Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yellow Journalism in Avery Case?

1) Clicking on the above headline will link to the NY Daily News' original article where they describe Avery as "unconscious and not breathing.... in cardiac arrest". The article then goes right into a litany of past off ice Avery incidents, (as if they are linked) such as how the Daily News revealed how Avery's name and private cell were in a data base of a huge Manhattan prostitution ring. They also mention a sentence after they said Avery was in cardiac arrest that he 'lives in Manhattan' and 'is known for dating celebrities'.... yadda yadda yadda.

2) OK, can we be plane here? What the Daily News was attempting to do was somehow link Avery's penchant for enjoying himself like other athletes/wealthy young people do, with his hospitalization. Subtly perhaps, without saying it directly, that his life style (see drugs!) were the cause of this. All this without knowing the real story behind his late night hospitalization. It now appears that Avery was driven, not taken by ambulance.He walked in conscious, NOT in any grave danger. The News published their original story without checking and double checking their facts. Doesn't this sound like what the mainstream press likes to say we bloggers are guilty of? That we don't have editors to check us before we write, etc.

3) Here we have a clear case of yellow/incompetent writing masquerading as journalism. The Daily News should immediately fire McShane and sanction Dellapina severely for this aspersion of Avery. Make no mistake, we are NOT Avery/Ranger fans. Far from it, but we absolutely hate it when the press tries to link, or make up facts to fit their story line. Here its: Avery is party boy so his problem must be linked to that. Hey assholes, he's also a professional hockey player. They have been known to have such injuries. Collectively we'd take the word from a good blogger over most hockey journalists any day. This is just a prime example why, and why newspaper circulation is plummeting. If we were Avery, we'd sue the News, as we feel this was bordering on, if not actual slander! Shame on the Daily News!

Good Luck Sean!!

1) Only the most insane among us would wish for anything but a speedy/complete recovery for Rangers forward Sean Avery. Apparently there are still conflicting reports that Avery suffered a ruptured spleen and or went into cardiac arrest early this morning in Manhattan. We have received no further word from Dr.'s on his condition, although TSN states he 'will make a complete recovery' we have not heard any other official word confirming either the diagnosis or his prognosis.

2) We at FAUXRUMORS, who have been clear of what we feel of Avery as a hockey player, believe that is unimportant at a time like this. We only wish for Sean the best as he fights to get back on the ice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lidstrom Snubbed?

1) With today's announcement of the 3 Hart(MVP) Finalists we were stunned to see Detroit's Nicklas Lidstriom's name omitted from the list. Its baffling how this could be so. We have already gone on record with our picks for the various NHL awards. While we stated that Alex Ovechkin's amazing season made him the clear favourite we did mention that Lidstrom's season was also quite an accomplishment. He deserved to be in the top 3.

2) Taking nothing from the other players(Iginla and Malkin) Both had great season's helping their teams into the playoffs, but playing defense at such a high level is also quite the accomplishment. Lidstrom not only excels in his own end, but also in the offensive side where he led ALL defensemen with 70 points AND a plus 40. Its simply astounding.

3) So why the overlook?

  • Perhaps some will say that he will win the Norris (again) so voters are less likely to include him

  • He plays for a team that many expected to be good

  • Defense is a non glamorous/overlooked position

4) To all of those explanations, and somethat we didn't mention we simply say, bunk.

Canadiens Paying The Price?

1) As we wrote at the time of the trade deadline, we felt that a time would arrive during the playoffs that the Canadiens would regret trading away Chistabal Huet. Back in late February we wrote our Trade-day-post-mortem. In it we chastised Bob Gainey for making such a rash decision; Placing his Cup contending team in the hands of a 20 year old rookie with only a handful of NHL experience

2) At the time, like now, we had no issue in giving Price the starters job. Not that Huet played poorly, but Price did play well in the AHL and in the stints given with the big club. Our beef with BG's tactics was to give up his insurance policy (Huet) for very little (A late 2nd round draft pick). As we wrote then: unless Price leads the Habs to at least the conference Finals (2 playoff series wins) this deal will prove to be a loser in Montreal. After last night's shaky performance we bet Guy Carbineau would prefer to have a reliable back up if he decided a change in goal was warranted. As it is his other option, Jaroslav Halak is even more green than Price.

3) Should Carey continue to struggle and the Habs fail to advance beyond this round, you can be absolutely sure that critics both in Montreal and throughout the NHL will point to Gainey's trade deadline move as a reason for the Hab's early demise. Don't get us wrong, we're NOT saying this series is over by any means. The Flyers have no business winning, but give them credit, they are doing what it takes to win the close games and thus far their goalie Marty Biron has outplayed his Montreal counterpart. However the Flyer defense and Biron are exploitable, but they will have to step up their efforts. In the meantime the pressure is mounting on the shoulders of 20 year old Price to carry the team. Time will tell if he's up to the challenge, especially now facing the adversity of a team behind in a playoff series. Is he the heir apparent to Roy/Dryden or the next Steve Penney?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sucker Punch Or Just a Pussy?

1) Not that we haven't enjoyed the playoffs, but we also haven't seen too many 'intense' hate-filled games outside of the Colorado-Wild series (briefly). That may be about to change in the Montreal-Philadelphia match up tonight. For those who may have missed it, controversy started late in game 2 of the tied series. The folks in Philadelphia are calling it a 'Sucker Punch, while in Montreal an Academy Award deserving performance. The referred incident occurred after Flyers forward R. J. Umberger scored the match's final goal with a bit more than two minutes remaining in the third period. As the post-goal celebration took place, a melee developed and Kostopoulos punched Timonen with a left hook and then the Montreal player fell on top of Timonen. Having seen the punch over and over it doesn't appear to be overly harsh, however the Finn defensemen went down as if struck by a Mike Tyson round house.

2) To further inflame the incident, after the game Montreal head coach Guy Carbineau stated that: "After that goal they should not have been taunting our players,” “They should have been happy and went to the bench. Don't turn around and deride our players. “He deserved it. That's why they didn't call any extra penalties on it.” The normally low-keyed Flyers coach John Stevens seethed when asked about the scene, calling it “cowardly”. No suspensions were handed down. The NHL stated that since no one was hurt (Montreal still insists Timonen embellished the smack), and penalties were called no further action would be taken by the league.

3) What can almost be guaranteed, is that Philadelphia WILL take some sort of action tonight. Its the first game of the second round series in Philly, and the fans will almost demand retribution of some sort. Certainly the Flyers have the man power to deliver such a 'response'. A roster that has players who can 'throw em', like Hartnell, Cote, Richards, Carter, Hatcher, and Downie. On the other side the Habs have few to match the numerous pugilisticly inclined Flyers. So if the game were to get out of hand (which we ofcourse always hope LOL) then it would seem to favour the denizens of the City of Brotherly Love'. Expect the officials, having been ordered by Bettman to keep it under control, to call everything and anything in the open minutes. Stay tuned, as it might be fun!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Second Round Predictions

1) Wow, almost 36 hours without hockey. After almost 2+ weeks of nightly playoff games last night the rinks were dark. We need a fix, bad! LOL Anyway, the NHL playoffs resume tonight with the Conference Semi-Finals. Four series to decide who will play for the conference title. We will start in the East.

