Thursday, June 28, 2012

NHL/NHLPA Draw Lines in Sand!

1) This is the word we're hearing from almost all our sources on both sides of the debate.  Certainly FR2's excellent and amazing post yesterday on how far the NHL is apparently prepared to go to win(faux-snubbing Brendan Shanahan into the Hall of Fame) indicates that even though there hasn't yet been an official meeting among the parties, they are both preparing for the worst.

2) Lets start with some simple numbers.  The NHL wants to significantly reduce the players % of revenue, currently at 57% to either 50% or if possible the upper 40's.  As of right now with the status quo, without a salary rollback, next season’s salary cap ceiling would be $70.3 million and the cap floor $54.3 million. If the NHLPA activates its five percent escalator clause, the numbers jump to $73.815 million and $57.815 million.  Amazing numbers when one thinks that after the last Bettman lockout the ceiling was a mere 39 milion!

3) Now assuming a seven percent rollback (to incorporate a 50-50 revenue split with the league), the cap would be just over $62.649 million, while the cap “floor” would be $46.649 million.  If the PA still has that five percent escalator under the next CBA, the numbers jump to just over $65.781 million and $49.781 million.  As you can see that still is a big jump over what it was in  2005 and why we believe the sources who tell us the owners will not only ask for the 50% (minimally) split, but also the elimination (or BIG reduction) in the floor which undeniably is hurting the small-revenue teams.

4) On the other side, the players will go into the negotiations wanting a status quo approach and ask the NHL/owners to better share their revenue with a luxery tax, etc. (much like they asked in 2004).  The players correctly will point out that the owners alone decide where the franchises are placed (ie: Phoenix/Florida) so they alone should be the ones who assist these weaker sisters, not punish the players (as they did in 2004)  The problem for the owners is that they lost the 'players are greedy' argument when they got their "Cost certainty" last time around.  Fehr will certainly use the leagues onw rhetoric against them if they try to argue for big changes.  They can also point to the imense increase in revenue by moving a dead franchise (Atlanta) to a thriving location(Winnipeg).  How much more would the league grow if the Yotes/Panthers moved to Quebec City/hamilton Ontario?

5) Not that the league will abandon the 'players are greedy' approach altogether. Thus the FR2 post that Shanahan wil be used as the public image of the NHL during the CBA negotiations as the "Face of compromise" which the league will use to get fans to be sympathetic to their side of the talks especially as anticipated by everyone it gets nasty and protracted.  We are told initial talks will be all about each side giving its position and the rationale behind them.  It probably won't last long and both sides will walk away and start using their talking points until the real talks begin again in August.  The sides will know by then (especially the players) if they have the appetite to lose a season over a few % points/more revenue sharing?  Stay tuned folks, its gonna be a bumpy summer/early fall!(At least!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No Agreement, No Season!

1) "You can take that to the bank", is what we were told by trusted sources when we asked if it were possible the NHL owners/Bettman would allow the season to proceed if there is no new CBA in place prior to Sptember 15th.  Earlier today headlines were made when NHLPA head Fehr stated the players might play despite there being no agreement prior to the old CBA expireing on the 15th.  Stating that he has seen negotiations continue and playing continue even when there is no new agreement.  Clearly putting the ball into the NHL's court on whether or not there will be a delay (or cancelation) of the 2012-2013 season.

2) However, the NHL will NOT be amenable to such a proposition.  The reason is that they don't want to give the players the leverage that starting a season would give them.  The owners also do NOT want the status quo, feeling that starting the season would be a bad precident and not give the players the impetus to take the reduction in the percentage they are seeking. (More on that in a future post that should be out tomorrow).  Therefore do NOT get excited when you read that the season could begin without a new CBA in place. In fact you can take that 'To the bank'!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shanahan Snub CBA Related?

