Friday, September 30, 2011

Top 10 Players By Position

1) As the run up to the regular season gets closer we at FR2 decided we'd take a quick look around the league and give our unbiased opinion of whom the top 10 players are at each of the 5 positions: Center, Left Wing , Right Wing, Defense, and Goal. Take into account that some players can play multiple forward positions, but for the list we tried to place the players in their traditional/most common position

2) First The Best NHL Pivots (Centers). Probably an under rated position of importance in hockey. The centre takes all faceoffs important in initiating puck possession. They also have to be defensively sound, being the first back to assist the D, and first to move the puck into the offensive zone.

  1. Sidney Crosby: (Pit) Although now probably damaged good, when healthy there is no better player in the league. No one does everything well like Sid can from scoring in close, winning important draws to setting up his team mates, he's the best

  2. Henrik Sedin: (Van) The play making twin. Despite he and Daniel's disappearance against Boston he is one of the best pure passers/ play makers in the game

  3. Steve Stamkos: (TB) The 21 year old has been one of the best snipers from the center position the past 2 seasons, with 96 goals during that time. He isn't shabby in the distributing department either. Also doesn't hurt that he plays with talented line mates

  4. Ryan Kesler: (Van) The Livonia, Michigan native really came into his own with the Olympics last year and carried that through to a great playoff run(until his injury in The Finals)

  5. Evgeni Malkin: (Pit) The 'other' super star center in Steel Town. Has won a scoring title and Conn Smythe Trophy. If healthy one of the best play makers in the game. Less over shadowed when Sid is out of the lineup

  6. Jonathan Toews: (Chi) Although still only 23, has developed into one of the best 2-way centers in the league. Already with a Cup to his credit and still getting better

  7. Ryan Getzlaf: (Ana) One tough and talented kid. Hard to say if his numbers are so good because of his line mates or if he is the reason for their superior production. Probably both. We'd certainly take him on my team in a heart beat!

  8. Joe Thornton: (SJ) Probably the best play making center in the game. Lacks superior scoring touch, but makes up for it with a nifty passing 6th sense . We'd prefer more intensity, but there's no denying Joe is a top 10 NHL Center

  9. Pavel Datsyuk: (Det) Datsyuk had a bit of a down year in 2010-2011 mostly due to a hand injury, but it should not overshadow what he is capable of doing as one of the best 2-way centers in the game.

  10. Eric Staal: (Car) One of the more consistently productive centers. Has a Cup ring and despite having less than super star talent around him continues to produce in Raleigh

3) Next the Wings: Right then Left: Both are usually the top goal scorers/snipers by trade. Not usually vital to defense but they do have that role nonetheless, covering their counter parts and/or the point. For this exercise its offense that elevates them in my list


  1. Martin St. Louis: (TB) Even at 36 is one of the best players in the NHL. Under rated in the extreme in our opinion. Had he played north of the border he'd of been easily a Hall of Fame candidate

  2. Corey Perry: (ANA) The reigning Hart/Richard Trophy winner. Along with Getzlaf make one of the more formidable 1-2 punches in the NHL

  3. Patrick Kane: (Chi) Kane will only get better as one of the younger right wingers in the league. Already is one of the NHL's premiere young snipers, and probably best American-born NHL-er

  4. Bobby Ryan: (Ana) Perhaps, and understandably overshadowed by Corey Perry, but he has developed into one of the NHL's best power forwards, and appears to get better every year

  5. Danny Briere: (Phi) If as projected he plays on the Flyers #1 line with Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk, he might have his best year ever. Not mention in the post season he is pure clutch!

  6. Rick Nash: (Clb) Still considered one the NHL's top power forwards, despite seldomly paired with a legit top center. If Carter is that guy, Nash might have a great season

  7. Phil Kessel: (Tor) While it is true that Kessel does not have the benefit of playing alongside an offensive play maker, he possesses enough pure ability that he should post 30+ goals. Sorry Leaf fans, we don't see Connolly as that guy

  8. Jarome Iginla: (Cal) Even for a team in decline Jarome still scored 43 goals in 2010-11 and has also quietly averaged nearly 40 goals per year for the past five seasons. Even at an advanced age for hockey(34) remains one of its top RW's

  9. Shane Doan: (Phx) Still good for 60-70 pts to go along with one of the best leaders in the league. Toiling in both the literal and figurative NHL desert has not helped garner respect for all the good things Doan can do

  10. Marian Gaborik: (NYR) If he can stay healthy the combo of Richards and Marian could potentially develop into a deadly combination for opposition goalies to face. 'Gabby' is as gifted a pure goal scorer as there is


  1. Alex Ovechkin: (Wst) Despite seeing a huge decline in his stats last season #8 remains the top LW(if not overall player with Crosby hurt) in the NHL today. We look for a rebound type season, and if he plays 80 games, another 50 goal campaign

  2. Zach Parise: (NJ) One of the more underrated snipers in the league. He also has the speed to skate past most defenders one-on-one, and the stick-handling ability to create offense for the players around him. One of the top American born players in the game today

  3. Ilya Kovalchuk: (NJ) Kovalchuk had a season to forget last year registering a mere 60 points. He did manage 30 goals and we'd expect the Russian sniper to have a bit of a rebound season of 40 goals/80 pts+ this time around

  4. Daniel Sedin: (Van) Daniel had the best season of his career last season . He eclipsed 100 points and 40 goals and will probably do that again this year. It doesn't hurt that, he has the guarantee of one of the top set up men in the game being on the ice with him every shift.

  5. Thomas Vanek:(Buf) Tough to live up to the huge mega contract that Edmonton's Kevin Lowe helped engineer. Yet Thomas remains an underrated sniper from the left side, where he and center Derek Roy provide a lot of the offense in Buffalo

  6. Henrik Zetterberg: (Det) Has almost no flaws to his game. Probably the best all around forward in the NHL. It would be interesting to see the offensive numbers Zetterberg would put up if he played less defensively responsibly

  7. Loui Ericksson: (Dal) Despite increasing point totals for the past 5 seasons it remains to be seen how much will Richards' departure affect Eriksson's production?

  8. Dany Heatley : (Min) Has a lot to prove following his playoff disappearance last spring, and subsequent trade from the Sharks. Will probably be paired up with Mikko Koivu an underrated play maker center on the Wild first line, so it might be a productive season for Dany.

  9. Patrick Marleau:(SJ) With the departure of Heatley, Marleau will now be the #1 LW (and sometimes in the center slot on the Shark 2nd line)

  10. Milan Lucic: (Bos) Lucic is an up and coming power forward who seems to excel in close. Lucic had a career high 62 points for the Stanly Cup champion Boston Bruins last season.

4) Defense: This is probably the toughest to rate as they can't be valued by offensive stats alone. What we did was take a players' offensive skill/production, their defensive ability along with an admittedly subjective assessment or intangibles/ clutch play and their leadership ability to compile this list

  1. Drew Doughty: (LA) Despite a bit of a down year (compared to his Norris runner-up season) still remains a top defensemen able to contribute at both ends with equal talent. Hopefully LA and he will get a deal done soon!

  2. Zdeno Chara: Big Z not only continues to be a monster in his own end but has been a model of consistency over the past 8 seasons, sticking around the 40 point territory. The REAL Tower of Power!

