Friday, May 30, 2008


Barry Melrose is Back in the Saddle

I don't get American ESPN up here in Vancouver, so I rarely get to experience the 'experience' that is "The Mullet" Barry Melrose.

He seems to be a popular figure among American hockey fans, although I don't know if it is just the hair, rather than his hockey knowledge.

I figured doing TV was a comfortable gig, and that Melrose had been out of the game so long he'd never be an NHL head coach again.

Yet, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have a thin team that even Scotty Bowman couldn't do much with, hired Mullet Man to be their head coach.



The Toronto Star reports that ESPN hockey analyst and former Los Angeles Kings head coach Barry Melrose is set to return behind the bench for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Melrose, who coached the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, would replace John Tortorella, who still holds the post.

According to the Star, incoming team owner Oren Koules has pushed for the hiring of Melrose in an effort to further sell the team and the sport in Florida. His group is awaiting approval from the NHL's Board Of Governors to take over the team, with the vote set to take place on June 18.

What sells hockey tickets? WINS!!! Even if Melrose a minor celeb in hockey circles, how will his hiring help sell tickets for a team that is obviously short on depth, defence, and goaltending?

Now, I shouldn't rag on Melrose too much, although I wonder if he's way too stale at this point.

Melrose had a good track record of success as a head coach, including taking the LA Kings to the Cup Finals in 1993, a Memorial Cup in his first year of CHL coaching, and an AHL Calder Cup in his third year of AHL coaching.

Some Melrose Facts, per Wikipedia.

  • Melrose is cousin to former NHL players Wendel Clark and Joe Kocur.

  • Melrose guest starred in a season 5 episode of the ABC sitcom Spin City ("Hey Judith," January 17th, 2001).

  • In the video game Mutant League Hockey, Melrose is portrayed as Coach Smellnose. (haha!)

  • He was in a scene of the second Slapshot movie Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice

  • Had a small role in movie Mystery Alaska with Russell Crowe.

  • An NHL blog (unaffiliated with Melrose) entitled "Barry Melrose Rocks" bears his name as a tribute. (hmm, who could that be?)
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    Thursday, May 29, 2008


    R.I.P Luc Bourdon (1987-2008)

    I was going to do a post on how happy I was that Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins finally broke through and scored some goals ... and won a game! OMGZ

    Instead, there was a big bomb dropped on the hockey world with the shocking announcement of the death of Canucks prospect Luc Bourdon.

    (thanks to my girlfriend to pitching in on this post)

    Canucks fans know Bourdon as a young rookie, who although had a slow start, was by all reports shaping up to be a promising defenseman. Bourdon was the Canucks' first-round draft choice in 2005, and split his 2007-2008 season with the Manitoba Moose and the Vancouver Canucks. Only a short while ago, Hockey News ranked Bourdon 20th overall amongst NHL prospects.

    He`ll never get the chance to show his promise.

    At 12:30 local time, he was in a motorcycle accident near Shippagan, New Brunswick. He did not survive. No other details of the accident are available yet.

    Story link:

    I sincerely hope this isn`t a case of a young kid being reckless with a too-fast bike.

    As if life as a Canucks fan wasn’t crappy enough, our top prospect goes and dies :(

    I never knew the guy, so I can't really express deep sympathies (something I don't like faking).

    Instead, I'll talk about my favourite memory of the Canucks prospect.

    A few years back, I covered the World Junior Hockey Championships for, as they were being held in Vancouver. The Canadians were heavily favoured, and Bourdon was one of the big stars on the team.

    I can remember how dominant he was in that tournament, and I was always surprised that he could never translate that into success at the pro level.

    During that WJC, Bourdon was a machine... he was hitting, scoring, and scaring goalies poopless with his big slap shot. Basically, he looked like a great all-around defensemanin the making.

    The crowd definitely appreciated the effort, and greeting the kid with many loud shouts of 'LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUC'. Very few Canucks players have ever gotten such love, so it was definitely fun to hear that.


    Luc's NHL Totals

    36GP 2G 0A 2PTS 24PIM


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    Tuesday, May 27, 2008


    Bold Prediction: Wings in Six

    Yes, I planned to have a prediction post done last Friday, but real life and laziness got in the way. Besides, everyone and their dogs have posted a prediction for the series, so it's not like the hockey world is missing the content.

