Friday, August 31, 2007

Canada-Russia series not so super

Canada has taken a 3-0 lead over Russia in the not so friendly Super Series. The eight game exhibition is to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series.

In '72, Canada stepped up the physical play, to put it kindly, when they were on the verge of losing the series to the Cold War Ruskies. Flash forward to '07 and it's not enough to just win the series. Coach Brent Sutter obviously feels it's unacceptable to lose a single game to Russia, and his players haven't stopped hitting since the drop of the first puck in game 1.

And by hitting I mean not being afraid to check a Russian in the numbers after they've clearly moved the puck. Good thing Team Canada wears those stop signs on the back of their practice jerseys.

Russia has already lost their two best players - Alexei Cherepanov and Artem Anisimov - to dubious hits. As they're both Rangers property, coach Sutter may want to tell his prospects to keep their heads up when the Devils roll into MSG for the pre-season. (Update: Anisimov returned for game 4.)

It would be rather comical to watch Canada try to run Russia if their victims didn't make it so easy to be checked on international ice. Critics of coach Sergei Nemchenov want his team to be more physical in response to the 'Nucks hard hitting ways. Personally, I'd like to see them move the puck quicker and stop admiring the play after they finally do dish it. (Apparently passing in Russia is only in response to your own time and space being taken away, not to move the puck quicker up the ice.) Whatever the answer, Russia better figure it out quick because it will only get worse when they hit the small ice for the final four games in Canada.

Even without Brandon Sutter, Colton Gillies and Milan Lucic vying for the Booby Clarke Award, Canada is clearly the better team. Russia has been unable to handle Canada's cycle and forecheck, buttoning them in their own defensive zone for what seems minutes on end. Team play is a cornerstone of the Hockey Canada program and coach Sutter's team is executing perfectly.

In a whistle heavy game 3, Russia finally started to show some confidence. When they get the puck on their sticks, Russia's an exciting team to watch. They attack with speed, are hard to knock of the puck and it seems every one of their players can dangle.

Team Canada is more methodical, working the puck on the cycle, winning battles on the boards and creating opportunities. The fact that Russia's defense doesn't organize well also helps. The line of Kyle Turris, John Tavares and David Perron have been incredible, although most of the credit goes to Turris and Tavares who are perfectly in sync.

If you're in the States or simply refuse to wake up at an unholy hour to watch Pierre McGuire wax poetically about Hockey Canada, Broadband streams the games on demand and commercial free.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Canucks Jersey Mashup

The Canucks introduced their new RBK Edge jersey this morning and it's a mashup.

I can't really call it a redesign because they simply combined their main and third jerseys and added Vancouver, lest anyone forget which team's on the ice.

Egad. At least Luongo left his mask alone.

So far I haven't been impressed with any of the redesigns, with the exception of the Capitals, who really just improved on their Iafrate-era unis.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

NHL Beat Writer Blogs

Newspapers are feeling the pinch and there's less column inches to go around. That doesn't mean there's less sports news, just less room to print it in. Blogs are filling in the gap.

Below is a list of beat writers with blogs, which I will continue to update. This is not a research project; I add links as I find them. Please be patient if this page fills in slowly. If you know a blog not listed here that fit's the bill, please email it to: hockeyramablog AT gmail DOT com.

Last updated: September 5, 2011

Orange County Register: Jeff Miller (@jeffmillerOCR), Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) and Curtis Zupke (@curtiszupke)

Globe (@GlobeBruins): Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) & Fluto Shinzawa (@GlobeFluto)
Herald: Steve Conroy & Stephen Harris

News: Mike Harrington (@bnharrington) & John Vogl

Herald (@HeraldHockey): Scott Cruickshank (@CruickshankCH) & Vicki Hall

News Observer: Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) & Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock)

Daily Herald: Tim Sassone (@timsassone)
Sun Times: Adam Jahns (@adamjahns)
News Tribune: Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc)

Post: Mike Chambers (@MChambersDP), Adrian Dater (@adater) & Terry Frei

Dispatch: Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline), Tom Reed (@TReedDispatch) & Michael Arace

Morning News: Mike Heika

Free Press (@freepwings): Helene St. James
Macomb Daily: Chuck Pleiness (@wingsfrontman)
News: Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan)

