Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Old Is New In The Modern NHL

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Much to our chagrin, the NHL has become somewhat of a laughing stock in terms of major sports leagues, and the events of the last week or so have only given detractors more to laugh at.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL brass have tried to make the game more appealing to American hockey viewers in an effort to secure a lucrative television deal. The NHL has implemented a number of measures to try to increase scoring and "showcase" the skills of their players. Over the last few years the NHL has:

restricted movement of goaltenders in order to prevent them from acting as a third defencman and clearing pucks dumped in by the opposition;

instructed referees to be more stringent in applying rules and calling penalties in order to increase power play opportunities and goals scored;

instituted a shootout to settle games that end in a tie;

and many more ridiculous edicts all in hopes that they can make the game more exciting for viewers.

Obviously NHL General Managers aren't listening - they are smart enough to know that their livelihood is directly linked to wins and losses and not the entertainment value their teams provide "potential" viewers in hockey hotbeds like Nashville, Tennessee and Raleigh, North Carolina. When the league is preaching speed, skill and scoring - NHL GMs have responded by hiring/re-cycling the coaches who have made their names by preaching defence or "responsible hockey" first.

The Calgary Flames fired coach Jim Playfair and replaced him with Mike Keenan - the criticism was that Playfair couldn't get enough out of his team; so they turn to Keenan, a coach known for killing his goaltenders and not exactly an offensive genius. Darryl Sutter hired Mike Keenan thinking that his intensity will rub off on his team - rather than address his team's lack of scoring depth, Darryl wants them to play harder. It would be safe to assume that the Flames goal scoring totals aren't going to rise too much under Keenan...but their PIMs will. Iron Mike was/is/always will be a two year act - he has left every time in much worse shape than when he took over.

The Boston Bruins announced last night that they had hired Claude Julien as their coach. This one makes sense from a Bruins perspective because their goaltending is among the league's weakest - sorry B's fans...Tim Thomas is not a number one goalie. The Bruins have decided that the quickest way back to respectability is to hire a guy who is known for defensive hockey and try to win by a 2-1 count. Claude Julien is not going to do anything to further the offensive development of guys like Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel - but he may turn them into Guy Carbonneau(s).

The Ottawa SenaTards announced that Brian Murray was promoted to replace John Muckler as the Tards GM - Murray said today that he would interview a few candidates to replace him as coach, but the betting is that Tards Assistant Coach John Paddock will get the job. The jury is out on Paddock - he is so far removed from being a coach in the league that we don't know what kind of system he will implement with the Tards.

So for all their efforts to increase scoring and excitement in the league - t the same old names and faces being hired and recycled behind the bench, implementing the same old systems of grinding, "responsible", take no chances hockey.

We'll be back later to rain all over the Tards plan for a Stanley Cup parade in 2007/08 - while Brian Murray is being hailed as a builder of great hockey teams (Detroit and Anaheim), people seem to forget he never led them to the promised land...more later.

Well, its a great day for the city of Toronto today - the Los Angeles Dodgers are visiting for a three game series against the Jays and will be looking to avenge a series loss at Dodgers. The good guys in blue send Brad Penny to the mound tonight against Dustin McGowan. The Dodgers won't be facing AJ Burnett this week - the word is that Burnett is going to be put on the DL. Imagine that, AJ Burnett on the DL? We'll have more on the Dodgers/Jays game tomorrow.

Los Angeles Angels 3B Chone Figgins went 6 for 6 and drove in three runs, including the winner, in the Angels 10-9 win over the Houston Astros last night.

Oakland A's P Joe Blanton pitched eight solid innings against the Reds, limiting them to one run on seven hits while striking out five.

Detroit Tigers SS Carlos Guillen went 3 for 4 with a home run and three runs batted in to lead the Tigers to a 9-8 win over the Nationals.

If you think this morning's three stars were chosen because they all had an impacted on yesterday's three play - you're right.


Well, we were 3-1 last night and start the week off + $165, it might be time to re-evaluate the confidence we have in Curt Schilling...he is looking decidely average more often that not. Today's suggestions:

Detroit over Washington - count us amongst the non-believers when it comes to Jason Simontacchi. Lay $100 on the Tigers - $165.

Oakland over Cincinnati - we'll take Chad Gaudin who has been very good at home over Homer Bailey. Lay $100 on the A's - $180.

Boston over Atlanta - we expect the Sox to return the favour after getting smoked by the Braves last night. Lay $100 on the Sox - $125.

New York Mets over Minnesota - our upset special, we wouldn't try to make a living going against Johan Santana...but you pick your spots against the lefty and tonight is one of them. Lay $100 on the Mets + $130.

Stay away from the Padres vs Orioles...I know Jake Peavy looks like a mortal lock, but I hate suggesting betting against a team in their first game under a new manager - play at your own risk.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bettman's gotta go!


11:34 AM  

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