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The Weekender: No One Wants to Drive on Ice

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Kentucky vs Alabama Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with the ESPN re-alignment article. There are some good ideas in this, but the overall premise is rotten. Detroit will never go back to the West. Columbus shouldn’t go back either, as that franchise has started to ascend improve since their move to the East. The NHL divisions aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty close to ideal. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t want a division mostly full of teams that don’t spend to the salary cap. That’s what happened in the old Southeast Division. The Capitals won that so many times that the roof in the Verizon Center Capital One Arena became a fire hazard.

Moving Nashville to the East in a division with Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Washington would’ve been a lot cooler if it was the one-for-one swap when Atlanta moved to Winnipeg.

I don’t discredit the idea that re-alignment isn’t needed. Without a change, Arizona will likely be shifted to the Central. Folks... it wouldn’t be good for them. But maybe then their front office wouldn’t bail out teams like Chicago with terrible trades.

Chicago is going to trade Duclair and Seabrook somewhere for a pick and a prospect, right? Seabrook has a full NMC, but Stan Bowman can guilt the hell out of him. That’s how this is going to work. See: Marc-Andre Fleury and the terrible horrible no good very bad expansion draft.

If screwing over Arizona is the casualty of the potential Seattle expansion, perhaps it’s the universe’s way of sending Arizona a bill for all of the drama NHL fans have seen unfold. Three home games a year against Chicago & St. Louis doesn’t sound bad to their box office, though expecting visiting fans to fill the building consistently is a bad recipe for a market. But it is time to try something new with Arizona. Their arena deal isn’t getting resolved quickly. No one outside of one city should be pulling for Arizona to fail, and that one city is Houston. Houston already has a downtown arena, and it’s an even larger market than Phoenix.

Clear and simple: the Nashville Predators will win the offside challenge more often than not... because reasons.

The Oilers game was not the best effort from start to finish, but they still won. That’s the new normal and it’s probably prolonged Laviolette’s tenure in Nashville compared to other places he’s coached. He doesn’t have to be the unforgiving task master he was in year one every single game. I’ll miss the rage timeouts, but as long as the results are still positive... it’s hard to argue his strategy.

After letting the Golden Knights print t-shirts and jerseys, play games, and become an early success... the United States Army has filed a complaint against the Vegas Golden Knights. The colors are similar, the names are similar, but as the official VGK response notes: anyone expecting a parachute show inside T Mobile Arena will be disappointed.

According to Chris Creamer’s source, there’s a good chance the Army wins.

Side note: Chris Creamer does a masterful job with his site.

Much like his teams, you can’t count on Ken Hitchcock quotes to get you through every single week. Instead, we have a new and exciting category to debut.

That’s right, it’s bad idea season.

This week’s winner:

We all can agree that Johansen should shoot more. I’ll give him that.

what would you trade for Pacioretty?

what would you trade for Kane?

What would you trade for _______ (insert player of choice)?

Cascapedia on Jan 10, 2018 | 7:52 AM

I’m not interested in Evander Kane. I’m just not. Maybe if Mike Fisher was still in the room, but not today.

Max Pacioretty has been a consistent scoring threat the last 6 years. During that time, he’s scored (or been on pace for) 30 goals and put up 60 points each season. He’s 29, and has two years left on his deal including this season. Essentially, he’s an extended rental. Montreal isn’t sure of their next step. They’re paying Carey Price a contender’s salary for the foreseeable future but have to pay Galchenyuk in 2020, Pacioretty in 2019, and still don’t have a #1 center. The good news for Montreal is that Plekanec’s stupid salary falls off after this year, and that’s enough to get them in the Great Matt Duchene Sweepstakes of 2018. Clearing Pacioretty’s salary wouldn’t hurt Montreal’s re-tooling effort, but they should demand a king’s ransom for a player still in his prime playing for a contract that’s very friendly for this year and next. I’m not sure the Preds want to part with that much, nor do I think the Preds have the assets the Habs need. However, this is Marc Bergevin. You have to make that call.

What ringtone does Bergevin have for David Poile’s number? Probably the same one George McPhee uses. link

Other than trading a full year of Eeli Tolvanen’s contract for a few months of service this spring, a cheap rental seems like the safest course of action. There is no trade worth shipping out Eeli Tolvanen that is realistic this season. I mentioned Thomas Vanek last week, and that still sounds okay. I’ve mentioned a backup goalie as well, though Saros is looking sharp these days.

Having said that, picking the bones of a team that’s got a high wage bill and low point totals is a pastime we all enjoy. And what better team to look at this year than the bleeding elephant on the shore of Lake Ontario: the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are six points back of the 8th seed, and have the highest salary figure as of today. To make matters even better... their summer includes RFA negotiations for Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin, and Petr Mrazek. That $4 million per year contract to Justin Abdelkader is looking like a powder blue Chevette in a Saginaw impound lot; no one wants it, and it probably wasn’t a great idea to start with. I’m not sure if Gustav Nyquist can recapture his best form from a while back, but Detroit is going to need some cap space this summer. Nyquist also has 2 seasons left on his deal, including this one.

