Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Will Get The Axe First- 2008-09?

1) We got a very nice response from a similar post we did last fall, so we figured we'd revisit this issue and handicap who we can see will be out of work before the 08-09 season is completed. A full 1/3 (10 of 30) of all NHL coaches lost their jobs from the beginning of last season until now. With the season about to start the inevitable discussions will commence as to what coaches are on the proverbial 'hot seat'. With that in mind we figured we'd go through the 30 current coaches and discuss who is pretty secure (as NHL coaches go), who is teetering on the brink, and the rest in between.

2) We'll simply go alphabetically from East then West: To simplify/quantify this we will use a scale 0-10. 1-being very safe, and 10-being half way out the door. At this stage there are no 10's (yet).


John Anderson (Atlanta Thrashers)- (4) After coaching in the minors for 13 seasons and winning five championships Anderson finally landed a coveted NHL job (is Atlanta coveted?) Most recently he led the Thrashers’ top affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to the American Hockey League title. So he has an impressive minor league resume. Is Waddell thinking he may be the next Bruce Boudreau? Problem is the Thrashers don't have the same amount of talent the Caps did last year. Still, expectations are very low this season, so unless the team fails to attain double digits in wins through the new year, Anderson will probably finish out the year. One of our least favourite GM's Don Waddell is the one who SHOULD be on the hot seat, so it wouldn't surprise us if he tries to find another coach if he sees the season slipping away early on.

Claude Julien (Boston Bruins)- (3) Got screwed by Lou Lamarello in Jersey two years ago. Showed why he is a good coach by getting an undermanned/injury laden Bruins team into the post season. Unfortunately for them they lost in the first round to the Habs, but they never beat Montreal in the playoffs. ; ) The B's appear to have marginally improved, and if they stay healthy should return to the post season, thus we see Claude's job as being fairly safe, but when your owner is Jeremy Jacobs, nothing is set in stone!

Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres)-(3) The Adams-runner up 2 years ago (He won the award 3 years ago) in our opinion showed that he was over rated when he lost some talent and he couldn't coach his team back into playoff contention. (Yes, we don't like him) He may be one of the longer tenured coaches in the NHL, but if the Sabres get off to a poor start Regier may have to make a tough decision. That said, we don't believe that Darcy will have an itchy trigger finger. That Lindy has enough good will to stay on for the entire season barring a complete collapse

Peter Laviolette (Carolina Hurricanes)(7) Peter is probably on the thinnest ice of any Eastern Conference coach (other than a Lamarello managed team) after successive near playoff misses. It was widely rumored that he was close to being replaced by Rutherford this past summer(Perhaps Rutherford's own flirtation with the Maple leafs open GM position helped this?) Certainly its a sure bet that Laviolette will be a goner with another playoff-less season in Raleigh. If they have a very poor start, he might be on the unemployment line a lot sooner. His leash is very short!

Peter DeBoer (Florida Panthers)(2) Time may be running out on the former Senator/Florida coach, now Panthers GM, Jacques Martin but the same is probably not true of new coach Peter DeBoer, a highly touted junior coach from the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers, who was also was courted by Martin's former team, Ottawa. The team hasn’t won a National Hockey League playoff series since 1996 and a playoff game since 1997. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2000 so its apparent why the natives are (should be) restless for an improvement. The team as mentioned earlier stays in no man's land. Unable to get a lottery pick OR playoff spot. Peter should be safe in his first season, but when you have a desperate GM who is a former coach your job is NEVER truly safe!

Guy Carbonneau (Montreal Canadians) (5) The folks in Montreal, much like Toronto are not the most patient. Amazingly its been a long drought, 18 years (for Montreal standards). The team over achieved with their regular season crown last year, only to lose in the 2nd round to the Flyers. As much if not more is expected this season. The team should do well, but if they falter Carbonneau will get the axe in a heart beat, despite the fact that Guy is generally well liked.

Brent Sutter (NJ Devils)(4)- Normally a newer coach who made the post season in his first year would be an automatic 1-3, but with Lou, no one is safe, even if they seem to be doing well. As is the key(perennially) with the Devils, the key will be Marty. If he starts to show his age(36+) the team will falter and from past experience Lou doesn't wait for a turn around before firing a coach. We give Brent credit for working through some early season issues last year, and looked like he might become a solid coach in this league. If not with the Devils, certainly with another NHL squad

Scott Gordon (NY Islanders)- (2) After the raw deal last season for Ted Nolan, the Isles looked toward an old reliable location for coaches, the Bruins organization (Laviolette, Milbury, Goring, Bowness). No one can argue that Nolan got more than most anyone expected from last years team, so there might be unrealistic expectations from some that the team can compete at that level again this season. There is no denying that injuries played a role in their demise, but there are also some key holes/lack of offensive depth that will make success difficult. That said, with the understanding that this is a rebuilding season in NY, and this season is all about seeing how far these kids will take the team and how well they progress, we doubt Gordon's job will be in jeopardy at any point this season

Tom Renney (NY Rangers)-(3) Last year we had Tom as a 4, but he has done a very good/solid job in our opinion to deserve some job security. Expectations are usually high though, and a significant fall could make him vulnerable like he was 2 years ago. There appears to be significant turn over, and a definite move toward youth which makes this solidly Renney/Sather's team. We like their youngsters and feel they will continue the moderate success the team has enjoyed the past couple of years. Therefore unless there is a collapse with locker room discontent, Renney job should be safe this season

Craig Hartsburg (Ottawa Senators)(3) Hartsburg also has coached in Anaheim and Chicago, and was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2002 to 2004. The 48-year-old Hartsburg has been coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the past five seasons. A team that has a former coach as its GM(Murray) is not a place for a coach to feel safe. Expectations in Ottawa are not nearly as high as they were last season after placing runner up to the Ducks in 07, so unless the team goes down the crapper Craig will probably last the year in the nation's capital.

John Stevens (Philadelphia Flyers)(2) Stevens did an excellent job with a rejuvenated(old time Broad street bullies) Flyers last season. No coincidence that the teams change in personality came with their success. We give Stevens and Holmgren full credit for this transformation. Can they continue/improve further? We feel even a small step back wouldn't be a death knell for Stevens tenure in Philly. He isn't fire proof like Wayne Gretzky, but the job he did last season probably bought him a full season this year

Michel Therrien (Pittsburgh Penguins) (2) We haven't been big fans of Therrian, and believe the team succeeded despite him, but we can't ignore the success the team has enjoyed under his tutelage the past 2 years. Now that expectations are high in Steel-town, if they falter significantly he may be replaced, especially if he loses the respect of his resident superstar, Sidney Crosby. Although we have to say those chances are less than a season ago, so its not likely.

Barry Melrose (TB Lightning) (5) The Mullet is back! What a difference from the fiery John Tortorella. Barry, on the surface anyway has a more cartoonish persona. Its an unknown if being away for so long from the day to day duties of coaching will show. Having a lot of vets in the dressing room will either help or be his down fall. They also (as of the writing) have a lot of ??'s back on defense and with their goaltending. The new owners have shown they aren't bashful about changing course if things need to be changed, so the Melrose reign could be a short one IF things don't go well in the Fla Bay area

Ron Wilson (Toronto Maple Leafs) (3)- Wilson is probably one of the better coaches to have never won anything. His teams are usually competitive, but end up underachieving. This was the case in his last stop, SJ. In Toronto this season there will be few who expect the team to be a contender, so anything more than a bottom/lottery finish will probably mean Ron will be back in 09-10. Of course the uncertain Maple Leaf GM situation could cloud that issue if/when that's resolved next summer.

