Friday, October 31, 2008
Anaheim: Dicks, F*cks, Sucks, Estevez's, Yucks, Dykes, Quacks, Dorks
Atlanta: Trashers, Flashers
Boston: Ruins, Poops, Boo Bears, booings
Buffalo: Sluggalow, Suckers, Barffalo, Buffaslug
Calgary: Flamers, Lames, Shames, Phlegms, Calgay
Carolina: Candycanes, Suckaneggs
Chicago: Blackcocks, Sh*tcago, shithawks
Colorado: Divealanche, Crapalanche, Avsholes, havenochance
Columbus: BJ's, Blowjobs, Jack-it-offs, Straight Jackets
Dallas: Arse, Falling Stars, Dull-ass
Detroit: (Destroyed) Dead Things, Dread Wings, Dead Wings, Chicken Wings, Red Wanks
Edmonton: Greasers, Coilers, Losers, Loliers
Florida: Panties, Pussies, Pansies, panters
Los Angeles: Queens, Things
Minnesota: Mild, Tame, Minnescrotum
Montreal: Habnots, Crabs, Scabs
Nashville: Sexual Predators, Deadertors, Prey, Trashville, Pretenders
New Jersey: Dumbells, Evils, Swamp Things
NY Islanders: Crylanders, Fish Sticks, ICElanders
NY Rangers: Ranjerks, Strangers, Rag$, Blue Skirts
Ottawa: Senaturds, Sendanards, Senatards
Philadelphia: Criers, Liars, Filthydelphia
Pittsburgh: Pissburg,Gwins, shittsburgh
San Jose: Guppies(?), Sharts, Farts
St. Louis: Blahs, Boos, Lose
Tampa Bay: Tampon Bay, Frightening
Toronto: Make Beliefs, Make Me Laughs, Loafs, Laughs, Staple Thiefs, Queefs, Maple Leaves, Maple Sneeze, Maple Sleaze, The Toronto Tampons: Only good for 1 period and no second string, Queef Nation
Vancouver: Cannots, Cansucks, Casucks, Cookesucks
Washington: Crapitals, Craps(Sparc) Cockitals
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
- A contract extension guaranteed with a trade: We're told that Marion's agent is insisting on a 'deal in principal' be in place prior to any trade. Gaborik does NOT have a no trade clause, but it would behoove a team trading for the forward to not make the mistake of obtaining him without a guarantee of keeping him beyond this season
- Adequate cap space top accommodate Gaborik. This, we're told is the biggest stumbling block(right now) As of now almost 2/3 of the league is within 1 mil of the salary cap maximum. In order to obtain Gaborik and his current 6.33 cap hit, most teams would have to unload payroll. The teams that have the cap space (Islanders, LA, etc have little interest in adding an "injury prone primadonna"
- With those restrictions in mind we'd have to say that a deal is NOT imminent! As one asst GM told one of our most trusted sources earlier last week,: "Gaborik is probably saying put". We have to say that we agree. Perhaps we might see something at the deadline, but certainly nothing before the holidays.
3) Here are some other interesting issues in and around the league:
- Ovechkin on leave: The story out of DC is that reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin is headed back to Russia to spend time with his ailing grandfather. That angle of the story is legit. Ovechkin's grandfather, 83 year old Nikolay Kabayev, is reportedly gravely ill. However, one of our sources in the nation's capital told us the team was very supportive of this idea because their super star has also been nursing a nagging groin strain that he injured late in training camp. Alex has been reluctant to rest, so this time away allows the team to keep him away/off the ice to heal, while at the same time allowing him to say his final respects to the man who helped raise him. He's likely to miss at least 2 games, and be back next week
- Cloak and Dagger in NY? Things in NY have gone from silly to bizarre in short order. This all with respect to the NY Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro. It seems whenever the 'goalie for life' is injured (even before the new NHL rules governing injury) the team has been more than obtuse with the media with respect to the extent of the injury. (Anyone recall the label"generalized body soreness" used to describe a clear concussion late in 2007?)
- Since then DiPietro has had surgery on BOTH hips, and arthroscopic surgery on his knee in July. He was supposed to be 100% by camp. He evidently wasn't (his back up started the season's first 4 games), but the club was reluctant to say why or if DiPietro was injured at all. Leading to all kinds of speculation (rumours). Club beat writers, especially NewsDay's Mark Herrmann and Greg Logan have been pretty direct in their criticism of this situation, which made the team almost appear to be in full 'siege mentality'.
- We believe this approach is not the best way to go. Reducing media (and there by fan) interaction/openness is not a good way to go when you're trying to increase interest/good will in the community. Especially when the team is in a self proclaimed 'rebuild' when W's might be few and far between.
- However, our sources tell us that the team is very concerned about DiPietro's surgically repaired knee. We hear he had a 'meniscus tear' that the arthroscopic procedure was possible inadequate in solving, but the team and Ricky didn't want a more invasive open surgery that would have shelved him 3-6 months. Now the possibility is that this may be required anyway and possibly end his season. Of course the team won't inform their fans/media until next fall. ; )
- Staal/Spezza trade rumours: Spezza who has just started a new 7 year 49 mil deal is rumoured to be in the team's dog house. To that we say, "too bad!" Anyone could see that the kid was one dimensional. Good offensive ability, but no heart/inner drive to succeed. We would have never given such a player along term lucrative deal. The Sens are essentially stuck with him. Do NOT believe the various rumours going around that he will soon be dealt.
