Line shuffle produces fantasy win

therrien

Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Saturday night’s game between the Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres  at the Bell Centre.

PAT HICKEY

The Gazette

Coach Michel Therrien engaged in another round of line-juggling and it paid off with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

“We’re a third of the way into the season and I’ve been happy with some of our lines but I’m looking for more balance,” Theriren said. “It’s too easy to defend against us when we have only one line going.

Max Pacioretty found himself on a line with Tomas Plekanec and they clicked at 15:30 of the first period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.

“Patch did all the work on that goal,” said Plekanec. “He uses his size to create some space in the front and when I took the puck behind the net, I knew he was going to be there. He took a pretty good hit as he shot.”

Travis Moen took advantage of the opportunity to play with Erik Cole and David Desharnais and he scored what proved to be the winning goal at 13:34 of the second period when he scored on the rebound of a shot by Tomas Kaberle.

“That’s a typical goal for me,” said Moen, who has six goals this season. “It wasn’t a particularly hard shot but there was traffic in front and I don’t think (Buffalo goaltender Ryan) Miller was able to see it until the last second. It hit his pad but he wasn’t to control it.”

Carey Price lost his shutout bid at 19:12 of the second period when Jordan Leopold scored on a one-timer off a pass  by Cody Hodgson.

“They were out there in a defensive role but Leopold cranked that one,” said Price, who made 24 saves.  “It was so quick and I didn’t have time to react.”

The Sabres, who beat Montreal Thursday night in Buffalo, pressed for the tie early in the third period. They had seven shots on net before Alexei Emelin added an insurance goal at 6:31. The scoring play was a bit unusual because it involved three defencemen. Rafael Diaz left the ice after chipping the puck ahead to Andrei Markov. Emelin replaced Diaz spot and scored his first goal of the season after taking a drop pass from, Markov.

The Canadiens are home to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night before travelling to New York Wednesday to face the Rangers.  They are one point out of first place in the Eastern Conference but face a major test with eight of their next 11 games on the road.

164 Comments

  1. Bripro says:

    Every year, when we buy a Christmas tree, it’s my job to put in the lights and do the village. My wife and daughter decorate afterward.
    So I assembled all the village, and one of the last items is a rink, surrounded by benches, pine trees and a few fans sitting on the benches watching the players.
    But there were no players, and the little people started calling me Butthead, threw little styrofoam snow balls and branches, and yelled out in unison “death to the commissioner”!
    I had to scramble to get those little players on the ice, but they’re holding out for more money.
    I told them that we’d sit down at some point before Christmas and make sure to get the players back in.
    Then, in the very back, I heard Santa say: “There goes another season! Way to ruin Christmas, ya Scrooge!”

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …that was original compared to the typical whining here Brian, and VERY funny :)

    • geo_habsgo says:

      The christmas village we have also has a hockey rink that is automatic and shows the the little village kids playing hockey when turned on. This is my favorite part of the village every year. In a year with no hockey, I was pretty eager to get my village out and set it up nicely. To my surprise, the hockey rink is now broken and the village kids no longer have anywhere to play hockey after school. I think I might have shed a man tear when that happened. Hockey is cursed this year.

    • habstrinifan says:

      Cute ANALOGY.

      It has been said that it takes a village to make a hockey player. In your case it seems that it would take a hockey player (or two) to make a village.

    • HabFab says:

      Brooksie only supports the players, why are you reading that stuff for/ :)
      I linked that yesterday or one similar BUT have been saying that since the start of summer. IMO the NHL has spent millions on legal firms studying and strategizing to counter Fehr…who is the champ. Hell will freeze over before he is allowed a victory from the owners. Hence my negative feelings towards this being resolved soon or peacefully.

      • habstrinifan says:

        Peacefully? Geez I hope it doesnt come to brawling. The Bruins and Jacob already have too much sway. Poor Habs if ‘peacefully’ doesn’t work.

  2. Phil C says:

    I am not sure if I buy the argument that limiting contract term will cause the elimination of the middle class player. This argument comes from the NBA where a team like the Miami Heat are paying their top three players $17M per year, while their next highest player makes $5M.

