Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Some Summer Stat Hunting

by Jes

With James Mirtle (whose ass I am going to kick in online Scrabble) going on a bit of a stats-posting binge, I'll jump in with a few bits and bites of my own.


Scoring points at even strength and short-handed is a LOT harder than scoring on the Power Play. There were 4 players with 20+ points that scored nary a single point on the man advantage. The winner? Bates Battaglia, the comeback kid who scored all 31 of his regular season points at even strength. Samuel Pahlsson, the defensive god, was second, and his buddy Rob Niedermayer was also an all-even-strength kind of guy with 16pts.

Bates Battaglia 31 100%
Samuel Pahlsson 26 100%
D. Afanasenkov 21 100%
Dan Hamhuis 20 100%


Just who relies on the Power Play for their offence? Guys like these tend to rack up more points in the long run because they get the good ice time. I wouldn't count on Battaglia to do so well in 2008.

Not surprisingly, most of the top gunners are defensemen, as they hold back during even strength, and then get the chance to let loose with the man-advantage.

Rob Blake 34 76.5
Sheldon Souray 64 75.0
Sergei Zubov 54 74.1
Tom Poti 44 72.1

Among forwards, greedy Michael Ryder, he of the 1-year contracts, was the most 'enhanced' forward, with 34 of his 58 points (58.6%) coming on the Power Play.


Anton Volchenkov led the NHL with 273 blocked shots, 45 more than second place Jason Smith, who had 228. Niclas Havelid was a surprise third place with 225.

Among forwards, the winner was ... Blair Betts??!! with 98, good for 101st place overall.


If you saw a lot more of Sean Avery than you wanted to, blame the schedule maker and his trade to the Rangers. Avery led the NHL with 84 games played, 2 more than the 82 scheduled.


Jaromir Jagr, who hogs the puck as much as anyone to ever play the game, led the league with 126 giveaways. Jason Smith had the dubious honour of finishing second with 109. Now, I understand why Jagr would have a lot, but Smith? When your defensive stalwart is giving away pucks like that, you are in serious doo-doo.


We all know Rod "the Bod" Brind'Amour is great on face-offs, and the stats bare out his mastery.

# of face-offs taken = 2047, almost 300 more than second place Mats Sundin
% of team face-offs taken = 43.6% (Second place was Sundin at 37.5%)
% of face-offs won = 59.2%, second only to Yanic Perreault, who was his usual deadly self with 62.8% (!) of draws won.

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Photo of the Day: Aww, Look at the Cute Bunnies!

by Jes

Cute, but dumb, puck bunnies need a good home. They are very affectionate and love to be touched, but demand a lot of time and attention.

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Monday, July 30, 2007


Women in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Sure, Why Not?

by Jes

With news slower than the thought process of your average Telus employee, there has been some debate today whether women players should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Let me remind you that this is the year 2007, and we no longer have separate sections on the buses for them coloured people, and we do allow women out of the kitchen to vote in elections.

Don't tell this to Dave Harrison of Prince George, who apparently still pines for the 1930s, and thinks women's hockey has no place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Women's hockey is just a shade faster than Tai Chi but only half as interesting.

If any event is worthy of an "escape call" early in the first period, it's women's hockey.

As a crowd pleaser it seems to appeal only to other women who have convinced themselves that it's entertaining, feminist promoters of lost causes, anxious sponsors who are about to lose their shirts, milquetoast males who allow their women to choose their clothes (Real Men Don't Eat Quiche), and husbands who nod in agreement if they know what's good for them.

No self-respecting, red-blooded, beer-drinking, Canadian male hockey fan ever takes women's hockey seriously.

I will agree that women's hockey is boring (to me) and it is like comparing the original Iron Chef to the watered-down American version, but the Hockey Hall of Fame is not exclusively for males, in title or in theory.

How could a serious hockey fan ever discount the impact that certain female players have had on the game and on the national consciousness?

Cassie Campbell - Already a member of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Campbell was the first woman to ever do colour commentary on HNIC, won 2 gold medals, multiple World Championships, and is one of the best women players in history. She is very high profile and very successful, and definitely has no fans than Bernie Federko ever did. Few hockey women have been as marketable as Campbell, and her mark on the game is quite evident.

Hayley Wickenheiser - Arguably the best female hockey player of all-time, she managed to accomplish the feat of becoming a regular player in the Finnish 2nd division. Compared to her peers, she was head and shoulders above them in talent and ability to compete with men on a physical level.

Now, I am not advocating a dual Hall of Fame where we have 1 woman inducted every year as a 'token' gesture. I believe that the real Hockey Hall of Fame does have room for exceptional woman, such as the two above, and that we shouldn't simply relegate them to their own little Hall of Fame in Medicine Hat (or whatever dinky town they may think of). Simply declaring the Hockey Hall of Fame a male-only zone is not only regressive, but shows a general lack of understanding about our culture and the game we love.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007


Video of the Day: The Sports Police Blotter

Yes, news is so frickin slow, and the sports world is so ebil right now, that The Hockey Show spends its time highlighting the crimes in OTHER sports

Just another reason why Hockey is the best, eh?

