Friday, August 29, 2008

He Said She Said?

1) The title is tongue in cheek, but the result of the incident that permanently injured former Avalanche forward Steven Moore is no laughing matter. To review for those who may have been on another continent Bertuzzi, then with the Canucks, grabbed Moore, a Colorado Avalanche rookie, from behind during a 2004 game, punched him in the side of the head, then landed on top of Moore, driving his head into the ice. Moore, who lay in a pool of blood for several minutes, was removed on a stretcher. Moore suffered a broken neck and a concussion; doctors have since ordered him to retire from the NHL. He filed a lawsuit against Bertuzzi, the Canucks and their parent company in Ontario in February 2006. The lawsuit is seeking $38 million for loss of income and damages, naming Bertuzzi, the Canucks and Orca Bay as defendants.

2) In apparent conflicting statements Todd Bertuzzi was reported to have said that his former Canucks coach Marc Crawford ordered him to do what he did. A statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court by Moore's lawyer and obtained by FAUXRUMORS said Crawford pointed to Moore's name and number on a board in the Canucks' locker room during the second intermission of that game and said, " ... [Moore] must pay the price". The court documents also allege that, as Moore lay motionless, "a television camera panned to Crawford who was smirking," according to The Toronto Star. In an accompanying document, Moore's lawyer claims Crawford's statement was disclosed by Bertuzzi while under oath, and by then-Canucks general manager Dave Nonis.

3) More recently according to a published report, former Vancouver Canucks head coach Marc Crawford claims in court documents that Todd Bertuzzi acted in "direct disobedience" of the team's coaching staff in his 2004 attack on Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore. The Toronto Star is reporting that Crawford stated that the Canucks' coaching staff was attempting to pull Bertuzzi off the ice before the attack that broke Moore's neck and ended his career. "This was not done under any specific or general direction or encouragement from Crawford, was a direct disobedience of the instruction that Bertuzzi had been given from the bench"

4) One would think that these conflicting statements could/should be easily corroborated/challenged by the many other folks who were in the room/on the bench that night. IF Crawford made the statement that Moore needed to be punished then we could assume that Todd wasn't the lone player who heard his head coach make that statement. Also, tapes of the game should show whether or not Crawford appeared to 'smirk' or not. Not that this should mean squat. Its also not certain how much liability Crawford should garner IF he said what was alleged. Its not like he stood and pulled a reggie-dunlop, and put a 'bounty' on the head of Moore, offering his "own money for the first guy who nails that punk."

5) Sorry, but Todd Bertuzzi and only Todd Bertuzzi should take responsibility for his actions! His is NOT an automaton; doing what he is ordered regardless of the consequence. We may not particularly like Marc Crawford, but with the current information available feel he should have no liability in this matter.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Salary Cap Transparency!?

1) 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 have long championed the idea that this should be known to all. Shouldn't the NHL have on their web site what each team's cap number is at all times? If as the league professed after the lockout that they were going to be more 'transparent' as to league workings, we would find it would be very fan-friendly to publish a daily updated cap liability for every team. Right now we have to use web sites such as to get an idea of what they are. However, even they, as good as they try to be (and they are the best/up to date site that we have found) even they will admit they only can estimate the salary cap numbers.

2) Fans try to understand why certain moves are made. Why a player was 'bought out/traded, etc? By publishing these numbers for all 30 teams and updating them daily throughout the season, and periodically during the off season based upon trades, contract extensions, call-ups/demotions/long term injury,etc we the paying public could get to know what/why things are happening to our teams.

3) We've written to owners/teams and the NHL on a few occasions with respect to this matter and thus far have not received an answer back. This wouldn't be a difficult to do. This process/numbers we are told already is done daily, but not made public. It just would be a simple matter for the league to make these figures open to the their fans (the ones who pay the bills!). We believe it would be a VERY popular destination on the 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?

Monday, August 25, 2008

NHL-KHL Cold War Intensifies?

1) As the cold war appears to have resumed between the US and Russia it appears a similar situation is shaping up with the NHL and the KHL. As we have written on this blog before we don't want to over estimate the influence of the KHL, but it also can not be ignored. Recently NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and KHL president Alexander Medvedev met in Italy to discuss their differences. From what we have heard the meeting not only failed to resolve any issues, but actually made things worse!

2) From a source close to the situation Bettman came into the meeting all charm and (pseudo) gracious to his KHL counterpart, but with his arrogant swagger that pissed off Medvedev. However we're told Bettman's demeanor changed 180 degrees as soon as the issue of 'defected' Predator forward Alexander Radulov’s contractual situation was broached. Medvedev, offered to pay a transfer fee to the Predators in order to resolve the dispute, but that Bettman refused to consider the proposal. (The NHL has forbidden its teams to pay transfer fees to European clubs.) With Bettman not liking Medvedev's response things immediately turned very unpleasant with Bettman threatening legal action. We're told that the KHL boss actually chuckled out loud in response to Bettman's threat and retorted that he should feel free to take this issue to the Russian court of his choice. (Knowing full well the NHL would have ZERO chance of winning a decision in a Russian court room. The reverse is true in the states where Russia has failed to win any of its cases here)

3) The kicker to the whole meeting was what Medvdedev then threatened. The KHL commish informed Bettman that the KHL would hold a universal draft for the 2009-10 season that will include players currently under contract in the NHL. That had to incite Bettman even further. Not only would the KHL not reverse its Radulov stance, but they now appeared to want to make it policy. To further throw flames on an already smoldering fire Medvedev went on to tell Bettman KHL clubs will offer signing bonuses of $1M to players who are playing in the NHL this season!!