  • Montreal vs. Philadelphia: Both teams come into this series having just completed long 7 game series triumphs. The Habs beat the Bruins in what many believed was a longer series than they anticipated, and the Flyers won an epic battle with the capitals. So there shouldn't be an advantage of rest on either side. However, we do believe that the Flyers sustained more key losses/injuries in their series. Though at this time of year no one is healthy and no one is admitting to be hurt. Bottom line though is that we don't see the Flyers defense as being able to control the swift skating Canadiens. They do have three dangerous, fast offensive lines that will do their best to take advantage of the Flyers' lack of mobility on the blue line. Also we believe that Biron's weakness for high shots will be better exploited than the Caps were able to. This shouldn't be a long series. Key players on both teams. For Philadelphis: Daniel Briere. For The Canadiens:Alex Kovalev. Prediction: Canadiens in 5

  • NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: In our pre-season-playoff predictions we picked the East's Final 4 as the Rangers, Pitt, Philly and Ottawa. We had the Rangers playing the Penguins for the Conference title. So its a round earlier? Anyway, this match up should prove to be the much more entertaining of the two East series. These teams played 8 times in the regular season so they're should be little need to get acquainted. The two contrast in style with the offensively gifted Penguins looking to/can run opposing teams out of the building, with the patient/disciplined Rangers waiting for opposing teams to make mistakes. Generally in the playoffs its the ladder that wins more games, as does the team with the better goalie (Rangers). However we will have to go against the grain here and believe that the penguins simple possess to much fire power for even Vezina candidate Lundqvist to handle. Key players for both teams: For Pittsburgh: Fleury. For the Rangers: J. Jagr. Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6.

2) Now on to the West: In our pre-season-playoff predictions we had the West's Final 4 as being: Detroit, SanJose, Colorado, and Calgary. (Eerily last September we had the Av's beating the Wild in 6 to advance this far). Anyway, the Flames didn't make, but instead we have Dallas.

  • Sharks vs. Stars: The boys from SJ were our pre season Cup favourites and we didn't even believe the Stars would make the playoffs so its probably not a surprise to any of our readers that we aren't going to pick Dallas here either. We do want to give credit to them and especially Marty Turco for playing well to beat the defending Cup champs last round. It may be the battle for the coach's job here. Both coaches, Dallas' Dave Tippett and San Jose's Ron Wilson, entered the postseason with their proverbial heads on the line. If either lose this series thy might be looking for work soon thereafter. We believe the keys will be: Can the Sharks exploit the young inexperienced Stars defense and can Turco continue to carry the team. The Stars may try to throw the Sharks off their game by attempting to play a more physical game. Will/can they respond. Key players for both teams: For the Sharks: Joe Thornton. For the Stars: Niklas Hagman. Prediction: Sharks in 6

  • Red Wings vs. Avalanche: If this were 10 years ago we would be talking about an epic battle about to start, etc. Actually many of the players from those clashes are still playing today, but the degree of emotion/hatred between the clubs has waned since the Claude Lemieux 'good ole days'. That said, this series has much more appeal to us at Fauxrumors than the other West match up. Both team possess an immense amount of talent with many future Hall of Famers on both sides. Oddly both starting goalies have had excellent regular seasons/playoffs, but few expected them to be in this position today. Can both continue to 'turn back the clock'? We believe that the key to this series will NOT be the older stars, but which teams young guns can step it up. Can Stastny and Wolski match Zetterberg and Datsyuk? Key players for both teams: For the Avalanche: Paul Stastny. For Detroit: Henrik Zetterberg. Prediction: Detroit in 7

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Round Post-Mortem

1) With the conclusion of both games last night we now have our first day without hockey in two weeks. It was an exciting, if not exhausting fortnight, but now we move on to the Conference Semi-finals. Before we do our predictions we figured we'd look back to see how we fared in the 8 first round series.

2) First in the East, click to see our complete post:

  • Canadiens (1) vs. Bruins(8): We predicted Canadiens in 5. The Habs hold on to win in a closer than expected 7 game series. Resulting in of course the torching of the city? Silly. Anyway, kudos to the B's for getting back into the series when many, including us, felt they were out of.

  • Penguins (2) vs. Senators (7): We predicted Penguins in 5. The Senators were even more hapless/heartless than we first thought. Bryan Murray should be fired. However the heartlessness seems to be institutionalized and infects whoever is involved with/plays for/runs the team

  • Capitals (3) vs. Flyers (6): We predicted Capitals in 7. Well at least we got the number of games correct and it took OT to decide the Flyers fate. The cardiac-kids as we called them have a bright future IF they can get their RFA's AND Huet signed this offseason.

  • Devils (4) vs. Rangers (5): Rangers in 6. The Rangers dispatch the offensively starved Devils even easier than we predicted. Our belief that Sean Avery/Brodeur would be the big difference proved to be correct as the super-pest caused so much angst for the Devil goalie that they had to create a new (silly) rule.

3) Next a look at the west.

  • Red Wings (1) vs. Predators (8): We predicted Detroit in 4. We give TONS of credit to Barry Trotz and his team to extend this series to 6. They also helped expose some possible weaknesses in the Wings defense but maybe helped them by cementing Osgood as the clear #1 goalie. The Dominator is no longer, dominating

  • Sharks (2) vs. Flames (7): We predicted Sharks in 6. We didn't think the Flames would be a pushover, but Iron Mike's squad gave the Sharks all they could handle until finally JR turned back the clock last night and propelled the Bay area squad into the next round. Probably saving his coach's job. (For now)

  • Wild (3) vs. Avalanche (6): We predicted Avalanche in 6. We pretty much pegged this one dead on. We figured that the Wild with their Slovakian scorers would disappear, (as they did) and the now healthier Avalanche would win the series. It wasn't easy, but the better team won.

  • Ducks (4) vs. Stars (5): We predicted Ducks in 5. This was probably the only one of the 8 playoff series where we completely blew it. We can live with the Caps-Flyers as that was as close as possible, but this prediction was 180 degrees out of phase. We explain possibly why in our post dead-ducks. At least we take solace that we were probably the only ones who have been saying that what Niedermayer did last summer/fall was completely out of line.

4) Look for our next round of predictions out before the puck drops tomorrow night! As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Cardiac Kids.....Dead!

1) The Cardiac Kids were of course the Washington Capitals who finally succumbed to the Philadelphia Flyers in an exciting 7 game series decided by a Jofrey Lupul over time PP marker last night at Verizon center.

