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November 15, 2009

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Link Surfing In The Pacific Division

November 13, 2009

This is Arthur from Anaheim Calling. I never cleared a day or schedule with Gray from Couch Tarts (now at Bloguin), so you may be getting a double dose of the Pac today.

San Jose
First, I refer you to the Couch Tarts post on last night’s game with the Stars. The letdown is emblematic of the Sharks season so far. The team is definitely on top of a competitive division, but they look far more mortal than the squad that came roaring out of the gates last year. (Also, I take credit for this win, as I benched Turco on my fantasy team, thus thoroughly jinxing San Jose’s sticks for the final stanzas of the game).

Los Angeles
The Royal Half muses on a guaranteed win for the Kings, though there seem to be a lot more of those this season.

Scott Glennie talked to Brandon of Defending Big D this week. He’s the future of pure scoring in the Pacific Division.

I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know what’s happening with the Coyotes, despite the fact that the Desert Dogs were the Ducks’ opponents on each of the last two Saturdays, and despite the fact that James Wisniewski controversially Manny-Pacquiao’d Shane Doan in that first meeting. I know this is two weeks old, but I have no links, just this:

Every time I see the video above, I swear I hear Marv Albert saying Boom-shakalaka. I enjoy it only because I remember this video:

The Ducks are on fire sale watch right now, beset by rumors of players headed out the door for little more than a change of locker room scenery. And much of this week’s smoke damage came from Giguere, who threw a few heavy quotes to diligent and diligently under-appreciated beat writer J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News. Giguere clarified everything later, but damage has certainly been done.

Anaheim fans are doing a bit of trainspotting these days, but instead of cars, we’re watching passengers. Who’s coming? Chris Higgins? Vesa Toskala? Who’s going? Jiggy? Hiller? Niedermayer? Coach Carlyle? And now that Ducks owner Henry Samueli is back, what are the chances he fires Bob Murray, the only guy who insists nobody’s going anywhere?

On Visors

October 28, 2009

If you haven’t seen it already, you should definitely check out this fantastic piece posted by NHL FanHouse’s Chris Botta. Pat Dapuzzo, a former NHL linesman of 24 years, shares what I’m sure is just a very small part of his experience after having his career ended and his life changed in a freak accident. If you’re squeamish, the embedded video on the article may not be for you, but what happens in that video is that Philadelphia Flyer Steve Downie was being hipchecked along the boards by a New York Ranger. Dapuzzo was caught between the boards and the hipcheck, and as Downie pinwheeled over the hitter, his skate stabbed Dapuzzo across the face. The injuries are recounted in the article by Dapuzzo, the most startling of which being that his nose had to be reattached. It’s a great piece, but one quote in particular cut to an issue whose answer seems so obvious that I’ve never been able to understand why it’s even a question:

“This is a fact: all this happened to me because I wasn’t wearing a face shield.”

One of the things we all love about pro athletes (not you, Paul Pierce) is their toughness, and this is particularly true with hockey players. No sport emphasizes or lionizes sacrificing your body for the team like hockey does. The passion and commitment that it takes to drop in front of a Chara/Pronger/MacInnis type blast from the point is one of the greatest things in sports. A large part of the rationalization for making those sacrifices is that the pain is temporary: the bruise will heal, the teeth can be replaced, you can get a shot before the game, and that at worst, the bone can be set and put in a cast to heal. Really, most injuries a hockey player is going to take in their career are things that can be healed and fixed, and allow the player to live a normal life after their career. Perhaps the most glaring exception to this is a person’s eyes.

I’ve been watching sports for years, and I’ve been on the internet for just as long. I’ve seen a lot of pretty gruesome injuries, but I can only remember one incident in a sports game that made me instantly gasp in horror, during the live play. In Game 5 of the Wings/Flames series in the 2004 playoffs, a point shot by Mathieu Schnieder deflected in front of the net, redirecting upwards into the left eye of Steve Yzerman. That was easily one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Yzerman was lucky – he was able to recover, and even come back for another year after the lockout. Seeing that video, its not hard to imagine how it could’ve been even worse.

Eye injuries cost Brian Berard his career. An eye injury forced Al MacInnis into an early retirement. Ducks prospect Jordan Smith lost his career to an eye injury, an incident that prompted the AHL to require visors for all players. There are plenty of examples out there, and even more close calls.

