Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Tad Too Soon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LadyByng: The Flyers get the award as a team!

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today's Choices

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

St. Louis vs-Buffalo: Sabres

Dallas vs-New Jersey: Stars

Florida vs-Washington : Capitals

Tampa Bay vs-Chicago: Black Hawks

Los Angeles vs-San Jose: Sharks

Philadelphia vs-Carolina : Hurricane

Ottawa vs-NY Islanders : Senators

Phoenix vs-Minnesota : Coyotes

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

All-Prick/Most Hated Teams

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

First team

Center: Sean Avery

  • Right Wing: Chris Neil

  • Left Wing: Darcy Fucker

  • Defense: Rob Blake

  • Defense: Chris Pronger

  • Goalie: Dominick (The Dominator) Hasek

  • Head Coach: (Iron)Mike Keenan

  • GM: Brian Burke

Second team:

  • Center: Alex Ya$hin

  • Right wing: Jarkko Ruutu

  • Left wing: Todd Bertuzzi

  • Defense:Chris Chelios

  • Defense: Dion Phaneuf

  • Goalie: Ed Belfour

  • Head Coach: John Tortorella

  • GM:Kevin Lowe

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

    First team

  • Center: Bobby Clarke

  • Right wing: Chris( Knuckles)Nilan

  • Left Wing: Dave (Tiger) Williams

  • Defense: Marty McSorley

  • Defense: Dave Manson

  • Goalie: (Battling)Billy Smith

  • Head Coach: Don (Grapes) Cherry

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

Second Team

  • Center: Dale Hunter

  • Right wing: Claude Lemieux

  • Left wing: Ken (The Rat) Linseman

  • Defense: Dennis Potvin

  • Defense: Randy Holt

  • Goalie: Ron Hextall

  • Head Coach: Fred (The Fog) Shero

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Todays Games

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

Buffalo vs-Montreal : Canadians

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

Carolina vs-Washington: Capitals

Detroit vs- Columbus : Red Wings

New Jersey vs-Tampa Bay Lightning

Chicago vs-Edmonton Oilers

Boston vs-NY Islanders Islanders

Calgary vs-Colorado Avalanche

Toronto vs-Phoenix: Coyotes

Atlanta vs-Pittsburgh Penguins

Minnesota vs-Nashville: Predators

Los Angeles vs-San Jose : Sharks

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caps (Finally) Make Move!

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Turkey Day Picks

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

2) Philadelphia vs-Carolina: Hurricane

Atlanta vs-Washington : Thrasher

Ottawa vs-Buffalo : Sabres

New Jersey vs-Pittsburgh : Penguin

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

St. Louis vs-Detroit: Red Wings

NY Rangers vs-Tampa Bay: Rangers

Anaheim vs-Dallas: Ducks

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

At the Quarter Pole....

1) With nearly all teams having now played 20% of their schedules we decided to project the finals standings. Obviously there is plenty of time for teams outside of the playoffs to get back in, but some trends are clearly becoming evident.

2) We merely projected an 82 game season point total based upon each teams current point total/games played.

First in the East:

  • Ottawa-138

  • Islanders-106

  • Carolina- 105

  • Montreal- 102

  • Philadelphia-99

  • Rangers--97

  • Boston-91

  • Tampa Bay-90


  • Toronto- 82

  • Atlanta- 82

  • New Jersey- 74

  • Pittsburgh- 74

  • Florida- 71

  • Buffalo- 68

  • Washington- 53

3) Next the West:

  • Detroit- 119

  • Colorado- 99

  • San Jose- 98

  • St Louis- 100

  • Minnesota- 98

  • Chicago- 94

  • Vancouver- 91

  • Anaheim- 90


  • Nashville- 90

  • Dallas- 90

  • Columbus- 90

  • Calgary- 78

  • Phoenix- 73

  • LA- 70

  • Edmonton- 62

4) Some surprises to be sure. We understand that with 3/4 of the games remaining the subtle differences of one point or a game or two in hand are magnified, but those are accurate projections, and teams needing 90+ points to qualify for the playoffs consistent with past years. It also shows a VERY close race for the final playoff spots in both Conferences. Again, mirroring what we have seen the last few years.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Who's On The Firing Line Today?

1) In a follow up to our preseason question of who-gets-axe-first. We decided it may be time to update that list and get the latest of who may next be looking for work.
2) Here are the coaches that right now should not get too comfortable in their surroundings as their next game could be their last:

  • Mike Keenan (Calgary Flame)- Is anyone surprised with this turn of events? 'Iron Mike' has not been successful since leading the Rangers to a Cup 13+ years ago! As we wrote here exclusively 2 weeks ago there has been trouble-in-alberta. long before today. It started from day 1 of training camp and has worsened from there. The team is in veritable free fall, and our sources tell us that Sutter is contemplating doing what he dreads; Firing Keenan and becoming the interim head coach. However, waiting a few more weeks could place their playoff hopes in jeopardy. The season is still very salvageable as of now, but that can change if Sutter waits a few more weeks.

  • Glen Hanlon ( D.C. Crapitals)- Even in the usually sedate, almost apathetic(except for a few well informed bloggers) Nations' capital the heat is being turned up on head coach Glen Hanlon. The team is off to an awful start. Actually they started off to an improbable 3-0 beginning and have gone a pathetic 3-12-1 since. Plummeting them into the basement not only of their division, but also the Eastern Conference and entire NHL! Many had this team as a dark horse playoff team after their off season additions. While some point to injuries, (They lost Semin and Clark for long stretches) it still doesn't explain away such a record AND more ominous the lack of effort for a full 60 minutes; Their trade mark the previous 2 seasons under Hanlon. A change could come as early as this week if they have a poor home stand against opponents that are not in the top 8 either. Bruce Boudreau, their coach with their AHL affiliate Hershey Bears is the most likely candidate to replace Hanlon.

