Archive for the ‘guest posts’ Category

Moves Burke should avoid on Wednesday, according to Pension Plan Puppets

June 30, 2009

Please note: Just wanted to inform anyone who hasn’t heard yet that the Rangers somehow hypnotized Bob Gainey into taking Scott Gomez’s horrific contract off the books.

Pension Plan Puppets is truly one of the great Toronto Maple Leafs blogs. Check out their work as they sport more blogging talent (by far) than the Leafs provide hockey talent. Also, they did a podcast with our buddies at Hockee Night that you should check out as well.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

There has only really been one player on the Leafs that made me physically ill to have to watch play, Bryan Marchment, and this summer the Leafs have been linked with TWO of them: Chris Neil and Mike Komisarek.

The former is best known in league circles for being really tough as long as linesmen are within arm’s reach. Before some whiny senators fan mentions his fight against Luke Schenn we’ll see how things go when it’s not the rookie’s first fight and the stupid stretchy jersey sleeve didn’t catch on his arm. Not that Neil will chance it.

Komisarek is overrated as a defensive defenceman, he almost matches Neil for cowardice, and hits late every.single.time. Plus he still has the stink of the Habs on him and any aura that he might have had has been completely dashed by repeated decimations at the hands of Milan Lucic. The cheap crosscheck that should have resulted in at least a 10 game suspension just showed how yellow he is.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

I don’t really hate too many teams that much since the Leafs haven’t been to the playoffs in a while. Anything the Habs and senators do will likely just elicit a laugh as one has no cap space to address their needs and the other can’t even attract players with truck loads of cash.

Having said that, if the Canucks sign the Sedins (which should put Gillis on the road to getting canned if he doesn’t) AND a defenceman that can make a pass further than five feet then I’ll be pissed. Luongo struggled but he’ll bounce back and if they have a defenceman that doesn’t clam up when they see a forechecker that might alleviate a lot of pressure on the backend.

Vance from Bangin Panger wants at least one Sedin to cycle in Buffalo

June 30, 2009

Every contribution is special and snowflake-like, but it always brightens our day when someone takes the time to throw in a Photoshop for good measure. Our buddy Vance did just that.

We have his partner in crime Denson from Bangin Panger providing some Penguins thoughts later today. You can also check out Vance’s other Buffalo Sabres-related views at his new Sabres blog, Double Edged Sabres.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Daniel Sedin, but I want Henrik. But is Henrik Henrik without Daniel? If separating Henrik from Daniel makes Henrik turn into [insert overpaid pivot here] than can Buffalo not only afford (of course they can’t) but be willing to cope with such an unmitigated disaster? We’ve already got our soft LW in Vanek, we don’t need Daniel. Oh but Henrik, how I covet thee. If you rode into town on an iconic American Bison, Sabre held high, oh the joy it would bring.

Click to enlarge. No, seriously, you should.

Daniel? Sorry, only one ginger allowed. (Editor’s Note: this is generally a good policy.)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Anybody worth anything signing with the Penguins. Don’t you realize you still have to live in Pittsburgh? Sheesh. Pissin’ me off.

But in reality, I absolutely hope Bryan Murray gets fleeced by the team that eventually takes Heatley off their hands. Even if Spezza is the Sabre killer, Heatley needs out of our division, for Wyshynksi’s book, driving lessons, and 17 dollars.

Litter Box Cats dictates which free agents would be odorous

June 30, 2009
Pictured: Tomas Vokoun with David Booth (right)

You may know Whale4Ever as the recently crowned blogging Calder trophy winner. While Florida Panthers fans may be bummed that Jay Bouwmeester is on his way out, we asked Litter Box Cats which moves the Panthers should avoid.

Make sure you check out Litter Box Cats in all their Panther-tastic glory.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Marian Gaborik, given his injury history. He’ll continue to make waaaay too many bones for the potential return on the investment. Martin Havlat can be lumped in here as well. The Panthers don’t need any more “projects” (Nathan Horton? Rusty Olesz?). Gabby was rumored to be coming to Sunrise last fall; fans were thankful it didn’t come to pass. He may never miss another minute of action for the rest of his career, but who’s got faith in that balsa-wood groin? If you’ve just got to sign him, it had better be for pennies on the dollars he’s used to making.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Tampa Bay dealing Vinny Lecavalier, thereby re-stocking their cupboard and turning around overnight. We’re not in Quebec-trading-Lindros territory, but awfully close. Then again, it’s the Lightning. Sadly for their fans, they’ll engineer a way – by committee – to screw it up.

