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Five Pucks- Around the NHL 9/7/2012

Todd Varga


blog-0452649001347068990.jpgFive Pucks- 9/7/2012

Puck 1- Shane Doan, Greg Jamison, and the Phoenix Coyotes

It has come out over the past day the Shane Doan has a deal in place to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes. I know, easily the most shocking news of the summer (yep, that’s sarcasm. Nobody should be surprised… at all). Now, this deal between Doan and the Coyotes is contingent on Jamison’s ability to buy the Coyotes, which appears likely as it has been reported that he has secured the money through partners and investors. Then what’s the holdup you ask? Well, now the city wants to rework the lease agreement for the arena between them and Jamison. With the CBA set to expire next Saturday, and that day being Shane Doan’s “deadline” to sign a new deal, the timing of the city of Glendale is impeccable. I still think they work it out, and Doan signs with the Coyotes, so I wouldn’t fret yet Coyotes fans. If Jamison really has the money to buy the team, which it appears he does, they’ll work it out. If Doan hasn’t left yet, he’s suiting up in Phoenix next month (yes, I’m an optimist on all counts).

Puck 2- Contract Extensions for Everyone!

In the midst of CBA negotiations, we have seen a number of contract extensions handed out this offseason. There have been more, but these are the bigger ones we’ve seen over the summer. The Oilers extended both Taylor Hall (7yrs, 42mil) and Jordan Eberle (6yrs, 36mil), the Senators extended Kyle Turris (5yrs, 17.5mil), the Flyers extended Scott Hartnell (6yrs, 28.5mil) and Wayne Simmonds (6yrs, 23.850mil), and most recently the Bruins extended Brad Marchand (4yrs, 18mil). This isn’t a huge surprise really. The CBA is expiring, and teams are trying to get some of their core pieces locked up before the any major changes occur (there is no guarantee that the economic landscape will change in the next CBA, but the rumors surrounding negotiations certainly point in that direction). The Oilers are wise to lock up their core early, and to stagger the contracts so they do not have to deal with them all becoming UFA at the same time. The Senators have locked up a young piece that has shown some promise, and could be a crucial part of the young Sens going forward. I think the Flyers were wise to lock up pieces of the core in the wake of losing Jagr, and half of their defense (The Flyers can’t be done spending either. They are going to have to do something to shore up their defense). Marchand is one of those heart and soul guys who can really get under the skin of opponents (See the Stanley Cup final against Vancouver), and will hopefully earn his contract in such a way. The larger scope of these extensions is that the press from the CBA negotiations has the owners complaining that player salaries are too high, and that contacts are too long. The word contradiction, or some form of it, has been typed in relation to this probably hundreds of thousands of times by now, and that’s fair. There is also a school of thought that owners are signing players to these deals with the idea that salaries will be rolled back. All we can really do is wait and see.

Puck 3- Are the Toronto Maple Leafs really the worst team in sports?

ESPN: The Magazine has ranked the Toronto Maple Leafs as the worst teamin all of sports in their annual ranking. Yes, ESPN and hockey don’t necessarily go along all that well, so make of it what you will, but their list makes some sense. They have 8 categories that apply to the team, the fans, and the team’s management. I’m not going to recap the entire article here (but it is a good read), but this isn’t all that farfetched. The Leafs have been mediocre at best since the lockout. The personnel decisions are questionable, tickets are expensive, Brian Burke and the rest of the Leafs management isn’t what I would deem likeable, and perhaps worst of all- they don’t seem to be getting all that much better. Most people point to the waiting list for season tickets as a reason for the team’s shortcomings, stating that there is no need to be good if the building is sold out regardless of the team’s performance (I would call it Chicago Cubs Syndrome). I don’t know that I would call the Leafs the worst team in all four of the major sports, but I don’t have a huge argument against it either, which is very unfortunate for a great city, with such a storied team as the Maple Leafs.

Puck 4- Are you ready for NHL 13?!

There are not many video games I play outside of the NHL series (I am looking forward to Assassins Creed III and WWE 13 however), so September 11th, when NHL 13 is released is a day I have been looking forward to for a while. If you love hockey, the newest installment of the NHL series by EA sports is simply amazing. The demo was released two weeks ago, showcasing the upgraded skating engine, the heightened ability of the AI, and the enhanced skills of the goalies are all huge additions that really make the game the most realistic hockey simulation to date (I also really like the change to the ice surface, that for some reason looks much better than the previous installment). If you have not downloaded the demo yet, I highly encourage you to do so. The demo also advertises the new game modes and enhancements to existing features, which also look to be a great deal better in this year’s edition.

Puck 5- The Collective Bargaining Agreement

You knew it was coming. The Fehr brothers and Comish and Co-Comish held two informal talks today, which is the first time they have met since breaking off talks last week, which has to be a good sign in some sense. No reports have surfaced yet as to what was discussed in either meeting. We really don’t know tons about these discussions, other than the proposals that have surfaced. The PR battle is definitely being won by Fehr and the players, but I don’t really think that is important this time around. The league can’t afford another long lockout, especially now when the league seems to have some momentum going for it. As I stated above, I am an eternal optimist- my glass is always half full. I am holding out faith that the season will start on time, but it is looking bleak.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. My wife and I are trying to buy our first home, and it has been an extremely stressful process. I will write when I can, which is hopefully more frequently than it has been this summer.

Thanks for reading.

Todd Varga

On Twitter @Wild_Halo

And please check out The Box Score podcast. We do at least 1 episode a week, and we have been getting great reviews. We talk about the sports world and its happenings, and we are both big hockey fans, so there is no shortage of puck in the broadcasts. It is available for free on Itunes or at theboxscore.libsyn.com, and we are on twitter @TheBoxScore, so check us out!


Recommended Comments

Nice column. I do find these extensions to be somewhat curious, however, especially in light of the threat of a "rollback." Simmonds signed at almost $4M a year and cold see that drop to just over $3M - for six years. Likewise for Hartnell.

Granted, they are still looking at making millions of dollars...

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