  • Brent Sutter (N.J. Devil)- No coach is EVER safe in Jersey. Ask Claude Julian. He was having arguably a Coach of the year type season last year only to be cut down by Lou Lamarello a few short weeks before the playoffs. (Claude has been vindicated by the Devils early playoff ouster as well as his success in Boston) The early slow start in NJ was attributed to their long road trip to start the season(To put finishing touches on their new arena in Newark). However, since the team has returned home, they have NOT turned things around. In fact they are 3-4 at The Rock, and hovering in 10th in the East. In Sutter's defense, the team he was given was hardly a playoff team on paper. Their defense continues to be gutted with each off season. Broduer is not playing Vezina goal, and team captain Patrick Elias seems to have lost his touch. However as we have already pointed out team GM/president Lamarello doesn't care for excuses, but only results. How much longer will he let his team be coached and look mediocre? Our guess is that Sutter has until Christmas at most to turn things around, else he'll be back in Alberta by the New year!

  • Craig MacTavish (Edmonton Oiler) No one expected the Oilers to be very good, so perhaps its not fair to place Craig on this list. However, the Oilers are at the bottom of the conference and as one scout told us recently, 'many nights play uninspired hockey'. That's the thing that will get upper managements attention, fast. Kevin Lowe, already under the gun himself for his off season antics of almost guaranteeing to fans he'd make a block buster trade/addition, only to be rebuffed/the Penner RFA acquisition, may not wait too long to make a switch if things progress as they have. The team is not only a dreadful 3-6-1 in their last 10, but a horrendous 3-6 at Rexall. Nothing gets attention of management faster than teams losing at home! Craig may not last the season, or even the calender year if things don't improve.

  • Dave Tippett (Dallas Star) Don't think for a minute that the firing last week of Doug Armstrong saved Tippett's butt. It may have given him a short reprieve, but he is clearly still under the gun. It may take new GM's Brett Hull/Les Jackson a few weeks to sort things out, but once they get settled and the team continues to sputter/struggle look for one of their first duties to be to replace Tippet with new blood/their own guy. An aside to this; A well placed source in Dallas tells FAUXRUMORS that the duel GM job is temporary until Hicks feels Hull is ready to assume the position full time himself. Hull felt he wasn't yet to be the top guy, but will likely be named the team's full time GM after the season.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bad Blood Forces Burke's Hand?

1) As soon as we were told this past Friday morning of the Ducks intention to waive their back up goalie Ilya Bryzgalov we started our quest to find the REAL reason for such an apparently mystifying course of action. Why were we mystified:

  • By placing Ilya on 'waivers' the Ducks will lose him and get no compensation other than modest salary cap relief(Bryzgalov makes a mere 1.36 mil and already 20% of this has been paid)
  • If they retained him he most likely would have been one of the more sought after goalies available at the trade deadline. As Fauxrumors alluded to in their post shopping-for-goalies. that there are few decent goalies that a team could pick up right now. They lose an important potential trade chip, for no apparent reason.
  • If they were trying to unload him during the summer/at the draft would have been the more logical time period for this.

2) So why now? Why not wait another month or two when inevitably a team might need a goalie due to injury, poor play, etc? When Bryzgalov's modest salary would be a far less bite into a team payroll. This what we have been hearing:

  • Since the Ducks won the Cup, starter J-S Giguere has had an ego that has annoyed even his best buddies on the team. As one Duck writer told us yesterday, "Giguere's been a dick since they won". There have been rumblings that team mates were miffed at his cockiness, but no one was more affected by the change in personality than the team's back up, Ilya Bryzgalov.
  • Apparently the two were never buddies, but had a professional appreciation for each other's abilities. Ilya felt he earned more playing time than he garnered last season, and felt that the team, and Giguere especially forget that it was Bryzgalov who started the playoffs last spring.
  • Winning seemed to at least temporarily put the turmoil under cover. For the off season anyway. Burke had much bigger issues to deal with, and the last thing he needed was to deal with personality conflicts among his goalies. To hedge his bets he signed 25 year old Swiss goalie sensation Jonas Hiller. Feeling that he could use him to eventually replace Bryzgalov next season.
  • From the first day of camp Bryzgalov felt like he was an unwanted man. Giguere with his Cup win, and long term contract was insufferably a jerk to Ilya. Treating him like an untested rookie at his first camp. Meanwhile Bryzgalov felt he deserved to play a larger role with the team OR be traded before the season.
  • It got worse from there. There was even an altercation that occurred while the team was in London for the silly 2 games with the Kings. Evidently Giguere said something that Ilya felt was the last straw, and he threatened to walk off the team and head back to play in Russia. Burke and coach Randy Carlyle persuaded Bryzgalov to stay with the team, but Burke told Ilya he'd start to look into a trade
  • As the weeks went by Burke could not seem to get a deal consummated. Sure he had offers, but nothing that made sense to his team at the time, so he told Ilya he was going to wait on a deal until after the beginning of the New year.
  • At first Bryzgalov was OK with that, but as one insider told us, 'you couldn't even cut the tension between Ilya and J-S with a knife, it was that thick!'. It all came to a head we're told last weekend. After a practice Ilya stormed off and called his agent, who in turn informed the Ducks they had 10 days to either trade his client or waive him else Bryzgalov was going to back to Russia to play on his old team, Tolyatti Lada who were eager to get back his services.
  • Burke had little choice but to quickly field what offers he could, but the word was out, and no GM was going to help out the fiery Burke at his time of need, so Burke did what he had to, placed Bryzgalov on waivers and promote Hiller from the AHL to back up Giguere.

