Jamie Benn

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.


Friedman’s column, December 11th: Correct call is ultimate goal in NHL


Elliotte starts out this week’s post by discussing the need for the league to do a better job on getting goal calls right. He cites three incidents where they’ve missed:

Two years ago, the league made a nice little move, allowing officials power to congregate after a goal. Is it enough? Maybe this is a tiny outbreak, but the answer appears to be no. In addition to the Canucks, there are examples of misses for the Anaheim Ducks here and Montreal Canadiens here (3-0 goal at 1:04). The races are too tight, the games too important.

For me, the craziest one this year was in San Jose, when they scored in overtime to beat the Sabres, the ref didn’t think it went in (because he was focused on the first shot off the post), and instead of reviewing it to be sure, he felt confident enough that they went straight to the drop of the puck. Tyler Myers literally dug the puck out of the net, and just like that, I GOT HIT IN MY SURVIVOR POOL– ahem. Sorry about that. I mean, the Sharks got screwed out of a point. Good replay starts about 40 seconds in:

Either way, we’re inevitably headed toward the league introducing some technology – a camera in the ice under the goal line (this is a terrible idea, shut up Bourne), a chip in the puck, cameras in the post, something. Other sports have come a long way. Soccer recently introduced goal line tech, and tennis has made huge strides in that regard too. Obviously it’s easier in those sports, but hockey’s going to figure something out, cause points are too valuable to have them stolen.

10 Thoughts

7. I heard rumblings that Nashville Predators GM David Poile was ready to gauge the market value of his players, but he replied via email: “No, we just have to start winning some games.” They got one, 4-1 in Manhattan on Tuesday. A couple names that came up – from other teams, not Nashville – were Matt Cullen and David Legwand. Legwand is Mr. Predator, the organization’s first-ever draft pick, but unsigned for next season.

Elliotte’s job is legitimately hard. He has to look into this stuff, and no GM gets ahead by telling him “Yes, we’re dying to unload people” unless they’re simply trying to motivate their players through the media, which is still sort of manipulative. It was interesting, when I had Bob McKenzie on the podcast he talked a bit about accepting being “used” because these people occasionally give you the good stuff that keeps you in the loop. Interesting job, that whole reporter gig.

8. The New York Islanders ended their 10-game winless streak and 10-game road losing streak with a 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday in San Jose. It temporarily eased a cavalcade of pressure to do something as the season slipped away, but this isn’t an easy in-season fix since they’ve already dealt Nino Niederreiter, a first-round draft pick in either 2014 or 2015 and a second-rounder in 2015. There’s no point in dealing away any more of the future and adding too much salary is not in their DNA. To really address this, it might take until the summer.

Yeah, but at least in return for those assets the team got Cal Clutterbuck and basically no improvement at a position. Sigh.

The Isles will be interesting to watch in terms of player movement because they have some pretty plain needs. They’re going to need a goalie, and they’re have to spend money soon to get to next year’s floor. Also, because they’re terrible, they’re probably going to trade Vanek before the deadline, so there’s that shake-up coming too.

The Isles aren’t too far off decent, but it’s impossible to really know as long as they insist on moving forward with below average goaltending and the same coach.

11. At the same time, the Canadiens and Newport Sports, which also represents Phaneuf, are making an honest effort at getting a deal done with P.K. Subban. Neither side is commenting, but it sounds like there is a real attempt to find common ground. There will be great fascination with the price point. As one exec joked, “He’s not getting any cheaper,” but I’m very curious to see how Subban feels about term.

I’m fascinated, that’s for sure, because I have no clue what Subban is worth. It might be double digit millions per year (seriously). Third in D scoring again (24 points in 32 games), +7, playing nearly 25 minutes a night, coming off the Norris Trophy, 24 years old, can play physical, likely makes Team Canada, HAHAHA ohhhh boy is he gonna get dat money.

12. Subban will turn 25 years old on May 13. He’s an unrestricted free agent in July 2015. The Canadiens will want some degree of comfort and control. Does he want two more big contracts, which would mean a five- or six-year deal now?

A lot of it probably comes down to confidence (which he doesn’t lack) – are you willing to take shorter term now banking on making even more later, or do you feel safer getting what you can now? The Habs are in a tough spot, because it’s never an easy decision to back the dump truck of money up for one guy, but if you want elite talent, you gotta pay for it.