Journal: Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty)
Journal: David Staples (@dstaples)

Herald: George Richards (@onfrozenpond)
Sun-Sentinel: Harvey Fialkov (@hfialkov)

Daily News (@insidethekings): Rich Hammond & Jill Painter

Pioneer Press: John Shipley
Star Tribune: Michael Russo (@Russotrib)

Gazette: Dave Stubbs (@habsinsideout1), Stu Hackel (@stuhackel) & Kevin Mio

Tennessean: Josh Cooper (@joshuacooper)

The Record: Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice)
Star Ledger: Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils)

Newsday: Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday)
Newsday: Katie Strang (@KatieStrangNYI)

Daily News: Pat Leonard (@NYDNRangers)
Journal News (@rangersreport):Rick Carpiniello (@carprick)
Newsday: Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday)
Newsday: Steve Zipay (@stevezipay)
Post: Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis)
Post: Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie)
The Record: Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord)

Citizen: James Gordon (@SensReporter), Allen Panzeri (@allenpanzeri), Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) & Ken Warren (@CitizenKWarren)
Sun: Don Brennan (@SunDoniB) & Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch)

Courier Post: Chuck Gormley (@chuckspuckcom)
Deleware County Daily Times: Anthony SanFilippo (@AnthonySan37)
Inquirer: Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull)

Arizona Republic: Jim Gintonio (@jimgintonio)

Post-Gazette: Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters)
Tribune Review: Rob Rossi (@rossi_on_pens)

Post-Dispatch: Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford)

Mercury News: Mark Emmons (@markedwinemmons) & David Pollak

Times: Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes)
Tribune: Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssontrib)

Star: Damien Cox (@DamoSpin)
Sun: Dave Fuller
Sun: Lance Hornby (@sunhornby)
Sun: Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun)

Province (@whitetowel): Jason Botchford (@BotchonCanucks), Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma), Jim Jamieson (@JamiesonCanucks) & Erik Rolfson, also
Province (@kurtenblog): Jason Brough & Mike Halford
Sun: Ian Walker (@WalkerBigTalker)

Post: Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) & Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikElBashir)

Free Press: Ed Tait (@WFPEdTait)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

New look Lightning

The RBK Edge jersey parade continues. Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled their new logo and duds:


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Friday, August 24, 2007

Blazers sold

The Kamloops Blazers are private no more. They were sold last night to RCH, a group which includes several NHL players/former Blazers.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of accepting RCH's offer but it still feels like a bit of a hostile takeover. There was no open bidding process and this was the only offer considered.

The team already has a troubled front office history, so I hope the new ownership delivers on their promises to Kamloops.


5 Questions with Gump Worsley

Check out, which has a pretty funny posthumous interview with goalie legend Gump Worsley.

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Summer of the six-year deal

This summer teams are doling out long-term contracts like candy on Halloween. Call it a product of the new CBA. Players obtain unrestricted free agency sooner, and the cap makes it easier to steal RFAs via offer sheet. Although Kevin Lowe will eventually run out of compensation picks.

The magic number seems to be six-years, which puts some of the recently signed RFAs under contract past their UFA eligibility. Here's a run down of the summer's 6+ year deals:

Six-Year Club
  • Scott Hartnell PHI $25.2M (resigned before UFA deadline)
  • Nathan Horton FLA $24M RFA
  • Milan Michalek SAN $26M (contract extension, was a 2009 RFA)
  • Derek Roy BUF $24M RFA
  • Stephen Weiss FLA $18.6M RFA
  • Ryan Whitney PIT $24M RFA
  • Dainius Zubrus NJD $20.4M UFA
Seven-Year Club
  • Scott Gomez NYR $51.5M UFA
  • Thomas Vanek BUF $50M RFA
Eight-Year Club
  • Daniel Briere PHI $52M UFA
There were a number of four- and five-year contracts this summer as well. (Didn't list them here because I'm too lazy to do the research.)

The fear has been that the salary cap will make it hard to build a dynasty. Once players win the Cup, their asking price generally goes up and it's impossible to keep the team together.

Savvy GMs are tying up their best assets early and offering young UFAs long term deals. Teams wanting to make a serious run for the Cup aren't putting all their eggs in the current season's basket. They're giving themselves a few kicks at the bucket by thinking about not only today's payroll but five years from now as well.

