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.


Antzmarching said...

Yea, life must suck for Marion Gaborik these days... How valuable does he think he is anyway? He has that apathetic Slovak blood, so his playoff success is genetically limited regardless of contract, motivation, talent, etc...

I am actually in shock watching the NINTH place Penguins struggle... The frustration has really set in for the boys in Steel-Town... Did everyone see the tantrum thrown by Sid the other night? - although Alexander Semin made him look like Rocky Balboa! I do not believe Therrien should be in the hot seat just yet... Apparently, Sergei Gonchar is more valuable than any of us thought... Give the coach a little more slack, as the Pens are waaaaaaaaay too talented to have this slide continue... In fact, tonight would be the perfect time to turn things around...

The dominance angle cannot be ignored... With the exception of Zdeno Chara, the West has the majority of the league's large and multi-talented defensemen... That's my explanation for now!

Tom said...

As of today ONLY one Western conference team has a losing record against their East opponents

If we define a "losing record" as meaning they have won less than half their games, the number is actually 5, with another two at .500. The way the current scheduling and standings work, there is no validity in saying that a team from the West is better than a team from the East due to their interconference record.

Gaborik made a terrible decision, but so did the Wild. They should've unloaded him before opening day. Now they get nothing in return other than a petulant, injury-prone "potential" star.


1) Tom: Our method of determining a 'losing record' was more regulation losses than wins. Using that method only the Blues are under the .500 mark.
2) Agreed that due to the unbalanced schedule one can't make a scientific judgement of which conference is best, but the numbers are daunting:
SJ 8-1
Detroit 7-3
Calgary 5-1
Minny 9-1
Columbus 6-1
Nashville 5-2
LA 4-2
The other 7 teams are 1 game over or at .500.
3) Meanwhile only Boston at 7-2 and Montreal at 5-1 can boast they are very competitive with their Western counterparts.
4) As for Minny not trading Gaborik. Its not easy trading that kind of salary early in the season. Also Marion hasn't been healthy almost from the get go

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