People Like Don Cherry Are Why The NHL Lacks Popularity Compared To The Big 4 Leagues.

Don Cherry isn’t a fan of the Hurricanes celebrating post game. Yesterday on Coach’s Corner, he blasted the hurricanes about the celebrations stating ” There guys, to me, are jerks ” followed by ” They better not do this in the playoffs….This is a joke. ”

It’s not just Don Cherry. Many senior executives in the league and senior media have ripped the Hurricanes for their post win celebrations. The same media that if the Hurricanes had an arena with only 8,000 fans would rip the city for not deserving a team and to relocate. The celebrations keep fans staying in their seats post game, give the fans a chance to interact and join the team in celebrating a victory.

Earlier this season, Brian Burke went on record to rip the Hurricanes too, calling the celebrations ” Pee wee garbage stuff ” followed by saying ” I don’t think it belongs in our league. ”  The grandpa’s in the NHL definitely need to step away when it comes to PR in the game and it’s something that definitely hurts the NHL when it comes to popularity compared to other leagues.

Another person in the league that has a lot of outdated dumb rules, Lou Lamoriello. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lamoriello and his resume speaks for itself, but he’s a very boring leader. He doesn’t like his players wearing numbers over 30. He doesn’t like his players having beards. Why? he sees it as flashy. Kyle Dubas took over the general manager duties for the leafs and encouraged his team to grow out their beards and show their personality. Soon after Lamoriello resigned, Matthews was posing for GQ, and it makes me wonder if that would have happened sooner had Lamoriello not been GM.

Lamoriello took over for the Islanders and John Tavares left on July 1st, a little over a month after Lamoriello’s hiring. Did Lamiorello tell Tavares he couldn’t wear number 91 anymore? Or that he couldn’t keep a stubble? I mean, he did make Barzal go see a barber after he got hired. However, with all that being said and him not wanting the team to have much fun, it’s worked for the Islanders as they sit 1st in their division and 2nd in the Eastern Conference just behind Tampa Bay.

Basically, All I want to get across is old people around the league don’t like it when the young guys have fun. Ovechkin celebrating his goals, the way the Capitals celebrated their Stanley Cup victory, Evander Kane having fun in Vegas or even that blown out of proportion media scramble about Kane’s tracksuit in Winnipeg. The league needs faces that have personality and charisma in order to gain popularity to the level that the NBA and NFL has. In the 80’s, Gretzky, the face of the league for 2 decades, was on cereal boxes, TV shows, late night talk shows. He was vocal, engaged with fans and was recognized by even non hockey fans. Crosby and McDavid need to get out there and show some energy, show some character. We have it all, fast speed, fighting, flashy dangles, the league just needs to do a better job getting it showcased on social media, and that starts with its star players. It’s doing just fine in Canada, But the U.S. can use some work.

 

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What’s Next For The Oilers?

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees


The most Stock photo representation of the Oilers I could find.
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

The inevitable has happened. Peter Chiarelli was fired as the GM of the Edmonton Oilers. Keith Gretzky has been named the interim GM while the brain trust finds a permanent replacement.  Chiarelli is the first fired Edmonton Oilers’ GM to not be retained in a limited fashion since Glen Sather left in 2000. In the past 19 years, Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, and Craig MacTavish have all been re-assigned instead of being fired, with Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish still remaining with the team. This is significant, as Chiarelli will not have any influence on the team moving forward, unlike Lowe and MacTavish.
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Edmonton Oilers’ CEO Bob Nicholson has stated that he would like to change the organizational philosophy, and today’s move has done so. Kailer Yamamoto has been sent down to gain more seasoning.

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With the possible change in philosophy, what are the long term steps for the Oilers? We’re here today to explore that, and we’ve come up with a few ideas.

