Friday, August 29, 2008

The Mess with Meszaros

A lot has been out there regarding RFA defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Bryan Murray told the media that the Senators and Meszaros are not close to a new contract. Then the Hockey News' Adam Proteau reported that Meszaros signed an offer sheet worth more than $5M a year for a yet unnamed team.

If I'm the Senators right now, and this report is true-- you almsot have to wonder if Meszaros is worth that amount of money for what we've seen out of him in his short career. He does have tremendous upside averages about 36 points per year, but it almost seems that the price could be a little steep. It's almost to the point where cutting ties could be the only answer and get back some draft picks for it.

The only reason I say that is not due to the lack of ability for Meszaros, but the fact that there's a kid named Brian Lee coming up through the depth chart who could more than fill the void that Meszaros leaves behind. While Meszaros seems to play a more offensive game, Lee's play is balanced to any style needed in him. While he need times to grow, if the numbers of the offer sheet are correct, the more affordable option would be Lee and let the headache of Meszaros go by the wayside.

That said, if Meszaros were to depart, there isn't much for puck moving defensemen on the blue line for the Sens. Christoph Schubert would be the closest thing to a puck moving defenseman, but has split time between defense and wing in the past few seasons. For that alone, Murray and company could pony up the cash for Meszaros and his puck handling abilities.

Once there is an announcement of an offer sheet, it'll be a busy week in Senators HQ and where there will me more or less of Meszaros in the Senators line-up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Five Things

So, Greg Wyshynski has started a wild-fire in the blogosphere with his "Five Changes" series on his Puck Daddy Blog. I mean, the likes of Matt Bradley, Lil' Jimmy Mirtle, and Ross McKeon; who drew the ire of Washington Caps' owner Ted "Teddy Ballgame" Leonsis.

Now, since I'm not too prominent, except in my own mind-- I'll steal this time and writer's block to air out my ideas and what needs to be done to change the NHL.

1. Get rid of the nets: As tragic as the Brittany Cecil incident was, I think enough time has passed that we can get rid of the nets and give the fans better sight lines to the game. It's one of the things that is a risk of going to a hockey game, but they announce it all the time during the game and have signs posted in the arena; read and listen, folks.

2. One ref is enough: There's two refs out there and we still have to go to instant replay for goal calls and possible suspensions. If they're still going to technology to get things right, why have the extra clutter on the ice?? If this is going to be a game of speed and skill, one less person on the ice will allow players to be more free flowing and give that extra space they need in order to dangle.

3. Move Columbus to the East: With the except of Detroit, the Jackets are the only team in the West that plays in the Eastern Time Zone. Now there's a couple reason the Jackets would move East over the Wings. First, the Wings have plenty of rivalries out in the West to leave behind, while the Jackets don't really have any. Second, the Jackets are another young team that's coming up the ranks and could flourish in the wide-open East. It would give the Jackets a chance to make the playoffs and actually make for even more exciting hockey out East with all the talent there. Now, not to make the Conferences unbalanced....

4. Relocate the Panthers: Sorry Panthers fan, but you aren't cutting it. Albeit, Miami is a fickle sports town-- just ask the Marlins and Heat, even after they won championships. In light of the short-comings of the franchise, maybe it's time for the current ownership to put the Panthers up for sale and maybe get some investors for Kansas City to buy the team and put it in that vacant arena they build "Field of Dreams" style. And let's not kid anyone, the actual Florida panther is almost extinct, may as well have the team of its namesake go by the wayside, too.

5. Ice Girls for ALL: Who doesn't like decent looking women in tight clothing in an ice rink to help pep things up. Sure, there's people who hate them and say they ruin the tradition of the game...but they also said that hockey below the Mason-Dixon line wouldn't work; though the jury is still out on that one in some cases (see #4). But in the end, some fans in some buildings need a little motivation to cheer along. Enough with the lethargic fans out there. For more ice girls, check out Hotties of Hockey-- good times, good times.

So, that's that. It's a now hack-move just going with the trend of others and coat-tailing their noterity, but it's how I roll.

