Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off-Season Report card- West

1) As we did a few days ago with the Eastern Conference we will go team by team out West and discuss their off season moves. Yes, we agree, we're harsh graders! ; )

  • Anaheim Duck: Finished 8th with 91 points. Lost important defenders in Francois Beauchemin and Chris Pronger. Added Boynton, Saku Koivu and Lupul, so overall the Ducks will be a much better team up front, but now their question marks will be on the back line. Overall they did the best they could under tough circumstances. Grade B-

  • Calgary Flame: Finished 5th with 98 points. Of course the biggest addition was Jay Bouwmeester. Lost Michael Cammalleri and Adrian Aucoin. We're not huge Bouwmeester fans,but he should improve their backline to be one of the better in the tough West. Will be tough to replace the offense of Cammalleri. Grade C

  • Chicago Blackhawk: Finished 4th with 104 points. Biggest move of course was the dismissal of GM Dale Tallon. Lost Matt Walker Nikolai Khabibulin Samuel Pahlsson and Martin Havlat . The biggest pick up was RW Marian Hossa, 12 years, $62.8M , but apparently he was damaged goods? How could they not know this? Also obtained Tomas Kopecky, and John Madden. The loss of Khabibulin could be the most hurtful as he was the #1 guy and the heir apparent, Huet has yet to show he is capable of winning in the spring. Grade: C

  • Colorado Avalanche: Finished 15th with 69 points. Big losses in the loss of Sakic(retired), and Ryan Smyth(trade). Biggest addition is draftee Matt Duchesne who we hear is the real deal. Avs also lost Ian Laperriere, and Tyler Arnason. Added Tom Preissing to help the defense and goalie Craig Anderson to hopefully give the team a true #1 goalie next season. Probably this is the best that newbie GM Greg Sherman could do, but this team still has oodles of holes. Grade C-

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Finished 7th with 92 points. Picked up defensive forward Samuel Pahlsson. Have apparently severed ties with Christian Backman, Jason Williams, , Manny Malhotra, Michael Peca, and Chris Gratton. Freeing up some cap space to sign Paulsson and give Nash a long term deal. Grade B-

  • Dallas Star: Finished 12th with 83 points. Lost Steve Begin, Chris Conner , Brendan Morrison and D Sergei Zubov. Added Karlis Skrastins. The payroll cutting in Dallas is evident! It doesn't bode well for 09-10. Grade D+

  • Detroit Red Wing: Finished 2nd with 112 points. On paper appears that this was a dreadful off season for the West Champs. They lost Marion Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler. They replaced those with Todd Bertuzzi, Andy Delmore, Patrick Eaves, and Jason Williams. We're not impressed, and could see the Wings fall significantly in 09-10. Grade F+

  • Edmonton Oiler: Finished 11th with 85 points Let go Ales Kotalik and Dwayne Roloson and replaced them with Nikolai Khabibulin. In the short run an improvement in net. Not sure we'd of given the 36 year old Bulin Wall 4 years. Grade C+

  • Los Angeles King: Finished 14th with 79 points. Added playoff hero Rob Scuderi to bolster their back line. Big money, but he should help on and off the ice. Also added Ryan Smyth. Not the player he was 5 or so years ago, but another character player the young Kings could use. Grade B+

  • Minnesota Wild: Finished 9th with 89 points. Lost Marian Gaborik , Kurtis Foster and Krys Kolanos. To replace those pieces the Wild added Martin Havlat, and Shane Hnidy. In our opinion basically lateral moves. One injury prone big Euro for another. Grade C

  • Nashville Predator: Finished 10th with 88 points. No big moves in The Music City. They lost depth players Vernon Fiddler, Ville Koistinen and Scott Nichol, and added winger Ben Guite. They are hoping the return of Steve Sullivan puts them back into the post season. Grade C

  • Phoenix Coyote: Finished 13th with 79 points. Total chaos to put it mildly with the circus that's occurring to gain control over the money pit in Glendale Arizona. To his credit GM Don Maloney hasn't appeared to allow these mega distractions alter his plan(Now if he could only unload the under performing coach-Wayne Gretzky!). They added Jason LaBarbera, , Vernon Fiddler, , Adrian Aucoin, Radim Verbata, and Lauri Korpikoski. Grade B-

