Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No deal for Modano.

In a move that surprises some, doesn't surprise some, but pisses off many, The Dallas Stars have decided to not over Mike Modano a contract. The 20 Year Veteran of one NHL franchise, Modano is the franchise leader in games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802), points (1,359), power-play goals (156), shorthanded goals (29), game-winning goals (92) and shots (4,194). He also had the highest plus-minus rating for one season when he was plus-43 in 1996-97. Last season at 41 he had 14 goals and 30 points in 59 games, which isn't terrible for a guy of his age.(stats courtesy of TSN.CA)

This comes as no surprise to many Stars fans, and most NHL fans in general, Modano is not getting any younger and as he nears the end of a great career one has to wonder if Mike just needs to retire. Guys like Modano and Chelios, they've been around the game forever, they've accomplished things in their careers a lot of guys will only be able to dream about, Stanley Cups, World Cups, etcc.. the list goes on and on, so why put yourself through the further grind and torture of an NHL season? Save yourself the headache and go out knowing that you are one of the few guys who is a true class act and stayed with one team your whole career. In my opinion that's the biggest accomplishment of all, there are very few guys in the game today who can say they were able to do that.

Modano survived the team moving from Minnesota, he survived the early years, he's truly one of the games classiest players. I hate to see to him go out like this, but for the sake of all your fans who can't stand to bear witness to you play for another team Mike, Please, PLEASE retire a Dallas Star.

Predicitions for the NHL's top UFAs

Kovalchuk is this year's UFA prize

Tomorrow is the biggest day on the NHL calendar. Bigger than the beginning of the NHL playoffs, bigger than the NHL Entry Draft, and yes, bigger than the NHL trade deadline. Tomorrow is the beginning of NHL's Free Agency, something every fan looks forward to in hopes that their team will land the one elite scorer or wall of a goalie to bring them the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.

To talk about free agency, we need to know one thing:

Who is available?

Well thanks to sportscity.com we were able to grab a list of every 2010 unrestricted free agent (by position). Ripple the Twine is going to break down 3 players at their position (who is available, obviously) and where they will start the 2010-2011 season. We're not at liberty to give salary because that's always a crap shoot, but we'll do our best. Remember, these our just our predictions so if you don't agree with any of them, please feel free to debate it!


Ollie Jokinen
Age: 30
Team: New York Rangers
$5.5M last season

Thoughts: Jokinen was traded from Calgary to New York at (or near) the trade deadline in what many thought was a salary dump for the Flames. Despite being 31 when the new season begins, Jokinen played 82 games last season and amassed 50 points on the season. Now, that's not production you expect from a player making $5.5M so I expect his salary to decrease drastically.

In a year where aging centers have taken hometown discounts (see: Marc Savard 7 years/$28.05M and Patrick Marleau 4 years/$27.6M) I don't expect to see Ollie sign a contract like the one he previously had and I don't expect him to end up with the Rangers again. Even though Glen Sather loves giving out awful contracts (hello Wade Redden and Chris Drury), I don't expect this to be one of them.

New Team: Unknown

Name: Saku Koivu
Age: 34
Team: Anaheim Ducks

Thoughts: When Koivu signed in Anaheim, Montreal's spirit was effectively broken. Although Koivu only signed a one year contract in Anaheim, replacing him as captain in Montreal was not easy. Koivu played 71 games for the Ducks and ended the season with 52 (19 goals, 32 assists) points with a plus/minus of +14, his best plus/minus of his career (previous best was +8 in 1997/1998 with Montreal).

When it comes to Koivu, an aging center, the only thing on his mind has to be a Stanley Cup. I believe Koivu signs somewhere that has a legitimate chance of winning a Stanley Cup in the next year or two.

New Team: Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks

Name: Mike Modano
Age: 39
Team: Dallas Stars

Thoughts: Dallas has already made their statement, they will not be re-signing Mike Modano, effectively ending his career for the only team he's played on. Modano was the Dallas Stars. Everything they stood for, believed in and the Stanley Cup they won was channeled through Number 9.

