karel Rachunek Kevin Weekes, Matt Cullen. The Blueshirts made a huge UFA splash, but failed to address their biggest problem; their defense. They are hoping another Staal(Marc) can step up The free agent signings bumped them right against the cap limit, so they will have trouble adding during the season if need be. Grade B-
- Ottawa Senators- Significant Additions-Shean Donovan (trade, Bos), Luke Richardson. Significant Losses- Tom Preissing, Mike Comrie, Oleg Saprykin. With the impending FA's of Heatley/Spezza looming next year, they couldn't spend any bucks this summer. We don't like Emery as a #1 goalie, so his signing is a negative in our opinion. Their overall lineup is still well above average. Grade C-
- Philadelphia Flyers- Significant additions- Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupul. Significant losses- Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson, Niko Dimitrakos, Todd Fedoruk, Mike York. Questions will be, will Briere and Hartnell live up to their inflated salaries, and can Biron be a #1 goalie? Team should be much improved, but there was no place to go but up. Grade A-
- Pittsburgh Penguins- Significant additions- Darryl Sydor, Petr Sykora. Significant losses- Michel Ouellet, Jocelyn Thibault, Nils Ekman. Basicly stood pat. With the best group of young forwards in the game, why not? However, with the loss of Thibault, the pressure will now be on Fleury to step up and be a true #1 goalie. Biggest move was the Crosby extension. Grade C+
- TB Lightning- Significant additions- Chris Gratton, Michel Ouellet, Brad Lukowich, Dan Jancevski, Jan Hlavac. Significant losses-Ruslan Fedotenko, Cory Sarich, Eric Perrin, Luke Richardson. Feaster sticking with his 'Big 3' strategy. Failing to address the teams need for better goaltending. Team no better/worse than last year. Grade C-
- Toronto Maple Leafs-Significant Additions-Vesa Toskala, Jason Blake, Mark Bell. Significant losses- Yanic Perreault. The Leaf improved their goaltending as well as their offensive/defensive depth, without losing much of their existing roster. They may have pushed themselves over the hurdle as a likely playoff team. Grade B+
- Washington Crapitals- Significant additions- Michael Nylander, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti, Nicklas Backstrom. Significant losses- None. The Caps seemd to have filled their glaring deficiency at center well with Nylander and Backstrom. Poti and Kozlov should help give depth to a previously thin offensive lineup. Grade B+
Monday, August 20, 2007
2) The reasons outlined at the time included:
- Player salaries are too high
- Too many teams are losing money
- Ticket prices are too high
- The NHL needs a salary cap to get parity in order to increase fan interest
3) Here's where we get confused. Before the Bettman lockout the average players salary was 1.8 million. The overall NHL income was stated as 1.9 billion. The NHL(Levitt report) said it lost 273 million that year. Jump ahead to this upcoming season. According to Decock, salaries will amazingly approach an average of a whopping 2.2 million! He goes on to say that revenues are estimated to be over 2.2 billion. Yes, ticket prices(as opposed to what Bettman promised) have risen, but certainly TV revenues have NOT increased all that much from pre lockout levels to account for this apparent(temporary in our opinion) amnesia the owners have over monetary losses.
4) Let us explain. It would seem that to stay out of the red the league would have to either increase their revenues from the pre lockout level of 1.9 bil to 2.3 bil and keep player salaries unchanged, OR increase income to 2.5 bil to keep pace with current player salary inflation. Else where is all this 'new money' coming from? Is the NHL really out of financial danger? It would seem so. If one goes by franchise values and the fact that there seem to be owners lined up to buy teams, business must be good, right?
5) Yes, yes, we all know about 'cost certainty, and how the players merely get a fixed % of income, but we want to know is the current NHL income inflated to allow player salaries to increase so much, or were revenues under reported(hidden) before to inflate losses before the Bettman lockout? Either answer means things have been/are being manipulated to get the result that is desired.
