Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top 10 Video Special - Breakaways That Went Wrong

Welcome to Part 8 of Down Goes Avery's Video Series.  In this installment, I take the 10 most memorable breakaways (breakaways, penalty shots, shootouts) that were bizarre or went wrong in some way.  You might think of this as the breakaways that resulted in some sort of failure.  Anyway, we all laughed as these happened, and occasionally watched in disbelief at what we were seeing.  I think that speaks for itself.  Enjoy.

#10 - "Soccer on ice"

As Dominic Moore's stick snapped, the puck came right to him, leaving him on a breakaway with no stick.

#9 - "Second time's a charm"

Linus Omark got a little bit anxious to take his first ever shootout attempt, but he dazzled on his second try.

#8 - "Using a triple-iron"

Viktor Stalberg's penalty shot resulted in him hitting 3 posts...on one shot.

#7 - "Acrobatic failure"

Patrick Eaves took quite a tumble on this shootout attempt.

#6 - "Acrobatic fail, part 2"

If you liked the Eaves shootout attempt, you'll love Dennis Wideman as he blows a tire.

#5 - "Can't score without the puck"

Chris Conner did everything right on this penalty shot.  Well, except he forgot the puck.

#4 - "$100 million blunder"

Ilya Kovalchuk didn't exactly get off to a great start in his first full season in New Jersey.  This was rock bottom.

#3 - "Falling fail in style"

Steven Stamkos couldn't get a shot off on this penalty shot, but for what it's worth, he fell down in style.

#2 - "Taking out the anger"

The shooter does nothing wrong here, however Keith Ballard, the defenseman, performs this blunder.

#1 - "Bungle on the ice"

In perhaps one of the greatest individual failures in hockey history, Patrik Stefan shows us why it ain't over till it's over.

WHAT DID I MISS?  Chances are, I missed something strange and unusual.  If you think I missed something, copy and paste the URL into the comments below.  Thanks for viewing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who replaces Doc Emrick? The candidates revealed!

MSG Network lost a legend today as long-time Devils announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick became a full-time play-by-play man with NBC and Versus.  This creates a vacancy for the Devils and their play-by-play man.  Luckily, I’ve done all the work already and obtained MSG’s list of potential candidates to find Emrick’s successor.

Steve Cangialosi (Last job: Devils pre-game TV host)

Why he deserves the job – He’s worked with the Devils for many years now, and hasn’t gotten the big promotion yet.
Why he should not get the job – The last time the Devils promoted a guy after that length of time resulted in his firing 33 games later.
Verdict – No way.  His voice is more colorful than Don Cherry’s suits.  Okay, well, most of Don Cherry’s suits…

Matt Loughlin (Last job: Devils radio announcer)

Why he deserves the job – Like Cangialosi, he has worked with the Devils for a long time on both the television and radio side.
Why he should not get the job – At times, he has a difficult time with name pronunciations. It’s not as if any former Devils broadcaster ever had that problem…
Verdict – His alumni status with MSG warrants further consideration.

Jim Hughson (Last job: CBC Hockey Night in Canada announcer)

Why he deserves the job – Many employees involving the Devils have come from Toronto and Montreal.  Hughson would continue Devils' tradition.
Why he should not get the job – His voice is a constant wavelength of changes in the pitch of his voice.  He is simply not consistent.
Verdict – Imagine Hughson with Craig Simpson.  Now imagine Hughson with Chico Resch.  Exactly…

Stan Fischler (Last job: MSG employee, or something like that)

Why he deserves the job – He’s witnessed every great moment in hockey history since the Original Six were once known as Toronto, Montreal, Montreal, some American city south of Toronto and Montreal and two other cities we can’t remember.
Why he should not get the job – He would compare every hockey game to either a playoff game from 1947 (supposedly his first season as a hockey fan) or an incident in the New York City subway system.
Verdict – Not a chance.  Stan should stick to doing whatever he does now…whatever that may be.

Peter Loubardias (Last job: Calgary Flames announcer)

Why he deserves the job – Another former broadcaster of a Canadian hockey team, he has experience covering a team that throws around more No Trade Clauses than Toronto fans throw waffles.
Why he should not get the job – New Jersey is a big culture shock, and as a Calgary-born Devils alumni coach will tell you, people can get very homesick in New Jersey.
Verdict – There are certainly worse choices.  Some of those people are the people listed above.