2) The Caps have been playing on a seemingly razor's thin edge for the past 2 months to even make the post season. For all intents and purposes their 'first round series was an arduous late season 6 game road trip in which they were forced to win 5 of 6 just to stay in playoff contention. Following this they had their 'second round' where they had to sweep their final 3 home games to qualify for the playoffs. From there they dug themselves a hole by falling behind the Flyers 3 games to 1, but as they have since our Adams candidate Bruce Boudreau took over, fought back valiantly to force a Game 7, and worked hard through obvious injuries to almost their entire defense corps.
3) The team led by our Hart candidate Alex Ovechkin had become the bandwagon favourites of many pundants. They were the exciting Cinderella story of these playoffs and as such received quite a bit of attention. Despite the results last night, the attention appears well deserved as the team, especially its young starts such as Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green along with Ovechkin (all under 24) showed that they belonged, and made a statement to the NHL that they will be back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whats Up With Montreal?

1) No, we're not talking about their hockey, on-ice success. We congratulate them for their 7 game series win against their rival Bruins. What our question to the city/fans of the team is why would a first round series win cause rioting in the streets? We understand they haven't won the Cup in a record (for them) 15 years, but in a city that has seen MORE success (24 Stanley Cups) than any other we wouldn't expect that a simple first round win would generate such emotion?

2) Many have pointed out the heavy handed police tactics that the Montreal PD is supposedly know for. However, as they say, it takes 2 to tango. We listen to soccer-like singing/chants during games at the Bell Centre, but now it appears this 'soccer mentality' seems to be spreading beyond the arena. We worry what would/will take place should the Habs continue to win?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dead Ducks!

1) Although it really shouldn't be a shock based upon their respective records its always a bit of a stunner to see the defending Stanley Cup champs go out in the first round the following year. Many, including us at FAUXRUMORS felt that the Ducks would go deep into this post season. We were counting on not only their returning roster but just as, if not more importantly, that intangible of being the champs many times brings. Once a team has won, it usually knows what it takes and many times more than their opponents are willing to sacrifice and do the dirty work it takes to succeed in the toughest tournament in pro sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs.

2) However it appears that despite their late season surge, the Ducks never had that intangible, and were ripe for the picking by the Stars. We also should take a moment and congratulate Dave Tippett and the rest of the Stars. It was no easy feat to dethrone a champ, and many including us, did not see them as a team that could. We give them full credit in pulling this mini-upset off. We also give embattled goalie Marty Turco (The best Marty of this year's playoffs?) full credit for helping his team attain this success.

3) The next question is why? While many will try to point to the significant roster turnover from last season's squad. The loss of Penner, McDonald, etc were certainly significant as their replacements, Weight, Bertuzzi didn't seem up to the task. However we at FAUXRUMORS point our finger of blame on this entire season/mess to one man, Scott Niedermayer! Why? Well from the moment the team won their Cup last June he ceased being the team's captain and became totally self centered and placed the team below his self interests. Its not like Scott had an injury or a family situation that needed his attention. It was PURE Selfishness/self indulgence.

  • Scott had a valid contract for this past year. The team invested big dollars with the expectations that he would live up to his side of the bargain. After the Cup, Niedermayer started a 5 month odyssey of uncertainly/self indulgence. Would he retire, would he come back?

  • In a salary capped league all GM's need to know what their payrolls can be, what space to sign players etc they have. By not making his plan known until so late it tied his teams GM Brian Burke. Burke, not knowing what his selfish captain would do, was forced to assume he wouldn't be back and then signed players with that in mind.

  • This allowed another GM like Kevin Lowe to see Anaheim's possible cap space issue and use it to their advantage. Burke not knowing if Scott's 6+ mil in cap space would be free had little choice but to allow one of his big assets(Penner) to go for very little. Later when Scott (finally) decided to come back it was after a date which caused the team to have to trim payroll because of NEXT season! This led to the Andy McDonald trade as well as the literal giving away of Ilya Bryzgalov

4) When Scott finally returned in January it appeared that things were going to be just like before. However, team mates whom were with the team since September must have had resentment watching Niedermayer take 6 months off and then come back as if nothing happened. The team appeared to come together when he and Selanne made returns. (We don't place the same degree of blame on Teemu because he did NOT have a contract and Burke did not have to manipulate the roster around him, AND he wasn't captain!) However, the playoffs are usually the time that separates real teams from pretenders. This team just never seemed able to put together a full effort against the Stars who aren't exactly the 1977 Canadiens. Why? Ask the captain!

5) Brian Burke, who to his credit was silent during the Niedermayer nonsense(in private he was seething!), would be VERY foolish to consider bringing back Scott(even if he decided he wanted to come back) Cut the ties as soon as possible and move on. The Ducks still have a very talented core, and a few moves could have them back next spring hungry, and ready to sacrifice to win.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ottawa Senators- No Heart!

1) The Tin Man would be proud of the Ottawa Senators. The once mighty Sens fell rather meekly last night to the very young, but immensely talented Pittsburgh Penguins. If one were to have said in November that the Ottawa Senators would get swept in the first round of the playoffs by Pittsburgh most would have believed you insane or Mike Milbury. At that point the Senators were leading the Eastern Conference by a wide margin. Many were believing that they could actually challenge the 76-77 Montreal Canadien incredible record of losing only 8 games.

2) Then the roof fell in. In reality they shouldn't have been as good they started or as bad as they finished. They made it to the Finals last season because they possess a great deal of talent. This year's problems began with last off season.
  • After their near Cup run what did they do? Fired the architect, GM John Muckler and replaced him with then coach Bryan Murray. Mistake #1.
  • Despite their playoff run almost anyone with any hockey knowledge could see they lacked a true #1 goalie. Emery was NOT the guy. The Sens thought differently. Signing the enigmatic (euphemism for nut job) tender to a long term lucrative deal. Mistake #2.

3) Any coach who comes in to replace the Now-GM has to be constantly looking over his shoulder, wondering when that GM will fire him to go back to coaching. It happens so often. John Paddock never had a chance. When he was fired in late February Murray hoped it would light a fire under the team to get them back to playing well. It had the opposite effect. The team seemed to fade even faster since he assumed both roles.

4) Anyone who watched this team play the last 6 weeks of the season could see that they would be in trouble IF they even made the playoffs. They almost collectively seemed to quit on Murray. Essentially the same talent that had vaulted them atop the east last season looked like a beaten team. Despite the efforts of pest Chris Neal, these Sens had little fight in them. As good as Pittsburgh is, there is NO way they should have swept the Senators with relative ease.