  3. Duncan Keith: (Chi) The former Norris Trophy winner along with having a rocket for a shot and possessing exceptional offensive ability he also has stellar, shut-down defensive prowess along with toughness and leadership

  4. Shea Weber: (Nsh) The quintessential 2 way defender. Great shot, can carry the mail ,and is a punishing checker. He uses his size and strength to impose his will with regularity on forwards thriving on physical play. Simply the complete package now entering his prime

  5. Nicklas Lidstrom: (Det) Simply what superlative can we add to the ageless wonder? The best defensemen of his generation. Certainly since #7/77 retired from Boston/Colorado. Even over 40 there are few better in the game

  6. Dan Boyle: (SJ) Quite simply is the prototypical offensive defensemen. Kind of a poor mans Paul Coffey. Few defensemen can skate as well as Dan, and few can run the power play as well. Not the best defensive defensemen on our list but his offense more than over shadows those deficiencies

  7. Tyler Myers: (Buf) The heir apparent to Zdeno Chara as the tallest/best defensemen in the NHL? The 21 year old plays beyond his years on both sides of the rink and is a force to be reckoned with every time he steps on the ice

  8. Mike Green: (Wst) It would be hard to not to place the Alberta native into this list. He simply has as much offensive talent as any of his peers despite an injury-laden season. He also continues to improve in his own end as well

  9. Keith Yandle: (Phx) Playing in the desert "The other Keith"(Duncan) is probably best defenseman that nobody talks about. If he has another season like last year the discussion might be more out in the open! he has tremendous skating ability and mobility with his with superb offensive instincts and can hit as well

  10. Andrei Markov: (Mtl) The veteren Russian can do it all, but has had injury issues holding him back.

5) Goalies: Finally what is unarguably the most inportant position, the last line of defense. The last few years (outside of this year) the teams vying for the Cup haven't always had the percieved top goalies? There seems to be a 'changing of the guard going on with some of the more familiar names either retiring or late in their careers and no longer in our top 10

  1. Tim Thomas: (Bos) Currently standing atop the hockey and goalie kingdoms with his Conn Smyth/Vezina and Stanley Cup trophies this past season. At 37 how long will he stay there? Not the prototypical butterfly goalie, more of a Hasek style will probably lend him to leg injuries now that he's no longer a young man, but in the mean time none are better

  2. Pekka Rinne:(Nsh) With the decline of Kipprusoff, Pekka is now the supreme Finn, if not NHL goalie. His numbers last season were amazing, posting a .930 save %, propelling an offensively challenged Preds team into the post season. It doesn't hurt that he's huge and as nimble as a player a foot smaller

  3. Roberto Luongo: (Van) Last season was the 2nd best goalie in the regular and post season. Not quite up to the challenge of carrying his team all the way, but it wasn't all his fault. However the best are able to over come/cover for their teams' mistakes and elevate them to win championships. Thus far Roberto has lacked that ability.

  4. Cam Ward: (Car) One wonders how well Cam would do if he played for a better team or if he was a more consistent goalie. He has shown the ability to carry a team (Cup/Conn Smythe winner) but has also struggled at times.

  5. Henrik Lundqvist: (NYR) Few goalies are as important to their teams fortunes as Hank is for the Rangers. Without his heroics they probably wouldn't have been a playoff team 5 of the past 6 seasons. Unfortunately thus far those heroics haven't continued into the post season

  6. Ilya Bryzgalov: (Phi) Now that he is beyond the shadow of playing in Phoenix we will finally see if Ilya is the elite goalie we believe he is. He helped carry the Yotes at times the past few seasons and into the post season (They will miss him!)

  7. Ryan Miller: (Buf) Possesses the great combination of physical ability with phenominal positioning. If he played for a top team there is little doubt he'd have a ring by now. Easily the best U.S.born goalie today (see 2010 Olympics)

  8. Carey Price: (Mtl) Had we done this last season Carey would not have been on it, but he had a very solid if not spectacular season guiding a mediocre Habs team into the post season. All taking place in hockey's version of The Cruciable. We will soon find out if he deserves to stay here

  9. Jonas Hiller:(Ana) Most goalies would hate to be called "Swiss" as in the cheese, but Jonas is easily the best Swiss goalie to come along. Having already stolen the #1 job from J.S. Giguere, Hiller has become an exceptional goalie, possessing great reflexes but its his positioning of always squared to the shooter that stands out

  10. Marc-Andre Fleury: M-A-F certainly appears to have the ability, and has won a Cup, yet lacks consistency or the ability to stay focused to be considered a top/Vezina challenger.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Are You F-Ing Kidding Me??

1) We can not believe the amazing uproar being created by recent events, both of which surround Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds. First, last week in a preseason game against the RedWings, played in western Ontario a 'fan' tossed a banana in Simmonds' general direction during the after game shoot out festivities. Naturally being that Simmonds is of African decent it was surmised, without knowing the idiots intent, that this was a racially motivated action. Not the common action of a moron trying to place him/herself into the game by throwing an object onto the ice. Perhaps it was racially motivated, but as of this writing we do not know that for sure. What is certain, the amazing out rage that poured in was as if a noose with the "N" word on it had been thrown at Simmonds. There was universal outrage that this was awful, etc. OK, for the record we do NOT condone ANYONE throwing objects on to the ice. Its very dangerous to the players. Anyone who is caught should be prosecuted. However, how does one discern/afix 'intent' and does this somehow make it a more heinous offense?

2) Fast forward to this week when the same Wayne Simmonds' team is playing against the NY Rangers and known super pest Sean Avery. Apparently Simmonds took exception to a common Avery tactic, 'the sucker punch and run.' From there on in Simmonds was intent to fight Avery. The two apparently exchanged words. It wasn't until afterwards that we find out that among the interplay Simmnds called Avery a "Faggot". Evidently from the reaction of various pro-homo groups that's the gay equivalent to calling Simmonds a "Nigger". In other words the absolute worst thing you can ever say or do without it being a felony (yet)! Firstly, who give a fucking shit what players yell at each other during the heat of a game?!? I hated it when this whole bull shit started a few years ago with the Shane Doan allegations of an anti Franco-phone epitaph directed at an official (later proved to be false). Later we have had various incidents of profanity being interlaced with racially charged wording. Whether against black or Native Americans/First Nation players, each reaction to these incident has incrementally grown in volume.

3) Its our position that if a player says anything on the ice at all it should remain there and no punishment should ever be taken period. Its a high pressure/violent game. Political Correctness(PC) has NO place here. Players should agree to stop the fucking whining over it. Sadly we have gotten to the point now where society teaches us that every minority group is a victim. Apparently that has now spilled over into the all sports and now solidly in NHL as well. No doubt there will be a severe reaction from the league. Simmonds can expect a big fine and probably a suspension. If it were up to us all players/officials would be mic'ed and fans would enjoy the game all the more (paying extra or the privilege as we wrote/suggested 3 years ago). Perhaps this would lessen the verbiage used, or make fans/media over react less to the stuff that is spatted in the heat of battle. To us at Fauxrumors, the trend of pussifying the game continues and saddens us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shanny Asserting Himself?!?

1) When we first contemplated this post last week we were intending to write a favourable report on Brendan Shanahan. The future Hall of Famer/former 600 goal scorer is not only The NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development, but also the NHL's chief player disciplinarian succeeding Colin Campbell who had been long criticized by many, including us However, before I had an opportunity to jot down my thoughts for you folks to read, it seems that almost every other hockey writer/blogger did their version of the same post. I don't intend to change my perspective of Shanahan drastically because of this, but will now have a bit of a wary eye on him. It just seems a bit of a coincidence that everyone had a story on the same subject at the same time? Yes, its entirely possible with the a season yet to have started, writers were simply looking for anything to muse about, but come on, everyone and all with the same opinion/story bent at the same time?