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Friday, July 27, 2007


Derek Roy is Rich, Biatch!

by Jes

It's usually in a team's best interests to avoid salary arbitration. Not only do the players seem to win a majority of the cases, but the bitterness tends to linger with the player as they listen to their employer belittle and rip apart their game.

The Sabres paid big to ensure Derek Roy would not have his contract determined by a 3rd party, and signed the midget to a huge deal.

Derek Roy avoided salary arbitration Friday by agreeing to a US$24-million, six-year, contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

It's a hefty deal for a third-line centre coming off a career season in which he finished fifth on the Sabres with 63 points (21-42) in 75 games. He was also a plus-37, fifth-best among all NHL skaters.

The deal will pay him $4 million on average per season, a significant raise for Roy, who made $627,000 last year.

"Derek is a solid young player who will only continue to improve,'' general manager Darcy Regier said in a statement. ''He will play an increased role for our club, and we look forward to having such a quality player in our organization for many years to come."

I'm quite surprised on a couple of levels.

The length and width of the contract surprised me. I had never pictured Derek Roy as a $4mil/season player, nor did I expect the Sabres to tie themselves down so much in the wake of having to shell out for Vanek. Then, I realized that the Sabres must be tired of losing players, and want to lock down some of their young guns as long as possible

I had also never realized that Derek Roy was so effective last season. I had always known him a great 2-way 'role-player' type ever since his junior days, but he was so much more than that for the Sabres, and still has room to grow as a player. Sure, he'll have far less talent to work with this season, but Roy has a pretty good track record during his pro career.

Given all that has happened in the marketplace and to the Sabres, I think this is a deal that is good for them. The dollar amount is a tad high, but they might easily come out ahead if Roy continues to play as well as he did last season. They also ensure that they won't lose the guy any time in the near future, which is probably a large part in why they were willing to agree to $4mil/season.

I'm sure Sabres fans must be pleased with the deal.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


The NBA is in Trouble? Good! Screw Them!

by Jes

I am sure that I wasn't the only hockey fan that was filled with glee over this NBA/Donaghy/Point-shaving scandal. In case you haven't heard, some dumb ref called a lot of fouls to affect the scores of certain games, all to help some bookies make money on betting on games.

Of course, now the NBA is under an intense firestorm of criticism and backlash that it wants no part of. Whoever said that no publicity could ever be bad would obviously be wrong about this situation. The NBA has taken a Brad May shot to the head that it may take years to recover from.

Now that the very integrity of NBA games is at stake (Does anyone seriously believe that only one ref was doing this?), and the NFL is under fire for Michael Vick's dog-fighting activities and crime culture, and the MLB has this whole Barry Bonds/steroids cloud over its head, this is the perfect time for the NHL to capitalize on the misfortune of these other leagues.

For years and years, we know the NHL has been dumped on by the American mainstream media for being violent, irrelevant, etc etc etc... With all of the 'bad news' being reported these days, the worst thing that NHL has against it is the Staal brothers getting a bit too jolly at a bachelor party.
(No, Mirtle, most people don't give a rat's ass about Operation Slapshot. The media might, the league might, but fans do not)

Of course, this NBA scandal will lead to the question of how above-the-level the NHL refs are. Over at The FanHouse, I have an in-depth look at why it would be near-impossible for the NHL to ever face this kind of scandal.

The NHL has worked very hard to improve and standardize their officiating. As much as we might want to wring the neck of Kerry Fraser, we can be assured that an NHL game would never be fixed in quite this matter without it being discovered.

With the other leagues reeling in bad publicity, I'd like to see the NHL capitalize. How? I'm not sure, but promoting the integrity of its referees, the players, and the sport would be a good start. Hell, even a TV commercial where the refs are like "Unlike certain other leagues, we don't believe in fixing games" would be a huge slap to the face of the NHL and totally get the NHL some much-needed attention.

I just hope that all of this darkness in the sports world doesn't negatively affect the NHL as a side effect. If people get turned off of sports, on a mass scale, it could affect the NHL if people just decide to ignore pro sport altogether.

So, NHL, now is the time to rise above the sludge and come out like a white dove.

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The Canucks New Logo?

by Jes

Earl Sleek over at The Battle of California came up with this concept for the new Canucks logo.

Canucks New Logo

It's certainly 100x better than what the overpaid marketing staff of the Canucks will come up with.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The Staal Crime Family

Yes, he wore his hockey sweater to the county jail

It looks like another NHLer is in trouble with the law.

Who? Eric Staal, one of the 'golden boys' of the NHL and EA Cover d00d.

Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal was one of 14 people arrested in Cook County, Minn., early Monday morning and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. One of his three younger brothers was also arrested.
Staal's agent, Rick Curran, said today that the group was gathered at the Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas in Lutsen, Minn., for Staal's bachelor party and he expected the misdemeanor charges to be reduced or dismissed. Staal, who will be married in August, could not be immediately reached for comment today.

