Monday, February 28, 2011

Post Trade Deadline NHL Power Rankings

1. Vancouver, 87 PTS (last week #1): Great D-Day for Vancouver. They didn't give up much and they get two useful players.

2. Philadelphia, 86 PTS (last week #2): Versteeg and Boynton make the team better and deeper, but I'm not sure I'll be picking Philly to win the Eastern conference this year.

3. Detroit, 82 PTS (last week #3): Stood pat. Signed Jimmy Howard to an extension. Well done. This team is already deep and did not require any new parts.

4. San Jose, 78 PTS (last week #8): Ian White is not going to get this team over the playoff hump, but Setoguchi and Pavelski are playing fantastic hockey. They have won 6 straight.

5. Tampa Bay, 81 PTS (last week #4): Eric Brewer was a quality addition, but it looks like Steve Yzerman likes his roster.

6. Boston, 79 PTS (last week #7): Boston has made themselves a better team by adding Kaberle and Kelly. This team is going to win 1.5 playoff series at least. They have won 5 straight.

7. Washington, 76 PTS (last week #6): Dennis Wideman, Marco Sturm, and Jason Arnott. That's a good trade deadline day for the Caps.

8. Los Angeles, 74 PTS (last week #15): Dustin Penner makes this team better. The Kings are becoming one of the hottest teams in hockey. They will make the playoffs.

9. Chicago, 74 PTS (last week #12): They aren't going to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions, despite adding Chris Campoli. They should make the playoffs.

10. Phoenix, 76 PTS (last week #16): Despite losing 3 straight, this team has been playing very well in recent weeks. There are some quality assets to ship up to Winnipeg.

11. Anaheim, 71 PTS (last week #5): This team was poised to make a great run, but after losing Jonas Hiller to a head injury the team has nose dived.

12. Minnesota, 72 PTS (last week #13): The Wild added nothing, despite being on the bubble to make the playoffs. The GM either doesn't believe this team has a chance, or he believes too much in what he's already got.

13. Montreal, 73 PTS (last week #14): This team has been devastated by injuries yet remains in playoff contention. They added Brent Sopel and that's it? This team will not win as many playoff games as last season.

14. Calgary, 73 PTS (last week #18): Modin for a 7th round pick is a good deal. This team has been playing great hockey since they fired Darryl Sutter.

15. Nashville, 72 PTS (last week #9): Mike Fischer was their big trade, made well before the deadline, but Mr. Underwood has not made a significant splash since arriving in the music city.

16. Dallas, 72 PTS (last week #10): This team has some quality young assets, but the Lehtonen-Raycroft goaltending duo is not going to win a playoff series.

17. Pittsburgh, 80 PTS (last week #11): This team is not going anywhere without Crosby, who may be done for the season.

18. NY Rangers, 70 PTS (last week #17): Bryan McCabe can get you into the playoffs, but not past round 1.

19. Buffalo, 65 PTS (last week #20): Brad Boyes is a great addition to this roster, and I predict Buffalo will get the 8th playoff seed in the east.

20. Carolina, 67 PTS (last week #19): Bryan Allen? That's it? Tuomo Ruutu has completely fizzled out, and this does not appear to be a playoff team.

21. Columbus, 68 PTS (last week #21): This is actually a respectable line-up and they decided not to be sellers at the deadline. Upshall is a solid addition to their forward group.

22. St. Louis, 65 PTS (last week #24): Chris Stewart is a beast. This team has a bright future.

23. Toronto, 63 PTS (last week #27): Kessel has started playing great hockey and Leaf fans are talking playoffs. Sadly they need a puck moving defenseman, like a Tom Kaberle...

24. Atlanta, 63 PTS (last week #22): They are who we thought they were.

25. New Jersey, 58 PTS (last week #25): Good on them to trade Arnott. They aren't making the playoffs and their hot streak is jeopardizing their draft status.

26. Florida, 59 PTS (last week #26): This is a very long rebuilding process.

27. Colorado, 59 PTS (last week #23): Train wreck with some great young talent.

28. NY Islanders, 54 PTS (last week #28): They have a future.

29. Ottawa, 51 PTS (last week #29): Look out for Ottawa in 2015!

30. Edmonton, 48 PTS (last week #30): Didn't think they needed to trade Penner, and if so it should have been for a 22-26 year old. They got a good return for him, but it sets back the clock just a little too far.

