Rapid changes: controversial lottery cliffhanger plays into NHL plans


A quick mix of the things we gleaned from hockey week, serious and less, and rolling four lines deep. I only had a 12.5% ​​chance of submitting this week’s blog on time.

1. The hockey world released a collective set of emoji eyeballs on Friday night as the best / worst case scenario (depending on your perspective) unfolded in phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

A team yet to be determined from a group of teams yet to be determined has won first overall and the right to draft Alexis Lafreniere, a projected franchise player.

The Detroit Red Wings, the last place with a ball, dropped to fourth. The Ottawa Senators, who traded a franchise player to increase their chances, went from choices 2 and 3 to 3 and 5. And the Los Angeles The Kings, rather quietly, behaved like bandits by winning the second choice in the general classification, a wonderful development in the reconstruction of Rob Blake.

But the grand prize remains as mysterious as Team E, for Enigma. Or entertainment. Or Egads!

Call it chaos or parity. Label it madness or clever marketing. But don’t act like the NHL doesn’t like the drama.

The notes from phase 2 should be something.

A real hockey event has not happened in more than 100 days. The pivotal cities for a hopeful return have not yet been named. Commissioner Gary Bettman had no news to report on this occasion.

But the insane phase 1 results fueled a distraction from the positive COVID-19 tests of hockey players and city addicts. Team E’s triumph sparked conversation and required debate.

“It’s a shame,” said former general manager Brian Burke to host Ron MacLean after the show.

“Is this lottery a joke?” Tweeted former GM Doug MacLean.

Leading player agent Allan Walsh called the result “a disaster without mitigation.”

Lafreniere saw his shadow and crawled into his cave for six more weeks, canceling the interviews that would have been.

“To be honest with you, I’m not surprised,” said disappointed Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman.

It shouldn’t be either. This lottery was designed to give the TBD team a 24.5% chance at # 1, a 26.4% chance at # 2 and a 28.5% shot at # 3. The real surprise would not have been phase 2.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion put on an optimistic mask in his media rounds after the loss, but said his beer of choice is Coors Light. “It was not a night for champagne.

And it’s therefore, in this disrupted season, that fans of the six Canadian teams who were not trying to tank Lafreniere awake on Saturday with more hope of winning the kid than the fans of the team who blew up everything for the cause.

In the time it takes to turn over a card, fortune has flipped.

No more losing the NHL game means being sad to miss the Stanley Cup. That means crossing your fingers and being excited for a 12.5% ​​shot on Lafrenière.

“I hope I never have any more lottery discussions with anyone,” said Toronto Maple Leafs director Kyle Dubas when the NHL first released its miniseries. Lottery in two dramatic maximum games.

“That doesn’t mean it would be a horrible scenario to win the lottery or something like that, but I tend to focus more on optimism, which prepares our team for … being able to succeed.”

In 2020, when nothing is right, being successful and winning the draw are so exclusive.

2. Knowing how “nervous” Jack Eichel is in the playoffs and how five years of Buffalo defeat have thrilled his frustration, the next place where the mind of a fan or a critic walks is dangerous:

How many seasons lost until Jack Eichel requests an exchange?

Now, to be clear, the superstar has always said he wants to lead the Buffalo Sabers solution. But speculation around such a centerpiece made me think of the difficulty of moving any eight-figure player into a world of wage ceilings.

For the past 15 years, the NHL has operated under a cap, no such exchanges have been cut. The fine Steve Fellin of SN Stats helped reduce the most expensive capes of the modern era. Only six stars with an AAV greater than $ 7.5 million were redeemed (two of them twice). Here they are, ranked according to the highest number of successes:

• June 22, 2019: Nashville Predators trade P.K. Subban to Devils ($ 9M hit cap) for Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies and two second-round picks

• June 29, 2016: Montreal Canadiens trade Subban to Predators (ceiling of $ 9 million) for Shea Weber (ceiling of $ 7.857 million)

• February 28, 2016: The Carolina Hurricanes trade Eric Staal with the New York Rangers ($ 8.25 million, but the hurricanes keep 50%, so that the number of strokes hit is only 4.125 million dollars) for Aleksi Saarela and two second round picks.

• July 1, 2015: Maple Leafs trade Phil Kessel with Pittsburgh Penguins (ceiling of $ 8 million, but Leafs keep 15 percent, reaching ceiling of only $ 6.8 million) for Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington and a first and third round pick

• February 26, 2008: Tampa Bay Lightning trade with Brad Richards ($ 7.8 million) and Johan Holmqvist to the Stars for Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith and a fourth-round pick

• July 23, 2012: Columbus Blue Jackets trade Rick Nash ($ 7.8 million), Steven Delisle and a third round pick at the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round pick

• February 25, 2018: Rangers trade Rick Nash to Bruins ($ 7.8 million, but Rangers keep 50 percent, so the number of strokes hit is only $ 3.9 million) for Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and a first round pick.