Steve Goldstein (Last job: Florida Panthers announcer)

Why he deserves the job – He’s one of the very few people who has actually seen Pete DeBoer coach in person.
Why he should not get the job – He is still under contract with the Panthers’ TV group and nobody associated with the Devils would ever try to do anything illegal with contracts.
Verdict – Let him stay with the Panthers.  It’s a safer job than anything with the Devils anyway.

Glenn “Chico” Resch (Last job: Devils analyst)
Why he deserves the job – He talks more than most play-by-play announcers and analysts do combined.
Why he should not get the job – By the second period of opening night, that could become irritating.
Verdict – Have you ever sprayed gasoline to put out a fire?  Well, I think you get my point.

Gary Thorne (Last job: Orioles baseball announcer)

Why he deserves the job – He worked for ESPN for many years, and became an expert with the Devils after they kept appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Why he should not get the job – He works for ESPN, therefore there is a chance that he is influenced by Scott Burnside (which, in case you did not know, is a very bad thing).
Verdict – Sign him now, before another the league locks out again and Thorne is sent to the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate.

Jim Jackson (Last job: Flyers announcer)

Why he deserves the job – Jim previously worked for the Utica Devils back in the day before going to the dark side.
Why he should not get the job – If a television’s volume reaches any sort of volume that a human is capable of hearing, he will wake up any sleeping person within 50 miles during every net mouth scramble.
Verdict – Nobody in the New York area sleeps anyway.  Let him keep Philadelphia awake.

Down Goes Spezza (Last job: independent hockey blogger)

Why he deserves the job – He nominated himself for the position (which automatically disqualifies him), and if you think about it, having a Flyers fan announce Devils games could work…barring you have earplugs on throughout each game.
Why he should not get the job – His favorite color is orange and his elbow has a Chris Pronger tattoo on it.*
Verdict – He knows what Corsi (advanced hockey statistic) is.  If he mentioned that on air, listeners’ houses might explode in confusion.
* Not confirmed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wheel of DeBoer - The Scientific Approach to his Fate

There are few professions which offer less job security than the position of New Jersey Devils head coach.  One of them might be a contestant on The Apprentice under Donald Trump or cashier at a general store that hasn't had a customer in 10 years.  Other than that, however, the Devils' coaching job is probably the least secure job available.  It is now Pete DeBoer's turn to try to last as long as he can.

Recent Devils coaching failures:

John MacLean
Tenure with Devils - 33 games (9-22-2)
Reason for release - Other than lack of preparation, lack of a system and stupid decisions, MacLean wasn't really that bad of a coach.  He just wasn't ready.

Jacques Lemaire
Tenure with Devils (this particular stint) - 1 season (48-27-7)
Reason for release - Lemaire took a brief time off before he ended up returning for his eventual third stint as Devils head coach.  He called his hiatus "retirement."

Brent Sutter
Tenure with Devils - 2 seasons (97-56-11)
Reason for release - Some say Brent Sutter left New Jersey because he was homesick, but the real reason is that GM Lou Lamoriello fired him for Sutter's inability to smile or speak in a voice high enough to be comprehended.

Claude Julien
Tenure with Devils - 79 games (47-24-8)
Reason for release - Julien wasn't going to be fired, but Lamoriello realized that he hadn't coached in nearly a year, so he decided to return.

Larry Robinson
Tenure with Devils - 141 games (73-43-19-6) and 32 games (14-13-5)
Reason for release - Robinson taped his speech to the Devils during the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals and kept replaying it in the locker room.  Its effect wore off, apparently multiple times.

Robbie Ftorek
Tenure with Devils - 156 games (88-44-19-5)
Reason for release - Throwing benches onto the ice is amusing, but players got sick of standing and began to riot on the bench in front of the coach's standing spot.

Jim Schoenfeld
Tenure with Devils - 124 games (50-59-15)
Reason for release - Schoenfeld once resorted to mentioning a sweet food in a dispute with a referee.  It wouldn't be until 2011 that references to such foods and hockey would be deemed funny (but only in Toronto).


