Friday, July 30, 2004

One more quick thought on Spurr, who said:

Nothing against the CHL, but guys just don't get called up enough there. Pee Dee had 12 players called up last season. I'm not sure if that many guys got called up in the whole (CHL).

Actually, the CHL had 30 call-ups. Maybe Spurr would have been better off playing for Memphis, Laredo or Colorado (no, I don't really think that and I'm sure he doesn't either).

Also, a close look at the Pride roster shows that team had six players called up to the AHL, not 12 -- three of whom were Blackhawks draft picks. Two of the three who weren't spent a grand total of three games at the next level.
Hey Chad, Welcome to the ECHL!
Something we can all look forward to: Tulsa signee Dallas Steward taking a run at Matt Barnes.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Equally interesting (and gracious) comments from Chad Spurr, who is returning to the ECHL.

Spurr's a great player, but so were Kelly Smart, Dan Price, Ken Carroll and -- this just in -- Blaz Emersic. The problem is, he could still lose out on ice time and call-ups if there are enough 22 year-old Blackhawks prospects in the dressing room.

The Europe thing makes sense though -- some countries won't even give you a visa if you haven't played ECHL or higher.

And he didn't even say, "Rufus made me do it!" Presumably, Spurr knows that the ECHL also uses home goal judges, also doesn't have video replay and had a near-identical controversy in its most recent playoffs (albeit at a less critical time, and with a happier ending for the team it went against).
Interesting comment from new Quad City signing Marty Standish:

My goal numbers have gone down in large part because the Central is a lot better league now than it was when I first got there. Plus, my first two seasons I was on a line with one of the top scorers in the league and we were on the power play a lot. I can still put the puck in the net and should be able to put 30 up this year.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Fun with numbers: fewer weekday games explained.

There are 3.65 per cent more games on weekends this year (73 per cent last year, 76.5 per cent this year).

That means last year, 294 games were on a weekday. This year, 240 are.

That breaks down to approximately 3.2 fewer weekday games per team. So really, it's exactly what you'd expect from a four-game reduction.

At the same time there are slightly fewer weekend games overall, simply because there are fewer games (the other .8 percent).

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sunday's reading: Greg Rajan's story on player recruiting, which is bound to irk fans in certain cities too! (Hey, I like San Angelo. And believe it or not, it's easier to hit the slopes from Albuquerque than Fort Collins).

Friday, July 23, 2004

I'm all for bad blood and Vince McMahon-type trash-talk, but even I, who can barely stand to read the Bugs board anymore, think the wound is still too raw for Laredo's president to say, we did not want their season opener this year to be as disappointing as their postseason ending was last April. That's just not classy.

Oh well, at least Jason Rent also understands it's good for business. Can you say, Rufus Lopez Voodoo Doll night?

One pet peeve though: there was only one disputed goal. Bossier's so-called score was not "waved off," but rather, never happened. That play was as crystal-clear as the Bucks' winner was uncertain. You can't unblow a whistle, and the rule book is clear about the fact that the referee's intent to do so counts more than the actual noise.
Well, I'm surprised! Dave MacIntyre to Wichita for Mark Kolesar. The Thunder get the rights to a productive, gritty veteran who... yeah, they don't waste any time complaining at GR -- "could be a wasted vet spot."

Right. Lubbock's captain, who should have been the C-Kings all-star rep last season, was coveted by at least three other teams, which does bring up some questions:

1. Was this the only deal Lubbock could make, especially after MacIntyre spurned the C-Kings' last-minute change of heart to bring him back?

2. Could he still end up in Austin, meaning that the C-Kings simply didn't want to send him to a conference rival, except at a high price?

3. Could he still end up on one of several other teams, meaning that Lubbock simply wasn't interested in sending him where he most wanted to go?

4. Am I talking completely out of my ass here and both MacIntyre and Kolesar will sign with their new teams by lunchtime? It's certainly an even deal (Kolesar wore the "C" as well).

5. Or is this a completely unglamorous swap of two players weren't coming back to their old clubs anyway, with one or both ending up outside the CHL?

Oops, this just in, Chris Dashney says they are in the process of getting Kolesar signed. Yeah, you don't hype someone as a "former Maple Leaf" unless you know you're gonna get him.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Glad to see Steve Roberts back in San Angelo, but calling him the team's "all-time leading scorer" is a bit misleading. As far as I'm concerned, the Outlaws and the Saints are part of the same record book (ditto Rattlers and Gorillas).

On the other hand, Topeka presents something of a dilemma. In the NHL, records set in Winnipeg and Hartford still belong to the Coyotes and the Hurricanes. Do the T-Rants use the Indy record book? Will the Scarecrows' stats fit in somehow?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Truth is, in a backwards sort of way, it's gonna be a lot easier to rein in Mike Tilson than it is your average party-happy player. He doesn't have much choice.
Geez, one little arrest and an All-Star defenseman's worth drops from three players (which wasn't even enough value) to "future considerations."

