DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE: EDITION XIV

Jason Gregor
July 13 2011 01:12PM

After successfully not drowning or cramping up during my first triathlon sprint over the weekend, I spent Sunday and Monday catching up on the hockey world. I was shocked not at all to see that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had once again done nothing to deter a GM from spouting off, found some interesting arbitration comparables, was perplexed at the reaction of some Oiler fans, heard that Toronto might be getting a new rink (and possibly another team) and the NHL has some realignment plans.


This past Friday, Dean Lombardi was publicly whining and acting like a jilted lover AGAIN, because he felt he got damaged goods in the Ryan Smyth trade. Veteran reporter Helene Elliott gladly tweeted Lombardi's venom Friday afternoon. It makes for a great story when a GM, coach or player speaks their mind, but there is a difference between speaking your mind and sounding like a whiner, and Lombardi was all over the latter.

"The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton's word," was my favourite Lombardi comment. Putting Steve Tambellini in the same light as one of the biggest fraudsters in recent memory was rich, but based on the NHL's non-investigation, Lombardi's accusations are off-base.

What I don't understand is Bettman's silence.

You are the commissioner. You shouldn't allow GMs to publicly spout off and question the character of opposing teams, especially when you've deemed the trade valid. I'm sure Gary is spending most of his time trying to find another "sucker" who might be interested in purchasing the money-sucking Phoenix Coyotes, but you'd think he'd have time to show some leadership and tell Lombardi to "Zip it." Sure, he might have done it behind closed doors, but rapping Lombardi's knuckles in private doesn't let the public know that the Kings' GM was out of line.

The NHL has an injury registry that teams can look at regarding a player's health. It sounds like the Kings knew Fraser was injured, they just thought he'd be ready for camp. Clearly he won't be, but the Kings knew he was coming off a broken ankle, and while there are estimated healing timelines, some players don't heal to those dates. Lombardi sounds like a guy with buyer's remorse...tsk...tsk.

Lombardi is a loose cannon. In January he was fined $50,000.00 when he questioned the integrity of Mike Murphy, the NHL's senior vice-president of hockey operations after a controversial goal by Martin Hanzal during a King's loss to Phoenix.

"When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.'s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls," Lombardi was quoted as saying on the Kings' website. "However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we're going to have to find a way out of it ourselves."

Basically by doing nothing Bettman is saying it is okay for GMs to question the integrity of other GMs, just don't rip on NHL management or officials.

Fail.

FEEL SHAME

One of the best scenes in the greatest hockey movie ever, Slapshot, is when radio/TV host, Jim Carr interviews Chiefs' goalie Denis Lemieux about the finer points of hockey.

Jim:  What is high-sticking?

 Denis: High-sticking happen when the guy take the stick, you know, and he go like that. You don't do that. Oh, no. Never, never.

Jim: Why not?

Denis:  Against the rules.You stupid when you do that, some English pig with no brains... (tripping, hooking and slashing explanations don't play out well as well in words, without seeing Lemieux acting them out.)

All bad. You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes by yourself, and you feel shame, you know.  And then you get free.

Some Oiler fans should be feeling shame right now, after reading how many of them automatically sided with Lombardi and felt that Tambellini's alleged lack of honesty was going to ruin the Oilers. "No one will want to trade with us," cried many of you.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but since the draft, when Lombardi first ripped the Oilers, they have signed four UFAs and have made two separate deals with the Anaheim Ducks. You remember the Ducks. Three years ago Brian Burke and his crew ripped Kevin Lowe and the Oilers, yet since that time they've made four separate deals. Ducks' GM Bob Murray was with the Ducks when the Oilers gave Penner the offer sheet, but he clearly hasn't held any grudges.

Sure the Kings are pissed now, and Lombardi and Tambellini won't be texting each other daily, but the Oilers image didn't take a hit around the NHL just because Lombardi spouted off.

If anything I'd say the fans that ripped on Tambellini are ultra-sensitive just like Lombardi.

INTERESTING COMPARABLES

Twenty-four NHL players filed for arbitration, but seven have already settled; Dan Sexton, Alec Martinez, Kevin Porter, Ryan Wilson, Michael Sauer, Marc Methot and Derek Joslin. Of the 17 remaining cases, Zach Parise and Shea Weber are the two most notable names and their cases will garner the most interest, especially if they don't reach an agreement prior to their hearing. Weber's case will be heard on August 2nd followed by Parise on the 3rd of August.