Elise from 18568 Reasons Why talks Gaborik and the Minnesota Wild’s Free Agent situation

June 30, 2009

We’ve been critical of Marian Gaborik (“Can’t spell Gaborik without IR“) before but there is one fan base that must face a lot of mixed emotions about the talented Slovak who is in a constant state of repair. That would be Minnesota Wild fans.

To take the temperature of those fine funny accented folks, we asked our pal Elise from 18568 Reasons Why to share her thoughts on what might happen for the Wild on Wednesday. Make sure to follow her blog as the rumors turn to reality or lies.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Benoit Pouliot (Wild RFA). Unless he starts getting his act together and putting in the effort to become the very skilled scorer he was expected to be when the Wild drafted him fourth overall in 2005.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Marian Gaborik to the Vancouver Canucks. Last year it was Pavol Demitra to the division rival Nucks (of course getting a tour from the team captain, a prior relationship with the GM, and agreeing to a contract way before free agency isn’t tampering!) and this year, with the rumor of a purchased house, it’s supposedly Gaby and his newly repaired hip/groin (maybe he just really, really likes the scenery in BC? wanted to be comfortable up there since Minnesota plays Vancouver so often? or maybe he just can’t stand being separated from his bff Pavol). Anyway, after everything the Wild has done and given up for Gaby through his entire career (all with the Wild), for him to go to Vancouver would, to put it bluntly, suck.

Especially after spending quite a bit of his tenure in Minnesota complaining about the style of play and lack of offensive freedom. Minnesota may have been one of the more boring teams with the trap (pre-recent front office explosion, of course), but Vancouver wasn’t much better. If Gaby would like a change of scenery, I would suggest a more drastic one; like an Eastern Conference team (hey Gabs, I hear Jacques might be coaching the Devils, fun times in NJ eh).

Strange Deadfellows double-team the Edmonton Oilers draft

June 26, 2009


My brain is made of mush now, so let’s keep this simple: big thanks to “thickoil” and “raventalon40” for their contributions. They collectively run one of the remaining great blogs in the “oilogosphere” in Strange Deadfellows so make sure to check them out.

First, “thickoil”:

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

After the main 7 go in the draft, the draft opens up more and the Oilers have a bunch of options. The Oilers could draft the best player possible (BPA), which could be someone like Ryan Ellis. Ellis, the 5’10” 170 pound offensive defensemen may not be the most ideal choice for the Oilers. The Oilers currently have an abundance of offensive D-Men in the system (Petry, Chorney, Wild, etc.). Also going against Ellis is his small frame. With Tambellini and Quinn preaching a more physical style of game, Ellis isn’t likely to play that style.

Personally from an Oilers perspective I would like either Scott Glennie or Zach Kassian. Though Kassian is predicted to go in the mid/late teens in most Fantasy Drafts, he is forged from the Milan Lucic mold of player and is easily one of the toughest players in the draft. (Ironically the Oilers gave Boston the draft pick that got them Lucic in the Samsonov-Reasoner deal in 2006). Glennie also is a player in the power forward mold, but isn’t as tough as Kassian but had a larger statistical output. However the concern with Glennie is that he was on a line with Brayden Schenn, and the Oilers are all too familiar picking players with inflated stats due to being linemates of highly dominant players (cough, Pouliot playing with Crosby, cough).

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I think the Oilers will make a move though I don’t think it will involve Heatley. I believe Heatley won’t be moved till July 1st because of his 4 million dollar bonus that the receiving team would have to pay. However I would like the Oilers to possibly make a stab at maybe Jbo’s rights and Florida’s 14th Overall. This would allow us to grab Kassian. Supposedly Florida is asking only for a 1st round pick. If I was Tambo I offer our 10th and a mid-range prospect for Jbo’s rights and the 14th.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Are there any other steals/bargains/etc that stand out?