3) As more information becomes available we will of course send it along here. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

On Tonight's Play Bill

1) Firstly, we want to thank FR2 for their excellent(as always) Power rankings. They also tell us that they are working on a post listing their current as well as an all time hated team. We're told to look for it sometime early next week.

2) Anyway, we at Fauxrumors risk our recent winning streak with tonight's NHL program of 10 contests

Phoenix vs-Los Angeles : Kings

Florida vs-Carolina: Hurricanes ( Tonight's Lock)

New Jersey vs-Philadelphia : Flyers

NY Rangers vs-Pittsburgh : Rangers

Calgary vs-Edmonton :Flames

Chicago vs-Detroit: Red Wings

Boston vs-Montreal: Canadians

Ottawa vs-Toronto:Maple Leafs

St. Louis vs-Nashville : Predators

Anaheim vs-San Jose: Shark

Friday, November 16, 2007

November Power Rankings

1) Unlike others we will continue to only do this monthly. Any sooner in our opinion wouldn't give a full view of any possible trends. Anyway here is today's Edition. Number in parentheses is last month's ranking:

1 Ottawa Senators (1)- The Senators started off hot and have not looked back and as such remain at the top of the Power rankings.

2 Detroit Red Wing (5)- The Red Wing have continued their good start in the surprisingly strong Central. Moving up 3 slots. Zetterburg and Datsyk proving to be a lethal combo

3 Carolina Hurricanes (3)- The 'canes continue their strong play as they remain in 3rd position. The SE division appears to be even weaker than many thought it would, helping the boys from Carolina pad their totals

4 Colorado Avalanche(15)- Moving up 11 slots despite continued struggles on the road, but are lights out in Denver during a recent home stand. The dynamic soph duo of Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny are propelling the Avs. An exciting team to watch. If they get their road situation turned around they will be competing for the Conference title.

5 Montreal Canadians(8)- Moving up 3 slots, improbably the Habs special teams continue to propel them despite the loss of Souray. Corey Price, has gone from goalie prospect to potential star in the making as he and Huet are playing well, allowing the team to potentially use Harlock as a trade chip later this season.

6 NY Rangers (25)- Moving up an incredible 19 slots, long gone/forgotten are the early season locker room problems May be it merely took the new acquisitions a bit longer than expected to gel together. Lundqvist continues to play Vezina calibre goal, and the defense has been surprisingly steady. The scoring appears to be ready to finally break out. Look out East!

7 San Jose Shark-(9) Have been road warriors thus far. Not looking too good in the Shark tank, and continue to look uneven at times, They have all talent to be THE team , and we fully expect they'll improve their home record and rise in the standings.

8 Philadelphia Flyers-(4) Fall 4 slots as the boys from Phillie start to come back to Earth. Have been a .500 team the last 3 weeks, falling out of the top spot in the Atlantic. They still appear to be a far improved version of the pathetic display of 2006-07

9 Columbus Blue Jackets-(24) Move up a very healthy 13 slots. One of the pleasant surprises here early on. Hitchcock has the Jackets playing exceptionally well, especially at Nationwide where they are an outstanding 6-2-1. They have received stellar goaltending from both Leclaire and Norrena. Something we at FAUXRUMORS didn't expect.

10 NY Islanders-(16) Move up 6 slots. Have played the fewest games thus far, but have one of the better winning %'s. Are/have been flirting with the division lead. As FAUXRUMORS mentions in his excellent Ted Nolan piece, he deserves much credit piecing together this rag-tag group.

11 Nashville Predator-(27) Up an amazing 17 slots. Though no longer the power house team we have seen in recent seasons they have been coming on as of late and may prove to their detractors(including us) that we were wrong writing them off.

12 Minnesota Wild-(2) Fall 10 spots. Started off on fire, they have abruptly come back to the pack with a thud. Injuries have hurt them, on offense though they continue to be decently stingy on defense. They aren't an elite team, but still one that should never be taken lightly

13 Boston Bruins- (6) Have fallen 7 spots, but continue to generally play good hockey for Julian (We wonder if he's chuckling at the Devil's troubles?) Play in the very competitive NE division so they can't afford to let their game slip up for a moment. So far, so good in Beantown.

14 Chicago Black Hawk-(13) The Boys from the Windy City have been able to maintain their placement above the top 15. One of the many of surprises in the central, their young phenoms Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes continue to impress adding to the hope of their fans that the death of Wirtz initiated last month

15 TB Lightning- (11) Seemed to be reeling but have recently rebounded a bit, actually winning 2 road games now. Their Big 3-4( Vinny&Vinny, St.Louis, and Richards) are carrying the team despite huge loss of Dan Boyle. Explosive coach Tortorella got a vote of confidence from his GM jay Feaster. Of course as we saw in Dallas, is Feater's job safe if the Lightning falter?

16 Los Angeles King-(29) A team many gave up for dead after their dreadful post European start, they have been one of the better teams the past month. Up 13 spots. Resurrecting their season. Lets see how they do once they hit the road for a long stretch

17 Toronto Maple Leafs-(21) Continue to be a Jekyll and Hyde team looking horrendous one night, and like world beaters the next. To make the playoffs they'll have to be more consistent, and have fewer, um, distractions!

18 Vancouver Canuck-(14) Have fallen into plane mediocrity, which is what we expected last year. Luongo seems to have lost his winning touch,and the Sedins can't do it all themselves. This was the coach of the year??

