2013 NHL Draft: The Newark Shake

At the end of the Top 10 in the First Round of the 2013 NHL Draft, it all got shuffled.

The Avalanche sent Joe Sakic and Partick Roy out on the floor to pick the not-surprising offensive power rookie, Nathan McKinnon. Sakic is a classy guy, and I was disappointed by the NJ fans booing Sakic thanking Lou L for hosting. Boo you!

Surprise in the NO.2 pick, as Aleksander Barkov is selected by the Florida Panthers. That was a surprise, but Florida feels they need to beef up a line with a big Center.

Tampa Bay shook it up picking Joanathan Drouin, as Steve Yzerman likes the kid. Interesting pick as TB bought out Vincent LeCavelier, and indicating Drouin may see ice time next season.

While Seth Jones waited patiently, the Nashville Predators were making their plan and pressing the jersey for this defensive pick of the draft. At NO. 4, a defender is good, but are the D-men losing respect? Don’t forget how important the defenders can be when your offense sucks. Shea Weber and Seth Jones means Nashville has seen the light.

The Carolina Hurricanes at NO. 5 pick slot, did not trade up or down, but selected Elas Lindholm. A Swede who will go to train before joiing the team. He will play in Sweden next season.

In NO. 6, the Calgary Flames need to ignite their team and their quest for the Cup. So, as it goes, the Flames pick Sean Monahan. Expected pick who can overcome adversity, which really means that he played on bad teams before. Go Sean!

Edmonton has had the first picks for the past few seasons, and the fact that they are picking the NO.7 shows that top draft picks do make a difference. Darnell Nurse gets to go play with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins! A defenseman is exactly what the Oilers need. Darnell, you won the Lottery too.

Buffalo has had its better days.  With the NO. 8 pick there have not been many trades or dealings.  Many speculated the Sabres would make some type of deal or just pick a big player and defender…and they did in  Rasmus Ristolainen.  He’s a hard hitter with a hard shot and a great name.

And just as NJ Devils were about to make their NO. 9 pick, they trade it to Vancouver for Cory Schneider! Vancouver get the pick. Bo Horvat from the London Knights has been compared to Avs player Ryan O’Reilly.

And the final pick in the Top 10, goes to the Dallas StarsValeri Nichuskin is a strong addition to the Stars who already have Jamie Benn as a weapon.  The question is whether he will be on the ice next season.

That’s it for me. Follow more hockey info and in-depth article on the draft picks at The Hockey Writers.

Negotiations in Newark: Manufacturing the Perfect Team

NHL Draft 2013 has hit the Prudential Center in Newark. Whatever happens in a mock draft, may be true to the actual draft, however, surprises happen.

In a mock draft, the expected results for the top 5 draft picks are:

1. Nathan McKinnon (C) Going to the Colorado Avalanche, which was not what most suspect,  considering the Avs need to build up their defense. Originally, Seth Jones was selected to be the primary overall NO. 1 pick. The Avs like to pick offensive talent…Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, for example.
2. Seth Jones (D) Going to the Florida Panthers, which is a great move. The Panthers really bolstered their D and that move helped create a strength down their in the sunshine.
3. Jonathan Drouin (LW) Going to Tampa Bay Lightning, and many think he should have been the NO. 1 pick overall.
4. Aleksander Barkov (C) Nashville Predators pick a big center, after the Preds offense drizzled this season.
5. Valeri Nichuskin (LW) Carolina Hurricanes know this is a good fit with Alex Semin.
6. Sean Monahan (C) Calgary Flames need all the help they can get.
7. Darnell Nurse (D) Edmonton Oilers are adding some gritty defense to complement their offensive young guns.
8. Nikita Zadorov (D) Buffalo Sabres has had a good run with Tyler Myers, so the experiment continues.
9. Elas Lindholm (C) New Jersey Devils have a Swede!
10. Alexander Wenberg (C) Dallas Stars also know the Swedes are training and taking their hockey programs to the next level.

10. Alexander Wenberg (C) Dallas Stars also know the Swedes are training and taking their hockey programs to the next level.

Let’s see what really happens the 2013 NHL Draft! I will be updating this blog with twitter feeds from Dan Rice, a NJ Devils writer for The Hockey Writers.

The Sporting Muse: The New Jersey Sports Fan Hits the Sh*t

The following  feature interview   originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of NJ Wag, published out of Red Bank, New Jersey- Monmouth County.

