Monday, January 28, 2013

End Of NFL (NHL) As We Know It?

1) Yes, this space is NOT usually used for sports other than ice hockey, but an event is occurring in the NFL which could have significant impact on the future of the NHL, and ice hockey in general, as we know it.  The issue specifically is the law suit being brought against the NFL ( and helmet manufacturers) by the family of the late, great Junior Seau. For non NFL (Professional American Football) readers, Junior Seau was a dominant defensive star for almost 20 years.  Seau starred for 13 seasons for the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three years before four final ones with the New England Patriots. Seau retired from pro football in 2010. Seau committed suicide with a gun shot wound to the chest in 2012 at the age of 43.

2) So what does the tragic death have to do with the NFL, and more importantly to our readers, the NHL?  Simple, the same issues that the Seau family contends caused him to take his life are also found in NHL players, current and past.  Studies by the National Institutes of Health concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of chronic brain damage that had also been found in other deceased former NFL, and more recently some NHL players. Many might recall the late Derek Boogaard who died of an apparent drug over dose 2 years ago as well as Bob Probert.  Both players' autopsy's confirmed they had CTE. It can only be diagnosed with post mortem brain evaluation so diagnosis is difficult prior to death. No doubt many players (current and former) from both leagues are walking around with this ailment.  What is not clear is how many are at risk from premature death, whether from natural causes or in the cases of Seau and Boogard, self inflicted cause brought on by sever depression; another possible side effect of CTE.

3) So how can these tragedies change/end the game we know?  Simply, IF the Seau (and for certain other suits to come) are successfully adjudicated by the plaintiffs, resulting in significant awards to leagues the respective leagues will have no choice but to significantly change the way the game is played. Already the NFL and NHL are trying to reduce head trauma with rules changes, but there is no way the can significantly remove repetitive head injury without changing the fundamental way the games are played.  Offensive and defensive linemen for example seldomly suffer from acute brain injury, but because of the nature of their position have repetitive micro trauma, likely every game they play. How can the NFL prevent this without changing the game as its been played since its inception?  Can the NHL end all body contact outside of unintentional collisions without alienating fans?  Surely successful litigation here would be a disaster for each league and fans alike.  Sorry, we are as sad to hear about the Seaus and Boogards as anyone, but whats next, suits against shoulder pads because debilitating degenerative arthritis sets in earlier with these athletes? Sorry, you accept the big money, you accept the risks.  These are not unwitting dupes. Hopefully juries will see through this money grab and not have their heart strings decide the verdicts that could ruin professional contact sports forever more.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 2 Results

1) Week # 2 is in the books. For the day/night we went a crappy 4-4. After a 4-0 start on the day, we lost all the later games to drop to the Mendoza line. Combining the  2 weeks we are 9-12, or a .429 winning %. We did manage to win the 'Lock" to get to 1-1 on that stat. 

2) Look for Week 3's picks to be posted early Saturday morning when we choose the winners of next week's games when 11 contests will be on the line. Also look toward this coming week when we plan several interesting posts. Starting early this week when we discuss the possible demise of the NFL, and how it could impact the NHL.
As always keep it here for the latest!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week 2 Picks

1) We attempt to reverse course after a shaky start to our season last week when we went an abhorrent 5-8 on the day/night or a .385 (winning) percentage. Its a relatively light Saturday schedule with only 8 games.

Colorado at San Jose: Sharks 

Toronto at NY Rangers: Rangers (Lock of The Week)
Chicago at Columbus: Black Hawks 
Philadelphia at Florida: Flyers 
St. Louis at Dallas: Stars
Los Angeles at Phoenix: Coyotes
Edmonton at Calgary: Oilers 
Nashville at Anaheim: Predators

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Isles To Market Brooklyn Hard!

1) The new Brooklyn Islanders (Yes, they will still be the NY Islanders) intend to attempt to market themselves hard to try to institutionalize themselves into the Brooklyn market from Day 1. For the record we say that Day 1 will be the 2013-2014 season, not 2015. Any who follows this blog regularly already knows that since last spring we have been stating/writing that we are hearing from VERY well placed sources that the Islanders are leaving the NVMC after THIS season.  In fact we knew this even before the official Brooklyn announcement was made .