6)So what does this all mean? Of course its all conjecture on our part, but we are NOT optimistic about avoiding further lockouts in the future. It wouldn't be a stretch to forsee in the next 2-3 years before the CBA expires a resuption of owners complaining they are losing money and a 'change' needs to be made. The owners next goal, guarenteed contracts?!? Eliminating those would erase a huge headache. One that the NFL to this day has avoided. The players said they'd never capitulate on a salary cap, and they ultimately did, so the owners may feel they can impliment whatever system they want. Billionares always trump(no pun) millionares!
Friday, August 17, 2007
2) One of the most frequently asked question we get is "Why Don't You Just Use Your Real Names?" and " Why are all posts in the 'third' person? There are a few answers to that question(s), but first and foremost the answer is that it keeps things interesting. ; ) Many of our sources would be less likely to talk if we used our real names, since some of our real names could potentially link us to certain hockey people and perhaps make them a bit exposed. If we stay anonymous then they can talk to us under this extra layer of anonymity. WE write in the third person because this isn't a one man outfit. We ALL take the credit/blame for our posts, so we decided long ago to not only do that, but write the posts to reflect that philosophy.
3) Also, we think who we are is far more boring than what FAUXRUMORS has become. It is even more boring than when people say they have "figured out" who we are. A few bloggers who have claimed to be us, we have actually become friendly with. Believe us, they are even more interesting than we are. LOL On occasion we have considered dropping the anonymity bit, but then we think, “What fun would that be?”Our identities would be a big story were we Gary Bettman, Ted Saskin or Stan Fischler, and although we never confirm or deny anything, we will tell you all that we are not any of those folks!! LOL
4) We also get many questions are always about the rumors we put out there. A few words about rumors to clarify how we work here. How we do things is a tad differently than many other rumor sites and therefore is often misunderstood. There are the Several Rules of FAUXRUMORS and Hockey Rumors.
- Rule #1. We report on what we hear from MANY NHL contacts at all levels. We spend way too much time on the phone and, quite often, we run over our allotted minutes per month. Which is very scary in of itself. LOL
- Rule #2. We don't make things up. Quite often we put out something that may not make sense, but you never know. For instance: Clarke is no longer GM in Philly, Garth Snow is the GM in NY. The Fedorov and Thornton trades, etc. If had we had them and tried to put out those rumors, would have gotten ripped apart if they didn't happen.
- Rule #3. Since we are writing almost everything we hear, most of what we write will NEVER happen. Many try to use this fact against us, but our loyal readers understand that this is how that part of the NHL works. Based on what we have learned, only 5%(or less) of what is discussed between GMs or GMs and agents ever amounts to anything. And yet ofcourse they are always talking. We know that we manage to dig up only a small percentage of that huge amount of discourse. So you do the math. If we nail ten things a year, we're very happy. We write this stuff, because who doesn't like to look at a trade possibility and think about whether or not they would do it? At least here you can be assured that it came from a source that is trusted. People used to try and trick us all the time, and this last year we fell for a few of them. Now we don't report a rumor unless the source has proven to be reliable, we have talked to them on the phone or they have confirmed they are on the inside through a mutual hockey friend that we trust.
- Rule #4. We don't always get the complete deal correct. Often we get some of the names that are being discussed. This is something that we seem to have had to write a thousand times. Especially if the deal doesn't make "cap sense." What is fun for us is if we get a solid rumor that a deal doesn't make cap sense, because that leads us in the direction of what kind of deal will get made to clear up space.
- Rule #5.(Most important!)It's only hockey, so try and have some fun here. We don't remove any comments even if they don't bring anything to the table or are just intended to rip us. Rip the trade if you think it is a bad move, but don't shoot the messenger. ; ) We enjoy the discussions that the rumor posts invariably evoke. That's why we're here; to discuss what we all love most, NHL hockey!
- Rule #6. Don't believe everything you read about us on other blog sites. There is a TON of misinformation about us. There are also some really great writers and some really bad ones. Many of the good ones and some of the bad hold some sort of hatred for us that we have never fully understood. Many times the mere manner in which we write our posts(numbered) garners ire. We have repeatedly tried to reach out to them, as we did with Eklund last month. Like we said, It is only hockey, and in our opinion the more bloggers the better. We grew up in a time where the only hockey we read was in 'The Hockey News' once a week. We think this is much better! Don't you?
