HITS OF THE DAY
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- Sean Avery on waivers ….. the guy has been a fringe NHL player from day one, but instead of working on his game, and trying to improve, Avery has always been more interested in presenting himself as a sideshow, or an even more appropriate term, a clown. Instead of improving the gritty, physical play he could bring, he chose to run his mouth ….. now he is in the AHL. Of course, the clown will brag about his big salary …. Who gave that to him ? Dallas … what a stupid move that was. Stupid.
- Stan Bowman was given a 3 year extension with Chicago ….. Bowman has been so-so for the Black Hawks, of course basking in the glory of a Stanley Cup in his first year, on a team that was built and booby trapped by Dale Tallon …. This will be a telling year for Bowman, as he has added a lot of grit to a team that plummeted to 8th spot in the West last year, after Bowman moved out half his roster, including Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien ……
- Beauty article from Damien Cox, as he talks about the Canucks ….. he is pretty much bang on …. Vancouver will have a good regular season, and are the only Canadian based team with a snowball’s hope in hell of getting anywhere close the Stanley Cup ….. Cox also points out what donkey’s the Canucks portrayed themselves as throughout the playoffs with all the diving and whining, and how unreliable Luongo is when there is pressure on him to perform ….. check it out for yourself, another good spiel from one of the most prominent hockey writers …. http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1064080--cox-canucks-in-league-of-their-own-in-canada
- A couple of interesting signings …. Ray Emery wins the backup job in Chicago, getting a one year deal. Don’t be surprised if he ends up as the top goalie in Chicago. Corey Crawford is all about huge equipment and positioning. Emery can actually move when required. And Fabian Brunnstrom gets a contract in Detroit. Lets see if the Wings can turn him into a player …
- Can’t believe Chuck Gormely moved to Washington to cover the Caps …. Did Paul Holmgren trade him too ?
- Some interesting talk out of Philly regarding Brayden Schenn … the young pivot has a bit of a shoulder injury and has been mentioned as a possibility to play in Adirondack. Here is the deal : Schenn was the key pickup in the Mike Richards trade. If Schenn plays in Adirondack when he is fully healthy, what does that say about Paul Holmgren and his planning ? Holmgren does realize that his two stud d-men, Pronger and Timmonen, are no longer spring chickens ….. Pronger has slowed considerably over the past couple of years, though he still controls a game with his presence …. If Holmgren is to win a Cup with those defenseman on the roster at the same time as Schenn and Couturier, it will have to be in the next couple years …
- For years, the Barrie Colts were a team that sent kids off the the first round of the NHL draft, only to have them flame out as busts …. Think Daniel Tkaczuk, Alex Volchkov, Michael Henrich, Denis Shvidki and Brian Finley … another player that briefly played in the show was Sheldon Keefe … of course, tied in with David Frost, one of the sleazier agents to ever be associated with hockey … but the Colts may be turning the corner, as Bryan Little has had success with Atlanta / Winnipeg, and Mark Scheifle looks set to open the season with the Jets ….
- As noted the other day, the biggest failure of the Columbus Blue Jackets has been their drafting of players early in the first round …. Well, the Gilbert Brule thing has worked in Edmonton either, as Brule will likely end up in the AHL. Brule plays a rambunctious game, but is undersized …. So he hasn’t had much success in the NHL, and he gets hurt a lot …. Think of a guy trying to play like Eric Lindros, but he is 5 ft 10 and 175 pounds …. Not happening. It didn’t even work out to well for the huge framed Lindros ….
- Another player to keep an eye on in the Detroit / Grand Rapids pipeline : Landon Ferraro. It will be interesting to see how he has developed in two – three years time ….
- Thomas Hickey is sent to the AHL again ….. the slick but undersized d-man went high in the draft to LA, 4th overall in 2007 …. This is going to be interesting. Hickey could spend time in the AHL getting polished for the big show, or he could end up being another Nolan Baumgartner, where he is all of a sudden 35 years old, his career is pretty much behind him, and he spent it all in the minor league …
- Just a reminder not to put much stock into pre season standings …. Though Leaf fans are likely already lining up for playoff tickets based on the clubs “ 2nd place “ spot in the division to this point ….. the pre season doesn’t mean anything, nothing …. Even without playing a preseason game the following would be true : two teams that have had good Warm Up League results that will translate to regular season success : Pittsburgh and San Jose …. San Jose should be pushed hard by LA this year, but regardless, the Sharks will be in the playoff picture. Pittsburgh is almost the default winner in the Patrick Division, depending on what the schizophrenic Philadelphia Flyers do …. Sorry Ranger fans, you aren’t a contender, I don’t care what any windbags say about Brad Richards. He is a very good player, but he is not a franchise changer – Where exactly did the Dallas Stars finish last year ? That’s right, on the golf course …..
- Haven’t seen enough video, or angles, of Eric Nystrom wiping out Oiler’s prospect Taylor Fedun, but this is certain – taking a players feet out close to the boards is the dirtiest play in hockey. And now Fedun has a busted up femur. Not only is this career threatening, the kid could walk with a limp for the rest of his days …. ole’ Colin Campbell, the uhh, “ genius “ , ahem, who used to run the NHL “ discipline “ division could have done something about this back in the day, you know San Jose cheap shot worm / hack Torrey Mitchell pulled the same stunt on Kurtis Foster, breaking his femur, well , Campbell, who never used reason, logic, fairness, judgement, sense of right / wrong to make any decision, Campbell never had a comment of any kind on Torrey “ cheap shot worm “ Mitchell busting Foster’s leg …. And when the one Kostytsin wiped out Luke Schenn going into the boards ? Nothing ….. At least with Brendan Shanahan, you know the guy is paying attention, and though he won’t be able to please us all, it seems to this point that he is putting an effort into his job, and trying to do the right thing. With Colin Campbell, he was too busy looking out for his own kid, firing refs and sending e-mails around the league about his kid …
- Drew Doughty back in LA ….. Dean Lombardi waffled, giving the blueliner the extra $200k per year that he wanted …. So here is the deal : good that Doughty is back. Bad that Lombardi gave in. A trend that fans are beginning to pick up on is that guys sign these long term deals, and then don’t live up to their end of the bargain … If Doughty goes lazy boy or prima donna, make sure you let him know it …. As for Don Meehan, the summer poster boy for greedy holdouts, well, call him what he is : A greedy and selfish human being. These so called “ player agents “ don’t catch enough flak from the fans – that needs to be changed. Time to get on these goofs. They are the ones responsible for taking money out of our pockets …
- If anyone can make a player out Fabian Brunnstrom, it will be Detroit, and it sounds like he could stick ….. an observation that would arise in that situation would be this : If Brunnstrom is okay to play for the Detroit Red Wings, the best team in the NHL for the past 20 years, why couldn’t he play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who let him walk over the summer ??? That right there tells you so much about the differences in the two teams …. How many multi-million dollar mistakes do the Wings have on the blueline ?? Zero. How many do the Leafs have ? Two as we speak, with a good candidate just waiting for the season to start ( Finger is in the minors, Komisarek has been a bust in the big smoke, and JM Liles took a big deal from Burke in what was likely another poor signing…. )
- Interesting move by the Habs to bring Chris Campoli on board …. So I guess the whole Andrei Markov thing isn’t working out so good. In the one pic posted of him during his physical, he looked fairly cut, though … feel bad for the guy. Markov is pretty low key, an honest player, quietly effective ….. except for those bums knees …. Without a doubt, Hab nation will be playing this up to be a tragedy on par with Robert Gordon Orr’s knee problems ….
- Speaking of the most mentally unstable and deluded group of sports fans on the planet, Hab fans have Max Pacoreitty back in the lineup … last I had heard out of Montreal, Pacoreitty would never walk again, was eating all meals through straws, suffered from total amnesia, and had decided that marbles was as physical a game as he ever wanted to play again …. Oh yeah, and Big Z Chara was a violent offender ….. Whatever happened to the doofus prosecutor that wanted to string Chara up ???? Did someone point out the various stick swinging incidents involving his beloved Canadiens , and force him to shut his idiot yap ???? Must have been the case ….. Anyway, Pacoreitty potted a few goals the other night in Warm Up League action …. So Hab fans now have a new Rocket Richard to watch ….
- How are things on Mom and Dad’s couch Kyle Turris ??? That Kurt Overhardt, he sure is a world beater of a sports , ahem, “ agent “, hey there Kyle Turris ??? Yup, you two geniuses really have it figured …… note to Kyle Turris : fire Overhardt before he ruins your career …. You ain’t getting no 4 mill from anybody cause you haven’t proven anything in the NHL …
- Remember Anton Volchenkov ? He still plays in the league, with the Jersey Devils ….
