Here’s a roundup of some of what’s going on in the hockey world:

I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen this one from Patrick Kane or Alex Ovechkin.

General Manager Jim Benning is on record as saying the Canucks still need a top six winger. This is not a shock to anyone given that their second and third highest scoring wingers last season didn’t even hit 40 points. Not surprisingly they were second worst in goals for last season with a flaccid 186 goals for the season.

Kirk Luedeke has a look at the impact of undrafted free agents in the Boston Bruins system.

The Franchise To Be Named Later headed for Las Vegas is supposedly held up, in part by the London Knights, a junior team, located half a continent away. Maybe, just maybe for future NHL expansion prospective team owners should have a list of names to hand in with the rest of the paperwork. Personally if they can’t settle up with London, maybe go with Nevada Nighthawks. Seriously, the CFL had two teams with the same name, and somehow we can’t have an NHL team and a OHL team with the same name? How does that work for the Rangers?

It still looks like Vladimir Sobotka should be back in the NHL this fall. The gritty forward has had two solid years in the KHL. Last year he finished second on his team in scoring, up from fourth in his first year playing in Europe.

Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames gets some love, or at least respect out of Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks.

So who is the best Nashville Predator? For my money, I want to see a full season of Subban and Johansen before I make up my mind.

Good-bye Antoinne, and hello Dylan, or maybe Christian, watching the Coyotes off season just got a bit more interesting.

1: Will everyone, everyone, everyone stop calling for suspensions on everything? This is hockey. Most of the players get it. It’s a physical sport, pain is a part of the deal. Mark Stuart once broke his sternum in a game and not only continued to play, but kept delivering the type of hits that get him compared to Scott Stevens. Stamkos had his face mashed by a puck in game play and was back on the ice before the announcers were finished wondering if he’d been taken to the hospital. Can we please leave off all discussion of supplementary discipline for routine penalties and debatable cheap shots. The guys playing know and accept the risk, many and probably most even enjoy it or they wouldn’t be playing.

2: When is the ownership in Vancouver going to realize they won’t win with their current leadership? That team’s accountability level is about zero. The dippy general manager is more concerned with protecting his players feelings than building a cup winner. Ever a guy as bellicose as Brian Burke is impossible to imagine getting into a sandbox level squall with a player in the press over something said in the media. What Bolland said isn’t very unique and hardly rises to the level of something anyone above ice level needs to or even should address.

3: The LA Kings came into this season a favorite of no few to win the conference and possibly the Cup. Where is that team? The guys on the ice with possibly one exception outside of Quick look like their one puff from dropping the bone and going to sleep. Its awful. Its worse than watching Columbus or Calgary who are both far thinner on talent. Its even worse than watching the Caps who no one expects to win after April 15th anyway.

4: Who’s ready to jump on the Wild bandwagon? If you aren’t, you aren’t paying attention. The scariest part of their rampage to the top of the standings with almost half the season gone is how many injuries they’ve had. At just 30 games in they’ve dressed close to two complete teams. I’m not calling them serious contenders yet, but if you expect them to fade away in another week or two you need to pay more attention.

5: Speaking of accountability, why is there so little among general managers? The Washington Capitals continue to flush $6,000,000.00 a year on the only player I can think of to be called out more than once by teammates and former teammates, the team can’t get to creditable spot in the playoffs and its coaches who are the fall guys. The Ducks fired a solid coach, brought in a solid coach, and continue to, in precise technical terms; stink on ice. The coach was not to blame. Of the 7-8 defensemen all shot from the same side but one. The only two player moves anyone’s noticed were this weeks trade and allowing Smith-Pelle to play at the world juniors. Yet GMs stay in their jobs for years, and Julien at less than five seasons holds the fifth longest tenure of NHL head coaches.

Off the Faceoff is a semi-regular feature filled with a varying number of one(ish) line thoughts, mostly on hockey.


In regards to the Issue of the week: You always know where you are and who’s where on the ice.

Me: B**** Please! How many times a season are we treated to the sight of two or three teammates plowing into each other on the ice? What about the players who trip over their own goalie without being pushed? Or the guys who get their stick hung up in the netting or the goal?  Nice fantasy, but I prefer mine in print form and clearly labeled as such.
Goonery on March 24th.  It has been posited that some schlep will be brought up to fight Chara for his technically correct, but ill timed hit.

Me:  It wouldn’t surprise me. Ryan White has played 12 games for the Habs this season and has yet to record a goal. He has 77 PIM’s in 33 AHL games and just 12 points, seriously you’d think that a team with LTIR cap space, and the 22nd ranked offense would call up someone who was of use with their gloves on.

