Archive for the ‘Interesting’ Category

Datsyuk no

These days the most commonly used euphemism for the NHL’s tie-solving shootout is “the skills competition,” given that the All-Star Game’s meaningless version is the only other time fans are exposed to the one-on-one, player-on-goalie multi-attempt action. The major difference with the NHL’s in-game version is that it’s the opposite of meaningless, which as a professional wordsmith I have come to learn is “meaningful.” Just last year the Columbus Blue Jackets missed playoffs by a single point and had four shootout losses on their resumé. Another goal or two in those contests would’ve really come in handy, as most teams wind up finding.

People laugh (myself included) at the change in player tone during post-game interviews depending on a team’s win or loss in the “skills comp,” but I kinda get it. When you lose you’re frustrated at putting yourself in a position where it comes down to something that seems out of your control at times, and guys are aware how much each point matters.

With the importance of the shootout in mind (like it or not), I took to the interwebz to see which players have been helping their teams grab full two, and which have been costing their teams points. And my word, was I surprised at the latter group.

The list below is ranked in order of performance versus expectations, not raw numbers. As in, Sidney Crosby being 0-for-3 would be looked at as worse than some plug being 0-for-5 or 1-for-8 or whatever, in this imaginary world where plugs get lots of attempts. (Crosby, for what it’s worth, is 1-for-2, and 23-for-55 lifetime – that’s 41.8% total – well above the league’s current shooter average of 32.79%)

A few notes on the shootout before we jump in

Read the rest of this entry »

San Jose Sharks jet

The NHL has released the 2013-14 NHL schedule, which means a couple things: one, it’s July, and July is a stupid sports-less month so this is very important, and two, some fanbases have cause to get upset about getting screwed by the league, which they’ve been dying to do in the absence of real hockey.

Nobody breaks the schedule down better than Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck, a great Nashville Predators blog. Hoag tracks the mileage of each NHL team and compares it to their miles traveled from previous seasons, while also noting the amount of times each team plays back-to-back games. Understandably, the winning percentage of teams in the second half of back-to-backs isn’t great, so that’s a pretty relevant note to make (we’ll talk a little more about those situations farther down).

First, the most interesting things of note from Hoag’s work:

Most mileage

The San Jose Sharks.

map - san jose sharks (flat)

That’s a massive increase for the Sharks, who were hurt more by League realignment than any other team. That’s over 13,600 miles more than they traveled during the previous full season. The Boston Bruins saw the second biggest increase in travel, adding over 8,600 miles to their 2011-12 total. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Johnson, 2006. I wonder if they brought up the fact that he was still using a wood blade in arbitration to show he lacked sense? (Kidding, Mike, kidding.)

Mike Johnson, 2006. I wonder if they brought up the fact that he was still using a wood blade in arbitration to show he lacked sense? (Kidding, Mike, kidding.)

Salary arbitration in sports seems like a weird thing.

I am the ultimate layman when it comes to this topic (or any topic involving law), but my general understanding is that when a player (generally a restricted free agent) and team are due to sign a new contract, and they can’t agree on what the player deserves, they take the case to an independent arbiter who decides “Okay, based on stats and testimony Player A is a comparable to Players D, L and Y, so he should be compensated a similar amount.” 

The problem with this is that you put the team in a situation where they pay less if they prove the player is crap/equal to crap players, and the player in a situation where he says he’s kung-fu-level badass, and thus should be paid like other kung-fu-level badass players.

Because of this, yesterday I tweeted “How much do I have to give Rogers to get salary arbitration televised? “Here’s why the guy we’d like to sign is terrible.” I’d be enthralled.” (Rogers is my cable provider.) Something about the whole thing just intrigues me. As Richard Whitall, theScore’s soccer writer wondered, are they trying to make amends mid-process?

“Your honor, we’d like to point out that the player in question is a fat lump with no work ethic”

*behind back of hand* “No you’re not you’re in great shape sorry we have to say this” Read the rest of this entry »

marlies oops

This story might sound familiar:

The Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies were doing battle in the AHL playoffs last night. The Marlies had their backs against the wall and were facing elimination…when they blew a 3-1 third period lead in the final ten heart-breaking minutes to have their season ended. Oh man, Toronto teams.