In the past ten years we haven't seen many high profile cases, but there have been a few. In 2004 both Joe Thornton and Scott Niedermayer went to arbitration v. the Bruins and Devils respectively.

Thornton, 25 years of age at the time, was asking for $8 million while the team countered with a $5.5 million offer. You might be surprised to learn that the four players they used as comparables were Milan Hejduk, Todd Bertuzzi, Patrik Elias and Owen Nolan. None of the players had the same unique skills and attributes as Thornton, but their stats and compensation packages were scrutinized heavily and were a major part of the ruling.

Thornton was awarded $6,750,000 for the 2004/2005 season. Of course they never played that year and his salary carried over until 2005/2006 where he was dealt to the Sharks after only 23 games. In case you were wondering here is the breakdown of those five player's stats from the 2004 season.

                            GP       G      A     PTS     PIM     +/-
Thornton           77        23    50    73        98       18 (He had 101 points in 2003)
Elias                  82        38    43    81        44       26 (He had 57 points in 2003)
Hejduk              82        35    40    75         20      19  (He had 98 points in 2003)
Bertuzzi             69        17    43    60        122     21 (He had 97 points in 2003)
Nolan                65        19    29    48        110     4   (He had 54 points in 2003)

Hejduk had his arbitration hearing on August 18th, 2004 and was awarded $5.7 million for the 2004/2005 season, while Thornton's case was heard on the 31st of August. Elias had signed a three-year deal in July of 2002 that paid him $4.25 million in 2002, $4.5 million in 2003 and $5.5 million in 2004. Bertuzzi signed a four-year extension during the 2003 season that would pay him $6.8 million, $7.133, $5,26 and $5.26 million for an average of $6.17 million over four years. Nolan signed a six-year deal prior to the 2000/2001 season that averaged $5.58 million/season.

It is interesting to compare those four to Thornton, because they were all more scorers than passers, but that is who the arbitrator used.

Niedermayer's camp asked for $9 million, while the Devils countered with an offer of $6 million. The arbitrator gave Niedermayer a one-year deal worth $7 million. 

The on-ice comparables were Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Zubov and Sandis Ozolinsh, while they also used Chris Pronger's contract as a comparable. They didn't compare on-ice between Pronger and Niedermayer because of Pronger's aggressive style. (Which seems strange since Nolan and Bertuzzi were used in comparison to Thornton).

The Devils used D-men who had similar PIMs in their argument. Every team and player will bring different specifics that will support and enhance their case.

Pronger had accepted a one-year deal in July of 2004 worth $10 million, while Zubov earned $6 million in the final year of a five-year deal (AAV $5 million), Gonchar got a one-year  $5.5 million deal in arbitration prior to Niedermayer's case while Ozolinsh was in the last year of a five-year deal that averaged $5.1 million.

It seems the arbitrator realized Niedermayer was better than Gonchar, Zubov and Ozolinsh, but he must have felt that the Blues had overpaid Pronger, because there is no way Pronger was worth $3 million more than Niedermayer.

It will be interesting to see who they use as comparables for Weber and Parise. Who do you think is a fair comparable when you consider production and salary?

Parise only played 13 games last year, so his camp will use this previous two seasons of 82 and 94 points as their measuring stick. His last contract was a four-year, $12.5 million deal, but he made $5 million last year. His asking price will likely be around $7 million or more.

Parise was 5th in league scoring and 3rd in goals in 2009, while he was 9th in goals and 16th in points in 2010. I'm guessing they will use Jeff Carter, Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk as comparables.

Weber was a Norris trophy finalist last year, and he was top-seven in minutes played amongst D-men. Duncan Keith would be a likely comparable, but they won't look at his $5.5 cap hit figure; instead they will use the $8 million that he makes in each of the first three years of his deal. Nick Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara could be other worthy comparables.

REALIGNMENT

It sounds like the NHL will be making a major shuffle in 2012, going from six divisions down to four. Each conference will have two divisions, one with eight teams and one with seven.

Wild owner Craig Leipold confirmed the plan to KFAN Sports Radio 1130 in Minneapolis recently.