The Oilers drafting was abysmal in the mid/late 90’s and early 00’s. The Oilers haven’t really had much steals or bargains in the draft. Horcoff was picked 99th overall, which I guess would be probably one of the better bargains in the draft.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

What if we picked Getzlaf, Parise, Richards instead of Pouliot…The 2003 draft was easily one of our worst moments drafting. Of the 30 guys picked in the 1st round, roughly 25 are highly successful.

Also would be the 1995 draft, which was held in Edmonton, we had the 6th overall pick and at the time everyone thought we would grab Shane Doan. Right before the pick was made, the crowd was chanting “Doan, Doan, Doan”. Instead the Oilers picked Steve Kelly who played an amazing 149 games for 21 points.

Some people like to point to the 2002 Draft where the Oilers got Jesse Niinimaki, but in my opinion that was a pretty terrible draft overall.

Soapbox Time:

Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

The future of the Oilers looks good with Tambellini running the show and Quinn and Renney behind the bench. Quinn specifically likes hard-nosed hockey and that should allow the Oilers to get back to that blue-collared style of hockey that I love.

***

Finally, “raventalon40”

1. What do you expect the Oilers to do with 10th pick? Talk about some of the prospects (who might realistically be available around that time) who you have your eyes on. Who would you like to see the Oilers draft?

I’ve been keeping my eyes on about 3 players who are most likely to be available at the 10th position, assuming Tambellini doesn’t move up in the draft. Those 3 players are Scott Glennie, Dmitry Kulikov, and John Moore. I’m a firm believer that you always take the best player available before you address organization need by position.

Though the Oilers have an abundance of offensive defenseman in the minors, my vote would go to Dmitry Kulikov and here’s why: the Russian defenseman has played the North American game, he has the widest range of skills, and is described by many scouts to be the most complete defenseman in the draft. Some even rank him above OHL phenom Ryan Ellis. The best part is, most GMs believe that Kulikov is NHL ready – but whether he’s ready in the way that Drew Doughty was or Oscar Möller is yet to be seen. It wouldn’t matter if Kulikov had to spend a couple years in the AHL to hone his skill.

As for Scott Glennie, he comes out of the WHL which is a familiar league for the Oilers scouts. Some raise concerns on whether his “sidekick” role with regards to Brayden Schenn will have hurt his personal development and I say bollocks to that.

In reverse, I wonder how much of Schenn’s performance is inflated by Glennie’s own contributions? Whatever the case, the Wheat Kings have a tradition of producing players with skill and desire, with the likes of Ryan Stone (a current Oiler), Eric Fehr, and Matt Calvert. Glennie is a true western boy with good hockey sense and an ability to find himself or his linemates in the right position. Schenn or not, Glennie has the smarts and that’s half the battle when it comes to making the NHL.

John Moore hails from the USHL, a league that has produced mixed results for the Oilers in recent drafts, with the likes of Petry and Vandevelde emerging from the league. Vandevelde is beginning to emerge from a development snag in the Oilers system that saw the team split farm teams with the Pittsburgh Penguins; Petry is one of the top prospects in the system. There is not much evidence left to fairly proclaim that the USHL is an inferior league and all indications are that John Moore may or may not outperform current Oilers big D prospect Alex Plante, though Plante’s own development has been delayed by injury. Moore is praised for his skating, composure, and slick passing ability. He could be a future powerplay quarterback.

2. Do you think the Oilers will make any draft day moves? If the Oilers had to move a pick to land, say Heatley, would it be worth it?

I wouldn’t move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley. Ottawa GM Murray has had his hand forced and all indications are that he will have no choice but to accept less than market value for his elite sniper. Landing Heatley will still take more than your average Joe top 6 forward, but I wouldn’t expect the deal to be of the blockbuster proportion that graced the pages of the Tkachuk to Atlanta or Joe Thornton to San Jose deals.

In order to move the 10th overall pick to acquire Heatley, I would imagine the Oilers would also be getting a significant roster ready player in return, to even out the roster vaccum created by acquiring Heatley.

