Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quebec, Province of Sexual Assault

Anyone seen this commercial, or something similar in English in breaks in play during the Canadiens games?

At the end they usually flash up the visitor friendly Quebec Province logo...

As if this is a selling feature for visitors to come enjoy Quebec. Well for pederasses, I guess it is.

Kind of symbolic for a Centennial Season that's going down the shitter, 'Tisn't it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Can You Smell the Bullshit?

This time I'm talking about the race for the Calder Trophy, the award given to "the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition" in the league. Us mutts know it better as rookie of the year, in less refined terms.

This year it seems as though the MSM has already selected their winner, in feel good choice Steve Mason, goaltender for the suddenly significant Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets definetely have had a turnaround season, and are poised to make their first postseason appearance in the franchise's young history, and that, no doubt, is thanks largely to Mr. Mason.

My question is in the numbers that are seemingly similar to another rookie goaltender by the wonderfully delightful name of Pekka Rinne, goaltender for the Nashville Predators. In the seemingly unimportant wasteland of space between the East and West Coasts, these two keepers have chased their previous #1's out of the net, and secured the jobs themselves. As noted in Puck Daddy's earlier blog 'Pekka Rinne: Like Steve Mason, but without that pesky hype!' their stats are seemingly identical, while both of them making their irrevelevant teams revelant in terms of making the playoffs.

So where's all the hype for Pekka for Calder?

Is it racism?

Mason's apparently Canadian, Rinne's a Finn. You remember the last time those Scandinavians got all upitty, we had to stomp some 'Wegie ass. Fucking 'Wegie's.

The fanbase is starting to make some noise about it. Finally.

We all remember last year's awarding of the Hart to Alex Ovechkin, after leading the Caps to the playoffs in the closing days of the season, taking over the Southeast Division lead automatic berth. Everyone said leading up to the close of the season, that if Washington makes the post, then Ovechkin wins the Hart. And so he did.

So with that kind of reasoning, does that mean if Mason, well we won't says leads, but keeps the BJ's in postseason position, then he automatically wins the Calder? Right now, Columbus is sitting in the sixth spot with 86 points and six games remaining, followed by their unexpectedly competitive Central Division compatriots, the Predators, and the Blues(?, more on that another day)

But Pekka's Preds are right in the hunt too, sitting only two points back from the symbolic Union Army, so why isn't poor ol' Pekka getting a look too? Typically, this race only involves a goaltender twice a decade, with the last one being this show-stopping, jaw-dropper Andrew Raycroft in '03-'04. After that stoic career the company gets significantly better with Evgeni Nabokov in 2000-'01, Martin Brodeur in '93-'94, and my personal hero, Eddie Belfour in '90-'91.

Again, as Wyshynski points out that the rookie forwards aren't exactly "lighting the world on fire" with scoring, some of them have turned it on in the past few weeks. Some of them have gotten hot enough to turn this into more than a two (one) horse race.

Bobby Ryan has been firing the puck at will with 2 goals, and 8 shots in his last game against the lowly Avalanche. He leads all rookies in goals with 26, and points with 50, and only appearing in 58 games. He is tied for points with Kris Versteeg, who jumped out early in the Calder race, but slowed mid-season, and is now turning it back on again. Flying under the radar is Stars rookie forward James Neal, second in goals for rookies with 24. Blake Wheeler also got some credit for Boston's quick start this year, just as Patrick Berglund and T.J. Oshie are being held partially responsible for the Blues miraculous turnaround. Even Freshman flop Steven Stamkos has turned it on lately now that the pressure is off, now with 19 goals, now that we're not waiting for his first anymore.

On one hand, it is pretty amazing to lead a perennial doormat to the dance, on the other hand its not like he's the only one.

Hypothetically, lets just say both Columbus and Nashville make the post, and in the spots they're at right now, six and seven. That means Columbus faces Calgary, and Nashville takes on Detroit. Okay now let's just say Columbus goes down in six, and Nashville takes down the red giant in seven. Now Pekka's won a huge series against the mighty Red Wings, and Columbus goes down in the first round like everyone outside of Ohio figures. What then? Granted hypothetical, but not completely unreasonable, unless your a Red Wings fan. And then I don't even know why you're reading my blog.

I'm just saying, the race always changes as you get closer to the finish line. Make up your own mind on your flight to Vegas.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Must See Hock-ee, Edition Two

Interesting week, no? Met a nudist with multiple sclerosis from Pennsyltucky last night. No shit. And didn't I tell you to keep your eyes on the Islanders in Detroit?

Who woulda thunk it?

Okay, so right now Buffalo just gave up a two goal lead in the second, to go down three-two to Montreal. If Buffalo doesn't win this, their season is toast. If Montreal blows it, Carey Price will have looks on his face similar to the one's he had after Toronto's goals in last Saturday's game when Halak was in net.

So back to the schedule as it gets tighter and tighter...

Monday, March 30th
San Jose @ Calgary - Kipper and Nabby always makes for a good matchup, if indeed they both start.
New Jersey @ NY Rangers - Always fun. This rivalry could meet up in the post, once again.

