Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wings Play as Expexted in Game One

Game one of the Stanley Cup finals could not have turned out any more according to the expected script than it did. I fully expected the Wings to grind away with their best in the NHL puck control game until the Pens gave them a few chances to score. That is pretty much what happened.

What I did not expect was for the officials to swallow their whistles and let the teams play in game one. I really thought if the Pens were to have a chance, that they would have to score on power play opportunities, but unfortunately for them, they only had two chances and converted on neither.

Pittsburgh really tried to make a game of it coming back to tie at the end of the first period. Johan Franzen's goal at the end of the second period really seemed to take the wind out of the Pen's sails. Justin Abdelkader's goal at the start of the third set the tone for the remainder of the game. As the game wound down the Pens seemed to be without the same intensity that they had early in the contest.

As much as anything, I think Pittsburgh was out coached during game one. I think the Pens overcame the issues that had last season as far as preparation, but during the game, I think Babcock's Stanley Cup experience showed that he had been there before.

Last night prior to the game I tweeted about what a poor job NBC did with it's intro compared to the CBC. For those in the US who weren't geeky enough to be trying to watch both, here is a really good intro that is worth a look.

In spite of all the concern about back to back first games, I am thrilled that they are hitting the ice again tonight. Even though it is only the second game, this one is critical for the Pens. If they go down 0-2 against this Red Wings team I don't see how they can win four of the last five to win the cup. Detroit is too good at taking other teams out of their plan to let that happen.

I do think Pittsburgh has a chance tonight, just not a real good one. Detroit's first two goals in game one were from behind the net and off Fleury's pads. Pittsburgh was miserable in the face off circle at 29%. I doubt either of these points will be repeated tonight.

Just to add a little spice to tonight's contest, Sidney Crosby gave Kirk Malrby a little love tap after the game as seen below. Here's what Sid said about the incident when questioned in the post game:

Q. Kirk Maltby spoke after the game about the little incident or maybe run? in that you two had. He gave his side of it. I wondered if you can explain from your side what maybe occurred.
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, he was doing what he always does. You know, he was giving guys lip service and things like that. And you know, I two handed him on top of the foot there as we were skating by. So he felt like it was necessary to keep talking after the game, and I thought I'd whack him and that was it.

For a lengthy discussion of last nights game, Chris Wassel of The Program and I guested on SportsTalk Soup on BTR after the game and discussed all aspects of the game and what we expect for the rest of the series. Chris's regular version of his BTR show will be at the regular time at 7:00 CDT tonight with instant analysis of game 2.

For the sake of trying to have a lengthy series, I would like to see the Pens do better tonight, but I am still picking the Wings to win again tonight, possibly in a higher scoring contest. Chris has a game sim at The Program that is not too far from what I would expect.

I just realized today, that if this series goes to seven games, I may be at Walt Disney World in Orlando during game seven with little chance to see the game. I guess we will see what shakes out. Plans may have to be revised. Maybe the ESPN Zone at WDW will be the answer.

In PredsNews...

Stay Classey has Colin Wilson in their top ten rookies to watch next season.

Around the Hockey World...

The SCF wasn't the only game last night. Perhaps an even a better game took place in the AHL finals where Hershey beat Manitoba on the road in overtine by a score of 5-4. Alexandre Giroux had a hat trick, including the game winner deep in the first OT period. Game highlights can be found here. Game two will be in Manitoba on Tuesday.

Before Saturday's SCF Gary Bettman has his state of the game presser with a Q and A afterwards from a few hostile reporters. Here is the TSN story on the interview but it is worth the read to look at the entire interview posted here. Here is the version of the presser story along with a video of Bettman on NHL OnTheFly before the game.

The Seventh Woman, Dee Karl, who I enjoy reading, has a good story about Sidney Crosby at the Hockey Barn.

For those bored with the on ice action, Ryan at the RLD takes a look at his top ten UFAs.

A quick note from Mick Kern at XM204, don't cut your nose off to spite your face. "Suckers"

Eric Smith puts a wrap on day two of the NHL Combine.

RedLineHockey has Tavares as #2 in a USA Today story.

More later... possibly...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


The Dallas Stars named Joe Nieuwendyk the new General Manager in a major shakeup announced Sunday afternoon. Brett Hull and Les Jackson were reassigned within the organization. A press conference is expected Monday.

Brian Metzer has his game two preview up. I follow him fairly closely as he seems to be in tune with what is going on with the Pens.

Heated Skates is up to # 20 in their draft preview. They have the Preds with Jordan Schroeder in the 11th slot. With all the picks the Preds have, I expect some movement on draft day depending on what is on the table. That was last year's strategy.

Oakes Trophy Rich in Family Tradition

The Oakes Trophy is awarded each year to a student-athlete at Columbia (TN) Central High that is considered to be the best all around athlete.

The history of the trophy goes back to 1945, when in the midst of World War II, Albert Fisher Oakes, Sr. commissioned the trophy that was to be “awarded annually to the school’s most outstanding athlete,” according to a newspaper clipping from The Daily Herald.

The award was established to “encourage clean, wholesome, athletics and good citizenship.” The school’s coaches and principal would select the recipient who had to have “passing grades in at least three subjects and be a good citizen."

The trophy was established to honor Oakes’ three children, Albert Fisher Oakes, Jr., John W. (Jack) Oakes, and Jane Page (Oakes) Trice. When the trophy was started, both Fisher and Jack Oakes were overseas serving in the war.

It was a difficult time in our country’s history, when most of the nation’s young men were involved in the war effort and parents never knew from day-to-day if their boys would ever return home.

Fisher Oakes served in the Army Air Corps in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea from December 1942 to January 1946.

Jack Oakes served in the Army from June 1944 to May 1946. After serving on the front line in Belgium and Germany, Jack’s infantry rifle unit was preparing to invade Japan when the atomic bomb ended the Eastern theater conflict in August 1945.

Albert Fisher Oakes, Sr. was the owner of Oakes Chair Company, a local firm that dates back to 1885. He was also an avid sports fan and sponsor of youth athletics in Columbia.

Born in 1897, Oakes, Sr. attended the Athenaeum School, which predated Columbia’s first public high school that opened in 1915. He graduated from Columbia Military Academy where he was a catcher in baseball and also played football.

After school, he entered the Army as a corporal and was dispatched to the Mexican border to hunt down Pancho Villa. In 1918, he advanced to the rank of First Lieutenant and later was appointed to the local draft board leading up to World War II.

Albert Oakes, Sr. always said, “The hardest thing he ever did in his life was to induct his sons into the Army.”

Albert Fisher Oakes, Jr. grew up playing sports in Riverside and was a star athlete at Central High, Baylor School in Chattanooga, and played for one year at Vanderbilt University. At Central, where he graduated in 1937, he lettered three years in football and twice in baseball.

In a post-graduate year at Baylor, he played football and lettered for the track team where he ran hurdles and did the “broad jump” as it was then known.

The following year, 1939, Oakes played freshman football at Vanderbilt and received a career ending injury. He was later an Assistant Coach under “Mutt” Quillen at Central High in 1942 before leaving for the service.

John W. “Jack” Oakes was also a local sports star. He attended Central High from 1940-42 where he lettered in baseball and basketball each year.

Jack transferred to Columbia Military Academy for his junior and senior year where he received five letters, adding football to his repertoire. In his senior year in 1944, he served as captain of the basketball team. Two weeks after graduation, he reported for duty and left for military service.

Jane Page (Oakes) Trice did not participate in sports as there were few women’s athletics at the time. She was an avid sports fan and was a cheerleader during her years at Central. She was also an accomplished pianist.

Albert F. Oakes, Sr. and Fisher Oakes, Jr. passed away in 1981 and 2002 respectively. Jack Oakes and Jane Page Trice remain Columbia residents.

