Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sweet 16 Predictions

1) After a one week hiatus for the All-Star weekend, we are back at our weekly picks. To refresh we have a 108-72 record thus far this season for a respectable .567 winning percentage. Additionally we have a record of 12-3 for our "Locks of The Week", or 80% correct.

2) There is a full 12 game schedule today/tonight:

Detroit Red Wings Vs-Washington Capitals : Capitals

Los Angeles Kings VS- Montreal Canadiens Habitants ( Lock Of The Week)

Florida Panthers VS-New York Islanders: Panthers

Dallas Stars VS-Columbus Blue Jackets: Stars

Philadelphia Flyers VS-St. Louis Blues Blues

Minnesota Wild VS- Vancouver Canucks: Canucks

New York Rangers VS-Boston Bruins Bruins

Anaheim Ducks VS- Colorado Avalanche: Avalanche

Pittsburgh Penguins VS-Toronto Maple Leafs: Maple Leaves

Atlanta Thrashers VS-Carolina Hurricanes: Canes

Buffalo Sabres VS-Phoenix Coyotes : Coyotes

Blackhawks VS-Sharks: Shark (Game of the week!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ray, A Changed Man?

1) As most hockey fans know former Ottawa Senator goalie Ray Emory is playing over in Russia in the KHL. He gained quite a reputation in the NHL for having a gigantic chip on his shoulder. He was routinely at the center of controversy in Ottawa for fighting opponents, teammates, coaches, motorists and, well, pretty much everybody. His current team in Russia is the Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL. Thus far this season the reports we have received had been positive. He has been playing well, and there haven't been any reports of any incidents that might show that he's still the same Ray that caused the Senators to buy him out last summer.

2) That is until this past week. The story goes that Emery attacked his own team's physical therapist, after the therapist asked him to put on a baseball cap to protect his head, which was hot and sweaty. (See Youtube below) Emery was pulled after letting in three goals in the first period of Atlant's defeat at Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Up to this point it appeared that Ray was successful in his attempt to try and improve his image from a hot head goalie who's weak in net and really just likes to get in fights. With this bizarre incident it appears that it doesn't look like much has changed in his time overseas.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Fighting Remains Essential!

1) This post has to start with "Here we go again"! We feel compelled to defend the very necessary/enjoyable aspect of the NHL which has come under fire (again) recently. That aspect is of course fighting. When Don Sanderson tragically passed away last month, ostensibly following a fall after a hockey fight, the anti-fighting zealots went into over drive hitting home their position that this aspect of hockey needs to be eliminated, etc. Most failed to mention that the incident did NOT take place in a professional league. Mr. Sanderson was NOT being paid to play. It was a senior league. A pick up game of sorts. As Many, including Wayne Gretzky (not known as a big fighting advocate) have said, "Why were two people fighting in a senior league game anyway?" They shouldn't even allow hitting let alone fighting there. That point didn't matter. At last the anti-fighting folks had a legitimate (to them) death from fighting instance to use. We wonder if Mr. Sanderson had died from a fall after a shoulder check if they'd be calling for the NHL to end all body contact?

2) As we have pointed out frequently here at FAUXRUMORS fighting sells! To try to reduce, or even sillier eliminate that part of the game to mollify people who uusally don't like the game anyway is well beyond stupid. We understand the opposing view point of a small (yet very vocal minority of NHL fans), and do NOT think those folks are any less real fans, but they are misguided nonetheless. As we have maintained its a shame the NHL has gone into the direction of fewer and fewer enforcers (fighters). The AHL, which even more than the NHL is gate driven league, saw long ago that limiting fighting was for their detriment. The NHL needs to see this as well. Who cares what the Damien Cox's of the hockey world say. Fighting sells!

3) As we like to ask: "Who is the favourite players on each team" (at least until recently) It was the leading scorer and the resident enforcer. Coincidence? Ever see ANYONE get up and leave a game if a fight was occurring or about to happen? Can we end all the 'need to increase scoring' nonsense, and lets eliminate the rules that are inhibiting fighting like the instigator penalty. We're not advocating a return of the 1970's bench clearing brawl, but bring back fighting to its pre Bettman 1980's levels! In the good old days you’d always see several scraps/intense hockey as teams fight (literally) for their playoff lives The skill level has undoubtedly increased with the flood of Europeans, but so has the intensity level waned as a result. A jingoistic attitude? Perhaps, but its still true!

4) The NHL would be making a HUGE mistake to reduce, or even ban fighting. Much like a hard clean hit, like Scott Stevens on Lindros, sometimes players get hurt in the course of the game. Its unfortunate, but happens. We liken the Fedoruk/Orr incident last season in that light as well. Yes, the mainstream press/anti-hockey forces will link the Sanderson and all like incidents. Most hockey fans know the deal, and Bettman and the owners/GM's had better not further sissify the sport we all know and love to placate a bunch of folks who wouldn't like hockey even if there were ZERO fights! Watch below and see how many folks are getting up and walking out!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bettman Selling Kool-Aid!

1) We felt compelled to write a response-post to Gary Bettman's unbelievably-unbelievable All-Star address this past weekend. Specifically we both laughed out loud and yelled at our monitors when he had the audacity to proclaim: " Economically, we are having a great season..... I know that there are some who suggest that we somehow have lost any sense of reality in terms of how we're doing.." Um Gary, ya think? Lost reality is one possibility. Lying through your teeth is an alternative theory as well?

2) Gary goes on: : "we are actually experiencing real growth. Not to the extent we did last season, but we are still experiencing real growth, probably in the 5 to 5.5% range in native currency" You may be asking why did Gary add that caveat, 'Native currency'? Easy, the Canadian Dollar has lost 20% of its value the past 6 months, thus the teams north of the border have lost a lot of their previous buying power that they had when the currencies were on par (not the norm by the way) In previous addresses Bettman always downplayed the beneficial effects of the currency differential, now he is using it as an excuse? Sorry Gary, you can't have it both ways!

3) Then to top it off Bettman actually blames the players for the escrow going to as high as 25%. To review for the uninitiated. The players are due a fixed percentage of all revenues. Escrow is the money that the league withholds from players salaries in case revenues don't keep up with expenditures. Last season the players received ALL the escrowed money back despite having 13% initially withheld. This season the same 13% was initially withheld, but with the revenue forecast looking bleak it was recently increased to 25%. Yes the salary cap only went up this season by about 12%. By those numbers, even if revenues stayed static escrow should have stayed the same AND the players should expect their money back.

