Discussion in 'Sports, by Huey Lewis and the News' started by CheesyPoof, Jun 12, 2012.
The Ice Hockey thread.
So as the Devil's improbable run ended with a giant thud last night I found myself looking ahead to next year. The first thing in my mind was that Zach Parise is an unrestricted free agent. I hope the Devils do resign him, but I fear they will not be able to what, with $100m invested in Kovalchuk. That, frankly, sucks a giant one. Surprise star Adam Henrique may remove some of that sting, but there is no denying they would not have gotten as far as they did without #9. Also, I have a Parise (New) Jersey and it's going to suck to have a departed player on my back.
Next thing I though of was the labor agreement is due. Not sure how to read the tea leaves on this one, but my gut tells me it's going to get cocked up. What does everyone else think?
Thirdly, Brodeur wants to come back. He was good enough (and then some) last year, and I don't know who they have on the farm to replace him (if anyone). It may be a good time to bring/draft a kid up to back him up and learn from the best. Backup goalie Heberg is a free agent too, so that opportunity is there. Of course, if the Devils happen to sign Parise it may not be tenable to bring Marty back, and that would be unfortunate. That said I would place the emphasis on the future and not the past despite how much the franchise owes Marty (and I suspect he is aware of that).
The Parise speculation in our MN local sports media is out of control, and has been for the last few months. Maybe I'm just too jaded, but I don't see him signing here. The new front office has been fantastic, but you have to figure that the team is a few years out from real contention even with guys like Granlund and Koyle on the way.
Parise is gone. Marty will probably be back. There is no plan to replace Marty at this time, which sucks.
IMO, drafting a goalie is the hardest draft move in all of pro sports. Really high quality goalies come along once every three years or so. After having Marty in net for the past twenty years, it is going to be a real shock when he retires.
There's been some murmuring that the Caps would like to snag him to replace Semin, who is also a UFA this year.
We kinda need a head coach and to sign all our RFAs first, though.
FWIW the Star Ledger says there's some kid named Scott Wedgewood in the farm system but a couple years away.
I'm curious to see how the whole Luongo/Schneider thing plays out in Vancouver. Luongo has already said he won't 'stand in the way' of change, despite his long-term contract and Schneider has likewise made it clear that he wants to be more than a back-up (and actually posted better numbers than Luongo last season).
My prediction is that Luongo will stay, Schneider will be traded and the team Schneider goes to will join the pantheon of Teams That Squash the Canucks on the Way to the Stanley Cup.
I have heard all over the place that he's waived his NTC and a deal is in the works to get him out of there.
Yeah, I've seen the same stories. We shall see.
I think Schneider may be a good first step in rebuilding the team. I know, it seems weird to think that a team that won the President's Trophy two years in a row and came within a game of winning it all needs to rebuild but there's a lot of things just not quite right with the Canucks. Shadarr could probably provide the specifics.
It's an interesting conundrum the Canucks are in. Luongo likely doesn't have much trade value at all because of his albatross of a contract and the fact that he can use his NTC to limit potential trading partners to only a few teams. Since he's publicly asked to be traded, Vancouver doesn't have much leverage and isn't likely to get a decent return for him. They may even have to take on another team's bad contract as part of any potential deal. On the other hand, Schneider has much higher trade value and would fetch a a significantly better return. If I was Gillis, I'd try to trade Schneider and hold on to Luongo.
I think Gillis will see it the same way.
What's with these deals in the NHL? Cripes, I thought it was limited to the Islanders because Garth Snow is their GM (15 years for DiPietro), but this year I learned about Lunogo's deal and then the 9 year deal to Bryzgalov. Hell, the Devils deal with Kovalchuk has the makings of an albatross. If the intent is to get around the cap all it does is mortgage your future for now, which I do not think is a sound policy.
It is if you're a GM who's going to be fired if you don't have success in the next couple of years.
Yeah, Ovechkin has I think ... 9 years left on his contract, and there are some who see it becoming an albatross too (not me, though.)
Bit late with this observation, but... considering that the players still give interviews in the form of buttoned-up polite fomulas, and that diving is considered despicable, I think "a hooligan's game played by gentlemen" would work.
I was watching Poland-Russia today and while two players were rolling around the grass having pain orgasms for 2 minutes I thought to myself "Soccer is a too good a sport for these supremely talented contemptible people. It deserves to be restaffed by hockey players."
That title is taken by the rugby thread, as part of a very old, very famous quote.