Bruce Boudreau (Washington Capitals)- (1) Probably the safest coach in the East. By winning the Adams as coach of the year and the SE division, along with being a very likable fellow Bruce has probably cemented his place in DC for at least this season. Even a sub par season would probably not lead to an early dismissal. Not that we foresee a tumble if they stay generally healthy the Caps should be in contention this season, and Boudreau should still be coach this April.


Randy Carlyle (Anaheim Duck)(2) This time last year we said he probably has the safest job in the league. As the reigning cup champ's coach. However last year was a disappointment, but few faulted the job Carlyle did. If the team performs up to expectations(top 5 finish) we doubt Randy's job is in jeopardy this time around either in Disneyland. Probably even a turn for the worse would not cause Burke to replace the well regarded former Norris trophy winner.

Mike Keenan (Calgary Flame)(4) As we mentioned last year, 'Iron Mike' usually in the short term, gets the most from his players, but his tactics wear thin, especially with a veteran club. Mike especially has been known to screw/play mind games with his goalies. Things went better than we expected in that regard last season, but if they falter, even mildly we could see Sutter return/replace Mike behind the team's bench. (Especially if the Flames decline as the Oil rises)

Denis Savard (Chicago Blackhawk)(3) What a difference a year makes! A year ago there were ZERO expectations in the windy city and Wiliam Wirtz was running the team into the ground. Sure they had some kids with potential, but Wirtz would probably screw it up some how and Savard would just be the latest stooge to take the fall. Now they are regarded as a likely playoff contending team, and many are going even further. With expectations comes a chance at failure, so Savard despite being well liked isn't totally safe until they actually have some success (playoff spot). Overall we'd say Denis's job is pretty secure

Tony Granato (Colorado Avalanche) (2) Entering his 2nd stint behind the Avalanche bench. Many including us at FAUXRUMORS were shocked when we heard this selection. Granato led the team after taking over from Bob Hartley in 2002, until his demotion in to 2004, going 72-33-17-11 before he was replaced by Joe Quenneville in July 2004. His .647 winning percentage in his first stint as coach is the best in franchise history. So the obvious question(s) would be: Why did they fire him and more importantly what changed since his firing? Certainly the team he inherits is weaker than the team he took over in 2002. Therefore expectations are lower so his job is probably safe in this his first year back

KEN HITCHCOCK (Columbus Blue Jackets) (4) No one expected much from the Jackets last season so Ken's job was safe. They also had a new GM, so time was on their side. However now going into their 8th season in Ohio's biggest city, and have yet to even sniff a playoff spot. As it is we don't see one this year. Scott Howson made some significant roster changes thi summer to shake things up a bit. To keep his job Hichkock at a minimum will have to have his team continue to show improvement. A bottom overall finish could be his end

Dave Tippett (Dallas Star) (3) Amazingly this will be Tippets 7th season behind the Stars bench. The Stars have done exceptionally well under Tippett's tenure during the regular season, and not so well in the playoffs until last spring when the team excelled, and many saw them as the 2nd best team.(losing to the 1st) Last year we saw Tippet on the brink, but the team decided to fire their GM Doug Armstrong. He was replaced by asst. GM Les Jackson and former Stars player Brett Hull. It seems to have been the right move as the team now appears to be headed in the right direction, and Tippet is probably safe though this season

Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (1) For obvious reasons the coach who's job is most secure in the NHL. Being the reigning Cup champ coach almost always ensures job security for the following season (Unless you coach in NJ). With another stud team to take into the 08-09 season Mike has very little to worry about this season, and probably next.

Craig MacTavish (Edmonton Oiler) (2) Amazingly now approaching his 8th season as the Oilers coach. A year ago after his GM's poor job it appeared that Craig was also on the hot seat and could soon be looking for work. However a strong 2nd half despite injuries to key personnel saved his job and gave hope for this season. Unless the team takes a step back (we don't think they will), Craig's job should be pretty safe in northern Alberta for another season.

Terry Murray (Los Angeles King) (6) Yes the same Murray who guided Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals 11 years ago and has coached 737 regular-season NHL games is the new Kings coach taking over for the fired Marc Crawford. He hadn't been a head coach in the NHL since being fired by the Florida Panthers following the 2000-01. Another retread destined for failure? The Kings in recent years since they haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2002, and despite a better roster than in previous seasons, we don't see that changing quite yet. Unless he over achieves we believe that Murray's stay in LA will not be a long fruitful one

Jacques Lemaire (Minnesota Wild) (2) The "Gum Chewer" as we at FAUXRUMORS affectionately call him has brought his defense-first style to the Wild and given the young franchise a modicum of success in their short time. It has caused some consternation among his forwards, but as long as they stay on board, and the team is a playoff contender, Jacques's job will continue to be safe.

Barry Trotz (Nashville Predator) (3) The only coach the franchise has ever had. We were not fans of his until last year when he took a team that few, including us at FAUXRUMORS believed could succeed, but somehow he got them to overachieve, the sign of a good coach. With lowered expectations and ownership STILL in flux he'll probably survive at least another season in The Music City, even if they fail to attain a top 8 finish.

Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyote) (2)This figures to be turn around season in the desert for TGO. As part owner its not known if he even could be fired. It certainly wouldn't be good for PR to fire the greatest player in league history. However, as opposed to last season at this time we don't believe that will be a possibility. We like what GM Don Maloney has done with this franchise and think they should challenge for a playoff spot, guaranteeing we won't be talking about a new coach in Phoenix this season.

Andy Murray (St. Louis Blue)(6) Seemed to turn things around when he took over mid way a season and a half ago. However we didn't see a big improvement last season, and as the natives(fans) get restless to have to endure yet another playoff-less season, Andy may find himself as the scape goat this season if the team as we project doesn't perform well.

Todd McClellan (San Jose Shark) (4)McLellan had spent the past three seasons as an assistant in Detroit, where he was considered a bright offensive coach who led the Red Wings' power-play units. Now normamly a new coach gets the benefit of the doubt for one full season, but with Todd coming into a situation where the team has underachieved in the post season the last few years(costing Wilson-see Toronto his job) he might not get a second chance(season) if team-teal takes a backward step in the regular campaign

Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canuck) (4) The former coach of the Year winner, his job is probably not nearly as secure as it was last year this time. A miserable regular season and or player(Luongo/Sedin) discontent would be a problem for the affable Quebecer. The team will only go as far as those guys can take him. In factwe would argue that Alain's Adams award should have gone to Luongo as we always say a team's coach is only as smart as his goalie is good! If they fall off the table this year and are out of it early on, he migh tnot get through the season

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Reggie Dunlop Dies!

