Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why Emery Should Send a ThankYou Card to Bryan Murray

1) Of course we don't expect the oft maligned(deservedly) former Senator goalie to send an early Christmas card to his former coach/GM, but he should. Why? Well, in our opinion Murray did Emery a HUGE favour by buying him out.

  • Emery will lose 2/3 of the anticipated salary, but still will get close to 900K for the next 4 years for nothing

  • Emery becomes an Unrestricted free agent. Here is where Emery potentially wins. This year there are few reliably good UFA goalies. Huet, and perhaps Theodore. After that as FAUXRUMORS pointed out yesterday, the options become limited! As such Emery becomes a wanted man and could very well earn MORE in a new deal than he would have with his former contract with Ottawa.

  • Adding up this new(possible more money to the 'free' money he will get from his old team, and you can see how Ray makes out like a bandit

  • Above the monetary enhancement, just getting away from Ottawa, will give Emery the new start that will probably reignite his career. At only 26, he really is young for goalie standards, and has probably yet to achieve his potential.

2) Therefore at the end of the day, Mr. Emery should acknowledge that his former team did him a HUGE favour by discarding him. Of course don't hold your breathe on that.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scouting/Handicapping the UFA's

1) As we move toward July 1st and 'freedom' for a rather large if not too deep/impressive group of UFA's we at FAUXRUMORS will provide an abridged list of whom we feel are the more interesting/talented players available. We will go by position starting with forwards, then defense, and finally goalies. Not in any particular order. We will list each players 07-08 team/stats, age, his previous salary, and our projection/what we are hearing with respect to where they might be headed, as well as our projected contract size/length.

2) Forwards:

  • Sean Avery: Rangers. Age 28. 33 points in 57 games. Made 1.9 mil. The Ranger's amazing record when the pesky forward is in the lineup as opposed to on the sidelines is unavoidable. The question that Sather has to ask is he worth double (or more) his current salary? We say no. At under 3 mil Avery is worth the headaches. Anything over 4 and now he will have to score 50+ points to be worth that salary. Likely contract: 4 years 16 million. Possible destinations: Rangers, Dallas, Islanders

  • Marian Hossa: Pittsburgh. Age 29. 66 points in 72 games. made 7 million. One of the bigger names available this summer. Had a good playoff with Pitt enhancing his value. That said, we at FAUXRUMORS are not big Hossa fans. Certainly not at the salary he's likely to command. He's a solid 1st line forward. We feel the 7 million he made this past year was a bit too much for his production. Likely contract: 5 years 42 million. Possible destinations: Bruins, Atlanta, Edmonton

  • Pavol Demitra: Wild. Age 33. 54 points in 68 games. Made 4.5 million. Its unlikely the Wild will re-sign the Slovak, but its still not out of the realm of possibility either. If he doesn't ask for Hossa money (more than 5 mil) we hear a deal could still be worked out. Likely contract: 3 years 16 million. Possible destinations: Wild, LA, Rangers, Toronto

  • Mats Sundin: Maple Leafs. Age 37. 78 points in 74 games. Made 5.5 million. Probably the cream of the UFA crop. Featured in our last post on how Toronto bridges-burned. He would be an excellent addition to any team that is in contention already and looking to add the 'final piece'. Due to his age we wouldn't expect a long term deal. Likely contract: 3 years 21 million. Possible destinations: Rangers, Montreal, Vancouver, retirement.

  • Joe Sakic: Avalanche. Age 38. 40 points in 44 games. Made 6.75 million. Coming off an injury plagued season, its not certain if Joe even wants to play. He's earned enough to live quite comfortably, but does the fire of competition remain in the Burnaby, BC native? We believe its yes, and its a HUGE long shot he'll be anywhere but in Denver in the fall. Likely contract: 1 year 6 million+incentives. Possible destination: Avalanche, retirement

  • Ryan Malone: Pittsburgh. Age 28. 51 points in 77 games. Made 1.45 million. The 6'4" native of Steel town appears headed away from his birth city to collect a very nice pay day. The Pens in a perfect (non capped) world would have loved to retain his services, but its impossible with the other problems that face Shero this summer. That said, we like Malone, but don't believe he deserves big money (4-5 mil). He's a solid 3rd line checking forward. However, given the dearth/depth of quality UFA's Ryan will probably get his cash. Likely contract: 5 years 20 million. Possible destinations: Columbus, Toronto, Islanders, Atlanta, St. Louis.

  • Jaromir Jagr: Rangers. Age 36. 71 points in 82 games. Made 8.36 million. Even with decreased production, and the additions of 2 high priced UFA's last summer, JJ was still the best Rangers' forward this past season/playoffs. He was also cheap until now. (The Caps were paying 4 mil of his salary as part of the deal that brought him to Broadway.) So far its been a guessing game if the Rangers want him back or if Jagr will play out his career in Europe where rumours persist that he's been offered big money to play in Russia. Haven't read/heard one rumor of JJ playing anywhere else in the NHL but the Rangers. Likely contract: 1 year+option(player) 7 mil+incentives. Possible destinations: Rangers, Russian KHL

  • Markus Naslund: Canucks. Age 34. 55 points in 82 games. Made 6 million. The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden natives production has been sliding the past few seasons. He's no longer the go to guy on Vancouver despite being paid big bucks. He has publicly hinted that he may return home to continue playing. That is the most likely scenario unless a team approaches him and offers him a good deal to stay in North America. Likely contract: 3 years 15 million. Possible destinations: Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Sweden.

  • Daymond Langkow: Calgary. Age 31. 65 points in 80 games. made 2.44 million. Langkow has been a consistent contributor to the Flames offense the past few seasons as well as playing a solid two-way game that Sutter loves. He rarely misses games and would be a solid # 1 or a 2 center on many teams. The Flames would like to keep him, but with already 43 mil tied up with 13 players it might come down to Daymond 'wanting' to return, by giving a bit of a home town discount. Likely contract: 4 years 15 million. Possible destinations: Calgary, Canucks,

  • Brian Rolston: Wild. Age 35. 59 points in 81 games. Made 2.43 million. Brian has been the leader of the Wild for the past three seasons. As such we hear the team is working hard to try to re-sign him. The Michigan native has scored 30+goals the past 3 years, and has earned every penny the Wild have paid him. Likely contract: 3 years 10 million. Possible destinations: Wild, Rangers, Atlanta

  • Vaclav Prospal: Flyers. Age 33 71 points in 80 games. Made 1.9 million. With his rights exclusively re-acquired by the Lightning from the Flyers it appears likely that Vaclav will be reunited with the other Vinny(Lecavalier), where he has enjoyed his most productive seasons. Now that the hated Fonzie (Tortorella) has been dispatched look for Vaclav to stay in Florida. Likely Contract: 4 years 14 million. Possible destinations: Tampa Bay

  • Brendan Morrison: Canucks. Age 32. 25 points in 39 games. Made 3.2 million. With the Canucks addition of Wellwood, it probably means the team will not try to retain Brendan. Likely contract: 3 year 10 million Possible destinations: Columbus, Vancouver, Atlanta, Minnesota

  • Jason Williams: Blackhawks. Age 27. 36 points in 43 games. Made 1.6 million. Injuries plagued Jason hindering his output. He has scored 20 goals 2 years ago. Likely contract: 2 years 3.8 mil. Likely destination: Chicago, St. Louis,