And now, with the past established, let's take a look at my high-tech, scientific system that will help determine the newest member of the Devils' revolving door of coaches: The Wheel of DeBoer.  The instructions are simple: spin the wheel and whatever you land on becomes the estimated duration of DeBoer's stint with the Devils (Warning: I am not responsible for any computers or devices destroyed by spinning them to determine a result).  Enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The New Hockey Fan's Guide to the NHL

So you're new to hockey, eh?  Well, consider this a warm welcome to the bizarre world of NHL hockey.  Sometimes you'll laugh (when a shot comes towards Dan Ellis, usually), sometimes you'll cry (when your team's superstar gets knocked out by Matt Cooke) and sometimes you'll wonder who the hell is in charge of this league (that will probably occur every day).  But most importantly, you'll have a lot of fun being a hockey fan.  I've put together a little guide to help you get going and become involved in the hockey world.

Who to follow on Twitter:

You need to have a Twitter account.  Every NHL team has a Twitter, beat writers have Twitter, staff writers have Twitter, many players not on the New Jersey Devils have Twitter, basically everyone not on the Devils has a Twitter.  Here are some "must follows:"

Scott Burnside (@ESPN_Burnside)
Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.  In other words, his coverage is lousy and he knows nothing about hockey.  It's a theme over at ESPN...

Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski)
Greg Wyshynski is one of the Yahoo Puck Daddy writers.  He's a pretty funny person and fun to follow.  He is a Devils fan, though, so he'll probably be depressed around late April.  (We're used to it...)

Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov)
Dmitry Chesnokov also writes for Puck Daddy.  He does a lot of work with Russian NHL players, probably because he can speak Russian.  He has never been pushed aside by Alex Ovechkin after a tough playoff or Olympic loss and 17-year contracts make him cringe.

Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0)
If you stick to watching hockey, you may never hear of Paul Bissonnette, but he's quite a force on Twitter.  He is able to turn something so ordinary into something funny.  Oh, and he was Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin's linemate for 8 seconds and never touched the puck.

Don Cherry Parody (@DonCherryParody)
Unfortunately, Don Cherry doesn't have a Twitter account.  If he did, though, he'd sound just like his parody account.  Oh, and Don Cherry is the guy who has suits brighter and more striking than a freshly waxed Ferrari Enzo.

Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown)
DGB is quite simply the greatest blogger in professional sports right now.  While his favorite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been nothing but miserable on the ice in recent memory, DGB is able to make jokes about them without throwing waffles or cracking Kyle Wellwood jokes.  Okay, the second part of that might be wrong...

The Green Men (@TheGreenMen)
The Green Men are die-hard Canucks fans who wear green spandex suits to hockey games to support their team.  Interestingly enough, they've been very quiet since the Stanley Cup Finals...eerily similar to the Sedin twins during the Finals...

Best hockey websites

Hockey, like any sport, has its share of websites and blogs that are worth your time reading.  There are also many more that are not worth your time, so here are some that are and aren't worth your time.

Worth the time - - You may as well become familiar with the league's official website.  Disclaimer: I am not in charge of the horrific headlines that attempt humor every morning.

Not worth the time - - ESPN spends most of their time praising Sidney Crosby and his greatness.  This comes as a bit of irony, as Crosby hasn't played since early January.

Worth the time - Puck Daddy Blog - Puck Daddy covers all of the major hockey stories and is always searching for unusual hockey stories as well.  No, Rick DiPietro injuring himself in the arena cafeteria is not unusual.

Not worth the time - Atlanta Thrashers Official Website - Why?  The Thrashers don't exist anymore.  They moved to Winnipeg.  I don't know exactly where that is, but I hear you can see the Northern Lights from there.  It must be really cold (don't tell Dany Heatley that).

Worth the time - SB Nation - SB Nation has a blog for each NHL team (every professional sports team as well).  Most of them use advanced statistics such as Corsi and Fenwick to break down and analyze their respective teams.  If you are associated with the media, stay away from this.  It's way out of your league.

Not worth the time - - Known to most hockey fans as "Eklund," this mysterious hockey "reporter" spends most of his time making up rumors that make vulnerable fans' heads explode.  This week, Alex Ovechkin is on the trading block...or was that last week?

Important facts to know

  • The odds of seeing an Ovechtrick (9 goals in one game for one player) is about the same as seeing the same starting goaltender for the Flyers in back-to-back seasons.
  • If your team is looking to trade an above average player, yet not quite a superstar, that player may be sent to Toronto for two first round draft picks (in other words, top 10 overall picks).
  • Just because the Rangers overpaid for another star player doesn't necessarily mean he's going to become a bust.  It just dramatically increases the chances he becomes a bust.
  • Nassau Coliseum is not legally a hazardous zone, but if you ever go there, bring a hard hat...just in case the roof caves in.
  • Zdeno Chara never played basketball professionally, but he's got dunking players into stanchions down pretty well.
  • Teemu Selanne, Nicklas Lidstrom and Dwayne Roloson never age.  They just don't get older.
  • It is illegal for the LA Kings to sign a superstar player.  Nobody has ever explained why, but it's something people have come to accept.

