Thursday, June 23, 2016

2015-2016 Penguins and the looming expansion draft…

So it’s been a long while since I posted anything but suddenly I have the urge so I’m going with it. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a new trend and keep up with it! Anyone knows…

Back to the point- the Penguins won their 4th Stanley Cup!  They started off slow, like real slow. They weren’t even near the playoffs in December when Mike Johnston was fired and Mike Sullivan was brought up from Wilkes-Barre. The year changed and down the stretch they were easily the most dangerous team to face. As you were watching them, you could almost tell they knew it could happen again. And let’s not forget the last time they switched coach’s mid-season: it ended with Sidney Crosby fulfilling his destiny and raising his first cup as the youngest captain in history no less.

Mike Sullivan and Jim Rutherford turned a 200 foot rink, into a speed skating contest with some hockey players. He took the finally health Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang, and brought in veterans, a sniper, and some speed before rounding out the team with call ups that Sullivan trusted from Wilkes-Barre. He brought in Matt Cullen, who already had a ring from his days with Rutherford in Carolina. He traded for Phil Kessel which in retrospect is looking like an absolute steal since he got Toronto to keep some salary. He brought in Carl Hagelin, a former Penguin tormentor when on the Rangers for his speed and brought in Nick Bonino in place of Brandon Sutter (who ironically took the injury bug with him to Vancouver). The 3 headed monster of 2009 was Crosby, Malkin, and Jordan Staal down the middle. The new 3 headed monster would take on a new shape. Crosby, Malkin, and the feared HBK line of Hagelin, Bonino, and Kessel.  

Marc-Andre Fleury carried the team in the beginning of the season while Rutherford was still molding it. When Fleury went out with a concussion, Jeff Zaktoff admirably played in his place, and the team decided to call up the goalie of the future. With one fateful call, Marc-Andre Fleury might have lost his net in Pittsburgh permanently through no fault of his own. Matt Murray stood on his head like past great rookie goalies. He was compared to Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden, the head of the class when talking about playoff goalies.  Without intending to, the fate of Fleury was most likely sealed when Matt Murray led the team to a Stanley Cup over the San Jose Sharks.

The Penguins dictated the style and pace of play during the series. They handled the Rangers with ease and went toe-to-toe with the President’s Trophy winning Capitals. They faced the hardest test of the playoffs against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals, but even then you got the sense they had found another gear and were already planning on a summer with Stanley.

On paper the Sharks and Penguins were an even match that would make for a worthwhile Cup Final. Both are speedy teams, with big name players who can come through in the clutch. The problem was that the Sharks were overwhelmed by the Penguins speed and without Martin Jones in net the score easily would have 12-2 Penguins. The Penguins not only outshot every team in each series, they were doing it by double the amount, close to triple in some games. Unable to close it out at home in game 5, they finished the series in San Jose during game 6, winning a second cup in the Crosby-Malkin era exactly seven years after the first one.

The problem with winning usually is the roster has to start being dismantled. In Pittsburgh’s case, they are in the unusual (and envious) position of being able to keep it almost in perfect order. Short of Ben Lovejoy and Nick Schultz possibly walking, and Beau Bennett not taking his qualifying offer (seriously did he even play enough games to get his name on the cup? He’s always injured) their only contract issue is now in the most important position- the net.
Matt Murray played more playoff games than regular season games, and most likely played Fleury out of town. In most years, they would both be coming back and have a shot at winning the starting job, but with the expansion draft next off season all but certain, the team can only protect 1 goaltender from expansion per league rules. Any player with no movement clause must be protected automatically.

