Goals: Patrick Marleau (9)
Assists: Martin St. Louis (11)
Joe Thornton (11)
Thomas Vanek (11)
Points: Thomas Vanek (19)
Plus/Minus: Sami Salo (10)
Penalties In Minutes: Brandon Prust (46)
Powerplay Goals: Patrick Marleau (5)
Shorthanded Goals: Thomas Vanek (1)
Tomas Fleischmann (1)
Rick Nash (1)
Ilya Kovalchuk (1)
Loui Eriksson (1)
T.J. Oshie (1)
Justin Faulk (1)
Brad Marchand (1)
Mark Letestu (1)
Michael Grabner (1)
Henrik Zetterberg (1)
Andy Greene (1)
Game-Winning Goals: Andrei Markov (3)
Patrick Marleau (3)
Wins: Carey Price (6)
Antti Niemi (6)
Goals-Against Average: Craig Anderson (1.12)
Save Percentage: Craig Anderson (.964)
Shutouts: Jaroslav Halak (2)
NHL's Three Stars
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Yesterday was a bizarre day in the NHL.
Nothing happened all day. I got home from work, relaxed for a bit. Scrolled through twitter and then got up to go to my car to pick my wife up from the train station.
In the time between me scrolling through twitter, and me getting to my car:
1) The Washington Capitals signed Mike Richards to a one year, 1 million dollar (prorated) contract.
2) The Flyers traded Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to the LA Kings for Jordan Weal and a 3rd round pick. Apparently the Flyers retained 2.25 million of Lecavalier's contract and 1.8 of Schenn's as well, but that would mean they have retained money on 3 players, which I didn't think was possible (They also retained money on Grossman)... but I digress.
Then after getting home from picking up my wife and another hour or so I got ready to head to the gym, got to the change room, left my cellphone in a locker and went to work out. In the hour I was working out:
3) The Nashville Predators traded their prized young defender Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Ryan Johansen (straight up).
4) It was reported that Vincent Lecavalier would retire at the end of the season, negating the last 2 years of his contract.
It was almost too much information to process in such a short amount of time. It felt like a trade deadline, just over a prolonged period of time.
1) The Richards thing makes sense. Washington might FINALLY be in the position to be a Stanley Cup contender. Richards has a history of winning everywhere he goes (seriously, he's won just about everything there is to win in hockey aside from a QMJHL and WHL championship, which is impossible unless he takes up coaching). It's a low risk move on a small deal, and he'll provided leadership and experience to a deal poised to make a long playoff run.
2) The Kings lost Matt Greene for the season, so in essence Luke Schenn takes his spot. Schenn will be better off actually playing for a solid team for the first time in his career, and might actually thrive in the Kings structure. Lecavalier gets a shot at another cup by being on a Kings team that is capable of being a playoff contender. Weal has been the Kings "next prospect" for a while, but kinda hasn't really done much at the NHL level. Weal is a superb AHL player, but in only NHL 10 contests he hasn't really done much.
This deal just kinda seems like a way for the Kings to replace Matt Greene's minutes with a similar type of defender, and they had to take Vinny on. In return the Kings would only take Lecavalier if he retired at the end of the season and the Kings didn't have to have his contract on their cap. Kind of a wash.
3) Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen is a completely good trade for both sides, it's scary. Jones becomes the Blue Jackets defender of the future (and now), and the Preds get their #1 center in Johansen. incredible.
January 7th, 2016 @ 7:44 AM (EST) | Reply
The call for the NHL to improve scoring has gone up in recent months. Goal scoring has dipped, the games aren't as entertaining as they once were, and teams are finding it increasingly harder to improve their roster via trades and free agency.
The lone bright spot on the season, the 3-on-3 OT, even still leads to the tedious shootout session which can be hard to watch at times. Since there's still a call to improve the game, I've come up with some ways to change the game in order to re-energize teams, and the fan base and get hockey to be at it's peak entertainment value, without sacrificing the history of the game.
These will be divided into segments, with some thoughts mingled in.
(Feel free to criticize or add your own thoughts).
