The worst playoff team in the West is better than half the playoff teams in the East. It's kind of a crapshoot out here, where the teams dominant on paper (Detroit, Nashville) get to beat up on the same few minor-league teams for half the season.
Calgary over Detroit (7)
Minnesota over Anaheim (6)
Vancouver over Dallas (6)
Nashville over San Jose (6)
There's a theme here. It's not that I've picked the top seed in every case (which I have). It's that the East lacks depth and defensive ability. Buffalo, Ottawa, and of course New Jersey are the only teams left in the East that can play defensive hockey. Hotshot offence can win a single game, but defensive consistency will win out over the length of a playoff series. Which is a good thing (we won't have to see Tortorella foaming at the mouth for long) and a bad thing (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Crosby & Malkin will all be gone in a week and a half).
Buffalo over New York Islanders
New Jersey over Tampa Bay
Ottawa over Pittsburgh (6)
Atlanta over New York Rangers
I know there will be a lot of rumours about the Leafs trading away Kubina or McCabe this summer, but it is starting to look like the Leafs will have to do something. Maurice hinted in his season-exit media scrum that Kronwall will most likely skip ahead of Harrison and Wozniewski in the depth chart and Karel Pilar is making big strides in his comeback, winning a Czech league championship and playing well for the Marlies. Kubina's defensive zone play late in the season was very impressive; McCabe's defensive zone play was mediocre at best. McCabe definitely seems to be a very expensive powerplay specialist on a mediocre powerplay unit (15th in league at 17.7%) on a team filled with skilled offensive defensemen (Kaberle, Kubina, Colaiacovo and White are all proficient on the powerplay). Does Colaiacovo's strong play and emergence as a top 4 d-man make McCabe expendable? If so the Edmonton Oilers need a powerplay quarterback and have several young offensive forwards, the type that the Leafs desperately need. McCabe for Lupol and a 1st round draft pick or high end prospect? A trade like this would be win-win, pushing both teams closer to a post-season birth on paper. Trading McCabe would depend heavily on Mrs. McCabe waiving her husband's no-trade clause, which might make this very far fetched speculation indeed.
Bolts fans certainly hope that Homer finds his world championship form, and take the Lightning deep into the playoffs. Probably not, but the triumph of hope over experience is a big part of being a sports fan.
Denis didnt work out, and its too soon to tell if either Ramo or Holmvquist will be serviceable NHL Goalies at the playoff level. But some of the blame has to go to the Lightning defence, which many nights has far too much in common with the Devil Rays relief pitching.
The Bolts pack it in tight, and keep their sticks on the ice, and just beg for a goalie who is calm and covers the whole bottom of the net when he cant see the puck, which is usually. An active goalie, trying to see and make saves, is out of position a lot.
The Bulin Wall was a lot quieter in goal than either of the current two, and seemed to let the puck hit him a lot more. That said, however, my opinion is that in the cup year the defence played two steps farther out from the goal, and Habby saw a lot more of the ice than either of the two current goalies.
The Lighting have given up more goals than any other playoff team on fewer shots against than most. I think the defence stepping out and challenging may allow a few more shots, as thats always an option for a forward whos pressured, but may result in fewer goals against.
This is a moot point as all playoff match-ups are decided and there is really nothing left to say, but every year I cant get rid of the nagging voice in the back of my head that wonders what if teams didnt get a point for losing? Well, after mathematically figuring it out, under no circumstances should the NY Islanders have made it into the playoffs. Should we continue to reward teams for taking longer to lose a game?
Here are the standing as they would be after 60 minutes (no OT or SO), after 65 minutes (but without rewarding points to the loser of OT) and under the OT, SO system we have now but using only a Win and a Loss column, respectively.
1. Ottawa 82 44 25 13
1. Ottawa 82 46 28 8
1. Detroit 82 48 24 10 106
Only a Win and Loss column using the system we have now
1. Buffalo 82 53 29 106
4. Ottawa 82 48 34 96
1. Nashville 82 51 31 102
2. San Jose 82 51 31 102
4. Detroit 82 50 32 100
5. Dallas 82 50 32 100
6. Anaheim 82 48 34 96
7. Minnesota 82 48 34 96
8. Colorado 82 44 38 88
Before i get to my first round predictions, a word on the Canadiens. In todays edition (April 9th) of the Journal de Montreal, former Habs coach and now Analyst on RDS, Jacques Demers and former winger , Guy Lafleur, blasted Kovalev and are hoping that Gainey gets rid of him. Demers, is concerned that Kovalevs attitude could have a bad influence on the youngsters, I agree with Demers. Lafleur, made a more general assesment of the team, but did point Kovalev. It will be harder for Gainey to buy out Kovalev than it will Samsonov. There is no doubt that the fans will not allow Gainey to present the same team on the ice come September. The Habs need to re-sign Markov and Souray, get bigger on the wings and find a number one center, Koivu cant do everything. One thing Carbonneau has to do from now until training camp starts in September, is find a coach for the defensemen. I have stated that my number one candidate would be Larry Robinson, he enjoys working with youngsters and no threat to Carbonneau. Robinson who has been an assistant and coach in the NHL, would be a good help to Carbonneau.
Ok now to my first round predictions. The Eastern conference :
Islanders vs Buffalo
Buffalo in 4
Buffalo is just too strong for the Islanders, they are quicker, the fire power will be too much for the Islanders to handle. The Islanders have used up alot of energy in the last few weeks, i dont think they have enough left to overcome the more talented Sabres. Sorry Islanders fans, but its the truth, but console yourselves, I would not of given any more chance to the Leafs or Habs to beat Buffalo.
Tampa Bay vs Devils
Devils in 7
For Tampa to beat New Jersey, they have to a big obstacle, Mr. Playoff himself, Brodeur. One of the best money goalies in the playoff history. Brodeur is not unbeatable, but if he gets in zone, Tampas fire power could be in bigb trouble, along with their shaky and questionnable goaltending.
Rangers vs Atlanta
Rangers in 6
I mentionnned Brodeur earlier, I think Shanahan can be as much as a factor in this series as Brodeur in Tampa-New Jersey series. He is also a three time Cup champion, he is the reason the Rangers were able to get in the playoffs. He takes off alot of weight off Jagr in the leadership department. Experience wise, the Rangers have the edge over first time playoff performers Atlanta.
Pittsburgh vs Ottawa
Ottawa in 6
The series I qualify as being the best in the first round. When Ottawa captain, Daniel Alfredsson, jumps on the ice and looks across at the Pittburgh team, he will see a Senators team ten years ago, when they made the playoffs for the first time ten years ago. As in the Rangers-Atlanta series, experience will be the factor that will decide the series outcome. Both teams ride on a high octane offense, but good defense and goaltending also have be part of the main ingridient. In that department, Ottawa has the edge. Emery who has playoff experience under his belt, will have to outshine Fleury for the Sens to move on. It should be a good series.
The Western Conference
Calgary vs Detroit
Detroit in 7
This is a chance for the boys from Hockeytown to redeem themselves. They have only past the first round once since they won Lord Stanleys mug five years ago under the guidance of a certain Scotty Bowman. It will be far from being a walk in the park for the boys from motown. Its going to be a physical series, but the Wings in the end will prevail. The Wings have the advantage of having two goaltenders with experience and have won the cup in Detroit in the past, as the Flames solely rely on Kipprosuff. Detroits defence, is among the best puck moving ones in the league, also count on the experience of the best money playoff defenceman in Chris Chelios, and Lidstrom is no slouch either.