Fleury of course happens to have the NMC and a limited no trade in which he can block a trade to 12 teams each year. Based on the way the rules currently read, they are forced to protect Fleury and let Murray be exposed (and most likely taken because I’d build a roster with him on it if starting from scratch). The expansion draft protections that we know of right now are the following:
-          7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goalie OR 8 skates (forwards/defensemen), 1 goalie
-          No movement clauses through the 17-18 season must be protected
-          Teams are required to expose at least 2 forwards and 1 defensemen who have played 40 games in the 16-17 season or a combined 70 between the 15-16 and 16-17 combined

What I find interesting is that a team that has more defensemen than the first option of protecting 7 forwards, they will have that opportunity but will protect 2 less players in the end. It adds a layer for some teams to work through. Since it doesn’t change the number of goalies allowed, it really doesn’t affect the Penguins in the end. Plus 2 extra players you might be on the fence about losing is a big deal, especially if they are younger but over 2 pro seasons.

There’s a lot of math that will be happening by all the teams. Another note is that regardless of AHL or NHL, if you are in year 3 or past, in order to be exempt then your name must be on the exemption list so no burying Murray in the A as my first thought was. I am not sure how exactly they can protect them both without really stretching. One thing is that Murray’s contract expires next season and Vegas will be required to take at least 20 of their 30 still under contract. I think trading Fleury at the deadline, even if they get less in the end is better just in case Murray falls apart. Goalies are fragile players as we are well aware. Vegas will be required to hit the cap floor of $54 million while the ceiling will be $73 million while building their team. Since they will be the only expansion team that season, they have the chance to build a somewhat decent roster.  

Based on the protections, here’s what the Penguins could potentially make their protected list.
**required to be protected due to NMC

1-Sidney Crosby**
2-Evgeni Malkin**
3-Phil Kessel**
4-Patric Hornqvist
5-Carl Hagelin
6-Nick Bonino
7-Conner Sheary or Bryan Rust have a shot at making this list since they are young. If they play the way they did in their callups this season to fill out the roster, it’s not out of the realm of reality

Let’s keep the HBK line going for a while. They only gelled at the end of the regular season. It could be really fun to watch an entire year of them tearing it up!

I know, I know. I am exposing Chris Kuntiz, but I have to. He meets the game requirements and he’s been regulated to the 3rd line most recently.

1-Kris Letang**
2-Olli Maata- he’s still the future and he matured a lot this season, especially in the playoffs
3-Brian Dumoulin- he’s got the size and speed they need moving forward
4-Derek Pouliot? Trevor Daley who finally found a team he fit on again? I really don’t know. The fourth could be a crapshoot.


1-Marc-Andre Fleury** – currently you have to protect him but if they trade him then Matt Murray is absolutely the guy you protect. He’s the future. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winter Classic what?

Why is the NHL’s premier “must see” event barely on most people’s radar this year?  For many reasons but “boring” and “over it” seem to sum it up nicely. When they first played this game in the snow globe that is Buffalo, it was new and not exactly the hyped up version we have come to recognize. It was two teams who agreed to play a regular season game outdoors, evoking the memory of pond hockey that they played as kids. Each Winter Classic since has had to have a hook to go along with it, but Buffalo might have had the best hook of them all: it was new and they get winter weather from October onward. Since then the Classic has become a bit of a circus with multiple games for alumni, AHL teams, college and even major junior teams before even getting into the marketing and events surrounding them. One Winter Classic even forced fans to buy tickets to the AHL game (cough Philadelphia) to get the tickets to the main event.  

Last year Detroit destroyed records when they had a whopping 105, 491 people in attendance, frozen and unable to see the puck. They also crushed previous years’ viewing records with 8.2 million tuning it, but they also had 2 years of buildup thanks to the pesky lockout that cancelled the game from happening in 2013.  The Classic has spawned the “stadium series” so we can have more outdoor games in markets that might not be able to reach Detroit like levels.  Since someone above was smiling at the notion, they granted us a game in Southern California. Because nothing says winter more than palm trees and board shorts. Of course we have gotten schooled in science since they managed to make ice in 60 degree weather and have special tarps to cover the ice during the sunny days from melting all their hard work. There was a game played and someone won it, but the highlight of this circus was Commissioner Gary Bettman hanging out with KISS. It was so LA.