    My original prediction was the Wings in 6, but even that might be a bit generous to the Penguins given how thoroughly they've been pwned in Games 1 and 2.

    Instead of doing a detailed analysis, I can say that the primary asset that the Wings have in spades is EXPERIENCE. Look at any past cup winner, and you see loads and loads of playoff experience.

    The Wings have Lidstrom, Holmstrom, McCarty, Rafalski, Hasek, Osgood, Chelios, Draper, Maltby who have Cup rings, plus other crusty veterans like Dallas Drake and Brad Stuart. These guys have been there, done that, and have the T-shirts to prove it.

    The Penguins? They have Gary Roberts, whose idea of leadership is to go after the concussed head of Johan Franzen, and Petr Sykora as cup winners. Gonchar is really the only other big-time old guy they got goin.

    Oh, I guess Ty Conklin has cup experience, although he's likely tried very hard to forget that. Hossa? He hasn't done THAT much in the playoffs until this season.

    So, the Wings know what the deep playoffs are like, and know how to handle all of the pressure. They are calm, cool, collected, and playing like the well-oiled machine we know them to be. The Wings were way better than anyone else at preventing shots against, and have held the Penguins to just 41 shots and 0 goals in 2 games. Kinda hard to score with 20.5 shots per game.

    The Penguins are clearly frustrated.

    Sidney Crosby? He's visibly frustrated at the Wings ability to choke the neutral zone and hem the Penguins in their own zone. Seeing him swear his head off is rather disconcerting.

    Evgeni Malkin? Is he even playing? It's hard to notice. Did he suddenly remember that Russians aren't supposed to play hard when the calendar nears June?

    It's pretty much a golden rule in the Stanley Cup playoffs that the most experienced team will win, especially when the gap is wider than Tara Reid's genitals.

    I just hope the Penguins can take Game Three and turn this into a respectable series. The fact that the Pens are down 2-0 wouldn't be so bad if they were actually putting up a fight, but we know that hasn't been the case.


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    Friday, May 23, 2008


    Video of the Day: Jennifer Hedger's Experimental Days

    Mention the name Jennifer Hedger to any Canadian male hockey fan, and they'll likely get that 'special feeling' in the nether regions that is triggered by the thought of a hot female.

    To an American hockey fan? They have no idea who this blonde bombshell is, so let me introduce you to Canada's cutest sports broadcaster, who is somewhat our equivalent of your Erin Andrews.

    Jennifer Hedger is best known to Canadians as the female face of our version of SportsCentre, the most-watched sports highlight show in the country. If we're watching highlights of Andrew Raycroft letting in another soft goal, it's probably Hedger doing the honors.

    She's no blonde bimbo, either, and clearly knows her stuff. While she might appear, at first glance, to be some ratings-generating eye candy, but frequent appearances on "Off the Record", a popular sports talk show, showed her to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic sports fan.

    Of course, that's not the only thing she seems to be enthused about, as the video below will show you. (Probably not safe for your workplace. You've been warned).

    Thanks to my pals, especially JP, over at FanHouse for the pointer.

    Before Hedger got her nightly broadcasting gig, she was chosen, in 2001, to be a part of "U8TV: The Lofters", a crappy Canadian reality show where eight strangers lived together in a Toronto loft while also producing and hosting their own online television shows. It lasted only a year, and was watched by about four people.

    I'm guessing more people would have watched if they had known Ledger was engaging in some hot girl-on-girl kissing, as seen in the video.

    It's sloppy, but Hedger is clearly enjoying herself as much as you are enjoying watching the video.

    Now, when is TSN going to make this their "Highlight of the Night", or at least the "TSN Turning Point"?

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    Thursday, May 22, 2008


    Broken Sticks My Break My Stones

    Another email from my Southern Correspondent brought up the topic of broken sticks and any potential hazard they may bring.

    Several weeks ago, MLB commish Bud Selig said he would look into doing something about maple bats; specifically, when they break, they can become health hazards...I can't count how many times I've seen a broken bat barrel stick into the ground like a javelin, and last night, a broken barrel almost hit Braves' third baseman Larry Wayne Jones when he was trying to field a grounder.

    What does this have to do with hockey?

