Archive for the ‘Blackberry Dude’ Category

Five for Howling presents its Phoenix Coyotes draft thoughts

June 22, 2009

It’s been a tough couple months for the Phoenix Coyotes. They came (this) close to being the Ontario Black-Berrys and just about everyone crapped on their franchise. Needless to say, the team isn’t out of the woods yet, but for now the Coyotes are staying in the desert.

Our main source of Coyotes information and opinions is “Five for Howling,” the Phoenix Coyotes Sports Blog Nation representative run by Odin Mercer. FfH has been a great source of information and dissenting opinions as the ‘Yotes are not necessarily the most heavily covered team in the league.

Make sure to follow Five for Howling and congratulate Odin Mercer on the team staying in the valley of the sun.

1. Now that the dust has settled on the, um, Blackberry scenario, the Coyotes have a high draft pick to sort out. Who do you expect the Coyotes to pick this year and do you think that player could have an immediate impact on the roster?

Well I think that if the Coyotes keep the 6th pick they should go with Jared Cowen. They’ll do the due diligence to make sure that knee is okay but if it is he’ll be solid on the blueline for years to come. Barring any surprise drop of one of the other top players I think he’s our pick.

2. The Coyotes cleared out a lot of salary at the trade deadline (Jokinen, Morris, etc.) and there were reports that the team was struggling financially. How limited do you expect the teams movements to be? Do you think the ‘Yotes will make some moves at the draft?

Well we already saw the Reinprecht deal with Florida, which wasn’t anything big, but shows you how good Don Maloney is at getting something for nothing. In another 2 weeks he would have just walked and signed somewhere where now we at least get a prospect for him. We’ve got a lot of dollars to spend before we even get to the salary floor though so look for the RFAs to all get locked up and for Don Maloney to go after some mid range UFAs that he can get a deal on like he did Kurt Sauer last year who was a steal at 4 years and just under 2 mil per. I think you’ll see moves, but nothing like the Jokinen trade from last year. We’ll have to be really creative.

3. Looking back, describe some of the best moments in the Coyotes/Jets drafting history. Are there any players who stand out as “steals” or moves that defined the franchise in a positive way that stand out to you?

I think the obvious is Shane Doan. You couldn’t ask for a better captain. He’s stuck with the team through everything win or lose. While I don’t know if that’s a steal, it’s certainly the best pickup we ever made. Once we got some better management in here and put Don Maloney in charge we’ve really gotten better in the draft department. Sure we won’t really know how those players turn out for a few more years, but Boedker, Turris , Tikhonov, as well as Hanzal and Mueller, these are all solid pickups in the recent past that could be huge for us.

4. On the other hand, what are some moves the Coyotes would surely take back? Tell us about some of the darker moments in Phoenix(and/or Winnipeg’s) draft history.

The most recent poor pick was Blake Wheeler, we both picked him way too early and obviously didn’t go into that pick with our eyes open as to what he was going to want as far as playing for our team. Then as you go back you have the entire 2003 class which played a total of 0 NHL games though our first round pick did manage to lead the Arizona Sundogs to the CHL championship in 2008. I guess that’s something. The 1999 draft had us take 9 players that played a grand total of 49 games. So we’ve had some really gems of drafts.

5. Soapbox time: feel free to take the floor about the Coyotes, whether it be the draft or the relocation worries. What would you like to tell the blogosphere, in general? I imagine there might be a few things you’d like to get off your chest …

Mostly I just want to tell those that have been supportive thanks and those that haven’t to take a long walk off a short pier. Just about any team could be the next to have this happen to them and jeering at other fans and hoping for them to lose their team just heaps bad karma onto yourself. Sure the economics could be better, and wanting a team in your own city is understandable, but attacking fans of another team isn’t going to help anything or accomplish anything other than make those doing it look like stupid gits. Long live the PHOENIX Coyotes!

Where should the Sedins cycle in 2009-10?

May 11, 2009

July isn’t that far off into the future, really. Every now and then, we’ll take a look at some of the more interesting free agent situations.

Since we named this crazy little blog after the Sedin twins, it only makes sense to start with them. Now that the Canucks are out of the playoffs, let’s ask: where will those whacky gingers land?

***

How much are the Sedin twins worth? From what I’ve read, it sounds like it will take about $13 million to wrap up those weird looking twingers. James Mirtle provided a fantastic rundown detailing the fact that they might just in fact be worth that much cash (and cap space). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the teams that should strongly consider wrapping those freakish little Swedes up:

Vancouver
Salary Cap 2009-10: (without Sedins) about $31.3 million; (with Sedins) about $44.3 million

Naturally, the team that drafts you usually gets the benefit of the doubt in re-signing a player. The Canucks have improved this season as players like Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler raise their games, but they still would be extremely weak offensively if they let their two point-per-game players go via free agency. If the Canucks are willing to tie their future to the Sedin twins, then they have the money to do it.

Twin-o-meter:

Almost too obvious, like a reference to the movie “Twins.”

New York Islanders
The Islanders cap (with or without the Sedins) is a bit hard to figure because I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around how rookie contracts will show up on the cap. As you may or may not already know, incentive clauses will be reflected differently on next year’s cap numbers.

If Hockey Buzz’s NHLSCAP page is correct, the Islanders currently have about $32.5 million committed to players going into the 2009-10 season. The good news is that money constitutes nearly enough roster spots to fill a whole team. The bad news is that those roster spots would be filled mostly be awful hockey players.