The Sporting Muse
The New Jersey Sports Fan Hits the Sh*t
by Heidi Pope Werner

Love the games, but hate the $10 dollar watered-down stadium beer? Been busted in a Tebow Jets jersey lately? The New Jersey Sports Fan feels your pain. Armed with attitude and comedic cracks at sports fans in the Garden State, this Jersey Shore native takes to the road to find the best and worst from Soho to Seaside.

Memorable games and plays remain in the history books, but who remembers the fans?  Enter The New Jersey Sports Fan, the man known for his love of New Jersey and the sports that go with the territory.

Armed with a video camera, sunglasses and a Jets hat, this crude and rude fan rants and raves on his days off about the love of his life- sports. Not much can tear him away from the field, the track or the arena.  This is the story of the guts and glory of the average hard-working Jersey guy.

Despite his busy shooting schedule, the Jersey Sports Fan took time out to sit down with NJ Wag to talk sports, celebrities and snacks:

So who are your teams?
JETS, METS, RANGERS, KNICKS

What do you have to say about your beloved Jets?

Ya know the worst storm in history hit the Jersey Shore and the Jets
have managed to be a bigger F-ing disaster.  This season made me sick.
Literally, week 13 I became very ill.  Pneumonia, shitting my pants,
the works. The doc said that I was suffering from emotional trauma.
It was true.  They did me in.  I’m glad to be into the winter.  I pray
the Knicks and Rangers make me forget the Fall.

Best game day munchies?

On a big game day I start with around 4-6 coffees and a porkroll egg
and cheese. Four hours before kick off, tipoff, puck drop, or first
pitch, I like to get into some cold ones, and I match the suds with a
few dogs.  I usually have 4 beverages for each tube steak.  I usually
do around 8 tube steaks before the game.  You do the math sweetheart.

What team do you hate the most?

I truly despise the Phillies.  One time I went to a Phillies/Mets
game down in Philly. It was when the Mets had Pedro Martinez.  He got
lit up in the first inning.  Naturally I was very upset and had some
choice words for Phillies fans around me.   Long story short those
Philly creeps put me in the hospital for 3 days just because I made a
comparison between their city and a toilet in an all you can eat
Chinese buffet.

Do you listen to sports radio?

Oh yea.  I’ve logged a lot of hours with Mike Francesa.  He can be
like a prophet at times.  Lately half of his commentary is just his
fat ass breathing heavily into the mic.  He’s a pig, but I still
listen.  I’ll always listen.

Best word of advice form a sports celeb?
Nothing gets the crowd going better than a good fight and beer.

Describe your perfect sports outing?

WOW that’s tough….It would probably start in a hot tub with some of
the girls that work at Fantasies out on 36.  Maybe catch a matinee at
the Garden and get a Jets playoff night game.  But Lord knows that
won’t happen.  I am sick of fantasizing about stuff like this.  All
I need is some wins and teams to be proud of.  Ya know being a Fan can
hurt.  It can hurt so bad you forget what it’s all about.   It’s about
drinking, screaming, and showing your kid how to act like a man at a
special event.  Maybe if you’re lucky you can beat up a Phillies fan
while you’re at it.

Are you married?

Married to what?  I am married to my teams.  I have found that
marriage and I don’t mix well.  I prefer to date dancers that don’t
ask many questions.

Best Bruce encounter?

One time I saw the boss late night in the Windmill.  He was solo so I
took a seat next to him.  I noticed he didn’t have Kraut on his dog.
This was upsetting for me because the Windmill has great kraut and his
dog looked naked without a kraut dress on it.  So I said to him “Let
me put some kraut on your dog for you” he said, “don’t touch my dog
man.” I said “trust me Bruce just trust me.” He said alright.  He
loved the dog dressed with kraut.   He still calls me when he is in town.
Love that guy.

The laughter and inspiration behind the videos are hidden gems of a satirical sideline fan and the frustrations most sports lovers face. Every video stems from a situation we all have found ourselves in at one time or another, and that’s what makes the viewpoint priceless.

In “Dreams Do Come True,” the New Jersey Sports Fan says it best, “Hello New Jersey, I feel much more comfortable,” as he heads to the Meadowlands with The Boss blaring on the radio.