Oh, and by the way-- if anyone knows the name of the Hurricanes Storm Squad girl in the picture, let me know.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Desperately Seeking Stefan

If you haven't heard by now, the Stefan Legein story is one of the biggest of the summer that doesn't have to do with someone making up their mind about who and where to sign with. Legein has recently retired from professional hockey at the age of 19. There's plenty of speculation of why Legein is doing this and the motives behind it. Legein has come back with a retort to the speculation:

"I'd like for everyone to stop bashing my father, my family, and me personally. My family has been amazing. They have supported me and never forced me to do anything and to say its their fault is ridiculous. Take the time to talk to me before you accuse me of being addicted to anything, even if it's coffee. I realize you're going to speculate but please don't bash my character and especially my family."

And you know what, people should respect Legein and his family. To be honest, for a kid this age, you have to give him as much time as he can. Who knows what's going through his head and his reasonings behind it. The fact is, if he wants to call it a career at 19, sobeit. There's many of players who do the same thing for one reason or another and there's plenty more who should have hung them up, but didn't.

This could be a case where Legein, who is coming off a shoulder injury, is down on himself because his buddies are training for camps and he is unable to. It could be a case of thinking that because of this injury, he won't be able to play to the level that got him drafted in the first place. That, or he could have actually lost the desire to play at the NHL level for one reason or another. The fact is, we'll never know until Legein himself actually makes an official statement and decision on what he's going to do with his career.

The odd thing is, like I mentioned before, there are plenty of players who have retired at the same age-- why is Legein the one who is thrown into the fray like this?? What is it about Legein that gets him this much press?? Maybe that's something we'll NEVER find out because the media has their own agenda. If they were to back up and not just assume the worst to make a story-- Legein would be more open to give his side of the story.

As an aside, a person note to Stefan Legein-- if you finally want to get out your story-- UNCENSORED and UNEDITED-- please give me an email at so we can make something happen and you can get your story out in your own words and in as much time as you need. Just consider it when you want to Stefan-- we'd love to have your thoughts about it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Hockey Fever-- Catch It.....Or Not

With the Summer Games going on, there has been talk about the 2010 Games (and beyond) already. Julie Robenhymer discussed it on her guest post at GFH, but it was also brought up on a message board I frequent (Into The Boards); in which the idea of NHLers not participating in the Olympics after the 2010 Games.

Now, if the latter were to happen-- that would mean that it could be the last chance for some NHLers to win a gold medal in hockey. Who knows, Sidney Crosby could move into the Summer Games and try to win one on the three-meter springboard (it's an easy one, but come on). Anyway, back to the matter at hand-- it'll be extra incentive for some of these players to actually try hard. Obviously, the Canadian and US teams were both looked at like they weren't trying as hard as they could when it came to the Games in Turin-- so if it's the last chance to go for gold, you know they may turn it up a little bit.

Looking beyond the 2010 Games, would it necessarily be a bad thing if the NHLers don't play??

With hockey becoming more and more wide-spread and talent being there on all levels of play, I don't believe the talent level will drop off and there could be a deeper passion to go for gold. There's plenty of talented players from every country who don't play in the NHL, but other pro leagues. If you look at the Spangler Cup rosters for Canada, you see that they pull from all over Europe and the minors and do just fine. Who knows, the Canadians could bring back the touring National team like they did from 1983 to 1988. Sean Burke could still be available to play too.

Now, don't get me wrong-- I understand that NHLers would give more exposure to the game, but the NHL shouldn't have to shut down for three weeks while the Games are going on. It's not the same in other Olympic events, as the basketball is somehow in the Summer Games, the MLB doesn't often release players to play in the Olympics, and the MLS just recall other players while their season is going on. In addition, it would truncate the schedule making the stretch run even more grueling and lead to fatigue on some players. Granted, they are well conditioned athlete's, but still.

In the end, it would be a good idea to keep the NHLers out of the Olympics after 2010. Not only would it keep the league going, but also give some fans an alternate should their team be stinking up the joint by the time February rolls around. Plus, who knows what will happen when some players are on a stage like the Olympics. There could be some previously unknown players breaking out of their shell and playing their way to an NHL contract, just because they got the chance to show off their skill set. Who knows-- stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen....Greg Wyshynski

It's an epic time for me, mostly because it's almost the end of the work week. But still...

