Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Expansion Imminent?

1) There has been tonnes of speculation regarding possible NHL expansion over the past couple of years.  It has intensified in recent months as several cities (Quebec and Las Vegas) are about to complete new hockey friendly buildings and are in need of tenants. There has been many false (according to our top sources) stories out there as well. We have been told in no certain terms that the NHL will NOT expand before the 2017-18 season.  With that background in mind we figured we go through each of the possible expansion locations and give our opinion mixed with what our sources have been telling us

2) Keep in mind, the NHL is denying all of the rumours, and states it has no plans in place.  Ofcourse  the potential locations 'leaked' make sense for one aspect or another.  What doesn't make sense is a 34 team league?  Additionally it should be noted that teams like the Panthers and Coyotes are very likely 'relocation' candidates. With that in mind here are our thoughts with regard to specific locations:

  • Seattle
Seattle appears at first blush to be an obvious choice.  Seattle has an NFL franchise, an MLB franchise and an MLS team, however they did lose their NBA team 6 years ago when the Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City.  The city is building a new arena in an attempt to bring back the Sonics and an NHL franchise.  The Seattle area has for years supported a junior (WHL) franchise.  Seattle is a location that has been discussed as a possible relocation site for years, and with its fairly good and stable economy they likely could support another major league franchise.  When the new building is complete you can bet that it won't be vacant long. We are told it would be one of the first locations given either a new franchise or as possible the new home for the Coyotes

  • Las Vegas
Vegas is the "done deal" spot that's being reported.  They are saying that the NHL wants in, and this is a location they'll land at in 2017.  However, it's one of the most interesting, and  problematic potential locations.   If you've been to Vegas you know there's no other city like it in North America.  The streets are busier at night than at day.  It's legal to gamble and to drink in the streets.  There are way more many distractions and potential issues in the city than in any other in the NHL by far!   How many teams would love to have their guys show up the night before a game and let their guys go and party in Vegas?  I'm assuming most teams would rather fly in on the day of the game and stay quarantined at the arena until after the game, then let the guys go off and blow off some steam.  Another issue is seasons tickets. Teams need stable group of folks to go to most/all their home games (the base)  How much of 'sin city's population is transitory?  How many just come in for a show or two, then leave?  An interesting way of viewing it is that an NHL franchise is another attraction in the city, and it's smart to put it there if only because the tickets to an NHL game will probably be cheaper than to go see Celine Dion or another attraction the city has to offer.  It might add to the novelty of going to Vegas, and you may attract more hockey fans that way.  It has the possibility to grow the sport from a stand point that some people might want to go watch a professional sport in Vegas to see what it's about.  It'll attract a lot of visiting fans.  I'd go to Vegas and catch an NHL game or two.  Why not?  It's a great vacation spot for young people. Overall while adding Vegas might seem a done deal to some, the league would rather not expand here unless there are no other options

  • Quebec City
This is the no brainer, of all no-brainers.  There is NO DOUBT that  the Nordiques will return.  Quebec City is certainly light years different  from Vegas.  Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in Canada, and the people there are aching for the return of the NHL.  The Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995 and won a Stanley Cup in their first season.  They currently have a QMJHL franchise in town  which draws amazingly well for a junior franchise.  The 'Remparts'  averaged 9974/game.  And that was down from the years before Corporate sponsorship on the other hand, will be another problem.  Opposite from Vegas the team will have no problem selling individual tickets and seasons tickets to the common hockey fan, however you have to think selling boxes and bringing in corporate money will be another issue. Much the same issue that had them leave 20 years ago. That said, it is an interesting place to see hockey again.  Their natural hatred for the Canadiens will be fun to see once again.  It is the most likely place for expansion East of the Mississippi!

  • Kansas City
There is defiantly interest on both sides with expanding into the nation's heartland. The most obvious plus for KC is the ready for a tenant arena that has already been approved by the league as NHL friendly (size and luxury boxes etc). The negatives are obvious;  it already had a failed attempt at a franchise. The Scouts came into the league in 1974 (with Washington) and within 3 seasons were moved to Colorado, (later and now the NJ Devils). It is the nations 31 largest TV market which actually places it ahead of Columbus, Vegas and Buffalo. However those other markets have enough outlying population to pull from that it mitigates their market size. Where as KC has little nearby to pull from.  The chances of an expansion team being given to KC at this point are relatively small, but it would be a top relocation destination if/when a team moves (think Florida!)