Considering that their bodies and abilities are their living, the fact that most NHL players don’t wear visors is simply astounding to me. That the NHL BoG has not forced the issue in an attempt to protect their investments is even more surprising, given their sole motivation comes from dollars and cents. There seem to be 3 reasons, in my mind, why the NHL hasn’t made the jump.

The first issue is obviously concern about impeded vision on the ice from the visor. Somehow, many of today’s young stars see just fine with a visor, and besides that, there’s always the tinted visors to reduce glare. Second, is that “the code”, as given to us by the likes of Mike Milbury and Don Cherry and other assorted irrelevant people, demands that you not be a pansy and wear protection… except for shin pads, padded pants, a cup, shoulderpads, elbow pads, and a helmet. Just don’t put on that visor, or you might as well go back to France.

Third, and less talked about, I think has to be a confidence and denial issue among players as well. With such skilled players, part of the problem has to also be an issue of overconfidence as well. Sure, an NHL player can deflect a puck or dodge or flinch away from a shot coming his way. It makes it easy to think you can avoid an injury in any situation. Unfortunately, it’s never as cut and dry as a straight shot into your eye. On Yzerman’s injury, the puck deflected significantly, less than 20 feet away from him. Bryan Berard and Al MacInnis were both injured by sticks, not pucks. Such freak accidents are fortunately uncommon, but the fact is that they still happen, and they are frequently the sort of incidents the victim couldn’t dodge or avoid. Coupled with that, the attitude of “It will never happen to me” is definitely a part of the choice not to wear a visor. No one ever plans on suffering a catastophic injury. Of course, no matter how hard you look the other way, such things still happen.

Mandatory use of visors obviously wouldn’t prevent every injury. Dany Heatley’s left eye remains permanently dilated from an injury that occurred while wearing a visor. Pat Dapuzzo still would’ve had his face slashed by Downie’s skate, but the injuries would certainly have been reduced significantly. But a $50 visor would likely mean Bryan Berard still pulled an NHL paycheck. Wearing a visor, Yzerman may still have been hurt, but at least most of the damage would probably be restricted to his mouth and cheekbones, as opposed to his cornea.

Even in the rec leagues I play in, I wear a visor. As we all know, shit happens. High sticks, deflected shots, or any of a million others things. Losing some teeth, I can deal with that. Even getting my nose broken again, or facial fractures, that can be dealt with. Not pleasant, but you can deal with it. Losing my vision? That’s not something that I can deal with, its not something that can be fixed. That a 22 year old who has no material investment in his hockey ability can grasp that idea, while guys making a career out of the game continue to take avoidable career and life altering injuries is mind blowing.

CLS Redraft: Thoughts and Reflections

September 25, 2009

(Surprise! I’m back from family, work, and lots of general personal busy-ness, and I’m posting on CLS!)

