Monday, August 29, 2011

(Next) Great One Career Threatened?

1) That's the word on the street these days concerning Sidney Crosby. Sadly a full 7 1/2 months after his last game we're told by multiple sources that The Kid' is still experiencing "symptoms" associated with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome). From what sources tell us, Crosby is still experiencing periodic head aches and even occasional blurred vision, especially when he exerts himself. Experts we have consulted with say "this is a very ominous sign.... If he is still experiencing symptoms this far out from the original injury it doesn't bode well for his long term prognosis". Now, we at Fauxrumors are not experts on this issue, but have long been out in front of it. Way back in January of 2008 we did a post exclusively discussing this emerging topic. Titled The dreaded-c-word. We recontacted our resident expert on neurological issues, Dr. Varga, M.D. (retired). He reiterated what he said a few years ago to us. The most serious potential complication of concussion is second-impact syndrome (SIS). "Patients who receive a second blow days or weeks after a concussion, before symptoms from the first concussion have gone away, are at risk of developing this condition".

2) If you recall Crosby suffered 2 concussions in rapid succession. The first incident occurred on January 1st during The Winter Classic when he and then-Capital Dave Steckel collided seemingly innocently behind the play. Curiously, initially no diagnosis of this as a concussion was made (probably the biggest reason for his current predicament). Within a week of this Crosby was thumped again. This time against the boards by Swedish monster defensemen Victor Hedman causing concussion # 2. It was here that he was finally diagnosed and only in retrosepct did they realize it was a repeat concussion. What we at Fauxrumors find amazing is that no one is blasting the Penguins medical staff for not being on top of this situation. It was CLEAR as crystal that Crosby's bell was rung pretty dam good at Heinze Field. He even forgot to get on the ice at the end of the game as the extra attacker. Wouldn't that be a pretty big Red Flag?? Yet we haven't heard a wit of a negative comment towards the Pens and their coaching/medical staffs with respect to this literal malpractice/mishandling the health of their best player!

3) So where do we, (Crosby) and the league go from here? For one, regardless if you are a Penguins supporter or hater, it would be a very bad day for the NHL to lose one of its iconic super stars at such a young age (24). He along with Alex Ovechkin were the new stars of the NHL coming out of the (last) Bettman lockout. He may not have been developing into the next Gretzky not-next-great-one as you can see we alluded to a couple of years ago, but clearly he is one of the top 5 players in the game today and losing him would be a very significant blow to the league. From what we have been told even the best case scenario isn't too rosy for Sid. He's probably looking at a minimum of another 2-3 months before any possible comeback to playing. Most neurologists want a patient to be symptom free for a minimum of a month before clearing them for contact. Then the team should be extra cautious in getting Crosby back out there for actual games. As Eric Lindros, Pat Lafontaine and other former star players who have had multiple concussions have found once they return they seem extra prone to re-injuring themselves. Even hits that appear to be routine/innocuous can have severe consequences. Almost all specialists tell Fauxrumors that were Crosby to sustain another significant event (concussion) its all but sure his career would be over.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gimmicks or Good Ideas?

1) The 2nd annual "NHL Rules Tweak Week" or as they officially call it, The Research and Development Camp, just completed its work this past week. As is usual the NHL more than any other major sport, tries to re-invent itself through rules changes. Some like the delayed (tag up) off sides are good, while others like the Goalie trapezoid are dumb. The idea behind the exercise here is ostensibly to try out some of these "new ideas" and see how they appear in real time before any of the NHL or AHL seasons commence and GM's can take a look and discuss them with additional information when it comes time to decide to implement some of them.

2) From perusing some of the tested "ideas" most fall under the category of 'Dumb". Such is these 2 moronic proposals: "no line changes for teams committing an offside, and faceoffs in the opposing zone following an offside. What brain surgeon came up with this? More over, aren't the folks who set up these 'Camps' vetting out the really dumb ideas first, or do any suggestions get tested regardless of how ridiculous it is? I mean come on, do they discuss the possible unforeseen circumstances of the rules changes? For instance if teams were 'penalized' for being offside like this proposal(s) would do, what team would EVER try to establish the zone without dumping the puck in first???

3) One of the best proposals is to (Finally!) remove the dumb/inane trapezoid behind the goal. The 'Brodeur rule" as we like to call it has hardly increased offense nor sped up the game. Its just a confusing rule and inhibits a player (goalie) from using his talents. Of course we maintain as always that goalies should not only be allowed to play the puck anywhere in the defensive zone but they should also be 'fair game' for body contact. If you want to inhibit goalies playing the puck make them pay by getting checked and be out of position. Not advocating taking a run or give dirty/cheap shots, but they shouldn't be allowed to play the puck with impunity as they are now. As for the 'no touch icing', we hate it! We like the current system that eliminates the automatic whistle but reduces the big collisions. We don't want college hockey!