The cap is causing the extinction of the mid-season trade, and it is watering down some teams chances of going for it. Bubble teams find themselves incapable of pulling off moves to get over the top. Here are some ideas to change the cap in a way to help teams make more trades for the trade deadline:
1) Grant each team one amnesty contract. After the lockout teams were given two amnesty buyouts that didn't count against the cap. How about offering teams the chance to have one amnesty contract that doesn't count against the cap? Obviously you couldn't allow teams to use a 7 or 8 year contract as an amnesty one. Since the contract couldn't count against the cap, teams might be willing to offer more money to use as an amnesty contract for UFA's. Teams could choose to not use the amnesty contract until the trade deadline and try and acquire a player to use the amnesty deal on.
The rules would be as such:
- can't be more than 3 years in length
- only one contract per season can be assigned per team. Teams can choose (if they so wish) a different contract to use the amnesty on every off-season.
- Teams have until the day after the trade deadline to assign the one contract to use the amnesty deal on, if they choose. They may not assign a contract once the day after the trade deadline passes.
- A contract that has had an amnesty used on it can be traded as long as the receiving team hasn't used an amnesty yet. If they already have a contract with an amnesty, the incoming contract counts against the cap.
This would free up cap space for teams to make additional deals, and would allow teams to move more contracts around. Would also allow teams/players to sign shorter, larger deals. Say a player like Stamkos is up as a UFA (as is the case) a team like Tampa can re-sign him to a 3 year 33 million dollar deal to retain his rights, and use the Amnesty clause on his contract and still be able to add more.
2) As of February 1st, teams can spend up to 10% over the cap if they so choose. Once again, this makes it easier for trades to take place. Teams have to be under the cap at the start of the season and right up until February 1st. Once they hit the first of February, they are able to spend up to 10% over the cap. If the cap is at $70 Million, teams can spend up to $77 million going into the trade deadline. This allows teams to make moves to push for a playoff spot. Think about the excitement it would cause going into the trade deadline and into the push for the playoffs. Once the next season beings teams are required to get back down under the cap.
3) Limit the amount of NMC's and NTC's a team can carry. Obviously you can't make it a hard rule, but grandfather it in. The players won't like it, but only a small percentage of players should have them anyways. Instead of completely limited NMC/NTC's abolish full NTC's. Set a limit as to the max amount of teams a player can block in a trade instead. Require players with NMC/NTC's to submit a list of teams they will/will not accept trades to instead of it being a full one. This should open up at least a couple more deals for GM's.
FLOW OF PLAY
Some of these are easier said than done, but the game is so over coached, that the flow of the game gets bogged down. This leads to less scoring and more "boring" games. Some changes I've thought of to help open up the flow of the game without reducing the goalie equipment or making the nets larger.
1) Teams cannot make defensive zone line changes when play is dead. They use this rule on icing's already, but just make it permanent across the board. This would limit the amount of times a goalie would freeze the puck, and it would take away the defensive zone coaches ability to match lines. Your third line is caught in a defensive zone face-off? You'd probably have to face the other teams top line and hope you can win a faceoff and clear the zone. This might actually lead to more penalties/scoring.
2) A defender cannot "set up shop behind the net" on the breakout. This one seems a little silly, but forcing the defender to move the puck quickly would move the play along. Sometimes a defender will park behind his own net on the breakout and wait for a line change or for guys to get into position without moving his feet, standing still in the trapezoid surveying the ice. Making a rule where the defender must be in forward or backwards movement in the trapezoidal area would change the breakout drastically. If a player parks in that spot for too long a delay of game penalty is called. It seems silly but the next time you watch a game take note of how many times defenders will park behind their own net. forcing a defender to move out from the cover of his own net would cause more turn overs and more pressure D-zone plays, creating a little more offense. If a defender stops behind the net and is called for delay of game, giving more PP time.
Obviously, the only caveat to this rule is during sustained pressure by the opposition, if the puck is being contested for in the trapezoidal area no penalty would be called for the play stopping in the area.
3) Prolong 3-on-3 OT. This one is self explanatory, make 3-on-3 OT 10 minutes instead of 5, and give teams more opportunity to end it before the shootout.
