The Face-Off Hockey Show|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in
The Face-Off Hockey Show's LiveJournal:
|Friday, September 10th, 2004|
| Do It Yourself or Die
With the CBA talks hitting a stalemate and both the National Hockey League owners and the National Hockey League Players Association counting their money and trying to one-up each other on the daily, and yet sometimes hourly, press releases; there’s one party that has not been formally or properly addressed. Out of all these meetings, all these bickering sessions about how the rich can get richer, whether it is the players or owners of the NHL, one important party, which fuels both the owners and players wallets mind you, has not even been considered in these CBA talks-- the fans of the National Hockey League.
That’s right—probably the MOST important party in all this hasn’t even been recognized at all. But why not??
You have to look at who’s debating this issue of “cost certainty” or “revenue sharing.” Millionaires bickering with other millionaire. How will that get anything done in all of this discussion??
But what have the fans done??
I frequent many message boards on the internet where fans have bickered back and forth who is to blame. People talking about what needs to be done, people using different schemes of trying to figure out this whole CBA mess. Even some, the very pessimistic, have already called the NHL dead. They have started wakes for the NHL and moved onto other hockey or even other sports in the area.
However, they have not been addressed in all of this. They are the backbone of this whole CBA issue and the NHL, nor the NHLPA, been able to address the fans in all this.
The NHL has been the only side of this to somewhat recognize the plight of the common fan. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been in contact with the National Hockey League Fan Association (http://www.nhlfa.com
), but only to say that the NHLFA would have to get 70,000 people to sign up in order to be considered for discussion.
How great is that?? The only person to have a contact with the fans said that they aren’t even important enough to consider for the CBA negotiations. I, for one, have had enough.
It’s time the fans finally stepped up. I don’t blame the owners or players for not addressing anything because it seems no one could get a rat’s ass about this CBA thing. Everyone is bickering on the internet about what they would do, who is right and who is wrong, what needs to be put in so that they can see NHL hockey—but they aren’t doing anything to show their work.
It’s time to make a stand
As of right now, I’m starting a movement for the fans of the National Hockey League. Right now, I’m saying to the fans, they need to get off their duff and actually show the owners and players that you are done being the last resort of all this. The fans need to call, email, snail mail, and the last line, picket outside the local NHL arena, practice facility or whatever needs to be done to actually have your voice heard by the National Hockey League. There is no voice for the fans right now because it seems the fans don’t even want to speak up for themselves. With out a voice of your own, you are lost in all of this.
I’ve learned in this business and most of this life, if you don’t do-it-yourself; you are going to fail. It’s time for the fans to step up. If you’re sick and tired of being a pawn in this game between the millionaires, step up. If you’re tired of seeing these players making more than you’ll ever see in your life, complaining about not making a good living, step up. If you know your team is in trouble and don’t want to see them be taken away because of this, step up.
The fans can sway one owner or player. It’s not that hard, but they have to do it and do it with conviction, force, and purpose. I don’t care if they don’t return the email, letter, or call; you can’t say you didn’t try.
Look it up people, it’s not that hard to find the information you need. Heck, I’ll even provide the links for you to easily click on a select from there. It’s not that hard, and if you do it—you can actually say you did something to help out this labor issue.
It may not be much, but every little bit helps. It’s time for the owners and players to realize that they are not bigger than the game, they are not bigger than this issue, and that there is something more important either side would be losing than money: the supporters who contribute to their fat wallets.
For the Face-Off Hockey Show, I’m Scotty Wazz. Thank you for your time, this time, and until next time, this has been my two cents.
LINKS FOR CONTACTING THE NHL AND NHLPA
NHL and their member clubs—- http://www.nhl.com/nhlhq/faq/club_info.html
|Monday, June 28th, 2004|
The Only Way To Be
This Year’s NHL Draft had all the intrigue of a Tom Clancy novel, but in the end, it had all the intrigue of a Scooby-Doo cartoon.
Not only where people getting hyped up about what was going to happen with the Washington Capitals and their first overall pick, but what Gary Bettman had to say about the process in the CBA matters. On Friday, Bettman said that the NHLPA was beating around the bush and taking most his words and twisting them around. Looks to be a long summer kids.
But that not all withstanding, the NHL Draft in Raleigh, North Carolina went off without a hitch. The aura around the Draft was that there was going to be wheeling and dealing all throughout the Draft. There was…..but nothing of significance. Of the four trades made in the First Round, none of them involved real players, just Draft Order.
So, to the Draft……or are we??
At around 10:30 AM EST, the Ottawa Senators announced they have agreed to terms with soon-to-be Free Agent goalie, Dominik Hasek. This comes as somewhat of a shock to many as the Senators have plenty of depth in the goalie department and could be doing some more wheeling and dealing.
NOW—onto the actual Draft where the Washington Capitals were going to pick the first of their three picks first overall. General Manager George McPhee wasted no time in thanking the City of Raleigh (11 times), the Calgary Flames (5), or the Tampa Bay Lightning (5), and selected the 6’3, 200 pound phenom Alexander Ovechkin from Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Elite League.
“I fell excellent. I feel great. I've been waiting for this day for, maybe, two years. I'm very happy,” said Ovechkin. “I know only one guy at the Capitals, Alexander Semin. We spoke at the World Championships in Finland. He said that it's a nice team, great guys. He likes the Capitals.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins had the second pick and they picked Evgenii Malkin from Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Russian Elite League. The 6’2 center is slated to some as being as good, if not a little bit better player than Ovechkin. Of course, some little technical problems and healthy issues made him a concern for being ranked in the higher tier, but his resilient play and ability to play equally on offense and defense makes him a highly touted blue-chipper.
