Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2006

Score one more for the AARP...

Here they go again! The Detroit Red Wings have solved their goaltending situation by signing Dominic Hasek to a one-year deal. This is the third go-round between the Dominator and the Red Wings, the first of which resulted in a 2002 Stanley Cup which could have made for a storybook ending to his illustrious career, but after a year of retirement he returned to the Wings, spoiled the relationship between the team and Curtis Joseph , and played a mere 14 games due to nagging groin problems. Last year with the Senators, Hasek again missed a huge chunk of the season after getting injured at the Olympics, and didn't recover until the Senators had already been eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by Buffalo. In short, this is a bewildering deal - I don't see you count on Hasek to help the team come playoff time given his age and health, and they need to get young prospect Jimmy Howard some ice time at the NHL level to see if he's their long-term solution.  

Squeeze that cap!

The furious competition of June's Stanley Cup Finals has given way to an equally heated contest between general managers this July. Free agent signings, trades, draft picks, etc. all serve to set the stage for the on-ice drama to follow. I'm somewhat surprised that we haven't seen a particular weapon brought out in that battle yet, however. Back in the early days of the NBA's salary cap, Detroit Pistons GM Jack McCloskey made a hefty offer to Jon Koncak of the Atlanta Hawks. The offer was a shrewd move, as Atlanta was forced (due to lack of other options) to match the deal and retain Koncak at a painfully high salary, constraining their options under the salary cap for years. Detroit went on to win back-to-back championships shortly thereafter and hamstrung a division rival along the way. So why haven't we seen similar moves this offseason? In the past, NHL teams have made hefty offers to restricted free agents that usually ended up being matched by the orig

Can you feel the love?

It seems like teams and players are finding their way to a deal rather than duke it out in arbitration this off-season. If you check the list of those eligible for arbitration , the majority of players already have negotiated agreements, with many others still awaiting their arbitration dates. Perhaps the realization has set in that often in arbitration, everybody loses. Even if one side wins the financial argument, bad feelings fill the air as management makes their case against paying the player top dollar. Even if they get a contract signed, the attitude of that player is often shot, and a trade or eventual departure via free agency results. Far better to use that date as a meaningful negotiation deadline, and let both sides focus on the upcoming season.  

Show me the loonies!

While the salary cap has done much to provide financial balance to the NHL's playing field, one factor that seems to get overlooked is the currency fluctuation which has made Canadian teams far more profitable than they have been in the past. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA ), all player contracts are to be paid in US dollars. But when you look at the 5-year trend in the Canadian dollar , one sees that Canadian revenues (tickets, concessions, local TV rights, etc.) have risen by almost 50% since January 2002 just through the currency shift alone. That may not mean much for teams like Toronto and Montreal which play close to the cap maximum regularly, but for smaller-market teams like Edmonton and Calgary, this means a significant difference in the type of team they can put on the ice. Should smaller US teams like Nashville, Columbus, and Buffalo come crying for handouts like the Canadian teams did a few years back?  

Red Wings snag a D

The D in Detroit stands for Depth on Defense, as the Wings have signed Danny Markov away from Nashville as a free agent. This not only helps the Red Wings, but it also deals a blow to an improving division rival. The Predators struck gold earlier by landing Jason Arnott, but Markov was a key defender for them who won't easily be replaced.  

Hump Day trivia

Here's your Hump Day trivia question: Which active NHL skater has played the most regular season games without recording a single point?  

"To boldly go where no game has gone before..."

The New York Rangers just released their preseason schedule, and it includes a September 23rd contest in San Juan, Puerto Rico against the Florida Panthers. Some may bemoan the NHL heading deeper and deeper into the sunnier regions of the world, but when it comes to exhibition games, neutral sites are a win-win all around. Season ticket holders back home don't like having to pay for games that don't count, and the league gets to bring more first-timers into the building to watch the action - and as we all know, hockey is a sport best appreciated in person. My question is why the NHL doesn't pursue neutral site games more aggressively. Indianapolis, for example, is a major city that's within a four-hour drive of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Columbus, yet it routinely misses out on preseason games. You would think any of the aforementioned teams would want to tap into that market - at least if you intended on growing your sport's national appeal. Old-fa

Rent-a-Recchi Returned to Pittsburgh

Today the Pittsburgh Penguins announced the signing of Mark Recchi , beginning his third tenure on the Pens, and quite likely, one that will be as short as the second. At his age, and given the improbability of the Penguins contending for a Cup next spring, he's a sure bet to be a hot commodity at the trading deadline once again. Maybe he just enjoys going to the Steelers games, but Recchi's contribution to the Pens this season isn't likely to be any different than last year's; a pair of young players by way of trade, and a draft pick down the road.