Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Toews’

Please Shut Up, Bob

May 14th, 2011

Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson bitched and moaned on Friday after Canada was eliminated by Russia at the 2011 World Hockey Championships earlier this week. Nicholson’s comments – saying the results are “totally unacceptable” – are fueled by the fact that Canada hasn’t won a single medal in the last two tournaments.

Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada

Nicholson also took a shot at several young Canadian players who declined playing in the tournament for reasons that were a “little lame.” Thanks, Bob. That was very insightful. Here’s another gem of a quote from Nicholson:

“This team was good enough to win, but with one or two more players (it could have been different). You know what, Hockey Canada and Canada have been pretty good to those players through the under-18, the juniors and an Olympics Games. I thought they would have thought about that before refusing to come this year.”

Is this guy freaking kidding me? That has to be the most ridiculous and obnoxious thing I’ve read in weeks. In my opinion, that’s worse than anything Jeremy Roenick said over the last few days. Let’s break down several reasons why Nicholson’s comments are so absurd:

» Read more: Please Shut Up, Bob

Super Playoff Weigh-In

May 10th, 2011

It’s about time I weigh in with some playoff thoughts. But first one quick thing to mention:

OK. These playoffs have been great. The first round was absolutely killer. Easily the best first round I can recall. For me, some highlights included watching game seven of the Blackhawks-Canucks series in a downtown Chicago bar. You could hear a pin drop in that packed bar for the majority of the third period. That is, until Jonathan Toews did something amazing. Then things got nuts. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Chris Campoli made the biggest error of his career by assisting on Alex Burrows series winning goal.

» Read more: Super Playoff Weigh-In

This is the weirdest Stanley Cup Finals. Ever.

June 9th, 2010

Does this not feel like the strangest Stanley Cup Finals ever? Each of the five games in this series have felt a little off and a little wrong. In fact it barely feels like the Stanley Cup Finals… provided you ignore the patches on the jerseys and CBC/Versus reminding us every few minutes of every broadcast.

And although many of us probably felt Chicago and/or Philadelphia would be playing for the Cup back in October, I think we all secretly assumed they’d be doing so with different goalies miraculously acquired during the season via trade or act of God or something.

Ha Ha! I’m laughing at the thought of this… can you imagine if Washington hadn’t shit the bed and gotten to the Finals to play Chicago??? We’d be seeing scores like 15-14 every game! NHL Marketing could call it the “Baseball Series” or something stupid like that. That would be in theme with the Winter Classic too (It’s also clever because both cities legitimately have baseball teams… Wait. You already knew that… crap!). I’m sure that would go over well with the average American sports fan who hates hockey!

(To all the great American hockey fans who read this, you are exempt from my mockings… for now).

Let’s talk about the Conn Smythe trophy for a second. Could there be a less unanimous Playoff MVP? It reminds me of 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Cup and Scott Niedermayer was named MVP. That one totally felt like a “Ahh, whatever” pick. Allow me to explain with a relatively accurate depiction:

Dudes who pick the Conn Smythe winner: So who should we pick?

NHL: Well the Ducks did win so you should probably pick someone from Anaheim. Also, every Senator player sucked in the Finals so yeah, pick a Duck.

Dudes: How about Niedermayer? He’s old and probably worthy. In a Dave Anderchuk kind of way.

NHL: Sure. Sounds good.

Gary Bettman: Yeah sounds really good guys!!

Dudes/NHL: Shut up Gary!!

In all likeliness I suspect one of Jonathan Toews or Chris Pronger will win the Conn Smythe. Patrick Kane might have an outside shot but I think it all comes down to which team wins the Cup. Speaking of Pronger, what the hell kind of Cup Finals is this when Pronger is the good guy (sort of)?? CBC’s done a great job of selling that one (the experienced and savvy vet who’s enjoying the moment blah, blah, blah…). But what the hell? Aren’t we supposed to hate him? Wasn’t he supposed to get suspended at some point during the Flyers run to the Finals? I’m confused. I guess I’ll continue rooting for Toews.