1) At first glance the title sounds absolutely ridiculous, but its exactly what several of our sources have related to us independantly.  To those not sure what we're getting at earlier today the NHL released this years group of Hall of Fame selections to be enshrined in the fall in Toronto.  The list includes very worthy selections such as no-brainers Joe Sacik and Mats Sundin.  Pavel Bure, Adam Oats certainly are not unworthy, but the glaring ommission of a 600 goal scorer?  Brendan Shanahan, who helped the Wings win three Stanley Cup championships, however, was not picked in his first year of eligibility.Shanahan is only player in NHL history to eclipse 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes.  Shanahan scored 658 goals and 1,354 points in a 21-season career spent with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers and Wings. He won Stanley Cups with the Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

2) Almost everyone prior to the selections being announced universally expected he and Sakic to get in on their first tries.  Sakic was a admitted but Shanny was ommited, but why??  When we first heard about it we were shocked as well so we did some digging and what we heard shocked us.  Apparently the NHL asked Shanny to "take one for the team" so to speak here.  Evidently Gary Bettman approached Brendan a few months ago asking him to be the face of the league when the CBA negotiations start to get contentious. Instead of Bettman who has huge negatives within the public, Shanahan is generally well regarded among the fans and his peers.  The decision to "snub" him was known to Shanahan ofcourse and the reason we are hearing is that  Bettman and the owners figured that they didn't want their front man to be getting Hall of Fame induction at a time when the seaason may be in the balence (next fall).  Sounded convoluted and dumb to us as well, but multiple sources told us the same story and that combined with the inanity of one of the best players of his generation being overalooked we flt we had to share what we heard. Perhaps the truth will come out in time.
As always, keep it here for all the latest

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nash Staying Put??

1) The latest word from Columbus from our valued sources tell us that GM Scott Howson has received word from his (former?) captain Rick Nash that he would be amenable to staying put.  Evidently from what we have been informed Nash is excited about the recent moves the team has made and now feels the team could be on the verge of making significant gains and might want to see it thorough/be a part of what he started.

2) Thats not to say that all Nash trade rumours/options are off the table, but Howson did not get the offers he was seeking for the 28 year old power forward.  As we previously reported NHL insiders have wondered how he (Howson) could be asking for such a return on a player who already asked to be traded and is due close to 8 million for another 6 years! The number of potential suitors was never high and Nash has the final say of where he would be dealt. All of that led to few offers and no serious ones according to people close to the situation. 

3) We're told that the word that Nash might stay put is what led to the Toronto-Flyers deal. Both players dealt (Schenn and VanRymskyk) were rumoured to be parts of any Nash deal.  Burke and Holmgren didn't waste time and decided to not wait further on Nash and have improved their respective clubs with this, in our opinion a win-win move/trade.  This may also leads other GM's who were contemplating or have made overtures to acquire Nash might also make deals and move assets they might have otherwise dealt for Nash.  Look for some additional moves over the next week or so and especially once the UFA period begins in a week.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Faux: Why was Staal Traded????

1) The title to this post is the refrain/header to about 500 + e-mails we have received the past 24 hours.  After all it was our assertion that the Penguins didn't intend to trade the 3rd line center but intended to deal the new Hart/Ross winner Evgeny Malkin instead.  So why were we so wrong?  In the end we stand by what we said. We knew what the Penguin brass/management wanted to do, but we couldn't know what was inside Jordan's head.  Evidently, and from what we have now learned, he and Eric conspired to put the Penguins in a corner.

2) The Penguins, as has now been widely reported, offered a 10 year 60 million dollar deal.  In our opinion WAY more than what Jordan is worth. In the end Jordan indirectly did the Penguins a favour in turning this down. In our opinion he's a very effective 3rd line/shut down/PK forward with some offensive skills but NOT worth top 6 forward money and NOT super star money as the pens were offering.  The Hurricanes will probably have to at least match the Penguins offer and will be wringing their hands in the end as to why they made such a dumb decision.

3) There is NO doubt in our mind that the Penguins made out in this deal.  Not only did they unload an injury prone, over paid 3rd line center who they would have lost for nothing next summer, but they added a probable/eventual top 4 defensmen AND the replacement for Staal in Sutter is someone who will likely fill te role Staal had, as 3rd line center with some offensive potential of his own. Additionally the Pens recieve Dumoulin, 20 who is a two-time NCAA champion at Boston College defenesemen, making this potentially a very one sided deal that Rutherford will regret for years.

4)  The shocker was to what extent Jordan was willing to part ways with a likely Stanley Cup contebder AND life time financial securiy (60 million) in order to play with his big brother's team.  Certainly the Penguins and we at Fauxrumors couldn't have anticipated the desire/stupidity of this move from both Jordan and the Hurricanes stand point.   As we have alluded to a few times in this post we believe in the end the Penguins were done a HUGE favour here and the Hurricanes set back their franchise with this move.    Oh, and no truth to the rumour that Rutherford has inquired about the avilability of Marc Staal!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Draft And Assorted Rumours: The Top 20 On The Block!