I usually don't do pre-interviews when it comes to FOHS, but this week's guest is one whose mind I had to tap into on a deeper level-- Yahoo's Puck Daddy Editor, Greg Wyshynski. Shynner (as no one calls him) has done it all from writing a fantastic collection of essays to what he does now for Yahoo-- everything in-between is a blur, but it will more than likely come out in some kind of drunken rambling.

After wheeling and dealing with his people, I was able to do a little dialogue with Mr. Wyshynski from his plush NoVA (Northern Virginia for those not in the loop) grotto. I, sadly, was still in Calgary.

And yes, I had to use one of the most awkward-looking pictures of Greg out there.

SW: First Greg, thanks for taking the time out to do this.

GW: Well, you’ve caught me at a good time, having just completed a 50-foot mural of Michael Phelps in my rec room. I used Gatorade-colored paint and gelt for the gold medals.

SW: As you have mentioned a number of times, you’re a Devils fan. When you go to a game, do you go full “David Puddy” for it or are you a little more laid back??

GW: I don’t go the full David Puddy, because I’m not a face-painter. I painted my face once for a basketball game while attending the University of Maryland, and I got a nosebleed. I have no idea if one had to do with the other; but it’s sort of like when you go to a restaurant and end up with massive diarrhea afterwards -- why chance another trip to the well??

I’m embarrassingly vocal at games. It’s my goal to make the person in the row in front of me laugh at least once, usually at an inappropriate joke about one of my own players. I also try to start chants. Here in D.C., I’m legend for being the guy who screams out crap on the escalator after the game. Mostly because, at that point, it’s the Smithwick's talking.

SW: What is it with the Devils not getting any respect in their own state?? I mean, South Jersey fans are usually Flyers fans, Northern Jersey goes with NYC, and the Central folks seem to care less. Why are people so down on this team??

GW: First off, Central Jersey represent: We care about a lot of things. Jovi tickets, shore traffic, the mall closest to a White Castle. All of it.

One aspect to the Devils’ problems is that buffet of other sports options. The Devils aren’t just competing with three other hockey teams; they’re competing against all of New York’s teams and all of Philly’s teams for attention, too.

I think the new arena will help, because it’s finally a destination worthy of a pro team. It’s just a matter of adding some basic elements around the place. Like a good bar or two.

In the end, the Devils only have themselves to blame, because marketing was a foreign concept for that franchise for decades. There’s a distance between Devils fans and that team that doesn’t exist for Islanders fans or for Capitals fans. They don’t feel like part of the community. It’s Lou Lamoriello’s fault, because he created so many barriers for fans and for the media. But he’s also the reason the team has three Stanley Cups, so it’s hard to argue with that approach.

SW: Switching gears to the internet; with all the blogs and podcasts pertaining to hockey, is it safe to say that hockey fans are the most tech savvy??

GW: There’s no question hockey fans are the most tech savvy. We’re also the smartest fans, because you need a degree from M.I.T. to figure out the 27 columns in the NHL standings. Wins and losses?? That’s for morons. Make mine overtime defeat points!

Hockey fans also have the ability to edit together highlights, set them to a System of a Down song and put it on YouTube. Let’s see a golf fan do that.

SW: As a follow up, do you think that fans in the states almost have to rely on the internet due to possible lack of coverage by national outlets??

GW: Yes, but not strictly in a blogging way. The Canadian newspapers and sites like TSN drive the narrative as much as any blog does, so for U.S. fans to have access to that is critical.

I worked for a newspaper for nearly a decade. It sucks to see that medium struggle, because it gave me everything I have (because I gave it everything I had). But part of that struggle comes from a misunderstanding of their audience. I’m sorry, but if the Washington Post stops covering the Stanley Cup playoffs with a reporter after the Capitals are eliminated, that’s not serving its audience. That’s serving its editor’s interests, of which hockey is not a primary one. And readers are like, “I really don’t care about what you’re giving me, so I’ll be leaving for the summer.” And then the paper shrinks.