Minnesota vs Anaheim
Minnesota in 6
I think this series will be the shocker of the first round. Jacques Lemaire loves being in the underdog position. Lemaire is the most underestimated coach in the league, a tag he wore in his playing days in Montreal, and he feels fine with that. Lemaire does not wait until the playoffs to prepare his team, that starts the first day of training camp. He is demanding, but gets the results he is looking for. Lemaire knows he is facing a good team, but has experience on his side, and can match witts with anyone, after all he did learn from the master himself. Good defence and patience will be the order of the day for Minnesota to win.
Dallas vs Vancouver
Vancouver in six
Two things Gm Nonis did during the summer that changed the Canucks. One the Hiriing of Alain Vigneault, who came in and changed the attitude of the dressing room and the trade that brought Luongo to Vancouver. Those two factors have been the reason the Canucks are in the playoffs, and could go deep. Both Dallas and Vancouver are not the most offensif teams in the playoffs, but I think the Canucks have the edge, as they are a quicker team than Dallas, and that could be the difference. Turco may be the most experienced of the two goaltenders, but Luongo, has size and knows how to use it.
San Jose vs Nashville
Nashville in 7
As it is called in baseball, we call this series, the rubber match one. Both teams met last year in round one, and the Sharks won it 4-1. The Predators have changed since then. Arnott and Forsberg in and Perreault out. Gm Poile has put his neck on the line with the Forsberg trade, gave up alot his teams future to acquire Foppa, so he will be looking for a good return on that short term investment. The other difference from last season for the Predators, is that they have had solid goaltending all season and can count on a better go around this time.
So folks there you have it, time for some real hockey to start. As Spector puts it, predictions are for gypsies, but it makes it more fun to watch. Enjoy the games and have fun.
In reading your update on
Foppa (Colorado?) it resonated with an
Forsberg is still extremely
productive-at least a point-per-game. And
Imagine him having the latitude
to pick a team in, say mid January, a
I don't expect him to sign
with any team until late summer-at the
"Jeremy, Denver CO".
Forberg: Denver Post writer
Mark Kizla made a big deal
One, Kizla is not the Post
hockey beat writer (Terry
Two, I think Forsberg was
moreso being cordial with
Three, there's another key
number to keep in mind: 42.
Finally, center is probably
the area of least need for
So basically, no...I don't
think there is significant
John from Springhill again,
albeit bleeding profusely in Habs red ! Since our last correspondence
The Habs , of course, have missed the playoffs, where I believe
with Huet in goal they probably had the best chance of beating
Buffalo.I just read your column in Fox Sports hence this missive.
Of the 24 currently on the
NHL roster, 19 players are under contract
My current thinking it that
who the Sharks re-sign/trade/whatever may
Toskala's trade rumored price
last off season was roster player,
In your Spector's Notes on the above topic of Doug MacLean, you comment on his hiring of Hitchcock might give him a reprieve. If my memory serves me, it was the McConnells who made that decision. I recall hearing that Doug preferred Andy Murray. I might be on that point, but I'm certain the McConnells pushed for Hitch and they were responsible for the final decision.
While you may be right about
McLean staying, just some clarification:
I do think a change has to
be made, for financial reasons - I think both
Just a quick word in response
to the letter written by Stephen Renauer regarding the Center
Ice package. Renauer writes, "with my DIRECTV subscription,
I can take the Sports package for $12 a month and see all these
US based broadcasts for less money."
I was reading about the Centre Ice subscriber in the US who was commenting on the selection of broadcasts. I dont know if it really makes a difference, but the reader uses Directv, I myself have Dish Network, and through a Dish Network Centre Ice sub you can choose which broadcast youd like to watch (i.e. the feed from TSN or Fox Sports Pittsburgh), and HNIC is broadcast in full (with no interruption) including both the pregame Saturday Night show and the After Hours show. Anyway just some information I thought I would pass along, keep up the great work, your site is awesome, and easy to navigate, I hope when you upgrade it doesnt become a mess like some of those other info sites out there.
i just wanted to respond to the one who spoke out about Center Ice. I have also had it for a few seasons and I love it...i do WISH they would somehow provide both feeds (home and away) and let us choose the one we want...
...however I have Directv and tried to do the thing where you buy the Sports Pack for 12$ a month, but it doesn't work....all games televised on Center Ice are blacked out on the Sports Pack channels. This may not be the case where this guy is from, but in North Carolina, it is...to see anything but Hurricanes games you MUST have Center Ice, or wait for NBC to pick one up here or there.
Your loyalty to your city
is commendable and admirable but you just slammed how many cities
in the process of claiming how wonderful edmonton is. have you
ever lived in any of the cities you just slagged? have you ever
visited any of the cities you just slagged? if not i would suggest
you take your own advice and keep your mouth shut as well.
glenn sather who you rip for causing the mess you claim lowe had to clean up seems slightly unfounded for a few reasons. sather was heralded for his eye for talent during the drafts and keeping the oilers competive on a shoestring budget. he could have bolted for greener pastures much earlier because at the time of his departure to new york he could have gone wherever he wanted.
coffey asked to be traded because he was never going to get the money he wanted from edmonton and messier played the bulk of the prime years of his career in edmonton helping them to 5 cups before asking for the trade. gretzky more than likely asked to be traded to la to be closer to his wife i highly doubt it was his request to be a king for no other reason because as one of the best players in the game he could have gone anywhere he wished. prongers request for a trade was a surprise since he signed that longterm contract in the first place and personally if i was lowe and it was possible(i dont know if he had a no trade clause or limitations as to where he could be traded) would have shipped him off to the worst team in the league and not thought twice about it.
if you want to bash a team for trying to buy the cups thats one thing but to lump detroit in with the rangers is a bit ridiculous. the rangers tried to buy the cups for years and succeded in doing one thing and that was wrecking the league salary structure. detroit on the other hand did spend money but they did what the rangers couldnt do and thats win cups in the process. if you look at detroits rosters those teams that won had players on the team they drafted and developed in addition to players they signed or traded for. you seem to forget that before steve yzerman was drafted they were a crap team and had been for a long time prior. the flyers tried to buy cups as well not learning from the rangers mistakes and failed also and look at them now they are terrible and there farm team is rated dead last by hockeys future because of that path. edmontons farm talent is ranked 17th which could be an indictment of the drafting ability or the fact that they have been a competitive for some time drafting lower as a result pick one. the panthers are a crap team right now suffering from the reign of mike keenan and will be for a time to come. most players are competitive by nature and want to win so most dont want to be traded to a bad team let alone sign with one that looks like there going to struggle for years. name a player that wanted to go to hartford or quebec or any expansion team that came into the league.
yes edmonton had a subpar year and every team has them its part of the process in building a winner but part of that process is watching a team take the criticism wether its beacuase of the front office or the players. as an oilers fan who knows hockey even you have got to agree this team quit after the smyth trade and subsequent multiconference jilted lover routine both sides played. i dont for the life of me remember any oiler team simply tanking it like this one did. theres no excuses to be made for the way they dropped this team has talent its not an expansion franchise and the fans expect and deserve better than what they got.
no one is jealous of the success edmonton had as you repeatedly and incessantly mention. edmonton hasnt won a cup since 1990 and before last year went to the finals last when? how is anyone jealous of a team that hasnt won it all in almost 2 decades. that would be like penguins fans making that statement when they havent won since 92 or candiens fans when they last won since 93. be happy that the oilers were as great as they were and assuming your as old as i am happy that you got to see such great teams and have a team rich in tradition and pride. be happy that your oilers never struggled for years like some teams did (penguins, devils, san jose, florida, hartford, quebec, the 70s and 80s leafs, just to name a few) be happy that the oilers in most years are competitve and make the playoffs as much as they have. be incredibly happy there is a salary cap and edmonton still has a team unlike winnipeg and quebec and hartford.
if you want to be pissed people trash your town fine no one blames you for it but dont be a hypocrite and do the same to other hockey towns making yourself no better than what you complain about.