This one seems pretty obvious to me. Once a team is given a first overall selection it cannot win the draft lottery for the first overall pick for the 3 following years. I'm looking at you, Edmonton. This rule would make it so if the team that picked first overall last year (like Edmonton) can't get this years first overall pick. If they win the lottery they are automatically bumped back to 2nd and the 2nd overall team moves to 1st (as long as they haven't won the lottery in the past 3 years as well, in which case they shuffle down to 3rd overall, and the team that was in 3rd moves up to first as long as they hadn't picked first in the past 3 years, etc). This tries to improve parity around the league and would do something to attempt to abolish "tanking" as it were. You'd avoid areas where teams that are commonly hovering around 1st every year can't continue to pick in that spot. In the last 6 drafts Edmonton has picked first overall on 4 occasions. This rule would give other teams the chance to draft the premier player in the draft, and to help rebuild their franchise moving forward. The draft shouldn't be here to reward teams that can't win, but to help organizations get back on their feet. 4 first overall picks in 6 years is pretty ridiculous.
To clarify, this rule would be that they cannot win the lottery and be given the first overall pick. They can trade to acquire the pick if they want, but they cannot be granted the first overall pick via the lottery.
What do you think of my rule changes? Some are a little crazy, and hard to enforce, but how do you like them?
January 5th, 2016 @ 9:23 AM (EST) | Reply
More to come.
July 23rd, 2015 @ 10:20 AM (EDT) | Reply
Yesterday was the deadline for groups to submit their bids for an NHL expansion.
The bid came with a $2 million dollar fee, which seemed to scare a lot of parties off. The expected parties, however, did make proposals. Las Vegas and Quebec City (with the full intention of bringing back the Nordiques) are confirmed to have made bids for expansions. They make sense; both cities have (or will have) NHL arenas by the speculated 2018 season entrance. Both cities have interest. Quebec is not surprising, but Vegas orchestrated a surprising ticket drive among locals. Having been to Vegas I'm not surprised, there are a lot of transplanted U.S. citizens working in Vegas. I made it a habit to ask people I met who were working there where they were from originally, and the amount of people I met from New York State, and Michigan was staggering. There were a lot of people from the North Western U.S., which is why the ticket drive being successful shouldn't be too shocking when you consider how many people are from traditional hockey markets.
What came as a surprise to the media in Toronto, however, was the fact that no GTA based team had expressed interest in a bid. The media in the GTA has feigned surprise, and even disgust that no GTA expansion was expressed. This, however, shouldn't be surprising. We shouldn't be shocked that there is no proposal to bring a second NHL team to Toronto.
The first thing that immediately comes to mind is; who would own the franchise? There isn't some unknown Canadian Billionaire out there that we haven't heard about yet, who's willing to propose expansion. The $2 million dollar fee just for proposal is enough to scare off pretty much anyone (Seattle and Kansas also didn't submit interest, which is shocking to some). In the days when NHL teams are owned by either the mega rich, or a conglomerate, it would stand to reason we would already know who would've owned the organization.
Jim Balsillie was at one time this billionaire. He was the CEO of Research In Motion, the company that was known for their "popular" (or once popular) cell phone line, Blackberry. Balsillie had run his own ticket drive in Hamilton Ontario once upon a time, outside of the direction from the NHL. The idea he had was to buy a franchise and move it to Hamilton. He had attempted to purchase the Penguins among other NHL franchises with the idea to move them into the GTA. RIM's popularity and capital both took a nose dive, and Balsillie has since been replaced as CEO for RIM.
There isn't any other known company, or individual who has expressed a serious interest in placing a second team in the GTA. Unless the ownership of MLSE broke apart and Rogers or Bell took full ownership of the Leafs, and the other company threw in for another NHL organization, I couldn't see it happening. A group called GTA Sports and Entertainment is the only one who seems to be present and want to bring a second team to the region. They were unwilling to pay the $2 Million to submit a bid, however. The issue with this group is that they are relatively unknown. I hadn't heard about them until yesterday, which doesn't mean they're not a serious contender, but it is curious that they hadn't been more present in conversation leading up to the bidding process deadline, especially in this city.