2) So what will the marketing department try to do to retain and enhance the fan base?  From what we are hearing instead of attempting to retain the far Eastern fans from Suffolk County, the team will try to market to their new neighbors in Kings County (Brooklyn). Along with the Nets, "the borough will have its own sports identity", is how one local sports writer put it.  The Isles intend to tap into that old Brooklyn Dodger angle. Even, we're told creating a 3rd jersey that will use the colors that the Dodgers used last in 1957.Which coincidentally aren't that far off what the Isles current use only in different combination. There is no doubt a source tells us, that the Isles third jersey with Brooklyn in script letters across the chest will show up in some form very soon after the announcement of the team leaving Nassau for good this coming summer.

3) For the record we believe this will be a turning point for the organization. They will be looked upon differently by the league as they finally are able to pull themselves out of the perpetual funk the franchise has been in for the past 15+ years.  They will actually become 'trendy'. The young exciting lineup will be a hit with the young and trendy crowd in Brooklyn. Once that is established, finding UFA's to come play in the brand new digs will be relatively easy compared to before when UFA's used the Isles as a desperation stop or as a negotiation/leverage tool to find the team they really wanted to go to.  Income/attendance will no longer be a huge issue and finally after years of being ignored by the local media the team will again be considered relevant Happy days are here again for Isles fans, even if they now the old fans have to trudge there way into NYC to see their team.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 1 Results

1) Well, after a LONG wait, the NHL season is finally underway.  Unfortunately we at Fauxrumors are still in summer mode with our dreadful picks last night.  We went an awful 5-8 on the day/night. For a .385 (winning) percentage.  We even got our "lock" wrong. 

2) To show how crazy the night went an unbelievable 7 road teams came away with victories.  Perhaps those pre-game ceremonies had a toll on the games? Either way, its now history. We now lok ahead to week 2, next Saturday when a relatively light schedule of 8 games will be contested and we hope to redeem ourselves.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week 1 Picks

1) Its back!! As requested, and  back by popular demand our weekly picks. To review, each Saturday(typically the busiest night of the week on the NHL docket), we pick the winner (no spreads) of each game. Its NOT as easy as it looks!  Our goal is to minimally stay above the Mendoza line (.500), and ideally get to/above the .600 plateau. Additionally each week we will pick our "Lock of The Week" That one game we are particularly confident of.  So without further ado, here are our picks for Week 1

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia: Penguins

Ottawa at Winnipeg: Jets
Chicago at Los Angeles: Kings
NY Rangers at Boston: Bruins
Toronto at Montreal: Habs
New Jersey at NY Islanders: Islanders
Washington at Tampa Bay: Lightning
Carolina at Florida: Hurricanes

Detroit at St. Louis: Blues
Columbus at Nashville: Predators (Lock of The Week)
Phoenix at Dallas: Stars
Colorado at Minnesota: Avalanche
Anaheim at Vancouver: Canucks

Friday, January 18, 2013

Preseason 2013 Playoff and Cup Predictions


1)  Next in the prediction process is to use our published projected/predicted order of finish and use these as a basis for the playoff match ups. We will briefly predict these anticipated playoff match ups and determine this far out who will win each series culminating with who we believe is going to be the 2013 Stanley Cup winner. A few years ago when we did this we were very close to getting many of the match up/winners dead on. Last time not as well. Anyway, as we note in our season projections much of this is a dart throw. This is REALLY a dart throw in the dark! But hey, everyone else is making/publishing their Cup choice so why not make it interesting. Enjoy and feel free to tell us where we're off our rockers. LOL

First The East: Round 1
  • Pittsburgh-VS-Montreal: Montreal had to fight just to make the playoffs and it shows in this lop-sided first round easily won by the Pittsburgh.  Penguins in 5

  • Boston -VS-Tamp Bay: The heavily favoured Bruins are caught looking ahead and are out worked by "scars' troops after a long drawn out battle of attrition to advance to the second round.  Lightning in 7

  • Carolina -VS- Ottawa: Although the Hurricanes are the higher seed, you'd never know it by how easily they are disposed by the Ottawa.  Senators in 5 

  • NY Rangers-VS- Philadelphia: The marquis 1st round series. Both teams come evenly matched with Philly's star power up front vs Rangers stars on defense and in goal. As is usually the case, defense wins. (But NOT easily!) Rangers in 7

