News and Notes

Heads picks get bashed fairly often in Doug's season review, but one pick I wanted to defend was taking Briere in the 2nd. Of the RW taken after Briere only Gaborik had significantly better stats, and Briere's numbers were superior to Hemsky's. I regret the pick to be sure (Gaborik would have been much better), but would Doan have been an upgrade? No.

Brian will likely be replacing an Fp this draft which will mean one of either Iginla or St Louis will be available in trade or at the draft. Both are getting long in the tooth, but both would stll be 1st rounders if released.

On the topic of St Louis, he has officially asked for a trade - cue the outrage machine as another player with a no-trade asks to be moved. Or not. My bet is that because it is Tampa and not Ottawa none of the frothing at the mouth coverage Heatley received will be in effect this time around. Which says more about the dark side of knee-jerk nationalism among Canadian journalists than anything else.

Speaking of FPs, my shortlist of guys who could be taken is; Green-D Wsh, Getzlaf-C Ana, Keith-D Chi, Backstrom-C Wsh, the Sedins, Kane-R Chi, and Miller-G Buf. Semin-L is close but still too injury prone for my liking. None of this takes into account Funhl teams or their needs.

My Funhl awards would be:

Hart: H. Sedin
Norris: Green
Selke: Kesler
Vezina: Miller
Calder: Myers

will Jagr return to the NHL? It's definitely possible. Where he would be picked depends heavily on who signs him. If it's Columbus his selection will occur much, much later than if he takes a Mario discount deal to play Pittsburgh.

Maybe it's just me, but If I were in charge of the Panthers I would blow them up completely. Weiss is not a legit 1st line center, Horton is a nice talent but can't carry the team, and prospects like Repik, Mathias and Frolik haven't reached their potential. Time to gut the staff and start over.

There is an awesome debate on who the Oilers should take first overall taking shape at Lowetide's blog (link in sidebar at the right). Here is how the Taylor Vs Tyler looks to me;

Hall-L Windsor:

The Good: elite wheels, good size for his position, ultra competitive,precocious talent, son of an athlete (dad was in CFL), lead OHL in assists, steady upward trend, NHL caliber shot, track record of winning, MVP of the Memorial Cup, best player on Canada's WJC team. Projects as goal scoring power winger.

The Bad: Prima Donna, gets 'blown up' by big checks too often, left handed shot, not great at faceoffs. Played for a loaded team. Ability to physically overwhelm defensemen not as likely at next level.

Seguin-C Plymouth

The Good: Prototype #1 center, playmaking ability, right handed shot, hockey sense, steady upward trend, son of an athlete (father was a minor pro hockey player), wildly outplayed Hall at prospects game, carried a weak team offensively, emotional maturity.

The Bad: later birthdate means he's played one less year of junior, dominated by Hall and Windsor in OHL playoffs, cut from WJrs, and hasn't been counted on in international play.

Most scouts have these two as 'pick em', as they look to be the cream of this years draft crop by a fair margin.

My prediction is that the Oilers will take Seguin because he fits an organizational need for a #1 center.

Which means Taylor Hall will be a Bruin. Sweet.

NHL's version of the Top 10 on the season

Thoughts? Agree/Disagree? Better ones out there?

NHL VideoCenter">
Top 10

Then select Top 10 Goals... can't find a direct link...


FUNHL News and Notes

The season is winding down to a close, so here are some penultimate thoughts on how it has gone;

- Big Thanks go to Doug for hi stats, and to Brian for his spreadsheets. Props also go to Bob for indefatigable communication skills, to our host of the Entry Draft (uh...Dan? I sadly could not attend due to the impending arrival of Mairi, so I am no longer sure who held it), and to everyone in the pool for keeping it real and making it fun.

- I have to be honest, I never saw the Hank Sedin leading the league in scoring thing coming. I had locked them in as ppg players in the late-stage-career-Mat-Sundin mold. Steady, reliable guys, but not superstars. So Henrik's ascent to the peak of the league in scoring is genuinely shocking to me.

- Remember Patrik Stefan? Pavel Brendl? They were the guys picked ahead of, and immediately after the Sedin twins.

- I'm not thrilled with the return on the Phaneuf trade, but if the result is Ian White, Matt Stajan and Nik Hagman are productive components moving forward I'm not too disappointed. The reality is that Phaneuf has nice tools, but no tool-box, and will always be less than the sum of his parts. He's the next Jovo-cop/Al Iafrate/Bryan McCabe, all tease, and a headcase. I can see how moving Phaneuf for a group of pieces to fill in holes on the roster makes sense. What bothers me is that I would have preferred the team role the dice on futures (1st rnd picks especially) and/or precocious young talent. The fact is that dealing Phaneuf for enough spackle to patch holes on forward and D made the team competitive enough to possibly make the playoffs, and that was clearly mgt's aim. To me though, the bigger priority in a Phaneuf trade should have been addressing the lack of talent coming up the pipeline. Backlund is now up with the team (and doing ok, more or less), and Boyd was moved out for a mid-round pick, Nemisz is still a year or more away - and thats about it. The rest of our forwards in the minors are 3rd/4th line guys with varying degrees of upside, but there is not a game-breaker amongst them. So my target from Toronto wouldn't have been Stajan, but rather Nazim Kadri.