5) It would be easy to blame Murray. Clearly he does deserve quite a bit of blame here, and will likely feel the blade across his proverbial head this off season by owner Eugene Melnyk. However it seems that Ottawa now has a long history of choking/scape goats. The team is still underachieving despite ridding themselves of past underachieving lightning rods such as: Alex Yashin, Marion Hossa, Patrick Lalime, Radek Bonk, firing Jacques Martin, etc. Despite these moves the team still has been unable to bring the folks of Ottawa a championship.

6) We'd have to say the real problem/reason why the Sens have never gotten over the top is that despite their plethora of talent at forward and on defense through the last few years they have never had a real elite goalie. With few )if any) elite goalies available as UFA's this off season the Senators problems will probably continue into next fall. There is no Yellow brick road to lead them to the Emerald City or a Wizard to give this team what it needs most, Heart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not So Fast!

1) Last night saw two teams (temporarily at least) stem the tide in their playoff series. The Sharks, and more specifically Joe Thornton came out of hibernation to take one from the Flames in Calgary. Many believed that the Sharks were done after blowing an early 3 goal lead in game 3. Not so! Last night San Jose turned it up side down from game 3 by being the ones who came back. First Cheechoo tied the score with under 5 minutes remaining. Then Big Joe scored the back breaker with only 10 seconds remaining.

2) Folks tell FAUXRUMORS that many Flame fans missed the goal as they were anticipating OT and were rushing to avoid the lines for the refreshment stands/bathroom when Joe scored the game winner and sent the Calgary faithful home, unhappy. Now the series shifts back to California and the Sharks regained the home ice advantage in this now best of 3 series tied at 2. The pressure has shifted to Calgary now. Is there going to be a goalie controversy with the Flames now? CuJo came in to relieve Kipper and won game 3. After last night might Mike Keenan go back to the old man(Joseph)?

3) Meanwhile in Dallas, the folks who had the Ducks buried may have to re-write their obituary. The Ducks finally showed up last night after missing the first 2 games at Honda Center. You can NEVER underestimate the power of being champs. Sure the Ducks looked like crap after their first 2 games, but we couldn't foresee that they would just lay down and die meekly despite now being on the road. We're told the team actually prefers to play on the road sometimes. Getting away from the many distractions that living in Southern California can bring. Perhaps Burke should rent a hotel in LA for his team when they return for game 5? Marty Turco wasn't the only reason the Stars lost, but to give up 3 first period goals on a mere 6 shots had to be deflating. Might this bring on a return of the playoff choking Turco we had all grown to expect from years past? Certainly the Ducks and their fans hope so. Or might last night have been the last gasp for the dying Ducks? Stay tuned.

4) The night before last we saw another example of a team refusing to die quietly. We give full props to the Nashville Predators for refusing to wither away and die despite being down 2-0 in games, and down by a goal late in game 3. First Ryan Suter beat a surprised Dominick Hasek with a 50 footer. He didn't appear to be screened, so blame squarely belongs to the Detroit goalie for allowing the tying goal to get by him. Then before the crowd had simmered down; A short 9 seconds later, the Detroit defense allowed perennial underachiever Jason Arnott to get a clear shot from the high slot and beat Hasek up high with the go ahead goal. Sending the folks in the Sommet Center into delirium. What appeared to be a definite short series is now up in the air with Game 5 tonight in Nashville.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dumb 'Avery Rule'?

1) While we would concede that any sentence that has 'dumb' and 'Avery' in it risks being duplistic, we will still state that we are not in favour of the NHL's new "Avery rule." For the uninformed, this past Sunday during the Rangers-Devils game 3 playoff game in MSG, super pest Sean Avery decided that he needed to try to distract Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. Instead of the usual standing in front of him, or discussing Brodeur's predilection for sister's in laws, he decided a new tactic needed to be unveiled. Avery placed himself with his back to the shooter, and lifted his stick in front of Marty's face and swung it repeatedly close, but not into the goalies mask. Back and forth to try to distract the normally unflappable future Hall of Famer.

2) Did it work? Hard to say, but Avery DID score not long after the incident. There are conflicting stories that team mates such as Chris Drury and Brendan Shanahan told Avery to cut it out during the play, but they did not confirm this afterwards to reporters. All TV commentators made note of the unusual manner in which Avery was trying to distract the opposing goalie. Almost all were in agreement that the Avery mannerisms were 'despicable/reprehensible'. There was almost universal condemnation of Avery and his tactics among writers and non Ranger fans alike.

3) So as a result of this uproar should we be surprised that Gary Bettman and his lap dog poodle Colin Campbell decided to 'interpret' the rule to make any future moves like this illegal? In reality there was no such rule, but the league had to act quickly to try to stem the tide of negative publicity that Avery had unearthed. While we don't particularly like Avery. Many may recall how we included him as our 'starting center' in our all-prickmost-hated-teams. However we detest when the NHL knee-jerks into changing rules. He never made contact with Brodeur, and he was not in the goalie crease. If what Avery did was a penalty the TWO referees in attendance Sunday didn't think so. It looked infintile/stupid, and dangerous to he and to anyone around him, but unless he actualy hits someone it doesn't appear to be against the rules. Apparently the on-ice officials agreed. If it needed to become a penalty there is a method in place to change rules, but NOT until after the season.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Panthers Now better?

1) The Florida Panthers announced this past weekend that head coach and GM Jacques Martin will only be handling one of those jobs going forward. The team announced that Martin, the coach for the past 2 seasons and GM for this past year will only be the team's GM and the search has begun to find his replacement.

2) Seems Panther owner Alan Cohen got this one half right. He would have been best served to sever ties with the perennially underachieving coach once and for all. Martin's GM credentials aren't impressive. To be fair he really hasn't had to do much. The team was largely assembled by his predecessors. That said, we believe that it would have made eminently more sense to wipe the slate totally clean and bring in an experienced GM who could then hire his coach and move forward.

3) As we have written countless times on here, the Panthers are actually a very talented club missing a piece or two, and probably in need of the proper coach to get the most from this assembled talent. The past few seasons that has NOT occurred. It remains to be seen who Jacques will hire, but that small change alone might be worth the 5-6 points which would make the difference between playing or watching hockey in mid April. We will stay a top of this story and hopefully for long suffering Panther fans Martin makes a good choice. We're not confident.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Big Trouble Already?

1) Yes, its but a mere 1 game into a playoff series but if Game 1 is any indication we may have more than a few very short series on our hands.

  • Pittsburgh manhandles the injury depleted Senators in Game 1. The Sens were in virtual free fall since the All star break. They fired their coach and barely(by 1 point) made the playoffs. Mainly because of their incredible start. Now they have lost several key players. Alfredsson, Fisher, and possibly now Volchenkov. Even if Volchenkov returns it still doesn't bode well for the Sens to make a big turn around. The Eastern Ontario team looks defeated already. Gerber actually played well, but the rest of the team didn't. If the Sens win a game it appears that will be the upset in this series! No heart!

