Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shanny too trusting

James Wisniewski must be the most angry player in the NHL when it comes to supplementary discipline.  His pre-season hit certainly deserved a suspension but 4 games and then 8 in the regular season? His lost salary was over half a million dollars.  That's between 700 and 800 thousand dollars before taxes.

Now he watches as Brian Gionta decks James Reimer and gets nothing.  He watches as Wolski KO's Alfredsson.  He must be apoplectic when Lucic freight trains Ryan Miller and gets nothing.

It appears one of the problems might be Brendan Shanahan's naivete.  He says Lucic told him he didn't intend to hit Miller that way.  Shanahan must be under the impression a player would not lie to avoid a suspension.  Just because he never did doesn't mean others wouldn't.  He believes 50% of hockey people think its suspend able and 50% don't.  I haven't found any who don't believe its suspend able and at the latest meeting of the NHL's managers, the majority thought there should have been a suspension in an informal straw pole.

One of the problems might also be Shanahan's think tank.  We were all told this was a separate body, with separate people, in a separate office in a separate city.  They would not be connected to the group at hockey operations which had in the past doled out suspensions.  This is the group headed by Colin Campbell and while a very deep set of hockey thinkers, a group which no longer had the backing of anyone to continue controlling supplemental discipline.  The players, managers and owners all wanted this group to be uninvolved in this process going forward.  So who did Shanahan consult about the Alfredsson hit?  Colin Campbell and his group and their thoughts helped mould his non-suspension call.

What players, fans and mangers are all afraid of is a lack of true change.  If we go back to an environment where nobody has any confidence in the consistency of supplementary discipline or the people who decide on it,  we have not moved forward.

Brendan Shanahan in his first season in the job has taken many steps forward but also too many massive steps backward. 

James Wisniewski deserves a substantial tax refund, and Lucic, Gionta and Wolski have not paid anywhere close to their fair share.

See you at the rink.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can't Ban Fighting

If we are going to continue the debate over the issue of fighting in hockey, can we at least frame it properly?  Everyone should stop saying there is a movement to "ban" fighting in hockey".  There will always be fighting in hockey.  The only thing that will change is the penalty.

Right now fighting is not permitted in baseball, basketball, football, rugby, motor racing etc, etc.  Yet in all those sports there are fights.

In hockey there will always be fights, but instead of getting a 5 minute fighting major, a player would get an automatic game ejection or more.  Not a ban but rather just a different, more harsh penalty.  There is only one way to ban fighting in hockey.  If anyone ever gets in a fight,  they are banned from ever playing again at any level in any recognized league.  Now that is a ban!  That will also never happen.

I am all for getting the designated fighters out of the game.  The very few guys who serve no other purpose.  There is no need for a rule about that though.  It is happening by itself.  Very few teams can afford to use a roster spot for a player who has no skill other than fighting,

Hockey is a dangerous sport and everyone who plays at the pro level knows that or should know that.  If they don't want to accept the risks then don't cash the cheques and look for something else to do.

I do not believe that everyone who fights in the NHL is more or less prone to addiction or depression.  I don't believe the internal turmoil from having to do that job creates more or less addicts or mental health issues.  I asked a former NHLer if the guys he knew who had been fighters seemed like they might have had the kind of personality which might lead to addiction or mental health issues even if they hadn't been in the NHL and his answer was "yes, I suppose so". 

There are also far more cases of players past and present in the NHL with addiction and mental health issues who were not fighters.  Maybe just maybe, the percentage of NHL players prone to those 2 problems are exactly the same percentage as the rest of the general public.  That's right,  I am contending that NHL players are just as human as the rest of us and no more or less at risk than anyone else.  I know, its a novel idea.

There are far more cases of injury, death, drug and alcohol addiction and mental health issues in many other jobs but we don't seem to care about that because there are no trading cards for crab fishermen or farmers or oil drillers.

I am all for serious discussion about fighting in hockey and safety.  Every player should have to meet regularly with the team psychologist just like they have to see the team doctor and dentist on a regular basis.  But this idea that hockey can be made completely safe is completely delusional.