  • Michael Ryder: Canadiens. Age 28. 31 points in 70 games. Made 2.95 million. Fell out of favour even before his play suffered sealing his fate. Surprising that he wasn't traded at the deadline. We can see a few teams taking a shot that Michael will regain his scoring touch which earned a Calder nomination in 2004. Likely contract: 2 years 6 million. Possible destinations: Pittsburgh, Bruins, Canucks, Dallas

  • Kristian Huselius: Age 29. Flames. 66 points in 81 games. Made 1.4 million. With a lot of other free agents to sign and having very limited cap space, Huselius could be the odd man out in Calgary. His output/cap dollar is among the best. He will assuredly garner considerable interest and a nice salary boost to go with it. Likely contract: 4 years 19 million. Possible destinations: Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Vancouver

  • Teemu Selanne: Ducks. 23 points in 26 games. Made 1.5 million. Will the Finnish flash retire or will he return once again. He didn't take long to get back into the thick of things once he returned to Anaheim. He probably would have scored 60+ points if he had played a full season. Something the offensively starved Ducks needed. It appears that Teemu once again will either retire or return to Anaheim. Hopefully for Burke ad the Ducks he doesn't take 6 months to decide this time around. Will Niedermayer back its more likely we'll see the Flash return as well. Likely contract: 3 million+incentives. Possible destinations: Anaheim/retirement

  • Cory Stillman: Senators. Age 34. 65 points in 79 games. Made 1.75 million. Wasn't spectacular after his trade from Carolina, but Cory rarely is. He merely puts up consistent numbers 65-75 points every year. For his salary he was worth the investment. He is a solid second line forward. If he's placed in a position where he's relied upon to be the go to guy he'd probably disappoint, but could help a team with established stars. Likely contract: 2 years 6 million. Possible destinations: Ottawa, Carolina, Calgary

  • Radim Vrbata: Coyotes. Age 27. 56 points in 76 games. Made 1.25 million. Had a career year in Phoenix. Will Vrbata stay and try to grow with the young and exciting Coyotes, or go for the big pay day and play somewhere else? Likely contract: 4 years 12 million. Possible destinations: Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, Vancouver, Anaheim

3) Next-defense.

  • Wade Redden: Senators. Age 31. 38 points in 80 games. Made 6.5 million. He admittedly had a bit of a down year for his standards, but that probably won't prevent teams from throwing big dollars his way this summer. Is probably the marquis UFA defensemen available(with Campbell) he plays well on both ends of the rink. Is he worth his salary? We say no, but we will see quite a few GM's with a different perspective. Likely contract: 5 years 40 million. Possible destinations: Toronto, San Jose, LA

  • Adam Foote: Avalanche. Age 36. 16 points in 75 games. Made 4.6 million. Made a successful return to Colorado following a trade back from Columbus. With four possible unrestricted free agent defensemen, the Avalanche are facing some serious decisions, even if they can get a couple of them re-signed. They would like to retain Adam who played well down the stretch, but they are unlikely to offer more than what he made this past season and at his age can't give a long deal. We hear Foote would like to stay so we don't anticipate movement, but if that changes there will be many possible suitors. Likely contract: 2 years 8 million. Possible destinations: Avalanche, LA, NJ

  • Brooks Oprik: Penguins. Age 27. 11 points in 78 games. Made 1.75 million. We read that he rejected the Pens (last?) offer so he'll likely be available July 1st. Brooks really shined in the playoffs this past year for Pitt, significantly enhancing his value. One scout tells us 'he probably doubled his next contract' with his tough as nails play. Its still possible he will be back with the Pens, but once he goes on the market its less likely he stays put. Likely contract: 5 years 20 million. Possible destinations: Pittsburgh, Rangers, Bluejackets, Washington, San Jose, LA

  • Mark Streit: Canadiens. Age 30. 62 points in 81 games. Made 600K. The Swiss blueliner was a revelation on the Habs blueline. Making folks quickly forget about the departed Sheldon Souray. Putting up very impressive numbers, but in the process making him a tough player for Montreal to re-sign. Likely contract: 5 years 20 million. Possible destinations: Florida, Chicago, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Colorado

  • Brian Campbell: Shark. 62 points in83 games. Made 1.75 million. Many see him as the best offensive defensemen available this UFA season. It appears that the Sharks were unable to get the former Sabre to sign before the free agency period begins. Likely contract 5 years 35 million Possible destinations:New Jersey, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Chicago, Montreal, Carolina

  • Brad Stuart: RedWings. Age 28. 23 points in 72 games. Made 3.5 million. The Wings probably can't afford Stuart if he wants a big raise, but at his previous $3.5 million he might stay put. He has certainly helped his case for staying with his impressive playoff. If he gives a bit of a home town discount he might appear more attractive to the Wings. Likely contract 3 years 10 million. Possible destinations: Detroit, LA, Ottawa, Florida

  • Robert Blake: Kings. Age 38. 31 points in 71 games. Made 6 million. We were never huge Blake fans, even when he was good. Now that he's well past his expiration date we feel that teams looking for the old Blake are better served to pass on him, especially at a high salary. That said, he'll probably get attention from a few teams in need of a veteran defensemen. Likely contract: 2 years 8 million+incentives. Possible destinations: LA, Colorado

  • Ron Hainsey: Blue Jackets. Age 27. 32 points in 78 games. Made 900K. The Bolton, CT native picked a good time to put it all together for Columbus. Putting up good offensive numbers but as important playing more reliably in his own end as well. Would make a good #3 or 4 defensemen. Likely contract: 3 year 9 million. Possible destinations: Islanders, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago

  • John-Michael Liles: Avalanche. Age 28. 32 points in 81 games. Made 1.4 million. Liles hasn't put up big offensive numbers, but is one of those guys you miss more when he's not in the lineup. He has great value for his solid puck movement and playing 'Top 4' minutes in every game. The Avalanche have many choices on who they can/want to resign. We hear the odds are against a return of J-M. Likely contract: 4 years 12 million. Possible destinations: New Jersey, Boston, NY Islanders, Buffalo, Columbus

4) Finally goalies- The depth is paper thin. teams looking to upgrade the most important position are probably better off doing it internally than via UFA-agency:

  • Cristobal Huet: Capitals. Age 32. 32 wins in 52 games. Made 2.75 million. Came out of no where a few years ago to become the Habs # 1 goalie. Has put up good regular season numbers, but has yet to perform up to that level in the post season. Bob Gainey made huge gamble trading him away at the deadline to DC. From there he helped lead the caps into their first post season in many years. The Caps are desperate to sign the St. Martin D'Heres, France native, as they broke ties with long time goalie Olie Kolzig, and their prospects are not yet ready. The window for getting a deal done are closing. If Cris isn't signed before July he's probably not going to stay in Washington. Likely contract: 4 years 22 million. Possible destination: Washington, Ottawa

  • Ray Emery: Senators. Age 25. 12 wins in 31 games. Made 2.75 million. Bought out by Ottawa where he went from the top goalie on a Cup run last year to a bitter/forgotten/distraction/back-up this past year forcing the Sens to buy him out at only 1/3 of the original contract worth. That said, if Ray controls his off-ice antics he is one of the better available goalies this summer. He will have more than a few options. We believe that once Huet decides if he wants to either stay in DC or move to Ottawa (more likely) Emery will likely go to DC or to a western team. Likely contract: 3 years/12 million. Possible destinations: Washington, LA, Edmonton