So what happens now? This all lays on the shoulders of Mikey Mo. If he believes he can still play, a team may take a flier on him, especially given the right price. Many people thought Mark Recchi was to old to play, but he continues to be an ageless wonder in Boston for around $1M. Modano could effectively do the same thing if Dallas doesn't want him. One year, $1M deals until the legs can no longer skate.

With that said, I think he will ultimately retire. Last season he played in 59 games but was still able to score 14 goals and help with 16 assists (30 points), but his body is clearly breaking down.

New Team: Retiring

Wingers (Doing 4)

Name: Ilya Kovalchuk
Age: 26
Team: New Jersey Devils

Thoughts: If you want Ilya, you'll need to open your wallets. Kovalchuk has openly stated that he wants a long term contract for big bucks. In a weak free agent pool, Kovalchuk is the gem which means that teams will be throwing sacks of money with the dollar signs on them at him. Last season, Kovalchuk scored 41 goals, 44 goals (84 points) in 76 games played. Despite missing 6 games, he was over a point per game player who has the ability to score 50+ goals (done twice in his career).

If I was Kovalchuk, I'm looking for a long-term contract for a club that looks like they can be a contender. The Los Angeles Kings have lots of cap room this season (about $17M) as does Anaheim (about $21M) , Washington ($15M) and Colorado (about $29M).

New Team: Los Angeles Kings

Name: Alexander Frolov
Age: 27
Team: Los Angeles Kings

Thoughts: So if Kovalchuk lands in Los Angeles, Frolov is probably leaving for a new home. I'll be honest, there isn't much I know about Frolov because he plays on the West Coast where LA isn't in the NHL's spotlight.

Statistically Frolov had his worse year with the Kings since he began playing with them in 2005-2006. Frolov played in 81 games, scoring 19 goals with 32 helpers (51 points) and a plus/minus of -1. The biggest knock on Frolov is that he isn't great in one particular area. He's not a great two-way forward, he passes up a lot of shooting opportunities, but there is an upisde and potential that could make him a good top 6 forward.

I can see a team in the East signing Frolov. A team like Buffalo needs a big guy to hang with guys like Lucic in Boston and Phaneuf in Toronto. They also have the cap room (about $13M) to land him.

New Team: Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs

Name: Paul Kariya
Age: 34
Team: St. Louis Blues

Thoughts: An older player whose career is slowly coming to an end. Kariya has played in St. Louis for the past three seasons and after a great first season (82 games, 16 goals, 49 assists, 65 points) his second (11 games, 2 goals, 13 assists, 15 points) and third (75 games, 18 goals, 25 assists, 43 points) seasons have began to show his age.

Ultimately, I think Kariya stays in St. Louis.

New Team: St. Louis Blues

Name: Lee Stempniak
Age: 26
Team: Phoenix Coyotes

Thoughts: Stempniak was traded mid-season from Toronto the Phoenix and played pretty well throughout 2009-2010. At the end of the season, Stempniak played 80 games and scored 28 goals and helped with 20 assists (48 points).

Stempniak was a huge part of the Coyotes offense going down the stretch and into the playoffs, so I expect him to come back to the desert. The biggest knock on Stempniak is his size, but his ability to score goals and be a factor on the power play can make up for it.

New Team: Phoenix Coyotes


Name: Sergei Gonchar
Age: 35
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Contract: $5.5M

Thoughts: It's been documented that Gonchar is looking for a 4 year contract while the Penguins are only willing to go 2 years. I don't know what Gonchar is expecting, but I highly doubt there is a team out there willing to give an aging defenseman a 4 year contract, though I've been wrong many times before.

The only reason a team would be willing to give Gonchar a 4 year contract is because he is masterful at running the power play. Gonchar was the quarterback for Pittsburgh's power play throughout his five years there, but with the minutes he logs, his old body is about breaking down.