According to a statement released by the Cook County Sheriff's office, after the Sheriff's office received complaints about "screaming, yelling and playing loud music," the group of about 20 was warned "multiple times" before it was ordered to leave the resort by Sheriff's deputies, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and a U.S. Border Patrol agent at 3 a.m. Monday.

"After leaving the property, the group gathered on Highway 61 and began harassing passing motorists," the Sheriff's office said, at which point 14 members of the group were arrested at approximately 4 a.m.

"I have no doubt there were probably a couple kids lipping off or something like that," Curran said. "Frankly, that goes with the territory. You get that many a group of kids together, somebody is going to say something stupid."

Hmm, a group of young punks partying and making too much noise? *gasp*, colour me shocked and/or appalled. You can see GM Jim Rutherford just rolling his eyes after having to comment on this situation. Basically, young boys will be young boys, and Jimmy could care less as long as Staal doesn't decide to drive while drunk.

Now, how about some creative punishment? Force these dopey punks into a room and pump Barry Manilow at full blast for an hour! That'll teach them a lesson they'll never forget (unless Staal likes Manilow...)

Edit: Eric's got the real mugshots over at The FanHouse. Even in their mugs, they come across as pretty lil' country boys.

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Are the Canucks Relaxing Their Anti-Slovak Policy?

by Jes

If you look at the Vancouver Canucks opening night roster in a couple of months, you will notice exactly ZERO Slovaks on the roster. Given the Canucks' Anti-Slovak policy, and the fact that Vancouver hates Slovaks, in general, this really isn't Earth-exploding news.

What is shocking, however, is that the Canucks signed another Slovak prospect, Slovak-born Swiss Juraj Simek, and now have TWO in the organization.

Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice-President and General Manager Dave Nonis announced today that the Canucks have signed forward Juraj Simek. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Simek, 19, spent the 2006-07 with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, registering 57 points (28-29-57) and 41 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games.
Sure, both Simek and Mario Bliznak are late-round picks, and both are longshots to make the NHL, but it's a start!!

Now, hopefully Nonis will get down and get Bulis under contract. WHAT'S TAKING SO FRICKIN' LONG!???!?!

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Photo of the Day: Chelios, the New Hockey Adonis

by Jes

Chris Chelios loves his insane off-season workout routine, which includes surfing and biking around southern California.

I'm sure certain blogger will love these photos.

David Guralnick / The Detroit News

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Didn't Miss Much, Eh?

by Jes

So, I go away for a week with little internet access and day-old newspapers (delivery is slow in Tofino) and expect to have to spend hours catching up on hockey news that I missed.

Fortunately, the rest of the NHL seems to have taken a vacation, since I can count the amount of noteworthy stories on one hand: Yashin goes back to Russia (ha ha!), Nedved signs with $parta Prague, Palffy confirms his signing with HC Skalica, Ray Emery breaks the bank, and not much else of note.

It was strange reading the daily newspapers and seeing ZERO inches dedicated to hockey coverage. For Canadian newspapers, this seemed like an impossible feat.

Some scuttlebutt today is surfacing over what NBC plans to do with their hockey coverage.

In the United States, changes are in the works for NBC's hockey telecasts. Sources say the studio show will be scrapped now that Brett Hull has left to take a front-office job with the Dallas Stars.

Replacing Hull will be Mike Milbury, the former NHL player and general manager. He is likely to work on-site as a commentator.

NBC is expected to drop Bill Clement as the host of the NHL broadcasts. The status of analyst Ray Ferraro isn't clear.

If this is true, then this means even less hockey coverage for poor American fans. We've already seen NBC treat the NHL like a poor third cousin, and now it's getting even worse for our favourite league-that-could.

Clement? What was he ever doing as a studio host in the first place? He's a good colour guy, but not a trained studio host, and it showed.

As for Ferraro, he's rather hit-and-miss with me. We get his stuff on the radio here in Vancouver, and he seems like a good guy to listen to. Unfortunately, he can revert back to the 'old boys club' mentality a bit too often for my liking.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Still Waiting

by Greg

Well, Jes has kept the place clean. I've sort of been in hockey hibernation -- when last I checked in, I was still agog over the Avalanche's signings of Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. I've sobered up a little, and I realize Jes is likely right in saying the Avalanche will probably regret the last couple years of the Smyth contract, and Dear Lord Stanley is correct in pointing out that Smyth isn't a cure-all, but hey -- the Avalanche identified needs and filled them. Good on 'em.

How about the rest of my summer hockey wishlist?

1. Never hear about Jim Balsillie or the status of the Nashville Predators again

2. Good homes for Tomas Kloucek and Petr Tenkrat

3. The Thrashers following Colorado's lead and filling some gaping holes

#1 is obviously not happening in my lifetime. #2 -- well, Tenkrat looks like he'll be staying in Timrå. According to the town's official website, Timrå has "good service and fine transportation links," not to mention good fishing and a large shopping center nearby. I'm sure he'll be happy. Kloucek is still hunting for a home.