Tuesday, March 31st
Nashville @ Columbus - Preds looking to hang on to the last berth, BJ's looking to fortify their position.
Ottawa @ Florida - Still on the outside looking in, there going to need it against a Senators team that has turned it on. For some reason.
Vancouver @ Minnesota - Vancouver is looking to overtake Calgary for #1 in the Northwest.
Anaheim @ Edmonton - Ducks will seek revenge after getting handed their ass, speaking of which, Roloson played his off.

Wednesday, April 1st
St. Louis @ Chicago - The Blues making the playoffs will be the ultimate April Fool's joke.

Thursday, April 2nd
NY Rangers @ Carolina - The storm is getting stronger.
Montreal @ NY Islanders - Isles stole one in OT the last time these two met.
St. Louis @ Detroit - Tough road trip to end the season for the Blues.
San Jose @ Edmonton - These two could be meeting in the first round.
Anaheim @ Vancouver - The Ducks are still attempting to claw their way in.

Friday, April 3rd
Buffalo @ Washington - I don't know if it will matter at this point.
Atlanta @ Florida - This one either.
Calgary @ Minnesota - Or this one. Only for the Flames to add some distance to the division lead.
Nashville @ Chicago - Every intra-Central Division matchup seems to be exciting now.

Saturday, April 4th
Big Saturday, 11 games in all. Only two won't matter, Phoenix @ LA, and Tampa @ the Isles. Sometimes when you win, you lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win.
NY Rangers @ Boston - The usual weekend matinee.
New Jersey @ Buffalo - It should be a good game, but will it be?
Pittsburgh @ Carolina - This is a big test for the 'Canes to prove their worth.
Philadelphia @ Ottawa - Philly will want this one.
Montreal @ Toronto - Toronto will be playing the Habs hard.
St. Louis @ Dallas - The Blues will need any and every point they can get their hands on.
Columbus @ Nashville - See above referenced Central Division matchup.
Vancouver @ Edmonton - Oil Country will need to beat teams of this caliber to get to round two.
Anaheim @ San Jose - The Ducks will finish up a tough road trip in the tank.

Sunday, April 5th
Minnesota @ Detroit - Please keep the most boring team out of the postseason.
Pittsburgh @ Florida - Pathers, get your shit together.
Chicago @ Columbus - Do I really have to say it?
San Jose @ Anaheim - Home and home series, Ducks need it more than the Sharks.

May have to update daily from here on out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thought It Looked Like It Might Be Fun

Man, was I a dumb shit.

So the NHL end of the year Awards Show has relocated from the Hall in Toronto to the 'NeverNeverLand' known as Las Vegas. Well I figured, 'Hell, I'm in Southern California, only 3 hours away, could be fun to see these jokers at a schmoozfest.' So I asked my wife, made sure I secured a hall pass for the night, and the league posts up the information regarding the fabled gala last Tuesday...


Yes, yes, for a measly $500 and four more dollars, you too can sit with the premier stars of the National Hockey League, and rub elbows with them as they get up to collect hardware you'll normally only get to look at through glass cases!

Five hundred and four fucking dollars.

In a recession? Are you fucking kidding me?

Do I get a blowjob from Ovechkin for that price? Or at least one from Shane Doan?

Well I guess Gary's going to give you the opportunity to receive fellatio from one of thesssssssse fine fellows. Because for that price, you'll get a VIP Nightlife Access pass at the Palms Casino Resort, where you can work your magic and drop your best lines on the finest men of the NHL. That is if these guys show up, after all, it is Vegas, and there are a shit-ton of better places to gack up lines of coke off hooker's titties.

Keep in mind, you'll still have to get raped in the ass by ticketmaster for all their "convenience" charges, not to mention book a room, unless you plan to sleep in a dumpster for the night. And considering the town, those are probably all booked up too.

Fuck it dude, let's go bowling.

Must See Hock-ey

Anywhere from 8 to 11 games remaining for every team around the league. Yes, yes folks, its time for the stretch run heat-up in the race to the postseason pole. These will be the games to watch for this week...

Monday, March 23rd
Carolina @ Florida - Who thought Southeast Division games could be interesting? Well it usually gets interesting at this time of year because two teams are battling for first of the worst for the guaranteed 3rd slot in the Conference. But this year the SE needed not this rule, as Washington kept their head well above water securing their spot with points above the four spot for the majority of the year. But back to the game at hand, Carolina has had a resurgence since BFF Erik Cole hooked back up with Eric Staal, and goaltending has been more consistent from Cam Ward. Florida is fighting for their playoff, (franchise?) lives and looked to have it well in hand a few weeks ago. Now they are one point out of eighth, hoping to capitalize on Montreal's Centennial collapse.

- Calgary will also be looking to test their mettle against the Wings, as will the Flyers against the Devils.

Tuesday, March 24th
Anaheim @ Nashville - Anaheim has somehow found a way to string three together, and now look to be challenging for a spot. A week ago, they looked as if they were doing the proverbial flop, and are now a point back from Nashville for the eighth and final spot. Nashville has been very strong since the break, and quietly crept into the playoff picture.