    But hockey is more of a team sport than basketball. A star basketball player can play the entire game whereas a star hockey defensemen may play 30 minutes and a star forward 20 minutes. You need four lines to win a Stanley Cup IMO, therefore there will be teams that will choose to build 4 strong lines of middle class players, and may have more success doing so. This would maintain the market for the middle class player. If you commit, for example, 40% of your cap space to two players, it will be very tough to field a competitive hockey team with the remaining 60% of the salary cap.

    As for the owners, they may regret limiting contracts to 5/7 years when their own stars come up for a new contract, or they hit the open market again after 5 years and the owners have to pay again to keep them. Extending the lockout for this seems so silly. The player’s offer of an 8 year term is actually another huge concession by the players. It is yet another contracting right they will never get back. Yet it helps eliminate the lion’s share of the troublesome contracts. I have a feeling Bill Daly will end up eating his “hill to die on” words.

    “There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    • Mike D says:

      Your last paragraph is bang on, Phil. If the owners get what they want, the “hill they’ll die on” might just kill them. How’s that for poetic justice?

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

    • Chris says:

      The salary cap coming into this season was $70 M. The largest contract a team can offer is 20% of that cap.

      It turns out that very few players have had contracts ever approach that maximum. Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Shea Weber, Brad Richards, Tyler Myers…it is not a long list.

      The reason is that owners have given out longer contracts and the players have gladly taken the guaranteed contract in exchange for a yearly savings to the owner.

      With 5 year deals, there is no reason to do that. Players don’t really care about winning championships. They pay lip service to that, but it really isn’t their big thing. They know they have a potentially limited time over which to earn as much money as they can. They are one rut in the ice away from the end of their career. They are one concussion away from the end of their working career…ask Marc Savard.

      Human greed takes over. A guy like Crosby would tell the Penguins to pay him his $14 M * 5 years or he’ll take his show to the pen market. SOMEBODY will pay him. To believe otherwise is foolish. The PR splash, the marketing, the jersey sales…whatever the incentive is, some team will give him that contract.

      The richest players always get paid. The long-term deals ensured there was more money to go around to everybody else. Take those away, and you will see a race to the top for the elite players, and fans will grumble about their teams cutting costs by letting go of all their veteran players in exchange for rookies on entry-level deals.

      This is EXACTLY how the NFL and NBA operate in the salary cap world, and their cap is not nearly as constrictive as that in the NHL because they can either pay luxury taxes (NBA) or cut players (NFL, no guaranteed contracts).

      • Phil C says:

        I agree with you 100% that 5 year contracts will result in the top stars approaching the maximum salary. I just don’t think it will be a winning strategy like it is in the NBA. NHL teams that choose to load up on stars will have a hard time putting four good lines together. And if it is not a winning strategy, not all teams will pursue it. I think that some savvy GMs will choose to pass on the stars and load up on the next tier of player which will keep the market open for middle class players. Florida managed to win the SE last year without a bonafide star, but with a very balanced lineup.

        • Chris says:

          Phil C: This has been my beef with the owners’ stance all along.

          They are complaining that some teams are circumventing the cap, but we haven’t seen those chickens come home to roost yet. I am willing to bet that Detroit is going to find itself in some salary cap difficulty in about 4-5 years as it tries to fit large cap hits for aging players into its budget and still ice a competitive team.

          I don’t like those long-term contracts, and I wanted to see them come back to bite those teams. The NHL is essentially working on a get out of jail free card for teams like Detroit (Zetterberg, Franzen, and Kronwall). They got their winning seasons, but they are also going to have to do some creative accounting to stay at the top while dealing declining productivity from their big contract hits.

  3. Propwash says:

    Looks like the NHLPA and the NHL are making small talk again.

    _____________________________
    “Access Forbidden” gettin’ ya down?
    Hold down Shift while clicking refresh.

  4. Boomer says:

    I seem to recall a friendy wager with a nice man from Burlington on this site regarding our beloved Scotty Gomez and a bottle of hot sauce… I remember there were no stipulations regarding in which league he had to be in so excuse me gents while I go buy a bottle of hot sauce for our friend to chug ;)
    GO GOMER!!!