  • St. Louis Blue: Finished 6th with 92 points. Biggest addition was goalie Ty Conklin who gives the Blues a solid tandem with Chris Mason. Lost overpaid/oft injured rearguard Jay McKee. With their mid season turn around, and solid mix of vets and youngsters the Blues didn't need much of an over haul. For the first time Keith Tkachuk's salary is more in range of what he might contribute. Grade C+

  • San Jose Shark: Finished 1st with 117 points. Did very little. Of course they were the best NHL team(in he regular season) However they (again) choked so one would believe that changes would follow? Rumors persist that Marleau,who was just striped of his captaincy, is on his way out, perhaps in a Heatley deal? They need to do something to change the choking dynamic. Grade D
  • Vancouver Canuck: Finished 3rd with 100 points. Biggest move was undoubtedly to resign the Sedin twins. Good for them that they didn't over pay or give a ridiculous double digit deal. Also added Mikael Samuelsson, and Andrew Raycroft. Losing long time defender Mattias Ohland. For their own good, hopefully they stay away from any Mats Sundin discussion. Grade B-

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Off Season Report Card! East

1) Sorry folks. We originally intended to publish this post a few weeks ago. The trend since the new CBA was signed in 2005 is that teams opening day rosters are pretty much set by the end of July after the draft, initial free agent signing frenzy is over and after all arbitration cases are settled. So aside from a few yet to be signed players (none of whom we believe could alter the balance of power) the off season's for all 30 teams is pretty much a done deal. With that in mind we will go through each of the 30 teams and discuss their off season and finally give them a grade. The grade will NOT be a prediction of 2009-2010 success, but our opinion of how well they did or didn't do to upgrade their previous seasons roster. As you will see, we are tough graders! ; ) The list will be in alphabetical order, East then soon to be published, the West.


  • Atlanta Thrashers: Finished 13th in East with 76 points. Added Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina. Its also possible top pick(4th overall) Evander Kane could crack the lineup. They retained goalie Kari Lehtonen. We predict that the season will be consumed with Kovulchuk trade rumours until the Russian either decides to re-sign. Overall we're not impressed with their off season, but we're not impressed with their inept architect, Don Wadell, in our opinion the current worst GM in the NHL. Grade C-

  • Boston Bruins: Finished 1st in the East with 116 points. Lost Steve Montador and D Shane Hnidy but added D Derek Morris. When you're the best team (regular season) then you don't have to make big changes. Biggest distraction/unknown is the Phil Kessel situation. He needs to be resigned, but even without him the B's will still be a formidable opponent. Grade C

  • Buffalo Sabres: Finished 10th with 91 points. Added Steve Montador, but lost top rear guard point producer in Jiroslav Spacek. After losing Campbell the previous season that's a tough one two punch to lose off the PP unit. The addition of Grier would be nice if he were the final piece, but this team has holes that GM Regier didn't address. Grade D+

  • Carolina Hurricanes: Finished 6th with 97 points. The majority of their off season was much like Boston's. Trying to retain the core of players that went to the Conference Finals last season. Also adding some grit on defense in Andrew Alberts and Aron Ward. Hard to quibble about making big changes when you've had recent success. Grade C+

  • Florida Panthers: Finished 9th with 93 points. Another near-miss in south Florida. Another no man's land season. We're probably in the minority here, but we feel the panthers will be better off without the distraction/bloated salary of Jay Bowmeester. They added Steve Reinprecht and Jordon Leopold to bolster their team. Not busting the budget in the process. Grade B-

  • Montreal Canadians: Finished 8th with 93 points. Bob Gainey almost totally reshaped his squad. Dumping free agents Mike Komisarek, Alex Kovalev, and former captain Saku Koivu. As well as trading RFA Chris Higgins. They added D Jaroslav Spacek, RW Brian Gionta, LW Michael Cammalleri, D Hal Gill, 2 years, and D Paul Mara. Additionally they traded for Scott Gomez and his bloated 7+ million cap hit. Big changes, but in our opinion it was shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic; Neither worse nor better. Grade C

  • NJ Devils: Finished 3rd with 108 points. Lost Michael Rupp, G Scott Clemmensen, RW Brian Gionta, C John Madden. Replaced with D Cory Murphy. Seems every year we at Fauxrumors pronounce the Devils dead only to be proven wrong. WE can't help but feel that Lou's luck may have run out. They didn't do much if anything this offseason to improve other than a new head coach(out with the old, in with the .....older) Grade C-

  • NY Islanders: Finished 15th with 61 points. Biggest off season move took place at the draft where they took the highly touted John Tavares 1st overall. Other than getting goaltending depth in Roloson and Marty Biron the team will be going with the same lineup as last season along with the aforementioned JT. Grade C-