Can’t get the Rangers game on TV?  NJ Sports Fan takes on the multi-million dollar renovation of Madison Square Garden in “MSG vs. Time Warner Cable.” He hits NJ Transit and lands at the Garden for an experimental field trip, because he can’t get the game on cable.  If you have an extra ticket to the game, please contact the New Jersey Sports Fan.

Ever thought of working in sports?  Yep, he has too. “Referee Replacement Rep Application” takes him to the field to get a fall gig in the NFL, a dream job he feels he is qualified to fill.  The wealth of material from experience, talent, and the dedication to take the hardcore to hilarious reminds us all to keep trying, even if it is painful, futile, but ultimately fun.

The videos stem from characters he and the crew grew up with around the neighborhood and eccentric fans he has met along the way. Everyone remembers the dad on the block who got mad at the lawn mower on a quiet Sunday afternoon, or the golfer with the brown and orange plaid pants, but New Jersey Sports Fan wants you to remember the classic characters we know and can’t forget because of their absurdity.

A must watch for any New Jerseyan is the now historical June 2011 stroll through Seaside Heights reminiscing about teenage dreams on the Jersey Shore in “Summer in Seaside.” The sights and sounds of the boardwalk and the commentary on the Bennies classify this as the real deal. Sports website, Bleacher Report, called this “A true classic.”

Closer to home, “Just in Time for Preakness,” takes the Jersey Sports Fan to Monmouth Park. Sporting the obligatory denim jacket over the tank-top, while smoking a stogie, he utters the words that best fit the moment “make me wiser my friend..be a buddy and bud me up.”

“Breaking the Barrier,” brings new meaning to women’s lib.  Explore how three dudes could portray a relationship faux paus not discussed in most circles, and simplify the message beyond expectations.  Share this video with someone you love.

Based out of Bernie Hatefield Productions, the crew of three takes their stories and love of sports to a new level of comedic bromance.  Every person, every place and every event is fair game to be reworked and remembered in the twisted viewpoints of some sports guys, but it’s truthfully local and contagiously continental.  Jersey jargon is included in the way only brash jersey boys can dish.

Follow the Jersey Sports fan and Bernie Hatefield productions on their website http://www.berniehatefield.com, Twitter https://twitter.com/BernieHatefield, Brobible.com and of course, You Tube.

Hey Hockey, What’s Up?

I’m really glad the NHL has returned. I missed the righteous slapshots of Pavel Datsyuk,the energy around Madison Square Garden on game day, the Enforcers, and my fellow fans- the best fans in sports.

Though I am wearing my Wings jersey, I really wanted to boycott the NHL and not watch a game. I don’t really care about all the past chaos, I’m just happy I can sit down and watch a game every night. All is forgiven. The lockout forced  me into a path that pays.

Blood, sweat and tears is the art of journalism. The drive is insatiable. No more up all night to hit the news wire, no more fantastic editors to work with….I’ve been so blessed, and no more play-by-play. I got a great marketing job, write for a local paper and get to interview people in sports, music and design….so, I think we’re okay.

I’ve covered the Colorado Avalanche, the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers and will continue to follow. I’ve had the privilege to attend University of Denver Pioneers games, watching Matt Carle and Paul Stastny. Michigan hockey and the Detroit Red Wings have my allegiance. I can’t quit hockey.

Living on the east coast does provide the hockey fan with the best hockey coverage outside of Canada. Almost every night, I have a choice of watching a Devils, Rangers, or Islanders game. The only deprivation I face now is not getting enough Red Wings.

Fantasy hockey owners are scrambling to repair broken teams as players face injuries getting back on the ice. This is the time to watch out for the newbies on the roster. The fantasy hockey portion of my blog will be up next week.

Welcome back hockey fans!

New Year, New Deal

This has been a dreary year for hockey lovers. Visiting my family in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, the absence of hockey was noticeable. Some people don’t realize that entire communities rely on the business and traffic from hockey. Michigan is such a state.

The NHL lockout has sent fans back to their origins of college and junior hockey. That movement has been great for the base of hockey. Just like the holidays, the lockout has given fans a glimpse of what really matters…the game. Unfortunately, the NHL and this lockout nonsense reflects poorly on all those associated with such shenanigans. Benefits of the lockout have freed the players to donate their time for more charity games. Grass roots at its finest.