#3 -- pretty far from happening, unless you identified the Thrashers' most pressing need as "more AHL-level talent." That wasn't high on my wish-list, alas. Going in, I would have said the Thrashers' most pressing needs were as follows: defense, centers, scoring depth. Picking up Todd White sort of addresses the latter two (though I would have liked a bit more), holding onto Slava Kozlov keeps the depth sort of steady -- although speaking of deals that'll look ugly down the line, I'm not looking forward to seeing Kozzie get $3.85 million for nine goals in 2009-10.

Defense? Eeeeek. They've lost Greg deVries, Andy Sutton, and Shane Hnidy -- added Ken Klee. Sutton is no big loss -- at some point, bozo penalties and turning over the puck in front of the net repeatedly are no longer canceled out by the occasional big hit. But deVries was steady (and never got credit for it), and Hnidy was at least reliable. Klee is a "cagey veteran," or "old and slow" if you prefer. (There was a priceless line in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in which Klee said that every time he became available in the past, the Thrashers were always interested -- now, presumably, that no one else wants him, he'll sign.)

So that leaves Atlanta with five NHL-caliber defensemen. I'm fine with Niclas Havelid and Alexei Zhitnik. I'd be fine-r if they were the #2 and #3 defensemen, rather than #1 and #2. Beyond that, though? Steve McCarthy is starting to look perpetually "enigmatic," Klee and Garnet Exelby are lower-end. Mark Popovic isn't anything more than a spare defenseman. By all accounts, Boris Valabik isn't ready for the NHL.

The Thrashers may be relying on Swedish import Tobias Enstrom to step in, but he hasn't, y'know, played in the NHL yet. And there aren't that many options left on the free agent market -- looking at James Mirtle's list, the only attractive options are Danny Markov, Brent Sopel, and maybe Ossi Vaananen. The rest are headcases, burnouts, or generally useless.

The Capitals and Panthers have both improved considerably this offseason; the Lightning and Hurricanes are both likely better than they showed in 2006-07. Yeah yeah, I know they don't play the games 'til October -- but at least at this point, with the Thrashers' hopes resting almost entirely on Kovalchuk/Hossa/Lehtonen, last year's playoff berth is looking likely to be an aberration.

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Vacation Time

by Jes

With news in the hockey world about as slow as Wade Belak high on pot, it's the perfect time for me to head off for a week of no internet, no hockey, and no worries.

Try not to miss me too much while I'm gone (OK, stop your laughing, bitches)

Here's a little momento to keep this site rockin'


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jared Aulin: "I've Had Enough of this Crap!"

Jared AulinJared Aulin, once a promising prospect of the Los Angeles Kings, and former 2nd round pick of the Colorado Avalanche, has given up on hockey at the age of 25.

Boredom? Lack of job opportunities?

Nope...on-ice violence did it for him.

Aulin was the victim of a vicious two-handed slash to the neck after intervening on a scrum involving a teammate, an incident that landed him in the hospital with a concussion, swollen carotid artery and a pail full of painkillers.

"I'm done with it, which is sad," Aulin told the Sun prior to asking police to press charges.

Aulin returned to his hometown of Calgary to play summer hockey after his NHL dream was cut short by injury, hoping to play for fun once again. But what he got was an out-of-control opponent who wielded his stick like a baseball bat.

"It was one of those situations where you see it and blink and wonder 'did that just happen?' It was a little surreal."

Aulin played just 17 games in the NHL, but is of some interest to me since he's one of the very few players that shares my March 15th birthday. I also remember him kicking a whole lot of ass during his WHL days as a member of the Kamloops Blazers.

It's a sad way to end a career, for sure. Aulin had already had injuries problems prior to this little summer league game, and then he gets whacked like a tyee salmon.

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Tomas Surovy: Back from the Abyss

by Jes

I know most of you don't know/care about Tomas Surovy, but you should!!

D00d is back from the Swedish abyss, and has signed with the Phoenix Coyotes (from one hell to another, eh?)

I think he's going to do quite well, thanks, and would be a good pickup for your fantasy league types. I'm also glad to see another Slovak back in the NHL Now, we just need to campaign for the return of Lubos Bartecko.

Read the full spiel over at NHL FanHouse.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007


Sheldon Souray Signs ... With the Oilers

by Jes
Sheldon Souray

Well, well, well!! It looks like the Oilers finally caught a big fish in the old free agent pond.
Was it the superbly produced DVD that boasted about how 'great' Edmonton a city is to play in?? Not bloody likely.

Let's face it, Souray and his agent greatly overestimated the market for the big lug's services, and the Oilers were just so desperate to land a big free agent that there were more than willing to overspend.

The damage? $27mil over 5 seasons. OUCH!

Now, normally signing a defenseman that just scored 26 goals and 64 points last season would be cause to crack open a bottle of Cristal. However, Souray is not "normal". How many offensive-minded defensemen are bit oafs?

Before last season, Souray's career high in points was 39. Can you say 'outlier', kiddies?