  5. habsfan0 says:

    So,what do Marc Bergevin & Michel Therrien do during the lockout? Scout minor league games? Watch NFL?

  6. HabFab says:

    Background to the Pens connection trying to work in the background to get a deal down. Included the Hab GM also apparently, wonder how these gentlemen feel today;
    http://triblive.com/mobile/m/msports/mpenguins/#3096577-96/nhl-lemieux-players

  7. Mark C says:

    Kristo hits the post, but this is a sick toe drag.

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/H4TVyPiaJq4

  8. habstrinifan says:

    Good Sunday Morning to everyone!

    Some questions to whet your hockey juices.

    So are we all ready to acknowledge that Gallagher was the steal of his draft year. And looks on the path to being a very good and durable NHLer. His Bulldog season so far is to be applauded.

    Who’s gonna write the memo to Francois Gagnon and advise him to hold off on the plans to trade P.K because we have a surplus of sure-fire NHL defense prospects, “especially Nathan Beaulieu”.

    Anyone paying any attention to Frederic St. Denis. His Bulldog stats look very good. Is he a better prospect, all things considered, than Diaz and/or Weber.

    It is unfair to dismiss someone because their name seems somewhat incongruous for their profession. (who woud have thought Bellyful was a genius web designer?) More to the point, do I underrate Palushaj because of his un-common name or because he just doesn’t fire me up as a hockey player. And yet he seems to be up front among the Bulldog stats. Come on I know some of you want to say he is a Paloo…..

    May I digress some? Has Habfab found the perfect diversion to the lack of hockey excitement. Bliss in the hallway with your ex! If he can still have bliss he is twice the man I am. And furthermore, if he can be blissful in a hallway (standing up I presume) he is THRICE the man I am… least his knees are better than mine. Indeed, I met this beautiful young lady in a college hallway once. Her name was Bliss… yes! On passing she smiled and said “I like your complexion!”. Well, it being the 70’s and I wanting to prove that I was black and proud and not brown and cinnamon stupidly blurted out, “Yes but what if I were Biafran?” The young lady, without skipping a beat, said “You fool, I would FEED you if you were Biafran!” Needless to say I did NOT have Bliss in the hallway or anywhere else.

    Back to hockey.

    Does Bournival’s high assist total, minimal penalty minutes and comparatively good plus-minus indicate that he is the true 3rd line shutdown Jarvis/Riseborough type player we have needed for so long. If you had to call up Jonas Nattinen or Bournival, which would it be?

    I have changed my mind and must agree with posters like Commandant. Despite his physical gifts, Tinordi needs at least 2 AHL seasons to develop.

    Is Mike Blunden proving that when we chose White over him we made a mistake, which thankfully was corrected because he did sign a free agent contract with us.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Interesting post. I really like St. Denis. I wish he was a few inches taller though. The guy plays his position as well as anyone. It’s just that he’s so dang short. Sigh.
      I’d prefer White over Bluden. Much more of an energy guy and more grit.
      JB? A pure genius.

      ———————————–

    • Mark C says:

      Montreal re-signed White. I haven’t seen anything to make me think Blunden is a better hockey player than White.

    • HabFab says:

      Trin, you obviously have not heard the joke “The only bliss that my wife and I have anymore is passing each other in the hallway and saying frig you”. Hopefully that passes the Mods :)

      As for your hockey questions, you are an optimist guy!
      These guys are all still works in progress and until they earn full time NHL employment remaining just prospects.

      And I’m sorry but St Denis is not in the same league as Diaz IMO.

    • neumann103 says:

      Trini

      Interesting points.

      I have been hyped on Gallagher since the draft. I always thought his character, drive and commitment to off ice training could prove the size queens wrong.

      15 months ago I thought Gallagher and St. Denis were the stand outs of theHabs training camp. On merits Gallagher deserved a spot with the top 13 forwards. St Denis established himself as earning the right to the first callup. But sending them back to Junior and the AHL respectively were the right decisions.