Buddy Oakes, who covers pro hockey for The Daily Herald, is the son of A.F. Oakes, Jr.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Afternoon: Finally, The Finals!

I am really excited that the finals are actually upon us. I can imagine what it would feel like if we had waited until next weekend for the games to start. It's seemed odd with just a couple of nights off.

It appears that the Penguins will be at full strength and the Wings will still be somewhat hobbled with Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Draper sidelined for tonight's game. Nick Lidstrom and Jonathon Ericsson will play. It's amazing that Ericsson can recover that quickly from even minor surgery.

I really expect that both teams will be holding their cards close to the vest and we won't see a lot of chance taking early. Pittsburgh will be trying to get off to a better start than they did last year and Detroit will play their usual style of game waiting for the Pens to make a mistake or two.

A lot is being made over Marion Hossa changing teams in a finals rematch for only the second time in history. I don't see this as anything other than a story line as he wasn't a longtime Pen last season. The guy simply wants a cup and was pretty smart about looking for a new team to play for in order to do it.

Ryan at the RLD has the NHL09 version of tonight's game with a result that may be fairly accurate. His sim has the Wings winning 3-0. I would actually be surprised to see a shutout but I think Detroit will win in a low scoring contest.

Jackson finally posted his predictions at the RedLightDistrict and he's going with the Pens in seven. He also added the "Is This the Year?" commercial from the pre-season where Sidney says, "I never want to be in this photograph again." I'm surprised we haven't seen that promoed more in the post-season.

I guess the Wings are a lock to win since TSN's Maggie the Monkey picked Pittsburgh. Maggie has a totally blemished 0-5 SCF record, and is 4-10 so far this season in the playoffs. Maggie is set to retire after this year's finals.

For those wanting audio of the road to the finals, XM204 HomeIce has podcasts of the highlights right here.

On a programing note...

I will be appearing on SportsTalkSoup on BlogTalkRadio tonight hosted by the Godfather. The show begins at 9:30 Central with an interview with ESPN's John Buccigross. Closer to 10:00, Chris Wassell, from the Program, and I will appear and give commentary on the fly about game one and discuss what we expect for the remainder of the series.

Also, on Monday's POTG Radio we will have Russ Cohen, a man of many talents and most recently author of 100 Ranger Greats. Russ also hosts two weekend hockey shows on XM Satellite Radio, writes for NHL publications, and is a founder of the Sportsology network.

In Predator Nation...

Brandon Felder has his finals prediction here and his HockeyBuzzRadio partner Paul McCann checks in here. Forechecker has his preview here.

Around the Hockey World...

Gary Bettman had his SCF presser this afternoon and reiterated much of what has been said before claiming the back to back games were planned a year ago. He also indicated that league revenues grew by 4% this year and that the salary cap could come down 5%. In regards to PHX, he said that he has spoken with every NHL owner and all are in favor of keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix.

In the AHL, the Calder Cup Finals start tonight with the Hershey Bears traveling to Maitoba for the Mooses's first date in the finals in a sold out game. Puck Daddy has a great in depth preview.

Eric Smith at BlueJacketsBuzz give a wrap up to Friday's first day at the NHL combine for prospects. This stuff is really complicated as the scouts find out everything possible about the kids from both a physical and psychological stand point. TSN has a day two live blog going here.

Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon is working hard to keep the team's free agents from leaving on July 1.

Japers Rink brings rumblings from the KHL that includes news that several teams on shaky financial ground and that another aging veteran in Donald Brashear thinking of making the jump to Russia, for the money of course. I'm sure the beating that he took from the Pred's Wade Belak has nothing to do with his wanting to leave the country.

More later... Maybe? Maybe not. It's already later...

BuddyOakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday Notes: Was This Really a Four Day Week?

I don't know what happened but this four day week seemed like an eternity. I'm looking forward to getting the Stanley Cup Finals going tomorrow night. An eight day wait would have been insufferable.

On my playoff predictions, I rallied in the last round with a 2-0 record after failing with a 1-3 in the second round after a surprising 7-1 in the opening round. So I stand at 10-4 overall so far this year. My tidy 500 word submission to the Daily Herald on the Stanley Cup Finals follows:

Wings and Pens to Meet Again in Stanley Cup Finals

The defending Stanley Cup Champion, Detroit Red Wings, will meet last year’s runner-up, Pittsburgh Penguins, in the final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Detroit and Pittsburgh won easily in the Conference Championships. The Wings beat Chicago in five games, while the Pens disposed of Carolina in four.

This will be the first rematch of prior year finalists in 25 years, going back to 1984 when the Edmonton Oilers defeated the New York Islanders.

Last year’s runner up, Pittsburgh, appears to be much better prepared for this years match than they were last season. With the team’s core intact, and under the leadership of mid-year replacement coach Dan Bylsma, the team appears to be hitting on all cylinders and playing with confidence.

Pittsburgh has the two leading goal scorers and point producers in this year’s playoffs. Sidney Crosby has 14 goals and 28 points to lead in both categories while team mate Geno Malkin is right with him with 12 goals and 28 points.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fluery has played well during the playoff run and has not suffered an off night in a couple of weeks. With the experience of last year’s playoff run and the added incentive of trying to make the Canadian Olympic team in 2001, Fluery appears more confident than he has in the past.

On paper, Detroit still appears to be the best team in the NHL. They have balanced scoring throughout the line up and defensively no one can shut down the opposition and clog up the neutral zone as well as the Wings.

During the series against Chicago, two key players suffered injuries that kept them from playing in the final game.

Hart Trophy nominee, Pavel Datsyuk is suffering from a foot injury and will be a game time decision on Saturday. Six time Norris Trophy winner, Nicklas Lidstrom was out with a “lower body injury” and is expected to play in game one.

The Wings are lead in scoring by Johan Franzen, with ten goals and seven assists, and Henrik Zetterberg with nine goals and nine assists. They also have Marion Hossa who played for the Pens last season.

Wing’s Goalie Chris Osgood is a veteran of 14 NHL seasons and has won three Stanley Cup rings, two as a starter. After an average regular season, Osgood has been solid during the playoffs going 12-5 with a 2.06 goals against average.

This will be a long, hard fought series that hockey fans will thoroughly enjoy.

For Pittsburgh to win, they will need to win one of the first two games in Detroit and win their home games.

For Detroit to win, they will need to play their style of controlled hockey and not let Pittsburgh’s young scorers move freely in front of the net.

My final prediction for this year is the Wings repeating as Stanley Cup Champions in seven games.


In Predator News...

On the heels of Mirtle's post about Alexander Radulov, Forechecker comes through with one that is really discouraging for fans hoping for his return. It appears that he is remaining aloof to his situation and is being led around by misguided parents and agents and doesn't seem to understand the position that he left the Predators in last season.

Barry Trotz give his opinion of the finals match-up between the Pens and Detroit in a column by David Boclair at the City Paper. Trotz also revealed his plans for a prospects conditioning camp from July 6-13 and the fact that there will be some type of rookie camp in early September before regular camp opens September 12. There also will be a couple of Rookie games in Atlanta like they had here last year.

Mark at the View From 111 recaps his perfect picks from round three and can't seem to overcome his dislike for the Wings as he picks the grand prize winner.

John Glennon stirs the pot at Inside Predators asking if the Preds have enough to move out of last place in the Central Division next year.

The day's most obscure Predator fact is that Preds coach Brent Peterson will be playing in the first Winterhawks Classic Alumni Golf Tournament on Aug. 10 at Persimmon Country Club in Gresham, OR.

Around the NHL...

With the NHL Combine starting on Friday, NHL Central Scouting has expanded their web site to include a much broader range of information for fans as they track their favorite draft eligible players. The release says that a new web design will be launched this morning at 8:30 here. To see what happens to a national Post writer going through the combine's paces go here.