4) While most of the 'ideas are how to increase scoring, (yet again), thankfully we haven't seen a return of the 'larger net idea that pervaded a few years ago. Thankfully logic prevailed and goalie equipment was made more realistic thus giving players more net to shoot at. We like the full 2 minute PP. That was the norm until the Canadiens of the 50's got too good. It might not increase scoring by a lot, but it still should be (re) implemented. We're not so sure of the proposal to call 'icing' even when a team is short handed. Certainly that would increase scoring, but as many have written, do we really want to increase PPG's and thus increase the power of the refs to decide games?

5) So to make it simpler for our readers here are first a list of our actual rules changes we're proposing/like, then our 'Faux' list:

Real Ideas:

  1. Eliminate the trapezoid and allow goalie contact outside the crease

  2. Full 2 minute penalty

  3. Eliminate the shoot outs, or make winning in regulation worth more!(WE HATE loser points!)

  4. Allow play to continue when the puck hits off the netting

  5. In net/above goal cams standard in every rink

  6. Eliminate the instigator penalty!

  7. Players fighting with face shield be given extra 2 mins for being a pussy!

Faux Ideas:

  1. Without notice replace goalie water bottles with Vodka. Home team decides on the brand

  2. Leave the injured on the ice- Its a war of attrition, right? Time to make it look like it!

  3. Random use of strobe lighting during the game

  4. After regulation tie, use 2 pucks. Games will NOT be going into a shotout!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deaths Instigate Fighting Debate- Again!?!

1) There have been several untimely (is it ever timely to die?) deaths of current/former hockey players that have (re)ignited the endless debate over fighting in hockey. The most recent was the death of Winnipeg Jet, Rick Rypien. Although the cause of death is yet known fighting critics are already using this latest tragedy to make their point, that there is no place in hockey for fighting and saying that players suffer from a variety of ailments both during and after their careers that are damaging and even life threatening. The earlier deaths of Derek Boogard and former player Bob Probert sparked similar debates. A couple of years ago the death of a non NHL-er Don Sanderson in a pick up game sparked similar anti fighting outrage Now here columnists who weren't necessarily anti fighting are curiously linking these recent deaths together mainly because all 3 were fighters first, players second, and its mid August and what else can they write about right now?

2) Discounting the latter explanation, what about the 3 tragedies are similar besides that all 3 were Hockey pugilistic experts? We withhold our own explanation because as was done with Boogard, most anti fighting writers were already blaming post concussion syndrome (PCS) on his death BEFORE it was discovered he over-dosed on legal and illegal drugs. So in this instance what do they do? Well, since their previous explanation was shot down with facts they are trying to not only use the aforementioned PCS explanation but also the drugs/depression angle and tie that life style with their chosen profession of fighting. No facts are given or used, just supposition in an attempt to support their story line. Its compelling, but will undoubtedly fall like a house of cards once facts are uncovered. For instance do fighters have a higher rate of depression/drug use? If so are there other factors besides their on ice tendency to collect PM's? If they weren't hockey players would they be law abiding citizens and live to be old men? Are fighters having more PCS issues than other hockey players, or are theirs more publicized because it more closely aligns with the anti fighting movement's bent? I guess Sidney Crosby's famous fight: last fall is what led to his continued issues now?

3) Fighting like every other facet of hockey is dangerous. However by and large no more dangerous than any other aspect of the game. What next, outlaw shot blocking? We have LONG been on record ascribing why we feel it is and should continue to be part of the game. why-fighting-remains-essential However the most important in my opinion are the players themselves who are overwhelmingly are in favour of keeping fighting in the game. The most recent poll we can recall (it was a secret ballot in case you're wondering): players-speak. Only 1% of respondents wanted fighting illegal!! Since only a fraction of players are fighting regularly, it would seem that non fighters understand the importance of this small aspect of the game and don't seem to see there being a problem. One can only hope that logic/facts win out here and not knee jerk emotionalism

Friday, August 19, 2011

City Of Champions?

1) We're right in the middle of the August Dog days so not too much hockey news at the moment. While perusing the sports pages it dawned upon us that the combination of the Flyers/Bruins being legit Cup contenders and the other teams from the City of Brotherly Love and BeanTown (Eagles/Phillies and Patriots/Red Sox) as two of the favourites in their respective sports to win as well, we may have a legitimate City of Champions in Philadelphia or Boston!

2) This is not a football or baseball blog, but it doesn't take an expert in either of these sports to know that Philly/Boston have a real shots in baseball and football. In baseball, the Phillies are running away with the National League East. Possess the best pitching staff in baseball, and a decent lineup of hitters. While we NEVER advocate gambling (its a dumb way to waste your money!) it is illustrative to read whom the odds makers believe are the favourites to win. In baseball the preseason odds were with the Phillies and Red Sox. Both are proving the odds makers to be correct. Certainly at minimum the Sox will be in the baseball post season. As for football, the odds makers say its again Boston (New England) and Philly as the favourites to win it all. Who can bet against Tom Brady/Bill Belichick?

