Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hockey is filled with contradictions and now they are hypocrites.
I don't know if I can support a sport that allows "Assault "...as my friend would put it. 50 years ago, if we sat down to create a game, we certainty would have been drawing up rules that included a stick, a puck, a net or a goal.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Five things you don't talk about at a party

1. Politics

2. Religion

3. Money

4. Sex

5. Banning fighting in hockey

Don't give up on those high draft picks too soon.

Hockey history is filled with top draft picks that didn't work out....

I can think of many first rounders in the past 20 years that didn't pan out. Remember Alex Stojanov (7th in 1991), Todd Warriner (4th in 1992), Alexandre Daigle (1st in 1993), Jason Bonsignore (4th in 1994), Terry Ryan (8th in 1995), Alexandre Volchkov (4th in 1996), Daniel Tkaczuk (6th in 1997), Rico Fata (6th in 1998), Pavel Brendl (4th in 1999), Nikita Alexeev (8th in 2000), Alexander Svitov (3rd in 2001), Peter Taticek (9th in 2002), Alexander Picard (8th in 2004)...lets stop there as there as the point of this article is to actually discuss the guys that might still contribute in the future.

What did all these players have in common? All these players were drafted in the top ten of their draft class and none of them turned out to be regulars in the NHL. Well O.K. maybe Daigle was a regular for a while.

Fine, some players just don't work out for various reasons including death, injury and career changes. Now heres a list of players that did turn out but only after the original team gave up on them too early. This time however, I'm not only going to include top ten draft picks but all first rounders.

Markus Naslund - drafted 16th overall by Pittsburgh in 1991 but given up on too early and traded to Vancouver for none other than Alex Stojanov. 869 career points mostly coming after the trade.

Jason Arnott - 7th in 1993 to the Edmonton Oilers. Instead of bringing in a calming influence for the young Arnott, the Oilers traded him away to NJ for Bill Guerin who only played a few season in Edmonton. Arnott won Stanley Cups in NJ and Dallas and managed to put up almost 1000 NHL points. (He's not done yet)

Jean-Sebastien Giguere - 13th in 1995, would be traded to Calgary in a decent package that would help both teams but the Impatient Flames would trade him away for very little. Giggy goes on to win the Stanly cup, MVP in the playoffs and 231 wins.

Roberto Luongo - 4th in 1997 - Abandoned to early for another idea in Rick Dipietro and the pass of Danny Heatley and Marion Gaborik...you know, that complete fiasco. Keeping LOU would have solidified the goal tending and given promise to the Islander franchise. LOU is playing in the Finals next week!


These guys weren't traded for much. I'm think theres a trend coming in the NHL that will see many former high draft picks showcase their skills with different teams in the near future. Its already happened with Michal Grabner (rookie of the year candidate), Laurie Korpikoski (mr. Dependable now in Phoenix), Jack Johnson in L.A. ( a former #3 pick of Carolina) or Steve Downie in Tampa (He was or is and candidate for the Conn Smythe already this year). Seems like theres a recent trend of movement that I think is pretty dumb.............this early.

Look, I wouldn't give up on guys like Kyle Turris just yet, he's going to be the third best player of his draft class like Zac Bogosian might be the third best player of his. Funny thing to me is that these players are available and the price you could pay is cheap.

Kyle Turris sweepstakes!

I think I would be pissed also if I were Kyle and just wanting a little ice time and a little clarity in my NHL life. First, I make the team, then I don't. Was it me? I'm supposed to be a top 6 but spend my time on the bottom six. I live on a team that isn't sure if its going to be in Phoenix or Winnipeg.....or Hamilton......but not Winnipeg....who knows?

After spending his first season on the Coyotes roster (Some time in the minors), Kyle Turris buried his ego and spent the following season on the farm refining their game without one call-up. He played well in the minors and then made the team for the 2010-2011 season. He respectably put up 11 goals and 25 points in 65 games on a defensive oriented team last year and felt like he deserved a new contract. The Coyotes aren't treating him like the high draft pick that he was. Turris, the 3rd overall pick behind only Patrick Kane and James Van Riemsdyk, only wants a fresh start as the Coyotes have been reluctant to give him any real ice time despite his raw talent and an admirable effort. He has done everything he can for the team and everything they have asked.

