Welcome back all. Sadly, we still are no closer to an end to the NHL lockout but that shall not deter us. Now, where were we?
A month ago, I was optomistic that the season would start no later than January 1 with the Winter Classic. After reading over the weekend Bettman is considering canceling it sooner rather than later so the NHLPA can't use it as leverage. Now I am almost certain the entire season will be wiped out. Would you agree or is there still hope?
Bill; Until they actually turn out the lights on the season I remain hopeful but the word that the league will move to cancel the Winter Classic in early to mid-November if there's no new CBA is certainly sobering. It does give us a pretty defined time line now after which I would agree with you the prospects of a season look dim. If the league does cancel the Winter Classic - and it may be as much about logistics in having to build two outdoor rinks etc. as taking away players' leverage - I think the chances of the season being saved are slim.
If there's a long enough delay to the season, do you think that the 'almost' trade of Boyle for Gaborik (Bucci reported that, I think, so if there's dispute to that take it up with him :)) could happen? Does that trade even make sense for both sides? I'm skeptical to how that benefits the Sharks (whereas Rangers get a solid veteran leader + PP guy major minutes logger?) given that our D depth is pretty thin.
Ben; Agreed that it's a deal that would seem to benefit the Rangers more than the Sharks. With all due respect to Gaborik he is a guy that has struggled to produce in the playoffs and has durability issues. Boyle, meanwhile is a Cup winner and would certainly be welcome on Broadway with old pal Brad Richards. Don't see the Sharks going that route at all.
I feel deeply betrayed by the NHL, and yet I know I will be right back in my seat when a CBA is signed. No wonder the league takes its fans for granted..
Alex; Trust me you are absolutely not alone. But you're right, the league understands it's fan base is deeply passionate regardless of the dirt that gets heaped on it. Have to wonder this time around, though, how many fans like yourself will actually turn their back. That's the great roll of the dice on the league's part (and to a lesser degree I suppose the players' too).
I asked you last year why the NHL wouldnt hold a winter classic in beaver stadium between the pens and flyers (before the flyers were announced as host) and you said it was the middle of nowhere. So why is Ann Arbor michigan not the middle of nowhere (ignore the fact that it would truly be unfair for the pens to be in 3 winter classics and the flyers in 2)?
Ryan; Did I say that? Hmm. Not sure I would say Ann Arbor is in the middle of nowhere given it's proximity to the Canada/U.S. border and the City of Detroit.
Hello Scott, Did you have a good summer? I did with MNs signing of two big fish, but enough small talk, its time for business. How do you see the development of many of the incoming rookies progress with this lockout? It seemed to have worked alright for the 04 Draft class being forced to spend a year in the minors.
Cody; Yes, had a nice summer. Thanks for asking. And the development of young players or rookies who are playing in the AHL or another year of junior is in general a good thing, I think although the game's changed pretty dramatically since the last lockout. A lot more rookies and/or young players are being asked to fulfill more significant roles than coming out of the lockout. For some of those players who are now in the AHL it will be tougher to stay focused and not pick up bad habits. I know that is a concern of some coaching staffs and GMs. That said, hard to argue kids playing big minutes and important roles in the AHL or junior being a bad thing if they were going to be limited at the NHL level.
hello mr burnside, as a 16 year old hockey fan, i would like to ask you, your opinion of the Carolina Hurricanes? also, i would like to know who is right in the NHL lockout. the players or the Owners. Thanks.
Ryan; Let's start with the lockout, sadly no black and white answer on who's right or wrong. Must say it's harder to understand the owners' position this time around given how strong the game is now. As for the Hurricanes, I like them to be in the playoff hunt assuming there's a season. Love the Jordan Staal addition and I have a feeling Alexander Semin will have a strong season as well. Kirk Muller's the real deal as a coach so I think the 'Canes are back.
Scott, What do you make of Jimmy D's comments? If that is the opinion of the management of a profitable and historic big-spending team, something tells me this season is long gone already. Yikes!-Jay p.s. FYI a ranch without cattle is not very profitable.
Jay; Actually laughed out loud when I read about Jim Devellano's comments to a publication in which he suggested owners were ranchers and players (and other employees I believe) were just cattle who get to eat on those ranches. No doubt in my mind there is a strong group of owners and team executives who believe just that. And you're absolutely right, what's a ranch with no cattle? An empty field. Kind of like the NHL right now.
Before the lockout there was a lot of talk about the Olympics being a major part of the impending lockout. Since then, I have not heard very much about it. Any word on that?
