Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Potato!!

1)That's what it appears is happening with respect to the rights to Christian Ehrhoff. Initially the German born defender's rights were owned by his team from this past season, the Vancouver Canucks. After rejecting a deal that would have paid him the same as fellow defensemen Kevin Bieksa (5 years at 4.5 mil) the Canucks put his rights up for grabs to other teams' who thought they had a shot at obtaining his services. The NY Islanders, in need of a quality top 4 defensemen were quick to jump on that possibility and offered up their 4th round pick in next years draft to obtain the rights to Ehroff, and get a jump on signing him prior to him going on the open market. Certainly Snow knew he'd have to significantly up the Vancouver offer to entice Chris to go East to a rebuilding franchise with a less than top reputation throughout the league.

2) To that end we're told that the Islanders indeed late yesterday approached Ehrhoff's agent Richard Curren a deal that seems (to us at fauxrumors) to be as good as his client could possibly get come July 1. Our sources tell us that Snow offered Christian a 5 year deal with an average salary of 5.75 million! A ton of money for an above average but hardly a star defensemen. If Snow offered Ehrhoff that much how much would he offer a true superstar (if one were available?) Our impeccable sources tell us that Snow "never had a chance", and that Curren already has a team and tentative deal in place for his client. The source refused to tell us out of fear of retribution but he tells us that "its a done deal" and should be announced shortly after the Free agency period commences tomorrow at noon. To his credit Snow didn't play games with the negotiations. Once he had his generous offer rejected he saw the writing on the proverbial wall and immediately put the negotiating rights to Ehrhoff back on the block. The fact that he got back his 4th round pick in a trade with Buffalo late last night is impressive.

3) So now the Sabres have the 'hot potato that are Ehrhoff's right. They had 36 hours to get a deal worked out before he goes 'on the market'. The Sabres have a slightly more advantageous position than the Isles in that they appear top be far more a playoff contender at this time(assuming winning is a priority to Ehrhoff?) The question is are the Sabres 'the team' that Curran has a deal in principal, or will the Hot Potato be passed yet again if a deal can't be struck? Whether or not they do we are going to be very curious to see what he ultimately receives in his new deal. We can't see anyone really paying his 6+ million!?! As one Western Conference scout told us "That's dumb money" WE fully agree!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jagr Set to Return!?!

1) Its been a badly kept secret that Jaromir Jagr desired to return to the NHL next season. There have been rumours swirling around the 39 year old Czech forward since the NHL season ended. However his destination was unknown until last night when Fauxrumors was told exclusively that the Jagr contingent was set to announce a deal in principal with the Detroit Red Wings. The deal will be for one season and 4 million. Hardly what JJ was making in his last NHL season or in Russia, but as a source tells us "its not about the money", its about JJ wanting to see if he is still on top of his game and he desired a chance to win (another) Cup.

2) He last played an NHL game for the NY Rangers in the 2007-2008 season compiling 25 goals and 71 points, before "retiring" to play in the KHL. There he has put up similar type numbers of near a point/game and appears to not have lost too much from his game. That said the level of competition in Russia is hardly the NHL and it remains to be seen if he can still do it back here after a 3 year hiatus. The fit in Detroit is perfect for Jagr. he won't be expected to be the team leader, and not even be the goto guy on the offense, but be expected to augment an already formidable lineup. Our prediction is Jagr will have 25 goals and 75 points and provide the Wings with another weapon. Good luck JJ!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Free Agent D-Day!

1) Yes, the 2nd biggest day for the NHL off the ice in our opinion is the opening of free agency. Annually there is much excitement and always some let down in a majority of cities who's fans don't perceive their team 'doing anything'. In the recent past there were a vast array of top line talent available to the highest bidders and there was much intrigue going into July. However in the last couple of years there has been a bit of shift in strategies by NHL clubs. Most are signing their soon-to-be UFA's to multi year extensions prior to their becoming available to the other29 teams. Therefore we have seen the number of top players available come July decrease markedly. This year is no different which works in he favour of the few remaining marquis names that have yet to sign. It also give a chance to non marquis guys to get top line money from desperate teams Footnote: We had to revise this post a couple of times prior to publishing due to recent signings

2) We will go through some of the better named/talented players who at the time of this post are still going to be up for grabs on Friday noon (Eastern) We will list their most recent team, last yrs stats and salary. Then give our inside look on who is going where and or what $/contract length.

  • BRAD RICHARDS- (Dallas) 2010-11 Salary: $7.8 million. 77 PTS. Obviously we have an opinion on him. He was overpaid last year and will probably be overpaid once again next time around. Rumors are on the Rangers and Toronto, but we hear Richards would prefer a smaller market so a return to the SE division wouldn't shock us. Nor would a 5 year 40 mil deal. Absurd!