But the best gift that the Winter Classic has given us was HBO’s 24/7 series. The two featured teams would grant HBO unprecedented access to their lives both on and off the ice. Live Schreiber would narrate us on a journey that made Ilya Bryzgalov appointment TV and showed us that Randy Caryle can’t make toast (or figure out what to do with his team). We saw the Rangers have the best ugly Christmas sweater party and that John Tortorella really does a have soft side, while Sidney Crosby is just as superstitious as we imagined. We still wonder about the inside jokes that we still weren’t privy too; Pascal Dupuis saying “#$!@ you Geno” is a classic example; and cringe when we flashback to Alex Ovechkin’s back tattoo in one of the first scenes ever. Mike Babcock’s secret weapon might be a mule (Johan Frazen) while Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero had a number system for evaluating their call ups. But outside of Crosby being superstitious, and Bryz having had a few funny moments in interviews previously, did we know any of this? Did we know that we had a space cadet in Bryz before this series? Finding out this stuff is what made us watch the next series.

Last year was easily the worst of the seasons but let’s be honest, the Maple Leafs were already in a downward spiral and many people weren’t sure Babcock wanted to open his room up like this. The team camaraderie from the seasons previous was missing. Remember that painful conversation at the steakhouse with some Wings players? It was hard to watch. Was it because the Leafs were just bad and the Wings were ravaged with injuries or was it because they had seen what had been shown in past seasons and didn’t want to open up like that? We may never know. But we do know that HBO had enough and said no 24/7 this year.

I can’t say I was shocked though. It has long been said Joel Quenneville was decidedly not into the idea of cameras around the Capitals were already featured once (and really you can’t beat Bruce Boudreau with the sauce on his face). Plus these two teams have no gimmick or real rivalry. In the original series, HBO and the NHL had a coup in that matchup: Sid versus Ovie. At this point Crosby already had a Stanley Cup ring and Olympic Gold, but they were considered to be the two best players in the game, and question was could Ovie reach these pinnacles. Now you have Ovie versus Jonathan Towes and Patrick Kane.  Between them there are 4 Stanley Cup rings, 3 Olympic medals and none of this hardware lives in the DC area. The point is what is the match up here? These teams aren’t original six, they don’t have a history of rivalry and the Caps went from the top of the now defunct Southeast Division to middle of the pack (at best) in the Metropolitan. There’s one line that goes through my head and its Ted Leonsis saying “"We have to win the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh has already won theirs”. If the Penguins having won 3 cups was making him spin, what do the 5 that Blackhawks have do to him? I expect nothing less than total tail spin from him.  His money can buy him the rights to host the Winter Classic, but it can’t buy him a Stanley Cup. (side note: Both Chicago and Pittsburgh got to host this circus before Ted got his. I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose but I’m also sure it rubs him the wrong way).  

The thing is, even if this still was must watch tv (and at this point for me its not), many of us can’t watch it simply because we have never heard of EPIX, the channel which is now airing a knockoff of 24/7 simply titled, “The Road to the Winter Classic” which was basically the tagline HBO used. In the 800 plus channels that are mainly never viewed, I don’t get EPIX. I also have Comcast, who only happens to be the largest cable provider in the country, but they don’t carry it. EPIX for their part has stated that you can sign up for a free trial to watch the show online, which is nice, but it’s just not the same. Since I don’t have an allegiance towards either of teams, it’s not must watch tv for me so I’ll eventually find a way to view the episodes but for now I’ll focus on Tiny House Hunters (no joke- this is must watch to me currently).

