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By the Rule of Trophy, P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens was the best defenseman in the NHL last season. Subban won the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the best defenseman. It’s a simple rule to follow.

Based on the way Subban has been deployed late in recent games this season, coach Michel Therrien doesn’t seem to care about that rule I just invented. Instead of seeing Subban as one of the game’s top defensemen, Therrien appears to view Subban as a liability who should be nowhere near close games in the final minutes.

The Norris Trophy is awarded by a group of people that Never Played The Game, so perhaps the opinion that Subban is the best defenseman isn’t shared by Hockey People like Therrien. Maybe Therrien wishes Subban were better, but the feeling that a player always can be better is baseline thinking by coaches and players alike, but it’s important to not let it warp your view of the player.

For instance, you should never let yourself believe Douglas Murray is a better defenseman than P.K. Subban. Read the rest of this entry »


October was a pretty interesting month in the NHL. I wrote a lot of words about October below this, but you have to write more words above it in order to fill out this upper area before getting to the jump. But I don’t want to give away everything I wrote about up here. I’d like you to be surprised. Isn’t it the worst when someone writes, “Coming up, some thoughts on why Lindy Ruff’s ties are the worst in the league” and then you get to the part about Lindy Ruff’s ties being the worst in the league? Like, you saw it coming? The worst, I say.

I have no opinion about Lindy Ruff’s ties, by the way.

OK, so one more paragraph before we get to 21 things about October. It’s a pretty great month. Baseball, hockey and football all happening at once. Also that other sport where tall people bounce a ball. What did you guys all dress as for Halloween? I saw a lot of Heisenbergs this week. Firefighter never goes out of style. I think I’ve written enough up here.

Hey everyone! Here are 21 thoughts, things and tidbits about what took place in the NHL (or LNH) during the month of October: Read the rest of this entry »


As you’re no doubt well aware by now, I am an amazing writer devoid of flaws or shortcomings. I have nearly 37,000 followers on the social networking site Twitter and have earned several writing awards that I gave to myself in elaborate ceremonies attended by pets and posters of 1990s swimsuit models.

This may come as a shock so strong that you will lose the use of your legs for 15 minutes, but I wasn’t always this way. Oh no. There was a time where I made these things called “mistakes” and committed these other things people refer to as “errors.” I haven’t said that second word in a long time and I no longer know how to pronounce it. It prevents me from reporting on baseball.

That’s why today I will be sharing with you all of my gaffes, missteps, foibles and errors (pronounced ayeroars in my head) to show that no one is perfect – not even myself. So here are some embarrassing and dumb things* I have done during my illustrious career as a hockey reporter.

*This entry not included. Read the rest of this entry »


A new season is quickly advancing on us. There are new divisions. There is a new format for deciding playoff teams. There is a new team in Seattle renewed sense of hope in Phoenix.

With a new season comes new predictions, a new chance for people like myself to make wild prognostications that will be somewhere between 3 and 5 percent correct (at best) at season’s end. Yes, it’s a gigantic waste of time. But it’s *fun* and pointless, like a book club or voting in America.

What follows is a hybrid preview/predictions for the upcoming season. The teams are ranked from 30 to 1, with the idea that this is how they will set up for the 2014 NHL Draft (traded and forfeited picks aside) before the lottery. So the teams that are ranked 1-2 here are the Stanley Cup champion and runner-up. Teams 3-4 are your conference final losers. Teams 5-16 are reverse order of the final standings based on overall points. Teams 17-30…you guessed it…failed to make the postseason.

So kick back, put your feet up on the coffee table, get angry or happy and enjoy one man’s opinion on what’s going to happen in the NHL this season along with some useful information about players who have changed teams this offseason. Read the rest of this entry »


Today’s piece is designed to help us decide if Patrik Elias will be worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame at the end of his career. I can tell you right now that this is going to end with “I don’t know” because honestly, I don’t know.

I realize I’m not raising a new question, but I think it’s a really interesting case.

To me, based on the standards of previous Hall entrants, Elias is sitting right on the bubble.

The 37-year-old, who signed a three-year contract with the Devils this summer, has 375 goals and 930 points in 1,090 career regular-season games, all with New Jersey. He has been just as good in the postseason, posting 45 goals and 125 points in 162 career games. Breaking it down to points per game, that’s 0.85 in the regular season and 0.77 in the playoffs.

