Category Archives: Hockey

New rule for NHL GMs: Stop trading with Ray Shero


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

Being an NHL General Manager comes with enormous pressure, constant scrutiny and second-guessing by players, fans, media and ultimately ownership.

It’s a tough business, but there’s one rule all NHL GM’s should live by, one that will extend their stay as the boss of hockey operations for a considerable amount of time – DO NOT MAKE A TRADE WITH RAY SHERO.

Seriously, don’t do it. If you do, start looking for the nearest employment office because your days are numbered. Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster is the latest to strike a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins GM, sending beloved captain Jarome Iginla to the Penguins for two prospects that wouldn’t rate anywhere near the top five in the Pens system and a first-round pick in 2013 that will be in the late 20’s.

In fairness to Feaster, he was limited in where he could trade Iginla and there’s a good chance any deal he made wouldn’t have been met with mass approval, but this – on paper – looks bad. He can take solace in the fact it’s not the first time Shero has done this. Let’s look back at some of the big deals the Pittsburgh GM pulled off in the past few years.

Feb. 26, 2008

Pittsburgh trades Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and 1st round pick in 2008 (Daultan Leveille) for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis

Result: Hossa and Dupuis helped the Penguins reach the Cup final in 2008 and was the biggest trade of the year. Hossa finished third in playoff scoring with 26 points in 20 games, the two players who finished tied for first with 27 were Sidney Crosby and Conn Smythe-winner Henrik Zetterberg. Hossa would sign with the Red Wings in the offseason, but Dupuis remained and won the Cup the following season.

The other players were traded to the Thrashers, a team that no longer exists, so it’s fairly obvious who won this deal. An interesting note is that Esposito and Leveille were both first-round draft picks, but neither has suited up for an NHL game. Armstrong and Christensen were with the Thrashers for a couple of years before being finding their way out of Atlanta before the team moved to Winnipeg. Dupuis has been a main stay in Pittsburgh with much of the time spent on Crosby’s wing.

Feb. 26, 2009

Pittsburgh trades Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi

Result: A year to the day after fleecing Atlanta, Shero and his staff take their act to the West Coast and rob the ducks. Kunitz would win the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and is in the top five in scoring this season. Whitney has been a healthy scratch for the Oilers this season. Enough said.

March 4, 2009

Pittsburgh trades a conditional fifth-round pick (Michael Lee) to the New York Islanders for Bill Guerin

Result: Guerin played two seasons in Pittsburgh with the team winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. In total, Guerin played in 130 games for the Penguins, racking up 81 points. The Islanders traded the pick to the Phoenix Coyotes who selected goaltender Mike Lee who has yet to appear in an NHL game.

Feb. 21, 2011

Pittsburgh trades Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal and Matt Niskanen

Result: New rule, do not trade with Pittsburgh in February, nothing good will come of it. The funniest part of this deal is picturing Shero saying that Neal for Goligoski wouldn’t be fair, he’d need another asset. Goligoski has been solid for the Stars, but since arriving in Pittsburgh Neal has continued to improve into one of the top goal scorers in the league. In fact, Niskanen’s numbers since the deal – 130 games played and 71 points – have been slightly better than Goligoski’s (125 gp, 62 pts).

Many people will mention that Feaster had his back against the wall with Iginla only wanting to go to a few teams. Shero faced a similar situation with Jordan Staal last summer, but had the disadvantage of Staal only wanting to play in Carolina with his brother Eric. Shero quickly pulled the trigger, sending Staal to the Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a 1st round pick in 2012 (Derrick Pouliot). Sutter has 14 points in 34 contests this season while Staal has racked up 20 in 31 games. Pouliot is part of the glut of young defensemen Pittsbugh has in its system including fellow first-round picks Simon Despres and Olli Maata as well as second-rounder Scott Harrington. It’s that core of young blueliners that allowed Shero to deal 2011 first-rounder Joe Morrow to Dallas for Brenden Morrow a week ago.

So the thing to remember is this – if you’re an NHL GM and Shero calls, don’t answer…especially if it’s February.

