Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Double Trouble?

1) Whenever we write a post where the Sedin's are the central subject line we are amazed how the identical twins both have managed to have their hockey careers be as identical as they are. Both played on the same team back in Sweden before they were drafted. Both players (despite being ranked in the top 5) were picked by the same team when Brian Burke managed to trade/maneuver his way to get them when it was conceivable that they would be separated.

2) Both players progressed at about the same pace. Their offensive output was similar enough that renewing their respective contracts for the same compensation was never an issue/problem. Imagine if one had become significantly better? What if Henrik or Daniel sucked and needed to be demoted, or took some seasoning in the AHL? That would have thrown off the entire series of events that have brought us to where we are today. A mere hours from when the twins will be UFA's.

3) However, they are NOT your usual UFA's. They come as a pair. They are also asking for top forward money and want a Zetterberg type contract in length (10+ years) Now, that would seem to place a HUGE deal of pressure on a team signing them. Its tough enough to sign ONE player for mega bucks/years, but now two? It also could be a case of the Sedin's boxing themselves into a corner. With the salary cap flat lining this season, and expected to decrease modestly next season GM's are going to be wary of adding ONE contract with minimal flexibility. Here they would be adding two. The presumed asking price of 6+ mil for 12 years TIMES TWO will limit the number of teams in the running.

4) Already there are rumours that Vancouver, where the twins have called home in the NHL the past 8 years, are thinking long and hard about accepting their terms. Canuck GM Mike Gillis had a reported 12-year contract worth $63 million/each at his desk last week, and a week later Sedin representative J.P. Barry has yet to even hear a counter offer which would allow the boys from Sweden to be on the open market as soon as noon tomorrow. If their comparative stats are gong to be used its conceivable that they could ask for 7 million. However one source tells us that if they want to either stay in Vancouver or find a home elsewhere together at that figure they'll have to come down from that double digit request. "A 5 year deal at 7 mil is tough enough to swallow, one asst GM told us this weekend. No way do any but 2-3 teams entertain the thought of two getting that kind of deal. One would seem to be Vancouver, the other is unknown. While everyone we talked with raved about the twins talent no one we called wanted to say they would offer two players that kind of a deal simultaneously.

5) So you may ask, any possibility that the twins could go their separate ways? After all, some teams may be looking for a play making center and some for a goalscorer, but not both. That would seem to swell the number of teams that could afford them. However all sources close to the Sedin camp categorically state that the twins intend to stay together for the duration of their careers. In our opinion the Canucks might in the long term be better off rridding themselves of two salary cap anchors. It may hurt PR-wise and on the ice in the short term, but they'll be better for it down the road. As for other interested teams, learn from past mistakes and NEVER sign a player at this stage for anything more than 5-7 years, max. To do this with two players (and a likely no movement clause times 2) would be insanity! Double Trouble, indeed!

Monday, June 29, 2009

See, We Told Ya So!

1) Thanks to our founder Fauxrumors for allowing us to be the first to make a post draft post. Of course they had few options as we were far more accurate with our pre draft assessment. ; ) Yes, our sources were by and large the most accurate of any we read prior to the 2009 Entry draft. Almost every hockey pundant, and the usual rumour whores (Eklund, et al) were citing multiple sources about this block buster and that, but in the end things turned out just about as WE had expected. IE: NO TRADES involving the top 10 slots! Minimal block busters, and NO moves involving Lecalvier. Only Chris Pronger (an UFA after the season) was moved due to Niedermayer stating he would return was a trade of any significant current NHL-er.

2) We didn't count the Bowmeester-Leopold UFA swap that also netted Florida a 3rd rounder for the opportunity to talk with Jay's agent before Wednesday's UFA staus kicking in. bit steep for that, but not an Earth shattering move. it did NOT become 'the first domino', as Eklund wanted his poor sap paying customers to believe. In fact if we were one of those folks we'd be clamouring for a refund this morning. Where was the Kessel trade? What happened to Heatley? What about all those Lecalvier suitors, especially the home town Habitants? Surely we should have seen one of the big stars change addresses by yesterday, no?

3) Fact is, GM's felt so strongly about this years draft class that the aking prices were 'exorbitant' to move up. Brian Burke could have taken Tampa's 2nd pick, but as he told anyone with a microphone, he wouldn't give up last year's # 5 pick, Luke Schenn(the apparent asking price to start, from the Lightning. Also we have previously mentioned in our http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2009/06/snooze-fest.html why the other stars didn't/wouldn't get moved this weekend. It might not sell subscriptions to say this, but we are NOT here for the money( We have enough to last a few life times, thanks LOL) therefore we have MORE objectivity than these other sites. To all those other bull shit sites: Shut the Fuck up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snooze Fest!??