4) Now while its likely that the threat to try to pay large bonuses to lure players under contract in the NHL is a negotiating ploy by the Russians to get a better deal, it could back fire on them if they decide to push the NHL too much. What we believe will be the end result to all this is a compromise on both sides. The KHL will have to stop attempting to plunder NHL-ers and the NHL will have to agree to do the same, and have an equitable transfer agreement that compensates teams that lose players to another league. It may take additional posturing, and perhaps even some (failed) legal action, but in the end both sides will see it in their long term interests that they don't stay in a state of war with the other. Peace is usually much more profitable!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rating The Franchises-2008

1) As was mentioned recently by FAUXRUMORS, there is little occurring these days. The dog days for NHL fans, indeed! WE decided it would be fun/entertaining/thought-and discussion provoking to list who we believe are the best organizations. Rate them into 3 categories [Top] [Middle] and [Bottom]using admittedly subjective view points. We did this last year, and it provided for much interesting discussion. Many teams changed positions this year compared to last. Our ratings will be made based upon:

  • On ice success- Not necessarily numbers of Cups, but a combination of regular season AND playoff success over the recent past

  • Fan support- Especially recently we have seen some teams enjoy great on ice success and play before half empty arenas. While we also see (especially in Canada) teams sell out despite poor records

  • Ownership stability- This seems to be the key for most successful teams. Success starts from the top and trickles to all areas.

  • City Intangibles- Some places are just better cities to live and some arenas are electric, while others are dead.

  • Competence of Management (coaches/GM/ownership)- Needless to say this is important for overall on-ice success

2) We also want to make it clear that placement on this list is fluid. That is many teams shifted positions from last year's placement. We will try to mention where we had teams last time we did this list in 2007. Anyway without further verbiage, here is our list Broken into the 'Top 10' Middle Ten, and 'Bottom Ten' in alphabetical order.

3) The Top 10:

  • Calgary- The Flames remain in our top 10. Like all of the Canadian teams, the Flames enjoy strong fan support. With the excellent job GM/former coach Daryl Sutter has provided, the team originally from Atlanta, is one of the best 'small market' NHL teams with an impressive array of stars Despite being relatively far north it seems to be an attractive city for players to come/live.

  • Chicago- From the out-house to the Pent-house. What a difference a year makes! The death of William Wirtz was the difference maker. Once he croaked, the dark cloud overlying this original 6 franchise was lifted. The team is now chock full of young stars in the making, and seems poised to reemerge from their self imposed dark age. We believe the fans will also return.

  • Dallas- Owner Tom Hicks has resisted being to much of a hands on owner and all the mess that results (see Wang). He surprisingly replaced Armstrong last winter with Brett Hull, but so far the move seems to have worked. They continue to have good regular seasons and arguably were the 2nd best team in the West last year. The team continues to have strong fan support even in the ice-unfriendly mid Texas environs.

  • Detroit- Where else would "Hockey Town" be but in the Top 10. Despite much published non sell outs (which were unheard of until this year) the team remains a hot ticket, even in economically depressed Michigan. The Wings have taken home 4 Cups in the last decade. Many thought the team would suffer with the salary cap. So far they haven't, with top finishes in their conference the past 3 years. There is no reason not to have them as favourites to repeat.

  • Edmonton- The 'Oil' are back into the top 10 after falling into the middle stanza last season with the many Lowe-gaffes. It appears the franchise is on very stable financial footing with the purchase of the team by billionaire drug dealer Daryl Katz who has pledged to not interfere with the running of the team. The team of Lowe and now Tambellini appear to have assembled the roster to compete for the division. Better days seem to be ahead in the north land

  • Minnesota- The Wild remain in our top 10, and despite being a recent expansion team (2000-01) are big success. In hockey crazy Minnesota, the Wild are a very tough ticket. The team has had mild/moderate on ice success, but their management team led by former Habs Doug Risebrough and Jacques Lemaire have this team in decent stead though we don't see them yet as a true contender

  • Montreal- The Habs are back in our top 10. They have been going through hard times (for them) No Cups in 15 years is a record for this storied franchise. Still, they are in good financial shape, and in capable hands with Bob Gainey at the helm, and as always the fans always sell out the arena. We can see the Canadiens back in the thick of things again this season

  • Philadelphia- Big on ice turn around last season. No Cups in the city of Brotherly Love since 1975, but plenty of near misses since. One of the best U.S markets, supporting 2 pro teams(AHL Phantoms play near by). Their ownership is very motivated to put out a quality product, and therefore the Flyers seem to never go through long rebuilds that other teams seem to have to endure.

  • Pittsburgh- Return to the Top 10. With now stable ownership, a new arena on the way to go along with a fine stable of young players led by Crosby and Malkin the Penguins are another fine example of how fast a franchise can turn things around. The team is poised to sell out every home game this season. Something unheard of 4 years ago in the dilapidated Igloo. Nice job Super-Mario!

  • San Jose- Another expansion success story. The big prize has so far alluded this team from California, as they have seemed to underachieve the past couple of seasons but that could soon change. Solid ownership and a competant GM in Dog Wilson form a sound foundation. Fan support in Silicon valley has never been a problem in the Shark Tank!

4) Middle 10:

  • Anaheim- Yes, amazingly enough the 2007 Cup champs still were unable to crack the top 10! If they continue their top level of play, and their GM signs an extension they could be there next year, but for now there in the middle 10. If we did this ratings 3 years ago the Ducks might have been in the 'Bottom 10!' However, they have new, apparent solid ownership, but its uncertain if burke will still be here long!