Trends are emerging: save money to get through the paperwork; pure rentals and direct wage cuts; turning the page on a star only after it has already delivered most of its first years; and some rather delicate sales to the faithful.

These are complicated trades to perform. They are even more difficult to win.

Even if the other 31 clubs would like an Eichel on their list, somehow finding a suitable partner and fair value for a talent as expensive (albeit fairly paid) like Eichel – a 23-year-old man with $ 60 million salary at come between today and summer 2026 – feels almost impossible in a world of caps.

This should only worsen the urgency for management and the superstar to make this marriage work. There is no easy way out.

3. Does Alexander Mogilny Deserve to Be in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Absolutely.

And Theo Fleury? Yes.

Rod Brind’Amour and Jeremy Roenick? You can build a solid case.

Daniel Alfredsson, who has been excluded from Lanny McDonald’s call list for a fourth year? I thought so, but after reading Wayne Scanlan’s compelling argument, I know it.

But if the 2020 quintet has taught us anything, it is that these debates are not worth being overly troubled. Doug Wilson has waited 24 years for the honor. Kevin Lowe lingered for 20.

As the HHoF cloak and dagger committee – count me among those who want more transparency from voters – becomes younger, I suspect that our neglected heroes of the 90s and early 2000s are finally getting their of.

Look how long Eric Lindros had to wait. Or Willie freaking O’Ree! If anything, it made the celebration that much sweeter.

In addition, I love the image (highlighted on Twitter by Ottawa Senators legend Chris Phillips) of Alfredsson showing up the same year as Bryan Murray did as a builder.

“I would love to see Alfie come in. I hope he will get the respect he deserves in terms of voting. He’s a guy who hasn’t won the NHL but has won a lot internationally. He was a guy who was a huge role model for me. Basically in Ottawa, he’s the guy who really helped bring this club to respectability and he has done so much for the community, “said longtime Senator Jason Spezza. “I can’t say I don’t support him. ”

Individual distinctions in ultimate team sport are fun. Lowe walks in because he won six Stanley Cups, but has never worn a franchise like Alfredsson.

“I think if we had won (the Cup), it would be a lock to enter,” said Spezza. “But because we didn’t win, there is a little debate about it. “

4. Alfredsson and the group of other bubble contestants are expected to return to the mix this time next year, as the 2021 class is not inundated with Hall of Fame in the first round.

Who becomes eligible? Daniel and Henrik Sedin are icons who deserve to be initiated. I would also put Henrik Zetterberg, member of the Triple Gold Club, but not necessarily in the first round. I’m a big fan of how Rick Nash played the game, but there shouldn’t be any rush to induct the greatest blue jacket of all time. The list gets weaker from there.

In short, 2021 will offer another opportunity to let a few more patient players into the party. Mogilny time.

5. Tripping over a quote you want to use in a press release is about as common as finding an N95 at a reasonable price.

So it was with great joy that I read this hidden gem at the bottom of the 2020 Class of Hockey Hall of Fame announcement.

“I’m not even a Hall of Fame member in my own home,” said inductee Doug Wilson, likely to dads around the world, “so joining this club means the world to me. “

6. Here’s a compelling argument for the Hockey Hall of Fame builders category that I hadn’t considered before. I mean, is there a job in a sport that has evolved and improved over the past 35 years more than the hockey goalkeeper? Does this happen without the teams hiring goalkeeper coaches?

7. If we rank the NHL coaches in terms of power, you’d be hard pressed to put Paul Maurice on the podium.

Here, he theorizes that the 2020 Stanley Cup will be won in a battle of mind and heart. Can you, as a collective, stand out to win a hockey game when normality is gone, fans are absent, you miss your family and the thermostat shouts beach time?

“You only have that emotional good that you can go to so many times,” said Maurice. “The winning team is probably in the final and is able to keep that emotion intact. They haven’t gotten to that point, well, “uncle.” That’s enough. I want to go home now. “They stayed there. ”

Worth listening for 82 seconds:

8. Fast: Which Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender made more appearances in 2020, Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry?

Sorry, trick question. It’s a dead heat for 15 each, which raises another question: who will get his 16th start first?

Even though Jarry was the one Pittsburgh sent in this year’s All-Star Game, the smart money is that it will be the double-fold of the Stanley Cup winner to lose in a best-of-five confrontation against Carey Price.

“We have extremely high expectations for Matt,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told Josh Yohe The Athletic. “He showed his ability to play at his best when the stakes are high, and I can’t think of a better characteristic to have for an athlete. ”

Sullivan said the team is “comfortable with the two guys”, suggesting that Murray will be on a shorter leash than most beginners, but experience should be a nod. (Anyone else know of Marc-André Fleury’s flashbacks?)