48 of 64 of Souray's points last season came on the Power Play (wow!), and he's a big, slow, lumbering dough-head.

As Big Mac mentions over at NHL FanHouse:
The knock on Souray this offseason has been pretty simple: Despite setting an NHL record for power play goals by a defenseman, his game is a tad one dimensional -- something that was easy to see as he posted a -28, 135 penalty minutes (third highest in the league among defensemen) and seven cross-checking penalties (most in the NHL) along with all those goals

A tad one-dimensional? Souray is the kind of defenseman that is always looking for big hits, and putting himself out of position to do so. Bad penalties and bad positioning = one overrated d-man.

Yes, one team was bound to take the bait and Edmonton was it. Take Souray's Power Play goodness out of the equation, and you have a big pylon (albeit a dreamy pylon with model good looks).

Souray is also 31, and is only going to get slower than he already is. Just wait until the later part of this contract, when he'll have trouble keeping up with the likes of Derek Boogaard.

I'd imagine Oilers fans are pretty pleased, given how badly the summer has gone for them.

As for the Habs, they spent $5.5mil a season on Roman Hamrlik. If I was a Habs fan, I'd be a bit pissed that my team ended up with a non-descript 2nd line defenseman, rather than the Blaster Master at around the same price tag.

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Alexei Yashin is a Sad Panda

by Jes

Everybody's favourite overpaid whiner, Alexei Yashin, is apparently unhappy that NHL clubs aren't tripping over themselves to obtain his services.

"We are still talking to some teams. So far the offers we have received we are not happy with," Gandler said in an interview with CKNW Radio in Vancouver. "If we are not going to get what we are looking for, then he (Yashin) will definitely go to Russia."
Oooooooh, is that a threat, jimmay?

I can just imagine 29/30 NHL GM's are doubled over in laughter at that statement, while Kevin Lowe panics and screams "OMG, we can't let this happen!"

"I'm looking at players who are older and less productive and they are getting significant salaries. He just does not want to be the whipping boy. That's just not going to happen."

Despite his disappointment with the offers so far, Gandler says there is still interest in Yashin.

"We have some ongoing discussions with some teams that are pursuing Alexei seriously, but as I said the level of which they are doing so does not make sense for us," Gandler told the Vancouver radio station.

Gee, it couldn't have anything to do with the fact that Yashin is a selfish, lazy, cancerous assclown, could it? Who wouldn't want a guy that disappears when the regular season paycheques stop coming?

Yashin has already proven, many times, that he cares purely about monetary compensation, and is not willing to play hard once the playoffs start. Ever wonder why his teammates on Long Island thought so little of the guy? Yashin, simply put, is the lazy Sales asshole who gets paid the big salary, gets all the perks, flies around the country on business trips, and expects everyone else to do the grunt work and clean up the accounting messes for him.

Gandler is already on the record that his client won't accept a discount just because Yashin got a huge buy-out from the Isles. This isn't surprisingly, given how Gandler players are NEVER discounts. If Yashin doesn't get what is perceived to be 'market value', don't expect him in a NHL uniform come September.

While Ka$hin could provide some offensive boost for a few clubs, he just isn't worth the money, headaches, or locker room infighting. Unless he is willing to accept a discount, which he won't, Yashin will find himself in the cold, or Columbus. If I am a GM, I'd let Yashin be somebody else's problem.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Photo of the Day: The Truth about Women

by Jes

It's funny because it's true!



Jason Spezza Nets the 'Other' Game Cover

by Jes

Eric Staal was the lucky one to get his face on EA Sports' NHL 2008.

Well, Jason Spezza earned the 'other' cover, as he'll be the face of NHL2K8.

2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today that Jason Spezza, first-line center for the Ottawa Senators, has been named cover athlete and official spokesman for NHL® 2K8, 2K Sports' top-rated NHL video game for five years in row*.

"It's a great honor to be the NHL 2K8 cover athlete," said Jason Spezza. "The NHL 2K series has always selected some of the best players in the NHL and I'm really excited to follow in their footsteps of representing the finest hockey video game title this year."

The Canadian-born Spezza was only the third player to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships as a 16-year old. The first round choice of the Ottawa Senators and second overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, his great skills were apparent very early in his career. Reinvigorating the sport with his raw talent and enthusiasm, his magnificent performance in the 2007 Eastern Conference finals against the Buffalo Sabres made him one of the most exciting players in the next generation of NHL stars.

"We are thrilled to have Jason Spezza as our cover athlete for NHL 2K8. Spezza is a player that truly embodies the spirit of hockey which is something that we pride ourselves in with the NHL 2K series," said Graeme Bayless, President of Kush Games. "We are very pleased to be working with a cover athlete that is such an avid gamer and who is committed to contributing valuable insight to the authenticity and development of the NHL 2K series."

Let's face it, Staal is not the most charismatic player, while Spezza loves the spotlight and is generally a great interview. If I am going to choose someone to be on the cover of my game, I'd rather they have more personality than a cardboard box.