Overall, it’s simpler to just look elsewhere if Ottawa wants a 1st round pick for Heatley.

3. Take us back for some of your favorite Oilers draft memories. Obviously, the Gretzky era probably contains many of those moments. Is there any other steals/bargains/etc that stands out?

I would have to say that my favourite Oiler draft memory was when they took Andrew Cogliano as I was hoping all along that the Oilers would take him and it actually happened. I still hold out hope that Cogliano becomes a franchise Oiler.

A close second would be the Sam Gagner draft year. I had him pegged along with Jakub Voracek and felt they were relatively equal and it turned out great that Columbus GM Howson took him first because the former WJC and Russian Super Series star Gagner turned out to be the more NHL ready pick.

A memorable steal that comes to mind is Linus Omark in the 4th round but as it stands right now, he may never suit up in an Oiler uniform, so we’ll wait and see about that.

4. On the other hand, the Oilers have probably had their fair share of blunders. Talk about some of the more head-splitting/”what if?” moments.

I wouldn’t call picking Jani Rita or Alexei Mikhnov blunders as much as I would consider them failures in development, but history has judged them to be almost as bad as Jason Bonsignore or Jesse Niinimaaki. Rita never stood a fair chance against other prospects in the system but he did score a goal in his first NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings.

The biggest question mark that comes to mind is former Oiler defenseman Chris Hajt. The Oilers spent many good seasons developing this player to absolutely no avail. I remember reading countless reports on how good Hajt was and finding out eventually that Hajt was really nothing to write home about.

5. Soapbox Time: Feel free to use this as a moment to get something off your chest. Talk about the future of the franchise, the underrated perks of living in Edmonton or whatever else.

Living in Edmonton is great. The winter season is all excitement and hockey. The summer season is beautiful and the river valley is second to none in terms of civic parks. It is more than 10 times larger and more extensive than New York’s Central Park and that’s no small feat.

The franchise has always had a kind of undying loyalty aspect to it. There have been criticisms of the “Boys on the Bus” mentality of the Oilers, but it’s true what they say: an Oiler for life. Doug Weight, Boris Mironov, Jim Dowd, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Gretzky, Igor Ulanov: these and many more former Oilers have been quoted as remembering their Oiler years as their best in the NHL.

And that’s not insignificant, considering a few of these players have done pretty well for themselves elsewhere in the league.

The Oilers have had a rough few seasons with the departure of Pronger, Smyth, and Smith. When Oilers GM Tambellini talks about going back to what defined an Oiler as an Oiler, he talks about that undying loyalty. Oiler hockey is not necessarily what makes the rest of the NHL go around. We’re not about the Pat Lafontaines, or Brett Hulls, or the Pierre Turgeons. Certainly, the Oilers have had their own list of accomplished snipers in Craig Simpson, Jari Kurri, and Glenn Anderson. But the Oilers have always mixed skill with desire, grit, and sacrifice.

Ask Mark Messier. Ask Ken Linseman. Ask Ryan Smyth. Ask Jason Smith.

Desire, grit, and sacrifice. It’s an exciting time to be an Oiler fan.

Storming the Crease discusses the Washington Capitals draft scenario

June 26, 2009

Storming the Crease is yet another one of the most CLS-friendly blogs out there. Rob, the blog’s faithful editor, was a reliable source of Capitals perspective in a mini-blog for the Pens-Caps series. Make sure to check out his great blog.

1. What direction do you expect Washington to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

GM George McPhee has done well with picking players either later in the first round or with subsequent selections. Granted, since the team wasn’t that good for a while, the Caps did benefit from some high selections such as Alex Ovechkin first overall in 2004.

The current Caps are all about winning the Cup now. That means the most drama emanating from the team’s table in Montreal will revolve around trades, specifically focusing on Michael Nylander and Jose Theodore. Both players seem to be headed out of town, assuming McPhee can swing a deal. It probably wouldn’t involve the team’s first-round pick, but you never know.

McPhee is great about keeping the proverbial cards close to his vest — and this year is no different.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Capitals’ history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Washington fans will never forget?

