The Ottawa Senators are for sale.

No, not the organization just the roster. And man do they need help. It isn’t just the NHL roster that is lacking in depth, talent, and winning drive. Their AHL affiliate the Bellville Senators are near the bottom of that league as well. Without a first or second round pick this year, and a third round pick next year, this team can not afford to move players and not get solid returns.

Given the questionable ability of the organization to draft and develop players, a case can be made for the team to trade exclusively for roster players and prospects who would be in the NHL if it weren’t for their current rights holder having salary cap issues. I don’t know that this is a good idea, but with the number of NHL players on teams well outside the playoffs who might be able to help the organization going forward it isn’t an idea that can be dismissed entirely.

While everyone else is analyzing if the organization should move on from Erik Karlsson, and what they can get for him, I’ll stick to some of the players who have value as depth players, or to fill in for a top six/top four player who is expected to be out for an extended period.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a sneaky good depth forward. Last year he produced 19 goals in the regular season and then eight more in the Senator’s playoff appearance. He produces at even strength, and on the penalty kill. Any team needing either a 3rd center or first pairing penalty kill forward will get a good value. Value: 2nd round pick plus, likely a 2nd and a lesser pick or prospect.

Mark Borowiecki overshadowed by both Karlsson and Phanuef on this roster. His raw physicality will lead some to overlook his skating ability, a good comparison is Boston’s Kevan Miller. Value: This one is tricky, he’s got a team friendly contract, two more years on it, but is never going to be even a middling points producer. A 3rd or 4th round pick would seam fair but I could see him going for more.

Mike Hoffman. I think the Ottawa Senator’s organization would be fools to trade him, but he is undoubtedly a quality goal scorer able to produce his own offense in a system with limited assistance. He’s under contract for next season as well. Value: 1st round pick plus additional return.

Johnny Oduya: May end up as a throw in with a bigger name, might go somewhere looking for a veteran who has been there and done that. He’s not going to come in a play top pairing minutes, but veteran defensemen are valued above the purely on ice contribution, particularly ones who have been as far into the playoffs as he has. Value: will likely fetch a 2nd or a lesser prospect.

Mark Stone is quietly having a good season for the Senators, and will like getting a significant raise on July 1. With 18 goals already on a team that’s subpar and coached defense first, he’s going to generate some interest. Value: This will depend entirely on if he is just traded as a rental or if there is a signing involved in the move. A pair of second round picks say 2018 and 2020 would be a nice return.

Derick Brassard on the plus side has already matched last year’s goal total, on the minus side he’s not young any more and a $2,500,000 signing bonus just for living until bonus day might slow down the clamor the talents of the soon to be 31 year old Quebec native. Value: Roster player (either expiring contract or need for need) and a pick.

This is a feature that will run about every two weeks with improbable stats and situations in the National Hockey League.

 

Players:

  • Dion Phanuef at a staggering .956 would have the highest on ice sv% of any NHL defenseman with 30 or more games played.
  • that after leading the Ducks in scoring in the 2011-12 season, and finishing fifth in scoring last year, Teemu Selanne would be 12th in points this year.
  • of the top 10 players in PIMs one would be both a first round pick, and a teenager; Tom Wilson.
  • also among the top 10 players in PIMs Radko Gudas would be the only one playing more than 20 minutes per night.
  • US Olympian Cam Fowler would not only lead the Ducks in total ice time, but shorthanded TOI/G as well.
  • despite fewer games and trailing the overall points race Patrick Kane would lead the NHL in road points.
  • of the top to players in points at home, only two would appear in the top ten for road points: Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby.
  • Blake Wheeler would have the highest points total of any right wing against his division.

