Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oleg "Freakin" Saprykin Flees to Russia

John Muckler is pissed right now. 3 of the 5 major players that he brought in prior to last season have been dispatched by new bossman Bryan Murray. First it was Tom Preissing getting bitter and going to L.A., then Comrie and his gal pal Hilary Duff heading to the Island. Now Saprykin is going to Russia despite being offered good money to stay by Muckler just seconds before he was shitcanned by Eugene Melnyk. The only two Muckler players left (not counting Dany Heatley - great move Mucks) are Joe Corvo and Martin "Forgot How To Play" Gerber and you can bet that Murray will move them the first chance he gets.

Saprykin was actually a good little player but Murray didn't really use him properly. He brought some speed and spunk whenever he saw the ice but he was doomed in Bytown when an entire city exclaimed along with Ottawa Sun writer Chris Stevenson - "Oleg Freakin Saprykin?". Ottawa fans thought they were getting Gary Roberts until Florida GM Jacques "Mr. Personality" Martin put the kibosh on it. Saprykin just seemed very unglamorous at the time. At least his nickname will live on in infamy in this town.

Bonus Trivia: Saprykin wore number 91 in his first morning skate with the Sens. When told that it was Alexandre Daigle's old number, he wisely switched to 81 after that.

Chris Kelly Signs His Ticket Out Of Town

Only signing a one year deal with the Senators (which brings him to UFA status next year), Chris Kelly will play out the season and depart in the summer. Why? Because at $1.25 million, Kelly is a tad expensive for a fourth liner, especially when the Sens have Nick Foligno and Josh Hennessy coming up the ranks as well as already having Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher in the lineup. In fact, if either of Foligno or Hennessy show they can play this season, Kelly immediately becomes trade bait. There is no doubt that Kelly is a good player, in fact a heart and soul player, but Ottawa has bigger fish to fry next season when they attempt to keep Fisher and Dany Heatley from bolting to free agency and Jason Spezza needing a new contract as well.

Those are three huge contracts to deal with, not to mention that Wade Redden will also become a UFA at the same time. Many think Redden will leave anyways but Bryan Murray will need all the room he can get to keep the core of the team intact. Unfortunately, players like Kelly are dispensable in the long view but he will find a good home and be an impact player for someone else two seasons from now.

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Canucks Logo?

So, is this what the new Nucks logo is going to look like?

That's what this blog seems to think. The blog also notes that the teams website has already changed to blue and silver. Another "leak" purports these to be the new jerseys. Holy shit! I personally thought it would be a no-brainer to go back to the "rink and stick" logo they wore as a 3rd uni lately. But Vancouver has never been very adept at picking uniforms. Ever.

Ron Maclean is a Joke and other items

There’s been a “mild” shakeup at Hockey Night In Canada, which is too bad because we all know that what’s needed is a major one.

Bob Cole and Harry Neale are being brought back but in a reduced role where they will no longer be the number one broadcasting team for Saturday nights. This is obviously due to the rising tide of complaints, most of them from Ottawa fans, who feel that Cole and Neale are unable to competently call games anymore, due to the persistent mangling of player names as well as their reputation as homers for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s hard to criticize Cole who has been such a presence for years on the Hockey Night institution but he has obviously regressed in his play by play abilities. If it’s not a Leaf player, then Cole seems to have trouble recognizing him and also has trouble mounting any kind of enthusiasm for anything other than a Leaf goal. Maybe it’s not his fault. For years, the CBC has made the Leafs number one priority for its national broadcasts and it backfired on them when the Senators made it to the finals and nobody in the country knew who the hell they were. Because of this, the CBC lost a shitload of viewers who are more used to the Leafs storming out of the gates in the first round and then dying a painful death to the Flyers or Devils thereafter.

So we can now expect more Sens national broadcasts but instead of Cole and Neale calling them, it will be Jim Hughson and Greg Millen who until now have called the west coast games for the latter half of the Saturday night double-header. Hughson is definitely an upgrade but now we get stuck with Greg Millen who is only really capable of complaining about the officiating. In fact, the entire CBC hockey organization has made it a point to try and sabotage the new NHL rules against interference. Ron Maclean actually surpasses Millen in moral outrage, using every opportunity he gets to lambaste the officials who are ruining “our game”. He just won’t let it go.