See my brain's filing system knew that but the soccer thread took the other half of the epigram as its title and I forgot. Fair enough. But hockey is a hooligan's game played by ritually polite hooligans with a better attitude towards diving than footballers.
The worst thing is when I watch soccer and someone dives, at first my blood boils, but then I have a moment of doubt where I ask myself if I've internalized some kind of macho Don Cherry bullshit, and do I think diving is worse than violence?
But I can't see how a rigourous anti-diving policy would necessarily make soccer more violent. They could just brutally punish the 30% most ludicrous dives, or fine people based on instant replays, or something.
Luongo has not publicly asked for a trade. I wouldn't be surprised if he has done so behind closed doors considering the frequently shameful way he's been treated by the fans the last few years, but he hasn't gone to the media and said he wants a trade. All he's really said is this...
Exactly. There are almost a half dozen teams that would pay huge for Schneider and fix much more problematic issues that have been plaguing the Canucks for a few years - like the lack of any sort of consistent bottom two lines, another genuine top six winger, and another top four defenceman to keep Edler from playing as badly as he did without Ehrhoff.
There is a perfectly good reason why players dive so much in football - the continuous clock. Since the game never stops those eleven men must be absolutely exhausted halfway through the game much less after a full 90 minutes. Writhing around on the ground gives your teammates valuable time to breath and rest a little bit. At least that is my thought. Plus those cleats must really hurt like the dickens even when it does look like you are flopping intentionally for a card - at least some of the time.
Both sides get the rest. Cut the game down 10 minutes or eliminate stoppage time if the players start getting heatstroke.
I'm sure some of the time a painful foul is exactly what it looks like. But the ubiquitous paroxysms of agony... I can't stop reacting to it (and then doubting myself.)
So do NHL players when they do all the little tricks that we can notice while watching - going to get a new stick, skating around the circle a bit too much, engaging with the referee etc. Making sure you or your own teammates get a bit of rest is the important thing. Divorced from the NHL comparison it also allows the rest of your team to regain their composure when things are going badly, play for a draw, helps keep teams from coming back, etc.
Not going to question there is a huge amount of diving in football but the time keeping design promotes it and it would still exist even if the game were 20 or 30 minutes shorter. Simply easier to detect and criticize in modern sports telecasting.
If it's really timekeeping - and I wouldn't analogize directly from hockey because shift changes alone make things so fundamentally different - then lying there in apparently heroic stoicism would accomplish the same thing aside from the desire to draw a bogus call.
And I appreciate that "not hiding" pain or a fall from a genuine foul can easily bleed over into "highlighting" it and thence to outright diving, but that's true of trying to draw penalties in hockey, too, and it's the sort of thing that can be penalized.
If it were inextricably linked with timekeeping than that'd be a compelling reason to change to in-line stoppages. Immemorial tradition blah-blah-blah but the diving sucks, and if that got rid of it, worth it.
Rule changes for football are kinda out of the question though aren't they? Not that I have a huge amount of knowledge about the rules or the governing body but it seems like it's fairly set in stone considering how all the international/national/league structures fold into FIFA. They have enough trouble just bringing goal-line video technology into play that any suggestion of modifying something so fundamental as time management is nothing more than a pipe dream.
Perhaps, as you hinted at, better referees could be used to curtail on the bogus dives but from the limited pool of evidence I've seen as to referee standards in FIFA that'll be a very long, long road to go down in order to solve the problem. I think we should also be mindful that the sport is mired in an amount of bureaucracy and other foolishness that we absolutely don't see in North American sports. I'd also rather we worry more about a lack of any sort of salary caps in the premier association football leagues instead of diving though. I can deal with diving and all that kind of nonsense when it comes to international tournaments and the like but other domestic leagues are more thoroughly ruined by abject out of control spending on an international pool of players.
Zach Parise rules out the Rangers.
I think the NFL lockout was the best case scenario, which means shortened training camp and pre-season but no lost regular season games. More likely, the two sides won't really start to talk until games are being cancelled and money is being lost. If I had to guess, I'd say it'll be a 60 game season.