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Good Oklahoma City signing rumor.
Fun WHA article by Ken Campbell. First:

The Toronto Toros picked disgruntled Boston Bruin Joe Thornton fifth and used their second-round pick on Ilya Kovalchuk, which will give the Toros a devastating offensive punch if there's an NHL lockout and if Thornton decides not to play in Switzerland after all and if the Toros can sign them and if they find a place to play and if Ted Nolan agrees to coach them and if there's even a league to play in once all these annoying wrinkles are worked out.

And of course:

Some wonder about the league's leadership, starting with Hull and co-founder Allan Howell, who brings to the WHA a string of failed ventures.

Howell convinced Chicago millionaire Horn Chen to invest in the Ottawa Rough Riders, then resigned as the team's CEO amid 58 criminal charges of fraud and forgery that were later dropped. He then moved on to the ill-fated American Basketball Association in 2000, then became president of something called the Canadian Indoor Football League, which will not be coming to an arena near you anytime soon. He was also president of the former Ottawa Loggers roller hockey team. In 1990, he was convicted of insurance fraud and sentenced to 18 months probation.

I guess I just don't have enough money to understand the mindset of people who still want to give this guy their money.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The World Hockey Association draft list makes for a fun read if nothing else. Eric Lindros might want to take that $5 million to play in Dallas.

And Perezhogin, maybe he'll sign up.
Laredo's Aaron Starr tries on the orange and black.
This Shreveport Times article incorrectly states that Ken Carroll was on two of the Bugs' WPHL championship teams, but hey, I'm just impressed the writer doesn't editorialize after the phrase "... as the Mudbugs reached the CHL President's Cup Finals for the first time."

Oh, and good signing (duh). I'd certainly use a vet spot on that guy if I had to.

Which reminds me, do goalies qualify for developmental status? You could sneak a six-year backup or four-year co-starter into one of those spots.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Should you use a vet spot on a goalie? Chris Dashney says yes.
With Michel Beausoleil in Oklahoma City and UHL Rookie of the Year Benoit Genesse bound for Austin, maybe my theory is correct: a league with seven vets isn't gonna have the money or the ice time for all its best young players.

Either that, or nobody wants to go back to a coachless Port Huron team and wait for Jason Firth to pass the puck.

I think he'll really enjoy playing for a great organization in a growing league, with a mission and history of developing players for the future, Jeff Greenlaw said of the Bats' signing.

He no doubt meant to add: As opposed to the Social Security league that he just left.

Meanwhile, Laredo's Weidlich and Dube have joined Mike Rees in Bracknell.
Hockey in Galveston takes its first step. Can't you just get all $2 million from Tilman Fertitta? "Crab Shack" has a nice ring to it for the arena nickname.
Is it really fair to call him "Boom Boom" now that he's GM? Who knows, maybe that's how the Cottonmouths will get their corporate sponsors -- who's gonna say no?
Been meaning to give the thumbs up to the Rayz' new goalies.

Zelenewich we know. Blackburn has obviously failed to live up to his predecessors at Michigan (to say nothing of Ryan Miller, or Al Montoya for that matter). But just the fact that he is coming from that background makes it a good signing for the CHL.

Plus, you gotta love a guy who was born in Texas and lived in Oklahoma.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

You could pretty much throw any coach's PR-speak in their face at any time, but this Derek Laxdal breakdown is mighty funny.
What to get Todd Lalonde for Christmas.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Patrik Nilson may have the contract with the Flames, but the Killer Bees' Andrew Taylor should be drinking from the Stanley Cup on August 5.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The bitching about the vet rule and the glorifying of the UHL continues.

Let's not forget one of the oft-unspoken reasons for the vet rule (and any changes to it): indirect (but verifiable) cap enforcement.

Vets are the players who tend to get the lagniappe, whether it's illegal stuff or arrangements that are totally within the rules (but still bug the hell out of poorer teams). It's certainly no coincidence that fans who dislike these changes most are from teams that were vet-heavy in the old days, and/or frequently accused of cap-breaking (as the two dominant UHL teams continue to be).

And as much as everyone likes to assume our league is being overrun by marginal young players, I don't think that is borne out statistically.

One paradox is, while the current CHL has a higher level of play IMO, that makes it less entertaining, because of better goalies, better defense, better-conditioning, stricter practices and more system-oriented coaching.

But there were how many minor league hockey teams in 1998, 120 or so? And now, what, around 90? With the three mergers (AHL/IHL, CHL/WPHL, ECHL/WCHL) and the dissolution of dozens of teams it remains a buyer's market for talent. The fact is you are seeing players in the CHL, both young and old, who wouldn't have been at the "AA" level in 1999. There are young players in this league who are better than Joe Burton or Paul Jackson were (even if they only stay a year), and there are old players in this league who would have spit in your face if you'd told them five years ago that they were ever gonna drop to the "AA" level. They just don't score as much, or generate as much excitement, 'cause the defensive positions have caught up and (some) forwards actually backcheck now.