There’s little debate that the Caps’ all-time draft steal came in the 1990 draft: Peter Bondra, the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer, was selected in the eighth round, 156th overall. Bondra scored 472 goals in 14 seasons with the franchise.

Other late-round values include Richard Zednik (10th round, 249th overall in 1994) and Gaetan Duchesne (8th round, 152nd overall in 1981).

The busts started at the franchise’s beginning: Greg Joly, selected first overall in 1974, scored just 21 goals in nine NHL seasons. Other disappointments include 1995 first-rounder (17th overall) Brad Church (two NHL games played) and 1996 first-rounder (fourth overall) Alexandre Volchkov (three NHL games played).

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Caps and/or NHL in general.

There’s no doubt the Caps are still steaming from the 6-2 game seven loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year’s playoffs. But in order for the Caps to follow the Pens’ path to a title, they need to do more than just stew. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

That means the team needs to add an offensive-minded veteran center and a defensive-minded defenseman (or two). The Caps also need to become more consistent—which means no more nights off, no more 3-1 series deficits and no more thinking that “flipping the switch” when facing a deficit will earn them a Stanley Cup.

The Caps need to emulate the Pens and Detroit Red Wings in work ethic and determination. Adding new players will help, but the main source of the change has to come from the current roster.

Dual draft post: Canes Country and The Life and Times of a Caniac on the Hurricanes

June 26, 2009

(We had the bright idea to ask two Hurricanes bloggers to contribute and they both sent us something. Big thanks to both of them. For the sake of [moderate] brevity we’ll do without extensive introductions this time.)

First, Canes Country:

1. What direction do you expect Carolina to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

GM Jim Rutherford has expressed a desire to go bigger. In recent drafts, they have selected smaller, more skilled players. (Zach Boychuk). The team needs bigger bodies and this might be the draft to do it.

In my opinion, I agree with him. The team definitely needs to get bigger. While he would be a gamble, Zach Budish is the type of player the teams needs.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Hurricanes history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Carolina fans will never forget?

High points included when the Canes drafted Eric Staal in 2003. I was able to attend the draft that year and Carolina management was ecstatic. They really felt they had a franchise type player with him. Another high point was when the draft was in Raleigh in 2004. The crowd was going nuts when the Canes traded up to draft Andrew Ladd, at the time the number one rated skater in North America. That was really a lot of fun.

Low points were first round selections of Igor Knyazev, (bust), Nikos Tselios, (bust), and the disappointment of how Jeff Heerema worked out after he was so highly rated.

I can’t really think of a time that the Canes “stole” someone, other than perhaps Cam Ward when he was drafted at 25th in the first round in 2002. They were also extremely pleased that Zac Dalpe slipped to them in the second round last year. We will see how he works out.

***
Now, for Ashley from the Life and Times of a Caniac:

For some bizarre reason, I keep getting the NHL Draft confused with the NFL draft. I was beginning to think up a post about how the drafting strategy of trading down to get more picks and create competition between players at training camp has worked out well – but then I realized I was thinking of Packers GM Ted Thompson, and not Canes GM Jim Rutherford, because the last thing Rutherford does is collect picks – he tends to trade them away like they grow on trees.

So then, when I was trying to think of draft busts A.J. Hawk immediately came to mind, but then I was thinking that he hasn’t really been a bust, just not yet living up to his potential, and I’d give him another year, especially with the change to a 3-4 defense… oh crap, there aren’t linebackers in the sport I’m trying to talk about.

And I keep getting confused because in football your draft picks can come in and make an immediate impact, whereas in hockey you can draft a guy in the first round and he more than likely won’t be ready to make the team for another year. So, really, the only way to judge the effectiveness of a draft is to look at who you drafted a few years down the road. Which, if you’re a Canes fan, doesn’t leave you with that much of a warm and fuzzy feeling…

1. What direction do you expect Carolina to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

As long as Rutherford gets somebody over 6 foot, I think I’ll be happy. While short guys like LaRose, Walker, and Whitney seem to excel in Carolina, it would be really rather nice to get some size on our forwards. A regularly competentdefenseman with a physical edge would be nice too. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rutherford drafts a goaltender – for a while he seemed bent on having a collection of them – and we could probably use a solid backup goaltender as it doesn’t seem like Michael Leighton will work out long-term. In other words, size, physicality, and competence would be good on either side of the puck.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Hurricanes history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Carolina fans will never forget?