Jeremy; My understanding is that the Olympics hasn't yet been on the table even though the two sides have talked quite a bit about non-core issues like player safety, practice times, scheduling etc. etc. It will, of course, be a pretty big deal at some point as many owners would like to cut the NHL's ties with the Olympics . I doubt that'll happen. Players like it and it's something the owners can give in negotiations. The two sides do need to agree, of course, and then the NHL/NHLPA need to get more from the IOC in being able to market the event through release of images etc. etc. but my guess is that we're all in Sochi in 2014. Here's hoping there's actually some NHL hockey before then, though.
Do you think if a season is lost, the Bruins will re-sign Horton? Would he expect north of 5M per year with the past two seasons going the way they have?
Rob; Pretty hard to until we see what a new CBA looks like and where the cap settles at. Also have to factor in Horton's health. You'd think he'd be in that ballpark, though, given the Seguin, Marchand deals. Maybe a little less but in the ballpark.
I don't have a question... just want to vent. Why is it that it took both sides over a week after the lockout began to sit down and have formal negotiations? With all that's at stake, they should be sitting face to face in a room every weekday until they figure it out, even if they aren't talking. They owe it to the fans and the little people that work for them.
Adam; It's okay to vent. I do the same thing every day. I think it goes to the notion of waiting for true pressure points (like the cancellation of the Winter Classic, for instance, of the start of the regular season on Oct. 11) before both sides really see where the middle ground might be. Makes no sense and you're right is a slight against the best fans in pro sport (in my humble opinion).
Scott, do you really think the loss of Zach Parise will be that big of a blow to the Devils ON ice? I realize it's hard to replace 30 goals and his leadership but he still managed to be a minus player throughout the playoffs. I see the pickup of Bobby Butler as being a low risk- medium sized reward for the Devils, possibly putting him in the top 6. With Considerable young depth up the middle and an underrated defense, I'm still surprised some experts have them missing the playoffs entirely. What is your take on the Devils this year? I know I have faith that Lou Lamoriello knows what he's doing as usual.
Erik; Oh it really doesn't matter what I think as the Devils will always (or most always) be better than I think. Seriously, though, I agree that Lou Lamoriello always seems to find a way to plug what appear to be gaping holes. Parise's loss is huge, though, and will really put pressure on guys like Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique and of course Ilya Kovalchuk to pick up the slack. Bobby Butler will get a chance but if the season started today I'd say the Devils would be in a group somewhere between 6th and 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Are you kidding me with minnesota ahead of the bruins in the power rankings?
James; That's how bad the lockout is; I'm happy to be shredded for the Power Rankings. And I think when you add two top free agents in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise you get to be in the Top 10. Bruins did lose a top end netminder with Tim Thomas sitting out a year and were bounced in the first round by the 7th seed Caps. I think that's fair.
Scott, why not do it the catholic way? Lock the NHL and NHLPA into a hockey rink and only let them come out after they have struck a deal? Sure works in Rome!
Pope; With you. I'd even go for the smoke signals. Again, I think we will see some real sessions within the next week or so as the start of the regular season looms and agree that locking them in until a new deal is forged is completely logical. Certainly more logical than what we've seen from both sides to date.
Canucks fan here. Is the Lou trade going to happen or will there be drama in Van?
Thomas; I think it will happen before a season starts. My guess is it will be Florida but Dale Tallon will want to make sure there are no changes to the new CBA that will hurt him taking on Luongo's deal vis a vis annual cap hit as some GMs would like to see happen. And I think the Panthers will continue to play hardball on what they send back which my guess would be a small return, certainly smaller than Mike Gillis was initially seeking for Luongo.
If the owners and players throw away a season, a second one in less then ten years, what will stop the more than likely irrevocable harm that will happen to most of teams in cities that aren't fully backed by a diehard base? They might as well revert back to the Original Six, with maybe four or six other teams included.
Matt; There's the rub, no? To get what the owners want how much long-term damage is done in places like South Florida where they're coming off their first playoff appearance since 2000 or in Los Angeles where they should be reaping the benefits of their first Cup win or in Carolina where the 'Canes look to bounce back after three straight non-playoff years? Again, talk about rolling the dice with the game's future.
While I love seeing NHL talent in Europe this year. I just don't get the lockout. How do the big money earning teams agree to this? How many years of their wish scenario would the owners need to break even?
Marc; Join the cast of tens of thousands of fans that can't understand why two sides can't figure out a way to cut up a $3.3 billion revenue pie. If you asked each owner quietly and without fear of being publicly exposed what they thought of the lockout strategy my guess is half maybe more would prefer to settle now by giving the players more. But that's not how the NHL works, sadly.