Coming off a season which was a disappointment to say the least, the Chicago Blackhawks had the 3rd overall pick. Last season, they took young defenseman Brent Seabrook out of Lethbridge in the Western Hockey League. They now had a chance to take another prime WHLer, and they did, in Cameron Barker out of Medicine Hat. Barker possesses all the skill and mentality of a stay-at-home defenseman and all the speed and moves of an offensive defenseman.
“Chicago is definitely rebuilding. So picking a defenseman, you know they have a lot of talented guys in that group,” said Barker. “So I am really looking forward to trying to make the team and it's a great future for them.”
The fourth spot is when the RBC Center erupted.
Originally, the 4th overall pick was suppose to be that of the Columbus Blue Jackets, however, they traded that pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for the 8th overall pick and the 59th overall pick. The Canes fans came to their feet and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair coming across the screen strutting and crying out his patented “WOOOO” on the Jumbotron. To that, Jim Rutherford did not disappoint the crowd by picking the 1st ranked North American by Central Scouting in Calgary’s Andrew Ladd. The winger had a career season in Calgary by putting up 30 goals and 45 assist, as well as 119 penalty minutes in 70 games.
“They seemed like a great, great crowd,” Ladd said about the Carolina fans. “The whole time we have been here, Carolinians been really receptive. So I am excited about the fans for sure.”
However, as much as no one expected the Canes to move up, no one could have predicted what the Phoenix Coyotes did with the 5th overall pick. Wayne Gretzky and crew decided to not only go off the board, but go out of the state, east coast, and possibly out of the continental United States with their pick. They picked Blake Wheeler, junior out of the Breck School in Minnesota. The player expected to not go until the late first round, early second went as a lottery pick.
The 6’5, 200 pound Wheeler had 100 points (45 goals and 55 assist) in 30 games at Breck this season, but of course that cannot tell how he will play in the NHL or even AHL. Wheeler will complete his senior year and then decider whether he’ll bypass college by signing a contract, or sign with the Coyotes and start his trek.
“The feeling I have right now, I can’t put it into words, it just unbelievable,” said Wheeler. “To be a member of the Coyotes organization is something special and it’s a thrill to be part of a franchise that Wayne Gretzky is part of. It’s a dream come true and there are no words to describe what I am feeling right now. I wasn’t sure where I was going to be picked in the draft, but I was thrilled when the Coyotes took me fifth overall.”
The New York Rangers had the 6th pick and without a flinch, they took University of Michigan goalie, Alvaro Montoya. With an amazing run in the World Junior Championships this winter, Montoya’s stock rose. He also helped the University of Michigan with his five shutouts and 2.27 goals against this fall.
“I guess it really started when I loved to watch the USA Hockey team play and being a goalie, I really loved to watch Mike Richter play,” Montoya said of his idol. “When the Olympics came around, it was Mike Richter time. Then I started loving the Rangers, you know. That city has great fans. It's always been a dream of mind to play in Madison Square Garden. Hopefully one day it will happen.”
Moving onto the seventh pick, Iron Mike Keenan took the new regime of the Panthers and picked Czech center Rostislav Olesz. The two way center has great vision of the ice and can create plays from in deep of the opposing zone as well as from his own zone. His heads up play and unselfish ability more than makes up than the little inconsistencies he could occur.
The Blue Jackets acquired the 8th pick from an earlier trade with Carolina. With that, they took the Lewiston MAINEiacs left wing Alexandre Picard. The quick first step of the 6’2 Picard made him a value asset to some of the General Managers in the NHL. With his ability to make a raucous in front of the net, he will give the Jackets a new game plan offensively.
With the 9th pick, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim took sturdy defenseman Ladislav Smid from the Czech Republic. This defensive minded blue-liner has a good shot, but doesn’t usually take it. Even though he is strong and big, he hardly ever uses it. However, his maturity and great vision of the ice makes him a great pick up for the Ducks.
Rounding out the top ten, the Thrashers try to build on their pick of Braydon Coburn last season. To up the size, they picked 6’7 Boris Valabik from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. Compared to Zdeno Chara, Valabik is a good skater for his size. He doesn’t seem as awkward as other big men and with his accuracy on the forehand and back hand, Valabik is underestimated for his size. Definitely matched up with Coburn, the Thrashers seem to have realized they had issues on the blue-line.
“You know what, I saw Braydon (Coburn) in an under-18 tournament. I think it was last year or two years ago and I was watching him play and I really like his style,” said Valbik about his future teammate. “It's going to be a great opportunity for me to learn something from him. He is a great hockey player and that's great.”
Outside of the top ten there were some movers and shakers, but nothing outside of the ordinary.
Robbie Schremp’s stock fell when the forward’s trouble past came back into play. The Oilers decided to take a chance on him by selecting him 25th overall. GM Kevin Low was not bothered by the winger’s past, but more intrigued by his above average skating ability and finesse game. Not to mention his great ability to shoot off the pass.
Outside of their first overall pick, the Capitals took two highly sought after defenseman in Mike Green of Saskatoon and Jeff Schultz of Calgary, both of the WHL. Green has great vision of the ice in his own end and having capable speed to join the rush, he is one part of the future core of blue-liners in the Caps organization. Schultz, who stands a mere 6’6, will bring the physical game as well as a scoring touch to the Caps. However, his ability to shrink and be invisible could scare some, the Caps can hope that Hitman teammate and Caps draftee Patrick Wellar can smooth the transition period.
