Thoughts on 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 editionCorey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf take priority on Ducks

Friedman’s column, January 21st: Jamie Benn and “The Unsigned Three”


Friedman’s opening in this week’s 30 Thoughts was what he mentioned in the title, “The Unsigned Three.” The impression I got reading this was that Benn will sign before long, nobody has a clue about Ryan O’Reilly and the Avs, and the PK Subban/Canadiens situation needs to get remedied and quick before it gets ugly.

The main sentence that stood out to me was about how the Avalanche do business. Friedman:

The Avalanche operate in secrecy, so it’s hard to predict what they are going to do. When they dealt Chris Stewart, many other teams didn’t know he was even available.

Am I crazy, or is that one of the stupidest ways to conduct business, even if you like what you can get coming back your way? How do you know what you can potentially turn assets into if you don’t run it by the most teams possible? Plenty of people would’ve given up a good piece for Chris Stewart at the time.


2. For example, as the Edmonton Oilers locked up Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, did they do it with an wary glance at Sabres GM Darcy Regier? Ever since Thomas Vanek, I’ve wondered if Regier’s been waiting for the chance to even that score. (Sources say he’s got an owner who likes to spend).

I love the idea that GMs have personal vendettas against other GMs. I mean, I’m sure they don’t all like each other, and would love to see each other fail here and there, but the concept that teams have a hit-list of people to fuck over in return is pretty exciting. You would think that smart, savvy business executives, which we assume people in those positions are, would be able to toss aside personal matters and do business the right way, regardless of their feelings. That said, they’re human, so prooobably not.



4. Another big decision for Bergevin is what to do with Alexander Galchenyuk? Great talent, has “not scratched the surface of what he’ll be,” Bergevin said. Nothing left for him at junior level, but does it makes business sense for the Canadiens to burn a year of his contract?

If he’s physically capable of succeeding at an NHL level, of course it makes sense, business or otherwise. I get what Elliotte is saying – Habs probably aren’t going to be good now, so we might as well put off his entry-level years until we can be relevant, but that’s not fair to him, and not good for the club. If you’re willing to just piss away a year with “Welp, we aren’t going to be good” that losers mentality can start to permeate the organization. I’m of the mind that you should always be as good as you can be, especially coming out of the new CBA where bottom teams aren’t guaranteed the #1 pick.

5. Olympic discussions will begin soon. Hockey Canada President and CEO Bob Nicholson, now No. 2 at the International Ice Hockey Federation, contacted the NHL and NHL Players’ Association last week about starting the process. Both are willing to get going, it’s just a matter of when. Nicholson met in Europe with IIHF President Rene Fasel on Sunday.

Not to be too glib about this, but NHL players in the Olympics is a thing that’s happening. There’s just no way that coming off an amazing Olympics that saw Canada and the US meet in the final that anyone is gonna say “Naw, not worth it.” It’s worth it. (As for the World Championships, well, I suppose that’ll take more figuring.)

10. You can see why St. Louis was so determined to make sure Vladimir Tarasenko was here once the lockout ended. He looked ridiculous against the Detroit Red Wings in the opener. At 21, he’s a little older than your average rookie and that extra experience could be a huge benefit to a legit Stanley Cup contender. If the Blues needed anything, it was someone with game-breaking scoring skill. This guy sure has it.

Friedman wrote this Monday morning, before Tarasenko put up another three points last night. Not only did he score a nice goal, but his first assist was Sedin-esque in terms of vision. The point he grabs on the goal below wasn’t crazy impressive, but just look at his celly. Truly only an ecstatic 19-year-old gives us that, he’s just the best. Looks like he just won his first Pee Wee hockey tourney.

13. Winnipeg saw such a difference in Mark Scheifele from last year to now. Both Noel and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff noticed that Scheifele arrived in camp with much more of a “presence.” At 18, he was careful. It’s not like he’s overly cocky, but he’s obviously more comfortable. The Jets decided to keep him in junior instead of sending him to the AHL and it appears to have worked for Scheifele. Now the challenge will be finding him a spot with the team’s best offensive players so he can grow.