“The realignment will almost certainly take place,” Leipold told the radio station. “There aren’t any people saying ‘No, let’s not do it.’ It’s been teed up by the league and it would be a four-division league."

Jets fans might now like it. They won't be re-united with their former Smyth division foes, but instead will play in the "Central" division with Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville and likely Columbus. Both the Jackets and Red Wings want to play in the East, but Detroit would likely win that battle.

The Flames, Canucks and Oilers would align with San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Colorado. Early reports are teams would play five-six games against division rivals, and as few as two against conference foes. They would still play every Eastern team at least once and likely the CDN teams would play each other twice.

There hasn't been any official word on what the Eastern divisions would look like, but you have to think the Leafs, Senators, Habs, Bruins, Sabres and Wings will be in one division. Add the Penguins and Flyers to make it the division of eight.

Then the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes and Capitals would round out the other division. The Pens and Flyers will want to be in the same division, and so will all three NY-area teams, so this would make the most sense.

I like the realignment, but I don't know if fans want half of their team's games played against six/seven teams. That would either get old, or it would re-kindle, and possibly ignite, some rivalries.

What sort of breakdown would fans want? 

NEW RINK AND TEAM IN ONTARIO??

A source told me yesterday that a few different construction companies have been told they that should ensure they have the equipment available and ready to start construction on a major arena development in southern Ontario in the next few years.

I put in a call to the city of Toronto and Hamilton, but both said they knew nothing of the sort. Of course I expected that answer, and my source told me that nothing is imminent, but that the some construction companies are starting to plan for it. Allegedly this project will be funded with mostly private funds.

Many people suggest that Quebec deserves to get their team back, and that makes sense, but I think fans in southern Ontario deserve another team just as much, if not more. It is the biggest available market in North America, and while the Leafs might not like it, I'm certain there is enough money and fans to support two teams in southern Ontario.

The NHL will never comment on a possibility like this, but it sounds like there are some private investors who might use the "Build it and they will come" philosophy. It would be a risky venture to build a rink without a guarantee of securing a team, but it sounds like some people are considering it.

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Oil Is My Blood
July 13 2011, 01:16PM
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Let me be the fist to congratulate you on a fantastic and well-written article

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#2 Horcsky
July 13 2011, 01:28PM
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I'm in favour of decreasing the number of games played within a team's own division. It's too painful to watch 6 games each against Minny and Colorado right now.

I'd like them to reduce the in-division games to a max of 5, rather than the 5-6.

Bigger divisions is interesting though, it will be nice to see more of LA, phx, and anaheim, as those seem to be entertaining games when they play the oil.

I wish they could get every team to play twice though, it sucks getting to see some of the eastern superstars in Rexall only once every 3 years.

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#3 freeze
July 13 2011, 01:29PM
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I was pleasantly surprised that TSN didn't run any stories on Lombo's latest tirade on Friday. It was mostly Twitter and the blogs that ran with it.

PS: How is Gagner's rehab going? I'll keep asking until I get an answer.

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#4 grip it and rip it
July 13 2011, 01:34PM
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Realignment is a must, that being said equalizing the games thru out the league is also something that has to be addressed. It is obvious that travel costs for Western teams is way higher than Eastern based clubs so I would like to see a home and away with every team and the balance within the division and if you have to lose some exibition games to accomplish this so be it.

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#5 BUCK75
July 13 2011, 01:37PM
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One would have to assume that they would sort out the mess in PHX before they would realign teams. Unless they moved to Seattle or something then it wouldn't be a big deal.

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Gregor do you have the info for that new draw you are doing? The prize package itself is amazing, but after the past couple years of Spector working on his back yard having "pops" I really want to see what it looks like.

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#7 Cam Charron
July 13 2011, 01:46PM
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"The NHL has an injury registry that teams can look at regarding a player's health. It sounds like the Kings knew Fraser was injured, they just thought he'd be ready for camp. Clearly he won't be, but the Kings knew he was coming off a broken ankle, and while there are estimated healing timelines, some players don't heal to those dates."

I continually have to wonder if the Oilers knew what was up. When you look at reasons for their injury issues over the last few years, maybe there's a correlation to how they expect guys to return to the lineup and play an NHL game as soon as they can hit the ice again.