Hockey is the fastest non-motorized team sport in the world.  It is fuelled by 90% emotion.  Unless the penalty for fighting becomes a lifetime ban,  there will always be fights.  No one is holding a gun to any ones head.  If a player cant live with the risk,  try another line of work.

See you are the rink.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What comes next?

With the deaths of three NHL players this summer the biggest question is, what comes next?  What does the NHL and more importantly what does the NHLPA do?

All three deaths seem to have different circumstances and now everyone is trying to find common links between all of them to find one easy answer.  I doubt there will ever be one easy answer.

Is it the mental anguish of having to force yourself to be a fighter over your whole career?  Is it the mental anguish of facing a life after the NHL?  Is it drugs? Is it pre-existing mental and emotional problems which were never properly identified and dealt with?

The NHL has to be completely supportive and a willing helper in trying to get to the root of this,  but it is the NHLPA which must take the lead.  This is clearly a player care issue and that is the domain of the NHLPA.

Programs already exist to help players with drug, alcohol and emotional problems but those programs largely rely on the player asking for help.  Men in general and NHL players especially are not good at asking for help.

NHL players must always pass physical tests to ensure they are able to play.  It appears as much vigilance and testing must be done to ensure they are psychologically ready to play and live this life.

Is it time for each NHL team to be required to employ a team psychologist and sessions with each player become mandatory and not voluntary?  Many teams employ sports psychologists but their job is primarily related to helping players with the mental and emotional side of being on a team and performing at their highest level and less about how they are as a person and their overall emotional well being in life not just the hockey life.

It is obviously time for the NHL and more specifically the NHLPA become as concerned about a players emotions as they are about a players brawn.

See you at the rink.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

huge glass house

Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo believes he would have stopped the game winning goal Max Lapierre scored on Boston's Tim Thomas in game #5 of the Stanley Cup Final.  His assertion is that Thomas plays far out of his crease while Luongo plays the odds and protects the posts and tight chances better.

Wow!  The goalie who was shelled in games 3 and 4 of the series has goaltending tips for the guy who might win the Vezina?  Does Roberto spend the off days looking at any of the stats?  His numbers in this final are nowhere close to those of Thomas.  There is no official stat for "soft goals" but if there were Luongo would certainly lead Thomas handily in the post season.

Roberto Luongo is a very good goaltender.  His inconsistency and volume of soft goals in this years playoffs prevent him from being termed a "great" goaltender.  He is a very good player on a very good team which should win the Stanley Cup,  but he has not been nearly good enough to start critiquing the other goaltender in this final.

As about a million coaches have told a million players over the years,  "just shut up and play".  Good advice for Luongo.

See you at the rink.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Joe no superstar yet.

A few thoughts from the San Jose/Vancouver series.

Dany Heatley is too slow to be able to produce when the tempo of the game gets as high as it does in the 3rd round of the NHL playoffs.  Patrick Marleau has proven again he is not an impact player in important games.  What San Jose does with these two contracts is a major conundrum,  but what is clear is that the Sharks cant win the cup if they have to depend on these two players to be major cogs in the big Shark wheel.

While admirable that Joe Thornton played the final game of his season with a separated shoulder, the reality is he failed once again to lead his team over the hump.  A great many players have endured his injury or worse so he is by no means alone with the wounded hero tag.  He is a star player but does not deserve the superstar moniker until he can take over a series and lead his team to the cup.  He will always get more credit that he has earned because he is a wonderful guy, easy to like and thus the media loves him, but it doesn't change the fact that to become one of the greats you have to be the central figure in leading your team to greatness.  He appears to be on the Eric Lindros track.  Unlimited ability but just cant get it done.

Nobody in the East knew who Douglas Murray was until this series and now everyone knows who he is.  Murray is huge and plays a rugged, effective game.  He is a star despite the fact he doesn't produce much offence.  His shutdown and punishment abilities are at superstar levels.