1) For those who may not have heard, one of the most celebrated American actor/icons, Paul Newman passed away early this morning. Of course to us die hard hockey fans Newman is best known as Reggie Dunlap, the captain/coach/player of the Johnstown Chiefs. Ofcourse Newman was best known among others for the rest of his body of work, but probably his greatest legacy is the millions of dollars he has raised using his face on various food products. (Newman's Own)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Look for it!

1) Both FR and FR2 are working on getting out both our Preseason predictions, Cup prediction, as well as our annual "Who will get the axe" posts. Look for those in the upcoming week and other news as it occurs! As always, keep it here for the latest

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guaranteed Contracts.. Next Grounds for War!

1) After the last CBA was signed, ending Gary Bettman's 2nd imposed lock out of the NHL, many were quick to state that the owners had cleaned the players clocks. That they got almost everything that they had wanted (a salary cap) and the players caved and their former representative, Bob Goodenow quit in disgrace. However, we at FAUXRUMORS were one of the few, along with Lyle Richardson (Spector) and a few others who stated 'not so fast'. We reminded folks that many also thought the 1995 CBA agreement (after Bettman's first lockout) was a slam dunk winner for the owners. It turned out to be just the opposite. The players were making oodles of money(average salary of about 1.2 mil) by the time of the 2nd Bettman work outage in 2004

2) Therefore folks like ourselves (independent) who are Neither owner lackeys like Stan Fischler or carry the water for the players side like Larry Brooks looked at this agreement. After looking at the details and seeing how it worked the first year or two we came to the conclusion that the players were NOT vanquished as much (if at all) as the owners/Bettman/Fischler had believed. That in time there would still be a big disparity (albeit smaller than before 2004) between the big revenue and the small revenue teams. With the lowered UFA age there would be huge contracts given to younger players. Given the nature of business almost all 30 teams would be close to the salary cap ceiling every season.

3) This has largely turned out to be true. We also were probably the lone voice in the wilderness that stated with conviction that we had NOT seen the last lock out. That once this CBA expired the owners, having smelled blood with the last CBA would think that the players would NOT have the stomach for losing another possible years salary. So what would the owners ask for this time? We projected that it would be Guaranteed contracts. When we first broached this possibility 2 years ago we were dismissed by every one whom we discussed this idea. Even the folks who we agreed on other CBA issues could not see the owners trying to do that and lose another season.

4) Which brings us to today. We read with keen interest an article published on August 24th by Boston Globe's Kevin Dupont. In his piece he discusses his city's NHL owner, ultra hawk Jeremy Jacobs. Apparently during the last CBA he (Jacobs) repeatedly suggested that the NHL's players were so highly paid that they weren't giving their all, and, as such, eliminating guaranteed contracts might give fans more bang for their buck. (It would give owners more bucks to bang, but we digress) Dupont then cites The Hockey News's Ken Campbell who declared that guaranteed contracts were a bane upon the sport, and in doing so, he proffered a line of thought the owners will likely suggest when the CBA eventually expires."

5) Not to worry folks, the CBA has another 3 years remaining. The players DO have the option to terminate the deal next year if they choose, but we doubt they will. Their new boss Paul Kelly hasn't directly stated as such (he has stated he will gauge player opinion when he visits all 30 teams this fall) but the logic wouldn't be there for the players to end an agreement that has worked wildly in their favor thus far. Average salaries this coming year will be significantly HIGHER than they were before the 2004 Bettman lockout. Even in these uneven economic times the salary cap will likely continue to rise annually.

6) However, we believe the stories like that Dupont refers in The Hockey News and from Jacobs will begin to become more frequent as the time for real negotiations for a new CBA get closer. Perhaps Jacobs won't be able to sway enough fellow owners to go that route, but if economic times DO get really tough you might see smaller market teams quickly get on board a proposal to eliminate guaranteed contracts, like the NFL did. It would certainly cause a huge amount of rancor in the players camp and would no doubt lead to another work stoppage. Enjoy the next few seasons of peace. The worst of the labour wars friends is still in front of us we fear.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Coming Soon..Boring Hockey!

1) This in the news today. We read from the mirtle blog this afternoon that: "In addition to downsizing goaltending equipment and mandating more offensive-zone faceoffs, particularly on the power play, the NHL is emphasizing yet another obstruction-type crackdown this season" Additionally quoting the Mirtle blog: "Being targeted this season are using your hands to impede players and pinning players up against the boards. "There won't be grappling Ducks coach Randy Carlyle says. Obstruction, in other words.

2) OK, does anyone recall the first few months of the 2004-2005 season? Yes, it was power play after power play. Incredibly boring hockey. It was akin to a "half court game' for you basketball fans out there. There is almost NO FLOW in those kind of games. Sure scoring might increase marginally, but this kind of faux-increase in scoring does NOTHING to make the games appear better. Overall there won't be any increase in even strength scoring (like then) and as soon as the rules are relaxed, we'll be right back to where we were before.

3) It remains to be seen if the other aspect (reducing goalie equpt size) has any significant effect. That at least is a positive step in our opinion. We'd like to see the size reduced to where it was pre 1990, perhaps even 1980. For instance, does a goalie need a glove quadruple the size of his hand for 'protection'? All goalie equipment should be for protection, NOT stopping pucks. The technology is there to significantly reduce the size of pads without reducing the safety for the players involved.

4) Hopefully once the silly/inane 'crackdown' runs its course the NHL will institute real reforms to increase the excitement of games. One we have advocated is decreasing the punishment for fighting. It should be encouraged NOT discouraged. Fans love this aspect of the games, and even with less scoring, it enhances the intensity of games exponentially! We will stay on top of these issues, and have updates as the season progresses!

See, We Told Ya So!

1) The latest in the never ending soap opera that is the Radulov case took another (predictable) turn over the weekend. As we wrote on this very blog last Friday we felt the optimism that this issue might be resolved with the KHL agreeing the arbitration would be deserved ONLY after we heard WHERE the case would be heard. Quoting ourselves from last week:"As we wrote/responded on the well written puckstopshere blog we would feel this was positive ONLY until we hear WHERE this case is going to be heard. (The NHL Never wins in Russian courts and the Russians never win in North America) Until then we are dubious of their intentions, that this move by the KHL may have been an honest attempt to end this dispute with the NHL or it could be mere window-dressing designed to paint itself as the good guy. "

2) Which leads us to yesterday news that the NHL and KHL do not agree on the proper forum to have Radulov’s case arbitrated. The KHL wants arbitration to take place in Russia, the NHL is insisting on the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. Here’s an article from explaining the CAS. The Russian position is no surprise. KHL Prez Alexander Medvedev himself said back on September 8 he believed Radulov’s case would be heard in Russia. WE also have said from the start that w would know when both sides were ready for real discussions and the posturing is over when both agree to have a REAL independent arbiter hear this and other grievances

3) If some in the Russian hockey community are understandably suspicious of American courts ability to be fair, why can't they see the NHL might be similarly suspicious of a Russian arbitrator to handle the Radulov matter? Settling the Radulov matter should not be about exacting revenge, it should be about having respect for contracts of BOTH sides. As we have written the NHL is not without blood on their hands in the past with respect to picking up signed Euros either. Its long past time to get this settled so a fair transfer agreement is in place!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Preseason Predictions

1) Just a note to let our readers know that the annual FAUXRUMORS pre-season predictions posts will be coming out sometime next week. This year FR2 will do the honors. Along with the 2 part series (One for each conference) we will once again go one step further and make an even larger leap ahead, picking our the Cup Finalists as well as our pick to be the eventual Stanley Cup champs in 2008! We did pretty well in picking the Final 8/4 last season. lets see how we do this time around

2) Will also allow you, the readers to weigh in your own opinions after the posts. Things are just starting folks. Training camps across the NHL are NOW open!!! Hallelujah! As always keep it here for the latest.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hockey Is Back!!

