Monday, July 30, 2012

Penguins Revamp medical Staff

1) In an unsurprising move (at least not surprising to our readers) the Pittsburgh Penguins have overhauled their medical staff.  The Pittsburgh Penguins named Dr. Christopher Harner to lead the team's medical staff.  Dr. Harner replaces Dr. Charles Burke, who was removed after 24 years with the organization.  Why is this not surprising to we at Fauxrumors? Well, almost a year ago we did a post called next-great-one-career-threatened.  In the post we specifically  say with regard to the medical staff:
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!

2)  Then very specifically we went right at the Penguins medical staff, (Dr Drew seen above) in a post we did last January: penguin-doctors-incompetent.  Evidently we had our information correct there. Teams don't generally have a complete flushing of their entire medical staff from top to bottom. Apparently management saw what we did; Utter incompetence. As we also wrote then it was the Crosby family that demanded this change. They lost total confidence in their abilities to care for Sid. They didn't want to go public like the Lindros camp did 2 decades earlier with regard to Eric's near fatal (undiagnosed) lung problem. We have been told that part (unwritten) of the contract agreement that Sid signed recently was that the Pens overhaul their medical team and bring in specialists who are acquainted with and have treated concussions.  Lets hope the new medical professionals have their patient's best interests in mid when they are being treated, and not whats best for the team's performance.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Buy-out Candidates

1) If, as many are surmising/predicting, any new CBA negotiated between the NHLPA and NHL will include, like last go around, a one time buy out without penalty. That is, teams will be able to buy themselves out of contracts without being penalized against the salary cap like they would be normally. To that end we went through the current roster of players and came across several contracts that were clear no-brainers to be bought out and several that SHOULD be but probably won't be.

  • Scott Gomez: Has 2 years left at a cap hit of 7.3, yet is only due 10 million over that time so makes sense to buy him out and save cap space. Its complicated but the savings for the Habs would be 3.8 mil this season, and 2.8 next.  This one is the most likely to actually happen

  • Roberto Luongo: With 10 years remaining (really only 6 of them at a high slary) concievably the Caunucks can take 20 years to pay this off at a hit of 1.5 million IF they don't find a trading parrtner this might be Gillis' last option 

  • Paul Statsney: Like Luongo, his contract exceeds his usefulness and makes a trade difficult. Has 2 years left at 6.6 million. The savings would be 4 million.  The Av's have been trying to peddle him and there are no takers because of the contract.Time to cut bait.

  • Alex Ovechkin: The no longer Great 8 has 9 more years at a 9.5 cap hit. Ouch! It would 'only' cost the Caps 3.2 mil against the cap the next 18 years. OV needs to show he is not already on the down side with a 40 goal 90+ point season.  We doubt the Caps will 'buy him out', but we believe it would ake good sense to do it now before its too late 

  • Rick Dipietro: Baring an injury or forced retirement the Isles have to pay their 'goalie for life' another 9 years at 4.5 million. A lot to pay a back up or a guy frequently on injured reserve!  It would cost the Isles 1.5 mil for the next 18 years, or perhaps they're grooming him to be the next GM? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Mole?

1) One aspect of the NHL-NHLPA negotiations that we didn't think of until a trusted source alerted us to it last night was the fact that Gary Bettman and the owners have a key advantage over the NHLPA. Specifically, they know in advance almost all the players sentiments/proposals, thought processes that go into their positions, etc before they are officially relayed to the league. The players have no such advantage. They don't know what the owners are thinking until its formally presented at the negotiating table.  The owners can anticipate the players every move and can plan in advance their response.  How you may ask??

2) Simple, the NHL and Gary Bettman always have at least one 'mole', usually multiple moles who are fringe players who actively feed the league the inside player strategy/tactics.  We are told that this was especially vital in breaking the players last time around. Then NHLPA head Bob Goodenow wasn't sure who they were, but knew there were players leaking vital strategic information to the other side. This led to his becoming suspicious of most of the players, even some of the inner circle, which we're told hastened the fracturing and eventual crumbling of the players' resolve last time around.

3) The next logical question is why?  Why would a player become Benedict Arnold?  Simple, for money.  These select players have been given assurances of jobs. Not only as a player, but  positions within the league or one of the 30 organizations. These players are usually fringe, 4th liners at best, so these 'guarentees' of employment are hard to resist. We're told while Donald Fehr doesn't know who the possible moles are, he is aware of their existence. MLB tried a similar tactic with him back in the late 80's and it failed miserably because unlike the NHL, MLB players are MUCH more united and any player who would have attempted to do that would have been black balled and shunned forever.There is no such fear in the NHL.

4) Fehr simply has no other choice but to press on and anticipate that Bettman and the NHL will know his moves prior to any formal meetings and to negotiate accordingly. As one person with knowledge of the situation told us when contacted last night, "it really doesn't matter anyway, Bettman and the owners already know what the next CBA will look like, its just a matter of when the players will agree to it".  Meaning, NHLPA strategy is meaningless when the other side's position is cemented already and immovable.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weber Stays in Music City!

1) No surprise to Fauxrumors, but apparently its a surprise to may journalists and bloggers but the Nashville Predators have matched the offer sheet made by the Philadelphia Flyers.  Many were looking at the amount of upfront money, as well as thinking that the signing meant that Weber wanted out and this would force the Preds to either accept the four 1st rounders or perhaps deal their captain to The City of Brotherly Love.  What these folks were missing and what we at Fauxrumors were apparently alone in thinking was that the Predators HAD to retain Weber else they would cease to exist as a legitimate NHL franchise.