Saskatchewan Wins Scotties

On Sunday I found myself watching the championship final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts between Saskatchewan's Amber Holland and Team Canada's Jennifer Jones. It was one of the best curling matches that I have watched in my life. Jones built up an early lead, but Holland played a magnificent 6th end to score 3 and tie the match. Team Canada had the hammer in a tie game in the last end and their last rock came in too heavy and rolled too far. As a very patriotic Canadian I will cheer for Team Canada by default, but after the 6th end I was cheering for Saskatchewan.

Congrats to Amber Holland for a great match. I'm not going to forget it anytime soon.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sidney Crosby Get Well Soon

I want to offer my best wishes to the injury recovery of Sidney Crosby. May he be back on television entertaining us with his magic as soon as possible. The NHL without Crosby is a diminished brand. My 3 year old nephew loves hockey and Crosby, and got a Penguins #87 for Christmas. Shortly thereafter, we lost the Sid the kid to a vicious head shot by Washington's Steckle and then compounded by Victor Headman. What's amazing is that Sid has missed 2 months and is still 5th in NHL scoring. He was out for what, 3 weeks until someone took over the scoring lead?

We still have Ovechkin, but it looks like he partied too hard last summer in Moscow. He's not his usual self. Right now, the Sedin twins are the most entertaining ticket in the NHL, until Crosby returns, if he returns. Also, I own Marc Andre Fleury in my hockey pool, so I have extra incentive to root for a strong Pittsburgh Penguins.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Chris Stewart Controversy

When I first learned that Colorado had traded Chris Stewart and Kirk Shattenkirk to St Louis for Erik Johnson and Jay McClement, I scratched my head. Erik Johnson is a very valuable commodity, as D men with his size and skill are hard to find at his young age. But having watched the Blues play the Canucks and watching highlights from the Blues dismantling of Edmonton, this Chris Stewart is something special, and so is Shattenkirk. Peter Stastny might not have been too far off the mark calling it a terrible trade for Colorado, even if his rant put his son in an awkward situation. C-Stew will be a great player in this league for years to come. Erik Johnson is destined to be a lesser version of Jay Bowmeester.

Colorado, you made a bad trade. That's the bottom line.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kessel Heating Up

Reluctantly I must report that Phil Kessel seems to be heating up, and the Leafs are not losing at a significant enough rate to guarantee the Boston Bruins a top 5 pick. Thursday against Montreal he had 4 pts, his best game as a Maple Leaf. In the last 2 weeks he has finally been earning his paycheque, which is quite a substantial paycheque. Now the Leafs find themselves 4 pts out of a playoff spot, and suddenly my Leaf fan buddy is texting me that this is a great season and Brian Burke should be elected Prime Minister. That's a little strong, but the Leafs are now winning hockey games, and the only correlating factor I can see is the goalie James Reimer. Is he the goalie of the future? It should have been Tuuka Rask, but alas he was traded by Terd Ferguson for Andrew Raycroft.

Ironic that they trade Kaberle, a great puck moving defenceman, and now the sports media is speculating that Toronto wants to add a puck moving defenceman. They trade Kaberle and now need to acquire a guy exactly like Kaberle? Then again, they did fetch a good price for Kabby, but it is a zero sum game if you now need to acquire exactly what you traded.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oilers Rock Avalanche

This past evening I watched the Edmonton Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 and it really looks as though the Avs have hit rock bottom. They are losing at a rate far worse than the talent on their roster justifies. This team has some very good players and should be a playoff contender. They should be better than they are performing, but the NHL's 30th ranked team just man-handled the 24th ranked team. Hall and Eberle are growing into a deadly combination. Any GM would love to build a team around those two young men. They may not be Zetterberg-Datsyuk, or Perry-Getzlaff, but I think eventually they can be Toews-Kane. Is Edmonton better than Colorado? I don't think so, but they certainly were tonight. And Peter Budaj sucks and I'm not convinced Brian Elliot is much better. This team probably shouldn't have traded Craig Anderson.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would The Real Johan Hedberg Please Stand Up?