By the Numbers

Here’s a breakdown of the trades above in terms of games played and points. The numbers are consistent with how may games the players involved played with Pittsburgh and their trading partner. Numbers include the Staal-Sutter deal and are current as of Mar. 28, 2013.

Pittsburgh acquired:

1,248 games played

786 points

Teams that traded with Pittsburgh acquired:

487 games played

229 points

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Dreaming of Wrigley


Kevin Barrett | Out of WriteField

For many Canadian boys, early days on the ice led to dreams of making it into the NHL, scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal for the home team and basking on the championship glory.

But along the way, many also dreamed of ‘The Wrigley’.

No, not the baseball field, or the chewing gum.

‘The Wrigley,’ as it was known in rinks across Canada for many teenagers, was the national midget hockey championship, the stepping stone to greatness for some who still held those long coveted big league aspirations.

The tournament carried big time cache, especially in small towns, like Dieppe, St. Stephen and Summerside, Prince Edward Island and many points between the coasts of British Columbia and Newfoundland.

In contrast to regular events for minor skaters in their early career path, this was the first Canadian tournament for hockey, an event for the 15- or 16-year-old puck dreamers that today, could be best compared to the Brier. That’s because every province was represented, every province had a chance to play at the national level and every player could impress scouts looking to uncover a hidden gem.

The added distinguishing characteristic was the gear.

When you hit the Wrigley, you got a free helmet, gloves, pants, socks and of course, your province’s jersey.

Star or scrub, you were taking gear home. Your own game-worn swag was a big deal.

However, my diminished skills did not get me on or even close to a squad that ever made it to the Wrigley, or the Air Canada Cup that followed or the Telus Cup, which it is known as now.

But in the day, when it was an event featuring provincial instead of regional championship, there were more opportunities for Maritime players to shine.

While I did not make it, I knew of some who did.

Any many hockey fans heard of those elite midget stars – such as Rollie (the Goalie) Melanson of Shediac, defencemen Don Sweeney of St. Stephen and Randy Jones of Quispamsis, forwards Andrew McKim of Saint John and Scott Pellerin of Shediac as well as former Saint John Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant, and current superstar Sidney Crosby of Cole Harbour.

None of their teams’ won gold but the ‘Wrigley’ or its later incarnations opened the doors to continued development to the big leagues.

That’s why a current Telus top-40 of all-time list is intriguing in advance of this year’s 40th anniversary celebration of the national event in Sault Ste. Marie in late April.

(Check put the link to the list here:

On the list of potential top-40 alumni, including the NBers listed above are: Three overall first round NHL picks – Wendel Clark, Crosby and Gord Kluzak.

There are nine Hockey Hall of Famers on the list of alumni – Glenn Anderson, Ron Francis, Mike Gartner, Al MacInnis, Larry Murphy, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Denis Savard and Steve Yzerman.

They have already started to countdown – with Chris Mason at No. 40, Manny Fernandez at No. 39, Joffrey Lupul at No. 38 and Ryane Clowe at No. 37.

It is interesting to see where Crosby will end up and if he jumps Yzerman, Sakic, or Patrick Roy – an early indicator of where he could rank in the greatest of all time discussion when his career eventually ends.

It will also be interesting to see if any NBers make the grade.

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The Blackhawks are Justified


Andrew McGilligan | Out of Writefield

Two of the best things to happen to television and hockey have collided this year. The Chicago Blackhawks are the best and most fun team to watch in the National Hockey League. Same goes for the show Justified. Both have been unbelievable this season and are eerily similar.

Here’s an unscientific look at how the Blackhawks and the show set in rural Kentucky have been mirroring each other for the past few years.

Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks = Raylan Givens and the cast of Justified

With each passing episode Justified just keeps getting better. Same goes for the Blackhawks with each passing game.

Both Justified and the Blackhawks seemed to peak in 2010 as the show – specifically Margo Martindale won an Emmy – and the Hawks won the Stanley Cup. At the time, it was hard to think either would surpass those lofty heights.