1) We rarely disagree with our fellow FR blogger, but we at Fauxrumors2 have to disagree somewhat with FR on how this weekend will pan out in Montreal. From all indications that we have been hearing from various sources throughout the league we do NOT foresee any major shake ups in the draft order. In other words we were told it would take quite a bit to see one of the top three teams to move their choice. We asked all our various sources to give us odds by way of percentages they feel a move might occur. So we will place that next to each issue we discuss

  • The Isles, holders of the 1st overall choice, are all but assured of taking John Taveres despite Canadian-based media attempts to rumour that they intend to take Hedman or Duchesne. " We simply would be shocked to see that" is what one well placed source told FR2 last night. Odds they pick Taveres/keep their pick: 95%

  • The Bolts pick next and it would seem a natural choice to pick Hedman, the defenseman who the team actually has a significant need for. Another possible reason that TB may not get into trading the pick (and out of the Lecavalier trading posture) is that their two headed monster of ownership with Bickering Tampa Bay Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie on track for a messy divorce. Things are so messy that we hear that other teams' GM can't be sure that TB GM Brian Lawton is going to be the point man for a trade. Word is that Barrie wants Lawton replaced and there is even rumour he independently has courted the agents of potential UFA, while Koules is solidly a Lawton man and wants Lecavalier dealt. They are meeting with the Principal (Gary Bettman) its anyone's guess who will/can be given the reigns or if the NHL has to (again) step in to run an NHL team. Odds of a trade of the #2 pick: 10%

  • The Avalanche holding the #3 slot probably have the easiest choice to make. They will simply select who is remaining of the 'big Three'. Either way they will end up with a very good hockey player. Odds of the 'lanche trading the pick: 10%

2) We are NOT saying that trades involving trading up or down a few slots won't happen. They are always a common occurrence. Its almost a given that the Islanders will try to move up using some of their other 4 top 50 picks to do so, but we have not heard of any block busters involving one of the top 10 picks. It is totally conceivable that there won't be a single trade before the top 10 or so players are off the board already. "GM's are so enamoured with this year's draft class that it would take a prohibitive compensation package to get one of those picks pried away".

3) Now as to the possibility of active players traded during the weekend's festivities. Again, this is NOT uncommon. Last season we saw Mike Cammalleri , Ollie Jokinen, Alex Tanguay change teams on draft day, but NONE involved picks higher than 25th.

  • Speculation will swirl around Lecavalier especially with the draft taking place in Montreal. As alluded to earlier a trade of Vinny took a major hit with the Lightning situation going from bad to worse. Also what GM would want to take on his contract of 11 more years at a 7.727 cap hit AND a no movement clause to boot?. Odds of a Lecavalier trade: 25%

  • Additionally we'll sure to hear plenty of discussion about Dany Heatley. However, we are told by more than one source that most teams interested in acquiring him would prefer it to take place AFTER July 1st(when he's paid a 4 million dollar bonus) So expect any Heatley deal to be a early July deal. Odds of a draft day deal: 30%

  • NT Ranger writers are trying to say that GM Glen Sather will try to deal Scott Gomez and or Chris Drury and their obnoxiously long/lucrative contracts. "Not with the salary cap flat lining of possibly declining next year", is what we have heard. Odds of a deal: 10%

  • As FR correctly pointed out last week Dion Pheneuf is going NOWHERE! Odds of a deal: 10%

  • Phil Kessel to be dealt by the Bruins? If his demands are exorbitant its always possible but the B's are NOT actively shopping the 21 year old RFA. Odds of a deal: 10%

  • JS Giguere- IS available we are told, and it will probably be a combo of player(s)/picks but NOT anything in the top 10 for sure. Odds of a deal 50%

4) So there you have it. Yes, there will be some player movement and trades of picks among teams, but this is standard operating procedure NOT a draft that will be remembered for MAJOR trades/Earth shattering movement up or down among the 30 NHL squads. We will amend that opinion (eat crow) IF one of the top 3 teams trade their pick/and or major player trades like Vincent Lecavalier and Heatley are dealt Friday night. As we wrote earlier, the odds are against it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Calendar of Events

1) With the Draft set to go off this Friday we figured this is a good time to alert our readers to the other important dates of interest this summer. We also have been told by Fauxrumors2 that they have a pre-draft post set to be released this week as well. They gave us a bit of a heads up that they might not be in total agreement with our most recent post that this draft might be filled with fireworks

June 15-30: NHL buyout period

June 26: Entry Draft, day 1 - Montreal
June 27:Entry Draft, day 2 - Montreal

July 1:Free agency begins.

July 5:Player-elected arbitration deadline

July 6: Team-elected arbitration deadline

July 10: Group 5 free agency deadline

July 20-Aug 4: Salary arbitration hearings

August 6:Deadline for arbitration decisions

Friday, June 19, 2009

Draft Weekend Fireworks?