  • Jose Theodore: Avalanche. Age 31. 28 wins in 53 games. Made 6 million. The former Hart trophy winner is in the top 3 of the rather thin UFA goalie class. Although contract negotiations are stalled, Colorado wants to re-sign him. Jose will ironically make less than before he becomes a UFA as his bloated deal signed in Montreal 5 years ago finally expires(Never sign a goalie to a long term deal!) Likely contract: 3 years 12 million. Possible destination: Colorado, LA, Washington, Ottawa

  • Olaf Kolzig: Capitals. Age 38. 25 wins in 54 games. Made 5.45 million. Its not clear if Olie intends to play, although it sounded like he wanted to compete and perhaps show the Caps that they made a bad choice last year when they discarded him for Huet down the stretch. He had a poor start, but came on (with the rest of the team) in the New year. Its a good year to be a UFA goalie, else we'd say Olie would have trouble finding work. Likely contract: 1 year 1 million+incentives. Possible destinations: Tampa Bay, Washington, Ottawa, LA, Vancouver, Dallas

  • Andrew Raycroft: Maple Leafs. Age 28. 2 wins in 19 games. Made 2 million. The former Calder (rookie of the year) winner-2004, has fallen fast. Heralded 2 years ago as Toronto's #1 goalie, he played sparingly once Taskala took over the #1 mantle and left the team with a decision to buy him out or send him to the AHL (as of today that's uncertain. If he's an UFA we doubt he'll get any huge offers, but as with most UFA goalies with NHL experience, the options are limited for teams so he might at least get a 2-way deal offered. Likely contract: 1 year 6-700K. Possible destinations: LA, Colorado,Vancouver, Boston, Islanders

  • Marc Denis: Lightning: Age 30. 1 win in 10 games. Made too much money for what he produced(almost his whole career he's been overrated in the fauxrumors opinion) This forced the Lightning to buy out the Montreal native. He probably won't get more than a camp invite, a 2-way deal or at most a league minimum offer , or more likely Europe. Likely contract: 1 year 500K(2-way). Possible destinations: Europe, (a desperate NHL team)

  • Ty Conklin: Penguins. 18 wins in 33 games. Made 500K. As we called him back in january Ty was our cinderella-man for his miraculous rags to riches story. The forgotten 3rd goalie in Pitt, carried the team when M-A Fleury went down with an ankle injury in December. He lost the #1 when Fleury returned, but he salvaged his career and will likely find work at least as some teams' back up next season. Likely contract: 2 years 2 million. Possible destinations: Toronto, Calgary, Detroit, Islanders, Buffalo

  • David Aebischer Age 30. No record in 2007-08. Even in a very thin class we wouldn't sign David to be anything more than a backup. Likely contract: 1 year 600K. Possible destinations: Dallas, LA, Islanders

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bridges Burned?

1) For those who haven't been following the Maple Leafs-vs- Mats Sundin saga, (where the hell have ya been.) It sounds almost like divorce proceedings than a long time player about to move on to a new team. There are hurt feelings and accusations of betrayal, and possibly a new suitor(a long time rival) for Mats. Of course anything that takes place in Toronto and is hockey related is bound to get more than a little over blown.

2) To review, Mats Sundin is the all time Toronto point getter. The 37 year old Bromma, Sweden native has played in TO since a 1993-1994 offseason deal that brought him from Quebec. For the mathematically challenged that's 13 seasons (one lost due to the last Bettman lockout) The former 1st pick overall in 1989 has accumulated 555 goals and 1321 points, a large majority with the Leafs. He has been the team's captain for quite a number of seasons and has chosen to stay when he had the option to leave on many occasions.

3) Despite all that loyalty/accomplishment, the team and its fans were still upset when Mats decided he would exercise his contractual right to stay in Toronto. He apparently didn't want to uproot himself down the stretch by agreeing to waive his no trade clause. At the time the Leafs still had a shot at the post season themselves, though it wasn't likely. They did make a brief run at it in late March. but fell well short. New GM Cliff Fletcher cajoled the big Swede up until the deadline, hoping to convince him it was in every one's best interest. Fletcher had many potential suitors and the leafs would have been given a small king's ransom for the rental of Sundin. He saw it as the first step towards rebuilding the team. Alas, Mats didn't budge and the ill feelings began to fester. Articles were leaked out by the Leaf management(Fletcher) and it became apparent that it was unlikely that Mats would return to the Leafs next fall.

4) Recently we have heard conflicting stories that his 'rights' were traded/given to Montreal or the Rangers in hopes that one of those teams would be able to sign Sundin before he was available to everyone come July. It appears that won't happen, but it would have been the final needle in the eye to Maple Leaf supporters if Mats had signed with the hated rival Habs. (Imagine Derek Jeter signing with the RedSox?) Its a sad ending to what should have been a glorious exit to a fine tenure with the Leafs. (Perhaps if they had won a Cup things would be a bit different?) In any case, as with any divorce there will be bitterness and sharply worded statements in the upcoming weeks. We are fairly certain that once tempers calm, in time, Mats' #13 sweater will be hanging a top the AC rafters. He's earned that respect regardless of how his career proceeds from here!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Malkin: Returning to Russia Or Turning Screws on Pens?

1) From what we have read/heard from various sources around the league (and we have previously reported) the stories that Malkin would settle for a contract extension with the Pens for LESS than what Crosby signed last spring are erroneous to say the least. Its not to say that Evgeny wants out of Steel Town (as he actually expressed prior to his arrival 2 summers ago ), but he does NOT feel he should be paid less than market value.

2) So what exactly IS market value for a Hart Finalist who is about to start the final of his 3 year entry level deal? Well, "think about what his country-men Alex Ovechkin got (9.5 mil) and go from there" is how one agent told us over this past weekend. He isn't Malkin's agent, but knows his agent/the facts well. He tells FAUXRUMORS exclusively (but of course anonymously) that Malkin will use whatever leverage he has to extract as many dollars from Pittsburgh. Not because he's necessarily a greedy bastard, but because he feels he's earned/deserves it!

3) If that means using offers from the 'new' Russian Continental league (where its rumored he was offered a 12 mil (USD) tax free, which is in excess of 15 mil) then so be it. We have been led to believe that Geno likes the states much more than he thought he would, so he'd prefer to stay here, but if things don't begin to coalesce and a new extension bear fruit that pays the star center in excess of 10 mil, look for the 'rumours' that he may return to 'mother Russia' to intensify. Without an enforceable transfer agreement it is actually possible for Malkin to leave as soon as next season if he desired, but we're told that is highly unlikely. Malkin intends to live up to his deal, and hopes that having yet another stellar season will further enhance his value.

4) To review, a player under the current CBA can NOT receive a salary that exceeds 20% of the salary cap maximum. In the first year of this CBA with a salary cap max of 39 mil, that individual max was 7.8 mil. With the expected rise to 56 mil for the next season that individual max will balloon to 11.2. If, as many project,the cap rises further to 60 mil for the 2009-2010 season(the first under an extension for Malkin) the individual max could be 12 million! Can/would the Penguins(or any team) afford to pay one player that amount? If Malkin has yet another Hart-worthy season the answer could be affirmative for a rival team, but with Pitt having other players top consider(Crosby) down the road they may have little choice but to trade his rights if that occurs. It will be interesting to see how things unfold the next few months. Ray Shero clearly has his work cut out for him. Yдача as they would say in Russia(Good luck!)
By the way, does anyone still believe the owners won the last CBA war?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trades Winds Blowing in Ottawa?