I fear that someone has recently abducted New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg and switched him with an impostor. Who would ever have predicted that Martin Brodeur would come back from an injury but not be able to get back into game action because Johan Hedberg is playing other-worldly? The Devils have won 8 straight, with Hedberg giving up 3 goals in his last 4 games. Marty B is one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game of hockey, and he is sitting on the bench watching Johan put up the greatest run of his career. Hedberg won't be winning the Vezina, neither will Jaques Lemaire win coach of the year, but what is happening right now in Jersey is pretty crazy and they have done it without Brodeur and Parise.

When all is said and done, New Jersey is unlikely to make the playoffs and are costing themselves draft status. I did pick up Hedberg on one of my fantasy teams last week, so I would encourage Jacques don't bench the Johan.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Another Game For Milos"

The emergence of a new Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic has peaked my interest, as the 20 year old fires lightning bolts on his serves. He's moved up the tennis rankings extremely fast in his young career, and now sits as the highest ever ranked male singles tennis player. He's a kid, and right now the best we have ever had. I am going to start watching more tennis because of Milos Raonic. The irony of it all is that classic episode of Seinfeld where Jerry plays against a guy named Milos who isn't any good but Jerry takes a dive so Milos can impress a lady. The guy celebrates excessively, proclaiming "another game for Milos" and rubs it in.

I am now a fan of Milos Raonic, who serves a tennis ball 40 miles an hour faster than the fastest hockey slap shot (with a running start in the skills competition). You can't even begin to imagine how fast that is if you are standing on the other side of the court. I was a goaltender in hockey for 15 years. His serve is twice as fast of any hockey puck I ever had shot at me. You need freakishly fast reflexes to return that serve. Even as Andy Roddick won his finals match against the rookie, the look on Roddick's face was that he could not believe he beat this kid.

I want Raonic to celebrate like the following each time he wins a match.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anaheim "Lame" Ducks

May I just take a moment to express my own personal frustration with the recent performance of the Anaheim "Mighty" Ducks. Last week in my power rankings, I jumped them up 8 spots after watching Perry-Ryan-Getzlaf. Sure enough, as soon as I boosted them in my rankings, they go on a 3 game losing streak where they have given up 21 goals in those games. Cam Fowler was a disastrous -8 with 0 PTS on my fantasy team this week. All Fantasy Hockey experts should be downgrading Cam Fowler effective immediately. The fate of my Fantasy season is tied to the production of Corey Perry. While being agitated at the Anaheim Lame Ducks, I still believe and want them to succeed. Does the team collapse without Jonas Hiller? Curtis McEllighny might not be any good, and that might have a lot to do with it.

Thank you for the opportunity to complain...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Edmonton Should Keep Dustin Penner

Dustin Penner is a 28 year old, 240 lb, 30 goal scorer with one year remaining on a reasonable contract. Granted that $4 million dollars per year might have been too much in the first two years of the deal, but Penner is now in the prime production years for a forward and I think Edmonton should hold on to him. My friend the Leafs fan ridiculously thinks that Edmonton should pay a bounty to Toronto for taking Penner's contract. His proposal, Toronto's two late 1st round picks for Edmonton's high 1st round pick and Penner, which is absurd. I replied that the Oilers don't need draft picks, they need players aged 23-28. They need young players with experience to grow old with Hall-Eberle-Paajarvi.

Edmonton may yet trade Dustin Penner, but I would recommend keeping him and extending him. He is an excellent piece for the coming dynasty. This year's rookie class was a major home run for the Oilers, even if they at the bottom of the standings. They need patience, not expedience.

Leafs Trade Kaberle

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally sold Tomas Kaberle, and I was surprised to see how much they got in return. I was sure that Toronto would eventually accept just a 1st round pick, and Boston was the only team that Burkie could trade him to. It would appear that Boston upped the ante to get him before trade deadline day, and they still have Toronto's 1st round pick, which should be a top 10 selection. It is better for Boston if Toronto sucks sooner, and they are not as good a team without their top puck moving D-Man. I almost think that Boston paid a little extra to get him early such as to remove an important contributor in the team whose 1st pick they own.

All in all, it was a pretty good week for Burke, who will likely now use his new assets to trade up in the next draft. It is an admission that his quick-rebuild was not working, and he's making the deals that he should have made 2 years ago. I think he regrets trading two top ten picks to Boston for Kessel, and trading Versteeg (who should have fit his timeline at a reasonable price) proves the rebuild has failed. That being said, if what he gave up for Versteeg had produced a 1st and a 3rd, that would be considered a success. It was a good week and an admission of failure.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vancouver Canucks: Where Have All The D-Men Gone?