2) We maintain what we wrote last Thursday, that the flyers-do-predators-favour.  Nashville already lost free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter to Minnesota this summer, and losing Weber would have been a double blow to their defense-first team that had 104 points last season.  As they said in their statement, and echoed in our post last week we felt that a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with "deep pockets?"

3) Few expected the folks in Nashville to be able to retain Weber with the incredibly front loaded offer sheet the Flyers signed Weber to last week.  In essence Weber will get 68 of his 110 million in the first 6 years, including an incredible 14 million in his first year (including the signing bonus) Most other than us at Fauxrumors, felt this would preclude the low revenue franchise from retaining their captain.  What they didn't take into account was the fact that the NHL didn't want to have this precident occur during the current CBA negotiations. What better way to prove their point that the NHL needs better revenue sharing than to show how a small market team lost 2 of its stars. One as a UFA and one as a RFA. The ladder pillfered by a big revenue team by giving it more money than a small market team could possibly compete with.  So in the end the Flyers did the Predators a favor. They now will have their best player/captain signed for the rest of his career!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Rangers Steal Nash!

1) In a non surprise the NY Rangers acquired the services of Rick Nash today. In return the Rangers sent centres Artem Anisimov, Branden Dubinsky, and young defensemen Tim Erixson and a 2013 1st round pick to Columbus.  This is significantly LESS than what Howson was originally asking for Nash. The reason we say it was a steal is that Sather was able to pry away Nash without giving away Kreider or Del Zotto.  The 1st round pick is likely to be a 20-30th overall pick. Not exactly elite class territory. 

2) Yes, Anisimov and Dubinsky are nice players. Neither are old. Brandon is a character guy, but his durability and scoring have been issues lately.  The unknown will be how Erixson develops. If he becomes a top 4 defender as he was projected when the Flames drafted him 23rd overall 3 years ago then the deal becomes more even.  Some will say that combined 'Dubes' and 'Artie'wil outscore Nash, but its mute. The Rangers did not blow up their existing roster to acquire Nash and have added needed top line scoring that appeared to be the missing piece in their playoff run this past spring.

3) The pressure is now going to be on Mr Nash, who has performed in virtual NHL anonymity through his entire career in Columbus. There will be expectations to produce in NY. Starting with the head coach who doesn't care how much a player makes(Ask Vinny Lecavlier or Mr Gaborik). Between his salary and his past exploits fans in NY are going to expect nothing less than a Cup Finals appearance next spring.  Anything less would be a step backwards and the heat will be placed squarely on #61's broad shoulders. Is he strong enough to withstand the scrutiny and NY style pressure?  Time will tell. However on this date its all about the theft that Glen Sather pulled off.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Examine Their Heads!!

1) That was our first reaction to the published report out of Russia that stated that former Senator/Islander Alexei Yashin has a "firm offer from an NHL team".  Now, we take anything written in Russia with a HUGE grain of salt, as they are known to just plane, make shit up, and we have heard similar rumblings the last couple of seasons but since this time Yashin is not signed with a KHL team there may be some teeth/veracity to this rumour.

2) Let me say firstly that if ANYONE were to sign 38 year old Alexie yashin to a contract of ANY length we would advocate that the person be subject to immediate urine/blood tests as well as a mandatory brain scan to determine if they are on hallucinogenic drugs or suffered from brain damage/mental illness. Its simply insane to even think about adding him. It was dumb when the Isles added him at the prime of his career but after he had quit on his original team, the Ottawa Senators.  It was compounded by the insanely dumb trade made by idiot Mike Milbury. (Yashin and Bill Muckalt for Spezza and Chara.)

3) As we stated earlier this rumour has been out there each summer for the past few years. In fact last summer it was reported that Yashin was seen working out on Long Island. That in of itself means nothing. He's stil friends with Isle's owner Charlie Wang, and is married-? to Long Island's Carol Alt so being there is not exactly a smoking gun. Additionally his KHL stats have been steadily declining. From overa point a game back in 09-10, to under half a point per game last season.  In other words its not like he's been lighting up the KHL like Jagr was doing before his return.  Another reason this move would be NUTS!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Owners Proposal a "Starting Point"???

1) When the NHL "leaked" its initial proposal to the NHLPA last Friday many pundits/bloggers all seemed to make the same assumption (mistake). They almost uniformly, as if on cue, called it  "Just a starting point " Most of these writers (some of who's opinions we respect a great deal) think the owners are low balling the player and will eventually reduce their asking % from 46 to around 50%, etc.  Problem with that assessment is that history shows it to NOT be true. The owners didn't give in the last 2 go arounds. 

2) For those who may not recall the NHL headed by Gary Bettman held the players out for a 1/2 season in 1995, then again for an entire season in 2004. Both times until the players fractured and capitulated almost completely. Take it to the bank folks, this will happen again. Bettman/owners will certainly get the % down into the upper 40's and reduce the $ that can be counted as hockey revenue. The other issues are really meaningless.  The owners are united, and as I point out time and time again on my blog its much easier to keep 30 (29 right now) individuals united than it is to keep 700 unemployed hockey players together. There will be a lockout and lots of bluster then the players will probably fire Fehr (or he'll resign) and return to work with their tails between their legs

3) The only real issue(s) is the amount of money that the new CBA will consider to be "Hockey Related Revenue" and what % the players are going to be allowed to receive. All other issues are window dressing/meaningless.  From the most recent history, the players will be forced into a pay cut in every negotiation for the foreseeable future, at least until a significant chunk of the talent starts getting better offers from Europe (see our recent post on this red-menance-on-horozen

