Sorry for the day-and-a-half delay, guys. I ended up not having internet for the past two nights, but it’s back up now!
Schremp the Shrimp
So the Robbie Schremp experiment on Long Island hasn’t exactly gone as well as hoped. Shipped out of Edmonton on waivers at the tail end of the summer, it was hoped that he would be able to get his NHL career started in earnest with the Islanders after showing some stellar skills in juniors and the AHL. However, that hasn’t been the case at all: in the first 6 games of the season, Schremp had only one assist, and he looks to have been a healthy scratch since. At the article’s time of writing on Nov 2, he had been a healthy scratch for 5 straight games, and he hasn’t played since Oct 22 in the NHL. He’s not on Bridgeport’s team page, and doesn’t show up on the AHL website from this season at all or on the NHL injury report. Not looking good for the erstwhile talented forward. Story link.
Liambas Suspended for the Year
Mike Liambas, the OHL player who crushed Ben Fanelli into the boards on Oct 30, has been suspended for the season which, due to his age, ends his OHL career. While I’m not really sure what Fanelli’s future prospects are and when he’ll be able to play again, but there’s certainly been some backlash against the severity of the suspension. OHL Commissioner David Branch’s position — which I agree with — is that the OHL is a whole other league from pro hockey, and due to the ages and ranges of the players involved, more severe penalties are necessary for more devastating hits. While there’s something to be said for playing the game the same way from the age of 6 to the NHL, and I think many parts of the game should be introduced at the earliest possible age (including hitting), anything as severe as a boarding call of this severity needs proper punishment meted out. Different standards need to apply to the different levels of play and ages involved, while remaining as true to the game as possible. It’s a fine line between differing standards and bubble wrapping kids, and I don’t think anybody would advocate softening the game up, but some calls need a harsher punishment than the professional level. Story link one. Story link two. Story link three.
Columbus Red Jackets
So it turns out the feel-good story that is the improving Columbus Blue Jackets has an ugly financial underbelly threatening the long-term stability of the franchise. Apparently the team is losing $12 million a year (which is somewhere around 1/3 of Phoenix’s reported losses, but that doesn’t exactly make it a small amount; it just makes Phoenix’s losses that much more ridiculous), with some options being explored to keep the club solvent in Columbus. While some markets (Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Nashville) come to mind as particularly awkward franchises which won’t tear me up if they end up moving, I feel like Columbus has enough going for it to warrant a battle to keep it in town. The Jackets have done much to improve Columbus’ downtown by association, the attendance figures aren’t too bad (averaging over 15,000 so far this year), and the team’s had a slow but steady path towards relative success, making the playoffs for the first time last season. As it’s been entirely funded by private money so far, I feel that public ownership of the arena at least would go a long way to reward the club for its impact and keep it as close-knit to the community as it has been to date. Story link.
Class of 2002 2009
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was last night (Monday, November 9), and the class of 2009 was an impressive one: Brian Leetch, Lou Lamoriello, Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull. Those last three, of course, all played on the 2002 Red Wings, perhaps one of the most stacked teams in NHL history; certainly one of the most stacked in recent memory. Who was on it? Well, to name a few, Yzerman, Robitaille, Hull, Chelios, Lidstrom, Federov, Datsyuk, Hasek, Shanahan, Larionov. Not to mention a strong as all get out supporting cast of Holmstrom, Draper, Maltby, McCarty, Fischer, Slegr, Dandenault and Legace. Why am I reeling off these names? Because as strong a team as this year’s San Jose Sharks team is, widely regarded as pretty stacked, they don’t even come close to that unique collection of talent. The salary cap’s done away with that kind of hoarding ever again, and we’ve seen teams such as Edmonton, Carolina, Anaheim and Pittsburgh all play for and/or win the Stanley Cup in the years since the lockout. While much of the Red Wings was drafted and home grown talent as well, such a strong supporting cast simply cannot be sustained in today’s NHL. Which, I find, to be a good thing. Though a bit late for those 2002 Maple Leafs… Story link.