The Winter Classic is no longer new. The novelty has worn off. We have seen the games in snow, and rain, and sunshine. The fact is the game is still worth only 2 points to the winner but its 2 points in the standings that could impact their season standings. There 30 teams in the league and while I’d admit the Winnipeg Jets versus the Edmonton Oilers would also be a yawner, the teams picked to play in the Winter Classic tend to be from the East and a handful have played more than once. (Side note: I think the Florida Panthers versus the New Jersey Devils would be fun, simply so we can decide once and for all if Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider was the better goalie)

Many teams have begun to produce their own web series on the 24/7 model, but they are able to focus on their team and have full control over what everyone gets to see. The Winter Classic has lost its luster, but its still a moneymaker so the NHL will continue to host this event until it starts to lose money. There’s already rumors that next year will be back in Boston. Once again, recycling a team. Safe bet would be for a recycled opponent also.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Holy Time Warp Batman

I’m backkkkkkk. Maybe. For at least this post and maybe some more, maybe beyond just hockey. Time will tell. I have thought about this blog a number of times the past two years but started taking online classes which were really time consuming and took all the writing I had in me for all the papers.  For now I’ve completed the HR Management certificate, but I have decided I have enough student loan debt to stop for now but I can complete the Masters portion later.  Maybe one day the government will help fix the student loan crisis because it truly is awful.

Anyways, since the last post (back in early 2012 at the trade deadline- poor Rick Nash) I’ve made it to Vegas, Jamaica, Canada, and San Diego for trips, been in one wedding as a bridesmaid and I’m getting ready to be the maid of honor in another (1 week!). I have also managed to get to Pittsburgh for a home game at Consol (followed by Toronto for the HHOF which was amazing. Must do if you can), a Ducks games (in Anaheim) versus the Blues the night that Ryan Miller was traded to them (for what turned out to be a loan), a few Norfolk Admirals games, a random Hersey game at the Giant Center, a Charlotte Checkers game at PNC during the NHL lockout and the Canes-Pens game at PNC the week after Crosby broke his jaw. Talk about timing but it’s been fun 2 years in retrospect.
I think that the best part about coming back to this blog is I had to look up the URL of it. Not even kidding. Then I saw the font for the headlines and was very confused since it was a script. Pretty sure I didn’t leave it that way.  So sad and yet so funny, all at once. I think maybe a list of highlights to bridge from the last post to today might be needed.

Maybe a surface over of what has happened since the 2012 trade line….

Rick Nash finally left the purgatory that was Columbus for the bright lights of Broadway and hilariously now the Blue Jackets are a competitive team (in the Eastern Metro division). Since the realignment, the Winnipeg Jets no longer play in the comfy confines of the Southeast and the Capitals are no longer kings of the Southeast. The Cap have had a few coaches, and the LA Kings (Philly West- the connections are long and deep) have won themselves 2 cups in 3 years and  added Marian Gaborik (who had a quick stop in Columbus, just like Jeff Carter). The defending champs have lost basically no one this offseason. Staying status quo for many teams in the cap era is hard, but when you have won 2 cups in 3 years and have managed the cap well, you can relax for the summer (Cup celebrations included). The Ducks lost to the LA Kings and they haven’t done much this offseason. Someone in Southern California is doing it wrong.

Roberto Luongo finally got someone to take his untradeable contract: his former team the Florida Panthers. They got a new owner who decided to spend some money so they might be the sleeper team to win some random unexpected games this year. They are a long way from cup competitors but they are making strides in the right direction. In fact, their roster is a looking a bit random- like all the leftover parts. Could be good, could be ugly. At least they get to live in the sunshine!
Eddie Lack played the rest of the season out for the Canucks after trading Lu but he was basically put back on the bench the moment they signed the silver medalist from 2010 to back stop them. The biggest potential issue here- Lack is younger and probably has more upside than Ryan Miller. Oh and he might have better numbers. Could there be a potential goalie controversy in Vancouver, again? Something to watch for I’m thinking. Or maybe they will try the infamous 1A and 1B like the Devils did last season, since that clearly worked.

If the Devils could have won a few OT games they might have challenged for a playoff spot. Also not starting Martin Broduer as much might have helped since they had lured Cory Schneider from the Canucks in the 2013 offseason (ya know, the guy that backed up Lu in goalie controversy part I and then when Cory was traded it seemed all good in Canuck land). Schneider was under the impression he was the starter and Martin wasn’t ready to stop being the starter. Mentally he might have had it but he was given more starts than he should have and in many games the Scheider might have been able to win, especially in those close ones. I mean they went to OT enough last season to make us want a new OT.

