- Hockey Rambling
- Written by Chris Pudsey
Panthers possibly on the move, Eberle’s off-season thoughts, BizNasty’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and much more
Dobber here. We held a contest in the forum this week, and the best ramblings would be presented here today. Here is the winner.
I want to start by saying I think this is a brilliant idea, asking forum members to contribute to the daily ramblings. I know for myself, the Daily Ramblings are normally one of, if not the first stop for me on the internet in the mornings. Kudos to all who submit an entry!
If you haven’t purchased your copy of DobberHockey’s Fantasy Guide, what are you waiting for? The latest update went through on August 8th and will continually be updated right through September. Get your copy here. You’ll be glad you did. Tell them Axeman33 sent you.
Florida Panthers owner, Doug Cifu has said in an interview with Fox Sports that the franchise is losing big money year after year in Florida (apparently 30M per year) and not sure how much longer they can continue to do this. Relocation is a consideration but not one that current ownership wants to do. The Panthers have approached Broward County, where the arena is located, for help in regards to their rent and current debt (said to be around 250M). A quote from Cifu:
“[Co-owner] Vinnie [Viola] and I have both publicly said that we are here to make this franchise work in Florida. I said that in the hearing held by Broward County in February and Vinnie said it in our initial press conference when we bought the team. That being said, as you said in your question, the arena and the team have lost a significant amount of money year over year for the last 10-plus years and the current business model is not sustainable.
We have kept our end of the bargain by signing six free agents on July 1 to more than $60 million of contracts and resigning some key young players to multi-year deals. Our payroll is currently about $5 million from the NHL cap, the highest it has ever been in the history of the franchise, and we are excited about the team we will put on the ice come late September.
We've also continued to bring strong non-hockey content to the BB&T Center including events that drive significant tourism dollars and have a number of high profile acts that will be announced in the next month.”
The County has hired a consultant to look into the feasibility of letting the Panthers out of their lease and allowing the team to move. The Panthers current lease doesn’t expire until 2028.
You can read more about this here.
Axeman’s grind: Honestly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Florida on average has been one of the lowest attendance franchises for years and normally one of the cheaper places to go see a game as well. That equation doesn’t add to big earnings for ownership. It’s too bad that it may come down to the Panthers having to move. They are finally starting to turn things around after years of poor management and drafting and ownership signed off on spending this off-season in hopes it will draw more fans. I like the future for the Panthers, no matter where they may call home. There are certainly a few cities who would love to bring the Panthers to town and call their own. Stay tuned to see how this continues to unfold.
In a recent interview with 630 CHED radio in Edmonton, Jordan Eberle says he is happy with the off-season additions made by the Oilers. Eberle said:
“We’ve added some great pieces. I think the biggest thing that sticks out to me is the size that we added.”
Eberle was also pleased with one move the Oilers didn’t make this off-season. Eberle said in the interview:
“It’s going to be nice to have some familiarity with the head coach.”
Eberle has had three different Head Coaches in his four year NHL career.
He also talked about his wrist and not playing in the World Championships this summer.
“I’ve never felt better. I think not going to the Worlds, I had an extra month to train and correct my body and I feel better than I ever have before.”
Axeman’s grind: I think the Oilers made a lot of good moves this off-season. The one glaring move they needed to make and haven’t to this point is dealing with their issues down the middle. I think with Draisaitl signing this week, they are going to give him a chance to prove he’s ready. I honestly think the 2C position is his to lose. I won’t be surprised to see him stick with the club past the 9 games and play the full season in Edmonton. I also like the defence upgrades and allowing their young kids more time to develop in the AHL. Both Fayne and Nikitin will be an improvement and should help stabilize the rear guard for the short and long term. As far as Eakins, I have never really been a big fan of his as a coach but I have to agree with Eberle that making another change doesn’t make sense. Hopefully he can rally the troops and bring the best out of them and the new additions to the club. I can see the kids taking the next step this year.
Ryan Ellis and the Nashville Predators continue to work on a new deal for the RFA defenceman. Coming off his ELC, Ellis and the Predators still appear to be far apart in negotiations. GM David Poile mentioned in a recent interview:
“We're having on-going discussions. We're a ways apart. Obviously, if we weren't we would have a deal done. We're really excited about his future, how he played the last half of the season and the possibilities of his type of game under Coach [Peter] Laviolette. It's just the type of negotiation where we just haven't gotten together. But there's quite a few younger players that are still unsigned on a lot of clubs right now.”