Teams:

  • the Phoenix Coyotes would be the only team without a shorthanded goal.
  • based on Capgeek.com rankings, the top 10 spending teams would all be in the playoffs, 2 of the bottom ten (Montreal, Colorado) would be in leaving just 4 playoff teams in the middle 10.
  • the New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators would be the only teams without even one shootout win.
  • 40% of the Washington Capitals wins would come via the shootout, higher than any other team currently in a playoff spot.
  • the 26th place Florida Panthers would have as many wins in 41 games this season as in the 48 game lockout shortened season.
  • the Nashville Predators would be the only team to not allow a shorthanded goal.
  • the Calgary Flames would be the only NHL team to play three full games without a penalty, and all three would be in November: 3rd against the Blackhawks, 20th against the Blue Jackets, and 30th against the Ducks.
  • the Minnesota Wild would be the only team to make it to the new year without a bench penalty.
  • 4 of the 5 most teams with the most PIMS would be in a playoff position while only three of the five least penalized would be.

After years, and years of futility, questionable contracts, and slow incremental improvement, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally made the playoffs. Better still, they didn’t even back in on a last game overtime loss, they snagged the five spot in the conference, in regulation or overtime wins they were tied for second in the east.

Which makes the dismantling of the team even more baffling. They dumped Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens and picked up Jonathan Bernier. They shipped out 3 picks for the Dave Bolland. Former New Jersey Devil David Clarkson was signed to a weighty deal. And most puzzling of all, Mikhail Grabovski was bought out. This is a guy who wanted to retire there, never took nights off, and was one of the better two way player in the NHL last season.

This year the team once know as the Toronto St Patrick’s, will open on the road against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday October first, then head south to square off with the Philadelphia Flyers the next evening. A two set will open their season at home when they host the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche. Game five sees them back on the road against Seth Jones and the Nashville Predators.

Number of days 1-5: 9

Number of cities: 4

Best opponent: Montreal Canadiens

Weakest opponent: Colorado Avalanche

Home games: 2

Projected points: 4+

With all the changes on the roster, chemistry will take time. New lines are the order of the day, and new defensive pairings as well. Jonathan Bernier will have to learn the habits of all his defensemen, and they his. James Reimer will need to show he has bounced back completely from the late game collapse against the Boston Bruins. Whatever you may think of their talents, Nazim Kadri and Tyler Bozak are going to be known quantities as the likely centers of the first and second lines, that will make a difference in how teams play them. How will they adjust? Who will end up in Randy Carlyle’s dog house this year? The answers to those questions will tell us if the Toronto Maple Leafs have games after April 12th. The other weighty questions for the team are how well will Kessel and Phanuef play in their contract year? Phanuef is 28, he can reasonably expect to play at or near his current level at least five to seven more years. Will he play conservatively so as not to risk injury? Will Kessel play selfishly trying to inflate his goal total so he can sign a another long deal? For Phil Kessel if he stays healthy he could be contributing as much as much as Chris Kunitz or more in 8 years. If the team feels the can’t sign one or both players and trades them, how is that going to affect the dressing room?

The short answer to all questions of player value is: What ever they can get someone to pay for them.  In this case, Subban is what every team needs and wants: a highly talented, mobile, young defender with offensive skill, defensive savvy, and his best years ahead of him.

Q: So where does he rank in terms of both actual skill, and potential:A: In my book, top ten for NHL defensemen.

In whatever order you like, you can put Chara, Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo, Suter, Doughty ahead of him. The next tier of his true comparables is harder to gauge as that group has more and variability in strengths and weaknesses as well as age. That group includes the Capitals John Carlson, the Jets Dustin Byfugelien, Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Canucks blueliner Kevin Bieksa, and when used properly, Jay Bouwmeester of the Flames.

Of his comparables:

  • John Carlson is the closest in age and accomplishments, Carlson is better defensively, Subban is a little faster and better offensively. Carlson is also 23 and signed a team friendly pretty fair contract with a cap hit of four million a year in a town where he was at the time about the sixth or seventh biggest name.
  • Kevin Bieksa is the oldest of his comparables, is the fifth or so biggest name behind Kesler, the Sedins and whichever goalies the press is hectoring between pillar and post out in Vancouver. No Cup for Bieksa, but one of the NHL’s more dependable blueliners and is not the type to give up even if a game is out of hand. He’s got a talent laden blueline around him and has for years, not a natively gifted offensively, but knows where he fits in on his offensive minded team. Cap hit of $4.6 million.
  • Jay Bouwmeester was when he signed his current contract with the floundering Panthers about the most talented player and arguably the biggest name on the team. He plays huge minutes including more than two minutes a night on each special team. He blocks over 100 shot each year. His cap hit is $6.8m
  • Brent Seabrook is often overlooked in Chicago even if a good look at the numbers doesn’t bear that out. Skilled going in both directions, Seabrook would be the cornerstone of a lot of franchises in the NHL. He has similar offensive numbers, on a more offensively gifted team, to Subban. Was a big part of the Cup run for Chicago a couple years back. 5.8million.
  • Dustin Byfuglien is the Jets most sizeable defeneman, played his part in hoisting the cup for the windy city, and aside from some injury issues has been a dynamic player since landing in Atlanta-now-Winnipeg. Less defensive acuity than Subban, just as good a skater with a lot more size, and possibly the best known player on his team. His cap hit is 5.2million.

A couple of contracts his agent is sure to bring up:

  • Erik Karlsson, who was mysteriously awarded the Norris, has almost negative defensive ability, and a contract for a $6.8 million cap hit, despite never making it out of the first round of the playoffs and playing a very soft game.
  • Dennis Wideman, the wildly inconsistent 29 year old now on his fifth NHL team was an All Star last season, carries a 5.25m cap hit, and no team he’s played for has ever made it out of the second round of the playoffs.
  • Dion Phaneuf who is one of those guys who was billed as the second coming of god in his early years, and is still picked for a Norris yearly buy some pundits has a large cap hit at 6.5million, but hasn’t seen a playoff game since 2009 and has been above average if not elite for the Toronto Maple Leafs since arriving.

If you crunch the numbers on his true comparables and leave out the laughably overpaid Karlsson, the Semin-level-enigma that is Wideman, and Phanuef, you’ve got an average cap hit of 5,280,000. That’s not really an unfair number for a short term contract, but realistically with only modest improvement in the next three years he should be in the running for legitimate Norris win, and a couple 50+ point seasons.

If your considering an offer sheet or trade for Subban, what does a roughly five point three million dollar contract offer sheet cost? That depends on where you expect to draft, and how well you’ve done drafting. For any amount in the price range of his comparables, assuming Montreal doesn’t match it, you’d be giving up selections in each of the first three rounds of the draft.

If you expect to draft in the top 10 this year, it might not be worth it.

If you expect to draft 11-20, you have to consider it very, very strongly.

If you expect to draft 21-30 this season you’re probably derelict in your duty if you don’t.

An immediate impact player, especially at a reasonable price and especially long term (four+ seasons) is better than potential that is years away. If as an organization you think Subban is the player that can put you over the top for a cup win, or even just generate enough buzz to sell 3000 more tickets a game you almost have to go for him via offer sheet or trade. If you’re in the division you can doubly impact the Habs by lowering their level of talent and improving yours. As poorly as the Habs have drafted in the last decade, them muffing on the draft is almost a given.

John Torterella in his never ending quest to be the largest personality in New York has again decided the Rangers can do without the services of one Sean Avery. Why it is that Torterella singles out a player to put in the doghouse deservedly or not each season is anyones guess.  It could be just to set an example, or maybe he just doesn’t like their cologne. While Avery is a well known best, as Larry Brooks points out, Avery was an asset and not a liability during his time with the Rangers this season.  Fans in New York City love the fashionista-pest and he can contribute even when not being penalized. In the 2006-7 season he put up 18 goals, scored both shorthanded and on the powerplay while compiling a very respectable stack of takeaways in over 17 minutes of icetime.

For teams lacking identity or looking for a freebie, especially heading into the trade deadline this is a godsend. For teams like the Islanders, the chance to grab some merchandise sales and a few additional ticket sales can’t be overlooked. Just as Jagr injected new life into the already warm Philadelphia-Pittsburgh rivalry, Avery the Islander would be fun to watch.