Notable "can't misses" in hockey

Don't leave your TV if any of the following could potentially happen:

  • Ilya Kovalchuk is due up in a shootout.
  • The New York Rangers take a 5-0 lead in Montreal or the Calgary Flames take a 5-0 lead in Chicago.
  • The Vancouver Canucks are playing in Chicago...barring Roberto Luongo is still in the game.
  • Chris Pronger is on the ice and noticeably flexing his elbows.
  • Marian Gaborik tries to play defense (especially in the playoffs).
  • Bobby Ryan has a one-on-one rush against a Nashville forward without his stick.
  • The Penguins and Capitals are playing each other.  Supposedly, it's a big rivalry...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

NHL's Strange Record Breakers

This picture shows Martin Brodeur celebrating yet another goaltending record: most all-time losses (taken from the future).

Martin Brodeur has the most games played, starts, minutes, wins, shutouts and pretty much every other record for a goaltender not called save percentage.  A record he doesn't yet have, but rapidly approaching is the most losses in league history.  That's right, folks, Martin Brodeur is just two losses away from tying Gump Worsley and Curtis Joseph with 352 losses each, which is the most in NHL history.  With 625 wins, 116 shutouts, 99 playoff wins and 23 playoff shutouts, along with 3 Stanley Cup Championships and 4 Vezina Trophies, Brodeur will be the league's greatest loser.  Let's take a look at some other records that certain players and people in the NHL acquired last season that they may not be so proud of:

  • Scott Hartnell broke the NHL's record for most random falls while the puck isn't in the same zone as him, passing Scott Hartnell for the honor.
  • David Clarkson broke the league record for most wraparound goal attempts that result in the puck being turned over last season.
  • Dan Ellis broke the record for most goals allowed resulting in people using the hashtag #DanEllisProblems.
  • Brett Lebda broke the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise record (which naturally means league record as well) for the longest amount of time during a game having no idea where the puck the offensive zone.
  • In an attempt to lure Brad Richards back to the Stars, Joe Nieuwendyk passed Bobby Clarke for most times saying "New York sucks" in a single season.
  • Roberto Luongo broke the league's record for most minutes spent on the bench in an opposing arena having started every game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
  • Don Cherry broke his own record for most times being stopped by police on his way to CBC's Hockey Night in Canada studios to make sure he was in a rational state of mind due to the loud clothing worn.  Craig Sager was second on that list.
  • Given the possibility of NFL and NBA lockouts, ESPN broke the all-time record for most scheduled dead air space during the winter sports season, passing the Versus for the honor.
  • Alain Vigneault broke the single-season record for most times a coach asked turned around after a goal and asked, "Who scored that?" after every Sedin goal.
  • The Ottawa Senators experienced a first for their franchise this past season: fans booing their coach's decision to pull a goaltender after Robin Lehner would be pulled from a game, rather than their usual casual acceptance of the notion that a Sens goalie should be pulled from every game.
  • The same thing happened in Philadelphia early last season, except it was with Bobrovsky, and Flyers fans became frustrated with him as the season wore on.
  • The Air Canada Centre broke a record for most waffles thrown onto the ice at one time last year.  The last time there was that much food on the ice, Kyle Wellwood happily stayed after the game to help clean up.
  • Jonathan Toews broke Brent Sutter's record for most consecutive games having been seen with the exact same facial expression.  In Toews' case, it was the lack of the ability to blink.
  • Carrie Underwood broke the Nashville Predators' franchise record for most fans who stayed after a game to get an autograph and picture with someone walking out of the arena.  But that was after the second person who stayed.
  • Nassau Coliseum broke the league record for most complaints from fans about their ear drums hurting the day after spending time inside the arena.
  • Tim Thomas broke a franchise record for most desperation saves made resulting in Jack Edwards having a seizure.
  • The Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets all broke franchise records for most consecutive seasons of existence having never won a Stanley Cup.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Analyzing the future of Devils goaltending posted an article today about the Devils' future between the pipes.  While many Rangers fans like to taunt Devils fans about how the Devils franchise will crumble to the ground once Martin Brodeur retires, and Flyers fans warn Devils fans about how important goaltending can be, I think I may be able to pinpoint what exactly the Devils have planned.  Below, I've broken apart's article ( and interpreted it.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Like it or not, there will come a time when future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur decides to call it a career.