I have no idea where a guy like Gonchar will go. You could have one of those Florida/Tampa type teams that will just throw money at a player or you will have a team like Pittsburgh who will just sit on Gonchar until he caves.

New Team: Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders
Real Team: Ottawa Senators

Name: Paul Martin
Age: 28
Team: New Jersey Devils
Contract: $4.5M

Thoughts: Martin is a young, puck moving defenseman (God, I hate that fucking term with a passion) who is able to devour minutes. The guy missed 59 games due to a broken arm and hasn't played a full season since 2006-2007.

With that said, he's still young enough that he hasn't peaked yet (I hope) but old enough that he carries good habits with him throughout his play. His biggest problem will be staying healthy, but the fact that he's 6'1" 200 and has a large frame that will eat minutes means he has value somewhere.

*WARNING, BRUINS BIASED COMING* I would like to see Boston make a run at this guy because they are thin at defense, but with a poor cap situation, I don't see it happening. Look for a team like St. Louis, Colorado or New Jersey to make a run at him.

New Team: New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues
Real Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

Name: Derek Morris
Age: 30
Team: Phoenix Coyotes
Contract: $3.3M

Thoughts: Morris was traded from Phoenix to New York then signed with Boston last off season, only to be traded back to the Coyotes at the trade deadline. It seems as though Morris is destined to stay in the desert and he's been a fan favorite there (from what I've been told) since he first stepped out on the ice.

Morris was liked in Boston and people were very sad to see him traded, but his inconsistency didn't warrant the $3.3M Peter Chiarelli threw at him. Morris was virtually useless for the Coyotes in 18 games last season, scoring 1 goal and helping on 3 others so I don't expect the $3.3M price tag to come back.

With that said, there is always a team looking to grab an offensively skilled defenseman and Morris is that (well when compared to his defensive abilities). Another year as a UFA means that Morris won't go back to the desert...until the trade deadline.

New Team: Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes
Real Team: Phoenix Coyotes


Name: Evgeni Nabokov
Age: 33
Team: San Jose Sharks
Contract: $6M

Thoughts: The Sharks have already came out and stated that they will not have a contract offer for Evgeni Nabokov. Apparently San Jose is ready to go in a new direction after Nabby has taken shots of being soft and lazy both in the Olympics and the NHL Playoffs.

Nabby's stats aren't terrible this season (2.43 GAA and .922 S%) so I don't know why people are always knocking him. Could it be the whole "San Jose Sharks are chokers" moniker that seems to be kicking around every year until they win the Stanley Cup?

I think Nabby still has some years left under his belt so look for Philly to make a run at him.

New Team: Philadelphia Flyers

Name: Marty Turco
Age: 33
Team: Dallas Stars
Contract: $5.4M

Thoughts: What an absolute fall from grace Turco has had. Over the past two seasons he's posted GAA of 2.81 and 2.72 and S% of .898 and .913. Turco was once thought of to be a Vezina winning goalie and has been in that conversation a few times over his career.

It could be that Turco was on a terrible Stars team for the last couple of seasons, but I don't expect him to go somewhere and be the starter. If a team is looking for an experienced back-up, Minnesota might be the place for him to land. With Niklas Backstrom manning the pipes, Turco won't have the pressure he had in Dallas but will still be able to get 20-25 games in.

New Team: Minnesota Wild

Name: Dan Ellis
Age: 29
Team: Montreal Canadiens
Contract: $2M

Thoughts: Ellis was just traded to the Montreal Canadiens and will become a free agent tomorrow, but many think that he will sign (or re-sign) with Montreal and compete for the starting job against highly touted but rarely winning Carey Price.

With a goalie battle in Nashville, Ellis may get the opportunity he needs to show the world he can be a starting goaltender. The knock on Ellis, though, is his inconsistency with the puck leads to costly turnovers.

With that said, I think he remains in Montreal, which means I hate him and will need to stop following him on Twitter.

