Monday, February 12, 2007

Around the Rink 02.12.07

Oddly enough, the Calgary Flames are making the biggest splash, first with Craig Conroy; now they acquired Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau from the Boston Bruins for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew. This came as a surprise as it seemed that the Edmonton Oilers were the front runners for the services of Stuart, but the team from down the QE2 ended up being the big winners.

However, personally, I have to wonder if they gave up too much. Granted, Kobasew can't stay healthy and Primeau is decent as a 3rd or 4th liner-- that's a push. The thing that gets me is why trade a defensively solid player like Ference for a guy who had the third lowest plus/minus in the league before being traded?? They already have some two-way defensemen in Dion Phaneuf, Roman Hamrlik, and more recently, Mark Giordano. We'll see if this move pays off, but if it doesn't-- there will be plenty of angry fans.

As for the Bruins, they are continuing to re-build; but if you're scoring at home-- the deal last December is now Joe Thornton for Marco Sturm....not something you want to see.

Another move made is Ladislav Nagy being traded to the Dallas Stars for Mathias Tjarnqvist and a first-round pick. Nagy has eight goals and 41 points through 55 games and has been in Wayne Gretzky's doghouse for a good chunk of the season. Tjarnqvist had four points and averaged 10 minutes a game.

However, to trade away a first-round pick is what makes this deal a little bit crazy in my eyes. Nagy has all the tools to be a big star, but either rarely displays them or is injured most of the time. However, with the Stars "goals by committee", anything that seems like it could be an upgrade may help in the long run.

Some sources are now saying that the NHL will be playing in London, England to start off the 2007-08 game, as it is rumored that the LA will make the trek across the pond to debut the O2 Arena, one that was developed and created by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the same group that owns the Kings. Their rumored opponent is the Anaheim Ducks, who back in 1998, played the Vancouver Canucks in Japan.

This is not the worst idea in the world, though you'll have people yelling and screaming about taking a home game away from both teams-- but if you want to expand the game; this is the way. As many of you know, we have plenty of fans in the UK and their dedication to the game deserves to be rewarded and this could be the thing to do it.

The NHL is laying the wood to Ray Emery, who laid the wood to Maxim Lapierre. Emery was suspended three games by the NHL after a vicious slash to the head and face area of Lapierre. Lapierre was knocked into Emery, who took exception. When Lapierre and Emery were trying to get up, Emery took the heel of his stick and hit Lapierre at the top of his visor. Luckily, no serious injury occurred.

However, I say good on the NHL for this one. I'm a Sens fan and I still think that Emery deserved something. You can't condone these sort of head shots. I understand that some goalies are complaining about being protected, but once martial law occurs, something has to be done-- which is what happened in this case.

There's a lot of people making a stink about what's going on with Gary Bettman after it was revealed that he's not looking to step down, despite rumors on the contrary. You know, I'm not the biggest fan of Bettman, but since his tenure-- he has given some relevance to the league in terms of expansion (maybe too much) and profit (373% raise since his coming in). However, people still hate Bettman, and some with good reason.

The problem I have with it is that no matter what happens-- it's all Bettman's fault. Penalties, no penalties, sky being blue-- all Bettman's fault. Hockey fans claim to be the most dedicated, which is true-- but they also seem to be the most fickle. No matter what happens, nothing is ever good enough. It's not just Bettman, but I'm sure whoever his successor is; he'll get the same scrutiny. Not even that, but people underestimate the power that the Board of Governors has over Bettman and the entire NHL, but that's for another day.

Bettman contract runs out at the end of the CBA term, which is after the 2010-11 season. As long as the money is rolling in-- Bettman will stay in power. Get used it and get over it.

That's all for now, but make sure you check out FOHS Wednesday from 9 PM ET to 11 PM ET live. There's always the Podcast if you can't make it or the Message Board for good waste of time.

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