1) Yes, folks, its time to rejoice. Hockey is back! All teams' training camps have officially opened this week, and tonight we will have our first preseason (Never call them exhibition) games as the Rangers are in Ottawa, and the revamped Lightning take on the reigning East champs, Penguins in the Igloo.

2) Of course these games in of themselves are meaningless, but it will be nice to finally after 3 months see a box score again, and get real hockey news as opposed to discussion of last season, how to improve the game, Sundin and other made up rumours, etc.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Waste of Space!

1) Just a quick thought this Friday. We are accustomed to the numerous publicized annual right of making pre season predictions. Heck, our site does that as well, although as we pointed out recently we believe many do it a bit early, but that's fine. However the more recent trend of making preseason player rankings seems to be epitome of nonsense. Dare we say bullshit/waste of time/ink, etc?

2) We wonder/can't tell if these 'ratings' are a projection for the upcoming season, OR based upon last season's accomplishments? Are they predicting that these are going to be the top impact players going forward, or are they based upon last years stats? One particular inane list was compiled by The Hockey News.(THN) Predictably the top 6 had 3 Red Wings. Now was that because those 3 were intrumental in bring Detroit a Cup OR are they predicting that (Lidstrom/Zetterberg and Datsyuk will be 3 of the top 6 players in the NHL this next season? There's no doubting that Lidstrom (assuming he stays healthy at 37) will be in the top 3 of all defenders, but will the 2 forwards for the Wings again be in the top 5 in scoring? (They were 4th and 6th respectively in 07-08. Both were career highs!)

3) That aside, the aspect of their listing that immediately got our attention was THN's listing of The Toronto Maple Leafs goalie, Vesa Toskola at 35. They had only Luongo at 7, Henrik Lundqvist at 14, Evgeni Nabokov at 16, Martin Brodeur at 24 and J-S Giguere at 25 ahead of him. Can we read into this positioning that Toskala the 6th best goalie in the NHL??? Would any one have placed him so high if one were to make a list of the top 20 goalies in the league today? When we did a short review of NHL goalies we placed Vesa somewhere in the 15-20th range. (Unless THN is predicting a career year in TO this coming season?) Here is our list (in no particular order) of goalies we believe are better that Toskola. Nabokov, Brodeur, Luongo, Lundqvist, Turco, Giguere, Kiprusoff, DiPietro, Fleury, Bryzgolov, Vokoun, Miller, Huet, Price, Lecalire

4) Others have made similar lists, usually placing Crosby and Ovechkin at #'s 1 and 2. However we have to also add that lists with all positions combined like this are hard to judge. Perhaps if they had each position ranked separately it would be easier. Then seeing Toskola at 6 would seem as absurd as it should be viewed. Have the top 10 defensemen, centers, goalies, wings listed. If one has to engage in such an activity that would seem to be the better method. It would be our preference if these predictive lists weren't done at all. Its just our opinion, we could be wrong?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Burke In Bind?

1) As most who follow hockey regularly already know, the Ducks are actively trying to unload Mathieu Schneider. They have made no bones about him being available. Then earlier this week they placed him on waivers. Making him available (for free) to any team that might be interested in the 39 year old NY,NY native who is set to make 5.625 this season. This move not being made because Mathieu isn't wanted, but the Ducks are in desperation mode to add offense, wanting to add Teemu Selanne. To do this they have to trim payroll, and Schneider's bloated salary is the logical target. Right now the Ducks are $3.05 million above the NHL's $56.7 million salary cap.

2) However the wrench now thrown into this plan is the fact that Schneider cleared waivers. Lets re-phrase that statement: ALL 29 TEAMS PASSED ON SCHNEIDER! He was available for the taking without having to give up another asset. Now, we come to Mr. Burke. Late Wednesday after Schneider cleared waivers he said this: "Schneider would not be going on re-entry waivers." This means the Ducks will NOT demote him (allowing a team to have him at 1/2 his salary), makig him more attractive for teams. So IF teams passed on him for free AND the Ducks aren't willing to demote (put him through re-entry waivers) who would want him in a trade?

3) This will undoubtedly provide fodder for all kinds of new rumors. We're sure Eklund will have half of the NHL involved in a Ducks trade before all this is said and done. We will surely hear such crap like this: "Does this mean that it will be a multi player deal", etc? All kinds of names will be thrown into the mix we're certain. So in an effort to get out in front of this we called around to folks who actually know what is likely to/could happen. Almost all said that the most likely scenario we might see is what happened when the Devils/Lamarello moved Malakhov 3 years ago. They 'traded' him to the Sharks along with a draft pick in exchange for the salary cap relief and a minor leaguer who had zero chance of being an NHL-er. At least here the player traded for cap relief will actually play/contribute. So its still possible Mathieu will get moved afterall IF Burke is willing to part with a draft pick and accept a warm body/used hockey bag in return. We're told to NOT expect any block busters in this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008-09 Favourite/Least Player/Team

1) With the off season winding down (Finally) we decided we'd throw out another discussion/opinion type post for all of you. We invite our readers to join in and give your own list/comment on ours. We did something like this last season. We'll list BOTH of favourite and least favourite players. One of each/team

Anaheim - Favourite: Ryan Getzlaf- Without a doubt the player from the Ducks We'd love to see on our team, big, strong and skilled, with potential to get even better. Honorable mention: George Parros and his moustache Least: Scott Niedermayer- As we outlined a lot last summer we feel his on/off retirement last summer/fall was pure selfishness towards his teammates.

Atlanta - Favourite: Ilya Kovalchuk- The best Russian born player in the NHL not named Ovechkin. Least: Don Waddell- Yes, we know he's not a player, but he is such an inept GM we had to put him on our list.

Boston -Favourite: Zdeno Chara- How could the tallest player EVER to lace em' up NOT be a favourite? He's also pretty dam good, and looks like he's strong enough to beat the crap out of anyone if he chose. Its a good thing for opponents he usually has a calm temperament! Least: Michael Ryder- Jealousy perhaps, but an insane raise (12 mil for 3 years) for a guy who had a crappy year?

Buffalo - Favourite: Derek Roy- Not only is he a pretty good young player, but we can say his name and not have to sound silly like many do when saying the name of former Av's Hall of Fame goalie, who's name has the same spelling. Honorable mention: Andrew Peters. Least: Maxim Afinogenov- Great name, and has oodles of talent, but has never been able to put it together.

Calgary - Favourite: Dion Phaneuf. Yes, we know he's one of the most hated players in the NHL, but toughness, skill, youth, scoring touch, you name it, the kid has it. You always know when this guy is on the ice. Announcers seem to love to say his full name each and every time he comes near the puck. Least: Todd Bertuzzi- Even before the Moore incident he wasn't on our top 10 list. Since then he has become a shell of the player he was prior yet has continued to get paid like he was a star.