Another team that has money to spend now is the Buffalo Sabres. Terry Pegula bought them and then starting spending money on players so they stop being the worst team. He loves spending money on athletes so much that he’s buying the Buffalo Bills (approval of the sale pending but no one else really wants to buy them and keep them in Buffalo so he seems to have this locked up). Next on his shopping list- Niagara Falls, US side. 

Dan Bylsma channeled Herb Brooks’s “again” mantra that led TJ Oshie to be an American shootout hero but that would be it for the Americans. King Henrik of the Rangers lost in the gold medal game to Sidney Crosby and co and would go on to also lose in the Stanley Cup Finals to the LA Kings. Tough breaks for the King. James Neal was a Star, then a Penguin, he’s now a Predator. Not sure if he’s moving up or down the world.  Disco Dan is probably coaching his son’s hockey team for the hell of it since the Pens fired him and still have to pay since he hasn’t taken anoter NHL job, and god knows where in the world Ray Shero is currently. The Penguins have a new coach (Mike Johnston), new GM (Jim Rutherford), and maybe a new look but Geno and Sid are still probably fighting over wingers so some balance has been kept.  

Peter Laviolette is now James Neal’s coach in Smashville, Claude Girioux thinks that a team should be built around him (no, really he does), and Barry Trotz has the job coaching Ovie in whichever position he plans to play this year. The Capitals also cleaned house (well, it’s an annual job it seems for the coach) but they also fired GM George McPhee and brought in a new look, style and direction. Expect he was under GMGM and yea…lets see how that works out. They also overpaid for some former Pens, but they are that much closer to winning Bingo for having the monopoly on players with the first name of Brooks (Laich and Orpik). Are there other active NHLer’s with name of Brooks because the Capitals will need to trade for them very soon.

Way more has happened but that’s what I have for now. It kinda brings us up to being prepared for the 2014-2015 season and it ignores that pesky lockout…. Till next time

Monday, February 27, 2012

Trade Dud-line

17 trades went down today and not one of them involved Rick Nash. Awkward.

Last week his GM Scott Howson asked him if he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause and he apparently gave the shortest list of teams possible that he might be willing to join. Then 3pm came and went and Captain Nash jerseys didn't hit the sale rack as expected since he wasn't traded. This isn't to say he won't be traded draft day this June but for now his season will end where it began: in Columbus. Maybe the Blue Jackets are looking to move Howson instead and find someone that can build a team around Rick Nash, James Wisniewski and newly acquired Jack Johnson, except that they are still missing that high scoring winger for Nash. Oh wait, they traded him to LA since he made it known he disliked being in the middle of nowhere since the day they picked up him last summer. So the Blue Jackets are almost back to where they started. Once again. It's gotta be like groundhog day there, year after year after year....

The best name and pickups made today have to be Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi to the San Jose Sharks. The trades are all right here.

Have to say hockey Christmas was disappointing this year. It was almost like your mom told you you were going to get a new bike and there was no bike. Wonder if this is how Nash feels right now. He was so close to leaving for a team with a chance of making the playoffs, but he's still so far...Maybe he secretly likes having from April thru August to play golf....

Hockey Christmas Once Again

Well it's finally here. The trade deadline for the 2011-2012 season is here. 3pm rosters will be mostly set barring any emergency call up and shuffling within the organizations own system. The AHL has moved their deadline for final rosters till March 5 to give the teams some breathing room in figuring out who to put where (so in this case the recent call up of the Baby Penguins goalie Brad Theissen; he can still head back to WBS through the 5th, so the Penguins can decided between him and Johnny if need be).

Last week we had our first big name player moved: Jeff Carter. I saw this trade coming a mile away and I'm glad they didn't make us wait any longer. Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter. Sorry for Johnson having to head to the Blue Jackets but I have a feeling Carter and his old buddy Mike Richards will be lighting up the place once again. Now they can sleep more soundly knowing they are not only in the same time zone again, but most likely in the same house. C'mon, you don't really think Richards is gunna let Carter sleep in a hotel room for the rest of the season? Isn't that why he has a guest bedroom? He's been waiting to be reunited with his bff!! Jackets got a good D but whats 1 more decent piece of the pie if you traded a good one away (though that piece made it clear he never wanted to be there). Kings win in this trade.