- Also to note, every game against Detroit seems important. Edmonton will face them at Rexall, while the Thrashers will also go Nord of da border to heap more shame on the mess that is the Canadiens.

Wednesday, March 25th
San Jose @ Chicago - The Sharks are still trying to re-gain their composure as the Hawks have looked ordinary at best for the last week or so. A win at the United Center would be a huge confidence boost for either team, and not a first round flunkie.

- And Florida @ Buffalo, every remaining game for the Cats is important. Buffalo, still has a shot? (Read like, "I'm Ron Burgundy?")

Thursday, March 26th
Florida @ Philadelphia - Panthers have to show they can play with playoff bound teams.
Calgary @ Columbus - First round matchup, perhaps?
Tampa @ Montreal - Off with their heads if they blow this one. Vinny at the Bell. Dreamy.
San Jose @ Nashville - Another potential first round date?
Vancouver @ St. Louis - Believe it or not, as of this moment the Blues are two points out.

Friday, March 27th
NY Islanders @ Detroit - I'm kidding, relax.
Edmonton @ Anaheim - Who wants to make the playoffs? Who? Who does?

Saturday, March 28th
NY Rangers @ Pittsburgh - Self-explanatory.
Buffalo @ Montreal - If the Slugs can't make it to the dance, they can at least be a spoiler.
Columbus @ St. Louis - The 1st of a home and home weekend, betting both will be battles.

Sunday, March 29th
Nashville @ Detroit - I'm getting tired of this. No I'm not. Potential 1st round.
St. Louis @ Columbus - Part Two.
Vancouver @ Chicago - A first round 4 and 5 seed matchup, nice.
Boston @ Philadelphia - Does either team have what it takes?

I'll follow up week by week as conditions change, and gets meaner.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lots of Ideas, But No Good Ones

Lots of hockey thoughts to ramble over, but I think I'll save them for the offseason, when there ain't shit to write about. One thing that's been crawlin' around in the ol' noggin, and I'm sure I'll take some heat for this, is Marty Brodeur. Who gives a shit?!

Don't get me wrong, breaking the career wins is huge, and Brodeur is an awesome goaltender, no question. Maybe the best ever. But why does it feel like we gave up one asshole for another?

Patrick Roy was another great goaltender. He was also a prick. I'll never forget all his soap opera drama and tempertantrums, not to mention the biggest whamburger and french cries, when he up and quit the Montreal Canadiens in the middle of a game, after giving up nine goals on 26 shots in less than two periods. Even as a kid I could tell this guy was of shallow character, and a shitty human. But nonetheless, after his demand to be traded to a Cup contender, he won another two in Colorado, which does say something.

But Marteen's had his share of daytime TV limelight as Bangin Panger so eloquently elaborates, Not like Scott Gomez on 'One Life to Live,' but we can't all be that sexy. And we've all known he'd be breaking these records sooner or later. In fact, it seems like we've been celebrating it for years, and that's why I think I've had enough. Not to mention, the cutting of the net, that was a little too much for me, (about 3:18 in, if you can take all the Chico Resch cocksucking). Has March Madness caught up with Marty? I know, I know, if I had broke that record, I'd be cutting the net too. Or maybe I'd just take the whole fucking thing, iron and all, make it easy on myself, since after all, I had just won 553 games.

And oh they'll be more of these tedious celebrations, the shutout record, his wife receiving his annual alimony check, and the like. And we'll get even more, and more tired of Brodeur and his "records."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alfred O. Newman

Alexander Ovechkin


Alfred E. Newman

Sure the ears aren't as elephantine, but I can't believe no one's made this connection.

Tussled hair, missing tooth, dopey expression. C'mon, he's a dead ringer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Joke is still on you...

Olli Jokinen

Baby Orangutan
Seperation at birth?
Nah, just one ugly MF'er.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fighting will Always be a Part of this Game

I'm sorry. Its true. If your panties are all knotted up by this statement, then good. You deserve it, and probably need therapy.

Okay, okay, I kinda get the elimination of the staged fights. Its pointless when the single pugilist from each team, drops the gloves, and pushes up the elbow pads, seconds into the opening faceoff. There's no reason for it, unless something happened in the last game, but still its meaningless. But the only reason these guys are on the team is to fight with the other team's fighter. These Shelleys', these Laraques', these Parros', these Brashears', these Ivanans', these Artyukhins'. Who?! Art-what? Artyukhin. Evgeny Artyukhin.

Once again, lets be honest with ourselves, these guys are not out on the ice for their scoring ability, or saavy playmaking. They are known for pounding their fist into other people's breastneckchestandhead.

Personally, I get more enjoyment out of the fights that don't involve the team's enforcers. There's more passion in them, more hatred. Real venom between two humans, who don't look at fighting as part of their, or only, role on the ice. Not to mention the hilarity of a non-fighter's fighting ability. Or being pleasantly surprised when someone answers the bell and whoops some ass.

And I get the argument about visors, and guys cutting their soft, pink hands when throwing rights to the orbital bone. Hell, I remember when a young Ruskie by the name of Vladimir Malakhov gladly removed his helmet, with visor, from his square head in order to play the bongos. In Mother Russia, the bongos play YOU! (See above link.)