4) Instead we hear Gary say: "The biggest factor in terms of needing a larger escrow is the fact that player salaries are up so much, relative to the increase in revenues." Huh? Here we thought player salaried were fixed? Hence, hard salary cap. No? So IF revenues are higher (albeit at a slower pace than last season), as Gary is stating, then even with the higher salary cap the escrow should be only the same as last season with the only change that the players may actually lose that escrow this season. So the BIG Question is: why would the NHLPA voluntarily relinquish an additional 12% of their rank and files income if things weren't so bad?

5) Which brings us to the inevitable. The players now can rightfully start to question the spending practices of the league and the placement of franchises. Such as:

  • Nashville Predators' owners buying thousands of unsold tickets so they can qualify for a full share of the NHL's revenue-sharing plan. The players can't be happy with this. Can the owners call selling tickets to themselves income? If not (and it doesn’t sound Kosher if they can) then there is decreased overall league revenue, and thus less of the financial ‘pie’ to share.

  • The whole Phoenix/Nashville/TampaBay/Atlanta ownership Debacles

6) It should have come as no surprise when NHLPA president Paul Kelly confirmed he's met with BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie, who tried to buy the Nashville Predators/Penguins and move them to Hamilton and said: "There's no question that Toronto could handle a second team". His query goes strait to the heart of the CBA. Are the players full 'partners' with the NHL or not? If the answer is yes, then they should have some say so on how to grow the game and where to place (or move) franchises. Look for that point (and as we consistently maintain, guaranteed contracts) to be the major bones of contention between the league and the NHLPA. In the meantime enjoy the next 2 1/2 seasons of NHL hockey. We are again afraid we are on collision course for (yet another) Bettman lockout. That unless the players drink the Bettman Kool-aid too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Power Rankings-All Star Break Edition

1) Its been about a month since our last edition of our Power Rankings poll. Its The All-Star Break! Five days without any meaningful hockey to watch.(Yes, that includes the charade on Sunday night!) A great time for us a FAUXRUMORS2 to publish our monthly Power Rankings.

1) San Jose- (1) The Sharks maintain their top spot in our rankings. Continuing to beat anyone not named Calgary. Ryane Clowe has been on fire helping the Sharks hold off the Wings in a great match up with Detroit last week. Question remains if the promotion of a 43-year-old right winger Claude Lemieux will help or hurt

2) Boston- (3)- The Bruins continue to way out pace any other Eastern Conference rival(although 2 losses to the Caps have to make them a bit uneasy) Great home/road records as well as potent PP, great PK make them a lethal team to oppose. Break came at great time as injuries were piling up. Still with Vezina candidate Thomas between the pipes, and Norris candidate Chara in front of him the B's are a threat to win every night

3) Detroit- (2)- Only slightly edged out by Boston to 3rd position. Pavel Datsyuk has been the difference recently, so the Wings are hoping his injury is minor (he's missing the silly game Sunday). Conklin has also regained his form that carried the Pens last season when M-A Fleury got hurt. Which is good since the Wings continue to give up a ton of shots each game!

4) Calgary- (9)- The Flames have vaulted up our rankings as well as in the West Conference standings. Beating the Sharks always gets one noticed! Mike Cammalleri is making his off season acquisition by Sutter look great! Where did Rene Bourque come from! A great PK and home record are among the reason the Flames are where they are. If they can improve on the road, they will be a significant Cup contender!

5) New Jersey- (6)- Never would we have thought that the Devils would be here, even with a healthy Brodeur! As FR wrote, Brent Sutter deserves Adams consideration! The addition of Brendan Shanahan seems to thus far been a positive. There is also no doubt that Zac Parise is a legit NHL star! If the playoffs started tomorrow we wouldn't want to face this team! Will the return of Marty in a few weeks be a good or bad thing? ; )

6) Philadelphia- (5)- Amazing that the Flyers have done so well without their highest paid player, Danielle Briere. In act some are saying his injury is being embellished for salary cap reasons. No matter, the Flyers appear to be for real. Being led by Carter their PP is deadly! Another surprise is the goaltending of Antero Niittymaki. Another team made for playoff hockey!

7) Washington- (7)- A bit of an enigma. Second best East team, but under .500 on the road, very poor PK, and only a +14 goal differential.(Boston is +52) Have the best player in the NHL, have had numerous injuries, and Theodore appears to be coming back into form, but we wouldn't be planning a DC Cup Parade just yet! However, like Chicago perspective is needed as this team wasn't even in the playoff hunt this time last year!

8) Chicago- (4)- The Hawks seem to have struggled somewhat since their home/home beatings by the Wings (the second in the Winter Classic) Overall they have to be pleased with Cristobal Huet who has been very sharp and is earning the big payday he received this past July. Still have to recall like the Caps above how far/fast this team has come in the past year.

9) NY Rangers- (8)- The BlueShirts continue to stay good enough to stay in the top 10, yet haven't returned to their form from the first few weeks of the season. Their PP continues to struggle. Henrik Lundqvist, as usual, is the difference on most nights. We would need to see more offensive consistency to give this team Cup consideration.

10) Buffalo- (16) The Sabres have propelled themselves from mediocrity to respectability with a solid month, resulting in their back in the top 8 in the East. Tim Connolly's return from (yet another) injury has infused needed offense that will hopefully overcome recent injuries to key defensemen, and hopefully improve a weak PP.

11) Montreal- (10) Montreal stays about where they were when we last ranked teams. Despite having their entire roster on the All Star team the Habs are hardly what we would call an elite team. Markov is one player who deserves to be there. Also, Andrei Kostitsyn appears to be heating up at the right time. We also should note the key injuries to Higgins, Koivu and Tanguay as hurting the team recently. Despite their record we don't see them as legit Cup contenders right now

12) Edmonton- (25) The Oilers have rocketed up our poll 13 spots with a very solid month. Now right on the precipice of playoff position. Ales Hemsky's return to the line up was a nice shot in the arm. They are now more or less healthy, and hope that off season acquisition Cole can regain his scoring touch Still, there PK continues to struggle big time. McTavish will need to right that issue if the Oil is to make the playoffs.