The fourth season of Justified keeps getting better with every episode and could – so long as the final episodes continue this trend – replace Season 2 as the best in the series.

How do you top winning a Stanley Cup? How about setting a streak for the best start in NHL history by not losing a game in regulation for 24-straight to open the season. If they win the Cup, it will cap off one of the most remarkable runs in NHL history.

Interesting Comparison: The protagonist of Justified is US Marshal Raylan Givens, a throwback type of lawman to the old West days who has a clear vision of good and bad. He’s a no-nonsense kind of man.

To describe Jonathan Toews as no-nonsense would be an understatement. The young captain of the Hawks’ nickname is ‘Captain Serious.’ He goes about his business with a workman-like approach but has unbelievable skills with a hockey stick (coincidentally, Raylan is the quickest draw in all of Kentucky).

Toews is what you would envision when creating an old-school type player: tough, plays both ends of the ice and leads by example.

Second  in Command: The second lead in Justified is Boyd Crowder. Just as confident and skilled as Raylan; but on the other side of the law. Patrick Kane is just as talented as Toews, but possesses a great wild streak (just google Kane and Cinco de Mayo) and a flare for the dramatic. Both Crowder and Kane manage to keep their cool in tense situations (see Kane scoring in final minute to tie a game in Detroit then notching the shootout winner during the streak; Boyd has himself in countless perilous situations, but never seems to sweat). When Boyd and Raylan are in a scene together, its TV gold as both know how to push the others buttons. Kane and Toews have a similar dynamic (

So let’s enjoy some good TV while it lasts. Justified only has two more episodes left this season. As for the Hawks, watching them play in late May would be the best way to cap off the hockey season.

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NHL needs to change rules for hits from behind


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

We should thank Patrick Kaleta for bringing a serious topic back to light in hockey.

The Sabres forward was suspended five games for checking Brad Richards head first into the boards in a game against the Rangers. The hit was vicious, unnecessary and could have ended Richard’s career. Consider that for a moment.

A Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champion was almost taken from the game by a guy who…well I can’t think of any of Kaleta’s accomplishments. Hockey is so focused on hits to the head and the subsequent concussions – and rightly so, it’s a big problem for the health of those playing the game – that potentially life-altering hits from behind that can leave a person paralyzed is merely a two-minute minor for boarding in many leagues. It seems like the standard is if the guy gets up and is OK, then its two minutes. If he’s injured, just like Richards was from the Kaleta hit, it seems the harsher standard is applied.

A few years ago, hits from behind were talked about the way concussions are discussed now. It was a constant source of debate on sports television and rules, penalties and education strategies were being discussed and brought forward to try and alleviate the problem. The talk eventually faded as another problem became the hot topic. For some reason, in hockey circles only one problem can be discussed at a time.

There’s still far too many hits from behind – which can cause concussions – but it has been pushed to the backburner. While the efforts to stem the tide of the dangerous hits have helped, it needs to be taken more seriously by all levels of hockey including the NHL. The premier league in the world can set the standard in these matters and have everyone else react.

The league should look at only assessing five-minute major penalties to hits from behind as a standard with an automatic review by the league for possible suspension. Boarding calls should not even be considered on hits from behind thus no two-minute minors being called for the infraction. Let analysts and coaches gripe about how a guy turned or if the hit was more from the side. In the end, players will adjust and a new talking point will emerge.

While hockey should continue to try and stem the flow of dangerous hits to the head, let’s not let other safety issues fall by the way side. Hits that cause concussions and paralysis are dangerous; and those who commit the act deserve more than a two-minute break in the box.

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Reggie Ain’t Right: An Argument Against the Asterisk


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

“It doesn’t prove nothing.”

“That was a lockout season.”

Those were the comments of Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans when asked by the Daily News what it would mean to defeat the defending champion Miami Heat in an NBA regular season game earlier this year.