The Oilers might have thought Fraser was ready for camp, but that's probably a different assessment of the other 29 teams in the league.

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#8 druds
July 13 2011, 01:46PM
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Unfortunately you may not have noticed but this website is mostly inhabited by hockey nerds who like all nerds just cannot bear to admit when they are maybe wrong about something...so living in their Mom's basement has caused them to have resentment against authority figures which is why they love to jump up and down on Tambo's corpse and revile him with glee and even if he brings the goods to the table they still ignore the truth and continue to bash and rend and of course they would believe that moron Lombardi over anyone in Edmonton because Lombardi lives in LA and thats way nicer than their basements.

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#9 knee deep in it
July 13 2011, 01:47PM
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I don't mind the realignment but it would bother me if the top 4 teams in each division made the playoffs.

It is far more likely to be top four in 7 teams instead of 8. As long as the top 8 in each conference make the playoffs, the unabalnced schedule will eventually even out.

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I honestly don't care what our division is going to be. When I watch the games or attend the games it's for the Oilers and not the other team.

There was only one time in the past 5 years that I bought tickets because I wanted to see the other team and that was when Detroit was here a few years back. I had never seen Detroit live before and I still haven't due to a flu.

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#11 Jordan
July 13 2011, 01:48PM
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Exciting news Jason. Geographically, I think the realignment makes a ton of sense, and will help to reduce travel costs for many teams. For some of the poorer sisters in the league, this will be very welcome news.

The prospect of playing the wild less, and the yearly losses the Oil sustain whenever they travel to the twin cities is also quite appealing. I also see advantages to developing stronger rivalries with the west coast teams, especially after Dean's rant last week. The only thing that would make it more fun would be if Burkie were still running the show in Anaheim.

I hope that Nashville is the team that move east - they need the lower-cost travel budget a lot more than the wings do. Besides, I've grown to enjoy games against the wings much more than against Nashville. As for Columbus, I mean really... what oiler fan doesn't like more BJs as compared with less?

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#12 Oilers4ever
July 13 2011, 01:50PM
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I believe in the words of Wanye.. the word of the day that applies to both Bettman and Lombardi would be "dink".

Nuff said.

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#14 Aron S
July 13 2011, 01:59PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

"The NHL has an injury registry that teams can look at regarding a player's health. It sounds like the Kings knew Fraser was injured, they just thought he'd be ready for camp. Clearly he won't be, but the Kings knew he was coming off a broken ankle, and while there are estimated healing timelines, some players don't heal to those dates."

I continually have to wonder if the Oilers knew what was up. When you look at reasons for their injury issues over the last few years, maybe there's a correlation to how they expect guys to return to the lineup and play an NHL game as soon as they can hit the ice again.

The Oilers might have thought Fraser was ready for camp, but that's probably a different assessment of the other 29 teams in the league.

Cam,

Jason mentioned on Nationradio this past Saturday with LT that the medical staff have changed over since then, so this shouldn't be part of the issue.

I have to imagine that there are just small things like people healing at different rates that came into this equation of Fraser not being ready for camp.

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Jason Gregor wrote:

You can donate here and get in the draw. The party will be awesome. http://t.co/9qm5rMX $100 gets you in draw.

So when you said musical appearances, please tell me it's not Rishaug?

Although by about 11:00 Rishaug playing guitar might be a good youtube video.

I forgot to ask, but what is your ties to MS? Or is it just random?

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#16 Oilcruzer
July 13 2011, 02:07PM
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I have a comment on realignment but before I do, I have to say this.

Bertuzzi was massively overpaid. And a dick. He also carries a curse with him. His "team o' the day" won't win a cup with him on the roster.

---

Back to realignment. This East / West thing is *insert politically incorrect word here*.

Throw all the teams in a bingo machine. Pull them out one by one, and assign each to one of four divisions, or even two conferences, and RE DO IT EVERY YEAR.

There I said it.

EDIT (to explain this further - one year you may have Washington and Pitt in your division, the next year you may have TB and Columbus... all down to luck of the draw... )

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#17 Horcsky
July 13 2011, 02:17PM
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@Oilcruzer

This would be sweet in a perfect world.

Until the scientist invents a matter transporter, it'll be a tough sell.