New Team: Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers
Real Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dan Ellis Grabs Sunscreen For Trip To Hell

In a kind of head-scratcher of a trade, Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd have been traded from Nashville to the epicenter of hell, Montreal. The Canadiens have sent back Sergei Kostitsyn and some future considerations.

Here's the head scratching part of the whole trade: Every player in this trade has a contract that expires in two days.

Ellis will be an unrestricted free agent who made $1.8M last year (all numbers from capgeek.com) and has stated multiple times that he wants to go to a place where he can become a starter. It's going to be hard for Montreal to re-sign both Ellis and Price (who is a restricted free agent) with the promise of a goalie duel in camp. Both goalies will want to start and I have a funny feeling that Montreal won't tuck their frank behind the bun and admit that they screwed up on drafting Price.

Trading Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues seemed to be a wink, wink; nod, nod to Carey Price that he'll be in the man in Montreal, but adding Ellis, especially if they can sign both, will certainly say otherwise.

I'm a big Dan Ellis fan and by nature a huge Carey Price detractor (I'm a Bruins fan first, hockey fan second) so please take that for what it is worth.

Dustin Boyd is still a young guy (23 years old) and his stats aren't amazing for a center, but again, he's a young guy.

Kostitsyn's stay in Montreal was awful considering the speculation of banging hookers with his brother and the lofty expectations he rarely ever met. The difference between Ellis and Kostitsyn contractually if that Sergei is a restricted free agent and only making 800K. Unfortunately for Nashville, the day to tender RFA's has long passed.

Again, this trade rarely makes any sense unless either team can sign their guy before July 1. If it happens after, you have to ask yourself why they just didn't wait a couple days.

Top 10 Reasons Why Marc Savard Is Being Shopped Around

Much like my friends at Days of Y'Orr and their investigative reporter Patrice Perr-geron, I always enjoy a good investigation of the truth. Although not as skilled as Patrice and his accomplices, I am not one to shy away from a challenge. When I heard that Marc Savard was aggressively being shopped to other teams this morning, I had to find out why. I couldn't deal with the fact that the Boston Bruins best offensive player was being shopped around so I did a little sleuthing.

What I found was shocking. Sitting on Peter Chiarelli's desk was a list of reasons why they wanted to trade Marc Savard before the season started. Here's the list:

10. Marc will throw up all over your shit

Apparently when Marc doesn't agree with something (like playing in Atlanta), he'll just throw up on it. Here's the video evidence.

9. Faux-hawk

Not much needs to be said about this does it? A faux-hawk is about as douchetastic as they come. A mohawk is one of the most badass hairstyles of all time, but if you have a little prick or just can't rock one, you rock the faux-hawk. That shit doesn't fly.

8. To Many Men penalty

Yes, this will want to make you throw up. Just mentioning this makes me want to cry and German-suplex toddlers in the park. It is time to come to reality though people, Savard was the one who screwed up on the penalty. I think that is something we can all accept though, he is a human being and humans make mistakes. What I can't stand is when someone doesn't own up to making that mistake.

It has been reported numerous times that Savard has deflected attention for the TMM penalty. Not admitting the mistake (and effectively blaming the guy coming off of the bench) is a good way to turn a locker room against you.

7. He beat Chiarelli in golf

Perhaps this is the most personal reasons of the list. Savard is known to be a good golfer and never playing past the second round means he has had a lot of practice in the off season. Although it has never been made public, Savard has apparently taken Chiarelli to task on the golf course. How else do you think Milan Lucic got that big ass contract?

6. Clearing Cap Room

If Savard was to be traded, it's clearly a cap dump. The Bruins are so close to the cap, any more signings and they'll just the jar wide open (get it, cap...jar? No? Sorry). Savard's contract may be "cap friendly" but having a 32 year old concussed center in a 7 year contract makes little sense. Sometimes you have to wonder how much drugs Chiarelli does daily.