- As for Staal do NOT believe the Gaborik for Staal crap that many rumour mongers have been upchucking lately. The Pens have enough big price guys and don't want another long term expensive contract on the books. IF, and that's a huge IF the Pens do want/have to trade Jordan it won't be until next June's draft
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
2) Of course we'll be back at this once again next Saturday. Also look for a post we have planned to be out tomorrow concerning possible salary cap issues next season! Additionally FR2 will have their first installment of Power Rankings out late this week. As always, keep it here for all the latest
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
2) We can not recall a time when two players were ever treated as one before. Brian Burke pulled off a draft day coup in 1999 that set this series of bizarre moves into motion. Back then Vancouver had the 3rd overall pick, but using other assets Burke attained the 2nd pick as well, and used them to pick up the swedish-twins. Since that time both have signed identical contracts, and have played on the same line for their entire careers. WE have in the past pondered what would happen if/when one of the twins became significantly better than the other? They were briefly separated last winter So far all contracts have been identical (like they are) If they were forced to be separated, would they die? Thankfully for them both have generally played at the same/similar level, so the decision to retain both at or about the same salary shouldn't be an issue.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
2) However the dire predictions of tough times after the return of hockey turned out to be untrue. The NHL resumed to an over whelming response. Especially in Canada, attendance was as high, if not higher than ever. The US lagged behind somewhat, but even there in previous good hockey towns most fans returned quickly. With that rebound the NHL seemed to forget one of its promises to be 'more fan friendly/open'. This especially struck us recently when the league made it known that its previously tacit allowance of making injuries akin to nuclear secrets into actual policy. At their June meeting, the National Hockey League's 30 Club General Managers voted to modify the policy pertaining to the disclosure of player injury information. The new policy, which takes effect immediately:Clubs no longer are required to disclose the specific nature of player injuries. Clubs are prohibited from providing untruthful information about the nature of a player injury or otherwise misrepresenting a player’s condition.
3) The first reaction was, When did teams give 'specific nature of injuries'??? Remember the ole 'lower body injury? Now we're gonna only hear 'injury'? Why even bother? Just say Player A is a scratch and let us guess as to why. Its not like the teams were disclosing much anyway other than if it was above or below the waist, now we'll not even know that much. So is no information better than untruthful information? Who in the NHL is monitoring/is in charge of this? LOL We can understand this policy in the playoffs, but in the regular season as well? Anyway, so much for the new fan friendly 'open NHL'. So to conclude let us list where the NHL CAN/should be be more friendly?
- The aforementioned injury situation. We don't need to see the X-rays/MRI on a player, but can we at least know what in heck is wrong with the star players we are paying big bucks to watch?
- As we discussed last month, salary-cap-transparency Many take for granted that we don't all know what each team's salary cap number is on a particular day during the season. We believe it would be a VERY popular destination on the NHL.com website. It wouldn't cost much if anything for the league to implement this. So why not do it? Is there something to hide/be embarrassed about?
- As with the above issue, how about opening the books on teams so we know IF a team is actually losing money or not. We're not naive to expect this, but if you're gonna cry poverty AND ask us the customers to pay more, SHOW US WHY!
- Placing microphones on EVERYONE. Refs, coaches and ALL players. We called it uncensored-hockey We figured it would be a HUGE potential money maker for the league, and would cause a serious stir in the media, which is almost never bad!
4) All these issues would truly make the NHL transparent enough to make us happy. They also would make excellent business sense. The microphone idea would surely garner huge interest for fans. Who among us wouldn't pluck down a few bucks to hear the trash talk, etc? Its priceless stuff and would make the game so much more exciting to watch on television. Even a game that is out of hand would retain its viewers. The salary cap web site would get tons of hits as fans try to see where their team stands. Web hits equals advertising revenue, right? The injury issue doesn't garner money directly but does give fans background into their team/players. Keeping any important information away from the public generates distrust, and distrust causes people to turn away. So we say to Mr. Bettman, live up to your post lockout proclamation, and let the light shine on the NHL!
Monday, October 20, 2008
2) Several things jump out at us:
- Even the top team's payroll is FAR from the NHL. Only 1 team has a payroll over 30 mil. ( They apparently have a 'soft' cap? The median payroll is about 12 million. Even bottom revenue NHL teams BEFORE the salary cap were above that level. The NHL shouldn't have a huge issue retaining talent if only a handful of teams over there can throw away money.
- With so much disparity, (highest payroll is more than 700% the lowest) the lower teams won't compete/won't attract an audience. Although so far, this similar issue hasn't hurt MLB attendance, can a league that is trying to expand, build up a reputation have many teams remain bottom feeders and retain/attain a decent following?
- When the KHL began to 'flex its muscles'/play hardball against the NHL oil was hovering at $145/barrel. Today its falling below $75. Why does this matter? A great deal of the income for the majority of the KHL owners either comes directly or indirectly from this. With commodities falling like a rock can even the top teams throw money away?
- The recent death of Alexei Cherepanov illustrated better than any opinion we could give how the KHL, and Russia in general is still in many ways a 3rd world country. Players go there at their own risk.
3) The bottom line/our conclusion to all this is that its looking less and less that the KHL will/can become a TRUE rival league to the NHL. The folks over there are not stupid, and are probably starting to see this as well. Which is why we at FAUXRUMORS believe that we will see a gradual softening of the KHL positions as they relate to pilfering off NHL talent. They should see the NHL as a possible partner that could supply them with talent when NHL teams may want to 'hide' salary by "loaning' a player to the KHL. (see Vitaly Vishnevski- N.J. Devils) Thereby circumventing the salary cap here. We may also finally have some meaningful discussions about a fair transfer agreement. The Russians may have to give in a little here (as should the NHL), but getting something is significantly better than getting nothing for their home grown players, niet?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
2) We will be back at it next Saturday October 25th when 15 games or the entire circuit, ALL 30 TEAMS, are going to be playing. A chance to really build upon this weeks momentum, or to get crushed? LOL Also FR2 tells us they will again be doing their Power Rankings. Unlike other outlets who publish them weekly we will continue our tradition of a monthly rankings. Look for it in early November! As always, keep it here for the latest!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
- John Stevens- The Flyers are winless after 4 games with only a loser point in the standings so far. Expectations are always high in Philly. Will Holmgren/Snyder be patient?
- Barry Melrose- So far the mullet is with out a win in 4 tries. Losing in OT at home to the Islanders is not going to enamor him with management. They gave him a top heavy team, so should he be blamed? Probably not, but he will be if they continue to fail
- Tony Granato- Tony's second stint in Colorado. Until beating winless Philly last night the Av's were also without a win in 3 tries. If last night isn't a trend how long will the second coming of Granato last?