1) Its still 30+ hours until the 2008 NHL Entry Draft is set to get underway in Ottawa and it appears that the big intrigue surrounding the weekend is more on who will get dealt than the players about to be drafted. Sure we're told this is a 'deep draft (again, we ask, what in hell does that mean!?), but there is no Sid Crosby or Alex Ovechkin this year or a John Tavares, the anticipated top prospect in 2009 NHL draft. There are several big name players who we are told could be on the move by Saturday evening. This seems to be overshadowing the big name prospects whom this weekend is supposed to be all about

  • Ollie Jokinen- We have heard from a reliable source close to Florida(and its recently been made public) that Ollie wants out of Florida. This is a change from last season when these same rumors cropped up and we dismissed them as nonsense. This time there is validity to them. We're told Jokinen was fed up with the lack of improvement the organization has made. Specifically their choice to keep Martin as GM, and their choice of coach didn't enthuse the Finn star forward. Over the next day or two (or more if this deal takes longer to consummate) you'll undoubtedly hear every Canadian team rumored to be his destination. We have been told that the front runner for Ollie right now is Nashville. We're told they have offered their first round pick this season as well as RFA Shea Weber who we're told the Preds have been in contract talks. Apparently they are not going well and are willing to trade his rights. The Panthers may add another asset to the deal as well.

  • Patrick Marleau- Another seemingly perennial trade rumor mention. However this time around it appears his availability is not total nonsense. We're told GM Doug Wilson is down on his captain and feels the need to shake up his talented, but perennially underachieving roster. Our favourite west coast asst. GM source has told us that 'it wouldn't shock him to see a Spezza-Marleau swap this weekend'. A much less complicated deal is also possible, but for sure Wislon is listening to offers for he and also Cheechoo.

  • The entire Maple Leaf roster (well almost)- No surprise here. The TO media will hype this of course, but there is some truth to many of the rumors out there. The never ending Mccabe to NY Isles rumor won't die. Why? It makes too much sense. However, don't look for the Isles to make it easy on Fletcher to reacquire their former captain. Darcy Tucker is headed out west or will be bought out. LA has their eyes on the agitator, but they may wait until after the weekend to deal unless they feel other teams may try to nose in on Darcy. Jason Blake (The Mastedon trophy winner) is staying put. As a scout told us: 'Just too much dam salary and cancer'

  • Jason Spezza- who signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension during the season, scored 34 goals and added 58 assists for 92 points in 76 games with the Senators in 2007-08. As we previously mentioned the fomer 1st rounder is on the block. As we have been told in the past 'he has the skills, but doesn't like to get his uniform dirty'. Murray will want a big return for the offensively gifted centre, so there won't be a huge number of potential suitors who would be able to afford the Sens price. The Sharks (as mentioned earlier) and Florida are the top potential destinations. Would the Panthers offer RFA Bowmeester?

  • Jay Bouwmeester- (See above) We find it difficult to imagine the Panthers would trade both Jokkinene and Bowmeester. If we were a fan of Florida we'd find another team. However, if contract negotiations don't look promising, and or they can acquire the aforementioned Weber, then Jay might become more expendable. If we were a GM we'd give Martin whatever he asks if he comes available. Again the Senator-Florida connection can't be overlooked as the Sens will lose Redden to UFA and Meszeros is a RFA to be signed as well.

  • Martin Havlat- the still relatively young(27) Czech forward is coming to the last year of a 6 mil deal in Chicago. Like he has most of his career, 'Marty' shows great skill, but doesn't stay healthy to put together a true great season. The Blackhawks will use his availability to try to move up in the draft/get another 1st round pick. Several teams in the east have expressed interest; including the Rangers and Devils.

  • Ray Emery- As mentioned here Tuesday, the Sens are trying desperately to trade their former starter, now annoyance. Else they will buy him out right after the draft. There are few takers right now, but Murray is hoping to dump him for a 2nd rounder if he can. The Kings have shown interest, but are asking to talk first with the goalie. Thus far Emery, who is traveling in Europe and not answering calls, has been unavailable.

  • Jonathan Cheechoo- (See Marleau.) We can't see the Sharks dealing both of them, but we have been told that its not an impossibility that the Sharks may want to shake up their roster significantly along with their new coach to try to have better post season success to go along with their perennially strong regular seasons

  • R.J. Umberger.- As mentioned Tuesday, the Flyers need to make some big decisions., Apparently they already decided that Vinny Prospel would be too expensive to keep so they traded his rights to TB today. They Flyers are not done dealing we're told. That RJ is the most likely to be dealt either this weekend, or sometime this summer. Holmgren will likely be among the most busy of the 30 GM's this weekend

  • Andrej Meszaros- (See Spezza) The RFA Slovak defender will be part of any rumor coming from Ottawa, the place for this year's draft. Lack of contract talk movement may initiate Murray to listen to offers. Though we wouldn't expect to see him traded, anything is possible. He could be part of any large deal with Spezza, or used as a chip to move up in the draft to make a big splash with the home town folks

2) Certainly it appears that the next 24-48 hours will be quite interesting. This is the reason we started this blog; We love the intrigue surrounding this time of year. This list is certainly not a complete listing of all the potential players on the block, just the bigger names who've we've been hearing about the past few days. Not all will be changing addresses and some deals may get completed later this summer, but for sure tomorrow and Saturdays proceedings will be likely overshadowed by the trades made/rumored! There will certainly be a plethora of lesser deals for draft picks, etc. No matter, Let the fun begin!

POST SCRIPT: It is unfortunate that we are forced to mention this, but apparently our blogger antagonist, (we refuse to mention his name!) who hijacked this blog March of last year and is still using the old FAUXRUMORS blog for his own sick enjoyment, is purporting that we somehow were responsible for making 'threatening e-mails/comments' on his blog forcing him to cease operating. Of course our many loyal readers, who have been with us for any length of time, know this is utter nonsense. We don't ever visit his blog since his theft of our blog last year. We wouldn't be surprised if he got into hot water for imitating/stealing other blogs like he did to us. We thank reader DMG of the Caps Blueline for aiding this endeavour. They were one of several bloggers who flagged his IP address as being an impostor/impersonator, and reported it to the authorities. Hopefully his assertions that he is ceasing his blogging activities are true. However, we have learned over the past 2 years to not underestimate this jerk. Now, lets get back to hockey!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Latest pre draft rumours

1) Firstly we want to say great job to FR2 on their outstanding run down of the possible RFA's who could be on the move this summer. It was comprehensive and informative. We're sure from the feedback that we received from our readers that they agreed.

2) As a very astute fellow hockey blogger pit it recently; The Awards ceremony was the unofficial end of the 2007-08 season, and the draft is the unofficial start of the 2008-09 NHL campaign. In reality its true.

  • While players are by the letter of the law still under contract until 7/1/08, RFA can actually be in negotiations with prospective offer sheet minded GM's a week prior.

  • Teams can buy out players with existing contracts for either 2/3 or 1/3(depending on the age of the player when the deal was signed) of the remaining value of the contract.