Want to know why the NHL agrees with me that this year’s Finals are weird? They pulled all those current “What if…” commercials and replaced them with the “Speechless” ones that feature winners from years past (Bret Hull, Mark Messier, etc…). Ha ha, “What if the Stanley Cup Finals didn’t suck…”.

Now let’s end with goaltending. Somehow Hawks goalie Antti Niemi has won three games this round, yet has allowed four or more goals in all but one of those games. Ouch. What’s even more surprising is that he hasn’t been pulled in the series despite allowing 19 goals in five games. And then there’s Michael Leighton – perhaps the worst goalie to ever play in the Stanley Cup Finals. I know that sounds harsh. He legitimately seems like a great team guy (in all sincerity). But it’s like he’s pulled once per series. At least. It’s like that Anchorman line, “60% of the time, he works every time”. Fitting, I know.

Anyways, we’ll see how tonight’s game 6 in Philadelphia goes. Imagine the score is something ridiculous like 8-6 Chicago and we see both goalies pulled on a night where the Stanley Cup is awarded. That would be hilarious and amazing. Enjoy the game!

Stay classy, Stanley Cup Finals. Even if you are the weirdest one ever.


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Olympic concern?

January 19th, 2010

In 2006, the top 4 Western Conference teams all lost in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, 2006 was the last time NHL players took 2 weeks off to play in the Winter Olympics in Turin. Also, 2006 was the last time the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs… and went to the Stanley Cup finals as one of the biggest underdogs in recent memory.

With the 2010 Vancouver Olympics less than 2 months away, NHL GM’s might be wondering what kind of effects the games will have on their star players and their chances to compete for the Stanley Cup. The potential for burnouts, demotivation, and injuries is very real. And any of those scenarios could have a crippling effect on the top 4 Western teams (as well as other powerhouse Eastern Conference teams like the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins).

At the time of writing this article, the top 4 Western Conference teams are the Blackhawks, Sharks, Avalanche, and Predators. Here’s a closer look at the players each team have participating at the Olympics:

  • Chicago Blackhawks – Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky
  • San Jose Sharks – Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Evgeni Nabokov, Doug Murray
  • Colorado Avalanche – Kyle Quincey, Paul Statsny, Jonas Holos, Ruslan Salei, Peter Budaj
  • Nashville Predators – Shea Weber, Ryan Suter,  Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Marcel Goc, Alexander Sulzer

It makes you wonder if a Western Conference playoff team with less Olympic-bound players will squeak through each series like the Oilers did in 2006. Perhaps a team like the Calgary Flames (who only have 3 players going – Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, and Miikka Kiprusoff), or even the Phoenix Coyotes (who also have 3 players going – Zbynek Michalek, Sami Lepisto, and Ilya Bryzgalov) could have a better odds in the 2010 Playoffs because of this…

I’m not saying this will or won’t happen. It’s purely speculation. And I’m not suggesting that was the only reason the 2006 Oilers got all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, but it could be a partial explanation why the top 4 Western teams were defeated by lower seeded teams that year. If anything, this probably blurs the line that much more between the top and lower seeds in the West.

With the Western Conference being as tight as it is, the same questions can be asked about Detroit, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. These teams are sending a number of players to the Olympics as well.

While fans can’t wait for the Olympics hockey to get started, I’m sure GM’s across the league are dreading it. Or perhaps they are dreading the impact following the games. At any rate, it will be fascinating to see the effects these Olympics will have on these legitimate Western Conference powerhouse teams. And for a team like Chicago who’s Cup window is small to start with, that’s just another hurdle to climb through in order to meet expectations.

Stay classy, Olympic Western Conference stars.

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Kovalchuk to Chicago? Don’t bet on it. Or against it.

January 11th, 2010

Burgundy here. I’d like to introduce Stayclassy’s newest writer, Harken! Please give Harken a warm welcome and enjoy his first article – it’s a good one! What would you do with the Kovalchuk issue?

First, let me apologize to Atlanta Thrasher fans. Discussing this possible trade is sort of like viewing the body of a deceased family member of theirs— before they’re quite dead.

And, that said, there is a good chance the Thrashers will re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk.