Nashville is reported to have just reunited the Kostitsyn brothers by bringing in Andrei from the Canadiens. His brother Sergei already plays for Nashville. Reunions are always nice, especially since your brother isn't going to make you sleep in a least you hope not.

The New York Rangers are apparently out of the Rick Nash derby (thank god) but hopefully Glen Sather can control himself and not do anything potentially more stupid than selling off assets to bring in Nash; like selling of assets to bring in useless pieces that will hurt the cap. Sather, just sit pretty like Pens GM Ray Shero. Shero is rumored to be doing nothing today since he's not thrilled with the options out there. He knows the missing puzzle piece is already in Pittsburgh, just sitting on the IR eating hot dogs in the press box instead of dressing for games. He might be looking for a backup goalie, but he currently has Theissen up from WBS and he won his first NHL game last night. Theissen is also the reigning AHL goalie of the year. Could he stick up in Pitt for the remainder of the season to give Flower a rest? Interesting possibility.

More later after the deadline has passed...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Starting to heat up

Since February ends in just over a week that means the NHL trade deadline for the 2011-2012 season is fast approaching. Before we know it we will be talking about off season acquisitions, who made the most of draft day and where the Stanley Cup got to travel to and what hijinks it managed to get into (along with it's player-babysitter). But before we get to that point, we have a deadline to adhere to.

Some minor trades have been made in the past week (here is a list on ESPN that is tracking all the trades this season), but the Habs trading Hal Gill signaled the beginning of the end of Montreal's season. They are now thinking about golf shirts and where to vacation sans a Stanley Cup on their arm. Dismantling mode is in full effect for the Habs. Gill on the other hand is continuing his tour of Eastern North America. Nashville is his 5th stop on the Eastern coast, having been to Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh and Montreal already. Wonder if he has West Coast issues? Anyway, the U.S.S. Hal Gill has been docked in Nashville - for now.

Evgeni Malkin has continued on in beast mode for the Penguins and is making a case for a nice extension when he's due. James Neal was due for an extension and he decided to dominate all Penguins wingers by being the first in a decade to break the 30 goal mark. For this feat, he inked himself a 6 year $30million contract, averaging $5million a year. Nice raise from the under $3million he's making now. I'm thinking Mario and Ray bought themselves a bottle to congratulate themselves on picking him up last year. He barely cost a human since they received Matt Niskanen (D) with Neal in the package for Goligoski and Nisky has been much more reliable than the overpaid services of Paul Martin, who can't seem to decided which Paul will play each game. Now if Shero can do something about Martin's contract, he's officially the mad scientist of building hockey teams.

An unofficially kept stat is man games lost. The teams all track this but the league doesn't (you would think they would) and currently battling it out for the number one ranking are the Penguins and Canadiens who are ranked 1 and 2 respectively. Oddly enough these teams are on different paths with the Penguins doing everything to hold on to a playoff spot and sure up their roster, while the Habs are in selling mode. Obviously the biggest reason why the Penguins are up this high is Sidney Crosby who has accounted for a bulk of missing games. Imagine if Crosby was playing, Malkin was in beast mode and Neal was playing on his current pace? The Penguins would be going toe to toe with the Rangers. Maybe its a good thing they are not because I have always liked the Rangers having grown up watching their games mainly (till I moved to PA and had no access to MSG airings and had the Baby Pens in my backyard) and that would be tough to pick a team to root for harder.

One of last seasons biggest off season signings was the Rangers signing Brad Richards, but his story was one and done. He knew he wanted New York and New York wanted him. A few teams tried to make a pitch for him and he kindly listened to them but his mind was made up before Wayne Gretzky came on screen to tell him LA was the place to finish out the next 9 years of his career. He wisely went with his gut and suddenly the Rangers chemistry this season is off the charts. They have a lead over the league and have a goalie who looks to be on his way to winning his first Vezina. They have all the right ingredients and a coach who still thinks they can elevate their game, and they have all bought in.