19 Anaheim Duck-(13) A continued tough start for the champs. After their European adventure and long road trip that followed we thought they would rebound nicely at home. However we would count out the champs just yet. A return of Niedermayer by the holidays is rumored. We of course will look into that for our readers

20 Atlanta Thrashers-(30) Jumped 10 spots. They really had no place to go but up after looking dreadful out of the gate. Costing Hartley his job. GM, now also coach Waddell SHOULD have been the one axed but now he will be given the credit for the turn around. It doesn't hurt when your resident superstar Ilya Kovalchuk has played like a man possessed the last few weeks.

21 Dallas Star-(19) Continue to tread water. As we suspected a change in management was coming soon. What we didn't expect was that Mr. Tippet would survive(for now) and the GM, Armstong would be looking for work. Regardless, this team has serious flaws that won't be changed by this. This is a team in decline, and soon will realize that they are in rebuild mode

22 St. Louis Blue-(10) Have fallen in our rankings, but still are playing well above last years team. Shocking/beating the Wings at home the other night. Will be interesting to see if they can stay above .500. They are probably not yet a playoff team, but the future looks better in St. Louis

23 Calgary Flame-(20) As FAUXRUMORS alluded to in their post trouble-in-alberta, things are not going well in Calgary. The team is sputtering. Even losing at home to their hated rival Oilers recently. If this continues a change in coaching might be possible.

24 NJ Devils-(22) Can no longer point to being road weary as an excuse, as they are only 3-3 in their new digs, The Rock. The anemic PP clearly is missing Rafalski and Gomez. A search party needs to be sent out to find Elias's hockey skills. Clearly he's lost them. Sutter has looked baffled on the bench. Looking like the rookie coach he is. Add to that Brodeur has looked ordinary, and you have a recipe for a non playoff year.

25 Pittsburgh Penguins- (18) There is NO excuse for this team to be where it is. Coach of the year finalist Therrian not looking as smart this year we guess? M-A Fleury continues to not play like the super star in the making we've been told he is. Shero would be best served to change coaches, as this collection, even with its goaltending, is good enough to make the playoffs.

26 Buffalo Sabres-(17) (See above) Have continued their very poor start. Winning a mere 3 of their last 10 games! Despite free agent losses they still have considerable fire power/depth at forward. So another coach of the year finalist having trouble we see. If Ruff had take THIS club and won the President's trophy we'd say he deserves consideration. Thus far he and the team are NOT doing the job.

27 Edmonton Oiler-(28) We didn't see them as a playoff team, but not as an awful team either. The McTavish watch may begin very soon if this continues. The Souray injury hurts as does high priced RFA acquisition Dustin Penner's anemic 3 goals in 18 games. Perhaps Lowe should be the one relieved of his duties?

28 Phoenix Coyote-(26) Have neither looked terribly good or bad. If TGO would keep them near .500 he'd deserve Adams consideration. Most, including us, are waiting for the inevitable long losing streak.

29 Florida Panthers-(23) Have been consistently inconsistent. A dreadful 2-7-1 on the road, these cats have been tame kittys. Jacques Martin's time may be running out in south Florida. There are some expectations there, and patience may be wearing thin

30 Washington Capitals-(7) Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From looking like a sure playoff team to a sure lottery-pick team in 4 short weeks. Probably this team is neither, but is in need of a coaching change to get the most out of this group. Injuries are being blamed, but in actuality, they have not been playing well as a group, and that problem falls on coaching.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's Slate of Games

1) We take a decent hot streak into tonight's action of 9 games:

Toronto vs-Boston: Bruins

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

Washington vs- Florida: Panther

Minnesota vs-Edmonton: Wild

Anaheim vs-Los Angeles : Kings

NY Rangers vs- Philadelphia: Flyers

NY Islanders vs-Pittsburgh: Penguins

Chicago vs-Nashville: Preditors

San Jose vs-Phoenix : Shark

2) We're told that FR2 is compiling their latest Power rankings. It should be out by the weekend. Look for it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Was/Is Ted Nolan Being Blackballed?

1) This is a question that many were asking BEFORE Ted was finally re-admitted back into the NHL after an amazing decade hiatus. After last years clear snub by the NHL in its Adams(Coach of the year) voting, and this year's ignoring by the league of the job he seems to be doing thus far (with a team that no one regarded as anything more than cellar-dweller material); we are now convinced that Ted not only was blackballed by a consensus of the NHL owners and league high officials, but that situation has not changed despite his resurrection by the Isles last year.

2) To review for those who may either be new to the NHL, or not recall the soap opera that surrounded Ted:

  • Nolan took a team in decline and (admittedly with the help of Superstar goalie Dominick Hasek) turned the team around. Winning 'Coach of the Year' in 1997

  • No one knows the true story, but Nolan and his GM John Muckler never got along. There were rumors that Nolan went to the owners and Muckler was fired because of this. Many point to that as the reason Nolan was shunned afterwards " GM killer" was the oft used phrase. He has strenuously has always denied this. No one has yet to come forward who would confirm the story either. What is certain John Muckler had/has been around the NHL for a long time and has many friends, so even the hint of that hurt Nolan's chances of finding work after Buffalo

  • Then there were the other whispered, racist inspired innuendos-? of 'coming to practice drunk, and chasing/sleeping with players' wives. None of which could be confirmed or even corroborated with any source that even we at FAUXRUMORS could find! (We tried to find some!) The team didn't out right fire him, but even after winning the Adams award, they made Nolan a one year contract offer which was blatantly disrespectful for the job he had just performed. Instead of quickly latching on with another team when an opening occurred Ted found himself without so much as a job offer for several seasons.

