Monday, 22 October 2012

Time to process our feelings

Another hockey weekend is over, and after a whole storm and war on hockey going on both sides of Atlantic "it's perfect time to process our feelings."

After hearing NHL proposal, seeing it rejected and watching three counter-proposals by NHLPA getting counter rejected by NHL in return, Ovechkin decided to go headfirst into the boards. All he did get was some nice photos and some rep.

No players or fans were harmed during this incident.

Byfuglien was already unwrapping his p90x, but luckily, no door frames were harmed in process.

Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart decided that they had enough playing second league hockey so they finished up nicely their campaign in East Germany, and decided to take some days off. They were last seen driving in a white unidentified car somewhere in vicinity of Czech border. 

Wayne and Chris with their sweet ride

Somewhere south... Sam Gagner played his first EBEL games this weekend and his guys almost lost to the last team, and lost against Hungarian team Sapa Fehervar AV 19. He got a point which was nice. Almost losing to a team which deserves to be last had left Sammy with no points in the game, but hey, it was his first second (Friday-Sunday) game since playoffs regular season ended. Should take some time to adjust to the bigger ice and new team. 

Meanwhile, Thomas Vanek decided it was time to score so he did it three times in a row. Sadly, at the end, someone changed goalscorers, so he only got away with two goals. Didn't save all those hats on the ice though. They were decent hats.

Vienna saw another clash with Olimpija Ljubljana earlier today, this time neither of NHL players scored, but Mursak assisted on another two goals. 8 games, 12 assists and 5 goals. Not bad for a Detroit boy. 

There's an wild idea for EBEL league* as they have a crazy point system in place of salary cap/foreign count. Each domestic player is worth 0-4 points, while import (TC) players are 4 points. Until 4th of November and IIHF break each team can dress up to 22 players worth total max of 60 points. After 11th of November, each team applies a roster which can be changed a maximum of 3 times is the point count would exceed 60. Let's say that the team has 58 points and wishes to put in a 4 point (TC) player they would need to either move any number of players worth 2  or more points off the roster to make room for the new guy. You can add up to 3 players this way. So, any new players coming in for a few weeks during Lockout would have it hard in the league. Any players staying, well.. we'll see how it goes, so far a few team have shown will to waste these changes except when really needed. 

*don't read unless you really care. I wouldn't. 

Germany's first league, DEL, saw a huge goal fiesta in Berlin. The fans did have to wait for over 40 minutes though, but then it all started just nicely. 8 goals, 7 by Giroux's Eisbaren Berlin and 1 by Iserlohn in just under 17 minutes are, well, really cool. Fiesta started with Giroux's yet another goal, and afterwards the crowd just went wild. The team and fans didn't stop on going till the ref stepped in and stopped the mob by blowing the whistled and signaling the end of the game. 8:1 total in less than 17 minutes, not bad. Unless you're on Iserlohn's side that is. 

Looks like Davos' troubles are over in Switzerland. Both Nash and Thorton got points yesterday in 3:2 win over Rapperswill, and Nash managed to score. Its all going good for Ty Seguin in Biel as well, he might not be getting... well he is apparently in the best city in world, isn't he?

Tyler Seguin hopefully likes it in Biel, 10 pts in 9 games (3G, 7A)

And we're back to KHL/NHL

All this might be fun but here's a bomb from KHL's PR we've stumbled on vast internet of Twitterverse:
Evgeni Kuznetsov, KHL PR Dept's biggest headache. "When NHLers leave, the arenas will be empty"  (Sportbox)*
*unless you want your eyes to bleed just jump to conclusion. Yes its about KHL again.  
Looking at these two leagues, all we see is huge $$ floating in the air. It's not as big as other leagues, but its a substantial amount of money. As mentioned before, lockout isn't going nowhere so the focus shifted towards KHL and europe.

KHL was mostly ignored for past few years by North American public, Europe coped with its occasional reach into their teams, but this year it somehow made it huge. First KHL came to middle Europe and big hockey cities of Bratislava and Prague. Then a few bombs were thrown about Zagreb and Milano joining, but it got prolonged (hopefuly?) for another season.

Last bomb was "migration" to KHL after NHL imposed lockout on players. Chara, Voracek, Visnovsky moving to newly relocated/created teams, Ovechkin, Malkin, Semin and many more coming "home" or just in search for work, with ESPN covering it made it.. well watchable.

Is it enough? Will the arenas, and rinks of leagues be full after NHL players leave? What is the impact on European/World's hockey that they will leave behind?

Arenas in KHL aren't full. And it's not enough. Temporary boost and artificial revenue increase by signing NHL players for "pocket money" and an occasional star shining in it just won't do.

KHL and their boss dream is a big 64 team pan-European league featuring dozen or so divisions created geographically. But that's a story for another time. And another post entirely.

NHL lockout isn't good for anyone, third time in 18 years the ecosystem is getting crushed, minor leagues are full of players that don't want to be in that hell any more, for most there is no space, no work and especially overseas, they're getting ridiculous deals while crushing the market. There's no NHLPA there to tend for them and care for them.

Will NHL and NHLPA come to senses soon? Doubt it, meanwhile we're stuck with our good old hockey game and bunch of players looking for work. Lets put them to some good use then.

What we saw this week?

Some good hockey, some bad moves by pencil pushers, some great moves by the best players, and lots of use of "best" players as the voice of said pencil pushers. 

And we've learned one thing, guys don't like it when owners sign the deal then want to get out of it. Everyone has pressure building up but there's just no need for 10 year long, over $100m. But now when you have to pay. Lets cry and twist it around. 

Sad truth is, I still didn't pick my fantasy team. Not sure if I'll do it this year, either out of protest, or out of spite. Man up and start talking.

...over the Pond! team

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