  • Toronto
Yeah, you read that one correctly.  The NHL is considering putting a second NHL franchise in the Greater Toronto Area.  Toronto has always been,and always will be a Leafs town.  Ever been to a Marlies game?  They don't draw badly but you can commonly buy tickets on the day of the game, and there's always empty seats.  People pass on the Marlies all the time.  Will the next team in the city be the same?  I don't think seasons ticket sales or box sales will be an issue.  Many  wonder how popular the team will be.  Regardless of a 2nd team in town the Leafs will draw a sell out, but the real question is if the second team can sell out on their own.  That's the real test.  In our opinion just look at Buffalo. Without southern Ontario support they would have long ago been relocated, and therefore they, NOT the Leafs would be the most negatively impacted by a 2nd team in TO. That said, I think there are enough NHL starved (Priced out) hockey fans in that regeon to be able to support a 2nd franchise even if they aren't all that good.  Its another no brainer and a HUGE  potential money printer for the NHL. No doubt  a new franchise fee could be near 750 mil to even a billion if you believe some pundents. That won't be a hindrance, now all that needs to be done is find potential buyer(s). Our sources tell us the sure sign its on the NHL radar is if Bettman is fed a question about it in the next year and he doesn't flatly deny it  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 3 -Results

1) Third NHL Saturday is complete. For the day/night we went a pedestrian 6-5 to bring our 3 week totals to 23-13 for a .639 winning %. We did manage to get our 'Lock' correct to bring keep that stat perfect at 3-0.
We will ofcourse be right back here next Saturday when there are an even dozen games scheduled. Also look for an upcoming post on what we are hearing visa vie possible expansion plans!
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weekly Picks- 3

1) Its already week 3 in the fledgling NHL season. Tonight we have 11 big games to be played. Thus far on the season we have a  17-8, record for a .680 winning %

Buffalo VS San Jose: Sharks

 Boston VS Toronto: Bruins

 Montreal VS NY Rangers: Habitants

 New Jersey VS Ottawa: Senators

 Philadelphia VS Detroit: Flyers

 NY Islanders VS Dallas: Stars

Minnesota VS Tampa Bay: Lightning

Pittsburgh VS Nashville: Penguins

St. Louis VS Chicago: Blues

 Arizona VS Florida: Coyotes  ( Lock of the Week)

Washington VS Calgary: Flames

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pronger=Player Safety???

1) Our initial reaction to the rumour that the NHL was going to hire (former-?) Flyer Chris Pronger to be part of the department of Player safety was comeon', that's gotta be a made up story. No way would the NHL hire a current NHL player, but one who has one of the most tarnished records in recent memory visa vie playing dirty.  When we finally heard it was indeed accurate we went ballistic. What the F$%k is the NHL thinking here?  Are the stories going around that Flyers owner Ed Snyder was influential in getting this done?
2) So lets look at Prongers past:

  •  1995: The league suspended Pronger, then with the Blues , for four games after he hit Capitals forward Pat Peake in the throat with a stick during a Oct. 29 game.Peake suffered a fractured thyroid cartilage and was expected to miss four weeks at the time of the hit.
  • 1998: Pronger, still with the Blues, was suspended for four games for slashing Phoenix's Jeremy Roenick on Dec. 17. Pronger drew a match penalty when he took a swing at Roenick's helmet. Colin Campbell, the NHL senior vice president and director of hockey operations, ruled that Pronger was attempting to injure Roenick in an "extremely reckless and dangerous manner."
  •  2001: Pronger was suspended for one game after leaving the bench and instigating a fight with the Kings' Kelly Buchberger during an Oct. 11, 2000 game. 
  • 2002: Pronger received a two-game suspension for cross-checking Stars forward Brendan Morrow in an April 3 game. The cross-check left Morrow bleeding near one of his eyes. 
  • 2004: Pronger, still with St. Louis, was suspended one game  for kicking Calgary's Ville Nieminen during a March 14 game.
  • 2007: Pronger, in his first postseason with the Ducks, was suspended one game for his hit on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom on May 15.  The hit knocked off Holmstrom's helmet and left him on the ice with a cut to his forehead. Holmstrom did return to the game.  Replays apparently showed Pronger hitting Holmstrom in the head with his elbows, leading the NHL to review the incident.
  • 2007: Pronger was suspended one game for his blow to the head of Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. McAmmond was struck as he skated with the puck toward the Ducks net. He did a spin, fell backward, struck his head on the ice, and slid into the corner in the Anaheim zone at 2:01 of the third period. McAmmond was briefly knocked out and left the ice looking woozy after several minutes of on-ice attention. (Only two other players in NHL history have been suspended twice in the same playoff season.)
  • 2008: In the first minute of the second period of the Ducks' game March 12 against the Canucks, Pronger and Canucks forward Ryan Kesler got tangled up in the corner behind the Anaheim goal. Kesler,  hit Pronger but ended up on his back, with Pronger's right foot between his legs. Pronger got his foot free, but video shows he took his foot and stepped hard on Kesler's left leg. Kesler was not injured, but he was adamant after the game that Pronger intentionally stepped on his calf. The NHL reviewed it, and no punishment was initially administered. The league got better, clearer video the next day, and on March 15, handed down the eight-game suspension, the longest of Pronger's career.

3) Now those are the times when Pronger was either caught or disciplined beyond a penalty in a game. In our opinion he got away with WAY more than this!  So he's the guy we want to manage/assist this important duty? Additionally, as he is STILL being paid by Philadelphia, isn't that an automatic conflict of interest?  No, FORMER player, not currently under contract, who hasn't been on the wrong side of the law a gazillion times were available?  Asinine! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 2 -Results

1) The second week is complete. For the night we went a solid 8-3 to bring the young season totals to 17-8, or a .680 winning %.  We additionally got our 'Lock' correct to get that stat to 2-0.

2) Look for us to be back at it once again next Saturday when 11 games will be available to pick. We will also have one or two posts this upcoming week. Our take on the Pronger hiring as well as some interesting trade rumours beginning to pop up already!
As always, keep it here for all the latest

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekly Picks Week 2

1) We enter the NHL's second full week.  Although its not quite as busy as last week, we still have a full slate of 11 games to pick.  To review we went 9-5 the first week. No easy games to pick from today!

Boston at Buffalo: Bruins

Toronto at Detroit: Red Wings

Colorado at Montreal: Habitants

Columbus at Ottawa: Blue Jackets

Florida at Washington: Capitals

San Jose at New Jersey: Sharks

NY Islanders at Pittsburgh: Penguins

Philadelphia at Dallas: Stars

Nashville at Chicago: Predators

St. Louis at Arizona: Blues    (Lock of the week)

Tampa Bay at Vancouver: Lightning

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who Gets The Axe First?- 2014 Edition

1) A popular annual post we do here at Fauxrumors is our annual 'Who will Get the Axe First. With the season underway the inevitable discussions will commence as to what coaches are on the proverbial 'hot seat'. With that in mind we'll go through the 30 current coaches and discuss who is pretty secure (as NHL coaches go), who is teetering on the brink, and the rest in between. If this season is anything typical, about 25-30% of the current head coaches will no longer have their jobs by this time next season. Like in previous years, we'll simply go alphabetically in the East then in the West: To simplify/quantify this we will use a scale 0-10. Zero-being totally safe, and 10-being close to out the door. At this stage there are no 10's (yet).  