Playoffs, who’s in.

Me: Two west predictions to make it, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes.

Two Coaches who should get Jack Adams notice in the east

Me: Bruce Boudreau for keeping his team at or near the top of the conference while (finally) implementing reasonable defensive structure and having several key players forget how to score. Dan Bylsma, with more man games lost than any one wants to think about and almost as much salary on IR as on the ice, he’s kept his team within striking distance of the division and conference lead.

What the experts say about the hit: Kevin Weekes, and Carey Price both say you know where you are on the ice at all times. Jeremy Roenick says he was often surprised to hit those stanchions or be hit into them. Mathew Barnaby says he fought Chara three times and that the guy isn’t dirty.

Me: Is it any surprise that both Price and Weekes are goalies who spend 99% of their in the same pretty small area within the crease and the rest within two strides of it feel you know where you are all the time? Not really, but goalie isn’t like any other position on the team. Roenick played more than 1500 NHL games and called five different NHL arenas in both conference home, I can’t see someone with more than 500 goals and 1200 points to their credit can’t be counted as highly creditable on the topic of on ice awareness.  As for Barnaby:

I don’t see how that disposes someone towards excess sympathy.

Off the Faceoff is a semi-regular feature filled with a varying number of one line thoughts, mostly on hockey.

Faceoff 1: It’s hockey day in America and the NHL has kindly made it impossible to watch all the games, or even most of the games since three of them start at about the same time.

Response: Great, next time just schedule them all at 6:30 AM ‘PT, the ratings will be about the same. And why aren’t there any sunbelt teams scheduled? I realize a lot of the south thinks of the Mason Dixon as the natural border but there’s no sense in helping the delusion.

Faceoff 2: The Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens square off today in the Heritage Classic. Who are you rooting for?

Response:  As a hockey fan, a Bruins fan, and someone who wants to see more of Jarome Iginla on TV, I want the Flames to roast the Habs. Maybe if they do NBC, Versus, and the NHL will show more of their games on tv in the east and I won’t have to sit through the same four western teams all the time.

Faceoff 3:  There has been lots of comment on Twitter about the possible relocation of the Thrashers to western Canada.

Response:  !) Not happening soon. (Sorry Winnipeg.) 2) Detroit and Columbus would make decent choices to relocate to the East to rebalance the conferences, but the natural choice with the minimum amount of redrawing of the division lines is neither, it’s Nashville.  Weber against Stamkos or against Ovechkin would make great tv and spark some rivalries in that division.

Since every blog on the internet needs a few regular features just to keep itself going, and I refuse to resort to naked link salads here’s my new one.

Off the Faceoff is a semi-regular feature filled with a varying number of one line thoughts, mostly on hockey.

Faceoff 1:

Someone who was discussing concussions and punishments recently questioned the NHL’s ability to survive the long-term loss of players like Marc Savard and Sidney Crosby.

Response: B!tch Please! If the NHL can survive the lockout, Gary Bettman’s inability to explain anything to his daughter, the retirement of Bourque, Gretzky, Bossy, the coverage on Versus, and the media ignoring it most of the time, even losing two top centers won’t kill it.

Faceoff 2:

Some people have called the Pepsi Maxx commercial with the couple in the park where one party is a touch domineering, and a little psycho is either sexist or racist.

Response:  Are you high? I keep forgetting that not only is every relationship made up of 100% equals in every way with no jealousy, but that’s exactly what will get peoples attention in advertising too. (For the record I’m a black Coke fan.)

Faceoff 3:

Phil Kessel has been telling tales out of school up in Toronto. Apparently he doesn’t like being told to work in more than one zone, and even when it’s clear the coach is more interested in his efforts than his results he’s resumed full sulk mode, with no apparent claim to responsibility.

Response: It’s Phil Kessel. Zero personality, zero drive, zero accountability. I’m convinced if Sean Avery and PK Subban had both been in the All Star Draft they would each have gone before Kessel. Say what you will about Avery and Subban, both bring it.

Faceoff 4:

The Colorado Avalanche recently signed Petr Forsberg to a contract for the rest of the season.

Response: Clearly the thin air is getting to management. When you have a major issue on defense, and particularly with having a mobile defense, and you’re in the top third of the league for scoring you don’t solve the issue of a nonexistent penalty kill by adding a guy who hasn’t played in the NHL since April of 2008, and is one of the 20 oldest skaters in the NHL on top of it.

Faceoff 5:

Ilya Kovalchokes the Hab’s.

Response: Have you learned nothing? Seriously, the evidence goes back years. Kovalchuck is good at head games, feeds off the crowd and does not hate being the villain.