NHL items that have caught my eye over the past few weeks:
1) I can’t take the most recent agreement to sell the Phoenix Coyotes very seriously. The sticky part doesn’t seem to have gotten any less sticky – the city of Glendale has to pony up significant cash. Even if they are willing – and surely they are tired of the circus and the money pit – the Goldwater Institute is still around waiting for a deal so they can toss in a monkeywrench and try to kibosh it.
If there is some positive news it is in the rumor that the NHL cut the price for the team from $170 MM to $140 MM. That’s a step forward. On the other hand, there was very little real news at the media conference so it can be interpreted as applying pressure on the city. The league is out of time. They need a decision now.
This can’t go on.
2) Speaking of Phoenix, how happy is Gary about the Phoenix playoff run? Or the New Jersey run? Two of the league basket cases enjoying a financial day in the sun? Add the fact that the Rangers and Kings are still alive… These playoffs are working out exactly the way Gary would have chosen. Conspiracy theorists, fill your boots.
3) And about these four teams… Is it a coincidence that they all play the same ugly style? Remember being a kid and wondering why a team didn’t stack three guys in the crease and cover every inch of the net? We were just ahead of our time.
4) I wonder how much the Raffi Torres decision to appeal his suspension was driven by the NHLPA and their basic dissatisfaction with the discipline system. Appealing to Gary Bettman would seem to be a lost cause simply because nobody believes that he wasn’t aware of the Shanahan suspension before it was announced. Lost cause or not, the appeal sticks Gary on the spot.
He may decide to do the right thing and reduce the length of the suspension if only to take the wind out of the NHLPA sails on the issue. “See, there is a real appeal process!” On the other hand, that leaves the wind blowing at Shanahan twisting.
5) Poor David Poile. In a perfect world, the Preds would be marching towards the SCF, accumulating cash to sign Weber, Suter and Radulov. Now? Suter still looks like he is bailing, Weber is worth even more money and Poile may not even want to sign Radulov. Radulov will get a fat contract offer from the KHL. Does Nashville want to try to top it for a guy who was out partying to the wee hours on the eve of the most important game of the year?
David Poile went all in and the river card delivered up a busted flush. What now?
6) I really like the choice of Marc Bergevin for the Montreal GM job even though he is inexperienced. He’s smart and personable and he can afford to surround himself with experience. Serge Savard is still around.
Besides, we can all use the laughs.
7) Kudos to Frances Aquilini for doing the obviously right thing. It looks like more of the same from the Canucks next year. Some fans won’t like that because they judge the year and the team based on a short series. I’m delighted because I think the way to win is to a) become a contender and stay in contention, b) wait until the hockey gods decide to let randomness favour the Canucks for a change.
It isn’t flashy, but it’s the right process. And it means about 50 wins again next year.