    1. Turn a new leaf, with new management and new philosophies. When it comes to the Oilers and the last ten years, they’ve become infamous for two main reasons; being terrible, and winning the first overall pick. Teams with winning records and backgrounds don’t get known for these things; just ask the Detroit Red Wings. For this, the Oilers will have to tear it all down, and start from the beginning. How much appetite does the organization have for a teardown like this? This has to be initiated from the top at ownership,  and there does not seem to be too interest from Katz. To do this, the Oilers have to hire externally for their next GM, and avoid hiring a former Oilers star to take his place. Their ideal GM would have a proven track record with a big market, and has a speciality in trading. The Oilers of the past have been alright when it comes to drafting, but if the Hall and Eberle sagas have said anything; they need help with player retention. For the prospective GM, the main selling point would have to be, Connor McDavid, and the thought that, “Hey, we’ve bottomed out, what can I do to make it worse?”. It’s an interesting proposition, and I would say there’s a 30% chance of this happening.
    2. The same old remains the same old. The Oilers hire someone within the organization to lead the organization. Why? Because why not. Stop making tasty wines Wayne Gretzky and come on down! Stop trying to fix the defense on the ice and come up to the front office Paul Coffey! Come down the hallway Craig MacTavish! I suppose it has something to do with the name recognition and the ability to excite fans, but your GM should not be what excites people! It should be the players! People pay hard-earned money to watch the players play on the ice, and not the GM make some phone calls. Besides, this has totally worked in the past, why can’t it happen again? Right? In all honesty, this is the path I would not want to see. There comes a point where you just kind of feel bad for the team, and we’re getting real close to there. It’s never really worked before and we understand psychologically why. The organization needs a new direction, as the old one clearly hasn’t gone so well. Unfortunately, past behaviour is usually the best indicator of future behaviour, and is the most likely scenario, I give this a 55% chance of happening.
    3. So I’m going to preface this with this idea being a total long shot, but it would be the absolute greatest. I’m also going to preface this with I hope Eugene Melnyk is reading this, because he could save a whole bunch of money with this idea. Darryl Katz becomes the new GM of the Edmonton Oilers. Why? Because it’s totally worked in other sports. Look at Jerry Jones and how successful the Dallas Cowboys are. They’re America’s Team, and with Darryl Katz at the helm of the Oilers they could become Canada’s Team, oh, absolute shivers down my spine. (Editor’s Note: How you interpret the shivers is up to you the readers). Ignore the fact that the owner of the Stanley Cup winning Capitals said that, “If you’re making the decisions and you think what you know is more than your coach and general manager, then they can’t work for you.” Ignore that! You can do better than that! With the braintrust of Bob Nicholson, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, etc. You could definitely manage the team! It’s like managing a large drug store right? I would like to say after my convincing and arguments, the likelihood of it happening is higher than 5%, but 5% is already pushing it and I am not going to push my luck much further.

So there you have it folks, the Oilers are at a crossroads, and need to do something. What can they do? I personally would say do number three. That’s definitely the best option for the fans (of other teams), financially, and hockey wise. Do you have any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

With the end of this post, I’m going to start a new segment with a completely outlandish trade rumor that Twitter users believe. I hope you like it, and hey maybe I’m the crazy one here.

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Players To Avoid For Your League

So a few weeks ago, we released our sleepers, Grit N’ Grind list for our fantasy hockey preview series. The second instalment is naturally who you should avoid if you want to win your league.

Editor’s note: This post is sponsored by our friends over at Honest Hockey.

William Karlsson
Im going to be the first one to tell you that I didn’t expect the Vegas Golden Knights to do so well last year (granted, no one did). There’s one name in particular that no one expected to do as well as they did, and that’s William Karlsson. Last season, Karlsson scored 43 goals, 35 assists, and was the Lady Byng Memorial trophy winner. Remember, this is the same guy that was traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a 1st, 2nd, and David Clarkson’s contract just to ensure he would get picked.

There can be an argument that last season he should have done better than his last year in Columbus because of his better analytics numbers, and a consistent improvement year after year, but no one would have expected more than tripling his point total in one more game. Our biggest red flag was his shooting percentage last year. It was a staggering 23.4%! That jump is unheard of, and there’s really no explanation for it. His career shooting percentage is 14.6%, but if you remove last year from the total, it’s 8.3%. Now I’m not saying that you avoid Karlsson like the plague, but ESPN ranks him at 47, Yahoo at 59. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if he gets 25-30 goals next season, but the way fans are hyping him up, you would think he would be challenging McDavid next year.