1) A week from today will be the unofficial start of the 2009-2010 season. The 2008-2009 NHL Awards Night in Las Vegas is completed so now its time to get down to the business of next year. Of course next Friday is the NHL entry draft. The first step that clubs take to rebuild for the following season and beyond. However its not only the couple of hundred 17-18 year olds who are picked (most of whom will never see an NHL game), but the myriad or deals that usually accompanies the weekend festivities. The biggest excitement/intrigue for the draft day is almost always who will get traded and where? Sure this year we have the additional intrigue of Who will go 1st overall(Hedman or Tavares) , but for sure, pundents (us included) are FAR more interested in what players currently on NHL rosters will be wearing different sweaters when the dust clears Monday morning the 29th.

2) For the record we believe from what we have been hearing that the NY Islanders will BOTH retain the 1st overall pick AND choose The London Knight's John Tavares with the pick. No shocker there. It is also almost a forgone conclusion that Tampa Bay will then choose the Swedish monster, 6'6" Victor Hedman with the 2nd pick. However its NOT a foregone conclusion that either team won't be dealing next weekend. BOTH franchises are going to be involved in at least one, and in the case of the Lightning we're told they will be making more than one "significant trade" next week/weekend Friday.

3) In the case of the Islanders we have heard from several sources that they have let the other 29 GM's know that ANY asset they have (outside of this years 1st overall pick and Kyle Okposo) is available for the right price. Yes, that includes last year's top pick Josh Bailey as well as next year's top pick. We doubt either will go, but is does show us that Snow is willing to gamble to quickly improve his teams' long term chances. What we expect is they will use their second 1st rounder and one of their second round picks to move up 5-10 or so slots. One West coast scout told us he would NOT be shocked to see Snow grab one of the other top 5 picks with a few moves. "He's been all over the phones trying to make a splash". We have to assume a 'splash' would be not just picking Tavares, but to get another big name. Should be interesting at the Isles table.

4) Meanwhile in Tampa Bay they are trying to feverishly work out a deal to unload captain Vinny Lecavalier. We haven't heard any recent noise, but if the adage "where there is smoke, fire" has any validity Vinny will be soon moved. Originally Montreal seemed to be the only possible suitor. (We believe they still are the front runner) Bob Gainey has been coy (as he almost always is) about this. The Lightning are almost forced to make this move due to the fact that as of July 1st Lecavalier will not only get a raise to 10 mil/year for the next 7 years, but a no movement clause to boot. So its either now or never for the Bolts. There are now more than also inquired. Additionally the Lightning will be very accommodating to teams interested in obtaining Ryan Malone and his 6 more years at a cap hit of 4.5 mil. It might be a hard sell, but if they ask for a minimum return we could see a team or two willing to part with a 2nd rounder and a lesser salaried roster player for the Pittsburgh native.

5) In addition to those two teams other interesting story lines that will sure to be discussed next week:
  • Dany Heatley- If Ottawa is trying to accommodate their star winger and trade him they might be motivated to do it before July 1st when he will be due 4 million in bonus payment. Of course every other team knows this too so that might put the brakes on a deal until after 7/1. Ottawa would prefer to get back a veteran scorer so that would further reduce the possible trading partners. One rumour that might have teeth is the Marleau-Heatley swap.
  • Dion Pheneuf- Many of the usual rumour whores are throwing his name out there for no other reason we're told than to increase/retain readers. ALL our sources tell us there is ZERO chance we'll see Pheneuf dealt this summer. "Those rumours are total bullshit" is what one reliable source bluntly told us late last night.
  • Brian Burke- Never underestimate the new Toronto GM. He is the one who pulled off the draft day coup that brought BOTH Sedin's to Vancouver a decade ago. The rumbling from the NHL's biggest media market is that Burke will try to land Tavares. Fat chance of that happening, but we believe that at the very least he will do what it takes to get the 'other Schenn', Brayden to go along with last years top pick, Luke. He would be willing to deal virtually any other picks he has in addition to many current Leafs.

5) What appears for sure is that the twitching (gary-bettman) Napoleon will be booed every time he approaches the podium and we are almost certain to see several big deals that will possibly change the current landscape/balance of power within the league for a decade to come. Should be exciting folks. get the pop corn ready and lets watch the fire works commence!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NHL Awards!

1) With the NHL regular season now in the books, and the NHL awards show set to go off tomorrow night in LasVegas we figured we'd review who SHOULD win the various awards as well as who is the runner up. As we mentioned earlier this is the Unofficial LAST part of the 2008-2009 NHL season. After this sights will be set upon 2009-2010 with the NHL draft. Look for our first pre-draft post this Friday!

2) Hart: Alex Ovechkin. Runners up: Evgeny Malkin. The voting will undoubtedly be a lot closer this time around, but in the end the same winner as last season should prevail yet again. Evgeny Malkin closed the gap significantly with his countryman with an amazing performance of his own, but the combo of winning the Richard, most game winning goals, and the other intangibles he adds to help his team win make #8 our Hart winner again. ( Remmber voting takes place PRIOR to the playoffs. If the playoffs were taken into acccount our nod would be to Malkin!)