5. He's a "whipped little bitch"

Originally sent to me in an email from a friend on Twitter, it is apparent that Chiarelli wrote the HFBoards (hell on the interwebz, I call it) that explained why Savard asked to be traded:

"Here it is. Marc has a girlfriend who lives in Peterborough, ON. She's in her young 20's and suffering a case of "Chris Pronger" wife syndrome. She traveled down to Boston last season to see Marc, but can't move to Boston due to her work and not being able to get a US VISA. She is controlling and there were a lot of rumors last season about Marc cheating on her and her going crazy over it. Anyways she told Marc that he had to DEMAND a trade to be closer to her (away from Boston and the other girls) and to either Ottawa or Toronto if he wanted to be with her and keep their relationship together. Ottawa and Toronto because they are both close and in between where she lives and also in between were Marc has a home in the offseason, his parents place, grandparents and children. This is a girl that was dumped by Marc before, dumped her boyfriend to get back with Marc and only dates pro hockey players.... I really hate to post something like this on a hockey board and make it so personal and about someone's private issues/relationships, but this is what's going on.

The reports about Marc having "family" issues aren't really "family" issues but a case of a young 22 year old girl demanding her boyfriend to request a trade.

So, Marc went to the Bruins and demanded a trade I've been told by a recent ex Bruin player (got the email from this players nhlpa email to prove it also). The Bruins don't want to move Marc, but are considering it if they can get a deal done, since Marc wants out. They don't want a "soft" deal, but may have to resort to one. The Bruins aren't completely against trading Savard (since they are deep at the center position, could get a good return, free up cap space since they can't find any suitors for Ryder, Wheeler and Thomas), but really don't want to trade their #1 center and a guy that has averaged more than a ppg in the last 5 of the 6 NHL seasons..."
LOL is all I can say.

4. He's Canadian

They smell like maple syrup and their bacon is just really ham...

3. The Return For Him

When Kessel was traded to Toronto, Brian Burke gave up (basically) every pick until 2013. Okay, maybe not, but a 2010 first round (hello Tyler Seguin), a 2010 second rounder and a 2011 first rounder that could very well be a top 5 pick again. Who's to say the return for Savard won't be good as well? The guy is a point per game player and has led Boston in scoring since he came here, outside of this previous year. I'm not saying Boston will get a Kessel deal again, but something useful will more than likely come back.

2. Savard's a "Team Jacob" guy

We all know Chiarelli is a Team Edward guy. Sensitive and loyal without the aggression and always wearing a shirt. Yeah, Edward is his mancrush.

1. Savard likes to wear Ed Hardy clothing

Again, the douchiest of douchewear. Savard is like the Ed Hardy poster child and Ed Hardy sucks.


So there it is. 10 reasons why Chiarelli is looking to move Savard.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Deal? or no Deal? for Kaberle.

How would you feel to be Tomas Kaberle right now? seriously, how would you feel? You've been a mainstay workhorse on the back end for a team that is now publicly saying they are trying to deal you and trying to do so in a small window of time allowed by your "no movement clause" just because they can. How's that for gratitude for what you have done for the team over the years?

Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to have come to terms with the realization that dealing Kaberle is the best and fastest way to make their team get better, he's a big asset to most teams out there and they think they can get top 6 talent for him. I for one think that's a pretty steep price for a guy who defensively leaves a little to be desired. Kaberle was a -16 last season, okay fine he put up 49 points in 81 games, but, -16? That was the worst plus minus in Toronto, hell even Dion "no defense allowed" Phanuef was a +1 on the year, and that's saying something.

Now the latest rumors are that there are currently five (5) offers tabled for Kaberle's services however that all 5 don't really appeal to Leafs Gm Brian Burke, one rumor floating around was Kaberle to Boston for Savard, which my esteemed colleague Greg blogged would be a dumb trade on Bruins behalf even moving Savard period doesn't make any sense. I think at this point the Leafs fans have to begin to wonder if they will ever see that "amazing" deal that Burke thinks he's gonna get for Kaberle.