Better options: Mark Scheifele (ESPN Ranking 58), Mikko Rantanen (Yahoo Ranking 74)

Jonathan Toews
Every year, someone in your league will draft Jonathan Toews way too early and become disappointed. He’s a great leader for a team, don’t get me wrong, but his hockey production does not justify his high rankings (ESPN Ranking 100, Yahoo Ranking 94). In terms of analytics, he still remains an analytical darling, with high CF%, and FF%, but a lot of that is due to his strong defensive play. He has been in the running for a Selke trophy every year since 2008-2009 but most leagues don’t reward strong defensive play, only offensive play. His Points per game numbers have been dropping steadily since this 2012-2013 peak of 1.02 points per game, and his point share has dropped from 9.4% in 2014-2015 to just 5.0% last year. There is nothing to suggest that the number will improve next year. Just like Karlsson, he’s a good pick in the middle to later rounds, but his name recognition often gets him drafted too early.

Better options: Jeff Carter (ESPN Ranking 104), Dylan Larkin (Yahoo Ranking 107)

Mikko Koivu
Koivu just like Toews is a great leader, and a great two way player, but fantasy leagues don’t reward defensive production that well. At best, it will reward defensive players with +/-. Koivu is a great defensive player with him being ranked 5th in Selke voting last year, but was only a +9 for the season. If his 2016-2017 season is not taken into account, he has never been higher than a +13. In terms of offensive production, he is not an elite producer, and his age suggests his production will continue to decrease. He has taken on a defensive role in the last two years, with his starts in the defensive zone rising to 57.5% last year and 63.8% a year before. His CF% is 49.6% and his PDO last year was 101.3. Some fans may argue that his 2016-2017 season is proof that he isn’t regressing and his stats last year were a fluke. He had 58 points was third in Selke voting, and had 63.8% of his starts in the defensive zone. I would argue that his 2016-2017 season was the fluke and not last year. His individual PDO was 104.2, which would suggest that it was a combination of good goaltending, and offensive teammates that were shooting their lights out. I expect that his production this year will be around 12 goals, 25 assists and 37 points. There should be better options out there at his rankings (ESPN Ranking 148, Yahoo Ranking 203).

Better Options: Ryan O’Reilly (ESPN Ranking 150), Nick Schmaltz (Yahoo Ranking 206).

What do you think? Do you agree with our busts or did we hit it spot on? Are there better replacements than we have suggested? Let us know! Do you think you can beat our busts on the ice? Make sure you have the right stick on the ice! Check out our friends over at Honest Hockey for the honest reviews on sticks here: https://honesthockey.com/gear-reviews/sticks/best-senior/!

Fantasy Grit and Grind

It’s almost fantasy season, and fantasy players are going to be scouring the internet for sleeper picks and late round gems. After fifteen rounds in a fourteen team league, most users are going to be grasping at straws. Final picks are either going to be boom or bust picks, or low ceiling players. All of the major sites will have these boom or bust guys but not low ceiling players. Low ceiling players can be safe picks that can provide stability and opportunities for your team to get that extra little push. With this post, we’re looking for overlooked players that can provide the “Grit ‘n Grind” for your championship team. Without further to do, here’s our list!

Alex Petrovic
We begin with one of my favourite defenseman. I’m a little old school, I still believe in having the rough and tumble defensive defensman. Petrovic fits in the role. His career high is 17 points, and he’s not as durable as other players on the list, but he fits in well with the list. He gets hits, blocks and PIMs (wholly underrated in fantasy drafts), He has been sheltered quite a bit last year, with 60% of his starts being in the offensive zone. The high offensive starts correlate with the improvement in relative Corsi percentage. I don’t expect his offensive zone starts to continue being that high, but that may be beneficial for his hits and blocks.

He’s still rather young at 26 years old, and is just starting to hit his prime. His offensive ceiling is rather low, and could have peaked already. However, if his offensive ceiling was higher, then he wouldn’t be on this list would he?

