Archive for the ‘puck daddy’ Category

Marian Hossa to Chicago was a great signing … and Michael Jackson died with his original nose

July 4, 2009

What a strange week-plus it’s been. First, the world mourned a pop star while somehow glossing over his priest-besting “alleged” past of molesting children … acting as if the man wasn’t ignored for a decade and a half of irrelevant music making.

At least that wasn’t unprecedented, though, because we were alive at a time when the world somehow felt epic sadness about Anna Nicole Smith too.

Yet, the most shocking moment might have been the eventual approval of Chicago’s random, short-sighted signing of Marian Hossa. We love Puck Daddy, but … come ON!

“Chicago Blackhawks: We’ve said our piece on the Marian Hossa signing for 12 years and $62.8 million. They get a major pass for it in this report card because any quibbles about the deal are going to come down the line. Right now, from a hockey perspective, it’s the move of the Frenzy.

Goaltending, future cap considerations and Tallon’s propensity to overpay aside, if the test is whether a team is closer to a Stanley Cup after its deadline moves, the answer for the Blackhawks is an unequivocal “yes.” Conditions could change next summer; but for now, it’s a solid GRADE: A-“

Puck Daddy’s “Free Agent Frenzy Report Card

Stunning.

“Has the world gone CRAZY? Does no one give a shit about the (salary cap)?”

If you look at the move from a Havlat-for-Hossa point of view then yes, of course, the Blackhawks made a good decision. Yet, even if Havlat might have been their most productive forward this season, is there ANYONE who attributes Chicago’s resurgence to the Gaborik-in-Sheep’s clothing?

No, really, raise your hand. We want to catalog the crazies in our midst.

It boggles our mind that people can look at the signing WITHOUT acknowledging the fact that the Blackhawks painted themselves into a serious corner with this move. Tallon reminds us of friends who would buy a Wii, PS3 and X-Box 360 on their birthday and then realize they had no money left for games.

Sorry, but the move cannot be examined without looking past the 2009-10 season. By that logic, the Dallas Stars harbor no regrets about trading away Jarome Iginla since they won one Cup with Joe Nieuwendyk.

We asked how in the world the Hawks would keep Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith before they added Marian Hossa and gave Dave Bolland a surprisingly rich deal for a guy with such a light resume. When you factor in Hossa, Bolland and Kopecky‘s deals, the Hawks will have $10 million less to sign those big three next year. And that’s without factoring in the possible signing of Kris Versteeg and/or Cam Barker.

And as Joe at Sacrifice the Body pointed out, having about $20 million for 10 players is tough enough until you realize the VERY real possibility of the cap falling significantly.

In a DREAM scenario, the Hawks would sign Toews and Kane to dual $5 million per year contracts and somehow hypnotize stud defenseman Keith to a $4 million per year deal. They’d then have to find a way to fill out a roster with abysmal half-million dollar players and rookies.

Future collector’s item?

The only option we could see is trading to make space, but even THAT will be costly.

Brian Campbell‘s enormous* Gomez-esque contract makes a trade pretty damn hard to imagine (before Bob Gainey traded for Gomez, we would have called it unthinkable). They’re paying contract year wonder Cristobal Huet $5.62 million (more than Tim Thomas, Marc Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur) to be a questionable #1 goalie.

They can move Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and a couple other guys to clear up space but they’ll either have to take 1) next to nothing like the New York Islanders received when trading Bill Guerin to the Penguins or 2) a player who’s making barely less money.

Most likely, the Blackhawks are going to have to trade a very nice asset (Seabrook, Sharp, maybe even Bolland) to clear up space and they STILL might lose 1-2 of Keith, Kane and Toews. Either way, the honeymoon is almost certainly over after next season.

What will happen next July when the sky is falling for everyone, but the hardest for the Blackhawks? Do they get expelled from Puck Daddy school? Do they bury Huet with Jimmy Hoffa? Bribe Bob Gainey with whores and liquor to get rid of Campbell’s uber-albatross? Stop showing home games again, this time out of shame?