Other than the healing Forsberg

What player will be most looking forward to the rest


Other than Johansen, Ellis, and Fiala who went through vigorous rehab to get back to ice, Austin Watson is probably happy he doesn’t have to defend a 6v5 this weekend.

Should the Preds modify the roof of Bridgestone to be retractable so they can get an outdoor game?

And how sweet would a Preds game be at this place:
[picture of the new MLS stadium]


The new MLS stadium may work for the sake of capacity, but a soccer stadium would put fans even further away from the rink. And with John Rich now being more involved with the MLS, Vanderbilt needs to figure out their own solution. A renovated Vanderbilt Stadium would be the ideal venue for Nashville to host an outdoor game. It’s a compact stadium that’s very steep for its size. But as many locals will tell you, waiting for an improved Vanderbilt Stadium is a fool’s errand.

Favorite bye week/downtime/vacation type activity?


I keep baseball mitts and a few baseballs in my trunk at all times. My ladyfriend and I try to play catch around once a weekend if the weather is right. We were able to throw every day on the beach earlier this month.

Baseball was my first real sporting love. My dad taught me basic reading from Topps cards and the occasional Harley-Davidson manual.

1960’s era Topps was known for great SAT words like “clout”

Driving is fun, especially if there’s a distillery, winery, or a game at the end of the road.

I said driving, not commuting. Commuting is terrible.

What’s the best way to pass time during this long hockey-less break?

Harry Potter marathons only take me so far.

George Woodard

I actually just finished watching the Harry Potter movies for the first time earlier this month. I’m not even ashamed.

As someone who is a very anxious person (hence all the wine), I can’t recommend this enough: build something. Find an old piece of wood and clean it up. Download Inkscape or some other software. Look up a recipe for something you always order at restaurants. There is nothing that’s more satisfying than creating something.

I just finished this table for a good friend of mine out of an old piece of cedar that my dad found:

When it was too cold to work outside.

I stripped the bark off, sanded it, sanded it more, applied some finish, and attached some legs. The legs are black plumbing pipe, so it the table can be converted to a different size at a later date. Plus, they come apart easier for the sake of moving.

This weekend I’m tackling some chicken flautas for the first time. I have my shredded chicken down just right, but it’s time to add a new song to my Tex-Mex playlist.

It’s a long time out but

Can you do a deep dive into the NHL CBA? With some of the bigger names getting contracts of late I have read where some look like they have protections built in for a potential lockout. I am unfamiliar with both the NHL CBA process and how it will impact the on ice product. What are some things that the owners would be after and what are some of the players goals in the process.

Posted by Dennis.K.Morgan

Let’s start with the scary date: September 1st, 2019. That’s the date when the NHL can opt out of the CBA. If they don’t, the players can choose to opt out on September 19th, 2019.

Speaking as fans, we really want to see both sides police themselves. Owners screw things up for other owners due to the diversity of the markets, the refusal for more revenue sharing, and a lack of commitment by all parties to grow the game. General managers screw things up for other general managers by signing terrible contracts that only make their own jobs harder. Players screw things up for other players with their supplemental discipline policies... and not adhering to them.

That’s the NHL in a paragraph.

The players should fight for a higher minimum salary. Take for instance the story of Gabriel Bourque: the grinding forward that never saw a play where he couldn’t forecheck, missed nearly an entire season with an infamous upper body injury. He’s played eight seasons of professional hockey, and he’s never made more than $866,250 a year. I’m not saying he’s worth $2m a year, though Ken Holland might pay him that much. I am saying that the type of player Bourque is needs a good bit more than the $750k a year the NHL has as its minimum salary as of next year.

There’s plenty of lessons the NHL can learn from other sports, and taking care of each member of its players union should be higher on their list.

The owners have their own fight, and it will always include the salary cap ceiling. According to Statista, only 8 teams are losing money as of last year.

  • The Tennessean folks say that they have changed the name of their hockey podcast. I’m glad to hear it.
  • John Chayka may know how to run a report and such, but shipping off Anthony Duclair for Richard Panik and his dumb contract doesn’t inspire trust in his tenure.
  • The Dallas Stars have yet to register a point when entering the third period while trailing (0-12-0).
  • It may be time to move Fiala beside Ryan Johansen.
  • Jokerit has clinched a playoff berth, and will likely be the #3 seed. In all likelihood, Jokerit’s season will be over in late February or early March.
  • The Vancouver Canucks might finally have a plan in place to be a good team again. The Sedin brothers both have an expiring contract this year, but they seem to be perfectly content in Vancouver by all reports. That Loui Eriksson contract looks bad, but it could be worse.

On to the next one.