- Dave Tippett- We thought he was on the hot seat last year, but ownership fired the GM instead. Many including us see them as a Cup contender. They got blown out by lowly St Louis last night and have only 1 win in 4 games. Is it time to make a move in Big D?
- Randy Carlyle: The 2007 Cup winning coach is 0-4 and have looked awful. Will GM Burke allow his team to fall further back? Has the team tuned out Randy and a new voice needed?
- Mike Keenan: His team is 1-1-1, but he's always seemingly on the brink so we had to include him on the list. ; )
2) Do we believe any of these guys will be fired in the next week or so? Probably not, but the Savard firing does hi-lite the tenuousness that these guys have to their positions. No head coach can say their job is ever safe. Its win or get fired. Sometimes you're given a chance to work things out, sometimes you're out after 4 games and 2 losses.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Blackhawks made the move to let their coach of three years go, after the club got off to a "slow" 1-2-1 start. Holy shit bat man, talk about knee-jerk OVER reaction! Or is it a knee jerk reaction? As an aside, we wonder how Quenville's replacement in Colorado (Granato) is feeling this afternoon sporting a 0-3 record?? ; )
2) We gained tremendous respect for Geno when we read that statement. It speaks volumes! He wanted to distance himself from his countrymen who spurred a valid contract to make big money in the KHL. Those who may be anti-Russian, or anti Euro might use the argument that they(Euros) are here (the NHL) simply as mercenaries and they don't care if they win or not.
3) With rejecting MORE money to stay home and play Malkin made a clear statement that its MORE about playing in the world's best league, against the best competition than earning as much money as he can make. He's not exactly making minimum wage, (7 year 45 mil extension kicks in next season) but 11 million (tax free) in Russia would be the equivalent to a 15+ million/year deal here! Let the KHL keep Radulov and Yashin. We're happy with Malkin, Ovechkin, Datsyuk, and the best of the Russians who want to be here! Good for you, Evgeny!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- Detroit-VS-Phoenix: This series will be very similar to Detroit's first round series against the Nashville last year. No one expected the Preds to put up much of a fight, yet they pushed the Wings to 6 games before succumbing. We can see the Yotes doing much the same, but in the end the much more powerful/experienced Wings will prevail. Wings in 6
- Anaheim-VS-Chicago: Interesting series matching the veteran former Cup champs, and the youth laden upstarts from the Windy City. The Hawks won't be pushed out easily, but the Ducks' veteran presence will beat Chicago's youthful enthusiasm. Maybe next year Chicago! Ducks in 5
- Edmonton-VS-Calgary: An epic battle for Albertan dominance/bragging rights. Despite the Oilers 3rd seed position both teams are very closely matched. It will be a very spirited, exciting series for the fans, but in the end we see the Flames' better goaltending as being the difference. Flames in 6
- San Jose-VS-Dallas: A rematch of last year's second round match up. Last year many saw the Stars win over the highly touted Sharks as a bit of an upset. Not so this time around. The Stars will be right on the heels of the Sharks and Ducks all season. In the playoffs we expect that we will see a re-run of last year, with the Sharks (again) failing in the post season. Stars in 5
3) The Second round:
- Detroit-VS-Calgary: The bad blood that has existed with these teams when they meet in the playoffs won't be a factor this time as the Flames having just finished an emotionally/physically exhausting series against Edmonton simply don't have enough left in the tank to put up much of a fight against the now revving on all cylinder Detroit squad. Red Wings in 5
- Anaheim-VS-Dallas: Clearly the better of the two match ups of the western 2nd round. The Ducks hoping to avenge last years unexpected 6 game loss to the Stars. Many probably had the Ducks as their Cup favourites this season. Unfortunately, the Dallas Stars have a differing opinion, and shut down the Anaheim offense, and get timely scoring to defeat the 2007 champs. Stars in 6
4) Western Conference Finals.
- Detroit-VS-Dallas: Two of the more successful franchises of the late 90's/early 21st century, renew their rivalry in the Finals of the conference. Many see this as the Cup finals as either team will be favoured to win it all. Both teams are equally matched up front. Detroit having an edge on defense, and the Stars in net(despite the Osgood Cup wins). Ultimately it comes down to the Stars just being a tad hungrier than the champion Red Wings. It won't be easy, but a new champ will be crowned this season. Stars in 7
5) Stanley Cup Finals:
- Dallas-VS-Washington: Certainly these were not the teams almost any other prognosticator had in their Finals prediction articles this summer/fall. Perhaps one or the other, but not both. Probably fewer have Dallas picked than DC. The East is wide open, while the conventional choices in the West are Detroit, SJ or the Ducks. The Caps are many writers 'dark horse, or out right favourite. Anyway, much to the dismay of Capital fans this Finals series will be similar to their last trip here against the Red Wings in 1998. None of the games will be blow outs, but the Stars have too many players in their primes/have been through the wars of winning a Cup before, and they dominate their younger Eastern Conference rivals to win their first Cup in 10 years. Stars in 4
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
- Washington-VS-Boston: For teams that only play 4 times a year these two don't have any fondness for each other. This will be a very physical series, and not a blow out by any means even for a 1-8 series, as the teams are separated by a mere 12 points. In the end the extra fire power of the Capitals advances them into the second round. Caps in 6
- Montreal-VS-Tampa Bay: Should make for a very entertaining wide open, high tempo series with plenty of scoring, but in the end the superior defense and goaltending of the Habs will prevail over the TB Mullets. Habs in 5
- Philadelphia-VS-Carolina: Sorry Canes fans, after a bit of a rebounding regular season propelling them back into the post season, the Canes will be beat up and ripe for the taking especially by a team like the Flyers who are built for the playoffs. Flyers in 4.
- Pittsburgh-VS-NY Rangers: A rematch from last year's 2nd round match which was won by the Steel town denizens in 5 games. We see a different turn of events this time with an on coming Ranger team that struggled early in the season peaking at the right time and vanquishing the mighty Pens. Rangers in 6.