As Corey Pronman noted, you just can’t make this stuff up.


Would’ve been nice if they had at least blown it in the final minutes, but ah well, this will do for entertainment value for now.


Not that anyone blames them.

Kevin Schultz of Islanders Point Blank had a story today that the says the Isles are looking to arrange a deal with Nassau County to get out of the Coliseum and into Brooklyn a year early, which makes perfect sense.

Leaving Nassau Coliseum a year earlier would enable the Islanders to begin capitalizing on revenue streams in Brooklyn, while not playing as lame duck tenants at the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike any longer than possible.

A source with knowledge of the team’s internal discussions has told Point Blank that “without question” the Islanders will play next season, the 2013-14 season, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

I like the idea of next year being a “farewell tour” of sorts to the Coliseum and surrounding area that’s been a great home for the franchise for many years, but two more years does seem a bit painful. Here’s to hoping this gets done, the team gets an official final season in the old barn, and that they get to Brooklyn sooner than later. It’ll certainly be a lot easier to attract free agents after the move happens.

(Stick-tap to @PhillipMSchwart)

Shown: the glove of Columbus rookie Cody Goloubef

Shown: the glove of Columbus rookie Cody Goloubef

I last played pro hockey during the 2008-2009 season, and had only started seeing some real safety innovations over the last year or two of my playing days. Kevlar socks were just starting to surface, and some players (hi) were wearing slash guards (as an oft-chopped offensive player, they were a godsend), and some others were starting to wear extra caps on their skates to make shot blocking less painful.

Steps were just generally being taken to prevent the loss of games due to injuries.

Well last night a Twitter conversation with @RedditCBJ@PhotogBlake and @JoshSmith29 led me to something I hadn’t seen before: an additional pad added to gloves to protect your paw when you’re blocking shots. The image you see above is a zoomed-in shot from @PhotoBlake, who took that picture of Columbus defenseman Cody Goloubef’s glove last night. The picture below is Derek Stepan, who also uses it (as a number of Rangers apparently do). Read the rest of this entry »

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

A lot of things are easy to quantify in hockey – Steven Stamkos is a good goal scorer because he scores a lot of goals. This is not a subjective opinion, that is just a thing that is. Grading General Managers, however…well that’s not so easy.

So, for our purposes today, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to call attention to the teams who currently have the most good deals on their books (no matter how they acquired them), because accomplishing that is an art. We always hear about all the terrible deals around the NHL, and about all the overpaid players, but forget that some teams are out there doing it right.

…For the most part.

Almost every GM has made some gross misstep along the way, so it’s impossible to call anyone infallible, but as things currently sit, a few teams are in pretty darn good shape. Let’s show them some love. (Oh, and a note: the numbers shown are they players’ cap hits, not their real-dollar salaries for the year.)

Honorable Mentions

(Note: not having Mike Gillis on this list – from the Sedins, to Burrows, to Hansen to Higgins – was a regrettable oversight. Dean Lombardi didn’t get included because hey, gotta draw the line somewhere, and I don’t care for a deal or three of the Kings.)

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

Philadelphia Flyers

GM: Paul Holmgren

Cost: #1 – NHL’s highest payroll (no space under the cap)

Well, rough start. But hear me out.

Paul Holmgren takes a lot of s***. He got rid of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, then they won a Cup. He used that cap room to get Ilya Bryzgalov, who then proceeded to suck. He traded James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn, and JVR’s recent success hasn’t looked great on him (though Schenn is secretly having a pretty decent season).

But on the other hand, he also has some real talent under extremely reasonable, and in some cases ridiculously good contracts. Consider:

Claude Giroux was signed as a restricted free agent which leaves you with little bargaining power, but still: he’s making $3.75 million this year and next to be the team’s captain, face of the franchise, and leading point-getter.

But wait: he’s actually not the leading point-getter right now (go ahead, gasp). That’d be Jakub Voracek, who’s making $4.25 mill (through 2016). He’s got 25 points in 23 games, good for (T)7th in the NHL. Other deals of note: Read the rest of this entry »