Maybe we'll witness another dynasty. Or at least the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winner since the 97-98 Red Wings.


Leafs' buried treasure

Here's something that doesn't happen every day. A Florida treasure hunter discovered a Stanley Cup ring in the Gulf of Mexico. The ring originally belonged to Maple Leafs winger Jim Pappin (pictured), a member of the last Leafs team to capture the Cup.

Pappin gave the ring to his father in law, Peter Kyrzakos, after being traded to Chicago. Kyrzakos wore the ring until he lost it on a Florida vacation 30+ years ago.

Perhaps this could mark the end of the Leafs' Stanley Cup drought. After the body of Bill Barilko was found, Toronto immediately won the Cup, hence Pappin's ring. But nothing since Pappin ditched the bobble.

Is there a Jim Pappin curse? Will the Leafs' troubles end if he simply gets his ring back?

The Florida man who found the ring, Mark DesErmia, is willing to give it back to Pappin...if he comes up with a reward. Now that's class.

If I were a Leafs fan, I'd start taking up a collection.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sens unveil new look

The Senators are the latest team to introduce their RBK Edge jerseys...and it's actually not bad. The throwback shoulder patch is a nice touch.

Ottawa opted to redesign not only the jersey but the logo as well. It wasn't a complete overhaul, but at least they look a little less like another (in)famous logo.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finally, some news

Today the boredom of the off-season eased ever so slightly to answer the following questions:

Will the Rangers sign Michael Peca? No. After giving it up to Chris Drury and Scott Gomez on the first date, Glen Sather has become quite the tease. First he leads on Sheldon Souray and now he refuses to put out for Peca. Now Peca will be donning a Blue Jacket instead of a Blueshirt.

Will the Canucks resign Trevor Linden? Yes. Don't know if Linden can build on his playoff performance as a checking winger but props to Dave Nonis for doing right by the team's fans.

Will Sidney Crosby diversify? Well, of course. It's never too early in your superstar career to think about life after hockey. Today Sid started laying the groundwork for his next gig in fashion by introducing his new line of clothes with Reebok.

What's going to happen to Continental Airlines Arena? I dunno, but the Devils aren't the only ones not sticking around to find out. Continental is dropping their naming rights deal. Personally, I never stopped calling it the Brendan Byrne.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rangers leave good enough alone

No, Glen Sather hasn't decided against signing Michael Peca.

Back in July, the Rangers' new unis were posted on the team's site and just as quickly disappeared. Luckily NHL Tournament of Logos grabbed the pics:

Just like I hoped. Same jersey, just a little slimmer.

And a distinct contrast to what happened across the East River. My eyes still hurt.

It looks like the Rangers are foregoing the Liberty jersey this year. I expect they'll intro a redesigned third next season.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Svitov leaves NHL for Russia

Here's a new twist on the lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and Russia. Alexander Svitov is abandoning his contract with the Blue Jackets -- signed just a few weeks ago -- for Avangard Omsk.

Not sure how hard Columbus or the league will fight this.
"While this news comes as a disappointment, it creates an opportunity for other players when we open training camp next month."

- Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out."
It will be interesting to see if other players will defect for Russia, but it's doubtful it will move the needle on getting a transfer agreement in place. Call it a trade for Evgeni Malkin and the NHL still comes out ahead.

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My Man Mojzis

Somehow I missed this. Tomas Mojzis has signed with Russia's Sibir Novosibirsk.

During his final year of junior, Mojzis had a breakout season for the Seattle Thunderbirds. A slick skater and puck mover, it was fun to watch him work up to a 20 game point streak from the blueline. I thought he had a future in the NHL as a 5th or 6th D man and power play specialist.

Boy was I wrong.

After a few games up for the Canucks, he was traded to the Blues who also gave him a brief stint in the show. Mojzis didn't do poorly either time but apparently not good enough...and off he goes to Russia for what I'm sure is richer pastures than a two-way NHL contract going the wrong direction.


Ron Low quiety reappears behind NHL bench

In the wake of Bryan Murray's move upstairs, the Senators recently made some additions to their coaching staff. Ron Low has been named assistant coach.