3) Second Round:
- Washington-VS-Rangers: New Territory to most Caps, while old hat making it this far for many Rangers. It proves to be a classic long series decided by several extra stanzas. This time the Caps aren't intimidated by the playoff atmosphere and win a very tough, long series. Caps in 7
- Montreal-VS-Philadelphia: A rematch of last year's second round. This time the Flyers are the ones who are favoured, and they don't disappoint as they dismantle and intimidate the Habs much like last year. Flyers in 5
4) Conference Finals:
- Washington-VS-Philadelphia: The rematch that many in the nations' capital was hoping for. last season's OT 7 game epic left many on the Caps with a bad taste and hungry to get back to redeem themselves. For the Flyers part they feel they are destined to win it all this year. It turns out to be as exciting if not more than last year, only more is on the line; a trip to the Finals. Again, OT will help decide more than 1 game and possibly the series once again. This time with the opposite result. Caps in 7
Be sure to look for our Pre Season Playoff Winner Predictions-West, which will also include a bonus of our pick to win the 'silver chalice', due out Friday! As always, keep it here for all the latest!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
2) For the night we went an abysmal 6-7, for a very poor (for us) .461 winning average. As alluded to above 3 of those 7 losses for us came in OT, so we conceivably could have been 9-4, but close doesn't count here, only with hand grenades. We did get our "Lock of the Week (SJ) correct, so we'll take solace in that. Look for our next installment next Saturday when we hope to redeem ourselves and get back over .500!
Also look for our preseason playoff predictions-East due out tomorrow and the West/our Cup winner prediction out Wednesday! As always, keep it here for all the latest!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
1) In a continuation of the bizarre, we say just plain stupid', PR move by the Canucks Roberto Luongo will indeed be team captain. Now, as we mentioned last week, the league will NOT allow him to wear/act as 'The C', but the 'Nuck have found a way around this. Yes, Roberto will indeed wear the 'C' BUT instead of the meaningless letter stitched to his Canuck's uniform, the team's goalie will instead have a letter C placed/painted on his goalie mask.
2) When asked if the 'C' stood for Canucks or captain, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis said: "It can stand for whatever he wants it to stand for." He sounded a bit defensive eh? As some have whimsically proposed we're sure Roberto will hear quite a bit of lip from opposition as to what the C really stands for. ; ) Anyone want to guess what Sean Avery will be saying when he 'meets' Luongo and his new C mask? LOL Now there's a time to have uncensored-hockey! In the mean time we reiterate what we wrote last week concerning captain-roberto. In simple language, its just dumb.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
- After this weekends debacle for the Lightning we are hearing that Lightning GM (unofficial) Brian Lawton is looking to add on his backline. Things got so desperate this weekend that Melrose had to play journeymen Jamie Heward 20 minutes/game. At this rate Smith and Kolzig will go on strike for lack of support. The name we keep hearing is Brian Berard, who had a respectable season on Long Island. Brian may help, but is NOT the answer! Additionally Lukas Krajicek will not quell further trade rumours about the Lightning need for added depth on their backline!
- We asked around and all but one of our sources tell us to NOT believe the Bruins/Savard trade rumours. As one asst GM told us, "The B's would be crazy to trade him, and he wouldn't be easy to deal anyway". Of course no one is 100% safe, but we would be surprised to see Savard traded any time soon.
- We're told the Rangers may make a tweak or two this week? Perhaps does that mean Shanahan will be added? Our source tell us that 'Brendan will be playing somewhere for sure before Columbus Day'
- Speaking of improbable trades, we're told that the Hawks have recieved several "serious inquiries" concerning their expensive back up Nikolai Khabibulin. " It could happen "within weeks if not days". This is one where we say, we'll believe it when we see it! A move to Russia is more likely than a trade in our opinion.
- We're told that the Maple Leafs are not done making moves after they waived problem child Mark Bell. They could waive everyone and it wouldn't help.
- Atlanta Thrashers may be forced to deal goalie stud prospect Ondrej Pavelec who has refused to report to the team's AHL affiliate, stating the team didn't give him a real shot to make the squad. Hey Ondrej, you should thank them! The Thrashers probably don't want to, but we're told they wouldn't have trouble finding a taker. Hey Waddell, you screwed up, again!
- We asked around about the Marian Gaborik situation. We're told the Wild intend to throw him their latest offer which will be in the neighborhood of a 6 year 50 million deal. The team doesn't want to throw an Ovechkin/DiPietro/Carter type contract (>6 years). They feel if he won't budge off that request they will entertain offers BUT we're told NOT to expect a deal of that sort until MUCH later in the season in hopes that Marion would reconsider.
- Finally in the "biggest LOL" category are the persistent Michael Nylander trade rumours. An agent (not Michael's) said that Nylander would be "tough to peddle" BUT some seem forget he has a No Trade Clause! He signed in DC for a reason. He has like 12 kids,(yes, an exaggeration) mostly in school so he's not going to allow a trade now when he has that kind of security. " It simply is NOT going to happen" he said.
3) The deadline for teams to get down to a 23-man roster is tomorrow afternoon, so we have been told to expect some significant wheeling and dealing over the next 24 hours.
Monday, October 6, 2008
- Monday, October 8, 2007
1) With the completed opening of the NHL season in London recently, we at FAUXRUMORS decided we'd look into the possibility of European expansion and its feasibility. Our friend at Jibblescibbits recently did their own story on this matter. ttp://jibblescribbits.blogspot.com/2007/09/nhl-europe.html
2) He believes it IS a possibility, albeit a distant one. We set forth in response to that post a series of reasons which we believe would most likely preclude a possible European expansion:
- The time differential. Getting folks to tune into NHL games is difficult enough down in the states now. Imagine if a good % of games started at 1-2 or 3:00 a.m. EST? Even worse for the folks out west.
- Differences in currency. It was a nightmare (until recently) to have 2 currencies dominate the league. Imagine if they throw the Euro, and other European currencies into the mix?