Spector's Note: The following appeared on Cory's Blog last week. It's been posted here at his request.
Its been 16 months since the day it happened, but the Bruins can still feel the pain. On November 30th, 2005, the Boston Bruins dealt their captain, their franchise, Joe Thornton, to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for top-six forward Marco Sturm, top-four defenseman Brad Stuart, and grinder Wayne Primeau. A definite steal on San Joses part, considering such a grand return for a low cost, and also adding to the fact that Thornton would go on to win the Art Ross trophy, compiling the most regular season points.
Since that date, the Bruins have gone down a different path. While Sturm has signed a contract extension, the Bruins shipped Stuart and Primeau to the Calgary Flames in favour of Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew.
Is it a surprise to anyone that Boston will miss the playoffs this spring for the second consecutive season? The Bruins have an abysmal .475 winning percentage this season, linking to one of this teams major criticisms Goaltending.
Tim Thomas, 32, an at best 1A NHL goaltender, played the majority of the Bruins season, winning 30 of his 65 games. What do I mean by 1A? Think Chris Osgood, Kevin Weekes, or Martin Gerber. Certainly, they can all be good goaltenders, but can not (or can no longer) be that go to guy.
The Bruins have locked Thomas into a contract that expires after the 2008-09 campaign, but at an affordable price tag of just above the one-million dollar mark.
Also in the Bruins system, is waiver claim Joey MacDonald, as well as Philippe Sauve, Brian Finley, Hannu Toivonen, and Tuukka Rask. Finnish goaltenders Toivonen and Rask are easily the best of the bunch.
Note that this isnt the first season the Boston Bruins have had goaltending problems. In fact, its the second year in a row with such concerns. After a sub-par campaign last season from sophomore, and former Calder Trophy winner, Andrew Raycroft, the Bruins felt Raycroft was simply a flash in the pan. On draft day, the Bruins sent Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs, desperate for a starting netminder after buying out veteran Ed Belfours contract, in exchange for the rights to top goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask. A risky move for any General Manager, especially the Maple Leafs John Ferguson, under such media and fan scrutiny.
However, the trade has seemingly worked out well for the Maple Leafs. Last game, Raycroft tied Ed Belfours franchise mark for wins by a Maple Leafs goaltender in one season, with 37. Raycroft will be looking to break the record, and lead the Toronto Maple Leafs into their first post-season visit since 2004.
Meanwhile, the Bruins find themselves in quite the conundrum. The outlook on Tuukka Rask isnt much, if at all, clearer. Rask would prefer to stay in his homeland Finland to continue his military training, which was in fact one of the factors in his trade away from the Maple Leafs organization, aside from also having the benefit of top goaltending prospect Justin Pogge under contract.
Rask presently remains unsigned to an entry level deal, and should he not land any sort of contract before this summers NHL entry draft, hell re-enter the draft pool, leaving the Bruins entirely empty-handed.
The Bruins may not believe it, but they are a rebuilding club, built around their new franchise player, Zdeno Chara, and a exceeding youth, with names like Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel topping the chart.
They must continue their development of this potential franchise goaltender. This season alone, Toivonen has been assigned and re-called from the minors nearly half-a-dozen times. Its almost ridiculous to even considering moving a goalie who has barely been given a chance, with less than 40 NHL games under his belt.
The Bruins cannot afford to do anything drastic, such as giving up their development of Hannu Toivonen. In no way should he be seen as a scapegoat for such a futile season on the Bruins part.
Dave Lewis is not a scapegoat; He IS the problem. This team, on paper, is quite talented, but he could get nothing out of them. They were blown out of more games this year than in previous seasons combined. This team was embarrassing to watch on many a night and the coach holds responsibility for that. He consistently had checking line guys on scoring lines and offensive players on checking lines. There seemed to be no offensive scheme and players spent to much time looking as if they didnt know what they should be doing. This team has speed, but never played an up-tempo style. If Lewis is brought back, the Garden will be even emptier than it is now. They need a whip-cracker who can motivate and recognize each players strength and have them play a style that utilizes that.
The problem is not Dave Lewis. I kinder like the Coach. The team can not keep on hire and fire Coaches keep with one Coach. The problem is Jeremy Jacobs if he keeps filling the seats he is make money and thats all he cares about is MONEY not the Stanley Cup. The team needs a new owner and this how it could if everyone just stops going to games he is not making any money so then he would have to sell the team. It was like the Boston Red Sox the team was sold and a new owner took over and the team won the World Series. Thats the only way the Bruins are going to win. Jeremy Jacobs talks a good story but it is all BS.
Once again I have a disagreement
with you on this issue.
Not quite sure the extent
of the hockey knowledge on this forum but as a player of the
game for 20 years and an avid B's fan. The rants in this
I'd like to address some of these Pro-Fighting arguments. First, I'm against fighting in the NHL. And before all the sports writers, and Pro-fighting people toss out there that I must not understand or play hockey, They are wrong. I play, I coach, and I'm a fan.
At one point I would've agreed that there is nothing wrong with fighting in Hockey, but ever since the 'New NHL' took hold, I don't think theres any place left for it.
Frankly, maybe the league
and players should all clean up their acts
There is a glaring lack of
respect in this league at ALL levels for
I see an NHL where rules
are enforced properly to begin with so that
And don't even get me started
with the way USA hockey wants us to coach the kids.. they certainly
don't preach 'cowboy justice' at the youth level. Maybe theres
a reason for that. We hold our children playing hockey to a standard
we don't even hold the professionals too.
I am writing to comment on your take on the signing of Sami Salo by the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-year extension at $3.5 millions a year. You mentioned that the Canucks have $38 millions committed salary next season, and therefore they'll find cap space tight once again unless Nonis moves some players away. In my opinion, it is too early to make this conclusion. First and foremost, the cap figure for the next season has not been determined yet. It is very likely that we'll see another increase in the cap, to the proximity of $46 millions. Second, the $38 millions number only tells one side of the story. The other side of the story is how many and which players will become free agent this summer. Off the topic of my head, the significant ones are Sopel, Pyatt, Bulis, and Linden. Only Pyatt could be due a significant raise, the other will likely make less than they did this season or leave the team. It may not be a surprise to see the Canucks with around $3 million cap space left to start the season.
I wouldn't dismiss rumours of LA acquiring Drury as "Kopitar and Cammalleri are their top 2 centers". It makes a ton of sense when you look at the Kings line up. They have a huge hole at center, as Cammalleri is a winger not a center.
I just read an article on
TSN Sports Todd Fedoruk wants the league
to allow fighters to wear 4 ounce gloves like the UFC and MMa
fighters. Why wont we have every rink build an octagon shaped
ring at one end of the arena so that when they want to fight
they can go in to the ring and fight no holds bar as well.