Evans is putting forward the asterisk argument, one that has gotten very popular in the past few years.  The asterisk argument means an accomplishment – be it an individual one or team – is made less because of varying circumstances. In the Evans case, he regards the Heat’s championship as devalued because it occurred during a shortened season due to a lockout.

The National Hockey League is facing the same question as its season progresses. Should the team that wins a Stanley Cup have an asterisk besides its name in the record books? This should not take place under any circumstance. Just like the Heats’ epic playoff run last season, the hockey world should embrace its postseason heroes and transcendent moments because – until someone proves otherwise – they’re not tainted in any way.

It’s often said that winning the Stanley Cup is perhaps the hardest championship to capture in all of sports. The four-round grind is grueling and will not be made any easier because of the lockout. Players will be a bit fresher heading into the playoffs compared with seasons past, but that should be a selling point not a negative. A shortened season should mean an even higher level of play during the postseason. A great example of this was LeBron James performance during last year’s NBA’s playoffs. James was unbelievable in leading the Heat to the championship and had a game for the ages against the Celtics in Game 6 in Boston.

Perhaps the NHL is hoping for a similar performance from one of its stars, be it Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews or Steven Stamkos.

The NHL knows its best showcase is the playoffs as the intensity increases and the players go all out to win the Cup, that’s why it’s the one part of the season that is not affected by the lockout. The playoffs and schedule will be going ahead as it has in years past.

So no asterisk is needed when it comes to this season’s stats or championship.

Reggie Evans was wrong; a shortened season resulted in one of the best playoffs in NBA history. The NHL will be hoping for a similar outcome when the puck drops on the 2013 postseason.

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A record not soon to be broken


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

Tim Hamel and Jonathan Langille are now the answers to a trivia question.
If someone asks who were the referees in the game that ended Acadie-Bathurst Titan forward Zach O’Brien’s streak of 181 games without a penalty, the answer is Hamel and Langille.
The unbelievable mark has come to an end in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with O’Brien’s first major junior foray into the sin bin. He was whistled for interference of a player or goaltender at 1:52 of the second period in a 5-1 loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Tuesday.
As if being a young man playing the volatile sport of hockey and not taking so much as a hooking call in 181 games (191 if you count the playoffs) isn’t impressive enough, a quick look at some other numbers really puts the accomplishment into perspective.
Not only did O’Brien set a new record, he shattered the previous mark by 82. The longest streak without a penalty before the Newfoundland-born O’Brien etched his name into the record book was 99. The player who compiled the second-longest streak in Q history was Jean-Luc Phaneuf who played three seasons in the league with Montreal. Phaneuf’s streak stretched from Nov. 5, 1973 to Feb. 4, 1975. O’Brien’s streak began Sept. 11, 2009 and ended with his last penalty-free game on Feb. 17, 2013.


During his streak, O’Brien has racked up 248 points in regular season play. Not only is he a perpetual candidate for most sportsmanlike player, but the Titan sniper is one of the most consistent point-getters in the Q. He currently sits in a tie for seventh in the scoring race, finished second in 2011-12 and notched 65 – including 29 goals in his first full season in the league in 2010-11. He led the league in goal scoring with 50 last season.
20-22 minutes
Given his talent and importance to the Titan, O’Brien plays between 20-22 minutes a night according to statistics provided by the team. To log heavy minutes as a first-line forward, night in and night out and not so much as get-the-stick-up accidently for a hooking call or put too much behind a clearing attempt and watch it sail over the glass is unbelievable.
1.3 and 0.010989010989011
O’Brien has averaged 1.3 points per game in his career while his penalty minutes per game average is 0.010989010989011.
He logs heavy minutes for a playoff team, doesn’t put his team in bad situations, is perpetually among the league’s top scorers and when he’s on the ice he creates scoring chances. O’Brien is the definition of a valuable hockey player.
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It’s time for random NHL predictions


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

Reading all of the NHL predictions can leave you wondering what to believe. Some predictions are conservative, others completely off the wall. What it comes down to is no one has a magic 8-ball, it’s basically educated guess work – some more educated than others.

With that in mind, here are some predictions for the 2013 NHL season, both conservative and going out on a limb.

