Monday, September 29, 2008
2) We'll simply go alphabetically from East then West: To simplify/quantify this we will use a scale 0-10. 1-being very safe, and 10-being half way out the door. At this stage there are no 10's (yet).
John Anderson (Atlanta Thrashers)- (4) After coaching in the minors for 13 seasons and winning five championships Anderson finally landed a coveted NHL job (is Atlanta coveted?) Most recently he led the Thrashers’ top affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to the American Hockey League title. So he has an impressive minor league resume. Is Waddell thinking he may be the next Bruce Boudreau? Problem is the Thrashers don't have the same amount of talent the Caps did last year. Still, expectations are very low this season, so unless the team fails to attain double digits in wins through the new year, Anderson will probably finish out the year. One of our least favourite GM's Don Waddell is the one who SHOULD be on the hot seat, so it wouldn't surprise us if he tries to find another coach if he sees the season slipping away early on.
Claude Julien (Boston Bruins)- (3) Got screwed by Lou Lamarello in Jersey two years ago. Showed why he is a good coach by getting an undermanned/injury laden Bruins team into the post season. Unfortunately for them they lost in the first round to the Habs, but they never beat Montreal in the playoffs. ; ) The B's appear to have marginally improved, and if they stay healthy should return to the post season, thus we see Claude's job as being fairly safe, but when your owner is Jeremy Jacobs, nothing is set in stone!
Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres)-(3) The Adams-runner up 2 years ago (He won the award 3 years ago) in our opinion showed that he was over rated when he lost some talent and he couldn't coach his team back into playoff contention. (Yes, we don't like him) He may be one of the longer tenured coaches in the NHL, but if the Sabres get off to a poor start Regier may have to make a tough decision. That said, we don't believe that Darcy will have an itchy trigger finger. That Lindy has enough good will to stay on for the entire season barring a complete collapse
Peter Laviolette (Carolina Hurricanes)(7) Peter is probably on the thinnest ice of any Eastern Conference coach (other than a Lamarello managed team) after successive near playoff misses. It was widely rumored that he was close to being replaced by Rutherford this past summer(Perhaps Rutherford's own flirtation with the Maple leafs open GM position helped this?) Certainly its a sure bet that Laviolette will be a goner with another playoff-less season in Raleigh. If they have a very poor start, he might be on the unemployment line a lot sooner. His leash is very short!
Peter DeBoer (Florida Panthers)(2) Time may be running out on the former Senator/Florida coach, now Panthers GM, Jacques Martin but the same is probably not true of new coach Peter DeBoer, a highly touted junior coach from the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers, who was also was courted by Martin's former team, Ottawa. The team hasn’t won a National Hockey League playoff series since 1996 and a playoff game since 1997. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2000 so its apparent why the natives are (should be) restless for an improvement. The team as mentioned earlier stays in no man's land. Unable to get a lottery pick OR playoff spot. Peter should be safe in his first season, but when you have a desperate GM who is a former coach your job is NEVER truly safe!
Guy Carbonneau (Montreal Canadians) (5) The folks in Montreal, much like Toronto are not the most patient. Amazingly its been a long drought, 18 years (for Montreal standards). The team over achieved with their regular season crown last year, only to lose in the 2nd round to the Flyers. As much if not more is expected this season. The team should do well, but if they falter Carbonneau will get the axe in a heart beat, despite the fact that Guy is generally well liked.
Brent Sutter (NJ Devils)(4)- Normally a newer coach who made the post season in his first year would be an automatic 1-3, but with Lou, no one is safe, even if they seem to be doing well. As is the key(perennially) with the Devils, the key will be Marty. If he starts to show his age(36+) the team will falter and from past experience Lou doesn't wait for a turn around before firing a coach. We give Brent credit for working through some early season issues last year, and looked like he might become a solid coach in this league. If not with the Devils, certainly with another NHL squad
Scott Gordon (NY Islanders)- (2) After the raw deal last season for Ted Nolan, the Isles looked toward an old reliable location for coaches, the Bruins organization (Laviolette, Milbury, Goring, Bowness). No one can argue that Nolan got more than most anyone expected from last years team, so there might be unrealistic expectations from some that the team can compete at that level again this season. There is no denying that injuries played a role in their demise, but there are also some key holes/lack of offensive depth that will make success difficult. That said, with the understanding that this is a rebuilding season in NY, and this season is all about seeing how far these kids will take the team and how well they progress, we doubt Gordon's job will be in jeopardy at any point this season
Tom Renney (NY Rangers)-(3) Last year we had Tom as a 4, but he has done a very good/solid job in our opinion to deserve some job security. Expectations are usually high though, and a significant fall could make him vulnerable like he was 2 years ago. There appears to be significant turn over, and a definite move toward youth which makes this solidly Renney/Sather's team. We like their youngsters and feel they will continue the moderate success the team has enjoyed the past couple of years. Therefore unless there is a collapse with locker room discontent, Renney job should be safe this season
Craig Hartsburg (Ottawa Senators)(3) Hartsburg also has coached in Anaheim and Chicago, and was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2002 to 2004. The 48-year-old Hartsburg has been coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the past five seasons. A team that has a former coach as its GM(Murray) is not a place for a coach to feel safe. Expectations in Ottawa are not nearly as high as they were last season after placing runner up to the Ducks in 07, so unless the team goes down the crapper Craig will probably last the year in the nation's capital.