They brought up a second problem that appears to be present for an expansion NHL organization in Toronto: There isn't an NHL arena in place. The ACC is out of the question, why would the Leafs share? They already have the Raptors in the building. People automatically point to the Staples Center in LA. But there are two NBA teams that share the location, having 2 NHL organizations is unheard of. Preparing a facility for an NBA game is far different than preparing for an NHL contest. Having to cover the ice with hardwood is one thing. Having a logo at center court is easier to change. Imagine having two NHL teams playing in the same arena? How do you change the logo at center ice between contests?
The other issue with the arena's is that no city around here appears willing to help fund an arena. Because there's no arena in place currently, someone would have to build it. No city is willing to build an NHL quality arena on the "CHANCE" to land an NHL franchise. If there were an NHL team that was already promised to a city, they would be willing to build an arena. The problem is that the NHL isn't willing to take a bid seriously that doesn't have an arena in place already. It's a catch 22, you need an arena to get a team, but without a team you can't build an arena. Until a city like Markham or Vaughan is willing to build an arena, there won't be another NHL franchise in the GTA.
Which is why this shouldn't be surprising. At no point in the last few years has there been anything remotely concrete about this being viable. The Toronto media uses it as a talking point to take up time on the radio during slow times, but there has never been any real traction to this. During the Stanley Cup final Gary Bettman was asked about a second NHL team in the GTA, and he pretty well shot in down. He even said he hasn't had any interest expressed from anyone about it but "they'll open up the bidding process and see if there's a viable candidate".
People in this city should've take that as the biggest hint. Bettman didn't shoot down Vegas or Quebec, but he didn't acknowledge them either. He shot down the GTA based on the fact that there doesn't appear to be any serious interest.
Why are people surprised by this?
July 21st, 2015 @ 9:45 AM (EDT) | Reply
Dan Bylsma has landed on his feet in Buffalo.
The Sabres, who felt spurned after losing out on Mike Babcock to Toronto, have found their next head coach to follow Ted Nolan.
Bylsma comes from a Penguins team loaded with talent, and will have more of the same in Buffalo, albeit much younger talent. With the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 entry draft, the Sabres are expected to draft Jack Eichel. Bylsma had a chance to see Eichel work up close, as he was an assistant coach at the World Hockey Championships under Todd Richards in Prauge earlier this month for the US side. Eichel played fantastic hockey for team USA in the tournament, and no doubt Bylsma feels comfortable knowing he has worked with Eichel previously.
The only teams currently without a head coach are the New Jersey Devils, and the Detroit Red Wings.
May 28th, 2015 @ 3:21 PM (EDT) | Reply
Rumoured deal is 8 years 50 Million.
Babcock becomes the highest paid coach making 6.25 million a year.
Confirmed by Elliotte Friedman.
It appears the deal is front loaded and he may have an out after 5 years. HUGE NEWS.
Have to wonder who will become the next GM of the Leafs. Nick Kypreos reported that Mark Hunter may be considered as the next GM because not many of the established guys will want to have to listen to him in the decision process.
May 20th, 2015 @ 2:12 PM (EDT) | Reply
As of 12pm eastern today the Detroit Red Wings have given permission for teams to speak with Mike Babcock.
This mean's he's (in essence) a UFA as of this moment.
Whether or not Detroit will demand compensation (NHL rules now regulate that a 2nd round draft pick must be given if a team hires another executive or coach away from another, who is still under contract) is up for discussion, but I have to think that they will.
This kicks off the NHL coaching movement that we've all been expecting for some time now. Detroit wants their coaching situation resolved by June, so this is happening at precisely the right time.
Let the rumors begin!
*EDIT* It appears the cost of hiring Babcock is a 3rd round pick and not a 2nd... my apologies.
May 8th, 2015 @ 12:46 PM (EDT) | Reply
It's been 10 days since the draft lottery.