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#18 JoeMaz
July 13 2011, 02:21PM
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Am I the only one who would like to see a North-South conference divide? Would make travel more equitable across the league and would allow for all Canadian teams to be in the same division.

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#19 FMS
July 13 2011, 02:23PM
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For anyone who wants, here's an interactive google maps version of the NHL map, with Winnipeg in place. Just makes it easier to visualize whats going on

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=p&msa=0&msid=217410771752661966676.0004a3e5827140b22de03&ll=42.682435,-97.910156&spn=30.943595,63.193359&z=4&source=embed

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#20 Oil-Country
July 13 2011, 02:32PM
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freeze wrote:

I was pleasantly surprised that TSN didn't run any stories on Lombo's latest tirade on Friday. It was mostly Twitter and the blogs that ran with it.

PS: How is Gagner's rehab going? I'll keep asking until I get an answer.

Gagner's knee is fully healed after having minor surgery.

I would like to see,

Division: max 5 (30-35 games) Rest of League: 2 times (44-46 games) Remainder: rivalry games, or Pit-Wash type games so NBC can get off.

Maybe Top-2 from Division each make post-season and then remaining Top-4 from each Conference. Or maybe remaining Top-8 from League and get rid of Conferences all together. That wouldn't probably fly with old school fans who like tradition. No one touches Conference Trophies anyways so does it really matter being a Conference Champion?

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#21 freeze
July 13 2011, 02:38PM
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@Oil-Country

Knee? I was wondering about the wrist tendon that was severed by Jones' skate.

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#22 bdiddy18
July 13 2011, 02:41PM
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Regarding Weber and Parise....

I'm suprised the NHL doesn't have an "arbitration" database that can load all sorts of comparables in order to come to a decision. It's not like a case would entertain brand new information.

For example in Parise's case not only do you use comparables on performance in previous years. But points of players in Parise's calibre that are coming of injury. Throw in all the variables you want to come to some figures for a salary range from which the Arbitrator can decide.

As for Realignment

Well you have to work with the current locations of teams. However when considering new teams perhaps a preference can be made to position them in regions that need representation. Of course Southern Ontario, but also Seattle and Portland have hockey grassroots and in Portland's case an arena they can play in, the Rose Garden. Shifting struggling teams into these markets would assist in realignment.

Now Lets get Radical

I simply don't care about divisions actually. Rivalries are made by playoffs. You can't include the Canadian teams - they are instant rivals it wouldn't matter what division they are in. I would welcome NO DIVISIONS. a 30 team league - top 16 make it to the playoffs. You can fuss with the schedule any way you want.

I was too young to remember the Oilers upset the Montreal Canadiens but I would be delighted to see the potential matchups that could be created with a TOP 16 playoff format. Then you would have some REAL upsets - could you imagine the 16th seed outsting the no. 1 seed in the first round?

Imagine what the month of March would be like for teams trying to get in.

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#23 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 02:44PM
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@BUCK75

PHX will most likely move to KC as far as i know.

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#24 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 02:51PM
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@JoeMaz

timezones are the biggest issue with north south conferences. nobody wants to watch a game 3 hours earlier then usual or 3 hours later then usual.

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#27 Oil-Country
July 13 2011, 02:54PM
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freeze wrote:

Knee? I was wondering about the wrist tendon that was severed by Jones' skate.

To be honest I am not sure how that is going, I assume that has long healed.

But I do know he had minor knee surgery, and I am not sure how it was kept so hush hush. Maybe it is only known here in Ontario.

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#28 Dman09
July 13 2011, 02:56PM
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I think given the current state of teams in the west vs east as long as the games played are not equaly divided, 41 vs wes 41 vs east, the eastern teams will always have an advantage.

Why? When you have a few teams being vastly better than the others this allows them to win more games and isn't representative of their actual standing in the league. It is well known that currently the west is a much tougher place to play. And yes some day that maybe reversed and the East maybe more dominant.

I would suggest starting off that each team should play each other min of 2 times in a season. That would account for 58 games. And then I would have teams in each conference play each other a min of 3 games a season. This leaves 10 games remaining to spread out over the divisions and would mean that you would play your division 4 times a season with you playing 2-3 teams 5 times which could change every year.