2) Round Two East:
  • Pittsburgh-VS- Tampa Bay: Repeat of a long series that the Bolts won in 2011. This time the Penguins are more ready and healthy than 2 years ago.TB fatigued from their previous series are no match for the high flying 'flightless birds'  Penguins in 5

  • NY Rangers-VS- Ottawa: Rewind of last year's opening round that took the Blue shirts 7 games to prevail. Although the Sens give New York all they can handle, in the end they can't muster enough offense to prolong the series. Rangers in 6

3) Conference FinalsPittsburgh -VS- NY Rangers: The battle many have been waiting for.  The potent offensive attack against the stifling defense and goaltending of NY.  No games get out of hand. At least 2 go into extra time.  In the end home ice is the difference as Pittsburgh gets the extra home game and win.  Penguins in 7

4) Next The West

  • St Louis-VS- Colorado: It won't be an easy task but this will prove to be the shocker of the first round as 8th seeded Avs out hustle Hitch's boys. Avalanche in 7

  • LA -VS- Detroit:  Like the previous series this one doesn't go the way most predict as the older(upstart-?) Redwings find a way to win the close games. Or at least enough of them to advance. A new Cup winner this year!  Red Wings in 7

  • Edmonton-VS-Nashville: A bit of a surprising  mismatch as the Predators try to play a defensive style while the Oils try to keep it up tempo. The Edmonton style is too much for Trotz's gang and the Preds fall relatively easily. Oilers in 5

  • Chicago-VS-San Jose: Probably the end of the line for the Sharks current assemblage that under achieve annually. No different this spring as the faster/hungrier Hawks outwork/hustle the Sharks.  Black Hawks in 5

5) West: Round 2

  • Chicago- VS- Detroit: Classic 'Original 6' series. Its no secretthat proximity breads contempt so its no shock that these guys hate eachother. Detroit is a bit worn down though from their first 2 series victories so can't keep up with the Hawks attack.   Black hawks in 6
  • Edmonton-VS- Colorado: The 'future is NOW' series as the leagues best young teams go at it in the conference semi's and proabbly not the last time these teams will compete in the post season. It doesnt dissapoint, but in the end Edmonton is simply too much for the Avs to handle  Oilers in 5
6) Conference Finals: Edmonton-VS- Chicago: WE can't wait to see this series! Much like the eastern Finals, there is no shortage of excitment in the hard fought, close series.  The young guns will prevail in the end setting up a dream Finals. Oilers in 6

7) Finals: Pittsburgh-VS- Edmonton:What many of us have all been waiting for.  The young guns of Alberta, verses the kinda young guns in Steel Town. Maybe what Mr Bettman would like, as having a Canadien team in the Finals hurts TV ratings in the states, but who cares this will provide GREAT hockey and have many forget about the lockout 6 months earlier.  Youth may be served, but not this year.  We believe that the Pens will ultimately win bu the NHL will be on notce that the Oli will be back.  Penguins in 5 to win  their franchises 4th Stanley Cup, and second in 4 years

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Apology NOT Accepted!!

2013 Preseason Predictions-West



1) Part two of our preseason predictions. This time focusing on the Western Conference. To review We will project each team's order of finish. Number of points, biggest off season Additions/Subtractions and name one player we believe might be the 'difference maker'. A player we believe might be the team's wild card. The top 3 are the Division Winners.

  • St. Louis (70) Little roster change. Can Cpt. Kangaroo (Ken Hitchcock) repeat what he did last year? He inherited a team that was near/below .500 but got them to listen to his defense-first brand of two-way hockey. Will his presence continue to motivate the team for a full season, or was it simply the change that motivated the Blues. There are significant Expectations in Gateway city. Anything less than a trip to the Conference Finals would be a step back Biggest  Addition: Andrew Murray  Biggest SubtractionBJ Crombeem  Difference Maker: Patrik Berglund

  • Los Angeles (55) Few would be shocked to see the Kings repeat. Essentially the entire Cup winning team is returning.  The lockout will probably prevent the usual Cup hangover. Having a 'full season' with Sutter at the helm should also help.  There are no weakness here. Good stable of forwards. A Vezina calibre goalie, and Norris candidate back on D. They have it all.  Their only enemy will be complacency and/or injuries.  Biggest Addition: None  Biggest Subtraction: Ethan Moreau   Difference Maker: Simone Gagne