10 days since I sat glued to my TV, waiting as the situation dragged on. It was supposed to be announced at 8pm. Immediately at 8pm CBC decided to play an introduction, and then give us talking head James Duthie for another 10 minutes or so. Bring in McDavid, Strome and Hanifin, speak with them some. Talk to Brendan Shanahan. It seemed to take forever.
Finally when Bill Daley was reading the envelops I found myself the most anxious I could remember being. The Leafs, the team that has been screwed over by the hockey gods seemingly since time began had a realistic shot at winning the Lottery. As the envelops got closer to the the #4 pick I was worried that someone with a lower chance would win and push the Leafs into 5th overall. When Carolina's envelope came up, and their placard was white, I breathed a sigh of relief. "#4 aint bad". When it was the Leafs turn and their placard was white, I shrugged. "Arizona probably won this", I told myself, "too bad the Leafs didn't".
When Daley exclaimed "we have a winner" while holding the Oilers card I was livid. Not that I hate the Oilers or have some bias against the Western Canadian teams or something. But because the Oilers have seemingly been horrible for years almost on purpose. They were supposed to be good by now. 6 years ago they landed the top pick and drafted first overall (for the first time in their history as an NHL team). They got Taylor Hall. That was 6 years ago. In the time since they've drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st overall), Nail Yakupov (1st overall), Darnell Nurse (7th overall) and Leon Draistil (4th overall). They seemingly couldn't dig themselves out of the hole they had made.
How? As a Canadian team the turn around should be quick. They had made it to the cup finals in 2006, and had seemingly the right make up... Clearly they just needed to re-tool.
What angered me was that they continually had individuals seemingly just failed upwards. Craig MacTavish was the head coach from 2000 until April 15th 2009 when he was fired. From the time MacTavish was fired as head coach they had 5 guys hold the position (that's 5 guys in 6 years, and don't forget, Nelson is the intern HC, he might even be let go before the offseason is done).
What kills me is that they re-hired MacTavish in 2012 as the senior VP of hockey Ops. On April 15th 2013 he was named the GM of the team. Exactly 4 years after being fired as head coach, MacTavish was named the GM of the team.
This was my problem with the Oilers winning the lottery. I was furious because there was only 1 team in the NHL that I could point to that was worse run than the Leafs, and that was Edmonton. Not even to mention that Kevin Lowe snapped at the media by asking a reporter how many Stanley Cups they had won. Kevin Lowe was the guy who was once GM and fired MacTavish, and then hired him back on. Then was named president and chose the guy he fired 4 years earlier for his old post.
On April 15th 2015 (seeing a trend in a date here...), the Bruins fired Peter Chiarelli. On April 24th (6 days after winning the lottery), the Oilers named Chiarelli the new President and GM.
That was 4 days ago. And in those 4 days my anger towards the Oilers winning the lottery has lessened. Why? Because Edmonton is now in the good hands of a very smart hockey man. Connor McDavid didn't deserve to be subject to endless hand wringing by the Oilers old management group. MacTavish was kind of a joke in the hockey world, and he had a tough time luring people to play in Edmonton. Andrew Ference chose to go to Edmonton (sure), but he was hardly a top player. Justin Schultz was the first highly sought after UFA to pick the Oilers, and they've had a horrible time handling him.
In 2014/2015 the Oilers used 43 (!) players on their roster in total. That's over 2 complete game day rosters over the course of the season. The Oilers have mismanaged their prospects and rushed guys that shouldn't have been rushed. Draisaitl was left in the NHL for 37 games, when it was clear he should've been sent back to the WHL.
I was pissed that McDavid was going to be gifted to this front office. That he would be ruined in an endless wasteland of middling moves by a bad management team.
When Chiarelli was hired, that all changed. Peter is not in the old boys club. Lowe and MacTavish are both former Oilers players who used their experience winning cups to explain their decisions. MacTavish was a failed NHL coach who somehow became the GM of a Canadian Organization. The Oilers were drafting well in the first round (easy to do when you pick in the top half of the round year after year) but they have been barely able to get anything useful from the draft after the first round. Which is equally impressive and terrifying when you consider that they had a hell of a time recruiting through the UFA market.