There is a sentiment out there that Gary Bettman pushed through these rules to increase scoring and ultimately to appease American broadcasters. For some reason, people are aghast at this. Remember the NHL before the lockout? It was terrible. It was turning into soccer. But it didn’t matter to the CBC people because ratings in Canada had never been higher. But the league cannot survive on Canadian support alone. Only 6 out of 30 franchises are in the north. The game is not “ours” anymore. Nor should it be.

European and American players make up more than 50 percent of the players in the league but the only ones who are glorified by Maclean and Don Cherry are the Canadian grinders. They elevate the personalities of people like Tie Domi and Darcy Tucker over the obvious choices in Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin so much that it has brainwashed the average Canadian hockey fan into thinking that their teams need to be filled with fourth liners with “character”. Don Cherry calls Sidney Crosby a “hotdog” every chance he gets and his insipid host Ron Maclean lets him get away with it.

Come on!

As I see it, the CBC should let Cole and Neale retire gracefully, put a muzzle on Maclean, dump Millen and let him stay on Leafs TV, bring back Chris Cuthbert at the first opportunity and increase exposure of Kelly Hrudey, Gary Galley and other new bloods. OK, you gotta keep Cherry because he’s entertaining but let’s quit with the whole “our game” business. It’s bloody irrelevant.

It's Too Hot And Nothing Is Happening

I hate this time of year. Claustraphobic heat and no hockey. The two worst things I can think of.

At least Kevin Lowe is keeping things somewhat interesting with another kamikaze offer sheet to Dustin Penner which no doubt will fail like his bid for the Sabres Thomas Vanek. Other than that, the free agency period has pretty much dried up. Maybe Peter Forsberg will sign somewhere but that's about it.

As for Ottawa, the only thing they have left to do is sign Chris Kelly and that shouldn't be too difficult. If Kelly gets in the range of $1.5 million (probable), that would leave the Sens with just under 5 million in cap space for next season. Bryan Murray will probably want to leave 2 million to play with in case of injuries or use at the trade deadline. That leaves about 3 million to use to sign one or two players before training camp starts.

Now Murray could go all out and blow it on Peter Forsberg, who has already been rumored to be contacted by the Senators. But do the Sens really need another centre? They already have Spezza, Fisher, Vermette, Kelly and Dean McAmmond down the middle. I would bet that Murray is looking at acquiring another tough defenseman. There's not that many unrestricted free agents left out there who fit that bill. Andy Sutton from Atlanta would be a nice fit on this team. Danny Markov would be another.

Instead of the free agent route, the Sens could opt to try another trade. Certainly Joe Corvo is a candidate to be moved as he makes too much money to be slotted on the third defense pairing. And of course, the Sens would love to move backup goalie Martin Gerber but most teams already have their goaltending tandems set. Murray will have to wait until a prominent goalie goes down with an injury to garner more interest in Gerber.

Until then we wait. For the snow and the ice and all things pleasant and nice.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rangers Play It Safe

The new Rangers jersey's have appeared and they look really nice, maintaining the historical horizontal stripes on the bottom while only slightly altering the "Rangers" wording on the front. It's more vertical than in the past. The lace up neck is there too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

K Lowe Messed With The Wrong Guy

Nobody likes a cherry picker. Just waiting at the red line hoping for the puck to squirt out so you can streak in on a breakaway without having to do the real grunt work. In the world of NHL management, Kevin Lowe and the Edmonton Oilers are quickly morphing into the most hated team in all of hockey. Why? Because they are trying pinch good young hockey players off other teams with offer sheets because they can’t put in the work to develop their own prospects.

To paraphrase the late great Roger Nielson who said “There are two things I don’t want to know about – what they put in a hot dog and what goes on in the general managers office.” (He actually said NHL head office, but anyways…). What is certain is that Kevin Lowe has set off the most explosive bitch slap fest to ever overtake the NHL’s elite band of 30 general managers.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team (such as the Oilers) can sign another team’s restricted free agents to a contract. The original team who owns the rights to the restricted free agent can either match the offer and keep the player or they can let him go and collect the compensation set out by the league, which is four first round draft picks for the best players.

Kevin Lowe tried this scam with Buffalo earlier in the summer when they signed Thomas Vanek to a seven year $50 million dollar offer sheet. The Sabres squeezed their rectums and matched the offer, probably because they faced an all-out mutiny from their fans who watched Chris Drury and Daniel Briere walk away to other teams just prior. The Sabres were so pissed that they actually threatened Lowe and the Oilers during a press conference by saying they would be making similar offers to Oilers players down the road and ONLY Oilers players.