SW: Speaking of internet blogs, it seems that the Puck Daddy portion on Yahoo has been a rousing success. What’s in store for the season ahead??

GW: Really, is there any way to top our “Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism” contest?? I might as well hand in my resignation right now.

This season will be the first full one for Puck Daddy, as we came online in April. I can tell you we’re planning to have some rather interesting names guest-blogging for us throughout the season, should deals become sealed.

But we’re going to be a daily, topical and controversial as we’ve been all summer. The goal has always been to be a site that offers you something new whenever you come to visit us.

SW: As the author of the critically acclaimed Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer, is there anything you’d like to add to the 101 Worst Ideas in Sports??

GW: The tragedy of that book is that it could have been the “901 Worst Ideas in Sports History,” because as I was writing it more and more idiocy occurred. Were I to write a sequel, I’d add three right away: The AHL Iowa Chops, the congressional steroid hearings and ThunderStix. Seriously, god gave you palms. Clap them, stupid.

You are correct, by the way, that “Glow Pucks” was critically acclaimed. It’s the most well-reviewed bathroom book in the history of sports journalism. Mostly because I’m the only author who dares admit he wrote a collection of essays for the crapper.

SW: Hypothetical portion of the show, say you’re the mad scientist, make your ultimate hockey player.

GW: First off, he’d have Jiri Tlusty’s penis, for the inevitable Facebook photo scandal.

My favorite skater remains Jagr, simply because he used to drag defenders like he was Mark Bavaro when he was with Pittsburgh. My player would have Brett Hull’s shot, Gretzky’s vision, John Madden’s tenacity, Yzerman’s two-way responsibility, Scott Stevens’s hitting ability, Lindros’s size and Forsberg’s hands. I’d also give him Ricci’s smile and Sean Avery’s way with the ladies, for the pure dichotomy of it.

SW: Now, let’s say you’re a wrestler. What’s your entrance music and why??

GW: I’d have to go with two that have already been used: Steve Austin’s music was, perhaps, the best in the history of wrestling because the arena would pop so epically when the glass would break.

But my favorite entrance music has to the “Hollywood” Hogan use of “Voodoo Chile,” from the opening notes to the way he just took it all in when strolling to the ring. It was a white man’s pimp walk them.

Honorable mention: The Bushwackers song, because it fit so well with Vince McMahon’s fake laughter as their antics, back when he was a face announcer.

SW: Now, let’s say you’re at a blackjack table and have a pair of threes—do you split or hit??

GW: Ha!! I’ll have to ask Glenn Anderson his advice, which will in turn just be Gretzky’s advice anyway.

SW: Finally, it’s your time, Greg—if you have anything to plug; plug away.

GW: First, I want to thank all the puckheads who’ve found their way to Puck Daddy, dug it, hung around and continue to support the site. It’s been a pleasure to see this thing grow like an angry sea monkey for the last few months. (This includes those pricks who post “Slow news day, huh?” on every comedy piece we do. Because even if you’re a prick, you’re still reading, which is fundamental.)

In closing, I’d like to spotlight the four most underrated comedic performances in recent cinematic history: Anna Faris as Samantha James in “Just Friends”; Tim Curry as Wadsworth in “Clue”; Stephen “Flounder” Furst as Harold in the early 1980s scavenger hunt film “Midnight Madness”; and Matthew McConaghey in “Reign of Fire,” which probably wasn’t supposed to be a comedy now that I think about it.

Ladies and Gentlemen-- the man, the myth, the blogging legend-- Greg Wyshynski. What more needs to be said that hasn't been said about The Ten Commandments, CATS, and anything that Michael Winslow did after Police Academy??

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Fantasy

Ellen Page is one of mine, but that's not what we're talking about here.

We're getting into the very craptastic part of the NHL off-season where most of the free agent signings, sans some, are done with and we're so close to the opening of camps, but not quite there yet-- much like a Serbian swimmer in the 100 meter butterfly.

