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Brendan Ross has some great insights on Alex Galchenyuk in the DobberProspects ramblings, which you can check out here.

 

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Two games in the AHL last night. Here are some of the noteworthy fantasy lines:

 

Rochester and Lake Erie combined for 13 goals. For Rochester (Buffalo), Foligno and Luke Adam had two points each.

 

Kevin Porter also had two points. Porter is the guy who laid out Jake Gardiner with a hard hit behind the net last weekend.

 

For Lake Erie, rookie Mike Sgarbossa had three points and is moving up quickly in the AHL scoring race. His rookie season has been very, very impressive. He was always a prolific scorer in the OHL, but many wondered if he could translate that over to pro hockey.

 

Stefan Elliott had two points from the back end.

 

A few names from the past - Bill Thomas (former Phoenix forward) had three points, and defenseman Thomas Pock (a one-time Rangers prospect) had a goal.

 

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Canucks prospect Darren Archibald has been playing really well in the AHL after spending the first few months of the season in the ECHL. He scored twice last night for the Wolves and has been one of their best forwards since getting the call up a few weeks ago. 

 

Archibald would likely have been in the AHL all season if not for the lockout - there were too many bodies in Chicago.

 

Eddie Lack remains out of the lineup with a hip injury.

 

Jordan Schroeder added an assist, Chris Tanev had two, but Zack Kassian was pointless.

 

For Hamilton, Nathan Bealieu and Michael Bournival each scored goals.

 

Brendan Gallagher finished with a team high five shots on goal as well.

 

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Canada has finalized their roster for the 2013 WJC. I wrote on 10 reasons why I am looking forward to the WJC in this post at the CanucksArmy yesterday. The top reason?

 

The Nuge. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins held his own in the NHL last year against the best players in the world. And he did so while playing for an inferior team. He is going to be Canada’s top line center and the player they lean on in every offensive situation. He may be in tough to break Peter Forsberg’s tournament scoring record of 31 points, but he has a great shot to set the record for most points in a single tournament by a Canadian player at 18 (shared by Dale McCourt in 1977 and Brayden Schenn in 2011).


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Back to Canada’s roster. There weren’t any huge surprises among the final cuts:

 

Defencemen Mathew Dumba, Frank Corrado and Ryan Sproul, forwards Hunter Shinkaruk, Tom Wilson, Mark McNeill and Daniel Catenacci and goaltender Laurent Brossoit were the eight players released from the team on Thursday.

 

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Corrado has played great all season and stood out for the right reasons, but the team opted to go with the dynamic ability of Ryan Murphy (Canada’s head coach Steve Sprott coaches Murphy in Kitchener).

 

The final roster can be viewed at TSN here.

 

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Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin are both draft-eligible players, and both made it to team Canada. They play on the same line together in Halifax, as well. Will Canada put them on the same line? It would seem like the logical decision, but the team may not want to have two 17 year olds on the ice at the same time.

 

One would assume Nugent-Hopkins will form the top unit with Scheifele and Huberdeau on his wings, and that the Niagara duo of Brett Ritchie and Ryan Strome would make up the second scoring line. Would Canada opt for three scoring lines and then a “grind line” centered by Boone Jenner?

 

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Brett Ritchie’s stock has risen faster than most prospects this season, and for good reason.

 

TSN analyst Ray Ferraro was effusive of his praise of Ritchie after the game and said that there's no reason that the big winger won't be on the top two lines in the upcoming tournament.


"I would think so. He was the most noticeable, I think, of all the White team skaters," said Ferraro. "I think he made himself a viable candidate for that top-six spot and I really don't see anyone who will threaten to push him out of that spot."


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I am looking forward to seeing the mobile defensemen like Ryan Murphy and Morgan Rielly skate on the international ice.

 

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Ryan Kesler’s agent claims that his client is still months away from playing. I call BS on this – Kesler has been working out, skating, and rehabbing hard in Vancouver for the past few months. This is more of a case of a team/agent/player playing it very cautious with the uncertainty regarding the lockout and its eventual conclusion (Kesler’s injury has allowed him to collect a full pay cheque, which complicates things).

 

Agentspeak (I am making it into one word):

 

“I don’t think it’s fair to have any sort of time frame when he’s going to be 100 per cent and cleared to play. I don’t have a crystal ball and it’s certainly months away, it’s not weeks away. It’s several months away.”

Translates to…

 

“He’s not healthy, because if he was healthy, he wouldn’t be getting paid.”

 

If I am a betting man and a season starts in January, expect Kesler to be ready to go.

 

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An anonymous NHL governor passed along a balanced proposal to ESPN’s Scott Burnside. Worth the read.

