Tag Archives: Gonchar

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.

Top D-guys for Fantasy drafts

Draft day is approaching, and while I value the contribution of the offensive players the defenseman hold my attention. I usually take a gander at rankings from the top hockey outlets, but decided to forfeit their early suggestions and make a list of my own. Not all top ranked D-guys made my list; therefore I expect a few rumblings about key players not listed below. If I don’t want to draft them, they’re not on my radar.

Leaving off Dion and Pronger was no mistake. Just not a fan of their style. Avery has graced my roster a few times, but I can handle his style no matter how sticky it can get. The New York Rangers have a decent blueline if Avery can step it up and if Del Zotto can hold on. I wanted to find a powerhouse defenseman in the Vancouver Canucks, and I have to say that last year, Alex Edler was helpful in my playoff run. With the addition of Keith Ballard, maybe the Canucks will gel on the blueline.

Without further adieu, the suggestions below are a list of top defensemen that should be grabbed early.

Nicklas Lidstrom- Detroit Red Wings– Always at the top of my list for several reasons: he exemplifies leadership and the role of the defensemen, plus, he’s the captain of the Red Wings. At the age of 40, he’s coming back for one more year in Detroit to help shape the blueline for the future of the organization. Expect good things from him this season as he wants to leave on a legendary note.

Mike Green- Washington Capitals– Rank him high on your list. With 76 points on the year, a plus-39 rating and 54 PIMs, he’s an overall player. Workhorse and Norris Trophy candidate too.

Drew Doughty- Los Angeles Kings- Also nominated for the Norris Trophy, many expected Doughty to win. Scoring 59 points and 54 PIMs, you’ve just made two categories intriguing on your roster. His impact on the charismatic Kings has been noticed. The Kings have locked and loaded a talented group of players who will fight their way into the playoffs again. Recruit.

Duncan Keith- Chicago BlackHawks-
Norris Trophy winner is all I need to say. Along with his 69 points and 51 PIMs, Keith also has a plus-21 rating which is one niche that many fantasy owners disregard. Besides, who doesn’t want a D-guy who sacrificed numerous teeth for his team to win the Cup?

Dan Boyle-San Jose Sharks
– He had a rough time in the playoffs, but will bounce back from the mishaps. Though the media is cautious in claiming the Sharks will be in Cup contention, Boyle will play hard and keep the team in the zone. Strengths include his 58 points and 70 PIMs.

Tyler Myers- Buffalo Sabres
– Top rookie with 48 points, a plus-13, and 32 PIMs is a good call for this fresh face. Calder winner over Colorado’s Duchene and hot Detroit goaltender Howard. This is my absolute pick for D.

Sergei Gonchar- Ottawa Senators
– A new team, a new crowd to excite. Last season with Pittsburgh he tallied 50 points and 49 PIMs, but beware the under par rating for the plus/minus column.

Shea Weber- Nashville Predators- Team captain and on everyone’s wish list. Posting 43 points and 36 PIMs, he’s a solid defenseman to put on your docket. Nashville has made some moves to ensure the Predators break past round one and two of the playoffs.

Brian Rafalski-Detroit Red Wings– Olympic hero and hometown boy represents the Detroit blueline. Even if his numbers don’t hold at last seasons’ 42 points, a plus-23 rating, and 26 PIMs, he is the guy who sets up the brilliant net shakers and sees them through. If you are a Detroit fan, he’ll be on your roster.

Erik Johnson-St. Louis Blues
– I’m very excited about the Blues this season. Johnson was solid with 39 points and an impressive 79 PIMs. I only play on leagues with PIMs.

Zdeno Chara- Boston Bruins– Also a team captain, Chara was a bit of a let down last year. Not sure what happened, but I am cautious this year. But when you look at his stats, they’re pretty darn good at 44 points, a plus-19 and of course, 87 PIMs. Just watching Chara flatten and skewer opponents is enough reason to stick him on your roster. If you miss the game, check out all the fun on hockeyfights.com

Drafting defensemen is vital early. Depending on your league, you may have as many as four slots for defense; take two solid performers, then you are able to pick up at least two mix and match players on hot streaks. If you only have two, then make top picks that have depth into many categories, particularly on the power-play. Don’t forget your fighter either. Penalties can be bad, but the fighters who can score become the energy on your roster and great to follow. I have at least two bad boys on my team, but always room for more.