3) Norris: Mike Green. Runners up Nicklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara. Not until you place his numbers into perspective does the amazing offensive season Mike Green had become apparent. Missing 12 games he still easily led all defensemen in scoring, had a great +/- and played big minutes. Finally deposing the reigning Norris winner Lidtsrom, who had yet another solid, near great season himself.

4) Vezina: Steve Mason. Runners up: Tim Thomas, Niklas Backstrom. Another tough call to make. In the end the rookie who plays behind a much less experienced defense/forward group in Columbus, helping them to their first ever playoff berth won out. However, it wouldn't be a shocker to see Thomas given the award as his numbers were extraordinary

5) Selke:Pavel Datsyuk. Runner up: Mike Richards: One of the more difficult trophies to predict as the criteria is unclear/ambiguous. From past winners it has recently gone to the forward who COMBINES good defensive numbers (+/- and PK numbers) with good offensive numbers. With that in mind we see Datsyuk winning the award with the other two close runners up

6) Calder:Steve Mason.Runners up: Bobby Ryan Probably the easiest trophy to predict despite our proclamation 2 weeks ago that it could be a shared trophy. With us giving Mason the Vezina honors it would be impossible to not have him our Calder winner as well. Kudos to Rinne (who got snubbed in the voting in our opinion) Versteeg and Ryan, who had great rookie campaigns in their own rights!

7) Masterton Trophy: (award given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication) Brian Pothier. Runners up: Steve Sullivan, Richard Zednik. Another difficult award to handicap. Seems to lately go to the player who makes the best comeback. All 3 of our candidates fit that bill, and flip a coin who you think should win.

8) Adams: Claude Julian. Runners up: Todd McLellan. Yes Ken Hitchcock isn't on the Finalsts list, but in our opinion have to give the award to the good Captain for getting this team into the post season for the first time. Until their last month swoon, we had Brent Sutter winning, now he isn't even employed. ; ) Also good mention to Julian (another Lamarello casualty) and McClellan for guiding their talented teams to conference wins

9)Pearson: Alex Ovechkin (See Hart) Runner Up Pavel Datsyuk

9) Art Ross: Evgeny Malkin. Congrats to the second best Russian, and best player on Pittsburgh for finishing first in the NHL's scoring race to earn his first Art Ross trophy, but an astounding 13 NHL scoring titles in the past 21 seasons for the Flightless birds!

10) Lady Byng: What exactly is the purpose of this award? Traditionally to the best player who doesn't fight much, and also isn't going to win any of the other awards? Martin St Louis. Runners up: Zac Parise

11) Rocket Richard: Alex Ovechkin. The Great-8 wins his second consecutive Richard trophy for most goals. Easily out pacing his nearest rivals (again) No other player in the league eclipsed the 50 goal plateau. Completing only his 4th season the Russian already has over 220 goals!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dead Team Walking!

1) With a favourable ruling by Judge Redfield T. Baum in the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy case late yesterday the possibility of the franchise moving to Hamilton with Jim Balsillie at the helm took a major hit. Making it an almost certainty that the team will remain in Phoenix for the upcoming 2009-2010 season.

2) The judge didn't say that Balsillie's offer didn't have merit, but said there were to many aspects of the issue to be resolved over such a small window of time. He would have to not only rule in favour of one party to take control of the team, but in the case of Balsillie's bid, have to include a very complicated issue of a 'relocation fees', etc.

3) With all that decided its now down to 4 or so nebulous offers that few (if any) know the details about. There is the supposed Reinsdorf offer. Possibly one from the Toronto Argo's(CFL) ownership group, and a couple of others that seem even more far fetched. What we believe is clear though is that regardless of who ultimately gets possession of the team, the days in Phoenix are numbered. Even with concessions from the city of Glendale (which is NO slam dunk seeing that 70%+ of the populace is against such a move) the team would still be hemorrhaging money, so a move to another (100% chance) US locale is inevitable. We believe as early as the 2010-2011 season. The front runner of course would be KC. Therefore this next season the Coyotes will be a Dead Team Walking!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins: Emperors of The NHL!

1) With their amazing Game 7 showing last night the Pittsburgh Penguins are the true Emperors of the NHL. We at Fauxrumors wish to congratulate the entire Penguin franchise for winning despite the enormous odds going on the road for a game 7. Winning their 3rd Cup, and first in 17 years. 3-4 years ago it wasn't a forgone conclusion that Pittsburgh would even still have a team let alone be atop the hockey world!

2) We shouldn't be surprised though that this team defied the odds last night. We have seen them defy the odds all season. Going from the 10th seed a mere 2 months prior to the end of the regular season. Pushing GM Ray Shero to make the ultimate move that in our opinion solidified the Cup run- The firing of Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma. Despite the team making it the the Finals last year we never were big Therrian fans and we believe that move had the biggest impact.