    Over the past few seasons, I've seen too many times when Ilya Kovalchuk winds up for one of his slapshots and the stick breaks. Over the course of a game, you'll see about a dozen broken sticks on the ice -- and these guys are now using composite sticks (no wood). Years ago, a broken stick was a rarity...Maybe something needs to be done about hockey sticks as well...

    This also seems to happen a lot to Mattias Ohlund (I have nothing to back that up, but that's my observation), and is certainly a LOT more commonplace than it was back in the days of Al Iafrate.

    Are the composite sticks to blame, since they are the ones that seem to break all the damn time? Yes, somewhat.

    From what I've heard and read over the years, the biggest problems with the new sticks are that it is much harder for a player to tell if it is cracked and/or compromised.

    With a good old wooden stick, it's pretty damn easy to know if the thing is slightly cracked as it feels different and even sounds different. The new sticks just seem to hide the cracks better, so players are more likely to keep playing with their composite sticks, not knowing that they are at risk of having it break in their hands.

    One other factor is that teams do not want to pay for too many of these sticks, so they are less likely to want to use new ones until the old ones are completely worn or broken.

    As for safety, I haven't seen a lot of broken sticks causing injuries or coming close to doing so. The only danger is having a goal scoring against the team that had the misfortune of another stick getting buh-roke.


    Wednesday, May 21, 2008


    The Early Conn Smythe Winner? Henrik Zetterberg

    With Johan Franzen's injury causing him to miss the Stars/Wings series, the Conn Smythe race has opened up to a whole swath of contenders, mainly the big names and usual suspects.

    Right now, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Zetterberg sit 1-2 in the scoring race, with the likes of Malkin, Hossa(!), and Datsyuk not far behind.

    Name Team GP G A Pts +/-

    Sidney Crosby PIT 14 4 17 21 6
    Henrik Zetterberg DET 16 11 10 21 15
    Marian Hossa PIT 14 9 10 19 7
    Pavel Datsyuk DET 16 9 10 19 12
    Evgeni Malkin PIT 14 9 10 19 5

    While Crosby does have 2 less games played than Zetterberg,
    I'd give Zetterberg the edge in the Conn Smythe race because goals are far more important than assists, and 7 is a large margin. Zetterberg also has a better +/-, and over twice as many shots on goal taken than The Kid.

    Henrik also has 2 shorthanded goals and 3 game winning goals, which is tops among the Top 5. If I had to pick a winner after the first three rounds, he'd be it. I'd also give credit to Zetterberg for putting up his points against tougher defensive teams like Dallas and San Jose, compared to Crosby versus the likes of Philly and Ottawa.

    Of course, we can't forget the starting goaltenders, both of whom have had an incredible playoff run.

    Osbad: 13GP 10-2 1.60GAA 93.1SV%
    Fleury: 14GP 12-2 1.70GAA 93.8SV%

    Despite the fact that Osgood has a career full of mediocrity, and Fleury has had his growing pains, both goalies are practically 'money' right about now, and are neck and neck in terms on stats.

    Of course, I'm loathe to give evil goalies too much credit, so I'd want them to prove themselves a bit more before I put them in Crosby-Zetterberg territory.

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    Monday, May 19, 2008


    Хоккей Россия-Канада 5:4. ПОБЕДНЫЙ ГОЛ !

    In case that title shows up very wonky in your browser, Russia beat the Canadians 5-4 to claim gold at the World Hockey Championships.

    Here is a great videoclip of the Russian call of Ilya Kovalchuk's game winning goal.

    Despite the fact that the evil Russians won, the game was highly entertained, and I don't feel all that upset that the wrong guys won :) Unlike some of the one-sided NHL Playoff contests we've been watching, this game had passion, speed, and lots of goals. This is the type of hockey the NHL wishes it could have on a regular basis.


    Another random thought from our Southern Correspondent:
    Going on the supposition that the Wings will eventually beat Dallas to face Pittsburgh, after the Cup final, it will be the first time in several years that the Cup parade will NOT be held in an arena parking lot...


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    Sunday, May 18, 2008


    The World Championships Are On?

    You'd think with the World Championships in Canada, I'd blog about the tournament somewhat.