4) In our opinion the NHLPA long ago ceased (or has it ever??) being a useful organization to the players.  Its actually MUCH more helpful to the NHL/ownership.  Without an Association they couldn't institute a salary cap, or even have an Entry draft.  All players not under contract would be an UFA.  So as we read not long ago the players should decertify. As things stand, the NHLPA cannot do anything but shelter the employer from antitrust rules while facilitating the transfer of money from the players to the teams. Decertifying now doesn’t prevent a work stoppage now because the owners will dismiss it as a bargaining ploy, lock the players out and threaten to spend the next year in court instead of playing. If the players decertify after a new deal is signed, it can not be called /labeled a bargaining ploy.  It simply would be a logical move by the players as a whole to prevent/curb future bleeding that surely would result of the staus quo.  Yes, it might seem chaotic to think about, but from a players perspective makes sense.  It would be a starting point anyway, no?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flyers Do Predators a Favour!

1) The word leaked late yesterday that apparently the Philadelphia Flyers have given Restricted Free Agent, Shea Weber an "Offer Sheet".  The word is that its a 14 year, 110 million dollar deal that would amount to a 7.8 mil cap hit to the Flyers.  Ofcourse as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) the Predators have the 'right to match' the offer.  If they do (and we believe they will) the offer automatically becomes Weber's binding contract with Nashville.

2) The Flyers feel they are in need of a defensemen when they lost Carle to free agency to Tampa earlier this summer and its assumed that Chris Pronger's career is over. In order to try to prevent the Predators from retaining their captain they significantly 'front loaded' the deal. Reports indicate that  Weber will make $14 million in each of the first four years; $12 million in years five and six, or 68% of the contract in 42% of the contract length.  Not a bad deal for Shea.  He wins either way. We believe he decided to sign this deal now because its widely believed that the new CBA will severely restrict long term deals, so this might be the last of its kind. If this were 2 years ago we're certain Weber would have waited until next summer when he was a UFA and probably would have received an even larger offer from as many as 15 teams.

3) Realities being what they are, Weber decided it was safer to take this route. He is now financially set and will be playing the rest of his career in either Philly or Nashville.  The compensation for Nashville if they decide they won't match (doubtful!) would be 4 first round picks.  On the surface that sounds steep, but in all probability the Flyers 1st round pick will likely be in the 20-30 range for the next few seasons.  Its hardly likely the Preds would be able to select an elite player(s) with a pick that low in the 1st round. 

4) Even though it will undoubtedly be a bit of a hardship for Nashville to come up with such a large sum (14+ million) in the long run the contract is probably less than they would have had to offer to retain  him after the current season when he'd be a UFA.  Its a bit more than Minny paid for Suter, but Weber is a superior player and one asset that is absolutely irreplaceable!  Therefore we take David Poile at his word when he stated both before AND after the offer sheet was made that the (Nashville) would match any offer sheets. We also dismiss the nonsense that some are writing that Weber accepting the offer was alienating the Predators and that would force them to trade him after this next season.  Sorry folks, but once Weber is retained by Nashville there will be NO hard feelings.  After all, all the Flyers did was do Nashville a favour and ensure they have their captain for the rest of his career!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shane Doan...Superstar??

1) WE break from our CBA posts/discussio to more mundane discussion. That is the remaining Free agents. The thin crop of Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) is showing. We are reading reports that (former?)Phoenix forward Shane Doan may be offered upwards of 30 milion for 4 years. For the mathematically challenged (and you know who you are) thats 7.5 million/year!!!  That's "Super Star money" in my opinion. Especially when we all know that with the new CBA the cap will be heading somewhere south of 60 mil.  Additionally as a 35+ year old, his deal would be binding for the full length. No buy outs/or any other way out other than injury so a team signing Doan would not only be paying top dollar but risking it on a contract they will have for the full term regardless of performance!

2) So lets look at Doan's stats and see if he deserves the money. The former Winnipeg Jets 1st round pick in 1995 has played 16 NHL seasons. His most offensive productive was in 07-08 when  he put up  78 points. He has scored 30+ goals twice. Most recently in 08-09. If we were to average out his most recent 3 seasons in The Desert he would probably be expected to score 20 goals get 35 or so assists for about 55 points(assuming he plays 75+ games) To his credit Doan has not missed large chunks due to injury since his 3rd season in 97-98. he has played 72+ games in 13 consecutive seasons, but can that 'durability' be counted on now that he is over 35 for an additional 4 years?

3) Now, we're not saying that Doan isn't a very nice/good player in his own right, and certainly we would NEVER begrudge any player to get as much money as he can. However, we think that the numbers we are reading are a bit silly for a player on the other side of the hill and not likely to score more than 20 goals.  Yes, yes, we understand the intangibles of leadership, etc that he brings, but is that the going cost of leadership?   Teams making these kinds of offers best be careful when their actual superstars are up for new contracts. If Doan with 20 goals is worth 7.5 mil, how much is my 40 goals worth?

WE will have yet another CBA related post probably by the end of the week.  Sorry folks, that's the top story this summer and will be until the players give in, probably sometime in November.  In the mean time, as always, keep it here for all the latest!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Red Menance On The Horizen

1) What we initially mentioned in passing the other day with regard to the NHL proposal, that it might in the long term be a huge and fundamental change in the balance of power in the hockey world. Specifically we mentioned that the KHL is probably happy with the possibility that the NHL will be limiting the NHL players salary's.  In increasing the rookie or entry salary cap to 5 years we would possibly see fewer and fewer Russians and Euros in general coming over the pond to play.  Being that the KHL has no such limitation we would probably see fewer gifted Russians take the pay cut to play in the NHL.  Already we see players like Evgeny Kuznetzov, who the Capitals selected as their number 1 pick 2 years ago, opt to stay in the KHL and make much more money than the relative pittance they would get even with bonuses rookies can attain.  How many fewer would come over if that rule is extended 2 additional seasons?