Roberto Luongo is a very good goalie.  Better than average.  Better than above average.  Better than good.  After the final 2 games of this series you could say he is a star player,  but still not a superstar.  Nobody has been called the best goalie in the NHL for a longer period of time without actually winning anything and carrying his team to those victories.  Haven't heard anyone say he carried Canada to the Gold.  Maybe a cup win would lift him to superstar status.  Maybe a few cup wins and you could start having the conversation about him being one of the greats like Roy and Brodeur.  Despite all the fan and media hype he has not yet earned that and wont until production matches promise.

Ryan Kessler is a very very good player.  Also one of (if not thee) worst (or best) divers and actors in the NHL.  His ongoing display of embellishments in this years playoffs is impressive (or embarrassing) depending on your perspective.  It is difficult to trust that any of his reactions are legitimate.  If and when he is ever seriously injured,  how will we know?  What cant be faked is his superior talent and ferocious competitiveness.

After being MIA in parts of round #1 and #2, the Sedins were outstanding against San Jose.  When they were on the ice, they often controlled the whole game.  Like many high skill players they will have to endure the criticism of shying away from contact far too often,  but nobody cares about that while you are holding the cup.

See you at the rink.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No cash for you

I am OK with the province of Manitoba announcing it will not subsidise the NHL's return to Winnipeg.  I am not OK with the double standard which continues in this country and the skewed debate over partial funding of NHL facilities.

I always hear the ridiculous claims that taxpayers should not be helping millionaire players and billionaire owners.  The taxpayers already are!   Tax and funding fairness is the issue here.  I am fine with provinces and the federal government staying out of those situations as long as they stay out of all of them.

industries and companies all across Canada are regularly the recipients of government assistance and we all accept that as a way of keeping jobs and helping the economy and the communities in which these facilities are based.  Often the companies who receive this assistance employ the same number of people (or fewer) than an NHL team.  Generate the same (or less) to the tax base and don't come close to NHL teams in what they bring to the city in exposure, culture, entertainment, spin-off jobs and a sense of civic pride.

So what is the difference?  Political optics.  Politicians are less worried about fairness and more optics.  When Senators owner Rod Bryden was looking for fairness it was pointed out that Cognos at the time employed about the same number of people in Ottawa and their top 25 employees made more than the Senators top 25 employees (players),  but Cognos still qualified for Federal research and development grants but the hockey team was told to go suck eggs.  The fact is much of the city of Kanata's development was due to huge tax breaks and federal grants to millionaires with names like Mathews and Copeland whose top 25 employees all made much more than the highest paid NHL players.  Are we all OK with that too?

The optics are created by the average guys awareness of what an NHL player makes and what the owner is worth because the media regularly talks about both subjects.  The media does not talk about the top 25 employees salaries or what Cognos owner (Mike Potter at that time) has in the bank.  Potter is worth more than many NHL owners.

Governments at all levels routinely try to both entice and hold onto businesses to keep the jobs and the tax benefits that come from those paychecks.  You should want to keep 25 millionaire hockey players in your town because they pay big personal income tax. 

The debate about directing funds to hospitals and schools instead of the NHL is also a circular debate.  The best way to afford more hospitals and schools is to try and keep millionaires in your town to pay taxes.   When has it ever occurred that more money was put into hospitals and schools when an NHL team left?  Ask Winnipeg and Quebec City if their hospitals and schools are better or worse off since their NHL teams left.  The answer on that and every single level is NO!  Thus the reason both are so interested in getting teams back.

If you don't want to help fund NHL arena's I am fine with that but the same rules should apply to every single for-profit business in this country.  Its only fair.  We would have said good bye to Bombardier long ago.  Two of the three big Canadian auto makers would likely be dead right now.  The list is very long.

This should be about fairness not optics.
but it is not and will never be because politicians are about optics first and fairness,  well, that is well down the list.

See you at the rink.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Scotty we've got the technology

Nashville coach Barry Trotz has publicly complained about Vancouver's embellishments in game #3 of their series.  Shea Weber's hooking penalty was caused by Ryan Kessler holding onto Weber's stick under his arm, or as everyone in hockey calls it "the chicken wing" move.

