FUNHL News and Notes (plus FUNBA and other stuff)

- I listen occasionally to PuckDaddy's podcast, and a recent episode made me laugh out loud. Marek and Wyshynski were talking about the Winnpeg Jets and Marek pointed out the absolute greatest scoring summary in NHL history;;

'Wheeler, Little, Clitsome'

*snicker*, just typing it makes me giggle like a 6 year old talking about farts.

- Ten+ years ago the Severed Heads had a triad of Penguins (Jagr, Lemieux, Kovalev) that elevated them to the Predator Cup. This years team has a similar near-fistful (Malkin, Neal, Letang, Jokinen) and now that Letang and Neal are healthy the 'Heads have stopped their freefall in the standings and begun the slow climb back to the top.

- In my last N+N I took a crack at the Barbarians set of pivots, a shot that Mike took exception to. So, yeah. I got it wrong. When assessing the roster I missed on Tyler Seguin - total whiff. Obviously a top tier guy like Seguin improves a below average set of guys into something much better. My bad.

- That said, everybody pointing at Nielsen's scoring stats can shut up. They are an unsustainable mirage and I'd be shocked if he crests 60 points on the season.

- Speaking of unsustainable, Alex Steen is on pace for 68 goals this year. Which, is just not going to happen. He might get to 40 though, and with a UFA contract is in line for a ridiculous pay day.

- So we are four games in to the FUNBA season and the Skywalkers are 1-3, and have not one, but two injured all-star point guards (Rose, Rondo). Sigh. At least we have Lebron-Love.

- One major difference this year in the FUNBA is that everyone plays every week. Holy crap that is making a huge difference to my attention span for basketball.

- The Reto Berra 'round-the-world' save is an absolute jaw dropper. Just sick. For a guy who was reviled as being a 'throw-in' in the J-Bo deal, he's proving that he may well have a future. He's big (6'4"), athletic, and aside from some rust and growing pains, appears to be a legit NHL starter caliber guy.

- Even with decent goaltending, the Flames are now having too many injuries to be competitive. Losing Giordano was a serious blow, but having Wideman and Monahan go down after blocking shots is pretty much the coup de grace for the Flames season.

- Another pleasant surprise for the Flames, Kris Russell. Not big, not a burner, but solid and productive with a crisp pass and a nice shot. He's a keeper.

- If I were a GM I would invest in at least one player (Jusi Jokinen, I'm looking at you) who is a shoot-out 'specialist'. Finding a guy who is money in the shoot-out is about the most efficient method possible for creating points in the standings. A guy like Jokinen might make the difference between missing the playoffs and making them - and given Jokinen could have been had off the waiver wire last year, the investment to get those extra points is actually quite small.

- Feaster traded a 3rd rnd pick to get Corban Knight, and a 4th rnd pick to get Joe Colborne. These are flat out ridiculous deals in Feaster's favour. Knight and Colborne are big, young pivots on entry level deals and both have very legitimate shots at long NHL careers. The picks represent a collective 15% chance of producing a single NHL player. To recap, two useful centerman with size, youth and high ceilings for the 15% chance of an NHL player. Massive. Win.

- Malkin is entering 'beast mode' with 19 points in his last 12 games and the league lead in assists.

- Watch out for the Lowlanders in the FUNBA, they've been a roll lately, and show no signs of slowing down. Also beware of Darrel's Goodfellas, they finished 2nd last year and are looking to make another run at the top.

- The Oilers won three in a row recently, but that may have more to do with a soft spot in the schedule than with an actual improvement in how they are playing. Once Chicago showed up in Edmonton the blowouts returned.

- Tyrion Lannister is my favourite character on TV right now, with a solid second place to Johnny Lee Miller's recovering heroin addict Sherlock Holmes on 'Elementary'. Game of Thrones blows me away. First because it is just so very good tv, but also because it represents the living embodiment of all those hundreds of hours of D+D I played through my teens and early twenties.

- Watch for the Leafs to go into a major tail-spin despite their very good record. The advance stats (especially Corsi and PDO) indicate they have been getting outplayed in almost every game (often by a wide margin), and living off unsustainable shooting %s, hot goaltending, and horse shoe shaped suppositories. With the recent spanking by Columbus (6-0) and a followup SO loss to the Penguins where they blew a 4 goal lead and didn't record a shot in the 3rd period or overtime, the advanced stat chickens are coming home to roost.

- My son and I invented a new chess variation, 'Hilton Chess'. Oliver starts with; a King, a Rook, a Bishop, and a Knight, while Dad gets a King and three pawns. Oliver has to checkmate Dad before he advances a pawn to Oliver's home row. I love this because it gives Oliver a chance to experience a very good chance of killing Dad, while stressing the differences in how Rooks, Bishops and Knights move on the board. I think this game could catch on. Watch for it at your local game stores.

- It doesn't look to me like there is any way possible for Jason Spezza to make the Canadian Olympic team. Too many pivots ahead of him, and Spezza doesn't bring anything extra to the table outside of his playmaking.