- The "Big countries" over the pond in Western Europe(England, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany) are not known as hockey hot beds. Certainly hockey is huge in Sweden, Czech and Slovak republics, Russia, and to a lesser extent Switzerland. Is that where the NHL wants to expand?
- Those aforementioned countries all have well established "Elite leagues". Would/could they find a series of folks willing to shell out big expansion fees in these smaller countries?
- How many North Americans would want to play 9 months of the year so far from home if they could stay closer at the same salary? You'd have a dichotomy of talent. The Euros staying over there and NA's staying over here. Unlike now where there is a mix on each team As a result the potential exists that one could see a top draft pick(s) refusing to report to a European city alla Eric Lindros refusing to go to Quebec in 1991 for language reasons. Only now it would occur on both sides and MUCH more frequently. Most Europeans speak English and its taught in almost all schools. The same is NOT true over here. How many North American hockey players speak Swedish, Russian, etc?
- The travel for teams here going to Europe and vise versa would be horrendous. Teams in the 2 western time zones would have it even worse than the East. Its hard enough leveling the playing field in 3-4 time zones. Adding 6-7 more would be a nightmare!
3) No, we simply can not see a legitimate scenario where a series of European NHL teams could be established. Way too many hurdles. Perhaps in the VERY distant future when:
- the Earth has ONE currency.
- the transport of folks to and from can be accomplished in minutes not hours,
- Then idea may have some potential. Until then, the best possible scenario that could have a legitimate shot at working would be to have a European champion play the NHL champion for the Stanley Cup. Even that would face tremendous challenges from North American hockey traditionalists, but would have the potential to really open up the NHL into European consciousness
Saturday, October 4, 2008
- Rangers-VS-Lightning in PRAGUE CZECH REPUBLIC
- Pittsburgh-VS-Ottawa AT STOCKHOLM SWEDEN
2) Ironically there are also 6 pre-season games on this side of the Atlantic as the other 26 teams have another few days until the regular season starts here. As our Count Down Clock indicates we recognized the Euro start as the official start(quibble if ya want). What we can agree on is that its GREAT to have hockey back!
Look next week for our look at possible Euro expansion and later in the week our pre-season playoff/Cup pick. As always, keep it here for all the latest!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Here is the list in the order of playoff seeding(divisional winners in the top 3)
2) The West:
- Detroit- 110 No shocker here! The best team in 2008 is at least as strong going into the new season and it could be argued with the addition of Hossa, they are in fact stronger. It also should be noted the Central (Norris) is still the weaker division of the West, despite Chicago's improvement. The Wings should rack up points against those teams as well as increased inter conference opponents. Possible weaknesses are the age of some of their vets, and most ominous, the dreaded "Stanley Cup Hangover" Also were the career years of both Zetterberg and Datsyuk a fluke or are they destined to maintain or even improve upon that production? Their goaltending remains fine with Osgood playing the best hockey of his career and Ty Conklin joins him to form the most economical goalie tandem in the league. There is no reason to believe the Wings won't easily win their division and hold off the other powers out West to win the conference title....again
- Anaheim- 103 Many are forgetting the Ducks are only 15 months removed from a Cup. Their Euro trip and the aforementioned Cup hangover, along with the idiotic Niedermayer faux-retirement hurt them early and when they finally seemed to come together they weren't nearly the tight, coherent, tough as nails team to play as they were the year before. That said, this year there are no such distractions. Selanne is in camp and ready to contribute. They will need he and newcomer Brendan Morrison to help stars, Getzlaf, Kunitz and Perry to improve their anemic scoring. Their strength was to be their defense led by the Norris twins and goaltending with J-S Giguere coming off a stellar season. Those are the core to any championship team. However with the cost cutting trades of both Schneider and O‘Donnell the defense is suddenly only above average. However, if they can even marginally improve their 28th rated attack, they will win the tough Pacific division and maybe even challenge the Wings for conference superiority
- Edmonton- 98 The Oilers won't be the 3rd best team out West, but given the way teams are seeded, they will be third nonetheless as our projected winner of the now weaker NW division. New ownership by drug dealer Darryl Katz has solidified the team from the top, and it appears its trickling down to the team as we see Edmonton as one of the more exciting teams to watch out west. Their forwards are young and fast. Adding Cole also improves their grit. Something that usually wins games in the new NHL. Their defense if it stays healthy should be good enough to win more than they lose. We aren't big fans of their goaltending but if Garon can show last year was no fluke, the Oilers will win their division going away. If he and Roloson struggle it will make for a long season in northern Alberta. We see the Oil as a solid playoff caliber team, and see them as best of a weaker NW division.
- San Jose- 102 They are no longer a young up and coming team. They are now a youngish, veteran filled team that so far has underachieved in the post season. That tendency led to the dismissal of coach Wilson. New coach Todd McClellan, a former asst in Detroit, will inject new life into the team, though we see a small reduction in their regular season point total, they will continue to be a solidly strong team to beat. Thornton/Marleau are the best 1-2 centers this side of Crosby/Malkin. Cheechoo seemed to regain his scoring touch in the 2nd half, and Ryan Clowe was one of the better Sharks in last seasons playoffs. That said, the real team MVP is goalie Evengi Nabokov, who had a fabulous season. They added Dan Boyle and Robert (don't call me Baretta) Blake to bolster the back line. We see this as make or break year in SJ. Thornton needs to show he's a leader and deliver in the post season else the deserved soft tag will stick for good. In the regular season at least the Sharks will thrive and be competitive for the Pacific division and at least a 4th seed.
- Dallas- 98 The Stars showed that they are back with a solid regular season followed by an impressive playoff run. Many saw them as the 2nd best team in the West last year. Unlike previous years their forward core is made up of players in their prime. Led by captain Brendan Morrow, Ribiero, and new comer Brad Richards, this is a good group of forwards. Back on D injuries last spring forced the Stars to see what their younger back liners could do and the likes of Grossman and Fistric were more than up to the task, making it more likely one or both wil have key roles in their top 6 along with the ageless Zubov and Robidas. In goal Turco showed he was not a regular season only goalie, with stellar performances to help propel the Stars into the conference Finals. Therefore we can only see a similar type season again this year with a solid 3rd place finish in the tough Pacific and a 5th seed in the West.