1) Unlike the past couple of seasons there are actual substantive discussions taking place among NHL general managers.  The past few years there were not the significant number of names being discussed and the vast number of teams involved in many and varied number of potential deals.  Yes the entry draft;  one of our favourite times of the NHL calendar. Certainly the best off season day for us at Fauxrumors. The annual NHL entry draft is the time of year when teams make their moves/big personnel decisions. There seems to be some internal conflict within teams. Some are going ahead as if there won't be any labour strife and a future reduction in the salary cap, while a few are hedging their bets that the cap will be reduced once the smoke clears and a new CBA is ratified.   Keep in mind most, if not all major, and even most minor deals are tentatively consummated BEFORE the draft starts. So when you see a GM on the phone/talking directly with a counter part its usually to confirm earlier discussions.

2) Especially in the salary capped NHL, teams usually don't make big roster altering moves past July, so now is the time to set a salary budget, and fill the roster to that level. With the salary cap (temporally?) set at 67 million (up 4 million from last season) teams have some wiggle room. Also teams are more apt to trade for 'big ticket items (players) now than during the season when they are handcuffed by cap restraints. All this leads to intrigue and of course rumours.  From what we have heard it is entirely possible/likely we will see teams attempt to trade a RFA in exchange for either a draft pick or another asset Here are a few of the possible RFA's and others who could be on the move by either tomorrow or Saturday, or before July 1.  Some we have previously discussed so we won't go into detail with those

The top 20 on the Block:

  • Derek Roy: One year left on his contract and the Sabres have made it clear that they will attempt to make a splash this weekend and the smallish forward is likely to be part of any deal that Darcy Regier consumates

  •  Sam Gagner: The most likely bargaining chip that Tambellini will offer to improve his club 

  • Patrick Kane: Peggy won't be happy but the Hawks are listening to offers, but a deal for Patrick is less likely than the other Kane(see below). This would be a big deal and its possible the Bruins will/have made a significant offer  for the Buffalo native

  • Wojtek Wolski:The Panther never felt at home at his latest stop in the NHL. The return for the RFA won't be large though. The Senators have inquired

  • Paul Stastny: The overpaid Avalanche has been long a trade rumour subject. His hefty salary have hindered his trade value in the past.  Perhaps the DC Caps wil give back the Av's 1st round pick for as they will be in need of quality 2nd line offensive depth with the (ssn) loss of Semin 

  • Nikita Filatov: With him signing with the KHL's Salavat Yulaev the Sens will gladly trade his rights to anyone interested

  • Jonathan Bernier The LA 'back up' goalie is very sought after. With Vokoun and now Lindback now off the market the price for a potential starting goalie just went up. Kings GM Dean Lombardi can get a nice return if he chooses to trade Bernier.  Some are writing they are waiting to get Quick signed long term, but our sources tell us that indeed Bernier is available for the right package of a player and high draft pick(s)

  • Jakub Voracek: Our sources tell us that the Maple leafs have had serious inquiries, but so far have balked at the asking price of Luke Schenn, but it wouldn't shock us to see the brothers Schenn reunited by summers end

  • Mathieu Perreault: The Capitals diminutive forward was a healthy scratch through most of the playoffs.  The Canadiens have inquired and this very well could be a player for a pick (3rd rounder) deal.

  • Ondrej Pavelec: This deal will depend upon the Jets getting another goalie in return or from free agency. We're told the jets management is unhappy with the KHL threats made by his agent.  There won't be a shortage of suitors, but we';re told the Panthers are at that list.

  • Justin Abdelkader: The speedy forward we're told could be part of any potential deal the Wings make this week, now that Helm is signed long term it makes Justin redundant

  • Sergei Kostitsyn: We're told Preds GM Poile can't wait to unload the rights to the Belarusian forward.  The Sharks are interested, albeit not for much

  • T.J. Oshie: One of the potential assets the Blues wold offer to obtain the defensemen they desire. Might the Blues take Ehrhoff off the Sabres hands?

  • Evander Kane: Contrary to what we were told earlier this week apparently the Jets are going to allow Evander Kane to be available (at the right price)  Evidently the 3 year pro's negotiations aren't going well and he may be looking for a fresh start somewhere, preferably south or west. The Lightning would love to get him, but would Yzerman be willing to trade both his #1 tomorrow and a young asset?  We're told it could happen

  •   Travis Moen: The Red wings we're told have long coveted the gritty LW who will be a free agent July1 so don't be shocked to see if his rights are dealt to Mo-Town.