I’m no scout, but I noticed the same thing at the World Juniors. He’s the type of player who will be successful wherever he plays because he’s what I think of as “in control out of control.” He’ll do whatever it takes, he’ll flail, he’ll dive, he’ll hit and hustle, and he’s got good hockey sense and mitts. Annoy me as he might, Scheifele is going to be a good NHL player for a long time.

14. If Game 1 for the Ottawa Senators was any indication, Marc Methot is going to be a perfect partner for Norris Trophy defenceman Erik Karlsson. Just like Filip Kuba, Methot understands he’s there to do the dirty work. There were a few occasions Saturday against Winnipeg when Methot made sure he was the guy who chased the puck against a heavy forecheck, allowing Karlsson to avoid punishment.

It may very well be true that Methot will be the perfect compliment for Karlsson, but I gotta say I’m a little skeptical that anyone has that kind of hockey sense or commitment to the betterment of their teammate. It’s not impossible, it just seems like it’s a stretch to think there’s a dumped in puck that Methot thought (Methought?) “I should go get that so he doesn’t get hit” and not “I should go get that because I’m going to be the closest person to it.

16. Murray on Washington Capitals rookie head coach Adam Oates: “I told George McPhee, ‘We couldn’t beat you guys before, now we’re really in trouble.’ Adam will know how to relate to all of his players. He won’t yell and scream. He’ll approach everyone the right way because he’ll appreciate what everybody is.”

I too am of the mind that Adam Oates is a guy who is going to “get it.” It’s a generalization, but I tend to believe that players who are notorious on-ice set-up men are intelligent. They have to process things quickly, they’re not out for glory, but the success of the team, and they understand how players move on the ice. I can’t think of a disher who wasn’t a smart guy, and smart guy’s tend to make the best coaches. Especially in this era where “motivation”-only coaches are working themselves out of the game.

22. Oilers rookie head coach Ralph Krueger was very aggressive in overtime against the Canucks. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins dominated the forwards’ ice-time. Ryan Smyth got one shift and Shawn Horcoff took a defensive-zone faceoff before going right to the bench. Krueger really went for it. He also let Gagner (48 per cent on faceoffs last season) take defensive-zone draws against Henrik Sedin.

I wanted to post this bullet to make the point that I saw more from Nail Yakupov in the one game against the Canucks than I did in the entirety of the World Juniors. Great low-base, tough to contain, good creator. I already like him twice as much as I did a few days ago.

Also: I think this is the way Edmonton has to play. Especially with a point in the bag, hand the team over to the young bucks and let ‘em run. You aren’t winning the Cup this year, so expose ‘em expose ‘em expose ‘em.

24. Pittsburgh had 18,000 fans at a public scrimmage last week and will be fired up for Wednesday’s home opener against Toronto. Impressive road wins against the Flyers and Rangers. You can tell the Penguins are angry about the way Philly embarrassed them last year. You can really see it on Sidney Crosby. Penguins fans know how his 2008 summer workout was motivated by a photo of Henrik Zetterberg raising the Stanley Cup after Detroit beat them. I’d bet Claude Giroux gave him similar motivation last summer.

I used to train in a similar way. Starting in junior, my workout partner (Dave Cunning) and I picked one person we wanted to be better than, and used that for “one more rep” motivation. 95% of the time, oddly, it was a current or ex-teammate. I wanted to score more than them, get more minutes than them, and advance farther than them. It’s not personal, but if you’re not one of the best players on your team, you stop moving up. Once the season starts, you can switch the focus to “team.” For Crosby, I have to believe he’s not worried about his place on the team, so Giroux provides the perfect foil.

28. Anaheim’s Cam Fowler missed the Canucks game with the flu, so we’ll have to wait to see how he’s deployed. He’s the team’s best puck-moving defenceman and, with Scott Niedermayer now on the Ducks coaching staff, it sounds like they’re going to try some new stuff with him.

I haven’t watched enough Ducks’ games to cast judgement on Fowler (by the way, how have I not put together the whole “Ducks” and “Fowl?” thing together until now? A TRUE DUCK), but at his age, and with his offensive upside, I can’t image what “try some new stuff” means aside from “making sure you’re responsible in your own end before getting frisky at the other.