Here is our weekly trip around the hockey blogosphere bringing you some of the best articles that you may have missed.
But that’s exactly the problem. In less than a year, the Montreal Canadiens will be facing this exact same problem with their best defensive defenseman. Only that there won’t be an arbitration hearing, there won’t be any tricks or any tools out of the CBA to help the Canadiens keep Gorges at an obviously discounted price. There will only be unrestricted free agency, and the possibility of other teams vying for Gorges’ services.
Bloggers are the wave of the future. And newspapers are struggling. And both are looking for publicity (a/k/a free advertising). Why not bring them together and ask accredited media members from each team to do an on-camera commentary of the games they covered? How amazing would it be to watch the final moments of Game 4 of the Detroit Red Wings sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes while Carl Putnam of the Coyotes blog Five for Howling talks about what it was like being in that arena thinking “this could be the last time I watch a hockey game in Arizona?” Whether you think Glendale deserves a hockey team of not, that’s just great TV right there.
Then he asked me, “So what was it like playing with Paul Bissonette on the Attack? I heard that guy is pretty crazy.”
I confusedly replied, “Huh? Bissonette played for the Attack in 2004, I didn’t start with them until 2006?”
Then he said… he said…
He said this: “Wait, aren’t you Brad Richardson?”
So after all these years later of watching the game, I still had never laced up a pair of skates, and played the game myself. In December 2009, I made a New Year’s Resolution that I, age 36 at the time, was finally going to learn. First step, learn to skate. I had only been on skates once prior in my life(2004) so that seemed like quite the uphill challenge, especially since that turn on the ice ended with me injuring a knee. I located a rink close to my house, and discovered they had an learn-to-skate class for adults.
But it isn’t that simple. Take a step back and you’ll see that this proposed bond isn’t merely a gratuitous cash grab by a greedy creep of an owner. It’s not an extraneous vanity project, or even an aspirational move. It’s more of a last gasp after a decade of false starts, shifting alliances, and stonewalled solutions — the sad culmination of a half-century of proud, local political gridlock that threatens to drive the team somewhere else and ultimately, lead to the demolition of the arena altogether.
Teams have always made strong, in-person pitches to prospective signees, but the process is evolving now to include entourages that represent all aspects of the organizations, mainly because under a salary cap system, the total dollars being offered by interested parties are more or less the same, even if some clubs are more willing to front-load deals. “Before, you’d just say, ‘all right, someone just blew me out of the water outspending Team X; I have no choice, you kind of have to go,’ ” said Paul Krepelka, an agent with the Orr Hockey Group. “Now, very rarely is that the case, so all these other factors play a huge role.”
Here in the United States, we seem to be in a period where we’re enthralled by the idea of a reboot, with reboot defined as the reconceptualization of a previously developed idea.
The Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies were popular but to breathe new life into the character, the franchise is getting rebooted, giving a slightly different take on Spider-Man than seen in the Sam Raimi-directed films of the 2000s.
In 2010-2011, the Ducks drew an average home crowd that was larger than only Columbus, (now defunct) Atlanta, Phoenix, and the Islanders. While the Ducks will always be at something of a disadvantage in terms of overall attendance given the relatively low capacity of Honda Center, even at their height, the Ducks haven’t finished higher than 15th in terms of home attendance. Since the Ducks reached their zenith in 2007-2008 of 17,193 a night, they have seen their average fall by nearly 2,500 people per game in just four years.
But the real trump card in Sather’s favor, obviously, was avoiding arbitration with Ryan Callahan(notes) and Brandon Dubinsky(notes). Some estimates had them getting as much as $6 million per year each from arbitrators, but given the sticky and generally unpleasant nature of the whole process, the pair opted to stay on Broadway for shorter money than they probably could have pulled, in exchange for more years. And both gave up two years of unrestricted free agency to do so. That’s just great work.
But there’s one new Avalanche account that really has me raising my eyebrows: Kyle Shohara. Don’t know him? He’s the new Website / Media Relations Coordinator for the Avalanche (I believe he has quietly replaced Craig Stancher). This is new territory: an Avalanche front office member with an active (and engaging) Twitter feed. And, oh by the way, he’s a former blogger.