3) As for the sport for whom we know the most, NHL hockey odds makers haven't yet fully weighed in on the moves the Flyers made, but even before that they were among the top 5 teams expected to compete for the Silver trophy; along with Boston (to repeat), Vancouver, Washington and Pittsburgh. Not sure why SJ isn't in there, but that's a discussion for another time. Hockey is the only place where the two cities can not play against each other for a championship. It wouldn't shock us at all if the Superbowl and World Series were played by their citys' respective teams. So the decision of whom can claim the Title of City of Champions might come down to what the Flyers/Bruins do next spring.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Damian Cox Continues To Be A Douche!

1) For the uninitiated with Canadian hockey writers, Damian Cox (his last name is quite appropriate, but we digress) is a writer for Toronto Star. He seems to enjoy creating controversy. We wrote about him nearly 4 years ago for a similar reason; His rant was even over the top for him. why-damien-cox-is-douche-bag He was, and is one of the more prominent anti players union/pro owners writers out there. Along with his frequent stories on how the players are over paid, etc he also is one of the more vocal anti fighting vocalists out there. Additionally, he isn't shy in his anti-American rhetoric/innuendo.

2) So we shouldn't have been too shocked to read his latest piece of tripe published yesterday. Here it is if you can stomach it: hard-feelings-harsh-words-during-nhl-off-season In it he alludes to the lofty aspiration (progressive he calls it-not surprising!) of the NHL in trying to tinker with the game's rules (more on that in another post) and compares those positive developments with what he calls a 'dark mood' over the league. He uses several dubious examples to make his point. We'll go through each and point out where Cox is being a douche/wrong.

  • Head Shots Not Being Discussed: No one is "rethinking fighting or head shots". Using Sydney Crosby as his reason why "head shot debate should be "in full roar". OK Damian are you a complete buffoon or what? Crosby was NOT injured in the classic illegal hit that we have grown to see so often, but was the unfortunate recipient of an accidental contact with a much bigger player. Basically in the wrong place at the wrong time. No penalty or suspension was given (or deserved). Come on, if you want to use an example of head shots use Marc Savard who was savaged by a predator in Matt Cooke!

  • Islander Viewing Party: Apparently Cox doesn't like that the Isles are having/advertising a viewing party of the game last February when they beat up (literally) the Pens 9-3 and both teams had tons of PIM's. For those who haven't seen it and don't mind fighting, its a must see. However Cox takes exception. calling the isles a "rouge franchise" and bemoaning that Mario Lemieux almost left hockey because of that game. OK, facts first. The Isles do NOT control what games MSG shows AND this is NOT the first/only isles viewing party this summer. There have been several. Mostly small events of under a 100 people who are die-hards. Of course with the cabal of attention this will probably get 500 folks to turn out. Oh and all proceeds go to charity. Those damned 'rouges' giving money away! Oh and did Cox forget that Lemieux employs one of the most vicious/dirty players in all the NHL in the aforementioned Matt Cooke. Had Lemieux released Cooke after his 4th suspension for illegal hits (he's deserved at least double that number!) we wouldn't have to use the word hypocrisy here. (Update- Apparently bowing to pressure MSG is not going to show the pens game afterall, but instead another 'vintage' 2010-11 game)

  • Carcillo Talks Smack: Apparently Cox doesn't like it when one of his Canadian franchises takes criticism from a player. This whole things falls under the category of , "Who cares!" Its not like Carcillo put a bounty on Maxim Lapierre, or Raffi Torres. Oh does Cox know Torres is now a Coyote? LOL Yes, Carcillo is a bit of a dick and plays with a decided edge, but this would hardly be noteworthy if there were other real news going on

  • Bradley Calls Out Caps: Well actually former Capital Matt Bradley only called out Alexander Semin for "Not caring". Anyone who has watched the Caps the past few years are hardly surprised by this revelation, only that it took so long for it to be confirmed publicly. It was hardly a 'dark and threatening' interview. Cox goes on to expect that owner Ted Leonsis will be "over-the-top as usual in defence of his hockey club". Can Cox give us examples where he has been 'Over the top', whatever that means. Leonsis is one of the more honest/accessible owners in the game. He isn't perfect for sure but not deserving of a pot shot from a douche bag like Cox!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ant-War Nuts Attack Jets!

1) In an example of utter nonsense and absurdity a cabal of anti war groups has attacked the Winnipeg Jets and their use of a logo that in their twisted view: .."the team has attempted to attach itself blatantly and directly to an existing, contemporary arm of the military..." Are you &%$ing kidding me?? So its inflammatory to put a military logo on a uniform of a sports team now? Have the left wing/anti-military nuts gone off the rails? This has to be one the most absurd 'protests' we have ever heard of. Do these people have nothing better to do with their pathetic lives than to get their panties into a knott over the logo on a sports team's uniform?