Forechecker also has an interesting article about the psychological testing that will be done at the NHL combine in Toronto.

The Sports Business Journal named the Winter Classic as the Sporting Event of the Year. I am in full agreement and wrote this article on New Year's Day stating that it was the Tradition of the Future for NYD.

Ryan at the RLD wraps up the conference finals and has a fun article about his road trip to Carolina for game four of the Pens-Canes series.

Puck Daddy gives his 20 story-lines to watch in the SCF.

BlueJacketBuzz pointed us to this article that has a grim tone to it. The Jackets are trying to get a better arrangement with their arena to try to head toward making a profit. It almost makes the Pred's $2 million dollar loss this year seem like a successful endeavor. Alan Portzline and others have another article that even mentions the Jackets leaving town.

Puck Daddy has an article on Cam Ward and his successes, trials and tribulations of the past month. I really felt sorry for him in the Pens series. The momentum the team had ridden for the last part of the season and playoffs finally ran out.

Jim Kelly at SI has a round up column which points out something I hadn't thought of. Game six of the SCF is the same day as the next hearing in Phoenix on June 9th which means there could be a battle in the courts on the same day the trophy is handed out. What a contrast that would be!

From the desert, attorneys for Jerry Moyes want a new hearing for June 3 to attempt to get more history of relocation documents from the NHL in order to prepare their June 5 brief.

Combining space and hockey, the CBC's broadcast will be avalible to Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk on the ISS.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Jim Balsillie has big plans to renovate Copps Coliseum at only $150 million in 2007 dollars. This sounds like big Jim pulled the plans for the Hamilton Predators out of the closet and created a new press release.

Forechecker has Mitch Korn's view of the SCF goalie match-ups.

The Predators site has the final predictions from the broadcast team. It looks like a clean sweep for the Wings.

ProPuckTalk looks at the NHL following the NFL model. They also mention a Global TV Rights offering for the NHL. The league has been aggressively going after ATDHE and other web sites offering links to games on the net during the past season with limited success. I've said it repeatedly, that if the NHL would offer fans complete access with no blackouts at a reasonable price then they wouldn't have competition from European rebroadcasters on the net.

A SCF travesty in Tampa... Mark Manning reports that the local NBC affiliate has a telethon in place of Game 1 on Saturday night. Mark is also picking the Pens in six.

Me, being a Braves fan since 1966, I have to mention what @codeyh reported "Braves to retire Greg Maddux's number on July 17th." I was thinking that Glavine and Smoltz should also be there but they are both still trying to hang on and play. The day the Braves clinched the playoffs in 1991 was one of the happiest days of my life. Another favorite was the night of my 40th birthday, October 28, 1995, when they won their only World Championship in my 44 years of being a Braves fan. I was in Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium for both.

CoyotesHipCheck throws a hit on a couple of items in today's news. She's not someone I would want to make mad. She was a fun guest on POTG Radio a couple of weeks ago. I wish someone from MakeIt7 would join us on the show.

Mirtle comments on the Balsillie press release today on Copps and confirms my report that it was something pulled out of storage from a couple of years back.

We got a new follow on Twitter today that has a great blog that I had not seen. Check out Smilin' Like a Butcher's Dog. He does a really good job on the Pens.

TSN has a live Blog from the combine updating here. You can get up to the minute throw up info as well as who players would eat dinner with given a choice of Sean Avery, Barak Obama, or Maria Sharapova.

Ryan at the RLD updated his Finals preview with a prediction that makes us both look smart. Forechecker looks like a smart guy too with his pick. Dueling previews at the Program, Chris and Ryan square off and agree (almost). Burt the dog has the alternate view. I sure hope we are smarter than the dog.

From @pwnicholson "Never thought I'd see the day when the Preds were in trailer for NHL 10 - and hoisting the cup!"

Thursday's Notes - The Finals are in Sight!

The Detroit Red Wings finally took care of business and finished off the Chicago Black Hawks in overtime on Wednesday night by a 2-1 score. The Wings will now move to the finals to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a rematch from last year starting Saturday Night on NBC. Did anyone else feel a complete let down in the Conference finals after a great second round?

The game itself was the best one of the series going scoreless through two periods. The first period was all Wings as they out shot the Hawks 21-9. In the second period the Hawks played much better but still were unable to score.

Daniel Cleary finally broke the ice 6:08 into the third to give the Wings a brief lead. Patrick Kane tied the game 6 1/2 minutes later to send the game into OT. The Wings had a chance to win in regulation but a spectacular save in the closing seconds by Christobal Huet extended the contest.

In overtime, it was all Detroit and Darren Helm scored the game winner 3:58 into the extra period. Cristobal Huet needs to be commended for his excellent play in goal for the Hawks as he stopped 44 of 46 shots at his net. He was the prime reason that the Hawks were able to make a complete turn around from Sunday's fiasco.

As rumored originally by E J Hradek, the first two games of the playoffs will be this Saturday and Sunday nights on NBC. Game time for all seven games will be 7:00 Central with the exception of Sunday which is currently set as TBA. A full schedule can be found here.

In the Preds World...

Hockey's Future Spring Organization Ranking are out. 21-30 is here and 11-20 is here. The top ten, when announced, will include the Predators, to no one's surprise, considering the number of top prospects that the Preds have as detailed in a piece last week. Last place goes to the Minnesota Wild and the Islanders, Devils, Ducks and Lightning round out the bottom five.

John Glennon has more on Colin Wilson and whether his maturity can win him a spot on the Pred's roster this fall.

In the PHX Circus...

At the hearing Wednesday, the schedule was set to move the case along sooner than originally planned with a new date of June 9 to try to sort out the relocation issue. The biggest news of the day was the information about the second bidder which appears to have offered more than Balsillie at an earlier time.

The second bid does not involve relocation which would overcome one of Balsillie's largest hurdles, that being the issue with the City of Glendale's claim for monetary damages for breaking the lease if the team leaves Phoenix. The Globe and Mail has a different take on the second buyer. There is a lot of fishy dealings going on and it will be interesting to see the whole story at some point in the future.

Around the NHL...

Glenn Anderson has an interesting perspective comparing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Edmonton Oilers of the 83-84 season which was the last team to lose in the finals one year and return the next. The similarities don't end there. Check it out.

At the Long Island Tweetup on Wednesday night it appeared that a good time was had by all based on the tweets filtering out of the bar. A few technical issues were overcome and soon forgotten. It's great to feel like a part of an event 1000 miles away with a the link through Twitter. A couple of pictures follow, the second of which is really geeky, with four people probably Tweeting the person beside them.

Tweetup Organizer@dani3boyz and writer @7thwoman at the Long Island #NHLtweetup

@HockeyBarn @mediaphyter @dani3boyz @antheia Geeking out on their BBs at #NHLtweetup Long Island.

Long Island's Seventh Woman (pictured above) gives her full in person wrap-up to last night's Tweet-up on Long Island as well as an update on @dani3boyz and the big Tweetup planned for the draft in Montreal next month. Word on the street is that the next big push for a nationwide Tweetup will be for next Tuesday during game three of the Finals.

More news of marginal players heading to the KHL to play as Michael Tellqvist signs to play for Ak Bars. As I wrote Tuesday night, this trend will continue.

Mirtle has an update on ticket avalability at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas which will be held three weeks from tonight. This is on the heels of a prior story that wasn't well received by the NHL. I personally, plan to be there as a member of the press, and I am looking forward to it regardless of how many seats are sold. Mirtle also has a story with a poll on whether the Wings recent cup run qualifies as a dynasty.