Claude Julien (Boston Bruins) (2)-  Entering his 8th season behind the B's bench the Quebec native brings an impressive .650 winning %.  More importantly he has had post season success as well. Barring  collapse (unlikely in the weak East) his job should be secure 

Ted Nolan (Buffalo Sabres) (4)  With the interim label removed Ted officially starts his second tenure as Sabres coach with a 'brief' 16 season hiatus.  While there are few expectations to make the playoffs, management won't take kindly to another bottom finish, especially if there are any dressing room 'issues' 

Bill Peters (Carolina Hurricanes) (6) He has a good resume as a Memorial Cup winning coach and guided the Hawks farm team  to success as well. Unfortunately the rookie NHL coach arrives in a less than ideal circumstance. A franchise in a bit of a disarray and not particularly strong at any position.  He might not make it out of his rookie season.

Todd Richards (Columbus Blue Jackets) (3) Todd enters his 3rd season in Ohio.  His teams have improved, and the team took a nice jump last season into the playoffs and won their first post season game.  That said, there are now expectations so if they falter Todd could be the scape goat   

Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (2) The dean of NHL head coaches.  There since 2005, and at this time is a lame duck coaching without a contract next season.  With a .630 winning % he wouldn't be a free agent long. In fact rumours abound about his next destination.  That said, his job is probably safe despite the downward trend of the team  

Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers) (5)- Not a rookie in the NHL, but its been 8 years since Gallant was fired by Columbus.  Like his last job, he finds himself in a tight spot. A team that despite playing in the weak East is not particularly strong.  So unless Luongo has a Vezina callbre season, Gallant may not last a full season in Miami 

Michel Therrien (Montreal Canadians) (3) No head coach in Montreal is ever safe.  That said, the Habs appear to have a very solid team and it help;s too that Michel speaks French, right?  Barring locker room turmoil/tons of injuries/losses, Michel should survive the season 

Peter DeBoer (NJ Devils) (6) A very underrated head coach who is entering his 4th season in Jersey.  In a tough spot as he coaches the oldest NHL team and is one injury (Schneider) away from getting fired.  If they get off to a slow start Peter could easily find himself getting that dreaded call for Mr. Lou! 

Jack Capuano (NY Islanders) (4) Amazingly is the senior coach in the Metro division.  Well liked by his players and has been able to withstand some ups and downs on the Island.  That said, his boss (Snow) with the recent trades/acquisitions, has gone 'all in' on this season so anything but a playoff berth and Cappie is gonzo 

Alain Vigneault (NY Rangers) (2) The reigning Eastern Conference champion coach appears safe, and barring a complete collapse should survive the season unlike the coach he was 'traded for' (Tortorella).   

Paul MacLean (Ottawa Senators) (3) Coming into his 4th season as the Sens coach the affable moustached coach should withstand a near miss from the post season BUT not a bottom 5 type season either!

Craig Berube (Philadelphia Flyers) (4). After taking over for Peter Laviolette the Flyers finished well and made the playoffs losing in 7 games to the Rangers.  A long time NHL enforcer, The Chief best keep his team in the playoff hunt else he will land where his predecessor ended up, on the unemployment line

Mike Johnston (Pittsburgh Penguins) (5) has a very tough job. Trying to convince players who have little respect/regard for him to buy in to his system. Added to that he didn't choose his assts, one of whom (Tocchet) is best buds with the owner (66). If the pens don't play like a Cup contender, Johnston's tenure might be brief

Jon Cooper (TB Lightning) (2) 'Coops' enters his second full season guiding the Bolts. If not for an injury to his #1 goalie, he might have found himself in the finals.  The team appears ready to get back to that spot again, and unless the wheels come off his job is safe.

Randy Carlyle (Toronto Maple Leafs) (6) Many were surprised to even see the former Norris trophy/Cup winning coach still in TO.  His asst coaches were replaced. The roster is essentially unchanged.  His job is clearly on the line and anything other than a playoff berth and Randy will be gone

Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) (2)  The long time (only) Preds head coach will try to mold a middle aged roster of players to get back into the playoffs.  If his goalie Holtby regains his confidence it should be enough to get a 7th or 8th spot in the relative weak East.  If the captain (8) is unhappy, Trotz is toast.

  Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim Duck) (3) Gabby, like he did in DC has an impressive regular season mark (.650) but has failed to achieve post season success.  His team is good enough to be in the top 8 of the competitive Wes, but Bruce will be in trouble if the Ducks fail to win in the NHL 'second season'

Dave Tippett (Arizona Coyote) (4) Amazingly Dave enters his 6th season as the 'Yotes head man. His record considering the teams turmoil is impressive (.590) However, we believe the team is due to have a down year, and feel that Tippett if things really turn sour could be the scape goat in the desert

Bob Hartley (Calgary Flame) (4) Bob enters his 4th season as Flames head man.  The team is well into 'rebuilding' so few expect them to compete for a Cup this season, but management led by the truculent Brian Burke want to see fight in these Flames, so they better be competitive if Bob wants to stay

Joel Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawk) (1). Probably next to Sutter the safest NHL head coach. Not only has Joel won 2 Cups in Shytown but possesses one of the best lineups in the league.  Can't imagine a scenario where he doesn't complete his 7th season behind the Hawks bench

Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche) (1) While there are expectations to win in Denver, we still believe the honeymoon with Patrick is still on. Thus that it would take a huge down turn to see Roy not complete his second season in Colorado 

Lindy Ruff (Dallas Star) (2) The most veteran of all current NHL coaches comes into his second season with the Stars. A team many are expecting big things from after a busy off season.  Unless the team far underachieves  we feel that Lindy's job should be safe

Dallas Eakins (Edmonton Oiler) (6)- One of several NHL head coaches who's job is clearly on the line. He will NOT survive long if the team gets off to a slow start. Fans liked his honest approach, and despite widely regarded as an AHL coach his NHL team better show signs of life quickly else he may be back in the minors!

Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles King) (0)  No coach is probably safer than the 2 time Cup winning/reigning champ coach Sutter.  Even an implosion would unlikely cause management to make a change here.  Darryl is not going anywhere. but if he were fired he'd be snatched up in hours!    

Mike Yeo (Minnesota Wild) (4) Entering his 4th season in the Land O Lakes, Mike we believe will stay as long as he can get goaltending. It the hotly contested West, thats a necessity. The team has talent everywhere else.  Ownership will NOT take kindly to a near miss, and you can bet you bippy that if the Wild sink, Mike will be toast in Minny!

Peter Laviolette (Nashville Predator) (3) Uncharted territory for the Preds. Their first season without Trotz as coach. The fiery Laviolette comes to his 4th team. Having had good/decent success at all his previous stops(including a Cup in Carolina) That said, the Boston native (like his fellow Bostonian Tortorella) have a limited life span after which their teams tune them out. 

Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis Blues) (4) Hitch's team is expected to compete for a Cup. Another great regular season and early exit might be the last straw for Blues management. Barring injuries and poor net minding, the Blues should be able to get through the season as a top 5 team out West. Its the second season that will foretell Cpt Kangaroos future

Todd McClellan (San Jose Shark) (6) Certainly is on VERY thin ice. Like Randy Carlyle, few expected Todd to survive this past summer.  This is probably his last shot and anything less than a Final 4 appearence and  he will be looking for work despite winning 65% of his games in the regular season since 2008

Willie Dejardins (Vancouver Canuck) (1) The highly recruited former AHL coach of the year enters his first NHL season with a team that admittedly, unlike in past seasons, isn't expected to win.  His job is therefore likely very safe unless the 'Nucks are a clear cut lottery team. 

Paul Maurice (Winnipeg Jets) (6)  WE are perpetually amazed that Paul always seems to find work.  Amazingly he has coached over 1100 NHL games and is barely over .500 all time. having missed the playoffs far more than making them.  While the Jets did few things to improve this off season fans do NOT want another bottom finish. How long will management be patient?  Paul might find out sooner rather than later! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 1 Results

1) The inaugural week 1 of our weekly NHL picks is in the books. For the night we went a respectable, but not spectacular 9-5 for a .642 wining %.  WE got our 'Lock' correct as well .  We plan to be back at this next Saturday when 11 games will be up for grabs.
Look for our popular annual  "Who gets the axe first" post to drop sometimes in the upcoming week.  As always, keep it here for all the latest