Now Lowe is at it again, except this time he crossed the meanest sonafabitch to never wear skates: Brian Burke, General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks. Burke has only smiled once in his life and it was when his favourite goon Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore’s neck a few years ago.

Just yesterday Lowe threw an offer sheet to Dustin Penner, but this time Lowe picked on a team that is already at their salary cap limit. Brian Burke cannot afford to keep Penner unless he unloads someone else or Scott Niedermayer decides to retire. This also messes up plans to resign Teemu Selanne. Now we wait and see what Burke will do, but if one thing is for sure, it will be dirty and nasty and not pleasant to watch if you’re an Oiler fan.

Ever since Chris Pronger demanded a trade out of Edmonton, Kevin Lowe has apparently lost his marbles. He traded heart and soul player Ryan Smyth to the Islanders for a bunch of nobodies and then said he regretted it just a few weeks ago. Then he trades team captain Jason Smith and now the whole team is pissed off. Steve Staios even bitched to the media about it.

So what is Lowe accomplishing by trying to rip other teams prospects? Nothing. If a player is valuable enough to try to steal then he is valuable enough to keep. The Sabres knew that and that’s why they matched. Burke will find a way to match for Penner as well. So in essence, Lowe is just driving up the salaries. And that means one thing only. A bloodbath. Lowe is going to find it much more difficult to organize trades with other teams because they will shun him. He is on an island now, cut off from his cronies. No one will want to golf with him in Palm Beach during the annual GM meetings. That is the real horror for Kevin Lowe, because without golf in Palm Beach, being a GM just becomes meaningless.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous - Comrie Gets Some

First Mike Comrie is spotted in Ottawa's Hy's Steakhouse cutting into a medium rare rib-eye with none other than Jack Bauer's daughter Elisha Cuthbert during the Sens run to the Cup finals. Apparently they were just friends as Cuthbert was dating Sean "The Ratfucker" Avery at the time.

Undaunted, Comrie moved down the list of talentless blondes and came up with ... Hilary Duff. Ottawa players have dated celebrities before - Yash with C-lister Carol Alt (check out her acting chops in the made for TV movie Swarmed. Not since Bambi on her first sheet of ice has anyone looked so clueless) , Daigle who pretended to date Pamela Anderson (she couldn't stop laughing when a reporter asked her about the "romance") but ex-Sen Comrie seems to be the man on the move these days.

Too bad Comrie didn't re-sign in Ottawa because then we might have gotten to spot Hilary in the organic section of Hartmans grocery store on Bank Street. Oh, we would have screamed ...

Poor Yashin. Nobody Understands Him But His Woman ... And She Be Jivin Too

Alexei Yashin is off to mobster controlled Russia to play hockey next year because no team in their right mind would give him more than a Chinese nickel to come in and destroy their dressing room chemistry.

Perhaps the most hated man in hockey, Yashin is leaving gal pal Carol Alt in New York. She vociferously came to her man's defence by not only claiming that Yashin was happy to go back to Russia, but even dredged up the old Ottawa business by saying that he never wanted to leave Ottawa in the first place. What a misunderstanding!

It doesn't matter to uber-agent Mark Gandler. He's still raking in the cash from Yashin's bought out contract with the Islanders. He's got enough cash to keep feeding greasy New York City hot dogs into that grill of his that he calls a mouth for a long time to come. Meanwhile Yashin is playing for the same crowds in Russia who once threw banana's on the ice at black player Anson Carter. Nice people there. Don't eat any yellow snow Yash.