  • Rangers-Devils was supposed to be a long/close series, but if the first game was an indication of how things are going to go, the Devils may be golfing by next week this time. When a team that has trouble scoring doesn't have the best goalie on the ice they will NEVER win, period. Lundqvist outplayed Brodeur. There is NO home ice for the Devils. Despite a new, state of the art building, and being a top team the Devils played before a mere 88% capacity. Ranger fans probably were minimally 25% of last night's crowd. Unlikely Devil fans will be able to do the same on the other side of the Hudson. If NJ doesn't stem the tide Friday, that could be "The Rocks" last hockey game until October!

  • San Jose were supposed to be the better of the two teams, but like some wrote on our blog, the Flames were built for the playoffs and it certainly appeared that way last night. The Flames seemed to frustrate the Sharks. Not until the last frantic 2 minutes did the Sharks start to look like the team we saw all season. If they don't reestablish that the Flames could upset the highly favoured Sharks in a short series. One that coach Ron Wilson would NOT survive!

2) Now, its WAY too early to make any firm conclusions, but NHL playoffs usually demonstrate early and consistent trends. These 3 teams need to quickly break the trends established so far else these series won't go beyond next week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playoff Predictions-West

1) Now for the difficult part. How to figure out this mess. There are several very good hockey teams here that won't win a round. Unfair, but that's the way the NHL works. Years ago it was the other way around; with the East much more powerful from top to bottom and the West seemingly only having 2-3 teams worth watching. Like our East predictions we will go through each series and come up with our picked eventual winner.

2) Red Wings (1) vs. Predators (8): REGULAR SEASON SERIES (3-3-2). We don't see an 8th upsetting a 1st out west this year. The Preds deserve credit for getting this far, but are outclassed at every position by the President's Trophy wining Wings. Despite having an average age of 68 and not abusing Nashville during the regular season the Red Wings should have little trouble dispatching the Preds quickly.
Detroit in 4

3) Sharks (2) vs. Flames (7): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 3-1/1-1-2 Flames. They two teams fought close battles during the regular season, and the playoffs should be no different. San Jose probably recalls that the Flames were the ones who dispatched them last season. many are predicting the Sharks led by Joe Thorton, the reemerging Jon Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau along with trade deadline addition Brian Campbell to roll over the inconsistent Flames. Not so fast! They are forgetting the Flames still have Jerome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf, Mika Kiprosoff along with Iron Mike Keenan behind the bench. These Flames will not extinguish easily, but in the end the better team will prevail.
Sharks in 6

4) Wild (3) vs. Avalanche (6): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 5-2-1 Wild. This should be an epic/long series. The two teams are very evenly matched despite the seedings. The Avs are more healthy than they were for much of the regular season Keys: For Colorado, can Theodore keep up his stellar play, and can they score on the PP? For the Wild, can they hold down the Avs and play their usual low scoring/(boring) style? O paper this would seem to favour the Wild, but games aren't played on paper. We see an upset in the making here.
Avalanche in 6

5) Ducks (4) vs. Stars (5): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 5-2-1, Stars. Their close records and Dallas' regular season domination would seem to potentially make this appear to be a close series. However the combination of the Stars significant swoon, Turco's playoff issues and the Ducks intangibles of being champs all lead us to believe this won't be as close as some predict. Keys: For the Ducks. The ability to get consistent scoring from all their lines. For the Stars, to have Marty Turco play as well during the playoffs as he does during the regular season.
Ducks in 5

Playoff Predictions- East

1) Welcome to the NHL's second(real) season. We would argue that there is NO better all around tournament in all of pro sports. Let the games begin! We will go through each series; dissect what the most important factors are, and come up with who will win in how many games. We hope to do even better than our regular season predictions. First we will do the unpredictable East. Followed by the power house West. Enjoy.

2) Canadiens (1) vs. Bruins (8):REGULAR SEASON SERIES ( 8-0 Canadiens) On paper it would seem the Bruins have little chance to advance. For good reason. The Habs wiped the Bruins 8-0 this past season. The Bruins just can't match the Canadiens speed and offensive fire power. Without Savard (he may play but not nearly at 100%) the Bruins are at a distinct disadvantage. Keys: For the Bruins to overcome the mental block of beating their divisional rivals. For the Habs, to see if Carey Price can at 20 be a top playoff goalie and all the pressure that entails.
Canadiens in 5

3) Penguins (2) vs. Senators (7): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 3-0-1 Ottawa. Normally you would think a 2-7 series would be a mismatch, but in the tight East there are no gimme series, and this is no different. The Senators sent the upstart Penguins packing in last year's playoffs in 5 short games. They also handled the pens during the regular season. However this Penguin team is NOT last year's! For one the team no longer relys exclusively on Crosby as evidenced by Malkin's break-out season. They also added Marion Hossa who has something to prove that he's not a playoff albatross, not to mention its against his former team. The Senators lost 2 key players when Fischer and captain Dan Alfredsson were lost to late season injuries and probably from the first round. Keys: Goaltending! Gerber has been great in spurts and awful in others. Fleury since his return has looked like the goalie the Pens knew he can be.
Penguins in 5

4) Capitals (3) vs. Flyers (6): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 2-2. Despite the rankings the Flyers actually had 1 more point than the Caps. The two teams split their 4 games, many which were quite nasty/contentious. The Caps, and more specifically likely Hart trophy winner Alex Ovechkin have become the darlings of the hockey world with their improbable rise from 15th to 3rd in the East (winning11 of their last 12) to get back into the post season for the first time in 5 years. Amazingly Flyer starter Marty Biron will be starting his FIRST playoff game! Huet on the other side has appeared in a mere 6! Flyers got bad news when Derrien Hatcher was cleared to play. ; ) Keys: For the Flyers they need to use their allotment of talented forwards to wear down the caps and try to physically intimidate the upstart caps/get them off their game. The Caps need to do exactly what got them into the playoffs; Play smart, get great goaltending from Huet, and have their best player BE the best player.
Capitals in 7

5) Devils (4) vs. Rangers (5): REGULAR SEASON SERIES 1-4-3/7-0-1 Rangers. As we have mentioned on other sites/our blog, this is NOT the same Ranger team that went to the playoffs the past 2 seasons. Its no longer the NY Jagr's/Czechs. This team is full of young/hungry players to compliment the likes of Gomez and playoff star Chris Drury. Jagr for his part is playing the best he's played all season. The Devils were unable to beat the Rangers in regulation in 8 tries. Their anemic offense is led by dynamic youngster Zac Parise, but the Devils rely heavily on Brodeur keeping them in games. After playing 77 contests is he going to be sharp or start to fatigue like last season? Keys: For the Devils to play their defense first game and be opportunistic and better the rangers on special teams. For the Rangers, use their superior depth of forwards to pepper and get folks in Brodeur's face (Avery) upsetting his rhythm.
Rangers in 6

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

And the Winners (Should be)

1) With the conclusion of the regular NHL season its time to vote/award the various trophies based solely upon the regular season stats/accomplishments.