Interpretation - Strangely, Martin Brodeur is getting older, thus he is not related to Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne or Nicklas Lidstrom.

It even could be at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, when the NHL's all-time leader in regular-season wins, shutouts, games played and numerous other marks has played the final season of the six-year deal he signed prior to the start of the 2006-07 season. Whenever the inevitable does occur, who takes over between the pipes?

Interpretation - Martin Brodeur will eventually retire, barring he's not related to Brett Favre, in which case he'll retire annually for the rest of his life.  When he does retire, another goalie will have to take over.

Will the Devils consider someone from outside the organization? Or do they begin a new era from within?
Interpretation - Could Lou Lamoriello talk Tomas Vokoun into signing another bargain deal with the Devils next year, or would Gary Bettman reject that contract?

"Whoever it is, I hope it's (another) Martin Brodeur," Devils Director of Scouting David Conte said.

Interpretation - "Shh...don't tell anyone, but we're working on a Martin Brodeur clone right now.  If that fails, we'll sign another goalie and make him change his name to 'Martin Brodeur.'"

While that's highly unlikely, Conte has been pleased with the play of the goalies looking to make their mark at the team's rookie camp here this week at AmeriHealth Pavilion.
Interpretation - It's really hard to clone people, but that second option has some possibilities...

Perhaps one of the four goaltenders in attendance, including Jeff Frazee (second round, 2005), Scott Wedgewood (third round, 2010), Maxime Clermont (sixth round, 2010) or Keith Kinkaid (free agent, 2011), one day will fill that huge void along the goal line.
Interpretation - Barring the development of time machines, one of these goalies will eventually be a Devils goaltender.

"Goalies are funny … you never know when they're going to come forward," Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said.
Interpretation - "Goalies make me ever-so-slightly crack a smile, and sometimes they're even good, too.  Just as the Fly...okay, never mind."

"But we've been extremely pleased with Clermont and Wedgewood. They both had very good years with the teams they played for. I know (goalie coaches) Chris (Terreri) and Jacques (Caron) have been very impressed by them."

Interpretation - "If one of these guys turns out to be good, the league might think we embellished some sort of stupid rule.  But we'd never do that."

"Goalies take a lot longer (to develop) than players … I've come to realize that," Wedgewood told
Interpretation - "Goalies aren't really players."

Three rounds after targeting Wedgewood in 2010, the Devils added Clermont, marking the first draft since 1997 in which the franchise chose two goalies, when they selected Jean-Francois Damphousse in the first round and Scott Clemmensen in the eighth.
Interpretation - The Devils drafted two goalies in one draft.  Look at how well that worked last time they did that.

"I want to play in the NHL; that's why I'm here and that's why I wake up every day," Clermont told
Interpretation - "Growing up in Quebec, we are failures if we don't become NHL goalies, especially NHL goalies that collapse in big games."

Clermont, born in Brodeur's hometown of Montreal, went 30-10-5 with a 2.55 GAA and .896 save percentage in 2010-11.
Interpretation - Clermont was born in Montreal.  There may or may not have been another NHL goalie or two born there before.

"They have to continue to build, just as Marty did, just as Mike Dunham did, just as Corey Schwab did, Chris Terreri and Sean Burke. The beauty of hockey is you're only as good as yesterday, and every player that understands that is well ahead. If he's looking for the destination, he better worry more about the journey."
Interpretation - Over the years, we've developed Martin Brodeur and a ton of other guys that have played goal for the Devils.

The 24-year-old Frazee is the oldest of the four goalies at camp this week. In 33 games with Albany in 2010-11, he went 11-15-3 with a 2.90 GAA. Despite being a veteran of rookie camp, the Edina, Minn., native is grateful to still be in the mix of future prospects within the organization.
Interpretation - The Devils have an "old" goalie that's 24 years old.  That isn't supposed to make Dwayne Roloson feel old, is it?

"I go into every training camp expecting the best out of myself and I look forward to camp every year," Frazee said.
Interpretation - "I keep showing up to prospect camp, but they never promote me.  It's as if they have a decent goalie already."