  • Buffalo- Our 'slinky' on the list, lots of ups and downs. Went from a bottom feeder 3 years ago close to bankruptcy, to the top 10 last season, only to fall now into the middle ground based upon ownership instability(Golisano appears to want to sell) and Regier doesn't appear to be able to retain the Sabre's star players. We can see the Sabres missing the playoffs. Will fans stay/be loyal through this?

  • Colorado- Formerly the Nordiques of Quebec City, the squad from Denver had been one of the best franchises in the NHL the previous decade. Starting with good drafting back in Quebec, to nice trades. Most notably the Roy deal in 1996. Still one of the most difficult seats to come by, the team had an apparent awful off-season so they seem poised to be a bubble if not even a lower echelon team this year. It remains to be seen how old/new coach Tony Granato does during his second tour in the Mile High city

  • New Jersey: We were initially tempted to drop the Jersey franchise into the bottom 10, but felt their continued playoff appearances would seem to make the premature. We did drop them from the top 10. Clearly one of the most successful organizations from top to bottom in the past 12+ years. A perennial Cup contender, with 3 Cups since 1995. Lou Lamarello is still considered one of the top hockey executives of his generation. Although since the new CBA started it seems Lou has lost a bit of his luster. The negatives continue to be fan support. Despite the record, the team continues to struggle at the gate. Despite the new arena (In Newark of all places), and in the playoffs, the team was 23rd in attendance this past year with a relative anemic 15,500/game, or 88% full. We wonder what fan support would be if the team suffered through a couple of non-playoff years?

  • NY Rangers: May be on the verge of going into the top 10, but not quite yet. Are one of the more valuable NHL franchises. Being in the top U.S market, playing in The World's Greatest Arena" certainly helps. Seems the new CBA, which forced them to spend more wisely, has actually helped them to become more competitive and look more long term with their moves. Actually they have a good stable of young players who will get regular ice time. Despite the Bettman threats, the team has stable ownership and Sather appears to have adjusted to the new cap. Their coach, Tom Renney seeems to be the right man for this team.

  • Ottawa: Last season they were right on the cusp of getting into the top 10, but we had to drop them down this time around. Had been a power in the regular season until this past year, but we see a continued weakening. If it were not for their mediocre goaltending (that appears to not be changing) they would have be a threat before this next season, but we don't see them as a threat any longer. We're not big fans of their GM, Murray. Ownership wise they appear to have rebounded from their near bankruptcy of a few years ago. Fans fill their building to above capacity (107 % attendance) A nice city, we'd recommend visiting.

  • St. Louis: Another team that was on our cusp of a bottom ten placement. They would have been in our bottom 10 2 years ago. Since John(JD)Davidson took over and new stable owners have taken over the franchise appeared ready to resume playoff viability. However we have not seen a big turn around just yet. Though they are still a couple of seasons away from being a Cup contender. A traditionally well supported team in a good sports city, they improved last season, but 83% attendance needs to be improved upon, else a bottom 10 is in their future.

  • Tampa Bay: A team in disarray both on and off the ice a mere 5 months ago. Since then a new ownership group committed to winning. A new GM, and a new coach to go along with a bevy of new faces to the roster has the Florida Bay area buzzing with anticipation. Jury still out how successful this team will be, but Tampa Bay is overall a definite expansion success. Despite clamoring from up north that hockey shouldn't be in Florida, it has shown to be very viable here. They have a Cup in their resume, and excellent fan support, even with last years abysmal record they had 95% attendance! Numbers that their cross state rivals would love to have.

  • Vancouver: One of the most beautiful NHL cities we visited. Seems to be a great place to play. Great and loyal fan base. Nice arena, etc. However the team has yet to put it all together on the ice. They have one of the best goalies in Luongo so they will be playoff contenders, but don't possess enough depth to challenge the Western powers. Hopefully they will stop the seemingly annual uniform changes! LOL

  • Washington: The denizens of the Nation's capital jump into the middle 10 with their exponential growth both at the gate and in the standings. Returning to the post season after 4 years on the outside. they continue to have stable ownership, and the job GM, McPhee has done the past 2-3 years assembling this team can't be denied. They also have the reigning Adams winning coach in Boudreau, not to also mention the Ross, Richard, Pearson, and Hart winner in Alex the Gr-8. It appears better times are in store for DC.

5) The Bottom 10: These many times are some of the toughest teams to rate as we dislike having to place 10 teams in this section. Clearly some teams deserve to be here, while others are on the edge of the middle.

  • Atlanta: A team that has earned this position. Fan interest even when the team seemed to be emerging has been tepid at best. We have little faith in GM Don Waddel, and ownership is unsteady. They are likely to struggle both at the gate and on the ice this season. A move(again) from Atlanta are possible. Its just NOT a good sports city.

  • Boston: If ever there was an example of poor ownership hurting a team its here. Jeremy Jacobs has been a tight wad, hands on poor owner and has resulted in a 35+ year drought that has no appearance of ending. Seems this team has a new #1 goalie every year. Stupid trades (Thorton) haunt this one proud successful franchise. Its too bad, its a great sports city, and a fun place to visit!

  • Carolina: One of those teams we alluded to earlier that was on the cusp of the middle 10. They are no where near Atlanta, but aren't quite an elite franchise either. Despite success on the ice, (Cup win in 2006) the team still struggles at the gate and are a mere blip on the local media's radar. They went from an average of 17,400/game after their Cup to 16,600 or 88% full last season We shudder at what will/would happen if they fell on hard times for a few seasons. Their ownership is steady , but Rutherford was rumored to be looking for work elsewhere and the tenure of coach Laviolette after 2 seasons without a playoff appearance is tenuous at best.