I am not particularly close to the situation in Atlanta. But what I hear tells me the workings of a new contract might be troublesome. And the trade deadline is less than 60 days from now.

That aside, if the Thrashers should decide to trade Kovalchuk before then, it doesn’t have to be to the detriment of the franchise.

In fact, there are a number of scenarios by which the Thrashers could solve a number of problems through such a deal.

One of those scenarios, perhaps the most obvious, is dealing Kovalchuk to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Let’s pause for a moment, waiting for the echoes of laughter (or outrage) to die down. And now let’s address the “conventional wisdom” point-by-point.

“Chicago can’t afford that.”

Yes, they can, as a rental, in return for some of the salaried players they will have to lose before next season.

“Why would Chicago need him? They’re stacked.”

The Blackhawks’ window for winning the Stanley Cup will perhaps never be better than it is this year— next year’s team will, by necessity, be missing 3-4 key players off the current roster. But there is also no guarantee they will win it this year. To that end, they could benefit, like all teams could, from what Kovalchuk brings at even strength. And the Hawks, in particular, could benefit from adding a right-handed point shot on the power play— of which there are few better than Kovalchuk.

“Why would Atlanta deal with them?”

The Blackhawks need to lose exactly what Atlanta needs to gain in such a deal. The Blackhawks have 5 players, each making $3-4 million per season, who are good, young players with recognizable, marketable names that Don Waddell could plug in to his lineup tomorrow and help build his entire team right away: Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland and/or Dustin Byfuglien. Plus, the Blackhawks have two good, NHL-experienced prospects at Rockford in the AHL who could help a team like the Thrashers, goalie Corey Crawford and RW Jack Skille (a former top ten pick). On top of all that, Atlanta Assistant GM Rick Dudley was instrumental in acquiring or developing all these players in Chicago.

“The dollars can’t work. And Chicago needs more than a rental for all those players.”

Untrue, and true. The dollars can work (a lot of different ways) and the Blackhawks can (and will) get more than a rental for all the players they need to deal.

Of the four players mentioned, any two could be dealt for Kovalchuk in an even salary swap. Or, two of those players and one of the high-end prospects just mentioned could be dealt for Kovalchuk with Atlanta absorbing the overage on their cap, or in the minors.

If, say, the package sent to Atlanta included Patrick Sharp and Barker, the Blackhawks might also be able to ask the Thrashers to include a draft pick or two. Further, the Blackhawks would still need to deal 2-3 more players after concluding a Kovalchuk deal, but before the beginning of play next season. And those deals could net futures, like draft picks or prospects.

“Kovalchuk doesn’t fit their defense-first system. He’s not a ‘Bowman’ player.”

Nonsense. Did Patrick Kane fit Chicago’ system last year when his name and ‘backchecking’ could not be included in the same sentence? Does Kris Versteeg, the walking antithesis of smart puck decisions fit Chicago’s system? Plus, Kovalchuk has represented Russia many times in international tournaments. He can adjust to Chicago’s system, about as quickly as Joel Quenneville can say: “Kovy, if you want max ice time, you gotta be on your guy up and down the ice.”

“Chicago can wait ‘til after the season. Why mess with a good thing?”

That depends on how you look at it. It can also be argued that waiting until the offseason to pare roughly $15 million in gross salary, sign free agents and fill out a roster that is sure to have holes, is not just foolish, it’s insanity; it’s too much work to do in a very short period of time.

To wit, the Blackhawks’ playoffs will likely conclude sometime in late May or June, depending on how far they advance. Free agency starts July 1, with the contracts of Nik Hjalmarsson, Andrew Ladd and Antti Niemi to address. Thus, the Blackhawks could benefit tremendously from significantly less payroll, and more clarity on their situation, before that point.

Finally, as mentioned before, the Blackhawks are close, but they are not guaranteed to win the Cup for the first time in 48 years. Acquiring a world-class rental like Kovalchuk in exchange for good players— but good players who are really part of their depth and not the core of Hossa, Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith and Campbell— could be the thing that really puts them over the top. Because Kovalchuk also fills at least one gap the Blackhawks have.