    Hart- Alex Ovechkin. Easy choice! There is simply no way to deny what he has meant to his team. Scoring 28% of the team's goals, and involved in 49% of ALL Caps scoring alone would be Hart worthy stats. Add to that his goal total of 65, a record set for ANY left wing, EVER! He also won the league scoring title. Was tops in PP goals. Tops in game winning goals. In the top 5 for hits among forwards. He even had an impressive +28 for the year. The 'Great 8' was simply The Most valuable player, going away. Honorable mention: Nicklas Lidstrom and Jerome Iginla. Both had amazing years and were invaluable to their clubs, just not on the same planet in comparison to the degree that Ovechkin changed his club's fortunes

    Norris- Nicklas Lidstrom- If not for Ovechkin's record setting season the ageless Swede would have been our choice for Hart. He had yet another amazingly dominant season at both ends of the rink. Putting up great offensive numbers while having yet another great +/- a small indicator of how well he plays on his own side of the blue line. Honorable mention: Dion Phaneuf and Zdeno Chara. No doubt Phaneuf will have a slew of Norris hardware some day, but probably not until Lidstrom is done.

    Vezina- Martin Brodeur. What can we add to the accomplishments of one of the games all time greats? Marty had another 40+ win season moving him within shouting distance of Patrick Roy's all time win total. His save % and GAA were again miniscule. Even in back of a very average Devil defensive corps, Marty was an inpenatrable wall. Keeping the Devils in the playoff picture and a chance to win every night. Honorable Mention: Evgeny Nabokov and JS Giguere. Both had great years propelling their teams into the elite of the West.

    Lady Byng- Pavel Datsyuk . Not only has the Swede had an outstandingly productive offensive season, but he also did it with a mere 20 mins in penalties. Honorable mention: Henrik Zetterberg and Martin St. Louis.

    Ross- Alex Ovechkin- By virtue of winning the scoring title with 112 points the 3rd year forward becomes the very first Russian born player to takes home the Art Ross trophy. Its also the first time a Washington Capital has won the award.

    Selke Trophy-Daniel Alfredsson. The offensively gifted Swede is often over looked for his significant defensive contributions. He played regularly on the PK unit, even racking up 9 points while on the kill, including an impressive 7 goals. Honorable mention: Pavel Datsyuk and Patrick Sharp

    Richard- Alex Ovechkin- This will probably not be the last Richard trophy for the Russian sniper! Most goals EVER by a Left wing. We have a feeling this record won't stand long!

    Masterdon- Jason Blake. Probably the most difficult award to pick as there is not always a direct on-ice correlation to the winner. However, given the awards recent history of giving it to a player who is stricken with illness (Phil Kessell) Jason's battle with cancer will probably get him the nod.

    Calder- Patrick Kane. It was a close call, but the young NY native won us over. He led all rookies in points with 72. Honorable Mention- Kane narrowly in our opinion edged out capital center Niclas Backstrom by a hair. If not for an injury, we would have picked Kane's team mate Jon Towes, who before the injury was the Calder favourite.

    Adams- Bruce Boudreau. Since taking over for the inept Glen Hanlon on Thanksgiving, the affable, former slap shot extra, 'Gabby' had his Capital charges playing at an amazing 108 point clip. Good for second best (Pittsburgh) during that time in the East. From then to the trade deadline the only change was behind the bench, so credit needs to go where its deserved. Honorable Mention: Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens and Barry Trotz of Nashville. Guy's team finished tops in the conference. Weaving rookies and vets into a very impressive tapestry. Trotz on the other hand kept his team working hard/succeeding every night despite losing a ton of talent in the off season and rumours of the team being moved.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Results Are In: How We Did!

1) Well the 6 month NHL season is finally over. The second season is about to begin later this week. We will of course have our very eagerly anticipated playoff preview/predictions out before the puck drops for the first round. Additionally, FR2 was given the task of coming up with their Season awards winners. They tell us that post is likely to be up some time tomorrow. Don't miss it!

2) First we will do the post-mortem and see how well/poorly we did with our predictions. Comparing the posts we did with the actual results. Here are the two posts that predicted the east and west results. First the East: We did NOT do all that well here. Not terribly, but not up to our standards:

Actual Results -vs- Our prediction :

  • Montreal - 104 points, 1st. Our prediction 95 in 8th. Clearly we foresaw an improvement in Habs-land, but didn't expect to see is manifest itself into a conference crown.

  • Pittsburgh- 102 points, 2nd. Our prediction 108 in 2nd. Seems we got this one dead on though no one could have seen Conklin as being so important to their success.

  • Washington- 94 points, 3rd. Our prediction 83 in 14th. we figured they'd be improved, but in the preseason Glen Hanlon was still coach and we did not like him to guide this team far. The change obviously helped a bit. ; )

  • New Jersey- 99 points, 4th. Our prediction 91, in 11th. Perennially we underestimate the devils. We did it again this year. We look at that lineup and can't possibly see them as winning, yet they do. Brodeur with another Vezina/Hart calibre season didn't hurt.

  • Rangers- 97 points, 5th. Our prediction 100 in 6th. We pretty much nailed ths one as well. We figured they'd be good, but inconsistent. However the biggest change this season is that the roster is chock full of young players with upside who have contributed already

  • Philadelphia-95 points, 6th. Our prediction 105 in 4th. We perhaps over rated them a bit, but injuries also hampered their season. Certainly we saw them going from the cellar back into the post season

  • Ottawa- 94 points, 7th. Our prediction 110 in 1st. We knew goaltending would be an issue, but not as much as it was. Emory was a season long distraction. The Sens almost imploded missing the playoffs after a big start. We don't like their GM/coach.

  • Boston- 94 points, 8th. Our prediction 88 in 12th. Another team we underestimated. Coach Julian did a very nice job piecing this squad together, back into the playoffs despite numerous key injuries


  • Carolina- 92 points, 9th. Our prediction 98 points, 3rd. Another season of underachieving. can Laviolette survive this? They played well down the stretch, but early season woes ultimately cost them the SE crown to the fast charging caps

  • Buffalo- 90 points, 10th. Our prediction 104 points, 5th. We guess Lindy Ruff isn't such a great coach? We thought they'd drop a bit, but NOT to this degree.

  • Florida- 85 points, 11th. Our prediction 86 points, 12th. We got the cats pegged dead on. They definitely underachieved, but for some reason (Martin) we knew it would happen(again). He needs to go.

  • Toronto- 83 points, 12th. Our prediction 96 points, 7th. We WAY over estimated how well they would do. Perhaps we bought into the Toronto media hype? Too many fat cats with no trade clauses. Sundin had good year, but is he really that great a leader?

  • Islanders- 79 points, 13th. Our prediction 80 points, 15th. Played pretty much to expectations. Started well, but injuries finished them off.