13) Phoenix- (15) Gretzky's bunch continues to stay in the hunt for the playoffs and at the break are in the top 8. They have a tough part of their schedule upcoming with tilts with the Ducks, Sharks and Wings. So they better hope that their leader Shane Doan snaps out of a slump. The young 'Yotes will also have to improve their anemic PP if they want to stay in the playoff hunt

14) Florida- (18) The Panthers continue to climb up both the standings and our rankings. Now a mere point behind the second place Canes and also very close to the East's top 8, having lost only 2 games in regulation in their last 10. Impending UFA Jay Bouwmeester and young sniper David(The assassin)Booth are the biggest reasons why. Biggest question is will they trade J-Bow, or retain him before the deadline?

15) Dallas- (22) The Stars may have finally gotten their groove, going 8-3-3 in their past 14 games and find themselves but a few points out with games in hand going into the second half. No one saw them as playoff possibilities before X-mas. Mike Ribeiro's finally playing like last season, and surprisingly Loui Eriksson is on pace for a 40-goal season. If Tippet can improve his team's specialty teams the Stars might be in good shape to get into the playoffs when anything is possible

16) Anaheim- (11) The Ducks limp into the break, going a poor 4-6 in their previous 10 games falling on the precipice of missing the playoffs. Ryan Getzlaf is having a great offensive season, but takes too many penalties for his/his teams own good. The team as a whole would appear to be 'less than the sum of its parts'. Meaning they are underachieving!

17) Minnesota- (20) The Wild move up a couple of spots as they continue to sputter along in the west. If they were in the other conference they'd possibly be challenging the Bruins for supremacy; the Wild are 10-2-1 against the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for them, they have to play a majority of their games against the tougher West. Continue to be offensively challenged, yet do have a decent PP.

18) Columbus- (23) The Jackets continue to hang in there largely on the shoulders of rookie sensation goalie Steve Mason. Kristian Huselius along with star Rick Nash continue to be the lone offensive bright spots. A recent improvement in their road game has helped the team stay in the race. Can a rookie continue to carry a relatively weak offensive team into the post season in the tough West?

19) Carolina- (12) Haven't exactly set the league afire since hiring Paul Maurice. In fact one can say there has been no change whatsoever. Keeping the canes in the playoff hunt, but barely so. Is Cam Ward getting fatigued playing so much? As has been the case most of the season, special teams are not doing well. If that continues the Canes may be looking at yet another near playoff miss. ..and yes the -29 in Rod Brind'amour's stat sheet is not a misprint!

20) Pittsburgh- (13) The Pens continue to sink (down 7 spots in our rankings) despite having the NHL's top 2 scorers in Crosby/Malkin. Surprising they are a better team away from the Igloo. Marc-Andre Fleury is playing adequately, but unspectacular. Problem is they don't have a Ty Conklin this season to push him. Evidently the still injured Sergei Gonchar is the true team MVP? Additionally, anyone esle think that despite his points Sid the Kid doesn't look like 'himself' this season?

21) Vancouver-(14) Roberto Lunongo is back in a nick of time. The 'Nucks went from leading the NW to falling out of playoff position, having won a mere 2 of their past 10 games. The addition of Mats Sundin has been anything but a tonic.(3 points in 7 games so far) Even a slew of home games couldn't help the team. They are missing good secondary scoring after the Sedin line. Will the return of Pavol Demitra make the difference? No.

22) Colorado- (19) One step forward two steps back for the 'lanche. Have recently been on a backward streak, going 4-6 in their past 10 to fall into last place in the NW, and a full 4 pts from playoff position. Special teams, especially their PK continues to be woeful. How bad is the goalie situation? Andrew Raycroft has outplayed Peter Budaj recently! Of course losing Sakic, and more recently Stastny doesn't help.

23) Los Angeles- (24) The Kings more or less stand pat from our last rankings. They are not a basement team like last season, but have yet to break free of the bottom 1/3 of the league quite yet. Unfortunately the team will soon undertake its longest road trip of the season. They should have more scoring with the talent they have up front. On the bright side top defensive prospect Jack Johnson returned to action this week.

24) Tampa Bay- (29) Climb from near the bottom back to life despite the persistent Lecavalier rumors. To his credit he's stepped up his game as of late. The Bolts actually have a winning record (6-4) in their last 10 contests. They have the horses to make a playoff run, but will the roster uncertainty sink them before they get going?

25) St. Louis- (27) A slight move upward this time around, though still on the bottom in the West. Glass half empty or full? In their recent 6 losses they have all been by one goal. Indicating competitiveness or lack of talent to get the job done? Its likely they will be big 'sellers by the trade deadline. The biggest (booby) prize being Keith Tkachuk. (Ask Don Waddell how that worked out for him)

26) Ottawa- (26)- How the mighty have fallen. Started off last season like they might break the 77-78 Montreal record for fewest losses. Now they are almost assured of missing the post season. How does Brian Murray still have a job? Well, probably not for long. Unfortunately for Sens fans the immediate future doesn't look good. Even sniper Dany Heatley has a mere 5 goals in his past 18 or so games. Most of those this past week.

27) Nashville- (17) The wheels have apparently come off in Music City with the Preds losing 7 of their most recent 10 games to fall out of the West playoff race. Winning only 8 of their 24 road games and a PP that can barely score doesn't help. Losing 7-2 to the Thrashers last week has to be the teams low point(so far). The bright spot continues to be Shea Weber who is having a superb season. Is Barry Trotz's job on the line? Actually the entire franchise is!

28) Atlanta- (28) First, Don Waddell still is employed. That in itself sums up why the Thrashers are where they are. Despite a recent surge (for them) going 5-5 in their last 10, they remain well out of playoff contention. Might this be the beginning of the end of hockey in Atlanta?

29) Toronto- (21) With only 2 wins in their past 10 games it appears that Brian Burk's squad is attempting to get into 'Tavares drafting position', or among the bottom 5 NHL teams. We believe they will achieve that 'goal', and if the NHL has something to say they will 'win' the lottery and get the prized forward to rebuild the NHL's premier franchise.

30) NY Islanders- (30) Biggest news came off the ice where the team finally hinted that they are losing patience concerning the snails pace of the new arena process with an exhibition game in KC and the team to start its 09 training camp in Saskatoon (out west). On the ice the Isles have won twice in their past 10 and are solidly dead last 30th (by 8 points) in the entire NHL. Without their franchise goalie, and likely trading of vets like Weight/Guerin last overall is all but assured

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Latest Stupid NHL Idea

1) Apparently in (another) effort to increase scoring the NHL is contemplating changing the shape of the goal posts. Thats right, not increasing the size of the nets, but simply the shape of the post! The NHL tested a prototype for a new net in Toronto at a Maple Leafs practice recently. The frame of the goal remains sized at six feet by four feet, but the familiar round posts are oval-shaped instead. The long, flatter side of the oval is on the inside of the frame. The theory is that the flat surface will allow pucks to bounce in off of them, rather than hit the outside of a round post and bounce out. So the NHL is trying to rely on equipment to do the scoring now? Pathetic!