  • Columbus: Things may be changing, but until they do, we have to keep this team in the 'Bottom 10.' They may be poised for improvement, but in the tough West where many of the best teams reside it will be tough for them to dent the deficit necessary to make their first ever playoff appearence. Its too bad, but attendance, which was solid at first has fallen off significantly the past couple of years with the team playing before a mere 82% capacity.

    Florida: The icon for failed southern franchises. They haven't made the post season in 8 years! The Panthers could only hope to mirror the success/support their cross state rivals garner. Despite early success (their 1996 trip to the Finals) this franchise has been anything but stable. The low point was the Keenan tenure, and they are still reeling from his awful moves. Most notably alienating then shipping off super star goalie Roberto Luongo for very little. At 80% capacity is the least supported team in the NHL. Can you blame them? When one looks at team that should relocate, this on the top of our list!

  • LA: OK, we believe they may be turning a corner, but like Columbus, we want to see before we elevate them above the 'Bottom 10'. They have a good stable of talented youngsters with Kopitar and Frolov/Johnson. If they figure out that you need a good goalie to make the playoffs, they may become a playoff contender. Stable ownership and the jury is still out on Lombardi. Also new coach.

  • Nashville- Another franchise that has taken another tumble. They were a top 10 2 years ago. Ownership instability, despite the recent agreement continues. Its not known if they are commited to keeping the franchise in Music City. The loss of Radulov will hurt their on ice product as well. We DO have increased regard for Barry Trotz and the job he did getting them into the playoffs last year. Attendance, despite an aggressive campaign decreased to its lowest point in several years. The jury is still out whether the team is doomed to move or can resolidify into a Cup contender. Right now, it can go either way

  • NY Islanders: Sorry Isles fans, your team despite going to the post season 4 of the past 6 years remain at or near the bottom in our franchise ratings Why? No playoff series wins in going on 16 years for starters. Unstable ownership. Wang is rich but NOT stable! An inexperienced GM/coach with questionable power to make moves, and a dearth of top prospects. Add to that they play in the 2nd worst arena we visited (Pitt far worse, but they have a new one under construction!) and many fans have understandably deserted them. This franchise has a lot of work to do to turn things around! We hope to see it happen in our life time!

  • Phoenix- Carolina of the west, without the on-ice success. They moved from a good market (Winnipeg) for what was thought to be a more lucrative market and thus far it has been a royal bust! They do, unlike last year at this time, seem to be moving in a positive direction on the ice with several good young players, and a good goalie. We also have improved regard for Gretzky's coaching ability. However, thus far the 'hockey in the desert' experiment is a failure Gary. Time to go back north?!

  • Toronto- Ironic/sad that the NHL's most profitable franchise is also its most dysfunctional. As usual it starts at the top. The team is owned by a teachers union so there is doubt on who actually is in charge. As a result, and because so much money is made regardless of how the team performs, there is little motivation for winning. The current GM, Fletcher we're told is temporary. As FR discussed last month the Burke rumors persist. Wit a new coach and the (probable) loss of their captain/best player in Sundin, a bottom 7 finish is in the cards in TO

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good-Bye LeRoi!

1) Yes, this post is NOT hockey related, but who cares its the off season and one of our favourite bands DMB, lost one its original members. For non-fans of the band Moore was the wind instrument musician, playing everything from the sax, clarinet and every thing in between with acuity, verve and precision. LeRoi Moore, founding member of Dave Matthews Band, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, August 19, 2008, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles from sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. He was an indispensable member of the band that helped give them such a distinctive sound. The band and life will go on, but he will be missed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Instigator Rule Change?

1) We at FAUXRUMORS have been saddened to see the precipitous decrease in pugilism in the NHL the past 10-15 years. We think this course of action is a BIG mistake for the league to try to undertake. Over the past decade especially, Gary Bettman has pushed for/initiated rules to try to curtail or end this aspect of the game. Most specifically the 'instigator rule. Initially this rule was placed in the rule book to prevent 'goons' from going after star players. Its evolved into a way to intimidate players from ever dropping the gloves at all. Most recently Bettman decided that he didn't want to see players fighting at the end of games to 'send a message' or to get retribution for earlier liberties taken. So they set forth the inane rule that a player who is issued an instigator penalty in the last 5 minutes of a game is given an automatic fine/suspension

2) Now don’t misunderstand, we aren’t advocating a return to the bench clearing brawls of the mid 70’s, but think that a return to the levels of the pre Bettman days would be welcomed by a vast majority of fans. There is a very vocal minority of anti fighting folks like Damien Cox who liken us pro-fighting folks as Neanderthals, but ever see a real hockey fan get up and leave a game if a fight was about to happen or occurring? The anti fighting crowd like to muddy the waters by coupling all on ice violence together. However we find a HUGE distinction between two men dropping the mitts and fighting face to face then a player using his stick as a weapon. We might even argue that the too are linked, but not in the way that the anti fighting crowd likes to believe. As fighting has decreased and players have lost the ability to police themselves on the ice, many have resorted to using their stick as a weapon like we would have never seen in the past

3) Who is the favourite player on most teams? Its the leading scorer and usually the enforcer/goon. At least it used to be that way. Additionally with Detroit’s success without a real fighter and with a salary cap, many teams are cutting back on the one dimensional players who would be involved in most fights. The George Parros/Brashears are a vanishing species. We say its for the detriment of the game. Now on to our point. We have been doing a non scientific poll of our readers and among the many folks we have talked with around the NHL. The consensus among most is "BRING BACK OLD TIME HOCKEY!". We gleamed from that they didn't necessarily want a return to the dead puck era, but they did want a return to the emotionally charged game they knew and loved. To STOP the league's attempt to eliminate/legislate out fighting.