Jarred Smithsom took a penalty after moving his stick over Roberto Luongo's head and the goalie then jolted his head back drawing the penalty.  Replays showed that the stick never hit Luongo.

This is not new.  Gamesmanship is part of the game and a big part of the playoffs.  Cant blame a guy for trying,  but nobody feels good about players faking or finding sneaky ways to draw penalties.  The logic on the Weber call is, if his stick wasn't there in the first place then Kessler wouldn't have a chance to hold it and draw the penalty.

The problem is these things are becoming more and more common and the game is just too fast for officials to see and call everything.  In an ideal world Weber would have received his hooking call and Kessler would have received a holding the stick penalty. That did not happen and we all know what happened on that power play.

The NHL has the technology to try and curb this kind of thing.  You cant possibly catch all of it during a live game but its fairly easy to see after on video.  The NHL should use the power of video to lessen this behaviour and send a message to players that trying to embarrass NHL officials has a price.

Any player determined to have embellished or faked or chicken winged in a game should be subject to a fine and the amount of that fine and his name should be made public.  The fine is not the most important part of all this since $2,500 dollars is the max a player can be fined under the CBA and that is peanuts to an NHL player.  Being publicly outed for the behaviour is the most important part.  Get caught 3 times, its a 1 game suspension.  No player wants to face the media to answer those embarrassing questions.

If the NHL really wants to help stop players undermining the authority and credibility of NHL officials, the league has to do something to stop players from making them look foolish.  Use the power of video to do that.

See you at the rink.

The balance is all wrong.

The Washington Capitals were swept in their 2nd round playoff series by Tampa last night.  It means in the last 4 years this mega talented team has lost in the first round twice and in the 2nd round twice.  What is the problem?

Balance.  They don't have any.  I have said this about Washington for 3 years now and I said it again this year before the playoffs even started.  Most everyone in today's NHL knows you cant score your way to the cup you have to defend your way to the cup.  The last team to score its way to the cup was probably the Oilers of the mid-80's.

This requires a team to have the right balance of scoring forwards who also understand the idea of team defence.  A strong defence corps with very good to great goaltending.  In today's NHL that is the balance you have to try and find to have a chance at the cup.

Washington simply does not have it.  The team is simply too heavy with players who are wired to be offensive.  That's good in the regular season,  but its the achilles heal in the playoffs.  During the regular season this year,  Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau tried mightily to get this team to play tighter defensively,  but to no avail. 

Boudreau will likely be fired, but I cant see the next coach having anymore success with that roster.  Its a personnel problem.  Yes you can coach any player to be better defensively but some players are just not wired that way.  They can get better, but if their natural instinct is always offence,  that is a tough job for a coach to change his stripes.  That's why you draft and develop shut down defencemen or you sign them as free agents.  You don't take an offensive defenceman and try to transform him into something he is not.  Mike Green might get better in his own end,  but he is always going to be obsessed with scoring not shutting down.

We have all watched those car restoration shows on the Discovery Channel.  You can turn a Camero into a station wagon with a cutting torch, and a good welder,  but it will never be as good as the real thing.

Washington doesn't need a new coach,  they need some balance in their roster.

See you at the rink.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kudos to Hughie

Name pronunciation in the NHL is one of my pet peeves.  Too often people in our business either guess or just ask someone they think knows how to pronounce a players name.  Too often they are wrong.  The only way to get it right is to ask a player directly how he wants his name pronounced.  

The way the question is phrased is the most important thing.  Some guys say to a player "is it pleck-AH-nits?"  Often a player just says "ya" because that's close enough and they don't care.  That's why you have to ask a player "how do you pronounce your name?"  and then listen to how he says it. 

I know this Montreal centre has his name pronounced two different ways.  I asked him when he first came into the league to pronounce his name and I recorded him saying it.  He pronounces his name "pleh-CAN-its" just the way Bob Cole says it on HNIC and not "pleck-UH-nits" they way some people pronounce it.