  • Brandon Dubinsky: It appears the days in NY are numbered for the 26 year old Ranger who has 3 years left on his four-year deal that calls for a $4.2 million cap hit.  He had a poor, injury filled season, but if healthy he would add skill and leadership to a team in need of that.  Rumours have him as part of any Nash deal?

  •   Bobby Ryan: With 3 more years at 5.1 million  the Ducks may want to save some cap space to sign other core players Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler all of whom are coming up for new deals in the summer of 2013.  They may look to add another top 10 overal draft pick to this derap draft and get the skilled d-man in their system.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2011-2012 NHL Awards

1) With the Kings Cup and the NHL regular season now in the books, and the NHL awards show set to go off tonight in LasVegas we figured we'd review who SHOULD win the various awards As we mentioned earlier this is the Unofficial LAST part of the 2011-2012 NHL season. After tonight sights will be set upon 2012-2013 with the NHL draft set to go off in Pittsburgh. Look for our first pre-draft post this Friday!

2) Hart Memorial Trophy- Given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Finalists : Henrik Lundqvist,  Evgeni Malkin,  Steven Stamkos. Great season for Stamkos but his team didn't qualify for the playoffs. Its rare for goalies to win this award unless they have extraordinary stats and carry a mediocre team into the playoffs(Hasek)  Geno was the best offensive layer this season AND the pens made the playoffs. Easy choice.  Winner Malkin 

3) Vezina Trophy is given to the goalkeeper judged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs. Finalists are: Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne,  Jonathan Quick. All 3 had magnificent seasons, but there was a reason why 'Hank' was nominated for the Hart as well. He was the best goalie from start to finish this season. Winner: Lundqvist

4) James Norris Memorial Trophy given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Finalists are:  Zdeno Chara,  Erik Karlsson,  Shea Weber. Chara has no chance. In what we believe will be the closest vote all evening it will come down to voters casting their ballot for the best offensive defensemen or the best all around defensemen.  If it is as it should be the ladder will win it.  Winner: Weber

5) Calder Memorial Trophy- given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Finalists: Adam Henrique,  Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Had Ryan stayed healthy all season there is little doubt he'd be a shoe-in.  Henriqu had a nice regular season, but the playoffs don't count else he'd win.  Gabreil displayed poise and skill in both ends of the rink. A rarity for a player his age.  Winner: Landeskog

6) Lady Byng Memorial Trophy- given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. What exactly is the purpose of this award? Traditionally to the best player who doesn't fight much, and also isn't going to win any of the other awards? Finalists: Brian Campbell, Jordan Eberle, Matt Moulson. Silly award that will probably be given to a defensemen, a rarity to have one with so few PIM's Winner: Campbell 

7) Frank J. Selke Trophy- given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. One of the more difficult trophies to predict as the criteria is unclear/ambiguous. From past winners it has recently gone to the forward who COMBINES good defensive numbers (+/- and PK numbers) with good offensive numbers. Finalsts: David Backes,  Patrice Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk. This award i as much  a popularity contest as any other with the past winners always the favourite Winner Datsuyk 

8) Jack Adams Award- presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success. Finalists: Ken Hitchcock, Paul Maclean, John Tortorella. Hats off to Paul Maclean, the rookie coach who brought his team back to respectability, but the clear winner is Hitch who single handedly changed the Blues from a loser to a division power in mere months  Winner:  Hitchock

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

10) Messier Leadership Award We left out the sponsor's name as we feel this is the ONLY reason it is included (they paid for the award!) Its a dumb concept and we absolutely hate it. The only award named after a person who isn't dead! Finalists: Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Shane Doan. As the NHL owns and wants the Coyotes to look good they will push for one of their own to win this  Winner: Doan

11) Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy- given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Another difficult award to handicap. Seems to lately go to the player who makes the best comeback Finalists: Daniel Alfredsson, Joffrey Lupul, Max Pacioretty.  Yes, and all Canadian team finalists. The league needed to award at least one trophy to a team north of the border  Winner: Alfredsson   

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Big Names On The Move: Part 2

In our second part of the Big Names being possibly traded we will go through the player(s) that are/could be made available but this availability has been much less publicly discussed than the players mentioned yesterday:

1) Evgeny Malkin: AS we wrote 2 months ago dilemma-for-pens Pittsburgh may be looking to deal the Russian (likely Hart Trophy winner) With a new Crosby contract days away from being announced, and Jordan Staal due a new deal as well something has to give. Many are suggesting a Staal trade, but our sources tell us that the Pens would like to retain his services. After the upcoming season Malkin will have a 'No Movement Clause' so NOW is the time to deal him if they are inclined to do so. So who is/might be looking to add Geno and what would it take to pry him away:?
  • Anaheim: The Ducks are very high of Malkin and would trade anyone but Getzlaf. Cory Perry is whom the Pens would target and thus would add the scoring winger they'd love to add and also reduce their cap number by 3 million allowing them to add another piece
  • Columbus: Although we didn't mention this in yesterdays Part 1, the Jackets would be ecstatic to add Malkin for Nash. Their salaries are a wash almost and it gives both teams what they desire. A big name in Columbus and a power forward in Steel town.  Although under the radar, this IS being discussed as we speak!

2) Alex Radulov: Although technicly he is a free agent, as a RFA he really is still retained by the Nashville Preditors. Its not a shocker to find out that the Preditors have had it with him and want him gone once and for all. He, like many Russians are cancers  He has oodles of talent, but not the commitment to display it all the time. That and the off-ice antics over the years have made him expendable. The Preds aren't asking a top/big return, but would like a 1st round pick or a top prospect for Radulov. So who's in the mix?
  • Rangers (of course) probably depending upon their chances of landing Semin (who'd they prefer) or if they decide to go after Nash. Raduov would be Plan C.
  • Back to KHL: Most likely scenario. If he plays one more year in Russia he'll return to the NHL as a UFA and possibly a big pay day. Not to mention with the uncertainty of the labour issues it makes sense to play there.
3) Shea Weber:  We're just mentioning him here because (unlike some reports out there) Weber is NOT being offered as trade bait. He is a RFA and the Preds have every intention of retaining him and signing him to a long term deal. Our sources tell us that Poile would match any offer sheet so none are expected.  A person who declined to be named but having knowledge of the situation tells Fauxrumors that a 5-8 year deal is being worked on as we speak.

4) Patrick Marleau: Sharks GM Doug Wilson has long been a Marleau loyalist, but the Sharks, who have several holes and a window of winning that looks like it has closed with this current cast, have to get younger.  In reality they should have thought about this three years ago when they took the “C” and give it to Thornton. The problem is his 2 years at almost 7 million AND a No movement clause. perhaps Patrick will waive it?  We're told he'd be willing to a handful of teams. So who and whom would be interested?
  • Montreal: Patrick can speak French so ofcourse the Habs have interest!  We're told only PK Subban is off the table. Sorry Canadien fans, Doug Wilson won't be asking for Scott Gomez!
  • Winnipeg: Needing to add salary the Jets appear to have interest in the veteran forward. Not sure what/whom they'd ask for in return but the jets aren't deep in assets other than draft picks and Evander Kane is NOT available!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Big Names On The Move?

1) Unlike last off season there is considerable intrigue concerning several big name (salaried) NHL stars possibly/definitely being shopped as we approach draft day. We will break up this post into 2 seperate pieces. One today specificly regarding the players that are most definitly on the trade market, followed by players who are not free agents but are still quietly being dangled as trade bait.
 First the two players most definitely that are available for the right price:

2)  Rick Nash: The big (former) Blue Jacket power forward asked to be dealt midway through last season. Of course regular readers to this blog knew that before it became public.  Our post: outlines this well. Unfortunately (for Columbus) they are still being run by the inept Scott Howson. Our sources tell us that Howson's demands for Nash are "totally insane". As one western scout told us:" He's (Howson) is asking for the moon and if he doesn't come back to Earth Nash isn't going anywhere".  Additionally Nash's enormous contract ( 6 more years with a 7.8 mil cap-hit) make  adeal difficult even with a willing partner, and with CBA uncertainty its even more tenuous.  So who might be interested?  
  • WE heard the Bruins inquired early on but the talks ended when Howson asked for BOTH Kreci AND Lucic.
  • The Maple Leafs are VERY interested (ofcourse) and have offered Clarke McArthur and Grabovski. Howson, we're told is holding out for more, possibly a goalie AND the Leafs 1st round pick this and next season
  • The Flyers and Paul Holmgren are again looking to improve themselves are we're told have looked into acquiring Nash. A package of Van Ryemsdyk, Bobrovsky and a 1st rounder could work we're told.  Howson wants more but Holmgren refuses to include Schenn
  • The Sharks are another team with keen interest, but we're told Howson would prefer to trade Nash to a Eastern Conference team.  The Sharks would offer a package of Joe Pavelski a goalie and picks.
  • The Vancouver possibility could solve both teams' problems. The Jackets unload Nash, and the 'Nucks solve their goaltending problems, but is Howson dumb enough to acquire the overpaid Luongo?      
  • Could Nash stay?  Its possible we're told, but its 80: 20 against. Certainly Columbus might need Nash to expand his list of cities if they hope to truly want make a deal. It remains to be seen if Nash will do this considering the events that have gone down leading up to Nash wanting a trade out of Columbus.