The big question they are asking now is should Glen Sather mess with success and chemistry by attempting to bring in Rick Nash? Do they need Nash? No. Would be a great pick up? Yes. Will he mess with chemistry? Possibly. There's no way of knowing what a trade can do. In this case he can be an asset since he is a proven scoring winger that the Rangers want, but I'm not sold that it's that needed. Plus the Rangers have a history is screwing up contracts and then needing to buyout or pray someone retires to get it off the books. I say the Rangers need to stay out of this race. Plus if Zach Parise is available this off season, he's a better pick in my opinion if the Rangers decide to go that direction.

The second biggest off season trade last season was the soap opera of them all and seems to still be going on. This one almost made the Ilya Kovalchuk trade from the then Thrashers to the Devils look tame. This trade saw the Coyotes offload "I need parks" goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers who had to in turn dump the salaries and personalities of Captain Mike Richards and his co-pilot Jeff Carter to the LA Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets respectively. Richards faced his fate quite well since LA parties are in a different league than a Philly party. Carter had a much harder time facing his fate. Ohio does not sound appealing and their team record is even less appealing. A year before he was on a team battling it out against the Blackhawk's for the Cup win and now he is somewhere in Ohio. He made it clear he was not happy to be in Ohio by not making a statement for days and not showing up for a over a week. He killed any chance he had of being liked by fans there before he even showed up since he can't fake happiness and now he might be on a one-way train out of town. I'm guessing he will attempt to be nicer to the next team immediately so he doesn't wear his 4th jersey in a 2 year period. Carter seems like a sure trade from the Jackets to any team willing to give them anything half-decent in exchange. His contract for $5 million through the 2022 season will scare away most teams before his attitude even came into play. A reunion with his buddy Richards in LA might be possible because the Jackets need a goalie and the Kings have one to spare.

So this trade seems to have been 2/3's of a disaster all around. Richards seems to be the only one adjusted and happy. Carter is Charlie Brown come to life and Bryz had a staring moment in 24/7 only to not star in the Winter Classic and drink tea from his thermos while watching the action on the heated bench. Bryz could have a tv show with his thoughts and my god would be he make a great dinner buddy but he's not exactly playing the way Philly imagined when they traded away 2 young guys that have proven scoring abilities. Since Philly needs help scoring, they are interested in entering the Rick Nash derby. Could they trade away Bryz and the remainder of his 9 year, $51 million dollar contract to the Blue Jackets for Nash? Doesn't seem out of the realm of possibiity at this point. It doesn't matter who is in goal for the Flyers these days, whichever Russian it is, they have a breakdown of some sort so why not trade away another disaster contract before he poisons the team and has little upside to any team. Right now you can say Philly wasn't a good fit, but another season or 2 and you've exposed him to just not being that elite goalie he was built up to be. Trade him while his stock is still decent. Maybe Philly should invent a league in which teams don't need goalies, they'd do quite well then. I think.

Teams interesed in the Rick Nash derby: NY Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs (he's from the area) and the LA Kings. The Jackets have some interesting options since they are shopping 2 high profile names. The Nash trade will be harder since he has a no movement clause that allows him to veto any deal he doesn't like, so if he has issues with say the city the team is in, he can stay put and not be forced to leave his death sentence in Ohio. Of course since he signed the death sentence I can't say I'd be shocked if he stays put.

Moral of the story: a trade does not always translate as well in real life as it does on paper. And when it comes to Philly, it really is goalie hell.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And in other news...

In the 'what took so long' category:

-Mike Comrie announced his retirement. After undergoing his 3rd hip surgery in 5 years, he has finally decided to announce what everyone else realized last season, sometime around November, that his career was done.

-Rick Nash has finally realized he will NEVER win a Cup with the Blue Jackets. Only took 6 years.