    But, how can anyone with a day job blog about a tournament that plays its game at 11AM? Yes, I know the times are set for the European audience, but it seems rather foolish to have Canada's game in the morning when nobody can watch them. Why not have Canada's games, at the very least, during the evening? *sigh*

    So, here are some highlights, courtesy of TSN, from the tournament that nobody around here seems to be watching.

    Highlight #2 is sick...


    The Czech uniforms from this tournament are ... hideous! Red armpits, WTF?


    Southern Correspondent Wayne shares some thoughts on the PIT-PHI series.

    Once the Flyers scored the empty net goal to put the game away, why didn't the Pens' coach take Crosby out and put in Georges Laraque? I don't think fights at the end of games "to send a message" makes much sense, but it was obvious something was gonna happen...

    Every time I see Don Cherry with those loud coats, I can't help but think of an old sketch on the old Carol Burnett Show. A comedy classic, it was the "Gone With the Wind" parody which had Ms. Burnett (as Scarlett O'Hara) descending down a flight of stairs wearing drapes (curtains and rod) saying, "I saw it in the window and just had to try it on"...

    Proof that Versus (cable TV's witness-protection program) has a tiny viewership: if Chris Simpson were a sideline reporter in any other sport, fans would be making signs saying, "Marry me, Chris Simpson"...

    I think Thrasher fans may have dodged a bullet: Dave Nonis interviewed for the Maple Laffs job this week...

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    Friday, May 16, 2008


    Dear Sidney, Please Shave That Mess Off!

    It's an annual rite of spring that hockey players grow disgusting-looking beards as they march on towards the Stanley Cup. It's one of the great, unique features of the NHL, and gives guys a real excuse not to shave for a couple of months.

    The sad fact is, however, that some guys just can't pull it off, and should just get out the Gillette Mach 3's and get back to their regular shaving rituals.

    One such guy is our beloved Sidney Crosby, who has been trying his very hardest to be a big boy and grow a playoff beard. It's really quite sad to see him fail so miserably, given how he's basically kicked ass at everything else in the hockey world.

    Now, before you go getting up in my ass about being 'mean', you have realize that Sidney and I share the same slow facial-hair growth that doesn't allow us to look like the Wolf Man. I'm 29, and have to shave only once a week. Ivan Majesky, I am not.

    Two years ago, when the Canes went on their long playoff run, I tried to grow a playoff beard just for the hell of it. Despite my efforts, and despite waiting a couple of months, I could never grow a full beard. Much like Sid, it looks like I had a random mass of spots on my neck and face that just refused to allow hair follicles to escape into freedom.

    Sidney is just too much of a babyface to pull off a beard, anyway, and comes off looking like trailer trash, albeit well-paid trailer trash. Looking at home now, don't you think he'd be better off sitting on a ratty couch, watching fishing shows, and drinking Bud Light swill?

    "But Jes, what if the Penguins lose because Sidney shaved his face?"

    Oh, so the Penguins talent, hard work, and tenacious forechecking have nothing to do with their success? It's all about facial hair?


    I'd sent Sid some free razorblades, but I'd probably be arrested for mailing weapons or some BS the corrupt authorities would come up with to suppress my rights.

    So, next time any of you Pittsburghers you go to a Pens game, bring a sign/placard that asks Sid to get a shave. He needs it.

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    Thursday, May 15, 2008


    Photo of the Day: Worship Ovechkin, NOW!

    My girlfriend sent me this photo, and it gave me a good chuckle.

    It basically looks like a religious situation, with the rest of the Caps worshipping their lord Ovechkin, and Ovechkin looking up to the skies in victory. All that is missing is the bright white light.

    Well, all are worshipping Ovy, except for that one intense Cap behind him, who looks like he's trying to assassinate Jesus.

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    Wednesday, May 14, 2008


    Martin Erat's Contract Extension: REJECTED!

    Just when Nashville Predators fans were celebrating Martin Erat's new contract extension, comes this big fat NO! from the NHL's Head Offices of Doom.

    Martin Erat's new seven-year, $31.5 contract with the Nashville Predators has been rejected by the NHL.

    All that means is that it is likely to be re-jigged to conform to the CBA and re-submitted for approval.

    Erat's contract was rejected because it violates a clause in the CBA that regulates year to year fluctuations in salary.