  • Its a mere few days before the entry draft in Ottawa when many are expecting a few trades

3) With all of this in mind this is some of the topics we are hearing about here at Fauxrumors:

  • Yashin back to the Island? When we first heard about this we nearly fell on the floor. If this were early April(fools) we could understand it. So we called around. Almost everyone said the same thing. Its probably Yashin's agent (Gandler) throwing up a trial balloon. Its doubtful he had any meaningful talks with Snow, but he threw out his name in hopes other GM's would recall his client and hope he can get a good offer. Yashin desperately wants out of the hell hole in Russia, but wants to save face with an offer that would at least equal what he would have made had the Isles retained his services. He will get attention, but he might find it difficult to get more than 2-3 mil from any team. The Isles were told are NOT interested. Perhaps they have heard of the saying: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

  • Vinny to Montreal? Another rumor worthy of a good LOL! Does any one learn? Big name Francophone athletes do NOT want to play in Montreal if they have a choice. As one agent told us 2 years ago when the JP Dumont rumours were swirling ' Its a zoo in Quebec, the French players get no break year round playing there'. The rumor being promulgated basically stated that Vinny could make more with endorsements than salary if he played there. Perhaps, but they neglected to say that taxes are so high in Quebec that he'd see about 10% of that income! LOL

  • Flyers to deal? Now this rumour has teeth. The Flyers have sent out feelers to the 29 other teams to see what interest they might have in players on their roster. The player they'd most like to unload is Joffrey Lupul who is due 2.9 mil next season. the Flyers as a whole have 48 mil tied to 14 players next year. Even an increase in the cap to 56 mil will leave them vulnerable to a RFA offer sheet for either RJ Umberger and or Jeff Carter. We're told its unlikely the Flyers will trade Carter, and most likely would match any offer made for him. Lupul will be a draft day deal we are told, and the Flyers probably won't get a huge return. However, even with Lupul gone they Flyers would still need to do more. Not to mention that they may need to shell out a few bucks to retain Vaclav Prospel. All this means that Paul Holmgren will be a busy man the next 2 weeks for sure!

  • Malkin to be traded? We were probably the only blog that mentioned this as a possibility. Of course we were way out in front of that curve 2 years ago before Geno even played his first NHL game. Its not an easy answer. A player of his skill level is almost never compensated for properly in a trade. Ray Shero has to look toward next summer and see if the team will have the cap space to accommodate Malkin/Crosby/Staal/Fleury and still be able to have a competitive cast around those stars? With the cap probably close to 60 mil be NEXT summer, the Pens could afford Malkin IF he doesn't want an Ovechkin-like deal. If his agent asks for the cap max (next season that would mean upwards of 11/year) it could be a deal breaker. How can you pay him 11 and Crosby 8? Don't believe the reports that said he'd settle for less than Crosby! Meanwhile Hossa will want 8 million himself to saty in Steel town. (To say nothing of Staal who will be a RFA next summer too!)Fleury being taken to arbitration means he will be on the team come October, but it remains to be seen if its a one year deal, or a long term contract. One is for certain, it will be a very busy month or so for Shero!

  • Maple Leafs to trim Payroll? Worst kept secret in a long time. If Fletcher had his druthers (what exactly is a druther?) he'd unload a whole host of vets, but its too expensive cap-wise/not allowed to buy out too many players all at once. Also most have no trade clauses. Most of those players invoked those clauses last spring, tying the hands of Fletcher. Which leads us to now. Will those same players relent for a trade now that they could move their families in an orderly manner? Probably. We're told the McCabe to the Islander rumours do have validity, but the Leafs shouldn't expect much in return. Some of our Islander fan readers believe the leafs should give THEM something to re-take on their former captain who has 3 years left on a deal that costs 5.75 to the cap. Darcy Tucker may also relent and accept a trade if the rumours we are hearing that LA has interest in the super pest. Could be another draft weekend deal. Meanwhile Fletcher is still pissed at Sundin for not accepting a trade this spring. This could hinder the possibility of the Swede staying in TO. The circus will continue in Canada's media hub! LOL

  • Buy Outs? Lots of talk of who is going to get bought out. The biggest names are Boston's Glen Murray, and Ottawa's back up goalie, Ray Emery. What we are hearing is that both clubs are set to announce the buyouts, but are desperately trying to find a trade suitor first. In the case of Murray, good luck! The 35 year old is set to make 4.1 mil next season, and his production is no where near what it was prior to the stupid Joe Thornton trade 3 years ago. Emory could be another matter. There are virtually no quality goalies available i this year's crop of UFA's. Huet and Theodore hilite the top 2, but both are expected to stay with their current teams. That leaves Ray. He has 2 years at 3.1 mi. remaining. If a GM believes he can be a true #1 goalie, that price is reasonable. One would have to wonder who would want to take a chance after the shenanigans Emery pulled in Ottawa this past year. We wouldn't be shocked to see Emery dealt, but its a 70/30 chance against.

  • Who's gonna move up/Down this weekend? There is consensus that this is a deep draft (actually no one really knows what the hell that means) but its also come down that there is a significant drop off in talent after the first 4-5 picks. After STEVEN STAMKOS, DREW DOUGHTY, ZACH BOGOSIAN, ALEX PIETRANGELO, and NIKITA FILATOV, the rest are no longer considered 'can't miss'. (How many can't miss have never played?-plenty!) That said the lure of obtaining one of the top 5 slots will be significant. We're told there is almost a zero % chance that Tampa will trade the chance to pick Stamkos. After that all bets are off. We hear the Kings who are full of young up and coming kids would entertain offers for the 2 slot. However it will cost that team significant assets in the form of a current roster player and probably that teams #1. The Thrashers, Blues and Islanders would also accept a deal to trade down if the right offer is placed, but those teams are less likely to deal than the Kings. One asst GM from the left coast tells us 'this draft will see more deals than in recent years' as teams are all over the map on whom they covet, and we may see one or two block busters go down before all is said and done.

4) Of course we at FAUXRUMORS will stay on top of all the latest news/gossip/rumors as the draft nears. We will offer our unique analysis and discuss all deals/contract signings/buyouts, etc as they occur. This is the best non-hockey time of year! As always, keep it hear for all the latest!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Offers They Can't Refuse?

1) With free agency a mere 2 weeks away, we at FAUXRUMORS2 figured we go through who we believe would be potentially vulnerable/worth it to get an offer sheet this summer. To review, these are for 'restricted' free agents. That means that the players previous team still has the right to match any offer sheet that a team may give, but that franchise is locked into paying what was negotiated by the other team. If the original team declines to match, then compensation in the form of draft picks are awarded based upon the salary/size of the contract.

  • There would be no compensation for players getting an offer of less than $773,000

  • 773,442-$1,171,882, third-round pick

  • $1,171,882-$2,343,765, second-round pick

  • $2,343,765-$3,515,647, first- and third-round picks;

  • The compensation for a player offered $3.51 million to $4.68 million a year is a first-, second- and third-round pick.

  • For an offer of $4.68 million to $5.85 million, it's two first-round picks, a second and a third.

  • And a player earning more than $5.85 million would require four first-round picks as compensation.

2) Last summer we saw 2 significant offers placed. Both were by Kevin Lowe, who was described by our blog as desperate He almost guaranteed the Oiler fan base that the team would make a splash at the draft. When trades failed to materialize the natives got restless and it almost forced Lowe to make a 'bold' move. His offer to Buffalo's Thomas Vanek was matched by the sabres, who were none too happy with Lowe, but that was NOTHING compared to what would happen next.

3) Having been thwarted in his first attempt to land a big name, Lowe then went after Anaheim's Dustin Penner. Penner had just won a Cup, and played a big role along with team mates Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry to form a power trio that helped propel them to their win. Lowe made Penner an offer he would have been stupid to refuse. A 5 year, 21 million deal. For someone who made the league minimum it was a nice salary raise. The feud that resulted with his 'buddy' Brian Burke still smolders on.