Why can't these French Canadians detach their melon-guards before they start their tango?

Oh, oh, then that runs into another argument, guys fighting without helmets, getting taken down, and Sanderson-ing. (Too soon?) Don, I'm sorry. Its shitty what happened to you. Real shitty. But next to going out with a bang, I can't think of a better way to go than on the rink. Granted, you don't want to eat it at 21, but at least you get all those virgins. What's this you say? Jihad is only applicable in the name of religion? Well hockey IS religion in Canada.

Bottom line, accidents happen. There isn't shit that we can do about it. What, are we going to remove sharpened skates from the game? Are we going to hire people to clear snow from player's driveways? Well, yeah, I guess we can do that. Dumb shit.

Hockey players are big, sweaty men skating around with weapons in their hands. Shit's gonna happen. Be glad that all that happens, is that they crack some heads.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Head Shots and the Lack Thereof

Okay I've had just about enough of this shit. The pansification of hockey is already in full swing and I don't know if there's any turning back.

I can't believe I'm agreeing with Mike Milbury. Fuck. Feels like I'm getting beat to death with my own shoe.

Here's what I'm pissed off about...

1. The lack of hitting. Hits that change the momentum of the game. I'm not talking about this weak-ass, finish your check on the boards after the guy's already gotten rid of the puck crap. I'm talking open ice, solid defensive hits. And,

2. The fights after the hits that actually do happen. When did this become in vogue? When Avery finished his internship?

If the latter is creating the former, then this shit has to stop. NOW.

Now I'm not for these guys getting their squash splattered, but let's be real, hockey is a fast-paced, emotional sport with inherent danger at every angle. I think people need to wrap their heads around that before we even start talking about rule changes. Granted, if you're going after someone's noggin, you're either real fired up over something that player did, or can do to your team if given the chance. But I'm not talking about hits to the head, I'm talking about solid bodychecks, contact from the shoulder. Everyone seems to know the difference, except for Colin Campbell.

I remember my first year in Pee-Wee I took a solid hit from the guy's shoulder right into my chest. I went down in a heap, gasping for air to return to my feeble frame. It was then that I realized how important, and valuable the bodycheck was in the game of hockey.

But now teammates, for one reason or another, are attacking guy's on the opposing side for making a clean hit on one of their guys. Perfect example, Jay McKee laying out Mark Parrish the other night, making him wish he retired as a member of the Wild. Players have been getting a little uppity, and bringing up their elbow in the full motion of the hit, that's no good. If you look closely, you can see McKee hits with his shoulder, but follows through with his arm. Legal hit. Sure he fucking blasted him, but that's the game. These guys are out there knowing that this could happen at any second. Again they make millions, or at least hundreds of thousands to acknowledge this and play at their own risk.

What I don't understand is why Sutherby goes after McKee following the hit?

Is it because he feels bad for the blind pass he just fed Parrish seconds before he was leveled? Shouldn't you be apologizing to your buddy, or at least checking to see if he's still alive, before dancing with McKee?

What happened to getting the guy's number and getting him on the next shift?

And now hitting, real hitting, has almost completely vanished from the game. You'll be lucky if you see one of these hits at a game, now its more like every 10 games you might get to go 'Oooooh.'

In a sport that's constantly trying to re-invent itself with modified rules and jack-ass reasoning since its inception, yet somehow keeping probably the most loyal fanbase, we are going to once again look at one of the most fundamental elements of the game, and try to "church" it up. Slap a big old 'Parental Advisory' sticker or do "what Em' told me homey just lose the parental discretion advised" all together. Lets put another 'gray area' decision in the hands of the referees, and let them decide the games, that's a fucking dandy idea.

And don't even get me started about these rule changes for fighting, or taking it out of the game. That'll be next time, if Gary Bettman's NHL Hour doesn't piss me off more before I even get to it.


(Check out Hockey Dump's linked up post 'Pansification and other things that are wrong with our world.' Classic.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lotta Ins, Lotta Outs, Lotta Whathaveyous...

You gotta love the stretch run. Its essentially preseason playoff hockey, at least for most teams. The bubble teams start realizing its now or never, the guaranteed teams start playing at that level of higher consciousness getting ready for April, and the bottomfeeders love to become spoilers.

Exhibit A - Bubble Teams turning it on...
Carolina 9 Tampa Bay 3
Florida 5 St. Louis 3
Edmonton 4 Toronto 1
Columbus 8 Detroit 2
Vancouver 3 San Jose 1

Exhibit B - Doormats play like they've got nothing to lose...
NY Isles 7 NJ Devils 3
Ottawa 6 Buffalo 3
Los Angeles 4 Minnesota 3

Exhibit C - Jimi Hendrix level of play...
Boston 5 Chicago 3

That's all we have for Exhibit C? Shit.

The upper echelon teams are tearing at the seams. Detroit, the cream of the crop, dropped two Saturday games in a row and allowed 8 goals in each to Nashville, and Columbus respectively. I thought I saw Osgood crying when he was pulling himself out of the Columbus game.

