Best goalscoring reel, ever

This Pavel Bure highlight reel, might be my favourite yet (if only someone would do a Jagr or Lemieux tribute as good!?).

Bonus points: Wicked Techno track

Severed Heads Prospect Highlight Reel

This is for Doug.

Two things struck me; the first is that he reminds me a ton of Jimmy Carson, and secondly when you get to the end of the highlight reel there is a two-on-one where he fakes the pass and takes a full on slap shot from like three feet away from the goalie.

From my own experience with Doug, goalies hate it when you do that.


In the Blood

The upcoming prospect draft contains what I note as being an interesting trend, a new generation of hockey players from NHL parents and siblings.

We can see the phenomenae from a FUNHL perspective by noting that the Severed Heads (thank you, thank you) ostensibly launched it by selecting both Robert Nilsson-R NYI (son of Magic Man Kent Nilsson), and Chris Bourque-D Wsh (son of HOF Ray Bourque). But the trend that started with those picks appears to be accellerating.

Among the bloodlines coming down the pipe that would make interesting prospect selections;

Blake Geoffrion - F Nsh: He's the grandson of Boom-Boom Geoffrion. Has 2nd line potential.

Igor Makarov-F Chi: son of offensive mega-force and soviet legend Sergei Makarov. All offense, all the time. And he's already bigger than his dad, clocking in at 6'ft 182. The incompleteness of his game holds him back.

Brandon Sutter - C Red Deer: TSN has him as among the top 10 forwards available for the 2007 draft. He's the son of Brent Sutter - who if you recall was the Sutter brother with the most offensive talent. Brandon is growing into a larger 6'2 frame than any Sutter genes previously produced, and you know the work ethic will be there.

Jared Staal - C Sudbury: He's 6/1'2, has wingspan, offense and skating ability - and he's only 15. The final installment of the Staal brothers promises to be as good as the three ahead of him. At least one scout called him the best of the four.

Paul Statsny - C Col : The spitting image of his father, there are questions about his skating ability that still need to be answered, however, Colorado is itching to have him compete with the team moving forward. Is this Statsny-Nordiques part II?

Yan Statsny - L Bos: Older brother of Paul and son of Peter, Yan is probably more of a checking line winger than an offensive forward.

Erik Nystrom - L Cgy: Son of Lorne, he's a grinder/goalscorer in the Darren McCarty mold.

Am I missing anyone? (note: since the original posting I have edited it to include the last three entries. They just didn't hit me till after I was done).




Fischler digs the Wang

The one, the only, the legend Stan Fischler has written a column about the Wang situation on the Island.

Is it any surprise that the man who famously would have picked Lafontaine over Yzerman is the only writer publicly siding with the owner Charles Wang?

I admit up front, he makes a good point about it being Wang's team and that he has the right to do as he please, whether it is run by committee, or by Maggie the Monkey, it's his call to make.

My only problem with Wang's moves are;

- Garth freakin Snow? Really?
- Why not wait a few days and get a full search team together, you know, like one of those committee type things that Neil Smith wasn't so hot with?

Where did all the new goalscoring come from?

The Hockey Analysis blog has this post up regarding the increase in goalscoring and where the increase really comes from...

Money quote:

What we will find is that teams played 39% more time on the PP (or PK) this season than in 2003-04. Combined PP and SH increased 46%. When we factor out the ice time difference PP and SH goal scoring only increased a measly 5%.

We will also find that even strength ice time dropped to 88.3% of what it was in 2003-04 while even strength goals were up 5.12%. When we adjust for the ice time difference we find that even strength goals are in fact up 19%.

Why the difference? I suspect the reason why even strength goals are up more than PP/SH goals after adjusting for ice time is because power plays are usually just played inside the blue line and the benefits of no red line and the crack down on neutral zone obstruction has very little influence on the PP.

In conclusion, while the greatest net increase in goals this season has been because of the increase in penalties, the crack down on obstruction and the other rule changes have had a much more significant impact on the rate of goals being scored even strength.