John Stevens (Philadelphia Flyers)(2) Stevens did an excellent job with a rejuvenated(old time Broad street bullies) Flyers last season. No coincidence that the teams change in personality came with their success. We give Stevens and Holmgren full credit for this transformation. Can they continue/improve further? We feel even a small step back wouldn't be a death knell for Stevens tenure in Philly. He isn't fire proof like Wayne Gretzky, but the job he did last season probably bought him a full season this year
Michel Therrien (Pittsburgh Penguins) (2) We haven't been big fans of Therrian, and believe the team succeeded despite him, but we can't ignore the success the team has enjoyed under his tutelage the past 2 years. Now that expectations are high in Steel-town, if they falter significantly he may be replaced, especially if he loses the respect of his resident superstar, Sidney Crosby. Although we have to say those chances are less than a season ago, so its not likely.
Barry Melrose (TB Lightning) (5) The Mullet is back! What a difference from the fiery John Tortorella. Barry, on the surface anyway has a more cartoonish persona. Its an unknown if being away for so long from the day to day duties of coaching will show. Having a lot of vets in the dressing room will either help or be his down fall. They also (as of the writing) have a lot of ??'s back on defense and with their goaltending. The new owners have shown they aren't bashful about changing course if things need to be changed, so the Melrose reign could be a short one IF things don't go well in the Fla Bay area
Ron Wilson (Toronto Maple Leafs) (3)- Wilson is probably one of the better coaches to have never won anything. His teams are usually competitive, but end up underachieving. This was the case in his last stop, SJ. In Toronto this season there will be few who expect the team to be a contender, so anything more than a bottom/lottery finish will probably mean Ron will be back in 09-10. Of course the uncertain Maple Leaf GM situation could cloud that issue if/when that's resolved next summer.
Bruce Boudreau (Washington Capitals)- (1) Probably the safest coach in the East. By winning the Adams as coach of the year and the SE division, along with being a very likable fellow Bruce has probably cemented his place in DC for at least this season. Even a sub par season would probably not lead to an early dismissal. Not that we foresee a tumble if they stay generally healthy the Caps should be in contention this season, and Boudreau should still be coach this April.
Randy Carlyle (Anaheim Duck)(2) This time last year we said he probably has the safest job in the league. As the reigning cup champ's coach. However last year was a disappointment, but few faulted the job Carlyle did. If the team performs up to expectations(top 5 finish) we doubt Randy's job is in jeopardy this time around either in Disneyland. Probably even a turn for the worse would not cause Burke to replace the well regarded former Norris trophy winner.