3) Roberto Luongo: The oft (deservedly) maligned Canucks goalie has not publicly asked to be traded, nor has the team said they would, but after the past 2 playoff busts and the emergence of Back-up-? and RFA Cory Schneider its logical that one of them has to go, and Luongo and his big contract, and underwhelming post season record, would appear to be the logical option. So where:
  • Chicago:  The BlackHawks are one team in need of a goaltending upgrade, but would Vancouver want to deal with a big conference rival?
  • Columbus: (See above visa vie Nash). The Jackets are not close to competing for a Cup or even the playoffs so dealing for Luongo makes no sense. That said Scott Howson is their GM so senseless moves are always possible 
  • Edmonton: The Oilers have an old Kahbibulin and unproven Devan Dubnyk.  They also have tons of kids and prospects to deal. Would they want a big contract to go between the pipes?  Jordan Eberle or Sam Gagne would have to be included, but NOT one of their most recent 1st overpicks.
  • Florida: 'There's No place like home"?  The cats feel they are close to competing and T-60 and Clemmensson were not all that great and Roberto's wife is a native Floridian, so why not?
  • Tampa Bay; Not home, but close. ;)  Steve Yzerman is too savvy to trade for Luongo's bloated contract. He'd probably be happy with Schneider, and has the assets to acquire him, but would vancouver elect to keep Luongo instead? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parise Disses Rangers?

1) In a long off season when there is little actual news to report stories like the one published yesterday tend to garner more interest than they otherwise would, in my opinion.  Yesterday we had the (non) story of impending Unrestricted free agent,and current New Jersey Devil Zac Parise stating an emphatic NO when asked if he would consider playing for the New York Rangers.  Now for the record we at Fauxrumors wrote just that 3 weeks ago. To remind those who may have missed it, in our post rangers-to-court-semin we wrote: "Sather and the Rangers have been told quietly by Parise representatives NOT to expect their client to listen to offers from NY. Not that Zac has anything against NY, but his list of destinations are either to stay in Jersey, go 'home' to Minnesota, or play for a west coast team (Ducks/Sharks)"

2) Therefore in my estimation Zac simply was being honest, public and up front about his intentions. The Rangers, we were told, already knew this weeks ago and therefore didn't take this as being anything Earth shattering as the NY press especially is attempting to make this into.  The kid's a UFA, and probably for the one and only time will have carte blanche of where he plays next.  At least the Rangers know early that they need to not wait for Parise or think in those terms. They know already they are not in the mix. In that regard we feel that Zac did their organization a favour.  In somewhat related news we are planning an upcoming post concerning some players who are NOT free agents but nonetheless are likely to be on the move by July1.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Patrick Kane Still a Dick or Just a Dumb Drunk?

1) As some might recall we did a scathing post about Chicago Black hawk star forward Patrick Kane about 3 years ago. You can read the post, but basically he was being a bully drunk thug/dick to an elderly cabbie in his home town Buffalo with a cousin. One can attribute this to his being still young at the time (20). We still don't excuse the incident, but if it were to end there we might be more likely to forget and move on.

2) Fast forward 3 years when the now  23 year old Kane was seen at the University of Minnesota hanging out and partying hearty like he was a college freshman on his own away from his parents for the first time. Pictures like the one below of a passed out Kane have circulated throughout the Internet and seem to indicate that Patrick not only didn't learn much (if anything) from the Buffalo incident, but perhaps he 'has a alcohol problem'??  Certainly team officials (who didn't comment on the record)  are extremely worried about this and other "incidents" that Kane has been involved with the past couple of years.
3) WE are hearing and reading story after story of drunken romps both in The Windy City, on road trips and elsewhere in the off seasons to the point now that the team is very concerned.  Especially that his offensive productions seems to be diminishing from its peak in 09-10 (Cup season) when he got 30 goals and 88 points to this past season when he managed (due to a late surge) to get 23 goals and 66 points.  Most players don't peak at 21 and then fade.  Clearly there seems to be an issue(s) here? Does the team need to have an intervention? 