3)Other possible impact moves made by Shero were the addition of Kunitz and Guerin. Even though neither had huge numbers in the Finals, their presence alone probably freed up room for the other players to succeed. Is it a coincidence that Marion Hossa finds himself at the wrong end of another Finals? We say no. Like Therrian we are NOT fans of the Slovak sniper. he is mega talented, but not worth the big bucks and wasn't a factor when the rubber met the road in the Finals! Again, Congrats to Pittsburgh.

4) All this quickly brings us to the off season. No meaningful NHL games until October. A HUGE 4 months away. However between now and then we have some important dates.
  • First are the awards ceremonies next week. (Look for our updated picks for the various awards)
  • The NHL draft in Montreal when there are sure to be many a deal. (A post on this upcoming)
  • Following this the free agent season commences July 1. This year will probably be as interesting as last with so many quality players possibly available. With some important players changing uniforms for sure.
  • Summer rookie player camps usually take place in mid July for those of us who need a quick hockey fix.
  • Training camps in mid September

5) As such we at FAUXRUMORS will probably not be posting quite as frequently over the summer. However, look for regular updates as the rumor mills begin to churn in earnest now that the season is over for all 30 teams. We have a post soon about Power forwards, and one we are working on about possible moves this draft day. Look for them in the upcoming days/weeks. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Will NHL Call Balsillie's Bluff?

1) The latest twist in the ever changing story of the Coyote franchise legal tussle, the judge who is in charge of the bankruptcy hearing stated yesterday that the NHL has the right to enforce a 'transfer fee' on Jim Balsillie IF he is awarded the franchise. The NHL tried to avoid this issue by saying they didn't have sufficient time to come up with a number, but the judge, holding firm, stated that they had better expedite their numbers and come back to him with what they feel would be appropriate.

2) This puts both parties into an interesting position. The NHL wants NO part of this at all. IF they decide to charge a huge sum (many say 100 million) for Balsillie to move to Hamilton, what if Jim accepts? The NHL would have no legal means to stop the movement in that case. They set the price, and the other party agreed, etc. On the other side, does Balsillie want to fork over an additional 100 or so million? He already has offered WAY more (215 million) than any other interested party for the team. He has professed to wanting to spend millions more to upgrade the 25 year old Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. Would he also be willing to pay an additional fee?

3) So it may come down to whether Balsillie will call the NHL's bluff, or vise versa. In our opinion he would begrudgingly accept a relocation fee of 100 million. It will be interesting to see what happens IF the NHL tries to make an offer that they feel Balsillie won't accept. Lets say asking for 250 million. Would the judge rule it was exorbitant? If so, can/would the judge be able to set a reasonable price?

4) The only thing(s) that are certain are that regardless of how the judge decides:

  • The legal wrangling won't end here-Appeals are all but certain. Especially if the NHL loses, you can be sure Bettman/Daly will fight to prevent Balsillie from moving the team on anything but their terms! It would open up a HUGE can of worms that would make the previous battles with the NHLPA appear peaceful. The dirty little secret is that there are FAR more issues within the various owners than between the players and the NHL.

  • The Coyotes are a 'Dead team Walking'. We can not see an option that keeps them in Phoenix beyond next season. No matter who ultimately ends up owning the team they will leave for greener pastures. Whether it be this fall with Balsillie, or next fall with another un names owner(s). White knuckle time for Gary, no doubt!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sutter Stepping Out--- Guy Stepping In?

1) As was mentioned here almost a month ago the devils will again be looking for a new coach. A we wrote back in late May. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-gary-listening-and-other-news.html Lamarello will NOT be the reason this time, but Sutter will step down. This occurred today when Sutter announced his resignation. Sutter served two seasons as head coach and had a season remaining on his contract.

2) As we speculated back then the move could clear the way for Sutter to become coach of the Calgary Flames where his brother, Darryl, is the general manager. The Flames fired coach Mike Keenan last month and no replacement has been named. Its unclear whether NJ would demand compensation for Sutter if the Flames were to sign him for the 2009-10 season. So the search is back on in NJ. If we had to guess we would NOT be shocked to see Lou go where he seems to like to find coaches. From Montreal cast offs. There is a former Habs coach that is well regarded in NJ available. The question is whether Lou will make the obvious move and call Guy Carbineau? Our sources tell us that it could get done before the draft!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Polish The Cup!

1) The Stanley Cup will be in the building when the playoffs resume here in Pittsburgh for game 6. With the mauling the Wings put on the Pens in game 5, Detroit is poised to cop their 12th Cup. They already have by far the most Stanley Cup championships of any American based franchise.

2) With #12, they will be within one of Toronto, who haven't hoisted the silver chalice since 1967 (pre-expansion), for second most (behind the Canadiens' 24) Cups. It also would be the team's 5th Cup in 12 years. Combining that with their 6 President's trophy's in the past 15 years, you'd have to give serious consideration of calling Detroit a Dynasty. At the very least its probably as close to one as we can possibly get in the New Bettman salary crapped NHL.