Mike Keenan (Calgary Flame)(4) As we mentioned last year, 'Iron Mike' usually in the short term, gets the most from his players, but his tactics wear thin, especially with a veteran club. Mike especially has been known to screw/play mind games with his goalies. Things went better than we expected in that regard last season, but if they falter, even mildly we could see Sutter return/replace Mike behind the team's bench. (Especially if the Flames decline as the Oil rises)
Denis Savard (Chicago Blackhawk)(3) What a difference a year makes! A year ago there were ZERO expectations in the windy city and Wiliam Wirtz was running the team into the ground. Sure they had some kids with potential, but Wirtz would probably screw it up some how and Savard would just be the latest stooge to take the fall. Now they are regarded as a likely playoff contending team, and many are going even further. With expectations comes a chance at failure, so Savard despite being well liked isn't totally safe until they actually have some success (playoff spot). Overall we'd say Denis's job is pretty secure
Tony Granato (Colorado Avalanche) (2) Entering his 2nd stint behind the Avalanche bench. Many including us at FAUXRUMORS were shocked when we heard this selection. Granato led the team after taking over from Bob Hartley in 2002, until his demotion in to 2004, going 72-33-17-11 before he was replaced by Joe Quenneville in July 2004. His .647 winning percentage in his first stint as coach is the best in franchise history. So the obvious question(s) would be: Why did they fire him and more importantly what changed since his firing? Certainly the team he inherits is weaker than the team he took over in 2002. Therefore expectations are lower so his job is probably safe in this his first year back
KEN HITCHCOCK (Columbus Blue Jackets) (4) No one expected much from the Jackets last season so Ken's job was safe. They also had a new GM, so time was on their side. However now going into their 8th season in Ohio's biggest city, and have yet to even sniff a playoff spot. As it is we don't see one this year. Scott Howson made some significant roster changes thi summer to shake things up a bit. To keep his job Hichkock at a minimum will have to have his team continue to show improvement. A bottom overall finish could be his end
Dave Tippett (Dallas Star) (3) Amazingly this will be Tippets 7th season behind the Stars bench. The Stars have done exceptionally well under Tippett's tenure during the regular season, and not so well in the playoffs until last spring when the team excelled, and many saw them as the 2nd best team.(losing to the 1st) Last year we saw Tippet on the brink, but the team decided to fire their GM Doug Armstrong. He was replaced by asst. GM Les Jackson and former Stars player Brett Hull. It seems to have been the right move as the team now appears to be headed in the right direction, and Tippet is probably safe though this season
Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (1) For obvious reasons the coach who's job is most secure in the NHL. Being the reigning Cup champ coach almost always ensures job security for the following season (Unless you coach in NJ). With another stud team to take into the 08-09 season Mike has very little to worry about this season, and probably next.
Craig MacTavish (Edmonton Oiler) (2) Amazingly now approaching his 8th season as the Oilers coach. A year ago after his GM's poor job it appeared that Craig was also on the hot seat and could soon be looking for work. However a strong 2nd half despite injuries to key personnel saved his job and gave hope for this season. Unless the team takes a step back (we don't think they will), Craig's job should be pretty safe in northern Alberta for another season.
Terry Murray (Los Angeles King) (6) Yes the same Murray who guided Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals 11 years ago and has coached 737 regular-season NHL games is the new Kings coach taking over for the fired Marc Crawford. He hadn't been a head coach in the NHL since being fired by the Florida Panthers following the 2000-01. Another retread destined for failure? The Kings in recent years since they haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2002, and despite a better roster than in previous seasons, we don't see that changing quite yet. Unless he over achieves we believe that Murray's stay in LA will not be a long fruitful one
Jacques Lemaire (Minnesota Wild) (2) The "Gum Chewer" as we at FAUXRUMORS affectionately call him has brought his defense-first style to the Wild and given the young franchise a modicum of success in their short time. It has caused some consternation among his forwards, but as long as they stay on board, and the team is a playoff contender, Jacques's job will continue to be safe.
Barry Trotz (Nashville Predator) (3) The only coach the franchise has ever had. We were not fans of his until last year when he took a team that few, including us at FAUXRUMORS believed could succeed, but somehow he got them to overachieve, the sign of a good coach. With lowered expectations and ownership STILL in flux he'll probably survive at least another season in The Music City, even if they fail to attain a top 8 finish.
Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyote) (2)This figures to be turn around season in the desert for TGO. As part owner its not known if he even could be fired. It certainly wouldn't be good for PR to fire the greatest player in league history. However, as opposed to last season at this time we don't believe that will be a possibility. We like what GM Don Maloney has done with this franchise and think they should challenge for a playoff spot, guaranteeing we won't be talking about a new coach in Phoenix this season.
Andy Murray (St. Louis Blue)(6) Seemed to turn things around when he took over mid way a season and a half ago. However we didn't see a big improvement last season, and as the natives(fans) get restless to have to endure yet another playoff-less season, Andy may find himself as the scape goat this season if the team as we project doesn't perform well.
Todd McClellan (San Jose Shark) (4)McLellan had spent the past three seasons as an assistant in Detroit, where he was considered a bright offensive coach who led the Red Wings' power-play units. Now normamly a new coach gets the benefit of the doubt for one full season, but with Todd coming into a situation where the team has underachieved in the post season the last few years(costing Wilson-see Toronto his job) he might not get a second chance(season) if team-teal takes a backward step in the regular campaign
Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canuck) (4) The former coach of the Year winner, his job is probably not nearly as secure as it was last year this time. A miserable regular season and or player(Luongo/Sedin) discontent would be a problem for the affable Quebecer. The team will only go as far as those guys can take him. In factwe would argue that Alain's Adams award should have gone to Luongo as we always say a team's coach is only as smart as his goalie is good! If they fall off the table this year and are out of it early on, he migh tnot get through the season
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
2) Therefore folks like ourselves (independent) who are Neither owner lackeys like Stan Fischler or carry the water for the players side like Larry Brooks looked at this agreement. After looking at the details and seeing how it worked the first year or two we came to the conclusion that the players were NOT vanquished as much (if at all) as the owners/Bettman/Fischler had believed. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2007/10/new-labour-war.html That in time there would still be a big disparity (albeit smaller than before 2004) between the big revenue and the small revenue teams. With the lowered UFA age there would be huge contracts given to younger players. Given the nature of business almost all 30 teams would be close to the salary cap ceiling every season.