Monday, June 11, 2012

LA Kings Of The NHL!

1) Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on capturing their first ever Stanley Cup, defeating the NJ Devils tonight; becoming the first-ever 8th seed to do so. Not only were they the first 8th seed to win, but they did so in a fashion none would expect even from a 1st seed/Presidents Trophy winner. Dominating the playoffs from start to finish. They set a single playoff series record with 11 road wins.  They literally mowed through the 1st , 2nd 3rd Western Conference seeds and then beat the Eastern Conference champs.  Yes, we got another playoff series prediction dead on in the winner and number of games required

2) So the obvious question(s) are: Were the Kings huge underachievers all season?  Did things just come together at the right time?  Was this the best playoff run of all time?
  • The Kings were expected to compete or all out win their division. This what we wrote in our preseason Kings prediction on October 6th, 2011: The Kings long re-build is finally paying off? If so its time they make a run for the division and show it where it counts most, in spring. Difference Maker: Dustin Penner. Our Penner mention seems prophetic as the big winger has had a break out spring.
  • It can be argued that they did underachieve especially early on, but don't underestimate the coaching change and the addition of Jeff Carter. We believe the expulsion of Murray in favour of Sutter was instrumental in changing the mentality from losing to winning
  • Well it can be argued that this is one of the better playoff runs ever. Since the NHL expanded the playoffs to four 7 game rounds only the 1988 Edmonton Oilers have lost as few as two games, but they were expected to be there and they did NOT win 11 of those games away from The Northlands Coliseum (as Rexal Place was called back then). 
3) So the inevitable questions we always here when we crown a new champ: Is this the beginning of a dynasty?  Winning the Cup is not always the first step in a series of championships. On the contrary, there hasn't been a back-to-back Cup champ since the 97-98 RedWings or 17 years. That said,  when you take a close look at the makeup of the Kings, it is not entirely unrealistic to expect this franchise to win a few Cups over the next five or six seasons.This is a relatively young hockey team. Their best forward, Kopitar is 24. Best defensemen Doughty is 22, and Quick is the 'gray beard' in goal at 26. Richads, Carter and Brown are all in the mid/late 20's so all have plenty of hockey left. Can they stay motivated/focused playing in Tinsel town?  That will be Sutter's challenge starting in September!

4) So begins the LONG(er than usual?) NHL off season.  The entry draft in Pittsburgh will be on June 22nd and expect plenty of intrigue and rumours before the big day(s).  We fully expect some big deals and trading of picks and other assets to accompany the days leading up to and on draft day as well. Look for all that and other rumours as we get closer, as well as plenty of CBA discussion to take place over the next couple of months.  AS always, keep it here for all the latest!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thomas Screws Over Bruins?!?

1) The news today that Tim Thomas is going to sit out the 2012-2013 season has got to piss off "The Bruin Nation".  Certainly management has every right to be totally teed off at the former Conn Smythe/Vezina Trophy winner's announcement that he is going to forgo playing next season to, as he put it..." it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's. "Friends, Family, and Faith...."  OK, for the record we are Thomas supporters and were not one of the left-wing hoard of media/bloggers who were all over Thomas for his statement to stay home from the team White House visit. That said there is almost no way we can support this move. UNLESS there is a real pressing personal matter that we are currently not privy to. If his marriage was at stake. If he had a very ill child, etc we could excuse the move, but without that information we can NOT.