Chiarelli is exactly what they need. Experienced guy with success elsewhere. Sure he ran into cap trouble, but he managed to keep 10 guys around from the Bruins Cup win in 2011. Which means he was able to sign guys to stay long term. Might have been a weakness, but it's better than the Oilers who have seemingly bled players through the UFA market over the years. As an example of how impressive it is to keep 10 core guys around for the last 4 years, the following list of players have played for the Leafs since 2011:
Lupul (acquired in 2011)
Kadri (29 games)
Kadri was a rookie, and Lupul had just shown up. Colby Armstrong still played for the Leafs in 2011. How he'd been able to hold on to guys for that long despite players achieving UFA status is quite impressive.
Chiarelli built a cup winner, and a team that made it to the finals in 2013. He has shown time and again the ability to acquire and develop strong players. His drafting record isn't that great, mind you. But it's better than what the Oilers have done over the years.
McDavid is just the first step. But Chiarelli is the kind of guy who can finally make the Oilers a force...
April 28th, 2015 @ 12:51 PM (EDT) | Reply
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded D Cody Franson and F Mike Santorelli to Nashville for F Ollie Jokinen, F Brendan Leipsic and Nashville's 1st round pick.
February 15th, 2015 @ 11:01 AM (EST) | Reply
The Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets just completed a trade that sent Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo for Tyler Myers, and Drew Stafford along with Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 1st round pick.
Jason Kasdorf was also sent to Buffalo as part of the package.
February 11th, 2015 @ 11:47 AM (EST) | Reply
Leafs announced today that Randy Carlyle has been relieved of his duties today.
Horachek and Spott will handle coaching duties tomorrow night when the Capitals come in to the Air Canada Center.
Have to think that the Leafs were ready to pull the trigger after the 5-1 loss to the Jets on Saturday night, but they waited for the WJHC to wrap up before making the announcement.
This comes on the heel of the aforementioned game in Winnipeg when Carlyle called out the GM by saying that he has to work with what he's given and that he doesn't get a say into the roster. The comments were a little confusing considering the Leafs went out of their way to acquire players that play "Carlyle's way".
The Leafs have spent numerous assets over the past few seasons trying to accommodate Carlyle. Guys like Clarkson, O'Byrne, Polak, Robidas, Bolland... not to mention his love of Orr and MacLaren. In trying to keep Orr and MacLaren in the mix last season the Leafs traded Joe Colborne away for very little and he's been a big piece for the Flames this year.
The Leafs were in danger of falling out of a wild card spot in recent games when they had once been firmly entrenched in the position. Loses against teams like Carolina and Buffalo further cemented Carlyle's fate.
No word yet on who they are considering for the full time Head Coaching duties.
January 6th, 2015 @ 9:54 AM (EST) | Reply
The Edmonton Oilers today confirmed that Dallas Eakins has been relieved of the head coaching duties. Craig MacTavish will assume the role of Head Coach (on an intern basis until a full time coach can be found).
You have to wonder how long until the Oilers realize you can't always blame the coach. MacTavish had coached the Oilers from 2000 until 2009, but this is the 5th coaching change for the Oilers since 2009.
MacTavish - 2000-2009
Quinn - 2009-2010
Renney - 2010-2012
Kruger - 2012-2013
Eakins - 2013-2014
MacTavish - 2014-???
I think at this point you can't really blame the coaching... Have to really question what it would take to get Kevin Lowe replaced and get MacTavish himself removed as GM of the team. I don't think the Oilers will get any better until the entire front office is revamped.
December 15th, 2014 @ 12:47 PM (EST) | Reply
Yesterday TSN ran a story during the Senators and Oilers game that revealed Brian Murray has stage 4 cancer in his colon, and it has spread to his lungs and liver.
Unfortunately there is no cure for stage 4 colon cancer, and they will continue Chemo Therapy to try and get some more time that way.
This is devastating news on many fronts that I don't even need to explain.
I've never met the man, but I've always been in awe of his ability to find talent. Murray has done a lot for the Senators since he took over, and he was responsible for building the Ducks before Brian Burke came in and augmented the roster.