      I think Gallagher has the potential to be a good NHLer. Comparing St Denis to Diaz and Weber is a bit of an uneven comparison. They are different kinds of players than St Denis but the main difference is that Diaz and Weber have more potential upside. I think St Denis is pretty much what you see right now.

      I guess that was a swipe at Nathan Beaulieu? I am not too surprised that he would take some time adjusting. He is used to getting away with all kinds of things because his skills are so superior to his peers. The jump to the AHL was always going to be an issue. Plus the Bulldogs D corps is generally all so young, that the growing pains of the yutes are laid bare.

      But I would ask, have you seen the kid play live? I don’t mean this as a challenge, since I average about 1 AHL game and 0 Junior games a year. But I did see the Bulldogs live in a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Marlies. As I remarked at the time, if you plopped down a Martian who had never seen hockey at that game his reaction would have been “What is the Beaulieu and why does he do these things better than all the others? His skating is unreal. A different level than the other 35 skaters on the ice. His offensive zone instincts are phenomenal. He has all the tools of a powerplay quarterback. And while he suffers from brain farts and tales chances and tries to compensate with speed and skill to get back in the play, in many cases he actually does. Just not as much as he could reliably count on in junior.

      And in that mess, none of the goals were on him. Everybody’s dream big man Tinordi did a fair amount of running around and was out of position and flat footed on two of the early goals. Which is actually what I would have expected for a player in about his 4th pro game, playing against a team made of AHL veterans and NHL talent like the Marlies.

      And on Blissin the hallway? Now I have to search for HabFab’s post. I am intrigued.

      “Et le but!”

      • habstrinifan says:

        Pretty complete analysis on Beaulieu. I must admit to not being convinced that Beaulieu will be a regular NHL D-MAN, despite his outstanding skating. My remarks were intended more to bring to mind the rantings of Francois Gagnon. Before the season started, he and many others (including myself) were raving about our prospect pool as far as defense is concerned. I don’t think that today we can say that ther eis a single sure-fire D-MAN playing in our system right now. Least I dont think I can.

        On Beaulieu may I add as evidence of the uncertainty was the fact that his very coach used him elatively selectively in the Memorial Cup.

        • Boomer says:

          I think Tinordi will be a very good NHL shut down Dman. Think of a more talented Hal Gill. Every team needs a good shutdown Dman. As for the rest time will tell.

        • Mark C says:

          Care to explain how ones opinion can go from “raving about our prospect pool (defenseman) to concluding “that there is (not) a single sure-fire D-MAN playing in our system right now,” over the course of 20 AHL games, especially the first 20 pro games of twenty year olds? How many of their games have you seen? Seems like a pretty dramatic change of opinion based on a small sample size.

          • habstrinifan says:

            I find the “how many games have you seen” question rather tedious’.

            I have only seen two Bulldog game ON TV but have followed the analysis and the reports from other posters. I dont think I am alone in having been very optimistic about Beaulieu and Tinordi especially. I am not saying these guys have plateau’d out(??) but I am sure that I am not the only one who has pulled back somewhat from the ‘great expectations’.

          • Mark C says:

            Sorry you find it tedious, I was merely trying to qualify if your opinions were rooted on any sort of first hand observations.

            If you and other posters feel that way, I would only caution to try and not be too shortsighted with young prospects. Max Pacioretty only had 6 goals in his first 37 AHL games. Now he’s 30+ goal scorer in the NHL! The transition from Junior to the Pros is huge for most players. I’m really not sure why anyone would wildly change their expectations based on such a small sample.

        • Sean Bonjovi says:

          “On Beaulieu may I add as evidence of the uncertainty was the fact that his very coach used him elatively selectively in the Memorial Cup.”

          You imagined that.

    • Chris says:

      Regarding dark-horse steals in the 2010 draft, I think that Gallagher has VERY tough competition in the form of Jesper Fasth, drafted 10 spots later (in the 6th round) by the New York Rangers.

      Fasth is having an excellent season in the Swedish Elite League (8 goals and 15 points in 24 games with HV71, the top team in the league thus far).