I don't believe the Canucks will rebuild, because I've seen no indication anyone in the organization thinks there's a problem. However, for them to be more than perennial President's Trophy disappointments, they need to change the culture on the team. Right now, they are a team built to beat up on weaker teams. The Sedins are dominant when they have a size and strength mis-match, but in the playoffs they can be completely eliminated by top-tier defensemen. They play a style that gets them goals and wins in the regular season but doesn't translate to the playoffs. The Kings and Devils on the other hand are used to 60 minutes of tough sledding, winning close games or even going into overtime against teams that are equal or even more talented. There's a saying in hockey, the only thing that beats hard work is hard work and talent. The Canucks have talent but they get outworked a lot, even when they win. Nobody outworks the Kings.
It boggles my mind to hear people blaming Luongo for anything. Luongo may not be Patrick Roy, but if he had a team in front of him that could play defense, he's more than good enough to win a cup. In the final last year, two of the three games the Canucks won were 1-0 games. That is not a goal tending problem. I really hope Luongo gets traded, because he deserves better than Canuck fans. And I'll be very surprised if Schneider's numbers from this season hold up as a starter, when he's facing the top teams and has the same Canuck team in front of him that completely forgets how to play hockey a couple times a game.
If I were re-building the Canucks, here's what I would do. First, trade the Sedins. I don't think you can strip a player of the C but I also don't think you can win with leadership like the Sedins. If you look at the captains who've won the cup recently, guys like Brown and Chara and Toews, they set the tempo for their teams. When the team is playing sluggish, they are the ones making the big hit or fighting through the check and giving that little bit of extra effort, which the rest of the team can't help but try to emulate. The Sedins are probably the least energetic players on the team. They play at one speed, all season long. Sometimes that speed is enough, in the playoffs it often isn't, but that's the only speed they have. When the Canucks are playing sluggish, it's usually someone like Kesler or Higgins or even one of the fourth-line guys who gets them going, if anyone does. The only way to change the culture is to get rid of the leadership.
Second, they need better defense. When Willie Mitchell was on the Canucks, he was the number 1 defenseman. On the Kings, he's #2 or 3. Dan Hamhuis is the only legit top four defenseman the Canucks have, and while the rest aren't terrible they also aren't elite. When you look at guys like Doughty and Mitchell, Chara, Seidenberg and Boychuk, or Seabrook, Keith and Campbell, it's clear that even Hamhuis isn't in that league. Do they need to have that calibre of defense? Well, they don't in the regular season, but they do in the playoffs. I don't believe a team has ever won the cup after getting blown out the way the Canucks did last year, twice. They simply aren't capable of playing 60 minutes of solid defense against a relentless opponent, night after night. Probably in large part because they're used to scoring four or five goals and coasting through the third period.
If this was NHL 97 and I had a force-trade button, I would keep Luongo, get rid of the Sedins, Salo and Bieksa and bring in Rick Nash, Cory Perry, Shae Weber and Hal Gill.
This is ridiculous. First of all, if you can see a wide-shot of a soccer game, only a couple of guys are going 100% at any given time, everybody else is just jogging into position. They are not playing at full hockey effort level for 90 minutes straight, because they would die.
Second, I play hockey with a running clock. I've even played games where we didn't have any spares and had to play the full 60 minutes. There was no diving. There was a lot more icing, but there was no diving.
The reason there is diving in soccer is because the reward far outweighs the risk. Does anyone ever get red-carded for diving? Yet, if you can somehow trick the ref into giving you a penalty kick, you've almost certainly cheated your way to a goal. If penalty shots in hockey had a 90% success rate, you'd probably see a lot more diving on break-aways.
Footballers comfortably have the fitness to go 90 minutes. Mostly because the majority of them are athletes first and 'footballers' second.
So as far as my team, the Oilers, I'm really not sure how far they are away from being competitive. They've pretty much got their top six forwards for the next decade (if they can keep them all) but their only current top-four calibre defenseman is Ladislav Smid. Like the rest of the team, the defense is pretty young, and 24-year-olds like Petry and Peckham may well develop into solid defenders. The big question mark is in goal, because Khabibulin is in the final year of his contract and Dubnyk is a restricted free agent who hasn't proven himself. When Khabibulin was playing like the 'bulin wall of old, the Oilers were pretty competitive. However, this was more of a Dominic Hasek performance than a Martin Brodeur, as the defense in front of him was always suspect and he was baling them out. Few guys can do that continuously.
