“I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” is a feature that is posted (almost) every Saturday here at the View From My Seats. There are plenty of things going on in the hockey world (and even the sports world); and you know everyone has an opinion. This is a place for some quick hits of the week that was.
I might just be a hockey fan in California, but:
- Congratulations to Gary Suter on his selection to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame this week. Somewhere Paul Kariya is shaking his head—if he remembers this.
- Let me get this straight. Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are two multi-millionaires in their mid-20’s and people thought it was newsworthy that they liked to drink and have fun? The only problem with the entire story is two of their former teammates would tell a media member that kind of stuff and NOT have the guts to let them use their name.
- Onto better news, much respect to Kris Draper for a fine career as he announced his retirement earlier this offseason. Much has been made that he was sold from the Jets to the Wings for only a $1; but he’s been as important to the Red Wings’ success over the last 15 years as most anyone else. I’ll miss watching that man work on the penalty kill.
- Speaking of retiring Red Wings, the Hall of Fame debate surrounding Chris Osgood is a great case study to see how fans and media members view the Hall and their own personal opinions on the criteria to enter. Personally, I’m in the camp that thinks he had a very good career that a lot of goaltenders would have killed for. But it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Really Good. That doesn’t take anything away from Osgood—he just never came off as an elite netminder during his career. Not sure why it would make him one now that he’s done.
- Shea Weber’s $7.5 million contract shows just how far we’ve come since the lockout. Or more precisely, how much things are back to exactly how they were pre-lockout. In the first year after the lockout, the maximum a team could play a player was $7.8 million. Now, an arbitrator is ruling for a player to make $7.5 million. Remember, this is the system the owners wanted.
- Speaking of the Predators, there’s a great article floating around about the Predators’ “Big Three” and facing the idea that the organization may lose either Pekka Rinne, Ryan Suter, or Shea Weber over the next 12 months. I have nothing but respect for Rinne and truly believe that he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league—but there’s no way they can let Suter or Weber go. Their identity is defense-first and those two lead the way.
- Retired numbers in Winnipeg are a messy situation. It great to see Bryan Little changing his number out of respect for Dale Hawerchuk and Evander Kane asking Bobby Hull if he can keep wearing #9. Both have been wearing their number since the beginning of their career and just as easily could have made this an awkward transition. Props to both of them.
- Who knew that people like Edward Mangano, Kate Murray, or Jay Jacobs could get hockey fans to be so involved in local politics? It’s pathetic that I even know those three names.
- Alexei Yashin is not coming back to the NHL. If he does, may God have pity on every Islanders’ fans soul. They’ve been through enough.
- Evgeni Nabokov, on the other hand, sounds like he’s warmed up to the idea of playing on the Island and will report to training camp on time this September. Interesting how he’s willing to play for the organization now that he realizes it’s his only option. For the record, dude will be traded by March.
- It’s amazing what a single jettisoned $7.1 million cap hit can do for an organization. After unloading Campbell’s contract to the Panthers, the Blackhawks have been able to re-sign Corey Crawford, sign Patrick Sharp to an extension, bring Ray Emery in for a try-out (and can pay him if he impresses), and they still have flexibility to add a piece at the trade deadline. This just in: Brian Campbell’s contract was a problem in Chicago.
- Yes, the New Jersey Devils did, in fact, hire a coach with “Boer” in his name this offseason. Talk about softball jokes just sitting there. No comments necessary.
- Dustin Penner: Now there are the softball jokes.
- Jeff Skinner will be among 17 NHL players who will participate in a mentorship program for bantam-aged players this week. They needed someone the kids could relate with—and they’ll all look older than Skinner, so he’ll fit the bill just fine.
- One of the stories that I’m excited about for next season is the Northeast Division battle between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have had their most exciting offseason ever while the Bruins had their most exciting season in 40 years. With expectations sky-high for fans in both cities, it should be fun to see what happens when these two forces collide six times next season.
- Saying Glen Sather has made some questionable personnel decisions would be like saying Gary Busey has made some questionable life decisions. But this offseason has been a different story. The man was able to avoid arbitration while signing the majority of the Rangers core for forwards in Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ryan Callahan. He signed them to relatively cap friendly deals and still managed to find room for Brad Richards contract. Where are the “Fire Sather” people today?
- I don’t care that they avoided arbitration, signing Zach Parise for one-year was a failure for Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. If he couldn’t sign a restricted free-agent coming off an injury plagued season, how will he sign Parise when he’s unrestricted and coming off a 80+ point season?
- I know it’s cool to make fun of the Florida Panthers and their creative ticket promotions. But hey, at least they look like they’re trying to get people into the building. The Atlanta Spirit Group could have used a little of that creative effort.
- First it was Stephen Whyno leaving Philadelphia to cover the Capitals for the Washington Times. Now Chuck Gormley (formerly of the South Jersey Courier-Post) is leaving the Flyers beat to join Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic to cover the same Capitals. At some point, Washington is going to have to send future considerations or something up I-95 as compensation. Watch out Japers Rink.
- Upon hearing news that the arena referendum failed in Long Island and the Islanders may be forced to move in 2015, I was waiting for the Nashville Predators front office to start offering ticket packages to displaced Islanders fans.
- Gary Bettman is a pompous little person that needs to be fired for the good of the game.
Click here for our archive of past editions of our “I Might Just Be A Hockey Fan In California” feature.