There you have it. A perfectly implausible trade scenario, or a perfect storm of factors indicating Ilya Kovalchuk wearing the Indianhead in March.

You tell me.

Harken – who’s real name is John Jaeckel – is well known for his work on Follow John on Twitter or become a fan of on Facebook.

Canada’s Olympic team… Finally.

December 30th, 2009

As the title says, Canada announced their men’s hockey Olympic team, finally.

Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock are classy men.

While a country like Canada will always have more amazing players than available positions, I’m pretty happy with the final roster. Many can and will say ‘he should have taken him over him’, but I feel this is a pretty solid set of players. That can’t be improved that much.

I’m also pretty happy that the television coverage has ended – TSN can make a half hour special on anything, so I’ve come to learn this holiday season. Anyways, here’s the final roster, barring any unforeseen injuries.

Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury

Dan Boyle, Chris Pronger (assistant captain),
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook
Scott Niedermayer (captain), Drew Doughty
Shea Weber

Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby (assistant captain), Jarome Iginla,
Brenden Morrow, Mike Richards, Patrice Bergeron
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal
Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley
Jonathan Toews

Of course, there will be debate as to who should of made the team and didn’t. Below is a list of notable omissions

Mike Green, Mike Fisher, Shane Doan, Marc Savard, Jeff Carter, Jay Bouwmeester, Stephane Robidas, Vincent Lecavalier, Dion Phaneuf, Patrick Sharp.

Anyone else I’m missing? What are your thoughts on Team Canada? Can Canada capture gold with this squad?

Stay classy, Steve Yzerman and Team Canada.

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Are Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews worth $6 Million each?

November 18th, 2009

Various reports have suggested the Chicago Blackhawks are close to resigning pending restricted free agents Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. The rumoured cap hit for both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is around $6 Million per season (for 4-5 years) while Duncan Keith’s could be lower but on a longer term.

It has been speculated the signing (and subsequent raises) of these three stars will cripple Chicago’s ability to resign depth players or keep existing ones. Players like Andrew Ladd, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp could be gone after this season. (These players are purely speculation on my part).

Are Kane and Toews worth it?

I’m as big a fan of the Blackhawks as anyone, but I have to ask the question: Are Kane and Toews worth $6 Million per season? If ever there was a time to question paying for potential, here it is. I get Toews is the captain and from all accounts a terrific leader. I agree Kane is an electrifying player. But $6 Million each on a team that has already overpaid for Cristobal Huet and Brian Campbell? Yikes.

Let’s look at the breakdown for Kane and Toews:

Patrick Kane – 20 years old, 2007-2008 Rookie of the Year

While Kane is one of the best young dynamic stars in the league, his best career year saw him produce 72 points. He’s on pace to set career highs in goals and points this season; probably around 80-85 points. Kane has a Calder Trophy to his name and one strong playoff run from last season, but I’d still say he’s relatively unproven in the NHL.

Jonathan Toews – 21 years old, team captain

Toews has been billed as the next Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic. His stats aren’t quite as good as Kane’s, averaging slightly less points per game. He also missed some games to injuries in his first and third NHL seasons. I like some of the intangibles Toews brings – he’s always in good position and plays well defensively. Despite a good playoff run with Chicago last season, I’d have to say Toews is unproven in the NHL, too.

Both Kane and Toews are excellent players, don’t get me wrong. $6 Million each seems steep for players with less than three full years of experience. A small part of me was hoping they’d resign for less than ‘open market value’ to help the Hawks with their cap issues and allow room for other signings/resignings. If these contracts don’t cripple Chicago, it’s awfully close.

Payroll Nightmares

The Chicago Blackhawks already have $43 Million committed to 14 players next season. $12 Million for Kane and Toews (if rumored reports are accurate) put the Hawks payroll to $55 Million… this year’s NHL cap is $56.8 Million. The 2010-2011 cap expected to stay at$56.8 Million or potentially drop. And Duncan Keith’s contract still isn’t in the picture. Neither are a few other key Hawks. $2 Million or less doesn’t go too far in the NHL these days.

If you didn’t think the rumoured Kane and Toews contracts were crippling before, do you now?

