Lockout Update: Day 9 - There is still a lockout.

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Fantasy Guide - The guide was last updated September 14. I'll be doing another update this week.

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I had no idea that Northlands Coliseum (Rexall Place - but it will always be Northlands to me) was 38 years old. I guess all this Edmonton arena talk was too boring for me to really delve into all the articles about it, but now that I have, that little tidbit surprised me. There is talk about the Oilers relocating if they don't get this deal done. Yeah right. Rich people are such whiners, eh? Ga ga goo goo, I only have $500 million in the bank, give me a deal right now so I can take the savings and buy a small island. I'm seeing way too much of this in sports lately.

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My wife may or may not go in strike in a month or two… (Ontario government - thank you Dalton McGuinty). If it were to happen, hypothetically (I don't want to word this in any way that could get her into trouble), or if the government were to lock them out, she would feel pretty obligated to stick around here with her union brethren, perhaps picket…I don't know. The point is, she won't be going out and getting another job. This despite her husband also hurting financially from a work stoppage (thank you Bettman and Fehr). So I'm struggling with the idea of players flocking to Europe. It just doesn't seem very uniony.

I want to see some more stories about Craig Adams, Dave Steckel, John Erskine, Cody McCormick, Scott Nichol and Blair Jones. What are they doing to make money? The NHLPA will not feel any pressure at all if we keep putting a spotlight on the multi-millionaires who found alternate sources of income. Let's hear about the gentlemen with fifty thousand dollars in the bank, but no form of income coming in and zero interest from European teams who are tripping over themselves to sign the suddenly-available superstars. I could add even more heart-wrenching thoughts on the arena workers and waitresses, but I don't think the NHLPA will respond or care about that. They might, however, care about how a Jay McClement or a Blake Comeau can't afford their $3000/month mortgage for more than a few months.

I'm probably on the players' side in this, though that may not seem the case with the above rant. But I'm a realist. The fact is - NHL teams are just toys. Do you think a single owner relies on NHL revenue? Hell no. They have "real" investments elsewhere, and their NHL interest is just a video game - something they can fiddle with for fun, from time to time. Can a union beat that? They may think they can, because the other leagues have caved - but the other leagues actually earn a crapload of profit. And before you point out $3.3 billion to me, understand that after the players take their piece and the Leafs, Rangers and four other teams take their profit out of that number, you are left with 20 or 25 teams who didn't make Jack Squat. One million? Two million? With these owners, they can dig into the back of their couch and come up with that. They don't care about revenue coming from their NHL interests - and that is what the NHLPA is up against.

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Started putting together my list for my first draft of the year. That will be this Sunday (keeper league. I also have a keeper draft on October 13 and the Expert's League roto draft on October 3. I had another keeper draft scheduled for this coming Saturday, but that was postponed - the only draft I'm in that the lockout postponed.

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Frankly, keeper leaguers - postponing a draft is a mistake. If you postpone your draft to wait for the lockout resolution you run into problems. First of all, what if the season is cancelled? You want double the draft crop next year? Secondly, if the lockout is settled say early November, the season will start within three weeks of that day. Can you really gather your entire league together on short notice and expect good attendance? Whereas the current draft date was probably going to get you full attendance…Anyway, my advice - let the draft go on.

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Those winners of last week's draw to get into the Entry Tier can expect an email this week. All participants in the 3-Tiered Roto League can expect an email this week.

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If I'm a team owner and I was fined $250,000 for one of my guys speaking out of turn, I wouldn't pay. What would the NHL do, kick out the Red Wings? It's a difficult balance between making the fine hefty enough to punish, yet not so outrageous that team just laughs at you and doesn't pay. Also, I'm not sure I see what was wrong with what Jimmy D said. So the NHL fines the team for an executive saying a few truthful words… but won't fine a team for signing a player to a six-year contract a few days after the NHL demands to the NHLPA that contracts be limited to five years? Dysfunctional.

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I had  no idea that Tyler Ennis and Jared Spurgeon were close friends until Nichols noted it in yesterday's fantastic ramblings.

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The Hockey Writers makes some QMJHL predictions - writer Fred Poulin, of DobberBaseball fame, does a fine job tackling this one.

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Finally, some improvement on the Chris Pronger front. A career return, in my opinion, is doubtful but at least he's improving. Life first, career second.

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I don't like how often Niklas Backstrom is getting hurt lately. He's hurt again (ankle). And of course, Josh Harding is a big-time injury risk (Band-Aid Boy). That makes Matt Hackett one of my favorite goaltending prospects.

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I'm reading a lot about Tampa prospect Tyler Johnson lately and it's leading me to think that I have him undervalued at 181 on my Fantasy Prospects List. Here's another piece on him. Anyway, I wouldn't draft him when the Lightning have Cory Conacher and Alex Killorn on the cusp. But I'll be watching how things shake out this season.

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An interesting article looking at the key games we'll miss the first 10 games of the season - if and when they're cancelled. Included: Justin Schultz playing against the Ducks, a Rangers-Devils rematch and of course the always interesting "first goal of the NHL season". We'll still have a "first goal", we'll just have to wait a lot longer.

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Andrei Loktionov not getting his name engraved by the Kings is a slap in the face. To me, it hints strongly of him staying in the KHL when the lockout is over. The Kings should be sucking up to their top prospects rather than pissing them off. From a business standpoint, this is an asset that they are choosing to chase away and get nothing in return. Loktionov played 39 regular season games and two playoff games. Because he refused to report to the AHL now, the Kings kept him off the Cup? If true, that's pretty petty.

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Make sure you swing back over here tomorrow - the return of Dobber Nation!

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Tomas Plekanec with some awesomeness…well, I guess a lot of NHL players are going to look pretty awesome over there:


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UKflames said:

UKflames
lower tier players This is the level that will crack first and cause the NHLPA to go back to the table. All for one and one for all is all fine and good when everyone is in the same country but with the top tier heading overseas and the younger players earning a crust in the AHL, they are left swinging in the wind. Once the lower tier player starts to hear the wife in his ear because she can't buy that expensive handbag, things will change.
September 24, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Wow - same page. Your three paragraphs on the lower-paid players & the owners are exactly inline with my own thoughts. In fact, I think you've summarized it better than I have (in my thoughts on the forums, to this point). Nice summary.

I, too, wonder if the impact on the lower-paid players will have any effect on the NHLPA. It is a very unfortunate situation for that tier of players.
September 24, 2012
Votes: +0

Billy_the_Phil said:

Billy_the_Phil
@hawkdog Players here in Quebec already started that. Bruno Gervais and Maxime Talbot started "La tournée des joueurs", they will go around small town charging 20$ and giving the money to local charity. I know M-A Fleury, Mathieu Darche and Brian Gionta should play too.
September 24, 2012
Votes: +2

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
players A guy at my morning hockey game had a good idea. The players should do a small town charity game tour. There are lots of players not going to Europe. Would really keep the fans on their side. Not sure what insurance implications would be.
September 24, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Fining owners The NHL has to be seen to be keeping everyone on the same page, they cannot have owners who are used to getting their own way, shooting their mouths off (telling the truth) and providing more ammunition for the players to not look to deal. Whether the Red wings ever pay the fine, I don't know if there is anyway to find out, this may just be press.
September 24, 2012
Votes: +0
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