“I feel great. They are a young team looking to rebuild, so hopefully I can look to crack the lineup in the next few years,” said Schultz. “I don’t know what exactly they’re looking for, but hopefully my size can be a huge asset to me.”
With the last pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning took another Calgary Hitman in that of defenseman Andy Rogers. The 6’5 blue-liner can be solid in his own zone, but mental lapses had him slated as a second round pick. The Bolts seem to be building for the future after their championship season, starting off by the one thing they have been struggling with, the blue line.
After the first round, it seemed that the doom and gloom surrounding the league didn’t deter many GM’s or owners to move salaries like it was going out of style.
Unless you are the Ottawa Senators. In the course of two days, the Senators got rid of salary room that could be used for Dominik Hasek. They traded underachieving center Radek Bonk to Los Angeles for a second round pick. However, 15 minutes later, the Kings sent Bonk and goalie Cristobal Huet to Montreal for Mathieu Garon. Then on Sunday, the Senators traded Patrick Lalime to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth round pick. With all the noise made about those two former Sens, the question was really why they waited so long to move them.
This Draft was just like every other. Picks were made, controversy was abound, and Wayne Gretzky got a standing ovation. Though it was a day for the new class of the NHL to put on their sweaters for the first time, the question now becomes, how long will it be before they put on that same sweater again.
For the Face-Off Hockey Show, I’m Scotty Wazz. Thank you for your time, this time, and until next time, this has been my two cents.
|Tuesday, March 9th, 2004|
The NHL Trade Deadline came and went with very few significant moves happening on the actual deadline. However, the Deadline came as it always does leaving some people to think who where the big winners and who were the big losers. This is the Wazz's Breakdown of the NHL Trade Deadline.The Winners:
Not only were they able to pick up Tommy Salo as a back-up to David Aebischer, but if Abby were to fall, he would be able to fill in nicely for the Avs. Also, the Avs got some depth up-front with Matthew Barnaby being acquired from the Rangers and Chris Gratton from the Coyotes. Of course, they gave up a valuable defenseman like Derek Morris, but if that's the price to pay for getting some depth up front, the Avs are willing to get over that. Toronto Maple Leafs:
Not only did they get Ron Francis for maybe his final run at the Cup, but also they got Chad Kilger off the waiver wire and Calle Johansson from Free Agency. Not to mention the acquisition of Brian Leetch a week earlier, the Leafs are stacking up depth, experience and defense in order to make a strong run at the Cup after their unceremonious exit last season. Vancouver Canucks:
The Canucks are trading draft picks and some prospects like it's going out of style. With the acquisition of Geoff Sanderson from Columbus and Marc Bergevin from Pittsburgh are key for them as well as Martin Rucinsky. However, they did lose out on getting a goalie and lost highly touted prospect R.J. Umberger to the Rangers. This is the most action that GM Brian Burke has done in years.Nashville Predators:
To talk about a team stocking up for their first playoffs, the Preds are a prime example. Getting Steve Sullivan from Chicago started the ball. Then they got Brad Bombardir and Sergei Zholtok from Minnesota, finishing it with getting Shane Hnidy from Ottawa. The Predators are committed to winning and to be honest who can blame them. David Poile has build this team from the ground up for five seasons and now, with the ability to trade off picks for proven talent shows why he's one of the best GM's in the game. The Losers:
This was a work in progress. They spent way too much for Lang and Jagr and weren't getting anywhere with it. Therefore, they gave away everyone. No one was safe, not even newly acquired Anson Carter, who was dealt to the Kings for Jared Aulin, who hasn't played this season because of post-concussion syndrome and shoulder problems. Mike Grier heads to Buffalo, Calle Johansson, a one-time Caps scout, to Toronto, and we all know the rest of the guys’ tracks. One solace thing is that Olaf Kolzig and Brendan Witt are still in the Blue, Black, and Bronze. New York Rangers:
Well-- what more can you say but, "Why didn't they move Lindros, Messier, or Holik??" This was another inevitable situation. The Rangers for years have been the team to pick up huge contracts on players and not having them succeed, but this was the last straw for Glen Sather. He dumped salary like it was going out of style. Barnaby to Colorado, Greg de Vries to Ottawa, Leetch to Toronto, and so on. This team is in need of rebuilding and this is where it's all going to start. It may or may not go on with Glen Sather, but it will be happening. Ottawa Senators:
Apparently no one told the Senators that they were in a playoff race and weren't supposed to get rid of talent. They acquired Greg de Vries from the Rangers on the deadline and Peter Bondra from the Caps a few weeks before, but the Sens got rid of two of their bigger defenseman in Shane Hnidy and Karel Rachunek. The one thing that the Sens didn't address is their shaky goaltending. This will be an interesting situation to see how the Sens do and how this could help....or hinder then in the second season. Calgary Flames:
This team is in the middle of a playoff run, they have a great offence and great goalie, but they only gain a grinding winger?? The Flames could have used a defenseman and maybe even get rid of Roman Turek instead of Jamie McLennan, but regardless, they needed much, much more in order to get a good run in the playoffs.