Where do those numbers rank Elias as of today? Glad you asked. It’s a good question. The 0.85 number ranks him 138th all-time, while the 0.77 figure ranks him 120th all-time. In terms of totals, Elias’ 930 points rank him 92nd all-time, while his 125 playoff points rank him 45th all-time.

If Elias averages 70 games per season over the next three seasons and dips to 0.75 points per game over that time, he will (likely) finish his career at the age of 40 with 1,087 points. That will get him to the mid-70s on the all-time points list. Anything can happen with the Devils, but they don’t look very much like a playoff threat. Still, Elias should settle around the low-40s/high-30s in playoff points if the Devils can crack the postseason twice in the next three years.

That, of course, assumes a lot, including Elias not pulling a Teemu Selanne and sparking an #EliasForever movement that sees him play into his early-40s. If he plays beyond his current contract, he will amass even more goals and assists.

But let’s say that’s where the road comes to an end for Elias. What does 400-plus goals, nearly 1,100 points and two Stanley Cup rings – including 43 points in 48 playoff games when the Devils reached the Cup Final in 2000 and 2001 — mean to the Hall of Fame voters?

Numbers in a bubble don’t mean much, so let’s delve into Elias’ career a little deeper in the search for context. Read the rest of this entry »

carson_ptsIf there’s one thing the hockey offseason consistently yields, it’s stories about the anniversary of the NHL’s biggest trade — on August 9, 1988, the Edmonton Oilers shipped away three veteran players and received Jimmy Carson, another player, picks and cash from the Los Angeles Kings. It has become known in the annals of history as The Jimmy Carson Trade, and no transaction since has come close to eclipsing it.

It changed the landscape of hockey forever.

Carson went on to score 49 goals the following season and the Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1990 after trading Carson for Adam Graves, Petr Klima and Joe Murphy. That coupled with the fact the players dealt to the Kings never won the Cup there and faded into the ether makes this a trade Oilers fans hold close to their heart and isn’t a source of sadness or controversy at all.

The trade in many ways is now an anomaly, but what makes it very special for the purpose of today’s writing is it occurred in August.

Cycling through a list of NHL transactions since 2006, it’s apparent that teams aren’t doing their major business in August. At some point, Mikhail Grabovski is going to sign a contract to play professional hockey. Whether that contract is with the NHL remains to be seen – I mean, good lord, someone sign the guy already – but a case can be made that if he signs before August ends, it will be the most meaningful transaction in August 2013 barring a cap-space-saving trade.

August is a graveyard for game-changing NHL transactions. Yes, teams do a lot of their best work when it comes to in-house moves, such as re-signing players and coaches to long-term extensions and locking up draft picks to entry-level contracts, but when it comes to infusing new talent via signing or trade, it’s very rare and usually features veterans desperate for a one-year deal. It’s akin to that show where the people bid money on storage lockers, then rummage through them to find a valuable gem no one else saw.

Your team is what it is at this point, history says, so while Grabovski will help your club, be it the Washington Capitals or Ak Bars Kazan (my No. 1 source for downloading illegal music in college), this month may as well not even happen. We need to get that remote control from “Click” where Adam Sandler can fast forward through uhhh I mean I’ve never seen that movie and cried shut up leave me alone.

What have August transactions since 2006 yielded? Here are the 10 most impactful moves (re-signings and extensions excluded) that have happened in August over the past seven years and how it affected the team. Read the rest of this entry »

This entire post isn't going to be "Wah wah Gary Bettman needs to go" but he's in here hence the photo.

This entire post isn’t going to be “Wah wah Gary Bettman needs to go” but he’s in here hence the photo.

It’s July. Still. God this month drags for what feels like an eternity. I have no passionate feelings about anything so it’s hard to find a writing topic. New divisions? Whatever. The Minnesota Wild crying poor? Meh. Mikhail Grabovski remaining unsigned? Yeah, what is up with that? NHL GMs, man.

When the passion isn’t there, you can’t force it. That’s how you wind up with a ninth season of Friends and marriage. So instead of forcing it with one of those aforementioned topics (Seriously, if Grabovski winds up somewhere besides the NHL, this league should be embarrassed), I’m doing one of those things about ways to make the NHL better that will never happen but whatever it’s fun.

Some are obvious, some maybe aren’t, some are probably dumb, some are definitely things you’ve heard before. So here’s some stuff about hockey to distract you from your life and job for a few minutes. Read the rest of this entry »