Some other teams that might use him well:

  • GM Scott Howson has already declared the Blue Jackets would be active from now to the trade deadline. With a roster as bare of NHL talent as Columbus is beyond a handful of players, adding a guy who can inject some life into the sputtering roster and get under the skin of rival players like Toews, Lidstrom, and Weber down the stretch might be a great building block for the future.
  • The Senators have a respectable chance of making the playoffs this season. If they do it’s quite likely to be in the seven or eight spot. Leaving aside the potential drama of having him face Torterella and company if the Rangers finish in first or second is the fact that the competitive advantage of having someone with NHL playoff experience to a very young roster can’t be overlooked.
  • The Kings are lacking something. Even under their new head coach they may be winning a bit more but they are hardly intimidating anyone on the ice. They are last in the NHL in scoring, their left wing has been effectively vacant for two plus seasons, and they aren’t a particularly fast team. Avery isn’t going to out skating Grabner for too many pucks but the guys they do have? Better still Avery has a home in LA, and has played there before. At this point with even Joe Thornton getting in on the Sedin bating, just imagine the fun he could have.
  • While he might not be fondly remembered for his quip about the departed Dian Phanuef in Calgary, if they are determined not to trade Iginla and company (or even if they are) , not to mention Stajan and Tanguay on the shelf, having the 25th ranked offense and not much in the farm system to help, adding Avery could be work to keep the teams recent surge going.
  • No team has scored more powerplay goals than the Canucks.Adding Avery to draw additional penalties and put the other team off balance more, especially come playoff time, is a powerful incentive. Better still, if he’s on their roster and not some conference rival the Sedins and Luongo don’t have to deal with his on ice antics.
  • The Avalanche have improved their PK a bit, but it still needs work at 21st in the NHL, tagging Avery as a top or second paring penalty kill forward and allowing him the freedom to go after short handed goals could be the combination needed to keep Avery aggressive and (mostly) within the rules.
  • I think it is safe to say drama lovers across the continent would pay to see Avery and Phanuef bury the hatchet. As the Maple Leafs are desperate to make the playoffs and have the worst penalty kill in the NHL while clinging to 8th in the east, I can’t think of a better way for Avery to prove he’s reformed, help a team out where it needs it, and given Burkes love of trucelence, slide a round peg into a round hole.

With the first game of the new season against a division rival comes the need for a new drinking game. Break out the funnels, hide the smart-phone to prevent drunk dialing, and warn your boss you’ll be getting your stomach pumped and liver refurbished tomorrow.

Take One Drink:

If someone gets their first goal of the season.

At the mention of “Original Six”.

Tomas Kaberle is mentioned.

Someone refers to Gustavsson as “the Monster”.

The Kessel trade is brought up.

Take two drinks:

If at any point Bruins fans begin chanting “Thank You Kessel”

If at any point Leafs fans begin chanting “Thank You Kessel”

The fact that Kessel is leading the league in scoring is mentioned.

Any mention is made of the Bruins losing their cool against the Canes.

Whenever special teams stats are brought up and there is no special teams play.

Take three drinks:

If any mention of “The kids” of  the Edmonton Oilers are mentioned. (Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, or the rest of the players old enough to vote, own property or go to war.)

If Kessel touches the puck twice in a row without being booed.

Any reference is made to “Cup Hangover”.

Take four drinks:

If a Canadian broadcaster fails to tell you where a player is from at least twice.

If Jack Edwards seems calm.

If Rene Rancourt performs the anthems and fails to perform at least two fist pumps.

If someone not named Lucic or Phanuef throws a hit that can legitimately be described as bone crunching.

Skip a drink:

There is a “fight”.

Tyler Bozak wins a faceoff.

 

Please remember PuckSage, PuckSage.com its domain host, contributors, or the voices in our heads are not responsible for your actions, please drink responsibly (or at least send us the youtube videos of fun irresponsible stuff) and make sure you have a good lie ready if the cops show up.