Obscurity is something that I love about the trading deadline. For example, TSN did a spoof last season about the "Greatest Trade Ever" which involved the Calgary Flames getting Paxton Schulte from Colorado for Vesa Viitakoski. So, for the second year in a row, here are my picks for most obscure deals of the deadline:
-Pittsburgh Penguins get Lasse Pirjeta from Columbus Blue Jackets for Brian Holzinger
-Florida Panthers get Paul Healey from New York Rangers for Jeff Paul
-Vancouver Canucks get Sylvain Blouin from Montreal Canadiens for Rene Vydareny
Now plenty of people that were rumored to have gone didn't. Like players in DC like Olaf Kolzig and Brendan Witt. The Caps apparently didn't get all they wanted for the players, hence they kept them. Miro Satan stayed in Buffalo to keep their playoff dreams alive. By adding Mike Grier, the Sabres have improved their chances. Chris Pronger was someone also to be rumored of leaving, but nothing much happened there at all, as well as Doug Weight, not going anywhere.
For the most part, the day went by without the big blockbuster trade. It seemed that the GM’s got their shots off in the early going while the getting was good. Of course, with all the picks being traded around, you can bet this is setting up for THE DEEPEST DRAFT EVER!!!
Also, today we saw that there can be old faces in new places. Of course, it will be odd seeing Ron Francis in Toronto blue and Matthew Barnaby in Colorado maroon, but they’re all after one goal…The Stanley Cup and they will spare no expense to get it.
For the Face-Off Hockey Show, I’m Scotty Wazz, take care of yourself and someone. Thank you for your time, this time, and until next time—this had been my two cents.
|Friday, February 27th, 2004|
The disbandment of the Washington Capitals continued today by trading Robert Lang to Detroit for a WHL prospect. The only players that remain to traded that anyone in Washington DC recognize are Olaf Kolzig and Sergei Gonchar.
Now, this comes as no surprise. The Washington Caps have been in a constant downfall since their Stanley Cup appearance in 1998. The team fanbase has diminished and many fans show up to the MCI Centre as blue seats. The team has overpaid for their subpar team and are paying for it now.
Where do they go from here?? What can the Caps do to salvage anything??
Well, frankly in a matter of speaking.....nothing. They are a team that is destined for failure and being subpar at best. Their team is comprised of minor league defence, streaky goaltending, and an unelectric offence. Their only sources for the offence is in New York, Ottawa, and Detroit.
Two questions still remain: (1) Has a team ever fired a coach twice in the span of a season?? and (2) What does it take to get fired as a GM??
George McPhee has made this team a laughing stock and Teddy Leonsis is one of the big names also to blame. They both spent too much money on Jaromir Jagr which limited them in order to get what they need....like defence. Therefore, they are hurt now-- the longrun.
We'll see what the Capitals can do now about their woes on everything, but just in case....how does the Houston Capitals or Hamilton Capitals sound??
|Wednesday, February 18th, 2004|
The Ottawa Senators today acquired right winger Peter Bondra from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Brooks Laich, playing with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League (AHL), and the Senators' second round pick in the 2005 entry draft.
There's an upside and downside to this trade.
The upside: This is a great addition to the Senators. It's more scoring to a streaky offence and also provides another point man on the Power-Play and a short-handed threat. He'll look good in black, red, and gold. He's a valuable asset to any team and this could be the hump breaker for Ottawa.
The downside: The Sens don't need more offence, they need more grit. They have enough power on the right side also, with Hossa, Alfredsson, Havlat, and so on. This is just stacking the right side, leaving the left side bare. Also, Brooks Laich could have made it big in the NHL, but now he'll have to do it for the Capitals or someone else. He was doing good in Binghamton, but never got a full chance in the NHL.
Also, Arturs Irbe was recalled from Johnstown of the ECHL to be the back-up for Kevin Weekes as his previous back-up, Jamie Storr, is in the process of being put on waivers.
This is odd because in October, GM Jim Rutherford said that Irbe was not going to be in any future plans with the Canes and that he would never put on a Canes uniform. "We offered a buyout which he did not accept," Rutherford said Friday from Florida where the Hurricanes opened pre-season. "It's difficult buying a player out of long-term contracts. His agent had permission to talk to teams during the summer and nothing came of that. So Arturs will go to Lowell's (AHL) training camp next week. We decided to go younger," Rutherford said. "We've got Weekes and DesRochers and that's the direction we want to go."
How things change so easily, eh?? I mean, this makes Rutherford look like a jackass moreso. He should have never let him go down so low before, but Irbe wanting to be traded to a team were he could be #1
and saying it publicly left a bitter taste in the Canes mouth.
Kudos to Irbe for taking all this crap and still going back up to the big club. He's a class act for enduring all of this and yet still not feeling bitter enough to say "No, I wanna stay here."
We'll see how this all goes, but I think it's too late for Carolina, next year is just around the corner.
|Friday, February 13th, 2004|
The Calgary Flames have enjoyed a great season thus far. Many factors can be attributed like Jarome Iginla finding his touch again, the words of Darryl Sutter having an effect on the guys, and just all around team unity. However, the real reason, in my opinion, is because of the amazing play of both Miikka Kiprusoff and Jamie McLennan. However, with the return of Roman Turek, there's a cog jamming the gears. Sutter gave Turek the time he needed to get going to see if he could regain the top spot from Kiprusoff, but it didn't seem to work.
After Turek came back from his knee injury, it couldn't have come at a better time. Kiprusoff was down with an MCL injury, McLennan was starting to slip, and Turek could wow everyone and get the respect he wanted. However, in that time he went an unimpressive 4-6. The team confiedence seem to be down and Turek was even telling the media, after a game where he rested, that he didn't play and they won, so that is a telltale sign of things.
With Kiprusoff coming back and winning in style for his first game, and Jamie McLennan being a dependable back-up, you really have to wonder what will become of Turek. He has to be the odd man out if not for his sub-par play since coming into Calgary, but also producing less and getting paided the most out of the team. To waive him is the easiest thing to do right now, but it's almost too easy.
