Last week, the NHL GMs got together to hash out some ideas about the development of the game, and there looks like there’s some progress being made in the contentious head shot area of the rulebook. In other news, those loveable, laughable Leafs were rated the NHL’s most valuable franchise despite playing somewhat terribly (no surprise there), Mike Danton’s out to clear his name 7 years on (no surprise there) and the NHLPA is attempting to find a head to lead its flailing body once again (again, with the no surprise).
NHL Reconsiders Headshots
Apparently even tough-nosed, pugnacious and truculent suits like Brian Burke are softening on their stance against headshots in the wake of the contentious hit parade so far this season. Colin Campbell (giver of the famed 3-game suspension) remarked on how much more hitting is in today’s game compared to the 1970s; Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero brought up the point that Richards’ hit on Booth was legal by today’s rules, but that the rules should change to make it more safer; and even Burkie remarked on the hitter’s onus to give a safe hit if the victim is clearly unaware. There’s only so much that can be done seeing how some of these hits are accidentally to the head based on shifts in players’ position, whereas others are blatantly malicious, but any move in the right direction, however it will be officiated, is the right one. Story link.
Rundown Leafs Most Valuable Team
In a classic case of Chicago Cubs Syndrome, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who alternate between playing decent and losing in overtime and getting smoked by the oddly consistent score of 5-2, were valued the NHL’s most valuable franchise last week by Forbes. Marking four years in a row where the team’s been rated the most valuable (all playoff-less seasons), other surprises include the dominance of Original Six teams (six of the top seven) as well as the surprisingly low value of Edmonton (24th). Any bets on the least valuable team? None other than the stable, successful Phoenix Coyotes, clocking up at 3.5 times less valuable than the Leafs. Losing has a value which can entirely be measured. Story link.
Mike Danton: The Untold Story
Nick Kypreos’ interview with Mike Danton in its entirety on sportsnet.ca. Story link.
Headless Chicken Looks For A Head
The NHLPA is enlisting the help of MLBPA head Donald Fehr to review their constitution as well as look for a new head. It looks like they’re trying to do this right to avoid any repeat of mistakes of recent years, and hopefully they’ll be able to get their act together in times for more concrete discussions about the CBA or any other issues which they’ll need to bring up with the league. I applaud their decision to bring in Fehr as a consultant, as the MLBPA has succesfully managed to keep a hard salary cap out of baseball, amongst other player-friendly rules, without too much damage; certainly not a full-year lockout. Still wondering who’s going to feel safe enough to take the job, though. Story link.
Bettman in Macleans
For people in Canada, pick up the most recent issue of Macleans (the swine flu one panic one, yellow cover [I believe]). There’s an interview with Bettman in there, including a couple pie-in-the-sky beauty quotes from the top dog, along with a whole bunch of evasive answers galore. Good reading, for all the wrong reasons.