  • Spurred from the NHL Ted stopped looking for work with in the league opting instead to return to his roots to help native children, through work with the Assembly of First Nations and through hockey. He set up an Indigenous hockey program and took his players to an international tournament. He also started the Ted Nolan Foundation to help raise money for native youth and native women.

  • It wasn't until 5 years had passed did the NY Islanders offer Ted an asst coaches offer which Ted declined, to concentrate on aforementioned native projects. However, Nolan still had hockey in his blood so when he was offered an opportunity to coach in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats Ted took the job, and excelled just like he seems to always do. Taking his team to the finals.

  • In the spring of 2006 Ted got a call from Isle's maverick owner Charles Wang. Wang had shown in the past with his 10, 15 year contracts and other 'unique' moves that he didn't go along with the usual NHL flow, and apparently Ted had been on Wang's radar for quite awhile, but now the time seemed right for the two to agree on a head coaching comeback.

3) The Isles team he inherited was hardly Cup material. Certainly NOT on paper. Still with the team was 'salary cap albatross', and apparent locker room cancer, Alexei Yashin. Hardly a 'Nolan type' player, but for some reason he was still team captain. The team had just fired its new GM Neil Smith after 30 days, in a bizazzaro-world series of summer time moves that culminated with an unheard of 15 year contract for goalie Rick Dipetro. Almost all prognosticators (admittedly even us at FAUXRUMORS) figured the Isles would finish at or near the bottom, fighting with Washington for 15th

4) So what happened? Ted took what he had and shaped that team into his own. Getting the very most out of every player, and having the Isles seemingly way overachieve toward an unexpected playoff berth garnering a very respectable 92 points, good for the 8th slot. Though they bowed out in the first round, it wasn't an easy 5 game series win for the Sabres.

5) What followed is what makes us believe there are STILL hard feelings/elements that are blackballing Nolan even after a decade.

  • Nolan would seem to be a shoe-in to be the winner if not at least to be among the 3 finalist for the award he won in his last NHL season, the Jack Adams award as 'Coach of the Year'. Yet amazingly he was omitted. While it could be argued that either Therrien or Alain Vigneault were there by virtue of their superstar players (Luongo and Crosby), and Lindy Ruff had a star packed club, Nolan had no such list of players.

  • In fact we were floored that Lindy Ruff (coincidentally Nolan's successor in Buffalo) was even included. After all he had a returning team that was considered one of the best. They didn't over achieve or vastly improve their point totals. His inclusion, in our opinion, was a clear anti-Nolan statement.

  • This season Nolan takes an apparently even more undermanned Islander team into action. Having lost scoring from Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth, Yashin(though that loss is a likely gain!) Victor Kozlov, etc. With early snubs this summer from many of the UFA's it looked like no one wanted to go to the Isles. The ones who did come seemed to be mercenaries; there for the pay cheque/no one else wanted them. Hardly a team to build around/compete for a playoff spot. Will Nolan and the Isles succeed again? Well its way too early, but thus far the Isles are right in the mix.

  • Add to all this that the classy manner in which Ted Nolan himself urged and arranged to have one of his idols, Al Arbour return behind the bench last week. Usually Arbour has shunned public attention since his retirement nearly 12 years ago. However, at Nolan's urging he returned for one additional game to get to a milestone 1500 games coached. What sounded like a gimmick to even some hard core Isle's fans turned into one of the more classier done tributes to the Hall of fame coach. While he was instrumental in getting this to fruition, Nolan stayed in the background as much as possible and allowed Arbour to
  • enjoy the fitting lauds he received.

  • After all this, with an apparent, easy to write/cash in on feel good story(s) you'd think the NHL would be quick to try to use/promote what Nolan has done/embodies? What we have heard thus far from the league? Virtual silence. Not blackballed, huh? Yeah right!

6) The only questions that remain are the reasons. Are they buried in racism? After all, though there have been quite a few Native American(First Nation) players in the NHL, Nolan was the first(and only) one to become a head coach. Was it the manner in which John Muckler was fired and the possible influence Nolan had on this? To this day is still a very touchy subject, no one is talking. As many sources as we have, we at FAUXRUMORS can not get into any one's head/heart to find out. However, regardless of the reason(s) there is little doubt that Nolan was singled out and it appears continues to be by the league. Though we at FAUXRUMORS are NOT Islander fans, because of what he has endured and the manner in which he has carried himself, we ARE Nolan fans and wish him the best/success!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tippet Tip Toes Safely For Now

1) Somehow Dallas Stars Head coach Dave Tippet escaped the axe today. Instead owner Tom Hicks decided to fire his GM Doug Armstrong today, citing that" I thought that the team needed a change in direction.....I know that change can be healthy, and it was my determination that this move needed to be made."

2) How he came to that realization that his GM was at fault and his coach was somehow exempt is baffling. Tippet has yet to win a first round game in the 7 years he's been in Big-D. Having some excellent regular seasons, but falling in the playoffs.

3) A clean sweep or replacing Tippet would have seemed to be the more obvious solution. Perhaps that's still n the offing if this doesn't shake up the team to an improved performance. The question that will be asked is IF Tippet is relieved who would then do the hiring for a new coach? Good thing the Cowboys are having a great season. That will keep the focus off the Stars, at least for now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free to Blog? Thank a Vet!

1) As we like to remind readers:

  • ending Communism,
  • ending Slavery,
  • saving the world from Totalitarianism
  • Fascism
  • and Terrorism

War never solved a thing?!?"

Full Time Over Time?

1) There has been a move about by some folks who want to see an improved game to make the 4 on 4 we see in the 5 minute over time into a permanent rule. Many 'purists"- whatever that means- are of course against this idea.

