Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Frankly that FanTab thing to the right there would be more fun if more people participated.

The way it is, it's just me talking to myself and moving a slider up and down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Leafs Fans...

Your most over-rated NHL player is: Mr Dion Phaneuf. Apparently as voted by his peers.

Man, that photo is priceless. I can't get enough of it.

The list is interesting, Dany Heatley is #5 (no argument here) and Kolvalchuk is #6.

Also interesting is the list of under-rated players, former Senator Chris Kelly is number 5 on that list.

(Title shamelessly ripped from The Battle Of Ontario.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Realignment Dead?

The news on Friday night was brief -- a press release from the NHL saying that the NHLPA had exercised their privileges under the CBA to block the proposed realignment for next year.

In some ways this looks bad for hockey. The proposed realignment had much in favor for it. Making two seven-team divisions in the east and two eight-team divisions in the west made things as balanced as they could be, and left room for Phoenix to be dropped into either Markham or Quebec City, leaving fifteen teams in the east and the west.

Playoff wise there would still be an issue where teams in the short divisions would end up with a better chance of making post-season play, but if we did end up with a seven- and eight-team division in both the east and west, that could be mitigated by permitting the fifth-place team in the eight-team division to steal the fourth playoff slot from the smaller division if they had a better regular season record.

So, lots in favor of this plan.

Unfortunately the NHLPA decided to block the realignment, claiming that the league didn't address their concerns about travel or playoff eligibility. Which is probably their right, considering that the NHL has acknowledged that the alignment plan won't happen for next season.

For the NHLPA there are bigger concerns in play here. The league basically owned them through the lockout last time around, with the NHLPA getting only face-saving gains. The players don't want a repeat this time around, so want the realignment discussions to take place in the context of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations which will start shortly. The thinking is that realignment will have effects on the player's working conditions (with regard to travel) and so they want a say in the plan as it is put together.

Which means they have to reject this plan, even if it would have been good for the show.

I've long thought that the whole argument about cost-containment was a bit of a stupid issue for the owners to hang their hats on. Basically they ended up saying that they had no self-control and needed protection from themselves. Of course letting the owners spend the league into oblivion wasn't going to be in the show's long-term interest either, so as distasteful as it was, some kind of cost-containment was probably necessary.

But at the end of the day, the guys on the ice are what we all come to see, and making sure that they get a fair share of the revenues yielded is only right.

To do that, the NHLPA has to have respect around the bargaining table. And by blocking the alignment for next year, they are letting the league know that they are to be taken seriously.

I can get behind that.

I don't think this means the proposed realignment is permanently dead, it just won't happen next season. Some kind of realignment is necessary, and likely it will be worked out as part of the CBA negotiations.