2) Its not like the Canadian military is giving the Winnipeg franchise money or getting an endorsement with their choice. This Politically Correct (PC) bullshit is getting overwhelming/absolutely absurd now. First teams were forced to change names that might have offended Native Americans/Indians (Except the Washington DC Football team for some reason). The Washington DC basketball team changed their name from the ' Bullets' to Wizards because the 'violent imagery' the previous name supposedly conjured. We're sure the change has resulted in the sharp decline in the DC murder rate, right? Dumb.

3) These idiots believe that tacit support of the brave folks in the various branches of the military is the same as supporting a particular country's foreign/military policies(s). Clearly the Jets logo does not have direct political implications except those who hate all things military. Much like the atheists have been doing in trying to eradicate all symbols/acts to do with religious practices because they might be offended. Give us a freakin break! Showing support for the military does not prevent anyone from opposing foreign policy. You can express respect and appreciation for the military and still feel free to criticize decisions made by politicians regarding the deployment of those troops. Ironically its that same military that is there to preserve/protect that very right to express these opinions, as twisted as they are!

4) Wearing a Winnipeg Jets jersey does not show your preference or opposition to any particular political issue. It merely shows that you’re a hockey fan expressing support for your team. Period! It’s actually very simple and straightforward. AS with many sports teams' the name/logo of a franchise shows relevance to their community. In this case Winnipeg is home of 17-Wing Air Force base. Additionally, Winnipeg has a long and storied connection with the air force. Nothing nefarious here. All that said, in our opinion the Jets would have been best served to bring back the 'vintage' Jets logo. We're not sure why they decided to go with this updated version. Perhaps they couldn't? We're not sure if the Coyotes (the old Jets) still have rights to it? Along those lines will the new Jets honor the old retired Jets such as Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, etc? Nonetheless, the discussion of the logo should be confined to its aesthetics not the warped interpretations of a vocal minority!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Off Season Report Cards- West

1) As we did earlier this week we will go through each team in the Western Conference and list additions and subtractions to rosters and discuss how much each team achieved their goals to improve this summer. As last time we will give our opinion with a grade. As you saw with the east, we are TOUGH graders with no one getting an A

2) Now we will go through each team:

  • Anaheim Ducks: Significant Additions: Andrew Cogliano, Jean-Francois Jacques, Kurtis Foster, Matt Smaby, Jeff Deslauriers, Significant Subtractions: Todd Marchant, Andreas Lilja, Ray Emery, Jarkko Ruutu. Not a busy off season for LA's other team. They are waiting to hear from Teemu Selanne about a return (recovering from knee issue). Bob Murray has basically stood pat. Time will tell if that was a good thing? Grade C-

  • Calgary Flames: Significant Additions: Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Chris Butler. Significant Subtractions: Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik, Adam Pardy, Steve Staios. Jay Feaster had a busy summer keeping his original roster intact. Regehr was a cap subtraction with their top 4 D-men already getting close to 17 mil. They are now FAR from the Cup contending team they were 3-4 yrs ago. Overall unchanged from last year's playoff near-miss. Grade C-

  • Chicago BlackHawks: Significant additions: Rostislav Olesz, Andrew Brunette, Jamal Mayers, Daniel Carcillo, Steve Montador, Sami Lepisto, Sean O'Donnell. Significant Subtractions: Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer, Brian Campbell, Fernando Pisani, Chris Campoli, Ryan Johnson, Jake Dowell, Jordan Hendry, Marty Turco. Not nearly as devastating an off season as a year ago. That said they lost some important puzzle pieces in Campbell and Brouwer. Both were cap related trades. We're not sold on their replacements in Carcillo and Montedor. Both adequate, but far from improvements. Grade C

  • Colorado Avalanche:Significant Additions: Semyon Varlamov, Jan Hejda, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Chuck Kobasew, Shane O'Brien, Joakim Lindstrom. Significant Subtractions: John-Michael Liles, Brian Elliott, Peter Budaj, Tomas Fleischmann, Philippe Dupuis, Adam Foote. A mini makeover in Denver with a new goaltending tandem that if they stay healthy will be a significant improvement over last season. The additions of Hejda and O'Brien help bolster the defense as well. With the offense already up and coming we see the 'Lanch as an improved squad. Grade B

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Significant Additions: Jeff Carter, Vinny Prospal, James Wisniewski, Radek Martinek. Significant Subtractions: Jakub Voracek, Jan Hejda, Chris Clark, Scottie Upshall, Ethan Moreau, Nikita Filatov, Mathieu Garon, Craig Rivet, Anton Stralman. GM Scott Howson has been busy. Biggest move is adding center Jeff Carter as well as acquiring (overpaying for-?) Wisniewski. We like both moves, but will it be enough to get the Jackets into the playoffs? That will depend on Mason regaining form. They don't have a reliable back up so its Mason or nothing. Grade B-