      Another late draftee is goaltender Johan Gustafsson, who is putting up ridiculous numbers (12-8-0, 1.63 GAA, 0.932 SV%) for the second straight season. Gustafsson was drafted 12 spots later than Gallagher and, like Gallagher, will be held back by his size (5’6″, 143 pound goalies don’t get a lot of NHL love).

      Ottawa winger Mark Stone is another with an outside chance at being a solid NHL player, with the advantage that he has NHL size (6’3″, 200 pounds). Stone and Gallagher are both May birthdays, and both posted 41 goals last season, although Stone played more games. Stone posted way more points (123 vs. 77) however.

      Gallagher is a good prospect, but there are plenty of other guys that have as good a shot or better to be the late-round surprise from that draft.

      • Mike D says:

        A lot of good info there, Chris! Much appreciated.

        I’d say every draft produces a few later-round surprises and whether Montreal got THE steal of the draft isn’t nearly as important as them getting ONE of the steals of the draft. Only a few teams get one on any given draft year so being one of them is acclaim enough.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

    • B says:

      Gallagher is off to a very good start, 23rd among rookies in AHL scoring, but I think it is still way to early to make any proclamations about his NHL career. I am pleased and not surprised with Gallagher’s play so far.

  9. Ian Cobb says:

    Good morning and
    Happy celebration of Hanukkah to all the Jewish fans out there.!

  10. New says:

    They should think of the talks as a public toilet stall. You only want one ass in there at a time.

  11. JF says:

    Just read Ken Campbell’s article in The Hockey News about why five-year contracts would be a curse in disguise. I understand the argument made by some that removing long contracts that lower the cap hit would have the effect of leaving less cap space for “average” players and would therefore lower their salaries. But Campbell makes the following assertion that puzzles me:

    The league had better watch what it wishes for here. There’s a good chance what you’ll begin to see instead of 10-year contracts worth $70 million are five-year contracts worth $70 million, or seven-year deals worth $70 million. The same amount of money the owners are putting out now would just be crammed into fewer years, which will create a system where superstars are highly paid and the rest make minimum wage. It would effectively wipe out the middle class in the NHL.

    Can someone please explain this? It seems to me like unmitigated financial self-destruction. If contracts are to be no longer than five years, why not pay a superstar say $30 million for five years and then $40 million for the next five? What forces an owner to cram $70 million into five years?

    • HabFab says:

      He didn’t seem to include two things in his thought process;
      – player share of HRR dropping to 50%
      – salary cap reflecting same

    • neumann103 says:

      Campbell’s numbers seem a little out of whack. But I think the assertion generally made, (and seemingly supported by most “experts”) is that killing the ginormo deals creates unintended consequences and a crowding effect.

      Players like Suter and Parise will accept “only” $7-$8M a year in large part because the back end of their 12 or 14 year deals will overpay them. If you limit these contracts to 5 years then suddenly they are signing for shorter terms at current market rates. I don’t think a 14 year $98M deal becomes a 5 year $98M deal (and can’t really if the max percentage on any one player persists) But maybe it becomes a 5 year deal for $55M.

      The fact is that most teams will have a player or two that suddenly have to make $3M a year extra which removes cap room for the second and third liners.

      “Et le but!”

    • geo_habsgo says:

      Even though they aren’t huge totals, it is good to see Gallagher leading the club. He will only improve so it is good to see that his nose for the net has translated to modest success in his first 20 pro games. I don’t think he will be a huge scorer in the NHL but I think he will be at least a 20 goal per season kind of guy and I’d rather have 5 players who will score twenty then 2 players who will score 30 and the rest of the team hovering at 10 or under.

  12. HabFab says:

    Curious as to what was on Daly’s voice message to Steve Fehr, well have a listen. Warning language gets rough!
    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2012/12/07/exclusive-bill-dalys-doom-bringing-voice-message-to-steve-fehr-audio/

    Link from EOTP article

  13. Habfan10912 says:

    Good Sunday Morning to all! Some news from last night games:
    Danny Kristo with 1 goal.
    Thrower returns and nets 1 goal.
    Diaz continues to rack up points with an assist.
    Weber with the game winner.
    And last and not least, Scotty Gomez with a goal and 2 assist.