Personally, I think maybe they need to think about maybe not moving him. However after all this and making the guy feel as unwanted as he must how could you even keep him on the team? I feel bad for Tomas because I grew up watching him and I think he deserves better then this. -ch-

The Chicago Debacle

It would seem that as many people had said this was Chicago's do or die year,merely weeks after bringing home the Stanley Cup the Blackhawks have begun the imploding of their roster. On Wednesday Chicago Shipped premier power forward Dustin Byfuglien, defenseman Brett Sopel, checking forward Ben Eager and prospect Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for the Thrashers' first round pick (24th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the 54th pick, and forwards Marty Reasoner, Jeremy Morin, and Joey Crabb.

Now we all knew going into this off-season Chicago was going to have cap issues, given the players they had and the massive contracts they had to sign them to (and the awful one they signed a certain goaltender too *cough*) this situation was inevitable, with that said Byfuglien? really? I mean the guy was a beast in the playoffs and is going to be one of the leagues best power forwards for years to come, why not move Sharp? (which will likely happen anyway because this move still doesn't help their cap situation all that much) or what about looking to move a guy like Bolland who has a cap hit of 3.375 Million who scored a gran total of..wait for it.. 16 points last season in 39 games! Even the year prior he played 81 games and only had 47 points, how does a player who puts up mediocre numbers like that get such a large contract in the new salary cap era? Idiocy, that's how.

Chicago got back a pretty decent prospect in Jeremy Morin, while playing with the Kitchener Rangers last season the 19 year old from Auburn NY had 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points in 58 games, but of course nobody ever knows if that kind of skill can carry over to the NHL level and well he's 6'1" 189lbs he's got some big shoes to fill with big buff now gone, mind you he may come in score 28 points and the Blackhawks management will offer him 5 million a season right? The other assets in this deal (if you can even call them that) are Joey Crabb, who has 29 career NHL games under his belt. Where he had 5 goals and 4 assists for 9 points and looks like unless he can prove himself at the NHL level, will likely be stuck in the AHL for a while yet. Then you have the two draft picks, the two draft picks that Atlanta originally got in the Kovalchuk deal, which on the surface aren't too bad; 24th and 54th overall which the Hawks should be able to get some decent talent with from good drafting. Even still you're not going to get roster replacements for the assets the hawks have traded away, oh yeah and journey man Marty Reasoner is also going the other way back to Chicago, but at best he'll see 3rd/4th line minutes so he's really just filler in this deal.

The bottom line is this, Chicago management has put the team in this position and well they achieved the result they desired with winning a cup this year, Blackhawks fans have grown used to seeing the team win on the ice and won't settle for anything less, so I hope management has some tricks up their sleeve to pull themselves out of this dreadful debacle they have landed themselves in before they have to completely dismantle the team. -ch-

Least Popular Sport In America Has Awful Award Show

Picture it:

It's Wednesday evening and somewhere around 75-80 degrees. Your apartment is hot, you're sitting shirtless and stuck to the couch from sweat. You're flipping through the channels looking for something to watch because it is Wednesday and there isn't anything good on TV to watch. You're left with some weak choices:

Food Network Challenge (I actually like this show though)
ESPN Baseball Tonight (Stupid ESPN talking heads)
Red Sox Pre-Game (Stupid pro-Red Sox talking heads, but hot as fuck Heidi Watney)
NHL Award Show

Yeah, the N-fucking-HL Award show. Who in their right minds want to watch an award show, let alone a HOCKEY award show?

This is the second year that the NHL has put on this "extravaganza" and much like the first one, it sucked. Jay Mohr was terrible, which makes me wonder when the last time Jay Mohr was even relevant in the world of comedy.

I'll be honest, I didn't watch this shit fest for more than 10 minutes. I missed Shinedown's awful performance, I missed the awkward speeches by athletes who can barely say 5 words because they grew up in a place they still refer to as "the Mother Land" and I missed Jay Mohr making his usual unfunny jokes.