Okay, this is getting ridiculous, the number of injuries befalling the Vancouver Canucks defense. Edler, Ballard, Hamhius, Bieska, Alberts are now on the shelf for a few weeks. That's 5 of the top 7. Christian Erhoff shouldn't be playing 30 minutes a games as the only reliable puck moving option. Sami Salo is still out of shape and his timing is off. If Aaron Rome is your #3 defenseman for an extended period, you have a problem. That being said, the Canucks have a big enough lead on a top 3 seed that they don't have to make a desperation deal. They have a lot of depth at D, they just have a lot of injuries. Once they start getting guys back into the line-up, they should be the best team in the West for the playoffs.

All that being said, as a Detroit Red Wings fan, I would rather my team play Vancouver in the 1st round than Anaheim. The Perry-Getzlaff-Ryan line scares me. I know that Zetterberg and Datsyuk can beat the Sedins at their puck possession game.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NBA Back To Vancouver?

As a Vancouver sports blogger who doesn't follow the NBA, I pledge to become interested in basketball if the NBA returns to Vancouver. I am 100% in favour of Vancouver NBA basketball, and I pledge at this fledgling moment of my sports blogging career to follow and analyze basketball if a team returns to my city. I vow to care about basketball again. I have been out on the NBA since the Grizzlies left. I might even buy season tickets.

I'm just saying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trading Versteeg: What's Brian Burke Up To?

I have to confess my own confusion about what exactly Brian Burke is doing in Toronto. First the Beauchemin deal was screwy because it stuck the Leafs with Joffrey Lupul's ridiculous contract which has two more years at $4.25 million per season, and traded a roster player for a prospect that's 2-3 years out. Now they have traded Kris Versteeg for 1st and 3rd round draft picks. They got great value for Versteeg, but again that is punting the football a few years down the road. You have to wonder if the Leafs are giving up on next season when they will have their own 1st round pick again, or if Versteeg and Beauchemin were not as good as expected.

When Burkie took over, he promised a quick rebuild. He sent two 1st round picks to Boston for Phil Kessel, and then acquired Dion Phaneuf from Calgary. Both quality young players who are never the less expensive. Unfortunately, the team didn't start winning as fast as Burke promised and those picks they sent to the Bruins are very high. Kessel is an entertaining player to watch because he is a fast skater and shoots the puck a lot, but he is not earning the value of his contract. Versteeg is young and was supposed to fit the timeline and his contract is quite reasonable at $3 million per for one more season. He has been having a respectable season, doing a lot more than Lupul for a smaller paycheque.

Rumour has it that Burke had been trying hard to get a center for Versteeg in the past few weeks, but couldn't get what he wanted. Now he's rolling the dice on a late 1st round pick who might not even turn out to be a good NHL player. Odds are he won't get a guy as good as Versteeg, which makes me wonder what the Hell is going on in Toronto. Maybe he just wanted a 1st round pick because of the flak he has received for shipping away a #2 overall and likely another top 5 pick in the Kessel deal? Maybe trading away your next two 1st round picks when your team still sucks is not the most effective way to do a rebuild.

I just know that my Leaf fan buddy is having trouble accepting the Versteeg trade.

NHL Week 18 Power Rankings

Here are my week 18 NHL Power Rankings. Not much change at the top, but I am very bullish on Anaheim, bumping them from #13 to #5. Getzlaf is back, and I don't know how you stop that line. Corey Perry is the MVP of both my fantasy hockey teams.

1. Vancouver, 81 PTS (last week #1): Eventually the Edler, Ballard, and Hamhius injuries have to catch up with this team, but it hasn't happened yet.

2. Philadelphia, 77 PTS (last week #2): What about Bobrovsky? Should be runner up for the Calder.

3. Detroit, 74 PTS (last week #3): There are guys on their 3rd and 4th lines that would be on the 1st and 2nd lines of a lot of NHL teams.

4. Tampa Bay, 73 PTS (last week #4): Tough to predict how well this team will do in the playoffs. Can Stamkos and St Louis be contained?

