Saturday, February 28, 2015

Strange, But Brilliant Salary Cap Trades

The introduction of the hard salary cap in the 2005 NHL and NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a big change to the league with guaranteed player contracts testing the shrewdness of NHL general managers. Team's could no longer just buyout player's contracts they did not like anymore without paying for their mistakes. Teams would be on the books for a a portion of a bought out player's salary and that money would count against their salary cap for twice the length remaining on the contract. This was a good thing for league parity as rich teams could no longer just dump their poor decisions simply because they had the money to do so.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Scrubs To Diamonds: Surprising Top Trade Bait

"Get me out of here."
It's always funny when the NHL trade deadline rolls around and you read some of the top trade bait names. While you should be used to big names not moving around the deadline as has been the case in recent years, some of the top players being sought after might actually make you laugh. A 43-year-old? A d-man with one of the worst +/-'s in the league? A defensive centre with low possession numbers? These players aren't terrible players, but they get a lot of attention around this time of year due to the scarcity of players available to improve Stanley Cup contenders via trade.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alex Kovalev's Shinny Shift

We've heard about "The Shift" for years, but now we have video evidence. Back in 1994 when Alex Kovalev was in his second season with the New York Rangers he was punished by Mike Keenan for a long shift and forced to finish the remainder of the period on the ice. Keenan was upset that Kovalev had stayed on longer than his allowed limit and with his team already down 5-1 to the Bruins he decided if Kovalev wanted more ice time he was going to get it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Olli Jokinen Discovers River Of Pink Slime Underneath The Air Canada Centre

Pretty bored in Leafland these days so let's have some fun with Ghostbusters.
"The one thing I noticed being here two days is there’s a lot of negative energy around here." - Olli Jokinen after his first game as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
The booing, the paper bags over heads, the jersey tossing - they can only be explained by one thing. Not frustrated Leafs fans, but a river of pink slime flowing underneath the Air Canada Centre à la Ghostbusters 2.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Unbreakable: Single Season Shots On Goal

This is a feature that will showcase an NHL record that we believe is unbreakable. Not just "Wayne Gretzky is God" posts, these records will come from a wide range of players.
Record: 550 shots on goal in a single season
Holder: Phil Esposito

Record In Perspective:

Esposito averaged an astonishing 7.05 shots/game back in 1970-71 en route to becoming the first player to hit the 70+ goals mark. 7 shot per game is incredibly impressive considering the Buffalo Sabres sometimes only get 10 in one game as a team. This 1970-71 Bruins team was simply dominating averaging over 5 goals/game and finished with a +192 goal differential. Based on those stats it should be no surprise that the Bruins finished the season with the top four scorers in the NHL led by Esposito. With Bobby Orr on defence this team would have been puck possession darlings and Esposito very well could have had a Corsi in the 70's with his shot total.

Closest Active Player:

Alex Ovechkin came very close in 2008-09 when he took 528 shots on goal for an average of 6.68 shots/game and had the highest number of shots on goal since Esposito's record in 1970-71. His 528 shots that season look like an anomaly when you consider his career season average is 370 and he hasn't had more than 386 shots on goal in a season since 2008-09. Despite leading the league in shots for 9 of his 10 NHL seasons, it will be a miracle for Ovechkin to crack 500 SOGs once more and challenge Esposito's record. But just like Ray Bourque's career shots on goal record - if anyone is going to break it, it's going to be Ovechkin.

Why It Won't Be Broken:

Sadly, we think Ovechkin's shot at this record has passed. He hasn't been able to tally the same number of shots on goal in the past 6 years and there is nobody else in the NHL that is showing any glimpses of hitting even 400 shots on goal in a season. Coaches and players are simply too smart to allow a player that many scoring chances. Esposito set the record in a different era in which there was simply more open ice and scoring chances galore. This record had stood for 43 years and should continue to stand unless Ovechkin starts taking shots as soon as he crosses centre ice.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Ready For The Rebuild

There's a high demand for brown paper bags in Toronto these days.
Being a Maple Leafs fan has not been easy. No Cup since 1967, Harold Ballard's reign of terror, the non-call in 1993, and one playoff appearance since 2004. It's been difficult and loyalty has definitely been tested in the last decade, but now the team might actually get it right with a  proper rebuild. With Brendan Shanahan's management team getting the support to tear down the team and start fresh there will be another 3-5 years of non-competitive hockey in Toronto, but you won't hear many fans complaining about this.

Monday, February 2, 2015

NHL Skills Competition Needs To Learn From Its Past And From Other Leagues

It's been over a week since the NHL All-Star Weekend and there were some surprising stats released last week in regards to TV ratings surrounding the entire weekend. The ratings crashed in both Canada and the US with the All-Star Game, Fantasy Draft and Skills Competition taking massive hits from past installments. The All-Star Game dropping is no real surprise and the Fantasy Draft is relatively new, but the NHL Skills Competition should be a marquee event for fans and a highlight on the NHL calendar.

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