  • NY Rangers: Finished 7th with 95 points. Added Donald Brashear,Tyler Arnason, RW Marian Gaborik, and RW Ales Kotalik. Lost Scott Gomez Nik Antropov D Paul Mara, Colton Orr, LW Lauri Korpikoski, D Derek Morris, and RW Nikolai Zherdev. We're quite unimpressed with the job Glen Sather did this summer. Basically replaced one ridiculous contract(Gomez) with another(Gaborik). We originally gave them a D, but the addition of Prospal does help. Grade C+

  • Ottawa Senators: Finished 11th with 83 points. Added Alex Kovalev. The distractuion that is the Heatley fiasco continues. We can't see him being back with open arms by the team and fans alike after spurring them and taking a ton of money in the process! If they lose him and don't get a significant return, or even if he does come back the team is in transition and we didn't see anything this summer to believe they will be better in 09-10. Grade D+

  • Philadelphia Flyers: Finished 5th with 99 points. Made the mega splash at the draft with the trade for Chris Pronger, but we are NOT enthused about them overall. They lost Lupul (Pronger trade) and Mike Knuble. Morre inportantly they added nut job Ray Emery in net, replacing Marty Biron. Certainly NOT an upgrade in talent, and many might say a DE-grade in charactar. They still will be atough opponent, but they failed to address their biggest problem this summer. Grade C

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Finished 4th with 99 points( Won Cup) When you win the silver trophy there is no place to go but down, right? Lost defenders Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi and replaced with Jay McKee. Overall Shero was able to keep his championship squad together and added a reliable goalie back up in Brent Johnson. Grade: B-

  • TB Lightning: Finished 14th with 66 points. WE have to be careful here as we got hooked into believeing last year that they were improved only to see them hit bottom again. That said we belive this time around new GM Brian Lawton has made some very astute moves. Including drafing Swedish defener Victor Hedman and UFA Matias Ohland to mentor the big guy. Adding Antero Niittymaki to back up Mike Smithj is also an upgrade, albeit a minor one. Grade: B+

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Finished 12th with 81 points. The first off season for new GM Brian Burke. He started by adding two big defenders in Mike Komisarek, and Francois Beauchemin. dded grit/toughness in Colton Orr( a 4 year deal??) Also added sought after FA Jonas Gustavsson. Not a bad start, but we're sure he's not done. Grade: B-

  • Washington Capitals: Finished 2nd with 108 points. Lost Russian UFA Sergei Fedorov and Victor Kozlov to the KHL. Also tough guy Brashear. Added Mike Knuble, and Brendan Morrison, both of whom may actually be an upgrade over the departed aging Russian forwards. Could have used a vet defender, but salary cap as of now have prevented this move. Grade C+

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heatley-Vs- Ottawa: No Good Guys In This Fight!

1) The seemingly endless story of Dany Heatly wanting to be dealt and Ottawa trying to peddle the former all star goes on and on. We haven't weighed in on this in a while so we decided in the Dog Days with little else going on (Even Eklund has had little made up news recently) we'd review whats been going on behind the scenes to get a better hold of whats transpiring.

2) The whole issue seems to go back to last January when Ottawa GM (and former coach) Bryan Murray and Heatley had a bit of a run in after another Sens loss. It wasn't long afterwards that the Sens fired their coach Craig Hartsburg and replaced him with rookie head coach Cory Clouston. After their run- in, Heatley had little use for Murray and wasn't all that enamoured with Murray's choice of Hartsburg's replacement. Although he didn't 'dog it', "he clearly wasn't putting out 100%", is what one Ottawa source tells Fauxrumors. With Murray's blessing Clouston cut Heatley's PP time and in the process pissed off the wing even more. It was then that Heatley decided it was time to get out of town before things deteriorated further.

3) After the season Heatley through his agent informed Murray of his clients request to be moved. After requesting that Heatley make his request formal, he also included, as his contractual prerogative, a list of teams he'd agree to go. This is where things get interesting. Murray, knowing full well that he couldn't just up and trade a high salaried player like Healtley to such a short list of teams and get a proper return, leaked Heatley's request through the media so fans wouldn't take his head off for trading one of their best players for a relative pittance. To stick it to Heatley further Murray decided to not request deals from the list Dany gave, but to destinations that Murray knew Heatley would dislike. This is where the Edmonton deal came into play. Murray again leaked the potential deal and when Heatkley refused to go (no shocker really) it was another relative PR win/face saving ploy for Ottawa/Murray.