Kudos to HNIC's Jim Hughson doing the Vancouver/Nashville series.  Preds goalie Pekka Rinne has one of the most mispronounced names in the NHL.  His first year in the NHL Gord Wilson and I were in the Preds locker room and the first question we asked him was how he pronounced his name.  It is not "RINN-eh" or "RINN-ey" it is "REE-NAY".  Hughie did his homework and asked the simple question.  It doesn't seem like a big deal but its one of the smallest but most important details of doing our job.  Hughie does not miss the details.

See you at the rink.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bush League

The Snowgate debate in the San Jose/Detroit playoff series is nothing short of bush league.  There should be some things that are just beneath the professional standards of an NHL player.  Spraying snow and ice chips into the face of the opposing goalie is one of those things.  We tell 8 year old kids to stop doing that because its disrespectful and stupid,  but some NHL players think its a "tactic".  If the best you can do to get a goalie off his game is spray him with snow,  then you have no game plan at all.

It is hard enough to get some viewers in American markets to take our game seriously, but trying to explain this kind of buffoonery to them is difficult because there is no way to make it sound smart or professional.  Reggie Dunlop and the Johnstown Chiefs would have loved this part of the series.  Juvenile and moronic!  If the NHL would spend as much time trying to get stupid out of the game as they do trying to get Zdeno Chara to not drink Coke on camera,  we would all be better off.

What makes this even more of a joke is the Sharks assertion that these snow showers are accidental.  Simply the byproduct of going hard to the net looking for a rebound.  Funny part about that is, if they really are accidental why is it these things don't occur in their own practice.  Teams routinely do net drive drills at full speed with full contact, yet their own goalies never get snowed in practice?  The claim of accidental snow showers insults the intelligence of every hockey fan.  The idea that an NHL player can't change the angle of his skate blades in 10 feet is also comical.

The claim that there is no specific penalty to call in these cases is also laughable.  Its called unsportsmanlike conduct.  Its on page 105 of the rule book if you are looking for it.  There was no specific penalty for the absurd stick waiving from Sean Avery in front of Martin Brodeur in the 2008 playoffs,  but eventually it was called under this rule.  This rule basically covers any behaviour which could be construed as the actions of a jackass.  The snow in the face routine definitely falls into that jackass category.

Play the game hard.  Play the game like a man. Stop the bush league tactics.  It makes you and our game look stupid.

See you at the rink.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shame on the twits

Recently former NHLer Theo Fleury mentioned on twitter that he expected the Vancouver Cannucks would be first round upset victims in the NHL playoffs because he did not believe Roberto Luongo had what it takes to bring this team to glory.  Fine.  His opinion.  Its not my opinion but he is entitled to his.  Its sports.  Like noses we all have our opinions.

The retaliation from some Vancouver fans on twitter is sickening.  The comments made about his problems with drugs and alcohol are appalling.  The comments made about his sexual abuse at the hands of his junior coach, far more than appalling.  Disgusting doesn't cover it.

I know this does not represent the entire population of Cannucks Nation, but this particular cross section is a group of profoundly stupid and troubled people.  The anonymity of twitter protects them from being called out by their friends, family and co-workers.  That is the biggest problem with this type of social media.  No one has to be accountable for their pathetic lack of IQ and alarming lack of class.

I call on Cannuck Nation to police their own.  A larger outcry on twitter from Vancouver fans to both out these idiots and discredit their thoughts and tweets is necessary immediately.

See you at the rink.

Bravo to the Pens

We all spend so much time complaining about whats wrong with the game and the rules and some of the buffoonery that sometimes we forget to talk about the stuff we love about the game.

Bravo to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  As of today ranked 4th in the East and just 2 points out of top spot in the Eastern Conference.  How in the world are they doing it?

No Crosby.  No Malkin.  No Orpik.  There are very few teams who could keep their head above water missing their 2 best offensive players and their best shut down defenceman.  Pittsburgh is missing 2 of the best players on the planet and still find ways to win.