10 a year? He’s getting 10 a year easy, right?

13. As Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin return to health, the Carolina Hurricanes face a dilemma with Justin Peters. They were a little disappointed in Peters’ play last season, but he’s made big strides and kept them in the wobbly Metropolitan Division race this season. Peters must clear waivers to go back to the minors and Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford won’t risk it. The division-rival Islanders seem like a natural poacher. So Carolina will keep three goalies until a move is made.

POACH POACH POACH. I’m a big fan of Anton Khudobin. I think given an opportunity and some moderately decent defense, he has the potential to be one of the better goalies in the league eventually. I’m not entirely certain why I feel so strongly about this (he is already 27 after all), but his career NHL stats to date – 24 games, 2.03 GAA, .932 save percentage – are probably pushing me (small sample size, I know, shut up). He killed it in the A too. He kills it everywhere, AND he looks like this:


17. There’s a bit of this with Evander Kane, too. Who knows what is true and what isn’t, but because there are rumours about this marriage, the Winnipeg Jets do get queries. One thing I’m learning is Kane’s contract makes him extremely valuable. With where the salary cap is going, to get a 22-year-old with a 30-goal history and four more years of cost certainty is pretty good.

I’m pretty sick of the whole “Kane and Winnipeg” thing, so I’d be happy to see them part ways, but man, it would sure cost a lot to do it. 30 goals one year, on pace for more than that last year, is a mere 22 years old and makes $5.25 until 2018. He’s the type of player you’d love to have as a part of your core – cheap young goal scorers don’t come around often.

Buuuuut if the relationship is so fractured it can’t work, you could probably get a haul for him, so what’s the harm in listening, I suppose.

24. Something to keep an eye on: Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins says he’s considered using David Perron as a defenceman in 5-on-5 situations late in games should Edmonton need offence. Eakins almost did it in a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Nov. 16, but the team came back before it was necessary. You know Eakins is going to do it one day.

It’s pretty bizarre that we see coaches pulling goalies with five minutes, and none doing this. If you’re behind a good deal and really going for it, you might as well chuck out your five best players and tell them there’s no rules, press press press. Hell, I wouldn’t think a team would even know how to defend that chaos. I could see some confused winger standing near the blueline covering nobody cause that’s where he usually stands. I love this idea.

26. One of the changes Benn made was spending more time in Texas during the summer. Asked if there was anyone he was trying to emulate, Benn thought for a second before choosing Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks. According to extraskater.com, Getzlaf and Benn rank 1-2 in the NHL in even-strength points per 60 minutes. Benn’s teammate Tyler Seguin, by the way, is third.

There seems to be a common thread that runs between the type of players who get points at even strength – they’re mostly really, really physically strong (oh, and “good.” Strong and good). There’s more traffic, and you’ve gotta win a few more battles than you do on the powerplay, untouched with your stick cocked for a shot. Check out the top 10 so far this year (the per 60 list is here, if that floats your boat. I didn’t use that list because it includes names like Tomas Hertl, who are on it because he has a smart coach who doesn’t play him a ton despite his hot start):


Funny, Patrick Kane is the only guy who doesn’t come to mind when you think strength, but when nobody can hit you I suppose it’s not as important. He’s special.

27. Benn on the difference between playing with Seguin and Mike Ribeiro: “Very different. When Seguin gets over the line, he’s going straight towards the net. Ribeiro likes to skate around and find the open spaces.”


*copyright @DonCherryParody

30. Vlasic’s got a wicked sense of humour, too. Asked what it’s like to receive so much (new) attention, he laughed and said, “It’s about time.” When Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy shook the glass on opening night, the defenceman joked that he texted, “That didn’t take long,” to his former junior coach. “I didn’t actually do that,” Vlasic said. “I sent congratulations. He’s going to be very successful.”

I laughed at this point, but not because of anything Vlasic said. Elliotte, budday! Maybe something got lost here, but from what I can tell, Vlasic might actually terribly unfunny. (Who really knows in text form, but you’d have to be Jerry Seinfeld to deliver these answers in a funny way.)

“What’s it like to receive so much attention?”

“It’s about time.”

“Ahhhhh, kay. I heard you text your old junior coach Roy ‘That didn’t take long’ after his little snapshow.”

“No, no I did not.”

“You’re killing me, stop.”