Kudos to NHL2K8 for getting Spezza on their cover. Now, if only they'd have Slovak league teams...

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Sidney Crosby Signs for 5 Years

As posted by my partner-in-crime, 'snoopyjode', over at The Sidney Crosby Show

Sidney has signed with the Penguins for $45 million for the 5 more years!!! That means Pens fans get to watch Sid work his magic for at least 6 more years!!! Details of his contract can be found in this article by Rob Rossi from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

With an average annual salary of $9 million, Crosby stayed true to his word and did not command top available dollar from the Penguins. Under the collective bargaining agreement Crosby could have earned 20 percent of the $50.3 million salary cap, or $10,060,000 per season.


His new deal will make him among the highest-paid players in the NHL and is one of the richest in club history.

To those people who think the new contract is too expensive, I have but this to say: The best player in the NHL is one of the highest-paid players? It certainly makes sense to me. But even though it is without a doubt a lucrative deal for the Wizard of Croz, he still COULD have used his status as leverage to extract every cent he possibly could from the Penguins (because, as stated in previous posts, you KNOW that Ray Shero isn't going to let Sid get away). But instead, he chose to accept a deal that will help Shero be able to afford to keep some of the other young Pens stars in the future. Wow.

(Jes: This deal is definitely fair to Sidney, and allows the Penguins a bit more room to re-sign Crosby's talented teammates.

So, don't buy those CROSBY #87 Canadiens sweaters any time soon. )

Edit: According to new reports, the deal is actually $8.7mil/season over the 5 years, and not $9mil. I guess Crosby really loves that damn number.


Monday, July 09, 2007


Please Bondra, Just Retire!

by Jes

So, it seems that secret agent Peter Bondra wants to return to the Washington Capitals for his swan song.

This was something that I thought should have happened last season. Bondra, a respected vet, would have been perfect for the young Caps squad.

Instead, Bondra went to Chi-Town, and scored his 500th NHL goal in a Blackhawks uniform.

Now? Not so much... like JP at Japers Rink, and Eric at OffWing, I think the Caps ought to say "Thanks for the offer, but we'll pass."

I saw Bondra play live-in-person last season, and knew that it would be his last season in the NHL. While his snapper still had some bite, his skating was noticeably slower than it used to be, and he no longer appeared to be all that dangerous offensively. I saw a Bondra that lacked that killer instinct, and looked like the old lion king. You know, the one that looks worn down, and is breathing heavily while the younger male lions move in to take his females.

In the end, Bondra finished with just 5 goals and 9 assists in 34 games. After a pretty solid start (at .5 points per game), his production slipped drastically, and Bondra could no longer give the Blackhawks anything positive of note. He's not the type of player that you can stick on the 3rd and 4th lines, and he doesn't score enough to play on the top two units, either.

Thanks for the memories, and please don't embarrass yourself with another comeback.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007


CBA Tidbits

by Jes

Since I was a bit bored, I decided to check out the CBA document (not to read the entire thing, mind you) and see what neat little facts I could pull out.

1. "Except as expressly set forth in Section 11.5 below, no SPC shall be valid or enforceable in any manner whatsoever unless and until it has been filed with Central Registry and approved by the League or the Arbitrator."

In the case of the Edmonton Oilers 'signing' Nylander, the CBA clearly shows that they have no case here. While the agent might have lied to the Oilers, he certainly didn't commit his client to their team. In real contract law, Nylander WOULD have to provide compensation to the Oilers for breach of contract. The CBA? That trumps normal law for any NHL dealings.

2. "Clubs may not establish team bonus plans."
Ahh.. in the real business world, the best bonus plans are the ones that reward company goals, and not individual ones. Sadly, the NHL would rather not allow the teams to forge some sort of target for their players to match together. Imagine a $250,000/player bonus for the Hawks players to make the playoffs? You'd better believe they'd play somewhat harder.

3. Regarding Salary Arbitration: "The League shall obtain and provide to the NHLPA any statistics relative to any aspect of Player performance: (i) kept or maintained by the League; or (ii) retained by any Club. The NHLPA shall provide to the League any statistics relative to any aspect of Player performance kept or maintained by the NHLPA."

Ahh, yes, those HITS and TAKEAWAYS that we're no longer allowed to see on a TOTAL basis. I remember the NHLPA used to post their own stats, but stopped that practice. It's pretty lame that stats are seen simply as a negotiating tactic, rather than simple information.

That's just 3 of the chewy little morsels I saw in this big package. It's funny just how much stuff they have to pack in here. Nothing can be left to chance ...

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Friday, July 06, 2007


Hate the High Salary Cap? Blame Canada!

by Jes

With the NHL Salary Cap hitting an amazing $50mil+ for the next season, people are wondering how the figure got so high, especially considering the much-more-popular NBA has a cap of just $56mil.

Well, the answer lies in the stronger Canadian dollar (and weaker American dollar).

From Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail:
That first year postlockout, with the Canadian dollar up to about 84 cents (U.S.), the cap was set at $39-million (U.S.). Then two things happened: the Canadian teams rode a wave of pent-up demand for their product, filling their buildings, maxing out their revenues, and the Canadian dollar began to climb toward parity.

That swing was enough to push overall league revenues up, even as American television money dipped, and many U.S.-based franchises were struggling to reclaim even the modest fan bases they had maintained before the lockout.

This year, with the Canadian dollar closing in on 95 cents — up more than 27 per cent over the spring of 2004 — the new cap number is $50.3-million.

In layman's terms, Canadian ticket sales become worth more to the league, and then the total league revenues went up, simply because of a currency exchange issue.

So, the players benefit with increased salaries, all thanks to Canada.

The owners? Well, they asked for this 'cost certainty', and didn't predict/expect that the Canadian Dollar would get as strong as it did. It's their fault that they didn't have a plan in place for such an event, and now we see the rich teams able to spend just as foolishly as they did pre-lockout.

It's a double-edged sword, of course. The strong Canadian economy allows fans and business to buy pricey tickets, which in turns increases revenue, which increases the cap, etc etc...

Or, we can see Kevin Lowe be even more foolish than he ever was by signing Tommy Vanek to a $7mil+/season offer sheet. WTF?

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Thursday, July 05, 2007


Will the Leafs Utilize Toskala Correctly?

by Jes

The Maple Leafs made a big gamble on the mentally insecure Andrew Raycroft, and it totally, and unsurprisingly, blew up in their faces.

To rectify the situation, the Leafs went and dealt for long-time backup Vesa Toskala, and instantly upgraded a weakness on their club.

Now, the Leafs have a goalie used to playing a heavy load, and one goalie that wants to play a heavier load.

Raycroft ($2,000,000): 72GP 2.99GAA 89.4SV% (87.9SV% the season before that)
Toskala ($1,375,000): 38GP 2.35GAA 90.8SV% (90.1SV% the season before that)

The Leafs are talking about a "2-goalie system", but there is no reason that Toskala shouldn't be given the de-facto #1 job based on talent alone. Raycroft has been a poor goalie for 2 years, and giving him ~50% of the starts is just going to make it harder to the Leafs to win games.

A 2-goalie system only works when you have 2 average+ goaltenders, which the Leafs don't have. The Wild had Fernandez, Roloson, and Backstrom putting up good SV% year after year. The Wild could put any of their goalies in the net, and be assured of good goaltending. Most teams don't use a similar system because they don't have TWO average+ goaltenders.

While Toskala may be average at best, that is a serious upgrade from where the Leafs were before the trade, and it was good of the Leafs to do SOMETHING in this regard.

Now, if Vesa doesn't get at least 55 of the Leafs 82 starts, then the Leafs simply negate most of the benefits of the deal. Just because the Leafs invested so much in Raycroft already, doesn't mean they should justify the cost by playing the guy more than they should.

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The Oilers Lose Another Big Name

by Jes

This off-season just continues to get worse for the Oilers.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Jan Hejda to a two-year contract, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Hejda, 29, tallied one goal and eight assists for nine points, 20 penalty minutes and averaged 20:23 of ice time in 39 games with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2006-07 season, which was his first in North America. He also appeared in five games with Hamilton of the American Hockey League, collecting 0-3-3 and 21 penalty minutes.

Remember, that ONE goal was a big one.

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Video of the Day: NHL 94 Freak

by Jes

Michael the Hockey Fanatic sent me this vid, and it's hilariously disturbing.

One guy decided to videotape himself playing a game of NHL94 online, complete with lots of swearing and a strange cell phone conversation.

...and I thought I got crazy when playing video games.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Happy Birthday, America

by Jes

Yes, I know I posted most of these last year, but I'm lazy.

Happy ID4 to our American friends. Just remember not to be a slave to the 'Powers That Be'. America was founded on revolution and war, so keep up the good fight.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Hey Nonis, WTF?!

by Jes

Oooh, big free agent news in Vancouver.

Vancouver Canucks Senior Vice-President and General Manager Dave Nonis announced today that the Canucks have signed centre Byron Ritchie and winger Brad Isbister. In keeping with club policy, no financial terms of the deal will be released

Isbister? You gotta be kidding me? This guy is lazier than your boss and is not good at ANYTHING. He is one of my least favourite players, and I'm not even a bitter Oilers fan (just ask them how much he rocks).

Brad Isbister, before he hits the beach.

Ritchie? Another hyper-active undersized center that can't score.

Is one of these folks 'the guy' Nonis was talking about?

What a crock... was Vernon Fiddler unavailable? How about we call Terry Yake out of retirement.

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Monday, July 02, 2007


The Free Agency Madness. Get Used to it!

by Jes

I've had myself wrapped up in a case report for the last week, so I haven't been nearly as deep into the UFA madness as most of my other blogging peers.

Quite frankly, it would probably be best to wait until the dust settles before trying to figure out just how insane this market has really been.

We should have expected this when the UFA age was lowered like it has been. Fine.

