Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is This The Proper Place To Vent?

1. Id like the first rant to be about the NHL, Gary Bettman, making decisions to please American Viewers ( that normally dont watch hockey ) :

A. The Winter Classic-

Yes. I love the whole idea of an outdoor game being played in front of a giant crowd of hockey fans in sub-zero or almost sub-zero tempertures. But to make it a yearly event every year ? There is some things I see wrong with that:
It gives the NHL and its owners an excuse to rack up the MAD $$$ it gets from 45K-70K fans showing up for one home game, instead of the hockey players playing 4 home games. Thats not the problem. The problem is losing is effect on the viewers of the great United States. Lets face it, thats the only reason they do it. Its going to eventually become just another hockey games to Americans. And we all know how that ends up in the TV ratings. Seriously, after the First Winter Classic in 2008 with the great game between the Penguins and Sabres played at Ralph Wilson Stadium ( which you couldnt script a better ending with Crosby putting it in the back of the net in the shootout. ) the NBC ratings returned to a "normal hockey rating" the rest of the season. One may argue, and say it was the most watched hockey game since the retirement of the Great One. Isnt that very sad ?! That a regular season game, played in front of a larger crowd basically draws more than your championship game.

B. The Shootout-

Its been fun to me for that first season they introduced the shootout. But after the first 5 times i got sick of it.

Its a very dumb way to end a hockey game ! First, people are not stupid. ( some at least ) . So I think i wont be disagreed with when I say that Hockey has the best overtime in all sports ! In the NFL, the way you settle a tie after 4 quarters of a game, is sudden death. Which is alot like the NHL, except you may lose without ever getting possesion of the ball. In the NBA and MLB its a good way of settling it for its sport. But nothing beats one mistake costing your team the game, or one great trick play earning your team a victory ! It just takes one ! So the current situation is taking away all the build up from overtime and ending it in a skills competition. Its just sad. Id say at least half the games in the NHL that last past regulation, are finished within a 5 minuete overtime ! So if you add a 20 minuete period of 4 on 4 overtime, thats virtually no games ending past 1 overtime. To even debate that it should also be in the playoffs is obserd !

C. Larger, non hockey cities with a team.

I may be a bit biased here when i say what im about to say, but why do cities like Miami, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville, and Atlanta having teams, even Raleigh, when cities or states like Winnipeg, Quebec, Wisconsin, Seattle, and HARTFORD lost or dont have professional teams ?! The Hartford Civic Center was never packed due to constant losing and dumb trades ( we all remember the Francis, Samuelsson trade to Pittsburgh ! ). Its the same reason why the Islanders have empty seats now, dumb managment. The BEST hockey fans are in Minnesota, Detroit and North Eastern United States. Calgary and Edmonton as well. To put teams in Phoenix, Sunrise, Anaheim, Nashville and Atlanta even with the Salary Cap, is proving to me at least that the Bettman just cares about its American viewers that the NHL doesnt have, and the big bucks.

D. Purchasing the NHL Network, and TV issues.

The MLB Network is free. Why cant the NHL Network be ? If it really wants to gain the amount of fans, why not just put the big games you would normally see on ESPN and put it on a free NHL Network. Speaking of ESPN, end its love affair with the NBA and the Red Sox/Yankees, and put hockey back where it should be, on a channel that knows how to promote it ! Versus, we all can agree, is the worst channel on the planet ! They cant promote the NHL, and the broadcasting is very biased and is boring. Everyone here knows that Gary Thorne could make folding laundry seem like an apocolyptic epic event !

And the NHL became 3rd most watched sport in America when it signed its contract with the world wide leader in sports. The NBA isnt as exciting and big as ESPN makes it look like, but it is very talked about at the water cooler due to its huge contract with ESPN. Wednesdays and Friday nights. Most of them being double headers. Sunday as well if you count ABC. How can a sport be so big when it still recently lost its best player that made it very popular ? Its because ESPN knows exactly how to promote a sport it wants to promote ! Nevermind the fact ESPN treats the NHL worse than the WNBA !