2) So some ask, Faux Isn't Thomas giving the team plenty of notice to make other arrangements unlike that selfish move by Scott Niedermayer who sat on his hands until the last possible minute before deciding to play/retire?  Well there are significant differences folks. The most important is the salary cap AND his team mate/fellow goalie Tuukka Rask. 
  • With regard to the cap. Because Thomas' current contract was signed after he turned 35 it is locked into the Bruins cap number regardless of whether he plays or not.  So in essence Thomas is screwing the Bruins out of 5 million in salary cap space.
  • By making the announcement publicly now he eliminates the Bruins chance at dealing him. Who (besides maybe the Islanders) would trade for a player to merely increase their cap hit? 
  • With regard to Rask, Tuukka should send Thomas a % of his next contract. The 25 year old Finn is a RFA who now has increased his value 10 fold that he appears to be the only NHL goalie on the Bruins roster.  Perhaps he would have had to settle for a modest raise, but now his agent can pay hard ball (as much as a RFA can) and demand starting goalie money of  > than 3 mil/season. A nice pay raise from the 1.5 he made last season. So the Bruins would in essence be paying starters money to 2 goalies!
3) The 38-year-old went 35-19-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage this past season. In the playoffs, he had a 2.14 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Thomas won the 2009 and 2011 Vezina Trophy, and has a 196-121-45 record and 2.48 GAA in 378 career games with the Bruins. In 50 postseason games, he holds a 29-21 mark with a 2.07 GAA. Thomas won the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy after leading Boston to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972.  Its too bad the Flint Michigan native has tarnished his image so badly with this move.  Again we hold out that its possible Thomas has a legit reason for this move, but until its known/confirmed there is little doubt the result of his actions Dicked his (former) team!

Monday, June 4, 2012

One of The Best Hangs Em' Up!

1) Last week the expected official announcement of Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement was made by the 42 year old Swedish defensemen.  There is little doubt that Nick will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was the epitome of what a defensemen should be. Combining great offensive ability with an almost effortless positional defense that was second to none.  No doubt history will regard Lidstrom as one of the best at his position; rating up there with Orr, Bourque, Potvin and Robinson. 

2) Not only was he a great hockey player but probably as (if not more) importantly EVERYONE who knew/ever met him NEVER had anything negative/bad to say about him.  All the positives that have been written about Lidstrom are true.  He may not be perfect (Only God himself is), but he’s as close as a person can come to being perfect.  He will live forever as a life long Red Wing, a hockey immortal, Hall-of-Famer and player who's jersey number will never be worn again.  He will also be recalled as a person who was an equally good player, teammate, captain, friend and no less important a committed and dedicated husband and father!   To me, the ladder are more important than the 4 Cups and several shelves- full of Norris Trophys.  Mr. Lidstrom you will not only be missed by your Red Wings, but the entire NHL!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rangers to Court Semin?

1) That's the word we are hearing today from some of our NY sources. Apparently Glenn Sather believes that he has no chance of landing the #1 UFA forward in Zac Parise (more on him later), and would prefer to not to have to deal away any major roster pieces to land Rick Nash from Columbus. Our Ohio sources tell us that GM Scott Howson  has told 'Slats' that the bidding on Nash starts with Del Zotto and either Kreider/Dubinsky and (2) 1st rounders. 

2) An older wiser Sather knows that blowing up his team for the sake of one marquis player (usually) doesn't work.  Many around the organization feel they are a player or two away from winning it all. They feel all they need is one more consistent sniper.  They thought they had that in Marian Gaborik, but he failed to make much impact in the post season.  So Sather is now looking towards the UFA forward class to see if there is anyone who can help his team. The Rangers have about 15 million in Cap space to fill that need along with signing 4-5 other players (including RFA Del Zotto).  So the CBA issues not withstanding, there is some space to play with.  Additionally Sather and the Rangers have been told quietly by Parise representatives NOT to expect their client to listen to offers from NY. Not that Zac has anything against NY, but his list of destinations are either to stay in jersey, go 'home' to Minnesota, or play for a west coast team (Ducks/Sharks) 

3) Which brings us to (former-?) Capitals winger Alex Semin. The soon-to-be UFA would appear to be the 2nd best forward option available in the paper-thin class of UFA's this summer.  The much (deservedly) maligned Russian has wowed and amazed and pissed off his team mates/coaches(sometimes on the same shift) with his immense talent coupled with almost zero hockey sense/IQ. He can make a ridiculous/dazzling move one second and take a dumb/lazy hooking penalty the next.  There is no doubt he possesses oodles of talent, but does he deserve big money??  In my opinion its a resounding NO!  However, we also believe that he will be offered a short term (2 year) deal worth upwards of 7 mil per.  Semin who is a shy reserved sort does have some friends in the NY Russian community so a move there would make sense for him. Additionally Semin has always played well in MSG.  The fit appears to make sense on those fronts, but the one that doesn't is the Tortorella factor. How long before 'Torts' would explode/bench the enigmatic Russian?  In my opinion it would take about 2 shifts!  LOL. Stay tuned as the UFA period is still 4 or so weeks away and this situation is still fluid.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!
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