Great goaltending is a large part of it,  but a total buy in from the players to the ideals of what Penguins hockey is and the way everyone is supposed to play.  Whether the stars are there or not,  the system is the system and the style and attitude of the team remains constant.  It creates an environment where no piece is greater than the sum even though the pieces missing are huge.

Dan Bylsma is the odds on favorite to win coach of the year and he is my top pick for instilling this attitude and adapting to some huge personnel losses.

Bravo to the Penguins.

See you at the rink.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

why do we care????

There are screams from every quarter over head shots and mandatory visors in the NHL again after the Matt Cooke hit and suspension and the Manny Malholtra incident where he took a puck in the eye.

Why do we care? These are pros? If they want these things they should be lobbying for them not us. There are still a great many NHL players who are against both visors being mandatory and head shots (even accidental ones) becoming punishable by a 2 minute penalty or more.

Why do we care more about protecting their careers and futures than they seem to?

Lets concentrate on amature hockey and make sure that kids are as safe as they can be. Visors, mouthgaurds and neck guards have been mandatory for years and the OHL already has a 100% head shot rule. More amature associations and certainly Hockey Canada should adopt that across the board.

But the pros? Save your emotions. Until the players are determined to protect themselves there is no reason for the rest of us to have concern for them.

The first major step in getting the number of NHL concussions under control has nothing to do with rule enforcement and everything to do with vanity enforcement. Players don't start wearing special concussion helmets until AFTER they've had a concussion. Why not wear one to prevent it in the first place ? The reason is simple vanity. Most concussion helmets don't really look cool.

Why doesn't the NHL demand a 4 buckle chin harness like the NFL does? The reason is simple. Vanity. They don't look very cool on a hockey helmet and that drooping chin strap has become the trendy look no matter how little it keeps the helmet in place.

I simply can"t get myself all riled up about all this until I see players demanding protection from each other and they are not.

I will start to care when they start to care. Until then lets just keep counting the concussions and make plans to feed these people through straws later in life.

See you at the rink.

Monday, March 21, 2011

now we are talkin!!!!!

The NHL has finally issued a suspension for dangerous play which actually has some teeth in it.

Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season (10 games) and the first round of the playoffs after his deliberate elbow to the head of Ranger Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.

Cooke will lose just under $220,000.00 in salary and as many as 7 playoff games. Players don't get paid in the playoffs so there is no monetary loss there, but clearly its a heavy punishment to miss playoff games for regular season crimes.

Most people in the NHL have for some time, considered Cooke the most dangerous player in the NHL. Not because of his size, but because of his ongoing disregard for the safety of other players. Youtube is filled with Cooke hits and other buffoonery which is extremely dangerous and often causes injuries. The fact that none of his 4 previous suspensions were longer than 4 games points out how little supplementary discipline affected his actions.

This suspension may get his attention and the attention of others around the league. That is until the next incident occurs and a softball suspension is levied. For this punishment to have an affect on what players do on the ice, it has to be followed up with a new level of deterrents for everyone, not just Matt Cooke.

Bravo to the NHL for finally getting tough. Now the question is, can they remain tough?

See you at the rink.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Common sense starting to set in.

I have been paying close attention to all the debates and panel discussions in the media and on fan blogs since the Chara/Pacioretty incident.  Thankfully much of the conversation has now turned towards player safety and away from the ridiculous assertions made by some that this was a planned attack by Chara. 

David Booth of the Florida Panthers should have a personal perspective on this,  since his career was nearly ended by a blind side head shot.  He says this incident has no connection to the plays the NHL is trying to weed out of the game.  Hits like the one he took are on the decline because they are now against the rules and the penalties are stiff.  He says the Chara hit was simply an accident.  That is exactly what it was and the sooner Montreal fans move past their misplaced anger and onto player safety questions,  the faster the game will be safer for players. 

There will always be injuries in hockey.  It is the fastest non-motorized team sport in the world and there is no way to eliminate accidents.  The players accept those risks but some fans and members of the media refuse to.