3) This has largely turned out to be true. We also were probably the lone voice in the wilderness that stated with conviction that we had NOT seen the last lock out. That once this CBA expired the owners, having smelled blood with the last CBA would think that the players would NOT have the stomach for losing another possible years salary. So what would the owners ask for this time? We projected that it would be Guaranteed contracts. When we first broached this possibility 2 years ago we were dismissed by every one whom we discussed this idea. Even the folks who we agreed on other CBA issues could not see the owners trying to do that and lose another season.
4) Which brings us to today. We read with keen interest an article published on August 24th by Boston Globe's Kevin Dupont. In his piece he discusses his city's NHL owner, ultra hawk Jeremy Jacobs. Apparently during the last CBA he (Jacobs) repeatedly suggested that the NHL's players were so highly paid that they weren't giving their all, and, as such, eliminating guaranteed contracts might give fans more bang for their buck. (It would give owners more bucks to bang, but we digress) Dupont then cites The Hockey News's Ken Campbell who declared that guaranteed contracts were a bane upon the sport, and in doing so, he proffered a line of thought the owners will likely suggest when the CBA eventually expires."
5) Not to worry folks, the CBA has another 3 years remaining. The players DO have the option to terminate the deal next year if they choose, but we doubt they will. Their new boss Paul Kelly hasn't directly stated as such (he has stated he will gauge player opinion when he visits all 30 teams this fall) but the logic wouldn't be there for the players to end an agreement that has worked wildly in their favor thus far. Average salaries this coming year will be significantly HIGHER than they were before the 2004 Bettman lockout. Even in these uneven economic times the salary cap will likely continue to rise annually.
6) However, we believe the stories like that Dupont refers in The Hockey News and from Jacobs will begin to become more frequent as the time for real negotiations for a new CBA get closer. Perhaps Jacobs won't be able to sway enough fellow owners to go that route, but if economic times DO get really tough you might see smaller market teams quickly get on board a proposal to eliminate guaranteed contracts, like the NFL did. It would certainly cause a huge amount of rancor in the players camp and would no doubt lead to another work stoppage. Enjoy the next few seasons of peace. The worst of the labour wars friends is still in front of us we fear.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
2) Will also allow you, the readers to weigh in your own opinions after the posts. Things are just starting folks. Training camps across the NHL are NOW open!!! Hallelujah! As always keep it here for the latest.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Anaheim - Favourite: Ryan Getzlaf- Without a doubt the player from the Ducks We'd love to see on our team, big, strong and skilled, with potential to get even better. Honorable mention: George Parros and his moustache Least: Scott Niedermayer- As we outlined a lot last summer we feel his on/off retirement last summer/fall was pure selfishness towards his teammates.
Atlanta - Favourite: Ilya Kovalchuk- The best Russian born player in the NHL not named Ovechkin. Least: Don Waddell- Yes, we know he's not a player, but he is such an inept GM we had to put him on our list.
Boston -Favourite: Zdeno Chara- How could the tallest player EVER to lace em' up NOT be a favourite? He's also pretty dam good, and looks like he's strong enough to beat the crap out of anyone if he chose. Its a good thing for opponents he usually has a calm temperament! Least: Michael Ryder- Jealousy perhaps, but an insane raise (12 mil for 3 years) for a guy who had a crappy year?
Buffalo - Favourite: Derek Roy- Not only is he a pretty good young player, but we can say his name and not have to sound silly like many do when saying the name of former Av's Hall of Fame goalie, who's name has the same spelling. Honorable mention: Andrew Peters. Least: Maxim Afinogenov- Great name, and has oodles of talent, but has never been able to put it together.
Calgary - Favourite: Dion Phaneuf. Yes, we know he's one of the most hated players in the NHL, but toughness, skill, youth, scoring touch, you name it, the kid has it. You always know when this guy is on the ice. Announcers seem to love to say his full name each and every time he comes near the puck. Least: Todd Bertuzzi- Even before the Moore incident he wasn't on our top 10 list. Since then he has become a shell of the player he was prior yet has continued to get paid like he was a star.