  • SIMON GAGNE- (TB) 2010-11 Salary: $5.25 million. 40 PTS Simon had another injury plagued season and is now 3 years removed from his last productive campaign. The former 47 goal scorer will still get significant attention as he had a good post season in TB's playoff run. Our sources tell us that the Habitants will inquire and offer him a 2 yr 9 mil deal.

  • JASON ARNOTT (Wst) 2010-11 Salary: $4.5 million 31 PTS. The 17 year vet is coming towards the end of the road. 3 years since his last big year of 30+ goals. He may have 1 more season left, but as a 35+ we would be surprised if he got more than a 1 year deal. The Caps will consider if the price is under 3 mil

  • TIM CONNOLLY (Buf) 2010-11 Salary: $4.5 million 42 PTS (68 gms) The Syracuse NY native hasn't played 80 games in 7 years. It would be fool hearty to expect that to change with his concussion history GM's should approach with caution. That said, when he is healthy he's productive and could be a decent 2nd line center. You'd have to believe a pay cut is in order. A 2 year, 6 mil deal is what he should expect

  • ED JOVANOVSKI- (PHO) 2010-11 Salary: $6 million 14 PTS(50 gms). Its safe to say that Jovo-cop's salad days are over. The 34 yr old defender is coming his 2nd consecutive injury plagued season and like Gagne 3 years removed from his last productive season. He shouldn't expect big $$. At most a 1 or 2 yr deal for 2-3 mil. We're told Ed would prefer to stay out west and the Canucks might look to reacquire 'Jovo-Cop' if his price isn't steep

  • BROOKS LAICH (Wst) 2010-11 Salary: $2.4 million 48 PTS. Laich is one who will likely benefit from the thin UFA class. His stature as a leader and all around player will likely cause a mini bidding war and we could foresee Laich being rewarded with a 5 year 25 mil deal somewhere. WAY too much for what he brings.(Signed by Caps for 6 years at 4.5 mil)

  • CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (Van) 2010-11 Salary: $3.4 million 50 PTS The 28 yr old German defender is going to get a nice pay day. He already is compensated nicely, but with few available reliable PP QB's available Chris will get plenty of interest around the league. His own team will work hard to retain him, but don't expect a huge home town discount. 5 years 27 million is what we're hearing

  • TOMAS VOKOUN (Fla) 2010-11 Salary: $6.3 million. 922 SV%. We have never been big fans of the 34 year old Czech netminder but annually he puts up decent stats. The last few on a bad Fla team. He has been overpaid and that's unlikely to change as he is the top of the UFA goalie class. It would be insane to give him more than 3 years at most 15 mil, but someone will likely give him the 5 years he will be demanding. Colorado is ready to make a play!

  • TOMAS FLEISCHMANN (Col) 2010-11 Salary: $2.6 million. 31 PTS (45 Gms) The 27 yr old wing has had some injury issues which have limited his playing time,but does put up decent enough numbers to get attention from a few teams. They shouldn't expect a power forward type as Tomas is as soft as they come, but he'll get a bit of a bump in salary to 3 mil if not more if a team protracts a full season of production. We'd pass, but we admit we're not fans. The Panthers and Blues are looking

  • TOMAS KABERLE (Bos) 2010-11 Salary: $4.25 million 47 PTS. Completing our trifecta of Tomas-Czechs Kaberle picked a fortuitous time to be a UFA. Coming off a decent season coupled with a Cup run and a weak FA class will mean he will get a nice contract from somebody. Will it be Boston? Our sources say not likely. A move out of the conference is more likely a source tells us. Perhaps a south western destination?

  • Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Tor) 2010 salary 7 million. How far has the former Conn Smythe winner gone? He'll get a contract but probably not more than a 1 year 1-2 mil deal. We hear the Panthers will inquire. JS is fortunate there are few decent UFA goalies available this summer

  • Alex Ponikarovsky (LA) 2010 salary 3.2 mil The talented forward's best days behind him? He should expect a pay cut if he wants to stay in LA, who are interested

  • VILLE LEINO (Phi) 2010-11 Salary: $825,000 53 points. The 27 year old found a good time to have a break through season. Just as he was set to become a UFA. If the Flyers want to retain the LW they better be prepared to at least triple his current salary. A 4 year 15 mil deal is on the table

  • Roman Hamrlik (Mtl) 2010 salary 5.5 mil The 18 year pro has been a fairly consistent performer. producing and pretty reliable in his own end. Its is age that will prevent a longer deal, but he will get an offer for a 1 year deal The Stars and Coyotes are interested

  • JONI PITKANEN (car) 2010-11 Salary: $4.5 million 35 pts (Resigned by Carolina for 5 yrs at 4.5 mil) Way too much!