- So Brendan Shanahan throws the book again, sitting James Wisniewski for 8 real games …. This is an indicator that the league might actually suspend players from all teams moving forward ….. a real test will be what to do with Brendan Smith of the Wings …. Detroit had been given carte blanche under Crock Campbell to wield sticks as they pleased, and generally disregard the rule book as it pertained to any kind of interference. Nik Kronwall was seen in opposing dressing rooms painting bulls – eyes on the foreheads of opposition players, and still couldn’t get himself suspended under Colin Campbell’s reign of error and idiocy, even when he launched himself and drilled legend Teemu Selanne right in the brain ……. Of course, Colin Campbell used to play for the Wings …. Anyway, Shanahan seems to be dealing out “ the law “ to all teams …..
- Regarding the Brendan Smith hit on Ben Smith ….. Mike Babcock makes a good point : Any responsibility left for the puck carrier ??? And give Ben Smith a Trashy, or Gummy, whatever those awards are called that actors get. Ben Smith hammed it up like he was Nic Cage …. That is no complement, but a definite reference to the fact that Ben Smith was acting, and can now be labelled as a wimp. Ben Smith, go play soccer of baseball – we don’t want little baby sissy wimps in hockey ……..
- It would be nice to see Nikita Filatov get his act together in Ottawa …. Another of the Blue Jackets wasted high first round picks, Filatov has been humbled time and again in recent years, including being stripped of the captaincy on the Russian WJC team, and given up on publicly by the Jackets …. The kid is a natural skater, good with the puck, has everything going for him, if he puts forth the effort …
- A few notable cuts, Eric Tangradi from Pittsburgh ( think Trevor Gillies ) and Michal Repik from Florida …. Tangradi was a young guy in Pittsburgh last year, while Repik was one time considered a top prospect, coming to North America to play junior in Rimouski … he is a good candidate to be the modern Robert Dome …
- Speaking of Gillies, he was in the lineup for the FishSticks the other night ….. sure, he got screwed twice by Colin “ Crock “ Campbell last year, but honestly, is he an NHL player ?? Noooo … Noooo, he is not ….. And though some of the bareknuckle battles between heavies in the NHL are incredible spectacles, amazing displays of the most basic contest possible to human beings, two guys hammering it out on each other, when they average 43 seconds of ice time per game, that isn’t hockey …. It is a sideshow, and it gets the fans out of the seats, but it isn’t hockey …. Fighting can be a part of hockey, but it has to be returned to its proper role, as a vent for real players ….. say Mike Richards dancing with Cal Clutterbuck, or Ryan Jones dropping the mitts with Paul Gaustad …. Regular full time players, not single purpose hit-men roided up to max ….
- Absolutley love the line of Eberle – The Nuge – Hall …. Those kids had it down, big time … The Nuge is making a very real push to play in the NHL this year ….. can’t blame the Oil if they keep him. He has been very, very good, beyond expectations. Don’t be surprised to see him start the year in Edmonchuck …..
- Another kid making a bid to be an 18 year old NHL’er is Sean Couturier in Philly …. He likely wasn’t penciled in as being on the team, but after two years as a standout in the Q, Cooter has been good in the Flyer camp … look for him to start in the NHL as well …
- The much maligned Sam Gagner suffered a dirty blow from the hand of fate, crashing into the boards and spraining an ankle …. Gagner had been moved into a secondary role with the Oil last year, and looked a lot better for it. Remember, this kid was “ supposed “ to be a superstar, the answer to all the Oilers woes ….him and Andrew Cogliano, remember him ??? Gagner even went to a World Championship on Team Canada’s roster as an 18 year old. Yup. That really happened …. Laughable now, but Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish thought this kid was a bonafide first line NHL scoring star center …. Gagner was looking good as a third line center for the Oil, and was actually working on the ice …. You have to feel for the kid formerly known as “ Twerp “, now that he has is attitude straightened out …… Maybe some karma at work though …. Jordan Eberle was screwed out of a roster spot in Edmonton for the 2009-10 season because the Oil didn’t want to burn a year off of his contract when they knew they would suck …. But they already had Gagner on the books, even though it had become apparent that Eberle was likely to be a better player than Gagner ….so Eberle went back to junior and rode the bus. Gagner played in the NHL for a million bucks ….. Now, with the Nuge showcasing his great on ice vision, and trying to crack the roster, Gagner goes down, opening a spot …
- So Mike Modano hangs up the skates ….. the former Prince Albert Raider sure had a good run in the National Hockey League …. In his prime, Modano was an elite offensive presence, and even as age caught up with him, he was still a marvel to watch, a natural and gifted skater, famous for his jersey flapping as he motored over the ice …. It was cool when the Stars were still based in Minnesota, Modano was a good fit in one of the premier hockey states, but he also had a flair that went well in Texas, and his swan song in Detroit, though it didn’t have the success either party hoped for, was still pretty neat. Great career, a sure bet first ballot Hall of Fame player …
- One guy to root for in Dallas : Sheldon Souray, the Elk Point Rifle …. After getting screwed over by Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini, Souray gets another shot in the Lone Star state. Texas will love the big brute, and it is going to be awesome to see him cock back the twig and let that absolute cannon of a shot go …. When Souray unleashes that wicked slap shot, everyone between him and the net are scared. I have seen it firsthand from rinkside, and it is impressive. It only makes sense for Souray to be back in the big league, even if only for that intimidating shot, if the likes of John Michael Liles and Marc Andre Bergeron are in the NHL for their offensive potential …..
- Okay, so Jody Shelley rubs out fringe player Darrel Boyce, busting the Leaf wanna-be right in the beak …. Sure, the hit was a bit late, and standards are changing in the NHL, so they say. Go ahead, sit Shelley for a couple of games, regular season games. Shelley is an easy target as an enforcer. The real test for the NHL brass is going to be their reaction next time Nik Kronwall plants his shoulder in someone’s face, or the next time Chicken Turd Cammaleri cheap shots an opponent in the head …. That is where Colin “ Crock “ Campbell failed miserably : He loved suspending certain players, and players from certain teams. Others had carte blanche to do as they pleased. If the NHL want to curb violence and increase safety, they have to apply the rules equally to all players. Suspending only players and players from teams that the discipline guy ( Shanahan ) doesn’t like won’t help the cause. It will continue to give the league a black eye as far as integrity ….
- Still roll my eyes when I hear Paul Holmgren say the trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were strictly hockey deals ….. Sure Paul, whatever you say. Trading your captain, a much decorated 26 year old Olympic Gold medalist, one of the premier two way players in the game, and Jeff Carter, a 26 year old elite sniper, both in their prime, for young players, yes, they were obviously hockey deals ….. if you are talking hockey with someone who knows nothing about the game, you can get away with that. Here is the reality : Holmgren took a huge risk, gambling that he could deal the two young stars for even younger players / prospects. Talking to folks, or “ sources “ as the big media dudes say, Richards and Carter drank and partied too much. It is hard to get a straight story from anyone regarding the dressing room issues …. To be fair, it is hard for Holmgren to be truthful at present regarding moves he makes with the team. Media folks should know better than to take everything he says as the straight up honest truth though …. Any way you cut it, the Flyers need to win now, to save Holmgren’s butt, and because Pronger and Timmonen are getting long in the tooth, and when they are gone, Philly will be very weak on the back end. Holmgren overpaid foolishly for Bryzgalov, and after Washington picked up Vokoun, the Bryzgalov / Richards / Carter / Leino fiasco was compounded ….. The start of the demise for the late edition of the Flyers began with Holmgren’s poor judgement in trading for Kris Versteeg … after that, it was a bad scene for Philly ….
- An interesting side note to the above rant : The Flyers were able to pick up Sean Coutourier in the 8 spot through the Jeff Carter deal. This could be a silver lining. Coutourier could well be the 2011-12 version of Cam Fowler …. His plummet down the draft ranking was largely unfounded. He had a higher points – per – game average than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or any other player drafted before him, he played well for Team Canada at the WJC, he won the Quebec League scoring title as a 17 year old …. Not to mention he has a huge frame …. It was interesting to see the likes of Ryan Strome, Mark Scheiffle and Mika Zibenajad be selected ahead of him …..