2) Some say correctly that the KHL (as currently constituted) is inferior to the NHL and that few players other than a select few stars at the ends of their careers or fringe players end up playing there.  Well, that may be the case now, but the combination of economic realities in the rest of Europe coupled with the likely new NHL CBA we very well might see the KHL decide to go ahead with their long rumoured/promised westward expansion.  Already we know they will be expanding-to-italy-in-2012  why not Finland, Germany, or either/both of the former Czech-Slovakia countries as starters?  Their is money in oil/gas in Russia so there probably won't be any shortage of cash there, and competing leagues in Europe won't be able to match the money that the KHL might be able to toss at stars.

3) Imagine if the new CBA, which would ostensibly limit salary to under 1 million without bonuses for 5 years, was in effect now? Anyone think that the NHL's top overall pick Nail Yakupov would accept that instead of a likely 10 mil/year to stay in his native homeland? As we already alluded, its already happened to the Washington Capitals with their 2010 pick. Kuznetzov, the hero of the 2010 world junior tourney signed a 2 year 2 million dollar (tax free) deal. In US terms that would amount to be almost 2.5 mil to play at home, a shorter season and not be under the same scrutiny as he would be here.  Look for a WHA/NHL type competition we saw back in the early 70's.  We believe that not only will Russians bolt to stay home, but Europeans in general will take a second look at the KHL option. This will be especialy true once the KHL expands into more taditional European markets. 

4) We believe the NHL will continue to Poo-poo the talk of a rival league, but there is a reason the NHL has been playing games in Europe the past few seasons. Not only for the money, but they want the exposure to influence younger players to play for the prestigious Stanley Cup.  Problem is, outside of North America, 'The Cup' doesn't have the emotional pull it has here. Ask your average Euro/Russian in private, and they'll tell you winning the world championships/Olympics is the biggest prize to them. 
We also want to remind our readers who have not been with us from the start, we have been WAY out in front of this. We did a post 4 years ago about this very possibility: to-russia-with-love.  In that post we mention that in order for the KHL to become a true rival league we'd have to see:
  • the NHL salary cap begins to contract
  • If there is any new work stoppage in the NHL

Friday, July 13, 2012

...And Here We Go......

1) As expected the CBA negotiations started out calmly and professionally.  Both sides didn't sound overly negative or positive.  'Bussiness like' was the term banded about. As we wrote a few weeks back, we anticipated things would start just like this; with both sides remaining cordial as they start the preliminaries.  What we figured would happen next is probably soon to occur. That is both sides will soon break off discussions, citing one side not bargaining in good faith/not being serious.  The first indication that we're fast approaching that inevitable stage was the leaked apparent NHL proposal to the players.

2) Its now being tweeted and soon published among a variety of well placed sources, so we believe its valid.  The proposal would:
  1. Reduce players share of revenue from 57% to 46%  Even less than we figured.  Additionally(and this would be huge) the owners want to reduce the amount that that would be considered 'Hockey related revenue', thus reducing the pie the players can slice off further
  2. Limit contracts to 5 years ( We might here about Shea Weber signing his 15 year deal any day now!)
  3. Increase Entry Level (rookie) contracts to 5 years from 3.  We bet the KHL is cheering that!  It would almost completely stop most Russians, likely a large number or Euros (and a smattering of North Americans) from playing in the NHL
  4. No Unrestricted free agency before 10 NHL seasons (its currently 7) or age 28, which ever comes first.
  5. Elimination of salary arbitration.  This clause actually helped both sides, but some owners apparently thought they were getting hurt by this
  6. No more signing bonuses, and all contract years would pay same salary
3) Now, the knee jerk reaction we are reading is that the owners/Bettman have gone too far and the players will never accept this, etc.  Yes, its absurd for a variety of reasons BUT it doesn't matter. The owners have ALL the leverage. They know the players won’t sit out a season. They caved last time and they will cave (eventually) again, The owners know this. Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t ask to eliminate guaranteed contracts.  The final proposal will be slightly less than this, but eventually the owners will get whatever they really want. They always have, and always will. Only unknown is how much of the season will be lost before the players give in. 

4) Get ready for a NHLPA rebuffing and posturing etc.  We're certain like last time they will correctly point out that its revenue sharing that needs to be changed.  That the low income franchises need to either be moved or aided by large income teams.  All this will be mute.  The NHL will get its way folks.  They already know what numbers they will accept.  They have ALL the cards.  As foot ball and basketball fans and players found out; Billionaires can always beat millionaires!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nash Getting Last Laugh?

1) Published reports out of Columbus have stated that disgruntled Blue Jackets power forward has reduced instead of increased the number of teams he'd accept a trade to.  Thereby making it even more difficult for GMN Scott Howson to peddle him and get back what he feels is a fair return for the highly paid super star.  It was assumed that Nash would possible increase the teams he'd accept a trade to and make it easier for his trade to be consummated. Our sources, who have been dead-on accurate thus far, tell us that the reports are in fact true. Nash has given Howson 5, possibly 6 teams who'd he be fine going to.  Previously we've been led to believe the number was closer to 10.