Low has kept a relatively low profile (ooh, bad pun, sorry) since he lost his job as Rangers head coach. He hasn't been out of the game, however, scouting for New York and Ottawa and most recently as the Sens' goalie coach.

With six years of head coaching experience between the Rangers and Oilers, I'm surprised the usual blog heads haven't made more of Low's return to the bench. I would have at least expected Blueshirt Bulletin, who covers all things even tangentially connected to the Rangers, to have made note of it. Heck, they were first to the Billy Tibbetts story.

But then again, we're not talking about the return of Al Arbour here. Low never broke .500 at the helm of either NHL team.

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The Ongoing Saga of the Kamloops Blazers

What started as a feel good story about NHLers returning to their junior roots is beginning to look more like the hostile takeover of a community owned team, albeit a beleaguered one.

The entire story is too long to distill here properly, luckily Kamloops Daily News reporter Gregg Drinnan does a formidable job in his blog.

To make Drinnan's long story short even shorter, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Darryl Sydor and Mark Recchi are part of an ownership group seeking to purchase the Kamloops Blazers. Rebuffed on their initial offer, the group has started to obtain voting shares of the non-profit Kamloops Blazers Society that runs the team. In the meantime, the group had a second offer rejected and has started waging a PR campaign to get the public on its side.

The Society isn't exactly an innocent victim in the whole ordeal. And now that at least one other offer is on the table and another one is the works, it's time the community takes a long look at what exactly is going on with their team.

The Blazers are in desperate need of a front office transformation in the same way they've recently turned around their on-ice fortunes. But the city of Kamloops and the Kamloops Blazers Sports Foundation deserves to be the beneficiary of the team's success, not another private venture.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ouch, my eyes!

The Islanders unveiled their new RBK Edge jersey. It's not pretty and I'm not talking about DiPietro:

Wow, makes you miss the fisherman.

The Sabres jerseys grow on you in an arena football sort of way, but this is all over the place...neck tie, piping, chest numbers, two-tone sleeves. Adding the kitchen sink as well would have weighted the players down, which is not in keeping with the Edge design.

The Isles will debut the duds when they face the Rangers on September 24. Plenty of time for Avery to prepare a few jersey inspired insults.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sens sign first round pick Jim O'Brien

Yet another first round pick from the 2007 draft signed today. The Senators have put University of Minnesota center Jim O'Brien under contract. O'Brien will play major junior next year for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.
"I never wanted to take a kid out of school. I never encouraged that. I think Jim feels that this is the best road for him at this point in his career."

- Senators GM Bryan Murray

Of course not. In college, O'Brien develops for free and you continue to hold his rights until he leaves school.

But don't take Murray at face value. Prospects generally leave school for junior either because there's a signing bonus waiting for them or they want force the team's hand by causing their rights to expire sooner. The Sens want O'Brien under contract. But again, why?

In O'Brien's case, they may think he's not developing properly at Minnesota. It's common practice for drafted Europeans to play a season or two as a CHL import at the request of their NHL team in order to get introduced to the North American game. The Thunderirds have another such first rounder in Riku Helenius. (That makes three first round prospects for Seattle next season when you include Thomas Hickey.)

Murray's not getting O'Brien out of school without the security of a contract. Hopefully, it's worth the risk. As a fan of my hometown T-Birds, I really hope so.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

August in the NHL: Anything is noteworthy

After a few days of absolutely nothing going on in the NHL, the wire perked up today:

The Yotes picked up Alex Auld. No doubt he'll find David Aebischer much less intimidating than Ed Belfour.

Mike Ricci called it a career. He was never the same after he cut his hair.

The Oilers name Rob Daum to the coaching staff. Expect him to be considered for interim coach sometime during the season.

Oh, and Billy Tibbetts found himself in cuffs again. How many chances can one guy get? Tibbetts has played for a new team (sometimes more than one) every year from junior on, except those he was in the clink. Please, GMs of the world, hear this: For the pride of the game, stop giving this guy a jersey.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Central Registry shows no signs of a weak draft

2007 was considered a weak draft year, but you'd never know it by the contracts getting signed this summer. Zach Hamill is the latest to put pen to paper.

It used to be that unless a prospect was going to make the jump to the NHL immediately, his team would wait until their rights were going to expire before offering a contract. That thinking seems to be changing as it's doubtful any of this year's top picks will stick. Expect to see them returned to junior.

