1) The Tennessean's coverage of the Predators took a significant step forward this last season, as John Glennon and Jessica Hopp did a generally fine job, and the editorial staff finally stopped starting every story with phrases like "The Nashville Predators, who have constantly struggled to gain fan acceptance...". On Saturday, however, Glennon committed quite the faux pas in a blog post at the Tennessean's website, complaining that Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom should be more closely scrutinized for having a foot in the crease when he scores. The problem, unfortunately, is that the "foot in the crease" rule was relaxed several years ago, and as long as you're not interfering with the goaltender, having a foot in the blue ice when scoring a goal is completely OK. Of course, this got picked up around the blogosphere and provided amusement for Nashville haters. Hey, all of us have an off day now and again, but when a beat reporter for a major daily newspaper has one, it gets noticed a lot more (thank goodness for him it wasn't a print article).
2) A more serious gaffe popped up yesterday, when the Predators' seven-year contract extension for Martin Erat was rejected by the NHL for violating guidelines set out in the CBA. In a nutshell, the CBA states that in a multi-year deal, there are limitations as to how much the salary can vary from year to year (see page 219 of the CBA for lurid details). The violation here was very minor (his salary was to go from $5.5 million in 2012-13 to $3.5 million in 2013-14, but it can only drop by $1.75 million from one year to the next, that figure being 50% of his 2008-9 salary of $3.5 million), and after a minor readjustment they have already resubmitted the deal to the NHL. Attention GM David Poile! Not only could I join your front office as a Director for Quantitative Analysis, but I'd be glad to lend a hand at "salary capology" as well. Check out my background over at LinkedIn and give me a call...
3) I think San Jose is taking a huge risk in dumping Ron Wilson after getting bounced in the second round by Dallas. Playoff results, in my opinion, are highly overrated in the evaluation of a coaching staff, and there's every possibility that a kinder, gentler head coach won't get nearly as much out of the Sharks in the regular season, leaving them poorly positioned to make significant headway in the playoffs. You can be certain that their Pacific Division rivals are glad to see Wilson out of the way.
4) Has there ever been a lamer playoff slogan than Philadelphia's "Why Not Us?" It sounds like the motto of someone hoping to hit the Lotto than a call to support a hockey team. I had picked the Flyers to win the Eastern Finals (granted, that was before Kimmo Timonen was lost for the series), but that depleted blue line is killing them. Ah well, maybe Braydon Coburn can get a visor sponsorship deal during the offseason.
In the meantime, I'm busy trying to cobble together more data to provide juicy tidbits ahead of the free agency market this summer... so stay tuned for further developments.