Wasn't sure if you've been keeping up on Brett Hull's commentary on NBC. Particularly the rousing speech he gave this weekend during the Pens - Boston game. Basically Brett's opinion boiled down to ; Players who injure other players or intentionally try to hurt other players should be more severely punished / fined / or suspended. Of course, a point I agree with. But then, he goes off on how big hits / physical play and fighting are still a part of hockey, and how the instigator rule has stopped players from being able to defend themselves and how the NHL needs to drop the rule and how they shouldn't ban fighting.
As I'm sitting there listening
to all this I simply couldn't help but think...
Just though that was interesting,
and how I think sometimes,
I'm sick of hearing that the Flyers are going to get both Drury and Briere. They aren't. Do the Flyers have a lot of money? yes. Are both going to commend big salaries? yes. Does Philly have a bit of an inside track with Don Luce, a former Sabre and member of the Sabres organization calling the shots? yes. But the writers in Philly really have to stop telling the fans they are going to get every big name free agent thats out there. Every Drury/Briere rumor for Philadelphia starts in one place: Philadelphia. Basically they're hyping themselves so their season ticket base doesn't go away. It really makes everyone else in the hockey world sick.
i feel compelled to make
a comment about the recent blow up about violence in hockey.
i am a life long bruins fans. and i can remember many days sitting
on my grandfathers lap watching the games. and i can still remember
how he explained to me why the fighting happened, why it was
allowed, and why it had a place in the game. i don't think the
fighting itself is really the issue in the sport. its simply
the easiest thing to pick on. and i believe it's being unjustly
grouped in with the incidents caused by Tootu, Bertuzzi, and
yes even McSorley when he was with the bruins and swung on Brashear.
i believe that the rash of physical attacks over the last few
years can at least partly be blamed on the "new NHL".
first and foremost the league needs to figure out whether it
is all about the "old school" game, or if it truly
wants a new game entirely. i think the officials are being blamed
for being stuck in the middle of a rule system that they cant
completely understand, and
Ever since the great purge before the lockout season, Caps have been short on veterans. Management doesn't seem to get the concept that even the best young talent needs vets to teach them the tricks of the trade. When they do get a good mentor in Zubrus, they trade him over contract length, stranding Ovie to not only fend for himself but translate for Semin. That's when Ovie started complaining openly - that hit him hard.
I was surprised to read Caps attendance in down. My section is fuller than ever, but I'm right by the bench. I guess it's people wanting to get an up-close-and-personal look at Ovie. But even a recent charity event with all the players in attendance didn't draw close to the crowd it did last year.
Spector's Note: I recently noted in my trade rumours page that the Boston Herald suggested the Bruins should consider bringing back Sergei Samsonov if he's bought out of the final year of his contract by the Montreal Canadiens in June. I asked Bruins fans to send in their opinions, and the results are below. It appears most would welcome back Samsonov, provided signing him wouldn't prove costly.
On the topic of Samsonov being a Bruin, I'm not sure where he fits right now.
If they freed up a top 6
spot, then discounted, yes, bring him in. But he would have to
be discounted, and I would assume, a roster player would have
to be traded. Murray would be my guess. If they could dump Murray's
4.15M and sign Samsonov for maybe 1-2M, Then I say bring him
back. But without trading a guy, you have 6 forwards, that can
play on the top two lines (Savard, Murray, Kessel, Bergeron,
Sturm, Kobasew). Plus down in Providence, they have Offense waiting
to come up, in Krejci, Kalus, and Karsums.
He was a great forward for us, but always injured. Bs may want to consider what he could be picked up for on the last year of his contract. He could provide the speed and punch (especially with Kessel and Bochenski) on a 2nd or 3rd line that the Bs need. If things dont work out, then his cost was minimal and let him go after the next year. Samsonov will surely want to try to regain form with whatever team sings him, but I think hell stand out more with a team who has speed and a fan-base that knows him already.
Off the topic, I wish the Bs would consider going after a #1 goaltender. We havent had one since the days of Andy Moog and Reggie Lemlin (sp?) and thats sad. The Bs have always hoped for a prospect or washed-up want-to-be to pull through for them, but it has never happened.
As a Bruins fan, I find my team is in an interesting position. They are slowly starting to take shape since Joe got traded. It appears that they are trying to build their team in the mold of the buffalo sabres. However, they are clearly a 2nd-tier sabres team. But they do have flexibility to spend up to the cap, so I expect them to make some more deals in the offseason. If I were them I would trade Glen Murray (Love the guy but his style no longer fits with the team and they could use the $4M in cap space). Samsonov may fit into the direction they are going with speed like savard, kessel, bergeron, sturm, but sammy would need to come in at 1.5M or less. Although Chiarelli said he wouldn't spend big money, the Bruins need a #1 goalie. Giguere would be a great fit. I like Thomas' heart, but he's not a great goalie. If you are going to try building a run and gun team, you need to have a netminder that can bail you out.
In my opinion, I think the Bruins should re-sign Samsonov in the off-season.
1.) Because of his poor play
this season, Samsonov would be very cheap.
Should the Bruins acquire Samsonov if he becomes an UFA? The answer is yes! Three years ago the Bruins had a second line of Samsonov-Nylander-Bergeron. This line was a powerful line of speed. In the first round of the playoffs, it outplayed the Thornton line. Over the lockout, the Bruins lost Nylander to the Rangers. I can a very similar style of line for the Bruins with Savard in the center and Bergeron and Samsonov as his wings. The Bruins also traded Brad Boyes, so the Bruins needed any extra offensive spark! Samsonov would also come at a cheap price allowing the Bruins to possibly shoot for goaltending depth.
samsonov was good here in boston until he had wrist surgery.since then his career has been on the decline.as for him coming back to boston providing he gets bought out from montreal he would have to sign for a huge discount but i still think chiarelli wouldnt sign him. someone will definitely sign him though and take a chance.
Id like to start by saying that I am huge Bruins fan, and have been forever, so any Bruin-bashing are not a result of bias or dislike for the organization, its only because there are some things that still need changing (like a coach who doesnt act like a Grandma and try to put positive spins on everything. If you suck, then you suck. There shouldnt be oh, but you did a good job winning that one face-off garbage.) I think that if the price was right, he would make a good addition to Bostons wingers. Boston has too many filler players on their roster right now who are not capable of producing at level the Bruins need to be successful. There is a major thing to be considered here. A few years ago when Boston won the Eastern Conference and played Montreal in the first round (their historic 3-1 series lead the disappeared in futility) Bostons best forwards in that series were Samsonov and Michael Nylander. Peter Chiarelli stressed that he will only go after mid-level free agents in this off-season, so I think they should pony up 3mil and try and lure Nylander away from the Rangers should he hit the open market. Reuniting Samsonov with Nylander might rekindle the chemistry between those 2 players and help put Samsonovs career back on track. Even though Bostons bigger hole right now is the glaring need for an offensive D-man to QB the power play (Because lets face it, Chara is entirely out of his element in that role.) To make this move truly work, they should try and unload Glenn Murray this off-season because he is expensive, aging, and becoming injury prone (see groin pull .). If they could free up the 4+mil they are paying him, they could target a good offensive blueliner (Denis Wideman is NOT the answer, that trade still pisses me off because Boyes was out of his element in Lewis system). Anyway, back to Sammy. If he would be willing to accept maybe a base of 1-1.5mil, with incentives should he hit 25 Goals and 60 points, he would get an addition 1mil at those 2 milestones. It would not be the worst thing should he want to come back, but definitely DONT make the same mistake as Montreal and load his contract upfront, make him prove himself and earn the money he feels he deserves.