Its time to honor his request to be traded and there are currently 7 teams making bids.
Time will tell who will land the young player.

A new top 10 in the June Draft, original post April 2011

Update to the Top ten in the NHL draft this June

Earlier this month I attempted to predict the top ten prospects in the upcoming draft. Now that the actual seeding is done, I'm going to again attempt to predict the top ten in the draft with respect to the team needs. I was recently checking out the so called "Expert" picks on NHL.com. Of the three pro's,

I actually have them Kimelman's top ten as the most similar to mine. I'm wondering if he read my article earlier as we have some similar ideas on the players and team needs. I think that Hoffner is completely out to lunch with Couturier out of the top 5 (He won't be passed up on with his skill set - my opinion) and he has a few players in the top 15 that are considered gambles. You don't need to gamble in the top ten this year and I think that some teams learnt their lesson last year, the Islanders and Columbus passed on Skinner and Fowler (Looking for upside when the upside was right in front of them). Also, I'm still having trouble believing that Murphy goes worse than five and he has him at ten.

Regardless, this years top ten might be one of the few times that the top rated ten go in the top ten.

1. Edmonton Oilers - Again, Nugent-Hopkins is almost a know brainer here. 6 Feet tall, hands of gold and a perfect situation for Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle...someone who can pass. I do see the possibility of a trade as Nugent Hopkins is the best player in the draft and the Oilers might like to focus on defense next. I could see Ottawa giving the Oilers both of their picks for the Oilers first. That would allow the Oilers to find a solid D at 6 and then with their 19 and Ottawa's 21, they could draft some centers.

2. Colorado Avalanche - Gabriel Landeskog. I won't waiver on this pick either as I believe that the Avalanche are solid at center and with the acquisition of E.J. (Erik Jonhson), the D has a main cog. Duchesne, Stastny, Galiardi, Jones and Mueller form the primary youth but they need a big winger after parting ways with Stewart.

3. Florida Panthers - Sean Couturier.

Florida PanthersSean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)SKINNY: GM Dale Tallon loves big, talented players and they don't get much better than Couturier - ADAM KIMELMAN'S MOCK DRAFT III

I think i said that before. Remember Toews and Skille in Chicago or that center Kane?

4. New Jersey Devils - The winner o the lottery and winners of ADAM LARSSON. Parise and Kovalchuk up front and a Larsson on the back end would look good and it would be a dream pick for the club. I just don't see how Larsson won't be the first pick off the board for defense. He possesses the most upside and all round talent if you are looking for a Lidstrom type player. Reliable in all aspects of the game.

5. New York Islanders - Gambled last year (Neino might pay off) but won't went they take Dougie Hamilton or Nathan Beaulieu. I do think that Beaulieu is my first surprise pick but the Isles are heavy on the front with Tavares, Grabner, Okposo, Neino and Parenteu so it will be a defense-man. I myself would pick MURPHY and would love to see him go here but I think the consensus around the league is that these other guys are the guys you want in game seven of the playoffs....BIG D.

6. Ottawa Senators - Unless something happens, I will be surprised if GM Bryan Murray isn't sitting there waiting at the podium the second its available to pick Jonathan Huberdeau. Best Pro Prospect? Maybe. (I think this title is anybody's) Best hands....absolutely! Ryan Strome could go here but Huberdeau has better size.

7. Atlanta Thrashers - Ryan Strome. Atlanta has Enstrom and the the BIG BUFF and need someone to play with Kane and Little. They take the guy left on the board at this point. They have some European flavor with Burmistrov from last year so I doubt they take Zibanejad here. Stome provides this years version of Jeff Skinner and will provide offense soon.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets - Zibanejad. You heard it here on hub pages first. This is your next MIKKO KOIVU! A player that comes off the board and nobody knows his name. This guy plays big and fast, has vision and skill. I do think that the Blue Jackets might pick up Murphy here as he could finally solve that powerplay thing (or lack there of) in Columbus.