2) So first what we originally intended to discuss here. We were not so much happy with the justice served by Shanahan with his recent suspensions of Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Jody Shelley (Yes, it was deserved if the letter of the new rules are to be interpreted as such), but we were happy with the way it was handled; very publicly and with a clear explanation of why the suspension was levied with video and the VP himself there to explain his actions. His predecessor(s) seemed to never give adequate(if any) explanation of why they came to their conclusions. The more transparency on all subjects the better has always been our motto/goal of us at Fauxrumors.

3) So where do we go from here? Well, with these rulings, and more importantly the way they were levied, we now have an expectation. Will all future suspensions be handled this way? Preseason suspensions of players who are not vital to their teams' success is one thing, but will 'Shanny' be equally up front if he has to discipline a star player down the stretch or in the playoffs? Will he continue to rule the same way all season and with all offenders? Will he recuse himself if a former teammate comes before him? These are areas where the rubber will hit the road. We will be first to laud Brendan if he maintains a consistency in suspension length for all offenders regardless of who it is, and when it takes place. That has been lacking in all the MANY years I and Fauxrumors have been following the NHL. Let's all hope that this will be the new 'rule' and not a short term PR campaign.

PS. FR2 tells me that he is working on a post where he will list his Top 10 at each position along with a brief description of why. Should be interesting. He tels me it should drop later this week. Of course look for our Preseason predictions coming in the next week or so. And as always, keep it here for all the latest!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Punching Holes in The Goon Death Nonsense

1) Firstly before I begin this post I wanted to say that we are NOT taking the recent deaths of the three former NHL-ers frivolously. Far from it. However, unlike what seems to be a uniform response from the media, we are not going to link them together simply because they occurred within a short time, and involved players with a tendency to accumulate PIM's. OK so lets get down to some basic thoughts without a bias against fighting. As Mr. Webb said, "Just the facts Ma'am "! Despite the ease to lump all the deaths together to date there hasn't be a unifying theme in the 3 recent cases. One was a clear suicide (Belak), while the Boogard was an accidental overdose of legally prescribed medications. In the case of Rick Rypien police have yet to release an official Cause of death but ts not being called suspicious. Regardless, it appears despite the media's clamor, all 3 died differently.

2) If, as we have been told (over and over) from the anti fighting zealots, that these players died directly or indirectly from fighting then we have to ask why now??? I mean now when fighting is at its lowest since the NHL began would we suddenly see players die from it? Last season other than Konopka no player eclipsed the 300 PIM plateau and only 2 were even over 200! By contrast in 1992 8 players had over 300 PIM's and one, Mike Peluso had 400+! Even only 10 years ago 9 players had 200+ PIM's. Think about it, if it were the fighting that was the cause wouldn't we have seen a player drop dead every week during the early-mid 1970's when almost every player in the line up had as many fights as the top pugilists do today. Back then 300 PIMs wasn't unusual. Dave 'The Hammer' Schultz alone had 472 PIM's in 1975! To our knowledge Dave is alive and well, as are almost all his former team mates, most of whom accumulated 200+ PIM's and 15+ fighting majors/season. So is it the game or is it society that has changed leading to these deaths? You see, its easy/lazy to say lets eliminate/change one thing (fighting) and all will be well. If one is intellectually honest, you'll know that's not gonna happen

3) OK, so lets take the leaps of faith. Yes, the players all died directly and indirectly from having a few more fights than their peers, etc. What do we do now? Ending all fighting in the NHL will solve the problem? OK, can/will the minors also do the same? Fat chance! Its NO secret that especially in the minors, fighting sells, so owners of those franchises who get almost no TV money, and rely even more heavily on gate attendance than the NHL want/need fannys in the seats. Eliminate fighting and I'd say a 20% reduction in attendance might be a conservative estimate. So if fighting would likely continue in the minors the players who would be enforcers in the NHL will simply "ply their craft" in the AHL or ECHL. Make less money and probably fight 10 times more. If by some slim chance ALL fighting is eliminated in all hockey levels then what do these guys do for a living? The same psychological issues that they take to hockey now, will simply go to another profession. They will still have substance abuse/depression issues regardless if they dance on ice with their gloves off 15-20 times a year or not. Problem not solved just shifted and we can all sleep well at night knowing we've solved a major problem right?

Friday, September 16, 2011

News And Notes: Training Camps Open-Edition!

1) Finally the LONG off-season is over and the NHL starts back in action this weekend. Technically teams' had rookie camps this past week, but the regular squads didn't have to report until tomorrow. Since last week there has been tons of news to report/comment on. We'll touch on each important item; giving our 2 cents and relay and inside info we are hearing.


  • Teemu Is Coming Back: The 41-year-old former All-star will return for his 19th season, in the NHL after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million contract. This will be Salanne's 14th season as a Duck (in 2 stints). It will also allow the Finn a chance to return to play where his career started, Winnipeg. For those interested, that game is scheduled for Saturday December 17th!

  • Luke Schenn Re-signs: From what we've been told by sources close to the situation its a 5 year deal which will have a $3.5 or so million average yearly hit to the Maple Leafs' salary cap. The 21 year old defensemen was coming off his Entry level Contract (ELC) which gives players little leverage, but with GM Brian Burke wanting to form the team in Schenn's image it was imperative to get this deal done. As a 3rd year pro he led the league among defensemen with 251 hits and led the team with 168 blocked shots.

  • Sidney Crosby: The word out of Pittsburgh is that Superstar center Sidney Crosby will attend the Penguins training camp, starting tomorrow. Unfortunately for Pens fans this isn't really news at all. Sid will only be taking part in 'skating drills', and from what we've been told, he probably won't even be doing that full time from the start either. Essentially the only change is he won't be doing his daily skating work outs alone. Until he is cleared for 'contact' he is NOT ready to contemplate a return date. And as we have reported before, even then his career will be VERY tenuous from that point forward. The next concussion will likely be his last

  • Tyler Myers: Great news out of Buffalo where the monster defensemen, and former Rookie of the year (and likely future Norris finalist/team captain) signed a lengthy contract extension prior to training camp opening. The deal we're told contains a bunch of bonuses and differing salaries but the bottom line its a 7 year deal with a cap hit of about 5.5 million. Not a bad deal for either side as Myers, like Luke Schenn, would have had little real leverage other then sitting out next season. Nice to see the Sabres getting things done proactively, and avoiding the bad feeling like is happening in our next story.

  • Drew Doughty: This situation went from friendly, to business-like, to testy, to now down right cantankerous. As we wrote back in early August folks expected Drew to be in camp on time with at least a one year deal signed. Things started to fall apart as an apparent power play with agent Don Meehan has formed. Meehan wants his current client Doughty to be the Kings highest paid player. More than his former client Anze Kopitar. Kopitar dropped Meehan as an agent at the urging of former King Luc Robitaille (now in the Kings front office). So you can see its more complicated then most contracts. Meehan wants 7 mil. Kings have a drop dead number of 6.8. Seems to be such a small difference, but as a non affiliated agent told us "most of the problems here are more about egos than dollar numbers". This one could get uglier before it gets rectified. Its entirely possible Doughty will miss the opening game. Once that happens we're told Kings management might become even more hard lined and allow the kid to swing in the wind a few weeks. A trade IS NOT likely though. Stay tuned as this situation is very fluid!