4) Fans were adamant in their desire to see a resurgence of pugilism. Its probably not "PC" to say so, but fans LOVE fighting. There is no way to gloss this over. Fans love this aspect of hockey. Its not hard to see. No one leaves during a fight. Again, its no accident that besides a teams leading scorer, who usually is the team's most popular player? Yes, the team enforcer! Want to fill arenas again? Want to increase TV ratings? Who cares what detractors say. They wouldn't like hockey if there was zero fighting. Why cater to non-fans? Give us what we want, and we'll keep coming back for more. Are you listening Gary?

5) Can we please eliminate the silly last 5 minutes instigator rule? The actions of players in the final five minutes of a game should be treated the same as if they occurred in the first five minutes of the game. When games are out of hand, it is typically a cheap, and potentially dangerous hit that leads to an instigated fight. Fights that are instigated to discourage these types of cheap hits used to be, and should still be, the norm in the NHL. If the NHL wants to increase rivalries (which would increase fan attendance and t.v. ratings), they should remove this rule!

6)Additionally, the NHL should strongly consider modifying the entire instigator rule thought process. Research suggests that such a decision would increase fan attendance across NHL arenas. Fights, and the team enforcer, have been a staple of traditional NHL hockey for decades. Enforcers also deter opponents from taking liberties with star players. The current mentality that star players are fair game will lead to an increase in injuries to teams that do not carry tough players. Also cheap hits and slashes have and will continue to increase as players to do not fear retribution as they are protected by current rules.

7) Fauxrumors suggests removing the game misconduct that accompanies the instigator penalty. If there is a clear instigator, that player should receive the five minutes for fighting plus the additional two for instigating the fight. Two instigator penalties in a game could result in an ejection. Instigators can be tracked by the league and a one-game suspension should be levied whenever a player reaches lets say, a total of five instigators. The length of the suspension should double after every five instigators. The tie down rule should stay as is. Fighting outside of a jersey gives the player an unfair advantage.

8) Secondary altercations should not result in an automatic ejection from the game. We suggest levying an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if a player participates in a secondary altercation. These misconducts should receive the same treatment as an instigator penalty. Any combination of the two should result in an ejection from the game and count against the players track record. Are you listening Bettman? We don't want larger nets or silly shapes painted on the ice, just give us back old time hockey!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sundin To Ranger Rumor Full of Crap!

1) This rumor at first sounded like the bullshit that Eklund would formulate. What we found surprising to see was that it came from not a hockey blogger (who has no credibility) but from an actual professional hockey writer (with no credibility) Larry Brooks. Now, don't get us wrong, we love Larry. We believe he is a very entertaining hockey writer, but his record for these kinds of stories are no better than that idiot charlatan from Philly eklund.

2) What amazes us as much if not more is the fact that this story has ZERO merit based upon any available facts. The most important one being that it makes ZERO sense for the Rangers to sign Sundin at this time. Brooks as much as anyone should know the Ranger salary cap issues. Right now they are at about 54.70 mil. Giving them a tad more than 2 million in space available. If the other stupid Vancouver rumors have any validity, Mats is asking upwards of 10 mil for a year of his service. For the sake of this argument, lets say Mats was willing to come down from that to his 07-08 salary of 7 million to play in the Big Apple. It would still require Sather to trim 5 mil in payroll to get the big Swede signed.

3) According to Brooks the Rangers would almost certainly have to move defenseman Michal Rozsival, who re-signed on July 1 for $5M per for four years. That sounds fine until you realize that the Rangers have only 6 NHL caliber defensemen on the roster. (Rozival, Redden, Mara, Kalinin, Girardi, Staal) Can they afford to trade a top 4 defensemen?(Even if that were possible at this late date for that big a contract!) Its so far out of the question that we wonder why Larry felt the need to even write/mention this? We all know why, to sell papers. Its a reason/illustration why there is considerable blurring between bloggers and the mainstream press. Many times both have similar motivations (money or fame) and don't bother to check facts before they write.

4) So where will Matts end up? At this point we could give a rats ass. FR did their own post on that subject last month. A few weeks have past and still no word. He might still actually play in the NHL at some point. If we were to be forced to say where, we'd place our money on a team north of the border. Whether it be Montreal, Vancouver or back to Toronto. However we feel its quite safe to say he's not going to be skating on Broadway any time soon

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crosby Now Allowed To Buy Booze!

1) While we were away one of the more important occurrences was the 21st birthday of the NHL's boy(now man) wonder, Sid (no longer the kid?) Crosby. As this picture seems to indicate he wasted no time getting wasted and finding two skanky co-eds. ; )

2) Just kidding of course, Sidney is a tea-totaller, right? The drinking age in Canada we believe is 19 so its mute. However, the real reason for us posting this is to make a statement of how much he has done at such a very young age.