What I really don't get though is the reason why people were spending their Wednesday evening watching this. It is a fucking hockey awards show. I didn't watch last year's show, all I did was catch Chara's dopey and awkward speech.

I guess my issue with the whole thing is that an awards show based on sports is utterly retarded. What's going to happen next, an award show for people in the Human Service field? Maybe an NBA Award Show (which would actually be entertaining if Ron Artest was the host).

Look, NHL, I know that you're still doing anything you can to get fans. Hell, Gary Betteman would probably suck your dick for you to buy a Coyotes or Thrashers ticket, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

Instead of pumping tons of capital into an awards show where the presenter (Mark Wahlberg) and the host (Jay Mohr) have stated multiple times that they hate hockey. This was taken from an article written over at Puck Daddy.

"This is a slightly different Jay Mohr, however, than the one who wrote the following about hockey in 2007, as Paul Kukla passed along in his post "Get a Real Job Jay":

"Hockey sucks too. I can't root for a guy whose name on the back of his jersey has no vowels. I also don't think a sport is legitimate if its inception depended on the weather."

And slightly different than what he said in an interview with Jets Insider in 2008:

JAY MOHR: I love the Yankees. I've never been into hockey and sadly I'm a Knicks fan.

And slightly different than when he was a columnist for SI.com back in 2005:

I am frequently asked who my favorite teams are, and I always give the same response: "Yankees, Knicks, Jets and screw hockey."

And the times he's filled in for Jim Rome and said "hockey sucks.""

In my eyes, the ESPY Awards, the NHL Awards...in reality even the Oscars and Grammys and all that hoopla should just be put to waste. No one cares about your shout-out to your management crew, your production crew, your mom or God.

The NHL needs to learn some class because as my friend lanibelle19 stated on Twitter "That was a hot mess."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Burns Snubbed?

The only word I can use to describe the overlooking of Pat Burns by the Hockey Hall of Fame is…Unfortunate.

Pat Burns, what can you say about the guy? Here is a man who has not only been a great coach but a statute of standing strength in his lengthy battle with cancer. The Montreal, Quebec native over 14 seasons coaching in the NHL with Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New Jersey was a catalyst when it came to putting winning teams on the ice, he accumulated a record of 501-350-161-14 in 1019 games, winning one Stanley cup in 2003 with the Devils.

Now, when you look at this year’s Halls inductees you see Dino Ciccarelli, Angela James, and Cammi Granato, so two women and 600+ goal scorer albeit worthy inductees but are they worthy ahead of a guy like Burns? With Dino you can make a case, the guy had over 600 goals, was a great player and fairly dominate in his time, the two women Granato is the all time leading international scorer for women and James was a catalyst for Canada during all of the championships that they won over the years, all deserved to get in but ahead of a guy like Burns? I can see going in the same class as him but not ahead of him, and judging by the reaction of most fans around the world yesterday there are more than a few who agree with me in that regard.

One has to question whether or not Burns’ past life has come in to play when this decision was made, we’ve seen it before in baseball and are we beginning to see it in hockey? Burns before he was a hockey coach was a police officer and his name and personal numbers were found on some Hells Angels documents in one of their club house and was subsequently questioned by the Ontario Provincial Police in 1994 about the documents, at which time although burns continued to associate with them, claimed that he did not know that they were Hells Angels members.

I hope this isn’t the case, because if we’re starting to see this type of behavior from the Hockey Hall of Fame as we did and continue to see from the Baseball Hall of Fame, I for one will be disappointed. –CH-

Moving Savard Makes No Sense

Ever since Marc Savard stepped onto the ice in Boston, he ended each season leading the team in total points, except for this past season. With this season as an aberration (due to injury), Savard will look to get back on track and once again lead the Bruins in points.

There's a problem though: The Bruins are aggressively shopping Savy to other teams in the NHL.

What I don't get is why. This past season it was clear that Savard was the power play. When he was out with injury, the power play was virtually invisible. In 41 games played, Savard ranked 4th (tied for 3rd actually) on Boston with 6 power play goals. In face, the leader in power play goals only had 8 (Recchi). If you include assists (11 for Savy), he led the Bruins in power play points with 17.