Milan Lucic
I can already hear the boos from here. NHL.com has him ranked 247 in their Top 250 fantasy rankings.Give me one second, though and hear me out. He is relatively durable, and has played an average of 74 games a season since 2007. The 74 game average takes into account the 48 game 2012-2013 lockout shortened season. Once that season is removed from the equation, his career average rounds up to almost 77 games a season. There’s no reason to believe he can’t be near those averages again. Statistically, he hasn’t been as terrible as many people believe. He dropped off a cliff to 34 points last season, but I believe its more of a one year drop more than a long term worry. It is natural to expect some sort of regression to begin by his age 30 season, especially with the way he plays, but I don’t believe he will regress further this year. Last year, his shooting percentage dropped to 6.8%. It seems that every four years, his shooting percentage takes a drop to under 10%. I’m not saying that he phones it in every fourth year on schedule, but he has experienced a drop in shooting percentage before and has recovered from it. I do expect his shooting percentage to increase. His dip in production this year could also be partly blamed to luck. His PDO had been one of the lowest in his career at 98.4. There’s not much Lucic can do but wait it out. He is still a tank on the physical front, with above average years in hits and blocks, and is still able to generate quite a few penalty minutes. I do not expect his physicality to change, but I do expect his points total to increase this year. A lot of the criticism of Lucic has to do with his bloated and inflated contract at $6M per year, but this is fantasy hockey we’re talking about. His contract doesn’t matter here. He’s a solid pick.

Radko Gudas
I’m not going to lie, I originally had Jake Dotchin but after his weird termination, I can’t in my right mind add him to the list now. Radko Gudas is still part of the Grit ‘n Grind list. Gudas doesn’t need to be introduced. He’s infamous for his hard hitting defense, and the “Grit ‘n Grind” that makes you special part of this list. 123 hits, 170 blocks, 83 penalty minutes, screams Grit ‘n Grind. He’s not much of a offensive force, with his career high in points being 23. In 2017-2018, his goal total is a meager 2 goals. However, at the same time, his shooting percentage was 1.4%. If you take away his 2017 season, his career shooting percentage is a much more respectable 3.8%. Critics would argue his offensive abilities are so bad that if he scored even one more goal, his shooting percentage rises to 2.1% for 2017-2018. However you look even deeper, his advanced stats are still relatively solid; 51.8% Corsi For, 52.9% Fenwick For, 98.0 PDO. All positive numbers. Gudas is relatively protected for his game. Last year, he had 53.2% starts in the defensive zone. Let’s address the elephant in the room. He’s not the cleanest player. He’s been suspended quite a few times, and he likes to walk the line. There’s nothing fantasy owners can do, but he’s a strong depth piece for the last few spots.

Are there anyone we missed? Let us know below!

Why The Bruins Need To Restructure Their Defense For The 2018/19 Season

In, a span of three years, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has guided the team back into a serious playoff contender. Since the firing of longtime time coach Claude Julien, the Bruins have started drafting more skilled players. The organization has seemed to change its philosophy from physical to focusing on attributes such as players with more of a skill set.  In this post,  we’ll review three areas why the Bruins need to restructure the defensive department for the upcoming NHL season.

Why The Bruins Need To Restructure Their Defense For The 2018/19 Season

Redefine Chara’s Role;

At, forty years old the team continues to get excellent production from captain Zdeno Chara. But in, the playoffs particularly against Tampa Bay, Chara showed signs of fatigue. Throughout the course of the season, Chara averaged 23 minutes per game. Not too bad for a  player neither young nor old.  As the season progressed, Chara has paired with the teams  2016 number one draft pick, Charlie McAvoy. In, McAvoy the organization has one of the top young defensemen in the NHL. After the Tampa Bay series, many fans and media people feel that the club needs to cut down on his playing time and pair him with another partner.

Make A Decision On Adam McQuaid;

Veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid is in his last year of a four_year contract  At 31 years old many fans feel that the organization needs to get quicker on defense. In 2017/18 McQuaid missed several games. Considering his  3,000,000 dollar salary it may be time to think about dealing Mcquaid.