The University of Michigan Men’s ice hockey team has done well taking third place in the Great Lakes Invitational. Represented by colleges from Western Michigan to Michigan Tech, this college hockey expo draws a crowd at Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit. Good news for Detroit is that Windsor, Ontario is mere minutes over the bridge and brings NHL fans to town, so now long-term damage is expected. Hockey has survived, yet the identity of the Detroit Metro-Area is securely poised as the most successful sports franchise, the Detroit Red Wings.

Every year I haul Red Wings gear home. This year I hauled Michigan gear home. I even scored a Grand Valley State hoodie for those diehards. While it is great to add some more depth to my athletic collection, the Red Wings are not just shirts and key chains. There was little talk of NHL hockey. Fans in my home state have plenty of other options, because that’s how hockey is lived in the frozen earth that is Michigan.

You haven’t really felt cold unless you’ve stood outside in almost any town in the Wolverine State. Canada has bragging rights to the pain that is the cold, but we’re neighbors and feel their pain. Now living in southern New Jersey, I didn’t realize that 40 degrees is balmy. But when you are standing on ice most of the time, it’s natural to want to skate on it and live your life on it.

Despite the 13 degree temps, my sister and I went out Christmas night and took pictures on the streets of Ann Arbor. Michigan Stadium stood tall and proud ready for 2014 and the Winter Classic featuring the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Standing at the Big House is a monumental feeling. The Winter classic on this grad scale will bring a misty moment for hockey fans.

The Big House Xmas night….the site of the Winter Classic 2014

The New Year should bring a new deal, but let’s start all over again next year.

Thanks Joe!

Last night, one of the greatest hockey players to grace the ice, was honored as an inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Joe Sakic is a class act. His leadership in the sport of ice hockey has been monumental. He’s a great guy too.

Sakic was the gentleman leader who instilled playing an honest game with integrity. He was shy, yet always the ambassador to the hockey world. He brought the NHL and hockey to Colorado, where most poeple were transplants from elsewhere. I knew Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins fans converted into Avalanche fans due in large part to what heart Sakic and his team brought to Denver. They became one of us, on our team.

I remember seeing him ride along downtown Denver atop a fire engine hoisting the Stanley Cup. The thrill of hockey has been reborn in me. Coming from Detroit, I missed the games, the passionate fans, and the hockey players I followed. Joe Sakic became and will always be my favorite Avalanche player. I devoted much of my blog to how the Avalanche and Joe Sakic’s living legacy created competitive hockey and a strong community.

He had skeletons that he locked away and when asked about them in interviews, he would change the subject or conclude the interview. He was there to talk about his team, not a horrific day tha haunted him. Most journalists knew that event shaped his dedication and emotion for playing the game, and respected his privacy.

Sakic was a pioneer for the youth hockey advancement and development in Denver. Kids new to hockey looked to Joe for inspiration. Denver, primarily a football town, was unaware of young hockey stars in waiting.

The University of Denver Pioneers men’s hockey team had a brighter spotlight as hockey rose in popularity. DU groomed two NHL stars in Paul Stastny and Matt Carle, and became NCAA champions. The Frozen Four would never had been hosted by Denver in 2008 if Sakic hadn’t created such an affection for local hockey.

Players respected and emulated him. Fans wore his jersey proudly. We all knew Joe. And we knew Joe saw us too. We were not just a crowd, we were a community. We were The Avalanche.

As a staunch Red Wings fan, Joe was the only guy who could tear me away from Detroit. When the Detroit Red Wings came to town, it was really a battle between Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. I was heartbroken that I had to choose between the two. Both men remain iconic representatives of a generation of NHL fans who can agree on their talented leadership and sportsmanship. Old school fans still ask, “Sakic or Yzerman?”

All the stats in his career can’t replace the years of happiness he has brought to the many fans around the world. He’s a class-act and his induction as a Hall of Famer is testament to the good guys out there making a difference. Thanks Joe!

Fighting Ends with NHL Lockout

The Ontario Hockey League(OHL) refuses to justify fighting and won’t allow it, and they’re fighting back. The NHL is listening and may follow the call.

“For years, Campbell and his staff in Toronto have chewed on the subject. The Rangers-Devils game last season, where three staged fights broke at the drop of the puck, was a black eye for the league and certainly caused some in-house deliberation at the NHL office.”

The influential intolerance of violence is trending as the NHL lockout lingers. Fighting is a problem in hockey, but just how much fighting is really happening?