They never should have traded
Samsonov in the first place! I know
Samsonov has big upside,
which was seen in Boston. He works hard and
Sammy Samsonov has always been a "dangler" and with the Bruins would constantly turn over the puck at the opponent's blue line. When he was younger and more agile, he was a threat to score off of these dangles ... now he has lost some of his abilities and will have to be coached into the right role in an offense ... I think the Bruins who have a clinker at the helm (Lewis) will not be able to use him without a coaching change ... but, to be certain, he was much more "at home" in Boston .... and that may have an intangible positive effect on him ..... "may" is the operative word.
I do not think the Bruins should go after Samsonov. The reason is that the Bruins have a player like him Marc Savard. What the Bruins did is a goalie and a player that shoots the puck who can score 40+ goals. Thats is going to be had to come by. The two goalies the team has is not going to do the job. Tim Thomas is a great back up goalie but not a starter he is hot one game and cold the next. I do not understand why the team traded Brad Boyes.
My name is Jay and I am a Boston Bruins Season Tickets Holder for 10 years now...I broke in with Thornton and Samsonov and I believe that bringing back Sammy at a discounted price is exactly what he needs and also what the Bruins are lacking among other things..Sammy brought fans out of their seats and at least was consistent with his scoring while a healthy Bruin. Yes, his last three years where injury filled but this year he has been healthy but benched so I say bring him back along with a legit NUMBER 1 goalie and not the best backup in the league as they have as their starter now.
As a Briuins fan, I would hate to see Samsonov back in Beantown. Sure this guy was good, he was good at making a move then a second move, then giving up the puck. Ever since his rookie year he has been far from impressive as far as I am concerned, very over-rated and I guess we are seeing that now that he is in Montreal where he doesn't have Allison or Thornton to play with.
Boston will not go anywhere until they really acknowledge the fact that they have a problem between the pipes. Thomas is not a part of the long term solution but he's a part of the shortsighted vision of Jacobs ( chasing the 8th spot, makig a 1st round and run with the cash ) and that's why Bruins fan will have to suffer another year with him. Like or it, in order to progress, Boston will have to make a move. Sadly, for them, the market is pretty thin and the performance of Chiarelli to acquire a real #1 was, at the very best, subpar.This year have been a total waste, seasoning wise, for the B's. Toivonen regressed, Boyes and Jurcina were traded ( for the wrong reasons ), Lashoff and Stuart didn't see NHL action ( well, 2 or 3 games ) and Lewis... Oh well, that's another debate...
I was reading your blog about the Oilers tailspin and had an interesting thought. Imagine if the Oilers had accepted the leafs package for Pronger (Kaberle and Stajan). Sure they got all those first round picks from Aneheim and better for the future of the Oilers, but was it a MUCH worse deal for the present team? It seems to me that Kaberle is exactly the type of powerplay quarterback that the Oilers desperately needed this season. After this season Lupol isnt looking too much better than Matty Stajan either. Stajan has made some beautiful 30 foot passes, tape to tape, while playing a very solid defensive game. It's pure fantasy based speculation, but I'm pretty confident that if Kevin Lowe had accepted the Leafs offer, the Oilers would be very much in the hunt for a playoff position and wouldn't have been able to let Ryan Smyth walk away.
Good points about Anson Carter
and the perils of Unrestricted Free Agency. Perhaps in a future
article you could expand on the issue with some analytical look
at some other examples of how UFA can turn into a nightmare if
the wrong approach is taken. EG - Jason Allison over pricing
himself or thinking that he could wait out the market and get
what he deemed his right value rather than taking something in
January or February just to get playing in order to get into
a groove in time to help a team's playoff run. Yanic Perreault
took the opportunity to play in front of what he thought he was
worth after a successful statistical season with Nashville and
look where it got him.
Another point might be from a team's perspective, where throwing money at UFAs can land you in some hot water if one is not careful - case in point the Flyers, who threw a free agency spending party like it was 1999 on players who were more suited to 1999. As a result, they sunk like stones with players who skate like they have them in their skates.
And I'm sure you can pick out more examples for each point. Good job.
And an overdue PS - I did read your article about how pissed you were about missing the Buffalo-Ottawa game, but I can't believe you think it would be good for HNIC to move to TSN out of spite for the Leafs based programming the CBC does. Regardless of what you think of the Leafs broadcasting, the CBC is available to every Canadian, TSN is specialized programming available only to those who can afford it. HNIC provides a weekly top notch hockey broadcast to all Canadians, not just the ones who can afford cable or satellite packages. I currently live in Windsor, but I am from a farming community in rural southwestern Ontario and can assure you that there are quite a few out there in the country who work hard all week and either can't afford a dish or cable, or in many cases (including my parents' house, even in population packed southern Ontario) cable is not even available, but look forward to being able to see some hockey on Saturday night because CBC is always available to them. To have HNIC be put on TSN would be a major cultural loss for the social values and principles that Canada upholds in terms of providing it's citizens with universal access to many things. Hockey programming in this country, especially this country, should not come with a mandatory price tag and be available only to those that can afford it.
I noticed a minor error in
your latest soap box report. Although it's only a minor mistake,
you state that after the lockout, Anson Carter signed with the
Canucks for $1.65 mil, when in fact it was only $1.00 million. So, in fact, Carter did
manage to double his money via unrestricted free agency ($2.5
After reading the comment about the Leafs going after a top line scorer this off season, I thought that something should be pointed out. Tie Domi's contract also comes off the books this summer. That is 1.25 million extra that is not allocated to anyone. Given Tucker's new contract of 3 million, and he currently makes 1.6. The money they had allocated to Domi will essentially go to Tucker. So, in the end, the Leafs have lost only minimal cap space. Factor in the increase in cap, Peca's 2.5 million coming off, and O'neill's 1.5 too. The Leafs should be able to get the player they are looking for.
There was a mistake in the Toronto Sun article you citied stating that Sundin's cap hit next year would be $6.3mil. The average amount of the salary is applied to the cap so if you made $2mil and $3 mil in a 2 year deal the team would take a $2.5mil cap hit both years. So the team option on Sundin is really worth over $7mil if they pick up the option. JFJ asked the league to let him pass on the option and resign Sundin before he hits UFA but hes not Lou Lamoriello so they declined. From the rumours I've heard it sounds like Sundin would sign for a 3 year $13.5-15 mil deal should JFJ pass on the option and sign Sundin as an UFO. This could mean the difference between Michael Peca staying or leaving.
To say that taking fighting out of the game would stop big name players from being carted off the ice on stretchers is ridiculous. The exact opposite would happen. Fighters are on the team to PREVENT the star players from being run at. Take for example the Rangers/Flyers game the other night. The previous game the flyers and Fedoruk had been taking liberties on Jaromir Jagr, and almost put him out of the game. Note: Coltyn Orr was not in the line-up that night. So on this meeting between the division rivals, Orr suits up, KOs Fedoruk 30 seconds into the game, Rangers go on to win handily. Now I hate as much as the next hockey fan to see a player go down unconscious, but do you think any flyer player felt like running at Jagr after that? I agree that attacks like Tootoos should not be tolerated, cheap shots have no place in any sport, but if you know that a cheap shot warrants a date with Coltyn Orr, or Derek Boogard, or any other big enforcer, it would definitely persuade me to refrain. As for the comment about everybody liking All-Star games, Id have to also disagree, I find the all-star game boring, intensity is what makes hockey great, and the all-star game has none of it. So to conclude, fighting does not put star players out of the game, but rather keeps them in it.