Some of you may remember that last year, there was a really unfortunate incident that ended with a 14 year old who thought he could grow facial hair lifting the Stanley Cup. Scott Niedermayer’s playoff beard must’ve been rolling in its grave to see that. For a variety of reasons, the Detroit Red Wings came up short in a 7-gamer against the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. Fortunately, this summer, James O’Brien gave me a chance to rebuild, retool, and prepare to redeem a team that completely blew it (for various reasons, most forgivably being Nick Lidstrom’s testicle) and let a Stanley Cup slip through their fingers. I present to you, the team that will win back the Stanley Cup, the Cycle Like Sedins’ redrafted Detroit Red Wings!
Brenden Morrow (A) (3-16, 76) / Brad Richards (8-15, 225) / Jarome Iginla (C) (1-16, 16)
T. J. Oshie (6-23, 173) / Antoine Vermette (9-29, 269) / Steve Bernier (12-23, 353)
Todd Marchant (12-24, 354) / Jarret Stoll (10-16, 286) / Torrey Mitchell (11-30, 330)
Marcel Goc (13-29, 389) / Darren Helm (9-16, 256) / Matt Cooke (13-7, 367)
Aaron Ward (11-22, 322) / Duncan Keith (A) (2-15, 45)
Kent Huskins (14-2, 392) / Alexandre Edler (6-15, 165)
Colin White (14-15 405) / Jonathan Ericsson (6-22, 172)
Pekka Rinne (2-23, 53)
Jaroslav Halak (11-16, 316)
Yes, my entire 20 man starting roster came in the first 14 rounds, ending with Colin White at #405. Early in the draft, as a couple trades starting being made by PHI and EDM, the thought occurred to me that in the late rounds (15-20), all that anyone would have to pick from is the maybes, never-weres, and stupid video game favorites (Dimotrakos!!!) of the NHL. I started trading down in the 4th round, and was able to eventually parlay my picks into all being in the first 14 rounds. After making my 3rd round pick of Morrow, there wasn’t too many guys that I didn’t feel were significant upgrades over players who would be available 5 rounds later, so I traded down and skipped the draft for a couple rounds, stockpiling mid-round picks. At one point, I think I owned 4 or 5 11th rounders.
My original plan, as detailed at my own mostly inactive blog, was to draft strongly on defense, and build a team more in the mold of the Anaheim Ducks of recent seasons. If Zdeno Chara hadn’t gone one pick before me to Columbus, I might’ve taken him instead of Iginla. In the end, I decided one of the best forwards in the league, a guy who exemplifies everything that is good and wonderful about hockey, certainly deserved to be the centerpiece of my team, and I had to adjust my strategy accordingly. I might have made a mistake in filling up my forwards quickly, and missing out on a couple of better defensemen (Huskins and White are my only significant weaknesses, I feel), but overall, I think it turned out pretty well.
I’m pretty confident that my first line can hang with anyone in the league. Brad Richards may be obscenely overpaid, but he’s still a pretty good player, and with Iggy and Morrow on his wings, they’re liable to kick your ass and then score on you for good measure. My 2nd line might be a bit weak, particularly Bernier on the right side, but against lower pairings and with solid partners, I think Bernier can do allright. I have a massive hardon for Antoine Vermette, both from video games and from his real life FOW%, and with his speed and two big bodies on either side of him, I think that line could work pretty decently.
What I might be most proud of is my third line. I have 3 C’s, all with excellent FOW%, for a 3rd line, and I would have no problem shuffling any of those three into 2nd or 4th line duty as needed. Even my fourth line is pretty sweet, having my personal favorite player, Darren Helm, as well as a fantastic pest with a little bit of skill in Matt Cooke, and a super-cheap Marcel Goc on the left side. In lieu of having a standout defense, as originally planned, I decided it would work just as well to have a big, physical, and defensively responsible set of 12 forwards, and I think I did a pretty good job of filling that mold overall.
On defense, outside of White and Huskins, I think I’m fairly solid. The whole unit isn’t elite, but I think its pretty solid, and more than that, that defensive corps can definitely knock you around, and can even score a few goals. One of the hardest things to play against is a team that lets you take the perimeter and the boards, but will flatten you if you take two steps away from them. such teams have been, until 2009, the only kind of team to beat the Red Wings in the playoffs since 2001. Ducks, Flames, Oilers, etc, they were all built on letting you take easy-to-stop perimeter shots, and attempting to decapitate you if you stepped off the boards. I think this defense should do a pretty good job of that.
If there is a significant weakness here, its probably in goal, which should be nothing new to the Detroit Red Wings. I’m not entirely sold on Rinne (if I’d had the original pick that EDM used to draft him, I’d have gone with Vokoun or Hiller), as I’d like to see a bigger sample size, but I don’t think its unreasonable to think that at worst, he’s about a league-average goalie. Because I don’t entirely trust him, I decided it best to have a capable backup, and for that I chose Jaroslav Halak, because he’s shown the ability to play like a #1 before, though he’s lacked consistency. With help from a good defense, maybe he could gain that consistency. Again, at worst, he’s probably league average, and behind this team, I think league average could definitely be pushed up a couple points, a la Nicklas Backstrom.
In building this team, one of the things that quickly became apparent was that some people were attempting to build unrealistic teams full of fragile snipers that could never get the puck for themselves, the kind of teams that work in a video game, but not so much in real life. To me, one of the most fun parts of this entire redraft was not just trying to draft the best player each pick from a “score as many goals as you can” standpoint, but from trying to build an honest-to-goodness functional NHL team. I might not win any of the competitive aspects of this redraft, but to me, that’s ok, because I truly believe that this team, as constructed, could do very very well in the NHL. Hopefully, they do that well in the CLS-NHL as well.