I believe that is pretty much as fair as you can make it, with it being so close teams like Detroit really wouldn't care too much which conference they played in. The only reason they want to play in the east right now is for one the travel but also they think it will be easier to remain in the top of the conference.

I believe Bettman would not like this setup at all because it would make it harder for him to try and stack the deck against the Canadian teams. He would do anything to make sure that not all the Canadian team make the playoffs in the same year. With western canadian teams soon to be playing between 21 to 24 games against each other that already limits canadian teams. A quarter of each season playing only three canadian teams and noone else, there is noway you could argue it doesn't put the canadian teams at a disadvantage.

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#29 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 03:02PM
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@Dman09

you seriously think betman is against canadian teams and is holding back teams making the playoffs?!?!?

wow...

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#30 Dman09
July 13 2011, 03:09PM
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Mantastic wrote:

you seriously think betman is against canadian teams and is holding back teams making the playoffs?!?!?

wow...

I honeslty don't think it has as much to do with the Canadian aspect as it does with the media contracts that he gets in the US and how much of that money he and the NHL misses out on when playoff spots are taken up by Canadian teams.

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#31 jeanshorts
July 13 2011, 03:09PM
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I still don't understand how anyone thinks that Tambo could pull off some kind of bait and switch. Do these people honestly believe they were on the phone and Steve was like "Yeah, no Dean, he's a former Stanley Cup champion. World class player. Will work really well in your bottom six." and then Lombardi signed off on the deal just by taking Tambo's word. And then after the trade went through Tambo got back on the blower and was like "A HA! GOT YOU YOU DAMN FOOL! THANKS FOR GIVING US RYAN SMYTH FOR A USELESS PIECE THAT NO LONGER WORKS!! FRASER IS TOTALLY SUPER HURT!! SUCKERRRR!!!!!".

It takes two teams to trade, both GMs have to sign off on it AS WELL AS THE LEAGUE. It's not like you could just slip something like this under the radar.

A lot of these super staunch anti-Tambellini people are starting to remind me of those ridiculous birthers. No matter what happens Tambellini is always wrong and everything is always his fault and he's probably not even a human being!

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#32 Ender
July 13 2011, 03:10PM
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I started by drafting a schedule for the Oilers that saw them playing 30 games within their division (5 games x 6 teams), 32 games with other conference opponents (4 games x 8 teams), 6 games against Eastern Canadian opponents (2 games x 3 teams), and 12 games against other Eastern teams (1 game x 12 teams). That was 80 games, which I figured made more sense than 82 anyway, and I decided I had solved all the league's scheduling problems.

Until I looked at it from the point of view of one of the teams in an 8-team division and then all the wheels fell off the math.

I can't remember what the league did with the Smyth, Norris, Adams, and Patrick divisions for scheduling but whatever system they used, maybe there's some value in dusting it off and retrofitting it for the new NHL.

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#33 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 03:12PM
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@Dman09

canadian media pay more for playoff coverage then american...

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#34 Randy
July 13 2011, 03:28PM
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Just because Bettman is not using public media to address the Lombardi trash talking issue doesn't mean he isn't addressing it. I think if Tambo got drunk and decided to enter the fray in the media we would hear from the NHL. Right now I imagine Lombardi has been told to keep his comments civil or write another cheque.

That said, I think there have been some valid questions raised about the Oilers medical staff because I don't believe for a second Tambo would knowingly try to pawn off damaged goods.

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#35 Dman09
July 13 2011, 03:30PM
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Mantastic wrote:

canadian media pay more for playoff coverage then american...

Only CBC for in canada but there are a lot more broadcasters in the US willing to pay just as much if their regional teams are in the playoffs. Its kind of the 1 vs 4 comparison.

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#36 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 03:44PM
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@Dman09

tsn televises games as well.

the NHL only has deals with NBC/versus for playoffs... so i don't know what you're talking about.

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#37 the-wolf
July 13 2011, 03:53PM
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Every team should play each other equally as much as is mathematically allowed. Divisional rivalries are overrated and it's stupid that we only see some teams once every 3 years.

Than play 1 vs. 16. Simple, equal and far more entertaining IMO.

And since I'm dreaming, kill 4 teams in order to increase the talent and compete levels and play every team 3x each for a 75 game season.