9. Boston Bruins - Ryan Murphy or Dougie Hamilton. The depth on the offense has been a strength for a little while now. Seguin is still on the shelf so no need for offense.

10. Minnesota Wild - Hamilton, Murphy, Zibanejad, Armia and Biggs. I have a tough time seeing defense taken here with the Minny D. Biggs is Big and Armia will score lots of goals in the NHL.

That leaves a solid 2-3 defense on the board in Duncan Siemens and Brodin and possibly one of the guys left above as well as some complete steals in Biggs, Armia, Mcneill, Rattie (this years potential Eberle) and my favorite for sleeper in PUEMPEL! Go PUEMPEL.

Hell, Canucks Go!

Top 5 draft picks in the NHL

Top five draft predictions for the NHL 2011

Based on the current standings in the NHL, and assuming that the teams draft in the current order (Remember, there is a lottery in the NHL and some teams could move up or down in the rankings - check back here for an explanation of the NHL lottery system), here are my predictions of the 2011 draft held on June 24th.

1. Edmonton Oilers - Adam Larsson- The Oilers are likely feeling confident about their future offense with the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. Linus Omark and Sam Gagner line up the middle and there are some future reserves in Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale and Tyler Pitlick. While the Oilers have long been coveting a true number #1 center and ideally someone who can play with their young stars, they should feel somewhat confident that one of these players will fill that roll. That said, I do believe that the Oilers brass will be debating over taking Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Adam Larsson with the first overall pick. Why Hopkins? Because this kid can play! The debate here is that you don't want to be looking back at Hopkins and wondering what he could do with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. But the shelves are stocked aren't they? " %&*#$@" "Dammit", says GM Steve Tambellini. Oh well, I'll take Adam Larsson, darn!. This kid has the potential to be the anchor on defense that the Oilers don't have. A potential Norris stalworth that can get the puck to the young Oiler forwards and start working on keeping the puck out of the Oilers net. I think the only way they pass on Larsson is if they make a move to draft some other d-man like Ryan Murphy or Dougie Hamilton. I also feel some downside here as he could be just really good, not great (like Hopkins) The Oilers do have L.A.'s pick at 20 combined with other picks or players and its not unreasonable.

2. Colorado Avalanche - Gabriel Landeskog - Why not Nugent-Hopkins? Because they have a Hopkins type player in Matt Duchene and with Paul Stastny up the middle, they are great at center. Landeskog figures to be a power winger and with the recent trade of power forward Chris Stewart at the deadline, they have a perfect replacement here. I do feel they have an abundance of "medium" forwards but with the recent acquisition of Erik Johnson, I find it highly unlikely that they draft another defense-men. If they did, it would be Ryan Murphy and the thought of having "that" on your power play. Still, Hejduk only has so many years left and you want somebody for your star centers to convert with.

3. Ottawas Senators - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - The Senators need offense, PERIOD! Lets pretend that you have nothing at this point and then pick the best player in the draft. Not a tough job even for the numskulls in Ottawa. After dismantling a contender, I'm still shocked that Spezza is still in Canada...although, for how long?

4. New York Islanders - Ryan Murphy - Here I get a little fuzzy. The Islanders have a crop of young defensman in Harmonic and De Haan but could add some offensive power here with the likes of Ryan Murphy. With the emergence of Michael Grabner, they have a solid front six going forward with Tavares, Okposo, Moulson, Bailey and Comeau, not too mention their latest draft Niedereiter or Kirill Kabanov (I think he is a player). The still add to the offense with this pick and it all starts to look pretty good. Besides, have you seen Tavaras skate, somebody has to get the puck into the other end so that he can work his magic.