  • Atlanta- 76 points, 14th. Our prediction 92 points, 10th. We didn't see them as a playoff team, BUT never did we see them falling this far! Despite another great year from the best Russian no one knows about, Ilya Kovolchuk. We knew Waddell was a bad GM, but now we know he's a bad coach as well. If he's back we predict they wil suck again.

  • Tampa Bay- 71 points, 15th. Our prediction 94 points, 9th. Ditto Atlanta. Tortorella needs to be replaced, but Jay Feaster hasn't done a very good job handling the post salary cap era either. They need an overhaul, but can they afford to do it?

3) Next, the West. Overall we did much better out west with a few notable exceptions:

  • Detroit- 115 points, 1st. Our prediction 115 points, 1st. Guess we kinda got this one right, huh? LOL. Most points, but not the best team out west. However, they'd be the class of the East.

  • San Jose- 108 points, 2nd. Our prediction 110 points, 2nd. We also had the sharks pegged pretty accurately. The last 2 months since the trade dead line they have been unbeatable. Can they carry this over into the playoffs. Ron Wilson's job is at stake.

  • Minnesota- 98 points, 3rd. Our prediction 102, 6th. The gum chewer (Lemaire) was able to coax a NW division title out of this bunch. Nice job. They don't scare us as a playoff team, but won't be push overs either

  • Anaheim- 102 points, 4th. Our prediction 107, 4th. Again, we pretty much had the Ducks where we thought they'd end up. Cup contenders again, but behind the Sharks.

  • Dallas- 97 points, 5th. Our prediction 91 points, 9th. Like the Devils, we annually underestimate the Stars, thinking they are too old to compete fr a spot, yet they did. Despite late season swoon, they acquire the 5th slot.

  • Colorado- 95 points, 6th. Our prediction 105 points, 3rd. Didn't quite live up to our expectations, BUT with all the many injuries they had to endure its amazing they achieved what they did. They stay healthy and they win the division going away.

  • Calgary- 94 points, 7th. Our prediction 103 points, 5th. We didn't expect that goaltending would be an issue with Calgary, but the first half was forgettable for Kiprusoff. Iginla had a MVP type season for the Flames.

  • Nashville- 91 points, 8th. Our prediction 90 points, 10th. We amend our previous impression of Barry Trotz. He did a VERY good job getting his team back into the playoffs despite losing many players and the distraction of possibly moving the franchise.


  • Edmonton- 88 points, 9th. Our prediction 85 points, 11th. We had them about where they ended up. Actually considering their first half, they did a very nice job, despite injuries, staying in contention until the final week. Nice job to McTavish.

  • Chicago- 88 points, 10th. Our prediction 76 points, 13th. Played significantly better than we thought. Both rookies, Towes and Kane did NOT disappoint. We believe if Towes had stayed healthy the Hawks may have had a better playoff chance and he would have been a shoe-in as Calder.

  • Vancouver- 88 points, 11th. Our prediction 100 points, 7th. So Alain Vigneault isn't a great coach anymore? Sorry, he never was! He was as good as Luongo was. When Roberto slumped, so did the Caucks.

  • Phoenix- 83 points, 12th. Our prediction 70 points, 14th. Had a much better season than we thought. However most if not all of that improvement can be attributed to the acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov in November. Had he been on the team from opening night the Coyotes would have been in the playoff hunt till the end

  • Columbus- 80 points, 13th. Our prediction 68 points, 15th. We figured there were still considerable growing pains yet to endure after an 8 year period with a bad GM, Doug MacLean. Scott Howson has a lot of work to do. Hitch did what he could with what he was given

    St. Louis- 79 points, 14th. Our prediction 82 points, 12th. Although they finished pretty much where we thought, the folks in St.Louis can't be happy how the team tanked the last 2 months. They need to jettison Tkachuk if they want to improve!

  • Los Angeles- 71 points, 15th. Our prediction 96points, 8th. Easily our worst prediction in the entire NHL. We overlooked their obvious weakness (sorry Vlad) in goal. If the Kings had Bryzgolov they would have improved the way the Coyotes did. In addition to adding a real NHL goalie, Dean Lombardi also need to excise Blake this offseason

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hush Money?

1) When Brian Burke signed Todd Bertuzzi to a 2 year, 8 million dollar deal last summer many believed that he over paid for the power forward by a considerable amount. After all he was 5 years removed from his last significantly productive season and was coming off an injury plagued 06-07 that saw him play a mere 8 regular season games. He did play 16 playoff games for the Red Wings, scoring 3 goals, 7 points.

2) Yet when time came for the hulking former Isle's 1993 1st round pick to be a UFA, his former, (Now current) GM Brian Burke was willing to pony up 8 million. Many then were scratching their heads at both the length and size of the deal. The Ducks admittedly just lost power winger Dustin Penner to the Oilers, but many foresaw their potential salary cap issues and wondered why Burke would so freely spend on someone who was both risky and likely on the downside.

3) So why are we bringing this all up? Well, to review for those not keeping score:

  • In apparent retaliation for a Moore knee hit on Canucks star Markus Naslund, Bertuzzi stalked Steve Moore from behind and sucker-punching him in the side of the head and driving his body to the ice during a 2004 game. Moore suffered a concussion and three fractured vertebrae in his neck and hasn't played hockey since.

  • Bertuzzi, was suspended by the NHL and charged with assault causing bodily harm in June 2004 after a four-month investigation. He pleaded guilty, received a conditional discharge and was sentenced to probation and community service.

  • Bertuzzi was suspended for the final 13 regular-season games of the 2003-04 season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. His punishment continued throughout the Bettman lockout, which kept Bertuzzi from playing in the World Cup of Hockey two world championships. He also was barred from playing in any European league. The suspension cost Bertuzzi $501,926.39 in salary.

  • The initial law suit was dismissed in 2005. Denver District Judge Shelley Gilman said that Moore's claims would be better handled in Canada because that's where the hit happened and all the defendants are based there.

  • He originally was seeking unspecified damages from the Canucks, former team owner Orca Bay Hockey Limited Partnership, Bertuzzi, coach Marc Crawford, former general manager Brian Burke and former Canucks player Brad May. Most recently the suit only mentioned Bertuzzi, and the Canucks. Omitting Burke, Crawford and May.

4) However recent court documents show that Bertuzzi sought to have Crawford included, saying his NHL contract compelled him take orders from his coach. Bertuzzi hoping that this will help mitigate his guilt as well as spread around the amount that is ultimately settled upon. Moore and his attorneys were happy to oblige as the more on the suit the better chance of success. No word why Crawford wasn't listed from the outset.