4) So who will be available/vulnerable this time around? This is our list, although admittedly we may have missed a player or two, we feel it represents the players MOST likely to get interest from teams that were in Edmonton's position last summer; In need of a big name, AND has salary cap room. Keep in mind teams still have another 2 weeks to get these guys signed, so some may NOT be available to be snatched on July 1.

  • Jay Bouwmeester- As we have said in the past, Jay is the best defensemen no one knows about. The 24 year old would be a catch for any team. He's a big, puck-moving defenceman that plays well at both ends of the ice. Not many of those around. The Panthers/Jack Martin would be smart to give Jay a long term deal before other GM's try to nab him.

  • Marc-Andre Fleury- Before the playoffs we wouldn't have worried about teams trying to acquire M-A. However his performance, helping propel the Pens into the Finals, raised his value significantly. As we've talked about before from a salary cap perspective, the Penguins may have a tough time in securing Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal over the next couple of seasons. A lucrative offer for their No. 1 goalie could make Shero/Mario sweat some, but they would probably match almost any offer.

  • Pascal Leclaire- Leclaire has finally emerged as the bonafide star the Jackets expected him to be when they took him eighth overall in the 2001 draft. The 25-year-old went 24-17-6 with nine shutouts with a struggling Columbus team. He was snubbed for an All star selection. With plenty of cap space its doubtful the Jackets would allow a team to acquire Pascal.

  • Mike Green- The 22 year old came into his own this past season, putting up impressive numbers of 18 goals(to lead all defenders) and 56 points (7th in the league) He teamed up with league MVP Alex Ovechkin to form a nice 1-2 PP punch for the Caps. The team has cap space, but will they be willing to take a chance and give him a big contract/long term deal? Is what they saw last season was not an aberration, but only the beginning for the former 1st rounder?

  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard- Bouchard has steadily improved his play as well as his statistics each season since entering the NHL in 2002 and has established himself as an excellent playmaker. Bouchard will be the Wild's No. 1 center next season and Doug Riseborough should lock him up as he hits the prime of his career. Getting him under contract may come at the expense Demitra or Rolston, but it would be worth the risk if he builds on his solid numbers.

  • Andrej Meszaros- The 22 year old Slovakian came out of no where 2 years ago; teaming with country-men Chara as the teams # 1 unit. Struggled some after Chara's departure, but all in all has had a solid first 3 seasons in Canada's capital. He usually puts in 'Top 4 minutes' and even some in 'No. 1' minutes during this past season. He could be vulnerable as Murray would have a tough time juggling a payroll weighted heavily towards the "Big Three": Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza.

  • Joni Pitkanen- Pitkanen didn't exactly have a great year in 2007-08, missing 19 games with injuries and scoring a career-low 26 points in Edmonton. If another team is willing to give Pitkanen a big offer and bank on the chance that the 24-year-old will blossom, Lowe might just settle for the draft pick(s). We'd agree if Lowe doesn't match.

  • Andrei Kostitsyn- The 23 year old Belarussian had a breakout year in 2007-08, playing on Montreal's No. 1 line with Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec. He had 29 goals and 53 points playing in his first full NHL season, showing that he has the potential to be an elite scorer in this league for years to come. Kostitsyn has publicly stated that he's happy in Montreal and having younger brother Sergei around is a big incentive to stay put. Negotiations though won't be easy.

  • Valtteri Filppula- The 24 year old Finn had a decent season/strong playoffs with the Wings. He wasn't a huge scorer with 19 goals/36 points in the regular season, but in the playoffs he was one of their prime defensive forwards and put up decent numbers, 5 goals-11 points. Its tough to try to predict how he'll progress over the next few seasons. His overall game is impressive, but the stats make it tough to put a firm dollar amount on him. Its likely the Wings would match most offers

  • Jeff Carter- Despite recent rumours that Philly is about to resign the 23 year old, as of this writing he was still to become a RFA. The Flyer projected payroll next season is about $48 million. Assuming the cap rises to the estimated $56 million, another GM could try to push Carter's salary close to the Flyer's ceiling. Carter, has shown to be a great two-way center with a good scoring touch, having scored a career-high 24 goals and 53 points in only his third NHL season. Definitely worth the offer sheet if we were a GM

  • Shea Weber- The 22 year old Nashville blueliner is a 'poor man's Dion Phaneuf' with his huge 6-foot-3, 200-plus pounder a powerful shot, thundering hits and a dominating presence at both ends of the rink. Like Bowmester, if he played in a big market/in Canada every one would know who he was. We would anticipate that GM Poile won't allow this gem to get away. If he's still unsigned in July, we would try to land him, hoping that The Preds ownership issues might scare them off from a big money commitment to Shea. He'd be worth the lost draft picks for sure.

  • Kari Lehtonen- The 24 year old didn't have a great season, but who did in Atlanta this past year? His win total was down from 34 to 17, but his save % was marginally better. It could be a case of a decent goalie in back of a dreadful team. A team without a goalie may try to land the big Finn.

  • Cory Perry- Led Anaheim in goals and power play goals this past season despite missing 12 games. We wouldn't foresee the Ducks allowing the 23 year old to be snapped up. They have some cap cushion, so Burke might not have to worry about Kevin Lowe this summer. ; )

  • Paul Gaustad-Not a big scorer/name free agent, but the 6'5" forward might be worth the loss of a 2nd or 3rd round pick

  • Marek Svatos- Overlooked by many who are listing potential RFA's but the former 30 goal scorer is coming off a third injury plagued season in Denver. Still he managed 26 goals in 62 games. The Slovak made 1.2 mil this past season. Would a GM take a chance on the forward? At the right price (under the 2.3 mil mark) we would consider it.

  • Wojtek Wolski-At only 22 the big Polish forward had another decent season for the Avalanche. He's finishing his entry level deal at 860K. The Av's will probably resign the left wing for a reasonable 1.5 mil, but we wouldn't be shocked to see an offer sheet from a GM who like this kids size and skill. We wouldn't give up multiple first rounders, but he might be worth what the Oil lost for Penner.

  • Jaroslav Halak- The well regarded Montreal goalie prospect is penciled in to be the team's back up to Cary Price next season. The 23 year old Slovak tender has had success in the AHL(2007 all rookie team) and has looked decent in limited playing time with the big club. Would a GM in need of goaltending depth, who believes Jaro is a future starter, take a shot at signing him away? Halak made the league minimum last year. Gainey will try to get him signed for under 750K if he can for the next season. Of course Halak can always threaten to go to Russia.

  • R. J. Umberger- Really blossomed in the playoffs for the Flyers. He was one of the many young up and coming forwards for Philly. He had 10 goals in this past post season and it couldn't have come at a better time for RJ's wallet. The Pittsburgh native made 1.2 mil this past season. He should be able to double that. With the other RFA's and other salary commitments the Flyers have (see Carter) RJ may be trade bait next week

  • Ryane Clowe- The big power forward missed large chunks of this season with a knee injury, but once he appeared healthy was among the better Sharks in the playoffs.(9 points in 13 games) It doubtful a team will take a chance on him with his injury history, but GM's love playoff performers so his stock is worth far more than before the post season. His 06-07 salary of 600K will be on the rise

  • Kyle Wellwood- The smallish Leafs center has yet to develop into the consistent scorer that Leafs management believed he was capable of. Injuries have also played a role in limiting his scoring recently. He has shown in spurts that he can score in the league, but we wouldn't risk much more than a 2nd rounder on him.