I think the NHL could expand two teams to 32 by putting two teams in: Houston, Winnepeg, Kansas City, Portland/Seattle, Outside Hamilton, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, or Las Vegas.
Based on the selection you would create 4 conferences of 2 four team divisions. What could be done is make it West, Central, SE and NE. Another alternative is to split it NOrth and South with all 6 candian teams and Buffalo and detroit in one conference...travel would be an issue.
Its so obvious that edmonton
has gone flat after the ryan smith deal. Goalie is NOT to blame.
The fact Pronger was dealt was not the reason either. They lost
that edge and hot streak entering the playoffs last
I find it sadly ironic that after writing up my 'Taking runs' email to you that things have come down the pike as they have recently in the NHL with more star players out with head injuries because of goonish play. Jordin Tootoo's recent suspension seems to indicate that at least the NHL is attempting to take a proactive response to this. But I feel more can be done, and hopefully, the NHL and NHLPA gets it's act together to ensure their own livelyhood, and safety.
As for my 'Fans speak out' column this time, I humbly submit the following.
Goons need to be eradicated from the NHL. Face it, If Hockey stays -this way- it's going to die. Fans of every other major sport understand the consiquences, and Fighting, and attacks like Tootoos are not taken lightly in any other sport. Look at any other sport where something like this happens, look at the negativity to generates for those leagues by it's fans.
Artest at the Palace? The College football helmetless head stomping? 'Mellos sucker punch. Everyone was outraged by these acts, but We here in Hockey fandom take 'tradition' as an excuse to send our star players to the hospital while allowing 5 minute a night, 3 goal goons to suck up ice time and dumb down a great game.
No one has any problem with the all-star games, or the olympics being devoid of such thoughtless acts. But the NHL is exempt for some reason, for blind tradition.
Quit being hypocrites NHL Nation, you all love this now, until it's your star forward being taken off the ice on a stretcher, then, oh then how the tune changes.
Thanks Lyle. When you talk to people in the NHL and NHLPA tell them that this fan wants this to end. I love the speed, the skill. I don't miss the fighting, I don't miss seeing my stars wheeled off the ice on stretchers. I bought into the "new NHL" and I want to see it delivered.
Most disappointed by the
strike two years past, I found myself
If you ever pop over to the official Minnesota Wild board, youll find it full of goalie controversy threads (Its been going on since Roloson and Fernandez were goaltenders) about the situation with Backstrom and Fernandez. I dont see Fernandez being moved because he hasnt ever proven to be a number 1 goaltender, his contract is large, and most teams have settled on who they want as a goaltender already this year or are saddled with other contracts, thus taking on Fernandezs contract might be difficult
I'm a long time reader and you have posted some of my stuff before. I'm not looking to have this one posted. I just wanted to disagree with you about Tim Thomas. I know you are an Habs fan and get to see the Bruins 8 times a year or so, if you don't catch them playing agains the Leafs or whatever, but Thomas is a great competitor and one of the only reasons the B's have done so well this season, he gives them a chance to win every night. The Bruins could have made it to the playoffs with Thomas, and he would have probably played better than Jussi Markenen did last year in the playoffs, or right before- i can't quite remember. Anyways, I think you and many critics are off-base with Thomas. He mmay be a Journey Man, he may not be an Elite Netminder, but if his defence wasn't so sloppy and he wasn't the only one playing with heart, the Bruins would be a much better team.
I read you column on Fox all the time. Yes this has been a very tough season for Kings fans. I appreciate your coverage on them and really do hope you are right. They have a great young core and good coach. The problem has always been that management/ownership is not committed to putting a winning team on the ice. We shall see in the coming years if this new plan works. I pray that it does. Keep up the great work.
Just wanted to pass along a quick note to say hello as well as say great job on the Kings future article on FOX. Nice work and pretty spot on.
It sure sounded like you are optimistic about OSullivan, but as a Kings fan who watches this kid night in and night out I smell big time bust. I sure hope I am wrong, but his first NHL season should be forgotten. He is soft and has no determination whatsoever there are other players in his peer group who are producing more in less ice time, although some factors like a better team/ teammates need to be accounted for. Over all though, I was disappointed with OSullivans play this season. Hopefully he realized this season how much work is necessary to stay in the NHL (he made the opening night roster by default; Belanger was traded and that opened up a forward position) and works on that this summer.
Spector's Note: The following first appeared on Hockeytraderumors.com.
With another trade deadline
come and gone, I think it's interesting how some NHL general
managers are instantly branded as clinically insane or new members
of MENSA. It seems that the majority of the armchair
Most people on www.hockeytraderumors.com
know that during his tenure I had always been a staunch supporter
of former Philadelphia Flyers GM Bob Clarke. At the 2002 trade
deadline, Clarke picked up future
Conversely, there were a great many people on the website and in the media who panned the deal. I clearly recall some HTR members saying:
"McPhee had Clarke on his knees."
"He just stole those picks."
"Clarke got ripped off for a 39 year old UFA."
"I can't believe they
gave up their top goalie
All that and more, even the obligitory Clarke-hating insults.
How about we look at that deal now:
To Philadelphia: C Adam Oates
To Washington: G Maxime Ouellet,
Yes, Oates left the Flyers
after the season to sign with Anaheim. He was not offered a contract
by Philadelphia. However, during his one year in Anaheim combined
with his next (and last in the NHL) in Edmonton, his skills and
speed had clearly diminished. Had he re-signed in Philadelphia,
Clarke would have still been panned for paying him for two sub-par
As mentioned before, Roenick
and Primeau were out for a while, and the power play was terrible.
Oates contributed immediately, and the Flyers went on to win
the Atlantic Division. The Flyers were then routed by
While he wasn't re-signed and the team was terrible in the playoffs, the deal was one that Clarke had to make. Had he stand pat, Oates would, in all likelyhood, have been dealt to the Colorado Avalanche. The rumor circulating after the deadline was that McPhee had a bidding war going on between Clarke and Pierre Lacroix. Clarke won. Or lost, according to some people.
Considered to be the lynchpin
to the deal, Ouellet, a former first-round selection of the Flyers
in the 1999 draft, was indeed considered the Flyers' top goalie
prospect and had a bright future as a #1 NHL
First round selection in
2002 draft (26th overall) - D Martin Vagner. Vagner never signed
an entry-level contract and re-entered the draft two years later.
He was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the ninth
(Philadelphia selected D Joni Pitkanen in the first round of the 2002 NHL Draft).
Second round selection in 2002 draft (59th overall) - G Maxime Daigneault. Currently playing for the Caps' minor league affiliate Hershey (AHL). Still considered a decent prospect, but scouting reports state that he needs to get quicker and tighten his butterfly style.
Third round selection in
2002 draft (92nd overall) - C Derek Krestanovich. Has played
for three different ECHL teams. Have not been able to ascertain
if his rights still belong to the Caps, but he is not listed
(Philadelphia traded its other second- and third-round selections in order to move up to select Pitkanen.)
I agreed with the decision to get Adam Oates in 2002, and I stand by that decision five years later. This trade was an attempt to get the Flyers over the hump. A gutsy decision that no one should have considered "desperate." It didn't work out for Philadelphia, but it didn't exactly work out for Washington either. McPhee was supposed to use these "stolen" building blocks for the betterment of his franchise and only came away with one goaltender who may or may not start a game in the NHL. Looking back on it, hardly a great return for a future HOF'er in Oates.