Canadian Kids "Gone Wild"

Canada’s newest royal family, the Staal’s from Thunder Bay, Ontario, have gotten into a little trouble it seems. Eric from the Carolina Hurricanes and younger brother Jordan from the Pittsburgh Penguins were thrown in the clink for a “bachelor party gone awry”. In short, they were just acting on their inner Canadian impulses which is to drink enough beer to kill a mule and then assume that everyone they see wants to party as well, including motorists going by on the highway. When the cops showed up, half of them ran into the forest which is funny enough in itself. Even the cops were having a laugh over it, one of them saying that they were just “Canadian kids gone wild!” Fair enough. It’s not like they were engaging in a dog fighting ring or anything. They’ll get a soft kick in the ass from the authorities and everyone will have a good story to tell down the road. But the Staal brothers are not the only Canadian kids to have gone “wild” in the past. Let’s refresh our memories:

Koo Koo Bananas. That’s the name of the bar in Oshawa where a young Eric Lindros was arrested for pouring a beer over a womans head who resisted his advances in 1993. At the time, Eric was the golden boy (well not in Quebec) and the public was shocked that he was giving golden showers to their young women in sleazy dives. Eric survived this “wild” episode and went on to be the most dominant player of the 90’s until Canadian kid gone steamroller, Scott Stevens, relocated Lindros’ head in the 2000 playoffs. They’re still looking for Eric’s career.

When Chris Pronger was at the mature age of 19 and playing for the struggling Hartford Whalers, he quickly gained a reputation as a hell-cat by beating the living shit out of a few people in a full fledged barroom brawl and then getting charged with drunk driving not long afterwards. Then Mike Keenan brought him to the St. Louis Blues and beat the living shit out him until he was a star player. Only problem is, Keenan threw down a few golden pops himself and got into a moving tin can back in 1990 and got nailed by the fuzz.

I don’t even want to get into the antics of Theo Fleury.

Getting off the drunk topic and onto the just plain stupid, how about Alexandre Daigle. Now he was a beauty. Gifted, funny, charming and pleasant, he was a complete mess in Ottawa. He actually wasn’t too bad on the ice, better than people give him credit for, but off the ice he kept stepping in shit everywhere he turned. First mistake was going number one in the draft and then saying that no one will remember who goes number two. Unfortunately number two was Chris Pronger who was so mad at the slight that he destroyed a barroom and then went on to win the Hart Trophy and the Stanley Cup. Then Daigle posed in a nurses outfit for a trading card company. What’s the big deal right? For some reason, management was pissed. Then the coupe de grace: Daigle openly jokes in a full airplane about planting a bomb in his suitcase. Not funny Alex. He got yanked off the flight and into the headlines. Then he gloated about dating Pamela Anderson. She said they had a cup of coffee. Then he said that he didn’t enjoy hockey anymore. For a Canadian kid, that’s really going “wild”.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oh No!

This "new Sens logo" is starting to make the rounds on the internet. It looks too stupid to be real... but maybe...

Hobo With a Shotgun

This is a fake trailer ie. the movie does not exist. This won some contest put on by the people who did Grindhouse which also features a bunch of fake trailers. If you look closely, you'll spot Trevor from the Trailer Park Boys. Classic.

Nashville Gets New Gear and other non interesting facts

Certainly, you gotta admit these new uni's are an improvement over the old disaster laden rags they wore since their inception. I'm not really sold on the new white (road) uni. It's too washed out with just the grey sleeves but at least the sweaters look clean and sleek even though the league wide change to the new Reebok duds is making the NHL jerseys look more like NBA uniforms. A lot of teams are going to go without the horizontal stripes at the bottom of their jerseys ( which I talked about here during last season for Inside Hockey ). We have yet to see what Montreal, Toronto and of course Ottawa are going to do. Not to mention Chicago, Detroit and the Rangers. Thankfully, the Bruins kept their horizontal stripes so maybe the paranoia was false.

Shit ... errr ... Shark Infested Waters

The San Jose Sharks are the most recent team to screw up what was already a good logo and colour scheme on their jerseys. Go to this blog and get the lowdown on the newly introduced burnt orange and cartoonish madness. It's like Jaws 4: The Revenge. This Time It's Shit ... errr... Personal.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Schubert Is Back

Bryan Murray is desperately trying to get his vacation going. That is the only explanation for two big signings in one day. First Emery gets close to 10 bills for three years and now the German Torpedo Christoph Schubert gets a three year deal done. Rink maintenance workers are cursing the skies because Schubert destroys the end boards whenever he pastes someone. Schubert also got thrown through a plate glass window on Bank Street this summer after getting into a scrap with some dude from Barrymores. His nickname is Shubes. Before that it was Pubes but whoever called him that got thrown through a plate glass window.

Sugar Ray Is Back

Ray Emery signed with the club today for three years and 9.5 million. Great news for the fans and great news for the high end boutiques on Sussex Drive.

Start Me Up

Coming to a blog near you.