Stanley Cup Champion:

Who I think will win – Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve got arguably the two best players in the NHL in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, another top 10 scorer in James Neal and a potential Norris candidate with Kris Letang. The Penguins were ousted in the first-round of last season’s playoffs by the Flyers, thanks, in large part, to horrendous goaltending.

Marc Andre Fleury cannot be that bad again, a full season of Crosby and Malkin, and a strong supporting cast including new addition Brandon Sutter will be too much for any team to handle.

Dark Horse – St. Louis Blues. On paper the Blues might be the most balanced team in the league. A strong core of forwards will be bolstered with the addition of Vladamir Tarasenko. The rookie Russian winger was averaging a point-per-game in the KHL before coming to Blues training camp.

The biggest question for the Blues is if the goaltending duo of Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak can repeat last year’s brilliance in the crease. There’s got to be some regression, but if one of them gets hot heading into the playoffs, the Blues could be in the Cup final.

Hart Trophy:

Who I Think Will Win – Evgeni Malkin. The Russian sniper will make it back-to-back MVP campaigns. He’s in game shape having played in the KHL and will reunite with Neal on Pittsburgh’s top line. The duo had great chemistry last year and that should continue.

Dark Horse – Jordan Eberle. Of all the players in the NHL, Eberle strikes me as the one ready to breakout and advance to the superstar level with the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Claude Giroux. Eberle will be the captain of the Oilers in a few seasons and the undisputed leader of the team. I think he has a legitimate chance to win the scoring race this season. He’s been playing in the AHL alongside linemates Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the trio will start the season together. I think the Oilers ascendance back to NHL relevancy will coincide with Eberle’s rise to dominance.

Norris Trophy:

Who I Think Will Win – Shea Weber. A season like Erik Karlsson’s in 2011-12 doesn’t happen very often, which is the reason he won’t be repeating as the Norris Trophy winner. Instead, Nashville’s Weber will take the honour as the league’s top D-man. Playing without Ryan Suter, Weber will take on an even bigger role in Nashville and prove the Predators were right in matching the offer sheet Philadephia signed him to in the offseason.

Dark Horse – Alex Pietrangelo. The St. Louis blue-liner had an excellent season in 2011-12 and had some pundits talking about a Norris nomination. He will continue his emergence as a top tier d-man and cement himself as a franchise cornerstone for the Blues. A shiny new trophy would help in contract negotiations.

Other predictions:

  • Despite having heard Roberto Luongo’s name pronounced correctly, Don Cherry will continue to call him La-Longo.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs fans will continue a decade’s long tradition of believing this is the year their team wins the Stanley Cup – it most certainly is not.
  • Pierre McGuire’s head will explode on air after getting too excited about a big Dion Phaneuf hit. NBC will get him put back together for the second period.
  • TSN’s Gord Miller will continue to talk about goaltenders being in the midst of a shut out during games, bucking the hockey tradition of not mentioning a goalies shut out while the game is happening. Several old men will threaten to never watch TSN because of Miller’s antics, then realize they’re in a room by themselves and no one is listening.
  • The smile on Rick Nash’s face will remain for an entire season as he keeps looking at his jersey and realizing it has no Blue Jackets.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers will continue to pursue ginger-haired players via trade to compliment Giroux and Scott Hartnell. It’s all part of GM Paul Holmgren’s plans to weird everyone out with a team of Epic Gingers.
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Consider this before you draft


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

With a little more than a week to puck drop, there’s no shortage of interesting story lines for the shortened NHL season. Poolies are busy cramming in advance of their hockey pool drafts, so here are a few things to keep in mind as your draft date rolls around.

Young Guns in Edmonton

Two factors to consider when drafting players in a shortened season is age and conditioning. Age is obvious as there won’t be as many off days in a condensed schedule and younger legs should be able to handle the wear and tear better than those of a 10-year veteran.