  • Islander Moves: Some definite positives on the Island to report. Firstly to the surprise of many (especially the Canadian media) John Tavares, the first overall pick in 2009 signed a 6 year extension. Many were surprised by the timing. Most thought Johnny T would first wait to see if the team was going to remain on the island. However he appears to be committed to try to be part of the rebuild and see it through. The 5.5 mil cap hit(starting next season) is very reasonable if he becomes the super-star everyone is expecting the soon-to-be 21 yr old will be. Will this stop the incessant trade rumours? No. It'll just change the story line to this being an imminent sign and trade. LOL In addition to Tavares, the Isles also signed 2008 1st round (9th overall) pick Josh Bailey to a 2 yr 2 million deal. Had a deal not been reached Bailey would not play in the NHL this season, as its Wang's rule that if a player is not in camp he doesn't play until next year. Bailey has shown signs of being the solid 2-way player Snow thought he drafted but perhaps was rushed too quickly into the NHL

  • New NHL Guide lines for Social Networks: Our response: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Who cares. Its pretty meaningless. Its not like there have been a plethora of controversial statements made on Twitter the past couple of years. I guess little Gary wanted to make sure he was clear to the players that they best not say anything about him in cyberspace

  • Brad Marchand signs: As we expected Brad Marchand signed a 2 yr 5 mil deal. The 23-year-old will be paid $2 million this season and $3 million next season. A reasonable raise considering Marchand had a decent regular season, but shined in the post season.

3) There you have it. A brief run down on the many stories around the league as we are about to start training camps. In the upcoming weeks look for:

  • Fauxrumors will ofcourse publish our annual preseason predictions for all 30 teams. Doing each conference in separate posts.

  • We will also, as we have done in the past, make our preseason playoff, and Cup winner predictions post as well.

  • Additionally as the season is about to start look for our annual 'who will get the axe first' post in which we handicap what coaches are most likely to be fired.

  • We plan to renew our popular weekly picks every Saturday and try to stay above 'The Mendoza line' (.500)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ranking The 30 NHL Bench Bosses

1) This is a long over due annual post. Consider this The First Annual Rating The Coaches post here at Fauxrumors. In the past (and we plan to continue it) we have posted whom we believe will be canned/who-gets-axe-first. Here we will simply rate each coach based upon not only team success but how well he gets the most of his roster. When applicable their overall win/loss records as a NHL head coach. We will put them in our subjective order (best to worst) as well as assign a Letter Grade. Some will get an 'incomplete' as they will be rookie head coaches this upcoming season


  1. Mike Babcock: Detroit (656-373) Simply the best in the business. In the past 4 years he has a Stanley Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. This will be his 7th season guiding the boys from The Motor City . They weren't a bad team before he took over, but he has kept them at peak performance during his tenure. Just when you think the Wings are ready to be grounded by age and injury Babcock gets the most of his charges and they again are one of the top teams in the league. As such he is one of the best in the business and we'd hire him to guide our team in a milisecond. He is respected by his players and is liked by management as well. Grade: (A+)

  2. Dan Bylsma: Pittsburgh (189-114.) What got/won our attention/respect here at Fauxrumors wasn't the Stanley Cup Dan won as a rookie coach 2 seaons ago, but what he did last season. It was a challenging one for sure to guide one's team with its 2 best players(Malkin/Crosby) gone for the majority of the time. Yet, instead of calling it in the Penguins thrived and put up one of their best records in franchise history. They might have fallen short in the post season, but our esteem for Byalsma was set with his work during the regular season. Combining that with his Cup success we place him near the head of the current head coaching crop. Grade: (A+)

  3. Joel Quenneville: Chicago (579-376) Joel is entering his 15th NHL coaching season. Simply he just wins everywhere he has gone. From St Louis to Colorado to Chicago, his teams are never out worked and almost always are above .500; making the playoffs in 12 of his 14 seasons. Until recently his downfall was an overall lack of spring success. However, he finally erased this only 'blemish', (never having won a Cup) last year with Chicago. Grade: (A)

  4. Barry Trotz: Nashville (455-407.) There was a time when our appreciation of Barry Trotz was very low. We felt he was over rated. His teams got 100+ points but crapped out in the playoffs. As time has progressed our esteem has increased as we have seen Trotz' teams continue to compete at a high level/make the post season despite a lack/depth of top line talent. We grant to those who want to detract from his record that he has won one round in the playoffs in 12 years as Predators coach. Even as ownership was in turmoil he didn't allow his team to be distracted and continued to play at a high level, making the playoffs 6 of the past 7 years despite an ever shrinking team payroll. Grade: (A-)

  5. Randy Carlyle: Anaheim (266-172.) The former Norris Trophy winner has developed into one of the best coaches in the business. In his 6 years behind the bench his teams have failed to make the playoffs only once, where he is always been considered a fair but tough 'players type coach'. The Ducks, regardless of their record are a tough team to play against and that has to be attributed in part to their head coach. With 3 year extension in hand we will see if Randy can help get the Ducks back to Cup contention. Grade: (A-)

  6. Todd McLellan: San Jose (152-63.) There is no denying that McLellan can coach. He has had success at every level from junior, AHL, and now the NHL with the Sharks. He has an impressive win/loss record in 3 years behind the bench and despite not winning it all, the Sharks have escaped past the first round the past 2 years and looked like legit contenders. Not a surprise then that Todd learned a lot from his mentor Mike Babcock. Grade: (A-)

  7. John Tortorella: NYR (333-298) One of the most successful U.S. born NHL coaches. The Boston Mass native is a strong personality behind the bench, wearing his emotions clearly on his sleeve. Sometimes they get the best of him, but overall his players are almost always prepared and motivated to perform at a high level. His high point came in 2004 with the Lightning when he guided the Lighting to their only Stanley Cup. Grade:(B+)

  8. Claude Julian: Bos (300-189) Has seemed to always be successful in every stop (Montreal, NJ, Boston) yet almost always seems to be maligned by fans and management. Fired by NJ in 2007 before the playoffs even began after posting a 47-24 record? That continued into Boston where he seemed to be perennially on the hot seat. It must be his layed back demeanor. However we believe its this cool temper that helped his team get by the nonsense the Canucks threw the Bruins way this past spring on route to the teams' first Cup in 40 years. Is his job now safe? Probably not. Grade: (B+)

  9. Peter Laviolette: Phi (319-231) Along with Tortorella one of the best U.S.-born NHL bench bosses. Has had success in each of his 3 stops (NYI, Carolina and now Philly) Not quite as fiery as his counterpart in NY, but his teams are no less hard working and fundamentally sound. He has made it all the way to the Cup Finals twice in his 10 years and won a Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. Grade: (B+)

  10. Dave Tippett: Phx (364-207) Dave's regular season winning percentage is quite impressive. Unfortunately his post season record is as bad as the regular campaign is good. Since his first season behind the Dallas Stars bench in 2002-2003when he lost in the Conference Finals, Tippet's teams have failed to advance past the first round in 5 of the next 6 seasons. He helped resurrect a moribund Coyote team the last couple of seasons earning himself the Jack Adams Coach of The Year honor in 2010. Grade: (B)