  • Edmonton (53) Yes, the kids are going to be all right. Maybe even a wee bit better than that if they come together. An already young stud forward corps added Russian, top overall pick Nail Yakupov  If that weren't enough, added college offensive standout defender Justin Schultz who had no problems scoring in the AHL. If they can get decent goaltending, they could be the surprise team in the NHL this season. Certainly a divisional win is wouldn't shock us. The sky's the limit! Biggest Addition: Justin Schultz Biggest Subtraction:None  Difference Maker: Devan Dubnyk

  • Chicago (63) Joel Quenville will essentially have the same line up  that was one of the best last season.  No reason to believe the Hawks won't again be a top tier Western team. The only question that continues to dog the team is goaltending. Crawford will have to up his play to get the Black Hawks back to the Cup Finals.  Biggest AdditionSheldon Brookbank Biggest Subtraction: Sami Lepisto Difference Maker: Cory Crawford

  • San Jose (47) Note we feel the Sharks are still a playoff team, but no longer can be considered to be among the elite. They have a solid top 6 forward group, but some are aging a bit and maybe prone to injury. Thornton and Marleau aren't gray beards but still are now 33. Additionally, top defensemen Boyle, Stuart and Murray are all 32 or older.   Biggest Addition: Brad Stuart   Biggest Subtraction: Colin White   Difference Maker: Martin Havlat

  • Nashville (45) One can't simply replace a Suter. He will be missed, but they still have Shea Weber, and prospect Ryan Ellis is the real deal we're told! At forward their best players are all back. Thankfully without jerks/distractions, Alex Radulov/Andrei Kostitsyn.  With Vezina candidate Rinne in goal and the ever overachieving coach Barry Trotz back as the only coach the franchise has ever had, the Preds should get back to the post season. Biggest Addition: Scott Hannan  Biggest SubtractionRyan Suter Difference Maker: Sergei Kostitsyn

  • Detroit (43) No longer can be penciled in as a top 3/elite NHL team. That said, the team still posses a solid group of players at both forward and defense despite the loss of all-world Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement. The team drafts incredibly well, and of course is coached by one of the best in the business in Mike Babcock. So while the Cup Finals is not likely, the playoffs would seem to be  Biggest Addition: Jordan Tootoo Biggest Subtraction.Nicklas Lidstrom   Difference maker: Niclas Kronwell
  • Colorado (42) Despite the team has missing the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, good drafting and smart trading has left the team with a great core of talent and all of it under 30.
     Can the  team continue to grow over the next few years?  Certainly outside of Edmonton, this is the best young group in the NHL.  If the goaltending duo of Varmalov/Giguere can put up good numbers the Av's could surprise and be even stronger than we have predicted here Biggest AdditionP.A. Parenteau Biggest Subtraction: Peter Mueller  Difference Maker: Paul Stastny

  • Vancouver (41) We are probably alone in thinking the Canucks could miss the playoffs. Despite having a decent team on paper, we foresee a year of upheaval/controversy.  The Luongo on again, off again trade will be a season long distraction if not consummated soon. Forward Ryan Kesler is injured and might miss a month or more. They could still sneak in, but they won't be a shoe-in like in years past. Biggest Addition: Jason Garrison Biggest Subtraction:Sami Salo  Difference Maker: David Booth

  • Dallas (39) A PP that was last in the NHL lost Sheldon Souray, so despite the addition of Jagr that will be a tough chore to improve, but with a solid core of forwards someone is bound to step up. That said, a lot of those forwards are on the other side of 30. Can coach Glen Gulutzan
    coax enough wins out of Kari Lehtonen to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 years?  Probably not. Biggest Addition:Jaromir Jagr Biggest Subtraction: Mike Ribeiro Difference Maker; Jamie Benn.