    For example, if you take the first two years of contract, the higher salary in those two years can't be more than double of the lower salary. After that, the salary can't fluctuate up by more than 100% of the lower salary and can't fluctuate downward by more than 50% of lower salary.

    On that basis, Erat's contract doesn't cut it on a number of levels.

    For starters, the $5.25 million in the second year is more than two times the amount ($2.5 million) in the final year.

    If the Preds and Erat re-allocate some of the dollars, the contract can be re-submitted for approval.

    Contract Rejection:
    Martin Erat – contract rejected due to violation of 100% rule from 2012-13 season to 2013-14.

    08-09 - 3.50 NHL
    09-10 - 5.25 NHL
    10-11 - 5.25 NHL
    11-12 - 6.00 NHL
    12-13 - 5.50 NHL
    13-14 - 3.50 NHL
    14-15 - 2.50 NHL
    No Move Clause (effective July 1, 2009)

    I'd expect, like TSN mentions, that the contract will simply be restructured and life will go on.

    So, why the hell was this clause enacted in the first place?

    If the total salary is spread evenly for the salary cap hit, what does it matter if Erat gets $500,000 one season and $10.5mil the next? Obviously, Erat agreed to the terms, and the Preds want the contract to mimic Erat's expected production path.

    I'm guessing the prime reason is that the NHL wants to control salary inflation. Take these examples

    Example 1:
    08-09 $3mil
    09-10 $3mil
    10-11 $6mil
    11-12 $3mil

    Example 2:
    08-09 $3.75mil
    09-10 $3.75mil
    10-11 $3.75mil
    11-12 $3.75mil

    Now, the contracts are worth the same (not accounted for the time value of money, yada yada), but Example 1 could lead to problems.

    Say a comparable player's contract is up for renewal after the 10-11 season, and he had the same exact stats are Martin Erat. Under Example 1, he could easily demand $6mil. Under Example 2, it would be much harder to demand $6mil, since Erat makes just $3.75m.

    So, I guess this is simply the NHL's way of assuring that random-looking fluctuations don't lead to bigger contracts down the road.

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    Tuesday, May 13, 2008


    Tuesday's Tight Thoughts

    While the Nashville Predators gave the Wings some fits with their physical, grinding play, the finesse of the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars has allowed Detroit to easily roll into the Stanley Cup Finals.

    Yes, I know the Stars/Wings series is not officially over, but the Stars have as much chance for a comeback as Hilary Clinton. It ain't gonna happen, as we all know.

    Wayne, our Southern Correspondent, charms in:

    Could someone put the Stars-Wings series out of its misery? I tuned to a hockey game, and a soccer game broke out...The only thing missing was the voice of John Paul Della-Camera (the second greatest soccer announcer ever)...No wonder Wings fans are staying home...

    In a topic I've covered before, Wings fans just aren't coming out to pack Joe Louis Arena. Combine a bad economy with a spoiled fanbase, and you get empty seats.

    Wayne chips in again:
    Take a look at things right now: $4/gallon gas, homes being forclosed, layoffs in the white-collar/middle-and-upper management sector (the people who buy season tix and luxury boxes), make MLB, the NBA, and the NHL (especially the NHL) particularly vulnerable...I don't think people are going to be willing to plunk down $60/ticket much longer, especially in soft markets. All NHL teams are going to have to take a good hard look at themselves...

    Well, Detroit certainly isn't a 'soft' market, and the NHL is probably going to realize that American fans might have to cut expensive NHL tickets out of their budget as food and gas prices soar. It's rather troubling that 'Hockeytown' (self-billed, I know) can't sell out a Conference Finals playoff match.

    At least the Flyers/Pens series is entertaining, if not entirely one-sided. The Flyers' are getting punished for taking penalties, and Martin Biron is not the answer to the question, "What goalie is going to take us to the Stanley Cup?"

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    Saturday, May 10, 2008


    Photo of the Day: Boston's Sharp Promotion

    Normally, I tune out advertising much like I tune out the ramblings of a street preacher, but I can appreciate advertising that is well done and unique.

    For instance, take the Boston Bruins and their Gillette zamboni.

    According to Gillette's marketing shill, the promotion is very 'cutting edge'. Yuk yuk


    Speaking of Yuk, YUCK! Here's a wacky story about Austria's rugby team.