- Exactly right! The impact of the changes to even strength play are being underplayed because of the increase in powerplay scoring and time spent on the powerplay (there are more powerplays per game, and powerplay efficiency is at a greater clip than previously).


FUNHL Blog question: to video or not to video?

Rob raised a concern I hadn't even thought of - that he can't access the web page because of his slow connection and the massive amnt of information that a video post requires.

Fair enough I guess, until I'm told otherwise that everyone is cool with video on our blog, I will post the video to Antiphon Rising website and then cross post a link to the FUNHL site.

If things change however, and our GMs get themselves highspeed wireless (I can't live without out now that I have it), I'll revert to posting the best hockey vids I can find.

Worst Hockey Uniform ever?



Just checking if I am now logged into the site...

Ice Chips from TSN

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nikolai Zherdev, who is a restricted free agent, has signed a contract with Khimik Voskresensk of the Russian Superleague. Zherdev will be able to get out of the contract if he signs with the Blue Jackets. - Columbus Post-Dispatch

All good news, except for that last sentence. It does raise an interesting question as to what is going on with the Russian Hockey League and the transfer fee agreement. If Zherdev has a contract is their a buy out that has to take place with the Russian team to free him up? How bad does Zherdev want to be in Russia rather than Ohio? Stanislav Chistov and Alexey Morozov are both possible to join NHL teams this year, or they could well decide to stay and ply their wares in the Russian League. And of course, then there is Malkin....

The Philadelphia Flyers and winger Simon Gagne are reportedly far apart on a new contract, but GM Bob Clarke maintains it will happen before training camp. - Philadelphia Daily News

It would be a team apocalypse if Gagne had to be moved by Clarke. Forsberg is the teams best player, and Primeau is the captain, but Gagne is the engine that makes the team tick. Without his goalscoring the Flyers will simply not be competitive. Here's hoping that Gagne wants the big bucks, and either forces the Flyers into a round of salary dumping (bye bye Derian Hatcher!) or (gasp) forces him to deal Gagne elsewhere.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may send 2006 first-round pick Jiri Tlusty to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. - Toronto Sun

Where he will join Luca Cerada and all the other lost Leaf prospects, never to be seen again. Abandon all hope ye who are drafted by the Leafs.

The Phoenix Coyotes would be interested in acquiring Devils forward Scott Gomez in he wins his arbitration case and the Devils can't afford him. - Arizona Republic

The Coyotes have a serious lack of offense on the team, and Gomez is someone they would obviously covet for that asset, but if you already have one undersized skill pivot without a physical or defensive dimmension (Comrie), do you really need two of them?

Penguins winger Colby Armstrong could sign his qualifying offer on Thursday. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of the more interesting plots to pay attention to this year is 'who plays with Crosby', and at least part of the answer could be Colby Armstrong. I suspect that he is ultimately going to be a 3rd line checking winger (I feel the same way about the Leaf's Steen), but Armstrong might have enough pop in his stick and sense in his head to work well with Crosby. Bears watching.


Second thoughts about Wang

My knee jerk reaction to the firing of Neil Smith, and his replacement with Garth Snow is below, but as a thought experiment, I wondered if perhaps Wang might actually be smarter than he looks.

Conisder first the background.

Some trace the departure of Lafontaine, the signing of Alexei Yashin, or the retirement of Bossy as the hall-mark moments when the Islanders began their steep descent as a hockey team. In truth though, all are reflections of what has been a chaotic (to say the least) ride for the franchise.

Key to understanding the situation is Mike Millbury. Brought in to run the team at a time the ownership was in complete meltdown, he was forced to strip his team of player costs for prospects and cash. In a string of highly questionable (Luongo, Jokinen, Palffy as 'Village Idiot' during contract negotiations, etc.) moves, Millbury dismantled the team and kept his masters happy.

So when judging Millbury's performance in this period of time it's important to remember that while he was making deals he was being judged by a standard that no one other than his owners had - cut payroll, and his performance in this regard was eventually rewarded.