Yet, to make sure us hockey fans don't go completely insane, we start to round up our buddies, readers, or listeners in order to organize our fantasy hockey league or hockey pools. For instance, we at the Face Off Hockey Show have already started sign-ups, as has Sean Leahy's Going Five Hole. What better way to hang out with fellow hockey fanatics and do your best Brian Burke impression should someone try to steal your waiver transaction during the season.

And while some out there are geeked about NHL 09 coming out-- us with no attention-span and can't spend hours in front of the 360 or PS3, fantasy hockey is our haven to be the GM and control a team without actually having to do much of anything but adjust line-ups and curse at the TV when our roster is sucking worse than a German prostitute.

Plus, it's a learning experience about guys on the rise and those on the fall. Picking up the players just about to break-out and dropping the guys who would are about to tank worse than the 1983-84 Pittsburgh Penguins. Although, thanks for past are able to win a championship picking Felix Potvin as your first pick thanks to Yahoo's messed up queue. Don't ask why he was in my queue, but he was there-- but still took the league championship.

But what makes fantasy hockey so great?? Is it the comradery?? Is it the smack-talk and bragging rights?? Is it the power over guys we don't know?? It's all of that and more. There's something about fantasy hockey that, to me, puts people over the edge. It makes things more passionate and really makes you toe the party line. For instances, there are some people out there who won't pick anyone off a rival team, no matter how good they are. It makes you want to yell out at players when you go to a game to pick up their scoring because you're down for the week on goals. Plus, it brings about knee-jerk reactions that can only happen in fantasy hockey....or on the Maple Leafs roster.

It's an addiction for some. Pick up all the fantasy guides out there, comparing each and then creating your own rankings. Going as far as making a site dedicated to your teams wheelings and dealings, as well as your own musings and abusings when it comes to teams, players, and whatever else is on your mind. It's more than a game, it's a way of life.

In addition to all of that, FOHS fan favorite and cult hero Jimmy Chunkybutter returns for another season of the FOHSHL report. Also, Jimmy will be opening his own blog soon, the Jimmy Chunky-Blog. It should be full of....well, drunkenness, who are we fooling?? It's something to look out for.

So, get your draft boards ready, get your forecasting done, because it's almost time to pre-rank your draft in case you have to miss out (heaven forbid). Of course, Yahoo picking for some hasn't been a bad thing-- nice pick, Yahoo.

Oh, PS-- if you want to join the FOHSHL, BE DIALIN!!!!!! Just shoot a line to and we'll get you on the list for the league. Fun times all around.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Case For Cammi

It was announced Tuesday that Cammi Granato would be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame with Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, and pseudo-American Brett Hull. Now, Granato is the first female to be inducted into the US HHOF and should very well be the first female inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Granto was already inducted to the IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame this May, with three other women's players to become the first women to be inducted.

There will be plenty of people who will debate what that Haley Wickenheiser should get the first nod over Granato for what she has done with her status and getting into professional ranks, but either or at this point-- it's high time that a figure in women's hockey needs to be enshrined into the HHOF, especially with the expansion of women's hockey all over the world.

Granato should recieve the nod first, mostly since her contribution to women's hockey in the US has gone above and beyond what anyone could imagine. Granato was the captain of the Gold Medal winning USA team in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, which was the first time women's hockey was in the Olympics and really has been the figure-head for women's hockey in the US. Also, for what it's worth-- Cammi had 139 goals and 256 points in 99 career college hockey games; both of which are records for Providence College. Sure, it was in the infancy of women's college hockey-- but even still; that's damn impressive.

You have to remember, the HHOF is for all forms of hockey-- which seems to be forgotten. There have been plenty of international stars, male and female, who have been overlooked for enshrinement. I know on the June 25th edition of Face Off Hockey Show, Lyle Richardson of Spector's Hockey talked to us about how overdue it has been for a women to be inducted.

With all these accolades being given to Granato in the past few months, it's about time that the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee give a serious look at Granato being the first female to be inducted. Granato is one of the most recognizable faces when it comes to women's hockey and it would be a fitting honor for her to be the first women to be inducted into the HHOF after the US HHOF and IIHF HHOF.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hint to Expansion or Relocation??