Carolina -Favourite: Rod Brind‘Amour. With the departure of Cole, our new fav in tobacco country is tough as nails Brind‘Amour. Rod is a fitness freak like Chelios could see him playing into his 40's. Least: Sergei Samsonov- Year in and year out steals his employers money. Gets big bucks for small effort/results. Expect more of the same. Get less for more from Sammy!
Chicago - Favourite: Jonathan Toews- It was no PR move to make the kid the captain at 20. He has all the tools to be a solid if not star player in this league. Least: Nikolai Khabibulin- Parlayed 2 great months in 2003 into a ridiculous mega contract which he has never earned. He may be gone before the season begins
Colorado - Favourite: Joe Sakic. (We assume he'll be back) Can't argue that he's the best leader in the NHL since Yzerman left the game. Excellent play maker, passer, excellent at pretty much everything. To think 14 teams past him up that draft year. Of course some of the top 14 were pretty good too (Turgeon/Shanahan) Some were not (McBean, More, Chynoweth) Least: Darcy Fucker. The fact that everyone hates him,(including us) only makes us like him more. As Reggie Dunlap says: " You gotta twist em, fuck with them". Darcy is one of the best at that and more! Unfortunately for him his hockey skills seem to have deteriorated
Columbus –Favourite: Raffi Torres. Another trade we bet the Isles wish they could undo. Red-Dog may have had an off year, but at 25 he's still improving. You also gotta love a guy who can hit like this ! Honorable mention: Rick Nash- One of the best power forwards in the game today Least: Michael Peca- Best days are a decade or so ago.
Dallas –Favourite: Brenden Morrow-Many were surprised to see the Stars take the 'C' from Modano, but few are questioning the move now. Morrow is the real deal as far as a team leader is concerned. Least Sean Avery- (See Darcy Fucker) The agitator extraordinaire on a new team, and wasted no time ripping his old one. His act is getting old.
Detroit –Favourite: Nicklas Lidstrom- A great defenseman who always is there for 'big time minutes' on both sides of the rink. Is so good, you hardly notice him at times. Deserved to be a Hart finalist last season. Speaks better/clearer English than most born this side of the pond. Honorable mention: Tomas Holmstrom. Like Lidstrom gets little notoriety, just does his job, well. Least: Chris Osgood- We don't have huge issues with him, but we didn't like his 'embellishment of the Ribiero contact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAsN2A4dawg
Edmonton – Favourite: Erik Cole. Gritty and tough yet puts up points very well. Came back from that nasty neck injury, guys got guts. Also from a place called Oswego, NY. Where ever that is? Honorable mention: Fernando Pisani- We like the name, but also his overcoming a significant medical issue. Least: Denis Grebeshkov- No huge issues, but in his past has appeared to seem like he deserved a roster spot before earning one
Florida - We still miss having Eddie the Eagle to kick around. Will the Miami PD also miss him? LOL. Favourite: Jay Bouwmeester- We have Honorable mention: Richard Zednik- Anyone who can come back after that kind of injury! Least: Tomas Vokoun- We don't hate Tomas, but feel he is over rated and tends to blame his defense/team in the media when things go poorly
Los Angeles – Favourite: Anze Kopitar- One of the more exciting players in the NHL. How many are from Slovenia of all places!? Least:None As of this writing so few players are on the roster that its hard to find a least-liked here!
Minnesota – Favourite: Derek Boogaard- (See Fedoryk) The guy runs a hockey fighting camp for kids! Whats not to like! Least:Pierre-Marc Bouchard- No real reason. We just don't like hyphenated first names.
Montreal – Favourite: Georges Laraque- With his fists of stone, one of the most feared players in the game, but we can't recall him cheap shotting anyone. Honorable Mention: Saku Koivu: Survived cancer and being captain in Montreal despite NOT speaking French. Least: None.
Nashville – Favourite: Jordin (22) Tootoo- 'The Little Chief'. Has a bit of 'short man syndrome', but he IS only 5'2" after all. Least: Alex Radulov- The prick who broke his contract to play in Russia then has the nerve to complain how Russians are treated in the NHL. Alex, a guy from a former dictatorship should not be complaining of treatment. No one forces players to come to North America.