- Rule #7 We also put out personal rumors about players ONLY if we know them to be fact (Via multiple reliable sources). Our expose on the Pronger/Malkin situations and allegations are prime examples where we feel we did our best investigative work!
6) Since we are a totally non-profit outfit(and always will be!) we don't always have rumors to share. We refuse to make up rumors out of thin air. Others are much more adept at this than us anyway. ; ) Therefore we altered our initial rumor site into a general hockey discussion site and since this change the number of regular readers has grown, even after the late February hijacking.
7) Our long and extensive road trip around the league last fall really opened our eyes to how many hard core fans the league has, and we thank everyone who has written us and ofcourse who we have met in our travels. We look forward to continuing this for many years to come; possibly adding additional writers and ofcourse sources. Thank you again to all of you. Without whom we wouldn't be writing this blog!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
- Earlier this summer it was widely reported that JR was going to make the anticipated announcement and call it quits. He was once one of the best players in the game with 3 consecutive 100+ point seasons, 1991-94. From the first Bettman lockout in 1995 till 2002 he was still a very effective offensive threat garnering an average of 70 points over that time. Since that juncture he has steadily declined to the point where he managed a mere 28 points in 70 games last year on a dreadful Phoenix squad. Gaining the ire from 'The Great One' on several occasions.
- Amonte, though never had the same super star stats that Roenick had early on, came into his own in the mid 90's with the BlackHawks. Scoring 40+ on 3 different occasions from 1996-2000. Since 2001 Tony hasn't eclipsed the 20 goal plateau, and last season managed to dent the twine a mere 10 times in 81 games played. Clearly his skills have significantly diminished like his former Hawk team mate.
2) We find it sad in a way that these two, once very effective players, and two of the better players produced from south of the border want to try to continue to play despite their loss of 'game'. They very well may find a team desperate enough to add them. Who may be need a 'name' to add to their rosters to garner some fan interest. Unfortunately, the end result is that many folks will simply remember these 2 for the ineptitude of their ladder days, instead of their significant contributions for their teams and country a decade or so ago.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
- The Forsberg to the Senators rumor. Pure fiction folks! There has been NO discussion with Peter and Ottawa. Its a total work of fiction by the local news paper. Even if the Sens had the cap space(they don't) Forsberg would NOT go there. He and Alfredsson have a history of animosity. If and when Peter lands in the NHL, the most likely destinations are Colorado or Philadelphia, with Detroit the dark horse long shot.
- The Islanders-Bruins swap talk: Total 100% Barbara Streisand(BS) people! Apparently this was started on an Islander blog a few days ago. One astute blogger looked at both rosters and concluded that Bergeron could be a good pick up by the Isles and proposed a possible deal to make it happen. Somehow Eklund picked this piece of trash up and ran with it as if it had validity. (He smartly didn't name names) Perhaps some of his 'sources' are playing him, or more likely he needs as many rumors as he can right now to feed his hungry(paying) customers. The rumor failed to realize that Bergeron is signed to a long term deal and is NOT going anywhere!
2) So what IS being discussed?
- Jason Allison HAS been contacted by several teams. Yes, the Islanders as reported by Eklund last week IS one of them, BUT they along with the other involved teams are not happy with Allison's insistence on a 2+ year deal. After missing so much time its a gamble for a team to sign him for 1 year. I would be idiotic for anything more!
- More retirements? With the retirement of Mike Ricci today a few other players may be getting closer to making it official and submitting their retirement papers. Among these are goaltenders Sean Burke and forwards Rob Dimaio and Travis Green. Among those who are still trying to land jobs are goalie Ed Belfour who is trying to stay in shape in hopes that a team will need his services with an injury, though one has to wonder if he has played his last game.