 

The ownership source acknowledged that leaving out the buyout element as part of the transition to a new CBA would be the least contentious way to bridge the gap at least as it relates to the owners’ concerns about funding the transition. The buyouts were introduced by the players’ association last week, the timing of which annoyed the owners -- not to mention the fact the buyouts as the players suggested would be outside the hockey-revenue pie, a significant problem for the owners.


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Like father, like son. Claude’s son Brendan earned an eight-game suspension for this hit:

 

 

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Jonathan Bernier will play goal for Canada at the Spengler Cup if the lockout extends through the end of January.

 

Hockey Canada doesn't expect to formally name the Spengler Cup team until just before Christmas because of the uncertainty brought on by the NHL lockout. Canada is scheduled open the tournament against Adler Mannheim on Dec. 26.


Bernier previously represented Canada during the 2008 world junior championship, winning gold as a backup to Steve Mason, and at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship. He also played in the world under-18 championship.


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Cody Hodgson has been out for over a month with a broken hand, but he will make his return to the Rochester lineup soon (likely Saturday).

 

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Some very cool NHL wallpapers – not made by me, but I really like the minimalist theme.

 

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An update on the goaltending in the Tampa Bay system, from their goalie coach Frantz Jean:

 

About Tokarski: "He came in in tremendous shape. He's really matured and takes ownership of his game. When he feels there's an issue that needs to be addressed, he addresses it right away. I like where he is at physically and mentally."


About Helenius: "I like the improvement I've seen since the start of training camp. His battle level is really high right now. We're doing baby steps with him, but the improvement is there every week."


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The Oilers are holding an interesting contest, asking fans to share their analytical insights with the team.

 

The details:

 

Edmonton Oilers fans and analytics experts have a chance to become insiders with the team, help the team win games and capture some cool prizes in a unique contest. The club is opening its analytical information vault to launch Oilers Hackathon 2.0. Contestants will look at the data and determine the best methodology to solve questions posed by the Oilers.


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Lockout talk (see how long that took?) – CBC’s Elliotte Friedman on why the NHL has already won.

 

NHL teams are still very curious to hear what the transition rules are going to be, but if you look at it objectively, compare the expired agreement to what we're looking at now. The biggest gains are being made by the NHL. There is no other way to look at it. For the second time in eight years, your winner, on paper, will be the owners.


Just as Dobber has said all along. This was never a fair fight from the start – but as we all know, life isn’t fair.

 

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Love him or hate him, there is no denying Mark Cuban’s ability to cut through the BS. He rips the NHL a bit in this reasonably-levelled take on the current status of the league:

 

"When you have all your southern franchises basically sucking wind, there's a message there that you have to fix it. I mean, you have two different worlds; the north and the south. It's kind of like the civil war right now going on, and it's got to be fixed. So, yeah I'd cringe more as a hockey fan. I'd cringe more if they don't fix it. Just like the last one, it's only been like seven years right? But I even wrote a blog back then that they should have fixed it, and they didn't."


And there is the major issue. All of this contracting stuff, CBA term length, and so on, would be solved if the NHL and Bettman owned up to their poor decisions with expansion (not just poor, but horrendously awfully poor). The NHL would never cut two or four teams right away, but it would resolve the issues of this “missing money.” I’m not saying which teams deserve to be relocated and which can stay, as we don’t have access to accurate financial records (even the Forbes numbers are just estimates).

 

In a vacuum, if the NHL cut down to 26 teams, the product would improve. The PA wouldn’t go for it as they lose close to 100 jobs, and the league wouldn’t either, or at least Bettman and company wouldn’t. But the hockey would be better, there would be less teams bleeding money, and both sides would be better off financially.

 

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On that same grain… here’s a great read on stopping sports welfare.

 

“It’s like this magic alchemy where we take all this public money and it morphs into private profit,” says Dave Zirin, author of “Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love.” “The most egregious example of this is the Seattle Sonics going from the 14th biggest [media] market in the country to Oklahoma City, a market that is No. 45. Why did that move make sense? One place offered corporate welfare and another didn’t. The NBA punished a city for not giving them hundreds of millions of dollars.”


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Comments (5)add comment

kevin_mcallister said:

kevin_mcallister
Elliott Good to see Stefan Elliott on the right side of the score sheet for a change. 1G, 1A, +2. As an Elliott owner, I smiled when I saw Tyson Barrie with 0G, 0A, -2
(For a change)
December 14, 2012
Votes: +0

germant said:

germant
@ Jason Banks Jason, you make some valid arguments but at least one of your theories can never happen. Owners collectively privately agreeing to a) set contract lengths; b) set spending limits is illegal.