New Jersey – Favourite: Kevin Weekes. He may not be any good, but he sure has an interesting web site http://pub11.bravenet.com/forum/870340703/ devoted to him!. Honorable mention: Brian Gionta- A little man who has made the most of his talent. Least: Martin Brodeur: No, we give him credit for all he's accomplished, we just don't like the whining and undue influence he has to change rules.http://www.ericmcerlain.com/offwingopinion/archives/006652.php
NY Islanders – Favourite: Mike Comrie. We can't but respect a guy who's getting this. That said, he's mediocre as 1st line forwards go. Least:Rick DiPietro- The goalie-for-life exudes arrogance in our opinion. Has the tools to be a top 5 goalie in the league, but his incessant wandering/over playing the puck leads to issues for his team and his health
NY Rangers – Favourite: Colton Orr- With that last name you may think he'd have skill at more than this There had to be a reason why a guy who has NEVER been double digits in points at any level, is in the NHL. Least: Dan Girardi- We feel he's done a terrible job managing the Yankees this season! ; )
Ottawa – We will miss Ray Emery. The man is just so entertaining, he fought Buffalo's Peters in full goalie gear, gets suspended for using his stick as a hatchet . That was more than enough to get on the list. Favourite: Dany Heatley- Despite his reckless past he's one of the best/most exciting players to watch in the game today. Least: Jason Spezza: Despite having tons of talent, we just don't see fire to win in him. We wouldn't have paid him the mega bucks the Sens are set to pay for his services!
Philadelphia – Favourite: Danielle Briere- Hey, how could we not still root for the girl? She hasn't quite lived up to the 10 million dollar salary, but it's probably buying plenty of makeup! Least: Steve Downie: When you resort to sucker punching a guy who is 5'2" and with cancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnvzVzySOCE you're a dick.
Phoenix – Favourite: Shane Doan- We feel he's over rated /overpaid, but anyone who can put those Froggy buggers in the Quebec Media/politics in their place, is OK in our book! Honorable mention: Todd Fedoruk. Have to have respect for a guy who keeps getting his Skull Kicked IN yet just keeps coming back for more more, and more............ Least: Ed Jovanovski- Very over rated/paid in our opinion
Pittsburgh – Favourite: Miroslav Satan- We really didn't want to pick him, but the Devil made us do it! Honorable mention. Pascal Dupuis- Love hearing announcers sound silly saying his name. Least: Sid Crosby- He may be one of the best players in the game today, but sorry Pen fans, we can't get by all the Gretzy-esque whining.
San Jose – Jonathan Cheechoo. One of the best 'Chiefs'. When they combined Cheech with Big Joe his potential was finally realized. Should be back on the war path again this year! A bargain at 3.0 mil! Should have held out for more wampum! Least: Robert Blake. (Not Baretta) His past due date has long since past, yet is mysteriously still looked upon as a top 4 defensemen?
St. Louis – Favourite:John Davidson-Yes, he no longer plays, but he is one of the more enjoyable hockey people to listen to. Knowledgeable without arrogance. Least: Keith Tkachuk. Now 12 years removed from his last 50 goal season. Keith has parlayed his past success into big money contracts which he hasn't lived up to. He's set to steal another 4 mil from the Blues this year. Eventually someone will realize you don't win with this bum on your team!
Tampa – Favourite: Marty St. Louis. Probably one of the best undrafted players of the last 25 years. At barely 5'4" you can't but be impressed. One wonders how confused fans would be if he played for the Blues? Least: Chris Gratton- One of the most over rated players the last 10-15 years.
Toronto- Favourite: With the departure of Darcy Fucker our new Leaf fav was Brian Mccabe. Yes, he was just traded, but we like how he said screw you to Leaf management who wanted him to waive his NTC. He negotiated it so he could have stability. If the Leafs didn't want him to use the clause, they shouldn't have offered it to him! Least: Juri Tlusty- Now that is a double major, game misconduct penalty in the macho world of professional hockey, but that is not any reason to call Jiri Tlusty gay. He might be gay, but who really knows if those tongues consummated their relationship.
Vancouver –Favourite: The Sedins. Announcers forced to use first names when they are out there. We wonder what would happen if one starts to suck? So far all contracts have been identical(like they are) If they were forced to be separated, would they die ?? Least: Kyle Wellwood-How can a guy who looks like that have any chance? Geez, talk about a beer gut! The puck-bunny is nice, but Kyle no wonder you suck!