- Extension fever?: With the extension of 'Sid the Kid' last month, coupled with the offer sheets by Edmonton, we are hearing that two of next summers most attractive potential Group II's, Alex Ovechkin and Dion Phaneuf are negotiating their own extensions with their respective clubs. Our source in DC tells us in fact that "an agreement in principal" is already done to keep Alex the Gr-8 in the nation's Capital till at least 2015! We're told the announcement may come as early as Alex's 22nd BD which is about when camp opens in September. The Phaneuf talks are not as close to completion but going along well so far.
3) We are hearing some other interesting things, but they are still too nebulous to relay. As always keep it here for the latest!
Monday, August 13, 2007
2) It appears, as we expected, we didn't miss too much in the 10 or so days we were 'out of it'. Thanks for all the E-mails that were sent in by our readers and sources. Sorry we didn't/couldn't respond to them expeditiously as usual. We believe FAUXRUMORS is preparing a Post-response to our many e-mailed questions. Look for it in the upcoming days. We won't bore you to tears with the details of our trip. A hockey blog isn't a place for that. Write us if you'd like some inside info of what we did/saw.
3) It appears our old 'friend' Hockeynutz is suffering from the non hockey news malaise/boredom. From out of the blue he appeared. First creating a 'straw man' (Hawk) to try to get a response from us, then probably forgetting to change over from his own screen name, he responded to himself. LOL His silly attempt to have his creation Hawk post on his blog was priceless. Thanks to Lloyd and then Jintzie (Say hello to Theresa!) for carrying our water while we were incommunicado.
4) We have gone over that bridge too many times before to get into another silly pissing contest with the likes of him. We will of course allow all posters their time to write what they wish here(other than Spam). We will limit our responses, and try to keep the subject matter on hockey. On that note, we are preparing our off season analysis for the 30 teams, and as we hear them will post the latest rumors from throughout the league. As always, keep it here for the latest and again, its great to be back!!!
Friday, August 3, 2007
- On ice success- Not necessarily numbers of Cups, but a combination of regular season AND playoff success over the past decade or so
- Fan support- Especially recently we have seen some teams enjoy great on ice success and play before half empty arenas. While we also see(especially in Canada) teams sell out despite poor records
- Ownership stability- This seems to be the key for most successful teams. Success starts from the top and trickles to all areas
- City Intangibles- Some places(and we've visited all but Dallas last year) are just better cities to live and some arenas are electric, while others are dead
- Competence of coaches/GM- Needless to say this is important for overall on-ice success
2) When we started compiling the list it hit us that on ice success is NOT the most/only important factor here. In fact the last 3 cup winners are NOT in our top 10! Go figure. Anyway without further verbiage, here is our list Broken into the 'Top 10' Middle Ten, and 'Bottom Ten' in alphabetical order
3) The Top 10:
- Buffalo- Not long ago this once bankrupt team would have placed in the 'Bottom 10.' However, once the team was purchased by Tom Golisano, it became rock solid financially. Darcy Regeir has been one of the better GM's in the league(his mistakes this spring not withstanding). The fan support has been impressive in the relatively impoverished western NY city.
- Calgary- Like all of the Canadian teams, the Flames enjoy strong fan support. With the excellent job GM/former coach Daryl Sutter has provided the team originally from Atlanta is one of the best 'small market' NHL teams with an impressive array of stars, and despite being relatively far north is an attractive city for players to come/live.
- Colorado- Formerly the Nordiques of Quebec City, the squad from Denver has been one of the best franchises in the NHL the past decade. Starting with good drafting back in Quebec, to nice trades. Most notably the Roy deal in 1996. Still one of the most difficult seats to come by, the team after an excellent off season is poised to return to the top echelon of the NHL.
- Dallas- Owner Tom Hicks has allowed his management team to assemble quality without too much meddling(Unlike his Texas Rangers mess). The team has a Cup in 1999. Has strong fan support even in the ice-unfriendly mid Texas environs.
- Detroit- Its not called "Hockey Town" for nothing. Despite much published non sell outs(which were unheard of until this year) the team remains a hot ticket, even in economically depressed Michigan. The Wings have taken home 3 Cups in the last decade. Many thought the team would suffer with the salary cap. So far they haven't, with top finishes in their conference the past 2 years.