  • JUSSI JOKINEN (car) 2010-11 Salary: $1.9 million 52 PTS Although the 28 year old Finn's production fell off this past season we still expect he'll get significant interest. The sabres and Flames are interested. (resigns before UFA for 3yrs 9 mil)

  • JAMES WISNIEWSKI (Mtl) 2010-11 Salary: $3.25 million 51 PTS Jims knock isn't deserved that he's not good in his own end. He's not going to win the Norris but his all around play and offensive production will give the Michigan native a multi year deal in excess of 10 mil. The Maple leafs and Avalanche are top candidates but there will be many suitors

  • DWAYNE ROLOSON (TB) 2010-11 Salary: $3 million 914 SV% The 41 year old was a revelation for TB. helping them to get within 1 game of the Finals. Without another alternative the Lightning will give the 13 year vet another 1 year, 3 mil deal. (As predicted Roloson resings for 1 year 3 milllion)

  • JOEL WARD (Nas) 2010-11 Salary: $1.5 million 29 PTS The 30 yr old journeyman had a break through playoff run for the Preds increasing his value. The preds will have to pony up a 3 yr 9 mil contract to keep hi Else the Sharks, and Panthers have their eyes on him

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brad Richards Dicking Stars?

1) With unrestricted free agency a mere 1 week away and the Dallas Stars resigned to lose center Brad Richards come July st, GM Joe Nieuwendyk has been peddling the center's rights around in an attempt to get something in return before he's free to go. Teams would then have an exclusive period of time to court and before the frenzy that will undoubtedly happen next week.

2) Would seem to be a strait forward process, no? Would seem so regardless that Richards has a No trade clause on his expiring contract. After all why would a no trade clause be an issue if the player won't be actually tied to play for the team for who he is traded, right? WRONG! Apparently, and for no reason we can fathom, Brad Richards has told the Dallas Stars that he is NOT going to waive his NTC and allow them to deal his rights before the July 1st UFA period commences. In essence screwing the Stars from getting at least a tangible asset in return. Can't understand why unless there is bad blood between Richards and management? Regardless its still beyond crass to do this. If we were a team thinking of signing him we would have second thoughts about it. Certainly any new team should not even consider giving the jerk a new No Trade Clause. Our opinion of Brad Richards unless/until we are told/given new information is that he's a douche bag!

Holmgren's Big Gamble?!?

1) Paul Holmgren shocked the hockey world yesterday by making three significant moves that will drastically alter its makeup and undoubtedly their style going into 2011-2012. The biggest/most important was to finally get a legit starting goalie. The Flyers announced they have signed former Coyote netminder Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year 51 million dollar deal. The 5.6 million cap hit was probably at least in part the motivating factor in the other deals.

2) In our opinion the Bryzgalov deal will be a net positive (pun intended) in the short term, but we also maintain that its a risky venture to sign any player (especially a goalie) to anything more than a 5 year deal. We wouldn't sign a goalie more than 3 years.(See Dipietro deal) They are so quirky and can go from great to crap so quickly, or suffer through nagging injuries that it doesn't seem to pay too invest heavily in that admittedly important position.

3) As far as the other two big deals yesterday. We were not at all surprised to see Carter go. He had fallen out of favour with management last season. Unhappy with his consistency and lack of playoff production. Rumours had been swirling around for some time. Carter, a first-round draft pick of Philadelphia in 2003, had 66 points (36 goals, 30 assists) in 80 regular-season games last season. The 26-year-old center has 181 goals and 162 assists in 461 career games in Philly. In return from Columbus the Flyers got Jakub Voracek. The 21 yr old Czech had 14 Goals 32 helpers for 46 pts in 80 games last season. Holmgren has coveted the RW for some time we're told. Additionally the Flyers received the Jacket 1st pick tonight. The 8th overall choice in this year's deep draft should provide a blue chip prospect to go along with Vorackek. Not to mention the salary cap relief it provides. Carter had a 5.273 cap hit while Voracek, although a RFA won't command nearly that sum (less than 1/2). So we'd say Holmgren did very well here in both short and long term

4) Its the final deal that causes us to scratch our heads. Why trade Carter AND Mike Richards? Richards apparently had a falling out with both Peter Laviolette and more importantly Chris Pronger. The ladder two never got along from day 1 of Pronger's signing. Carter as captain felt that Pronger undermined his leadership and as a result there was a fractured locker room. OK, fine, but we are not all that happy with the return; Braden Schenn (Luke's little brother) is a top centre ice prospect, but can/will he ultimately exceed the talents of Richards? Is Philly content with the remainder of their forwards going into next season as enough? On the other side we are VERY happy for LA. GM Dean Lombardi stole Richards and now can boast one of the deepest teams down the middle in the West, if not NHL. With Kopitar, Stoll, and now Richards they are stacked up the middle. Its early, but suddenly the Kings look like a contender!