To be honest, I was rather jealous of the Senators for Murray and have always been as big of a fan as a guy can be (of someone who runs his most hated franchise). Time after time I marveled at how Brian was able to build a team around a very difficult budgetary organization as the Sens can be/have been at times. Brought in Dany Heatley in his prime, had to deal with hugely important guys leaving as UFA's (Chara, Alfredsson come to mind) and having to worry about dealing away Spezza during that whole incident. He managed to bring in Bobby Ryan to attempt to replace Alfredsson (Can't really replace Alfie, just have to try your best), and had to handle all kinds of hard situations when money became an issue in the Nations capital.
I'm pretty sad to hear about his worsening condition and wish him the best moving forward. We should all feel fortunate to have been witness to his work over the years.
Keep on grinding Brian...
November 14th, 2014 @ 9:30 AM (EST) | Reply
It's not often I get to vent very much about things that are more important than hockey.
One reason is that I barely ever have a platform for such actions. Another is that I never feel compelled enough to actually put my thoughts and feelings into words.
I feel like I can talk about sports openly because I sorta kinda own this site (this year) and operate it (very poorly), and that it's not something that'll get me in trouble. But every once in a while a sports story that transcends cultural or social issues arises.
I give you, the story of two OHLers who got caught doing something extremely wrong:
I chose to link this version of the story because it includes the screen caps that were posted on Twitter. The language is quite strong, but the issues here go much deeper than the language that was used.
These "young" men (who are both 19 years old, btw) are seemingly convinced that, because of their supposed status that is earned by being hockey players, women should be throwing themselves at them. This behavior exhibited is nothing short of being in line with a sexual predator, bordering on the sociopath.
Their thought process, as I perceive it, is this: Women are to be used for pleasure, then discarded quickly like a broken toy. Without remorse. Without thought of feelings or impact of their actions. The core of the issue is the objectification of women as a "play thing" and that because they play hockey (Jake Marchment openly implies that because he plays in the OHL and was drafted into the NHL that women don't turn him down), that women should want to be used for their pleasure. And even more disturbing, that the two females in question should not have their opinions, and by choosing to say "no" they are in the wrong.
I think this issue is starting to appear much deeper. The article that was linked in the PPP article is not the best, but going from this article: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2014/11/03/petes-player-reprimanded-for-offensive-comments you can see the problems really emerge. The team "disciplined" Betzold. That's fantastic... what did they do? No one knows. Mike Oke released a statement saying that Betzold has apologized, and knows he was wrong. And then he goes on to say that they gave their players copies of their social media policy.
It's great that you recognize that he broke the social media policy, but why has no one said anything about breaking socially acceptable behavior? Why aren't they more concerned with him seemingly attempting to use other people for his own personal enjoyment, and when he gets turned down he resorts to belittling abusive comments and harassment? What, exactly, was done as a reprimand? Was he called into the GM's office and given a copy of the social media policy? Really? Are we really expected to take his apology at face value? Or is he just sorry he got caught?
The OHL (and David Branch) really needs to step in and implement some new policy. If the team isn't going to do something about this type of behavior, then the League should step in and offer up stiffer penalties. Sure, there was no physical harm done to anyone, but psychologically? If you can prove (as a screen cap does) that a player has engaged in some harassing behavior directed at someone then the league should be allowed to step in and offer up punishment. Even a 1 game suspension (like teams do for breaking curfew) with an extra game being added for each new offense (2nd time it's happened, it's a 2 game suspension) would be better. Teams are willing to do it when a player breaks team rules, but how about for social rules?
The CHL is seemingly a breeding ground for allowing unacceptable behavior in these young men. They are taken from their parents and families at the tail end of their most formative years, and placed to live with strangers. They are given small amounts of fame, and the freedom to do what they like. Who is there to ensure that values are instilled? Who is there to ensure that these guys are guided into their adulthood as properly adjusted people? There are countless stories of guys who have come out of the CHL with multiple problems that were seemingly never caught, or the team simply didn't care. The organizations treat these guys like cattle while calling themselves a development league. The CHL develops hockey players, sure. But shouldn't their mandate also to be to develop properly adjusted youth as well?