"It was kind of overwhelming when the Devils signed me (April 18)," the native of Farmingville, N.Y., told "The Devils were my favorite team and I have always admired Martin Brodeur … I wore his number (30) at Union. It's unbelievable to be a part of an organization so close to me and one I grew up watching."
Interpretation - "I grew up near Islanders country, but don't tell anyone that, okay?!"

Friday, July 8, 2011

NHL Player's Free Agent Survey

Every year, the NHL surveys the summer’s free agents and asks the players who have either re-signed with their previous team or signed with a new team a series of questions to better understand why players chose the teams that they did.  I have obtained a copy of the survey and will share it with you.

 (Superstars Brad Richards only) Why did you sign with the team that you did?
a)      I wanted to win, and I feel that I have that chance in New York
b)      I wasn’t going to Los Angeles!
c)      Honestly, I was able to cash in big-time
d)      It was the right decision for me and my family
If you selected “A,” tell us why you really signed with the team that you did.
a)      I wasn’t going to Los Angeles!
b)      Honestly, I was able to cash in big-time
c)      It was the right decision for me and my family
(All players) What are you looking forward to most next season?
a)      Meeting my new teammates and coaches
b)      Finding the new hot spots in my new team’s city
c)      Getting May and June off perennially (Toronto, Florida, NY Islanders and Edmonton players only)
d)      Opening night!
Seriously, do you actually intend to play out the entire length of your contract?
a)      Of course, I would never participate in salary cap circumvention…whatever that means
b)      I signed with an Atlantic division team, so of course!
c)      Not really, in fact, I’m playing for a year and then leaving the NHL
What would be the biggest achievement for you with your new team?
a)      Winning a Stanley Cup, obviously
b)      Winning a major award (i.e. Hart, Rocket Richard, Art Ross, Norris, Vezina, etc.)
c)      Surviving the cold winters (Does not apply to players of teams south of Winnipeg, unless you’re Dany Heatley)
d)      Being the player’s representative at the team’s annual 1st Overall Draft Pick party (Edmonton players only)
What is your top personal goal for yourself next season?
a)      Outscore Marian Gaborik
b)      Not get hit by flying waffles all season
c)      Not getting made fun of by the Green Men all season
d)      Not miss players’ meetings and become a healthy scratch that night
What’s your favorite part of your pre-game ritual?
a)      The locker room pep-talk
b)      Shooting pucks into the Canucks’ goal during warm-ups
c)      Facing the media (Anyone who actually selects this will be subject to suspension)
d)      Free food from the waiters in the press box!
How do you spend your off-days?
a)      Sleeping
b)      Making public appearances and community service work to improve my public image
c)      At the rink, working with the coaching staff
d)      Wondering who has the best public viewing parties for the NHL playoffs
Was the team you signed with your first choice?
a)      Yes
b)      No
c)      Aside from the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Red Wings, Capitals, Penguins, Sharks, pretty much
d)      No, but man, their General Manager had a very deep checkbook
Finally, where are you taking this survey?
a)      At a computer at my team’s arena
b)      On my Smart Phone while driving down the freeway
c)      From my home
d)      From my parents’ basement
Thank you for participating in our survey.  We are always trying to learn from our players to improve the experience for future players, so basically, you don’t benefit from this at all…but thanks anyway.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What is an illegal contract in the eyes of the NHL?

It’s hard to forget what took place last summer, especially if you’re a Devils fan.  We understand that the NHL hates our team, our general manager and us, the fans.  We have come to not only accept that, but also embrace it.  People always knocked the Devils for not signing a superstar.  Well, they signed one last summer, and the league blew us away.  Apparently, it violated the “spirit of the collective bargaining agreement.”  Fast forward to last week.  The Devils’ nemesis, the Rangers, did what they do best: sign a superstar and hope for the best.  This time, however, the NHL approved the contract and rejected a seemingly harmless contract from the Flyers, so I ask the question: What is an illegal contract in the eyes of the NHL?  Read on and you’ll see what I’ve come up with.

Legal – A contract that lasts long enough to span a dozen Devils head coaches.
Illegal – A contract that lasts longer than one Nashville Predators head coach.

Legal – Anything that any general manager not named Glen Sather would feel is overpaid.
Illegal – Anything that any general manager not named Lou Lamoriello would become sick over.