2) So why the change, and why would Nash seem to be making it more difficult?  Simple, he HATES Howson!  No where else will you find this (yet), but we at Fauxrumors have been WAY out in front of this issue from day 1. From being the first outlet to alert our readers that Nash was on the block,  blue-jackets-looking-to-make-big-move.  to being the only one who knows the real reasons for the current animosity between the (former?) captain and the team GM. Where we outlined back in February the bad-blood that was clearly evident in the Ohio capital.  Initially back last fall when the team initially approached Nash his list of teams was actually about 25 as he was all over getting the hell out of the Blue Jackets' sinking ship. Then when the team threw him under the bus by inaccurately stating it was Nash that initiated the trade talks.  Nash instantly limited the number of teams he'd consent to a trade down to 10.  He felt he'd be more likely traded to a Cup contender down the stretch.

3) When that failed to materialize, and it looked like Nash would have to wait until the summer to be dealt he informed his agent to further reduce the number to 5-6 severely handcuffing Howson.  Additionally we're told by that same excellent source that Nash would be fine staying in Columbus. WHY? He now feels the team is far more likely to compete next year AND, this is very important, Nash would plan a training camp news conference and tell the fans the whole truth and totally undermine Howson and management for implicatingg him in asking for a trade. So as you can see Nash will win this either way. Additionally no matter where he goes (or stays) he still will get his 7.8 million for the next 6 years. Yes indeed its good to be Rick Nash, and he will get the last laugh!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Save The Dates!!

1) Usually when we post this annually we're fairly certain of the dates we're posting. However with the Labour uncertainty they are just what is currently published, and as they say, "Subject to Change"

July 20-Aug. 4: Salary Arbitration:   Hearings held.  Teams have 48 hours to accept of walk away from awards

Sept. 15: NHL/NHLPA CBA Expires:  This is SET, but the unknown is where things will be at this time.  If, as we fully expect there is no agreement, we would see yet another Bettman-initiated lock out.  All other dates after this are Subject to alteration depending upon Labour Peace.

Oct. 11: Start of 2012-13 regular season:   The latest we can recall an NHL regular season starting in quite a while. No European games. Anyone wanna guess why?  (See above!)

Nov. 12: Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Night: This will probably take place whether is an active season or not, but even this could be changed

Jan. 1: NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium (Leafs at Red Wings):  We know the NHL would HATE to lose this BIG pay day as well as the national exposure the event will bring.  If the lock out causes the cancellation of this game we predict the season would then be in jeopardy!

Jan. 24-28: All-Star Weekend in Columbus: If this is cancelled due to Labour strife, no one will care other than the BlueJackets and the city of Columbus. All star Games are a waste of time

March 4th: NHL Trade Deadline:  Like all the other dates, this will be fluid depending upon Labour peace and the new CBA

Apr. 13: Last day of 2012-13 regular season: (See above)

June 28-29: 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, New Jersey. Geez, what a place to have ANY kind of a celebratory weekend.  Go one city block from the arena and you best be armed. Certainly the 'local folks' will be!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Brooks Is Nuts!

1) NY Rangers Columnist Larry Brooks has been one of our favourite hockey writers for some time.  His run ins with John Tortorella are some of the most funny;postID=7750758086293205905  back and forths one can see.  He is also one of the few writers out there who see the NHL-NHLPA situation clearly and isn't an NHL mouth piece.  However having sad that usually he has trouble seeing past his big market(NY Rangers) bias.  You see in the Larry Brooks world every big name player wants/needs to play in NY.  Every big name is either coming there or is being prevented from playing there by some maleficence conceived by someone or other. 

2) His latest whine/column concerns Nashville's Restricted Free Agent defensemen Shea Weber. In The Larry Brooks world the Predators SHOULD find a way to trade Weber to the Rangers. After all, as Larry writes,"he'd be a good fit".  Can Larry point to ANY of the other 28 teams in which Weber would be a poor fit?  If he was actually on the trade block, and we are NOT hearing that right now, nor do we anticipate it, there would be at least 20 teams or more making David Poile offers for the 27 year old Norris Trophy runner-up. Why would the Rangers be the best fit?  This isn't the old days (and we're certain Brooks laments this) when the Rangers could simply use their financial muscle to get what they wanted.  Today, for better or worse, all 30 clubs are bound to a tight capped system, and the only advantage the Rangers might have is the allure of a big market and possible increased exposure/(non hockey income) and at the moment the chance to win.

3) The problem with Brooks' logic in his article is he wouldn't part with any of the biggest/best prospects/players to get Weber.  If you're not willing to part with something significant, you can't expect to get something for nothing. The days of getting a Mark Messier, in his prime, for Louie Debrusk, Steven Rice, and old Bernie Nichols along with a boat load of cash, are done Larry. Get over it!  The biggest problem is the Predators are NOT trying to lose yet another big named defensemen, AND they can afford ANY possible offer sheets a team like NY might attempt, front loaded or not.  Its in Weber's best interest, as Brooks correctly does mention, for Weber to sign a long term extension NOW, before the new CBA is written.  When its likely there will be a limit placed on contract length, and the sliver of cap circumvention used with such deals is closed.

4) Additionally, and undoubtedly Brooks knows this too, not all players want to play in NY (or Montreal) and be under the scrutiny of playing on such a large stage brings.  A lot of these guys are from small towns and prefer the slower way of life and not everyone takes to the metropolitan life style like lets say Henrik Lundqvist does. Brooks needs to realize the days of EVERY player being rumoured to be headed to NY are over.  The rangers actually have benefited from the salary cap. Since its implementation they have concentrated  on developing their own talent and this is what has produced dividends like Girardi, Kreider, Lundqvist, Staal, etc.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Four Years, No Nutz!!

1) Firstly apologies to FR. They originally asked us to NOT commemorate our blog victory over the delusional moron known as Hockeynutz.
 However, being that today is the four year anniversary that that imbecile finally gave up his insane/ perverse fascination with this blog we simply couldn't allow it to go by without mention.