3) So the question is, will Detroit end it tomorrow or have to wait until they return to The Joe Thursday? While we will stick with our original prediction of Detroit in 7, we would NOT be shocked to see the defending champs wrap things up tomorrow. However the Pens will not go down easily. They possess a mighty talented group, who as we have also mentioned in the past, should be back here many times in the future(Probably winning a few Cups of their own) However the Wings appear to have just enough of that championship swagger/confidence to pull it off this (last-?) time. So will the twitching little Napoleon be handing Lidstrom the Cup tomorrow or Thursday? Stay tuned. For now, the silver is polished and ready.......

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Do The Flyers Never learn?

1) For almost the past 20+ years (since Ron Hextal was dealt) the Flyers have struggled to find a reliable starting goalie. Sure, many have had excellent regular season numbers, only to crumble once the post season commences. We have seen countless goalies come and go. A rough (albeit incomplete list) of goalies we could recall NOT getting it done for the Flyers (despite having pretty dam good teams) over the last 20 or so years . Brian Boucher, Marty Biron, Sean Burke, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Antero Niittymaki, Dominic Roussel, Garth Snow, Tommy Soderstrom, John Vanbiesbrouck, Ken Wregget.

2) Not all the Flyer teams associated with these goalies were Cup contenders, but more often than not, the biggest factor in these teams failing in the post season was in net. With that in mind we come to today. Where we are hearing from several sources (both published and from around the league) that the Flyers are close to signing free agent goalie Ray Emery. Yes, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L40cNKatKv8 this Ray Emery. Its not like this youtube video is from the KHL is an old incident. It happened this past season. Meaning that for all intents and purposes Emery is NOT any different than the nut job he was when the Senators bought his contract out a year ago.

3) Its not that we don't like watching Ray play. The below clips are but two reasons why we'd LOVE to have him back in the NHL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZzyOBhk5Uw, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulyEnFh9Wvo. However if we were a GM of an NHL team we wouldn't touch this guy with a Chara sized twig. He is totally unstable to say the least. In fact it wasn't all that long ago that he was involved in a traffic incident in Ontario. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Emery+pulled+over+Hummer+impounded/1435444/story.html. One scout who we talk to regularly tells us that "Ray has good tools, but his approach and all the nonsense he brings making him a potential locker room cancer makes him a big risk". We have to say we concur.

4) Emery spent last season in the Russian KHL, where he played well with a 22-8-0 record with a 2.12 GAA. (Despite the problem with the team's trainer) After an early playoff exit and a up and down season from Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki, (who are both unrestricted free agents) GM Paul Holmgren should be looking for the best goaltender available. Is that Ray Emery? While Emery played his best hockey in 2007 helping the Senators to the Cup finals, he returned to form in 2008, which of course made his behavior off the ice even more noticeable, forcing Ottawa to buy him out of his contract. Perhaps the other options are less palitable for the Flyers, but in our opinion this is a huge gamble by the Flyers, and we believe that they will again be a strong team(except between the pipes). Do The Flyers Never learn?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dead-Locked: Its a Series!

1) Well it really shouldn't be a shocker that we are dead locked after 4 games. It was premature to bury the Pens after two games. Firstly they were in the same position against an admittedly weaker team than Detroit, the Capitals, having shown significant resilience. Also the first two games in Detroit were hardly blow outs.(3-1, both games). The Pens were right in both contests. Its conceivable that given a few favourable bounces the Pens could have swept the Wings. Its also possible given a few bounces and a healthy lineup that the Wings might have been able to sweep the flightless birds.

2) Thus we are where we are, deadlocked at two a piece. Basically its now a best of three series with the Wings retaining the home ice advantage going into a pivotal game 5 tomorrow evening in Mo-town. We will stick with our original prediction of Detroit in 7. Its also almost a done deal that we will see a return of Hart nominee Pavel Datsyuk to the Wings lineup. Not a moment too soon either. They are missing this key component of their attack. He might not be close to 100%, but even at 75% he's an improvement over another 4th line/AHL player.

3) Speaking of Hart nominee. Even though the award is based solely upon the regular season, Evgeny Malkin has been the best player in the playoffs. No doubt that if the playoffs ended last night he would have easily won the Conn Smyth Trophy as playoff MVP. The "other Russian" in the 2004 draft (picked behind Alex Ovechkin) has clearly made the case that he is every bit as good as the 1st player drafted that year (and probable Hart winner). He has eclipsed his team mate Sidney Crosby as the team's, and possibly the league's best player in our opinion. A far cry from last year's Finals when Malkin was essentially a no-show. This time he is a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps Babcock would bebetetr off to throw Zetterberg out on the ice when Geno's line is out there? Blysma has quite a bit of flexibility by having not one, but two amazingly talented centers. (Staal's no stiff either) Despite this we feel that Detroit has enough veteren leadership, and enough balenced scoring to prevail. Albeit, by a thread.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kansas City Here We Come!?!