Thats all i got to say for now. The reasoning to this random rant is because I am hearing of a rumor of ESPN extending contracts to NBA, NFL, and MLB, and the BCS, and no forward progress towards the National Hockey League. And it makes a man like me upset. Thank god things look like theyre improving though. Not fast enough for me however.

Sorry about the long post. Thanks for reading if you made it this far !

~ WhalersForever87

(Join the discussion.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Much Is To Much?

The silly season that is the period of time between the All Star break and the NHL trade deadline is now upon us. It's a time of year that seems to make fans either very happy or really mad. I guess that all depends on if you like discussing the what ifs of life or if your just a facts and figures type of person. I happen to be on the side of the what ifs of life. In fact I may just be a speculation junky. I could care less if a rumor is true or not, or if an offer was really made, or even if the trade ever happens, I just like talking about it. Finding out what value people put on hockey players, who they would trade, and for who or what is all very interesting to me. If you can make up a trade that even makes sense from both teams perspective, you will have me hook, line, and sinker into the conversation. This years trade bait conversations have not only been a plenty, but meaty as well. Attention getting names have been included in more then one report including Vincent Lecavalier, Daniel Briere, Chris Pronger, Thomas Kaberle, and Jay Bouwmeester. When you start talking about talants like this you know the asking price, if the player is to be traded, will be high. The question that brings to the table is how much is to much?

Two teams linked to speculated offers for Vincent Lecavalier are the Montreal Canadians and most recently the Edmonton Oilers. In the Canadiens case it was said that the package they offered was something like Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Josh Gorges, prospect PK Subban, and a package of draft picks including more than one first-round pick going to Tampa. Other rumors have combinations of the mentioned players and picks with Mike Komisarek or goalie Carry Price. The Oilers so called package was reported to be three roster players, two prospects, two No. 1 picks, and a third-rounder. No matter what way you slice things both teams are parting with a ton of talent and future if either of those trades where to happen. In both cases I'm not even sure that the value returned in the super star player that Lecavalier is, makes for a good trade. In these two examples, your talking about teams that are in the playoffs as of today. Does it makes sense to make such a massive overhaul when the team is already having some success? I'm not convinced. In fact, I think if either the Candiens or Oilers made those trades they would step back in the short term, which means they better have a hell of a long term plan to build the team around Lecavalier during his age 31-35, because after that only God knows how things go in Vinny's career.

The lure of the ultra high end player is very strong. Do I wish, as a fan, Briere, Bouwmeester, or Lecavalier was on my favorite hockey team? Of course I do. I'm just not sure I'm willing to sell off so much to get these players that my team has to rebuild, even a little bit, to hopefully be a better team in the future. I think holding out for a team to get in contract trouble, or rolling the dice in the UFA market may be the better plan. Or better yet, have some faith and patience with the team you already have if they are challenging for a playoff spot.

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Young defensemen step up this season

Most times, rookie defensemen in the NHL come in to little fanfare. It is common knowledge that it takes some time for them to develop their offensive games in the NHL. It is very rare to see someone like Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames to come on and score 20 goals and 49 points in their rookie season.

The 2008/09 season is not an exception like Phaneuf's season, which incidentally was the first following the lockout. But, there is still some impressive play coming from rookie blueliners this season.

Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings is the name that most people recognize first. He has the best offensive output amongst rookie blueliners with three goals and 15 points. He's also helped fill the void left by on the power play departing veterans Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky, with a goal and six assists. He's also a very good defender from what I saw when the Kings played the Washington Capitals, helping to stifle a very potent offense. Some have him pegged as a possible Calder candidate, and if he can double his first-half output the rest of the way, a six goal, 30 point campaign for a defenseman can not be ignored.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been lucky to have Luke Schenn on their squad this season. It's a rebuilding year for the Leafs, and two veteran blueliners, Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle, have struggled in a new system and dealing with constant trade rumors. Schenn, meanwhile, is providing a hard-hitting defensive presence, taking players off the puck and is really turning heads. He doesn't have much offense- just four assists- but is an emerging player and has a future on the top pairing for Toronto.