  • Minnesota (38) After a fast start the Wild fell off the map.  However they didn't stand pat and added the 2 best UFA's available this past off season in Zac Parise and Ryan Suter. On paper would seem to have a very good top 6 forward combo. On defense after Suter not quite as impressive.  The 'other Niclas Backstrom will have to play at his best for the team to make the post season in the very tough West.   Biggest Addition(s)Parise/Suter Biggest Subtraction: Erik Christensen  Difference Maker: Pierre-Marc Bouchard

  • Calgary (37) Management has done a poor job in recent years.  Attempting to fill a perceived hole with a patch, when a complete overhaul is warranted.  When late March rolls around, don't be shocked to hear quite a number of Flames on the trading block including captain Jarome Iginla. The balance of power in Alberta has shifted north for sure! Biggest Addition: Dennis Wideman  Biggest SubtractionOllie Jokinen Difference Maker: Juri Hudler

  • Anaheim (35)  Can Coach F-bomb (Boudreau) get off to a better start than the Ducks last season?  Have one of the best top lines in the game and a top young defender in Fowler. Hiller can be dominating at times. However, we don't think there is enough depth ant any of the positions to propel them above the contending clubs in the West.  Biggest Addition: Sheldon Souray  Biggest Subtraction: Lubomir Visnovsky  Difference Maker: Cam Fowler

  • Phoenix (34) While it appears they have finally solved ownership issues (for now) we don't think the team that over achieved last season and won their division can reproduce that feat again. We can't see Mike Smith putting back to back Vezina calibre seasons. If he does then all bets are off and our prediction of a basement finish will be way off.  Biggest Addition: Steve Sullivan  Biggest SubtractionMichal Rozsival   Difference Maker: Mike Smith

  • Columbus (30) Likely their last season in the Western Conference, but not their first to finish at the bottom of that conference. Can John Davidson finally break the cycle of bad GM's with Maclean and now Howson? Every year we are told they are better yet they seldom prove it on the ice. They are without a top flight scorer and their goaltending on paper doesn't appear to be capable of playing at the required level to win most nights.  Another down year in store in Ohio's capital.   Biggest Addition: Brandon Dubinsky Biggest SubtractionRick Nash  Difference Maker: Artem Anisimov

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 Season Predictions-East


1) 1) Yes, finally we're back to talking hockey instead of law. Obviously more than any other previous season since 95 this is a real crap shoot. Get cold for a couple of weeks and you could be out of the playoff hunt in a hurry.  We will take injuries (as much as one can tell), players who were active during the lockout, etc, all into consideration.  So without further nonsense we will get right to it. We will project each team's order of finish. Number of points, biggest offseason Additions/Subtractions and name one player we believe might be the 'difference maker'. A player we believe might be the team's wild card.  The top 3 are the Division Winners.

2) First the East:
  • Pittsburgh: (65) Many saw the loss of Staal as a big loss the the organization. However, we feel that Brandan Sutter will have as many points as the younger Staal does in Carolina. Now have solid 1-2 goalie combo with addition of Vokoun We, like many, expect monster season from Malkin and Crosby if the dynamic duo can stay healthy. If they do stay out of the trainers room the Pens will be lethal and hard to beat nightly.    Biggest Addition:Brandon Sutter  Biggest Subtraction:Jordan Staal  Difference Maker: James Neal

  • Boston (61) The team being well-stocked with young talented players at all positions so few roster changes were made. This along with the best defense duos in the game in the Chara/ Seidenberg combo The goaltending duties will fall onto Tukka Rask now that Thomas is retired? If he falters things could get dicy in Bean Town. We don't forsee that and the B's are the likely NE division winners.  Biggest Addition:Garnet Exelby  Biggest Subtraction: Tim Thomas Difference Maker: Tukka Rask

  • Carolina (52) In the long run the Staal trade won't be a winner, but in a short season if they stay healthy both Staal brothers should propel the Canes back into the post season. The change of coaches to Kirk Muller seemed to rejuvenate the franchise last year after too long with Maurice. Can he push Semin to show up more than once every 5 games? If he does, the Canes should fight for/win the SE division crown. Biggest Addition: Jordan Staal. Biggest Subtraction:Brandon SutterDifference Maker: Jiri Tlusty 

  • NY Rangers (62): Despite regular season success the Rangers didn't get to the Final 4, so they added their 'final piece' in the big rig Rick Nash without giving up much. Can brag the best defense/goaltending combo in  the East.  If they score/have a good PP too they can be lethal.  If they all mesh/stay healthy NY will be as good as anyone in the NHL Biggest addition: Rick Nash Biggest Subtraction:Brandon Dubinsky   Difference Maker: Chris Kreider