 

The Eastern Conference is so much harder to predict than the west this season for one hugely important reason: goaltending. I don’t think there has been such a concentration of high end talent in net in either conference before. If you made a list of the top ten starting goaltenders in the NHL you’d probably find seven on your list from the eastern conference, and likely two of the top three backups as well. That one position can be the difference between a team that does good and does great.

Southeast division:

Florida Panthers hands down the most remade team in their division. They are certainly better than they were last year but there’s not a lot of hope of chance of them getting to the playoffs.

Carolina Hurricanes, these boys were right there all season and with the off season tweaks to their roster they should be a better team.  If they are going to make it in someone else needs to falter or they need to all hit their peak at once.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Roloson and Lecavalier will be the players who make the difference in how far this team goes. Playoff bound is not really a question, quite likely they will be second in the division.

Winnipeg Jets are victims of their ownership issues. They drafted Scheifele, Alexander Burmistrov will be in his second season, and the venerable and creaky Evander Kane will enter his third season in the NHL. They have plenty of upside but they need consistency more than anything.  Bubble team if they are inconsistent and other teams falter, playoff team if they put it all together.

Washington Capitals have, on paper the chance to run away with the regular season points race at least in the east and possibly league wide. Great new goaltender, good defense, and an offense that’s capable of otherworldy numbers. Easily the best of the division.

Atlantic division

This one is hard to call because of the number of changes made by some of the teams.

The New York Islanders have a scary amount of very young talent, a questionable amount of elder statesmen and the most likely to be injured goalie brigade in known history. They will be entertaining to watch.

The New Jersey Devils are a very curious team after the injury bug was evicted from their locker room and a coach lost his job they went on a strong run. Zach is back to lead the pack, but the defense is another question mark, as is curiously enough the goaltending. May be the third team to sneak into the playoffs from this division.

The Philadelphia Flyers are a chemistry experiment conducted in the dark and behind the back of the mad scientist in the GM’s office. Some huge potential was brought in, some huge talent, and Brian Boucher were sent packing. Given the age and injury history of some of the key components to this team theres a lot that can go wrong on a trip to not winning the division but playing into a 5-8 slot.

New York Rangers, mama Staal is probably even more disgusted at the injury to Mark, caused by Eric than Tortarella is. Mark is still suffering the post concussion effects from last spring, and if he should have a long recovery time the Rangers are sunk before they start. If he comes back reasonably healthy soon its a whole different story. With Brad Richards in the lineup, and Gaborik (hopefully) healthy, a lot could happen for this team.

Pittsburgh Penguins. Marc-Andre Fluery had a career year last year, and was the teams second best goalie. All three top centers missed about half the season. On the plus side James Neal came over late and will be in town the whole season, Malkin is ready to go, Jordan Staal looked great from his return to the end of the year, and the defense is surprisingly potent. Even if Crosby doesn’t return a very strong team.

Northeast division

If you count Rask you have four of the ten best goaltenders in the NHL in this division. Not surprisingly the three teams in this division with great goalies will probably make the post season if they play in their normal range.

Ottawa Senators, this could be a very entertaining team to watch skate to last in the division.

Toronto Maple Leafs, some deceptively good low level moves by Burke in the off season and late last year should see this team notably improved if they can get all the misfit toys to march in the same direction. Phaneuf, Kessel, Komisarek, Lupal all need to pull their weight this season for the team to succeed. Will bite at the heels of whoever is third in the division.

Montreal Canadiens, not much change in Habsland.  Wiesnewski out and Cole in. Odd, but ok. Maybe the have better health from their players, but they essentially stood still while the Sabres got better. They should still be a playoff team but its not gonna be pretty.

Buffalo Sabres, have changed a lot since Pegula took over mid season last year. New forwards, new defensemen, and best of all, Ryan Miller still in the crease. The defense should be more reliable, the forwards are hoped to be more durable and creative than some of the the players they replaced. A lot of people have made picks for coming out of the east, I have yet to hear anyone pick this team. Anyone surprised if they are in the eastern conference finals or beyond.