Carolina -Favourite: Rod Brind‘Amour. With the departure of Cole, our new fav in tobacco country is tough as nails Brind‘Amour. Rod is a fitness freak like Chelios could see him playing into his 40's. Least: Sergei Samsonov- Year in and year out steals his employers money. Gets big bucks for small effort/results. Expect more of the same. Get less for more from Sammy!

Chicago - Favourite: Jonathan Toews- It was no PR move to make the kid the captain at 20. He has all the tools to be a solid if not star player in this league. Least: Nikolai Khabibulin- Parlayed 2 great months in 2003 into a ridiculous mega contract which he has never earned. He may be gone before the season begins

Colorado - Favourite: Joe Sakic. (We assume he'll be back) Can't argue that he's the best leader in the NHL since Yzerman left the game. Excellent play maker, passer, excellent at pretty much everything. To think 14 teams past him up that draft year. Of course some of the top 14 were pretty good too (Turgeon/Shanahan) Some were not (McBean, More, Chynoweth) Least: Darcy Fucker. The fact that everyone hates him,(including us) only makes us like him more. As Reggie Dunlap says: " You gotta twist em, fuck with them". Darcy is one of the best at that and more! Unfortunately for him his hockey skills seem to have deteriorated

ColumbusFavourite: Raffi Torres. Another trade we bet the Isles wish they could undo. Red-Dog may have had an off year, but at 25 he's still improving. You also gotta love a guy who can hit like this ! Honorable mention: Rick Nash- One of the best power forwards in the game today Least: Michael Peca- Best days are a decade or so ago.

DallasFavourite: Brenden Morrow-Many were surprised to see the Stars take the 'C' from Modano, but few are questioning the move now. Morrow is the real deal as far as a team leader is concerned. Least Sean Avery- (See Darcy Fucker) The agitator extraordinaire on a new team, and wasted no time ripping his old one. His act is getting old.

DetroitFavourite: Nicklas Lidstrom- A great defenseman who always is there for 'big time minutes' on both sides of the rink. Is so good, you hardly notice him at times. Deserved to be a Hart finalist last season. Speaks better/clearer English than most born this side of the pond. Honorable mention: Tomas Holmstrom. Like Lidstrom gets little notoriety, just does his job, well. Least: Chris Osgood- We don't have huge issues with him, but we didn't like his 'embellishment of the Ribiero contact.

EdmontonFavourite: Erik Cole. Gritty and tough yet puts up points very well. Came back from that nasty neck injury, guys got guts. Also from a place called Oswego, NY. Where ever that is? Honorable mention: Fernando Pisani- We like the name, but also his overcoming a significant medical issue. Least: Denis Grebeshkov- No huge issues, but in his past has appeared to seem like he deserved a roster spot before earning one

Florida - We still miss having Eddie the Eagle to kick around. Will the Miami PD also miss him? LOL. Favourite: Jay Bouwmeester- We have Honorable mention: Richard Zednik- Anyone who can come back after that kind of injury! Least: Tomas Vokoun- We don't hate Tomas, but feel he is over rated and tends to blame his defense/team in the media when things go poorly

Los AngelesFavourite: Anze Kopitar- One of the more exciting players in the NHL. How many are from Slovenia of all places!? Least:None As of this writing so few players are on the roster that its hard to find a least-liked here!

MinnesotaFavourite: Derek Boogaard- (See Fedoryk) The guy runs a hockey fighting camp for kids! Whats not to like! Least:Pierre-Marc Bouchard- No real reason. We just don't like hyphenated first names.

MontrealFavourite: Georges Laraque- With his fists of stone, one of the most feared players in the game, but we can't recall him cheap shotting anyone. Honorable Mention: Saku Koivu: Survived cancer and being captain in Montreal despite NOT speaking French. Least: None.

NashvilleFavourite: Jordin (22) Tootoo- 'The Little Chief'. Has a bit of 'short man syndrome', but he IS only 5'2" after all. Least: Alex Radulov- The prick who broke his contract to play in Russia then has the nerve to complain how Russians are treated in the NHL. Alex, a guy from a former dictatorship should not be complaining of treatment. No one forces players to come to North America.

New JerseyFavourite: Kevin Weekes. He may not be any good, but he sure has an interesting web site devoted to him!. Honorable mention: Brian Gionta- A little man who has made the most of his talent. Least: Martin Brodeur: No, we give him credit for all he's accomplished, we just don't like the whining and undue influence he has to change rules.

NY IslandersFavourite: Mike Comrie. We can't but respect a guy who's getting this. That said, he's mediocre as 1st line forwards go. Least:Rick DiPietro- The goalie-for-life exudes arrogance in our opinion. Has the tools to be a top 5 goalie in the league, but his incessant wandering/over playing the puck leads to issues for his team and his health

NY RangersFavourite: Colton Orr- With that last name you may think he'd have skill at more than this There had to be a reason why a guy who has NEVER been double digits in points at any level, is in the NHL. Least: Dan Girardi- We feel he's done a terrible job managing the Yankees this season! ; )

Ottawa – We will miss Ray Emery. The man is just so entertaining, he fought Buffalo's Peters in full goalie gear, gets suspended for using his stick as a hatchet . That was more than enough to get on the list. Favourite: Dany Heatley- Despite his reckless past he's one of the best/most exciting players to watch in the game today. Least: Jason Spezza: Despite having tons of talent, we just don't see fire to win in him. We wouldn't have paid him the mega bucks the Sens are set to pay for his services!

Philadelphia Favourite: Danielle Briere- Hey, how could we not still root for the girl? She hasn't quite lived up to the 10 million dollar salary, but it's probably buying plenty of makeup! Least: Steve Downie: When you resort to sucker punching a guy who is 5'2" and with cancer you're a dick.

PhoenixFavourite: Shane Doan- We feel he's over rated /overpaid, but anyone who can put those Froggy buggers in the Quebec Media/politics in their place, is OK in our book! Honorable mention: Todd Fedoruk. Have to have respect for a guy who keeps getting his Skull Kicked IN yet just keeps coming back for more more, and more............ Least: Ed Jovanovski- Very over rated/paid in our opinion

PittsburghFavourite: Miroslav Satan- We really didn't want to pick him, but the Devil made us do it! Honorable mention. Pascal Dupuis- Love hearing announcers sound silly saying his name. Least: Sid Crosby- He may be one of the best players in the game today, but sorry Pen fans, we can't get by all the Gretzy-esque whining.

San JoseJonathan Cheechoo. One of the best 'Chiefs'. When they combined Cheech with Big Joe his potential was finally realized. Should be back on the war path again this year! A bargain at 3.0 mil! Should have held out for more wampum! Least: Robert Blake. (Not Baretta) His past due date has long since past, yet is mysteriously still looked upon as a top 4 defensemen?

St. LouisFavourite:John Davidson-Yes, he no longer plays, but he is one of the more enjoyable hockey people to listen to. Knowledgeable without arrogance. Least: Keith Tkachuk. Now 12 years removed from his last 50 goal season. Keith has parlayed his past success into big money contracts which he hasn't lived up to. He's set to steal another 4 mil from the Blues this year. Eventually someone will realize you don't win with this bum on your team!