So think about this when
you criticize people like Don Waddell. Waddell deserves credit,
the same way Clarke did, for trying to put his team over the
hump. Atlanta has a very good chance at not only winning their
Think about this when you laud Paul Holmgren and Larry Pleau, both of whom have been showered with accolades for accumulating building blocks for the future in the form of prospects and picks. You may love the job they have done now, but you have know idea how they will pan out five years from now.
(For the record, I love what Holmgren has done - for now. But I'm not prescient - I'll wait and see how things unfold in five years.)
Here endeth the lesson.
As Spector mentionned in his Sunday rumour round up, Bob Gainey will have a difficult time in finding takers for both Kovalev and Samsonov. The other option for the former Habs captain, is to buy them both out, which might be the best. Samsonov has an another year at 3,525, 000 million, at 2/3 thirds, comes up to 2,350,000. His cap hit is the same amount as his salary, so it comes up to 1,1750,000, roll it over twice the amount of years left on the contract, it should come up to about 600, 000 a season. In Kovalevs case, it would be 1.5 million over four years, which in the first two seasons would be savings of 3 million a season, but Gainey can choose to absorb it over two years at 3 million a year or over three years at 2 million. I think the 1.5 million option would be the best. If both stay, they will eat up 8,025, 000 million in cap space, if Gainey buys them out, he saves 5,350,000 million in cap space if he chooses to absorb all of Samsonovs buy out in one season.
I dont see Gainey retaining the following players next season, Aebischer, Bonk, Ryder, Murray, Ninnimaa and Perezghogin. The Habs need scoring, toughness and more size and a guy behind the bench for the Defencemen, yes I have a candidate, all time Habs great, Larry Robinson, he enjoys teaching the young players and can help the veterans also, and with the good crop of young talent the Habs have on the farm that will be pushing to come up, he would be the ideal candidate, the Habs have not had that kind of guy since Jacques Lapperrière left ten years ago.Plus Robinson would not be a threat to Carbonneau. Would Big Bird accept ? Give him a call Carbo and see. The Team needs to improve and needs an identity, Im thinking, Ryan Smyth, if he decides to test the market, I know that Gainey tried to pull him out of Edmonton in his first season as Habs Gm. A lot of work over the summer for Mr. Gainey and company.
Im glad to see that the NHL reacted quickly on the Simon stick swinging incident. It has no place in the game, but its those kind of things that the league needs to look at more than trying to eliminating fighting. It was the hit from behind that created the whole situation in the first place, eliminate that. I like the rule the Quebec Major junior hockey league has, a hit from behind results in a five minute penalty and an automatic game suspension, the NHL should do the same. And do the same for shots to the head. Those are much more dangerous than two tough guys dropping the gloves, they are consenting to drop them, the player hit from behind is not, no more than the player getting a hit to the head.
We are about a month away from the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and you have to wonder if some teams are not taking things a bit too littlely. Example, the Ottawa Senators, this last week played four games and blew leads in three of them and lost, so big deal they got a cheap point in their overtime loss against Toronto on Saturday night, a point in my opinion they did not deserve. If I am Bryan Murray I would start to have concerns about this. Yes it happens during a season where you blow a lead, in an 82 game season it happens ten times its not that bad, but three times in the same week, there is a problem. Yes there is unwritten rule not to run up a score, in the case i stated, it was not. You go in to the third period leading by 2 or 3 goals, you continue to swarm your opponent in his zone, look for a mistake and pounce on it and make them pay. The main thing, be hungry, want more, if you dont get it, keep them from scoring a goal that will change the game, you control it at 4-1 or 3-0, keep it that way, dont give an inch, dont conceed center ice and cut off all passing lanes. If they do get in your zone, apply what I call the 3 and 9 defence. What is that you ask ? Its simple, you force your opponent to the left side, using the face off circles as your guide. The one on the left will be at 3 oclock and the right at 9 oclock. Your centerman and goalie are the main ingridients to success, they become the seconds hand as they have to move with quick precision. Your goal playing defence is to keep the other team outside of those two time zones, in other words, take away time and space to execute. By limiting that, you have a better chance at getting the puck back and creating 3 on 2s or 4 on 2s and catching your opponent flat footed. All of this is a question of testing your teams will to win, to compete and unite for the one and only goal, win the Stanley Cup. New Jersey has done it twice, Colorado, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Carolina have acomplished that goal during this decade, the Ottawa Senators have to ask themselseves, do we want to be next ? Guys, Detroit, Nashville, San Jose,Buffalo, New Jersey and Anaheim will be asking themselves the same question also. If things fall into place, we should have great playoffs this spring.
"David in SA"
I just read your link to
the article in the gazette to break up the Habs. It is almost
funny to think that the press would buy into a 3 to 5 year plan.
Centering the team around Carey Price could be good, but he has
not yet played in an NHL game (lofty expectations there).
First, samsonov's days in
montreal are most probably numbered. He publicly stated he regrets
ever signing in Montreal and that he has enough and wants to
go perform somewhere else!... www.rds.ca (title : ''samsonov
en a ras-le-bol'') As for a buyout, buying out kovalev and samsonov
would actually free a little over 5M from cap space next season,
1.8M the season after but would be a 1.5M loss for each of the
2 seasons after that due to the fact that you can extend a buyout
on twice the remaining period of the contract! Therefore, like
mentionned, since it's very hard to attract UFAs in Montreal,
it's worth the try since the roster should be filled with cheap
youngsters for the next couple seasons unless of course a couple
players are willing to come play here, which chances are slim
Just a few words about all
that has been written in light of the Alex Kovalev "affaire"
and the resulting UFA signing concerns in Montreal..
Over the summer...Mr Gainey along with the coaching staff...gotta sit down have a long talk and get rid of the deadwood...having watched them whenever I could 2006-2007 I would personnaly get rid 90% of the team...the draft picks if they are good enough to make it in the nhl...by pass Hamilton and where ever else...put them right on the team...Pittaburgh don't seem to be doing to bad and they brought a few in like that...so guys if your gonna draft good players and put them in the AHL they'll look good down there but they won't be helping the habs...take a page out of Pittsburgh's book...malkin-crosby-staal...I don't need to say more and the Habs will compete with any team...Draft, Draft, Draft...never mind signing deadwood.
I have to strongly disagree with you giving Lou Lamoriello a C- as a grade at this point in the season. Your reason why is because he is against the cap. Well he was against the cap last summer too, AND still managed to sign Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, Scott Clemmenson. He did this all while maneuvering through the CBA as if he wrote it by "shedding" bad contracts, and using his draft picks. And as of writing this He has the Devils 4 points out of the Presidents trophy, and 1 point out of being the top seed in the eastern conference..... and this man deserves a C-? i think you need to look at more than just where a team is in relation to the cap when handing out grades, as you have GREATLY under valued Lou Lamoriello.
Can someone answer why other t.v networks cannot pick up a game here or there? I would love local tv stations or even cable stations to pick up NHL games from around the league so fans across teh nation can pick up the action as well as their local teams. Take the hit on revenue and get the most exposure right? It makes no sense to me. Like when FOX was with the NHL. I only saw local teams in my area play. Well what if the game sucked? I couldn't switch to see other teams? WHy cannot several local stations and local cabel stations show multiple games? I think this would give greater exposure and entice more people (NEW FANS) to watch. right?