From the 2007 Entry Draft, 5 of the top 10 picks have signed with their teams. Of those left, only Van Riemsdyk and Turris are college eligible. Compare that to 2006 where only 3 of the top 10 signed immediately, though it should be noted that Johnson, Toews and Okposo chose to play in the NCAA last season.

Here's a recap:
    2007 Entry Draft

  1. CHI PATRICK KANE signed 7/25/07
  3. PHX KYLE TURRIS unsigned
  4. LAK THOMAS HICKEY signed 7/17/07
  5. WSH KARL ALZNER unsigned
  6. EDM SAM GAGNER unsigned
  7. CBJ JAKUB VORACEK signed 8/3/07
  8. BOS ZACH HAMILL signed 8/8/07
  9. SAN LOGAN COUTURE signed 7/19/07
  10. FLA KEATON ELLERBY unsigned
    2006 Entry Draft

  1. STL ERIK JOHNSON signed 4/19/07
  2. PIT JORDAN STAAL signed 10/2/06
  3. CHI JONATHAN TOEWS signed 5/16/07
  4. WSH NICKLAS BACKSTROM signed 5/16/07
  5. BOS PHIL KESSEL signed 8/17/06
  6. CBJ DERICK BRASSARD signed 9/21/06
  7. NYI KYLE OKPOSO unsigned (committed to Univ. of Minnesota for 07-08)
  8. PHX PETER MUELLER signed 7/12/07
  9. MIN JAMES SHEPPARD unsigned
  10. FLA MICHAEL FROLIK unsigned
I haven't quite put my finger on the change in strategy, but it's likely an after effect of the new CBA. It's interesting to note that the contracts of players returned to the CHL do not count against the Reserve List limit of 50 SPCs.

Update: Sens sign their first rounder (29th overall), Jim O'Brien. He will be leaving college to play for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.

Update: As a wise man just told me, entry level contracts have eliminated the cat and mouse game. Holding out likely won't increase the player's payday nor save the team much money. Aaaah, I get it. So simple.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lightning Sold: Koules Saw Them First

Money was on megaproducer Jerry Bruckheimer to be the first Hollywood guy with an NHL franchise. Then, out of nowhere, the Lightning announce they have been sold to a group lead by fired Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean. Among the investors: Oren Koules.

Who you say?

While Koules' resume doesn't have the sparkle of Bruckheimer's (Pirates of the Caribbean, Bad Boys, CSI), he's no lightweight either. Koules produced the infamous Saw series.

Bruckheimer has not been shy about his love of hockey, but Koules lived it, albeit as a minor leaguer.

One thing's for sure, now that Koules is charged with the team's marketing, expect a little more pizazz during intermissions at the St. Pete Times Forum.

PS. MacLean is yet another former GM who did some time as a commentator for TSN before finding another hockey desk. (Brian Burke did the same between the Nucks and Ducks.) Expect to see Neil Smith take another turn in front of the camera soon.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Gretzky Legend

It's the age old hockey question: Will there ever be a Next One?

I know there's debate as to whether Wayne Gretzky was the greatest player of all time. Let's set aside the Mario Lemieux thing for a sec. Cause if we're going there, what if Bobby Orr had two good knees? Fact is, neither stayed healthy. Let's focus on the future.

Will any one ever have a shot at some of Gretzky's records? The inimitable James Mirtle has the answer:
"Unless a 35-year-old Jaromir Jagr can somehow net six and a half more 40-plus goal seasons, it's going to be a solid 20 years before anyone comes close to The Great One."


Check out AOL's NHL Fanhouse where Mirtle takes an even more in depth look at what active players have a shot, albeit a long one.

Interesting to note that Chris Chelios, fourth in active all-time assists, would have to play until he's 75 to catch Gretz. That's practically around the corner for the old man.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Scooter's surprise retirement

Dean "Scooter" Vrooman, the voice of the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks called it quits Thursday, after 25 years in the booth.

Scooter is, or shall I say was, Portland's version of Fred Cusick. But in the tradition of junior hockey, Scooter did more than just call the game. He also handled publicity and corporate advertising for the team.