    The Austrian Rugby team has responded to their 48-0 thrashing by Lithuania on Saturday by staging a mass striptease in the capital, Vilnius, on Saturday night.

    The team was captured on camera during the public strip and the video has ended up on social community website Virb. The video shows a group of about 20 men singing and stripping off their kit on a Vilnius street while people in a bar clap and cheer.

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    Thursday, May 08, 2008


    Whiner of the Day: Michel Brule

    Despite some of the things I've written on this blog in the past, I don't hold any ill will towards the people of Quebec. Hell, Poutine is one of my favourite guilty pleasures. Mmmm, cheese curds ... *drool*

    That said, I cannot stand whiny separatist snobs who feel the need to force others to do things in French. You know, have a French-speaking captain on the Habs, have French signs for shops, have French fries with every meal, etc ... it's quite silly. While I understand that certain people feel their culture is threatened, it's quite another to constantly whine about it, and force people to cave in to the wishes of a vocal minority. It's not as if Quebec doesn't get a disproportionate share of federal funding, is it?

    The latest whiner: Michel Brule, a fellow who is pooping his diapers because the Habs aren't playing enough French music at the Bell Centre.

    A prominent Quebec publisher is calling on governments to force the Montreal Canadiens to spin more French-language tunes for the Bell Centre crowd.

    Michel Brule said he was shocked the team's DJ played one French song during Game 7 of the Habs' first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

    "We are not in Raleigh, (North) Carolina, we are not in Philadelphia, we are in Montreal and we are in Quebec," said Brule, publisher of Les Editions des Intouchables.

    "Anglophones think the only language on the planet is English."
    A single tear rolls down my cheek ...

    Let's see ...

    1. Has a petition EVER worked? Maybe once or twice, but that's it. You know the TV show FAMILY GUY? It didn't return to the tube after a petition circulated, it came back to the tube because people went out and bought a lot of DVDs. Speak with your wallet if you want some real change. If people stopped going to Habs games over this music issue (and they won't), then you might actually be doing something. Signing a piece of paper is simply an empty action designed to make people feel better about themselves, while not actually accomplishing anything.

    2. The Canadiens are a privately held club, playing in a privately-owned arena, charging people money for the privilege of watching a hockey in this privately-owned building. Why should anyone be able to tell the Habs what music they can play?

    If Brule wants to listen to French music, perhaps he ought to spend his money at a concert, instead. The Habs are a business venture, and they obviously feel it is in their best interest to play English-language music.

    3. Snobby Francophones like this Crème Brule fellow seem to think that the world is divided into Anglophones and Francophones, as if the rest of the non-French speaking world is all the same. Come to Vancouver some time, and you'll soon realize that most 'Anglophones' aren't even 1% British, and many of them speak another language.

    (Hat-tip to 'hockeychic')


    Playoff Predictions?

    Well, I went 3-for-4 in the second round, which is much better than the 6-for-12 record I compiled for Round One.

    Philly vs Pittsburgh is the must-watch series, and this will feature a lot of offensive chances, physical play, and bad blood. I'll take Pittsburgh in 6.

    Detroit vs. Dallas is the must-not-watch series, given how both Dallas and Detroit can slow down the game to a crawl.

    I know I shouldn't keep betting against Dallas, but I'll maintain that it takes a physical team to beat Detroit, and Dallas is more finesse than brutish. Detroit in 5.

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    Wednesday, May 07, 2008


    Paul Maurice is Now an Unemployed Bum

    Leafs fans can finally rejoice ... PAUL MAURICE HAS BEEN FIRED!!! W00t!

    In a classic case of a new GM wanting a new GM, fossilized interim GM Cliff Fletcher canned 'Chairman Mo', opting not to wait for the new regime to come in and make a change.

    Paul Maurice said his firing on Wednesday morning as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs did not come as a surprise.

    "I don't think, based on the season we just had, that this was a surprise," Maurice said, adding that his immediate plans are "to hang with my kids."

    "I appreciate the fact it was clearly a decision they made and they didn't sit on it for a long time. I don't know that it was a shocker. It's a conversation you never want to have. The first [firing] is the toughest one. After that, you're in the fraternity," Maurice said.
    As the Acid Queen would be quick to tell you, Maurice is one of the worst head coaches in the entire NHL. Take away his flukey run to the Finals with the Canes a few years back, and you get a long trail in inept coaching decisions and underperforming teams.