2) When we first were told of this we thought it must be a joke. (But, this is Bettman's NHL so anything is possible) Just how many posts do you think get hit in the average game? We asked several folks who were actually at that practice if the change appeared to cause more scoring. To a man we were told that they didn't see any difference. It seemed that whether or not a puck went in off the post depended upon what angle the shot was taken. If it was from right in front, then yes the caroms seemed to favour a shooter, but at an angle just the opposite seemed to be the case. So in essence, no difference! At most it makes the rebounds very unpredictable for both goalies and forwards.

3) Can we stop with the silliness already? We already have enough changes in the game. Can we stop with the inane tweaks we are seeing every year? We already hate the silly shapes painted on the ice to prevent goalies from wandering. (Our proposal to prevent wandering goalies is easier-make them fair game once they leave the crease). This garbage needs to stop. Goals being scored isn't what makes the game exciting, it's the intensity of the competition. (another reason to dispense with the instigator penalty-but that's a post for another day) However IF the NHL still wants to increase scoring this isn't rocket science. Simply decrease the size of the goalie equipment. It's that simple. As we have written countless times look at the equipment of the 1970's compared with today. With new technologies goalies can still be well protected without looking like the Michelin Man. We conclude that this is just another pointless idea by our pal Gary Bettman

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pre All Star Break Chatter

1) The Rick DiPietro situation: Firstly we read with interest that the Islanders have finally conceded what we at FAUXRUMORS stated long ago; That Rick DiPietro's injuries are far more serious than what was being initially reported. AS we wrote here---> we were told by our excellent/reliable Islander sources back then that: the team was is very concerned about DiPietro's surgically repaired knee. We hear he had a 'meniscus tear' that the arthroscopic procedure was possible inadequate in solving, but the team and Ricky didn't want a more invasive open surgery that would have shelved him 3-6 months. Now the possibility is that this may be required anyway and possibly end his season.

2) It appears he has received several new 'opinions' that have said just that, but the team wants to wait and see if total rest for 2-3 months will prevent further surgery. WE continue to be told though that another knee procedure is "inevitable' and if they wait to do it till spring it could make it doubtful that he will be physically ready to start camp or even the season in 09-10 itself. Yes, it could be career threatening.

3) The Lecavalier rumors: We're told that in fact where there is smoke there is fire with regard to the recent/persistent Vinny Lecavalier trade rumours we have been inundated with recently. In fact many independent sources are saying that Lecavalier is one of many players including Martin St. Louis and even last summer's top pick Steven Stamkos who are available if the club got the right offer. (we'll have more on these other rumours in an upcoming post) The reason for the recent urgency in trading away the franchise type player is that:

  • His no-movement clause kicks in afterl July 1. After that date no trade can be made without Vinny's approval.

  • The team may have to cut payroll, and Lecavalier's contract is a huge drain, and with the new economic realities the new owners may want to re-think spending to the cap max

  • What is certain, this is more for financial reasons than anything, but as one source told us "the situation in Tampa is so chaotic its hard to figure what they are and want to do." He went on to say that "its difficult to tell who exactly is making the decisions." Lawton is the GM, but the owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie have been more than a tad 'hands on'. The source doubted that a deal would be made during the season. "Its simply too complicated to get done now. However before the draft a trade is very possible.

3) Sean Avery: The oft maligned (by us as well) forward has been sitting the past 2 months has been attempting to subtly get back into the NHL. The 28 year old LW wants desperately to get back. To review, following his remarks about Dion Phaneuf he received a 6 game suspension from the NHL and had to get counseling. Following this, on December 14, 2008, only hours after the last game of Avery's suspension, the Stars announced that Avery would not return to the team. However, Hull said the Stars would continue to honor Avery's contract and support him while he gets help.

4) Which brings us to today. We're told the Stars have tried and have been told they can not legally get out from under the four-year, $15.5 million contract he signed last summer. They have considered an AHL demotion, but as we mentioned earlier the Dallas affiliate has refused to take him. The also could try to place Avery on LTIR with his 'emotional issues" being the reason. The Stars still have to pay Avery the rest of this season, have him go to 'counseling' with the probable intent of buying out (at 2/3) the remaining money. Of course Avery would have to agree on that option, and we're told he has refused to go along with that.

5) So now what? Well, we were surprised to hear that a couple of teams have shown interest in the super-pest. The Stars should expect very little in the way of a return for him. One player agent told us that: One way in which Dallas could probably quickly dispose of his contract was to demote him and bring him back through 're-entry waivers, thus cutting in half the Stars and new team's financial commitment. So far Dallas owner Tom Hicks wants no part of being saddled with paying Avery for playing for another team, so the situation remains in stasis. One source told us that he would be shocked if Avery WEREN'T dealt at the deadline to an Eastern team (possibly NY). What is clear, we haven't seen the last of Sean!

6) Claude Lemieux- The 43 year old has returned to the NHL. What an amazing turn of events. We never would have predicted that a player who appeared to have lost a step at age 37 would be back in the NHL on one of the best teams 6 years later! We were never huge fans of the "Sean Avery of the 1990's" but we give him credit for the hard work it had to take to get here. It remains to be seen if he can assist the Sharks to elevate their game when it means most, the Cup playoffs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CHANGE.. Has Arrived!??? Faux-Bama?

1) We at FAUXRUMORS want to congratulate the 44th President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama! We hope/pray for his success the next 4 years. Hopefully his 'Change" will be for the better!

2) However we are not optimistic based upon his past record and his pronouncement of how he intends to improve the economy. " Government will get us out of this"

3) Government spending has NEVER improved an economy in the history of the planet. Last time it was tried in such a grand scale, 1933-1940 we had 7 years as bad as any of The Great depression. Only WWII got the U.S out of that! Wanna hint on how things will go? Look to see how the financial world is seeing his assention. Will we see the stock market sharply rise on his inauguration?