- Calgary- 95 The Flames have one of the game's best at forward, on defense and in net. Assuming Cammalleri can be an upgrade over Tanguay’s 54 points, the Flames are still short on offense. Sure they can make up for it a lot of nights with the defense and goaltending, but they also need to find a few more nights off for Kiprusoff. Does Bertuzzi have anything left? Can youngsters like Nystrom and Boyd contribute? This looks like a team that will need to have things break right just to be stuck in neutral, but could also slip back considering the young, improving teams behind them in the West. Still, they have too much talent to not qualify for the post season, else look for the Keenan rumours to heat up in earnest!
- Chicago- 94 They seem to be everyone's favourite "sleeper" pick this year. This years Capitals. Some of that optimism is warranted, but don't forget along with that talent are a lot of green players, starting with their captain. Towes is going to be a solid, if not stellar player, but is he ready, NOW, to captain an NHL team? However, the Hawks didn't miss the post season by a lot last year, so even a mild improvement should push them over that threshold top 8 in the West. Their potential downfall is their lack of a physical presence. Can they be pushed around? Still with the addition of Campbell on the backline along with their forwards they should score their share of goals. They also should be one of the more exciting teams to watch this year.
- Phoenix- 92. In many ways it can be argued that the Coyotes have as much claim to be a 'sleeper as the Blackhawks. They possess lots of quality youngsters, and for the first time in many a year, a reliable starting goalie to start the season. Add to that the addition of a true #1 center in Jokinen and they might actually have a potent offense this year (21st last year) Their defenese should OK with Jovanovski and Morris, but the key will be a full season of Bryzgalov. Its no coincidence that when the Ducks gave him away for nothing last fall the Yotes turned it around. Ilya played like a true #1 most of the way. If he can reproduce that kind of performance coupled with an improved attack, the Desert Dogs may finally get back into the post season
- Minnesota- 90. Any Jacques Lemaire coached team can not be counted out of playoff contention. As he always has a hard working defensive approach type team that has a chance to win each night. However, we feel they have lost enough fire power from last season(Demitra/Rolston) that they will lose more of those 2-1 games than they win this season, and they will be unseated as NW division champs, and may find themselves on the outside looking in come mid April.
- Colorado- 88. Sorry Av's fans we don't see a return to the post season for your team. No, not a complete collapse, they will be competitive for the 8th spot (too much talent for that), but too many question marks to pencil them in there right now. The biggest is starting in goal where Budaj has yet to show he can carry the team for long periods, (Despite the i-believe-in-peter-budaj campaign) and Raycroft has been anything but stellar since his Calder days. Tony Granato RE-takes the reigns as the new(old) coach. Their defense if they stay healthy is one of the better in the West Their forwards were quite brittle last season. can they stay healthy? If all the pieces fall into place its still not impossible they could slip into 8th, but we wouldn't place big bucks on it.
- Vancouver- 85. We don't see the twins/Luongo show carrying the Canucks to the post season. In fact we wouldn't be surprised to hear significant trade talk involving the Swedish duo. How difficult a trade will that be; trading not one but 2 star forwards at once? They added Demitra after it appeared that Sundin spurred their rumoured 20 mil offer (perhaps he felt the Canucks might make the playoffs?) Even with his addition we aren't impressed with their scoring ability. Their defense is solid, but not scarily physical. So the key will be how far Luongo can carry the 'Nucks. Unless he has a Hart callibre season we don't see the Canucks back in the playoffs, and it could be a long season in one of the most beautiful city's FAUXRUMORS has visited
- Nashville- 83. We have new found respect for Barry Trotz, but we can't see them pulling another playoff berth out of their hats this year. The ownership turmoil has not been settled. In fact it can be argued that things are even more bleak with the DelBaggio fiasco. Also, in addition to having a more competitive division, they lost one of their top 3 forwards with the oft discussed Radulov defection. We do like the future for their young mobile defense, but we're not impressed with the Ellis/Rinnes goaltending tandem to pull them up/back into a top 8 position. Is this the last season for hockey in Nashville. We believe it may be.
- St. Louis- 81. We just are not YET impressed with what the Blues will put on the ice this season. We are already on record about how we feel about Keith Tkachuk. Their strong point, defense wasn't 'all that' last year, and their goaltending although not a weak spot, isn't gong to carry the Blues into the playoffs either. The tough loss of Johnson also won't help. They have some good solid young players who in a couple of seasons may get them back to respectability, but its not going to be this season in our opinion
- Columbus- 80. They made some significant deals in the off season, but overall we'd have to say most were lateral moves. Howson had a mess to clean up after 6 seasons of Doug McClean, so no one should expect immediate results. Hitch will have them in shape and ready to compete every night, but we don't see them having enough to displace one of the top 8 for their first playoff spot. They do have some young players who like in St. Louis may propel the team forward, we don't see it this year Unfortunately this will be 8 seasons without a sniff at the post season for Blue Jacket fans.
- LA- 75: The Kings have collected an abundance of young talent, and could pull a Tampa Bay Rays-like turnaround (went with them instead of the aforementioned NHL teams because it was more surprising) just probably not until 2009-10. This year the goaltending is still young and the defense could be even younger, so there will be some serious 'growing pains' (Big losses). It will therefore probably be another losing year in L.A., but next off season might be the time for the Kings to finally to start to turn things around (Another lottery pick-Taveres-?) wouldn't hurt that either
Thursday, October 2, 2008
- Marty Brodeur- If a goalie could be captain its probably a safe bet Brodeur would have been so named after Scott Stevens retired
- Rick DiPietro- Is a locker room leader we're told, and obviously has job security on a team that has much turn over annually
- Olie Kolzig- Until his free agent move to TB, was the defacto captain of the Capitals
We just implore those or any other team that is thinking of making a like move to the Canucks to NOT!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
As you can see we didn't exactly nail things, although overall we did better than we did the previous season.