2) For those who have become readers in the past year and are unaware of what occurred not long after this blog started almost 6 years ago until July 2008, an individual(s) located in the Calgary Alberta region (determined by IP address) quickly became amazingly obsessed with everything that we wrote here. He'd comment on almost every post we'd make with accusations of plagiarism, etc. He even started to make up several blog names to additionally comment here. The pinnacle of his audacity occurred in February of 2007 when employing the help of a computer hacker (or himself?) he stole our original blog. We hesitate to publish what it became, but to illustrate what kind of a sicko this guy is, we will.

3)As you can see even after he stopped his blog he briefly continued the ruse of mirroring this blog on the old site. FR's new approach of comment moderation coupled with alerting everyone of his tactics must have made his job near impossible and he slowly has lost interest. (Perhaps his parents took his computer away? LOL) We still occasionally see him pop up and use the Fauxrumors name on other sites to try to discredit the blog. Thankfully never to success. We have long since moved on and continue to grow. As we come close to our 6th anniversary of doing this, we want to thank everyone who has assisted us in this endeavour!

As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Prices Sky-Rocketing!

1) The word from sorces around the league seem to be talking to us in a uniform voice: Prices are Sky Rocketing!!  Not only among the few Unrestricted free agents, who are worth anything, but also some RFA AND GM's who have movable assets.  The ladder is no surprise. We have written on a few occasions that Columbus GM Scott Howson, Canucks GM Mike Gillis are asking very high prices for Nash and Luongo respectively. Now even Ducks GM Bob Murray, fresh off the ill feelings when they lost Justin Schultz is asking for the moon for winger Bobby Ryan. Thus the hold up in the anticipated flurry of moves we discussed that dominoes-set-to-tumble yesterday. 

2) We suppose we should have expected that the remaining Free agents wanting more based upon the first signing shouldn't be a shocker. WE are hearing that scum bag agent for Alex Semin is asking for a 3 year 24 million deal with a 5 mil signing bonus paid immediately (Insurance against the season getting cancelled). Gandler's logic: If Parise is set to make 12 mil and he scored 30 goals and 70 or so points how can my client be worth much less than 8 million and his 25-30/60-70 points (or more)?  In fact its quite possible Semin could get his price and interestingly from none other than Scott Howson. Other teams like Detroit and Pittsburgh have offered 2 year deals at a modest 12 mil, but with the chance to win a Cup. Of course its not known if Semin even knows or cares what the Stanley Cup is all about.

3) As for the RFA out there, the big fish is Nashvlle's Shea Weber. Part of him wants to go to a winner and might see the loss of his former defense partner a reason to cut bait and move from a sinking ship in Nashville, or to cash in big time on Nashville's desperation?  Certainly he can point to Ryan's deal and say "Look, he got 98 mil and he hasn't been a Norris runner up, what do I deserve"?  He has a point. Ofcourse he simply could wait, sign a 1 year deal, and test the UFA waters next summer with the unknown of the new CBA?  No one should expect an offer sheet, as the Preds would simply match such a deal (doing  them a favour actually)

4) As for the Nash/Luongo issues, we feel that Nash will either have to increase the number of teams he'll agree to go to, OR Howson has to reduce his asking price. We're told that Howson has actually INCREASED his asking price for Nash, thinking teams would now be more desparate. However he will be disappointed. We are hearing teams are getting a bid fed up with how he's trying to get a bidding war going. Teams like Philly might simply drop out of the process and move to other options. As for Luongo, Gillis is far less handcuffed to make a deal, but he'd prefer to get one done now. Deals during the season seldomly get the same return. He can't expect back too much. As for Ryan Murray CAN get top dollar with upwards of 10 teams making firm offers. We maintain that the Capitals are at the head of that list, and we might hear something before next week on that front.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Parise/Suter Burn Bridges

1) Not that either former UFA's Ryan Suter nor Zac Parise have much to worry about with regard how they are being portrayed/discussed in NHL inner circles. (They are essentially done with negotiating contracts for their careers) but the two made no friends with regard to how they both handled the process.   Non followers of this blog were probably thinking like the other pursuing clubs that they had a legitimate shot at landing one or both of the former free agents. (As we have mentioned we were alerted to the linkage deals among the 2 days before it was announced)  The problem is that the agents for the duo handled the process and discussed with multiple teams as if there was no such possibility. 

2) As one person close to the process (who works for a spurned team) told us yesterday afternoon, "those bastards (the agents) used us as pawns to jack up the price..... I don't think they ever were going anywhere else!"  We have to agree, as other sources have now confirmed that after the season ended for Parise he and Suter met in Minny to discuss their futures with their respective agents and they formed a game plan.  Their agents were instructed to get both of them long term deals with the same team, preferably Minnesota, although Detroit was left as the back up if the Wild appeared disinterested in such an arrangement.

3) Evidently early on the Wild were all over the possibility and gave a very nice offer, but not quite what the two (agents) thought they could get so they continued to listen. Starting with at least 20 offers on July 1st, followed by 5-6 VERY serious long term offers for each.  Clubs were miffed they couldn't tale directly with either player/make a presentation explaining the benefits of moving to their city, etc. Both are not the most overt types, and they were a little queasy at the process and didn't feel comfortable meeting with teams face to face knowing their real intentions so they let their representatives do all the talking for them.