2) So what are potential positives, negatives and likely opposition to this huge change? First the Positives

  • It already has a proven track record of exciting hockey. Since the inception of 4-4 OT, hockey fans have been treated to a fast paced, usually[more] wide open game than we see 5-5. To us, the subsequent shoot out is anticlimactic after such a display

  • We prefer it over other ideas such as making the nets wider, or other silly, poorly conceived ideas that ultimately ruin the flow/integrity of the game

  • It saves money! A team could dress 2-3 fewer players and save at least about 1-2 million. Usually those are jobs held by marginal NHL/AHL level talents anyway. They wouldn't be missed

3) Next the possible negatives:

  • Its never been tried before for long stretches so would there be an increase in injuries?

  • Would this test the endurance of the players? Doing this for a couple of shifts is one thing, but to do it every night would an entirely new situation for them.

  • Would the players, as they have with the recent Bettman rules changes, simply adjust to the change and eventually things would become as stagnant scoring wise as they are now(Scoring is down to pre-lockout levels so far this season)

  • The NHLPA would either reject this out of hand OR ask for a significant counter-concession from the NHL. That might be in the form of increasing the players' fixed % of revenue from the current 54.5%

4) We at FAUXRUMORS believe this idea has merit, but are not yet ready for its full implementation of this radical idea until significant further study is done to see if in fact it does work. Like some of the other now used NHL rules, it should be tried in the AHL for a period of time to see how it affects the game and how it is received by the fans. If it seems to be working there, why not institute for The Show'?

5)After all we have been hearing how the players are bigger and stronger. So why not create some additional room for them to display their world class skills? We at FAUXRUMORS would find this change much less offensive than the other proposed and already implemented changes such as changing the size of the nets, and the silly shapes painted on the ice to coral goalie movement

6) To review some of the rule changes that FAUXRUMORS has already advocated to improve the game. ( FR2 did a post a year ago where they listed some of these ideas-

  • Allow Full goalie movement, but once they leave their crease treat them like any other skater. Can be body checked, etc. You'll see far less wandering without silly shapes painted on the ice.
  • Penalties should run to completion. Like it was before the Habs of the 1950's, penalties lasted until the time ran out, not if a goal was scored.
  • League contraction. No, this will NEVER happen, but it should. Too much dilution of the star players and too many lesser talents making up teams' rosters. We'd reduce the league to 25 teams and the 5 eliminated would barely be noticed by their anemic fan bases. Who? OK, we'll go ON the record and say: Fla, Nashville, Phoenix, Washington, New Jersey.
  • Eliminate the instigator rule! We feel the recent increase in checking/stick injuries can be traced to the reduction in fighting. No longer are players in fear that they may have to pay for their 'indiscretions'. Plus, fighting sells! Sorry if that fact offends the limp-wristed among us.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Our Chips On The Line

1) Tonight's list of 11 games and whom we see as the likely winners as well as our nearly guaranteed "lock of the night"!

Montreal vs-Ottawa : Senators

New Jersey vs-NY Islanders : Isles

NY Rangers vs-Toronto :Rangers

Carolina vs-Atlanta : Hurricane

Edmonton vs-Calgary: Flame ( Lock of the Night!)

Phoenix vs-San Jose : Sharks

Buffalo vs-Boston : Bruins

Pittsburghvs-Philadelphia : Penguins

Tampa Bay vs-Washington :Capitals

Columbus vs-Nashville : Preds

Dallas vs-Los Angeles : Kings

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What We're Hearing Today

1) As it was last year, there were few real trade talks among GM's the first month of the season as teams' assessed their strengths/weaknesses early on in the season. However, we are hearing from various sources though out the league that several GM's have initiated discussions that could result in our first meaningful trade this season

2) So who are we hearing about? Firstly the easy stuff. The rumors that have already been circulated that we are hearing are total nonsense:

  • Any trade by LA where Alexander Frolov is involved. Yes, the King's GM Lombardi would love to upgrade his goaltending, but as we at FAUXRUMORS mentioned in a post called shopping-for-goalies that the number of quality available goalies are few and very far between at this time.

  • The Ed Jovonovski to the Rangers rumors just won't go away, but anyone with an ounce of gray matter could see the Rangers don't have the cap space and amazingly their problems aren't on defense, its scoring

  • Derek Morris is NOT going to the Flyers! Unlike his predecessor, Paul Holmgren can be trusted when he says something. If Clark said this then we'd say a trade is imminent!

  • Marion Hossa- At this time do NOT expect the Thrashers to deal the Slovakian super star. They are slowly climbing their way out of their self inflicted hole, and unless they again fall, we are hearing Wadell will make every effort to retain Hossa

3) So here are some potential deals we are hearing about that have merit. Some have been reported in other publications, some are FAUXRUMORS exclusives!

  • Ed Belfour- Yes, the same Eddie the Eagle we thought was now long gone. Well, apparently he is still in the thoughts of some GM's. We found out late last night/early this morning that penguin GM Ray Shero is fed up with the inconsistent play of his tandem so he contacted Belfour's agent to check his availability of a December return. No word what the reply was. That would be an interesting development, indeed!

  • Michael Ryder- His scoring inconsistency has always frustrated the Hab's brass, but getting off to a slow start and being a UFA after this season, has put the Canadian forward and former Calder runner-up on the trade block. So who's been calling? Lou Lamarello would love to get his hands on Ryder. Unfortunately Gainey would prefer to deal him to a western team unless Lou comes up with a very sweet offer. A well informed source has exclusively told us that the Canucks "are poised to package a player, pick(s) and possibly a prospect for Ryder".