John Tavares (please tell me the Islanders draft him, they’ve made enough mistakes already … just take the big name Canadian forward and move on) will mean a cap hit between $1 million and $4 million. In a worst case scenario, adding the Sedins and Tavares would bring the cap to $50 million.

This would give the Islanders four nice offensive players (Tavares – Sedin twins – Kyle Okposo) to construct to respectable forward lines. This could actually be a good move if Rick Dipietro can bounce back from knee surgery, but there’s just so many “ifs” that it would be hard to imagine the Sedin twins going to Long Island.

Twin-o-meter:

Could be awesome, but could also be a train wreck … like the Olsen twins

Nashville Predators
Pre-Sedin Cap: $33 million; With Sedins: $46 million

While it wasn’t the first match that came to my head, it almost makes sense. After all, isn’t cycling the puck hockey’s answer to the line dance? (cricket chirps … dodges a tomato)

The Predators could conceivably bring the Sedins aboard and pair them up (perhaps) with tail-between-his-legs Alex Radulov to give the team what could be the franchise’s greatest line ever. The Sedins seem like they would fit in nicely with the Predators’ worker bee mentality.

You’d have to think they could make the playoffs with a core of Sedins-Radulov(?)-Jason ArnottShea WeberPekka RinneJ.P. Dumont, right?

Twin-o-meter:

Could be brilliant, but might upset mainstream audiences like “Dead Ringers.”

The Southern Ontario Team-to-be-Named-Laters
Pre-Sedins Cap: $32.1 million, with Sedins: $45.1 million

If the Coyotes DO get moved, you know Mr. Blackberry will want to bring some top-end talent to a roster that was gutted during the trade deadline. There are some really nice steals and semi-steals on this roster: Shane Doan is a nice power forward who could fit in well with the Sedins at a low price ($4.55 million cap hit) and Kyle Turris/Peter Mueller both have sub-$3 million contracts that could end up being steals in the right situation.

Who knows: the South Hamilton ex-Yotes could end up adding Jay Bouwmeester and the Sedins for $20 million and make a lot of people nervous.

Twin-o-meter:

Could be ugly, like the Phoenix Coyotes situation and the movie “Stuck on You.”

Black-buried?

May 6, 2009

After courting the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, Jim Balsillie might find that the third (attempted NHL franchise move) will be the charm. If he can get through “Scary” Gary Bettman‘s hidden traps.

(Bettman only approves of owners who hate Canada and don’t have money, I guess.)

Let me say this: I’m no expert when it comes to the true vitality of the hockey market in Phoenix and certainly not an expert on how a team could make its way to Southern Ontario despite the pleas of the Toronto Maple Leafs (monopoly) and Buffalo Sabres (who mop up the Leafs’ table scraps). So if you want insider info, look at the blogs on the sidebar.

With that out of the way, let’s look at this a bit more:

Point 1: Mr. Blackberry will not be stopped

There are shades of “MLB owners black balling Mark Cuban” in this situation. When you consider all the criminal/shady/snake oil salesmen owners the NHL has approved, it’s pretty stunning that the league has a problem with the guy behind one of the most successful companies around. (Seriously, try to make it through a workday in DC without spotting a Blackberry)

He’s the freaking Terminator here, guys. Let him have his damn team.

Point 2: Another team in Canada = good

It might not show up in the American TV ratings, but it’s good for the sport for people to see hockey games celebrated as true events. Even if the league never seems to appreciate its Canadian fans (always looking for greener, American pastures) the fact of the matter is that having another Canadian team would mean more money in the big picture.

With what would be a deep-pocketed market, Mirtle points out that cash-poor teams will grumble about seeing the cap floor rise … but wouldn’t that be a boon for teams that will be bumping up against the top-end of cap? Yeah, something tells me that the league might care a little bit more about the Penguins, Red Wings and Rangers getting a bit more cap space than the Kings having a $32 million budget instead of $30 million.

(Seriously, great point by Mirtle but am I the only person who finds the idea a bit backwards?)

Point 3: A history of silence

Again, I’m no expert about the Coyotes place in the Arizona sports landscape.

But when your gravy days are centered around Keith Tkachuk wearing those Phoenix “Peyotes” jerseys and the short period of time before Nik Khabibulin folded his arms and held out for my money, you might not have the most successful hockey franchise out there.

There’s always some karma problems with moving a franchise (see: Sonics, Seattle), but it hurts much more when the new team continues the same losing tradition. The Coyotes are in a brutal division, in a brutal economic climate and … they play in the desert.

Maybe this just wasn’t meant to be.

Point 4: Still, don’t forget a few hearts would be broken

Odin Mercer from Five for Howling is a great guy and I feel bad for him. Even despite living in Texas and New Jersey all my life, the thought of the Pittsburgh Penguins moving to Kansas City was very hard for me to stomach. Without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Mario Lemieux, the Penguins could be in the same place as the Coyotes.

People (especially Canadians) tend to forget that even the least traditional hockey markets still have plenty of diehard fans.

***

Ultimately, it’s unclear if the Coyotes will move to Southern Ontario. For all we know, they could stay put or become the Hamilton Ex-Yotes. There also could be a Plan C: moving the Coyotes to Kansas City or Las Vegas.

It would be wrong if the NHL had to baby bird the Coyotes just to avoid some embarrassment. But from the looks of things right now, there isn’t one easy answer.