4) One doesn't have to read between the lines too far to see that BOTH the former clubs (NJ and Nashville) were none too happy with how it was handled. When interviewed Lou Lamarello and David Poile didn't pull punches about how they felt about the process and that they weren't thrilled how things went. Additionally, the Redwings were quite miffed. They aren't going public as they still are pursuing 'other options', but internally Ken Holland was livid.  He felt quite used as he was told he was close to getting both when he submitted his offer. When he found out his offer was basically copied and pasted on to the Wild (13 years, 98 million) he knew that all he had done was help the players' negotiating position with Minny and they apparently had no intention of signing with anyone else.

5) Once again, neither player needs to worry as they are financially set, but their agents may be another story. Both the Agents for Zac Parise, (Wade Arnott/Don Meehan)  and Ryan Suter, (Neil Sheehy)  are now 'tainted' a bit. However, from what we can discern its unlikely they will be blackballed or feel the wrath from teams in any meaningful way. As one veteran Eastern Conference exec told us yesterday morning, "if that asshole Mark Gandler is still allowed to be talked to we'll talk to anyone."  That referring to agent Gandler who handles a lot of the Russian Euro players and over the years has had run-ins with teams (See Alex Yashin)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dominoes Set To Tumble?

1) As we alluded to yesterday, the Suter/Parise delayed signing slowed/gummed up the works for any other moves teams were contemplating as many thought (incorrectly- and more on how ppissed off teams are later) they had a shot at landing one or both of the big names available. The/log-jam we wrote about yesterday has already been breached as we saw a quick move by the Lightning in grabbing the 2nd most wanted UFA defensemen in Matt Carle.  We are being told to expect a flurry of moves over the next 24-48 hours and that several signings for sure and likely the trades we were discussing last month can finally get done.

2) The biggest move will be the Nash trade. The Flyers, Rangers, and Penguins, all Atlantic division foes, are now deep into discussions with the Jackets on what it will take to get the big forward to their teams.  Howson may not get his price, but with a mini bidding war now taking place he should get a decent return.  AS long, as one NHL senior official told us, "he doesn't get too greedy".  He should expect a 1st round pick, a dcent prospect/young player and probably a vet as a package from those suitors.  Of the 3, we're told that Nash would prefer to go to Pittsburgh and a chance to play with Crosby and Malkin.

3) Of course the Bobby Ryan availability is now widely known. All of the above teams and Detroit have expressed interest. However we are hearing from a good source that the DC Capitals have given a call for the scoring wing. To replace the (soon to be lost) Alex Semin.  GM George McPhee might be willing to trade RFA defensemen Mike Green and unite him with his former AHL/NHL coach in Bruce Boudreau.   Additionally the Luongo issue is now front and center in Vancouver. Although officially the team does not have to trade him, nor has he officially requested one, the team is now carrying 10 million in cap for goalies. WAY more than most teams.  "A move East" is all but assured, but this move of all those that we are hearing about could take the longest. Like in Columbus, Mike Gillis can NOT expect to get back too much for Roberto who carrys a hefty contract.
AS always, keep it here for all the latest!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thank You!!

1) This post is to both vociferously Thank our very accurate source who days ago alerted us as to the coming unified contract announcements by BOTH Zac Parise and Ryan Suter.  They even so much gave us the final location of the landing zone for both sought after UFA's.  This allowed us to alert you, our loyal readers, early on in the process of what to look for. We were able to tell you a full 2 days ago that a /complicated-suter-parise-deal  was being finalized.  Like we always write, keep it here for all the latest!!  :)

2) We also wanted to say a Big Thank you to all our readers who sent us along notes of thanks and praise for our accurate reporting.  We ONLY pass along information we feel is credible (unlike some pay sites)  We do this for the love of the game, not for the love of money.  Thank all of you!!

Log Jam!

1) In an unprecedented change from previous summers the free agent signing boom we would normally see the first day or two is not evident. In stead we are seeing a signing here and there and NONE of the bigger names. Why? Simple, the duo of Zac Parise and Ryan Suter appear to be gumming up the usual swiftness of the time of year. With a dozen or so teams not knowing where they stand with respect to those 2 other transactions are also on hold

2) Before teams will commit to other big transactions/trades they first want to see how they fair in the Parise/Suter sweep stake. Therefore the secondary tier of free agents such as Alex Semin, etc are waiting it out feeling that once teams lose out on the top 2, they will quickly be courted with significant offers. Additionally the "losers" will then turn toward the very fluid trade market we have previously outlined last month.  However the teams that would possibly be involved in such deals will first see how the Parise/Suter situation shakes out first.

3) We feel teams (other than Detroit/Minnesota) are wasting time believing they have a shot. We maintain what our reliable sources told us days ago, that a complicated-suter-parise-deal is being worked on/soon to be announced. However we're told just too many teams are holding up./waiting for these big shoes to drop before making other personnel decisions. We're told that once this deal(s) are completed/announced that the dominoes will quickly fall and the next 24-48 hours we'll have a flurry of activity that we would have usually seen on July 1st.  Stay tuned folks, we're hearing that the "log jam" is soon to be dislodged!!

Good Riddence!

1) In what has to be regarded as good news to the NHL and its fans, wth regard to asshole  Alax Radulov.  Russian outlets are reporting that Radulov signed a four-year deal with CSKA Moscow of the KHL that will pay him $9.2 million per year.  Note that unlike in North America thats 9.2 million TAX FREE, or the equivlant of  almost 13 million/season to play at home with Russian strumpets and a shorter season that won't be interupted by a labour dispute.  Evidently Radulov could care less about playing against/being the best he can be and instead is looking for the biggest possible pay cheque. 