Has there ever been a “steal” for the Canes? If you peruse the draft history, there’s not too many players from the later rounds that have succeeded in the NHL. I mean, I guess there’s Wallin from the third round back in ’00 and Cole from the third in ’98, but beyond that the Canes’ drafts haven’t really panned out any steals (unless you count Eric Staal and Cam Ward, but as first round picks I tend to say that they’re merely “living up to potential”).

Groan-inducing moments? I don’t have a specific one that occurred on draft day, but I can assure you that going over the past Canes’ drafts definitely leaves you with some head-scratchers. Like, in 2001 the Canes picked Igor Knyazev over Tim Gleason. What? Jeff Heerema over Alex Tanguay? Huh? How is this stuff even possible? Maybe hindsight is 20/20 but beyond Staal and Ward I really don’t see a lot that has come out of the draft for the Canes.

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Canes and/or NHL in general.

I think it’s awesome that the NHL changes the host city for the draft every year. It allows different fans to be able to see what happens on the draft floor, not just those in one metropolitan area. (And, yes, I am looking at the NFL, which has its draft in New York every year. Which means you listen to the Jets and Giants fans boo every draft pick every year.) When the draft was in Raleigh back in ’04, it was a big party for the Caniac Nation. An opportunity for all of the fans to see not just their own upper management, but those of the other teams (standing ovation for Gretzky? Yes!), and an opportunity to see the next big stars of the NHL, when they’re just regular people like us. There might be a lot of things that the NHL is doing wrong, but the moving draft caravan is certainly something that’s a good way to open the game to fans in all parts of North America.

Four Habs Fans shares Montreal Canadiens draft thoughts

June 26, 2009

Four Habs Fans adheres to many of our favorite Internet traditions, throwing out equal parts clever, cruel and … curvaceous. Don’t be fooled by the random eye candy, though, because under that exterior is a core of fabulous hockey writing.

In traditional FHF fashion, their post is brief but blistering. Make sure to follow their work during an off-season that could change the Canadiens for a long time.

1. What direction do you expect the Canadiens to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

As always, no direction at all. Habs will take who they think the best player is at the position they draft. Alternatively, any American college defenseman will do.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Habs history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Montreal fans will never forget?

You really can’t beat Patrick Roy at 51st overall for a highlight. There is a three hundred-way tie for worst moment from all our first round stiffs – Lindsay Vallis, Doug Wickenheiser, José Charbonneau, Brent Bilodeau, David Wilkie, Terry Ryan, Eric Chouinard, Jason Ward, Alfie Turcotte, etc., etc., etc.

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Canadiens and/or NHL in general.

Please enjoy fine Molson products. We need the cash to sign our UFA’s.

Vancity Canuck talks about Vancouver’s upcoming draft

June 25, 2009

Vancity Canuck is another great friend of the blog. Along with providing the Vancouver perspective quite frequently, they came through in a big way when the Canucks were in the playoffs.

Make sure to follow Vancity Canuck’s work regarding Vancouver (and also the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Hockey Bay).

1. What direction do you expect Vancouver to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

Since we are picking at 22, I think we should really just pick the best player available at the position. The Canucks do need defensive prospects because our cupboards are looking pretty bare. Luc Bourdon was our best defensive prospect, but now the Canucks have no Top 4 D developing in Winnipeg.

I know, I know, not that Winnipeg team but isn’t that logo bad ass?

My preference, would be a defenceman like John Moore, but that’s crazy talk for him to drop to 22 right? Damn. More realistically I see the Canucks taking Ryan Ellis or Stefan Elliot if they are still available. Elliot is a BC kid, and unlike the other BC-born boy, with the last name of Ferraro, at least when you draft him, you don’t also get his dad.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Canucks history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Vancouver fans will never forget?