Incidentally, both Doughty and Schenn were selected in the 2008 NHL Entry draft. Doughty went second, while Schenn was selected fifth.

I might receive some heat for this selection, seeing as how the player comes from my team. But, Karl Alzner, in his time with the Capitals this season, really impressed me. Alzner was in the minors until injuries really struck the Capitals, and with some maneuvering, the Caps were able to fit him under the cap. Alzner immediately made an impact defensively, making smart decisions and his presence also helped Milan Jurcina to improve his play. Alzner was sent down to the minors last Wednesday, but finished with a goal and four points, as well as a +3 in 26 games. He will be back in Washington soon enough.

Another mention goes out to the Atlanta Thrashers' Zach Bogosian, the third overall pick in the draft this season. Bogosian, who went toe-to-toe with Donald Brashear at the end of his first game, broke his shin after the first month of the season and missed 28 games. Since returning, he's gained confidence and has two goals and four points.

Hope everyone enjoys the All-Star game tonight. I'll be sure to catch most of it, and have some thoughts afterwards, hopefully tonight.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Backstrom To Miss YoungStars Game

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who played in the 2008 NHL YoungStars Game in Atlanta, has withdrawn from the YoungStars Game this weekend in Montreal.

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the YoungStars Game last year,” Backstrom said. “This year I felt like it made more sense for me to give someone else that opportunity and use this time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season with the Washington Capitals. I can assure Caps fans that I’m not injured and will be ready to go Tuesday in Boston.”
Backstrom, 21, ranks second on the Capitals and 14th in the NHL with 48 points in 48 games this season. His 36 assists are tied for seventh in the league and his 24 points on the power play rank tied for third.

St. Louis’s David Perron will replace Backstrom in this weekend’s YoungStars Game, the NHL announced today.

Any thought's on this Caps fans????

~ capscrazy

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oilers Trade Garon

To Edmonton:

(G) Dany Sabourin
(F) Ryan Stone
4th Round Draft Pick

To Pittsburgh:

(G) Mathieu Garon

~ Oilers4ever

(Dissect the deal here.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jackets Acquire Jason Williams

"In an effort to buoy their struggling power play, the Blue Jackets today acquired forward Jason Williams from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Clay Wilson and a sixth-round draft pick in the 2009 draft.

Williams, 28, is a right-handed shot who can play point on the power play. The Jackets have not had a legitimate right-handed shot on the point this season, which makes its difficult to set up one-time shots from the blue line.

He is a versatile forward who can play right wing or center and is expected to be in the lineup Friday night against New Jersey.

Williams has seven goals and 11 assists in 41 games this season for the Thrashers, who have faded from playoff contention and are looking to shed salary."

Full Article HERE

~ Cujorulesdtown90

(Join the discussion.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rumors: Vinny Is On His Way Out

The Tampa Bay Lightning insist the rumors they are shopping star center Vincent Lecavalier because of financial problems are false. They say they are not shopping him and are not having financial issues.

Still, the rumors, which started on Montreal radio this past week, won't go away because some people believe the Bolts want to cut payroll.

The Lightning ownership group met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and some Palace Sports & Entertainment people (the main lenders in the $200-million sale) in New York this past week to clear up their financial situation. We're told the league seemed satisfied that all obligations to Palace have been met and will be met going forward.

As for Lecavalier, his no-movement clause doesn't kick in until July 1, when his 11-year, $86.5 million extension begins; so, technically, the Bolts could indeed move him until then. Although it's believed co-owner Oren Koules promised Lecavalier in a face-to-face meeting last summer that he wouldn't move him.

Either way, never a dull moment in Tampa!

Forward Jussi Jokinen, by the way, is definitely on the trade block.

~ zms30

(Join The Discussion.)

DiPietro Injury Conspiracy

I am becoming increasingly skeptical about how management is handling DiPietro's injury status...and perhaps more to the point, how they are announcing this to the press and fans.