The Sharks are all kinds of out of sync, dropping their last four, with two wins in the past seven, and those two by only one goal margins. Granted, they've been without Nabokov for the last five, but in order to be playoff ready you've got to rise to the challenge.

And Boston dropped a 4-3 game to the Rangers at MSG, giving them a record of 4 and 6 over the past 10.

Bad timing when you're knocking on the door of the seasonal tourney. Burnt out? Bored? Who knows, but its always fun to watch a late season collapse at the end of a strong season.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Joke's on YOU!

Drafted by the Kings in the late 90's. That sucks.

Traded to the Isles during the Gorton's era. That sucks.

Traded to the Panthers, and suffering 8 years in that franchise. That sucks.

Trade rumors swirl once again, and then you're told you're going from one hockey hell to another, this time Phoenix. That sucks.

Finally traded to a playoff bound franchise, and then labeled as a locker room cancer?
That really sucks.

Poor Olli, what does he have to do to get a little respect. Win a playoff series? Play a passionate game? Learn to not throw his feces like an orangutan?

The Saddledome Commonwealth is still chewing this one over, so it sure as shit isn't love at first sight. Upset with what they're giving up, a well-liked player in Lombardi, and more importantly a 1st Rounder, Flames Fans are at least content with getting defenseman Jordan Leopold back in the mix. But now they've got that 1st line center that Darryl's been lusting for years. Well, at least they think they do.

As for the humanity devouring name calling laid on Olli, is there any reason to believe there's any bigger locker room cancer than Mike Keenan himself? What, has he behaved himself this year? Did he go to the same anger management/zen buddhist/personal meditation school as Sean Avery sometime between here and Florida?

Its seems as if Jokinen may have been Keenan's choice, sharing Valentine's back in Florida with one another. So maybe bad apples keep the same company? Run in pairs? Ruin the whole cart? Whatever your metaphor, Jokinen's playoff performance has yet to be seen, and at the very least the Flames have put themselves in an even better position to make a run.

Winners and Losers on Deadline Day

As usual, a slow deadline day picked up the pace in the waining minutes and almost hit the annual average of 25 trades with 22 moves. Nothing earth shattering, some bigger than others, the majority, meaningless. I'd like to go team by team and evaluate their activity or inactivity, and the success or failure of those moves. Was thinking about giving letter grades, but will just go collegiate style and go pass/fail.

Starting from back to front...

Washington Capitals - Fail. For not suring up the D, and the goaltending. Nylander must have drawn some interest, to pull in a top four D-man.

Vancouver Canucks - Pass. Again, no transactions. Again, a good move for the post. The team is really starting to gel, and Martin likely wanted too many solid roster players to make Bouwmeester worth it.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Pass. Burke picks up some picks, (mostly 2nd Round), too many goalies, and sheds some deadwood. Will be very active this summer in the draft and on the first of July.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Flunk. Flunkies couldn't peddle off any of their ridiculous contracts, but really are no worse, or better than they were yesterday.

St. Louis Blues - Fail, but essentially Pass. Didn't do anything to help their chances this season, and instead look to the future, smart move.

San Jose Sharks - Pass. Pick up Moen and Huskins from the Ducks and add some depth and grit to their lineup. Didn't tinker too much with what seems to be working.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Pass. Essentially for the pickup of Kunitz, the shedding of Whitney, and we'll see if Guerin adds anything. I'm thinking not so much. Think of Billy's time with the Sharks.

Phoenix Coyotes - Pass. In an attempt to shed payroll, they actually picked up some good assets in return. Upshall for Carcillo is lopsided favorably for the Dogs, as is Kalinin/Dawes/Prucha for Morris. The big move of the day was dropping underachieving Jokinen for two solid role players in Lombardi and Prust.

Philadelphia Flyers - Fail, in a way. I'm not really getting the Carcillo pickup, or rather the Upshall drop. Scottie hasn't been playing as well as he can, but he's still a better asset than Carcillo. No moves to shore up goaltending, but with the amount they're giving Biron, he should be the guy. Would have liked to see Bryzgalov in black and orange, but essentially the move to make was no moves.

Ottawa Senators - Pass, I guess. Well for blowing it up Murray didn't use much explosive. Picked up Leclaire but that's not going to do much to alleviate concerns between the pipes.

New York Rangers - Fail. The best thing Sather did was hire Tortorella. Avery's presence makes you hate a team, that was very vanilla, and hard to hate. Morris and Antropov do not make this team a contender, and neither does Avery.

New York Islanders - Pass. Just accumulate those picks. Would have rathered to see a 1st Rounder as opposed to all those 2nd's, but hey, lets rebuild with what we've got.

New Jersey Devils - Pass. Lou's only move was grabbing Havelid from Atlanta pre-deadline. Lou is all-knowing and omnipresent, I will not question him, and would not mess with that team.

Nashville Predators - Pass with no transactions. Probably figured they couldn't afford to bring anyone else in, and they're playing some good hockey with the roster they've got. A berth would be suprising, but definetely achievable, but if they miss, they've done so much with so little for years.

