“Thoughts on 30 Thoughts” is a feature that looks at Elliotte Friedman’s terrific weekly post “30 Thoughts.” Justin Bourne selects his 10 favourite tidbits, and elaborates.

Last edition: Nick Lidstrom Hangs up the skates

Friedman’s column, June 18th: Rich Nash’s potential suitors, plus 30 thoughts

Opening:

The opening is…a lot to weigh in on. Please, click the above link (after you’re done here, of course) and read up on the teams with the best odds to snag Rick Nash. I have no idea where he’s is going (not that anyone does, but Elliotte has better ideas than most). Let’s get to “10 Thoughts”

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3. Holmgren’s comments about Matt Carle stand out because there is a lot of talk the player’s preference is to move closer to his western-based family, barring the Corleone offer he can’t refuse. His twitter account (@mattcarle25) is the best Alaskan tourism ad in existence and brother David works for the University of Denver’s hockey program. (Congratulations to David on his graduation, four years after his playing career ended due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.)

I get wanting to be closer to your family, I really do. But when the majority of the crew is in Alaska (it sounds like everyone, save for the brother), are you really going to make major decisions about your NHL career based on your family’s travel-time-per-vist (TTPV) versus, say, trying to win Stanley Cups and bank as much cash as possible? It’s not like they’re all in Vancouver (or wherever) waiting for him.

It made sense for me to take a small pay cut in the minors to be closer to my girlfriend (well, some, I got traded within a month). With the Flyers in position to contend for the Cup, and knowing they’re going to make him a reasonable offer, I’m not so sure the whole “west” idea here does. But hey, folks have their priorities, who am I to argue?

4. Ryan Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy, denied similar reports, that his client is not interested in the Eastern Conference. Do think Suter wants to go somewhere relatively quiet and Philly does not qualify. Not everyone is built for daily cross-examination. Some larger markets with good hockey fans and less intense coverage (Detroit, for example) do fit.

If you can set aside the phrase “larger hockey markets,” the requirement is less intense coverage, good hockey fans, and presumably, a chance to win and a lot of money.

Just rattling off a quick list in my head here, but…y’know where would be a perfect fit? Nashville.

But in all seriousness, the Red Wings are a prestigious organization where he could get a fresh start, move the puck up to some great forwards and be “The Guy.” He’s “The Guy’s Guy” right now in Nashville, so I wouldn’t blame him for packing his bags.

6. Darren Dreger reported that Jaromir Jagr will test free agency. He had a very good season and exposure to him benefitted the Flyers’ young players. The only drawback may be that both Detroit and Pittsburgh found negotiating with him last year to be an excruciating experience.

First off, on the concept of old guys helping young guys – I’d be curious to know if he really made a difference. It sounds like he worked hard off the ice this year, and that helps. There isn’t much actual “teaching” involved, there’s just “setting an example,” which is why guys like Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Rod Brind’Amour are the type of “old guys” you want. If Jagr was doing that, then I bet he did help a lot of young guys.

Pro Hockey Talk had a post yesterday that highlighted a few reasons why Jagr might do something flat-out crazy and choose…gulp…Calgary? The Flames signed his old linemate Roman Cervenka whom he’s very close with (possibly to lure Jagr?), they have cap room, claim to not be rebuilding, he says he likes Canada and it’s hockey passion, and has considered signing in Alberta in the past (Edmonton, 2008), because apparently he likes being able to leave things on the porch instead of putting them in the freezer.

I have no idea where Jaromir Jagr is going to end up, but I just get the vibe it’ll be somewhere unexpected. Dude marches to the beat of his own drum.

9. Asked a couple of GMs if they’d heard Evander Kane is available. Both said no. Is it possible the relationship is strained? Yes sir, but trading a 20-year-old 30-goal scorer is risky business. Both GMs did say they would absolutely be interested if Kane got to the market.

I mean, “risky business” is a pretty substantial understatement there, right? Especially when you consider the Jets aren’t exactly laden with all-star quality offensive talent. Winnipeg, like Edmonton and a number of other places, will always have their problems keeping certain guys based solely on the fact that they aren’t the most desireable places to winter, and some humans value comfort more than others.