5. Anaheim, 68 PTS (last week #13): As a Red Wings fan, Ducks are the one team I fear the most in the playoffs. Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan line is scary.

6. Washington, 68 PTS (last week #7): They haven't been great, but this team could make noise in the playoffs. Steckel should be suspended for the remainder of the season for his hit on Crosby.

7. Boston, 69 PTS (last week #5): I wish Milan Lucic were a Detroit Red Wing.

8. San Jose, 66 PTS (last week #9): They need Heatley and Thornton to step up. Pavelski is carrying this team.

9. Nashville, 67 PTS (last week #10): This is a better team than Dallas. I can see them winning a 1st round playoff series.

10. Dallas, 68 PTS (last week #8): This team is not a Stanley Cup contender.

11. Pittsburgh, 74 PTS (last week #6): I'm jumping off the Pens bandwagon faster than Robert Downey jr at Mardi Gras. Trying to see if I can unload Marc Andre Fleury in my fantasy league.

12. Chicago, 62 PTS (last week #11): This team might not make the playoffs. They lost their secondary scoring and the Toews-Kane combo can't do it alone.

13. Minnesota, 65 PTS (last week #17): Suddenly one of the league's hottest teams. They are an enigma to me, but they are getting it done. Their resurgence is bad news for Chicago and Calgary.

14. Montreal, 68 PTS (last week #12): How long before Max Pacrioetty becomes a household name? If they had a spelling bee of last names, this would be one for the late rounds.

15. Los Angeles, 65 PTS (last week #16): TSN has this team ranked 7th overall, and they aren't even in a playoff spot.

16. Phoenix, 67 PTS (last week #15): I want this team to fail and move back to Winnipeg.

17. NY Rangers, 64 PTS (last week #14): I don't see this team making it past the 1st round of the playoffs.

18. Calgary, 64 PTS (last week #18): Oli Jokinen has been a solid contributor to both Calgary and my fantasy hockey team.

19. Carolina, 62 PTS (last week #19): I wouldn't be shocked if this team upset a top seed in the 1st round of the playoffs, and yet I wouldn't be shocked if they miss the playoffs. Take that for what its worth...

20. Buffalo, 58 PTS (last week #21): Who is Ryan Miller's back-up? That's the easiest paycheque in the league.

21. Columbus, 61 PTS (last week #23): Decent.

22. Atlanta, 60 PTS (last week #22): I think the ride is over for Ondrej Pavelec fantasy owners. "They are who we thought they were!"

23. Colorado, 56 PTS (last week #20): This team is free falling.

24. St. Louis, 57 PTS (last week #24): This team has many assets, but still too young.

25. New Jersey, 48 PTS (last week #26): The hottest team in the NHL? How much does this have to do with Lemaire? I feel like they would beat teams 20 through 24 in a 7 game series.

26. Florida, 55 PTS (last week #25): Waiving Michael Grabner, do you think Dale Tallon would like a mulligan on that one?

27. Toronto, 52 PTS (last week #27): Burkie is unloading the Stanley Cup rings from his dressing room, I'd say Giguere is next but I doubt anyone will want that contract. 2 more years of Joffrey Lupul at $4.25 million per season is a terrible contract. One thing I like about the salary cap is that it magnifies NHL player contracts as commodities.

28. NY Islanders, 47 PTS (last week #28): Is this suddenly the best offensive team in the NHL? They have some legit young guns. I think DiPietro might be the victim of a voodoo curse.

29. Ottawa, 44 PTS (last week #30): If I were the Ottawa GM, I'd be trying to move Spezza, Alfredsson, and Gonchar if anyone will take those contracts. They need to suck for a couple of years and build a new core of top picks.

30. Edmonton, 40 PTS (last week #29): I wouldn't be selling anyone on this roster, other than possibly trying to get a goalie like Tukka Rask. This core is only going to get better as Hall-Eberle-Pajaarvi grow some tenure.

Onion Sports Dome Review

I have now officially watched an episode of the Onion Sports Dome on Comedy Central, and it sucked. It is geared towards sports fans, but it is completely fake made up stories and I did not enjoy it. That was the first and last time that I PVR'd the Onion Sports Dome. Episode 1 was enough for me. I'm out.

That's all I have to say about that...

Michael Grabner, Rookie Of The Year?