1) Late this afternoon we got a call from a usually reliable source from within NHL headquarters. He told FAUXRUMORS (off the record, of course) that its looking like Kansas City will definitely have an NHL franchise before the 2010-2011 season commences. While this is hardly Earth-shattering to any of us who have been following the MANY teams that potentially be on the move, its the first concrete admission(albeit an unofficial one) that the NHL sees the move as coming in only a year.

2) The source went on to say that the situation in at least two current NHL cities has almost come to a head, and that both may be vying for the KC market . He refused to say which two markets those were, but again, it doesn't take an NHL insider to see it almost has to include the Coyotes who are now in bankruptcy hearings. Gary Bettman will do almost ANYTHING to keep the franchise from being acquired by Jim Basille and moving to southern Ontario. As another source told us, "Bettman would sooner cut off his right hand then have Basille get his way" here. It simply would be the death knell for his southern US policy, and would open up a huge can of worms with respect to unstoppable franchise re-location. Its this reason that the other major team sports have been very supporting of the NHL's case in Phoenix as they too don't want to see renegade owners up and moving(ala Al Davis). So if that meant a move to KC, Bettman would certainly approve such a move.

3) The other franchise we believe from talking to other sources around the league is the N.Y. Islanders. From what we have been told Charles Wang has set a firm time line. His "line in the sand", you might say. Its October 3rd or thereabouts. If his arena and area development plan(known as "The Light House") isn't approved by then he will open up the bidding to either sell the team, or to other cities to move them away. Its in dispute if he can break his current lease or not which we are told runs another 4 years, but one legal source tell us there are ways if it comes to that, which Wang can get away from Nassau "although it might cost him a few bucks". The current stalemate between he and the Town of Hempstead appears that it won't be resolved by then so if Wang blinks first Isles fans may have to resolve to either root for a team 1000 miles away, or God forbid, root for the Rangers. LOL. The source did say the Isles have "other NY options", but those are far less NHL ready than KC. Of course the source told us the Isles have a great TV deal that they could continue if they stayed in the NY metro region. " No way do they get 1/4 of what they get now if they move to KC". So we believe that is more of a long shot right now.
4) What is clear though is that the NHL will be in KC in the NEAR future. Its almost a 100% chance that Phoenix is a "dead team walking". Few analysts we spoke to can see a scenario where the team stays put. " They simply have an unsustainable business model". So be it Reinsdorf or another ownership coalition that ultimately gets to control the team, they will have to include an option to relocate. That place will almost definitely be KC. With all due respect to the good folks of that great American city its a bad move. Southern Ontario just is the best option even if a stubborn Gary Bettman spites his nose to prevent Balsille from attaining the Coyotes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Avalanche Mercifully Put Granato Out of Misery!

1) Well, mercifully' is probably inaccurate. Its been one of the worst kept secrets of the past couple of months that the Avalanche were looking to replace Granato who just completed his second (unsuccessful) stint behind the Colorado bench. Since the season ended there have been rumours and out right/up front stories of imminent successors. Most recently former Avalanche goalie, Patrick Roy. The Hall of Famer turned down the job all the while Granato was technically still the head coach. This had to feel like watching your significant other dating other people right in front of you even before you've officially broken up.

2) Colorado fired coach Granato today in a sweeping move that also resulted in the firings of five others in the organization and the naming of Greg Sherman as general manager.
The Avalanche also fired assistant coaches Jacques Cloutier and Dave Barr, goaltending coach Jeff Hackett, assistant to the general manager Michel Goulet and video coordinator P.J. DeLuca.
Sherman had been Colorado's assistant GM for the past seven seasons. Also promoted within the organization were Craig Billington as assistant GM and David Oliver as director of player development, succeeding Billington.

3) In news from earlier n the week the Montreal Canadiens hired former Senator/Panther head coach Jacques Martin to be their new coach. From reading press accounts Martin's biggest attribute was his ability to speak French and English? No word if Bob Gainey actually asked Martin about his hockey philosophy. In our opinion Florida's loss here is actually a net gain, and Montreal's loss. Despite his good record (during the regular season) in Ottawa, we have never been big fans of Martin (as coach or as GM). We feel this will force Florida to hire a real GM and that organization can finally turn the corner. meanwhile we predict the Habs will be better defensively next season, but get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. In other words, no better, but a tad less entertaining to watch.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Double Standard?

1) That's what some folks are asking after two games between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. In each game a Penguin has committed a foul that, if done at another time, or by another player, would have likely resulted in a suspension of some length. Here are the two incidents, and you can decide if the decision would be different if different players were involved.