Ideally, I'd like to see them trade the #1 pick and move down a little to take one of the top defensemen, rather than adding Yakupov to an already crowded core of young forwards. There doesn't seem to be a top goaltending prospect this year, which is a shame. However, it's kind of hard to predict what will happen with so much about the team in flux. They currently have no head coach, and GM Steve Tambellini may be on the way out as they just brought back Craig MacTavish as VP of Hockey Operations, the coach Tambellini fired four years ago. There's no way to know what type of team this is going to be when the positions which define that are vacant. I'm not really sure whether to root for Tambellini to stay or go. On the one hand, MacTavish didn't exactly preside over a dynasty in his first go round, but on the other hand if you look at the Oilers' draft history, the first non-first round pick on the current roster is Linus Omark back in 2007. That's a lot of high second and third round picks who haven't managed to crack a pretty weak roster.
As far as the coach, I'm just hoping they don't hire a Sutter. The LA Kings aside, I don't generally enjoy watching Sutter hockey. I also hope they don't bring in another retread like Tom Renney. Since the team isn't making their search public, it's hard to know who is under consideration, but of the rumoured candidates my pick would be Jon Cooper, who coached the Norfolk Admirals to a sweep in the Calder Cup.
The Oilers would be crazy to hang on to the #1 pick and draft Yakupov, but I can certainly see them doing it. The old boys' club they have running the team in Edmonton have to be the most incompetent management group in the NHL. If the team's owner wasn't obsessed with reliving the glory days of the Gretzky-era 80s dynasty, he'd have fired Lowe years ago.
They've got a very nice core of young forwards in Hall, Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins who all show great promise for the future, but they've got to be in "win now" mode. Hall and Eberle will both be expecting big raises after the 2012-13 season, and RNH the year after that. Unlike Chicago's Cup-winning team of 2010, Edmonton is absolutely dreadful on the blueline with no standout players like Seabrook and Keith. The Oilers goaltending is also rather suspect. That's not a formula that's going to see them have any success in the playoffs (assuming they can even qualify).
If I was Lowe/Tambellini, I'd look to trade the #1 pick for a package of players (not prospects or picks, they need roster players who can help them win now) that includes at least one top-end defenseman. The window is very quickly closing on Edmonton's chance to get above-market value from their young forwards. Within a year or two, they'll either have to trade away one of their core players or end up looking like the Tampa Bay Lightning circa 2005-07 (one really good top line, terrible everywhere else).
I do not like the name of this thread. I keep clicking on one of the other hooligan threads by mistake.
Bender is the hooligan that you seek.
The NHL will take over the Devils if the owner doesn't get his finances together. That won't hamper any efforts to resign Parise!
Draft tomorrow, anyone looking forward to it? The Caps have the most picks, including 2 in the first round.
Devils aren't giving up their draft pick (outstanding punishment for the Kovalchuk shenanigans), so I guess Lou thinks they'll win the cup next year.
Schedules are out, the Devils open up road in DC to begin the year with a win over the Caps (assuming not work stoppage that is).
I don't care about the draft.
As a fan of Swedish hockey, it was nice to see Lundqvist and Karlsson pick up the Vezina and Norris trophies, respectively, and as a Bruins fan, I'm happy to see Bergeron capture the Selke.
I saw that!
I do hope there's no work stoppage, because the Caps host the Pens on ... Halloween, and that would be a great game to go to.
TSN is reporting the Flyers have traded Bobrovsky to Columbus for (as of now unspecified) draft pick(s).
My twitter feed says it's for 3 picks, including #45.
The other rumor is that Ryan Murray might be #1 instead of Yakupov.
It makes sense for Edmonton, as they already have several skilled forward like Yakupov but desperately need to improve their blueline. Still, with Yakupov being the consensus best player in the draft, you have to think it's a tough call to pass him over. If I was Lowe/Tambellini, I'd try to trade the #1 pick to Columbus for the #2 pick and another asset or two. Who know if the Blue Jackets would actually be interested in that offer, though.
Yeah, to get Columbus to give up anything they'd pretty much have to be willing to trade down to #3, otherwise they have no leverage. And if they really want another Ryan on the team (even just to replace Smyth), they might not want to take that gamble.
Now this is an interesting rumour from Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet:
The Canadiens are shopping P.K. Subban and the #3 pick to Edmonton for the #1 pick (and possibly more?). If there's any truth to that rumour, the Oilers should take the deal. They'd get an immediate improvement for their defense in Subban, and they'll still be able to draft a quality player at #3. Montreal would get a skilled forward with game-changing potential in Yakupov.
In other news, Tim Thomos has apparently waived his No Movement Clause. Would any team take a gamble on him given his recent irratic behaviour and indication that he's taking the 2012-13 season off?
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