Stay classy, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

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Restricted Free Agency In November?

November 3rd, 2009
Jonathan Toews is one of 3 Chicago Blackhawks that are RFA's this summer.

Jonathan Toews is one of 3 Chicago Blackhawks that are RFA's this summer.

Unrestricted free agents (UFA’s) are the most hyped free agents in the NHL but are they the best free agents? Last week, we looked at unrestricted free agents in October and today, we’ll look at restricted free agents in November.

Since the lockout, things have changed and the league has become a younger league. Top draft picks used to require a few years of ‘seasoning’ because they could crack the NHL, and even then, it would take a few more years before they became impact players. Yet in today’s league, we have 18 year olds that flat-out dominate men in their 30’s. The emergence of young talent across the league makes restricted free agents (RFA) a better deal that UFA’s. Here are some of next summer’s top RFA’s:

Bobby Ryan – Anaheim Ducks

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $765,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3.5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Bobby Ryan exploded into the NHL last season, his first full year in the league, where he scored 31 times and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy. With the likelihood of retirement looming for Teemu Selanne, Ryan becomes an even more critical component of Anaheim’s future. $3.5 Million per season might seem pretty rich for a guy who will only have 2.5 years of NHL experience under his belt, but if stretched over 4 or 5 years, could look like a steal.

Ondrej Pavelec – Atlanta Thrashers

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $850,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: After watching Pavelac steal the show against the Sens on Halloween (he made 50 saves!), I’m convinced he’ll be Atlanta’s future starting goalie. During the game, CBC’s Garry Galley said that Pavelac was a few years away from becoming a star goalie in the NHL but I think it’ll happen sooner than that. This year looks like his breakthrough season and keeping Pavelac around long-term could help Atlanta keep Kovalchuk in the fold too. The key in resigning Pavelac won’t so much be about money, but rather, giving him the starting goaltender position next season.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks

Value of Toews Contract on September 1st, 2009: $850,000/season
Value of Kane’s Contract on September 1st, 2009: $875,000/season
Value of Keith’s Contract on September 1st, 2009: $1.9 Million/season

Value of All 3’s Contracts on November 1st, 2009: $4.5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Chicago have a big problem and the clock is ticking. Three of their best players are RFA’s and they’re all due for big raises next year. Chicago’s best bet is to try and negotiate with all three together to keep the core of their team in tact. Having said that, I think it’s clear that something, rather someone or some people, have to give. Names like Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg come to mind. And if the Hawks are really lucky, they’ll find a team willing to take Brian Campbell, but don’t count on it.

Kyle Quincey – Colorado Avalanche

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $550,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Quincey broke out last year with L.A. and looked great quarter-backing their powerplay, scoring 38 points. He’s one of the reasons why Colorado are off to such a torrid start too, scoring 8 points and being +4. Comparable salaries are Marek Zidlicky in Minnesota ($3.5 Million) and Joe Corvo ($2.75 Million), though I think Quincey is better defensively than Corvo and Zidlicky.

Josh Harding – Minnesota Wild

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $1.1 Million/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $2.75 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Minnesota are off to a slow start and as usual, it’s their offense that’s letting them down. Well, that and all their injuries. Either way, you have to wonder how long they’re going to hold on to Josh Harding, who happens to be their best trading chip to acquire another forward. I think Harding will get $2.75 Million next season, but it won’t be in Minnesota. Like Pavelac, the most important aspect of the negotiation will be whether Harding’s a starter next year or not.

Marc Staal – New York Rangers

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $765,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3.5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Marc Staal is probably one of the most underrated defensemen in the league, though that may change with his next contract next year, especially since he’s on pace to have a career season. When you watch the Rangers play, Staal is their go-to guy when it comes to shutting down the opponent. The only problem is that New York will be tight against the cap next year, and they’ve got Dan Girardi and Vinny Prospal, among others to resign.