As the team continues to draft more skilful players, they can maintain their status as an elite NHL team. .McQuaid has a history of being injury prone by trading him the club can add another younger defenceman.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Help In Providence;

Since General Manager Don Sweeney took over three years ago, the club has qualified for the playoffs two_ years in a row.   If the team wants to resume its quest to win another Stanley Cup, then the defense needs continue to get better. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has improved his playoff performance due to resting more during the regular season.

As it stands now, the Bruins have a young group of six or seven defensemen who are legitimate NHL players. Veteran Torey Krug had a spectacular collecting 14 goals and 45 assists for 69 points. Kevan Miller continues to make progress. Young Matt Grzelcyk who split time with Providence is only getting better. Third _year player Brandon Carlo who suffered an injury at the end of the season be ready at the start of training camp.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In,  Providence, two Bruins who could be prepared for full _time duty are defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and 2015  number one pick Jakub Zboril. Out, of the two Lauzon is the one most likely one to make the squad. As for Zboril,  he needs to continue to work on his game.

Hockey In Seattle

After a successful opening season for the Vegas Golden Knights, other cities such as Quebec, Houston, and Seattle want in on the action. As of December, commissioner Gary Bettman ceased all talk about adding teams in Quebec and Huston since there are already NHL teams near those cities such as the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars. On the other hand, Seattle was approved for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena to add an NHL team and hopefully an NBA team as well.

Compared to the $500 million the Golden Knights pain, Seattle will have to pay a $650 million expansion fee. If the fee can get paid off, the team probably won’t come into existence until 2020 or 2021 at the earliest. Some possible names for the new team are Seattle Firebirds, Seattle Sea Lions, Seattle Whales and Seattle Kraken.

Although there are a lot of speculators who don’t think that hockey will be successful in Seattle, statistics have proven otherwise. The team got 10,000 deposits on season tickets within the first 12 minutes. Even more impressively the sales had to be capped of at 32,000 because of how quickly they were sold. Tickets aren’t the only thing that prove that hockey will be successful in Seattle. The city already has two teams, Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips, both which draw large crowds for games.

Since Seattle is mostly an industrial city, the new NHL team could bring in new revenue and money to the local businesses in the area. The new team is already generating a lot of new fans from around the area, and they will bring in more teams if they are successful.

Is 2018 The Year Tuukka Rask Leads The Bruins To A Stanley Cup?

In hockey, there’s a saying that the team with the hot goaltender usually takes his team to the Stanley Cup. So far this season all signs are pointing to a Bruins team to go deep in the playoffs. The question is can, Tuukka Rask leads the Bruins to a Stanley Cup. In this post, we’ll examine three attributes Rask and the Bruins have going for them.                       Is 2018 The Year Tuukka Rask Leads The Bruins to A Stanley Cup?                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Skilled players;                                                                                                                                        Since the days of the Big Bad Bruins, the team has had a reputation of grinders.  Basically, a team that dumps the puck in the opposite end and wins the battle along the boards and out fighting the other team. This was the formula that was very successful for the Bruins but produced no Stanley Cups,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             It’s been seven years since the Bruins won their last Cup. That roster consisted of players such as Tim Thomas, Nathan Horton, Dennis Seidenberg and thirty goal scorer Milan Lucic.  This years group consist of skilled players such as Charlie Mc Avoy, Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, and ex _Olympian Ryan Donato. Donato _the son of ex _Bruin Ted Donato. Donato had an impressive opening night scoring a goal and two assists despite a losing effort to  Columbus .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Good mixture of Youth and Veterans;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   After a long dry spell of not winning in the playoffs, the Bruins are playing like a team on a mission. Veteran goaltender Tuukka Rask is having an impressive season.  With three shutouts to his credit, 2018 could be the year. Boston has solid veterans in David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and  Brad Marchand. Marchand has elevated his game to be one of the top five players in hockey despite dirty reputation.                                                                                                                                                                      Coaching;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Since taking over for the fired Claude Julien head coach Bruce Cassidy has transformed the team into one of the most exciting teams in hockey. Cassidy who spent eight years as  head coach in Providence. One of the reasons for Cassidy’s success this year has been rotating his goalies Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin. If Rask can stay fresh, then a trip to the Stanley Cup is possible.