4) On a related note we were amused to find this blog. We neither recommend nor endorse it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

First Half Trophy Winners

1) Many hockey blogs throw out their projections for these winners at the quarter poll, which is a tad too early, but with the season at its mid point we figured enough has transpired to make the selections valid so we threw together our opinion of who should be the winners of the major individual NHL trophies if the season were to end today:

  • Hart: Alex Ovechkin. "The Great 8" is having another fabulous season. Propelling his team to 2nd in the East despite an amazing rash of injuries to almost their entire defensive corps. He is second in goals, 3rd in points, first in shots, and is the only NHL player in the top 15 in scoring who in in triple digits in hits. He does it all, and does it all well. Without him its doubtful the Caps are even in the top 8 Honorable mentions: Evgeny Malkin and Ryan Getzlaf

  • Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom. What else can be said of the future Hall of famer? Because he seems to do this every year his stats might get overlooked, yet he is having yet another great season in Mo-town. Up among the leaders in points for a defender, +/-, minutes played/game, yet only has 14 penalty minutes. He elevates the game of everyone around him.(Ask Brian Rafalski!) Honorable mentions: Denis Wideman and Andre Markov

  • Calder: Steve Mason. The kid burst on to the NHL scene. Taking a team in Columbus who many(including us at Fauxrumors) didn't have a shot at the post season into contention for the 8th spot. he leads all goalies in GAA(a gaudy 1.91) and 2nd in save % at 932. Going 17-10 on a Jackets team that is 22nd in goal scoring. Without him the Columbus is near the bottom. Honorable mentions: Kris Versteeg and Blake Wheeler

  • Vezina:Steve Mason. (See above.) We would have had Tim Thomas, but seeing that his team mate Manny Fernandez had similar stats, we had to give the nod to the kid from Columbus who's team is not nearly as strong as the Bruins. Honorable mentions: Tim Thomas and Scott Clemmenson (No, not a joke)

  • Selke: Jeff Carter. The Flyers 3rd year forward is having a great all around season. Not only first in goals, and in the top 12 in points, but he also has a solid +/- and has netted 4 'shorties', makinghim a triple threat (PP/PK 5-5) he is almost always up against the opposing teams top forward line and is one of the reasons the Flyers are right there in the East. Honorable mention:Pavel Datsyuk and Patrick Marleau

  • Adams: Brent Sutter. We weren't big fans of his initial hiringlast year. We felt at the time he was possibly going to be in over his head a bit going strait from Juniors to the NHL, but 'Pup' has proven himself this season with his devils right among the East leaders despts having lost their Mr. Vezina, Martin Brodeur for most of the season thus far. Honorable mention: Claude Julian and Todd McLellan

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week 15 Results

1) Week 15 is in the books. How did we do? Well, it was a veritable blood bath for us. We went a putrid 4-7 on the day/night. To top it all off we got our Lock as far incorrect as one can get as the Predators got shelled at home by the previously hapless Thrashers, 7-2. So for those keeping score at home(and you know you are) our season-long totals are now 108-72 for a still respectable .567 winning percentage, and our "Locks" are now at 12-3, still running at 80%.

2) As we alluded to earlier there will be no picks next week as the NHL takes Thursday the 22nd through Monday the 26th off for the All-Snooze festivities in Montreal. We also intend to throw out our 2 cents(as most hockey blogs have done already) in listing our First half Trophy' winners. Look for it early this week! As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Week 15 Predictions

1) Our last week of Predictions prior to next weeks All Star weekend off. We take our impressive 104-65 record, or .615 winning percentage into today/nights slate of 11 games:

Carolina at Buffalo: Sabres

New Jersey at NY Islanders: Islanders

Montreal at Ottawa: Senators

Boston at Washington: Capitals

Florida at Tampa Bay: Lightning

Atlanta at Nashville: Predators (Lock of The Week)

Chicago at St. Louis: Blues

Phoenix at Calgary: Flame

Detroit at San Jose: Shark- The Game to watch!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Playing Favourites?

1) We have no firm proof, nor anyone who right now is willing to go the record to say so, but there are definitely league-wide rumblings that the NHL is pulling for (perhaps getting the benefit of the doubt in calls?) the Phoenix Coyotes to succeed and make the post season. Why you ask? Well, in essence the team is being run defacto by the NHL in New York! Word is that Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes is in dire financial straights, with his outside business interests. Most notably Swift Transportation, a large trucking firm, having been hammered by high gasoline costs, followed by the dramatic downturn in the economy. The Coyotes aren't in much better shape and are expected to lose another $30 million or more this season, on top of the more than $60 million they are reported to have lost the past two years.

2) Reports, although denied by the league, is that the NHL actually had to help the Coyotes make payroll recently. As one source told us, the NHL is providing what might be described as "bridge" funding of the team's operational costs to "maintain the integrity of the franchise". The source went on to say, There simply aren't any subtle ways to deal with this situation anymore". The league needs to keep the team afloat until new ownership/investors can be located/lured. The league also is trying to help broker changes to the existing lease with the city of Glendale in the hopes of making the situation more attractive to potential new investors or owners.

3) The problem is that despite having one of the better young teams in the NHL, not saddled with any long term expensive contracts, having decent attendance, and being one of the biggest benefactors of the NHL's revenue-sharing program as well, (last season received $15 million) the team is still hemorrhaging money. So outside of buying the team for next to nothing and moving it, (Balsille) we can't foresee an easy solution. Unlike the Pittsburgh or Ottawa situations, which took place when the local economies were doing relatively well, the economic climate is in the crapper nationwide and capital and credit hard to locate.

4) Which leads us to our original question. Is the NHL pulling for the 'Yotes to win? After all, a healthy playoff run (even 3-4 home games) could be the difference between losing oodles of money leading to potentially folding, and being able to attract local investors to buy a Cup contending team. Might Mr. Bettman place a few calls to make sure Phoenix is given every benefit of the doubt? We again have no one who would go on the record to say so, but the 'Yotes, despite having a very young inexperienced team are BOTH in the top 10 of power play opportunities AND in Bottom 10 overall in times shorthanded. Right now they are among several teams fighting for one of the last 2 slots out West and it could come down to an extra PP or two. The question remains; Is the Fix in?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No More All Star Games Please!

1) There was a lot of hoopla over the All Star starting lineup/fans selections announced this past weekend. Many showed faux-surprise when the Canadiens placed 4 of the 6 East starters. Of course anyone who has followed the process knew this was inevitable/condoned by the league. There were shenanigans pulled off by a few clever Habs fans to ensure their guys were voted in regardless of the fact that none of the 4 deserve such an honor. The league could have prevented this, as they did 2 seasons ago with the rory-fitzpatrick debacle. As is noted in that post, the NHL 'massaged' the numbers to prevent the journeyman defender from getting selected. The same could have been done here, but the league(Bettman) was fine with so many players from the host city (Montreal) getting selected despite the less than fair manner it took place. We're told that the league was fine as long as Sidney Crosby's starting selection wasn't in jeopardy.