- So Rogers just dropped $5.2B on NHL hockey rights and then turned around and made a deal with CBC to keep Hockey Night in Canada on CBC while all the revenue from those games goes to Rogers. Total. Victory.

- Does Bob MacKenzie jump to Sportsnet now? Please? TSN will be dead to me without wall to wall hockey coverage, and Bobby-Mac is by far the best analyst in the business, so while everybody moans and wails about what will happen to Don Cherry, I'm actually more concerned about a MacKenzie deficit.

- I like Brent Seabrook at ton, but I wouldn't put him on the Olympic roster ahead of PK Subban.

- If I were the Capitals, I'd be very, very, interested in finding out what the cost of acquiring Ryan Miller would be.

- I'd take Claude Giroux ahead of Eric Staal for the Olympic team.

- I checked out the Grey Cup for a bit while it was on. It was never on doubt, and with Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady on the other channel it wasn't a close choice as to what to watch



Douglas McLachlan said...

HI Cam,

Your N&N deserves some love back. Really enjoy reading these - even, no, especially when we disagree.

Think you Pens power is pretty potent, still we have a ways to go to get back to the top of the standings. Nice Head-to-Head win btw, sorry for the delay but think of it as my Birthday present.

Speaking of the Pens. Chew on this. The Bruins and Pens are top of their divisions in the East but would be touch and go to get a Wildcard spot in the West. Unreal.

Much more into the B-Ball this year - probably has to do with actually being in it :-) Two undefeated teams going at it this week in the Goodfellas/Flatlanders tilt. Not going so good for me this week but bound to happen. Up until now my 4-0 record involved not only 4 straight wins but 4 straight weeks with best pt total. Bound for a readjustment.

After the loss to Chicago, the Oil went out and shutout Nashville so "hope" has yet to be snuffed out completely in E-Town. Columbus will be looking for revenge tonight which makes it a good test. Back-to-back games for Mr. Universe so we'll see if he has a second game in him.

Interesting Bryz stat: In his 4 first games with NHL teams (ANA, PHX, PHI and now the Oilers) his record is 4-0 with a 0.75 GAA. Nice first impression - aka unsustainable.

Game of Thrones is so awesome I can't describe. Best part of the first season is the slow pace that the magical elements are introduced so that when we finally see white walkers and dragons you are too invested in the world to give up.

BTW, know you have little love for Agents of Shield but do find some time for Almost Human. The budy-cop format seems to work really well and the budget looks to be keeping up with the ambition of the writers.

Leaf-corsi-collapse couldn't happen to a better fanbase, no?

Love "Hilton Chess". Sophia never took to it but perhaps with so much going on the patterns were hard to pin down. May use this format to teach the different pieces. What do you use as starting position?

Bob MacKenzie is going to stay with TSN. They will weather the storm and bid up the regional deals when they come up. NHL going with a 12 year pact probably precludes any more national exposure for the TSN team but I think we will still turn to TSN to set the "serious news" standard which MacKenzie excells at.

Still, hard to believe that this huge injection of $ won't elevate the HRR a bunch and lift the cap even more. The Oiler's $6 deals with the Hall/Eberle/Nugent-Hopkins core may not hamsting them at all. On the other hand, how would you like to be P.K. Subban's agent :-)

Cameron said...

Hey Doug,

- Thanks for the N&N love! I don't much encouragement to keep pumping these out, but it is always nice to get some!

- I'm having another big night (Friday the 29th) and could be as high as top 4 by end of week. Not bad considering I was in serious trouble of being dead last only a couple of weeks ago. The biggest change is the return to health of Letang, Neal and Burns, and getting positive goaltending stats out of Luongo. If/when Semin returns to health I'll suggest my team is actually competitive.

- One thing that factors into the BB pool is how many man-games you get each week. Practically all my coaching decisions revolve around maximizing the #of times my guys play more than who they are.

- Edmonton is just a poorly constructed team with too many players not yet in their prime and a serious lack of NHL calibre D-men outside of the top pairing. It could get really, really ugly once the schedule stops sending them creampuffs.

- GOT is just f*cking awesome. Full stop.

- I actually have a lot of love for Agents of Shield, but it's like finding out that your kid is a serial killer. Why, why, why can't this show be good? It is so boring and predictable and just badly written that I want to punch the screen.

- I have already suggested that Almost Human is a much better show than AofS. It still hasn't fully hit its stride, but it has an energy and intelligence to it that AoS has completely lacked.

- I am absolutely loving how the advanced stats crowd is feeding the Leaf fan base a truck load of crow. Not recording a shot in the 3rd or OT was some kind of magic.

- Hilton chess starts with each King on his home square with the other pieces also in their home squares. It's really helped Oliver understand how the major pieces move (and is just far less chaotic than a full game). In full games Oliver likes to advance each of his pawns one square to form a picket line. He's so adorable I want to cry.

- I understood that the Rogers deal alone will mean another $14M per team in yearly revenue and that as a result the cap for each team should go up by $7M-ish, before you factor in any other revenue streams that Bettman and Co. have increased (which should be all of them). I wouldn't be shocked if the the cap were well North of $70M next year.

- I'd ratther be PK Subban. ;-)