  • Dallas Stars: Significant Additions: Michael Ryder, Jake Dowell, Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler, Eric Godard, Adam Pardy, Sheldon Souray. Significat Subtractions: Brad Richards, Jamie Langenbrunner, Karlis Skrastins, Jason Williams, Jeff Woywitka. The Stars barely missed the post season. They lost their best offensive player in Richards and replaced him with Ryder and Dvorak. Hardly an improvement. They then signed Souray who wasn't good enough to play in the NHL 2 years ago. Say it aint so Joe (Niewendyk) Grade D+

  • Detroit Red Wings: Significant Additions: Ian White, Mike Commodore, Ty Conklin, Chris Conner. Significant Subtractions: Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper, Chris Osgood, Mike Modano, Ruslan Salei: Modano might still play, but he'd be best served if he retired. White isn't Rafalksi, but he's OK. Can Commodore add anything? Overall the Wings stood pat, which isn't shocking as their roster is still one of the best in the Conference. Grade C

  • Edmonton Oilers:Significant Additions: Eric Belanger, Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Cam Barker, Andy Sutton, Yann Danis, Significant Subtractions: Andrew Cogliano, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Zack Stortini, Jason Strudwick, Steve MacIntyre, Jim Vandermeer, Jean-Francois Jacques. Actually not a bad offseason for Steve Tambellini. They got back Cpt Canada Smyth, Belanger and Eager to bolster the forwards and Sutton and Barker to the D, to give the young Oilers some veteran leadership. Now can they keep Khabibulin out of prison? Grade B-

  • Los Angeles Kings: Significant Additions: Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Colin Fraser, Significant Subtractions: Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Ryan Smyth, Michal Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky. LOmbardi made an already deep offensive roster even better with the additions of Gagne and Mike Richards. With a healthy Kopitar the Kings can send out 2 formidable scoring lines. Only work to be done as of this writing was getting Dougherty under contract. As we wrote previously, we don't expect he'll miss any time. Overall the Kings look better on paper. Grade B

  • Minnesota Wild: Significant Additions: Dany Heatley, Darroll Powe, Devin Setoguchi, Mike Lundin, Significant Subtractions: Martin Havlat, Andrew Brunette, Brent Burns, Antti Miettinen, Cam Barker, John Madden, Jose Theodore, Chuck Kobasew. We'll give GM Chuck Fletcher credit for not standing pat with his club. he made some big trades this summer. The swap of underachieving forwards, Havlat and Heatley. He also acquired Setoguchi, (who had just resigned with SJ), for puck moving defender Brent Burns. Along with a new/unknown coach (Mike Yeo) the Wild will be a Wild-card this season. Hard team to grade, but we're not big Heatley fans. Grade C+

  • Nashville Preditors: Significant Additions: Niclas Bergfors, Zack Stortini, Brett Lebda. Significant Subtractions: Cody Franson, Matthew Lombardi, Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, Steve Sullivan, J-P Dumont, Shane O'Brien. Even with, or especially because of the Shea Weber signing, the Preds are in trouble. Trouble because they can't expect to add any additional salary. They can't afford to go into the season near the cap max, and as a result they lost a few decent free agents this summer. Even an astute GM like Poile will have his hands full and tied to even retain his remaining core of star players. Grade C-

  • Phoenix Coyotes:Significant Additions: Mike Smith, Alexandre Bolduc, Boyd Gordon, Raffi Torres, Curtis McElhinney, Justin Pogge Significant Subtractions: Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski, Eric Belanger, Andrew Ebbett. The ascention in the desert could be in trouble. Maloney replaced departed #1 goal Bryzgalov with mediocre Mike Smith. The other adds and subtractions were basicly a wash in my opinion. Overall, right now the Yotes are weaker than last season. Grade D+

  • San Jose Sharks: Significant Additions: Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus, Andrew Murray, Brent Burns, Jim Vandermeer, Significant Subtractions: Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Ben Eager, Jamal Mayers, Kyle Wellwood, Kent Huskins, Ian White, Scott Nichol. Doug Wilson had a very productive offseason. Jettising playoff ghost Dany Heatly was a huge step. Acquiring Burns to compliment Boyle was also huge. The off the radar move in our opinion was getting Handzus to be the 3rd line center. Few teams will be as deep up front as the Sharks, despite the loss of Setoguchi. This might be the best Shark team yet. Grade B+

  • St. Louis Blues: Significant Additions: Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, Kent Huskins, Brian Elliott. Significant Subtractions: Paul Kariya, Cam Janssen, Ty Conklin. Apparently Doug Armstrong felt his team needed more veteran presence in 'The Room'. So he added two older respected players in Arnott and Langenbrunner. No one should expect big production out of those 2, so the Blues are relying on a healthy roster this season and maturation of last season's regulars. Grade C