2) To simplify things we will do each conference separately. We will rate each team 1-15, placing division winners in their appropriate top 3 ranking. WE believe as its been the last couple of seasons that there will be a huge fight for the last 1-2 spots, with all but 1-2 teams in it until the last couple of weeks/days.
- Washington-104: Some might be surprised to see The Caps placed as the best team in the East. This has as much to do with their team as it does the relative mediocrity that is the Eastern Conference. By no means are they a shoe-in to be the beasts of the East, but with there being no real elite teams in this conference they have more than enough talent to be right there. Some forget that from Thanksgiving to April they were the 2nd best team in the East. They are not without question marks, starting in goal where Jose Theodore (7 years removed from his Hart winning season) is the new #1 guy in town. With the teams potent offense they will just need Jose to play above average to win on most nights, especially against SE division opponents. On the back line there are also some issues, but in the end we see them winning their division going away, and possibly the East.
- Montreal- 102 Was and is one of the better skating teams in the NHL. They upgraded their offense with the additions of Lang and Tanguay giving them considerable offensive depth. On defense they have a decent array of talented pairings led by Markov, Hamrlik and Komisarek. Time will tell if the loss of Mark Streit will affect their PP effectiveness. In goal this will be the first full season for whiz kid Carey Price. He had an excellent final 20 games in the regular season, but looked mediocre in the playoffs. The Habs will flounder or flourish on his tending this season. Overall we'd say they are the best of the significantly weaker NE division. What was once the strongest division in the East is now a shadow if its former self. Still, we see the Habs combo of solid scoring and good goaltending getting them a solid top 3 seeding once again this season
- Philadelphia-101- Went from a bottom feeder to a Cup contender in one short season. No fluke as they had the pieces in place to make this jump. A late season swoon almost cost them a playoff spot. Despite the loss of late season addition Prospal, the cost cutting trade of Umberger, and the signing of under appreciated young defensemen Steve Eminger, the Flyers basically stood pat this offseason hoping their youngsters would continue to develop and Gagne would finally stay healthy. He was a big upgrade over his predecessors in net, but we are not sold on Biron as a solid #1 goalie. Overall we see them having a playoff calibre season, with a modest improvement from last season, and good for a possible 1st place finish (especially with the wounded Pens) in the very tough/competitive Atlantic division
- Pittsburgh-98. The reigning (playoff) Eastern Champs. Put together an impressive run last spring. The biggest part in our opinion was the 'coming out party' of M-A Fleury, who finally showed why he was drafted so high in 2003. They are as deep as any team up the middle with Malkin, Crosby and Staal, but are just as weak on the wings, prompting some to think they may move Staal to a wing position. Still, overall they possess plenty of offense to outscore opponents. They had an under appreciated defense that is better than they are given credit for. Not in the class of some western powers, but good enough to hold down most East teams. However injuries to their top 2 defenders in Whitney and Gonchar will hurt their regular season position(Both should be back for the stretch drive) Before those injuries they were our pick to win the Atlantic. They will still be tough to beat, but not as powerful
- NY Rangers- 97 Despite the considerable change in personnel, especially up front, we see the Rangers as neither no worse, or better than last season. Certainly a team that has one of the best goalies in the NHL in Lundqvist can't ever be counted out. While we believe that Redden was overpaid/rated, he certainly still upgrades and already solid defense corps with Girardi and Staal young future stars. We do feel the team will miss Avery's agitation, and we will wait to see if they are going to be perceived as a soft team, especially when the Flyers come to town. Additionaly Zherdev might either b a revelation, or a disappointment, as he was in Columbus. If he and Naslund can produce up front this team could surprise and do even better than we are predicting here. However, we are predicting a solid 3rd place finish in the Atlantic, just behind Phily, good for 5th in the East
- Carolina-95- After two disappointing non-playoff seasons, including missing the post season on the final day last season, we believe the 'Canes will be back. Assuming no further injuries(Williams who will be missed until March) Carolina still has one of the better set of forwards in the East. We also like their mobile, good skating defense led by new comer Joni Pitkanen and Joe Corvo. They will miss Cole's toughness and scoring touch, but if Samsonov can continue his renaissance of sorts, the Canes will score enough goals to win their share of games. They will need Cam Ward to elevate his game to 2006 playoff levels, not play inconsistent lie last season for the team to succeed. Still, we see enough of an improvement to push the Canes into a 2nd place SE division finish, good for 6th in the East.
- Tampa Bay- 94- Probably the toughest team to predict in the NHL. Such an overwhelming turnover on and off the ice. Since this time last season they have a new owner, the flamboyant Hollywood producer Oren Koules. A new GM, (although its not official yet) in Brian Lawton, and a new head coach in former ESPN hockey personality, Barry 'Mullet' Melrose(photo here) who replaced John Tortorella. In addition they have added Prospal, Malone, Recchi, Vrbata, Roberts, Meszeros, Kolzig, etc. Tons of IF's, and potential. Returning are solid players/stars in Lecavalier, St. Louis, and underrated defensemen Paul Ranger. Along with wonder kid, first player picked at the 2008 draft, Steve Stamkos, who is assured of a roster spot. There is little doubt that the Lightning will score goals. The question will be can they hold their opponents? Top goalie Mike Smith has never been a starter, and Olie Kolzig hasn't been a backup in 12 years, so it should be interesting if this duo can withstand what will be tons of shots each game. Overall though we believe that Lightning will win more of those 7-5 games than they lose, propelling them back into the postseason with a 7th place finish in the East
- Boston- 92 From the other reviews we've read we believe we are one of the few who see the Bruins as a playoff team this season. No, we weren't impressed with the silly money thrown at Ryder, but the fundamentals that got this team into the post season last year are still here, and with the addition of Ryder and a possibly healthy Bergeron, the B's might be a sleeper team in the East. There perennial issue in net is still uncertain, but whomever starts, Thomas or Fernandez, the team has a shot to win on most nights. Claude Julian is an underrated coach, who's defense-first approach worked like it did in his previous teams(Montreal/NJ) and we can see him guiding his team back into the post season as the 8th seed, and finishing 2nd in the weak NE division
- Florida- 90: Instead of rebuilding the Panthers have been in no-mans-land -- just outside the playoffs, but no lottery picks to build around. The Panthers are going to be young, and they’re probably not going to score a whole lot. They have some good young forwards, and the defense should be pretty solid even with the addition of defensive liability Bryan McCabe. Florida needs guys like Weiss and Welch to fulfill their promise, and having Horton, Ballard and Bouwmeester go from really good young players to great would also help. However we can see the Bowmeester issue being a distraction until his contract status is resolved. They will be competitive, but fall short.. again.