-Zac Rinaldo of the Flyers was suspended. It seems he's been hitting everything that gets in his path these days so it was only a matter of time he felt the Shanan-hammer. He had ample chances to avoid it.

In the 'still waiting' category:
-Marc Savard to announce his retirement.

-Rick Nash to say these words outloud, "I would like to explore my options with a team that can compete for a Cup before my grandkids enter the league in 50 years"

-No real word on the future of hockey in the Phoenix desert, only the same mumble jumble. But the never-say-die Coyotes are making it difficult for people to not want to pull for them. Most GM's were hoping to dismantle the team at the trade deadline and feast on key players, but instead the boys are playing for their lives and hanging on to a playoff dream, which means they are not in a selling bodies off state of mind.

-Brian Burke for the first time might not have a fire sale of players before the deadline this year. He's still got 2 weeks to work some magic, but the Leafs seem interested in playing hockey and making the playoffs which could mean Burke won't sell off assets. It's nice to see a team grow up like this. But like I said, he's still got 2 weeks.

In the 'no surprise' category:
-The Devils plan on retaining Zach Parise till he's a free agent to get last bit out of him. They dream of resigning him, but their creditors have dreams of getting their money back. He's in a line for a payday that the Devils just can't provide right now.

-Rick Nash not saying he wants out of Columbus. He's too nice to do such a rude thing, but being nice will only get you so far. Like being stuck in Columbus for the next 6 years after having already been there for 6 years.

-The Jeff Carter experiment in Columbus has gone belly up and he wants out and they want him out. (He is everything Nash is not when it comes to voicing his opinions). The problem: That lifetime contract for over $5 million a year through the 2022 season. WTF. Contracts like that (you can thank the Flyers) should never be allowed to be moved, they should be stuck with the team that wrote them for life.

-The Capitals are hot mess and continue to spiral in ways no one has seen since they picked up Ovie and co. Alexander Semin is apparently on the trade block and if he doesn't leave town before March, he will be preparing for what his most likely his last spring in the nations' Capital. The Caps are not only in danger of not winning the Southeast which they have usually dominated, they might also miss the playoffs. Then again when your goalie juggles the puck into the net to allow a goal, maybe you shouldn't be in the playoffs.

-The Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman released a statement yammering on about supporting his head coach, Joel Quenneville through Chicago's recent struggles. This translates loosely to, "Joel, brush up your resume because it might come in handy this summer". Many coaches just a few years removed from a Stanley Cup winning season have been relieved of their coaching duties and the path Quenneville is on currently looking like a one way street to unemployment.

-The Philadelphia Flyers can't find a goalie that can win a game. They paid Bryz a handsome sum of money last off season to lure him to "goalie hell" from the desert and he's spent a fair amount of time warming the bench since Bobrovsky, his backup, had the hot hand. That hot hand has lasted for a hot second it seems since Bob is just as messed up as Bryz. A goalie tandem that can't figure out who should try to be the hero- which means nothing has changed in Philly. Nothing.

-The New York Rangers want a Stanley Cup. And they want it NOW. With their roster already reading like an All-Star lineup with names like Callahan, Richards, Lundquist, Gaborik, Girardi and Staal, they are poised for a deep playoff run, but bringing in Rick Nash could be a great addition. And wouldn't it be nice to see him play for a team with some real talent? This rumor has grown some legs since the Blue Jacket scouts have been roaming around the Garden and have made no secret that they want Brandon Dubinsky. Can you imagine, NYC could potentially have a second parade down the Canyon of Hero's in one year? Get it done Rangers....Where's Messier to make "the guarantee" part deux because we all know Captain Cally isn't stupid enough to do that like his predecessor.

And in honor of this utterly ridiculous holiday (Valentines Day: also referred to as the day before the candy goes on sale and 2 months till my birthday), Puck Daddy has some Valentine candy hearts, photoshopped with saying for various players. This is a rather good use of candy hearts since I think they are rather terrible tasting. Enjoy!