You can read the whole story here
Axeman’s grind: It will be interesting to see how much the Predators are willing to pay the young offensive defenceman, and the term. I have no doubt he is in their long term plans but the Preds are deep in defenceman riches. I think he tops out as a 3/4 in Nashville at best.
Ryan Malone had a deposition hearing on Monday. He is currently facing DUI and cocaine possession charges that stemmed from his arrest on April 12th, 2014. His next court date is August 19th and could work out a plea deal at that time. After being bought out by the Lightning in the off-season, his agent, Mike Liut, has said recently that a couple of teams have shown some interest in Malone and thinks it’s just a matter of time before he signs somewhere.
Axeman’s grind: I have read that Malone was “baffled” on how the cocaine got into his possession during his arrest. I guess he wasn’t as baffled about the DUI part. As far as hockey goes, I think I will be “baffled” if Malone is really all that fantasy relevant, assuming he does in fact sign somewhere.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has really taken off the past couple weeks on most social media venues. From players, to coaches, and even owners, all seem happy and willing to help support the cause. The goal is to raise awareness (and money) for ALS, which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 and works with the Massachusetts chapter of The ALS Association. After he “called out” some of his former teammates, the challenge managed to find its way to a few professional athletes in the Boston area and the rest is history. Apparently, over $2.3M has been donated between July 29th and August 8th in the USA this year. The same time period last year, $25,000 was donated. Amazing.
Paul “BizNasty” Bissonnette took it to a whole new level (literally and figuratively) this week, incorporating a helicopter, a Speedo and actual glace water to complete his challenge.
You can watch his video, and see who he challenges here.
Axeman’s grind: Good on BizNasty for “one-upping” pretty much EVERYONE in completing his challenge. I can’t see too many topping that. The current UFA is apparently in talks with a couple NHL teams for his services. I have read Washington is the front runner and a deal is close to being finalized. Here’s hoping he lands a new deal soon so he can pay for that helicopter.
Anton Khudobin firmly believes it was his play that led to him “stealing” the starting job in Carolina last year, more so than Cam Ward’s injury. Taken from a recent interview:
“It’s hard to say what was more important, if Ward’s injury or my game,” Khudobin said. “But probably my game, because even if Ward wouldn’t get injured and I wouldn’t play that way, they wouldn’t play me that often. So, maybe it was all this put together. I was injured myself earlier, and some other guys stepped up and played well. Maybe those times I was unlucky. But this time it was the other way around. Injuries never are a good situation for any player, but all went that way.”
You can read the full story here
Axeman’s grind: It’s going to be interesting to see how new Head Coach Bill Peters deals with this situation. I think he gives Ward the reins to start the year and the job is his to lose. That being said, I have little faith that Cam Ward can hold on to the job. Khudobin played very well last year and will only continue to improve with more playing time. I think once Khudobin gets a hold of that starting job, he’s going to play his guts out to ensure he doesn’t lose it.
Anton Karlsson, a third round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2014 draft, has signed a two year contract to stay in Sweden and play withSkellefteå AIK in the SHL. The 18 year old was a recent import draftee for the Erie Otters in the OHL and the Otters were hopeful they would have him in their lineup this year.
Axeman’s grind: I was really hoping Karlsson would make the jump to the CHL so we could get a better look at him. I targeted him in most of my keeper league drafts this off-season and managed to snag him in most of them. I am quite high on this kid and think he was a steal for the Coyotes in the third round.
The layoffs at CBC are starting to roll. I just read that Steve Armitage and Mark Lee were let go today.
Axeman’s grind: Sad to see Steve Armitage let go. His grizzly, grinding voice was always fun to hear. Mark Lee, meh….
I read a good Q and A with new Flyers GM, Ron Hextall this morning. He talks about family, his transition into his new role with the Flyers, the Hartnell trade, Kimmo Timonen and the future for the Flyers, amongst other things. Certainly worth the time to read. You can find this here
Axeman’s Grind: I love these candid interviews with GMs. It’s interesting to hear their thoughts on the current state of their franchise and their thoughts going forward. He gives some good insights. I’ve always been a Hextall fan and think he is going to be a solid GM for the Flyers.
I will leave you on this Thursday with a little throw back Thursday entertainment.
So Watcha’ Want?