Will there be teams willing to get Turek?? Maybe, you'll have some team like the Rangers trying to find something to win and they could believe that Turek is the missing link. However, other than that I can't think of any team wanting him. Of course, the Flames could carry him and his contract and just have him for insurance, but I doubt that will be happening.
The real flaw with Roman Turek is this: in Dallas and St. Louis, he had a top notch defence in front of him. From Derian Hatcher and Darryl Sydor in Dallas to Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger in St. Louis, he had the best of the best. Then when he came to Calgary, he was exposed. There was no defencive presence in Calgary and to a point still isn't. Jordan Leopold and Denis Gauthier are still young and learning and won't be like the Pronger's or Hatcher's out there for a while.
This is why Miikka Kiprusoff fits so well into the Flames scheme. Kipper played well for San Jose with the inexperienced defence and had to adjust to the fact he would be probably facing upwards of 35 shots a nite. He had to rely more on his skill and positioning to get him by. So far, being 12-3-2, you can say he adjusted very, very well.
What will the Flames do with the upcoming trade deadline?? It's too early to tell honestly. Darryl Sutter is holding his cards close to his chest and doesn't reveal much. However, could Turek be moved?? It's a possibility, but who would want him is the better questions. Right now, Turek needs the Flames more than the Flames need Turek.
|Wednesday, February 11th, 2004|
Today in Las Vegas, the NHL's 30 GM's agreed to a number of rule changes that will be brought up in the Summer Meetings in late July. These changes not only effect the rules, the way the game is played, and the AHL, but it could be, albeit very little, a starting point on getting a CBA done sooner and getting the level of play up.
Right now, I'll give you the Wazz POV with the rule changes suggested:1. Goalies can no longer handle the puck behind the back-end red-line (behind the net)
Now what can this do?? For one thing, you won't have someone like Roman Cechmanek and Rick DiPietro wandering aimlessly around the cage, but also, it keeps the flow of the game moving. If a player wraps a "hard around" the boards, the goalie can't come out of the net to stop the puck for his defenceman. This could create some scoring chances for the offence. However, what I don't get is how can you make something like this stick and how can a penalty be given out for a natural instinct move?? It's a good rule in theory, but they need to knit pick a little more.2. The width of goalie pads will be reduced to 10 inches from the current limit of 12 inches; also, the league's head office will act as a clearing house for goalie's equipment before they can wear it, in other words inspect it before giving it to goalies.
Something that Patrick Roy mentioned earlier in the week seems to be coming true. This change will weed out the pretenders and the real-deals in goaltending. But, this helps the goalies a little because they can have more lateral movement, but they have given up 4 inches of net because of it. The NHL, however, forgot to mention anything on regulating the size of the chest protectors.3. The nets being brought back to 10 feet from the back boards from the current 13 feet. The proposal would return the goal line to where it was before the 1990-91 season, when the league moved the nets out one foot to create more room behind the goal. The league moved the nets out another two feet prior to the 1998-99 season. Also, tag-up offsides will be brought back.
Both moves are genius. I call the nets being moved out the "Wayne Gretzky Rule" because of the fact he'd camp out there and no one would be able to go behind the net to get him. However, since no one has stepped up (or behind as the case may be), they'll give the attack zone more space. The tag-up offsides should have never left the game. It gives the game more flow, it'll create more forechecking, and you'll see less of the trap.4. The AHL will be asked to try out three points being awarded for a victory in regulation time with the NHL possibly going to that format in 2005-06 if it works well in the minors; that would also include two points for an overtime win; it may also include two points for a penalty shootout win. The AHL will also be asked to try out the so-called ``fat lines'' of both blue-lines and the centre red-line next season. But they will be 24 inches instead of the 36 inches tried out this year in the AHL. They're currently 12 inches wide in the NHL.
This could go both ways when you look at it. The AHL gets screwed for being the guiena pig for the NHL and that they have to change their league around in order to see if it'll work. However, if these AHLers find their way to the NHL the next season, they won't need to adjust to it because they've lived it. Amazing, eh??
There are also two changes that will go into effect as soon as this week. The penalty shot rule was clarified so as to include players who clearly are in a pursuit of a loose puck that would lead to a breakaway and are hauled down will now be awarded a penalty shot. Before, a player had to be in control of the puck. Also, a clarification of the rule regarding goals scored when the net is slightly off - those goals will now count.
All in all, you can say that the GM's actually did something right. As odd as it may sound, this could be the starting off point for a new NHL, a new CBA, and the new-old NHL with higher scoring, better quality of play, and the same exciting game we've come to know and love.
|Monday, February 9th, 2004|
Well, as soon as I post the possibility, it becomes reality.FLYERS GET:
-Branko RadivojevicCOYOTES GET:
Now, this begs the question on who the hell did Mike Comrie piss off??
Mike Comrie came into this league as a small forward who was suppose to be traveling between Hamilton and Edmonton all year. However, Mike Comrie was special. He made an impact in the Oilers line-up night in and night out. Then he got greedy.
This whole summer, the Mike Comrie/Kevin Lowe situation made the news. It was a player holding out for more money than the GM deserved and the GM stood to his guns. Then a trade was worked out which would send Comrie to Anaheim for cash and prospect Corey Perry. However, Kevin Lowe threw both Anaheim GM Bryan Murray and Mike Comrie for a loop as he stated that Comrie would have to pay upwards of 2 million dollars to get out of his deal. Then the deal soon evaporated and Comrie and Murray were bitter at Lowe.