  11. Lindy Ruff: Buf (526-390) Currently, he is the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL entering his 14 season all with the Sabres. Making the playoffs in 8 of his 13 years. Despite that apparent up and down record, his teams are almost always in contention for a spot and no none is more respected by his players and coaching peers. Won The Jack Adams in 2006. Has yet to win the big one, coming closest in 1999 when Brett Hull scored the controversial winning (in the crease?) goal. Grade: (B)

  12. Guy Boucher: TB (46-25) In his first season guiding an NHL team, Lightning. They had a very nice rebound regular season and they went all the way to the Conference Finals before losing to the eventual Cup champ Bruins in 7 games. His interesting 1-3-1 defensive zone scheme seemed to throw off opposing coaches. It remains to be seen if he can continue his quick success, but thus far he has done well at every level from collegiate, major juniors to the AHL. Grade: (B)

  13. Alain Vigneault: Van (345-251) For some reason we at fauxrumors have never been big fans of Alain. That perception has not changed regardless of the canucks winning the President's Trophy and being Cup runner-ups. In our opinion he has significantly underachieved his entire coaching career. The Canucks were by far the most talented team last season, yet they managed to blow it. It was his lack of control over his troops(or was it his direction?) that led to their down fall against the more calm/professional Bruins. We believe he is a good NHL coach, but not among the elite. Grade: (B)

  14. Peter DeBoer: NJ (103-107) From our perspective Peter appears to be a good coach put into bad circumstances. He was an excellant junior league coach winning The memorial Trophy in 2003. Coaching in Florida he managed to keep them in contention despite not having the best roster assembled. Unfortunately, like his predecessors the previous 8 seasons he failed to make the post season and was axed. Seeing his potential Lou Lamarello snapped him up to coach the Devils this season. Too bad for Peter that he will again be thrusted into a bad circumstance of a roster not quite good enough, but now an impatient GM who will quickly dispose of him when the team fails. Grade: (B-)

  15. Jacques Martin: MTL. (600-469). Similar to our opinion of Alain Vigneault, we feel Jack is a good NHL coach who has had some very good teams and not lived up to expectations. Especially in his time in Ottawa. His teams(outside of Florida) are always in the playoffs, but in 16 NHL seasons he hasn't made it to the Cup Finals, let alone won the big prize. He has done a nice job in Montreal the past 2 years, but making the playoffs and winning a round every couple of years doesn't make him an elite coach despite entering the elite club of coaches(9) who have won 600 NHL games. Grade: (B-)

  16. Joe Sacco: COL (73-74) Thrusted into a very difficult position in Colorado taking over a rebuilding team. They well over achieved in his first season and made the playoffs when most, including us, saw them as a 'lottery team'. He was an Adams Finalist. The 'Lanche fell back to Earth last season to where most expected. However now expectations are beginning to elevate in Mile High, so an improvement will be expected. Questions also remain on his coaching techniques where he alienates some of his star players Grade: (C+)

  17. Ron Wilson TOR (619-533) Has had 4 extended stops as an NHL head coach. Amassing an impressive regular season win totals that ranks him 7th all-time. However he is the epitome of an underachieving coach. His teams have missed the playoffs 9 times in 17 seasons behind the bench. In his 8 post season appearances he made it past the 2nd round once; making the Finals with the Capitals in 98'. As one scout told us, " No one knows there X's and O's better, but he's hard to like. WE have to say that despite his W's, we don't either. Grade: (C+)

  18. Tom Renney: EDT (228-215) Tom is not a bad coach by any stretch, but has yet to extinguish himself. In previous stops in Vancouver and The Rangers those respective teams failed to improve, but stagnate during his tenures. The jury remains out in Edmonton where he took over a deeply rebuilding(sucking) team last year. He was brought in because his MO is that of an excellent teacher. This up coming season a significant improvement is expected so its crunch time again for Tom. Grade:(C)

  19. Jack Capuano NYI (26-29) Yes, Jack's record is scant but we were quite impressed how he took a team that was reeling into oblivion into a motivated group that finished the 2nd half very strongly. This season, bolstered by the finish there will be some expectations on The Island and we might see if Capuano is the real deal or not. Grade: (C)

  20. Bruce Boudreau: WST (189-79) Some might be surprised to see Bruce this far down our list. Frankly despite his gaudy regular season record we're surprised he's still employed by the Caps. With a team that is arguably as talented as any other in the East they have lost to a lower seeded team in the playoffs 4 years running. 'Gabby' is a player's coach, which to us translates to some one who the players can walk on despite frequent F-bombs! (C-)

  21. Davis Payne: STL (61-48) Difficult to assess Davis' coaching prowess quite yet. In the 1 1/2 seasons his teams have been decimated by injuries to key personnel. He did a nice job down the stretch 2 yrs ago taking over for Andy Murray, but last season was one to forget in The Gateway City. With an intact team management now expects a playoff run and we shall see what kind of coach Payne really is. Grade: (C-)

  22. Scott Arniel: CBJ (34-35) In a similar position that Davis Payne and Jack Capuano found themselves last year. A successful interim coach looking to improve as a full time NHL head coach. He's been quite successful at all levels up til now and we have no doubt he knows the game and might perhaps be a successful NHL coach, but he's in a tough situation in Columbus and it'll be quite an effort to make the top 8 in the highly comparative West. Grade: (C-)

  23. Terry Murray: LA (476-371) Entering his 15th NHL season as a head coach. Much like his brother, Bryan he has a very impressive regular season record and little post season success other than an unsuccessful trip to the Finals with the Flyers way back in 1997. He hasn't won a playoff round since! He's the last coach to guide the Florida Panthers into the playoffs a decade ago. Since then he had a 7 year coaching hiatus before returning to coach the Kings who have been a tad of a disappointment and in our opinion, much like Washington is the wrong coach for this team to get to the next level. Grade: (C-)

  24. Brent Sutter: CAL (178-117) Despite a respectable regular season record Sutter appears to not be quite ready to coach in the NHL. He might still be living off his memorial championship from 2001. Since then his junior and NHL teams haven't advanced past the first round. Last season he didn't even get his team to qualify. The Flames may no longer be Cup contenders, but certainly they have enough talent to be a top 8 team. It doesn't bode well when in 2 locales a coach gets less out of his team than expected. Grade:(D+)

  25. Paul Maurice: CAR (452-444) In our opinion there has not been a more over rated coach in recent NHL history. Once(and seemed like forever) was the youngest NHL coach. Still only 44 and entering his 1th NHL season. Coaching Hartford/Carolina in 2 stints, and Toronto. Over that time he missed the post season 9 times. His high points were guiding the Canes to a Finals appearance in 2002 and Conference Finals in 2009. In between and before he's been down right unimpressive. Grade: (D+)

  26. Paul MacLean: OTT (none) After a decent NHL career that spanned 11 seasons (ending in 1991) he got into coaching. Its been a long trek to the big show, but had some success in the IHL and UHL, and was part of Mike Babcock's coaching squad when the Wings won the Cup in 2008. He has a tough chore taking over a team that is on the down side. However though and like all other rookie coaches he gets an Grade: 'Incomplete'.