Montreal Canadiens - Fail. Schneider helps the PP, but depth at center is shallow, and that should have been addressed, especially with Lang out. You can blame either that or goaltending when the Centennials get knocked out.

Minnesota Wild - Fail. Gaborik is not coming back. You will lose him to FA in the summer. Someone had to be dumb enough to take him if he was offered. Best move was keeping Backstrom in the fold.

LA Kings - Pass. Didn't give up any of the future, and picked up Williams from Carolina. Well, at least he's got a ring.

Florida Panthers - Pass for their inactivity. Tried to shop Bouwmeester but couldn't get the ridiculous package Martin wanted to let him go. Keep him, make the playoffs, make a good showing, and try to intimidate his timid ass to re-sign before he knows what he could get after July.

Edmonton Oilers - Pass. Didn't give up any more than what they were willing to, and picked up Kotalik and O'Sullivan. Change of scenery is good sometimes.

Detroit Red Wings - Fail. Its as hard to question Holland as it is Lamoriello, but goaltending should have been remedied. Wasn't. Not that there was a lot out there to be had, but you know Holland could have swindled someone out of a #1. This will be the reason the Wings don't repeat.

Dallas Stars - Pass, I guess. When all else fails, blame Sean Avery. Picking up Morrison to replace Richards is like using a dummy to get in the carpool lane, it's not going to get you anywhere. But in the end, I don't know who you go after to make sure you get into the playoffs. Chalk it up to a bad start. Or having Assistant GM's named Brett Hull.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Pass for doing something by picking up Vermette. Fail for not getting a center for Nash. Playoffs, but no more than that.

Colorado Avalanche - Fail. Should have cut more payroll, but did get a 2nd Rounder in the upcoming draft. Rebuild time.

Chicago Blackhawks - Pass. Sami Pahlsson is a big defensive pickup for a team that is very much offense.

Calgary Flames - Pass. And probably the big winner in the sweepstakes, but that all depends on how these pickups perform. Olli Jokinen is the biggest name to be moved, and Keenan supposedly has a good relationship from Florida, if that's possible. Leopold returns for another tour.

Carolina Hurricanes - Fail. Got Erik Cole back, so this therefore makes Staal happy and play better. No postseason, again.

Buffalo Sabres - Pass. Dominic Moore deserves more credit that he's been getting, and will fit in nicely in Lindy's style. Lalime has sucked, so bring in Tellqvist because Miller's out until April (at the very least, I'm betting), and he's somehow you're only shot at making the post.

Boston Bruins - Pass. Did very well for themselves without blowing up the roster. Montador adds depth to the D, and will pair up with Hnidy who played together in Anaheim. Recchi always seems to help your chances, so why not.

Atlanta Thrashers - Fail. What could they do? Nothing. What did they do? Gave up Christensen for someone I've never heard of. Hossa who? If Waddell did nothing, he would have done better than what he's done the past two years. Somebody shitcan his ass, or close up shop in Atlanta, the rest of us can't even look at you anymore.

Anaheim Ducks - Sell! Sell! Sell! Fail! Fail! Fail! Did I miss something here? I mean I know Burke left but does that mean the sky is falling in? Kunitz gone, Pahlsson gone, Moen gone, Montador, Huskins, and Morrison too. Who's left? Oh the two carrots you were dangling in front of everyone, Pronger (almost certainly gone this summer), and Scott Niedermayer. I've never seen a team who's still in the mix for the postseason sell off their roster like this. That insider trading must be worse that the Federal Trade Commission figured.

Bottom line, big Winners... San Jose, Boston, Chicago, and Calgary.

Big Losers... Anaheim, Carolina, Minnesota, Montreal.

Inactivity will bite these teams in the ass... Washington, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Montreal, Detroit.

Anaheim, with its overactive bladder, will have this team wet in the front and missing the post.

We'll see how it all turns out in the next few weeks.

No Trade Clause, Not So Much

Who is handing these fucking things out?

I mean really, what the hell does this clause do for teams? It handcuff's them, that's what it does, that's all it does.

Is the only function of these things to make sure that the GM gets the player's permission to get moved to a more favorable situation, or for the player to put the kaibosh on a ticket to hockey purgatory/borderline hell? I understand these guys don't want to move all over the place, uprooting their family from city to city, but shit, these guys are making if not multi-millions, than hundreds of thousands of dollars to play hockey with the premier talent in the world. If you gave me the league minimum and asked me to play in Siberia, I'd sign the contract, take the money, and vacation. A lot. This is the life you chose, and its a damn good life in the eyes of millions who don't have it. Don't want to move your family around, plant them somewhere that'll keep them happy, and go back when you can. I'm sorry but I've got no sympathy for this situation.

And how many deals is it going to void today, or in the summer?

There's two of these types of hostage situations, there's of course the no trade clause, but there's also the no movement clause. Let's take a look at the language of these...

The No Trade Clause (NTC) - The player cannot be traded without his consent, however his consent is not required for placement on waivers, or re-assignment to the minors.