4) Not only did Heatley seem to be rejecting one Canadian city, but was rejecting two! Edmonton already had a bit of an inferiority complex with the departures of Chris Pronger, Ryan Smyth, and Michael Nylander's contract issue, etc. Now another player seemed to be dissing the land of Oil. It seemed that Edmonton was trying to bend over backwards to try to persuade Heatley to go there, but they didn't know that it was now a power play between Heatley and Murray. Even if Heatley wanted to go to Edmonton it would be on his terms, NOT to help out "that bastard" as friends say Heatley now calls Murray. Which leaves us where we are now, apparent limbo.

5) We talked with as many sources-in the know- that we could get a hold of, and would comment. From what we have learned a deal to trade Heatley is still the most likely scenario. As we wrote this spring, via a trusted source, Heatley has played his last game in Ottawa (as a Senator). Murray apparently has resumed trying to unload the millionaire forward but will likely get very little other than a 2nd line forward, prospect and a high pick for him. Look for a deal to get consummated BEFORE training camp opens. A Western Conference team is the most likely destination. So in the end neither party is the 'good guy' Both are looking like jerks (and are).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Canada: Be Careful What You Wish For!

1) As the old adage goes: Be Careful what you wish for, you may just get it'. The meaning being that you may not like the end result of your wish. We at FR2 believe this may be true of Canadian hockey fans with respect to the current morass in the Phoenix Coyote bankruptcy case. Most fans in the Great White North are pulling for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsille to be victorious in his bid to buy the trouble Arizona based franchise and move it to southern Ontario (Hamilton) A near nationalistic fervor has grown out of this issue with Canadian hockey fans seeing this as yet another slap by the American born NHL commissioner Gary Bettman against them. Many are still smarting from the losses of the Quebec Nordique (Colorado) and the Winnipeg Jets ( The now Phoenix Coyote) under his watch. With subsequent NHL expansion into the southern United States.

2) As any one knows who reads this blog regularly we dislike Gary Bettman. Some might say, quite a bit, BUT we are also honest and give folks (even those we disagree with) their due when earned. Those folks who are now blindly allying themselves with Jim balsille mearly because they are for more teams up north And/or hate Ggary Bettman might be advised that they are incorrect on multiple fronts. Firstly many might recall that in the mid 90's the economic landscape was far different than today. Back then the exchange rate placed the teams up north at a great disadvantage with their US based counterparts. Bettman devised a plan to assist Canadian based franchises back then. If not for this its entirely possible Edmonton, Calgary and perhaps even Vancouver may not have survived the 1990's intact within Canada.

3) Next, and more to the point of this post is IF Jim Balsille is victorious Canada would gain a franchise BUT if economics should reverse to where we were 15 or so years ago there would be little to prevent a move back south of one or more teams. If someone can force their way in through the bankruptcy process, it goes to the fundamental nature of the league and how it governs itself. What can be at risk here is the ability of an outsider like Balsille to force his way into ownership. Another rogue owner could to turn a sport franchise into just another commodity that can be bought and sold without the control of the league. Gary Bettman and the Board of governors(BOG) would have no say so of who owns the other teams and as importantly couldn't stop/block a team from moving from one city to the next. It could be chaos. Now currently that might mean more teams in Canada as the Loonie is relatively strong, but if it were to fall we could see another exodus from Canada that could potentially be even more precipitous than the last. Be careful what you wish for Canada, indeed!

Post script: A hearty "You're Welcome' to Fauxrumors and to all the folks who we hosted in this years annual Faux Vaction. We all had a blast and this seems to get better (if not bigger-LOL) every year!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thank you FR2!

1) As most regular readers already know we are back from our annual Faux vacation when FR2 posted their usual interesting take on the Kane situation earlier in the week. We would like to take this opportunity to thank FR2 for yet another breath taking adventure! When we were first told that we would be flying into Honolulu we figured a nice week in Hawaii, etc. LOL Wow were we off the mark. We transferred planes at Honolulu International for a connecting flight to Tahiti!!!