TampaFavourite: Marty St. Louis. Probably one of the best undrafted players of the last 25 years. At barely 5'4" you can't but be impressed. One wonders how confused fans would be if he played for the Blues? Least: Chris Gratton- One of the most over rated players the last 10-15 years.

Toronto- Favourite: With the departure of Darcy Fucker our new Leaf fav was Brian Mccabe. Yes, he was just traded, but we like how he said screw you to Leaf management who wanted him to waive his NTC. He negotiated it so he could have stability. If the Leafs didn't want him to use the clause, they shouldn't have offered it to him! Least: Juri Tlusty- Now that is a double major, game misconduct penalty in the macho world of professional hockey, but that is not any reason to call Jiri Tlusty gay. He might be gay, but who really knows if those tongues consummated their relationship.

VancouverFavourite: The Sedins. Announcers forced to use first names when they are out there. We wonder what would happen if one starts to suck? So far all contracts have been identical(like they are) If they were forced to be separated, would they die ?? Least: Kyle Wellwood-How can a guy who looks like that have any chance? Geez, talk about a beer gut! The puck-bunny is nice, but Kyle no wonder you suck!

WashingtonAlexander Semin. Since his arrival has made the use of the double entendre easy! " Semin all over the ice". "Great release" "Hard shot" etc. Yes, its sophomoric, but entertaining. Honorable Mention: Sergei Fedorov. He's made a lot of money and he's done Anna Kournikova. 'Nough said. Least: Victor Kozlov- Even when he's giving 100% appears to not care. That apparent apathy shows up in his career playoff numbers; 21 games NO Goals!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reasons Players Distrust The owners?

1) During the last Bettman lockout one of the refrains little ole Gary liked to use was that the salary cap was needed to make cost certainty, help control ticket prices, and the last was what gave many of us a good belly laugh- 'We need to bring the players into a partnership with the owners'. To an outsider that would either sounds like flowery language (bullshit) or a noble idea. At the time(and now) we believed that this was all a smoke screen to get the salary cap. Now, we're not going to go into that here, but we do want to touch on the concept that the players and owners are indeed 'partners' now that there is a salary cap

2) Back then we asked should/can the players as a group trust the owners and Bettman? We cited instance after instance of business corruption of so many current and past NHL owners, that it almost seemed to be policy/a requirement for membership to be an NHL owner. Folks who at the time were blindly anti-player would throw out the instances where players were in trouble with the law such as the Heatley incident or the all too common domestic violence issues. However then as now we would argue that this is a clear case of apples and oranges. Those offenses by the players have ZERO to do with their association with the owners. While it can be argued that if someone is running their business illegally they probably aren't too trust worthy with regard to other business practices, and we would think twice before becoming business 'partners' with such people.

3) This issue really came to ahead recently when yet another owner Boots Delbaggio was found to be yet another John Spano. Someone who apparently was able to dupe Gary Bettman into believing he was a rich investor trying to buy an NHL team. It was with this latest Bettman fiasco that we decided to see if our perception that there seemed to be an inordinate of current/former NHL owners who have been in trouble was reality or not. So we decided to do a search, and this is what we came up with. You decide if it shows a disturbing trend, or is a coincidence.

4) Here is a list of the folks (we could find) and a short description of their transgression:

  • Harold Ballard- His cantankerous, eccentric ways, his talent for alienating players, and his general contempt for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans, Harold Ballard goes down as possibly the worst NHL owner of all time.(The recently departed William Wirtz would give him a run for his money) He turned a marquee NHL franchises into the most poorly run operation in professional sport. He was found guilty of 48 charges of theft and fraud involving the misuse of $205,000 – including $82,000 of Gardens money used to remodel his home.

  • Bruce McNall- celebrated sports owner from L.A.--the young entrepreneur who had bought the Kings and brought Wayne Gretzky west; the extravagant spender with a fleet of private jets and helicopters--busted for defrauding banks of more than $200 million.

  • Henry Samueli of the Anaheim Ducks, has signed off on a plea deal that will see him get five years probation and $12.2 million in fines and penalties for lying to federal investigators who were looking into a scheme that tied him to an options backdating scandal in his company, Broadband.

  • Michael Largue, a self-described investment banker from Uniondale, L.I., almost became Spano # 2. He had been putting out word that he wanted to buy a professional hockey team. In an effort to buy the Islanders he met with the N.H.L.'s commissioner, Gary Bettman, and told him he was looking to buy a team and that he was backed by a wealthy Swiss businessman. Later he went to Edmonton to buy that then-ailing franchise. He got a tour of the Oilers' arena, collected a few autographed goalie sticks and had dinner with the mayor. He announced that a deal was imminent, until a back ground check didn't jive with what he told the press. He later was convicted of grand larceny among many offenses since then. The perfect NHL owner eh?

  • Eugene Melnyk- Owner of the popular Bert’s Bar located in Barbados and the National Hockey League Senators has been charged by regulators in Canada for accounting fraud. Melnyk and three executives of the company Biovail Corporation have been charged for misleading investors about the pharmaceutical company’s financial results

  • John and Tim Rigas of Adelphia Communications. Not long after they were approved, the two were convicted of fraud in federal court regarding billions in off-the-books loans, a ruling that plunged both Adelphia and the Buffalo Sabres into bankruptcy, and put both Rigas in jail.

  • San Jay Kumar/ Charles Wang- One is a former co-owner of the Islanders along with his former Computer Associates colleague Charles Wang. Kumar pleaded guilty to securities fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to his role a $2.2 billion accounting scheme at the computer software company. Until recently Wang appeared to be in the clear. Now he is being looked into this as well. Sanjay Kumar alleges his former mentor "personally directed" improper accounting at the company going back to 1987, and that several longtime board members "took steps to protect Wang and conceal the facts." This could get interesting!

  • Eddie Debartolo: In 1981, The DeBartolo Corporation purchased the NHL's Penguins. In 1998 Eddie DeBartolo Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony charge of failing to report that Louisiana's former governor allegedly extorted $400,000 from him to win a casino license.

  • William ''Boots'' Del Biaggio III: (see above) An investment firm is accusing the San Jose socialite and investor of using false claims and bogus documents to scam it out of $3 million in a loan deal, according to a lawsuit filed this year in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The lawsuit provides the first public details of alleged improper business dealings that have prompted a federal probe of Del Biaggio, a 40-year-old financier who until recently was a new part owner of the Nashville Predators

  • John Spano- (See above) He gained the NHL's blessing to buy the New York Islanders for $165 million by claiming he was worth $230 million. Truth was, Spano lied about pretty much every aspect of his financial portfolio, claiming to have a trust, established by a relative, worth $107 million, and he forged numerous records in a successful bid to dupe various bankers and lawyers. In 2000 he was sentenced to over five years in jail.

5) To think that Ed Snider’s, owner of the Flyers, during the last lockout had this reaction to the NHLPA’s "outrageous" suggestion that NHL owners might be less than trustworthy. Some say he went ballistic before claiming that NHL owners were “just a bunch of honest businessmen”. We'll allow our readers to decide that question, but if we were the players and their association representation we'd be wary before making any agreements tat would make us 'partners' with such folks as these! You sleep with dogs and you get fleas!