- Minnesota- The Wild, despite being a relatively new NHL team(2000-01) are a huge success. In hockey crazy Minnesota the Wild are a very tough seat to find. The team has had mild/moderate on ice success, but their management team led by former Habs Doug Risebrough and Jacques Lemaire have this team poised in the right direction
- New Jersey- Clearly one of the most successful organizations from top to bottom in the past 12+ years. A perennial Cup contender, with 3 Cups since 1995. Lou Lamarello is one of the top hockey executives of his generation. The negatives would be fan support. Despite the record, the team continues to struggle at the gate. Hopefully for them a new arena(In Newark of all places) helps that out.
Ottawa- Right on the cusp of getting into the top 10. A lot many near misses. Have been a power in the regular season only until this year. If it were not for their mediocre goaltending(that appears to not be changing) they would probably be a real Cup threat. Even with that, they are formidable team and appear to have rebounded from their near bankruptcy of a few years ago. A nice city, we'd recommend visiting.
Philadelphia- No Cups in the city of Brotherly Love since 1975, but plenty of near misses since. One of the best U.S markets. Last season, despite being one of the worst teams, they still drew extremely well. Their ownership is very motivated to put out a quality product. The team seems poised for a rebound with a revamped squad, with as always, questions about their goaltending. Still, the Flyers are one of the best NHL franchises
- San Jose- Another expansion success story. The big prize has so far alluded this team from California, but that might soon change. They have a bevy of young stars ready to step up. Fan support in Silicon valley has never been a problem in the Shark Tank!
4) The middle 10:
- Anaheim-Yes, amazingly enough the Cup champs didn't crack the top 10! If they continue their rise, they probably will be there next year this time, but for now there in the middle 10. If we did this ratings 2 years ago the Ducks might have been in the 'Bottom 10!' However, they have new, apparent solid ownership, and Burke is one of the better GM's out there, so the team is in good hands going forward.This year was NO fluke!
- Edmonton- The Oilers may have been in the 'Top 10' if we did this last year, but the last 12 months have been a year from hell with the Pronger/Smyth departures and RFA nonsense. Putting Lowe into a corner forcing him to make silly proclamations/RFA offers. Still they are a great draw in Edmonton, and despite press to the contrary it remains a great place to play. The Oilers will be back.
- Montreal- The Habs have been going through hard times(for them) No Cups in 14 years is uncharted territory for this storied franchise. Still, they are in good hands with Bob Gainey at the helm, and as always the fans always sell out the arena.
- Nashville- Another franchise that has taken a tumble out of a top 10 position. Mainly due to ownership instability. This has trickled down into a mandated sell off of talent. The jury is still out whether the team is doomed to move or can resolidify into a Cup contender. Right now, it can go either way
New York Rangers- Despite playoffless years and over spending the Rangers are one of the more valuable NHL franchises. Being in the top U.S market, playing in The World's Greatest Arena" certainly helps. Seems the new CBA, which forced them to spend more wisely, has actually helped them to become more competitive and look more long term with their moves.
- Pittsburgh- Appear poised to a return to glory after a very dark period where their very existence was in doubt. With a new arena set for 2010, and the best stable of young talent in the NHL, led by Superstar Sid Crosby, the Pens are but one piece away from a Cup, a good goalie.
St. Louis- Another team that would have been in our bottom 10 2 years ago. Since John(JD)Davidson took over and new stable owners have taken over the franchise appears ready to resume playoff viability. Though they are still a couple of seasons away from being a Cup contender. A traditionally well supported team in a good sports city
- Toronto- Amazingly, the Leafs are now into their 41 st Cup-less year. A stinging reminder their detractors love to bring up. Still, that can't erase the fact that this IS the premiere money making franchise in the NHL. Led by the 'Leaf Nation' no other team has the same kind of large, rabid following as do the Leafs. Unfortunately, they are merely a mediocre squad, and don't yet appear to be ready to take the next step up.
- Tampa Bay- A definite expansion success. Despite clamoring from up north that hockey shouldn't be in Florida, it has shown to be very viable in the Florida Bay area. They have a Cup in their resume, and excellent fan support that their cross state rivals would love to have.