Bobby Clarke came in and said that he'd give up defencive prospect Jeff Woywitka, a 1st round pick this season, and a 3rd round pick in 2005. That left the Ducks and the rest of the hockey world in shock. No stipulations, no money changing hands, just a straight up deal.
Now this comes about where Comrie is packing up and moving out West again. You can't help to think what the Ducks feel and what Comrie feels. Not only that, but how about the Flyer fans. If they weren't pissed now, the fact they got rid of their best prospect in the system, for basically nothing-- then they have the right to riot and pilage the city of Brotherly Love.
And what is Comrie's deal?? He was a great forward, but his reputation preceeds him. He's now viewed as an overrated forward who's looking to get out of any situation he can because he cannot compromise. The kid is good, he's one of the better young forwards in the game, but he's not in the same boat as Lindros, Yashin, and the other holdouts who weren't willing to compromise until they were out of that city.
Now we wait to see how it will fair. Will it be better for the Flyers?? Will it be better for the Coyotes?? Will the Edmonton fans lynch Comrie when he comes to town?? We don't know anything for sure, but we do know that Kevin Lowe is loving every minute of the Comrie Drama.
On Sunday, ESPN's John Buccigross reported that Sean Burke had been traded to the Flyers. Fifteen minutes later, the Coyotes rejected those claims and said there was no trade. Then three hours later, the Flyers denied that they were in talks with the Coyotes for Burke. This story gets more complicated.
The deal was not suppose to happen until Monday. Monday has now come and gone and there's still buzz about a trade. However, some interesting moves and reports have surfaced. First, the Flyers send Eric Weinrich to St. Louis for a draft pick. That frees up the salary Weinrich would make for someone. Then there's a buzz that Jeff Hackett is ready to announce his retirement because of his health problems. That would not only clear the logjam that could have happened, but also frees up the 3 million in salary that the Flyers would have to pay Hackett.
This all means that the money for Sean Burke is freeing up left and right and Bobby Clarke is just trying to get an "experienced" goalie to play in net and maybe, just maybe win them a couple of Playoff Series. However, this is two fold in what it means.
Burke is a good goalie. He's always been consistant and been up for the Vezina in past years. However, he's tried the experiment with the Flyers before with less than stellar results. If the Flyers think this will help them out, they are dead wrong. This is just another mistake that Flyer fans will live to regret. The defence is the one thing that needs beefing up. With the lose of Weinrich and Eric Desjardins still on the IR, they don't have an experienced back line, nor is it by any means a "stay-at-home" system. A goalie is only as good as the blueline in front of him.
Also, what about Robert Esche?? He was playing great up until his MCL strain. He'll be the backup, AGAIN, to Burke even though he should be the number one. He was playing better than Hackett this year and really could have shown the NHL that he's a bonafide starter in the league and that he could possibly be the backbone of the franchise, as well as carry them throughout the playoffs.
However, this would be more hurtful for the Coyotes. Sure, it will get rid of one of their goalies they had at the beginning of the season, but Brian Boucher really isn't the answer to salvage this year. Granted, yes he did have that great shutout streak and broke some records, however the teams he played against weren't the most high-powered scoring machines out there. Plus, no one knows how Zac Bierk is doing with his groin tear. The only shining light in all this is the fact that David LeNeveu is maturing brilliantly in Springfield of the AHL. He could step in if need be and work out fine.
But really, when you break it all down, this really is just the Flyers shelling out more money for a goalie who could possibly be consistant, but injuries easily as well. My best to the Flyer fans this season because it'll be a long second half of the season with inconsistant goaltending and sieve-like defence.
|Saturday, February 7th, 2004|
So this article in the USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/columnist/allen/2004-02-05-allen_x.htm
) is suggesting 10 ways to make the NHL better. This is about the....oh.....109th article on this topic. But this one....this one was different.
The USA Today covering hockey is like Mariah Carey covering herself....doesn't happen.
But I'll humour the writer.
Let's Break.This.Down, shall we??1. Reduce the schedule from 82 to 70 games
No, bad columnist. You can't improve the game with shorter schedules. The owners won't agree because it's taking 6 home games away from them a year and that won't put up more revenue.2. Let players without puck have a free pass
Hi, I'm Obstruction and Interference, have we met??3. Three points for a regulation win
Maybe. Depends on how the structual system works, but you'll have so many points records broken, and frankly, it'll make a mockery of the game. Sure, teams will go for the win, but come on-- it's not premier league soccer folks.4. Make wider blue lines, move nets back
Agree with the nets, jury is still out on the lines. I don't know how the line will work. Seemed to work well in the AHL, but I don't know how you can morph that to the NHL game.5. Alter the rules on power plays
Serve the two minutes, sure. Why not?? Give the team a full 2 or 4 minutes. But the icing thing-- eh, not so much. If you wanna speed up the game, then don't put in this rule, it'll slow down the game and make it more annoying.6. Make the ice surface wider
Ninety-four feet would be good. That is what they used in the WJC's and they worked well. It's not wide-enough to be crazy, but not as narrow where more movement can happen and more wide open play.7. Change offside rules
Touch-up offsides is the best way to do things and make play faster. Also eliminating the red line would be alright, too. I don't see what's wrong with that. 8. Reduce the size of goalie pads and ban 'cheaters' on gloves
Okay, lay off the stuff, man. The "cheaters" on the gloves are just the evolution of the game. That's the way it's been for a while, deal. As for the reduction in size, no. The goalies need to be safe and I think the NHL has done a good job on the blockers and leg pags. How about we look into measuring the hest protectors??9. Ban forwards from skating backward in the neutral zone
WHAT?!? So, I guess we're going to get rid of the Selke award too. You know, you have the age of the offencive defenceman and they'll jump up in the play and the forward would have to drop back. If a turnover happens, you're telling the forward not to look at the play coming back?? Plus, doesn't every skater play all the positions??10. Turn down the volume
Dudly noted......and thrown away. This point was completely irrelavant to the whole article, thanks for playing though.