2) Our take on that is; Who cares! The All Star game has become increasingly irrelevant. With the on set of the success of the Winter Classic, the All Star game has become less and less of interest to fans. As for the picks; that's what you get when you combine allowing fans to vote as much/often as they want (Chicago politics) with the idiocy/incompetence that is the NHL. The "honor" of starting is not like it was years ago. The real honor of selection takes place at the end of the season when the true All Star selections are made. Sure its nice to be selected, but few players have (are allowed with the new CBA) to get contractual bonuses for selection, so many might prefer to have the 3 days off in the middle of a grueling season instead.

3) As for the game itself; we have long said its a snooze fest! There is little that resembles true NHL hockey. Offense is the only talent that is allowed to be displayed with regularity. Little to no hitting, defense is spotty at best, and goalies also don't generally appear to be too interested in playing to their abilities. Its usually a double digit game. Die hard fans (who are the only ones who tune in usually) lose interest after the player announcements and 10 minutes of God-awful hockey. The league has tried all sorts of variations over the years from a North America-vs Europe, the traditional East-vs-West, to the Cup winner playing the All Stars. None have captivated an audience/generated any sustainable excitement/buzz. We maintain the ONLY possible way to make the game have any possible excitement was to have player stats count in the regular season AND to give a boat load of cash to the winners. Right now there is NO enticement for players to give anything near 100%

4) Even the "skills competition" which initially was well received/got increased fan interest, has seen its shine dwindle in recent years. However that all said anyone who believes we will see the end of the game as we know it you can forget it! Like in the other team sports, both the league and Players' Association want the event to continue. Too much money is involved to change that fact (surprised that's all about cash?) In fact, we're told cities and teams are still lining up to host it. Despite the bore, it does generate revenue for the host team/city. So we can all save a trip to see our Dr. for an Ambien prescription because the NHL All Star game is here to stay.

Monday, January 12, 2009

At The Midway Point......

1) With most NHL teams having played close to half their 2008-09 schedule we decided to do what FR did at-quarter-pole. Basically taking each teams record and project an 82 game season point total based upon each teams current point total/games played. As FR wrote then, These are NOT Predictions, they are Projections! Also we will place teams in the order that is used for playoff seeding.

2) First in the East:

Boston- 129
Washington- 109
Philadelphia- 107
Montreal- 112
New Jersey- 102
NY Rangers- 101
Buffalo- 92
Florida- 90
Carolina- 90 (Edged out by Panthers by 0.2 right now)
Pittsburgh- 84
Toronto- 74
Tampa Bay- 68
Ottawa- 66
Atlanta- 63
NY Islanders- 55

3) Next the West:

San Jose- 134
Detroit- 126
Calgary- 108
Chicago- 107
Vancouver- 91
Anaheim- 90
Phoenix- 90 (edged out by goals scored)
Colorado- 88
Minnesota- 86
Columbus- 86 (85.9)
Edmonton- 84
Nashville- 82
Dallas- 82
Los Angeles- 80
St. Louis- 72

4) Analysis:
  • Some teams like Detroit, SJ, Montreal, Washington, and Chicago have maintained their playoff positions since the quarter mark. Some teams like Pittsburgh and Minnesota have fallen out of a play off spot.
  • On the flip side the cellar dwellers last time around have rebounded. Especially the Panthers who were dead last at the 1/4 mark, and now find themselves on the edge of a playoff berth.
  • We also invite our readers to peer into last year at this time at-half-way-mark of the 2007-2008 season. In one short year Washington has gone from a door mat to a top tier team, while the Senators have done the opposite!
  • Also of interest it appears that fewer points will be needed to make the playoffs compared with previous seasons. This season 90 may be the magic number, where its been 92-94 in past seasons

5) Potential 1st round playoff match-ups based upon these projections:
Boston- vs-Florida
Washington- vs- Buffalo
Philadelphia- vs- New Jersey
Montreal- Rangers

San Jose vs- Colorado
Detroit- vs- Phoenix
Calgary- Anaheim
Chicago- vs- Vancouver

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shanny Signs With Devils

1) It appears that reports stating that Brendan Shanahan is going to play where his career started, New Jersey are accurate. Although he left the team back in 1991 under less than friendly circumstances as a free agent, (this actually was a blessing for NJ as it brought back Scott Stevens as compensation) Shanahan has in recent years reconciled with the team GM/president Lou Lamarello. So it should come as no shock that 'Shanny' chose to return to his original team in Jersey.

2) As we have written on more than one occasion, Brendan had a very short list of teams that he would consider playing for. The Rangers were clearly his first choice, but the Blue Shirts never were able to clear enough cap room to make a return of Shanahan work. So he shopped around hoping that another NE team would come calling. He turned down a 2 year 8 million dollar deal from St. Louis, and another 1 year deal from Vancouver. As it happens the Devils have plenty of space to accommodate a pro rated 2 million dollar (with incentive to 4 million) deal for the Mimico, Ont native.

3) We at Fauxrumors feel this addition can only help bolster a playoff run by NJ. Amazingly, and to the credit of Brent Sutter, the team has kept pace even with the loss of Marty Brodeur for the past 2 months. Many, including us, felt the Devils were destined for 'also ran' status this season. Shanahan in addition to adding a dangerous weapon for the Devils PP (they are currently running at an anemic 16%), he also adds considerable leadership and playoff experience. It might have a feel like an old timer game in the Devils dressing room once Brendan Shanahan gets back to playing. With the previous additions of Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik. No word is Scott Stevens is considering a return to NJ! ; )

Week 14- Results

1) Week 14 is in the books. We went a very solid 9-3 on the evening to elevate our season long total to 104-65. For an impressive .615 winning percentage! Additionally we again got out Lock of The Week correct to bring that season-long total to an astounding 12-2, or a gaudy .857 winning edge!

2) We'll be back at this again next Saturday, for Week 15. Look for it. Also FR2 will have their Mid point projection/playoff match ups post out early this week, Probably tomorrow.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Week 14-Predictions

1) Its week 14 and the Swami is back to pick today/night's 12 NHL games. We of course bring our season-long total of 95-62, for a .605 winning percentage into today.