Yes, I understand your argument that such agreements would be "private" but the problem is that nothing is truly private. Owners would have to instruct GM's who would have to instruct Assistant GM's and other staff (e.g. capologists). When the coaching staff is asking for explanations as to why they haven't retained player x, they'll have to be told player x didn't fit within the privately league mandated self imposed salary cap.

These "gentlemen's agreements" constitute collusion and violate antitrust laws. MLB ran through a similar scenario in the 80's and it ended up costing the owners $280 million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M..._collusion) in penalties awarded to the players. (and yes, MLB owners thought this was all "private" as well and they'd never get caught)

The end result - NHL owners cannot get together and collectively set limits on term and amounts. Period. It HAS to be collectively bargained.

December 14, 2012
Votes: +0

Jason_Banks said:

Jason_Banks
... While I'm here...

Expansion - Yes it was dumb to move into markets that can't/won't support NHL franchises and their economics, but these things should be known and understood by the owners and NHL before they make these moves. That said, Franshise's in these markets are not a terrible thing, they need to be there to grow the market for the product,

Toronto didn't start out at the massive cooperation it is today, many people were going to games easily and cheaply in the mid Maple Leaf Gardens days, they are over 100 years old, expanding its fan base with every generation which is 3-5X the base it was many years ago. This has nothing to do with the product, more the growth of the population around the product.

If Florida, Nashville, Columbus, Atlanta ect are given 50 years, and their populations around the products grow 2-3 fold, they become sustainable... Florida right now is in the range, they their early young fans, are creating kidlets, who are growing into the culture of Panther fans, who soon will be at a working age to start paying for the product themselves...

Also I mentioned above, economics of the NHL, The sates love hockey... as much or more than Canadians... My proof? NCAA Rinks, almost every game is see be it Harvard, North Dakota, Bowling Green, all those rinks are packed and sound rather loud, southern AHL, ECHL, CHL and others have the same or larger attendances than Canadian AHL and Major Junior franchises...

Canada is more guilty of poor franchising of their hockey teams, I think its 5 OHL franchises have been relocated in the past few years, couple or Western Hockey Leauge teams, and a couple Q teams... for some reason they like to put these low market franchises in low population or interest areas and operate them as if they are large entities...

They don't make as much of a big deal of this because the owners treat the franchises as tokens that our their's, rather than money makeing entities...

Anyway, in summery, Growth is needed to some odd, markets where they do not start out as sane, Personally, Atlanta should have stayed, they were getting close to reaching the population growth factor, next Las Vegas and Seattle make the most sence, Hartford to Carolina was an excellent move... The owners and leagues just need to understand that they will not be profitable, and likely lose much, for several years until they are engrained into peoples lives.
December 14, 2012
Votes: +1

Jason_Banks said:

Jason_Banks
... The extreamly sad thing about all these 'lookout' issues are due to miss-management by the owners, their GMs and little else... yet the players are getting the rap for it all...

If the Owners and GMs all got togeather at a Board or Goveners meetings, they can all come to the agreement in private, we will not offer any contract term over 5 years, then stick too it. It doesn't have to be put on paper, if doesn't need approved by the players... If a player pisses and moans about it and fights for a 7 year contract... if no team is offering it, then he is sitting himself out or will sign for what is offered and no more...

Salery cap reduction, again be done the same way, 'ok this years contract range is 46-70 million, well lets reduce it 7 so the players only get 50% of revenue, so lets make this cap 46-60 million, no one in this room spends more than 60 million on thier roster...' If they do it and stick by it, it doesn't need to be put on paper, or approved for a CBA...

The only issue with my thinking is there is guys like Charles Wang, Lou Lamorello and others, who will go above and beyond and break that thinking, because its not written down...

Make Whole - should not even be an issue... It should be illegal for owners to go back on the contracts they already made, they need to pay the full ammount in my opinion.. Now if the lg were to get togather and say 'for the purposes of our cap rule, every contract signed before Oct 1st (or when ever the lockout begun) is reduced by 7% for cap implications, but the player is paid everything he is owed in his contract'

These things can be fixed in house, without being regulated in the CBA, all the CBA is a legal set of rules both sides agreed on... if the owners collectively decide to not go up agaisnt the created 'wall', they by all means dont have too...

All these obscene contracts have been offered and conjured up by owners and GM, they players have just agreed and signed them... never understood why they are getting a bad rap for saying 'ok' to the offers of 15 year deals and 7 million a year...

sorry guys... feel like ranting...
December 14, 2012
Votes: +0

yougo said:

yougo
... The 31 Canadians forwards picked before Charles Hudon in the 2012 NHL draft didn't make team Canada. Talk about a steal !!!
December 13, 2012
Votes: +1
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