5) From talking with a few insiders sine yesterday it seems the Flyer organization wanted to transform themselves and go from their traditional offense/forwards first mentality to go to a more defensive type game. They had to get their goalie to cement that idea, and now they are shedding salary to give Holmgren additionally flexibility to bring in/sign additional players to further solidify that new style for 2011-2012. The gamble(s)?

  • Can Bryzgalov be the first goalie since Berne Parent to be a legit star? (sorry Hextall fans)

  • Do the Flyers have enough remaining talent up front to score enough? Remember, Briere isn't known for his durability

  • Can the sextet of Timonen, Pronger, Meszaros, Carle, Coburn and Walker be as good on the ice as they appear to be on paper? Pronger especially looked his age(36) at times last season

Paul Holgren is betting the answer to all the above questions are yes, else he may be looking for employment come this time next year.

Pre-Draft Thoughts

1) Yes, one of our favourite times of the NHL calendar. Certainly the best off season day for us at Fauxrumors. The annual NHL entry draft is the time of year when teams make their moves/big personnel decisions. Especially in the salary capped NHL, teams usually don't make big roster altering moves past July, so now is the time to set a salary budget, and fill the roster to that level. With the salary cap set at 63 million(up 4 million from last season) teams have some wiggle room. Also teams are more apt to trade for 'big ticket items(players) now than during the season when they are handcuffed by cap restraints. All this leads to intrigue and of course rumours!

2) First off lets get the nonsense off the table. There will be NO big offer sheets being made come July 1st. Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Steven Stamkos will all be staying put, with huge raises. Our sources tell us that Stamkos will be in line to be making 9 million for the next decade, while Drew will exceed the 5 million mark for 6+ more seasons in LaLa land. As for the Nashville star defender the Preds are looking to make a big splash by signing him to a 6 mil/per deal for 8 more seasons in Music City

3) This is not to say that there won't be any smaller named players to get a possible offer sheet, but the penalty is so prohibitive for all but the most elite talent that it would surprise us. That said from what we have heard it is entirely possible/likely we will see teams attempt to trade a RFA in exchange for either a draft pick or another asset Here are a few of the possible RFA's who could be on the move by either Friday or saturday, or before July 1.

  • Brad Marchand. Yes, the Cup hero in Boston is asking for a very significant raise and team owner Jeremy Jacobs is not happy. They have offered 2.5 for 3 years, but Marchand is asking closer to 4. If this impasse continues teams will line up to get the diminutive forward, but the asking price won't be as small!

  • Josh Bailey. The NY Isles former 1st rounder will get tepid interest and we hear the isles will offer him as part of a package to entice another team to give up a more experienced defensemen

  • Matt Gilroy The Rangers defender fell out of favour in NY so the Rangers are going to see what the market will get their RFA

  • Daniel Carcillo- The Flyers' tough guy seems to have fallen out of favour and the team doesn't want to pay a 4th line/pugilist in excess of the 2 million his agent is asking.

  • Semyon Varlamov- The Caps goalie of the future is suddenly expendable and we are hearing that several teams have expressed interest. Our sources tell us that Phoenix is very interested in his services and talk with Don Maloney are on going. The asking price would be either Mikkel Boedker or Kyle Turris

  • Kyle Turris/ Mikkel Boedker - See above. The Coyote young forwards are both RFA's in waiting and the Yotes will look to move one to bolster another need(goal?)

  • Sergei Kostitsyn- The enigmatic Belarusian is probably yet again on the move. Whether the Preds get something for him or simply decide to allow him to depart as a UFA he has played his last game in Nashville. The KHL is also a possibility

4) As for other draft day intrigue its not a secret that the Senators will be attempting to deal. Last off season they talked with anyone who would listen for Jason Spezza. The star pivot is a prohibitive 7 mil cap hit for another 4 seasons. With a year burned off his contract and higher salary cap they perhaps could get more serious interest this summer from a team in need of offensive skill. Additionally Sergei Gonchar and his 11 million for 2 more years is very available.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2010-2011 NHL Awards!