    From our favourite Canes fan:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Like I said months ago, I tried to warn the Leafs fans–I did, I really did. And all they did was laugh at me and bray about how I CLEARLY don’t know anything about hockey because otherwise I’d see what a great coach Paul Maurice is and how he’d make the Leafs great again.

    Who’s laughing now, kids?

    He’s a decent coach ... in the AHL. Nice guy, too–but as an NHL coach I really don’t think he’s up to snuff. Coaches have to be developed too, just like players, and Mo’s development as a coach was severely hampered by his being thrown right into the fire all those years ago in Hartford after a whopping six weeks and change as an assistant coach under Paul Holmgren (who now GMs the Pflyers). If he wants to salvage any kind of career at all, he needs to go back to the AHL or just be an assistant somewhere for a few years and learn how to do more than the same old crap he did for 8 years in Carolina and 2 years in Toronto.

    To be fair to Chairman Mo, he didn't get any favours from the inept management of JFJ, who gave him a crappy #1 goaltender with a fragile psyche (Raycroft), and an overpaid blueline. Yes, the Leafs weren't a well-coached bunch, but it's not as if the team wasn't poorly constructed by the higher ups.

    Our Southern Correspondent has a couple of questions for us. One I can answer, and one I can't.

    1. Once again the Red Wings won the President's Trophy (for whatever that's worth); I remember, at one time, the team doing so used to get a $100,000 bonus...Is that still true?

    *Jes: Per Wikipedia, the Presidents Trophy winning team gets $350,000 to spread around*

    2. Do the players on the winning Cup team get some sort of financial bonus? Players on the World Series winner get about $350K; players on the Super Bowl winner get $64K...

    *Jes: I have no idea, but anyone who needs financial incentive to win the Stanley Cup if somebody I wouldn't want on my team*

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    Monday, May 05, 2008


    A New Dawn for

    Some weird news to report as CraveOnline, a Maxim-wanna be website, purchased and Obviously, Craveonline wants to reap in the young horny boy demographic and HFBoards has that in spades. This was quite a shocking piece of news, to me.

    I have more details over at FanHouse, so I'll just use this space for personal musings. (Warning!! Rambling ahead)

    As some of you know, I used to write for Hockeysfuture for a few years. I was with the site when it was still quite young and finding its feet. I recall the website used to be called something like Hockey 2000, although my memory is failing me in my old age.

    I started out writing about the Florida Panthers, my favourite team at the time (Beezer!). I remember extolling the virtues of Dan Boyle, Peter Ratchuk, Chris Allen, Peter Worrell, Oleg Kvasha, Mark Parrish, and so one. Obviously, some of them turned out to be not much at all, but that's just the nature of the prospects business.

    One of my first articles was about the signing of junior-phenom Ivan Novoseltsev. Remember him? Yeah, he didn't do much in the NHL, but he was their top prospect at one time, and a lesson in how risky the prospects game can be.

    After some time, Mark Fischel, now a big wig within the NHL media division (last I heard), an actual guy from Florida, took on the Panthers area and I focused more on the Slovaks, taking over from the previous writer (whom helped me greatly over the years with information and getting sources).

    Anyway, I never imagined that HF would become as big as it has, especially given that it focuses on prospects, and not mainstream hockey.

    I remember when the Taylor brother sold the business, and then it was taken over by a group who wanted to aggressively expand the brand. Next came a magazine that failed miserably and cost a lot of money to put out.

    It was at this time that I became a lot less active with the website, given the new ownership was focused so heavily on profits and I didn't like their overall attitude. It didn't help that they took good content and put it in the pay magazine. I wrote the stuff for the website, and I never received a cent for my work.

    No, I never expected to get paid ... it was simply a hobby/interest of mine. Still, I never expected them to simply take and chop up my work into their magazine, a publication of which I never received a copy.

    I know the site was then re-sold and stabilized in new ownership. Of course, I wrote less and less and didn't keep in contact with new ownership much at all. Finally, work and other commitments have lessened my interest in hockey prospects, so I'm really out of the loop these days except for a few Slovaks and some WHLers I can keep an eye on when watching Giants games.