Legal – A contract that a typical superstar could realistically play through.
Illegal – A contract that Chris Chelios would look at and flinch.

Legal – Any contract faxed to the NHL during Gary Bettman’s nap.
Illegal – Anything sent to the NHL during those five minutes per day when Bettman isn’t asleep.

Legal – Any somewhat realistic contract that isn’t 30 years long.
Illegal – Anything signed in or near New Jersey, since practically everything is illegal in New Jersey.

Legal – Contracts for players who score goals for a team that didn’t score goals last year.
Illegal – Contracts for players who don’t score many goals for a team that did score many goals last year.

Legal – Anything when the league assumes the player will be injured for 14 ½ years of the contract.
Illegal – A contract for any player traded for Brett Lebda, because anything will be too much.

Legal – One year contracts that take the player to his 43rd birthday.
Illegal – 17-year contracts that take the player to his 43rd birthday.

Legal – Secretly talking with unrestricted free agents-to-be behind the league’s back.
Illegal – Attempting to send an offer sheet to a restricted free agent, as it would violate the “spirit of Steve Yzerman and Dean Lombardi’s plan.”

Legal – Signing a normal contract that draws absolutely no attention from U.S. media.
Illegal – Having a contract consume a full minute on ESPN SportsCenter.

Legal – Any controversial contract on a team that includes Gregory Campbell…before 2011.
Illegal – Any controversial contract on a team that includes Gregory Campbell…after 2011.

Legal – Any contract signed before 2010.
Illegal – Any contract that Gary Bettman randomly selects when he spins the wheel of contracts after 2010.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Top 10 Video Special - Moments from 2010-11

It's been a while, but I think it's time to do another Top-10 chronicle. The following are the Top 10 moments that I will remember ten years from now. This is the seventh part of the Top 10 Video series. Enjoy, and I promise that we will all remember #1.

10. Have another waffle, Toronto!

While losing to an NHL team that doesn't even exist anymore, a Leafs fan decided that it would be amusing to throw waffles onto the ice...during the game.  That also made every hockey blogger's life much easier.

9. You want Gerbe, you get double Gerbe.

Trailing 4-0 to the Islanders, Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe decided he'd cut the deficit in less time than it takes for Brian Rolston to take one shot.

8. No goaltender required

Steven Stamkos is an elite goal scorer, but one night in Pittsburgh, things didn't go his way, especially when he was awarded a penalty shot.

7. Crashing Pittsburgh's party.

The downfall of Sidney Crosby's season began at the Winter Classic, when David Steckel knocked him out, leaving Crosby shaken up.

6. It ain't over until Tim Thomas says it's over

In a season that resulted in a Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cup, Tim Thomas made several memorable saves, but perhaps none greater than this one in Toronto.

5. Finding top gear

Okay, so I'm a little bias, but here's one that Devils fans probably won't forget for a long time, as Ilya Kovalchuk continued to pile up game-winning goals.  This one would be the only one of the night for either team.

4. Welcome to the NHL, Jordan Eberle

The proverbial, or "ideal" first career NHL goal is often described as a perfect wrist shot that rings off the crossbar and into the net.  Well, Jordan Eberle might disagree with you.

3. Twice is a charm

The goal of the playoffs was undoubtedly Bobby Ryan's double-deke against the Predators.  Let's ignore the fact that he undressed a forward without a stick, let's pretend he undressed Suter and Weber.

2. Stanley Cup Champions

Can you believe the Bruins had the nerve to go into Vancouver and indirectly cause riots??!

1. Saving the best for last

Okay, this one's a bit of a joke, but I couldn't resist.  Brett Lebda scored a goal in Montreal this year, and the world shook.  Don't believe me?  Well, a) I was there, so I can tell you and b) here's video proof.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Guide for NHL General Managers for Free Agency 2011

It’s July 1st.  In a few brief hours, NHL Free Agency 2011 will begin.  You probably know who the big prizes are, and you probably know who many of the teams are with open checkbooks today.  Let’s take a look at a Free Agency spending guide that each General Manager should look at before making a plunge today.

Brian Burke – Today is actually Burke’s second favorite day of the year, right behind trade deadline day.  It’s also the day that waffle sales tend to spike in much of eastern Canada.
Player to watch: Burke has obviously made some noise on the Brad Richards front, but he’s not American.  Watch for Burke to pursue Chris Drury and Andy Greene.