Lil' Jimmy Mirtle has a post up displaying some of the odder choices for neutral site locations for the pre-season affairs for the NHL. These locations include: Kansas City, Winnipeg, Las Vegas, Halifax, Salt Lake City, and various places around Europe.

Some of these locales have meaning, like Europe where four teams will be playing their first games of the regular season; Winnipeg, which wholes a game for the Coyotes every year, and Kansas City, which is hosting a Kings game since the same people who own the Kings (AEG) own the Sprint Center in KC. Then you have those one-offs like Halifax and Summerside, PEI-- which hold training camps for some teams, and have for a while. SLC and Vegas are interesting choices, especially since the MGM Grand will be hosting a game.

Oddly enough, the Kings are playing in KC, Vegas, and SLC-- which makes you wonder what AEG is really doing with this team in terms of parading them around. Sure, you can make a speculation that the Kings will be moving to one of these destinations-- but it's a long-shot.

The real question is whether or not the NHL feels stable enough to do another round of expansion. Is this the feeling out process to see what reception the NHL will get in these markets?? Are these games true gauges to get an actual response, since it is a pre-season game??

When you look at the selections, like KC and Vegas-- though it could have a link to the teams playing, they are interesting choices since those cities have been in the rumor-mill for expansion possibilities-- Vegas for it's luster and KC because they have a huge arena built and no team in any league calling it home. Winnipeg could be grouped in there too, since the Canadian marketplace seems to be ready for another team and many in Winnipeg feel wronged by the Jets getting grounded and moving to Phoenix (pun intended).

You know it's summer when you start thinking about why pre-season games are being played where they are and expansion comes up.

But maybe it's time. The NHL has thrived, the salary cap has gone up ten-fold since the system has been instituted, and there's always new markets out there that could really help the NHL. That said, if not expansion-- maybe it's time to re-locate some teams out there and move them into markets that will not only help the teams out financially, but help the NHL out as well-- not only in finance, but exposure. The latter being what the game needs to thrive.

We'll see if this turns into anything or if it's just a case of trying to make the neutral site games truly neutral, without any feeling to either teams that are playing. Ooooo speculation-- how I love thee.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Flooding The Minors Market

If you haven't noticed that in the past month some more minor leagues are coming into play, odds are you aren't the only one. It seems that in the past few years, many new minor leagues have come-- and gone-- with the times. The latest attempts are the Eastern League (EPHL) and a resurrection of the Mid-Atlantic League (MAHL).

Now, I say resurrection because the MAHL went ended their season early last year due to lack of interest. You may remember this league, briefly, because a group of player from the Jamestown Vikings trashed a hotel upon learning the news. The players thought the owner of the league owned the hotel, that didn't stop them from trashing the place AFTER they found out that the owner didn't actually own the hotel. In for a penny, in for a pound.

What's my point?? I'm getting to it, calm down.

It's getting to the point in minor league hockey were the lower-tiers may have to think abotu doing something like a Champions League or Super League. Obviously, the AHL and ECHL have their status set as a AAA and AA feeder respectively. However, leagues like the IHL, SPHL, EPHL, and MAHL could think about doing something to combine all the leagues and play out like that. If a super league is formed, it'll give the players more opportunities to have places to play and play for something. In a Champions League, you'll see talent spread out through the leagues in order to get the best team of all combined.

Of course, the only league out of the equation is the Central League (CHL), but they are an interesting breed. There's plenty of possibile options for the CHL in my fantasy world. First, they could continue to stand alone. With the history and stability, the CHL could be considered a good low-AA option. Second, the league could split, with some teams going up to the ECHL and others going down a level to the super/champions league. Third, outrightly go to the super/champions league and go from there.

It's an idea and something that should really be looked at. I, for one, am sick of seeing these leagues pop up and disappear. It's not so much because it's a failed venture, but it's a bitch on guys who try-out and want to play hockey for a living. They dedicate to this league and they miss payments, they have teams just suspend operations at the drop of a hat, or any other numerous things that could go wrong with a fly-by-night operation that these leagues appear to be becoming. There could be a diamond-in-the-rough in some of these leagues, but will be forgotten or not even seen because of leagues and teams shutting down before they are able to display what they've got.