1) With the NHL regular season now in the books, and the NHL awards show set to go off tonight in LasVegas we figured we'd review who SHOULD win the various awards As we mentioned earlier this is the Unofficial LAST part of the 2010-2011 NHL season. After tonight sights will be set upon 2011-2012 with the NHL draft set to go off in Minneapolis. Look for our first pre-draft post this Friday!

2) Hart Memorial Trophy- Given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Finalsts : Martin St Louis, Daniel Sedin and Cory Perry. Its unfortunate but we believe that Sedin will win the same award his twin underachieving brother won last year. Sure he and Henrik had terrific regular seasons, but sullied their reputations with their pussy-like play in the playoffs and especially, The Finals. We'd of voted for St Louis

3) Vezina Trophy is given to the goalkeeper judged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs. Finalists are: Roberto Luongo, Pekka Rinne, and Tim Thomas. Here we believe the injustice of the Hart will be cleansed with the correct selection of Thomas. Completing his dream season of this honor to go with his ConSmythe and of course The Cup. If the choke artist known as Luongo wins we shut off the TV!

4) James Norris Memorial Trophy given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Finalists are Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Shea Weber. All 3 had great seasons but we'd have to give the nod to the ageless wonder, Lidstrom. He has won the award six times. If he wins tonight, it would tie Lidstrom with Montreal's Doug Harvey at seven Norris trophies, only one from Boston legend Bobby Orr!

5) Calder Memorial Trophy- given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Finalists: Logan Couture, Michael Grabner, and Jeff Skinner. No consensus here with Couture and Skinner, but we feel the teen from Carolina will take home the hardware.

6) Lady Byng Memorial Trophy- given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. 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? Finalists: Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Martin St Louis. Who wins? St. Louis ofcourse for the aforementioned reason.

7) Frank J. Selke Trophy- given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. 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. Finalsts: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, and Jonathan Toews. From the numbers we'd say Kesler will win tonight

8) Jack Adams Award- presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success. Finalsts: Dan Bylsma, Barry Trotz, Alain vigneault. The first 2 deserve to be there as they guided their teams to over achieve based upon talent and injuries. The Canucks coach simply had to show up, no credit for that! Our pick is Bylsma who didn't allow his penguin team to fold up after they lost their 2 super stars. Had they been healthy the pens probably win the Cup, but Trotz wouldn't be a bad choice either

9) Ted Lindsay Award (former Pearson) presented annually to the "Most Outstanding Player" in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA Usually this is a rubber stamp of the Hart, so look for Sedin to win here too

10) Messier Leadership Award We left out the sponsor's name as we feel this is the ONLY reason it is included (they paid for the award!) Its a dumb concept and we absolutely hate it. The only award named after a person who isn't dead! Chara will win it

11) Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy- given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Another difficult award to handicap. Seems to lately go to the player who makes the best comeback Finalists: Ray Emery, Daymond Langkow, and Ian Laperriere. Have absolutely no feel for this one. Based upon the necessities can't see how Emery could even be a finalist. No cancer survivors this year?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Things looking up on Long Island??

1) Very quietly, and under the radar, is the possible, and apparent rebirth of hockey legitimacy on Long Island. We have been an out spoken critic of some of their bizarre moves over the last decade, so we wanted to congratulate the franchise. In our estimation they have earned that right. The biggest and most important news is the imminent approval of a new arena to replace the dilapidated and out of date Nassau Coliseum (It was out of date 5 years after its completion in 1971!) This more than any move cemented our belief that the franchise was about to come back from the dead. With this promise of brighter financial days, we could see Mr. Wang investing in his team. Not only with added salary but actually hire a complete front office team to compliment a well depleted team that seemed to comprise only Garth Snow (was he answering phones and season ticket orders too?)

2) Even before the arena news Garth Snow has been assembling an increasingly competitive team. Once the fall slide, that cost Scott Gordon his head coaching job, was over the team put together one of the best overall records in the conference from late December to April! The kids ( Tavares, Okposo, Comeau, Grabner, Parenteau, and Moulson) all seemed to arrive to have respectable seasons at once. We have to give Snow (and his staff?) credit for finding diamonds in the rough in landing Grabner, Parenteau and Moulson from the veritable NHL junk heap. Adding them to well hyped youngsters like Okposo, Hamonic, and Tavares to be one of the more formidable, if under known offensive teams in the East. Problems and holes remain ofcourse, and as assembled they are not yet close to being ready to compete for Conference supremacy, but respectability, yes!.