Carolina at Boston: Bruin

Atlanta at Florida: Panthers

Pittsburgh at Colorado: Avalanche

Buffalo at Detroit: Red Wings (Lock of The Week)

Minnesota at Columbus: Wild

Washington at Montreal: Habitants

NY Rangers at Ottawa: Senator

Chicago at Nashville: Preditor

Dallas at Phoenix: Coyote

Friday, January 9, 2009

Is The Moose Set To Return?

1) As you can see, the Moose we're referring to is Hall of Famer Mark Messier. What has been amazing (wonderful) thus far this season is we haven't seen/heard very much from 'The Bald One'! In the 3 or so seasons since his forced retirement (The Rangers refused to offer him a contract and he didn't want to go elsewhere after the 2nd Bettman lockout) we would see his visage almost everywhere. He seemed to be interviewed daily. Was seen at many games. Did TV commentary, and most recently had his name linked (well paid endorcer) with idiotic messier-award for leadership. (Yes, that picture is creepy!)

2) If we had to guess the reason we haven't seen any Moose sightings recently is either:
a) He doesn't need the money. or
b) He hasn't been offered enough money to appear. You see, Messier rarely misses an opportunity to make a buck. Including some very lame commercials-messier/3265817000, and here----> Which brings us to today. Its no secret that Messier wants to get back into hockey like his buddy Wayne Gretzky did. He also hasn't been shy saying where he wants a job; with one of his former teams, The N.Y. Rangers. Problem was that he was a bit vociferous in petitioning for a job last year. Going very public in that pursuit. Pissing off his former coach/mentor Glen (Slats) Sather and upper Ranger management(Dolan) in the process. We're told that Glen told him he that if he kept his mouth shut for a year or so that he would see what he could do.

3) Fast forward to today. Despite the Rangers deceptively decent record, they are NOT a particularly good team right now. Ask any Ranger fan and they will NOT be overly happy with their team, or optimistic about their chances with the roster as is. As we wrote in our Power Rankings, the Rangers have won but a handful of games in regulation in the past 2 months. Going from tops in the East to now 3rd in the division/6th in the East. Without Henrik Lundqvist things might even be worse. No one is scoring. The PP is invisible, and the team plays without passion. Enter our buddy Messier. Would Sather make the bold move to remove Renney and insert a rookie, albeit a well respected former player in Messier, as coach? It would be a gamble, but at this point with their salary cap issues a player trade that would change the team dynamic would be tough. Unless Sather really wants to gamble and brings back Sean Avery! ; ) That might seem far fetched, but that IS possible!

4) We at Fauxrumors2 have long expected that Messier would find his way behind an NHL bench someday. We could picture Mark walking up and down behind his team wearing a snazzy suit and a 'Punch Imlach fedora'. He probably would be best served to be an NHL asst coach or do some time in the AHL first, but this isn't just any player. This is a man with an immense ego. As one NHL person told us, "its like the guy feels entitled or something". That said, this team might benefit from Messier's immense will to win. Like him or hate him you have to give him that. It also doesn't hurt that in a big town like NY, Messier is an equally big name. So it seems to be a good fit. The only question is will Sather/Dolan call on the Moose to save their season? Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pink Slips?

1) Our league sources tell Fauxrumors this morning that several teams are considering making either coaching or managerial changes in the very near future. With the trade market so difficult right now due to salary cap problems that seems to be many teams' only option to try to either jump start their teams or salvage their seasons.

2) One erroneous report that came out yesterday stated that the Senators were prepared to fire head coach Craig Hartsburg and general manager Bryan Murray and replace them with the combination of Quinn as head coach and Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson as GM. Almost as soon as these were reported Sens owner Eugene Melnyk denied the report. However, we at Fauxrumors have learned that its all but certain that Murray is done in Ottawa. That indeed Nicholson is probably going to be named GM in the very near future.

3) As for coach, Melnyk would first discuss that issue with the new GM before making further moves. As one source told us, "A double firing in mid season would surprise us". Pat Quinn as was mentioned was the rumored replacement, but he denies even having been contacted by the Sens. Certainly the Sens are underachieving, even worse than we had anticipated. We had them missing the post season, but we also didn't see them as a 'lottery team' either. Stay tuned folks, this might be fun to watch play out.

4) As for other possible moves; We already have mentioned on Monday how we are hearing Michel Therrien is on thin ice in Steel Town. That hasn't changed as the Pens are on the outside looking in on the top 8 playoff bound spots. We also have been told that FR2 has an interesting story that they plan to publish tomorrow concerning the Rangers possible front office changes. We won't ruin the surprise for FR2, but suffice to say a big name might be coming back to Broadway. We're also hearing that a couple of other coaches may be looking for work by the time of the All star break. Among them are :

  • Andy Murray (St. Louis Blue)- Despite injuries to key personnel management is none too happy being in the West basement. We're told Andy's days are certainly numbered. Only question is when.

  • Craig MacTavish (Edmonton) We're told that Oilers owner billionaire drug dealer Daryl Katz has tried to stay out of the team's workings, but a reliable source tells us that he has been getting heavily lobbied by friends to push Craig out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Where Are The Dominoes?

1) Click on the link from THREE WEEKS AGO from the trade rumour hustler extraordinaire, Eklund. In the aftermath of the Sundin to Vancouver signing (For the record he had Mats going to about 10 different teams since the summer, while we ALWAYS saw ONLY a Canadian destination, most likely Vancouver, as his ultimate choice) Eklund stated this move would be the "first Domino". Implying that there were several trades imminent to occur once the log jam of waiting or Sundin's decision had occurred.