While Jeff Skinner might have something to say about it, suddenly Canuck cast away Michael Grabner is scoring goals at an elite level and might be the new favourite for the Calder Trophy. He has 15 goals in his last 15 games, and suddenly this Dave Nonis draft pick is looking like a top shelf NHL asset. Grabner used to be a Vancouver Canuck until he was traded for Keith Ballard, which is now looking like a terrible trade for Mike Gillis. Ironically, before Edler got hurt I pointed out to a Canuck fan at work that Grabner was looking good, and they didn't need Ballard. Now Ballard, Edler, and Hamhius are out indefinitely, and Grabner could be rookie of the year. Despite their 4 point lead on 1st place in the whole NHL, Canuck fans shouldn't be too happy right now, other than the team has a lot of depth. No other team can just add a Salo.

Still, the Canucks should have kept Grabner.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fedor Is Not Ivan Drago

I was trading texts with one of my buddies tonight, who compared MMA prize fighter Fedor Emelianenko to Rocky IV's Ivan Drago. My response was an angry "don't insult Ivan Drago by comparing him to Fedor, Drago came to America looking to fight the best". While I prefer boxing to MMA, I have followed the Fedor story. When he ducked the UFC to join strikeforce, that was a weak move. The best should want to compete against the best. You don't join the XFL if you are good enough for the NFL. Drago didn't land here to fight Apollo, he wanted to fight Rocky. Rocky IV is one of my favourite movies of all-time, and I will not have my friends insult the memory of Ivan Drago by comparing him to Fedor.

Look, Fedor could kick my ass. I know that I'm really tough behind my anonymous blog, but he should have joined the UFC. Maybe the guy knew that he couldn't beat the best, so he joined the XFL instead. When you get your ass kicked in tier 2, that ruins your legacy. Fedor didn't lose to Rocky, he lost to Apollo...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who's Hot In The NHL February 2011?

Who is hot right now in the NHL? Well over the last two weeks, nobody has scored more goals than Mike Grabner.


Michael Grabner, NYI: 6 goals in his last 2 weeks, this kid might be for real, which would vindicate Dave Nonis who took some heat in Vancouver for that pick.

Nikolai Kulemin, Tor: 8 PTS in the last 14 days. He's the best Leaf right now

Ilya Kovalchuck, NJ: It's about time!

Mikael Samuelsson, Van: Lighting it up with 10 PTS in last 14 days

Patrick Kane, Chi: I don't understand how Chicago is not in a playoff spot right now.


Joe Thornton, SJ: Ironically San Jose has started to improve significantly without much help from Heatley or Thornton. Setoguchi and Pavelski are heating up.

Dany Heatley, SJ: (see above)

Anze Kopitar, LA: 1 goal in last 20 games, 1 point in last 14 days (until he got 2 PTS tonight).

Eric Staal, Car: Cooled off since the all-star break.

Paul Stastny, Col: 0 PTS, -5 thus far this month.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Mike Fischer Trade

While I am a fan of Mike Fischer, Ottawa made a great trade by acquiring a 1st and a 3rd for the remainder of his last season. Nashville needs a guy like that, and Ottawa needs the picks. How fast would Brian Burke trade Kaberle for a 1st and a 3rd? Lightning fast (one of Burke's greatest mistakes was overvaluing the value of Kaberle). The Senators need to rebuild as the Alfredsson-Spezza era nears its end. One has to wonder if Nashville overpaid for the husband of country singing star Carrie Underwood. That franchise is bleeding money and needs any gimmick to put asses in seats. Nashville, the heart of country music overpays for the husband of a country music star? Gotta like it if you are a downtrodden Senators fan.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beauchemin Deal

When I saw today's deal with the Leafs sending Francois Beauchemin back to Anaheim for Jeff Lupul, a college player, and a conditional 4th round pick; something didn't seem right. Unless Beauchemin has gotten worse and Gardiner is better than I think he is, this is not an equal value trade. Lupul is barely average and gets hurt a lot and the 4th round pick has maybe a 5% probability of becoming a player as good as Beauchemin. I can't say that I am an expert on Jake Gardiner, who was a 1st round pick, but when a collegiate draft pick stays in school for the full term, it does diminish the probability that he makes it to the NHL. The NCAA is not a great developmental league for those crucial formative years. They don't play enough games.