The Detroit Red Wings lost Jiri Hudler, the New York Rangers said goodbye to Nikolai Zherdev, and rumors abound on Alex Ovechkin’s tug of war with the media on his loyalty to the NHL or the KHL. Olympic hockey teams have squared off, with top Russians player playing for the homeland the patriotic conflict has become a competitive nagging ache to the NHL.

According to an article in USA Today, “the reality is Russian players are disappearing from the NHL landscape. Only 23 Russians (and nine more from former Soviet republics) are playing full-time in the NHL today, compared with 87 total in 2000-01.” The Kontinental Hockey League in its sophomore year has enticed players to come back home. Such was the case with veteran Sergei Federov, who may have been seen as over- the-hill, despite the Washington Capitals desire to resign the three time Stanley Cup champ, who also was the first Russian player to reach 1,000 NHL points. Illya Bryzgalov has been in question whether he will stay in the league. In the same article he offers his view, “They are paying good money over there,” said the Phoenix Coyotes goaltender. “If you can earn as much as you can here, why wouldn’t you want be in your home country, with your friends and family watching?”

Will the Olympics bring tears to the eyes of the Russian players who may see another side to their homeland? Comradely could play an interesting role in next seasons NHL’s configurations. Bryzgalov is expected to start for Team Russia, along with Washington Capitals’ Simeon Varlamov, and San Jose Sharks’ Evgeny Nabokov. Other Russian starters include Detroit Red Wings’Pavel Datsyuk, Atlanta Thrasher’s Maxim Afinogenov, Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin, Capitals’ star Alex Ovechkin and former NHL star Sergei Federov.

Atlanta Thrashers’ Illya Kovalchuk has asked for more money to stay in Atlanta, but no contract extension has been signed yet. Rumors have indicated he may flee to the KHL if offered more money. If a player receives an offer from an NHL club, his KHL club has the right to offer him more (to leave the player in KHL) regardless of salary cap. The same if a KHL club wants to entice a player from the NHL – the salary of enticed player is not counted for salary cap. Interesting note, KHL’s President Alexander Medvedev visited with Kovalchuk, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently. In an article from the Toronto Star, “Hey, we can afford to pay more than the NHL right now,” a high-ranking executive with the Russian league said. “Our economy is commodities-based so we’re not going through the same problems that you have in America.”

Many players want to play in the NHL as opposed to the KHL due to rules and standards.  One blogger, KUN, from Canada on the International Hockey Forum indicated, “If the KHL copies everything exactly like the NHL, it will be nothing but a dupe or knockoff league. It won’t appeal to the larger extent of Europe possibly, a market they need. Smaller rinks will affect Russian style regional play, if the rinks become smaller, it’s a given. Do RSL supporters want that? When the WHA competed up against the NHL they had two distinctive things that made them popular. Fighting and Blood.”

A series of KHL brawls resulted in 840 penalty minutes causing the game to be called less than four minutes in when both teams ran out of eligible players. Players left the penalty box in a single-file line to join in the scrap, including former New York Ranger Jaromir Jagr, now a member of Avangard Omsk. Dropping his gloves. Jagr was good and pissed off, specifically at Darcy Verot, who started the whole mess earlier during warm-ups by shooting a puck at one of Jagr’s teammates. The players were fined as the NHL has implemented in fervor.

Check out the chaos at: KHL Brawl

I offer you an example of other rough play in Russian leagues: Russian Brawl

The NHL’s rule on head hits have been scrutinized and revamped based on crucial injuries and unsportsmanlike conduct in Bettman’s proper game. Alexander Ovechkin has been on the suspension side of rough hits because he’s a physical player. But NHL brawls have not achieved the unruly status of the KHL brawl. Hey, but then again it’s hockey. Whether in Russia, Sweden or the States, players will play for their love of the game or money. Really it’s a matter of a player’s individual preferences. The controversy of the NHL versus the KHL is good competition in a market where another hockey league can utilize more players. The NHL needs some stiff wake up calls to compete on a global scale, where hockey is celebrated as a national sport not a marketing nightmare.