Friday, September 12, 2008

How The Russian Turns.

1) We have been literally going around in circles to keep up with the latest on the soap opera that is The Radulov saga. For those who haven't been keeping track or haven't cared what happens to Nashville (yes they still have a team) their 22 year old star forward Alexander Radulov spurred the team and the final year of his entry level contract to play at home (Russia) in the (not so) new KHL.

2) This move turned a simmering issue between the NHL and Russia/Europe into a legit all out war. As we have written about recently, nhl-khl-cold-war-intensifies there has been significant posturing from all sides. The Radulov situation has been the lightning rod of this entire situation. The NHL, although is NOT an innocent bystander (having pilfered Euro talent for next to, or literally NOTHING for years), demanded that Radulov live up to his deal and threatened to take him and the KHL to court.

3) Recently the KHL has softened its previous tough stance of threatening to try to actively pilfer other players under contract next summer. They threw out an olive branch last week when they agreed to send the Radulov case to arbitration. As we wrote/responded on the well written puckstopshere blog we would feel this was positive ONLY until we hear WHERE this case is going to be heard. (The NHL Never wins in Russian courts and the Russiand never win in North America) Until then we are dubious of their intentions, that this move by the KHL may have been an honest attempt to end this dispute with the NHL or it could be mere window-dressing designed to paint itself as the good guy. We went on to say that regardless of the real motivation the fact remains that as long as Radulov continues to play in Russia there won’t be any peace between the two leagues.

4) As we have also written on a few other blogs recently we believe this recent conciliatory tone by the KHL can perhaps traced to the fact that the price of oil has fallen 25+% in the past 3 months as a possible motivating factor here? Most of the cash to run this league is either directly or indirectly derived from this volatile commodity. In the end the KHL may see that it actually needs the NHL and the possible influx of cash from a fair transfer agreement. Certainly they can't pay those salaries based upon ticket revenues alone!

5) The most recent bizarre turn of this case occurred yesterday when apparently NHLPA head Paul Kelly while being interviewed by the Toronto media blurted out that it was his understanding from reliable sources (sounds like Ekund-but with credibility) that Radulov wanted to leave the KHL and return to the Preditors.(audio here) Quoting Kelly: I have that on extremely good authority. He's tried the KHL. He's seen what it has to offer for a few games already.... I believe there is an outcome which is doable, which will involve some type of an agreement between the NHL, the KHL, the player himself

6) We have previously discussed that its NOT against the NHLPA's interest to have players bolt to other leagues. It gives them leverage in the NHL which of course can only help boost salaries even in a capped NHL. However they can't condone players breaking valid contracts! The next question is why Radulov is suddenly desiring to return? Here are the possible reasons:
  • He saw the inferior conditions compared to the NHL. Not to knock Russia, but even with its current oil boom and subsequent elevated standard of living, its still not in the same galaxy as North America?
  • The KHL is pushing for resolution of this and would like to save face by behind the scenes 'pushing' Radulov to go back?
  • Radulov's agent saw the writing on the wall, that his client risked botching a potential lucrative/long NHL career if he stayed in the unstable KHL?

7) Whatever the reasons we're sure we haven't read/heard the last twist of this bizarre story, and the more important issue of getting a fair transfer agreement between ALL the parties from the NHL, to the KHL, and the other Euro leagues. Until this is done we haven't heard the last of these kind of situations.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget!

1) Let's Never forget that 3000 of us were murdered for no other reason than for what those colors represent; Freedom! These colors NEVER run!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mutually Assured Destruction?

1) For those of us old enough to recall the dark days of the cold war (No, not the Kevin Lowe-vs- Brian Burke crap of last summer), but the real thing between the Evil empire USSR and the US may recall the term 'Mutually Assured destruction". It meant that it was folly to start a nuclear war because both sides had enough fire power to wipe out the other regardless of who started it. Causing the 40+ year stalemate ending when the corrupt USSR government imploded from within. (Or so we thought)

2) Enough of the history lesson. The term is apt in the New NHL where GM's are now feeling pressure from opposing GM's from pilfering their youngsters via RFA offer sheets. The recent Meszeros issue not withstanding, ever since Kevin Lowe commenced the recent 'offer sheet' trend, we’ve seen many GMs re-sign their key RFAs before the July 1st deadline in order to avoid matching potential offer sheets. Many times offering longer more lucrative deals than we've seen in the past for relatively unproven players. We've seen teams like St. Louis retaliate when they had an offer sheet used on one of their RFA's. They in tern did the same to Vancouver. They denied it was in retaliation, but JD, come on, we weren't born yesterday. LOL

3) More recently, Dean Lombardi, who should worry more about his own job, apparently got a little antsy of his own potential RFA's and had this to say: We’re not only going to match any offer sheet, we’ll have enough space to go after your guys. Go ahead and make our day. If you sign our guy, we’re coming back with both barrels firing. You’d better be damn straight that you have the cap space and all your guys are signed.”

4) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Lombardi was referring to Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson, both of whom are set to become RFAs next summer if they are not signed before that time. Now, we don’t know why Lombardi is getting so worked up about brandishing his own vigilante justice, but you have to admit, it’s a pretty dumb move on his part. It goes without question that Lombardi will do his best to re-sign the two budding superstars to long-term contracts before the summer. Even if he doesn’t manage to get them signed, he will no doubt match any offer sheet - that is also obvious, as the future of the Kings organization rests on the shoulders of Kopitar and Johnson.

5) The point of the offer sheet is to sign players based on potential, and make it just ludicrous enough that your rival GM won’t match. There’s no point in making an offer sheet that has reasonable numbers and terms, because it saves your rival GM negotiating pains with money-hungry player agents and it helps them protect their assets at a reasonable price. We thought Mike Gillis‘ offer sheet to David Backes was a waste of time because it was a no-brainer that St. Louis/JD would match it. So it appears from the St Louis-Vancouver skirmish and Lombardi's inane threat we are in a new era; one where GM's may try to use intimidation of their colleagues to try to prevent the imposition of an offer sheet for one of their players. It will be interesting if this 'scares' off future offer sheets next summer when there could be a very large number of top level players in that position.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Go Away Foppa!

1) Yes, the title may be a bit harsh and sound like we dislike Peter Forsberg. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact we have been very big fans of the Swede. In his prime, he had been one of the better players ever to come from his country, and was a dominating force in the NHL, especially in the mid-late 1990's.

2) However in recent years injuries have significantly slowed down his effectiveness. Last season we were hearing all sorts of stories of where he would end up. Yes, we were part of that as well. As we were told one thing from one source then another story from another source. Peter had us all guessing (literally) where he'd end up playing IF he could/wanted to. Unlike his countryman Mr. Sundin, Peter had/has an actual reason for delaying his decision. He has a chronic foot issue that seems to not want to heal/is aggravated by the rigors of competitive hockey.