A couple times in the last two or three weeks I’ve heard people say that teams take on the personality of their head coach. Specifically they were saying this in an effort to criticize Claude Julien. I just don’t think I can agree. The coach is on a day to day basis the most influential member of club management, but that’s about where it ends.

The general manager on the other hand not only selects the coaches, and the players, but selects the scouts, the assistant general managers, and trainers. They also set the priorities of personality, and physical attributes they value. It is also the GM who (in most organizations) has the final call on trades, draft choices, and what players are assigned to and recalled from a minor league affiliate. On top of that, they have the final say what free agents are pursued or resigned.

Bearing those things in mind, let’s look at two general managers that have been appointed recently, and the types of players they have brought in, made captain, and attempted to move.

First Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs:

  • Dion Phanuef, aggressive, hard skating defenseman who has drafted high and has a reputation for playing on or over the edge. Has not had his defensive game flattered much in the last couple seasons. Also has a reputation for not having his head in the game for long stretches of time. He was brought into the Maple Leafs via a trade with the Calgary Flames. After twenty six games of tepid play last season, he was named captain in the off season, a position that had been vacant since the departure in 2008 of Leafs icon Mats Sundin.
  • Phil Kessel, was acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for two first round draft picks  and a second round pick (Tyler Seguin 1st 2010, Jared Knight 2nd 2010, and upcoming 1st 2011). Kessel was and remains widely praised for exceptional speed, and a shot release that puts him in the top ten or fifteen players in the league in both. He’s also got a well documented history of failure to perform against top teams, isn’t gifted with an impressive work ethic, and probably accumulates almost as many hits her year as Tim Thomas. He’s not shown a willingness to play through pain for the good of the team.
  • Mike Komisarek, picked up after he earned himself a one way ticket to anywhere but the Bell Centre. He’s a defensive defenseman, who plays with an edge, engaged in a very one-sided feud with Bruins winger Milan Lucic where he lost a couple fights, including one where he spent months on the shelf as a result of an injury sustained during the fight. He gouged the eye of the much smaller Matt Hunwick and hasn’t covered himself in glory as a Leaf.

Now a look at some of the key free players Peter Chiarelli has brought to the Boston Bruins.

  • Zdeno Chara. Has responded well to both coaches he’s played for a Bruin, his former Islanders General Manager’s lone complaint of him is that he wanted to much money. He came into a town with a history of elite defensemen and earned himself a Norris trophy. Has, been a fixture of the team, played the 2009-10 season with a dislocated finger. Soft spoken off the ice and willing to give time to fans.
  • Marc Savard. Came in a point per game player with a reputation for soft play, and defensive nonexistence. In the time he’s been in Boston, his points total has dipped slightly, but he has also been a large contributor to the penalty kill, and has led the team in scoring three of the four plus seasons here. By nearly any conceivable measure, he signed a contract extension well under his fair market value to remain a member of the Boston Bruins.
  • Mark Recchi. As the NHL’s elder statesman by more than two years, on the surface it’s an interesting question as to why he’s on the roster at all. That is until you remember he’s one of the handful of players to hit over 1000 games, 1000 points, and 1000 penalty minutes. Also, certain minor stars of the NHL like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos credit him with helping them hugely. Add that to the Bruins pretty young roster, and the upcoming talents and he’s a very, subtle element in the developmental progression of several players.

When you look at the rosters of both teams, see interviews with the core players, and look at who’s wearing the letters on the front of their jerseys you’ll notice that for the most part the Bruin’s players are soft spoken, introverted, and even if they play a very physical game, lean towards the cerebral thinking mans player. If you look at the Maple Leafs roster, you get one dimensional, high risk high reward style players who are more emotionally driven. I don’t think you could watch five minutes of footage of both GM’s and come away with any impression other than that these are the men who have crafted their teams.

While in the middle of reviewing the Bruins cap crunch, I took a minute or four off to look at the All-Star Vote totals. Sure, the school yard format threatens to make a game that’s as real as Pam Anderson’s chest even worse, but that’s not the point. The point is there are players in non-hockey markets ahead of the Boston Bruin’s players.