Personally, I would like to see, if not more vets, a higher games threshold. I'm not sure the world owes every 30 year old hockey player who can no longer cut it in the AHL a living, but being a "vet" at 26 or 27 isn't right.

At the same time, I don't see that long a list of great players who are sitting home 'cause of the vet rule. If they are good enough, they get a job, in one league or another. Some have fled to lower leagues, which are supposed to have a smaller cap ($6500), but do you think Dougie played in Alabama for a standard salary?

Off the top of my head the best player that was most affected by the vet rule last year was Jonathan DuBois, but he chose to take the money in the "Q" instead of going to another pro league. And brass tacks, the Jonathan DuBois of three, four or seven years ago would have been the first guy signed, not an on-the-bubble fifth.

Same goes for Grobins, who is on the bubble now -- he had a remarkable season last year, but what about the two years before that? That's why he's not a slam dunk signing as a vet. Especially when the two goalies in the President's Cup Final were a rookie, and a guy who won Bossier's third championship as a rookie.

Here's an idea though -- the CHL should get creative and institute one or two exemptions per team -- kind of the vet rule equivalent of the NBA Larry Bird salary cap exemption. If a player has spent his entire career with a team, he gets an extra 100 games before he counts as a vet. That would limit the number of "vets for hire" or AHLers on their way down while giving two more seasons to players who have roots in the community -- the ones who can't just go and find another team (or league) because their nomadic days are over. It would also make some players think twice about going to another league for an extra 100 bucks a week in their second or third season, only to end up where they started in their fourth.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Lubbock fans are steeling themselves for the departure of Dave MacIntyre, whose cell phone must be pretty busy. So who would the gritty forward rather be reunited with: ex Central Texas teammate Matt Barnes, or former Lubbock coach Bill McDonald?

And given the guy's a vet and seemingly (mysteriously) unwanted by the CKings, will they get any more than they got for Cosmo DuPaul two years ago? (Mike Dawson, for those who don't remember.)
Laredo's Patrik Nilson joins the Calgary organization, which I guess you'd say is a mutually beneficial arrangement based in part on who his brother is (just like when Florida signed him).

Since Calgary doesn't have its own AHL affiliate I wonder if he'll be one of the 10 in Lowell, and/or if Laredo has shot at remaining his "AA" home.
So Rufus Lopez, Ted Watts and Urs Meier walk into a bar...

American Hockey League rule changes: Will the CHL also try out the bigger lines and smaller space behind the net?

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Soccer, anyone? Joe Queenan took a shot at our game in his New York Times review, cracking that "we already have ice hockey, a ferociously repetitive low-scoring game where nothing ever happens."

Saturday, July 03, 2004

A slow news day spices up (if you care about the Flyers).
No Wingfield for the RiverKings, it would seem (and no Gerry Hickey for the Cotton Kings).
Former Lake Charles Ice Pirate stays with the Caps.
Ok, I guess it's time to blog again.

A quick look at The Farm Report reveals that Todd Brost is staying with the Jackals -- and that the local paper needs a mileage calculator:

The Brosts are from Calgary in Alberta, about 2,250 miles away, as the car travels. But at least Elmira is closer than El Paso, Texas, where Brost coached in the Western Professional Hockey League for four seasons before he came here.

According to Yahoo, Elmira to Calgary is 2406.6 miles.

El Paso to Calgary? 1949.8 miles, and you don't even cross time zones. Hell, once you get to Cruces you go the first 1060 miles without turning!

Not that I'm saying the guy should still be in El Paso, what with them not having a team and all. At the time, Brost's move was trumpeted as "upwards," to a slightly better league with more proximity to Canada and better NHL connections (via Brost's old National Team mentor Dave King). But besides all that, Brost knew exactly what he was escaping from (meaning Bill Davidson, not the people or the city).

Meanwhile, Elmira has supposedly lost the services of Randy Murphy. Is the speedy star already locked up by ex-teammate Joe Ferras or do the Scorps still have a shot?

And how 'bout the UHL, holding an expansion draft (and allowing a trade) before one of the teams technically exists? Apparently Garry Unger (coach of the Michigan team) has rounded up the usual suspects, picking up the rights to former players Dallas Anderson and Justin Ossachuk as well as Dave Shields, Barry McKinlay and Dan Price.

Thanks to those of you who wondered where I was. Just taking some time off -- first to focus solely on the NHL(I understand there was some sort of controversial CHL game the night of Flyers-Leafs Game 3?) and then just for the hell of it. I also dislike the latest version of the Blogger software, though I suppose that I'll get used to it.

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