The No Movement Clause (NMC) - The player cannot be traded, waived for a claim by another team, or assigned to the minors without his consent. However, this does not protect the player from a contractual buyout.

An even bigger screw job.

These definitions were blantantly stolen from NHLSCAP.com, who has a great page that lays out straight this bag of snakes of NTC/NMC and a list of players with those contractual stipulations.

Its amazing how many guys in the league have these shackles in place. Mostly the higher end talent in the league, have a little bit more leverage against the GM's in what they offer in services. But some of them are head scratching.

Wade Redden (NYR), Todd Marchant (Ana), Scott Walker (Car), Scott Hannan (Col), Georges Laraque (Mon), Derek Morris (Phx), a big chip in the trade talk, (for some reason).

And some of the stipulations tied to these, the player can make a list of a set number of teams, starts now, ends then, only in the Eastern Conference, only in the West. Its getting to be ri-Goddam-diculous.

Every team in the league has at least one guy on the roster with one of these manacles, except for one. Minnesota.

Marinate on that for a minute.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Buyers and Sellers BEWARE!

Okay so I took a month off, shoot me. I've got shit to do, and its not like you pricks are reading anyway. And even though this isn't the best time to write about who's making the post and who isn't, on the heels of the trade deadline, and that BLOCKBUSTER trade that's about to happen, I'm gonna do it anyway.

Buyers and Sellers at the deadline, what the fuck does that mean anyway? Trades involve an exchanging of assets don't they, whether they're non-personified draft picks, bottom feeders in the farm system, or marquis talent. If it was all based on who's making the postseason wouldn't it be pretty cut and dry anyway? No, no, no, not so fast, there's still another 18 to 20 games after March 4th enough time for all those bubble teams to make their galant rush, or last hurrah. So here we are, its Hockey Rumors Christmas Eve... Who's going to make it just past the quarter pole?

Lets get the surefires out of the way, start in the West.

San Jose, Detroit, Calgary, Chicago.

Remember how the hockey world was talking about what a success story it would be if Chicago made the postseason this year? Well they're seven points ahead of their next closest Conference competitor, Vancouver, and eleven ahead of Columbus in their Division. I see the Hawks as this year's Pittsburgh Penguins. Two years ago. They're going to have to suffer a hard postseason series loss to be hungry enough to win anything the next year.

Calgary could be the dark horse of the West, y'I know, they're leading their division, but there's too much talk about the Wings, the Sharks, and the Hawks, that they sail under everyone's radar.

San Jose. If not now, when?

Detroit. Let's move on.

Okay so who's definetely out in the West?

Colorado in freefall, Phoenix in bankruptcy, Los Angeles in infancy. St. Louiiiiiiiis? People are still making noise, so much in fact that they might take Chris 'El Bow Jefe' Pronger back to make a run at the eighth spot? Sounds outlandish to me, probably won't happen, both the trade, and the Blues making the post. Then again stranger things have happened, there is a professional hockey team in Missouri. With a chance for two.

So what does that leave us with, seven bubble teams, eight if we include the Notes. So we'll go from the top, down. Vancouver's probably a lock, can you imagine the hell that would freeze over if the 'Nucks missed the playoffs with his lord and savior Mats Sundin in the fold? Ottawa Senator meltdown proportions. Without the lisp. At this point Vancouver's got four points on Columbus. The BlowJobs are about to make their first postseason in team history, thank Chri... I mean Sundin. Those people in Ohio need something to believe in, other than suicide. I expect them to make a play for some offensive talent to be deeper down the middle, maybe Olli Jokinen going from one dire situation to the next, or Nik Antropov, two underachieving centers available at the bait shop, but probably not going to be sought after by the upper echelon teams. So right now, the final two spots are eaten up by up and down Edmonton, and disappointing Anaheim tied at 67 points. By the numbers, you've got seven teams duking it out for the last three spots with...

6. Columbus, 68 points, 19 games remaining, (Det x2, Chi x4, Nsh x2, Cal, Bos)
7. Edmonton, 67 points, 20 games remaining, (Ana x2, Cal x2, SJ, Van, Mon, Det)
8. Anaheim, 67 points, 18 games remaining, (SJ x3, Dal x2, Edm x2, Van x2, Nsh x2, Min)
9. Nashville, 66 points, 19 games remaining, (CBJ x3, SJ x2, Det x2, Ana x2, Chi x2, Was, Phi)
10. Minnesota, 65 points, 21 games remaining (SJ x2. Van x2, Edm x2. Cal x2, Det, Nsh, NJ)
11. Dallas, 65 points, 20 games remaining (SJ x2, Ana x2, Min x2, Van x2, Cal x2, StL x2)
12. St. Louis, 64 points, 20 games remaining (Det x3, CBJ x3, Dal x2, Van x2, SJ, Min, Cal, Chi)

Noting their toughest competitors on the rest of the calendar, its a long, hard, uncircumsized ride to the postseason. And then its even harder. I think Columbus makes it in, they've got too much riding on it, and at this point I see Edmonton and Anaheim slipping out. The Oil just don't have enough in the tank, and Anaheim upper management already has Yard Sale signs posted all over the neighborhood even though they could and should make it. 'Brian's gone, what do we do?! Sell! Sell! Nashville has been on a tear, and they usually squeak in when no one else gives them a chance. Minnesota's schedule is ridiculous, they've got 12 road games in March, and another two in April, so I don't think we'll be subject to the boredom of Wild hockey any longer than necessary. Dallas has an outside shot of getting that last spot, they've got a few softies in the schedule, and if they miss it, they can always blame Sean Avery. As for St. Louis, I think there's just too much ground to make up, and not enough road to catch the rest of the pack.