2) Well, its now three weeks later Ek, and we're still waiting for our first meaningful deal post-Sundin. Those dominoes may be falling, but it must be at zero G, huh? ; ) Not recalling his own stupid domino theory (or having no one who called him out- detractors are not allowed on his site!) he went from Sundin to Jay Bouwmeester. You know, J-Bo. As he wrote a week after the Sundin nonsense: "A Jay Bo Domino" Recall this nugget from the idiot: "I am hearing the only thing holding back a Spezza to Calgary trade may be the fact that both teams are leading the way in the Bouwmeester sweeps. LOL Perhaps the Spezza to Calgary never took place because the Flames: a) Don't have the cap space to fit Spezza's 7 million salary and/or b) Spezzza is a soft playoff player. The kind Keenan and Sutter hate!
3) Of course there will be trades between now and March 4th, but to imply that one deal is contingent on another is asinine. As we have been told countless times, look at each teams cap number even before their needs to see who may make a deal. We have been told over and over NOT to expect any block busters before the All star game, and most likely most deals will take place March 1-4 so as much salary as is possible is already off this season's books.
WE leave off with an unauthorized picture of Eklund below seeing swirling dominoes no doubt!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Here and There in the New Year

1) Firstly we hope each and everyone of you had a Great New Year holiday and 2009 is your best year yet. Now back to hockey! One story that got our attention last week was the Marion Gaborik injury. Talk about case in point of greediness causing detriment. Here was a guy who was offered a long term deal over the summer by Minnesota. Our sources tell us in the neighborhood of 6 years 50 million. However Marion/his agent held out for more bucks/years. In the mean time the economy has collapsed (the cap almost certainly won't be rising next season) and Marion has had a series of injuries that have kept him from playing regularly. Culminating with hip surgery that will effectively keep him out 3 months, or until after the trade deadline. More than one NHL source has told fauxrumors that Marion probably lost 20-30 million in potential salary. That no NHL GM (including Minny) would give him more than 3 years with this and past injury issues. You gambled Marion, and you lost!

2) Is Michel Therrien on thin ice in Pittsburgh? We're told definitely yes! Despite having brought his team within 2 wins of a Cup a year ago, management is none too pleased to find itself in a position of fighting for their playoff lives. Sure they have had injury issues, but other teams above them in the standings have had as many, and in some cases, more key injuries as the Penguins. As we write this the Pens are 19-16-4 for 42 points. This places them in 9th place (out of playoff position) in the relatively weak Eastern Conference. More ominously they are a horrendous 3-7 in the past 10 games which has dropped them from divisional contention to playoff bubble status. As we wrote back in September concerning Therrian: "Now that expectations are high in Steel-town, if they falter significantly he may be replaced". The team probably wouldn't make a move before the All Star game, but we're told by some very reliable sources that if the Pens are hovering in 9th or worse in early February, Michel will be out of a job. Stay tuned!

3) Western dominance continues! It may even be more pronounced than in previous seasons. As of today ONLY one Western conference team has a losing record against their East opponents (bottom dwelling St. Louis). On the flip side only 5 Eastern teams have winning records against the West, and only Boston has what would be called a good record (7-2). Many figured with increased inter conference games we would see less disparity, but what has occurred is the opposite. Those games have only showed with more clarity of where the real powers reside.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week 13 Results

1) Last night's 11 contests are in the books. Not our best week, but far from our worst either. We went 6-5 on the evening. Bringing our season-long total to 95-62, or a .605 winning percentage. We also won our 'Lock of the Week', to bring that total to an impressive 11-2. We of course will be back at this again next Saturday when a dozen contests will be decided. In between now and then we undoubtedly will have several other posts you don't want to miss. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Week 13 Picks

1) Firstly a big thank you to FR2 for their incredibly thought provoking post yesterday about a new salary paradigm. Excellent job! They also tell us they plan on a 1/2 way post on or about a week or so from today. Now on to week 13 picks. We take our 89-57 record into today/night's action of 11 games.

Buffalo vs-Boston: Bruins

Calgary vs-Nashville: Predator

NY Rangers vs-Washington: Capital

Detroit vs-Minnesota Wild

Dallas vs-Edmonton Oiler

NY Islanders vs-San Jose: Shark ( Lock of The Week)

Florida vs-Pittsburgh: Penguin

Ottawa vs-Toronto: Maple Leaf

Carolina vs-Tampa Bay: Lightning

Columbus vs-St. Louis: Blues

Philadelphia vs-Los Angeles: King

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Salary Paradigm?

1) What we're about to write is only an "out of the box' idea/opinion that we have been throwing about the past couple of weeks. The impedance is a combination of looking at too many overpaid/under performing players coupled with the ad-nauseum crap we hear all the time that its all about the team. There's no I in TEAM, etc. The beauty of this proposed system is that players still receive the same sized piece of the revenue pie. Its the distribution that would change!

2) So we decided to come up with a fair plan that would reward TEAM play and reduce individual reward. After all you can't win alone, right? So why should there be such a discrepancy in salary levels? Yes, we understand there are solid counter arguments, but for the sake of this post lets see how it would work if teams and not individual players were rewarded for success or failure. What we're saying is if hockey players REALLY believe that playing/winning is all about "playing for each other/as a team", etc, then why not be compensated as a team?

3) If hockey, as we're told over and over (and we're not disputing this) is "the ultimate team sport" then a major portion of each players salary should be based upon a teams success or failure. Do you think Sergei Samsonov would take weeks off if he knew his salary would be hurt if he did so? We aren't advocating paying ALL salary based upon team, but a significant portion. For instance:

  • if the NHL and the owners are committing 55% of the projected 2.4 billion in revenue to player salaries that would equate to roughly 1.3 billion

  • That 1.3 billion/30 teams equals about 44 million per team of 23 players

  • Lets say each team/player gets a base of 11.5 million, or 1/2 million per player (345 million total)

  • The remainder of the combined potential salary is put into 'escrow'.

  • As teams won games that team would get a higher percentage of the escrowed money.

  • Players contracts would differ only in the percentage of the team's earnings they would earn. For example, Alex Ovechkin might negotiate that he is worth 15% of his teams' escrow portion, while 4th liners like Matt Bradley would get <5%,>

  • There would be separate regular season and playoff 'pools so by the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs the winning star players would be the highest compensated players in the NHL, while stars that have teams that underperform would get significantly less salary than today. (Vinny Lecavalier)

4) Thus we eliminate guaranteed contracts in a way, without eliminating guaranteed compensation. Players as a whole still get the same compensation as before, but the players who's teams succeed now are rewarded at a much higher level. Anyone believe we'll see teams/players take a night off? Imagine the locker room between periods when a player appears to be 'dogging it' Coaches won't have to place a player in the dog house, his team mates will do it for him!

5) We are not naive, the NHLPA will never willingly accept such a salary paradigm. However, as we have written on numerous occations (even before the current economic melt down) that the owners are likely to want more consessions next CBA (2 more years). We have mentioned that next time guarenteed-contracts would be their target. Also mentioned here--> However, with our system the players eliminate the argument that some owners now use; that players who are guaranteed money don't give 100%. Its good for the players since its salary neutral. Its good for owners because each team will give all it has nightly. Most of all its good for fans because they know that no matter what their team make up, everyone will be trying to win as many games as they can. Whether it be October or May!

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