  • Vancouver Canucks: Significant Additions: Marco Sturm, Alexander Sulzer, Mark Mancari, Andrew Ebbett, Mike Duco, Steve Pinizzotto. Signifiant Subtractions: Christian Ehrhoff, Raffi Torres, Jeff Tambellini, Tanner Glass. The Canucks coming off their Presidents Trophy season didn't tinker much with their lineup. They lost Ehrhoff, but if healthy the remaining defenders are still pretty decent. We're not fans of the 'Twins', but they are 'The Guys' along with Luongo, so Mike Gillis is going to ride his stars into next season and hope they can jump to the next level and win it all this time. Grade C-

Monday, August 8, 2011

Off Season Report Card! East

1) Sorry folks. We originally intended to publish this post a couple of weeks ago. The trend since the new CBA was signed in 2005 is that teams opening day rosters are pretty much set by the end of July; after the draft, initial free agent signing frenzy is over and after all arbitration cases are settled. So aside from a few yet to be signed players (none of whom we believe could alter the balance of power) the off season's for all 30 teams is pretty much a done deal. With that in mind we will go through each of the 30 teams and discuss their off season and finally give them a grade. The grade will NOT be a prediction of 2011-2012 success,(that comes in October) but our opinion of how well they did or didn't do to upgrade their previous seasons roster. As you will see, we are tough graders! ; ) The list will be in alphabetical order. First here willl be The East, then soon to be published, the West.

  • Boston Bruins: Notable additions: Joe Corvo, Benoit Pouliot. Notable subtractions: Mark Recchi, Micheal Ryder, Tomas Kaberle. Not nearly as a devastating off season for this year's Cup champs as the one we saw with the near dismantling of the Black Hawks last summer. The B's did lose a couple of contributors from last season but have recouped with the new faces, and retain their core so they should be contenders once again. Grade C+

  • Buffalo Sabres: Notable additions: Christian Ehrhoff, Robyn Regehr, Ville Leino, Ales Kotalik. Notable subtractions: Steve Montador, Tim Connolly, Rob Niedermayer, Mike Grier, Craig Rivet. Ehrhoff and Regehr give the Sabres some pretty decent defensive depth to go along with a solid goaltending tandem in Miller and Enroth. Most importantly though new ownership appears committed to bring the Sabres back to contention. Nice start this summer! Grade B+

  • Carolina Hurricanes: Notable additions: Tim Brent, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Anthony Stewart, Tomas Kaberle, Brian Boucher, Notable subtractions: Erik Cole, Joe Corvo, Cory Stillman. The Canes solidified their defense with the Kaberle signing and the retaining of Joni Pitkanen, but they lost more than they gained with respect to offense. A sophmore slump by Skinner and or an injury to Staal could make things difficult in Raleigh. Grade C-

  • Florida Panthers: Notable Additions: Jose Theodore, Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski, Sean Bergenheim, Matt Bradley, Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc. Notable subtractions: Tomas Vokoun, Rostislav Olesz Marty Reasoner, Steve Bernier, Sergei Samsonov, Niclas Bergfors. Huge roster turn over by Dale Tallon. Some of the contracts we have already blasted in previous posts. Panthers will be better offensively, but we hardly see them as a playoff contender (again) With the goalie tandem of Theodore and Clemmenson it could be a LONG season in FLA. This summer's moves are more like shuffling the Titanic deck chairs in Sunrise, FLA. Grade D+

  • Montreal Canadiens: Notable additions: Erik Cole, Peter Budaj. Notable Subtractions: James Wisniewski, Benoit Pouliot, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Halpern, Alexandre Picard, Paul Mara, Alex Auld, Brent Sopel. The Habs got Cole but by and large are hoping their youngsters and existig roster can replace the departed players production. Cole is injury prone and not worth big $$ in our opinion, but having a healthy Markov on the back line should help them. Overall not much improvement. Grade C-

  • New Jersey Devils: Notable Additions: Eric Boulton, LW; Cam Janssen Notable Subtractions: Brian Rolston, Pierre Luc-Letourneau Leblond, Colin White, Anssi Salmela. Evidently Lou Lamarello thinks his farm team and current roster are good enough? A healthy Parise wil help, but their goalies are about 45 years old. Without the Gum Chewer (Lemaire) behind the bench we don't see the Devs back in the playoffs once again. Pete DeBoer's tenure will be brief, and like in Florida, not his fault. Grade D

  • NY Islanders: Notable additions: Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston (Alex Yashin-?) Notable subtractions: Bruno Gervais, Trent Hunter, Radek Martinek, Doug Weight, Zenon Konopka. We like the Rolston addition to replace Weight, but Snow added little else and is probably hoping the healthy returns of Streit and Eaton will be enough to bolster them on defense, and a continuation of the maturation of their young forwards. Grade C-. (If Yashin signs, Grade D-)