Consider two facts: (1) The Islanders rank LAST in the league in average per game attendance at somewhere around 13,300, and many of these season/partial/group plan tickets were sold prior to the stock market implosion which can be traced to about September 15, 2008. (The issue of crowd inflation / turnstile manipulation can be addressed separately.) (2) Islanders sole owner Charles Wang is reported to have lost at least $15 million each season that he has owned the team, and that's before we account for any losses he sustained in the great real estate bust or stock market bust of the last few years.

Proposition: The Islanders must do anything to boost ticket sales for the rest of this season, and next.

Theory: If the Islanders make fans think DiPietro -- perhaps their sole drawing card -- will return soon, they can get some more tickets sold. (I mean, does anyone here think that anyone will amble up to the ticket booth, in the middle of a deep cold wave that's approaching, and buy tickets because Nate Thompson has come off the IR?

~ MooseJawDixon

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jagr Would Come Back To The NHL For Two Teams

Jaromir Jagr says he would only consider an NHL return if it were with the Penguins or Rangers. "I would just go [to the Penguins] and play for them for the minimum salary," Jagr said. - Tribune Review

I knew he would want back at some point.

~ damned

(Join the discussion.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Best Coach?

So! Guy Carbonneau has been doing an outstanding job behind the bench since taking over. But with Montreal's rich history, is it possible for him to work his way up to being seen as one of the greatest? Im curious to see who Habs fans think the greatest Canadiens coach of all time is! What do you guys think?

~ Harding

(Join the discussion.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ruutu Taking A Bite Of Peters

Just found this, thought it was discussion worthy. Nothing for Ruutu? And Peters was the one who ended up with the penalty. 2 minutes for unsportsman-like conduct.

I didn't see the game, so maybe someone who did can tell me what happened?

Link and Video

~ trueblue14

(Join in the discussion.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Would You Trade Havlat?

Apparently there are rumblings that the Pittsburgh Penguins are targeting Martin Havlat.

Would you trade Havs to the Pens? And if so for what?

~ Left Wing Loner

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Entertaining Fight?

First of all, I can't take credit for this comparison, which comes from the Washington Post Capitals Insider blog. But, as most of you probably know, two fights went down with two players who don't normally fight - Capitals winger Alexander Semin and Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Both players threw the first punch in their respective fights. Here's video of the two:

So, to the question: which fight was the most entertaining, Semin or Crosby?

My personal choice is Semin. One of the Caps TV guys described it as Semin playing the bongos. Personally, I liken it to A Christmas Story, when Ralphie beats up the bully.

~ ThomasTomasz

(Though, not in the poll, this is another fight scene you might want to check out.)

Thanks, Tashimojo!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shutout Streak vs. Shootout

It's time to put on you pretend hats, kids...

A goalie is riding a long shutout streak (say, Steve Mason for the Jackets was up until last night).

The Jackets/Avalanche game goes into OT 0-0. Through 5:00, no goals, so they go to a shootout 0-0.

Colorado wins in the shootout.

Should that count as the end of the streak since the winning goal isn't officially counted against Mason's GAA?


~ Stein

Should Ovechkin Be Suspended?

Should Ovechkin be suspended?

A Capitals official told Washington reporters after Thursday's game that he did not believe Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin would get supplemental discipline for his hit on Lightning defenseman Jamie Heward that left Heward unconscious on the ice for 90 seconds but, thankfully, only with a concussion.


In my opinion, I don't think a suspension is necessary you could tell last night by Ovechkin's reaction that he didn't mean to hurt him and that it was just an accident.

~ lethaltox1n

Friday, January 2, 2009

Where Should The Next NHL Outdoor Game Be?

Okay, ladies and gentlemen... the big question must be asked as the second Winter Classic in National Hockey League history (third overall game if you count the Heritage Classic).

What NHL city should be the next to host an outdoor game? It is not guaranteed to happen next season, so whenever it might be, we at The NHL Arena would like to hear your thoughts of where, when and why?

Cities not listed in this poll are those that have already hosted one.