Still keep 1 vs 16.

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#38 Derzie
July 13 2011, 03:57PM
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If I'm an Oil fan (I'm not) I would be asking for a serious look at the Edmonton trainers. Way too many injuries up there. More than just bad luck.

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#39 Mantastic
July 13 2011, 04:16PM
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@Derzie

knees, shoulders, concussions, broken feet/ankle from blocked shots, nothing a trainer can do to prevent those

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#40 jake
July 13 2011, 04:22PM
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Good article Jason, interesting tidbits.

Neat mapping of the NHL teams FMS, thanks for the link.

For balance, maybe relocate some east teams to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, lol, you know, good hockey markets.

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#41 jake
July 13 2011, 04:25PM
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"And since I'm dreaming, kill 4 teams in order to increase the talent and compete levels and play every team 3x each for a 75 game season"

I'll dream with ya, I have been chirping about this for years. I would say kill 2, move 2 to Canada.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
July 13 2011, 05:24PM
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I think it's best the Commisioner not get involved in petty squabbles such as this. Gary doesn't need to be perceived a baby sitter, jumping in at every opportunity when two of the sibblings are at odds.

The fact that Bettman hasn't gotten involved leads me to believe that Lombardi is just posturing for his fanbase and no real attention is required. If the Kings fanbase is so easily patronized, then they've heard what they needed to hear from their leader and they're are all victims of a crime that never really occured to begin with.

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#43 Craig
July 13 2011, 05:28PM
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Little interest in watching divisional rivals play each other 5-6 times a season. I would much rather see every team in the league play every other team twice (once away and once at home) then build additional divisional games around that core.

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#44 BUCK75
July 13 2011, 06:00PM
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I'm more in favor of changing how teams get into the play-offs. Top 16 teams, doesn't matter which conference or division they come from. Would make for more parity I think, the past few seasons some eastern teams wouldn't be making the play-offs if they played in the West.

Calling teams like Chicago, C-Bus, St Louis & Nashville western doesn't make sense when you look at a map. 2 divisions of 15 teams, play the opposite division twice, play 3 games within your own division. as for the other 10 games I have no suggestion.

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#45 Omar
July 13 2011, 07:21PM
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Jason, fantastic article.

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#46 Oilers4ever
July 13 2011, 08:13PM
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Ender wrote:

I started by drafting a schedule for the Oilers that saw them playing 30 games within their division (5 games x 6 teams), 32 games with other conference opponents (4 games x 8 teams), 6 games against Eastern Canadian opponents (2 games x 3 teams), and 12 games against other Eastern teams (1 game x 12 teams). That was 80 games, which I figured made more sense than 82 anyway, and I decided I had solved all the league's scheduling problems.

Until I looked at it from the point of view of one of the teams in an 8-team division and then all the wheels fell off the math.

I can't remember what the league did with the Smyth, Norris, Adams, and Patrick divisions for scheduling but whatever system they used, maybe there's some value in dusting it off and retrofitting it for the new NHL.

Internet searching is a wonderful too.. and so are a few computer skills.. lol

In response to your question on how this worked way back when.. I looked at their schedule from 1987-1988 and it was pretty straight forward then...

4 other teams in their division which they played 8 times each. All other teams they played 3 times each... Now keep in mind this was a 21 team league so parse that out to 30 teams... hmmm... yeah.. my head hurts. Someone else can do that math. But the above stats was how it was with the four old divisions.

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#47 raretomediumrare
July 13 2011, 09:03PM
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This new rearrange would make our division extremely hard. It's difficult to make playoffs with a third of our games against the three Cali teams and Vancouver. North East looks real tough too...

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#48 book¡e
July 14 2011, 10:01AM
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I am very glad to hear the 4 division league. I never did figure out who was where after the switch to 6 divisions. I hope the Oilers are back in the Smythe division.

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#49 Dr.Dave
July 14 2011, 11:36AM
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Southern Ontario should look at KC before building a new rink without anything set in stone... KC built a beautiful new NHL calibre arena thinking that the Pens were coming to town and that blew up in their face and KC is a sports crazy town!

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#50 Greg Stink | ESPN
July 14 2011, 03:52PM
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@FMS

Thanks, I was actually thinking the same thing when I was looking at the original map...

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