- Vancouver- One of the most beautiful cities we visited last fall. Seems to be a great place to play. Great and loyal fan base. Nice arena, etc. However the team has yet to put it all together on the ice. They have one of the best goalies in Luongo so they will be playoff contenders, but don't possess enough depth to challenge the Western powers. Hopefully they will stop the seemingly annual uniform changes! LOL
- Atlanta- Yes, they made the playoff for their first time, but big problems remain. Fan interest even with the team emerging has been tepid at best. We have little faith in GM Don Waddel, and ownership is unsteady. If they fail to get back into the post season rumblings of a move(again) from Atlanta are possible. Its just NOT a good sports city.
- Boston- If ever there was an example of poor ownership hurting a team its here and of course Chicago. Jeremy Jacobs has been a tight wad hands on poor owner and has resulted in a 35+ year drought that has no appearance of ending. Seems this team has a new #1 goalie every year. Stupid trades(Thorton) haunt this one proud successful franchise. Its too bad, its a great sports city.
- Carolina- Yes, despite being only a year removed from a championship the 'Canes are NOT a great franchise. Mostly due to their location. Despite success on the ice, the team still struggles at the gate and are a mere blip on the local media's radar. Like Atlanta, we shudder at what will/would happen if they fell on hard times. They should have stayed in Hartford!
- Chicago- (See Boston) Its no wonder this team hasn't won since JFK was a president not an airport. Wirtz is even worse than Jacobs in his utter incompetence/neglect/ruination of an original six team. Despite recent moves, we don't see this changing any time soon.
- Columbus- Things may be changing, but until they do, we have to keep this team in the 'Bottom 10.' Ridding themselves of incompetent McClean was the biggest positive move in Ohio's biggest city. They now seem poised for improvement, which would be great for their loyal fans who turn out despite never even sniffing a playoff spot in their 7 years.
- Florida- The Panthers could only hope to mirror the success/support their cross state rivals garner. Despite early success(their 1996 trip to the Finals) this franchise has been anything but stable. The low point was the Keenan tenure, and they are still reeling from his awful moves. Most notably alienating then shipping off super star goalie Roberto Luongo for very little. When one looks at team that should relocate, this on the top of our list!
- LA- OK, we believe they may be turning a corner, but like the Columbus, we want to see before we elevate them above the 'Bottom 10'. They have a good stable of talented youngsters with Kopitar and Cammalleri. If they figure out Cloutier sucks and is not the answer in goal, they may become a playoff contender.
- NY Islanders-Sorry Isles fans, your team despite their unexpected playoff run last year remain at or near the bottom in our franchise ratings Why? No playoff series wins in going on 15 years for starters. Unstable ownership. Wang is rich but NOT stable! An inexperienced GM with questionable power to make moves, and a dearth of top prospects. Add to that they play in the 2nd worst arena we visited last year (Pitt far worse!) and many fans have understandably deserted them. This franchise has a lot of work to do to turn things around! We hope to see it happen in our life time!
- Phoenix- Carolina of the west, without the on-ice success. They moved from a good market(Winnipeg) for what was thought to be a more lucrative market and thus far it has been a royal bust! Whats worse, they don't appear to be moving in a positive direction. Gretzky needs to step back and away from the team. His presence has not helped, and probably hurt. The 'hockey in the desert' experiment is a failure Gary. Time to go back north!
- Washington- May be on the cusp of escaping the 'Bottom 10'. George McPhee and owner Ted Leonsis have stuck to their 'rebuild' plan of the past 4 years, and amazingly, it appears to be working. This next season will be a water shed year as expectations are now high in DC. If they become playoff contenders, it remains to be seen if the fans respond/return. They once had great support. Time will tell as they say. The pressure is now on!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
2) We're told there weren't any serious offers for the soon-to-be rich 25 year old forward, but Burke tried to the bitter end to try to 'stick it' back to Lowe and make him wait it out and get nothing in return. The official announcement that Penner is an Oiler should come down later this afternoon. We'l pass along more as it comes in