It's obvious that Boston held (and may still hold) Savard in high standing because they offered him a 7 year contract with a no movement clause in it. If Boston didn't think Savard could be the offensive centerpiece, then why sign him to such a long contract where he can reject any and all trades that come his way?

It makes absolutely no sense.

The other thing I can't understand is moving Savard when the pieces are seemingly coming together. After a trade for Nathan Horton (a 20 goal scorer in his own right) and the eventual drafting of Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin, Savard is getting the pieces needed to become an elite playmaker again.

So why move him?

I don't want to hear about his contract because Chiarelli has signed some expensive contracts that look bad. Guys like Thomas and Lucic are prime examples of being overpaid for their services. Savard actually warrants his contract extension.

Another issue I have are the allusions to Savard going to Toronto for Kaberle.

A) I don't believe Chiarelli would deal Savard within the division, let alone re-unite him with Kessel.
B) The Bruins don't need defense. Mark Stuart and Johnny Boychuk are still unsigned restricted free agents. Boychuk will come to Boston at a low cost, but in the end BOTH of them are attainable. Signing both gives us a top 6 of: Zdeno Chara, Mark Stuart, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick, Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg with guys like Adam McQuaid in Providence who can be used as a 7th defenseman. Seidenberg is the "puck moving defenceman" that the Bruins need, not Kaberle.

Whatever the case is, there are players on this roster that should be traded over Savard, whether it is a clear salary dump or not.

Dennis Wideman/Nathan Horton Changing Squads

In the words of a stereotypical hillbilly: "Hot diggity damn!"

I was sitting through a 3 hour staff meeting when my phone started to vibrate in my pocket. I thought it was many things, my BBM group, my wife, my gym buddy...so I ignored it. After staff meeting, I took my phone out of my pocket to read:

"BRUINS NEWS: Bruins acquire Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida."

And I wondered 'who the hell did we give up for that?'

Well, good thing my BBM group is on point. The Bruins have traded Dennis Wideman, #15 overall in this year draft and a 2011 3rd round draft pick for Campbell and Horton.

#1. I love this trade built on the fact that Wideman is no longer on the Bruins. I would trade this mother fucker for a bottle of strained Gerber peas and a bottle of Todd Bridges' taint.

Wideman was AWFUL this season and while he showed improvement in the playoffs, the 82 games before that can't be ignored. Based on NHL.com's stats page, there were 879 players recorded in the plus/minus category. Dennis Wideman was ranked 834 amongst those 879 with a -14. MINUS 14!

Wideman was also ranked 9th overall on the Bruins with 30 points which is very different from his 2008-2009 total of 50 points (and 6th overall in Boston).

Now Horton was a very productive player for Florida. In 65 games played this year, Horton scored 20 goals and helped in 37 others (57 points overall) which would rank him second in goals on Boston, first in assists and first in points.

Cap Situation

Wideman's cap hit was crippling based on his erratic and poor play. Wideman, under contract for the next two seasons, stands to make $4M in 2010-2011 and $4.5M in 2011-2012 before becoming a free agent.

Horton's contract is up after the 2012-2013 season and is in line with the Wideman contract in 2010-2011 season and 2011-2012. In the last year of his contract, Horton will stand to make $5.5M which could be an issue for Boston.

The other piece to this trade, Greg Campbell is a restricted free agent this season.


Like I said earlier, I love this trade. Wideman was a big reason why the Bruins were not as effective as the year before. His play diminished and his attitude of "I don't care" seemed to rub fans the wrong way. His lack of skating was also an issue as there have been numerous times this year where Wideman has wiped out and left opponents on breakaways.

Horton, on the other hand, is a big guy who can score goals and will drop the gloves if needed. I'd be interested to see where he lands on the lines, but a lineup of Horton-Savard-Lucic could be very dangerous.