Last year when the Leafs were overloaded on D my Leaf fan buddy said Beauch was the ony guy he would not trade because he had a Stanley Cup ring. Evidently he saw that experience as having value on the development of young players. But when the trade broke today, he just said that Beauch had gotten worse and this was a salary dump. The odds are stacked against Gardiner becoming Beauchemin, and Lupul ain't making the Leafs a playoff team.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thoughts On Matt Cooke And NHL Vigilante Justice

While it appears that Alex Ovechkin is unharmed from his knee on knee with Matt Cooke, it would seem as though Cookie has attracted the attention of the NHL disciplinary committee for an "unrelated" hit. I know the NHL is very sensitive about "vigilante justice" ever since the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, but I personally believe that after Steckel's cheap hit on Crosby, Washington should be made to pay a price. I know Gandhi said "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind", but Gandhi wasn't a hockey player.

In such a fast passed violent game, you need a deterrent that will actually protect the star players. Steckel should have been suspended 20 games or for the season. You can't tolerate those cheap blindside head shots against your super duper stars. Vigilante justice may lead to lawsuits, but if you send the message that if you viciously attack our star player you are jeopardizing the safety of your star player, that's a deterrent. I know the NHL does not want that to be league policy, but unless you suspend Steckel for the season without pay, it is the best way to protect your super stars.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Post All-Star NHL Power Rankings

It has been a week since the NHL All-Star weekend wrapped up, and it is time to do another Power Rankings. The Cenucks are unquestionably the best team in the NHL right now. San Jose is moving up the rankings fast.

1. Vancouver, 77 PTS (last week #2): Don't look now, but the Canucks have won 5 in a row and Luongo is getting Vezina buzz.

2. Philadelphia, 75 PTS (last week #1): Still playing great, Penguins losing Malkin helps Philly.

3. Detroit, 71 PTS (last week #4): Datsyuk and Cleary are back.

4. Tampa Bay, 71 PTS (last week #7): I don't think Tampa got enough credit at the start of the season for how much talent they have. Well done Steve Yzerman.

5. Boston, 67 PTS (last week #3): Losing Savard again is a blow, but this team has an outstanding goal differential.

6. Pittsburgh, 72 PTS (last week #3): The Penguins should be losing without Crosby and Malkin, but are 8-2 in last ten. I want Sidney back.

7. Washington, 68 PTS (last week #9): Too much talent not to be a threat.

8. Dallas, 65 PTS (last week #6): Lost 3 in a row, and I still don't trust Lehtonen.

9. San Jose, 62 PTS (last week #14): This team is going on a run. I plucked Setoguchi off the waiver wire in my fantasy league.

10. Nashville, 63 PTS (last week #10): Great defense, strong team.

11. Chicago, 58 PTS (last week #8): How is this team 11th in the Western Conference? It makes no sense.

12. Montreal, 65 PTS (last week #13): This team is playing better than I think they should be.

13. Anaheim, 62 PTS (last week #12): I lost Evgeni Malkin on both my fantasy teams, and now my fate rests in the hands of Corey Perry (whom I also own on both teams).

14. NY Rangers, 62 PTS (last week #11): This is a playoff team.

15. Phoenix, 63 PTS (last week #17): I am blinded my desire for the Phoenix franchise to fail and move back to Canada. Decent team though.

16. Los Angeles, 60 PTS (last week #19): Drew Doughty has turned things around, and the team is improving after a disappointing start.

17. Minnesota, 59 PTS (last week #20): I believe Minnesota will fall inches short of a playoff spot.

18. Calgary, 61 PTS (last week #22): This team is heating up. Currently sitting in the 8th seed.

19. Carolina, 58 PTS (last week #15): This team should get the 8th seed in the East.

20. Colorado, 56 PTS (last week #16): Lost 5 straight. Will Forsberg get Colorado into the playoffs? We'll see.

21. Buffalo, 53 PTS (last week #23): Good young team, unfortunate injuries. Tyler Myers has been a major disappointment.

22. Atlanta, 58 PTS (last week #18): This team is falling fast.

23. Columbus, 55 PTS (last week #24): A respectable non-playoff team.

24. St. Louis, 54 PTS (last week #21): Good young core, will make the playoffs next season.

25. Florida, 52 PTS (last week #25): I would like to move this franchise to Saskatoon.

26. New Jersey, 42 PTS (last week #28): If they had Parise, this team would be competitive.

27. Toronto, 49 PTS (last week #26): Hindsight being 50-50, that Kessel trade looks really bad. Kessel needs a Marc Savard.