Eric Smith of BlueJacketBuzz has a good article about how much Tampa covets Victor Hedman at this year's draft. I wonder how Brian Burke will use the Lightning's desire to his advantage in trying to land John Tavares.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

I link to this article not for it's content, but the fact that the hometown Arizona Republic has such a meager offering of the yesterday's hearing in Phoenix. It is no wonder that newspapers in the US are in trouble if they can't cover a local story any better than this. If nothing else the potential economic impact to the City of Glendale should be headlines.

Off topic... 100 best movie lines in 200 seconds.

This is an amazing thing that the Twitterverse did to help @dani2boyz fund the trip to the NHL Draft Tweetup in Montreal. After all, what would a tweetup be without the Queen of Tweetups.

The above picture is a rarity with Barry Trotz (with a big smile) from @loudestnoise at the Pred's appearance @rhcc Family Fun Night. on Wednesday night. Vern Fiddler, Peter Horachek, and Gnash also attended.

Puck Daddy points out that you just can't make everyone happy with the scheduling of the Cup's Final round. The two day gap versus eight day delay reminds me of the old laxative commercial from the 1960's, where they discuss the confusing state of prune usage, "Is four enough, six too many?" If you don't remember that, you aren't older than dirt like me.

More on the NHL Awards ceremony mentioned above... The NHL has now released a partial list of performers and presenters at the ceremony.

Big news for Preds Fans as Mirtle reports from his Russian contacts that it appears Alexander Radulov has decided to stay in the KHL at least for another year. It was a long shot that he would return and not cause major issues in the locker room. This may be a situation where David Poile will trade Rad's rights to someone if the right deal comes along.

On the NHL Hour, Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league had intended to play back to back games to start the finals for over a year.

Off day news and notes
from Pittsburgh's Brian Metzer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mid-Week Musings and Round Up

Tuesday night's mercy killing of the Carolina Hurricanes by the Pittsburgh Penguins was welcome news for fans ready to move to the Stanley Cup Finals. All we need is for the Wings to finish off the Hawks tonight so we can get ready for a more competitive series starting this weekend.

Carolina came out and actually looked like they wanted to win the game and lead 1-0 early in the first period. The Pens tied the game and and then Cam Ward drove the nail in the Hurricanes coffin with the worst non-stop of the playoffs so far when he missed a little floater shot by Max Talbot to give the Pens a 2-1 lead.

Beyond that point, it was just a matter of time running out for the Pens to be rightfully crowned with the Conference Championship so they can move on for what appears to be a rematch with the Wings. Carolina looked bad in the second and third periods and took several sloppy penalties which did nothing but put them further behind the eight ball.

Much of the post game talk was about Sidney Crosby and the team touching the Conference trophy, which they did not do last season. It didn't make a difference last year and it won't this year. I'm glad they chose not to follow a stupid superstition and did the honors of posing with the trophy that they worked hard to acquire. For those who missed it, here is a video of the game's end, handshakes and trophy touch.

Tonight's match up between the Wings and Hawks will also be an interesting game. After a meltdown by team and coach alike on Sunday, it will be key to see if the young Hawks gain their composure and compete with the Wings or if they are too far gone to make a game of it. I honestly don' know how they will react but I do expect the Wings to wrap it up tonight, one way or another. Preview and game sim at the RLD.

In Predator News...

John Glennon has a new post today about athletes who use Twitter, including Steve Sullivan (@Sully26) and the Titan's Alge Crumpler(@GetCrump). He also quotes Paul Nicholson (@pwnicholson) who is the originator of the @predfans group among other things. John has a second article about the announcement yesterday that Colin Wilson was the USA Hockey player of the year.

Jim Diamond has a good piece about how Barry Trotz's longevity is a rariety in the NHL. Only Lindy Ruff of Buffalo has been with their team longer than Trotz. Over 100 coaching changes have been made elsewhere during Trotz's tenure with the Preds.

The Hockey Writers have a thorough examination of the Predators goaltending situation. The only flaw that I saw in their analysis was with their treatment of Drew MacIntyre who will be a UFA come July 1. Unless the Preds trade Dan Ellis or if they want to create competition for the back-up position in camp, I do not see them resigning big Drew in spite of his stellar season at Milwaukee.

Hearing in Phoenix...

Today's court hearing in Phoenix will be another circus. The main point when it was originally scheduled was for the judge to get a update on the "mediation" between Moyes and the NHL on the control of the team. It was reported Monday that some progress had been made on day to day operations of the team, but none on the issue of whether Moyes had enough control to file bankruptcy on his own.

There were numerous filings yesterday by all parties but the one getting headlines concerns Balsillie's new "deadline" of June 29th when the sale must be completed. Balsillie also proposes that the BOG meet to approve bids by June 12 and the auction to be on June 26. From experience, I can say that the BOG doesn't move on anyone else's timetable so I would really be surprised if that changed on behalf of Jim Balsillie unless they wanted to deliver a big fat NO!

Around the NHL...

Breaking news from the Denver Post, Patrick Roy has turned down the Av's offer.

Condolences to the family of Peter Zezel who passed away yesterday from complications from a rare blood disorder that he had been battling for over a decade. He was a well like Toronto Maple Leaf player who played 15 years at the NHL level. Zezel was only 44.

Jackson and I were discussing Dan Bylsma's past last night after he was interviewed by the CBC. Like magic, Mirtle answers all the questions that we had in this post.

In an effort not to lose headlines after Edmonton's announcement of coaches Quinn and Renney, Daryl Sutter called his own press conference to say that he was the best person that he knew to lead the Flames next year, but that he would interview other candidates. The dynamics of this "I'm the best unless I find someone better" situation seems a bit odd to me.

Federov and Kozlov jumping to the KHL isn't the only bad news in DC. Puck Daddy has a story that we will probably hear much about in the future. Allegations have been made during an arrest in Polk County, Florida that a steroid dealer has sold his goods to several unnamed Capital and National players. Hopefully, the allegations aren't true but regardless this is the kind of news that never seems to go away. On a lighter note, go here for Puck Daddy's Stanley Cup replica contest.

Chris Wassel from The Program announced that tonight's BTR show will be early this week at 6:00 Central.

Off topic space news... Three additional astronauts were sent in to orbit by a Russian spacecraft this morning to join the three already at the International Space Station. This will mark the first time that the ISS has been fully staffed with the intended crew of six.

The folks at @Astronautics continue their crusade against Twitter spammers with fake girl names by posting a list of "girls" that have invaded their space (pun intended).

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Here's an odd one courtesy of @pwnicholson and @forechecker via RT. Rolling Hills Community Church is sponsoring a family night with the Predators in the west parking lot of the Thoroughbred Cinema in Franklin from 6-8 tonight. Barry Trotz will allegedly be there and they advertise "more fun than you can imagine". You can even get your picture made with Gnash. WooHoo!

Per @CraigCustance Datsyuk and Lidstrom out tonight

Nathan Fournier is reporting a Noon Eastern Presser by Patrick Roy to announce that he is staying with the Quebec Remparts.

A new interview with Jim Balsillie appeared in the Toronto Sun prior to today's hearing. Balsillie has now resorted to the Oprah school of being the victim in the whole Make It 7 matter. Basically, my interpretation is that he just wants to be one of the boys and the NHL won't let him play. Poor fellow, all dressed up and no team to play with. I hope Canada gets as many teams as they can support and Balsillie doesn't get any of them. What a whiny jerk, he is! Mirtle has a more even keeled response to the interview.

Here is another pre-hearing story from the Wall Street Journal about teams using bankruptcy as a tool if the Coyotes succeed in their sale.

After pouring through over 100 Tweets from @TheYotesDiva, @kash2112, and @kmcgran the best I can tell, little was resolved at today's hearing in the desert other than a few scheduling issues . The judge admitted that there was no precedent case law in this matter. The next major hearing will be June 9 with briefs being filed by June 5. This will be on the relocation and Glendale lease matters. The judge admits that no matter what is decided that it will be appealed. Several other dates were floated for a sale or auction but really are not worth discussing until the mobility issue is resolved. here is the Globe and Mail's first take on the hearing as well as the Hamilton Specs first report.