2) All we can say is AMAZING! The travel was long and difficult at times but once we were settled in to our resort, a place called St. Regis we were treated like kings and didn't want to leave! The resort is in the Bora Bora islands and we each had our own bungalow by the beach! The above picture doesn't do the place justice. Of the three Faux vacations we have to say this was our favourite! Not knocking Patagonia or Northern Italy but this is literally paradise on Earth!
3) Now, back to reality. We promise that we will very soon (finally) publish our off season team grades/analysis. This is of course the dog days of the hockey season. very little Earth shattering news outside of Patrick Kane or the fiasco going on in Arizona with the Coyotes. We of course will continue to monitor those and any other situations as they arise. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just Raising Kane, or is Patrick Just a Dick?

1) In case you missed it, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was charged with attacking a cab driver in his hometown of Buffalo Sunday. A beating that police said was triggered when the driver did not have 20 cents in change to give the player and his cousin. Buffalo police said the 20-year-old Kane and his 21-year-old cousin, James Kane, had apparently caught a cab from the city's downtown nightclub district at about 4 a.m. The cab driver suffered cuts to his face and his glasses were damaged. The driver (initially) said he was punched and hit by both men because he did not have 20 cents in change to give them.

2) Now, our first reaction of hearing this story was WTF! Are you kidding, a multi-millionaire is punching guys out for 20 cents? Then it occurred to us after reading more; Patrick Kane wasn't trying to save a few cents. He and his cousin were just being a rowdy, thug, dicks. Yes, doing what many bullys might do in high school. Pull a prank against someone weaker/more vulnerable than themselves for their sick amusement. here it was a poor stiff, cabbie a full 40 years older than the two Kanes.

3) From that perspective we agree with fellow blogger Tom Benjamin. He writes that "The best possible light for Kane is that he is a mean drunk, a guy who is not above physically abusing a 62 year old man after a stupid prank went awry". Where we differ from Tom's is when he brings in national origin into the picture: "The bad news for the Hawks – and for the NHL – is about the marketing opportunity now circling the drain. Wasn’t the plan to have Patrick Kane, All-American superstar driving the hockey bus to a Stanley Cup in big market Chicago? The All-American superstar leading the U.S. team into the Olympics? The All-American superstar gracing the video game box? The All-American superstar marketing hockey in the American market? Kane was no more an American hockey player icon/represented the nation than Dany Heatley/Theo Fleury, etc is/was in Canada before their legal issues. If he plays well/wins/stays out of further trouble all will be forgiven/forgotten.

4) The not so surprising most recent twist is that the cab driver's attorney's are now saying that the incident was blown out of proportion and that a felony charge is not likely. Can anyone else say 'pay off'? LOL When the local area legal beagles found out who roughed him up they probably all came stampeding to the 'aid of the poor working class cab driver who was beaten up by the millionaire kid. So its no wonder this will probably be quickly resolved 'out of court' Ka-ching! So in the end the cabie hit the lottery and we found out that Patrick Kane in addition to be a pretty dam good hockey player is pretty much a dick too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday To Us!

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

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

3) With over 760+ original FAUX posts and growing to our credit since that first fateful blog entry, and more than 438+ thousand hits (and growing fast) we are proud of what we have grown here the past 3 years. As we were then, (and always will be) we are a totally FREE site/blog. We decline all advertising offers. For one, honestly we don't need the income, but more importantly, we feel that accepting money would be the wrong perception. We don't want to become Eklund. Selling nonsense/made up crap to sad/loser people. We look forward when we return from The South Pacific to begin our Fourth year! Thanks to all of you! As always, keep it here for the latest!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1) Time for our FAUX vacation! Its that time of year once again. The time when we at FAUXRUMORS have our annual holiday away from the blogging world. When FR2 treats the entire Faux-crew to a unique vacation. Last year we were in South America. The previous year FR2 took the Faux crew to Europe. going to northern Italy and were treated to another amazing week.

2) This time around FR2 has something unique planned for all of us. As they did last year FR2 did not give us details until the last minute so all that we can relate to you now is that we were told to NOT pack warm clothes like last year. We just got our plane tix that will bring us to Honolulu. We're told there is a connecting flight thereafter so all we know is that is NOT our final destination. We will be sure to relay to our readers details when we return. We will try to 'smuggle in' a lap top so we can occasionally check in here, but no guarantees.

3) The time of year was chosen for a reason. Traditionally its the time most devoid of meaningful NHL/hockey news so its unlikely we'll miss much. When we return we will begin in earnest our preparation for the 2009-10 season by first going through our summer report cards team by team. Later on of course we will do our pre season predictions. As always relaying/discussing pertinent NHL news and gossip. As always (even when we're not actually here) keep it here for all the latest!
Contact the Media