Monday, September 15, 2008
1) During the last Bettman lockout one of the refrains little ole Gary liked to use was that the salary cap was needed to make cost certainty, help control ticket prices, and the last was what gave many of us a good belly laugh- 'We need to bring the players into a partnership with the owners'. To an outsider that would either sounds like flowery language (bullshit) or a noble idea. At the time(and now) we believed that this was all a smoke screen to get the salary cap. Now, we're not going to go into that here, but we do want to touch on the concept that the players and owners are indeed 'partners' now that there is a salary cap
2) Back then we asked should/can the players as a group trust the owners and Bettman? We cited instance after instance of business corruption of so many current and past NHL owners, that it almost seemed to be policy/a requirement for membership to be an NHL owner. Folks who at the time were blindly anti-player would throw out the instances where players were in trouble with the law such as the Heatley incident or the all too common domestic violence issues. However then as now we would argue that this is a clear case of apples and oranges. Those offenses by the players have ZERO to do with their association with the owners. While it can be argued that if someone is running their business illegally they probably aren't too trust worthy with regard to other business practices, and we would think twice before becoming business 'partners' with such people.
3) This issue really came to ahead recently when yet another owner Boots Delbaggio was found to be yet another John Spano. Someone who apparently was able to dupe Gary Bettman into believing he was a rich investor trying to buy an NHL team. It was with this latest Bettman fiasco that we decided to see if our perception that there seemed to be an inordinate of current/former NHL owners who have been in trouble was reality or not. So we decided to do a search, and this is what we came up with. You decide if it shows a disturbing trend, or is a coincidence.
4) Here is a list of the folks (we could find) and a short description of their transgression:
- Harold Ballard- His cantankerous, eccentric ways, his talent for alienating players, and his general contempt for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans, Harold Ballard goes down as possibly the worst NHL owner of all time.(The recently departed William Wirtz would give him a run for his money) He turned a marquee NHL franchises into the most poorly run operation in professional sport. He was found guilty of 48 charges of theft and fraud involving the misuse of $205,000 – including $82,000 of Gardens money used to remodel his home.
- Bruce McNall- celebrated sports owner from L.A.--the young entrepreneur who had bought the Kings and brought Wayne Gretzky west; the extravagant spender with a fleet of private jets and helicopters--busted for defrauding banks of more than $200 million.
- Henry Samueli of the Anaheim Ducks, has signed off on a plea deal that will see him get five years probation and $12.2 million in fines and penalties for lying to federal investigators who were looking into a scheme that tied him to an options backdating scandal in his company, Broadband.
- Michael Largue, a self-described investment banker from Uniondale, L.I., almost became Spano # 2. He had been putting out word that he wanted to buy a professional hockey team. In an effort to buy the Islanders he met with the N.H.L.'s commissioner, Gary Bettman, and told him he was looking to buy a team and that he was backed by a wealthy Swiss businessman. Later he went to Edmonton to buy that then-ailing franchise. He got a tour of the Oilers' arena, collected a few autographed goalie sticks and had dinner with the mayor. He announced that a deal was imminent, until a back ground check didn't jive with what he told the press. He later was convicted of grand larceny among many offenses since then. The perfect NHL owner eh?
- Eugene Melnyk- Owner of the popular Bert’s Bar located in Barbados and the National Hockey League Senators has been charged by regulators in Canada for accounting fraud. Melnyk and three executives of the company Biovail Corporation have been charged for misleading investors about the pharmaceutical company’s financial results
- John and Tim Rigas of Adelphia Communications. Not long after they were approved, the two were convicted of fraud in federal court regarding billions in off-the-books loans, a ruling that plunged both Adelphia and the Buffalo Sabres into bankruptcy, and put both Rigas in jail.
- San Jay Kumar/ Charles Wang- One is a former co-owner of the Islanders along with his former Computer Associates colleague Charles Wang. Kumar pleaded guilty to securities fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice charges related to his role a $2.2 billion accounting scheme at the computer software company. Until recently Wang appeared to be in the clear. Now he is being looked into this as well. Sanjay Kumar alleges his former mentor "personally directed" improper accounting at the company going back to 1987, and that several longtime board members "took steps to protect Wang and conceal the facts." This could get interesting!
- Eddie Debartolo: In 1981, The DeBartolo Corporation purchased the NHL's Penguins. In 1998 Eddie DeBartolo Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony charge of failing to report that Louisiana's former governor allegedly extorted $400,000 from him to win a casino license.
- William ''Boots'' Del Biaggio III: (see above) An investment firm is accusing the San Jose socialite and investor of using false claims and bogus documents to scam it out of $3 million in a loan deal, according to a lawsuit filed this year in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The lawsuit provides the first public details of alleged improper business dealings that have prompted a federal probe of Del Biaggio, a 40-year-old financier who until recently was a new part owner of the Nashville Predators
- John Spano- (See above) He gained the NHL's blessing to buy the New York Islanders for $165 million by claiming he was worth $230 million. Truth was, Spano lied about pretty much every aspect of his financial portfolio, claiming to have a trust, established by a relative, worth $107 million, and he forged numerous records in a successful bid to dupe various bankers and lawyers. In 2000 he was sentenced to over five years in jail.