3) Big questions remain in goal where it seemed they had 10 or so goalies play for them. Speaking of the trash heap, Al Montoya, once a can't miss prospect for the Rangers was little more than an AHL back up in Phoenix when Garth Snow got a call from Phoenix GM Don Maloney. The ladder was inquiring if the Isles (in need of a warm body in goal) would be interested in the now 26 year old. The kid took the opportunity and ran with it. Compiling a very respectable 9-5-5 record in his 21 games with a team low GAA of 2.34 and save % of .921. While he's no longer a prospect the Cuban-American made the Isles goalie situation more cloudy (but in a good way!) With Rick Dipietro having 10 more seasons left, he has to be in the discussion, along with legit prospect in Kevin Poulin who looked decent in his 10 games in goal. If the Isles can solidify two solid back stops it would immediately make them a playoff contender in our opinion.

4) One has to also recall that the Isles played all of last season without their best defensemen in Mark Streit and significant time lost from the other 'Mark' in Eaton, both of whom are expected to be 100% by camp. That in of itself will significantly improve their back line even without an addition this offseason. The defense corps does need at least 2 more legit NHL-ers to compete, and it remains to be seen if Snow will try to land a UFA (not too many options this summer) or perhaps really shake things up and make an offer sheet for a top line RFA defender. Certainly the Isles have plenty of cap space to do that. The trade route is also a possibility, but unlikely Snow would part with his top 5 overall pick to fill that void.

5) To sum up we believe that the franchise has finally turned the corner and ready to return from the butt of NHL jokes to respectability in the league. There are still some land mines out there. Such as the coliseum vote getting nixed and or Snow Wang pulling some of their previous bone headed nonsense this summer. We believe that both have learned from their past mistakes and are ready to go forward more traditionally, and in the long run we think this will pay off with minimally a playoff run this season, if not a playoff berth!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

B's Win Big One!

1) First off congrats to the Bruins players, coaches, management and entire organization for winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years! We have to be honest/upfront in saying that we at Fauxrumors did not have the Bruins as one of the possible Cup winners going into the post season. We are thoroughly impressed with the job they did, winning 3 game 7's along the way. The final one on the road in a hostile Rogers Arena!

2) We also want to congratulate Claude Julian for being a positive and steadying influence. His job reportedly was on the line this spring and to say the least its a bit more secure today! He especially shown through after the nonsense the Canucks threw at them early on. Namely the Burrows biting incident and subsequent Lapierre taunting to the vicious Rome hit. His leadership quelled any thoughts of retribution and kept the team focused on the job at hand.

3) Speaking of the Canucks' antics; It has to be stated another time that we believe they shot themselves in their feet with these moves. The Rome hit especially will be looked upon as the turning point(as we wrote it possibly could. WE firmly maintain that if this doesn't occur the Canucks win this series in 4 or 5! The Bruins seemed to feed positive off the adversities and crap the Canucks were trying to pull.

4) What can we say about Tim Thomas that hasn't been written elsewhere? He was well deserving of the MVP trophy, having been one of the best players from either team in EVERY game of the series. He was indeed a tank in the Bruins net! On the other side what can be said of the 3 "superstars" on Vancouver? Luongo, and The Sedins. Luongo wasn't the elite goalie some have been professing. Sure, he's an excellent goalie but its the elite ones who step up their games when the money is on the line. Roberto in consecutive games could not propel his team to a win like his counterpart in the opposing crease did. As for the Twins, even had the Canucks won it would have been despite them. They basically were mere passengers in this series. Doing very little and contributing almost nothing. A huge disappointment for the reigning league MVP and the presumed 2010-2011 MVP to both disappear when their team needed them most!

5) So the LONG off season now commences. The first 4 weeks or so will be exciting with the awards ceremony (Look for our picks upcoming) The 2011 NHL entry draft on 6/24 in Minnesota and the associated trades/rumors. Followed by The free agent Open season on July 1st. Usually there is a flurry of activity or the first few weeks, along with Prospect camps, followed by the Dog Days which don't end until Rookie camps open in early September. We have several posts upcoming so as always keep it here for all the latest!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Tale Of Two Cities?

1) Yes the Stanley Cup is going the distance. With another convincing win at home tonight the Bruins did their part in giving what many fans wanted, a 7 game Finals. In deference to Charles Dickens the series has indeed been A Tale of Two Cities. Only instead of London and Paris, Boston and Vancouver are the setting for this thrilling true-life novel. Why? Easy. Each city/their respective teams' have played vastly differently depending on the venue.

2) This has especially been true of the Canucks. In the three games in Bean town the Canucks have managed 4 goals and given up 17! Compare that with the three games in Vancouver where they have held the Bruins to a mere 2 goals while scoring 5 for themselves. On the other side the Bruins PP, invisible in Vancouver has scored 4 big PPG's in their 3 home games. If they are to have any shot in Game 7 they will have to bring their 'home' PP back west!