The NHL and the Washington Caps deny any knowledge of the steroids story linked above.

Rumors continue on next season's Winter Classic being held at Fenway Park. Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs discussed the posibility today.

When the KHL Offers More Money, What Can You Say?

Yesterday afternoon, I posted a link to Craig Custance's column in the Sporting News where he is lamenting the fact that too many veteran NHL players, like Sergei Federov, are jumping to the KHL to finish out their careers. In the story, Chris Osgood agreed that it was bad for the league to lose the older guys who act as a role model for younger non-North American transplants.

Unfortunately, this is a trend that will continue, especially in the next couple of seasons when the salary cap is projected to shrink. Teams will have to choose whether to keep young players deemed to be the future of the franchises, or hang on to older players that are in the twilight of their careers.

The Alexander Radulov situation is totally unrelated to the current phenomenon and will not be addressed here, but it was also a matter of following the available money.

The Predators are a fine example of the economics of the lessening cap. They have done a good job of signing the core of their team to multi-year contracts. Players like Weber, Suter, Legwand, Erat, Dumont and Arnot are signed for a few years to come. That leaves the remainder of the squad needing to be filled out with younger players with entry level contracts and veterans with lower salaries. Resiging Steve Sullivan or another free agent or two will also eat up available capital.

A couple of players whose contracts are expiring are Radek Bonk ($1.6 Mil) and Greg DeVris ($2.75). Given a choice of putting limited dollars into younger players or paying the veterans, there is no choice to pay the kids and let the vets move on. Neither Bonk and DeVris are prime candidates for the KHL but a players like Federov and Viktor Kozlov certainly are, on a team full of young stars that will command more money.

Teams will continue to try to lock up younger players, like the Preds will with Ryan Jones, Cal O'Reilly, and Joel Ward at the expense of letting veterans go elsewhere, including the KHL who is hungry for NHL quality players. The KHL simply can pay a certain type of player more money and if they are from Russia or other European counties, there is the side benefit of playing much closer to home.

The primary reason, the Russian and European players came to North America was money and now that it is not as plentiful, they will return to the home country to end their career for the same reason. Chris Osgood can lament all he wants, but under the current economic structure of the league something has to give and Federov, Kozlov and others in the same boat are simply following the available money. You can't blame them for that.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Day After a Three Day Weekend Round-Up

I hope everyone who was off enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend and that each of you took a few minutes to reflect on our fallen heroes, veterans and current active duty military folks. We could never do enough to thank them for what they do.

We had an abbreviated edition of PredsOnTheGlass Radio last night as we only went 30 minutes. It was a holiday and we didn't have any special guests lined up but I learned my lesson that it was a mistake to shorten the show. Chris Wassel from The Program joined us and we had a good discussion about the Predator's free agents and who would stay and who would go and we simply ran out of time. A side note, Chris's BTR show will be early this week at 6:00 Central.

After a dark night on the NHL ice, Pittsburgh will play the Hurricanes in Carolina where the Canes will try to save face and avoid the sweep. I find it hard to believe that Carolina can fall this flat after the way they played in the first two series. I expect Carolina to eek out a win tonight just for good measure. Ryan at the RLD has everything you need to know about tonight's match up.

Chicago will travel to Detroit on Wednesday for their shot at avoiding elimination. Joel Quenneville received a $10,000 fine from the league on Monday for comments made about the officiating after the Hawks were blown out on Sunday.

Big Hair Hockey has an interesting contrast of this year's Hawks team to the one of 1929.

The best hockey news of the day on Monday was a story from E J Hradek that indicated that the NHL would reconsider the potential nine day break between this round and the finals if it is all wrapped up by Wednesday night.

That is good news but not good enough for me. No matter when the series end, there simply doesn't need to be more than a two to three day break before the finals begin. Both of the apparent winners, Detroit and Pittsburgh are playing great hockey and there is no reason to slow down the momentum by waiting around for an extended period for TV or any other reason.

In Predator News...

At the Canadian Hockey League Awards ceremony, Pred's prospect, Jonathon Blum was named the league's Defenseman of the Year. This is another trophy on the mantel for a great kid who spent the end of the season in the playoffs with Milwaukee. There is a good chance he will start the season in the AHL next year but could see action with the Preds at some point before the year is out.

Former Predator Bob Boughner received coach of the year honors by leading Windsor to win the Memorial Cup on Sunday. Pred prospect Chet Pickard was nominated but did not win goalie of the year. Cody Hodgson won Player of the year while probable number one draft choice John Taveras won the Prospect award.

Around the Hockey World...

In the AHL Conference finals, Hershey beat Providence 5-2 to make the finals for the third time in the last four seasons. Houston's comeback run ran into a brick wall as Manitoba finally put the nail in the coffin winning 3-1. It is the Moose's first trip to the finals which will begin in Manitoba on Saturday. Yanni is not the problem for Hershey that will cause three games in four days, it's high school graduation according to Bangin' Panger.

News from the desert that the NHL and Jerry Moyes have agreed to an interim operating plan that will handle the day to day operations of the Coyotes. The NHL is footing the bill and is in no hurry to sell the team. Moyes wants the sale to Balsillie to go through ASAP. The question remains unresolved as to whether Moyes had enough control to bankrupt the team. The next hearing is Wednesday and the judge will probably be somewhat pleased that they agreed to the day to day operating plan. Balsillie has also applied to the NHL for ownership which will be rejected. The National Post gives their take on the agreement.

The best summary of the PHX situation that I have seen recently comes from Mirtle this morning. This is a must read to get a true sense of what is going on with Balsillie, Moyes, and the NHL.

It is reported that Patrick Roy has indeed been offered a contract as GM and Coach of the Colorado Avalanche. It would be a risky move and the Avs may be giving Roy more than he can handle but the Avs seem to be in compitition with the Habs for Roy's services. Another point is that Tony Granato is still officially the coach, leaving him in an awkward situation with a month to go before the draft.

There are rumors floating around that Sergei Fedorov is headed to the KHL next season. Japers' Rink does a season wrap up on Fedorov today.

The tradition of every player on the winning team getting time with the Stanley Cup sounds like fun but Jay Feaster gives the story of all the planning and logistics that are reqired to make it work.

The turnout for extras for the Don Cherry Movie is impressive.

Congrats to Dee Karl, NY Islanders 7th Woman, for getting a repost of her Bill Guerin story on HockeyBuzz that was linked on POTG on Monday. HB will give a nice story a much broader audience.

Way off topic... I found this article in the Examiner about hiking in Utah that actually has a picture of the Crystal Geyser erupting. I've been there twice and have not seen it go off. There is really no pattern to the eruptions. It is unique because it is a cold water geyser and is located near Green River, Utah. The rock formations around it make it a must see if you are every passing by there on I-70. It's only a few miles from the road and is something like you will never see anywhere else.

...And because you probably don't want to be at work today after the long weekend, this listing with pictures of the 12 Worst Product Names ever will bring a smile to your face.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass


Here is an interesting story by John Manasso as he covered the Canes-Bruins series for John is another good writer looking for work in the shrinking world of the newspaper business.

The Washington Nationals spell worse than me. After the uniform fiasco of a few weeks ago, they have now screwed up a bobble head of Teddy Roosevelt.

Multiple reports indicate that the Oilers have hired Pat Quinn as head coach and Tom Renney as the assistant. A major press conference will be held at 1:00 CDT. For live local coverage, go to the TEAM 1260 or

Forechecker has a profile of soon to be free agent Greg Zanon. Good he got it in now because he will be gone July 1 unless something unexpected happens.