What do you think about the coverage that the NFL replacement refs are getting in the US on programs like Sports Center and other media outlets compared to the lack of NHL lockout coverage? Seems like most people are now painting Rodger Goodell as a villain for this labor dispute all while forgetting that sub-par officiating is far worse than having no season at all and having no way to watch the sport you enjoy like what is going on with the NHL lockout (that receives nominal coverage in the U.S.).
Robert; Well, the immense interest in the NFL much of which is connected to gambling of one form or another has really brought the replace referees' performance into focus. To me the NFL like the NHL looks small in these matters. Given the PR hit the NFL is taking why not settle? Because they don't have to is the easy answer. Why won't the NHL owners who are the authors of their own economic misfortune given that they are operating under the economic system they fought for, settle with the players? Because they don't have to. At least right now they don't. As for coverage, it's easier to ignore something that's not happening which is the situation with the NHL right now.
The hardest part of the lockout is when guys have 1 or 2 more years of good production. Eventually guys like the Sedins will slow down and I would hate to lose a chance at a cup run because of a lockout. Guys like Marty don't have a lot of time left and I really want to keep watching him play. This being said I am with the players on this. They didn't create the contracts (see Weber, Parise, etc), instead the owners won last time and now they say that wasn't enough or that is wasn't fair. Can't they stop offering these contracts?
Thomas; Maybe you'll be watching NHL action up close in the next few years. Agreed about the impact of a lockout derailing some players and teams. Coming out of the last lockout Vancouver looked like a team that should be ready to contend and they missed the playoffs entirely coming back in 2005-06. Does this version of the Canucks have a similar setback if a season is lost? What happens to a guy like Martin Brodeur or Teemu Selanne or Ray Whitney, all playing at a superlative level given their age, if a season goes bust? All of it speaks to wasted opportunities.
NHL in Seattle. Happening within the next 5 years?
Steve; Thanks for the good segue; I think the chances get better all the time there will be NHL hockey in Seattle. Even if the Phoenix sale to Greg Jamison goes through the NHL has been casting a favorable eye towards Seattle and now with traction being gained on a new arena deal and several owners interested in bringing NHL hockey to Seattle I think it will happen. Which team(s) could move? The Islanders although many believe they will stay in the New York Area, Florida, would be options.
What do you think the opening up of the Eliteserien in Sweden for NHL players to go to during the lockout?
Russell; I must admit I liked their original stance that they wouldn't allow locked out players to come over but also understand the legal reasoning behind not being able to restrict what teams want to do vis a vis which players they sign. There's a risk in bringing in locked-out players, that's the reality for teams and fans. But one thing for certain you will see the number of NHLers, especially Swedish players, looking to take advantage of the ruling go up exponentially in the coming days.
Which team is in a worse position? Detroit who lost their leader or San Jose who can't seem to find one in the playoffs?
Tyson; Great question. In theory the winning tradition in Detroit, the fact guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk and Kronwall have won it all should help the transition from Nicklas Lidstrom. In theory.
Regarding Expansion, How high or low is Las Vegas? Obviously we need an Arena before the NHL give it serious consideration.
Bill; My guess is that it would be after Seattle, Metro Toronto, Quebec City but ahead of Kansas City or Houston. And yes, getting an arena in place would enhance Vegas's chances immeasurably.
What kind of impact do you expect Vladimir Tarasenko to have on the Blues when/if the season starts again?
Jeff; I traded emails not long ago with GM Doug Armstrong on this and while there's always going to be an adjustment period for young players especially young players playing for the first time in North America I am guessing the Blues are expecting Tarasenko will fill in somewhere on the top three lines with Ken Hitchcock giving him a shot to enjoy some power play time. I haven't produced a list of potential Calder Trophy winners at this stage (seemed sadly too premature) but it'll be hard to keep Tarasenko off such a list whenever it's compiled.
Do you think Mark Scheifle can make the team this year? Hlooked overwhelmed during his short stint with the Jets last year...
tdiddy; I thought it a great move that he was sent back so promptly. Was that year enough or does he need more seasoning? Hard to say especially given that the Jets have a pretty full forward compliment right now. Now could they use a skilled youngster who can produce? Uh. Yes. But my guess is that he won't stay with the big club unless they think he can handle significant minutes and contribute and learn. The Jets have been pretty consistent on how they want this team to develop and it's not by rushing guys like Scheifele.
Why would Dale Tallon and my FL Panthers even consider trading for Luongo and his contract vs. staying the path/Blueprint of the youth movement?
Rich; No questio Luongo's term makes such an acquisition tricky with Markstrom waiting in the wings. But short-term Luongo is no question an upgrade in goal and allows Markstrom to take his time developing a la Cory Schneider.
Okay folks, thanks for stopping by and keeping me company. Let's do it again next week.