- New Jersey- 89: For the past 3 seasons we have had the Devils finally slipping out of the post season. We have been wrong. However, we believe that we might finally get this one right this time around. The team seems to be looking back (by re-acquiring past Devils Holik and Rolston). Other than Parise, who is a legit star in the league, no other forward appears to be on the upside in their careers. Several including Elias, Gionta and Madden will have to step back to where they were 3-4 seasons ago. The biggest question though is whether the team continues to play now 36 year old Brodeur 75+ games. With apparently no backup that they feel comfortable playing more than a handful of games they have no choice. Marty will have to have yet another Hart/Vezina calibre season to get this team into the post season.. We simply don't see it, but we've underestimated the denizens of Newark before.
- Ottawa- 87. This placement will probably surprise some, but if one looks at what the Senators did after their initial 15-2 start, go 28-29-8, makes us wonder which is the real Ottawa? We believe its the latter. They still might possess one of the best top lines in the NHL, and overall have a good set of forwards but that alone will not be enough. Our biggest issue with them is in net. Martin Gerber (the worst of the 4 Marty goalies) is not a true starter/#1 in the NHL. Lie the rest of the team, he had a hot start, but fell back precipitously in the 2nd half. Now that Ray has gone to Russia, it leaves ALL the load on Gerber's fragile shoulders, with no reliable back up to take over if he falters. Additionally with the loss of Redden and Meszeros the back line is no longer one of the best in the East. Still not bad, but no longer a dominating force. Unfortunately with Gerber in net they would have needed to have that kind of defense. Therefore we see this as a down year in Kanata, and a playoff miss.
- Buffalo- 85. Just when it appeared that the Sabres woes on and off the ice were a distant memory comes the past 16 months where they have lost Briere, Drury, Campbell. Were forced to overpay for Vanek, and more recently it appears that their saviour, team owner, billionaire and perennial gubernatorial candidate tom-golisano wants to sell the team. He rescued them from bankruptcy after the Rigas family(now in prison) ran their businesses into the ground. On the front line there is no denying that this team is going to score its share of goals, but we aren't confident that their defense and goaltending are playoff calibre. Miller looked quite ordinary at times, and finished with marginally above average stats. Even more scary is the fact that coach Lindy Ruff intends to play his backup at least 30 games this year to keep Miller more fresh. That backup? Patrick Lalime. Still feeling confident Sabres fans? On the backline the defense looked porous to the extreme, and replacing Kalinen with Rivet won't change that. Overall we see this as a backward stumble season, and possibly Ruffs last behind the bench, and No playoffs again western NY
- Atlanta- 78 The poster child franchise on how to NOT run an expansion franchise. We expected a big turn back last year after the teams first foray into the post season, and we weren't disappointed. Don Waddell continues to be allowed to run/ruin this team, despite repeated huge errors(Coburn for Zhitnik), etc. The coach on the block this season John Anderson will have to deal with weakness in almost every category. The lone bright spots are star winger Ilya Kovalchuk up front, and Tobias Enstrom on defense. From past moves both will probably be traded by Wadell at the deadline. ; ) In goal we're still waiting to see if Kari Lehtonen is a true star in the making or not. Between injuries and a bad team in front of him its difficult to assess properly. What isn't difficult is to predict that this will be (another) long season on Atlanta. Perhaps the owners will finally wise up and either sell/move the team, or fire Wadell and allow a real GM to mold this team into a reputable franchise now in its 10th season.
- NY Isles- 75 As wer're sure our Isles fans readers wil be quick to remind us, we had the isles in this position the past 2 seasons and they have exceeded those expectations each time. Last year they were in the thick of the playoff push until a series of injuries devestated their lineup, pushing them into a lottery pick. They will also tell us that the team has made the post season 4 of the past 6 seasons. That all said, judging the current roster, and new faces, etc, we can't help it but feel pessimistic for this years squad. A team that was dead last in scoring only added aging Doug Weight. Sure key offensive payers were injured, but old guys typicaly do. The lone brigt spots are DiPietro who, if he can stay healthy for the entire season,(he's already nursing an injury in the preseason!) give them a chance to win every night. Can he play a Brodeur-like 75+ games, all 1-0, 2-1, 3-2? We also like youngster Kyle Okposo. he might not yet be ready to score 30+, but he should have an impact up front. On the backline an aray of older guys Sutton and Witt, and new comer Striet to go along with injury prone Gervais and campoli. (Already Campoli and Sutton have apparently serious injuries for the team to troll the waiver wires) It also remains to be seen if the recent over achieving was partly due to fomer coach ted Nolan. New coach Scott Gordon has his work cut out for him, and we see another lottery pick for the Isles this year.
Toronto- 83. It appears the new 'battle of Ontario might be which teams sucks less! Team-turmoil goes into this season with few strengths and many weaknesses. While he's certainly NOT in the top 5-6 of NHL netminders (as per the Hockey News) Vesa Toskala is a solid #1. Unfortunately the same can't be said for many of the guys in front of him. Having a defense-first coach in Ron Wilson wil help, but unless Blake returns to his salad days on the Island, and Antropov can become a true star in this league (or if Sundin returns from his self imposed exile) they will have trouble scoring. The cost saving trade of McCabe for Mike Van Ryn won't hurt them defensively, but their PP might falter. All things considered as of today another lottery pick could be in the leafs future, the playoffs don't appear to be.