Conditioning really means have they been playing during the lockout either in the KHL, other European leagues, junior hockey or AHL. Three Edmonton Oilers meet these criteria perfectly: Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The trio have been skating together this season with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL and Nugent-Hopkins also played for Canada at the World Juniors.

The trio is in game shape and should have a leg up on a lot their competition – even the ones who have been playing during the lockout – as they’re skating, often times, on the same line in Oklahoma City. Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov also meet the criteria, but being rookies lends a bit of uncertainty to their game, however, they could be good players to gamble on in your draft.

The key player for Edmonton is Eberle, he’s coming off a great year and looks poised to be the top star on this young, exciting Edmonton team.

Staal to the top six

The numbers Jordan Staal can potentially put up as a top six forward with the Carolina Hurricanes should be enough to make poolies drool. As a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the past few seasons, he was behind all-world centres Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

In Carolina he will get a chance to be a top six forward and benefit from first-line power play duties and increased ice time. The opportunity gets even better when you realize he could be flanked by the likes of his brother Eric, Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin. Jordan Staal has the chance to have a breakout season even in an abbreviated 49-game schedule. He could be the steal of the draft if you can score him after the second round.

Rookie to Watch

While most of the eyes will be trained on the Edmonton duo of Yakupov and Schultz, one guy to gamble on having a solid rookie campaign is Mikael Granlund. When it looked like the lock out was coming to an end, the Wild pulled him from the lineup of the AHL’s Houston Aeros to ensure he’d be healthy and ready for camp.

Granlund has adapted well to the North American pro game registering a point-per-game pace with 21 points in as many games this season with Houston. He’s well versed in playing against older competition as he’s competed against much older players the past few seasons in the top pro league in Finland. The forward should find a home in Minnesota’s top six.

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Burke by the Numbers


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

The timing of the Brian Burke firing by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment was curious at best, but the numbers back up the organization’s decision.

The former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs was gruff with the media, had no idea how to keep a neck tie tied, was constantly spitting in a Tim Hortons cup through all Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts and actually made the team worse by three points than the regime before him.

Only one of the above got him fired.

Burke was hired in November of 2008. To determine if he made the Leafs better during his tenure, compare the seasons of 2007-08 (the last one of the pre-Burke era) and 2011-12 (the last of the Burke era).

In terms of record, the Paul Maurice coached squad of ’07-08 finished the season with a record of 36-35-0-11. The ’11-12 version coached by Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle ended up with a mark of 35-37-0-10. The Leafs were slightly worse last season under Burke than the final season before his arrival. For all the bluster and talk, the Leafs are a very similar club to the one he took over. There’s only a differential of four points in terms of the team’s top scorer from each season (07-08 Sundin: 78; 11-12 Kessel: 82).

Each team had one 30-goal scorer. The top scoring defenceman in 07-08 was Tomas Kaberle with 53 points while current captain Dion Phaneuf was the top point-getter on the blue line last season with 44.

The pre-Burke era team had four players score more than 50 points while the ’11-12 version had three.

The only area on the offensive side that showed improvement under Burke was in terms of point-per-game players and 20-goal scorers. Joffrey Lupul and Kessel averaged a point-per-game last season while Sundin was the only one to do so in ’07-08. The Leafs of last season had four players score more than 20 goals, only two guys did that in the final season of pre-Burke Toronto.

On the team statistics side, the Leafs scored the exact same amount of goals in both seasons, but surrendered four fewer in ’07-08. Last season’s power play was just over half a percentage point better than pre-Burke, but the penalty kill was worse by about three-quarters of a percent.

While the Leafs did get younger under Burke’s tenure and acquired several prospects, the numbers at the NHL-level show virtually no improvement during his time as GM. All of this wouldn’t have mattered had the Leafs made the playoffs under his direction, ultimately that’s all that matters.

Unfortunately for Burke and Leafs fans, that stayed the same as well.

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Let the Games Begin


Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

With the shortened NHL season looming, there’s a few things that need to change in order to give fans the best experience possible. Call it a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and its loyal viewers.

So here, in no specific order, are some ideas to make this short season one to remember.

