Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Shootout Champs

Yes, another shootout, another win. That's eight shootout wins out of 20 wins overall. That's 40% of the total wins. Now if The Stealth GM can convince Bettman to have shootouts in the playoffs the Rangers will be golden. Of course I'm being cynical. There should be no shootouts and the games should end in a ten minute OT.

While the Rangers are now 8-1 in shootouts, Lundqvist is 7-1 with a save % of .875. There are eight goalies with 1.000 save %, but Backstrom of Minnesota has played the most, three games, and has only faced eight shots. Lundqvist has faced 24 shots and given up 3 goals. Lundqvist is great in the shootouts, the problem during the game is that there are guys named Redden, Rozsival and Kalinin in front of him.

For a change the special teams saved the Rangers. Naslund scored a power play goal (wow), his 12th and Betts scored a short handed goal and that was all the scoring against a team, Carolina, that gives up three goals a game. So the lack of scoring continues. The penalty kill was again outstanding especially killing off a full 2:00 minute five on three.

So the Rangers head west for a three game stint before returning to the Garden for the Christmas holidays. Maybe by then we will know more about Sundin, Shanahan and Avery. Maybe.


Avery is done in Dallas reports ESPN. It will be an amazing pay day for our favorite miscreant if the Stars, do in fact, end up buying him out in July for $8 million. Could he have orchestrated the entire "sloppy" affair because he wanted out of Dallas? Did the locker room resentment, lack of ice time, and a poor offensive showing lead to a premeditated outburst?

Many questions about what the end game will be for Avery. But, if Dallas really wanted to stick it to him could they require him come to every home game this season and work as an usher? Or parking valet for the VIP's. That would be fun for the Dallas fans. They could taunt him up close and personal. However, the NHLPA probably would seek to veto that move.

AP/ESPN - Stars: Avery won't return:

Whenever Sean Avery is ready to return to the NHL, it won't be with the Dallas Stars.

The combative forward was eligible to return from a six-game suspension Sunday, but the Stars instead announced Avery will not rejoin the team -- ever.

"You have to do what's right for both parties, and that's what we're really trying to do," co-general manager Brett Hull said.

Avery was only 23 games into a four-year, $15.5 million deal when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him for a crude remark about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players. Simmering tension between Avery and his teammates and his coach boiled over in the aftermath, with the dressing room united in its stance against him ever wearing a Stars sweater again...
Bruce Garroich at the Ottawa Sun flogs the Avery is going back to New York rumor.

Sundin's final decision poised to shake up trade market ... 'Seconds' for Avery? He could be headed right back to Broadway:
Speaking of the Rangers, keep an eye on coach Tom Renney. There are whispers that if they don't start winning more consistently, Renney could be in trouble. If that's the case, Pat Quinn, Team Canada's coach at the world junior championship, might not be out of work long when the tournament ends Jan. 5. There was talk last year that Quinn could end up with the Rangers. "It might depend on what kind of job he does with Team Canada," said one league executive ... The news wasn't good at the NHL's board of governors' meeting last week. A third of the league's teams -- Atlanta, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, the N.Y. Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis and Tampa -- are having attendance problems and are in deep trouble. Unfortunately, there's not enough room north of the border to relocate them all ...

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  • blow-me-down said...

    That economic news sure is a huge surprise and a blow (Mr. Bettman didn't mention it all at the governors meeting). I was hoping we'd be at 45 teams or so by now. Personally, I believe that Chatanooga and Fort Wayne have waited long enough.

  • jb said...

    Mike and I were talking about this issue today, and about how bad the Islanders are doing. Given the economic situation, they're days on Long Island may be numbered.

    The idea of the Islanders moving to a smaller market like Chatanooga or Fort Wayne is not that far fetched. The Seattle Supersonics, for example, moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder.

    The reasoning for that move is based on the 'big fish in a small pond' business model. The people of these smaller markets have no pro sports to compete for their attention. The money might be there in the form of corporate boxes, sponsorships, and advertising that is the mother's milk of a pro sports franchise.

    The NHL/Columbus problems might be a general "rust-belt" issue. The Oil Patch hasn't been doing that badly.

    The Islander might look at the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport area, Jacksonville, Richmond, and the Providence/New Bedford/Fall River area for a possible move.

    Or Ogden, UT and Reno, NV if they can't work out something in Chatanooga or Ft. Wayne.

  • blow-me-down said...


    I know what you are saying. You may or may not be familiar with the Canadian Football League, but they experience the same problem, although everything is much lower on the dollar scale. Also, to be blunt, we are Canada and the dynamics are different. Still, the big fish in a small pond principle does fit. You are so right. That is why I would like to see a CFL team in Halifax. It's because I know damned well that they aren't going to get a high level hockey franchise. Now that is a market that could support one top tier Candian sports franchise, but not two. I'm far far away from the greater New York area, but from what I hear about the Isles, what you say is not far removed from reality at all.
    But the big big big question then becomes, how does that upset the apple cart and the next CBA, what does profit sharing look like when you are presenting an even smaller market team to the rest of the league?

    Interesting stuff.

    I still laugh at Bettman whistling by the graveyard, though.

  • jb said...

    I've been to Halifax and I think it's a beautiful city. Although I saw it in summer. I guess the province of Nova Scotia has about 1 million people so I was surprised when you said they don't have a CFL team. I would have guessed they did.

    Bettman's a lawyer by training, which is one strike against him from the get-go. The league will have to do some form of CBA/downsizing, no doubt.

    I remember back when one big private equity firm offered to buy the entire league during the lockout, for around $1 billion. That would have been interesting.

    But these teams are really a rich man's toy, but there seems to be fewer of those guys walking around these days. And including an NHL team in a corporate entity like the Dolan's Cablevision really does the shareholders a big disservice. It's a distraction from their main line of business.

    So, I wonder if something like the Green Bay model ever takes hold in the NHL where a small market that is passionate about a sport/team can sell shares to the general public and raise the coin to buy a team. And then sell the seats/boxes to support it. And then just understand they'll have to try and compete on a smaller/smarter scale.

  • blow-me-down said...

    Logging on to some NHL team sites, the first thing that pops up is a very aggressive ticket promotions I have found it hard at times to even locate the "enter this site" link. I was going to say LOL, but it is certainly not a laughing matter. They literally are almost giving tickets away (Panthers, for example).

    I think about the 34 member community ownership of the Edmonton Oilers, which sold to Rexall honcho Daryl Katz. Mr. Katz kept the community involvement, even though he became sole owner. It is a very good model, and is possible because Edmonton is a city that has true support from the wallets of the lunchbucket brigade. And they have only two major franchises, the Oilers and the Eskimoes of the CFL.

    There are an awful lot more choices on where a person can spend their entertainment dollars in the New York area, and I am actually surprised that the storied Islanders franchise is what it seems. I hear folks refer to "The Mausoleum" and wonder what ownership has done, or not done, to have that occur. Perhaps the Islanders draft record explains much of it.

    I wonder if Bettman might be a little more cordial in future to Jim Ballsillie

  • mike said...

    I personally like Salt Lake City, Utah with Portland, Oregon and Winnepeg or Hamilton, Canada as honorable mention. But what the hell do I know? Just keep it north of the Mason-Dixon.

  • blow-me-down said...

    Mike, obviously you know a lot, after all you have questioned the present coaching environment on a very consistent basis.
    Crazy talk I know, but what do you think of Pat Quinn? Crazy because it is part of the outer fringe of the rumour mill right now, but let's indulge ourselves, it costs nothing.