  27. Kevin Dineen: FLA (none) Kevin had a very nice sub Hall of Fame career (scoring 355 goals) who retiring in 2003. Since that point he has been coaching The Portland Pirates the Coyotes AHL affiliate. In his 6 seasons there he made it to the AHL's version of the Final 4 3 times without winning it all. He may be highly talented as a coach but we wouldn't want our first gig to be in the playoff desert known as Florida. If he gets this team into the playoffs, regardless of other candidates he will be our Coach of The Year choice, hands down! Grade: Incomplete

  28. Glen Gulutzan: DAL (none) Glen is as green an NHL coach as one could get. The 40 year old Manitoba native enters his first taste of NHL action of any kind. He never played an NHL game and has never even served as an NHL asst. That said he did have success in the ECHL with Las Vegas and with the Stars AHL affiliate in Texas. Like Dineen and MacClean he enters a difficult situation in Dallas where the team is in rebuild mode. Grade: Incomplete.

  29. Claude Noel: WPG (10-8) Claude is the first coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He has had some success in the minors leagues, including winning the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2006 in Milwaukee. Noel was very briefly the interim in Columbus when Hitchcock was fired late in 2010, but wasn't retained. Unlike some of his new NHL collegeus he enters a good situation in Winnipeg with an up and coming team. Grade: Incomplete

  30. Mike Yeo: MN. (None) Yeo who never played in any NHL games is a mere 37 years old but seems to have a promising coaching career in front of him. He had quite a bit of success in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Yeo was also behind the bench with the 2009 Penguins who won The Cup. We like his chances if given a chance to succeed. Grade: Incomplete.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget!!

1) Let's Never forget that 10 years ago today 3000 of us were murdered for no other reason than for what these colors represent; Freedom!

These Colors NEVER Run!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rating The Franchises: Bottom 10

1) Let me start by echoing Fauxrumors' sentiments he posted yesterday concerning the loss of the KHL team plane. We want to send out our condolences as well. It was indeed a shock/tragedy of intense magnitude.

2) Finally our last installment of our Franchises Ratings. This time the dreaded Bottom 10. These are teams that are either in trouble ownershipwise, have poorly run management, and/or have very little on ice success recently. Usually all of those go hand in hand. To review the ratings are based upon:

On ice success
Fan support
Ownership stability
City Intangibles
Competence of Management (coaches/GM/scouting/ownership)

  • Columbus: The Jackets are in the bottom 10 if for no other reason than they haven't yet won a post season game. (Only qualifying once). Initially they were well supported by the local populace, but years of losing and having little direction and only one star in Nash has eroded the fan base to where Nationwide Arena now has the 4th worst support of the 30 NHL franchises. Add to that the team states its losing millions a year and wants a new lease (sound familiar?). They aren't in the worst shape, but definitely in the top 5 of financially troubled NHL teams. Scott Howson's resume is far from impressive so far. Another bad season and he might be looking for work. Coach Scott Arniel has done OK with what he's had. Not impressed, but still early for him

  • Dallas: Once a top 10 franchise well run and a perennial playoff team if not Cup contender/winner. Now they are in limbo. The biggest factor is ownership where Tom Hicks once flush with cash has had trouble paying bills and is looking to unload the team if possible. For that reason they have gone from a team that will pay for/retain top talent to one that wants a reduced payroll. As a result the on ice product has suffered. As the team has withered, so has the previously strong fan support. Last season the American Airlines Arena was at only a tad over 81% filled or in the bottom 10 attendance-wise. Until the ownership issue is resolved it doesn't look good for the Stars to emerge from the bottom tier.

  • Florida: From top to bottom one of the most chronically dysfunctional teams in the NHL. Owners have come and gone (Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel being the latest). New GM's and coaches have been tried, but the culture of losing continues. Current GM Dale Tallon was forced to spend to reach the floor after he disassembled last year's team. Reckless spending after reckless trading doesn't bode well for improvement. We feel for new coach Kevin Dineen, as he inherits a mess. A decade removed from their last playoff appearance and 16 years since their last playoff win, its actually incredible that their are actually 8 teams with worse attendance despite this long term futility

  • New Jersey: Another team that has been falling in recent years. Lou Lamarello's magic seems to have faded since the lockout. He still doesn't seem to grasp the CBA well, which is amazing since he was part of the team that drew it up. Additionally once sound ownership could now be in flux as current owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek is seeking a buyer for the franchise. On the ice the team has fallen back to Earth after a very nice 10 year run of Cup contention. Poor drafting, age and bad trades have left the Devils as a playoff bubble team at best. Additionally despite playing in a relatively new arena they had 6th worst attendance last season. Even when contending they never had strong fan support. It will be interesting to see what happens if they are forced to rebuild.

  • NY Islanders: For a variety of reasons the Isles stay in the bottom tier of our ratings. Owner Charles Wang has failed to get approval for a new arena to replace the dilapidated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.(NVMC) He probably won't leave the area, but another NY metro locale is possible down the road. Its also possible he might up and sell the team, but we wouldn't expect they'd be relocated out of NY. GM Garth Snow has quietly done a decent job of slowly resurrecting the team/improving the roster, but will need to soon make the post season after missing the past 4 years. They are also solidly on the bottom of the league in attendance 'filling' their rink at an anemic 68% of capacity.

  • Ottawa: Once a top 10 franchise back when they were a Cup contender. Owner Eugene Melnyk despite past run ins with the US SEC and Ontario Securities remains firmly in control, and thanks to the strong Canadian Dollar is no longer close to declaring bankruptcy. Our problems with Ottawa are with GM Bryan Murray who initially was the teams coach when he came into the organization in 2004 and led them to a Cup Finals in 2006. However once John Muckler was fired and Murray was promoted, the organization started a real down turn it still has yet to recover from. We question his trades and drafting adeptness. They have gone from Cup contender to playoff bubble team to now a possible bottom feeder this upcoming year. Not until Murray is replaced can we see better days in store for the nice folks in Kanata.

  • Phoenix: Poster child of dysfunctional NHL teams. Without a real owner for 2 years now, and without any real possibility of that changing going into 2011-2012. As has been the case the past 2 years, this could be the last season in the desert. In our opinion it will be. The last 2 seasons Don Maloney and Dave Tippett both have done a great job in motivating the team and allowed them to make positive strides and actually made the playoff last season. We see a step back this year if for no other reason than goaltending. Despite the better on ice product fans still stayed away (can you blame them?), giving Phoenix the 2nd worst attendance in the league last season. We believe not until the issues at the top are resolved will the Yotes (or whatever they are called next season) be able to climb out of the cellar tier in our ratings

  • St. Louis: A franchise that never can seem to get it right. Clearly a bubble team at this level. They easily could have been placed in the middle tier. They had great fan support last season. By far the best among US based teams that failed to make the post season. Despite injuries, which we acknowledge, this team has failed to make the positive strides we expected of them. They seem to be in perpetual 'rebuild mode' and by now we expected that they would at least be in the playoffs if not winning a round or two. Yet they haven't won a playoff GAME since the lockout! Add to that is the fact that they are now up for sale and unstable ownership is never a good thing for an organization. Jury still out on head coach Davis Payne and GM Doug Armstrong. If the team fails to make the post season yet again its likely both will be looking for work by next summer

  • Toronto: A shame that hockey's capital has one of the worst run franchises with the dubious record of no championships in 44+ years. As with all Canadian based teams, they have no problem with attendance/fan support. The team is owned by a teachers union so there is doubt on who actually is in charge. As a result, and because so much money is made regardless of how the team performs, there is little motivation for winning. Brian Burke was going to be the saviour when he took over 3 years ago, and thus far we don't see much improvement. In fact it could be argued things are the same. The Kessell deal was an error, and overall their farm system is devoid of quality depth at any position. Few expect the Leafs to make the post season, which would be the 7th consecutive year without a playoff game in the city that houses the NHL Hall of Fame. Yes, thats a shame.