3) It is for this reason that we implore FOPPA to finally announce that he is done. To squash the rumors NOW (well, Eklund will undoubtedly continue them when he has the need to conjure up something) before the season starts. Its not like Peter needs the money. His career nhl-salary income is staggering. Certainly its enough to make 99.9% of the world comfortable for a few lifetimes. However well over and above that he has probably made MUCH more than that from a nice/smart investment a few years back in crocs. That income is beyond staggering we have read and is still pouring in with little to no effort!!

4) With those facts in front of him and having done/accomplished everything one can do in pro hockey (Stanley Cup, gold medal, personal achievements, etc) combined with his injury issues AND financial security for life, it would seem its time to get out now Peter before you suffer permanent injury. Yes, FOPPA, its time to go away!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stupidity In The Sun Shine State?

1) Two of the biggest late summer deals have involved both teams from Florida. First the Mezsaros trade from Ottawa to Tampa Bay. Last weekend, Tampa Bay traded away not only their first-round pick but also two very decent defencemen (Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard) to the Ottawa Senators for Andrej Meszaros. Many have said that the deal was 'forced' upon the Senators by an attempt by the Lightning to sign the RFA defensemen to an offer sheet. The problem is that TB didn't have the requisite assets to satisfy such an attempt. If this is true, why would they try? They would have needed a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick IF Ottawa failed to match the reported 5 mil/year deal The problem is that TB didn't have a 3rd rounder to give.(Traded to Pitt for negotiating rights).

2) In our opinion they ended up giving up MORE than they would have if they had made the rumored offer sheet of 5 mil. They would have done better if they had dealt an asset to the Penguins to re-acquire the pick first, THEN make the offer sheet. Yes, Meszaros is a good player, but the Sens received guys and a pick that are usually given in return for a proven vet. Andres is NOT yet in that class. To compound this error the Lightning then signed the 3rd year pro Slovak to a huge 6 year deal. Tampa may still not be done dealing, but as with their neighbors to the east, the Lightning's biggest team issue is defense. This deal does NOT improve that position. Right now Paul Ranger and Meszaros are the 'vets' on the back line. For all the fire power/depth they have up front, they better get great goaltending from Kolzig and Smith else they're gonna lose a bunch of 7-5 games this season

3) Next we have the Florida Panthers dealing for Brian McCabe from the Maple Leafs. Of the two 'bad' deals, this is the most inane in our opinion. The Leafs were in desperation mode. They HAD to dump Mccabe before training camp. Some were even thinking they would demote him/tell him to stay home if he continued to defy their requests to be traded. Certainly any team dealing for him would seem to be in a position of strength, right? Well in dealing for McCabe the Panthers added needless payroll at a time when they were supposedly trying to resign Bowmeester to a long term deal. Most of all this deal does NOTHING to improve the defense of Florida. Probably their biggest team weakness, just got weaker. Sure Brian will probably put up a decent number of points, but at the expense of the sanity of his new coach and his goalie, Thomas Vokoun.
4) So overall we'd have to say that BOTH Florida teams did NOT improve themselves with these deals, and could have done a far better job improving their teams. As of this writing both teams have NOT addressed their respective biggest weakness; Team defense. It may be a long season in the sun shine state!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Uncensored Hockey?

1) Recently on one of our listed/favourite blogs by Mike Chen (linked) he asked a very good/relevant question regarding the usage of on ice sounds/conversation. Asking could it be used during broadcasts, what/how it could be done. We recommend reading his original blog entry.

2) Nice discussion/ideas. We have read about/advocated that idea in the past as a way of making televised hockey more entertaining to the folks (unlike those of us who blog) who don’t find hockey on TV entertaining enough. For years people have tried to use ways to increase viewers. Gimmicks like Fox’s comet/glowing puck were used to attract folks who didn’t usually watch hockey on TV. We’d love to see the inclusion of real time ’sounds of the game’. Right now the chatter/stuff that we are allowed to listen to is usually so bland/censored to make it meaningless. We agree the logistics/legal aspects would need to be worked out, but if it were possible to hear the uncensored remarks/trash talk among players/coaches/refs it would really make the televised NHL more interesting/exciting.

3) Chen ascribed to tape delaying the broadcast 15 minutes to allow censors to remove offending content such as racial slurs. In addition, to make all of the many potential sounds listenable (He states that having 20 different microphones at once feeding into your TV might make it difficult without first having someone sift through the incoming sounds to discriminate what would be interesting/relevant.) We understand the reasons he mentions but we disagree with Mike on that. We wouldn’t do a tape delay. Give us the real thing with all its warts. BTW, we doubt there’s much/many ‘racial’ slurs going around. There will be ‘colorful’ language of course, but there could be an optional feed that folk could get that give a warning, etc.

4) We could see an interactive option (extra$$ of course) how folks at home could listen to the microphone of their choice. Much like NASCAR does with in-car camera placements. Viewers can choose which driver they want to be a 'passenger with'. That way fans could choose what they want to listen to and get a real time feel for the game at home that wasn't possible before. We say, they should mic every player/official/coach. If this is an entertainment industry they should do everything possible to 'entertain' us. Sure, some might believe that it will alter how folks react, knowing they are being listened to, but we feel that in the heat of battle they will forget they are being heard by a few million people. Anything that increases excitement should increase interest which in turn should increase revenue. That alone should incentivize this for the NHL. The technology is there. Lets uncensor the NHL now!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Faux Endorsement!

1) Now usually we at FAUXRUMORS avoid getting into to a substantive discussion of political issues (this is not the forum) but after listening to/reading the bio of the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, we are officially going to endorse her for that position. We don't necessarily agree with all of Mr. McCain's political ideologies/positions, but any woman who is a self described 'Hockey Mom" will get our endorsement/vote any day!

2) Will be interesting to see if she is elected if we might see her at Verizon Center to take in a Caps game or two during the season. We don't recall reading about any major political dignitaries going to hockey games any time recently. It can only help the game and increase interest. Good luck Sarah!
Post Script: As the picture below indicates it didn't hurt that she's a tad easier on the eyes than Joe Biden or Dick Cheney! ; )

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Making Predictions Now are Premature!

1) With all due respect to the many fellow bloggers who have already come out with their preseason predictions we at FAUXRUMORS feel it is foolish to make such comments at this early time frame. Why?

  • Well, the most important reason is that rosters are far from set. As we write this 6 teams are OVER the salary cap of 56 or so million, and another 4 teams are perilously close, so significant roster moves are likely. As we saw quite clearly with the Mezsaros 'trade', rosters are far from set. In fact an East asst GM told us to not be surprised to see an unprecedented number of moves prior to the drop of the puck in Europe in October

  • Several significant free agents have yet to decide on their team/possible retirement. Players such as Joe Sakic who recently announced his decision and and ofcourse Mats Sundin,Teemu Selanne, Peter Forsberg, etc who have yet to make their decision could alter the landscape significant enough to alter predictions

2) We at FR usually like to wait until late September/early October before coming out with our predictions. No, not to use others' analysis to assist us, but so we have as much of the known facts to be able to give our readers the best possible preseason predictions. By that late date rosters will be pretty much set, and we can use some early trends that are sometimes spotted in the preseason.

Post Script: Happy Labour Day folks and more importantly, all our prayers going to the folks on the gulf coast as they endure the wrath of Gustov!

Contact the Media