Coming Soon …

September 23, 2009

… The 2009-10 season. Rut roh.

A look at the next couple weeks ahead (perhaps … at least I hope so):

  • If things work out well, I should have a daily feature (but that might be a big if to get everyone coordinated) that will (hopefully) bring a fresh-ish take on “link dumps”/headline type posts. Hopefully.
  • I’m going to finish up my season previews (“Gut Reactions”) although I’m going to change the format from team-by-team to division-by-division. This may be the only thing I can truly guarantee.
  • Finally, I hope to involve the team bloggers in a spirited but brief little feature to preview the NHL season in true CLS fashion.
Not sure if all three of the above plans will come to fruition, but it never hurts to try. Stay tuned kiddos.

That’s more like it!

August 29, 2009
You gonna draft him, brah?
We made a good bit of progress today, knocking out something like 15 picks. Let’s keep it up!
In other news, I guess its really up to James, but I’m thinking these draft update posts can pretty much be stretched to one per round, right?

10-10 (#280) – Adrian Aucoin to the New Jersey Devils

Cap hit: 2.250000M
10-11 (#281) – Trevor Daley to the New York Rangers
Cap hit: 2.300000M
10-12 (#282) – Pascal Dupuis to the Carolina Hurricanes
Cap hit: 1.400000M
10-13 (#283) – Fabian Brunnstrom to the Minnesota North Stars
Cap hit: 2.225000M
10-14 (#284) – Dave Bolland to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 3.375000M

10-15 (#285) – James Wisniewski to the Colorado Avalanche

Cap hit: 2.750000
10-16 (#286) – Jarret Stoll to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: 3.600000M
10-17 (#287) – David Steckel to the Washington Capitals
Cap hit: 0.725000M
10-18 (#288) – Colton Orr to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Cap hit: 1.000000M
10-19 (#289) – Martin Hanzal to the Phoenix Coyotes
Cap hit: 0.980000M

10-20 (#290) – Mike Mottau to the St. Louis Blues

Cap hit: 0.762500M
10-21 (#291) – Patrick O’Sullivan to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 2.925000M
10-22 (#292) – Maxim Afinogenov to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: ?????? (maybe its in rubles!)
10-23 (#293) – Dennis Seidenberg to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 1.200000M
10-24 (#294) – Andrew Ebbett to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap hit: 0.487500M

10-25 (#295) – Denis Grebeshkov to the New York Islanders

Cap hit: 3.150000M
10-26 (#296) – Mike Smith to the Chicago Blackhawks
Cap hit: 2.200000M
10-27 (#297) – Kevin Klein to the Dallas Stars
Cap hit: 0.650000M
10-28 (#298) – Maxime Talbot to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap hit: 1.200000
10-29 (#299) – Jonas Gustavsson to the Vancouver Canucks
Cap hit: 2.500000M

10-30 (#300) – David Moss to the Calgary Flames

Cap hit: 1.300000M

i love you james

August 22, 2009

you are the man

you rock bro

Cycle Like Sedins NHL re-draft – August 19

August 19, 2009
Me and James have discussed it, and we both agree that at this point, the best thing to do when picks get messed up by the taking of players that have already been taken, is to let the draft keep going. Tools have been provided and updated on a semi-regular basis that should make it easy to follow who has been picked. Beyond that, its not unreasonable to ask that you check the last several picks before your own, if the draft boards or spreadsheets have not been updated yet.

With that in mind, we’ve decided that the new policy for an invalid pick shall be that the team making the invalid pick will be notified that their pick is invalid, but in the meantime, picks will continue in the order as if the original pick was made correctly. The team who has made the original invalid pick can jump in at any time to make a valid pick, but we’re not going to pause the draft to let them fix it, and the players taken in the interrim, between the invalid pick and the corrected pick will not be available to the team that made the invalid pick. Basically, if you follow the NFL, its the same process the NFL uses in the draft when the Minnesota Vikings screw up and don’t make their pick on time. Here’s an example:

Team A picks player 1
Team B picks player 2
Team C picks player 1 (the invalid pick)
Team D picks player 3
Team E picks player 4
Team C picks player 5 (corrected pick, players 3 and 4 are unavailable, as they’ve already been taken)

So what can you use to keep from making an invalid pick? You can go to any of these and try using CTRL + F to search for the player’s name. It’d be a good idea to check how up to date it is too, to see how far back you might need to check the actual picks thread as well.