  • Philadelphia (60) Their defense and goaltending not nearly as settled as it appeared this time last year.  They added Luke Schenn on to their backline and Bryzgalov now is the #1 guy for better or worse till buyout do they part? Forwards remain their strength so the Flyers should win more than they lose during regular season anyway.  Biggest Addition:Luke Schenn   Biggest Subtraction:Jaromir Jagr   Difference Maker:  Brayden Schenn

  • Ottawa (57) Last season we, like everyone else, thought they were going to finish last.  Now we are predicting a strong 2nd place in the NE. Don't underestimate the coaching change of Paul MacLean.  Also didn't hurt that  Eric Karlsson became Paul Coffey and thus a Norris calibre defender. Overall no dramatic changes to the lineup from last season, so it's basically the same  group coming back Biggest Addition:Guillaume Latendresse   Biggest Subtraction:Nick Foligno   Difference Maker: Kyle Turris

  • Tampa Bay (51) So far in his brief stint as a GM, we like what Steve Yzerman has done.  When he sees a weakness he doesn't wait, but addresses it. He went out and firmed up their weakness in net with the Anders Lindback We also like the addition of Matt Carle to their back line. With an already talented group of forwards the Bolts could be fighting for the top spot in the SE and certainly within the top 8 in the East.  Biggest Addition:Anders Lindback  Biggest Subtraction:Ryan Shannon   Difference Maker: Victor Hedman

  • Montreal (50) Can new coach (and more importantly Francophone) Michel Therrien get the Habs back on track?  We think so.  Not that we're big fans of the former Pens (and Habs) head coach, but this team under achieved so much last season that they can go no where but up.  The excision of Scott Gomez will also help team morale. Can (American?)  Galchenyuk make the team and help the offense? Can they finally sign PK Subban?  Biggest Addition:Francis Bouillon  Biggest Subtraction: Scott Gomez   Difference maker: Rene Bourque

  • Buffalo (47) This team will go as far as goalie Ryan Miller can take them.  If he resumes his Vezina calibre play, the Sabres could sneak into the post season. They made few significant changes this off season after making a big splash the previous summer.  We see them just on the cusp of the playoffs, but falling a tad short.  Biggest Addition: Steve Ott   Biggest SubtractionDerek Roy Difference Maker:  Cody Hodgson

  • Florida (46) Team Collage, is the defending SE division champs, but we don't think they can repeat the feat.  Everything came together for the team and head coach Kevin Dineen and the disjointedly assembled squad by Dale Tallon. Unless goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom suddenly impresses, we don't think that Jose Theodore can backstop The cats back into the post season. Last season for the most part they avoided the injury bug. Not likely 2 years in a row? Biggest Addition: Filip Kuba  Biggest Subtraction:Jason Garrison  Difference Maker:Tomas Fleischman  

  • New Jersey (44) Amazing that the defending Eastern Conference champs don't look poised to even make the playoffs, but we don't think they will.  Marty Brodeur is now 40(his backup is 39!) and unable to play all 48 games.  The defense is decent, but unimpressive, and with the loss of Zac Parise there will be immense pressure on over paid Russian Ilya Kovalchuk.  Biggest Addition:Steve Bernier Biggest Subtraction: Zac Parise   Difference Maker: Adam Larsson

  • Washington (43): Organization still in denial that they no longer are Cup contenders. That window shut closed 3 years ago apparently.  Despite nice mini playoff run last spring, we don't anticipate it will carry over.  'Team entitlement' moniker won't change unless/until they buy out # 8 (Never gonna happen). Lets see how long it takes for new coach, and Hall of Famer Oates to develop an issue with his team's captain? Biggest Addition: Mike Ribeiro  Biggest Subtraction: Alex Semin. Difference Maker: Braden Holtby

  • NY Islanders (37) Familiar territory for the other NY team. Destined for the bottom 5 once again, but when they move to Brooklyn next fall we think there will be a big turn around. For now, another season of growing pains.  If they can coax another good season from Nabokov they could stay in the playoff hunt longer than many think, but if he is hurt/plays mediocre even super star John Tavares can't propel his team into the post season on his back. Time for Okposo to break out or is he a bust?  Biggest AdditionBrad Boyes Biggest Subtraction:P.A. Parenteau   Difference Maker:   Kyle Okposo