3) However the biggest single issue that undoubtedly will be discussed is the amazing difference in Roberto Luongo from one city to the other. His stats in Vancouver, 3-0 with a .980 save % and GAA under 1.20 are Conn Smythe -worthy stats. Unfortunately for his team his stats on the other side of North America are not as quite as impressive. More to the point he's sucked! (0-3 with a save % below .750!) The questions that seemed about to evaporate after his great performance in Game 5 are back with a vengeance after giving up 3 softies in the opening frame in Game 6. Allowing the Bruins to coast to another home win.

4) So the question will be asked: Where do we go from here? Well certainly Gary Bettman and the NHL have to be elated with how this series has gone. The more games (exposure) the better the league does in all ways. From a competitive standpoint it has been as exciting as could be expected. We still maintain the turning point if Boston holds on, is the Rome hit on Horton in game 3. If not for that we believe we'd be discussing the Canucks parade through the city today and not a game 7. So the questions will be:

  • Will the Bruins PP show up in game 7?

  • Will the real Roberto Luongo please stand up?

  • How badly hurt are Raymond and also Kesler who has been a mere shadow of himself this series

  • Can the Sedins score when the game is on the line?

5) Not that our recent track record is all that impressive but we believe that the Bruins will pull this thing out. They have NOT been intimidated by the atmosphere of Rogers arena, unlike the Canucks in TD Gardens. All 3 games in Vancouver could have gone the other way. Despite his game 5 performance Luongo right now(mentally/confidence wise) is damaged goods. having been pulled twice in a week, Vigneault will likely have a quick hook on his starter if the Bruins again get off to a fast start. On the other side Thomas has yet to have a bad game and if the B's prevail he will undoubtedly be the Conn smythe winner (he might even if they lose a close Game 7). We just like the Bruins' intangibles right now and feel that the 'Mo' is on their side, but it will likely be another nail biter. Lets all enjoy as we head back to 'Terminal City' for the final game of the 2011 season!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rome Burned!

1) The Bruins rebounded with avengeance, or should I say to avenge the nasty/dirty hit on Nathan Horton by the Canuck defensemen early in the 1st period last night in game 3 of the Finals. In our estimation the Bruins were ripe for the picking up until that point. If the Canucks had scored first there is little doubt that the Bruins would have folded like a cheap suit and we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

2) What Rome did was to unleash the fury (sorry Caps fans) in the Bruins. They already were steaming at the Burrows bite and subsequent LaPierre taunting of Patrice Bergeron that this was the last straw. Even after they failed to convert on the Rome 5 min penalty you could still see the fire in their eyes, determined to have the Canucks pay for their team mates indiscretion, and that they did in a big way! To their credit, despite a few scrums the Bruins were restrained in their retaliation and scored early and often from the beginning of the 2nd period on despite the Canucks bizarrely getting tons of PP time.

3) In my opinion the Canucks have played right into the hands of the Bruins with this approach. If they simply played a solid, albeit tough game without the nonsense they would probably easily dispatch the offensively depleted Bruins quickly. However by playing an abrasive style they effectively eliminated the Sedins because the brothers are not going to play that way and you could see them wilt in the heat last night.

4) If Alain Vigneault is the great coach we have been led to believe, he will do what Caude Julian did prior to and after last night's game and tell his team to knock off the nonsense and simply play hockey. Talent wise, player for player the Bruins can NOT keep up with the Canucks, but if the Vancouver denizens persist in playing it close to and over the edge then the Bruins will stay with them and perhaps even make this a series after all. If the Bruins somehow won the Cup after being down 0-2 we can look back on Rome's hit as the turning point. It remains to be seen if Rome will in fact burn the Canucks chances of winning their first Cup, ever

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Winnipeg Move....... Dumb!

1) OK, before we get too far along we do want to congratulate the city of Winnipeg for getting an NHL team back/ We want to say we have NOTHING against that great capital city of Manitoba! It s a great All-Canadian city in the prairies. A very nice place to visit(except in winter!)

2) That all said, its a horrendous business decision. One that from what we've heard Gary Bettman wanting no part of but had no choice as there were no options left in Atlanta. Its sad because Atlanta had ZERO chance of making it. Not that its an awful sports town. Its not a great sports city but could have supported an NHL team if they were ever to actually have one. From day 1 management has botched the franchise. Could ANY NHL team( south of the border) other than perhaps the Rangers and Philly had decent attendance if they never won a playoff series in 10 years(and made the post season a mere once in that time??)