5. Florida Panthers - Sean Couturier - GM Dave Tallon (Formerly of Chicago) loves big centers and will find one here in Couturier. Already defensively responsible, he will jump immediately. In Kulikov and Gubrannson, the cats have a defense set for the next ten years. Remember Seabrook and Keith? The front is stocked with potential in Nick Bjustad, Quinton Howden and John Mcfarland not to mention the current roster of Weiss, Booth and Bergfors. Tallon hasn't given up on Jack Skille either who I think can play. Look for Tallon to make one or two more pitches at the draft, This team is going to get better soon as the shelves are just about stocked.

Who might break the top five. Huberdeau

This years Fowler, Tyler Biggs.

Biggest Bust, Strome

Hidden Gem, Puempel

Hidden Gem 2, Zibanejad

MORE TO COME!

Please feel free to comment at rurner@hotmail.com

Who will go first?

Serious about hockey playoff pools?


So why pool? Ultimately the decision to "Pool" for most people is based on entertainment and the love of the game. But should it really end here? For the ultimate sports enthusiast or gambler, much much more should come into play when picking your team. If you fall into one of the categories below, then this article is for you.

1. You usually end up at the bottom of your pool.

2. You think you know what you are doing but still don't seem to win.

3. You draft all the "right" players or players that you want, and are surprised to lose to another inferior team.

4. You draft with your heart and not your head.

Let me repeat...

YOU DRAFT WITH YOUR HEART AND NOT WITH YOUR HEAD!

To win in any hockey pool, there are two fundamental principles that I suggest you keep an eye on.

1. Are you getting an overlay on a team?

2. Are you drafting with a (points per game) X (games) attitude?

Are you getting an OVERLAY?

If you are drafting a team. Lets say that you suspect that the Detroit Red Wings will win it all this year. Then the only reason to go into a pool and draft Detroit players is if you are getting better odds than what "Vegas" is offering on the team.

Yes it is that simple.

Lets say that there are ten teams drafting in your pool and you think that you can get most of the Detroit players. You are basically being offered 10 to 1 on your wager. But hang on, thats only if first place takes it all. Now for our purposes thats probably a fair assessment as if there were two or even three places, you are getting odds to finish second or third as well. Thats enough compensation.

Now lets suppose that you think Buffalo will win it all this year and you go out and draft Vanek, Pomminville, Stafford, etc. etc. You are getting the same 10-1 but in the meantime, you could take your $50 bucks and put it on Buffalo in Las Vegas and be getting 40-1....a huge overlay compared to your draft.

The next time you are in a draft, find an overlay. This years overlays would be (I'm guessing but I'm sure I'm close)...

Detroit, Vancouver, Washington and Philly. (All tied or winning their current series also!)

Are you drafting with a (points per game) X (games) attitude?

There is no point drafting players that are going to the cup final if they aren't going to get points on they way there. There's also going to be many players that will only play one series but get more points than a players taken in you pool that make the cup final (And play 22-24 games). This year I took Shea Weber in the 9th round because I thought they would play 6-7 games and I took his average for the season (50 points in 78 games) and guessed that I would get somewhere between 4-5 points out of that player.

Doing the same thing with players like Stamkos and St.Louis this year, I figured that they might play 2 series. Therefore, 2 series averaging 6 games is 12 games total. 12 games by either players league average should yield me around 12-15 points. 12-15 points in most years is a top thirty player. So even though I thought that Tampa Bay would only play 2 series, they still become 3rd and 4th round players in most drafts (We had a nine team draft so I got both players in the 3rd and 4th round).

My team has (my predictions)

D. Sedin 20-26 points

Perry 12-15 points

St. Louis 12-16 points

Stamkos 11-15 points

Samulsson 11-15 points

Bieksa 8-10 points

Arnott 8-10 points

Horquist 5-6 points

Weber 4-5 points

Shane Doan 4-5 points

For a total of 95-123 (Good enough to finish in the top three of a ten person pool)

Trying to build a team this way can bring outstanding results and surprise many of the poolies in your draft. While they take the 12th guy down on the best team, you take the best guy on the worst team and get more points.

Remember, the most important thing...DON'T DRAFT WITH YOU HEART!....your heart will be in it when your team is winning and your players are scoring.

Good luck!