Craig Custance writes on the emerging trend of losing veteran players to the KHL and the potential damage that will result to the NHL. To me it seems the only alternative for aging players that cannot gain top dollar in the NHL when clubs are tring to hold on to the younger star players with multi-year contracts. With the salary cap possibly going down over the next two years This will be the only way for some players to maintain their salary level. More on this in tomorrow's blog.

USA Hockey announced that among a list of awards that Pred prospect Colin Wilson was the College Hockey Player of the Year. He will receive the award on June 3rd in Colorado Springs.

In the daily afternoon breaking story from the Globe and Mail, David Shoalts reports that Balsillie will withdraw his offer for the Coyotes if the sale can't be completed by June 30. There are also numerous other items listed like that he would want control prior to the June 26 draft. If this wasn't a bluff, this would be great news for the "Save the Coyotes" crowd. The NHL Board of Governors would never meet and approve something that they wanted to do that quickly.

Afternoon update from Brian Metzer is here. I'm picking Carolina but pulling for the Pens tonight. I'm ready to move on to the finals without waiting a week or so.

Great comment on Pat Quinn that I couldn't pass on including here. From @WanyeGretz: Pat Quinn is so old he remembers Jesus as "that nice carpenter who lived down the street"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day and POTG Radio Tonight

Memorial Day means an extra day off for a lot of folks but the true meaning of the holiday gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. Mark at the View from 111 did such a nice job with a Memorial Day tribute, I will defer to his writings. Check it out as it is a fitting way to honor the fallen members of our Armed Forces. I will have more to say on POTG Radio tonight.

Listen to PredsOnTheGlass on internet talk radio

Monday means another edition of PredsOnTheGlass Radio. Be sure an tune in tonight at 7:00 Central for a special Memorial Day Edition of POTG. We will focus on Colin Wilson's visit to Nashville and take a look at the Predator's free agents and speculate who will sign and who will go between now and July 1st.

Sunday's game between Detroit and Chicago was one of the more embarrassing games for a losing team in the playoffs so far. The Hawks really did a lot of dumb things that made a bad situation even worse. Coming on the heels of Saturday night's debacle in Carolina, things don't look good for the Hawks and Canes having a shot at winning another game.

Detroit played an exceptional game primarily based on the fact that they showed their maturity and composure and did not get drawn in to the skirmishes that the Hawks were trying to lure them into. This game was a prime example of youth and inexperience versus a team that has "been there" many times. Ryan at the RLD goes in to more detail on the matter. Mirtle also has quotes from Joel Quennevelle and a couple of Wings about the meltdown.

Corey Crawford was surprised in game three that he had to suit up as an emergency back up so I can't imagine how startled he was to end up on the ice during the shellacking that the Hawks took on Sunday.

With little chance of another game in Chicago this year, hopefully the Hawks can find a replacement for possibly the worst goal song ever, "Chelsea Dagger", by the Fratellis. Why they chose this is beyond me.

There are no games tonight, which makes little sense. Once play resumes on Tuesday, I do not see any way that either the Canes or Hawks have a chance to advance. I would really like to see both teams win a couple of games in order to stave off the potential nine day layoff between the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals.

This break from the action will be a nightmare for television ratings for the finals. Casual fans that have gotten in the habit of watching games every night will disappear into other Summer activities and may or may not find Versus again come June 5. There is a rumor being floated today by E J Hradek that someone may be coming to their senses and move the start up to this coming Saturday if the games are over by Wednesday.

In Predator News...

Eric Kent at Admiral Short Shifts has a good analysis of Milwaukee players and their contract status for next year. There is overlap with Brandon Felder's analysis from last week but goes much deeper into the Pred's system as to who may be a free agent on July 1 if they are not signed.

John Glennon has an article today that covers several basis including Paul Fenton not getting the Wild GM job and the difficulty in establishing a value on Joel Ward in attempts to resign him.

Paul McCann has a new article today covering several bases as well.

Around the Hockey World...

The Memorial Cup came to a surprising conclusion Sunday when Windsor beat the well rested Kelowna Rockets 4-1. The Spitfires came out of the chute scoring three goals in the first 7:11 of the game. Kelowna played better on into the game but never made a serious run at Windsor. Former Predator Bob Boughner who played 142 games for the Preds in their first two seasons is the coach for the Champion Windsor team.

In the AHL, Hershey and Providence went deep onto overtime before Graham Mink scored for Hershey 15:10 into the first OT period to give them a 3-2 win. Hershey now leads 3-1 and can close out the series today playing at Providence. In the West, Houston travels to Manitoba for game six to see if they can stave off elimination for the third game in a row.

The New York Times takes a look at Balsillie's "Southern Ontario" and what it means. Within the article there is a link to one from a few days ago that I missed in The Spec that gives background information on Hamilton's long history of chasing an NHL franchise. Meanwhile, Winnipeg has a story on the CBC about the mayor's push for a franchise. Here's the other side of the arguement that says that Manitoba's economics don't make sense. Regardless of what happens in Phoenix, the league really needs to get serios about "Make it 32".

It appears the Coyote's situation in Glendale isn't the only one that's not working out as planned. The spring training complex that was built for the Dodgers and White Sox has yet to have all the parties involved signed on the dotted line. The agreements in principle done over two years ago may not be binding.

A really neat video shown Friday night on the CBC broadcast Inside Hockey section was on Patric Kane. There's not a direct link to the video but go to the above link and find it. You'll be glad you saw it. It's a nice story about a player who is still a kid at heart.

Here's a good story from the Islander's 7th Woman about Bill Guerin and the chance he now has to play in the Cup finals as a result of Garth Snow doing the right thing for Guerin at the trade deadline.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Early Sunday Morning News

From a hockey fan's perspective, Saturday night's game was one of the more disappointing matches in the playoffs. The game started out with both teams seemingly on equal footing until Pittsburgh scored a couple of quick goals to end the first period.

After holding on during the second period, Carolina scored to come within one at the start of the third period which gave rise to the hope of a good finish. Unfortunately, Ruslan Fedotenko scored half way through the period to put the game out of the Hurricane's reach. Goals by Adams and Guerin at the end were just another kick in the groin to a batter Cam Ward. The 6-2 final was indicative of the domination of the Penguins.

The series doesn't resume until Tuesday so maybe, Carolina can show a little life and extend the series or it will be a long wait for the finals for Pittsburgh. The league's decision to wait until June 5 to start the finals is more upsetting as the days roll on. Versus announced that they will carry the first four games of the finals, including back to back games on June 5 and 6 to start it off.

Today's game between the Wings and Hawks will be an NBC affair starting at 2:00 Central. Chicago will be without the services of Nikolai Khabibulin as he has the dreaded "lower body injury".

In Predator News...

Forechecker points us to a article from the Toronto Star that has Nashville listed as the #7 winningest sports city in North America since 2000. Indianapolis ranks first in the survey.

Around the NHL...

The Memorial Cup finals are this afternoon as Kelowna and Windsor square off on the NHL Network in the US.

No games last night in the AHL, but Hershey and Providence play tonight.

It is reported that the salary cap could drop as much as 2.5 million dollars next season and as much as six or seven million for 20010-11. This will really put a crimp in spending and long term contracts during this year's free agency. This has to be seen as a positive for the Predators and hopefully will make Steve Sullivan think twice before testing the market.

Another item from the Star, SOF Investments, the Coyotes largest secured creditor, is backing Jim Balsillie's bid but is resigned to the fact that the Coyotes will be in Glendale next year and wants the team to start marketing tickets better. It's no surprise that they want Balsillie's bid since he offered far more than the team is worth as it sits in Glendale.

Here's a business that is steady even in a poor economy. It would be interesting to live near the plant.