Brandon Prust and Shawn Thornton are the two grinders who have racked up the most majors in the league. Prust, formerly of the New York Rangers, accrued 156 penalty minutes. Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins racked 154 minutes of bad behaviour. Not all penalty minutes are for fighting, rather diving, tripping, misconduct, slashing, boarding, and high-sticking (which can rip open a lip, eye or nose).

Is this the death of the doomed fighting controvrsy to make way for a kinder, gentler hockey agenda? The lockout may be a contributing factor for initiatives to curb relentless fighting in the NHL. Players do not make a habit of fighting and the enforcer role has diminshed on every roster. With the NHL work stoppage, fans may expect to see a stoppage of the bloodbaths on the ice when the season returns.

Can hockey survive a cultural shift so great to adapt to the new culture?

Fans have many options to watch hockey for less expense and travel time. This may be good for hockey overall to take us back to our roots in local ice arenas. The mention of the delapedated concrete building that house large ice rinks and skates, brings joy. It’s the environment where every hockey fan got the itch. It’s the same traits that bring fans to other arenas. It’s a hockey culture where your neighbors are enchanted with the scraping of skates, the whoosh of the ice, the cold, and the fortitude to watch every last minute.

A large part of that willingness, for hockey fans like myself, was the promise of a scrap or two. That culture is dying for the sake of a new breed of hockey player. They’re faster, analytical, and avoid roadblocks like a Prust or Thornton. The new skater must be keen and lean.

Growing up with the Detroit Red Wings, you knew that the Wings represented wth wheels of speed and innovation. Players like Steve Yzerman modeled the quiet, calm leader with the intelligence to create. The Wings moved like a machine. The story of the  tragedy and triumph of the Wings was your story too.

Now, living in New York, the glory of the New York Rangers is quickly falling. Talented players are exiting to play the game they love, and who can blame them? While most fans realize these players enjoy their job, they are men who have families to support. An energized city, an energized Madison Square Garden has dimmed for the Rangers fans this October.

The NHL has shut down neighborhoods.  Hockey fans are resourceful enough to know how to handle their hockey fix. “Run for the exits” is what the NHL has done to the fans.

I really don’t want to start a fight, so perhaps we will see you in the near future. I’m working on locating a KHL channel.

 

National Hockey Lockout

Award for lameness. The lockout will have reverberations in varied degrees depending on its duration. If players are bailing immediately, the fans are sure to follow. Maintaining a billion dollar industry with no provider and no customer won’t hold back a backlash.

NCAA and AHL hockey will see a profit, and those neighbordhood junior leagues will benefit from new spectators. The fans want hockey. The game of hockey is why fans pay to see the game,  not to buy a pretzel and a key chain. Going to a game, supporting your team is tradition for most recalling classic memories. If food and trinkets call you to the game, then you really are not a hockey fan.

This work stoppage has sent Evgeny Malkin and Sergei Gonchar packing for home signing deals with Mettalurg of the Kontinental Hockey League. The Pittsburgh Penguins roster got lighter as Sidney Crosby’s agent made an inquiry to the KHL so Sid the Kid won’t hit a skid this season. Yannick Weber and Mark Streit sign in Switzerland, Christian Ehrhoff heads to Germany, so who will next to send a message to the NHL?  Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin, that’s who. Patrick Berglund will play for free in Sweden and the exodus continues.

Shane Doan’s contract was wrapped up with a 4-year deal in Phoenix as the Coyotes arena deal looked positive and possible. Now, that’s all gone for those few fans who eagerly anticipated the return of their desert dogs.

The owners are the only people who really want this lockout. They lose money but hope to gain. This tactic is a way to keep the lid on grandstanding in the future with ludicrous multi-year contracts that escalate as the player deflates. Even NHL players are expendable. Perhaps this is a passive technique to rid the tough guy world of whiners and embellish-makers.

It’s a bittersweet farewell to NHL veterans Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson who will not get a grand farewell if the season isn’t salvaged.

We’ll all laugh about this went the lockout gives way by November, right? We’ll all be cautious and snagging some of those promotional tickets the NHL teams will have to fork over to win back the loyal.

The lockout is lame because it’s the same issue in any workplace- administration vs. staff. Rarely do the two sides ever see the same problem or the same solution. Negotiation must end on a win-win, and that is not happening soon at any percentage rate.

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly will forego salaries this season, and the NHL employees will go to a 4-day work week to save money. The Florida Panthers let go of their mascot and the damages to the profits continue. What was the point of all of this again?