- Speaking of the Nuge, it seems like he has been playing very well while the Oilers set up their team for the coming year …. But he looks so small, frail. One last year in the WHL would suit this kid well, allowing him to play in the WJC, and really get his moves down before playing every game against full grown men, and going up against a majority of defenseman who weigh over 200 lbs …
- This whole Drew Doughty debacle is getting some interesting comments from the media, and though no one from the big media groups ever has the courage to criticize a player agent, some are coming close, pointing out that by turning down nearly 7 million bucks per year, and wanting to be the highest paid player on the team, Doughty and his agent are making a mistake. Of course on this site, let’s call a spade as a spade, and say the kid and his , ahem, uhh, “ agent “ , well, they are being greedy. This isn’t quite the same as the holdouts in the 1980’s, when Paul Coffey wanted to earn $150,000 per year instead of $140,000 ….. this is a kid who has played some very good shinny, but now he wants all the gold …. Earn a bit more first kid, and fire that parasitic sleaze that has been whispering in your ear ….
- So far, so good for the Jets in Winnipeg. Love those new uniforms too, a huge improvement over the atrocities that franchise dressed the players in while working out of Georgia …. Opening night at the MTS Centre should be a dandy …
- Have to think this could be it for Ron Wilson and Brian Burke in Toronto …. If the Leaves don’t make the playoffs, they need to change out guys calling the shots …. Why ? Look at the defenseman the Leaves have tried to pin hopes on …. Jeff Finger, Francois Beuachemin, Mike Komisarek, now John Liles …. JS Giguere in net … and through it all, Burke hasn’t brought in a top line center …. Right or Wrong, Wilson will get the axe along with Burke of the Leafs miss the dance again, which is a likely scenario ….
- So Tom Poti fails his physical …. Hard to believe the frail looking defender had never failed one before. Only reason Poti is still in the league is because of the Brisebois phenomenon …. A guy has been around for a while, and though he doesn’t deserve to be in the league, he is given a job because the coach / management of his team are reluctant to give a new kid a chance, believing that a guy who has played in the league must have some value …… Brisebois should have never played in the NHL, terrible in his own end, and wildly over rated as an offensive d-man …
- Steve Simmons has some good advice for the fans and media who get all wound up over “ training camps “ and pre-season … it doesn’t mean a thing. And he reminds us of Mike Craig, a player that many teams and GM’s tried really, really hard to make into a real NHL’er … though Craig performed well in the pre-season, he never became a bona-fide big league player …. Same can be said for team results ….. Who cares if the Habs go 10 – 0 in the pre-season …. They will still be a marginal team lucky to get into the playoffs, and if they do, they will be a first round punching bag for the Caps or Bruins …
- Helene Elliott has some good comments on Drew Doughty and the mistake he is making … she cites Bobby Ryan’s decision to cut out the same greedy agent from his problem last year, that being Don Meehan. Ryan said he wanted to be with the boys in the room …A far nobler pursuit than arguing over dollars thanks to some unethical and immoral lawyer / agent sleaze … Elliott urges Doughty to sign a deal with the Kings, and get back with his team mates …
- Love the tactic used by the New York Islanders when negotiating with the , ahem, uhh, “ agent “ for young player Josh Bailey ….. sign by a certain hour Friday, or call us next year …. Love it …… so Bailey gets the message, and signs a deal to play a game, and be in peak physical condition, earning a cool mill per year for the next 2 years …. So, after taxes, the kid is likely going to pocket around $600k per year …. Tough life ….. Anyway, hope the kid performs well, and helps the Islanders regain some form that made them the class of the NHL in the late 70’s and early 80’s ….. yes kids, the Isles were once a proud and dominant franchise ….
- So the Leaves put a Purolator patch on their practice jerseys …… remember back in the 80’s, when teams had Molson on their practice jerseys? Yeah, that happened …. Sponsorship and advertising gets nauseating. When it starts to happen on game jerseys and equipment, then it is time to freak out … just look how stupid European soccer uniforms are …. Basically like a commercial for a shopping mall. Nice. If you are a mindless dolt …… How many euro soccer fans get confused and think they are cheering for an airline ? Probably happens a lot, considering the behavior and intelligence level often shown by kickball fans ....
- The Leaves have also apparently signed Luke Schenn, to a 5 year deal at $3.5 mill per … so Schenn gives up a bit of cash at the end to cash in now … this is not a bad deal, glad that the Saskatoon boy had some sense …. Have heard recent comparisons of him being in the same vein as Adam Foote when he is fully developed ( on Edmonton or Calgary FAN radio ) …. That is accurate, and the deal pays Schenn about right for a big, physical d-man …
- A bit of good sense is beginning to seep into the thick skulls of a few “ player agents “, and the young kids they represent, as Brad Marchand, Josh Bailey and Zach Bogosian sign deals that pay them well, as emerging players who have established themselves and accomplished something in the NHL … for Marchand, that includes fulfilling the ultimate dream of a hockey player and hoisting the Silver Grail ….
- One agent who just doesn’t get it is Kurt Overhardt, who is steering Kyle Turris down a very foolhardy path …. See, this Overhardt fella seems to think Turris deserves $4 million dollars per year, just because …… no matter that his client has struggled to become an NHL hockey player. See, it is guys like this Overhardt fella that screw up sports, with greed and thoughts of entitlement. Turris “ deserves “ nothing, except a wake up call. You want the big bucks, because you were picked behind Taxi Kane and JVR ?? Try taking a regular shift, let alone scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final like Taxi Kane, or potting 20 goals and emerging as a dominant power forward like JVR …. Sorry Turris, but when a website that cheers on your own team rips ya, it is time to wake up. And maybe cut loose that parasite giving you bad advice ….
- A couple of good signings, as John Tavares will stay with the Islanders franchise, and Tyler Myers will stay in Buffalo …. Both guys raked in some dough based on potential, as well as past achievements …..
- Teemu Selanne will come back for another year. The veteran Finnish sniper had a great year in 2010 – 11, putting up top notch numbers. Selanne has always looked enthusiastic on the ice, and his performance wasn’t topped by many players last year. The wheels will fall off at some point, but good for him to come back and play a game he loves. $4 mill for the season isn’t bad motivation either, but in the grand scheme of things, Selanne has performed well for his paycheques throughout his career. Kurt Overhardt would have zero understanding of this concept.
- Talk of the Blue Jackets moving ….. the New Jersey Devils are running short on cash …. The Dallas Stars are sold in a sale involving a bankruptcy filing ….. not what a fan wants to hear, but keep in mind, these are all games involving incredibly wealthy people who pay lawyers and accountants a pile of green to make them more cash …. It is a lot of posturing and talk … and hopefully that is how it remains … the sad part of this is that “ sports agents “ or “ player agents “ just keep hitting the greed button. At some point, the collective fanbase will balk at paying the ever increasing price of being a fan and buying merchandise or attending games …. Not that the parasitic agents care, but when that happens, we are in for a culture change. Part of our evolving human character I guess ….. my hope is that sports “ agents “ don’t make the evolutionary cut ….
- Drew Doughty is another kid getting some pretty lame advice, heading down greedy street …. Doughty is an established and accomplished player, but he is being represented by an agent in a serious conflict of interests ( too many clients ). As a young star, Doughty has it made. Pushing the payroll envelope on his team to the extent he or his agent want to puts him in one catergory – Greedy ….. and despite comments on negotiations that players often give, “ It is between my agent and the team “, well, sorry boys, but the player is the agents boss …… No doubt that many of the agents are unscrupulous greedbags, but the players have to wear that hat too ….
- Not a real shocker to hear that Habs defenseman Andrei Markov may be having some grief with one of his hinges …. Markov has been frail over the past couple years, and the Habs have kind of hung a lot of their hopes on him. It is always tough for a player when they miss time due to injury, but to be surprised by another Markov knee issue would be naïve …
- Getting back in the swing of things, it is time to come out swinging, at sleazy agents representing young players. That would be the likes of Don Meehan and some obscure guy named Overhardt. Enough with the greed. Get your kids signed to deals. Don’t give us any bs about “ mind your own business “ as the Overhardt clown likes to say, and don’t use the old refrain, “ fair value “ ….. Doughty has been very good thus far in his career, but he isn’t entitled to tens of millions quite yet. Turris isn’t even a legitimate NHL player. Marcahnd has one good year. NHL agents are out of control. Time to run them out of the game, and use performance based pay ….. Wake up NHL, this is such an easy answer, and will end so many headaches, and put an end to heartbreak for fans …
- Some cool rumours going around regarding Bob Luongo ….. Here is the deal : If Mike Gillis is worth his salt, he will deal the overpriced primadonna head case. Luongo is a total headcase in any kind of big game, but there are other GM’s that would overpay foolishly to get him on their team. To be fair, during the regular season Luongo could help a team like the Islanders, as he is a decent goalie. His huge equipment stops a lot of pucks, and he has stayed healthy for the most part. Funny thing ….. Greg Sherman made as dumb a trade as could be done in getting Varlamov out of Washington. Why would he not have pushed the Canucks for Luongo ??? Vancouver would be rolling the dice on using Cory Schneider full time, but the kid seems to be a bit more even-keeled than Luongo ….