Examples as such? Look up Jake Gilmour (Not to be confused with Doug Gilmours son of the same name), Jake committed suicide in November of 2005. Jake's sister had also committed suicide. How about the really sad and messed up story about Dan Ryder (another Peterborough Pete and younger brother of Mike), who quit hockey in 2009 after putting up 15 points in 39 AHL games. Dan was a 3rd round pick of the Flames, in January 6th 2010 turned himself in for an armed robbery of a convenience store in his home town. Dan has severe mental issues, enough that he was deemed unfit to stand trial for the robbery (http://www.matchsticksandgasoline.com/2011/8/16/2367109/re-posted-the-tragedy-of-daniel-ryder), which is extremely sad to hear about a former OHL playoff MVP and a guy who won back to back OHL championships (Peterborough and Plymouth). I remember when Dan was traded to Plymouth and they interviewed him and asked what he knew about Plymouth, and he replied with "I know the legal drinking age is 21..."
How about the rumored story of Tyler Seguin and his pissed off landlord in Switzerland? During the last lockout he went over seas to play and it was the first time in his life he lived by himself. They say he couldn't figure out how to use the washing machine (tried to wash his clothes in the dryer), couldn't figure out the dish washer, so rather than clean the dishes by hand, when he ran out of dishes he left the dirty ones lying around and bought plastic cutlery. Not sure how true the story is, but it's sure stuck around for some time after.
These are just 3 examples off the top of my head (out of many more, sometimes not even reported) of times where the CHL, and the teams themselves should've seen problems arising. The billets, and the coaches see them more than anyone else does in their lives. Their parents are sometimes hours away (maybe even not in the same country) and they are left to grow up by themselves. The burden of raising and molding them falls on people who barely know them. And this kind of behavior is just a piece of what you can expect when you give a teenager freedom to do what they want.
I think the link between the team saying it's a social media policy issue just glosses over the issues at hand here. It also does a nice job of framing what my concerns are: The teams need to do a better job in helping to develop in these kids what is right and what is wrong. Greg Betzold just learned that doing such acts on social media is wrong, not that the act itself is wrong. His discipline should be made public, to not only set people's minds at ease, but to also make an example that the behavior, and not the choice of how or where to conduct the behavior, is the issue at hand.
It doesn't matter who you are: No means No. It's time these young men earn that.
*edit*. The OHL just announced that both Greg Betzold and Jake Marchment have been suspended for 15 games for breaking the leagues social media policy. Justice is served. Now it's time to get these young men some help to ensure their attitudes change.
November 5th, 2014 @ 10:44 AM (EST) | Reply
This morning the Ottawa Senators announced that Erik Karlsson is the 9th Captain in Franchise history.
They also announced that they've signed Bobby Ryan to a 7 year extension (which kicks in July 1st 2015) which is worth 50.75 million, or 7.25 a season.
1) Erik Karlsson is among the top young defensemen in the game. He finished last season with 20 goals and 74 points in 82 games played from the backend. That's monstrous. He's signed until the 2019/2020 season at 6.5 million a season (which is a hilarious steal). Naming him the captain was the obvious choice in Ottawa.
2) Bobby Ryan at 7.25 might be a bit of a stretch. Ryan has topped 30 goals 4 times in his 7 years in the league, and his highest point total was 71 in 2010/2011. Last season he put up 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) in 70 games. This next season will be huge for Ryan, since it'll be his first as the #1 forward for the Sens. Michalek and Turris are both very important for the Sens up front, but neither will be commanding the same salary level. Now, it's close, but seems a little bit of an over payment especially with his production last season.
Some people say JVR is a good comparable, but I disagree. JVR is 2 years younger, only has 1 30 goal season under his belt. JVR has had some up and down seasons in his NHL career and this past season was by far his best. 61 points in 80 games is great production for a guy who isn't relied upon to lead the offensive charge.
Bobby will now have to prove he's earned the right to be a 7+ million a year player. I've always been a fan of his and I think he's capable of playing to that level, but it's his job to lead the offense for the Sens now.
October 2nd, 2014 @ 11:00 AM (EDT) | Reply