Millbury with Wang and Co. now in charge takes Dad's Porsche out for a spin for the first time, stomps the gas at his first green light and slams full speed into a pole, nearly killing all passengers on board.

To be blunt, his attempt at remaking the franchise is a horror show;

- Jason Spezza (actually the 2nd pick overall) and Zdeno Chara to the Senators for Alexei Yashin.
- Then he signs the Mike 'the Mirage' Peca to be his second line centre.

Both moves are outright disasters, and it's at this point that any sane man would pull the trigger on Millbury.

Then the lockout happens, and the guillotine is suspended.

I suspect it was during this time that Wang and Millbury reached an understanding that would move Millbury up and out, and blow up the mgt. structure underneath. Which I think unduly rewards Millbury (does he have compromising pictures of Wang?) but is otherwise the most sane thing Wang has done since he bought the team.

So they blow it up - and the result is Neil Smith (a tried and true GM), and Ted Nolan. Both of these guys are vets, but both come with a Beyonce-on-tour level of baggage. Still, both have upside, are intelligent and wouldn't have been surprise hires elsewhere.

Then he brings on Pat Lafontaine as an advisor. This again, looks like a good move. Lafontaine is one the NHL's good guys, smart, affable, a workaholic, and virtually synonymous with 'integrity'.

And that goes without saying he was also the last 'Great' Islander.

So the reasons for optimism for the Islanders are falling into place.

Smith's moves over the last few months haven't been stupid, but instead focussed on making the Islanders; faster, add power, and add toughness, in a difficult post CBA marketplace. He was also crippled by the untradeable/unbuy-outable Yashin contract, and overall I thought he was doing OK picking up the pieces given his limited worskpace.

My own verdict? A solid 'B'.

So what happened?

My guess; Smith got into a power struggle with someone, either; Nolan, Lafontaine, Millbury, or Wang.

However it played out among those four, the announced result is that Smith was having his wings clipped by a committee structure, and couldn't/wouldn't live with that. Lafontaine, either sided with the fallen Smith, or couldn't believe the infighting was so bad and decided to bail.

So here after all of this pre-amble is my second thought;

"Maybe Wang was right to clip Smith's duties, even at the cost of Lafontaine as an advisor?"

That is, maybe Wang is genius enough to reconfigure the traditional management structure of a hockey team, and replace not just the people, but the roles with something completely new.

And then I recalled that along with all of this weirdness with Smith and the disapointing departure of Lafontaine is that we've already got a glimpse of this bold reimagining that Wang has in mind.

And apparently it starts with Garth 'oversized pads' Snow.

So much for second thoughts.

Hang on everybody, cuz it looks like the Islanders are going to be one incredible car accident for us to gawk at!

On goaltending stats

This post has some fascinating analysis of real world hockey statistics related to NHL goaltenders (who was better, Fuhr or Moog? the answer may suprise you).

It is also a prime example of what happens when you deprive a hockey geek of real hockey for too long. They start doing meta-analysis of goalscoring from different areas of the ice and trying to blend in an analysis of defense acumen, etc.

Clearly the off-season has been trying for him!


Moriarty's Madness

We have arrived! The Shadow is soon to arrive. Note our COOL logo below.

The Islanders Gong Show continues

So Islanders owner Charles Wang hires Neil Smith to be the GM, Ted Nolan to be the coach, and Pat Lafontaine to be his 'special advisor'.

With the ink barely dry on the contract signings, he has now turned around and canned Neil Smith after just over a month on duty, and without a game being played.

And who does Mr. Wang turn to in this bizzarre series of events to run his team? What mastermind of the rink has he suddenly found interested in the job?

Garth Snow.

I'm not kidding.

Now can someone lend me a few hundred million? There is a team in New York that clearly needs a new owner.

What's Up with Evgeni Malkin?

The Puck Stops Here, has the latest.