Ugh.

Sometimes we feel surrounded by insanity.

(* – Here’s the list of SUPERSTAR defensemen making less money than Campbell this season: Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Dan Boyle and Jay Bouwmeester. Hell, here’s some FAR SUPERIOR defenseman making at least $1.5 million less per year: Sergei Gonchar, Shea Weber, Mike Green, Andrei Markov and more. Tallon is … not a great general manager.)

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Internet trends: One Good, One Bad

March 13, 2009
Blogging trend (almost) only guys like: hawt babes

In our endless quest to inundate you with semi-recurring features, we present “Internet trends.” This is a vaguely loose post in which we’ll point out one good idea and one that should be erased from the Web for all of time.

Good
Weekly/daily headlines

Puck Daddy is the reigning king of the hockey blogosphere, but PD is a good king to its subjects. (I’m writing this while watching “Role Models” if the royalty stuff needs explanation) Greg W and Sean Leahy post their Puck Headlines twice a day and they don’t just link the big guys. Bloggers big and small get listed and it is a fantastic way to give back to the blogosphere.

Greg W looks different without the cigar, doesn’t he?

PD’s not the only link-giver, as blogs like The Program, Stanley Cup of Chowder, (the possibly still defunct?) Going Five Hole and many others do that thing on a weekly basis. We try to offer something similar in the form of a weekly Morning Cycle.

That doesn’t even include the countless cross-linking that takes place in “gameday” posts. The blogosphere is a beautiful place.

Bad
Cheap ways to “get more click-thrus”

No doubt about it: I’m an endlessly shameless self-promoter. Things that I once derided are now daily occurrences, from Twitter updates to Facebook status and annoying links.

And, naturally, I want people to stay on CLS as much as possible.

But some things are just flat-out lame, particularly stupid Web site gimmicks that add extra links just to boost stats. This came to mind while searching Rotten Tomatoes, one of my go-to movie dork sites. The Web site has a great “Five Favorite Movies” mini-interview feature with big names in the industry and this time, they asked one of my favorite jumbo jugged actresses, Carla Gugino.

IGN is one of the worst culprits in these “click thru maze” schemes


To see Gugino’s five favorites, the site forced me to click on movie thumbnails. And I clicked … one until it occurred to me that her movie choices mean nothing to me.

Doing (minimal) research, it wasn’t surprising that RT is in the same network as IGN.com, a video game site infamous for posting photos that link … to another link before you can get to the article.

Now, there may come a day when we sell out and do the same thing. Joining Twitter was a point of no return. But that being said, this is an annoying trend that we’d love to see end.

So, next time you come across these shameless re-routing links, go ahead and read the article. But then make sure to spend more time on their competitors’ site just to turn the knife in on those gold-brickers.

Because greed is good, but being a douche doesn’t serve anyone well.

All-Decade Team: Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski shares his picks

February 24, 2009

(Cycle like the Sedins is excited to welcome our next guest poster, Greg Wyshynski. You might know his previous work with Deadspin and NHL Fanhouse, but he’s best known as the editor of perhaps the best hockey blog on the planet, Puck Daddy. If somehow you’ve made it here without ever checking Puck Daddy [hi mom!], definitely make it part of your rotation. It’s a must-read for any discerning hockey fan.)

Goaltender

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Here’s a handy litmus test to decide who the goalie of the decade was: Did the NHL invent a rule to subvert one of the vital facets of that goalie’s game because he was just too damn good at it?

No, they didn’t ban the five-hole because of Dan Cloutier; but the NHL did put a geometric shape in back of the goal because Marty Brodeur had reinvented the wheel as a puck-moving “third defenseman” in a defensive system.

And all Marty did was win a couple of Vezina’s after they did it.

He’s gotten better with age even if he’s faltered at times in the postseason. The argument could be made that he deserved the Conn Smythe in 2003, but we really don’t have the time or the necessary amount of scotch to really open that old wound.