  • NY Rangers: Notable Additions: Brad Richards, C; Michael Rupp. Notable Subtractions: Chris Drury, C; Vinny Prospal, C; Alex Frolov, LW; Matt Gilroy, D; Bryan McCabe. Yes, the Rangers got the best UFA available this summer in Richards, but in our opinion their best move(s) were the signings of RFA's Dubinsky/Callahan to cap friendly long term deals, and getting rid of Drury. They might not be Cup contenders, but certainly better on paper than last year. Grade B-

  • Ottawa Senators: Notable Additions: Zenon Konopka,; Alex Auld, Nikita Filatov,
    Notable Subtractions: Ryan Shannon. Evidently the Senators are hoping their next crop of young players can bolster the lineup and get them back to the post season. The wild card is Filatov, who has the tools but does he have the heart? A new surrounding could be the difference, but overall we're sceptical about the job Murray did this summer in improving the sens. Grade C-

  • Philadelphia Flyers: Noteable additions: Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Maxime Talbot, Andreas Lilja. Noteabe subtractions: Mike Richards, C; Jeff Carter, C; Ville Leino, LW; Nikolay Zherdev, RW; Darroll Powe, C; Kris Versteeg, RW; Daniel Carcillo, LW; Sean O'Donnell, D; Brian Boucher, G. By far the roster with the biggest turn over. Probably the biggest addition is Bryzgalov, although Jagr garnered the biggest press. It remains to be seen if the new look Flyers will be better. Holmgren gambled, but we give him credit by not taking the easy road and standing pat. Grade A-

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Noteable Additions: Steve Sullivan, LW; Steve MacIntyre, LW; Alexandre Picard. Noteable Subtractions: Maxime Talbot, C; Michael Rupp, C/W; Chris Conner, RW; Alex Kovalev, RW; Eric Godard, RW; Mike Comrie, Why make a big splash when your team had 100 pts without Crosby and malkin for big portions of 2010-11? With both back they should be fine so Ray Shero might have been better off losing out on the Jagr sweepstaakes. Not to mention they have a pretty deep farm system and could have a couple of youngsters ready to contribute. Sullivan, if he stays healthy, could be a steal. Grade C

  • Tampa Bay Lightning: Notable Additions: Ryan Shannon, RW; Bruno Gervais, D; Matt Gilroy, D; Mathieu Garon. Notable Subtractions: Simon Gagne, LW; Sean Bergenheim, LW; Randy Jones, D; Mike Lundin, D; Mike Smith, G Biggest issues for the Bolts were getting their own players, most notably Stamkos, back under contract. The loss of Gagne won't hurt too much, but Bergenheim's playoff heroics priced him off The Bay, and it won't be easy to reproduce a 4th line like they had this past spring. The Lightning should be OK, but we're not happy with their goaltending with a 44 yr old having to play 50+ games? Grade C-

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Notable Additions:Tim Connolly, Philippe Dupuis, Matthew Lombardi, Cody Franson, John-Michael Liles, Notable Subtractions: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Tim Brent, Brett Lebda. Sorry if you don't count us as expecting Timmy Connoly to become a 1st line center. He and Kessel might mesh and produce but will/can Connolly finally play a full season? Probably not. Burke failed to significantly improve his team. Grade D+

  • Washington Capitals: Notable Additions: Tomas Vokoun, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, Notable subtractions: Semyon Varlamov, Jason Arnott, Eric Fehr, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Marco Sturm, Tyler Sloan, Scott Hannan. We have to say we like the moves McPhee made here. On paper this might be the best team ever iced by the Caps. That said the biggest move is the one they didn't make. Bruce Boudreau is still behind the bench and that is still a problem. Grade B

  • Winnipeg Jets: Notable Additions: Eric Fehr, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, Aaron Gagnon, Randy Jones, Derek Meech. Notable Subtractions: Anthony Stewart, ; Eric Boulton, Freddy Meyer, Rob Schremp. No big moves (outside of the franchise itself!) but with a solid young core already assembled and a new front office this wasn't surprising. Grade C+

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday To Us!!

1) ) WE NEVER we would still be here to go into year 6! Yes, this blog is now FIVE years old! Its amazing that we have reached this milestone. When we made our first post (inspired by the late summer drivel/rumours of the time) we never in our wildest dreams believed this would become what it has. We especially didn't think we'd still be at this when the dark days when our now vanquished blog enemy hacked and stole the original FAUXRUMORS blog. Though its still is out there for his sick amusement, its of little consequence to us now. We have long since moved on when we restarted things again in March 2007. In retrospect he did us a favour, as we feel this forced us to improve/upgrade the blog in many ways since then.