3) Crosby at 21 has already played 3 full NHL seasons.(albeit the last one was hampered by injury) A rarity in today's NHL to see a teenager excel to this degree. He has already accomplished so much that it's easy to forget how young he still really is. Many players from his draft class (2005) have yet to make any impact or play much at all in the league. To compare with his age peers from that year: First the top 2-10th draft picks, then the best of the rest

  • Bobby Ryan-drafted 2nd. 5 goals/10 points for Anaheim

  • Jack Johnson-drafted 3rd. 79 NHL games played/11 points for LA (defensemen)

  • Benoit Pouliot-drafted 4th. 14 games/3 points for Wild

  • Carey Price -drafted 5th (Goalie) 41 NHL games, 24 wins for Habs

  • Gilbert Brule- drafted 6th. 12 goals/32 points for Columbus

  • Jack Skille- drafted 7th. 16 NHL games 5 points for Chicago

  • Devin Setoguchi- drafted 8th. 11 goals/17 points for the Shark

  • Brian Lee- drafted 9th (Defense) 6 NHL games 1 point for Ottawa

  • Luc Bourdon- drafted 10th (Defense) 36 NHL games, 2 points for Vancouver

  • Anze Kopitar- drafted 11th 52 goals/138 points for LA

  • Paul Stastny- drafted 44th. 52 goals/149 points for Colorado

4) By contrast Crosby has 99 goals and 294 points in 213 games, nearly double the nearest peer from his draft class. In addition to be far and away the best player in his class how does he fair compared to Hall of Fame players Here's a list of players who averaged more than a point per game in more than 78 games before they turned 21. Keep in mind that in the early/mid 80's the average number of goals/game was significantly more than today. So its no coincidence that all but Crosby on the list below played a good number of games during that run and gun era.

  • Wayne Gretzky, Oilers 301 points. Not a surprise here. TGO is ahead of almost everyone in all offensive categories

  • Sidney Crosby, Penguins 294 points. Not bad to be 2nd behind Gretzky in any category!

  • Jimmy Carson, Kings/Oilers 286 points.(Carson never scored over 100 points AFTER 21!)

  • Ron Francis, Whalers 241 points. One of our all time fav players.

  • Mario Lemieux, Penguins 241 points. Figured he'd of been higher, but the team around him initially wasn't too strong
  • Steve Yzerman, Red Wings 218 points. Stevie Y was a dangerous threat especially at the start of his career

5) His accomplishments thus far:

  • He scored 102 points his rookie season, breaking Mario Lemieux's team rookie scoring record and becoming the youngest player in NHL history to reach the 100-point mark. If not for another phenom, then 20 year old Alex Ovechkin, he would have been a shoe-in for Calder.

  • In his next season, at the age of 19, he won the Ross by leading the NHL in scoring, won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP

  • Was the youngest player to ever be named captain of a team and a starter in the All-Star Game.
  • Along with the other youngsters (Malkin/Fleury) helped propel his team to winning the Eastern conference in last season's playoffs, pushing the Wings to 6 games before succumbing to the Detroit juggernaut

6) Only time will tell whats in store for 87 the rest of the way, but we'd be very surprised to see him become Jimmy Carson, but we would not be surprised to see him at the end of the day (20 years from now) in the top 5 all time in scoring. He doesn't appear to have the knack for goal scoring at the Gretzky-esque pace (who has?), but combined with his evident skill and excellent supporting cast, if he stays healthy Crosby should put up some very impressive numbers when all is said and done. Sid, this Bud's for you!

Friday, August 15, 2008

NW/NE Divisions Set To Slide?

1) While it is a bit too soon to make our preseason predictions (Check for them in late September), the trends don't appear to be good if your a fan of the NE and/or the NW divisions. Traditionally the strongest of the NHL's 6 divisions, they appear poised to lose that distinction. Fans north of the border, who's teams' make up a large number of those divisions, might be in for a tough year. There hasn't been a Stanley Cup champ from a Canadian based team since the Habs did the trick back in 1993. It doesn't look good that this will change in 2008-09, and many Canadian based teams might not even qualify for the posts season.

2) Teams that we feel are going to be poised for a down turn this year are:

  • Colorado: Going into the season with Budaj and Raycroft as your starting goalies doesn't bode well for a return to the post season.

  • Minnesota: The losses of Rolston and Demitra will be hard to replace. While we don't underestimate the coaching abilities of Lemaire, it might be a tough season in The 'Land O Lakes'

  • Ottawa: For those like us who were keeping track, the Senators after the first 2 months last season, played below .500 hockey. With the loss of Redden, and Gerber now the #1 goalie, we could see this team miss the playoffs entirely

3) In addition to those, several teams that struggled a bit last season will probably continue to not excel next season:

  • Toronto: We believe that even WITH Sundin this team would struggle to make the playoffs, but without him they are all but assured of watching hockey next April.

  • Vancouver: Sundin could still be the wild card here, but without him we don't see their team having the fire power to stay in the top 8 even if Luongo plays at the top of his game

  • Buffalo: Another big loss of a big time player in Campbell. The younger players like Vanek, etc and Miller in goal will have to carry the load, but we are dubious that have what it takes to get back to the elite 8 in the East

4) Of the remainder we can see Edmonton as seeing an improvement over last year, and perhaps even compete for what we believe will be a relatively weak NW division. Montreal in the NE despite relying heavily on some aging vets and a second year goalie should be right back in the chase for the division title along with the Bruins. Overall though at this juncture we would be surprised to see a team from these 2 divisions representing their respective conferences in the Finals next spring. Certainly we would NOT have said such a thing a few months ago. A slide indeed!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Eklund Is An Asshole!

1) Firstly a huge 'You're Welcome to all the folks who sent us Thank you notes, for the just ended faux vacation in Patagonia. Its been a while since we last posted so we figured we'd weigh in on a few topics. We plan to do our annual "Rating The Franchises" some time next week, Look for it. However after reading the latest blog-bullshit from FR's buddy Eklund, (pictured above) we couldn't stand idly by and not comment. (BTW, we got that picture from Without permission. ; ) We urge our readers to read that blog entry as well.