Obviously I'm giving a biased vote here as I'm going with New York City, a place that is a high contender to get the game for exactly one year from today... January 1, 2010.

~ cityhockeyfever

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Weekly Top Five: January 1st

Hello all- first off, Happy New Year to everyone. 2008 was a great season in hockey, but as things are shaping up so far, 2009 looks even better.

Anyway, one of the things I want to do here at The War Room is start a weekly top five list. What I discuss will change from week to week. A top five list is not too big, nor is it too small, for me to discuss what I'm thinking, as well as for readers to discuss it. Debate my choices with me, or create your own list.

So, without further adieu, lets start our first Weekly Top Five with teams/individuals looking for a turnaround in 2009.

5.) Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche

Joe Sakic is one of my favorite players in the NHL. He's played with Colorado his entire career, is their captain and is a model player both on and off the ice. So, when he missed nearly half of last season due to injury, I really wanted Sakic to get back out on the ice for one last season to show the rest of the league that he's still got it in him.

Turns out I was right- through 15 games, Sakic had a pair of goals and 12 points until he suffered a back injury. A few weeks later, he suffered injury to three fingers while operating a snow blower, putting him on the shelf even longer, making 2008 a year of bad luck with injuries. Here's hoping to a speedy recovery and a great finish to the season.

4.) Ottawa Senators

Who predicted this sort of slide for the Senators? Ottawa is usually close to the playoffs, but are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with 31 points. They have a great trio at the top with Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley with other talent in between. Except for a recent struggle, Alex Auld has been very good in goal this season after supplanting Martin Gerber.

However, that other talent isn't doing anything on the offensive side of things. The Senators only have 82 goals on the season, putting them at the bottom of the barrel. Combined, Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsson have half of the team's offense, and for a winning team, all of their lines need to contribute for a successful offense. Hopefully, someone can pick up the slack from here on out to put the Senators back in the playoff hunt.

3.) Ilya Kovalchuk

The star of the Atlanta Thrashers deserves better. He's a consistent goal scorer, and is entering the prime years of his career stuck on an Atlanta Thrashers team that has only made the playoffs once in his career there. He saw his running mate, Marian Hossa, traded last year with a poor return, and GM Don Waddell has yet to find a top line center to run with Kovalchuk.

He's a free agent after next season, and will be one of the prime free-agents on the market. Kovalchuk also has a high possibility of being traded at any moment by the Thrashers, to try and maximize his return. Either way this happens, Kovalchuk needs better- either a better team or a playmaking center to give him more pucks to shoot.

2.) Sean Avery

Avery is one of those players that people either love unconditionally, or hate him. Love him, and you enjoy Avery being the best agitator, and his ability to chip in with around 15 goals a season. Hate him, and you dislike his personality and that he rarely fights who he doesn't have a good chance at beating. The Dallas Stars took a chance on Avery this off-season, signing him to a four year deal, making them his fourth team in seven years.

The Stars really struggled out the gate, and many blamed the acquisition of Avery for it. He only lasted 23 games before he talked to the media about his former girlfriends, and ended up suspended indefinitely be the NHL. Soon after, the Stars announced he would not be returning to the team. Avery will soon be looking for a fifth team, if he can even get on the ice now.

1.) Tampa Bay Lightning

Where to start on this nightmare? New owners have not been kind to Tampa Bay, who jettisoned key veterans over the past year in Brad Richards, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich, as well as their GM and head coach. This past off-season was a busy one, which saw them bring in about half the roster in new players, Barry Melrose as the new head coach and drafting the "next big thing" in Steve Stamkos.

Things did not go as planned for the Lightning. Melrose was canned 16 games into the season. The front office has made moves as the season goes on, trying to place band-aids on their holes. The worst part is their defense and their inexperience- they are really missing Boyle and Lukowich. Oh, and there's also the reports of meddling owners, with the biggest story being near the end of Melrose's leadership, one of them went to the locker room during intermission and drew up plays. However, the new owners want to win- even with questionable methods, they want to compete. If any a team or player needs a better 2009, it's got to be Tampa Bay.