- Craig Conroy should be polishing his broadcasting skills in the near future. I love the guy, but his game has now officially reached 'awful', and at 38 years old I can't see him sticking around any longer. Langkow gives every appearance of morphing into what Conroy was two years ago - a decent third line center with lots of savvy, ok but diminishing wheels, and loads of hockey sense. Unfortunately, that role makes Langkow's contract stupidly overpriced. Moss, Nystrom, Stajan, Kotalik, Higgins, are for that matter all very useful 3rd and 4th line guys, but not a gunslinger among them. Each of them is a nice complimentary piece, but none of them can make a line go. Of the forwards the only one I would rock solidly commit to long term us Iginla - everyone else could/can/should go.

- Despite the fact I think he is imminently expendable I have to admit, the Rene Bourque reclamation project has worked out. I just wish Calgary had made some effort to get into the Cam Barker reclamation project sweepstakes as well.

- From what I've read the Oilers are 60/40 in favour of Seguin over Hall. The Oilers prefer Seguin's position (they desperately need a #1 center), his skillset (slightly better goalscorer), and the fact he's roughly even with Hall in points despite being the younger player all work in his favour. Which is fine for me, as Hall will more likely be going to Boston.

- Go see 'Clash of the Titans' (and for that matter Alice in Wonderland) in 2D, rather than the more expensive 3D. Both were shot and filmed for 2D, but 'converted' into 3d after the fact. COTT in 2D was tonnes of fun, so save your money and savor the awesomeness of the film as it was originally intended. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

- Funny, but a few weeks after I lament the fact that Guillaume Latendresse would never reach the potential he represented on his draft day, he's traded out of the stifling confines of Montreal, to the Wild, and promptly goes ballistic ripping off a very respectable 25 goals and 37 points in 55 games.

- Also apparently rejuvenated by escaping the spotlight for the zombie-Jets is Lee Stempniak with 13 goals in his last 15 games as a Coyote, and 1st star of the month from the NHL.

- Speaking of the Coyotes, any speculation they will adopt the old Jets uniform when they return to Manitoba? No way I can see them getting away from the name 'Jets'.

- Erik Karlsson has gone from 'does he make the team being only 165lbs?' to 'is he already the teams best offensive defenseman' over the course of the season. With 11 points over the last 10 games, Karlsson has bumped everyone else to the side.

- WhileI am blowing my own horn about Karlsson, this year represents the graduation of the greatest draft in Severed Heads history;

Backstrom-C Wsh
Stastny-C Col
Ryan-R Ana
Frolik-R Fla

(in baseball terms that would be; a homerun, a triple, a stand-up double, and a single - I hit for the cycle!)

- I also have to accept back the 'Exploding In A Hail Of Goo' award I gave to Darrell for selecting Plecanek as a prospect. I saw him as Randy Robitaille with a European accent. Instead he looks like the new Saku Koivu. He's been stupid good, and I was clearly an idiot for slagging Darrell when he picked him.

- Chris Chelios was just reassigned to the Chicago Wolves, making his appearance in an NHL uniform again highly unlikely. In other news Keith Tkachuk officially calls it quits.;

Here are his stats;
--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM

1991-92  Winnipeg Jets               NHL    17    3    5    8   28   7   3   0   3  30
1992-93 Winnipeg Jets NHL 83 28 23 51 201 6 4 0 4 14
1993-94 Winnipeg Jets NHL 84 41 40 81 255 -- -- -- -- --
1994-95 Winnipeg Jets NHL 48 22 29 51 152 -- -- -- -- --
1995-96 Winnipeg Jets NHL 76 50 48 98 156 6 1 2 3 22
1996-97 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 81 52 34 86 228 7 6 0 6 7
1997-98 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 69 40 26 66 147 6 3 3 6 10
1998-99 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 68 36 32 68 151 7 1 3 4 13
1999-00 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 50 22 21 43 82 5 1 1 2 4
2000-01 Phoenix Coyotes NHL 64 29 42 71 108 -- -- -- -- --
2000-01 St. Louis Blues NHL 12 6 2 8 14 15 2 7 9 20
2001-02 St. Louis Blues NHL 73 38 37 75 117 10 5 5 10 18
2002-03 St. Louis Blues NHL 56 31 24 55 139 7 1 3 4 14
2003-04 St. Louis Blues NHL 75 33 38 71 83 5 0 2 2 10
2005-06 St. Louis Blues NHL 41 15 21 36 46 -- -- -- -- --
2006-07 St. Louis Blues NHL 61 20 23 43 92 -- -- -- -- --
2006-07 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 18 7 8 15 34 4 1 2 3 12
2007-08 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 27 31 58 69 -- -- -- -- --
2008-09 St. Louis Blues NHL 79 25 24 49 61 4 0 0 0 2
2009-10 St. Louis Blues NHL 66 13 17 30 56
NHL Totals 1200 538 525 1063 2219 89 28 28 56 176
Hall of Fame worthy? His career playoff numbers (highlighted in red at the bottom) are not greatl, and he never went to the big dance, so at a minimum I think he'll have to wait a few years (ala Cam Neely), but my gut says he should be a 'Yes'. In FUNHL terms? No question about it. His 93/94 and 96/97 combined TG numbers are legendary, and for 11 years he had 100+ PIM or better with ppg offense. Pretty much the definition of power forward in the FUNHL lexicon.

Chelios on the other hand will be a first ballot inductee mortal lock no matter how you cut it.

Quote of the Day

"Is this our last week to watch Mike Modano, Chris Chelios, Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya?" - Elliot Friedman


Week 26 Line-Ups (Early Edition)

I know it's early - but I'll be somewhere over the Pacific when line-ups are due...