So, if he’s remotely willing to stay, at all, you wrap your arms around his ankles and do your darndest to keep him.

10. While all of the attention in Edmonton is on the number one pick, the organization is very curious to see how Taylor Fedun fares at the team’s summer development camp. If he gets back to the level showed before his serious leg injury, he’s an important piece of the defensive puzzle……….

But, no pressure kid. We’re basically just deciding whether to fill your roster spot or not based on your performance in a multi-day camp. And, keep in mind, if we do, and we send you to the American League, you earn 10% of the money you would’ve had we not picked up a replacement. And then you’ll have “no experience,” so you’ll be less desireable in the future.

So yeah, no big deal or anything, but….just curious to see how you fare, is all.

16. There is no doubt Zach Parise’s first choice is to stay. However, when he talked about his future, he was two days removed from the disappointment of a Stanley Cup defeat. In that time, you’re understandably emotional. Before making his final decision, he’s going to need assurances the Devils’ financial situation will not prevent them from being a serious contender. He badly wants to win, and, if New Jersey can’t convince him that’s possible, how can he remain?

I think all you can do as a team to show you’re serious is to get the best available players until you hit the salary cap. They’ve picked up Ilya Kovalchuk, and they made the Stanley Cup Final this year, so on the surface it looks like they’re a serious contender, but you know Zach knows more than that.

As Elliotte mentioned, the whole organization seems to be built on a foundation of sand with a creek running underneath it right now. Tough for Parise to know if they’re suddenly going to morph into the Islanders, or pull things together.

17. The toughest interviews are always with a team/individual that loses a championship final because the longer you play, the harder it is to fall. Kelly Hrudey once said the only thing he remembers about the 1993 playoffs is the defeat by the Canadiens. Think about that: all the terrific things that happened to Los Angeles that year — including maybe the greatest game of Wayne Gretzky’s career — and all you take from it is the pain of losing. That’s very hard.

I think we can all relate to this: up until a couple years ago, I would occasionally think about a four foot putt I missed at age 17 (on 18) to go to a playoff at a junior golf event. The putt was SO EASY. Uphill, straight…I second-guessed my read mid-stroke and pushed it. I don’t remember the fact that I played well enough to be in that position – not a single shot other than that miss. And that was junior freaking golf. Gotta believe missing out on a chance to win the Stanley Cup wears on you just a weee bit more. I can’t imagine being the first guy to stick a mic in that guys face and say “…So?” Hard job.

20. One of the major reasons Dean Lombardi thought a Carter/Richards reunion would work: they probably thought they’d never get a chance to play together again. “You could see how excited they were about being back together,” the Kings’ president/GM said. “We felt they’d be determined to prove they belonged on the same team.” Good call.

I call bullshit.

Sorry, and don’t get me wrong: I still think it was a terrific trade for the Kings, I think they’re both great players, and I think Lombardi’s a great GM who made a shrewd move, just…c’mon. Is the implication that a factor in pulling the trigger on the trade, without knowing Jeff Carter, that “We felt they’d be determined to prove they belonged on the same team?” Why? Are they brothers? Are they a couple? Why would that be a thing “they” really wanted?

Maybe that was a bit much snark, but that’s just hindsight bias, a term in psychology where you attribute random reasons to events when you look by at why they happened.

24. Sutter’s son Brett was probably as excited about the Kings’ victory as his father. He’s getting married this summer and the stag was last weekend. Can’t imagine it would’ve been much fun if New Jersey came back and won the series.

You can’t? A bachelor party?

“***1-2-3 SAKI!!!***”

Kay, they’re better now.