If these accidents appall you,  then don't watch hockey.  I agree with Leaf coach Ron Wilson. He makes some good points.  When players get hit with pucks in the face, do we talk about banning raised shots?  When players get broken feet, do we talk about banning slap shots?  This accident was more graphic and spectacular, but never the less, still an accident.

Lets talk about stanchions and not Chara.

See you at the rink.

Top 5??????

Right now with a 7-3-0 record in the last 10 games,  the Senators are one of the 5 hottest teams in the NHL.   No disrespect meant,  but look at this roster and tell me how that is possible?  I guess it tells you what can happen when you get good goaltending, you work hard within your system and other teams take you for granted.

The good news is,  this team is fun to watch again.  The bad news is they are now winning too many games and diminishing the chances of getting that first overall pick. 

See you at the rink.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Deals

Ok lets go through the deals.
Fisher to Nashville for a 1st and a 3rd.
Surprised that it was the first deal to happen, but not surprised in the sense that everyone knew he was a player many teams had interest in and house cleanings usually start with your prized possessions not your least prized.

Kelly to Boston for a 2nd.
Surprised me a bit because I thought Boston coveted Chris Phillips more than Kelly, but he is certainly a Claude Julien type of player and a 2nd round pick is very good return.

Ruutu to Anaheim for a 6th.
Not surprised he was moved, but was surprised Anaheim wanted him.

Elliott to Colorado for Anderson.
Was surprised only in the sense that it is rare to be able to trade a goalie who's numbers were as bad as Elliott's and who's game was so in shambles as the time of the trade.

Kovalev to Pittsburgh for a 7th rounder.
Good deal for both. Ottawa gets him off the books and if the Pens can get a few playoff goals out of him, its worth their while.

Svatos off waivers from Nashville.
A warm body to finish out the season without having to raid Bingo for another skater.
If he performs he might be a keeper, if he doesn't there is nothing lost.

Potulny and a 2nd from Chicago for Campoli and a 7th.
Move out some money and make way for some of the kids like Rundblat and Cowen who are coming next year. Pick up a prospect in Potulny who could be a good organizational depth guy.

McElhinney off waivers from Tampa.
Allows them to send Lehner back to Bingo to get playing time.
Good stop gap.

See you at the rink.

Chara not a criminal

The Chara hit on Pacioretty was interference.
It was called properly on the ice. It did not deserve a suspension and did not receive one.
There was no intent to do anything but rub out a player chasing the puck.

The criminal investigation is a joke. If there is going to be a criminal investigation after every player in the NHL is injured, the police are going to be very busy people.

Air Canada threatening to withdraw their sponsorships from the league is also a joke on many fronts. No other hits or incidents in the league have bothered them except for the one which occurred in the city where their head office is located and where it is safe to assume, a good number of their employees and management are Habs fans. It also rings hollow considering its not a threat which would have been considered if Canadian Airlines still existed or any other true national carrier. Walking away from the naming rights to the ACC and their other sponsorships is one thing. Its a different ball of wax when those sponsorships are then placed in the lap of your direct competition. The lack of a direct competitor gives Air Canada a lot of bluster.

I hope that during the police investigation there is as much investigating of workplace safety issues as there is any possible criminal wrong doing. The logic of having that stanchion where it is seems to be a far bigger issue.

This issue being discussed in the House of Commons is also a joke. You can tell an election is on the way. If the politicos are really concerned about the health and well being of Canadians start putting warning lables on bacon.

I have been listening to all the assumptions about retribution, intent to injure, head shots and people supposing to know what was going through Chara's mind. If Chara really wanted to injure Pacioretty he could have gone after him numerous times. Could have punched him in the face on numerous occasions. Mapping out this intricate, full speed plan to catch him just right during a rub out so that his head hit the stanchion is fascicle.

Everyone seems to have one, and this is my opinion. The only difference is, I don't have an emotional tie to either team or either player.

See you at the rink