Honestly, and I say this as a complete and total Devils homer, a case could be made for Roberto Luongo if it hadn’t been for the fact that the entirety of his Stanley Cup playoffs experience is 12 games. But Brodeur is the best goalie since Patrick Roy, and the last decade was when he affirmed that legend.

Defense

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings.

When you’ve won so many Norris Trophies than you can play a game of Jenga with them, I’d say that warrants inclusion on this list.

Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues/Edmonton Oilers/Anaheim Ducks

Yes, he’s a human suspension machine that somehow has thus avoided mandatory anger management. Yes, his egotistical (or cuckolded, depending on what you believe) departure from Edmonton was insulting. Yes, he looks like a goon for a Swedish Bond villain.

But he’s also one of the most physically gifted players in the NHL; a rare combination of physical play, solid skating and offensive flourish. He’s also a workhorse, averaging over 27 minutes per night in most of his seasons this decade.

This slot on the team comes down to Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Nieds is a better offensive player, a better technical defenseman and has better intangibles. But you have to admit that, love him or hate him, Pronger put that Oilers team that made the Cup finals on his back in a way few defensemen have in the last 20 years. That was astonishing, and probably Conn-worthy even in defeat.

Center –

Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins/San Jose Sharks

I really wanted to justify putting Vincent Leavalier here, because I believe he’s the more talented of the two. But Thornton’s numbers can’t be denied: Three seasons with over 100 points, compared to one for Vinny and two for Joe Sakic. His passing ability is incredible, and his goal scoring in the regular season is underrated.

And enough with the playoff choker malarkey. He’s got 30 points in his last 35 playoff games. Even if he’s not a center that can carry his team to a Cup, he’s not someone that will cost them one, either.

Wings –

Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames

The consummate professional, a fantastic leader and a player who hasn’t dipped below 30 goals in a season during the decade. The only knock on Jarome is that he played the last decade in Calgary, forcing the mainstream media to laud him at arm’s length rather than deifying him as a megastar.

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Not enough of a sample? Please.

Sure, this pick would look better if he added an Art Ross and a Hart to his collection this season. But no other winger has had the offensive impact Ovechkin has for the Capitals. No other winger is as physically gifted. Ovechkin has improved on defense and his passing, though sometimes forced, is underrated. He’s a game-changer, a leader and the embodiment of an MVP. In four seasons, he’s become the best winger, potentially the best player, in hockey.

Dude’s a force of nature the likes of which we haven’t seen since Jagr in his prime. Speaking of which …

Jagr’s decade included some really off years with the Capitals and a dud of a final season in New York. He’s the closest competition here, but I’d give the edge to Ovechkin.

Fighter

Georges Laraque

You can successfully argue that his skills are in decline as a fighter, but he took on all comers and usually came out on top during the decade. Didn’t embarrass himself on the ice, either.

Coach

Mike Babcock, Anaheim Ducks/Detroit Red Wings
From psychology to the system, Babcock has been great for teams that needed to gut out wins and with teams loaded with all-star talent.

Loudmouth

I think Sean Avery wrapped this one up in the last 365 days, don’t you?

Ilya Kovalchuk would look great in a different uniform … the news cycle!

November 14, 2008
Barry Trotz graciously accepts his Goofiest Looking Coach Award
  • Puck Daddy spotlights yet another great Russian interview, this time with mercurial sniper Ilya Kovalchuk. When Alex Ovechkin burst onto the scene in his rookie year, he was first compared to Kovalchuk and then to Pavel Bure once it was obvious who was the bigger impact player.

While he burnt me the year he was my first round selection in fantasy hockey, he still grabs my attention like few others. Really, with Ovechkin’s bumper car checking mentality, Kovalchuk might be a better analog to Bure. He certainly relates to Bure by playing in a struggling Southern US market without much help from his mediocre teammates.

His response of choice to the Thrashers-related probes was to say “wait until 2010,” the year he will become an unrestricted free agent. It’s obvious why there are trade rumors but the Thrashers would be insane not to throw all their resources at Kovalchuk. Honestly, he’s the only reason the franchise deserves to exist.