31. Thought a lot about Brian Burke’s comments to The Toronto Star after the Luke Schenn note last week. I concede that I should have used the word “reports” instead of “rumblings” in my copy. Sometimes, in trying to avoid overuse of one word, I get too cute. I decided to write about it after seeing the Schenn-to-Edmonton note in The Montreal Gazette and The Toronto Sun. Other than that, I stand by everything written: that Burke loves the big stage; that the Oilers like Schenn and have asked about him; that other teams believe he’d be a better player out of Toronto. Burke said, “Some editorial control at Hockey Night would be nice for a change.” I recognize he is sensitive about hearing his players’ names mentioned in rumours. But, as a long-time GM, he knows that, by participating in the process, he does have some control over what is said, because I’m obligated to report his responses. But, for months now, he has refused to participate in the process, including to a question posed as recently as two weeks ago. It’s like an election: If you don’t vote, you’ve got no right to complain.

This kind of stuff makes me respect Friedman even more. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in that huge hockey market, be heavily scrutinized, have to ask very important questions to key figures, report honestly, then go back and face them the next time when the “honesty” hurts someone.

That paragraph is a very fair defense of his point –  personally, it’s not a job I have the stones to do. Must be a lot of awkward first exchanges in that world.

Comments (5)

  1. What’s a stag?

  2. “20. One of the major reasons Dean Lombardi thought a Carter/Richards reunion would work: they probably thought they’d never get a chance to play together again. “You could see how excited they were about being back together,” the Kings’ president/GM said. “We felt they’d be determined to prove they belonged on the same team.” Good call.

    I call bullshit.”

    THANK YOU!! First thing I thought when reading this point… what a load of horsecrap. I refuse to believe that was anything close to Lombardi’s thought process when he acquired Carter… more something along the lines of, I can acquire one of the premier snipers in the league for a hugely overrated d-men and a first round pick? Yes please.

  3. “First off, on the concept of old guys helping young guys – I’d be curious to know if he really made a difference. It sounds like he worked hard off the ice this year, and that helps. There isn’t much actual “teaching” involved, there’s just “setting an example,” which is why guys like Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Rod Brind’Amour are the type of “old guys” you want. If Jagr was doing that, then I bet he did help a lot of young guys.”

    I think, in Jagr’s case, the effect was a bit more measurable. Couple months into the season, Claude Giroux started doing that butt-stuck-out-in-the-defender’s-chest thing that Jagr made famous on the powerplay. And it worked well, too, other than when he tried it on Zajac who just started tossing him straight to the ice when he tried it (Zajac’s a monster). I have to think that’s something specific Giroux picked up in practice and began to mimic, not just some coincidence. Really, nobody in the league does it as well as either of them.

  4. “Sorry, and don’t get me wrong: I still think it was a terrific trade for the Kings, I think they’re both great players, and I think Lombardi’s a great GM who made a shrewd move, just…c’mon. Is the implication that a factor in pulling the trigger on the trade, without knowing Jeff Carter, that “We felt they’d be determined to prove they belonged on the same team?” Why? Are they brothers? Are they a couple? Why would that be a thing “they” really wanted?

    Maybe that was a bit much snark, but that’s just hindsight bias, a term in psychology where you attribute random reasons to events when you look by at why they happened.”

    I don’t think that was Lombardi’s primary reason. During the press con in February, when the trade was announced, he said they were looking for a forward, hopefully a winger and that they did their due diligence with regards to Carter. At around the same time, they were suffering on the offensive side and Richards was having problems with line chemistry. Carter’s history with Richards most likely factored into who they picked. This was definitely helped by the fact that Carter was most likely cheaper than Nash (trade-wise and cap hit-wise).

    Without personally knowing any of the people involved, I think that this was Lombardi’s response to people saying that throwing Ricahrds and Carter together in LA was the wrong move. They both had a reputation for partying and couple that with Carter’s actions during the start of the season and his uninspiring play in Columbus. I think Dean felt that getting Carter would work out since he knew both of them and hoped that they’d work well together. Bonus points that the Phily trade would motivate them more.

    “Why? Are they brothers? Are they a couple? Why would that be a thing “they” really wanted?” In interviews where they’ve been asked about the trade, they’ve mentioned getting a chance to play together to be a huge motivating factor for them. Can’t blame Friedman for thinking the same. Richards even goes on to say that they thought they wouldn’t even get to free agency and try to play on the same team together until their contracts expire. They really really really wanted to play together is my conclusion :).

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