  • Ilya Bryzgalov- Bryan Burke's patience for his team is wearing thin already. He uncharacteristically has kept his displeasure to himself but that won't continue. Though no trade of their back up appears to be imminent, he for the first time has taken calls and had discussions to lay possible ground work for a later deal. Burke would prefer to wait until after the Christmas trade freeze, but if the Ducks continue to suck, he may be forced to deal away his valuable trade chip sooner. Possible trade partners are too numerous to mention. TB in the East and Colorado in the West have been well publicized/rumored destinations. The aforementioned Penguins and the TB sextets would love to get their hands on him!

  • Raffi Torres- It appears Oiler GM Kevin Lowe is ready to cut bait with the enigmatic power forward. He is on pace for a 30 point season. Some teams will certainly take a long look at Raffi. He's only 26 and plays with a decided edge.

  • Ladislav Nagy- Though it may be difficult to find a taker, Dean Lombardi is apparently searching for a possible trade partner for the Czech who is making 3.75 mil and on pace to score a meager 15 goals this year

  • Pavol Demitra- A definite problem for the Wild. They'd love to retain the Slovak sniper, but his UFA status and likely asking price of 5+ mil might make him difficult to retain, so we're hearing that Doug Risbrough has made him available, but for the right price. Don't expect a deal tomorrow, but Pavol certainly would/could be the bait used by the Wild to add to their roster before the deadline

  • J.P. Dumont- Has been a bit of a disappointment for the Preds. On pace to score less than 20. set to become a UFA and it appears Nashville doesn't intend on retaining his services so expect the silly trade rumors to the Canadians to commence! If those don't occur, a return to the Esst is a likly destination perhaps sooner rather than later

  • Miroslav Satan- The once very dangerous RW tripled his season out put with 2 including the GWG this past Saturday, and added yet another game winner Tuesday night. Stil, at 4.5 mil he is hardly worth his salary thus far. His current hot streak may be just the right time to deal him as his worth may have escalated. As we saw last year the Isles are not shy about making fall trades.

4) Trouble in DC? Well as we exclusively reported this summer super star Russian LW Alex Ovechkin is not happy with his contract status. He up till now has avoided ripping the team in public, but his agent (his parents) are not very happy with the run around they have received up till now. With the signing of fellow Russian, Alex Semin to a long term deal, it seems silly that the Caps would wait to lock up their franchise player. The Penguins and Crosby got their deal done last spring!

5) The longer the Caps wait, the harder feeling may get, and the asking price could become the cap maximum. Putting the team in a precarious situation. They would have to give AO whatever he asks. If he's paid 9+ mil, it would put a crimp into their plans to build a winner in DC, and if negotiations get even more acrimonious it could make it less likely that Ovechkin would choose to stay in DC once he can become an UFA, in 4 short years from now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tonights lineup

1) We take our .530 winning percentage and try to improve that with tonight's 8 games.

Boston vs-Buffalo : Sabres

Nashville vs-Detroit : Red Wings ( Tonight's Lock!)

Columbus vs-Chicago : Black Hawks

Phoenix vs-Anaheim : Ducks

Philadelphia vs-Pittsburgh : Penguins

Florida vs-Tampa Bay : Lightning

Edmonton vs-Colorado : Avalanche

Dallas vs-San Jose : Sharks

Monday, November 5, 2007

Trouble in Alberta?

Separated at Birth?

1) The word of of Alberta is that the inevitable trouble that almost everyone foresaw occurring with 'Iron Mike' Keenan has started even earlier than most expected. We at FAUXRUMORS figured that the oft traveled coach would last at last this one season before wearing out his welcome with his players and management.

2) Evidently things started off on the wrong foot and has gone down hill since. Mike is the consummate detail guy. In the past he has used a players 'issues' against him to try to ostensibly motivate the player to play at his peak. To do this he goes out of his way to learn all about his team. Things that perhaps most would assume is beyond what a head coach's purview should be. There have also been rumblings that he has shown more than tacit anti-Frano-phone bias toward his French speaking players.

3) From what we have been told here are the players which 'Iron' Mike has already had 'isssues with.
  • Alex Tanguay- Despite having a decent start to his season Keenan has been over heard chastising the Ste-Justine, Quebec native for not shooting enough. That may be a legit issue, but the manner in which it was addressed appears to be the problem. We're told that a not so subtle anti-French slur was used(and it appears it wasn't the first time!) Alex was aware of Keenan's past but never expected he would be a target of such bigotry at this level.

  • Miikka Kiprusoff - Traditionally Mike has had a love-hate relationship with his tenders. Always quick with the hook. Usually pissing them off(Ask Ed Belfour, who almost punched Mike's lights out for that!) The word is that Mike tried to initially be nice-nice to the Finn superstar, but soon Mike reverted to his old ways and already the two barely speak.

  • Jarome Iginla: While one would assume Jarome would be a prototypical 'Keenan player'; tough as nails, with scoring punch, apparently things have not been hunky dory from the get-go. No specific cause is known. There have been whispers that Mike isn't all that keen on the background of his team's captain, but we have not heard that keenan, like in the Tanguay case, has used any racially charged verbiage at Iginla. You can be sure if that was ever over heard/proven Mike's days in the NHL would be over!

  • Dion Phaneuf: Another head scratcher on first glance. Dion, like Iginla plays 'Keenan hockey' However, it appears that its not so much what Dion has done ON the ice that has disturbed the Flames head coach, but what he apparently uncovered about Dion's private life is what alarmed him. We have no independent confirmation of what this issue may be(we have been told off the record, but until we get another source we won't engage in hear-say) Regardless, it has significantly strained the relationship between the coach and his young star defender. Keenan refuses to be seen with him alone, and instead has his asst coaches relay instructions

4) We hear that the team's GM, Daryl Sutter is aware of these issues, and has been approached by at least one player complaining abut the coach's antics. However, unless:

  • The team takes a significant downward spiral in the standings(they are currently ranked 6th in the West Conference)

  • Some of the more scurilous rumors come out into the mainstream press, don't expect the team to relieve Keenan of his duties.