    Back to my original point, I am still amazed that HF grew as much as it has, mainly due to its forums. I never visit the forums, and part of my disgust with them led me to create Hockey Rants, but I can't deny their influence. Without the forums becoming as big as they were, HF would still just be a niche site, albeit a very influential and well-visited niche website.

    Does this purchase help hockey become even more mainstream? Can a company like CraveOnline help hockey get more exposure among the horny young men crowd?

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    Saturday, May 03, 2008


    Video of the Day: Mike Rupp is a Pottymouth

    I love it when the embedded microphones capture the raw violence (crunching hits) and tension (the shouting) of hockey.

    Let's face it, hockey is a violent sport, and we know the players aren't swapping cheesecake recipes.

    Proof? Mike Rupp calling Paul Mara very mean things during a Rangers/Devils tilt. W00t!

    Kinda funny how the mics weren't turned off, despite the foul language. Either somebody was asleep at the switch, or they really wanted to capture the raw tension.

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    Thursday, May 01, 2008


    Thursday's Tepid Tantrums

    As most people know, the NY Daily News, a tabloid known for misinformation and sensationalism, screwed the pooch reporting Sean Avery as having Cardiac Arrest when he really just had a ruptured spleen.

    In the rush to get the 'scoop', the tabloid sensationalized the story, and went with the first bit of 'knowledge' they had, rather than do some further investigating.

    What is even funnier than the sloppy cover-up attempts is the fact that the 'reporter', John Dellapina, is fighting back and claiming some mass conspiracy.

    Finally, for all those from other media outlets and newspapers who have sarcastically dismissed our initial web story about Sean Avery's hospitalization since the Rangers refuted it Wednesday afternoon, I wonder:

    Was your initial reaction that the story couldn't have been correct or did you simply race up to the MSG Training Center to get player reaction? And, did you call the hospital and/or Avery's representatives to get the real story or did your "reporting" simply consist of taking the team's word for what happened?

    Fortunately, the intrepid men an women of the press who have exposed baseball's steroid problems didn't similarly regurgitate what they were told by people who understandably want their businesses viewed as beyond reproach.

    So, is there a mass cover-up by the Rangers and other media outlets? Did Avery really have a heart attack, and the team wants us to think otherwise? Not bloody likely.

    Dellapina would have us believe that the rest of the media is doing sloppy reporting, and he had the real story, in a lame attempt to cover his ass. Yes, how dare other media outlets try to get the real story, after the NY Daily News made some serious claims about Avery's health.

    It won't work, stupid!


    Wayne's World!!

    Our Southern Correspondent shares some thoughts.

    First, I heard the news about Sean Avery about I left this library...It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy; I'd like to see him on a slab on "CSI: New York"...Now on to the other stuff:

    Montreal has a player named Francis Bouillon; if he played baseball, his teammates would call him "Soupy"...

    What is that song that they play over the PA system in the Walk-over-ya Center whenever the Flyers score a goal? I remember it being played last year at Anaheim as well...Sure beats the hell out of Zombie Nation or Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part 2" (which should be buried once in for all in the desert outside Las Vegas, never to return)...

    Darren Eliot, please STFU: You are the reason I turn down Thrasher telecasts to listen to Jeff Odgers and My Favorite Kamalian on the radio, and now you're boring people to tears on Versus...On the other hand, being boring and charisma-impaired may be a job-requirement at that channel (just look who they have doing the studio show)...

    I knew the San Jose-Dallas game was gonna be a low-scoring snoozefest, so I warmed-up for the game by watching the UEFA cup game between Chelsea and Liverpool...was out cold before the end of the first half...


    Some banter between us FanHouse boys, and the realization that this could be THE END for many NHL legends.

    From JP of Japers Rink

    Don't know if anyone wants to make mention of it, but tonight could be the last chance fans get to watch the two active all-time points leaders - Sakic and Jagr - play (at least in the NHL).

    3228 points, 4 Cups, 5 Ross Trophies, 2 Harts, 22 All-Star games, 2 Olympic Golds, etc., etc.

    Throw Forsberg into the mix and the combined stats are even more ridiculous.

    Don't forget about Jeremy Roenick and Brendan Shanahan. If this was the end for all of them, we'd be losing the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 17th active all-time scoring leaders. Catch them while you can.

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