- St Louis will go with David Backes as captain ….. not a bad choice. Backes is a gritty player, definitely involved in the game in every aspect. The Blues are looking to start a new era, and a new figurehead can’t hurt
- Love the classy looking Winnipeg Jets uni’s …. No pinstripes, no numbers on the front, clean and sharp lines, traditional hockey look, nice colors. Good job on the team to show respect to the game and it’s history, and put forth sharp looking duds …
- Is this the year Tomas Tatar sticks in the NHL ?? Detroit has been good at keeping kids under the radar and letting them develop in the AHL, and a lot of hockey folks have forgotten about this kid. Can’t believe nobody pried this kid away from the Wings, but that is why Ken Holland is head and shoulders above all other GM’s in the NHL. Tatar is a good skater, very smart on the ice, plays both ends of the rink, and is big enough to survive a bit of bumping around …. Hope to see him entrenched on the Wings 2nd or 3rd line …
- Sure funny how Jordan Eberle is the forgotten man in Edmonton as far as the media goes … it is all Taylor Hall. The slick and quiet Eberle is about as underrated a player at his age as you will find in the game ….
- Sean Couturier going to the Flyers at number 8 could be the steal of the draft. Couturier put up big numbers in the Q, but was overlooked because he missed about 20 games. His ppg average would have put him among the league leaders, and up with the Nuge from the dub …. He is a big kid, who has been in the spotlight for a few years. Still not sold on Adam Larsson, the Nuge should get another year in the dub, Landeskog will be in the NHL, Huberdeau needs another year in the Q ….. will have a more detailed draft review shortly ….
- To address the major event of the past week, a plane crash that took the life of 43 people and tragically altered the lives of many families, nothing can be said to make anything better. The only thing to do is to bow one’s head and show respect with silence for lives ended before they should have
Early Fall Vacation / Work at Real Job
- After an extended summer break, Open Ice Hitter is back …… to start, the most important issue to address is the tragedy of Rick Rypien. Any time a life is cut short is a sad time. It is awful to see a young person leave this world before their time. Look after yourselves, and if things aren’t right for you, you need to understand that family and friends will help you. There is always something to live for.
- Just finished looking at a “ sneak preview “ of the Islanders third jersey for the upcoming year ….. What idiot designs such gawdy crap ???? Black ?? What is this, major league baseball, where it is a requirement to use black in the uniform ?? All they say is “ Islanders “ …. Dumb and lazy, that is how to sum them up. If they put a football number on the front, that will take the cake as the new stupidest jerseys in the NHL … Check them out for yourself at icethetics.info
- A few other jerseys to check out as well. Nashville is going with a yellow / gold look, keeping the pinstripes. They have passed on the opportunity to use their cool blue third jerseys …. Yellow never works for too long as a jersey color … just sayin …. And pinstripes remind one of baseball and ballerinas. Not hockey.
- The Oilers are going to bring back the original white jerseys, the classics …. Good deal. The Oilers had sported some of the lamest threads in the league for a while with the pinstriped reverse banded rags … surely those hideous jerseys will go to a thrift store and be remembered along with the Kevin Lowe era in Edmonton as forgettable …
- Ottawa will resurrect the classic 30’s “ O “ with the barber pole striping …. Which is okay. Vintage. For the Senators sake, maybe the spirit of some of those early Senator players will appear, because Bryan Murray has the Ottawa team in such a bad state they need all the help they can get …
- Pittsburgh is going with their winter classic 2011 jerseys as thirds this year. The Pens have made a killing with their retro looks. Some of the best jerseys ever, you have to wonder why the Pens killed of the blue scheme in the 70’s .. of course, the team on the ice was terrible, so that probably explains it … Florida tinkered with their uni’s, getting rid of the lame pinstriping. Los Angeles are bringing in a white and black road jersey, the Leafs are bringing back the sharp looking late 60’s blue threads, and of course, Tampa will strip their franchise of its identity by going with a blue and white scheme, erasing any memory of their Stanley Cup victory with the awesome black, blue and white colors. Foolish.
- As far as transactions over the past couple of weeks, the Flames bring in Scott Hannan. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Hannan has gone from being a highly sought after and well regarded blueliner to a late summer bargain. As long as he throws his weight around, I am sure the Flames will be pleased. Interestingly, the Hockey News already have their 2011-12 picks out, with the Flames golfing on day 1 of the post season. They are likely right. Jay Feaster as GM in Calgary is very interesting, but probably not very smart … Funny how pro sports keep recycling guys, and though Feaster didn’t destroy Tampa as foolishly as Milbury did the NYI team, or Bryan Murray in Ottawa, Feaster never had the aura of hockey briiliance of say, a 1980’s Glen Sather …. Hindsight being what it is, we all know how Slats has fared over the past 20 years ….
- Just have to laugh at some of the blogs that bash the rumour mill … the same blogs that churn out rumours, in fact. Here is the lowdown on the rumour experts over the past two years : they have had their arses handed to them. There was zero guessing that Mike Richards would be traded. Suckers believed Paul Holmgren when he said Carter was not on the block. Dany Heatley to Minnesota ? Never heard a peep until it happened. If you run a blog, or write for a paper, and bash the rumours that circulate on the internet, you need to eat a few pages, unless you have a phonetap on every GM in the league, and haven’t been wrong about anything. Don’t bash any rumours unless you have nailed every trade for the last several years. That is the lesson we have all learned. And for the fools who take a GM at his word when asking about rumoured deals …well, there is a sucker born every minute
- Good to hear of possible buyers in Phoenix …. Some folks desperately want hockey in the Southern US to fail … this is foolish and shortsighted. For diehard Canadian fans, the reality is this : A country of 35 million people does not have the financial clout or standing in the world to elevate a sport to elite world status on its own. The game needs the USA, and Europe, and Russia. Watch hockey. Then watch kickball. It is no contest which is more exciting, more intense, more physically demanding. But kickball is more popular on the world stage because it is embraced by more countries and people. They don’t care that a huge number of kickball games are fixed or rigged. It is the biggest game in their lives. That is sad. Hockey is a far superior athletic undertaking. We need the USA to help our sport overtake the farce that is pro kickball .
- Too tempting to resist : Scott Gomez trade rumours …. Just gotta laugh. Gomez and Chris Drury were the toast of New York a few short years ago. They were going to resurrect the Rangers and save Sather’s bacon …. Hmmm ….didn’t work out, because Gomez is a bum, and Drury was miscast and had health issues … Now Drury is retired, and sitting back knowing he gave it his best. Gomez has been exposed as a second rate softie that no one wants. Sorry Gomez, my beer league team has a full roster, and no room for a 5th line center who skates the puck into the opposition corner, turns the puck over, and traps his teammates deep because of lack of understanding of the game, and selfish puckhogging …
- Shea Weber had a good day, receiving a hefty raise after arbitration ….$7.5 mill is his payout for the upcoming season. Weber is an elite world class blueliner, the team captain, a player any team would take …. A few fishy items though. He has two “ agents “. That is excessive, when you consider that one agent carries enough sleaze to make a normal person sick. And the fact that the arbitraitor ( spelled it that way purposely ) clearly sided with Weber’s “ agents “ by awarding Weber a payout equal to Zdeno Chara ….. Bottom line here is that Weber’s ahem “ agents “ sure look like they are positioning the d-man for a Nashville exit. That isn’t to say it will happen, but it sure looks that way. For all the folks out there that believe anything Weber or his “ agents “ say publicly, follow this advice : Don’t be so naïve. If Weber is planning on leaving Nashville, he isn’t going to say so publicly ….