5) We will stay a-top of this and any other issues as we hear more news from Alberta. As always, keep it hear for all the latest!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What's on Tap Tonight?

1) We at FAUXRUMORS take our 33-31 season record into tonights 11 big games.

Florida vs-Carolina : Hurricanes (Tonights Lock)

Pittsburgh vs-NY Islanders: Penguins

Boston vs- Ottawa: Senators

Calgary vs-Minnesota: Wild

Vancouver vs-Colorado: Avalanche

San Jose vs- Los Angeles Sharks

Toronto vs- Montreal Maple leafs

New Jersey vs-NY Rangers Rangers

Atlanta vs- Tampa Lightning

Chicago vs-St. Louis Blues

Anaheim vs-Phoenix Ducks

Friday, November 2, 2007

Division Power Rankings!

1) Some may recall we did this last season. We got some good/positive feedback from readers so FAUXRUMORS asked us to again to draw up a post detailing/rating the 6 NHL divisions. While its impossible to scientifically determine which of the 6 NHL divisions is the best/worst, we thought it would be interesting to explore the issue and come up with our own admittedly subjective opinion on why each division is rated where we believe it is.

2) Just an aside we HATE the usage of the current bland division names. Sure it helps fans understand the geographical location of the teams residing in the division, but the old names gave the NHL more flare and was unique to the game. Therefore we will add a little something to this post; First giving the 'old'/previous division names(where applicable) using the current names, then adding our own idea of what the division should be called.

3) Here is our 'Power Rankings' of Divisions. Explanation to follow:

  • (Adams) Northeast {Imlach} No huge surprise here. The division that supports the Presidents Trophy winner as well as the Stanly Cup runner up was supposed to be tough. Thus far no team is below .500. The weakest team right now are the Sabres. Boston is off to an impressive start, and the Habs special teams don't seem to miss the overpaid/hurt Souray

  • (Norris) Central {Howe}- Now THIS is a surprise. If we did a preseason poll of which was the weakest division, its a sure bet this one would have been chosen as the worst. Not unexpectedly the Red Wings got off to a fast start. The surprise(s) are Columbus, St.Louis, and Chicago all playing above .500 hockey. As expected by FAUXRUMORS the Preds have fallen off significantly

  • (Smyth) Northwest {Gretzky} The black and blue division as we sometimes refer to it already living up to its name. After a fast start the Wild are falling back into the pack. Iron Mike's Flames are looking solid, and the Avalanche as we expected, are a team to reckon with(at least on home ice)

  • (Patrick) Atlantic {Patrick} If one were to look at the division compared with last year it appears upside down(Devils in last, Flyers in front. Are things a changin' in the Atlantic? We don't see the Rangers staying down, but it could be a long year in Jersey. Are the Flyers for real? So far, yes. The Pens will be fine. The Isles will tread water most of the season.

  • SouthEast {Geoffrion} No one would have found this to be Earth shattering. Only the 'Canes are above the break even point, and look pretty decent thus far. The rest of the division have been inconsistent as expected.

  • Pacific {Dionne} Now this IS a HUGE surprise! Many, including FAUXRUMORS saw this as the elite division in the NHL. With the reigning champs(Ducks) and the team Faux saw as their preseason Cup pick (Sharks) Only the aforementioned Shark are above .500. The champs are languishing near the bottom along with perennial losers the 'Yotes. The Kings seem to have finally sorted out their goalie situation so they may be turning the corner. We wouldn't yet count out the boys from Anaheim

4) Of course we understand the names given to the 2 new divisions are open to interpretation. We invite you to give your suggestions for those as well as the other 4 divisions. We would advocate the elimination of 2 divisions anyway. We believe having 2 divisions of 7-8 (8 after the next inevitable expansion) makes more sense than the current model.What say you?

Note to Our Readers

1) Just wanted to explain the protracted usage of the Comments Moderation option here. From discussing with the other members of The FAUXRUMORS Group, LLC we decided that the resident board kook (we all know who it is) was successfully disrupting the blog. Therefore we decided to take some action:

  • Leave Moderation on for the foreseeable future

  • Purge all previous posts(including ours) that cluttered the blog from its original purpose; the discussion of NHL hockey!

2) We were happy to see that moderation didn't stop many folks from discussion since we initiated it 2 days ago. We monitor the board frequently so any comments left will be published very expeditiously. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

3) Fauxrumors is going into its 15th month of existence (375+ posts and counting!) and we will continue to bring to our readers what they have grown to expect; First rate hockey discussion, unique opinions with an edge, and of course rumours other sites simply can't bring.

Thanks again, and as always, keep it here for the latest!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who Would Rick Have Picked?

1) Big night tonight in the NHL. There are a full 10 games on the docket. Many are very interesting contests that will be difficult to pick, but we at FAUXRUMORS will try to stay above the Mendoza line(.500) tonight.

2) Buffalo vs-Boston: Sabres

Washington vs-NY Rangers: Crapitals

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

St. Louis vs-Minnesota: Wild

Columbus vs-Anaheim : Duck

Tampa Bay vs-NY Islanders : Isles

Philadelphia vs- Montreal: Canadians

Detroit vs-Calgary : Flame

Pittsburgh vs-Colorado : Avalanche

Nashville vs-Vancouver : Canucks
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