28. NY Islanders, 41 PTS (last week #29): The highlight of their season was DiPietro getting KO'd. Solid young core, should compete in the future, hopefully in Quebec City.

29. Edmonton, 40 PTS (last week #30): Taylor Hall is going to be good.

30. Ottawa, 42 PTS (last week #27): Lost 9 straight. Lots of talent, but right now playing the worst hockey in the NHL.

Super Bowl!

That was a great Super Bowl game. First Green Bay jumps out to a big 1st half lead, then they suffer injuries and the Steelers mount a comeback that falls short. I predicted the score to be Green Bay 31 Pittsburgh 27, but I was off, it was 31-25. Aaron Rodgers is a beast, and I feel vindicated for my fantasy playoff loss when Rodgers scored 1 fantasy point against the Detroit Lions. Shit happens. Rodgers was our 1st pick, Mendenhall was our 2nd pick. Both played in the Super Bowl. I did not win my fantasy playoffs, but my #1 pick won the real life playoffs. That counts for something, right?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Vezina Trophy

Today I was walking by a group of Vancouver Canucks fans when one of them speculated that Roberto Luongo could win the Vezina trophy. I said "Tim Thomas will win the Vezina" without breaking stride. Luongo is having a quality season, but is not going to win the Vezina.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

EA Tiger Woods Golf

One of my buddies recently acquired the latest version of Tiger Woods golf, where you swing a wand that simulates a real golf swing. I chose Mike Weir, who can't hit a ball very far in the game, but Tiger's stats are juiced. We were all playing for the first time, and my buddy using Tiger didn't even have to try. Meanwhile, the real Tiger Woods experienced a significant downgrade in performance last year. He was good at times, but he sucked a lot. So the guys writing the code for the latest Tiger Woods golf game, who is the guy to say "Tiger, you are getting worse, we need to diminish your skill level in the next game". How do you think the real Tiger Woods would respond to that?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NHL General Manager Draft Rankings

Wouldn't it be great if you could measure how good any given NHL General Manager is at drafting players? I have compiled a database to do exactly that, comparing the 7 drafts from 1997 - 2003. Unfortunately there is not an online database of who ran the drafts, and I only have my Hockey Guide and Record book to tell me who was GM what year. I had to assume that if a GM left a job in 2003 that he unlikely ran the 2003 draft. Most new GMs are in place before that year's draft. I would estimate that I got the right guy 90% of the time, but should warn you that there is a small margin of error.

Basically I use baseball language with batting average, plus minus, and slugging percentage. One measures how often you find an NHL, one compares GP to an expected value, and the other is expected games played per hit. I ranked every GM with at least 4 drafts in the 7 draft window (of which there were 28) by these categories and even broke it down into rounds (round 1, rounds 2-3, and rounds 4 and up). Some GMs are better than others at drafting talent in different rounds. For example, Glen Sather ranked dead last in 1st round picks, but 4th in rounds 2-3 and 5th in rounds 4+. By contrast, Brian Burke ranked #1 in the 1st round by virtue of hitting a couple big home runs, but he ranked 24th and 27th in the other rounds.

The top 5 at first round picks:

1. Brian Burke
2. Bobby Clark
3. Doug Waddel
4. Mike Milbury
5. Doug Riseborough

The worst 5 at first round picks:

1. Glen Sather
2. Bobby Smith
3. Kevin Lowe
4. Pat Quinn
5. Rick Dudley

The top 5 at rounds 2 and 3:

1. Doug Riseborough
2. Pierre Gauthier
3. Darcy Regier
4. Ken Holland
5. Glen Sather

The worst 5 at rounds 2 and 3:

1. George McPhee
2. Doug Waddel
3. Mike Milbury
4. Craig Patrick
5. Brian Burke

The top 5 at rounds 4 and up:

1. Craig Patrick
2. Pierre Lacroix
3. Darcy Regier
4. Glen Sather
5. Dean Lombardi

The worst 5 at rounds 4 and up:

1. Al Coates
2. Brian Burke
3. George McPhee
4. Mike Milbury
5. Bobby Smith