If he was in a better market or on a decent team, he’d be just a rung or two lower than Crosby-Ovechkin. It’s a real sin that he’s never been on a hockey video game cover as he ranks as one of the most unstoppable digi forces the polygonal world’s ever seen.

He brings up the fact that Barry Trotz works miracles with a Nashville Predators club that always seems to persevere through any number of calamities. It’s obvious why people do not want to bring this up very often: Nashville is a place meant for country music and inbreeding in the eyes of many. But Trotz is much like the NFL’s longest reigning coach Jeff Fisher, and not just because they’re both coaching teams in Tennessee.

They both enjoy and earn startling longevity in a sports world where “What have you done for me lately?” is the ultimate management question. (Eddie Murphy must be rolling in his grave.*) Also, Trotz wins the Goofy Looking Coaches Cup in a heated 7-game series with Jacques Lemaire and his comb-over.

* He’s not dead you say? Well, I say he died after Beverly Hills Cop and was replaced by an unfunny money grubbing robot. We all miss money grubbing but genius Eddie Murphy with his politically incorrect stand up and his fashionably incorrect loud leather suits.

  • Fans wrote in a request for the Penguins to play WHAM! for Alex Goligoski goals (man, how did people not know that George Michael was gay???). While that song will probably gain more support, I’d like to recommend a dark horse candidate in The Go! Team:

Miami Five-O for the win.

  • Am I the only one who gets annoyed that NHL 09 allows people to interfere so much? Every time there’s a loose puck, some online douche hits me illegally while trying to retrieve it. And a little part of me dies.

Cleavage: nature’s billboard

  • A lot of people are annoyed that Habs fans keep stuffing the ballot box. My main reaction is a whole lotta “Meh.” Although I agree that Habs fans should focus their efforts on continued bra stuffing instead.

  • During the switch from Time Warner Satan Cable to Hopefully better Verizon FIOS, I’ve been without Center Ice for at least three weeks. Every steak tastes less juicy. Every morning less crisp. Every wound less gaping.

Life will go on but the question is: should it?

Is there ANYTHING cool about the Florida Panthers? … The news cycle!

November 6, 2008

My take on All-Star Voting: why not simply take a kitchen sink approach and provide a drag-and-drop list of active NHL players? This would allow the process to be much more Democratic and might even encourage smart, logical voting. (Probably not)

As far as the Hockey Hall of Fame goes, sports HoFs are far too inclusive and stats-driven. The key to a good voting is to not limit the amount of people elected per year, never mandate inductions per year and to go on a “no-brainer” plan of selections. Of course, sports HoFs often are looking to make money and entice visitors, so they probably are doing the right thing.

ANYWAY, since I won’t be in Florida, this list is merely for fun. But Puck Daddy asked the hockey public to name 10 things that are actually cool about the Florida Panthers. Let’s see if this is possible:

1. Move over, Avery Rule

In the long-ago days when the Florida Panthers made a deep playoff run, fans celebrated their scrappy team’s goals by showering the ice with plastic rats. It was a charming, if somewhat obnoxious neo-tradition that prompted the league to create a delay of game penalty so the rat showers would stop.

Rats > Avery windshield wiping

2. They fired Mike Keenan

Mike Keenan’s extensive, yet glaringly unsuccessful post-Rangers coaching career boggles my mind. If you were to believe what’s written in the book “Messier,” that historic ’94 Cup run happened in the middle of a mutiny against the hateful coach. Yet he still keeps getting jobs.

But the one silver lining about hiring Keenan is that a team will inevitably fire him.

3. Jay Bouwmeester in video games

He’s not a household name, but he should be if you have a video game console. Going back to the PS2 days of NHL 2K, Bouwmeester’s always been a diamond in the rough because of his blazing speed. His end-to-end digi-prowess prompted the creation of the term “Poor Man’s Orr.”