5) Omitted interestingly were former Canuck Brad May and former Canucks GM, Brian Burke. Anyone surprised that Burke and May were not asked to be included by Bertuzzi? Brad May also coincidentally popped up on the Ducks for the past 2 seasons, despite adding almost nothing to the team scoring or toughness wise. 4 points and 50 PIM's. (Seems Burke has favourite players, huh?) Now we're making no accusations nor stating we have inside information pertaining to this incident, BUT the facts are very compelling here. We will let you our very intelligent readers decide if some shenanigans were pulled by the very crafty/hockey-connected Brian Burke.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Horse's Ass Award?

1) So what GM is in the running for this season's "Horses Ass Award?

  • Bryan Murray- Is our choice to receive this years award. If one were to look in Webster's dictionary for the word "Underachiever" you'd see Mr. Murray's visage. He has coached for what seems 30 years and is still waiting to win a Cup. Before the season he gave Emory an absurd contract and apparently felt that his goaltending tandem was OK going into the season. Somehow when the goaltending invariably started to blow he felt he needed to fire his head coach with 20 games left. Since that inane move, the Sens have gone from mediocre to down right dreadful. Barely clinging to the hopes of a playoff spot where many in Canada's capital had the parade route mapped out with their hot start.

  • Don Waddell- His patheticness is only matched by the stupidity of the teams owner, Bruce Levenson who has given his supremely inept gm/coach a vote of confidence. Sorry Atlanta, you're gonna suck next year even worse than this! There are just far too many holes in this roster and far too little has been done to fill them. If you are holding out hopes for the draft, don't. Waddells record at the draft table has been down right awful. When he has managed to draft a good player he tends to make bad trades (Zhitnik for Braydon Coburn )

  • Darcy Regier- He follows up the loss of Briere/Drury (for nothing) with having to give Vanek an absurd amount of money (see Kevin Lowe). Then for the kicker, he doesn't get his best defensemen (Campbell) signed before the trade deadline. He trades him to the Sharks. The Sharks have literally not lost since, and the Sabres will probably miss the post season entirely. Largely because of the loss of Campbell. Nice job Darcy!

  • Kevin Lowe- His problems were largely from last spring/summer when he tried to unsuccessfully land RFA Thomas Vanek (See Regier) then landing RFA Dustin Penner who has had a decent season, but undeserving of 4 million. This after he lost Captain Canada Ryan Smyth over a difference of $100,000. The Oil to their credit did improve the second half, but can Lowe be trusted to not screw things up this summer?

  • Jay Feaster- His team just sucks, but outside of this almost anyone around hockey,(apparently other than Jay) knew that his team was tuning out loud mouth coach John Tortorella. Most, including us at FAUXRUMORS predicted that the team would rebel/not listen to him. It got even worse than even we imagined, and the proof is in the standings where no team is worse on the road, and only the Kings have fewer points. Feaster, instead of trying to improve his team's biggest issue his goaltending, went out and gave a huge contract to Dan Doyle. Guaranteeing the Lightning will continue to suffocate cap-wise and not upgrade the most important position/biggest weakness.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Reward For Sucking!

1) The NHL will conduct its Draft Lottery this coming Monday, April 7th. The lottery will take place in-studio with NHL deputy-commissioner Bill Daly revealing the results live on-air. This will be the first time the draft lottery has been aired live on television since the 'Crosby Draft' of 2005, and for only the second time in 13 years. The lottery will also be simulcast live on the, NHL Network,

2) The bottom 14 (non-playoff) teams in the NHL will be eligible for the lottery, where odds are weighted by least amount of regular season points. The winning lottery team can move up no more than four spots in the draft and no team can move back more than one.

3) Here's the breakdown:
  • The five lowest-finishing teams that have a crack at the No. 1 pick: The 30th place team has a 25% chance of winning the drawing, followed by 18.8% for the 29th place team, 14.2% for 28th, 10.7% for 27th and 8.1% for 26th.
  • The other nine non-play-off teams also have a diminishing chance of winning the lottery, but if they win they just move up four positions in the draft. For example, the 25th place team has a 6.2% chance of winning and would shift to the No. 2 spot in the draft. And, if a 25th to 17th place team wins the lottery, the first overall pick remains with the 30th place team. That's why, when all the math is done, finishing last provides a team with a 48.2% chance of picking first.

4) Here's are a few odd facts:

  • In 12 draft lotteries since its inception in 1995, the team finishing 30th has been rewarded with the first pick just three times.
  • The team finishing in third-last has been promoted to the first pick four times, even though the odds of that happening are just 14.2%.
  • The second to worst finisher has NEVER won the draft lottery! Not only has the second-worst team never won the draft lottery in 12 attempts, but on four occasions it is has been pushed back one drafting spot when the third-worst team won the lottery. If we were betting folks we'd say that this will be the year the second suckiest team wins the lottery.

5) Of course we will renew our objection to the whole lottery process. Our position, though radical and controversial, would eliminate all possible doubt, and no longer reward failure/incompetence. That is do what was done in the 'Crosby sweepstakes' (2005 draft). Have ALL teams' draft order determined equally by a lottery. It would be a great/exciting show, like then, to have every team a chance at the 1st pick, and it eliminates once and for all any chance that teams would be disincentivized from playing their best/best players at all times!

6) It forces GM's/teams to improve by making good decisions, not by tanking a season or two to rebuild and getting good picks. It eliminates ANY notion that teams aren't playing their best each and every night. Also, and as importantly, it stops once and for all the idiotic notion of reward for failure. While we're a it stop the 'loser point' in games. You lose, you get zero points for your effort!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Eastern Conference: Parity, Mediocrity or Both?

1) The fight in the Eastern Conference for ALL playoff spots and positions appears to still be up for grabs with a mere 2-3 games remaining. This in of itself is not huge news. What is different this season is that there is no clear cut favourite. At the time of this writing there was a mere 9 points separating the top dog Penguins from the 8th seed Flyers.

2) Comparing that with last season where Buffalo finished with 113, 21 points ahead of the 8th seeded Islanders. The first season of the post Bettman lock out Ottawa paced the East with 113, again 21 points from the 8th seed, this time the Lightning. You have to go back to 2001-2002 to the closest disbursement between top and bottom, then 14 points from top to bottom. Never has there been a time when less than 10 points separated the top seed from the bottom.

3) So why is this? Is this the result of great competition, or is it simple mediocrity on display? Well, its probably both. The top 10-12 Eastern teams talent-wise are more closely matched than in recent memory. There is no one team in the East that one can point to and say; "They have it all", or "that is a team that can win the Cup". Compare that with the West where at least 3 teams (Detroit, SJ, and Anaheim) all are legit Cup threats, while every East team, even the top ones, have serious question marks.

4) The good news for the East is that regardless of how unimpressive their conference is they are still guaranteed a chance to play for the Cup, while the 3 listed teams from the West will have to fight bitterly among each other to get a shot. Perhaps wearing themselves down to give the Eastern team a legitamite chance to win it all
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