The idiots I have to deal with folks. I'm sorry, but just keep to your pie charts and leave out of hockey fuckers.
|Friday, February 6th, 2004|
The fall of the Senators continute as they dropped to the Leafs 5-4 in OT. However, this wasn't a close game at the beginning of the game and after the first, it was lights out for Ottawa. So you thought.
After Marian Hossa went down in a heap when a dump in attempt by Ken Klee shattered Hossa's visor, thus making Hossa bleed profusely. After that, many of the Sens started feeling sick to their stomachs, Chris Neil leaving the game with flu-like symptoms. At that point it was 4-0 Ottawa.
Then reality hit.
The Leafs got 5 unanswered goals in Patrick Lalime and went onto the win after Owen Nolan got the 5th unanswered.
Now this begs many questions. The first is What should the Senators do about their goaltending situation??
Patrick Lalime, for the most part, has been a consistant goalie in the past, but as of late, he's been not on his game. He has been outplayed by Martin Prusek in the past month, he hasn't been on his game after given a lead, and seems to be in the same situation he was when he was first with the Penguins and started to get over the fact he was a decent goalie for the first little bit. I think now is as good a time as any to be going into the idea of shopping Lalime and searching for another goalie, whether it be in the system or outside of it. The Sens are almost a complete team. They need a little more grit and a lot more goaltending.
The second question is If the Senators are suppose to be the "power house team," shouldn't they be able to get through injury and still perform??
People complain that the injuries are really hurting the Senators, but come on, that can only go on for so long before you're sick of hearing it. Sure, Ottawa is without many of their key players, but they are hyped up to be this strong powerhouse of a team that is suppose to win the Cup. The problem with that is that they are not living up to it at all. If you are a team of destiny, then you have to be able to win, stars or not. If you can't win with your stars, you're overhyped, and underqualified.
I'm as big of a Sens fan as it gets, but to see a performance like the past few weeks is sickening and making me lose patience. They need to get it together or else risk being the goat again.
|Wednesday, February 4th, 2004|
Jason King has been sent back down to the Manitoba Moose. This begs the question, what does Brian Burke and Marc Crawford want out of him??
This is the second or third time that King has been bounced up and down between Vancouver and Manitoba. His quick start to things made him and early front runner for the Calder Trophy. However, he tailed off in a bad way. His role in the Mattress Line (with Daniel and Henrik Sedin) wasn't what the Canucks wanted and he was demoted back to Manitoba. With injuries to Magnus Arvedson and some others, he was called back up, but that lasted until today.
This begs the question, will this turn into another Jason Spezza incident?? You know, where a young potential star is bounced back and forth between the American League and the Show. Of course, the two aren't a like. King was a pretty mediocre player at best with the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL and drafted in the 7th Round by the Canucks, whereas Spezza was the top prospect in the whole CHL and drafted 2nd overall by the Senators.
But does that matter?? You have to believe that the psyche of the kid, especially drafted that late, has to turn to doubt and second guessing the ability of one self. For the most part, he has to be shaken and unsure if he'll ever get the kind of chance he had at the beginning of the year. I think that he has to be hoping that's not his only chance to shine and that Burke and the organization will give him one more chance.
King has the chance to be a great player for someone someday, but he has to make it to the Show and just make sure that he keeps playing consistantly, therefore not risking a chance to be sent down to the minors. If not the Canucks, then I'm sure someone else will pick him up. He's too much of a talent to let go by the wayside.
|News and Notes for 2:30 PM Today
-Bryan McCabe has suffered a broken nose at the hands of Mats Sundin's stick at practice. There's not truth to the rumour that it happened in direct effect with McCabe's comments about the NHLers sitting for a long time until they get their way with the CBA. This is also bad news to the Leafs because with McCabe out, that makes a total of six players down with injury. Along with McCabe, Ed Belfour, Alexander Mogilny, Tom Fitzgerald, Wade Belak, and Joe Nieuwendyk are out of the line-up for a time with various injuries.
-The Ottawa Senators, in a desperate attempt to bulk up, have approached former Sabre and Sen Rob Ray about returning. John Muckler has been in contact with the heavy fisted winger in the past 48 hours and has really been serious about get more and more aggressive players into the line-up. If you remember, Ray was in the press box more often than not in the Sens playoff run last season.
-The Philly Flyers are hurting badly. Not only in the defence portion, but also in net. Both Robert Esche (MCL) and Jeff Hackett (vertigo) are out and now both goalies from across the street with the Phantoms are the new tandem in town. Antero Niittymaki will be the starting goalie this evening against Washington with long-standing back-up Neil Little behind him. Bobby Clarke has denied talks about getting a new goalie, but sources close the Face-Off Hockey Show have said that Clarke and Washington Capital GM George McPhee have been in talks about Olaf Kolzig.
-Listen into the Face-Off Hockey Show this evening at 9 PM EST or check it out in the archives after 11 PM EST and then you can get all the hockey and hilarity of the boys on the Face-Off Hockey Show.