Not Hockey--Questions about Calgary

Hi all,

I'm thinking picking up a degree in Calgary ~2007/8. I've got questions that Google Maps just won't answer. Examples:

-Where is "downtown" Calgary? Is it a good place to live, or just a bunch of office towers?
-SAIT looks pretty central from a google map. Is this misleading? What kind of area is it in?
-Where is the red mile? (Hockey... drinking... topless women. Not a bad impression of a city to have.)
-What (and where) are interesting neighbourhoods to live in? (Lots of streetlife, cool stores, good breakfast places.)
-Do you need a car to live well in Calgary? (Everyone I know from Calgary seems to drive.)
-My impression of Calgary in the winter: Dark-side-of-hell freezing, except on sundays, when there's a chinook, and we all go play golf in our shorts. Is this anything like reality?


Rumour Mill

Bruins assistant general manager Jeff Gorton was neither surprised nor bothered by the report that top draft pick Phil Kessel will be returning to school in the fall, though he said he believes Kessel's final decision for next season hasn't yet been made.
-- Boston Herald

-This would take the air out of any thoughts that he should be made an FP out of the gate, as well as make him a clear top candidate for the first overall prospect pick. Also worth noting that Niklas Backstrom, the Swedish pivot selected by Washington, and Eric Johnson the mammoth Blake clone that St Louis picked first overall are both expected to stay out of the NHL for at least another season. Backstrom has a deal to play in Sweden, and Johnson is looking at a year or more playing in College.

City and county officials yesterday announced they have firmed up financing for a new arena, a move they said should help keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

- Damn. I'm still holding out that faintest of faint hopes that Pittsburgh will move to Winnipeg.

Rule proposal 1 - entry draft eligibility

Re: ENTRY DRAFT eligibility, Rule 10.11

A) A player may only be selected in the Entry Draft if he has already played a minimum of one NHL
- regular season game OR
- regular season or playoff game
and is neither dead nor on the NHL list of retired players.

B) This applies to all ED picks
- except FPs OR
- except FPs and UFAs (ie selections in Rounds 1-10 of the ED)

Rule proposal 2 - Prospect dropping time

All prospects being dropped from a Team’s Prospects List must be announced and dropped EITHER prior to the start of the Entry Draft, or after the conclusion of the Entry Draft, and prior to the start of the Prospect Draft. No prospect, regardless of when selected, can be dropped during the Entry Draft, or dropped once the Prospect Draft has started (i.e. once the first overall pick has been made)

Rule Proposal 7 - Goaltending Benchmark Change

Changing the Goaltending stat from 3.5 to 4.0.

Rule Proposal 6 - Prospect Draft Pick trading

Rob’s proposal to allow for the trading of the following season’s PrD picks during the offseason. This would involve the addition of Rule 18.1:

18.1 During the offseason, Prospect Draft picks for both the upcoming and subsequent Prospect Drafts can be traded.

Rule Proposal #5 - Change trading deadline

Bob’s suggestion to give a full week after the NHL deadline for our trade deadline. Again, this shouldn’t be too difficult to edit rule 41.1 to read “second Monday” as opposed to “first Monday” following the NHL trade deadline.

Rule Proposal #4- Wavier Wire Drops Early

Dan’s suggestion that we make our Waiver Draft drops early. This would require an edit to Rule 27 to simply state that the drops are to be made “The Thursday prior to each Waiver Draft…” instead of the current “At the start of each Waiver Draft…”.

Rule Proposal 3 - Conditial Waiver Wire Bids

A proposal to allow for conditional Waiver Wire bids. This would entail the addition of Rule 25.1:

25.1 GMs can make conditional bids for multiple players on the Waiver Wire at the same position by designating their preferred order of selection. The bid upon player is awarded on the basis of ranking of bid and then on the reverse order of standing of the Team making the bid. [Note: This means that a team in 1st place can “outbid” a team in 6th place for the rights to a player on the waiver wire if the 1st place team’s bid is their first choice while the 6th place team’s bid is their second choice.]