Chris at the Program sends a message to New Jersey Devils fans. Chris also plans to have Russ Cohen on his BTR show tonight at 7:00 Central.

NHL Snipers has an interesting Alexander Ovechkin interview.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Stuff and Commentary

Friday night's action between Detroit and Chicago finally seemed to get the series going in the right direction for those who didn't want to see a quick end to the second round of the playoffs.

After falling behind 3-0, the Wings came back in workmanlike fashion to even the game in a four and a half minute stretch at the end of the second period.

After a change in goal which Christobal Huet saw his first ice time in a month, the Hawks looked like they were waiting for the final shoe to fall but managed to make a game of it and hold firm in the third period and sent the game to OT. Each team only managed six shots in the final stanza.

Before you could even get comfortable and settle into the rhythm of overtime, Patrick Sharp buried the puck in the empty side of the net to cap the a seemingly impossible comeback from mediocrity to win the game for the Hawks. I personally had written the Hawks off at the beginning of the third period when Huet arrived after the second period burst from the Wings.

A couple of highlights of the game included a huge hit by Niklas Kronwall on Marty Havlat in the first period and the steady goal keeping of Chris Osgood to keep the Wings in the game after going down 3-0.

The hit by Kronwall resulted in a five minute major and a game misconduct but no one could really figure out why it was called. Aside from the fact that Kronwall is not well liked by some, it did not appear that he did anything but clean the clock of Havlat who had his head down trying to play the puck. I can't imagine any further action by the league prior to the next game as enough injustice was done at the time of the hit. Mirtle has quotes and discussion on the hit too.

Tonight's game, finds Carolina in the same boat as the Hawks were heading into Friday's action. In order to keep the series going, I hope that Carolina's home town magic will show up and boost the Canes a boost to give the series a longer life.

Ryan has a wrap up and projections for tonight at the RLD.

The NHL made a short, terse announcement on Friday that said "If both Conference Final series have been decided by Tuesday, May 26, the Western Conference winner would host Game One of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final on Thursday, May 28. Otherwise, Game One will be played on Friday, June 5."

So basically, since both series did not sweep, we are guaranteed a minimum of two days dead time between series even if Carolina -Pittsburgh goes to seven games. Even if games one and two are played on back to back days, this puts game seven on Tuesday, June 16, two days before the NHL Awards on the 18th in Las Vegas. The league really needs to be a little more flexible in the scheduling in order to move things along if the third round ends early in both series.

In Predator News...

Today's Tennessean brings another joyful story from Brad Schrade about a minor capital infusion that was needed by the ownership group at the end of the season which is month old news. After you read through all the muck raking, a couple of positives are buried in the story.

The current owners are attempting to purchase the portion of the team tied up in the Boots DelBiaggio bankruptcy court. More importantly, season ticket renewals are equal to last year at a 70% clip so far and new sales are ahead of the same point last summer. That is not bad during tough economic times and with rumors of closure of the GM plant in Spring Hill where a chuck of the fan base dwells.

John Glennon touches on a few random topics, the most important of which are that Joel Ward is working to return to the Preds and that Sully has hired an agent. I think the Ward part is positive, but I can't imagine an agent won't push Sully to go the free agent route. Sully has publicly discussed hauling a bunch of stuff back to Canada, which hopefully is for the summer or storage for retirement. I hope he used hired hands for the heavy lifting.

There is a good interview with David Poile on the Pred's web site as he puts a wrap on the World Championships.

Around the NHL...

At the Memorial Cup, the finals are set as Windsor beat Drummondville 3-2 in overtime Friday night. Sunday's Kelowna-Windsor finals can be seen on the NHL network in the US at 3:00 Central.

In the AHL, a surprising Houston team forced game six with a double OT 4-3 win over Manitoba while Hershey overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat Providence 6-4.

The big news that we touched on yesterday was the firing of Mike Keenan in Calgary. Mirtle has a good short analysis and speculates that Brent Sutter now has a choice of where to go between Edmonton and Calgary.

I didn't see the interview, but the trusted @PredsRadio reported "Alexander Medvedev just said on CBC that he wants to buy an NHL team. And put it in Quebec City! Yes, that Medvedev of KHL infamy." That would be interesting if Balsillie and a Russian squared off in a bidding war. Who would you pull for?

Sean Leahy pointed us to the Bobby Holik retirement announcement. He had a solid 18 year career and now wants to spend more time with his family. Good luck, Bobby, in all your future endeavors. You earned the time off.

Travis at FiveForHowling wraps up all the doings in Phoenix for the week in this article. TheYotesDiva still has her sense of humor as she points us to this bit of comedy. She also sends us to this rather jumbled piece on a year 2020 look at the NHL landscape in a post anti-trust exemption world. Kansas City Predators is not funny.

Off topic but from a hockey guy, Eklund says Verizon's MiFi is the best thing ever. After reading this, I would agree right down to the part about pricing. I bet this on a family vacation, with a car full of laptops, would keep everyone quiet, right up to when someone stated hogging the bandwidth.

More later possibly, but I'm set to help move the mother-in-law this evening, most probably during the Canes-Pens game time.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Friday Update

Malkin's Hat Trick

As we prepare for the long weekend in the US, we would like to remember our veterans and the service they have given, keeping us safe for over 225 years. Thank a soldier or a veteran today. Everyone enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Thursday night's game between the Canes and Pens had everything any one could ever want from a hockey game other than defense and quality goaltending. It was fun to watch a high scoring playoff affair, with me having no real dog in the hunt.

It is disappointing to see both series standing at 2-0 with serious questions about either the Canes or Hawks making a run at pushing the series to seven games. At this time of year, all I want to see is more games, because the season is fast coming to a close.

The game got off to a quick start with Carolina leading 3-2 after the first period. It was down hill from there for the Canes as Pittsburgh clearly man handled them the rest of the contest.

The game turned really nasty at the end with fights all around. The best comment on the end of the game came from @jasfaulkner who said "Did anyone else feel that final buzzer was about as merciful as a bullet to Ole Yeller's head?"

Tonight the action in the west moves from Detroit to Chicago where the crowd should be electric in spite of the Hawks being down 2-0. Even though I'm pulling for the Wings (a sacrilege, I know), I would like to see the Hawks win a couple at home to make a series of it. A full preview and game projection is at the RLD as always.

In Pred Nation...

Today's headline in Pred news is about a loyal Predator fan and Tweet-up organizer Amy Dawson who managed to get herself on CNN's 30 second pitch on Thursday. Click this link to watch the interview and pitch. Amy is looking for a new position and has great credentials and can get things done as evidenced by her CNN appearance. If anyone has any open positions or wants to contact Amy click here.

Hockey's future has a complete wrap up of Pred's AHL/ECHL prospects. Colin Wilson is ranked as the top prospect to no one's surprise. Together, this article combined with Brandon Felder's Preds free agent discussion, all the possible bases are covered for what the Predators have in their cupboard at this juncture before the draft and free agency date.

The Preds have a video and pictures about last weekend's open house on their site. They also have pictures of Jordin Tootoo at his home town Hudson Bay Fishing Derby. Can you say, slow news day.

Forchecker has a new profile of Joel Ward, one of the biggest surprises from last season and a player everyone hopes the Preds can resign.

Today is the last day for a few auction items for the Predators Foundation. As of last night there were a couple of good buys on a Preds team autographed jersey and a Shea Weber all-star jersey.

Around the NHL...

In Memorial Cup action Thursday night Windsor eliminated Rimouski 6-4 in the tie breaker game to see who would play Drummondville tonight for a shot at Kelowna Sunday in the finals. Dale Mitchell was the stars scoring three goals in the third. The Cup games are prime territory for scouts to get a final look at talent before the draft.