  • Shaone Morrisonn- Overlooked due to the fact that his defense partner, Mike Green puts up the big offensive numbers. However, even Green would tell you that his success can partly be attributed to the steady work of Shaone behind him, allowing Green to take the chances that resulted in his scoring outburst. The 6'4" Vancouver native could use his big frame better, but he has shown that he is a top 4 reliable defensemen

Friday, June 13, 2008

Big Night For Euros!

1) Firstly we were happy to see that the conjecture some had about last night's awards turned out to be false. The NHL did NOT erroneously post the winners in advance as we had relayed earlier yesterday morning. We were happy to see this was incorrect for it kept the awards process from becoming tainted/a joke.

2) As for the results, we were quite satisfied with all the winners selected. Our April choices of who the winners-should-be (Before the finalists were announced) turned out to be correct in ALL but the Selke selection. With 2 awards each Datsuyk (Selke/Byng, and Ovechkin(Pearson/Hart) along with Lidstrom's 6th Norris, it gave the evening a decided European feel despite the show emanating from Canada. It was fitting as the Cup champs, Wings, were a largely European dominated squad.

3) The show itself was actually better than in recent years. Gone was any lame/2nd rate comics to show up and NOT entertain. No bad singing/dancing, etc. The Howe award for Life Time achievement was quite poignant, and moving to all who are long time fans of the game. Overall we have to say the NHL did a fine job. On to the draft! The rumours are starting to come in fast and furious. Stay tuned in the upcoming days as we discuss them and let all our readers know what we are hearing and believe will occur. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

NHL Pre-Announces Trophy Winners?

1) Only in the NHL could this happen. If true, it would be another prime example of the utter/incredibly inept manner in which this league is run. We first became aware of this fiasco by reading Jon "J.P." Press's article on this, this morning. If you believe that this is a coincidence then continue to read, IF you don't want to ruin the excitement/anticipation of tonight's ceremony then STOP reading now!

2) If one were to visit the linked NHL site. The trophies are shown. Next to them are the three nominees. Not in any particular order UNLESS you read between the lines of who are the favourites for each award, then it becomes plain why this order was used. Intentionally, or a screw up? It doesn't matter to us at FAUXRUMORS. The reason is unimportant. The fact that the NHL has apparently (again) allowed a supposedly secret vote result to become public shows how the league is run.

3) Here are the "apparent" winners.

  • Hart-Ovechkin

  • Vezina-Nabokov

  • Norris-Lidstrom

  • Calder-Kane

  • Lady Byng-Pominville

  • Selke-Zetterberg

  • Adams- Babcock

  • Masterton- Blake

  • Pearson-Ovechkin

4) Nothing Earth shattering about any of the 'selections'. They differ from some of the choices we made back in April (PRIOR) to the announced finalists, but we can't vehemently/strongly disagree with any of the selections. However, given the nature of this possible 'leak' it allows one to theorize that the NHL may not be on the level as to the voting. Perhaps the 'winners' were selected not elected? The three Red Wing winners are all deserving, but is it a tad coincidental that 3 are winners of big trophies the year they won the CUP? Certainly Lidstrom is a no-brainer, but the other 2 are not. Not saying it was done intentionally, BUT the NHL has allowed/tainted the process to the point where these kinds of questions are now valid/can be legitimately asked. Another great job by Mr. Bettman, et al! Anyone still going to watch?

Wednesday, June 11, 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 Russian 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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Be-Lated 500th!

1) Congratulations to our blog founder, FAUXRUMORS for gaining this amazing mile stone. Sorry we forgot to mention it when it occurred (about a month ago), but we've been away on Safari in Botswana for most of May. We know you wouldn't trumpet your own accomplishments so we figured we'd mention it today after the season and before the rumours begin to fly fast and furious. Here's hoping to be a part of the next 500 here!! Keep up the great work!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Is The Officiating Getting Worse?

1) It seemed almost every game/series in the past Stanley Cup playoffs was mired in some sort of controversy involving the officiating. Whether its a bad penalty called, one that is missed or a goal that is allowed/disallowed, we can't recall a period of time when there wasn't a game where the officials weren't 'The Story'! Thankfully (for Gary Bettman) this wasn't the case in Game 6 in Pittsburgh where for once the refs/linemen were not involved in the outcome.

2) We understand that officiating the game of hockey that is moving at break neck speed has to be a difficult task, however if these are the best athletes, certainly we should/could have the very best officials too, right? Is this a case of institutional incompetence or is it going according to Gary Bettman's plan, or both? We have even seen a significant number of blown/missed offsides calls. For instance, the game winning OT goal by Pittsburgh-v-Rangers appeared to be significantly offside, yet it was allowed.

3) Also, can someone please explain the rule of when a goal counts/doesn't count/when interference should be called with respect to players bumping/interfering with goalies? It seems each referee has a different take on the rule, and then they change the interpretation game to game or sometimes period to period. We have seen offensive players throw/push defensemen into a goalie and have a goal count, and have player stand NEAR the crease and have a goal waved off, and every other possible scenario take place these past playoffs and we are as befuddled by the actual rule as we were before. If we are, then the players/coaches must have no clue either on how they are allowed to play. We would most definitely could have foreseen another Brett Hull 1999 'goal' to decide the Finals. We'd have loved to see Bettman again embarrassed by such an occurrence once again!

4) Another factor that can't be overlooked is the uneven manner in which calls are made. We were told that there would be zero tolerance for restraining fouls, yet we have seen countless stick infractions missed by BOTH refs. Also, can we dispel with the myth that they call the games the same in the first period as the third/OT? The stats we have uncovered would seem to tell another story. In the playoffs the number of calls in the first half of games averaged to be about 40% MORE than the second half. (eliminating coincidental penalties) If one simply compares the first period to OT's thus far the difference is even more stark!

5) Again, we understand it's not an easy job, officiating an NHL game. Even on a good day it's probably one of the least desirable and most difficult jobs to do, and no one is saying that 100% of the calls are expected to be right 100% of the time. In a high pressure situation like the playoffs the microscope is even bigger, with instant replays and the 18,000 or so paying referees (fans) disputing every call, and there is a subjective nature to the system that can't be overlooked. That said, there should be the expectation that the referees and linesmen will make the right call most of the time. Clearly, thats not that much to expect. There will always be controversial calls in every playoff series; there are always those plays that should have been whistled down that weren't, the moments that become legend for one fanbase or another. Somehow, though, it seems like this year the bad calls, or blatantly missed calls are not only more prevalent but more pivotal in the final outcome of a game or even a series. That shouldn't happen. In order for hockey to maintain its integrity, this SHOULD NOT happen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Congrats To The Champs!

1) Congrats to the RedWings and their organization for obtaining their 11th Cup (4th in the past 11 years) last night. There is no doubt they were deserving of winning. Like they have for each of the 6 games, the Wings outplayed the Penguins. To the credit of the home town Pens, they never gave up, even after falling behind by 2 goals late, and nearly pulled even in the waning seconds as a Sid Crosby shot was stopped by Chris Osgood to secure the victory.

2) Not to beat a dead horse, but goaltending was overall a non factor in all but Game 5 when Fleury was the difference in the Pens victory. Last night he was ordinary, and could be held directly responsible for the 3rd Detroit goal. On the other side of the ice Osgood saw little rubber of quality most of the night, but did make a couple of nice stops, most notably the aforementioned last gasp Crosby attempt. Certainly he was not the reason they won.