Murray’s post-season career numbers shine like truck jewelry: 28-19, 2.16 GAA, 0.921% savings. Jarry ended his regular season with a four game losing skid and has yet to participate in an NHL playoff game. Both are imminent calls for applications, and it is no exaggeration to assume that their performances this summer could be factored into GM Jim Rutherford’s expansion plans.

“All I can do is focus on what I can control and try to do my best in every training and every game, and try to be ready,” Murray told reporters on Tuesday. In quarantine with his family in Muskoka, Murray returned to Pittsburgh to train with his teammates for Phase 2.

“Everyone on the ice will work to help the team succeed. This includes myself. I’m going to do everything I can to be precise and to be at my best, to help this team win another Stanley Cup. ”

9. Imagine finishing at the top of your conference despite your best goal scorer participating in 10 games.

Vladimir Tarasenko has 10 points in those 10 games for the St. Louis Blues, and we are probably not doing enough to make him strong, healthy and sharp to help the champions recover.

“The closer you get, the more positive you feel, the happier you are to see the boys for the first time skating with them,” Tarasenko told Chris Kerber, Blues team man in an interview with Zoom week. “I was fortunate to have made some trips by car (before the break) and to feel this atmosphere. I’m ready to come back and play hockey. ”

Tarasenko had already returned to the ice and was about to return from shoulder surgery before the break. These additional 100 days allowed the sniper to collect bonuses and save time. The 28-year-old has scored 33 goals in 70 playoff games and is expected to be robbed in the playoff pools.

“It’s like a big job you make and get a great player,” said coach Craig Berube. “We haven’t had it all year and our team has been very successful. ”

ten. True to the Blues, Alex Pietrangelo gave a solid interview after Tuesday’s training. The captain believes he will build on his 2016 World Cup experience in terms of a gold medal in terms of a jump in meaningful action after months of being away from the ice.

“I plan during the week not to use my bed as a lever to get up from sore knees and back pain,” said Pietrangelo. “You can train like crazy, on a bike, whatever you want to do – but nothing is like skating. ”

In my opinion, another great season for Pietrangelo (he appears on my Norris ballot) and the position he plays (RD) make him the most valuable impending unrestricted free agent in the NHL.

With the announcement that the UFA date will be temporarily extended from July 1 to November 1, Pietrangelos’ plans have been thrown in a loop. The defender said on Tuesday that he and his wife Jayne wanted to sign again with St. Louis before Canada Day.

“We never really wanted to get there (July 1). We’re there, we don’t even know if we’re playing, ”said Pietrangelo. “The players have to plan. ”

Remaining involved in the CBA discussions, Petro said the owners and players union has yet to decide on a 2020-21 salary cap or escrow rate – key factors in his negotiation personal contract.

“All of these come into play in what a team wants to do to move forward. The more answers we get, the faster we get them, the better I think all the teams will be better, “said Pietrangelo, who will not let the uncertainty of his future affect the Blues’ ice mission.

“If we are going to do this, we are going to do it to win,” he said. “We don’t just do it to kill time. “

11. I got interesting responses to last week’s column on the benefits of athletes who use meditation. Some people I know have come out of the woodwork and told me how mindfulness has improved their own lives.

Here’s an anecdote that didn’t do the original article.

Dr. Amy Saltzman, who has written books on the subject, highlighted the benefit of an entire mindfulness team, citing the winners of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Team USA, as example.

American defender Julie Johnson (now Julie Ertz) fouled the 59th minute of a tied semi-final against Germany which led to a free kick – a nightmare mistake. She was collapsing. Her teammates felt it and helped her forget about that moment and focus on the next one.

“She could have started fighting and being super upset and not focusing on the next game, but she reset and was supported by her teammates for the reset. And so, when it’s a team language, it reinforces what each individual practices. And so I think more and more teams are hiring people to offer mindfulness to the team as a whole, “said Dr. Saltzman.

“When everyone speaks the same language, when everyone uses the same basic principles, it gets bigger. ”

The Americans had the presence of mind to rally to a victorious emotional disaster.

As Johnson’s teammate, Cari Lloyd said, “No time to cry. We have a game to play. ”

12. Contrary to rumors, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia – but this week it was.

Oskar Lindblom skated with teammates on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday for the first time since his diagnosis of a rare bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, in December.
The 23-year-old forward will not play when / if the Flyers start the round robin, but what a mental boost for Lindblom.

“It’s fun to be there,” said Lindblom. “Always difficult not to be as good as I was when you are normal.” But it’s fun to be there, fun to be with the boys again, to skate and feel that. ”

Lindblom has announced that his chemotherapy is going well and that he has few treatments left.

“There is a light in the tunnel,” he said. “It’s the only thing I’m waiting for right now is to finish my chemo, come back with the team and play hockey. It will be unreal to come back to real life and have fun. ”

Have a sunny weekend, everyone.


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