Desert News... Mirtle takes an in depth look at revenue figures generated from documents presented in the hearings. This is the first actual look at something solid that explains how the Coyotes got so far in debt. It still does not address why Phoenix is such an expensive team to operate. I realize that the lease arrangement is not good but these figures are way different than Nashville which is a frugal team.

On a lighter note, Mirtle gives us this about the "Zetterberg" commercial floating around the web.

Even though it's a holiday weekend, Chris at The Program on BTR has a special guest Sunday night when Russ Cohen will be on to discuss his new book "100 Ranger Greats". Russ hosts a couple of weekend shows on XM HomeIce on Prospects and the Business of hockey and is the principle at

Here's a question from Bangin Panger that Forechecker brought up last week about wheather scuffles like at the end of Thursday's game produce penaty minutes that carry over to the next game.

Sarah at For Puck's Sake is counting the days until October's puck drop.

From The Hockey Writers comes a comparison of the Wings-Pens to the Oilers-Islanders of the 80's.

Here's another mock draft that has the Preds taking Jordan Schroeder with the 11th pick. I would be surprised if the Predators did not package some picks and move up a few slots like they did last Summer when they got Colin Wilson.

I've heard several discussions lately about whether Chris Osgood is Hall of Fame material. Kukla's has a really good discussion with facts and figures.

Totally off topic... Mike Judge, creator of one of the great movies of all time, Office Space, has a new series debuting next week on ABC called the Goode Family. It is about an Al Gore inspired environmental wacko family. I don't watch non sports TV but this looks interesting. Everything King of the Hill did for conservatives, this should do for liberals.

I'm heartbroken with this story about how @Astro_Mike tweets from space. The Space Shuttle is so old school. They need better technology.

Finally, for those with a creative nature, NHL Digest is running a hockey T-shirt contest. Check it out. Some of the ones I've seen so far are pretty good.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Labatt's strategy to back Make It 7 is discussed in this Globe and Mail story. Not being a follower of the beer business, I was unaware that Labatt was now actually a Budweiser brand. That should give the PHX crowd a better boycott target than Labatt's itself.

This is a really neat time lapse of Edmonton changing from winter to spring. Thanks to @theneilshow for the tweet pointing to it.

NHL Digest has a good outline of the issues in PHX compiled by an expert in such complex dealings.

Video from the Hurricane locker room from this morning.

The Roenick-Babcock comments is just plain odd and out of the blue. Puck Daddy takes a look at the situation. I really wish there was a place for JR on the Predators. I have always been a fan of his but I don't think he would fit in to the Barry Trotz led "dressing room" as Jason Arnott calls the locker room.

From @nhldigest "For those wondering, the Twitter account of @martinhavlat is confirmed by his agent as legit. #Blackhawks #NHL". Appears Marty is napping and fired up for tonight's game.

Late Friday afternoon news - Mike Keenan has been fired in Calgary. I guess this will be all the talk on TSN tonight between periods of the game. Great tweet by @forechecker "At this rate, it looks like Keenan has a chance to coach all 29 other NHL teams during Barry Trotz's tenure in Nashville."

Thursday Roundup and Commentary

We finally get another game on the ice after a 45-hour drought from live action. This double off day for all teams at the start of the third round makes little sense. We have another day with dark arenas on Monday, but at least that is for a good cause. The NHL doesn't want to go up against POTG Radio since it has been such a ratings killer for them. ;)

Even with injuries to Eric Cole and Tuomo Ruutu, I get the feeling that the Canes will be ready to play tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury is due one of his off nights and Carolina will close ranks and be ready to play. I may be way off base but I think the Canes will take game two by a multiple goal margin.

Ryan at the RLD has a preview of tonight's game, computer projection and a look at who the Conn Smythe candidates are so far.

PHX Update...

The more I read it seems that anything is possible in the Phoenix situation. The worst possible thing for all pro sports would be some type of ruling that overturns the anti-trust exemption that has allowed leagues to work in an orderly fashion during the modern era of pro sports. If the anti-trust provision comes into play, the matter will be tied up in the courts for years to come.

Beyond that, if the asset is deemed "mobile", my bet now is that the franchise might be dissolved, players disbursed via a draft, and then some type of open auction for one or more additional franchises. I feel that there is a zero chance that the franchise will simply move to Hamilton, or anywhere else, without the other 29 owners getting a piece of the action.

Bill Daly was on XM HomeIce Wednesday afternoon with Rossy and Espo and it was really interesting, not so much for what was said, but how it could be interpreted. Daly discussed that as far as the league was concerned the rink in Winnipeg was of NHL quality as far as revenue generation was concerned. Many pundits in Southern Ontario have tried to poo-poo any Winnipeg talk by downplaying the arena. It appears the league thinks the arena is OK. This is a must listen.

Much is being made of the other entity of primarily local ownership that is interested in buying the team. John Breslow of LasVegas, who owns 2% of the team, and is head of Coyotes Charities, is said to be the principle involved. On the XM Homeice "War Room" this morning, it was even "rumored" that Gretzky might even be a part of that group. I guess we will see.

I received my first newsletter from the Coyotes Coalition group this morning which included a link to the 114 page Chapter 11 filing from the court that includes the proxy in question that is set to be mediated. This will take some time to digest. If you want to join the mailing list, click here and send them an email.

Jim Balsillie was on CHCH in Hamilton last night for an interview. It seems to be more of the same Canadian flag waving to whip the locals into a frenzy.

In Pred Land...

John Glennon explains how the hearings in Phoenix could effect the outcome of Boots DelBiaggio's 26 % stake in the Preds that is in a similar situation in a California Bankruptcy court.

Tom Callahan has another edition of Predators Prowl.

Paul McCann checks in with his take on the PHX situation.

The Nashville Scene makes a weak attempt at piggybacking a Globe and Mail story to claim the Preds may move to Ontario. The Scene really needs to stick to what they do instead of coming up with this drivel.

Around the League...

Best wishes to Paul Kukla who is in the hospital.

At the Memorial Cup on Wednesday night, Drummondville advanced to the semi-finals with a win over the host Rimouski Oceanic in overtime. Rimouski will now play Windsor tonight in the tie-breaker game to see who plays Drummondville on Friday. Kelowna awaits the simi-final winner to play for the championship on Sunday afternoon.

The Sporting News player of the year was announced today... Alexander Ovechkin.

No decision yet in Minnesota, but that doesn't stop an AP piece on Pierre McGuire from making the rounds.

Interesting story from Columbus on Fox Ohio and Jim Day parting ways. Eric Smith has an article about a petition drive to save him. Even Puck Daddy checks in on the topic.

There was a good game in the AHL that we listened to a portion of Wednesday night when Houston was able to avoid elimination by beating Manitoba 5-4 in OT.

Here's a link to Ice Hockey in Harlem which I found from Inside Hockey where I am a contributor. This was something new to me, but it is a long running program that looks like a great cause that impacts kids on and off the ice.

A sad farewell from "Rags to Riches" on My Hockey Buzz.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Brandon Felder has a look at Predator free agents. It is a good analysis and Brandon is right on target with what you would think the team is looking at in each individual discussed.

Mark at the View from 111 is right on target with his analysis in this post.

From the Montreal Gazette comes a scathing attack on Gary Bettman.

A game day look at the Penguins by Brian Metzer.

This is the first Buffalo specific story that I've seen against the Balsillie/ Hamilton proposal.

More on the "happy horse poop edicts" of the Blue Jackets from Puck Daddy.

From Detroit, Datsyuk may be out for Friday's game.

Mike Russo reports that Chuck Fletcher will be Wild GM. Condolences to those wanting Pierre off the TV.

Off topic but popular among our readers, Dave Matthews Band to appear live on HULU on 6/1.

New York politicians now getting involved in the Phoenix mess because they don't want to see the Sabres impacted.