  • Winnipeg: Are very likely in the bottom 10 for the last time for a while. Having gone from a poor sports city in Atlanta, they are now the ONLY major league team for hundreds of miles. We expect them to have no issue filling MTS Center for the next couple of seasons. With the move came total upheaval in ownership, a new GM in Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach in Claude Noel. Noel was the former coach of the Manitoba Moose so he's not new to the area. This is Cheveldayoff's first NHL GM job, but was an asst with the Hawks prior to coming north. He is well regarded in NHL circles. The on ice talent remains largely unchanged from last season. There is potential for improvement there and its not a bad roster, but not quite yet ready to compete for a playoff spot. Time will tell if the new boss is any better then the old boss. Certainly things couldn't get worse as the Thrashers didn't win ANY playoff games in their 12 seasons in Atlanta

  • Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Sad Day For Hockey World

    1) At this time I have nothing to add but wishing all the families of the players tragically killed yesterday our deep heart felt condolences during their time of grief. The hockey world lost some great people yesterday and lets pray their souls are now with God.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Rating The Franchises: Middle 10

    1) Here is the Second Installment of our comprehensive "Rating The Franchises Post. Here we have the middle teams. Teams that are not among the elite in the NHL, but not the 'dregs either. Some are close to one or the other or have recently moved up or down. To review the list is based upon:
    •On ice success
    •Fan support
    •Ownership stability
    •City Intangibles
    •Competence of Management (coaches/GM/scouting/ownership)

    2) Middle 10:

    • Anaheim: The Ducks (No longer 'Mighty' in name or deed) now owned by billionaire Henry Samueli is fairly stable ownershipwise following the SEC issues he faced a couple of years ago. Bob Murray with contract extension in hand appears to be not going anywhere despite his team's slow decent from Cup contender to playoff bubble team. The team is generally well supported by their fans and has a decent shot at making the post season in the tough West

    • Buffalo: The team could conceivably be in the top 10 by next season. Big changes from a couple of years ago before Terry Pegula bought the team and re-stabilized the team financially from absentee owner, and perennial gubernatorial candidate Tom Galisano. GM. Allowing Darcy Regier money to spend to try to improve the team. Along with long time coach Lindy Ruff who remains in place giving the team, which is usually well supported, a solid foundation. On the ice they appear poised to challenge for a spot in the competitive East.

    • Calgary: Once were a solid Top 10 team, but instability with management/coaches as well as an aging declining roster have placed the team into our second tier of franchises. Despite the passing of long time owner Harley Hotchkiss the team is quite stable financially. They are almost always playing to sold out fans at Pengrowth Saddledome. However former GM Darryl Sutter had a few bad years of drafting/trades that cost him his job. new GM Feaster retained Sutters brother Brent(a mistake in my opinion) and the teams aging forwards make them a playoff bubble team at best

    • Carolina: From an ownership/upper management perspective the 'Canes are a well run franchise. Owner Peter Karmonos allows long time GM Jim Rutherford to make all decisions about his team. One can't quibble to much with his record. However the combined issues of missing the post season 4 of the 5 years since their last Cup run in 2006 and the team still not appearing good enough to make a huge challenge next season drops them into our middle tier. Fan support is marginally OK, but could use improvement.

    • Colorado: A team that appears on the rise after a precipitous fall. Once a solid top 10 team but on ice failure coupled with far less fan support has drooped them into our middle category. Ownership led by billionaire Stanley "Stan" Kroenke remains very stable despite the team now being in the name of his son Josh (to make his ownership in the NFL possible) GM Greg Sherman we feel has none a nice job in turning around his teams' fortunes through the draft/good trades. It remains to be seen if they are quite ready for prime time, but it appears better days are ahead in Mile High

    • Edmonton: The Oliers appear to be headed in the right direction once again. Once a top 10 franchise they had a few tough seasons. That said, they are financially stable with billionaire drug dealer Daryl Katz quietly owning/running the team. Although a deal for a new arena have hit a snag it will get done sooner or later. Rexall Place is always filled regardless. Steve Tambellini appears to be doing a decent job in resurrecting the franchise after Lowe had a few bad seasons at the helm. On the ice they have several young hot prospects who might not quite be ready to lead the Oil back to the post season, but they won't be the pushovers they've been in recent seasons

    • Los Angeles: A team on the precipice of the top 10. Haven't quite had the on ice success, but that might be coming soon. At the top, Philip Anschutz is no Bruce McNall, and is a hands off solid owner. Dean Lombardi has done a pretty good job in amassing talent. They certainly look like a playoff team, but it remains to be seen if they are ready to compete for The Cup. As far as fan support they played before a 99.8% capacity last season. Hard to quibble with that especially how LA fans are usually capricious in their support of their teams

    • Minnesota: A bit of a disappointment that they are still mired in the middle of the pack. As a franchise they have solid fan support annually, stable ownership led by Craig Leipold. The jury remains out with respect to GM Chuck Fletcher. Not sure how much he's improved the team the past couple of seasons. Behind the bench this season Mike Yeo, who is now the youngest coach in the NHL at 37 years old will be entering his first season as a NHL bench boss. Can he do what others before him failed to do; Win a couple of playoff rounds? Actually can the Wild even make the post season?

    • Nashville: A team that once was close to moving into the bottom 10 when their ownership was unstable (see Boots Delbiaggio). However since that low point a few years ago they have local investors who intend to keep the team in The Music City. In GM David Poile and Head coach Barry Trotz one couldn't ask for a better team of front office personnel. Trotz annually gets everything possible from his roster. Polie just keeps drafting well and putting a competitive team out there for Trotz despite not spending to the cap. What keeps them from the top 10 is the lack of getting to the next level on the ice and decent, but tepid fan support. Howver it should be noted that Bridgestone Arena was 94% filled this past season

    • NY Rangers: A team that should be in the top 10, but a general lack of post season success has hindered them. No team in the U.S. is more profitable and playing in "The World's Most Famous Arena"(Madison Square Garden) in the middle of the world's financial capital doesn't hurt. Glenn Sather, although the GM for the past 11 seasons (wow!), appears to finally be getting the hang of the job. Spending much more wisely. John Tortorella is the winningest US born coach and is a good motivator (and agitator) of his troops. If they can finally win a couple of playoff series we would place them into the top 10 next time around.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Rating The Franchises- Elite 10

    1) Originally we intended to list all 30 teams in one blog post but after compiling a paragraph or 2 for the 30 teams we felt it would be an easier read if we were to break up the 1 long post into 3 more compact entries. As was mentioned recently by FAUXRUMORS, there is little occurring these days. However thankfully very shortly the dog days are about to end. Training camp is just in sight! We decided it would be fun/entertaining/thought-and discussion provoking to once again list who we believe are the best organizations. Our list is made from a non-fan's/outsider perspective. We feel that it is unburdened by the biases and emotional attachment that almost all fans have for their team.

    2) We rated them into 3 categories [Top] [Middle] and [Bottom] using admittedly subjective view points. Many teams change positions change from year to year, but usually the overall health (or lack there of) isn't too fluid. Our ratings will be made based upon:

    On ice success- Not necessarily numbers of Cups, but a combination of regular season AND playoff success over the recent past

    Fan support- Especially recently we have seen some teams enjoy great on ice success and play before half empty arenas. While we also see (especially in Canada) teams sell out despite poor records

    Ownership stability- This seems to be the key for most successful teams. Success starts from the top and trickles to all areas. Some teams are now quite unstable, some more so than before.