2) Ofcourse who of us can blame him for taking the money and running? Well, we at Fauxrumors can. Afterall he spurned a contract 4 years ago, didn't live up to his promises and then came over here this past spring in effect to relieve himself of that contract obligation, and then proceded to break curfew with his Belrussain pal.  To recap, the 25-year-old forward re-joined the Nashville Predators in the final weeks of this past  2011-2012 season after spending four years with Ufa Salavat Yulayev of the KHL. Radulov "contributed" three goals and seven points. He also played in eight playoff games scoring once and adding five assists.
AS we alluded to, he was also suspended for one second round playoff game by the Predators along-side teammate Andrei Kostitsyn for a violation of team rules. Radulov was originally drafted by the Predators 15th overall in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. After two seasons in Nashville, the Nizhny Tagil, Russia native left the NHL to play in the KHL in 2006, not livin gup to the final year of his entry level deal to make big bucks in his homeland(sound familiar?).

3) As Faux wrote last month in his big-names-on-move-part-2 post he wrote that this move (back to the KHL) was the most likely scenario based upon labour uncertainty, the money he'll get there over what he'd get here, and his past proclivity to leave here once the heat is turned up, so to that end we say good riddence!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Complicated Suter-Parise Deal Being Worked on/Finalized?

1) The word from a very relable source tells Fauxrumors exclusively today that the Agents for Zac Parise,(Wade Arnott)  and Ryan Suter, (Neil Sheehy)   have been working diligently with their clients to get them both signed to long term deals with the same club. Although our source did not yet know for sure what club was making this pitch/ he was fairly certain that it was a Western Conference team.  We would have to believe that it would either be the Red Wings or Wild. Both have long been rumoured to be at the top of both players' lists of preferred destinations.

2)  From what we can discern at this late hour is that both players decided to see if they can work out a way to play together and win a Cup together understanding that it won't be possible any other time in their respective careers to be get top money and play where and with whom they want.  This would explain why both Parise and Suter are refusing to meet with teams in person.  Preferring instead to have their respective agents work on their contract details also understandin that there is a general money and length that both would get from most of their respective suitors anyway.

3) Our source did not know the exact details of the current offer(s) but we hear both will be years and in excess of 10 both greater than 90 million. The Wild and Red Wings both would be able to handle the salary cap liability that this would entail so no clue there, but we'd be not shocked to hear that both have signed with the Minnesota Wild before tomorrow is over. As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Dumb Contracts

1) As we usually see this time of year, teams are extending and giving out ridiculous contracts to players. Now some of those players are deserving of good money, but sometimes the amount is either well in excess of what we feel is deserved or more likely the length of the contract is absurd.  Its way early in the UFA sweep stakes and its quite likely we'll hear some even more nonsensical signings very shortly, but thus far here are  afew of the deals that we feel are nuts.
  • Jordan Staal: 10 years 60 million: Now we have nothing against Jordan, he's a nice 3rd, possibly 2nd line center, but 6 million for a decade?  Only if he becomes a 30 goal, 70 point guy will this deal pay off. Else, and we feel likely it will, be looked upon the day the canes were fleeced by the Penguins.  Not only did the Canes saddles themselves up to a long term deal to a player who has yet to show he deserves it, but they gave up a prety decent assett (8th overall pick) to do so when the Pens knew that Staal would leave at season's end anyway.  In addition his durability is questionable, which potentially could really make this deal look bad 
  • Jon Quick 10 years 58 million. Now, we understand he won the Conn Smyth, and was a Vezina finalist, but do GM's never learn from the past?  Goalies should NEVER, with a capital 'N' be given anymore than a 3 year contract!  5 is dumb, and 10 is insane!  Imagine the Canadiens gave Jose Theodore a 10 year deal after he won the Hart as league MVP in 2002?  He was never as good as he was that year despite still being in the league, and certainly wouldn't get top money like Quick will be getting for the next 10 seasons!  Jon deserved the 5.8 million yes, but for 3 years. If he stayed at that level then he would get a deserved raise to probably 6.5, but if he starts to look mediocre he would deserve less. Its a BIG gamble to expect Quick to play at this past season's level for so long!  History certainly says its unlikely! 
  •   Dennis Wideman: 5 years, 26 million.   A 5.2 millioon cap hit for a guy who is NOT a top 2 defensemen despite the inflated offensive numbers. In the second half of the season his offense dissapeared and he became a defensive liability to the point where he was the #5 defensemen on the Caps in the post season.  Calgary appears to have made the deal based more on the stat sheet and less based upon in-person scouting. They will be disapinted with their purchase
2) Now, as of this writing the big fish are still swimming out there. By that we mean Parise, Suter and to some extent Alex Semin. Of the 3 we believe that Semin' will be the one most likely to be added to our list of Dumb Contracts. Anyone who gives the 'enigmatic Russian' more than 10 million for 2 seasons is 'dumb'. We think clubs competing for Parise will wait to offer Semin a deal until they lose out on the Parise sweepstakes. As for Zac, we like him, and he's NOT Scott Gomez, but he's NOT a super star talent either. He has scored 30+ 5 times (eclipsing 40 once 3 years ago) so a team could antipate a 35 goal 75 point output from the LW.  With a dearth of talent avaulable and at least 10 serious suitors, he will probably get a double digit long deal possibly eclipsing the 100 million mark if extra years are tagged on.  Suter, as the best defensemen available, will also likely get full term and dollar and like his buddy, Parise is a top player, BUT not a super star who is set to make 'super star money'.  We don't think the teams that sign Parise or Suter will necessarily regret their choice, (unlike the Semin/Wideman/Staal deals) but we feel they are overpaying nonetheless, while the others will be handcuffed to these players.
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