2) The asshole who we'd have to bet has fewer and fewer real readers who believe his drivel, came out with his latest "rumor" post today. It had to do with Brian McCabe. As anyone knows who follows hockey (anyone who reads this blog surely fits that bill) knows that McCabe has a No Trade Clause (NTC) and up until now has been reluctant to agree to waive it. First the facts that are well known and not Eklund rumour bullshit

  • Brian McCabe has apparently agreed to waive his NTC

  • The latest published(not rumor) report stated that the Florida Panthers are one of the teams that Brian has agreed to be traded to.

  • One of the 'sticking points' is that Brian will be automatically paid 2 million (not bad for doing nothing!) bonus on September 1st so no deal will be consummated before this date.

3) Eklund used this information then to satisfy his paying customer(suckers) readers he has to add that his 'sources' tell him a much bigger deal is being discussed. Naturally if Florida is in the mix what should we expect but this:" ...the Leafs are attempting to get Bouwmeester into the deal.....". OK, perhaps, but not fucking likely. So WE decided to ask our real faux sources. We have a good budy who has the inside scoop on these kind of things in south Florida. When we told him of Eklunds assertion that Bouwmeester would be part of this he sounded like he almost spit up the drink he was sipping on he laughed so hard. " Not in a million years do the Panthers trade the Leafs Bouwmeester for McCabe!!.. Not even if they threw in Antropov and the CN Tower!"

4) He went on that the Panthers aren't even the only team inquiring. That despite his 5+mil cap hit more than 6 other teams are now lining up for his services. Apparently those GM's haven't been watching Brian play recently? Of course we weren't shocked to find out that Eklund's drivel was just that, made up shit to satisfy his hungry, sap readers. Tomorrow he will likely do a 180 and proclaim that another team has a huge 4 way deal on the table. By the time September 1st rolls around he'll have mentioned 20+ teams as possible McCabe destinations and just after the trade is reported he'll report it as a E5, and do a 'see I told ya so'. BTW, any of you loyal Eklund readers, ask him if he's heard any new Jason Allison rumors. In the past 24 months he's had the now-former NHL-er rumored to all 30 teams. Anyone keeping track of how many 'rumors' he's created on Sundin? LOL

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hold The MSG:NHL At War with The Rangers?

1) Intriguing story that we haven't heard much of since the 2008 NHL Entry draft weekend. Apparently there is very bad blood between the NHL (Gary Bettman) and the NY Ranger's ownership led by the Dolan family. Make no mistake, they are at war! The dispute goes back to the last CBA negotiations. The Dolans were one of the owners who were not exactly enamoured with the prospect of a salary cap. After all, prior to that his team could spend their enormous wealth of any player they pleased. The cap would significantly cramp that style (We believe its been a God-send to them, but at the time Dolan didn't see this)

2) Things didn't improve once the CBA was finally ratified, begrudgingly approved by the Ranger ownership. One of the provisions that the Rangers objected to (and continue to now) is the virtual take over of all online teams' advertising. The league and the Rangers have feuded over control of the team's web site. In September, Madison Square Garden sued the NHL, saying it violated antitrust laws by monopolizing control of team promotions. However, a judge ruled in November that the league was within its right to take control of the web site. As a way of returning the favour to the Rangers(retribution) the NHL in a June court filing asked a judge to agree that MSG breached its contract by challenging NHL rules. The NHL further claimed that it can force MSG out of the league.

3) That last statement is what got our attention at FAUXRUMORS. The NHL is going to kick out its most profitable American based franchise over web site control? Are they kidding? Talk about a cutting off one's nose to spite your face situation. Its also not like Bettman and the NHL can just force the Dolan's to sell the team. Even if they did/could somehow pull that off, what then happens to the team? The Dolans also happen to own the arena where the Rangers play (Madison Square Garden, MSG) We doubt they would simply allow the new owners to use their arena, so then we'd be faced with a situation where the biggest American NHL team has no home to play. Imagine Ranger fans if you were forced to play your home games in Newark, or worse yet, in Nassau??? LOL
Knowing Bettman he'll probably have the team handed over to Boots DelBaggio

Monday, August 11, 2008

We're Back!

1) Oh Geez! What an incredible week. Still recovering from all the travel. We probably should have stayed away a few days to recover just from that. We seemed to be on the go almost every day since last Friday. Where did we end up going? Well, we never heard of it but our final stop was a place in Argentina called Bariloche (The locals pronounced it Bah-ree-law-cheh) Still trying to figure that out. LOL The folks there are very proud and proclaim the area as "Switzerland of the Americas". After spending a week there we can see why!

2) After landing in the country's capital, where we were only in the huge airport, we took a puddle jumper (and we mean that in the literal sense as the landing strip on at our final destination was not exactly state of the art/what we are accustomed to in the states) to Catedral resort where we enjoyed skiing as good as we have ever seen in the Rockies or Alps. Conditions were perfect. Lots of powder, and not too cold. Some wind, but that's par for being at the end of the world. ; )

3) As Italian is the countries unofficial 2nd language most of us in the FR group were able to communicate very well with a majority of the locals. We would most definitely recommend it for anyone who has the means. It was a nice contrast to the heat and humidity that we left when we left from Dulles in Virginia. The thin Andes air did take something out of us, but there were no major injuries among us and we all got back to our initial airports with relative ease. We want to again thank FR2 for footing the bill. This had to be a pretty penny. Its nice to have rich friends. ; ) LOL Anyway, now back to hockey. We were able to sign in a couple of times over the week away. Due to the renewed(expected) harassment of our continuing blog-pest we had to moderate comments while we were away. Thanks for the birthday wishes from all of you who e-mailed/wrote to us. We're excited to start on our 3rd year here at FAUXRUMORS. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy 2nd 'BirthDay' To Us!