Somewhere greed and tv contracts are holding up the success of the NHL.
I thought to myself is Ryan Smyth worth close to six million dollars? The trade shocked me at first, then made me realize it might not be such a bad thing after all. What makes him worth over what the oilers offered? Is it the fact that he scored 30 goals four times in his career? In all cases probably not. I hate to say it but, Ryan Smyth (Most likely Don Meehan) Tried to use the sentimental factor to get more money out of the Edmonton Oilers. His career stats don't stand out like higher paid players in the league. He hasn't even averaged a point per game pace. So I agree with what Kevin Lowe did. How he did it is another thing... at the deadline, something he tells me they could have gotten more, if he was more agressive shopping him.
Where does this leave the Edmonton Oilers? According to they TSN Hockey pannel they are now in a two year rebuilding phase. I wouldn't trust those guys as far aa I could chuck them. I don't believe that to be the case. They Oilers are sitting on a lot Draft Picks and young prospects, not to mention the core of there younger roster. Hemsky, Stoll, Torres, Horcoff, Lupul. They also have the leadership from Staios, Smith, Moreau. Along with the goaltending of Rolosson. There are only a couple peices of the puzzle missing. There are a lot of good UFA's available, but the trade market may be there as well. Who would have thought the Oilers would've been able to get Chris Pronger? I have this feeling that the Oilers will be a major player in the off season. Who they can get is what I can't wait to find out.
I'm putting a post here in hopes of attracting a healthy debate. I really think most people have basically given the MVP award to Sidney Crosby this year, and I dont think he deserves it. My personal choice would be the man who is leading the NHL in goals, tied for 6th in Game-winning goals, 2nd in the league in Short-handed goals, top ten in Power Play goals and second in points., Vincent Lecavalier. But by all means, I want to hear what you have to say.
I know I'll probably hear it from you guys, but to me, Crosby isnt half the player Lecavalier is. Vinny is a force every night for his team, logging over 22 mins a game on the ice, playing power play, penalty kill and even strength. His even rating may turn some people off, but when you're on the penalty kill nearly the entire 2 minutes, it will affect your +/-. The most telling stat for me is that 6 of his 45 goals are game-winners, several other are game-sealers, and that more than 65% of his assists are PRIMARY. Compare that to Crosby, who has about 50/50 Primary to Secondary in the assist column. If you've ever read this article , you know that the secondary assist can be a very misleading stat. If you re-calculate the assist of Lecavalier and Crosby, removing all secondary assists, it looks like this: (sorry the data is about a week old)
Player GP G A Pts w/o secondary assists
CROSBY PIT 58 26 41 67
LECAVALIER T.B 64 41 26 67
When you look at this, the gap in points between Lecavalier and Crosby is erased, but Lecavalier still has all those goals. And to me, goals are more important than assists. If you look at scoring consistency, Lecavalier has been held scoreless in only 8 games this year, compared to Crosby's 12. Further, Lecavalier has only gone 2 consecutive games without a poin ONCE. Crosby is now mired in a 3 game skid, however, he hasnt gone more than 2 games without a point in a row.
I know many of you will talk about Crosby's effect on every player on the ice, his role in the locker room, blah, blah, blah. To me Crosby does nothing that Lecavalier doesnt do better. EXCEPT ONE THING:
Crosby whines better.
Take this from someone who plays the game: it's ok to be mad about a call, even if its a good one. But if you're a player that can be found talking to the referee about calls after EVERY WHISTLE, then there's a problem. I like Crosby as a player, and he seems like a great guy, but if you're a leader of a team, there are times when you have to lead by example (And I'm not talking about Jarko Ruutu's new-found prowess at diving). Sometimes, you get a bad call, and then you just have to suck it up and kill the penalty. To me, that should make Crosby inelegible for MVP, at least until he grows up a bit and matures.
The MVP shouldn;t just come down to statistics. Team record is important, but for the time being I'm looking at both PIT and TBL as teams in similar standings (they actually are pretty close) and what happens in the playoffs should weigh heavily on the voter's minds. The purpose of this post is to open up everybody's mind, and to prevent Crosby from winning the MVP just because everybody assumed he deserved it most.
One final note, I disregarded Martin Brodeur from this list for a reason. I dont believe a goaltender should win MVP. Just like in baseball, goaltenders have their own award, and MVP should be limited to skaters, not a goaltender who plays in a defense-first system, especially not a system that still traps even if the team is down 2 goals. To me, Brodeur is a great goalie, and a certain Hall of Famer, but his system is set to help him out in every way possible. Im not knocking the trap here, even though I think its killing Hockey's marketability. Brodeur is a great goalie, and he should win the Vezina hands-down, but he should NOT be included in MVP voting.
I am sure most think hockey
is heading in the right direction but I am a bit worried. I am
more than happy to be corrected on any point. From my observations
I see the NHL not being able to sustain the fan base and growth
needed to keep from faltering again. As a hockey fan I am aware
for the most part we will always have the "true hockey fans"
but isn't the point of any sport or business to attract and grow
your base year after year? I highly doubt we have had a significant
increase in fans from year to year. If anything I would call
it a wash. We gain some and lose some. Typical example. I went
to the Islander vs. St. Louis game recently. Ryan Smith's 1st
home game as an Islander. I am a Ranger fan but hey it is hockey
right?. Anyway. Wouldn't you think you would do anything in your
power to have a sell out crowd as a league and team to welcome
home a new Star player you are hoping to resign? I am not sure
of the t.v. ratings but over a third of the building looked empty.
They have something called "HAVOC" seats. All the season
seats that didnt sell (ice level). I paid 20$ and I was utterly
shocked how empty it still was. Blame it on whomever but my point
is....what efforts were made to ensure a huge showing?
Trading one of the big three, or four if you count Boyle, happens only for Luongo or equal, ie a proven top five Goalie. Our three amigos are signed for five years, and are all top 30 players (two being statistically top five).
Lightning claim to be two playoff rounds (10MM) short of breakeven;But the team with stars and trying to go deep into the playoffs is a better business risk than shedding the stars and then trying to fill the building with hard-working me-toos in a non-traditional market.
Part of the transitory problem is the cost of the cup where the post cup payroll demands distort your club the next contract period (Hello, Carolina). The combined contractsprobably are 4-5MM a year less if your not resigning cup winners. Not the worst problem for a GM to face, though, is it?
Los Angeles (22-32-10-54pts) Dean Lombardi A
Apart from the peculiar trade for Dan Cloutier last summer and the non-trade of free agent-to-be Aaron Miller, it's hard to find fault with Lombardi's rebuilding job in Southern California. The Kings now have 21 picks in the next two drafts to rebuild around Kopitar, Frolov and Jack Johnson.
You realize that you are talking about rebuilding around 1 potentially(emphasis on this word) great player (kopitar), 1 player who is finally having his breakout year but maintains his streakiness in frolov and one who has no nhl experience. And you are saying that more draft picks warrants an A? im sorry but Lombardi should get an INC. all his moves so far have been gambles. Cloutier was coming of a bad injury, Burke is 40, Garon has proven nothing, picks inherently are a gamble. Demitra, a player who could have been helping this team now, was traded for, surprise, more prospects. Until he uses or trades those picks for good players he can hardly be judged and if you do judge him on what he has done he clearly gets an F because the team is right now worse than it was a year ago.