While it makes me want to vomit to know that Carey Price is ahead of Tim Thomas in goalie voting, I can accept that. I mean seriously, it keeps the Montreal fans from flipping cars and burning cruisers so it’s a good thing for the environment, the court systems and law and order in Quebec. True Price has done little but watch better goalies get traded away in his career, but with all the work he put in helping the Smurfs on his team reach things on the top shelf I can live with this one, I guess. Besides Montreal doesn’t have anything to do with any real sports other than hockey so… But, that’s not the point.

And given that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have been force fed to anyone who hears anything about the NHL since before the lockout was over, it’s not a shock that they are top five vote getters, hell they might even deserve it. Chicago is one of the largest cities in North America, so last seasons Norris Trophy Winner Duncan Keith is a natural as well, and he does deserve it. Nicklas Lidstrom is pushing triple digits in age, and as the hockey fans have more sense and class than the hacks who vote people into the Hockey Hall of Fame, it’s not surprising Lidstrom is on near the top given that this is probably his last hurrah. But alas, that’s not the point.

Even that whiny, one zone, overpaid git Phil Kessel is high on the list. Given that Toronto fans are delusional enough to believe they got the better of that trade, and thought they’d be in the playoffs this season, I’m kinda surprised he’s not even higher. I’m going to have to guess that his failure to top the list is due to the passionate love Leaf Lovers have for the Raptor’s who are just as dynamic as the Maple Leafs. I wonder if Brian Burke is GM of them too?

The point is there are players in non-hockey markets ahead of the Boston Bruin’s players. Here’s some of the various players from redneck crossroads, hick towns, and places where belt buckles and NASCAR are more popular than hockey, high school diplomas and hygiene that somehow have players ahead of the Bruins players on the All Star ballot count. Also included are things that just plain baffle me.

  • Michael Cammilleri (@MCammalleri13), in more games has the exact same number of goals as Michael Ryder. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, is there ergot in every dish of poutine in Quebec?
  • Alex Semin aka “Little Drummer Boy”

has more votes than Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci combined.

  • Ilya Kovalchuk who has four goals and $100 million contract has almost twice as many votes at Milan Lucic who has about three times as many points and more than twice as many goals.
  • Mike “What’s Defense?” Green has more votes than someone who actually has won a Norris Trophy. Honestly, can the Washington Capitals just reassign him to wing where he belongs? I’ll even cheer for him playing there since his complete lack of defensive play will be less noticeable there.
  • Ok, let’s leave aside the fact that he’s the captain of Toronto, and that as their continued cheering of Kessel proves they have no taste there, how is former Calgary Flames “stud” first among the Maple Leaf’s blueliners in votes? He’ll get confused, at this point he’s used to coming in second.  How in the hell is this head case ahead of Johnny Boychuck?
  • Max Talbot of Pittsburgh, Jason Spezza of Ottawa, and Jussi Jokienen of wherever, are all ahead of Milan Lucic in ballot count? I didn’t even know any of the three were actually playing in the NHL this year. Sure, the Senators play in a building that’s quieter than a library, but they are at least a hockey market (sorta). I do have to admit I am impressed that the Sidney Crosby fans in powder blue knew the name of another player on their roster. Very impressed, Kudos.
  • As far as pure shock value goes, near the top has to be Zach Parise getting more votes than Shawn Thornton. Leaving aside any other year of their careers, Shawn Thornton is far more deserving of being there this year, and would be the only player at the All Star game who’s interviews didn’t threaten Ambien’s market share.
  • Brandy Brandon “The Slasher” Dubinsky is somehow getting more votes than any Bruins forward.
  • I do think it’s really amazing that everyone who’s ever been to a Carolina Hurricanes game sent in a vote for their favorite figure skater Jeff Skinner.

But, I have no problems with Sean Avery getting votes, I think it’d be good for coverage for someone who might play with an edge, say something interesting, and has the skill to pot a goal or two to be there.