2) With over 880+ original FAUX posts and growing to our credit since that first fateful blog entry, and more than 400+ thousand hits (and growing fast) we are proud of what we have grown here the past 5 years. As we were then, (and always will be) we are a totally FREE site/blog. We decline all advertising offers. For one, honestly we don't need the income, but more importantly, we feel that accepting money would be the wrong perception. We don't want to become Eklund. Selling nonsense/made up crap to sad/loser people. We look forward to the beginning of our SIXTH year! Thanks to all of you!

As always, keep it here for the latest!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Dog Days: Notes and Observations

1) Isles New Coliseum voted down! Devastating is what one of our Isles' insiders tells us about the recent vote. The "Yes" side would have seemed to had all of the advantages built into the vote: It was held on a Monday in the heart/heat of summer. Few folks had time to mount a meaningful 'NO' campaign, right? WRONG! What Wang and Co. didn't realize that in the current political climate asking people who are already taxed at the highest level in the nation to cough up ANY additional money for the sake of a sports franchise most don't pay attention to was asking a lot! Its no shocker to us at Fauxrumors that this went down. Some over in Isle's country are already asking , "What is Wang's Plan B"? Well folks, this WAS plan B!!

2) 11+ years ago Wang invested heavily in the Isles and lost millions to get his real estate deal (The Lighthouse Project) The Isles were a mere pawn/PR to get it done. Whatever money he had to drain to eventually get his money rain maker off the ground would ultimately be worth it. When the Town of Hempstead (Kate Murray) blocked Wang he decided that he'd spent enough of his own $$ and refused to build a smaller version of Lighthouse or his own new arena. Instead asking taxpayers to build it via bonds, etc. Now that this has been rejected its unlikely that Wang will invest further big money in Nassau County and a move is very likely. Where? Another NY area locale is the most logical set up because the Isles make a ton (12 -15 mil/year) of money in their local TV deal and would lose that if they moved to let's say KC. So Suffolk County, Queens, or even Brooklyn, (who has an arena already in the making) could be the Isles next home.

3) On a related note: Alexei Yashin?? Are you &%$#ing kidding me? So lets get this strait. The guy was not good enough to play on the team 4 years ago but is now? He was a dog in the dressing room, getting under the skin of fellow veterans, but he'll be a positive influence on this young up and coming lineup? Tell us its a very late Aprils fools joke Garth! The Rolston pick up was a nice move, don't counteract it with this bold move of blithering stupidity! Imagine the Isles reaching the cap floor by paying Yashin TWICE!?! Will this be Wang's revenge against the lack of support for the recent referendum? LOL Sorry Isle's fans. We know many of you, and you are as die hard as it gets, but even you die hards would have to see that move as the beginning of the end!

4)Remaining Free Agents: Its been quiet on the RFA scene recently. Doughty, Bogosian, Marchand remain unsigned. Shea Weber is slated for arbitration so he barring a rejection of the award or a trade (both unlikely) will be a Predator this season. Doughty, we hear, is asking for either a Carter/Richards type of 12+ year deal near 7.5 mil per average, or a 3 year at 8 mil that would place him into UFA status at contracts end. Both are NOT what LA would like. They see Doughty as a 5-6 mil player, but they would raise that to 6.0-6.5 IF he agreed on a 7+ year deal. WE are told to expect a shorter term, probably 1 year 6. mil deal and then continue negotiating towards a long term extension. Our LA sources tell us Drew will be in camp on time.

5) Bogosian is also close to getting signed by Winnipeg. Zach will assuredly get a pay raise, but our sources tell us "he won't be getting Doughty or Weber money". Closer to a 3.5-4 mil 5 year deal. Almost word for word can (and has) been said of fellow RFA Leaf defender, Luke Schenn. Marchand might be the trickiest one left. The 23 year old who had a nice season with 20 goals, but a great playoff wants to be paid like a 1st line forward. The Bruins aren't yet ready to commit big bucks on 2 months of work. A scout told us that Brad might have to bite the bullet and accept the B's offer of 2 years 5 mil. "He's not going to get anything near the 4 million his agent was asking for".

6) As for UFA's: Here are a few of the remaining big names still looking for work: Mike Grier, Cory Stillman, Sergei Samsonov, Paul Mara, Bryan McCabe, Marek Svatos, Nikolai Zherdev. Not an impressive list but some vets who will likely get a training camp invite if not a minimum wage 1 year job. NONE should expect a big/multi year contract. Jobs/rosters are pretty much set with a few moves yet to come, but don't hold your breathe for each move. Its early August and most teams are taking their summer vacations right now and not talking deals/contracts

7) Ranger moves: Finally it seems Glen Sather is getting how to run a team with a limited payroll. (What did it take, 12 years? ) His avoiding arbitration, and signing forwards Callahan and Dubinsky to VERY cap friendly deals was a very nice way to end the ranger 'offseason'. With the jettison of cap anchor Chris Drury, and Wade Reddon set to ride the buses again Glen has positioned the Rangers to be well within cap constraints and be flexible to add talent during the season is he desires.
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