3) Even Chicago couldn't draw flies to games when they were run shoddily. So it was no wonder that the Thrashers run into the ground by hockey-dunce Don Waddell had one of the worst attendance records in the league. Who in their right mind would shell out thousands of dollars in this economy to see a losing team?? Very few so the owners needed to find a buyer for a team hemorrhaging money. Oh, and by the way I guess the salary cap wasn't the panacea after all for saving teams, huh Gary?

4) As for Winnipeg, there was a reason they (like Atlanta) lost a team before, economics. They have a relatively small population with a very small (for NHL standards) arena to boot. There is no doubt in our estimation that they will pack the building the first season or two, despite having one of the highest ticket prices. However, once the bloom is off the rose, and the team isn't playoff bound for 3-4 years they will be no better off than they were in Atlanta. Worse yet, if the Canadian dollar should once again falter like it did in the mid 90's (or even sightly decline 10%) it could be a catastrophic turn of events for the smaller Canadian franchises and the new Winnipeg team would be most vulnerable.

5) A note to our Canadian readers. I know from talking with you folks over the years that you feel Gary Bettman hates Canada. Well, despite sharing your dislike for the commissioner, we disagree. Bettman could care less one way or another anymore where a franchise is located. Now that he has his 10 year TV deal he is no longer looking to make an imprint on the southern U.S, but looking to maximise league profits. With that in mind we hear he wasn't enamored with this deal(as he also knows the Winnipeg realities) but also knew at least in the short term it will be a little boost to the league bottom line AND more importantly takes pressure off the league owned Phoenix Coyotes to move as they have lost a possible destination (Cue the Quebec rumours please!)

6) Another dumb move is keeping the team in the SE division. Are you kidding me?? Its a bloody 3,000 miles from Florida to Manitoba!! Not exactly neighbors. The division was already strained to create real rivalries as it stretches almost 800 miles as it was, now it absurd. The rational thing to do was to move the Blue jackets or Predators into the division from the Central and replace them with Winnipeg. The SE division would still suck ass, and not have any real rivalries, but at least they'd have less travel. Lets hope they rectify this next year when and if the Coyotes also are moved to a new(or old?) city. By the way, where has Jim Balsille been in all this? Our spies tell us he has been more quietly been working the proper/back channels to get a team in southern/central Ontario. Keep an eye on that folks!

As always, keep it here fr all the latest!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Finals Prediction

1) OK so here we are, the Finals. the ultimate playoff series to decide who gets to sip from the silver chalice known as the Stanley Cup!

  • Looking back the semi's were exciting and we were admittedly wrong about the Sharks and especially both Joe Thornton and on the Canucks side, The Sedins. Both upped their game to the next level. For Joes team his efforts and playing with a separated shoulder was not enough, especially with loser players like Dany Heatley stinking up the series. On vacouver not only did the Sedin's whitewash their detractors, but more inportantly, embattled goalie, Roberto Luongo finally won and played well to propel his team to get this far

  • On the other side the Bruins won a close, hard fought series against the best the SE division could offer this season in the Lightning. Ultimately the B's had slightly better, more settled goaltending and won a 7 game nail biting series. Nice job by Guy Bouch, AKA-"Scar" for out coaching his 3 adversaries but not quite enough to get to the next level (this time around) No doubt the Lightning will be back again next season as they appear to be the class of the very weak SE division

2) Now on to tonight's match ups:

      • Can Luongo continue the current ride and not resort to his previous MO of making big stops only to let in a few 'softies"? He better bring his A game else the Canucks will be in trouble

      • Will Claude Julian have a better strategy to stop 'The Twins" than did SJ's coaching staff? Henrik and Daniel seemed to do whatever they pleased, especially with the extra man, against SJ. If Boston wants to win their first cup in 40 years they better!

      • How healthy are Malhotra and Kesler? Certainly the 'Nucks have been able to win without Manny, but we doubt they'd have a shot without Kesler AND Malhotra.

      • Can the Chara and Seidenberg be the 'Shut down masters' they've been so far n the playoffs. Both play big time minutes and undoubtedly will once again. Look for Alain Vigneault to try to get his big line away from the "big 2" as much as possible at GM Palace where he can match lines more easily

      • Will the Bruins PP finally come out of hibernation? This we believe will be the key to the series. If the B's don't get this aspect of their game untracked this could be a short series. If they start to light it up, they actually would have a good shot to win it all

3) So what is the Faux prediction? We believe this will be a reletively short series. We think the canucks are and should be favoured to wi their first Cup. They have been the best team in the NHL from start to finish, and unlike last years President's trophy team, they weren't a mirrage, but the real deal. We believe that even if Boston plays at a high level they still will be unable to win, but merely prolong the series beyond the 5 games we think this series wil likley end with. Yes, we're saying Canucks in 5!
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