3) Nice to see the first European captain finally carry the Cup. If someone were to listen to Lidstrom interviewed and didn't know he was a native Swede, they probably wouldn't be able to tell listening to him. He has little detectable accent, and sounds more like a western Canadian than a European. With his 4th Cup, and next week his 6th Norris his name will probably (and deservedly so) be placed among the all time greats of defensemen of all time with Orr, Potvin, Bourque, Coffey, etc. Additionally he performs this quality with class and without having to resort to Chris Pronger-like tactics

4) On a side note it was classy for Pens fans to stay and to applaud politely as the Wings circled the ice with their booty, but it always seems a bit anti-climatic when a visiting team wins the Cup. The raucous atmosphere of a home win can never be duplicated. Additionally were we the only ones who thought that Gary Bettman felt unusually uncomfortable out there? He was twitching even more than usual, and he seemed like he had a plane to catch when he quickly gave Lidstrom the Cup and almost sprinted off the ice.

5) All this quickly brings us the the off season. No meaningful NHL games until October, 4 months away. Between now and then we have some important dates.
  • First are the awards ceremonies next week.
  • Followed by the NHL draft when there are sure to be many a deal.
  • Following this the free agent season commences. This year will probably not be as interesting as last with so few quality players available, but some important players will be changing uniforms for sure.
  • Summer rookie player camps usually take place in mid July for those of us who need a quick hockey fix.
  • Training camps in mid September

6) As such we at FAUXRUMORS will probably not be posting quite as frequently over the summer. However, look for regular updates as the rumor mills begin to churn in earnest now that the season is over for all 30 teams. We have a post soon about officiating, and one we are working on about Power forwards. Look for them in the upcoming days/weeks. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Cup Is Ready!

1) Tonight is Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Play resumes tonight in Pittsburgh where the going/prevailing thoughts are that the Penguins now have wrestled the Big Mo (momentum) away from the not-so mighty Red Wings. That we should see the Pens once again fight off elimination and go on to a Game 7 (Nirvana for Gary Bettman)

2) To that idea, we at FAUXRUMORS say, "Not so fast!" At the risk of placing our feet back into our mouths like we may have done prior to the last game, we believe the Cup will be awarded to the Wings by the balding, twitching, smurf commish tonight.

3) Why? Even the most partisan Pens fan has to admit they are playing tonight/have life for one reason: M-A- Fleury, and a tad of Lady Luck. The Wings, despite the final outcome, were by and large the better of the two teams. They out-shot/out-chanced the Pens all evening. If not for the heroics of Fleury and a few missed shots by Wings' forwards we would be discussing the parade route this morning and not a Game 6.

4) With all due/deserved respect the Pens have earned from us at FAUXRUMORS, they have yet to be the better team in any of the 5 games played. From a Detroit perspective, we believe them to be too well coached, and have far too many vets who have been here before to have the last game carry over to any large extent. In fact, playing away from The Joe may help keep them from trying to do too much/get excited before the final buzzer like they may have been in Game 5. Therefore we believe that tonight will be the night, and the Cup will be awarded. Get that champagne ready fellas!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fonzie Finally Fired!

1) As expected the Tampa Bay Lightning announced Tuesday John(The Fonz) Tortorella will not return next season as the team's head coach. The decision comes after the Lightning finished last in the Southeast Division at 31-42-9, missing the postseason for the first time in five years. Tampa Bay recorded just 71 points, tied with Los Angeles for the lowest total in the NHL.

2) This had to be the worst kept secret ever. Even though we don't like Tortorella's abrasive style, we can't help but feel bad that the guy was basically fired through the media a month ago and its taken the new TB ownership this long to get around to making it official. Meanwhile Torts has been twisting in the wind with his apparent replacement (Melrose) already nearly on board to replace him.

3) Before we all have a pity party for Johnny, not to worry. He has a contract through next season, but we would be astonished if he weren't snatched up by one of the many teams with coaching vacancies this summer. He could possibly even not have to change his cars' license plates if the Panthers were to give him a call. We however don't feel that would be a good fit as Torts would do better with a more veteran team. We believe he could do well with Ottawa. They may need his style(at least in the short term). Maybe The Fonz can get Spezza to step up his game in the post season? Of course if Ray Emory remains their goalie it could make a JT coach all the more interesting next season in Canada's capital. Lets keep our fingers crossed this comes to pass! LOL

Staying Alive!!

1) Wow is all we can say. What an entertaining game this evening/this morning as we saw the Pittsburgh Penguins stave off elimination to extend the series to a Game 6(tomorrow night). So many story lines tonight:

  • The injuries to several Penguins most notably Sergei Gonchar. He was their best all around defender all playoffs and he was seemingly lost for good with an injury in the 3rd period. He did not play in the first 2 1/2 periods of OT but miraculously returned to help the Pens PP score the game winner

  • The amazing work of M-A Fluery. The oft maligned Penguin keeper stopped 55 of 58 shots thrown his way, including an incredible 24 in the OT sessions. Some in the spectacular category. Can anyone now say that Osgood is the better goalie after tonight's performance?

  • The Wings appeared to have the Cup won in regulation. The celebration in the stands anyway sounded like it had started prematurely as fans chanted ' We want the Cup', as time ticked away. However Max talbot had other plans for his team as he knocked in a rebound with a mere 35 secionds remaining to stifle the crowds jubilation.

2) We give the pens tremendous amounts of credit for gutting this one out. We at FAUXRUMORS did NOT give them a shot at winning tonight and they showed us something this evening/morning. They may not win the Cup, but Detroit should now lose that bit of a swagger, and the pens should be a confident bunch that they can indeed skate with the Wing. Detroit has human players afterall.

3) So what happens from here? We fully expect to see the pens come out storming in the Igloo tomorrow evening. The key will be can the Wings withstand the onslought and play their style of game? Can Osgood playbetetr than he did tonight. He wasn't the rereason for the loss, but he wasn't solid looking either. he will need to be if Detroit want to avoid a return to The Joe this weekend. Either way, it should prove to be an exciting contest. Can the penguins stay alive to play another day?.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Add Another Year to the Banner Tonight!

1) Few who read this blog should have been surprised with what transpired Saturday night in Pittsburgh. As we surmised, the Red Wings simply did not allow the Penguins to play their style of game like we saw in Game 3, and the result was a return to the style and the results from games 1 and 2.

2) Even a late 3rd period 5 on 3 was not enough to allow the Penguins to tie the game.(If the refs called it that close all game, there would have been 30+ restraining fouls) It was here that the ConnSmythe trophy was won by Henrik Zetterberg. He almost single handedly killed off that last gasp opportunity for Pittsburgh. Showing on one sequence his excellent 2-way abilities with a fine back check to stifle a Sid Crosby chance, then skating and ragging the puck/killing valuable PP time, then even getting a 5-3 short handed shot on goal. If/when Detroit wins tonight, Henrik will win the playoff MVP award as well!

3) So what do we expect to see tonight? Probably another repeat of games 1,2 and 4. We don't foresee and early blow out, however if the Penguins start to get frustrated and the Wings get an early lead, the Pens may start to take chances and the Wings could end the game/series before the 2nd period is even over with a 3+ goal lead. We would not expect a wide open contest. In the end we will see the first European born captain Nicklas Lidstrom handed the Cup from Gary Bettman. The RedWings have been the best team from the beginning of the season. That season officially ends tonight!
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