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Picks- Week 1

1) Yes, the NHL season is finally underway, and today/tonight is the first of our ever popular weekly picks. To review, we pick the winner of every game in the NHL each Saturday(usually the busiest day on the schedule)regardless of point spread. Our stated goal is to get as far above .500 as possible. Its harder than you think. Play along if you like. We also project one game as our "Lock of The Week". A game that we feel particularly strong about.  To review we had a banner season last year going 188-94, for an astounding .667 winning %.  We also were 'Locked' in getting the weekly Lock total to 24-2, which translates to a .923 winning edge. That wil be difficult to reproduce for sure!
So without further ado, here is the docket of 15 games

Washington at Boston: Bruins

 Pittsburgh at Toronto: Maple Leafs

 Montreal at Philadelphia: Habitants

 Ottawa at Tampa Bay: Lightning

 Anaheim at Detroit: Red Wings

 New Jersey at Florida: Panthers

 Carolina at NY Islanders: Islanders

 Rangers at Columbus: Blue Jackets

 Calgary at St. Louis: Blues   (Lock of The Week)

 Dallas at Nashville: Stars

 Buffalo at Chicago: Black Hawks

 Minnesota at Colorado: Wild

 Los Angeles at Arizona: Kings

 Winnipeg at San Jose: Sharks

 Edmonton at Vancouver: Canucks

Thursday, October 9, 2014

No Brodeur in Jersey?

1) It struck us as we read over all the 30 teams' rosters that a main stay, Martin Brodeur will start the season on the outside looking in. What surprised us even more was the fact that his former (only) team, the NJ devils had replaced him with Scott Clemmensen?  Sorry Scott, you had some decent days as a back up, but at 38 you're hardly an upgrade from 40 yr old Brodeur.So why wouldn't/didn't the devils at least retain Marty as a back up since they obviously don't have a better option?

2)  Quite simply Lou Lamarello felt that keeping Marty, as much as he admires him, would be more of a "distraction" than anything for the team and more specifically to now-starter Cory Schneider. Despite the attempts to make Schneider the #1  guy last season, and he played like it, having Brodeur in the locker room split the team in some ways that Lou felt needed to be erased.  While Brodeur would have (and probably still will) be offered a management type position within the organization, he is unwelcome in Newark until he officially retires. What remains to be seen is if a team who has goaltending injury issues might take a chance on Marty. Our sense is the longer the season goes on the less likely we'll see that happen so the end might be coming soon for the Hall of fame bound Montreal native!  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014-2015 NHL Season Predictions

1) With the Off season thankfully now behind us its off to the another full NHL season.   As we have done since 2006, we at Fauxrumors will dip our own toes into the pool of predictions. Like last season there are again two divisions of 8 teams in the East, and 2 of seven teams out West. There are of course still 8 teams qualifying for the post season. To remind readers Only the top 3 finishers of each division are guaranteed a playoff berth. The remaining 2 'at large' bids could come from either division. Setting the stage for season long battles for playoff positioning, and hopefully a season's worth of top notch hockey for us fans. Once again we feel the West is by far the better conference and in fact may have even further improved from last season. Its likely a good team out West will fail to qualify for the post season

2) Without further ado, here are projected order of finish for each of the 4 divisions with projected point totals next to each team.

First The East:

1) Boston- 112

2) Tampa Bay- 110

3) Montreal- 100

4) NY Rangers- 97

5) Pittsburgh- 95

6) NY Islanders- 95

7) Columbus- 94

8) Washington- 92
9) Philadelphia- 91

10)  Toronto- 90

11) NEW Jersey- 87

12) Detroit- 86

13) Florida- 84

14) Ottawa- 83

15) Buffalo- 80

16) Carolina- 75

3) Now The West:

1) Chicago- 115

2) Colorado- 110

3) St. Louis- 108

4) Anaheim- 102

5) LA- 99

6) Dallas- 96

7) San Jose- 94

8) Minnesota- 92
9) Phoenix- 88

10) Nashville- 85

11) Edmonton- 80

12) Winnipeg- 75

13) Vancouver- 72

14) Calgary- 65
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