    City Intangibles- Some places are just better cities to live, and some arenas are electric, while others are dead regardless of their teams' success.

    Competence of Management (coaches/GM/scouting/ownership)- Needless to say this is important for overall on-ice success.

    3 ) We also want to make it clear that placement on these lists are fluid. That is, many teams shift positions from year to year. We will try to mention where we had teams last time we did this list in 2008. Anyway without further verbiage, here is our list Broken into the 'Top 10' Middle Ten should be published in a couple of days and finally the 'Bottom Ten' after that. All the lists are in alphabetical order.

    Top 10:

  • Boston: When we last did this list the B's were just coming out of the bottom 10. The Jacobs' and the bad ole days of Harry Sinden have given way to Peter Chiarelli's management and less ownership meddling. It resulted in the franchises 1st Cup in 30 years. The area also rivals Minnesota for best US based hockey interest. As much as fans don't/didn't like Claude Julian there is no denying his patience/calmness in the face of the Canucks attempt to instigate them was a deciding factor in last year's Finals. On ice talent remains strong and the B's should stay in contention for years to come. Nice turn around.

  • Chicago: Likewise what we wrote about Boston with respect to a team/franchise turn around. Here it took the death of William Wirtz to turn things around. Along with Scotty/Stan Bowman in upper management the Hawks have a solid foundation of ownership, management, coaching and on ice talent. This should help to keep Chicago in the Cup mix for many years to come. With the new ownership/antagonism towards fans, the United Center is now a hard ticket to come by. A nice story.

  • Detroit: "Hockey Town" for a reason. Despite the citie's and area's awful economy the Red Wings continue to churn out quality annually. It starts from the top where
  • Mike (Pizza, Pizza!) Ilitch, and GM Ken Holland keep the team well stocked with talent and coach Mike Babcock gets the most from that talent. Perennially a Cup favorite even with the retirements of several big names. Each year we expect to see them slip and they stay right at the top anyway. That said we feel the franchise is finally at a cross roads and it will take effort to re-tool the team if they are to stay in the top tier after this upcoming season

  • Montreal: Were a team on the top 10 'bubble' this year. Could have been in the middle tier. Now owned by beer magnet Andrew Molson the team is quite solid there. Jury still out on GM Pierre Gauthier. We're also not Jack Martin coaching fans, but we have to admit he's gotten more out of his roster than many expected. Perennially the team with the best attendance in the league and no denying that their fans are as rabid as they come. Unfortunatly sometimes to their detriment when they burn downtown, but all in all one of the best supported teams with a long storied history.

  • Philadelphia: Whether or not you're fans of their in your face style, you have to admit its exciting to watch. They also have one of the most loyal fan bases in the US. Whether they are winning or not they still fill their arena. Although they haven't won a Cup in almost 30 years they still have one of the strongest rosters and farm systems in the NHL. Run first rate from the top in owner Ed Snider who demands results, to GM Paul Holmgren who appears to do whats necessary to improve his team, to one of the best US born coaches in league history in Peter Laviolette. The Flyers shuld stay in contention if not among the elite in the league for the next few seasons, and with their strong farm system, possibly beyond

  • Pittsburgh: What was once a clear bottom 10 team is now a perennial top 10. A very nice story where the new arena, solid ownership headed by Mario Lemieux, an excellent GM in Ray Shero, and one of the top coaches in the game in Dan Bylsma have transformed what was a teetering franchise about to be relocated to a perennial Cup contender. An apathetic fan base has been rejuvenated into a rabid fan base that sells out all homes games. Amazing what winning the Crosby sweepstakes can do to turn a franchise around!

  • San Jose: Some might quibble that the Shark have yet to win the big trophy but several factors led us to include them in the Top 10. Almost always play before a packed house in HP Pavillion, the denizens of Silicon Valley have maintained a high level of play for years. They have failed to yet reach the ultimate goal of a Cup, but not for lack of effort by Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan. Wilson especially has never stood pat and tried to improve his team every year. Certainly fans can't find fault in their franchises effort to bring home the big prize. We think they will stay among the league elite at least for the next few seasons

  • Tampa Bay: Like Pittsburgh and Chicago, have really turned things around in a hurry. It started when Jeff Vinik bought the team which gave the franchise the financial stability it was missing for the previous decade. Then the next biggest positive move was when they hired Steve Yzerman and they got instant credibility. From there 'Stevie Y' hired himself Guy Boucher, an unknown/young AHL/junior phenom coach who helped transform the team in a hurry. Their roster is solid and they should compete for a playoff spot for the foreseeable future. Their attendance could be better, and if we don't see them in the top 10 next season it could drop them from the Top Tier in next year's evaluation

  • Vancouver: The Cup runners up have been one of the best franchises for the past several years. Assembling a top roster of talent. In the front office, Francesco Aquilini and his brothers are solid behind the scene type owners allowing GM Mike Gillis to care for the hockey side of operations which he has done quite well since taking over from Dave Nonis in 2008. Like most teams up north the Canucks have little trouble selling out GM Place. We might not be big fans of their team, but we can't diminish that they are one of the top 10 franchises in the NHL today and should continue to be for the next couple of years

  • Washington: Another rags to riches story. While ownership under Ted Leonsis has been pretty stable for 15 years now, it wasn't until 2002 or 2003 that both he and GM George McPhee seemed to finally 'get it' and realize there are no quick fixes to building a contending team. With the slow rebuild also came a rebirth of fan support to now where ALL games are sold out. With a healthy pipe line of young talent it appears the Caps should be strong for years to come. It does remain to be seen if Bruce Boudreau is the man to get them to the 'next level'. Also remains to be seen if fans stick around if they continue to fail when the games count most

  • Friday, September 2, 2011

    Save The Date(s)

      1) Just a few reminders of the important dates the upcoming season

    1. Oct. 6: Start of 2011-12 regular season

    2. Oct 7-8 - NHL Premiere Games, at Berlin (Sabres vs. Kings), Helsinki (Ducks vs. Sabres), and Stockholm (Rangers vs. Kings, Rangers vs. Ducks).

    3. Oct. 9 - New Winnipeg Jets franchise begins play with a home game against Montreal.

    4. Nov. 12: Hall of Fame Game (Ottawa @ Toronto)

    5. Dec.1 Last day for RFA's to sign or sit out NHL season.

    6. Dec. 26 - 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship begins in Calgary and Edmonton.

    7. Dec. 17-Dec. 28: Holiday Trade Freeze

    8. Jan. 2, 2012: NHL Winter Classic (New York @ Philadelphia)

    9. Jan. 28-29: All-Star Weekend in Ottawa

    10. Feb. 29: NHL Trade Deadline

    11. Apr. 7: Last day of regular season

    12. Apr. 11: Start date of Stanley Cup Playoffs

    13. May 4 - 20: IIHF World Championship in Finland/Sweden

    14. June 22-23: 2012 NHL Entry Draft Pittsburgh, PA

    Note: FR2 tells me he is ready to publish our annual 'Rating The Franchises' post next week. He tells me that new this year he will break it up into 3 separate posts as to make it a much more manageable read. Its been a couple of years since our last installment. Enjoy!

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