Remember these great moments?

or this great moment for the Rangers/Devils fans?


National Hockey Lame. Positives in all of this: no Paulina Gretzky and Nickelback.

Hockey Chutzpah and the Looney Lockout

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Gary Bettman have infringed on the end of summer and there’s no end in sight. Summer isn’t over, yet hockey fans are wondering if they should pack up the sunscreen and swimsuits just yet for skates and snow gear. Training camp is just weeks away, or is it?

Kudos for  the Russian hockey “activist” Alex Ovechkin for making efforts to save the 2012-13 season and a chance to rebound. Representing the modern hockey god, Sidney Crosby has also put his actions to save the careers of many of his colleagues. Depending on Crosby’s medical clearance, he may not see much of a season despite his efforts.

This is about money, isn’t it? Yes, yes, it is.

Fans have been raging over ticket prices for years. Average Joe attends AHL or college games. Average Joe does not enjoy sitting in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena or Madison Square Garden. Really, they don’t. The real competition is the affiliates and training/development programs that feed into the NHL that will benefit from a lockout.

Let’s not even talk about the KHL or European leagues where many snubbed NHL players are making their livelihood.

The proposal is to spread the wealth. Successful teams needs to help the fledglings so the money is created equal. Slashing salaries of the players and limits to contracts still does not resolve the high cost of being an NHL fan.

As a hockey writer, the lockout will impede the progress made under the direction of…em…Bettman in the media. Tormented and despised, his tactics grew the sport’s popularity and TV deals proving the strategy is working. Authority figures ruining everything is not a new concept, but it’s not the coaches, announcers, trainers or any of the staff who have crippled the season. Ownership and investment calls all the shots and signs the paychecks.

All this is important to hometown hockey hooligans who cannot imagine life without hockey, but they will if a deal cannot be met by Sept. 15.

Let’s Talk…..

The heat is on. Enter the Collective Bargaining Agreement to shake up your summer. The same waiting game on the CBA is exactly what was experienced by New Jersey Devils fans as captain Zach Parise’s fate was out of their hands. Let’s hope the hands holding the CBA’s fate ends in a positive outcome.

This summer Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Alex Semin and Shane Doan will decide what to do with their 2012-13 season, depending on if there is a season. With the continual rise of hockey’s popularity, this lockout would change the momentum of the entire game, the NHL and its players. Fans are holding their breath.

The snubbing of New Jersey by Zach Parise was a shock. It shouldn’t have been. Parise voiced his displeasure over the course of several seasons. The Devils were never seen as contenders without Parise. Now, without Parise, the team rebuilds with alum Scott Stevens returning as an assistant coach. Fans had faith that Parise would return….supposedly, he was a fan of the Shore. Career moves are nothing personal in the NHL, but those moves are taken personally by the fans.

Shane Doan’s fate in Phoenix is another conundrum. Doan has taken that community and ran with it. Doan and his family have been supporters of charitable organizations in the desert for some time. The impact of a Doan loss could cause a ripple effect on the deal to keep the team in Glendale. Fans are loyal but moody on attending games. Very few fans wait after morning skates to get a glimpse of their favorite ‘Yote. Doan may be contemplating the move for a last push on his career since the Coyotes did remarkably well in the playoffs.

Shane Doan after Morning Skate in Glendale (HPWerner)

Bobby Ryan, Alex Semin and Rick Nash just want to move on and feel appreciated. Semin needs a boost to his game and a new team may solve the problem. Ryan isn’t seen as a valuable asset as he once was in Anaheim, so off he goes to some lucky team (Let’s Go Rangers). Ryan is fresh, young and has the skill for a team to build upon.

And who can blame Rick Nash for wanting a change of venue in Columbus? Nash is an island in Columbus. Unfortunately, he’s the face of the Jackets and his departure will be felt heavily. GM Howson can’t replace Nash with another big name, rather a few newbies who will take time to grow. With a rejected trade offer from the Detroit Red Wings, it’s apparently clear that Howson doesn’t want to deal Nash to division rivals or western rivals. The San Jose Sharks, who are also in the Nash lottery, probably won’t land him either.

The CBA talks now coincide with TV deals and those logistics. Hockey writers shiver when the lockout is mentioned. It is debatable whether the strength of the current NHL will withstand the blow and recover. Let the GM’s do the talking until they’re blue in the face. This summer, patience is the new sunblock. Don’t get burned is the name of the game.