  • Toronto (35) Team Turmoil. Coming off the firing of their GM 3 days prior to the start of camp. What's next?  A big Luongo trade if you read the local media. Remains to be seen. Even the over paid Luongo would be a significant upgrade over their current netminders. They do have decent forwards, but we're not impressed with their defense.  Without a true #1 goalie to steal a win here and there, it will be another non playoff year in TO Biggest AdditionJames van Riemsdyk  Biggest Subtraction. Luke Schenn Difference Maker: Luongo?

  • Winnipeg (30) Fans will quickly find out the party is over.  Now the hangover.  The Jets over achieved for vast stretches last year before falling back. We feel they will not only have the worst travel schedule of any (East) team, but will have the worst record to boot. Too many issues, and not enough talent. Seems silly, but fans are turning on their best player in Evander Kane? Regular readers know how little we regard new center Ollie Jokinen. Where he goes, mediocrity (or worse) follows.  Biggest Addition:Olli Jokinen  Biggest SubtractionTanner Glass   Difference Maker: Alex Ponikarovsky

Monday, January 14, 2013

Save The Dates!

1) As we approach the long awaited start of the (2012)-2013 NHL season we wanted to alert our loyal readers on some important house cleaning issues as well as important dates for the upcoming year. Firstly, look for our 2 part Season's Predictions posts later this week. We also intend to make our playoff/Stanley Cup predictions known as well. Additionally, we intend to continue the popular Weekly Predictions posts, where we pick the winner of every game each Saturday throughout the season.

2) Some dates to jot down:

Jan. 13: Training camp begins

Jan. 19: Regular season begins

Apr. 3: Trade deadline at 3pm et/Noon pt

Apr: 27th Regular Season Ends

May 3-19: 2013 World Championship in Sweden/Finland

June 28th: Last possible date for Cup playoffs

June 29th: NHL Entry Draft (Newark, NJ)

July 5: Free agency period begins

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brian Burke Canned!

1) In a NY Islander-esque move, the Toronto Maple Leafs have kicked up stairs (fired) GM Brian Burke days prior to the season.  Most around hockey were shocked to hear that the team on the eve of training camp (before a single game played) decided to can the man responsible for assembling the current roster.  Who coincidentally was involved in crafting the new CBA .  We're told  its not out of the realm of possibility that this was the last straw. Big market Toronto wasn't thrilled with the CBA limitations placed upon it. However that was only a small reason why Burke was canned. The obvious reason was the team failed to make the  playoffs every season which he was the GM. 

2)  The writing should have been on the wall this summer when long time goalie guru quit (was not retained) by the Leafs. Then, as we we wrote back then burke-throws-allaire-under-leafs-bus.   A team is only as good as its goaltending. Something Burke should have recognized.  The lack of success in TO can be directly traced to weakness in this vital position.  Additionally there were some personal issues that we will NOT go into depth here. Suffice to say they didn't help.  Also don't for a second believe his position of 'senior advisor' is anything but a figure head title. As a source tells us, 'Burke won't be advising anyone in the Leafs organization!'  Its simply so he can't up and leave them and possibly use his knowledge of the organization against them.

3) If only the megalomaniac had listened to Fauxrumors 4 1/2 years ago. burkes-secret-destination.  Here we wondered why would he want to come to the ever-dysfunctional franchise/media circus in Toronto?Who could ask for a better situation that what he has now? He lives/works in Southern California. He's already won, so the pressure is minimal. He's making very good money. Why turn this away for a chance to be in the middle ring of the media circus that is Toronto? As we said then, it was about ego! He wanted to be the one to do something no one had done in over 45 years. Bring a Cup back to Canada's biggest city. A feat that would have guarantee Burke hockey immortality. Instead his is just another head stone in the grave yard of failed Toronto GM's

4) Burke fans, not to worry. He will unboubetly land on his feet. Don't feel sorry for him.  Look for him to be set free after the draft/free agency period is done this summer. Likely August/September. Knowing full well teams (other than the NYI) hire GM's in late summer. If a position doesn't open up there is zero doubt he won't have a position in the NHL hierarchy. He and Bettman remain close
Look for our Preseason/Cup predictions before the first puck is dropped on 1/19/13.  Plenty of rumours/trade intrigue also abounding now that new CBA appears ready to be signed by the NHLPA by Saturday!