5) To think that Ed Snider’s, owner of the Flyers, during the last lockout had this reaction to the NHLPA’s "outrageous" suggestion that NHL owners might be less than trustworthy. Some say he went ballistic before claiming that NHL owners were “just a bunch of honest businessmen”. We'll allow our readers to decide that question, but if we were the players and their association representation we'd be wary before making any agreements tat would make us 'partners' with such folks as these! You sleep with dogs and you get fleas!
Friday, September 12, 2008
2) This move turned a simmering issue between the NHL and Russia/Europe into a legit all out war. As we have written about recently, nhl-khl-cold-war-intensifies there has been significant posturing from all sides. The Radulov situation has been the lightning rod of this entire situation. The NHL, although is NOT an innocent bystander (having pilfered Euro talent for next to, or literally NOTHING for years), demanded that Radulov live up to his deal and threatened to take him and the KHL to court.
3) Recently the KHL has softened its previous tough stance of threatening to try to actively pilfer other players under contract next summer. They threw out an olive branch last week when they agreed to send the Radulov case to arbitration. As we wrote/responded on the well written puckstopshere blog we would feel this was positive ONLY until we hear WHERE this case is going to be heard. (The NHL Never wins in Russian courts and the Russiand never win in North America) Until then we are dubious of their intentions, that this move by the KHL may have been an honest attempt to end this dispute with the NHL or it could be mere window-dressing designed to paint itself as the good guy. We went on to say that regardless of the real motivation the fact remains that as long as Radulov continues to play in Russia there won’t be any peace between the two leagues.
4) As we have also written on a few other blogs recently we believe this recent conciliatory tone by the KHL can perhaps traced to the fact that the price of oil has fallen 25+% in the past 3 months as a possible motivating factor here? Most of the cash to run this league is either directly or indirectly derived from this volatile commodity. In the end the KHL may see that it actually needs the NHL and the possible influx of cash from a fair transfer agreement. Certainly they can't pay those salaries based upon ticket revenues alone!
5) The most recent bizarre turn of this case occurred yesterday when apparently NHLPA head Paul Kelly while being interviewed by the Toronto media blurted out that it was his understanding from reliable sources (sounds like Ekund-but with credibility) that Radulov wanted to leave the KHL and return to the Preditors.(audio here) Quoting Kelly: I have that on extremely good authority. He's tried the KHL. He's seen what it has to offer for a few games already.... I believe there is an outcome which is doable, which will involve some type of an agreement between the NHL, the KHL, the player himself
6) We have previously discussed that its NOT against the NHLPA's interest to have players bolt to other leagues. It gives them leverage in the NHL which of course can only help boost salaries even in a capped NHL. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2008/07/strange-bed-fellows.html. However they can't condone players breaking valid contracts! The next question is why Radulov is suddenly desiring to return? Here are the possible reasons:
- He saw the inferior conditions compared to the NHL. Not to knock Russia, but even with its current oil boom and subsequent elevated standard of living, its still not in the same galaxy as North America?
- The KHL is pushing for resolution of this and would like to save face by behind the scenes 'pushing' Radulov to go back?
- Radulov's agent saw the writing on the wall, that his client risked botching a potential lucrative/long NHL career if he stayed in the unstable KHL?
7) Whatever the reasons we're sure we haven't read/heard the last twist of this bizarre story, and the more important issue of getting a fair transfer agreement between ALL the parties from the NHL, to the KHL, and the other Euro leagues. Until this is done we haven't heard the last of these kind of situations.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
- Well, the most important reason is that rosters are far from set. As we write this 6 teams are OVER the salary cap of 56 or so million, and another 4 teams are perilously close, so significant roster moves are likely. As we saw quite clearly with the Mezsaros 'trade', rosters are far from set. In fact an East asst GM told us to not be surprised to see an unprecedented number of moves prior to the drop of the puck in Europe in October
- Several significant free agents have yet to decide on their team/possible retirement. Players such as Joe Sakic who recently announced his decision and and ofcourse Mats Sundin,Teemu Selanne, Peter Forsberg, etc who have yet to make their decision could alter the landscape significant enough to alter predictions
2) We at FR usually like to wait until late September/early October before coming out with our predictions. No, not to use others' analysis to assist us, but so we have as much of the known facts to be able to give our readers the best possible preseason predictions. By that late date rosters will be pretty much set, and we can use some early trends that are sometimes spotted in the preseason.
Post Script: Happy Labour Day folks and more importantly, all our prayers going to the folks on the gulf coast as they endure the wrath of Gustov!