TSN had an interesting article concerning what hot goalie will take their team to the Stanley Cup. Of course, you had the usual suspects of Brodeur, Belfour, Hasek (if he's healthy), but they also had some long shots such as Tomas Vokoun, Andrew Raycroft, and Rick DiPietro. Of course, that sparked up my interest in who I would want in goal this season in the playoffs.
So ladies and gentlemen, my first of many hockey ladden post....my top three goalies I would want in this seasons Road to the Stanley Cup.
But first, I'll have to give an honourable mention to Roberto Luongo
. He IS the Panthers organization. He's an unbelieveable asset to the Panthers and really is the reason the Panthers have won as many games as they have. He give the team a chance to win, yet they never take those chances. Though his team isn't in the playoffs, and his goals against is 2.44, he is saving 93% of the shots taken at him. The new age of butterfly goalies have come in and Luongo is leading the way.
Now.....the list....3. Andrew Raycroft:
I'll agree with TSN on this one. This kid is an amazing goalie. As a rookie, he took over the starting role in net for the storied franchise in Boston and really has jumped off from that point there. Even though he's 18-12-6, he has a goals against under 2.00 (1.89) and a .932 save percentage, this kid is very overlooked in the East. The problem is that they have no defence. He is facing almost 30 shots a game, he has no one on the blueline that's a big presence, and his offence is on-again/off-again at the drop of a hat. If he can stay on his game, he will be a stand-out in the playoffs.2. Jose Theodore:
If you want to have a story about rising to the top quickly, then dropping like a fly, finally rising again through the ashes-- it's the story of Jose Theodore. After stepping into the line-up in 2001-02, Theodore took the emotionally high Canadiens to the playoffs and got them past the #1
Bruins. At the end of the season, he took home the Vezina and Hart Trophies. Then it went to hell. After an ugly contract dispute with the Habs, Theodore lost his touch. His numbers last season were down beyond belief and he was pegged as the next Jim Carey. Not to mention, his family issues with money laundring and picture uncovered from years back where he was hanging with the "Hell's Angels", his life couldn't get worse off. However, he stuck to a training regimine that he set up, he stuck to his guns and now he's prospering from it. He has been back on his game with 21 wins, he's well on his way to take the Habs to the playoffs and could get them past two rounds.
.....1. Miikka Kiprusoff:
You want to know why the Calgary Flames have the confiedence and strut that they have this season?? The answer is simple. The turning point of the season happened when the Sharks shipped out their odd man out to Calgary, and the Flames couldn't be happier. Kipper has been the reason the Flames are the force they are this year. Even though he's appeared in 16 games this season due to his injury, he has 11 wins, a save percentage of .941, and letting in less than 1.5 goals a game. Darryl Sutter gave Kipper his time in the net and he has yet to disappoint and even though he is injured, he is the hot hand in Calgary. And even if he falters, he'll have Jamie McLennan to back him up (yet another goalie turning a corner) and if worse comes to worse, they still have Roman Turek at their disposal. Out of those three, give me Kipper any day.
So there's the ScottyWazz list. Like it?? Don't like it?? Think I'm a huge fucktard?? There's the comment box-- hit it up fools.
|Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004|
So there's been a lot of actions made about the whole Eric Lindros and his eight concussion and what he could do with that. Reports out of New York is that he got passed the first phase, but he's now having to go 48 hours without enduring any type of post-concussion syndrome. If that does happen, then they could clear him as early as two weeks. But is it really worth it??
We all, well some of us, remember Eric's brother Brett who, because of concussions, had to retire after one and a half seasons with the Islanders at the age of 20. Both of the brothers were big bruts who made impacts in the NHL, Brett for a short time, Eric for a somewhat long time. But Brett knew that it was time for him to exit, then he did. He went on to host a little hockey TV show ("Be a Player") and then ran his snowmobile into a damn tree while under the influence. What that has to do with anything-- no clue, just thought I'd add that.
Where was I?? Oh yeah, Eric. Now this is his eight concussion, this time at the hands of Jason Doig of the Washington Caps. Now, if you looked at the pictures, you just see Lindros on his butt and you don't get Doig getting his hands up into the face of Lindros, thus jolting his brain and making another concussion. Is this the last time we'll see Big E??
I think not, but he should. Lindros is a warrior and wants to prove fans, media, and the NHL wrong. He's a proud Canadian boy and doesn't want anyone to think different. He's going to a dry well to many times however. This is the perfect time for Eric to say, "You know, okay-- it's time I go before I can't remember my kids' names." It's gotten to that point for Eric, so many jolts to the head will make him forget even his NHL career, winning the Hart, and all that jazz.
Some have even said that he was all hype and really didn't do much with his career. To a point, sure. If you go by stats alone, he was really made by those around him. In Philly, he had Recchi and Leclair to help get him the puck and all that. He only had one season over 100 points and never played a full season, though he did come close last season playing 81 games. When he got to New York, you would think that he could put the past behind him, especially with the Clarke incident. In the first seasons there he struggled, as did the Rangers. However, this season was coming along just fine for him. He was starting to get his groove back and you started to see that old Eric Lindros. He stands now at 10 goals and 22 assist in 39 games and maybe more pending this whole scenario.
Now, do I think Easy E should hang them up?? Not really, but yes. He still has some good years in him and still has the ability to play, but does he want to risk his health down the road. Having to endure concussions myself, they aren't pretty at all. It's very, very bad. The after-effect counteract the good that could come out of it. He had a great career, but now the Rangers have Jaromir Jagr, Lindros can rest and they won't lose any scoring power.
Big E, it's time to just hang them up, reflect back on the good days because you can, and relax with your time off.