- After bringing in a decidedly physical presence during the offseason, Stan Bowman manages to re-sign one of the most underrated players in the league to a long term deal, getting a commitment from Patrick Sharp. Sharp does everything well on the ice, but has been overshadowed by young guns Toews and Taxi Kane. Sharp works hard, is a great skater, and has a wicked shot …- Can’t believe any dolt would compare Shea Weber and Luke Schenn …. But it happened. In an article in the Toronto Star, Paul Hunter and “ agent “ Don Meehan discuss the topic. Meehan doesn’t take Hunter’s bait. Hunter comes across as someone with too much time on his hands. About the only thing the two have in common is that they played for the Kelowna Rockets. Aside from that, Hunter falls into the category of foolish Leafs beat writer making a big deal out of nothing …
- Apparently the NHL is going to try equipping refs with headsets ….. Open Ice Hitter has been calling for this for several years. This can only be a good thing. Allow the blind bats to talk to each other, as well as off ice people watching the replays … the speed of the game and the technology have relegated on ice officials to the status of clowns. All they do is blow calls. This should be a step in the right direction ….
Late July - Early August Summer Break
- The Winnipeg Jets unveil their new logo scheme, and it has to be liked. Classy and dignified, with a good color scheme. Can’t wait to see the jerseys, hopefully the Jets brass stay with a traditional and dignified look, and avoid some of the stupid and chawchee designs going around ( Edmonton, Florida, pinstripes, Avs, numbers on the front )
- Garth Snow better give his head a shake if he is seriously considering bringing Alexei Yashin back from his Russian exile … Yashin spent many years in the NHL proving that he was a selfish and passionless welp. Who cares if Mike Brophy thinks it is brilliant. Brophy ever only had one good idea in his life, and other than that he is basically a hack ( his good idea is limiting playing time for one dimensional fighters ). Snow hasn’t made the kind of disastrous franchise ruining moves that Mad Mike Milbury made, but even if Yashin played for the free and undeserved money he is collecting from the Isles thanks to his previous contract that was negotiated by his wormy agent Mark Gandler, the Isles should not take him. He will poison the youth on that team.
- Not sure what exactly the deal is with Ryan Malone having shoulder surgery so long after the Lightning season ended …… he is going to miss half the year now …. The former Penguin who looks like a hitman for the Irish mob has been linked to Maple Leaf rumours …. Notice to Brian Burke : Malone is a solid support guy, not a franchise cornerstone. He isn’t going to get the Laughs into the playoffs …..
- NY Rangers resign Brandon Dubinsky, with what will eventually be regarded as their most important signing of the 2011 summer …. Dubinsky is a solid two way player, and though he is not a superstar or high impact offensive guy, he is an important player for the Rangers – he is young, has spent his entire career with the Rangers, and brings some skill along with a bunch of grit and effort …
- Enough already with any mention of Chris Osgood in the same sentence as the Hallowed Halls of Hockey Glory …. Osgood has been a good soldier for the Wings, but was never even in the calibre of star players …. Osgood tended goal for two Cup wins with the Wings, on loaded and stacked teams. What is most telling of Osgood’s career is that he was jettisoned by both the Blues and Islanders when they were desperately seeking a franchise goalie. Do not forget the stretches he had as Wings goalie in which he was flat out brutal, making the lowlite reels for allowing goals on shots outside the blueline ….. If Wing fans want to give the guy respect, that is fine. Just don’t be foolish enough to think he belongs in the HHOF …
- Chris Campoli is shown the door by the BlackHawks …. His “ agent “ likely thinks it is a brilliant career decision to be argumentative with the Hawks, but in the long run, it was probably a dumb move by Campoli and his “ agent “ …. Campoli has one good year under his belt. In the big picture, he has proven nothing. He could be a one year wonder. Time will tell …
- Stamkos will stay in Tampa for 5 years, or has at least resigned there for 5 years, not sure what kind of clause he has … $7.5 mill per annum ….. Stamkos is a superstar, so this cash is okay. He has established himself as a constant threat to score with that wicked one time off the left wing, doing it with a flair we haven’t witnessed since Brett Hull was hammering rubber at the net in his heyday ….. Here is to Stamkos, hopefully he can fire 70 or 80 goals in a season ….
- Regarding speculation on who will wear the “C” for Philly this year …. It has to be Pronger. He is too big of a personality and ego to not be captain. Anyone else would have trouble in the role with Pronger on the team …. Of course, nothing really sensible has happened this summer in Philly, so don’t be surprised if Bryzgalov is sporting a “C” on his goalie mask, or some other ridiculous and foolish decision is made ….
- Big question from the center of the universe being asked by Leaf fans and media …. Do the Leaves make the playoffs this year ? They are going to be borderline to get there, just like the last few years. And if there goalie-who-emerged-out-of-nowhere falters, the Leaves could have a lottery pick …. Leaf fans have to face reality. Tim Connolly is more likely to miss 50 games than get 50 points ….. Nazem Kadri is a frail looking kid without much hockey sense …. One nice pick up by Burke was that of Cody Franson, but then you have to ask why Nashville basically gave him away ….. Don’t look for Toronto in the post season tournament next year, and with zero gamebreakers in the up & coming prospect department, it could be a while before the Leaves make the playoffs ….
- Oh Oh … another agent gets too greedy, as Rich Evans, the “agent “ for Chris Campoli, formerly of the BlackHawks, wants too much money for his “ client “ So Stan Bowman, the embattled GM of the Chicago BlackHawks tells Campoli / Evans to scram … Good for Bowman ….. as for the slimy agent, well ….. ah yes, the feeling of entitlement to millions, pushed by misguided lawyers and others trying to feed like parasites from the wallet of pro sports …. All too foolish to see they are on the road to ruin ….. Disagree ?? Hmmm …. Seems like there are “ labour “ problems in football and bounceball as we speak ….. and with players in stickball getting too much power, they have pretty much ruined America’s pastime …. So fans, maybe it is time to start letting these sleazy “ player agents “ know what we think of them, by speaking out and telling them we don’t want them in our sports and games …
- Taxi Kane has a broken wrist all of a sudden … in the middle of summer ???? …..hmmmm, we all know what everyone is thinking. And there is absolutely no way Taxi Kane or his “ agent “, or even the BlackHawks would ever admit to anything in public, but how did this happen ?? Well, believe what you want, but it is sure fishy that in the middle of summer, that a fracture is suddenly discovered, supposedly from the hockey season ….
- Fairly blunt assessment of the Ottawa Senators by Adam Proteau on the Hockey News website …. If you are a Sens fan, you can either be offended, or realize that Proteau is being truthful …. Biggest problem in Ottawa is the GM, Bryan Murray, a good ole boy who just doesn’t get it ….. Ottawa isn’t going anywhere with him at the controls, same as the Leafs aren’t getting anywhere with good ole boy Brian Burke …
- Crazy speculation on both Chris Osgood and Kris Draper wanting to continue their playing careers with the Wings …. Both of these guys were able to squeeze a career and a few Cup rings out of the Wings …. What would their careers have looked like anywhere else ? Oh yeah, we all seen how Osgood fared when he played for other teams. He was awful. Aside from some solid play in the 2008 playoffs, Osgood has always been a shaky goalie who allows bad goals. Draper was a hard working defensive specialist who was allowed to get away with a lot of stickwork and some dirty cheapshots because he played in Detroit … both are way past the point of having any legitimacy as NHL players …. Move it on down the line boys …..
- With the greedfest in full swing in football and bounceball this summer, as in player strikes, or lockouts, whatever you want to call them, fans and media have concerns regarding what will happen next summer with the NHL …. Stan Fischler recently put out a column in which he says NHLPA boss Don Fehr will be responsible for chaos in the “ labour “ relations …. Okay …. At some point, we are all going to get totally sick of very rich people bickering over mega millions, and depriving us of our beloved sports. I have not followed stickball since the strike in the mid 90’s that effectively cost Montreal its team … and I will never again follow that game. It is rotten to the core, every which way it is possible to be rotten .. greed, steroids, idiotic egos, major league stickball took a fine game and perverted it. Is that what the NHLPA has planned for hockey ? That is what happens when the tail wags the dog – no order. The inmates are running, and ruining, the asylum in stickball. As hockey fans, it is our responsibility to let the union wackos know what we think. Same goes for the guys running the teams. When they make foolish decisions, they need to be criticized …..
- Could not believe when I heard that Anaheim ponied up a 2nd round pick for Andrew Cogliano …. When Cogliano was playing in the WJC, the Open Ice Hitter evaluation was like this : Cogliano has good speed, but doesn’t know how to use it. He is fast, but he is not a smart hockey player, and he is not physical. He will be a fringe NHL player … Cogliano had a good rookie year, making it look like OIH would be eating some dirt … but since then, the appraisal has been justified … Remember when the Edmonton fans and media, and even some national media, were hyping Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano as future superstars ? Laughable. Gagner has since realized his place in the NHL will be as a support guy, likely a 2nd line center. He was effective in that role on a young Oilers team last year, and for the first time in his career, he looked comfortable and competent on the ice at all times. As for Cogliano, at best he could be a third line guy, and he would be well advised to learn and specialize in the defensive aspect of the game … as for Tambellini getting a round 2 pick, well, hot damn, that is his first good deal as Oil GM …. For the Ducks to give up a round 2 pick for Cogliano, What were they thinking ??