Braydon Coburn – Philadelphia Flyers

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $1.4 Million/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: I’m still amazed Atlanta traded Coburn for Alexei Zhitnik! Having said that, Philadelphia may have to trade Coburn themselves as they’ve already got $46 Million committed for next year including only 3 defensemen and no starting goalie. Coburn’s easily worth $3 Million a year, especially if that can be stretched out to 4+ years. The only way the Flyers can keep him is by trading one of their forwards – Scott Hartnell is most likely to go but the Flyers would like to move Daniel Briere first.

Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $625,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: If the NHL goes to the Olympics in 2014 in Russia, I think Letang will be on this team. He seems to get better with every month and he didn’t look out of place last year when Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar went down with big injuries. His 33 points last year, plus the 13 points he scored in the playoffs make him a value part of Pittsburgh’s future. The problem is money, and I can’t see Pittsburgh going much higher than $3 Million a year so I expect Letang to resign in Steeltown for only 2 or 3 years.

Devin Setoguchi – San Jose Sharks

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $765,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $3.5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Playing alongside guys like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton will certainly help you score some goals. Just ask Setoguchi, who scored 31 goals last year for San Jose. He’s in the same boat as Bobby Ryan in terms of experience and goal scoring and I think they’ll wind up with similar-sized contracts. Expect both to point to Phil Kessel’s deal in Toronto as a comparable for dollars and term.

Jonas Gustavsson – Toronto Maple Leafs

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $810,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $2.75 Million/season

Jonas Gustavsson will be an RFA this summer.

Jonas Gustavsson will be an RFA this summer.

Fantana’s Thoughts: The Monster has finally arrived in Toronto, having played well on the team’s road trip this past week. Notably, he scored the Leafs’ only victory of the year against Anaheim. If Gustavsson continues his strong play, it’s very likely he’ll become Toronto’s starting goaltender next season. I’m sure that won’t stop the ‘J.S. Giguere to Toronto’ rumour though.

Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $1.75/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $4.5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Ryan Kesler is the straw that stirs the drink for the Canucks and Vancouver can’t afford to let him go. Dave Nonis will get him resigned, but I hear Kesler doesn’t want to take a ‘hometown discount’. Regardless, it’s hard to place a value on Kesler and consequently, Vancouver have no choice but to pay Kesler market value.

Nicklas Backstrom – Washington Capitals

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $850,000/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $5 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Backstrom is one of the elite playmakers in the NHL and I’d be shocked if Washington didn’t resign him. I’d also be surprised if he didn’t want to stay to play with guys like Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green. Based on Backstrom’s point-per-game average over his 2 season career thus far, I’m expecting Washington to sign him to a long-term deal, somewhere in the 5-8 year neighbourhood.

Alexander Semin – Washington Capitals

Value of Contract on September 1st, 2009: $5 Million/season
Value of Contract on November 1st, 2009: $6 Million/season

Fantana’s Thoughts: Apparently contract negotiations have already begun and they aren’t going very smoothly. There’s still plenty of time to get a deal done, but Semin has a reputation for tough bargaining – he did go and play in Russia rather than reporting to the Caps AHL team during the lockout season and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he defected to Russia again. I’m sure the KHL will offer him a lot of money. If it comes down to it, I think Washington would keep Backstrom over Semin.

Your Reporter in the Field,


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Champ’s Whammy of the Week!

October 31st, 2009

Morning sportsfans, Champ here wasn’t going to let no flu keep him from sharing the Whammy of the Week. This week’s is a big one… Vancouver Canuck’s Willie Mitchell sends the Chicago Blackhawks Johnathan Toews into next week with a massive hit at center ice.

Without question this is Whammy worthy. Look for more from the Champster next week! Until then…

Stay classy, readers.

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Mike Richards hit on David Booth

October 25th, 2009

In case you haven’t seen it, below is a video of Mike Richards completely destroying David Booth from the Philadelphia Flyers – Florida Panthers game last night:

Obviously, the big question is: clean hit or dirty hit?

My take: Clean hit. Incredibly unfortunate result for David Booth, but Richards arm was tucked close to his body/chest and there wasn’t any elbow. I hate to take shots at players, but I think Booth knows better than to admire passes like that in the offensive zone. It was a very solid hit, much like the Willie Mitchell hit on Jonathan Toews earlier this week. What do you think?

Stay classy, Mike Richards.

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