The David Steckel Rule:

If you cheap shot one of the best players in the game, which in turn results in fans not being able to enjoy one of the best to ever skate in the NHL for a long period of time, then you don’t play until he returns to health.

I’m still bothered that a marginal player like David Steckel thought it was OK to cheap shot Sidney Crosby and rob hockeyfans of what was potentially an epic season for 87. I can do without ever watching Steckel again, but I would like to see one of the best take to the ice on a regular basis. I understand some injuries are unavoidable given the speed and style of hockey, but cheap shots like Steckel’s need to go and indefinite suspensions should help get the message across.

The BizNasty/Malkin Show:

One of the most entertaining parts of the offseason and lockout was the twitter dialogue between Penguins superstar Evegeni Malkin and Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette (aka BizNasty2.0).

From inquiring about whether Malkin need a winger in the KHL – the Penguins star reply was ‘Not You’ – to Bissonnette retweeting Malkin’s Russian language missives and asking when they will hang out, the duo are the NHL’s new odd couple.

This leads me to Ray Shero and HBO. The Pens GM needs to get BizNasty in his lineup. I will not try and defend this transaction as a sound hockey trade, but one solely for entertainment. Without a chance for the great HBO 24/7 series this season, fans need a docu-drama fix and the Malkin/BizNasty Show would be perfect.

They can live together, argue about who controls the remote and be forced to room together on the road. Just thinking about Malkin berating Bissonnette in broken English and the inane chatter Biz Nasty is sure to direct at his Russian buddy would be comedic gold. I haven’t even thought about what the two of them lurking at a nightclub would be like, but it couldn’t be anything other than awesome. So make the trade Penguins and Coyotes and let the best NHL buddy comedy begin.

LA Kings Twitter Feed:

It’s safe to say the twitter feed of the LA Kings is by far the funniest of all teams in the NHL.

Here’s a few samples:

From Dec. 31 – New Year’s resolution: Be more like the @LAKings Twitter

From Dec. 13 – What is the best combination of guys in NES Ice Hockey?

From Nov. 21 – We know there is some confusion, but we are not playing the @Lakers tonight. Sorry for any inconvenience.

From Nov. 14 – The dressing room had questionable plumbing…which old arena is Bob Miller describing? Read Bob’s latest post at .

From Nov. 10 – Which team did you most enjoying slaying on the way to the Stanley Cup? #VAN #STL #PHX #NJ

From Nov. 6 encouraging American fans to vote – Remember, your vote could decide who congratulates us at the White House.

From April 12 after eliminating the Vancouver Canucks from playoffs – To Everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome

Trash talk, questions that pertain to nothing, stories about questionable plumbing, baiting West Coast Canadians into an online feud, this twitter feed has it all. So for the rest of the teams in the NHL, please follow the first example.

World Championships:

This one has nothing to do with the NHL, just an idea that could be interesting. Instead of the world championships where players from teams not in the NHL playoffs and European leagues compete for the title, let’s get the juniors involved.

The champion of junior leagues in Russia, Sweden, Canadian Hockey League and a host team would face offs against one another in a yearly tournament similar to the CHL’s Memorial Cup. The world junior championship during the holiday season is a tremendous success and I’m willing to bet, hockey fans would watch this tournament as well.

Sunday Night Football Introductions:

This one is for you CBC and NBC. Have the starting lineup of players for each team introduce themselves in the same fashion as Sunday Night Football. You know the ones where there’s a close up of the players face and he says his name and what college he attended. Players have fun with it as guy say they’re from THE Ohio State University, the U and some take it a step further and say the name of the kindergarten they attended.

In the NHL version, a player would say his name and where he played junior or minor hockey. Example: Sidney Crosby, Rimouski Oceanic. Mike Richards, THE Kitchener Rangers. Joe Thornton, The Soo.

Just imagine Ovechkin grinning from ear-to-ear without his front tooth telling you he’s from Moscow all while wearing that cowboy hat from the All-Star game. This needs to be done just to see the different ways Ovechkin can introduce himself.

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