- After recovering from some of the madness this summer, here are some reflections on the deals made by the stewards of our delightful and eager to please teams ….
- Dany Heatley shipped out of San Jose … to Minnesota … would like to have been a fly on the wall when that news was delivered to Mr Spoiled-Brat-Athlete-Posterboy …. This says a lot about Heatley’s often publicly questioned character … or lack thereof …. Heatley began his NHL career in fine style, and looked like he was going to be able to move past the horror of his car crash. When the Sens made a Cup Final appearance, it looked like only a matter of time until he would live out the dream and hoist the Cup …. Now he looks like a selfish ass ….. A huge problem for athletes who excel at a young age is that they seldom hear the word “ No “, they have people making excuses for them constantly, so they learn that they get what they want all the time, and anything they do is okay ….. soooo ….. you get a Dany Heatley, bitching his way out of Ottawa, then dogging his way out of San Jose ….
- Just have to laugh when the Hurricanes sign Tomas Kaberle for what, $4 mill plus per year ??? Did Rutherford not see Kaberle suck in a Bruins uniform ?? The guy was awful, playing like a total scaredy cat … and HE DOESN’T SHOOT THE PUCK !!!! …. Whatever … Carolina just took a wrong turn …
- Through it all, Ken Holland bides his time, watching the Flyers self destruct, the BlackHawks further tear apart a roster one year removed from a Cup, to the point of being a question mark for the playoffs, the Panthers load up on short term guys that will keep the team as an also-ran …. Holland has to be laughing inside every time he talks to Brian Burke, as the blustery yank has his Leafs poised for absolutely nothing, even though he has been given ample time to get that team on track …. Holland does things according to his plan, and like him or not, he doesn’t get caught up in the foolishness that ruins teams ….. Holland’s Achilles heel has been loyalty, namely to Draper and Osgood, but the guy still ices a competitive team every year
- The Blues bring in a pair of old codgers in Arnott and Langerbrunner …. That is another team that blew itself up, St Louis …. Who knows what they have in mind for the future ? Chris Stewart is a tough cookie who can score, but aside from him, who is there ? The Blues could be a horrid team this year ….
- Odd that the Oil would bring Ryan Smyth back … after that phony press conference when he left town …. - Joe Corvo as a Bruin should be interesting .. it might work for him …. So far he has been one of those guys who is only good on one team, like Eric Cole ….
- What a development regarding Tomas Vokoun. He signs with the Capitals for a year, at $1.5 mill …. This is interesting in so many ways. First off, it gives the Caps a veteran goaltender who is well respected, despite playing most of his career outside the playoffs ( 1 appearance with Nashville, when they stacked the team and got waxed in round 1 ). Vokoun is considered a solid goaltender by most observers. So …. The fact that he signed a 1 year deal for such a reduced sum makes one wonder why …. And what does this say about Paul Holmgren ?? All the Flyers needed to do this summer was ditch Versteeg, let Carcillo go, demote Jody Shelley, and bring in a goalie. Very easy and straight forward moves. Instead, Holmgren goes nuts. Turns out that he should have maybe just talked to Dale Tallon about that goalie at the trade deadline, or even earlier this summer. Or just waited until July 1. Why did Vokoun sign for a lot less than anyone would have guessed ? Obviously, he wanted to play for a winner. He has lots of cash already, so he must have told his greedbag agent to lump it at some point. Good for him. He will be given the opportunity to play and win in Washington ….
- Haven’t heard Tomas Kaberle going anywhere yet, as a franchise, puck moving, gamebreaking All Star ….. oh yeah, that foolish notion / silly urban legend forged by Leaf fans and media in Toronto got smashed like a token plate at a Greek restaurant. Some folks are saying Kaberle’s play picked up later in the playoffs, but it didn’t. Not only does he never shoot, and not play the body, but he also shies away from checks aimed at him, as we watched him cough up pucks when pressured even the slightest on the forecheck …. Kaberle probably knew he would be exposed if he played for a team other than the Leafs. His “ agent “ should have known. Kaberle it turns out, is a marginal talent. Maybe he is done at the NHL level …
- Waiting for the Flyers to sign Wayne Simmonds. If they don’t get him signed, Holmgren looks like an even bigger doofus ….
- Big name RFA’s still not signed : Steve Stamkos, Drew Doughty and Keith Yandle … and a couple of also ran teams needing to get to the cap floor. So why aren’t the Avs, Panthers, or some other doormats interested in these players ??
- Madness. Craziness. Foolishness. And when it is all said and done, are any of these teams any better than they were last year ? I doubt it. A couple teams have totally changed the makeup and style of their clubs, namely the Panthers and Flyers. Florida might be a bit closer to the playoffs from the crease out, and whatever it is that is going on in Philly, it isn’t good. That team is no longer a Stanley Cup contender. It is the mess of a mad scientist. Anyway… not going to get to in depth regarding the Free Agent / Parasitic Agent greedfest that is July 1 …. A feature article will be posted up …
- Interestingly, Brad Richards holds back all day on July 1 …. But the news is breaking this morning that he is going to Broadway to play for the Rangers ….. Guess he didn’t pay any heed to how many careers have been killed in New York since Slats took over the Rangers. Of all the big name, big money guys that Sather has brought into New York, the only one that didn’t suck was Jagr, but his rep still took a hit. Richards has his work cut out for him. For Ranger fans, you will have to learn that Brad Richards is a good player, but he is not a superstar. Don’t be surprised if the Rangers miss the playoffs in several of the upcoming seasons ….
- An interesting phenomenon has occurred this summer …. Several GM’s have decided to ship out very good players ( Carter, Richards, Brouwer ) in order to “ clear cap space “ so they can chase free agents …. What Holmgren and Bowman aren’t thinking about is that they are likely going to spend more money on players that aren’t as good as the ones they decided to ship out …. Who is Chicago going to bring in to take Brouwer’s place ? Does anybody think Brad Richards would be an upgrade over Mike Richard’s ? How foolish would it be to land Steven Stamkos at $ 8-9 million per year to replace Jeff Carter ? Spend twice as much for 10 more goals, and also lose Ville Leino ?? The two GM’s who watched their teams play in the Cup Final one year back are dismantling their teams …. And it seems that they are the only two that don’t realize it ……
- Jaromir Jagr is definitely an interesting character ….. not sure what role he is playing in the whole deal with Pittsburgh or the Wings or whoever, but it is turning into a bit of a circus ….. One place where Jagr would fit in well? LA Kings ….
- Paul Kariya calls it a career …. All the best two a speedster who gave his all with clean class …. The BC kid was robbed of what he could have achieved by a vicious, dirty, cowardly cross check to the head courtesy of mega-worm Gary Suter. One of the most brutal and cheap shots in the history of the league, though few ever mention it …. Kariya came into the league as an undersized dynamo, and showed that small players could have a big impact, even in the heyday of clutch and grab hockey …..
- Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2011 : Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, Ed Belfour and Joe Niewendyk … none of them were superstars, but they were all very, very good players … have to wonder when Pavel Bure will get in. He was a superstar, putting up some huge goal totals, and was a definite game breaker in his prime ….
- The player Chicago missed most last year was Dustin Byfuglien. This year it will be Troy Brouwer. Stan Bowman is starting to make some mistakes in the Windy City. He has to understand that picking up too many Florida Panthers is not a good thing. There is a reason the Panthers have been bad. They have lots of bad players. If you pick up a bunch of those players, your team will end up bad ….. Brouwer was a gritty player who could score goals. He will do fine in Washington. As for the players Chicago is bringing in, they are soft, not gritty …. Kane and Toews need to be surrounded by gritty players, not softies …
- Apparently the idea of Jaromir Jagr returning to the NHL should not be scoffed at … supposedly the big Czech is en route to the States to announce which team he will suit up with …. It would be interesting to see him in Pittsburgh with Crosby or Malkin, and he would do well in Detroit on a structured puck possession team …. If he goes to Montreal, one could only scratch their head and comment on a bad decision … Jagr is not likely to be a franchise player. He wasn’t in his last turn in the NHL. He sure wouldn’t be in Montreal. He would be an easy target for both opponents and the media / fanbase as a Hab ….