From winning the 1998 Memorial Cup to the sex change of his longtime radio partner, Scooter has seen it all. He was Portland's biggest fan. It will be tough to replace a personality so identified with the Winter Hawks.

Well, Scooter, good luck with wherever you go next. Here's one last call and probably your favorite:

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Abritration blues hurts Blueshirts

It's now not exactly new news that Sean Avery was awarded a $1.9M contract in arbitration and the Rangers accepted. Yet, the media still hasn't moved on. From Larry Brooks pre-hearing article in the NY Post (which started the hubbub) to today's piece in the Ottawa Citizen, pundits seem to be coming down hard on Glen Sather for daring to say a bad word about Avery.

Yes, this Avery:

I wonder what the Kings would have said had it had been them in the arbitration room.

It's as if Glen Sather was the first GM in history to present a case for not paying an RFA his asking price. If there's a first, it's the team's brief being leaked to the media before the hearing. Hmmm, wonder how that happened.

Do I wholly agree with the Rangers' assessment of Avery? Probably not. Do I think the team should have candy-coated it? Absolutely not. If Avery didn't want to hear it, he shouldn't have chosen to go the arbitration route.

And why does anyone care if Avery's feelings are hurt? At least Sather didn't call him a monkey.

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Burke picks picks over Penner

I'd brag I called it but it was a no-brainer decision. Brian Burke chose the Oilers 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks over resigning Dustin Penner.

Here's my next prediction: This will be the undoing of Kevin Lowe in Edmonton.

Here's how it will go down...

  • Penner cracks under the weight of his $4M contract. Increased minutes doesn't result in increased points for the winger, not without Getzlaf and Perry dishing him the puck.
  • The Oilers struggle through much of 07-08. Their lack of depth - and heart now that Smyth is gone - becomes painfully obvious. The Oilers fans and media will quickly turn on both Perry and Lowe.
  • Lowe fires coach Craig MacTavish in hopes of saving his own job. Just ask Burke how the Oilers' GM treats his friends.
  • Edmonton finishes in the bottom of the Northwest division, giving the Ducks some excellent picks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, Bettman doesn't exempt John Tavares into the draft.
  • Lowe gets canned the day after the Oilers end their lackluster season. Neil Smith interviews for the vacant GM spot.
  • With Lowe having served as scapegoat, Penner explodes for 50 goals during the 08-09 season.
  • Finally worth his contract, the Oilers trade Penner back to the Ducks for a first round pick and one more ball in the draft lottery. Phoenix wins and takes Tavares.
And if that's how it happens, I will brag.

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Taking stock of the CBA

So my Hockey News finally arrived five days after I first saw the issue's glorious cover. If you get a chance, Ken Campbell pens a nice piece on the CBA not being the victory the owner's expected.

The cap floor is larger than the pre-lockout payroll of a number of teams. Front loaded, long-term contracts are the new rage. Offer sheets are a win-win - you either get the other team's player or push them against (or over) the cap limit.

And the players don't want to change a thing:
This CBA is becoming more a victory for the players with every passing year, so much so there is genuine talk the rank and file will have no interest at all in reopening negotiations into the six-year deal when they have the chance in two years' time.

Players whose minimum wages were once $140,000 are now making $450,000 a season. Tell Daniel Briere, a player who not long ago wasn't good enough to play for the Phoenix Coyotes and will make $10 million next season, the CBA is a bad one for the players."

- The Hockey News

Tell Al Montoya, who won't get to back up Henrik Lundqvist because his rookie contract is too rich. Tell Jason LaBarbera, who spent 06-07 in the AHL despite a slew of injuries in the Kings' crease because his one-way contract would have put him on the waiver wire if called up. (Sorry, I only have goalie examples at my fingertips.)

Unfortunately, just like our fine government, the new CBA forgets the middle class. The rich get richer and the poor get to fit under the cap.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Devils lock up Parise

Rich contracts for UFAs and the occasional offer-sheet from the Oilers may grab most of the summer headlines, but don't be fooled. The biggest coup of the off-season is the Devils resigning Zach Parise to a 4 year, $12.6M contract.

That's a steal. This kid is slick.

Parise doubled his point production last year and pepped up an otherwise lackluster NHL YoungStars Game, taking home MVP honors.

Parise will outperform this contract - guaranteed. Smooth move by Lou.

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