4. The veteran free agent/trade disappointment du jour

The Florida Panthers signing a washed up semi-big name is becoming a time-honored tradition.For years, “Scary” Gary Roberts broke the hearts of Panthers fans with seasons marred by injuries but he’s been followed by luminaries such as Todd Bertuzzi (in the disastrous Roberto Luongo trade), Joe Nieuwendyk and now Cory Stillman.

Remember, misery builds character.

5. The logo/mascot actually isn’t half-bad

New NHL logos – and sports logos in general – are often dominated with sharp edges and the wet dreams of Mountain Dew marketers. So it’s always nice to see a team come up with a relatively simple design and the Panthers have a solid, inoffensive logo.

It’s often annoying when teams lace their logos with ‘tude, but shit, Panthers probably are growling and mean much of the time so this works.

Bonus points for including an endangered species and not trying to force the Panther to awkwardly hold a stick or sport other hockey gear.

6. Tomas Vokoun

He might not be the most exciting goalie on the planet, but he’s the closest the Panthers can get to a legitimate All-Star caliber player.

7. Nathan Horton

One of the hidden gems of the NHL, Horton might never put up big numbers but he’s a talented young power forward. Still, he fits in with the Panthers affliction of potential never meeting production.

8. John Vanbiesbrouck’s helmet

I remember playing the actually kinda shitty NHL ’97 on the Playstation One and thinking that the Bieser’s helmet was the shit.

(Definitely grasping at straws)

9. They didn’t hire Barry Melrose

10. Sure, the Lightning won a Cup … but the Panthers beat the Mario Lemieux – Jaromir Jagr led Penguins

As you can see, there probably are only about five things that are actually cool about the Florida Panthers … but hey, it was nice to at least give it the old college try.

Seriously, though, it brings up an interesting question: who IS the best American hockey player to lace ’em up? Mike Modano leads many of the big scoring categories, but Pat LaFontaine‘s brilliance is probably unmatched.

If Pat Lafontaine played today, is there any doubt this movie would be involved in a genius PhotoShop?

But Jeremy Roenick is unquestionably the most gifted, electronically. Since I’m distantly related to Brian Leetch in a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” kind of way, it is my duty to abstain.

My assumed “#11 American” Phil Housely probably shifted in his seat when he (hypothetically) learned that he was not included in this discussion. (Tough titties)

It boggles my mind that Americans cannot seem to mind their own damn beeswax when it comes to sex and marriage. Seriously, how can anyone be so sanctimonious about something that straight people only have a 50 percent success rate with? Whatev.

Interesting take on the issue and the film “Milk” at CHUD.com.

/politics

  • The biggest news in hockey this week is that Martin Brodeur is expected to miss three to four months because of elbow surgery. Sooner or later, the seemingly invincible “fatso” was going to get injured although this year seemed the most jinx-tastic with all the talk about Brodeur breaking Patrick Roy and Terry Sawchuk‘s big goalie records.

Could it be the Avery curse?

  • Sid the Kid “responded” to Alex Semin’s interview where the forest fire-hot forward asked what was so special about Crosby and expressed his preference for Patrick Kane‘s game (as well as Pavel Datsyuk‘s stickhandling abilities). Crosby must love dealing with these “he said she said” comments all the time, although that’s the price you pay for big Reebok contracts and media adoration. My guess is that Semin – known for being quiet though that might be a language barrier issue more than anything else – simply let his guard down in the company of a fellow Russian.

To the delight of anyone who read the interesting and revealing interview, of course. Not sure how big Sovetsky Sport is in Russia but their interviews are a real gem for the blogosphere as they allow us to get a rare glimpse of Russians including Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin.

One thing’s for sure: whether Semin’s snipes were blown out of proportion or not, adding that to Alex O headhunting Malkin and the media coverage of Sidney vs. Alex O makes for quite the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Washington.

Please, Hockey Gods, give us a Battle of California and Pittsburgh vs. Washington in the playoffs this year. We’ll sacrifice Alexei Yashin if necessary.