- Still shaking my head at the Flyers moves, and you have to wonder : Does Paul Holmgren realize he just removed his team from the list of Stanley Cup contenders ? Even if he somehow brings in Steven Stamkos, the team is not as good as it was with Richards and Carter. Brad Richards isn’t an improvement over Mike Richards, and is 5 years older … so that would be a foolish route to go. Both of these guys are going to want stupid amounts of money. Neither is worth $8 mill per annum….. No matter what kind of issues these guys had off the ice, trading both of them was a very bad move. If Holmgren didn’t know that bringing in Chris Pronger would change the dynamic in the dressing room, what was wrong with his head ? To move out two elite players in their mid twenties was a total screw up …. Pronger and Timmonen are not getting any younger … Holmgren has been all over the map with his moves ever since the Versteeg mistake
- Okay, with the draft over and done with, the serious madness is set to start soon …. And all the talk is Brad Richards this, Brad Richards that …. So lets put some sense and reality into this whole Brad Richards thing …. First, he was not taken to the Olympics in 2010 because he is not one of the top forwards in Canada. He is a very , very good player, and he could have fit in on that team, but it is not a crime that he was kept off of the team. He is not a completely dominating player like Crosby. Yes, Richards has shown the ability to make big plays when the chips are down, with a Stanley Cup and Memorial Cup title to his name. But he isn’t a one man catalyst for success in the NHL. If he were, the Dallas Stars would not have missed the playoffs. So New York Rangers, fans, and GM Glen Sather, be warned …..
- Speaking of Slats and free agents worth mega bucks, what is to become of former Ranger Scott “ Ankleskater “ Gomez ?? Obviously, he is a dud, having been run out of New York by Slats, and having worn out what little usefulness he had in Montreal …. Siberia would be a good place for Gomez, who was overrated for many years in Jersey, but was exposed as a bum when he left Lou’s nest …. Gomez isn’t helping the Habs, and it would be a shame to pay him to play in the AHL ….
- Still laughing at Dale Tallon’s acquisition of Brian Campbell in Florida …… Tallon got burned bad in signing Campbell in Chicago ….. Campbell is a second or third pairing d-man, but Tallon threw $7 million bucks at him …. Bottom line of this rant : The so called idea of having a former NHL player hang around the office and then become a GM rarely works. The guys get the jobs most of the time, but seldom do them well. In fact, I can’t name a single former NHL player that has done a good job for an extended period of time. Paul Holmgren did well for about a year, but has since ruined his team with bad moves. Steve Yzerman has done a good job in Tampa to date, but one year is not long enough to judge a GM….. the only GM in the league who can be said to have done good work at his job is Ken Holland in Detroit. Lou was in that category for a while, but has had bad luck with Russians, and has let too many UFA’s leave without getting anything back. That is why the Devils fell off so badly …
- If Homgren wants to repair his badly damaged reputation, he needs to land Zach Parise. He would be well advised to get on that, like right now. And the crazy rumour Chuck Gormley put forth, that Philly should pursue Steve Stamkos, well, Stamkos would cost a lot more than Parise, and Yzerman is probably sincere when he says the Lightning will match any offer for the promising sniper …..
- Nikita Filatov to Ottawa….. Filatov sums up most Columbus draft picks …. Lots of talent, zero result. The kid oozes talent, but must have a total crap attitude. Watched him suck and lose his captaincy of the Russian team at the WJC in Saskatoon a few years back … he was a man amongst boys, but just took it easy. Nino Neiderreiter stole his thunder and sank the Russians in that tourney ….
- Interesting move by the Oil to bring Ryan Smyth back to town …. Smyth left the Oil in search of huge money several years back, beginning a coast to coast tour of the NHL that would see him suit up for the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and then the LA Kings …. Smyth kept on playing his game, for several million dollars per year more than what he should have been paid, but his agent played on a few sucker GM’s and got a huge deal …. Through it all, hockey fans of the world had to accept the hard truth that Ryan Smyth was not in fact a superstar, but a guy who would go out and play his same style night after night, knocking in rebounds and collecting the garbage that hovered around the crease … Smyth left Edmonton shedding crocodile tears, and it will be good watching to see how his swan song goes ….
- Washington steal Troy Brouwer out of Chicago, as the BlackHawks fade farther and farther from the roster that won a Stanley Cup for the Windy City …. Dale Tallon left the team in a bad way as far a salary management, and Bowman is paying the price. Dealing Brouwer is not a good move, when you consider that the cast of replacements now includes Rusty Olesz and Viktor Stalberg ….. the BlackHawks were lucky to get into the playoffs, then almost ousted the biggest bunch of whiners in pro sport, the Vancouver Faker-Diver Canucks …. Next year could be ugly in the Windy City. For the Caps, they continue to add grit guys, but does this mean they will not bring back long time Cap Brooks Laich ?
- New Flames GM Jay Feaster made a huge blunder signing Alex Tanguay for 5 years …. Tanguay had pretty reached the journeyman status, so to give him a 5 year deal now, and at his age, is foolish ….
- Remember a couple of years ago, all the hype around Ranger blueliners Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto ? What happened ??? Key word here is hype, and it was coming out of New York …. That pretty much explains the whole situation, and why Gilroy is being let go by the Rangers, and why Del Zotto has spent so much time in the AHL after everyone thought he was the next Paul Coffey, based on his first 20 games in the NHL …. Since then, Del Zotto has just been another kid struggling to make it in pro hockey …
- The Oilers went for the offensive potential of Red Deer Rebel pivot Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, selecting him with the first overall pick in the Entry Draft. The lanky center should spend another season with Red Deer, mostly to allow him to put some muscle on his 6 foot frame, and also to give him the chance to play in the World Junior tourney, a chance he was robbed of by Dave Cameron, who instead took a player from his own club team, Casey Cazikas … Hopkins has a chance to post some big numbers in the WHL, and will be a leading candidate for Major Junior Player of the Year ….
- The Avalanche went with Swedish Gabriel Landeskog, from the Kitchener Rangers, a player that most analysts think will be in the NHL next year. After him, the Florida Panthers went for a very interesting player, taking Jonathan Huberdeau from the Saint John Sea Dogs. Huberdeau could turn out to be the best player in the draft, and is already well known for his goalscoring and knack for potting one when his teams needs a goal, like he did to ice the Memorial Cup win …. Defenseman Adam Larson fell to 4th, going to New Jersey. It will be interesting to see where Larson plays this winter … Pre Season favourite Sean Couturier fell to number 8, going to the Flyers, part of the Jeff Carter deal. For whatever reason, Couturier saw his stock fall, even though he put up big numbers in few games, and turned in a solid showing at the WJC …..
- Now to the wheeling and dealing …. San Jose finally ship out Devon Setoguchi, trading him to the Wild with a few picks for Brent Burns. Setoguchi has been an inconsistent scorer, and will be hard pressed to duplicate his numbers in Minnesota. San Jose is going for an impact defenseman in Burns, who has also battled with consistent play, but should really help the Shark blueline.
- Chicago unload Brian Campbell and that ridiculous contract he never deserved or earned. And of all places, they send him back to Dale Tallon, the guy who brought Campbell to Chicago. Campbell was exposed as an over rated player in Chicago, and when your big dollar guy isn’t even a top pairing player, struggling to be a second pairing guy, something isn’t right. So he is gone, to Florida, for Rostislav Olesz, the guy Dion Phaneuf crushed back in the day during the WJC …..
- Oh, not to leave out the big deal for Leaf fans ….. John Liles is headed to Toronto. Yippee !!! The last Avalanche d-man to head to the big smoke was Jeff Finger …. He he he …. Yeah, he plays in the AHL now …. Probably time for Brian Burke to try something different, like running a gas station or gardening, because he isn’t getting the Leafs any closer to respectability.
- Winnipeg Jets …. Okay, lets stick with that. The NHL will be front and center in Winnipeg again ….. now lets see the jerseys and the colors ….. and here is hoping that Mark Scheifele can break the Barrie curse, and finally give the NHL a decent player that was trained by the Colts …. Dale Hawerchuk is trying to work some magic, a nice tie in to the Winnipeg team as the coach of Scheifele in Barrie …. What is the Barrie curse ? Every high draft pick from the Colts has been a total bust in the NHL. Every single one. Alex Peitrangelo is doing well in St Louis, but only spent a small part of his OHL career in Barrie ….