2) The first was at the end of game 1. As the Red Wings were skating towards Chris Osgood immediately following the conclusion Sidney Crosby jabbed Wing forward Kirk Maltby's foot. Right from Crosby's mouth:" He was doing what he always does. You know, he was giving guys lip service and things like that,'' Crosby said. "I two-handed him on top of the foot there as we were skating by. So he felt like it was necessary to keep talking after the game, and I thought I'd whack him. We suppose he felt comfortable enough to accurately relay his actions because he wouldn't get any league response? The result of the play? Nothing. Silence. We can't reprint the note that long time Fauxrumor reader "Vladtheimpaler" wrote to us that evening. Suffice to say he was irate that not even a symbolic penalty was called. He went on to say "it wasn't unlike what Sean Avery would do", like for instance what he did to Tim Thomas a couple of months ago. Interesting. Let's say that Sean had given Crosby (or any star player) a 2 handed slash AFTER a game, anyone think it would have gone unpunished? You decide.

3) The next instance is even more blatant in our opinion. Late in Game 2, during a scrum in front of Osgood Evgeny Malkin went after Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg. http://video.aol.com/video-detail/2009-stanley-cup-finals-game-2-detroit-red-wings-vs-pittsburgh-penguins-zetterberg-malkin-fight/946916573 It wasn't the most memorable bout we've ever witnessed. In fact Malkin's fighting skills (this was his first in the NHL) looked eerily similar to his countrymen, the Capitals Alex Semin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_ydsUCzi2E who looked silly in his first NHL scrap. LOL

4) The issue is of course that rule (that we HATE!) that any player assessed an 'instigator' penalty in the final 5 minutes of a game gets an automatic 1 game suspension. OK, so in this case its clear cut, right? Malkin got the instigator here. It was clearly less than 5 mins left. Zetterberg was the bane of Crosby's existence in the first two games (like last year), so it made sense that Malkin would give him the business. So what did the NHL decide? No suspension. Apparently Colin Campbell now says that the rule isn't iron clad as once thought. It is a 'discretionary decision on the part of the league. If the 'instigating' player isn't looking to 'send a message' then the suspension can be rescinded (Like here) Sorry Colin, that's double speak. (bullshit). Again using everyone's whipping boy Sean Avery. Anyone think Sean would have been allowed to skate (sorry) from a suspension if he had attacked Zetterberg in the waning minutes? No, in fact we'd put $$ on Campbell finding a way to give MORE than 1 game to Avery.

5) Don't misunderstand, We have NOTHING against Pittsburgh. If the skate were on the other foot, we'd attack the decision as vociferously. However, its another clear case where NHL justice (an oxymoron if there ever was one!) is NOT blind. Much like the Pronger cheap shots of past years when the super star defensemen was either given a slap on the wrist, or no slap at all for infractions that would have resulted in double digit suspensions to the Simons, Brashears, Averys, etc of the league. So yes, in our opinion its a Double Standard, indeed! What do you think?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Europe 2 North America 0

1) Last year at this time we did a post called men-2-boys-0. with regard to the Finals. At that time the Wings thoroughly dominated the Pens in the first two games and clearly were the better of the teams. The Pens were the young up and comers and Detroit filled with older vets, just out classed them. The Pens finally did solve the Wings to extend the series to 6, but even in the 2 games the Pens won, Detroit was the better team.

2) This time around though the gulf between the teams is far less apparent. It could be argued that a favourable bounce or two for Pittsburgh, and we might have a vastly different complexion to the series. Certainly in neither game were the Wings the far better team. What has been clear though is that the Wings Euro-centric style appears to be holding its own quite well with the North American dominated style of the Pens. The Detroit puck possession style has frustrated the Pens at times (as it has most teams) However, the aspect of the Wings game that may have surprised some who haven't been watching them all year is their toughness. No, not toughness defined in North American terms by fighting majors, but on their terms with hard hitting and willing to take a hit to make a play. Willing to stand in front of the net and get slammed by the defense or hit by a puck to get the 'dirty goal'. Most teams could learn a thing or two by watching the Red Wings style of play.

3) Is the series over? Hell no! As stated earlier a bounce or two and we might be deadlocked 1-1 going back to steel town. However their margin for error is now nil. Pit can NOT afford to lose either game at home, else they are looking at an elimination game back in Mo-town this weekend. The Pens need to continue to play much like they are now. With the addition of trying to get Crosby away from Zetterberg. Which at home should be a tad easier. Keep drilling Osgood with shots and get in his face. Play their up tempo forecheck and force the Wing defense to work. Lidstrom is clearly not 100% and uncharacteristically is vulnerable.

4) It also has to be mentioned that Detroit created this 2-0 lead without their best player, Pavel Datsuyk, out with a broken foot (that's a guess as injuries are state secrets this time of year). No word if he'll be able to go tomorrow. The young Wings players like Helm (who plays like a human missal) have been instrumental. Not a good sign for Pitt when an unknown 4th liner Justin Abdelkader has more goals so far than Sidney Crosby. Zetterberg has been that good in blanketing the Penguin super star. (We bet Sid would have loved to have been Malkin last night, trying to punch Zetts lights out in frustration late last night). In the end its likely the Wings will win again. Not to fret though Pens fans, we believe the time for your team is just beginning. The core of your team is all under 25. If they can keep them together we will see Cups returning to Pittsburgh in the near future! All is not lost North America!
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