The Big Draft Board here on the CLS Message Board….splay&thread=39

Double Edged Sabres’ Draft Board

Alternatively, you can catch Cassie via email and she can shoot you the spreadsheet that she is keeping.

Why are we doing this? Because there is no reason for the draft to be held up when people are given multiple sources of information for tracking players taken through this draft. I understand we’re all doing this for fun, but it only takes a minute to do a couple quick CTRL + F’s to keep things running smoothly. On the organizational end of this, James, and to a lesser extent, myself and several others, are doing what is needed to make this go smoothly. The other part of making this go smoothly is on your end, and we’d like everyone to make sure they’re holding up that end of the deal.

With that business out of the way, here’s today’s picks:

9-5 (#245) – Adam Burish to the Chicago Blackhawks

Cap hit: 0.713M

9-6 (#246) – Rich Peverley to the New York Islanders
Cap hit: 0.488M

9-7 (#247) – Bryan McCabe to the Philadelphia Flyers
Cap hit: 5.750M

9-8 (#248) – Kim Johnsson to the Colorado Avalanche
Cap hit: 4.850M

9-9 (#249) – Vaclav Prospal to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 1.100M

9-10 (#250) – Tomas Holmstrom to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 2.250M

9-11 (#251) – Martin Erat to the St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: 4.500M

Cycle Like Sedins NHL re-draft – July 31

July 31, 2009

This post will be randomly edited and updated throughout the day by me/James, as we see picks being made, so keep checking back, or just go to the picks board to see the latest happenings.

Post your caption in the comments!
#19 (#49) – Chris Mason’s facial hair goes to the Phoenix Coyotes
Cap hit: 3.000M/yr
#20 (#50) – Patrick Marleau goes to the St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: 6.300M/yr
#21 (#51) – Marian Hossa returns to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 5.233M/yr
#22 (#52) – Shea Weber to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 4.500M/yr
#23 (#53) – Pekka Rinne to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: 0.725M/yr
#24 (#54) – Marian Gaborik to the Philadelphia Flyers
Cap hit: 7.500M/yr
#25 (#55) – Tomas Vokoun to the New York Islanders
Cap hit: 5.700M/yr
#26 (#56) – Jonas Hiller to the Chicago Blackhawks
Cap hit: 1.300M/yr
#27 (#57) – Corey Perry to the Dallas Stars
Cap hit: 5.325M/yr
#28 (#58) – Mike Cammalleri to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap hit: 6.000M/yr
#29 (#59) – Jonathan Quick to the Vancouver Canucks
Cap hit: 0.770M/yr
#30 (#60) – Mikko Koivu to the Calgary Flames
Cap hit: 3.250M/yr
#1 (#61) – Martin Biron to the Calgary Flames
Cap hit: 1.400M/yr
#2 (#62) – Shane Doan to the Vancouver Canucks
Cap hit: 4.550M/yr
#3 (#63) – Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap hit: 4.100M/yr
#4 (#64) – Scott Clemmensen to the Dallas Stars
Cap hit: 1.800M/yr
#5 (#65) – Brian Rafalski to the Chicago Blackhawks
Cap hit: 6.000M/yr
#6 (#66) – Daniel Sedin to the New York Islanders
Cap hit: 6.100M/yr
#7 (#67) – Travis Zajac to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: 3.888M/yr
#8 (#68) – Ryan Kesler to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: 1.750M/yr
#9 (#69) – Simeon Varlamov to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 0.822M/yr
#10 (#70) – Marty Turco to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 5.700M/yr
Our first trade has also occurred! The Philadelphia Flyers have traded their 3rd rounder (#67) and their 10th rounder (some big number) to the Edmonton Oilers for their 4th (#113) and 5th (#128).

With the 26th overall pick, the Buffalo Sabres select…

July 27, 2009

#26 – Henrik Zetterberg to the Buffalo Sabres (selected by Vance of BanginPanger)

A picture of Hank’s girlfriend is way better than a picture of Hank himself
Cap hit: 6.083M/yr

Update: Thoughts from Vance at Double Edged Sabres.