Monday, January 7, 2013

We Lost 1/2 A Season For??

1) Finally, there will be NHL hockey.  Both sides hammered out a new CBA after a marathon session this past Saturday in New York.  From what we have heard it could have gone either way, but in the end the players decided it was best to accept security than uncertainty regardless that they took a bath. We don't buy for a millisecond the story line that 'the players stood there ground', etc. They lost, big time!  Perhaps not quite as decisively as 8 years ago, but a loss is a loss.

2) The question we have to ask, is "What took so dam long"???  As we have written on numerous occasions, once "Hockey Related Revenue" and how it will be split are agreed upon, all other issues (other than revenue sharing) don't change the ultimate goal of reducing the amount players collectively receive50% is fifty percent (half)  The number of years on a contract, how each year varies, the age of UFA, etc are all secondary once we know the primary split of the money.  Certainly NOT issues that we should have lost 1/2 a season for!  In our opinion once the season was in jeopardy the players should have disbanded the union. Yes, it would have meant the season would be lost BUT it would also prevent the owners from avoiding multiple costly law suits. We bet that as soon as the players invoked the dissolution of the union that the NHL would have no choice but to relent to almost any NHLPA demand. The players blinked first

3) So now going forward we will likely NOT have another lockout for 10 years. Like before, the players won't opt out early (8 years) as most who are playing then will not have been involved in this labour dispute and be comfortable at their current (50%) share. As we mentioned last time, we fully expect the owners to further ratchet down the players share in 10 years to around 40-43% . By that time both the NBA and NFL will have similar splits as well.  The time to stem the 'bleeding' is past. The players lost the potential to win big, but instead chose safety. We cant totally blame them, but are disappointed that it took so long to get so little. So on to the season.  Looks like 1/19/13 is going to be the starting date on the abbreviated season. We will post our Reader's Digest' predictions, and other pertinent posts in the upcoming days.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Deal (NOT) Imminent!

1) WE want to update our readers as to the current state of the CBA negotiations. First and foremost a deal is NOT imminent!  Scores of writers/bloggers have already pencilled in January 19th ads the start of the 2013 season. Some are going over rosters, etc. Again, as we have been saying for weeks now, hold your horses. Things are going as we planned, but NOT ready to pop the cork on the champagne just yet. As we were told, the PA did NOT use the 'disclaimer' weapon last night. However they retain the right to use it and we're told it is in fact MORE likely to be used now than at any time.  Why?  The NHLPA actually has been going through and doing their homework on the NHL 30 page proposal. They have NOT liked many areas they have read. It seems the NHL summery of their proposals doesn't always jive with the 'fine print'.

2) Now, we were all set to do a post about the absolute inaneness of this whole CBA impasse. The discussions of contract length, variance, amnesty buyouts would seem to be all mute. Why? Once the Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) is configured, and how it is divided (50:50) all else means nothing. In fact why owners care how long a contract is (as long as it goes towards the players share, length is meaningless, no?  However, recent information has shown us why the players are now quite annoyed and MORE apt to 'diclaim'. Apparently the NHL has attempted to sneak language that would allow the owners to hide some of the HRR. Additionally, the previously 'agreed upon pension' issues miraculously were changed by the league.  The 'trust' that some writers/bloggers were saying was missing is no where to be found.  It seems that Mr. Fehr is doing his job. Representing the players' interest too well for the owners liking.  Would explain why they have grown to dislike him

3) So what happens now?  The NHLPA will reassemble. Have 'internal meetings'. Vote to give Fehr the power to 'disclaim interest' once again. Apparently this is what works with the NHL, threats.  Its a real threat too. For as we have discussed before, the NHL needs the NHLPA as much as the players do.,  Without it, there is chaos!  The NHLPA will wait to hear back from the NHL.  This may come right up against the NHL's self imposed 1/11/13 deadline, but one thing appears for certain, there will be NO deal before next week.  We will soon know if the NHL wants to get a deal done or wants to eliminate Mr. Fehr.
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