Recently, a high moment of last year’s draft was taking Cody Hodgson last year at 10th. More importantly, was the choice not the draft Kyle Beech (have fun with that Chicago). Other than drafting Trevor Linden, the Sedins, and more recently Kesler, the Canucks have not had success in their ‘drafting abilities’. Nonis also like to trade away draft picks for players that no longer play for our team. What, you have to build a team through the draft? Nonis must have missed that lesson in GM school.

Kyle Beech-ed whale. G-g-get it?

Recent groan? Who is Patrick White and why didn’t we draft David Perron instead of him.

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Canucks and/or NHL in general.

Mike Gillis will have an interesting week in front of him. I can’t say I envy him at all right now. The Canucks may end up having a similar look for next 5 or 6 years with the Sedins’ and their cycling or if they aren’t re-signed, the Canucks could look drastically different (cue the Luongo traders if no contract happens). I read today that Vancouver was on Heatley’s wish list. Um, thanks but no thanks. And Gaborik in Vancouver? Can you imagine the two Slovaks (Demitra & Gaborik) playing together? Maybe they can chat about being BFF’s as they both sit out on the IR together.

HockeeNight’s Forklift provides Chicago Blackhawks draft thoughts

June 25, 2009

Unlike bloggers who must hide their identity because they have “jobs” and “reputations” I’ve decided to go by my name. Why? Well, because I’m vain. Oh and also because simply googling “James O’Brien” won’t get you anywhere near my blog … apparently there’s about a million more successful people with my name.

Still, it’s rare that people get to know me beyond snarky blog posts but the guys at Hockee Night invited me over for a podcast a few months ago. We had quite a time, discussing the Blackhawks and more important issues like Big Van Vader’s man boobs.

ANYWAY, we’ve enjoyed Hockee Night thoroughly since then. Their weekly podcasts are a great way to follow the Blackhawks without all that tedious “reading” although they do provide plenty of good stuff on that front too. Make sure to check it out.

Thanks, guys!

1. What direction do you expect Chicago to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

The Hawks are drafting 28th in the first round – the latest they’ve ever gone in the first. When you pick this late, you’re not going to find any sure-fire studs – the best you can hope for is someone who has a missing component that can attain. If there’s a goal scorer available, chances are he’s either lazy or chickenshit. If there’s a “character” player out there, he probably can’t shoot the puck into the ocean off a pier. There’s no easy answers. All that is certain is, at the 28th pick, there’s going to be some kid sitting in a very empty players’ section, and he’ll look like a guy strapped into an electric chair when the Governor calls.

Can you draft to need at 28? I guess you can – the Blackhawks’ organization is pretty thin at defenseman, so a decent blueliner in the pipeline wouldn’t be the worst thing inthe world. The Hawks are ass-deep in forwards, both in Junior and the minors. That would indicate where GM Dale Tallon (a former defenseman himself) would like to go.

However, the most sound strategy (and the Hawks have been decent at drafting lately) would be to just have a ranking of players who might be available, and take the best one who is left at 28. Whoever it is won’t be able to help the Hawks immediately anyway, and who knows what a year or two can bring, as far as injuries, trades, and free agency goes.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Blackhawks history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Chicago fans will never forget?

High moments? Probably the back-to-back drafting of Jonathan Toews (#3 overall in 2006) and Patrick Kane (#1 in 2007). These two will be the backbone of the organization for (hopefully) the next decade. As far as the biggest steals, two that are fairly ancient history spring to mind…in 1980 the Hawks took a sixth-rounder (120th overall) that may very well be my favorite Hawk not named Mikita…Steve Larmer. The man is still just the balls. Three years later, they took a goalie in the 10th round (199th overall) who had a far more distinguished career elsewhere than he ever did as a Blackhawk – Dominik Hasek. As far as groan inducing? Maybe The Great Adam Bennett (6th overall in 1989) – who went 4 spots before Bobby Holik or The Great Jimmy Waite (8th overall in 1978, 7 spots before Joe Sakic), although this is a shit-or-get-off-the-pot year for the 7th overall in 2005, Jack Skille.

Overall, this shouldn’t be too compelling, since Tallon doesn’t figure to trade up or down.

As much fun as it is to have a top 3 pick, and wonder which wunderkind will pose in a Hawks’ sweater and cap, I prefer winning hockey and going out with my wife on draft night.