1) Though we are away on our annual FAUX vacation, we felt we'd post a BD message to be published while we are away. Its amazing that we have reached this milestone. When we made our first post (inspired by the late summer drivel/rumours of the time) we never in our wildest dreams believed this would become what it has.

2) We especially didn't think we'd still be at this when the dark days when our now vanquished blog enemy hacked and stole the original FAUXRUMORS blog. Though its still used for his sick amusement, its of little consequence to us now. We have long since moved on when we restarted things again in March 2007. In retrospect he did us a favour, as we feel this forced us to improve/upgrade the blog in many ways since then.

3) With over 530+ original FAUX posts and growing to our credit since that first fateful blog entry, and more than 386+ thousand hits (and growing fast) we are proud of what we have grown here the past 2 years. As we were then, (and always will be) we are a totally FREE site/blog. We decline all advertising offers. For one, honestly we don't need the income, but more importantly, we feel that accepting money would be the wrong perception. We don't want to become Eklund. Selling nonsense/made up crap to sad/loser people. We look forward when we return from South America to begin our third year! Thanks to all of you! As always, keep it here for the latest!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Annual Faux Vacation

1) Time for our FAUX vacation! Its that time of year. The time when we at FAUXRUMORS have our annual holiday away from the blogging world. When FR2 treats the entire Faux-crew to a unique vacation. Last year we went to northern Italy and were treated to an amazing week.
2) This time around FR2 has something unique planned for all of us. As they did last year FR2 did not give us details until the last minute so all that we can relate to you now is that we were told to pack warm clothes and our skis. We just got our plane tix that will bring us to Buenos Aires in Argentina. We're told there is a connecting flight thereafter so all we know is that is NOT our final destination. We will be sure to relay to our readers details when we return. We will try to 'smuggle in' a lap top so we can occasionally check in here, but no guarantees.

3) The time of year was chosen for a reason. Traditionally its the time most devoid of meaningful NHL/hockey news so its unlikely we'll miss much. When we return we will begin in earnest our preparation for the 2008-09 season by first going through our summer report cards team by team. Later on of course we will do our pre season predictions. As always relaying/discussing pertinent NHL news and gossip. As always(even when we're not actually here) keep it here for all the latest!

Friday, August 1, 2008


1) We're not trying to pile on here, but we did have some fresh observations following the sudden removal of the team's head coach, Ted Nolan. What struck us was the huge contrast of the good feelings fans tell us they had in the summer of 2006 following the ouster of Mike Milbury as team's GM. At the time many folks tell us it was like a cathartic experience. Finally the 'wicked witch' was gone, etc. The team seemed poised to take a fresh direction. A new GM and coach would be hired and possibly they would buy-out salary cap anchor/underachiever Alex Yashin. At first things looked quite bright indeed as Wang jointly hired former Ranger Cup winning GM, Neil Smith to handle the same duties on LI where he got his start in NHL management under Bill Torry. It was a feel good story of home grown talent coming back to his roots, etc. Smith was respected around the league and brought credibility where there was a dearth of that since Milbury took over in 1996.

2) Next the 'feel good' story continued with the hiring of previously blackballed Ted Nolan. He seemed genuinely thrilled to be hired as coach. It looked like he was as excited, if not more than the fans at the prospect of having a real NHL coach behind the bench navigating the team. Additionally, Wang brought back 2 wayward sons in Bryan Trottier to handle player development, and Pat LaFontaine as advisor to Wang in the newly created panel. Both Patty and Trotts had had falling out with past Isles owners so it was nice to see both back on the Island where they started they Hall of Fame Careers.

3) The good feelings however didn't last long, and the current disorganized/bizarre predicament began. A mere month after taking over as GM, and after negotiating several UFA to come to LI (Sillinger/Witt) Neil Smith was abruptly fired by Wang. Apparently Smith didn't fully realize when he took the job that the title of GM was in name only; That all decisions first had to be first cleared through Wang (and the other members of the panel). Smith rightly balked at this, and as others have found out before and since, you don't screw with Wang.

4) The next move is what really amazed the folks throughout the NHL. Almost immediately after Smith was unceremoniously let go, he was replaced with the teams current back up goalie Garth Snow. It was unprecedented to have an active player under contract propelled into such a high level of management, literally overnight. Snow was/is a bright guy with a degree in business, possibly making him a good candidate to be an asst GM, but hardly the top spot in over seeing player-personel moves by an NHL franchise. Pat Lafontaine tried to convince Wang to reconsider his rash decision of dismissing Smith. Seeing how things were really being done there, and as a friend of Smith, Pat Lafontaine imeadiatly gave notice of his resignation. Further giving the organization a black eye. Wang didn't forget/forgive Patty for this transgression as we found out this past season.

5) The final nail in the coffin was the way in which Nolan was canned. We won't rehash this as we already wrote about this extensively here.----->nolan-tossed-off-island. We also want to make it perfectly clear that our intention was NOT to pile on Islander fans. Clearly the good and loyal folks who root for their team should be commended for sticking with them the past 15 odd years. It has been a roller coaster of ups and unfortunately for you guys, mostly downs. We can only hope that Snow now has the experience and as importantly, the authority to make the right decisions going forward. The team now is stating it is in a 'youth movement. That's another word for 'rebuilding', or a euphemism for 'we're going to suck' this year. Hopefully for those folks the team will stick with it and retain the good assets, and finally show/have some management stability. As we wrote on the excellent islandersarmy blog; There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, but it may merely be a LIRR express to Jamaica. ; ) As long as Wang seems to be a hands on owner we fear that the Isles will not truly become a contending team and remain the butt of jokes. We want to be on record here and now that we sincerely hope this is NOT the case.

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