So in the end, in the West, in no particular order, we have...
1. San Jose
2. Detroit
3. Calgary
4. Chicago
5. Vancouver
6. Columbus
7. Nashville
and I'm going to go with Anaheim in the eighth spot over Dallas. Now, watch Dallas take the eighth spot, and beat the Sharks in six games.

Okay, had enough? Too bad, here comes the East.

Sure bets in the East, Boston, New Jersey, Washington, Philadelphia, and I would put in Montreal in, but it just tickles my pickle to think of the Habs blowing it in the Centennial season. Ah fuck it, Montreal's going to make the post, but the second round? That's another story. So that leaves us with, again, three spots, but only five teams vying for it. The Isles get Tavares, Waddell loses his job, Tampa's a soap opera, Ottawa is Hiroshima, and Toronto is Nagasaki with Burke at the helm.

From the top down for the bubble teams, Florida's in the thick of it with 72 points, tied with the Rangers, now featuring Sean Avery. Now if the Rangers miss the post they can blame Sean Avery, or Renney. See how that works for everyone. Pittsburgh is clinging to the 8th spot with 70 points, but has at least climbed back into the picture. I guess Therrien really was the problem. Buffalo and Carolina are tied with 69 points, just out of it. Florida needs a postseason berth just as bad as Columbus, but will probably see a first round exit, hopefully they'll go down fighting, and not look like the Thrashers against the Rangers two seasons back, getting bounced out in four. I'd love to see the Rangers out of it, but I'm imagining the standings at just about the same order come April. Buffalo will miss, chalk it up to Miller's injury, and attempt to rebuild. Carolina will throw their arms up, Brind'Amour will retire with his minus -13,486, and Schoenfeld will make one trade claiming to have fixed the leak. But lets have a look at the games remaining, and we'll throw Philly and Montreal in just for Schnitzengiggle.

4. Philadelphia, 76 points, 21 games remaining, (NYR x4, Bos x2, Fla x2, Buf x2, Cal, NJD, Was)
5. Montreal, 75 points, 19 games remaining, (Buf x2, NYR x2, Bos, NJD, Chi, Dal, Edm, Pit)
6. Florida, 72 points, 19 games remaining, (Pit x3, Phi x2, Was x2, Buf x2, CBJ, Dal, Car, StL)
7. NY Rangers, 72 points, 18 games remaining, (Phi x4, Mon x2, Car x2, Bos x2, NJD, Pit, NSH)
8. Pittsburgh, 70 points, 18 games remaining, (Fla x2, Wsh, Bos, CBJ, NYR, Mon, Phi, Cal, NJD)
9. Buffalo, 69 points, 19 games remaining, (Mon x 2, Phi x2, Fla x2, Det, Mon, NYR, NJD, Wsh)
10. Carolina, 64 points, 18 game remaining, (Wsh x3, NJD x3, NYR x2, Cal, Chi, Pit, Fla, Dal)

Philly has a tough trail to blaze to April, but they've been gritty and unless their goaltending comes apart at the seams, they should fall somewhere in the top 8. Montreal plays out of the conference only three times in the remaining games, but the majority are against Atlantic and Northeast division teams. Florida has a shot at winning every game remaining, they won't be easy, but there's no Boston's, no NJ's, no SJ's, and no Detroit. I say they finish right in the middle of the conference, they need it this year. The Rangers haven't made it easy on themselves, with only 3 or 4 games against league pushovers, the rest will be battles. Sean Avery is to the Rangers, as Sundin is to the Canucks. Pittsburgh has a scheduling stroke of genius at the end of their season, with mostly Southeast Division matchups, and only playing two teams more than once in the remaining games. Its amazing how the East can have league scoring leaders on teams that are barely squeaking into the post, (Ovechkin last year, Malkin this year.) Buffalo, like St. Louis, there's just not enough W's left in the remaining games, same goes for Carolina, they might get four wins out of the last 18 and there's no way that's cutting it.

So what do we got? Again, in no particular order, its too early for that shit.

1. Boston
2. New Jersey
3. Washington
4. Philadelphia
5. Montreal
6. Florida
7. New York Rangers, and...
8. Pittsburgh, even though I'd love to see the mass hysteria coming out of Western Pennsyltucky if the Pens missed the dance. Fans would be taking swan dives, or counting the days until the Steelers preseason starts, one of the two.

So there it is, I'll renegotiate the order of my picks once we get closer, and we'll all be winners. Sorry for the delay in posts, I've got a few more churning out shortly, just a little constipated.

Merry Hockey Rumors Christmas!