Glen Sather – Unlike Burke, today is Sather’s favorite day of the year.  Unfortunately for him, the league doesn’t believe his annual “I got too excited so I added an extra “0” to that guy’s contract” speech when he tries to cut players’ salaries.
Player to watch: Sather wants Brad Richards.  I’d be curious to see where Richards would fall amongst Rangers greats such as Wade Redden, Chris Drury and Marian Gaborik.

Darcy Regier – Darcy has had the green light with the team’s checkbook already the off-season.  Strangely, a book titled “How to Spend the Most Money on July 1st” was spotted on his desk.  It was written by Glen Sather.
Player to watch: So far, Regier has brought in a defenseman whose name sounds like his and a former Canuck.  Basically, it’s time to cash in big today.

Stan Bowman – Chicago has over $11 million of cap space, so they might quietly make a big move today, which will most likely end up in Pierre McGuire explaining why that player will get along with Brian Campbell.
Player to watch: The Hawks don’t have one primary target, but they could be involved with just about anyone. 

Peter Chiarelli – Despite having an unlisted number, Peter is a bit upset that Mike Milbury found his number, since Milbury has left him dozens of messages of signings he wants to make today.
Player to watch: Although Tomas Kaberle wants to test the market, he might want to stay in Boston to avoid being overpaid, something players absolutely hate.

Kevin Cheveldayoff – Look for Winnipeg to sign a big name today as the first big move made with the team in Winnipeg.  Look for that player to use his entire salary to find a jacket heavy enough for this winter.
Player to watch: Ed Jovanovski.  One way or another, he probably figured he was going to Winnipeg this summer.

Dale Tallon – Tallon might have the biggest budget today.  He needs to spend $22 million just to get to the cap floor today.  Dale Tallon might have the most desired job in hockey.  Well, at least for today.
Player to watch: Steven Stamkos and Brad Richards.  Once he signs those two, he can throw a party for every Panthers fan with the money remaining.

Lou Lamoriello – While it’s never easy to figure out what Lou’s up to, Gary Bettman already promised to approve every contract Lou sends him today…barring it doesn’t include an NHL player.
Player to watch: Any retired player, because he might be coaching the Devils next year.

Ray Shero – Shero has some big decisions to make today, including Max Talbot and Mike Rupp.  It’s a good thing studs like Craig Adams and Arron Asham are already re-signed.
Player to watch: Jaromir Jagr, because whenever he feels like it, he could deke by an opposing player better than Bobby Ryan.

Pierre Gauthier – The Habs could lose Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Markov, in addition to James Wisniewski, but they do still have Hal Gill.
Player to watch: Forget Jagr, it would be far more amusing to see Alex Kovalev back in Montreal, assuming he still remembers how to get there.

Ken Holland – All of a sudden, Ken Holland looks like the overspending general manager, but it’s okay because the Red Wings are invincible to bad contracts.
Player to watch: Any defenseman.  They’ll look to replace Brian Rafalski, a smaller, undrafted free agent out of New Jersey.  Hey, we have one of those this summer!

Paul Holmgren – I can’t imagine what Holmgren has left to do other than trading Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Scott Hartnell for draft picks.
Player to watch: Ville Leino and Simon Gagne.  Both need to be re-signed by the Flyers.

Garth Snow – Today is the first day that Alexei Yashin is just a distant memory.  The Islanders must celebrate by wasting their money on another player.
Player to watch: Tomas Vokoun.  He’s reportedly looking for a 15-year contract.  Perfect.

Mike Gillis – Vancouver lost Christian Ehrhoff got a 10-year deal with Buffalo, and Gillis also faces losing Sami Salo and Chris Higgins to free agency.
Player to watch: Tomas Kaberle.  If Gillis signed Kaberle and he turned out to be a bust, Canuck fans could say he had “Ballard-syndrome.”

Steve Yzerman – Sean Bergenheim and Simon Gagne highlight Yzerman’s priorities today during free agency, as the media has kindly reminded him that no other impact player needs a new contract.
Player to watch: Steven Stamkos.  You’d never know it, but Stamkos is a restricted free agent.

Dean Lombardi – The LA Kings will continue to try to sign a big name, high-scoring forward.  They will likely continue to fail once Sather signs Brad Richards.
Player to watch: Drew Doughty, as he could quietly be the player that slips away if Lombardi isn’t careful.