- Some of the details emerging from the whole Philadelphia debacle are showing that Paul Holmgren wasn’t the only GM making disastrous blunders yesterday …. Toronto Maple Leaf GM Brian Burke, so badly wanting an elite centerman, wiffed on both Carter and Richards yesterday. Apparently, the Flyers asked for Nikolai Kulemin and Nazem Kadri …. Burke wouldn’t trade the pair for either Richards or Carter. Seriously. That is what the “ connected “ guys say ….. If that is the case, then Burke just made a massive, massive mistake. Kulemin is a softie with one decent season under his belt. Kadri is an undeveloped prospect, not likely to be an impact player. He looks so frail on the ice …. If Burke turned down either of those deals, he needs his head examined. As for Paul Holmgren, even associating the names of those two Leafs with either Carter or Richards is an insult to the former Flyers franchise guys ….. Burke fleeced Holmgren badly in the Kris Versteeg trade. He could have done it again ….
- Robyn Regher could be on his way out of Calgary. And Ryan Smyth might be on the way in ??? Wow. How do these GM’s get their jobs? How do they keep them ? Honestly, an eleven year old kid playing fantasy hockey would do better than most of these guys when it comes to wheeling and dealing ….
- In what will be remembered as one of the worst days in Philadelphia Flyers history, GM Paul Holmgren joins the ranks of Mad Mike Milbury, Glen Sather and Kevin Lowe as one of the worst GM’s of the past 20 years … in two shocking moves, Holmgren moved out elite players Jeff Carter and team captain Mike Richards … Absolutely disastrous …. Both players are highly decorated world class forwards. Richards has won everything but a Stanley Cup and World Championship. He has Olympic Gold, Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, World Junior Gold …. At the age of 26, in his prime. Carter has WJC Gold and a Calder Cup, and should have been on the Olympic team …. Two of the most foolish trades of the past 20 years. Dealing away developed stars for potential players ….. This follows the trade the brought in Kris Versteeg, a total bust, for a 1st and 3rd round pick …. Holmgren has gone from a guy who made some stellar moves early in his tenure as GM to a guy who throws away players and picks foolishly ….. to top it off, he then signs Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year deal at $5.6 mill per annum …. TO SUMMARIZE, THE FLYERS ARE DONE. NO LONGER A STANLEY CUP CONTENDER …. If Holmgren now loses Ville Leino, he will have effectively destroyed the Flyers …. The biggest question here is this : How did Ed Snider allow this to happen ?
- Okay, so the Flyers get Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Voracek is a journeyman player to this point. Simmonds is a promising and rugged player. But they aren’t developed stars. As for the 1st rounder from Columbus, well, we shall see. Brayden Schenn ? Not sold on him as a potential star. A second or third liner is most likely …. But don’t expect much from him next year. If he plays well, that is a bonus. But you can’t put the burden on the kid of replacing Mike Richards …
- The Habs re-sign Andrei Markov in a risky move … three years at big dollars … over $5.5 mill per year … If he is healthy, Markov is a smart and crafty d-man … but he is up in years, and has weak knees. The Habs need him to be healthy. It is nice to see them stick by a guy who has been injured, but that won’t help them on the ice …
- Alright … for the Kings, landing Mike Richards is huge. What a steal. They now have one of the best all around players in the NHL. He can and will do it all. Now. He doesn’t have to develop …. He is here. Jeff Carter in Columbus will be an interesting watch. He is a triggerman, much like Rick Nash. Two big gunners in Ohio. Don’t be surprised to see Carter hit 40 goals, and he is capable of 50 …
- Okay, things are getting interesting heading towards the Entry Draft and July 1st Free Agency …. So here are some goodies ….. Clarke MacArthur’s agent seems to be pushing it as far as getting a bunch of cash out of the Maple Leafs. MacArthur has one solid season under his belt. If his agent is too greedy, MacArthur could again find himself as a free agent. What these kids and their greedy agents need to consider is that changing teams doesn’t always work out. When you find a good fit, sometimes it is best to stay in that city, even if it means passing on a bigger payday. Say MacArthur ends up as a UFA, signs in LA or someplace on a 1 or 2 year deal, and fails to perform …. That would pretty much ruin his career. Short term greed would supplant long term best interests …. But player agents don’t think of such things …. They don’t care about anything except big cash now ….
- If the Habs throw a bunch of money at the frail Andrei Markov, it is a mistake. Markov may be a slick and crafty rearguard, but he has been injured for the better part of two years, and is not a gamebreaking, dominating player …. To spend $5 – 6 mill per annum on him would not be a smart move …
- Tough days for Leaf GM Brian Burke heading into to the Draft Weekend … Sure, Burke has two first rounders …. 25 and 30 … the Bruins hold his first round pick, right at the top of the class …. Phil Kessel is an electrifying and exciting player, but that was a steep price …. Burke erred big time in paying so much for Kessel …
- Still no word on suspensions to the poor sport cry baby Canucks Higgins, Burrows and Hansen for their dangerous and obvious intent to injure plays during game 7 after it was obvious the Canucks were toast at the hands of the Bruins …
- Interesting that Ken Hitchcock has been passed over for head coaching jobs the past few years …. Hitch may not be universally loved by former players, but has had success at all levels. Smart of teams not to hire MacTavish, who was a successful player, but as a coach MacTavish was a loser with one flukey playoff run …. Serious, check the guys coaching record. It is awful. Terrible in the NHL. Horrible at the Spengler. Bad at the Worlds …..
- Pretty quiet weekend, mostly a bunch of trade and free agent speculation, also known as wild and baseless rumours ….. of course, us hockey nuts love the stuff … some of the rumour mill is well founded, most notably anything connected with the Flyers .. Philly desperately need a goalie, and in working to sign Bryzgalov and fill out their roster, they will have to jettison a few players, so look for them to deal early this week …. Paul Holmgren made a terrible mistake in his last big trade, bringing in Kris Versteeg, an over rated depth guy, at a steep cost ….. Now the challenge for Holmgren is to ship Versteeg out and get Ville Leino resigned, as well as getting Bryzgalov under contract …
- Biggest news Monday is the return of Nik Lidstrom for another year. The legend will anchor the Wings blueline for at least 1 more year, much to the relief of GM Ken Holland …. It would be fitting for Lidstrom to play another season and rack up another Norris. Don’t be surprised if the classy, soft spoken Swede does just that …
- Salary Cap going up to $64 million ….. considering that it started at $39 mill a few years back, this is a sign that the NHL is raking in the dough, and a good sign for teams and fans that want to keep their star players and bring in some big names ….
- A lot of rumours floating around about Jaromir Jagr returning to the NHL …. Would you want him on your team ?? Apparently the Czech giant is looking at cities like Montreal and Detroit, Pitt and Broadway ……. Of these, I think it could fly if he were to play for the Wings or Penguins …
- Three guys that need to get signed soon : Parise in Jersey, Weber in Nashville, and Bryzgalov in Philly. If I were Parise, I would be positioning myself to exit Jersey, considering the fact that the team has positioned itself behind Kovalchuk / Grossman …. Weber would be great as the icon in Nashville, but some elite teams would be all over it if he became a free agent next year. Detroit and Philly will be looking to replace elite d-men soon, and would pursue Weber to all 4 corners of the earth …… Of course, if Philly fail to sign Bryz, it will be another summer embarrassment, like the Hamhuis thing last year ….
- The public analysis and open critique of the Vancouver Faker-Divers continues, and it ain’t pretty. It won’t ever be pretty. Now that the smoke has cleared, literally, and we are left with 4 very decisive and one sided Bruins victories against 3 close shave Faker-Diver wins that could have gone either way, the series is seen as a Bruin domination over an inferior opponent lacking poise, grace, maturity, character, resolve, determination, will, judgement, class, etc, etc, etc …. The list goes on. So what do the Canucks do ?? Can they ditch Luongo ?? How do they change out so many players that lack so much character ?? Certainly there are a few GM’s that could be duped into taking Luongo …..
- Sick of the spin and blabber out of Vancouver, “ Those weren’t true hockey fans “ ….. whatever … that was a sad scene, and the sad truth is that fans of the Vancouver Faker-Divers were up to their ears in it …… you can propagandize it all ya want, the truth is the truth, and it is not pretty …
- Still no word from the league on suspensions for Vancouver cheap shot worms Higgins, Hansen or Burrows …. Those cheap shots on unsuspecting Bruins away from the play are the equivalent of walking up to a stranger on the sidewalk and punching them in the head …. Far worse than anything Trevor Gillies ever did …..