The salary 'cap' isn't much of a cap now that it's so high that many teams won't/can't spend to it. Fine.

What chaps my ass is that we were forced to endure a season without hockey, and be spoonfed crap about 'cost certainty' and 'parity' and levelling the playing field, etc etc etc... And, in the end, we get the exact same bunch of headless chickens tossing around insane money like we did before the lockout.

As much as Scott Gomez is a fine playmaking center, how can he possibly be worth $7mil a season? Well, I know he is to the Rangers, but that's just stupid stupid stupid!!!

Just some randumb thoughts ...

1. The Leafs got a great deal on Jason Blake for $4mil a season. Blake is truly a great 2-way player, a hard worker, and fun to watch. I really wish Blake would have been in a Canucks uniform, but now he's playing for Team Evil North. Bah!!! The Leafs finally did something right...weird

2. There is loyalty: to the $. It's amazing just how few players are re-signing with their old teams. Schneider, Rafalski...well, just about everyone has a new uniform.

3. Joe Thornton is a bargain!! Yes, the Sharks got him to re-sign early for $7mil a season. Watching inferior players like Gomez get that kind of dough must be making Sharks GM Doug Wilson all giddy inside.

4. Weirdest signing? Paul Kariya to the Blues. I am amazed the Blues got a big fish, especially Paul Kariya. It just doesn't seem right. Oh, I like the move, though. Kariya is teh bombz0r.

5. The Oilers got totally punked on Michael Nylander (who went to Washington to play with a real scoring winger), and have ended up with NUTHIN! So much for that well-produced DVD.

6. It must suck to be a Sabres fan right about now. Drury = Gone. Briere = Gone.
Tom Luongo is such a fan, and gives his thoughts on the recent losses.

7. Scott Hannan sucks. The Avalanche suck. Good on them.

8. Bertuzzi to the Ducks. Blech... now I have a reason to hate that club.

Typical Burke. He's got a hard on for Brad May, and now Bertuzzi.

9. Don't put the blame squarely on Bettman. It's not his fault that so many GM's are willing to dish out large&long-term contracts for any player who can score .75 points a game. He actually helped give the GM's and owners a chance for some sanity, but clearly they just want to ensure that the owners get their constant % of profits.

10. Habs give Hamrlik $5.5mil a season for 4 seasons? WTF? They play hardball with Souray (not a bad move, mind you), and then they give superstar money to a 2nd line defenseman?

11. Penguins have a great time of things getting Sykora, Sabourin, and Sydor while re-signing Roberts and Recchi.

12. The Avs will regret the last 2-3 years of that Smyth contract.

13. I'm glad the Canucks are avoiding this insanity. They re-signed Krajicek and Cowan to reasonable deals, and maybe can pick up a bargain (Jason Allison) when the other GM's are done overspending.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007


#94 for the Avalanche?

by Greg

In the last few minutes, there's been a flurry of reports, and now-- TSN is saying Ryan Smyth joins the Avalanche, five years/$31.25 million.

Presuming that this isn't all some great cosmic joke, and the Avalanche actually used the money to bring back Pierre Turgeon, I'm pretty damn happy with the team's performance in the free agent frenzy. Smyth was one of the forwards that I found most appealing (along with Drury), and Hannan will eat up minutes on the back end. Both great pickups.

This is kind of foreign territory for me -- the Avalanche have never been big UFA players. There was the Kariya/Selanne debacle in 2003 -- prior to that, the team's biggest-ever UFA pickup was probably... Dave Reid. Then post-lockout came Andrew Brunette and Ian Laperriere (hooray!) and Pierre Turgeon and Patrice Brisebois (boo!). At least at this point, Smyth and Hannan look pretty good.

And there's still enough money for the Avalanche to pick up Tomas Kloucek! As insurance, you understand.

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It's Easy to Hate the Ranger$ Again!

by Jes

For awhile, it was kind of hard to hate the Rangers. Messier was gone, the Czech mafia came in, and the Rangers actually *gasp* let some youngsters play.

Now, the Ranger$ have finally come back to destroy the free agent landscape by opening the vault and signing anyone they can get their hands on.

It was a big day for the Rangers as the 2007 free-agency period got under way on Sunday, bringing with it two of the league's best available centers. Joining the team are two Stanley Cup winners in former Buffalo Sabres co-captain Chris Drury and longtime New Jersey star Scott Gomez. These two, who combined for 129 points in 2006-07, are both famous for coming up with the big goal.


Drury - 5 years for $32.25mil. I've never liked this prick.

Gomez - 7 years for $51.5mil. Joe Thornton was a much better deal.

Meanwhile, the Philly Flyers are going insane, the Canucks are laughing from the sidelines and doing nothing, and Greg's Avs picked up Scott Hannan for 4 seasons.

If I wasn't knee deep in a case project, I could get my head around all of this monetary insanity.

But, at least I know it's OK to hate the Rangers again.

And Buffalo...damn... talk about a dark day in team history.

The cap? I think it was more about the players hating Buffalo (remember the THN poll?) than the salary cap.

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