    ———————————–

  14. Mustang says:

    Dear Mr. Hickey. This fantasy game reporting idea is now well past it’s “best before date”. I suggest that you try to come up with some other idea because this lockout situation looks like it is going to drag on for a very long time. Yours truly, Mustang.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t mind the 92 season recap, in fact I even suggested such. I don’t care much for the fantasy either, but I suspect Mr. Hickey is merely following marching orders.

      I have to say living in Burlington (next to Hamilton) I am surprised the Spectator isn’t providing further coverage than they are.

      • Cal says:

        Morning, Burly. I bet just about any fan at the game could do better than that. It looks like someone read the box score and re-typed it in the form of an article. What a joke.

      • Mustang says:

        Burl, I agree that PH is probably just following orders but this fantasy game recap idea has gotten very old, very quickly. It would have worked if the lockout had only lasted a couple of weeks but it is mid December so this lockout has lasted almost 3 full months and there is no sign that it will end soon. The next thing you know, we will be hearing about fantasy playoffs, a fantasy Stanley Cup winner, and a fantasy victory parade before this idea finally dies a fantasy death.

  15. Cal says:

    Good morning and Happy Sunday, everyone.
    As per request, here is a little Canned Heat:

    http://calsnhllockout2012songparodies.weebly.com/

  16. HabFab says:

    Video high-lights of Bulldog 3-2 win last night;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4aTgTUjm7w

  17. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Hick’s Midnight Fantasies …strikes again !

    …I don’t understand how a journalist to whom credibility is so important can write this lazy garbage

    …how about a game report on a Hamilton Bulldog game ??? ….maybe it’s not the NHL, but at least it’s REAL !!!

  18. Bripro says:

    Good morning gang.
    This is the earliest I’ve ever posted.
    Any hockey yet? What a stupid question.
    By the time you read this, I’ll be sleeping.
    Good night gang.

  19. Riga Fraction says:

    These would be mildly amusing if someone tripped on Hickey’s Xbox cable and unplugged it in the middle of a game vs Boston so they got ‘Boston Gardened’ with a power outage that postponed the game. Otherwise, playing video games and reporting on them like news events with interviews and stuff seems a lot like playing Barbies and blogging about her day with Ken.

  20. commandant says:

    Dalton Thrower returns from concussion tonight, and does this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CRmLmgSQ6YA#at=14

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  21. wjc says:

    Saturday night, and even CBC does not show old games, no interest.

    I forgot Saturday night is “hockey night”.

    The Gazette has fantasy games nobody cares about and reports old games nobody cares about.

    Imagine Saturday night and I didn’t even remember, to remember, that there used to be “a good ole hockey game”.

    Other things to do, think about, other entertainment….just plain don’t miss it.

    wjc

  22. Chuck says:

    What the hell? Did the Cowboys send their players to the Dany Heatley School of Driving?

    ___________________________________________________
    Being a Hab fan is like buying real estate: only over the long-haul will you appreciate the true value of your investment.

  23. JohnBellyful says:

    NEW YORK – A surprise mediator has been parachuted into the NHL labour talks in hopes he can broker a deal and put an end to the lockout.
    Actually, he arrived in a sleigh – and a very foul mood.
    “I can’t believe this close to Christmas these yahoos need my help,” Santa Claus told reporters. “If it weren’t for the little ones you wouldn’t find me within a 50-foot North Pole of these blockheads.”
    Claus was asked at the news conference what role was he expected to play.
    “They thought my presence could make a difference,” he said.
    “Presents?” a reporter asked. “These are billionaires and millionaires, how are a few presents going to help?”
    “Presence, you idiot! P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E. I’m a person of substance, in case you didn’t know, and I’ve been dealing with all kinds of spoiled kids for centuries. I think that gives me the bona fides to mediate a contract agreement between the NHL and the union.”
    It’s not clear who asked Claus to intervene but the look of wide-eyed optimism on the faces of several players narrowed the field of suspects. None of the owners looked pleased. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman disguised his apoplexy behind a wintry smile. NHLPA executive director Don Fehr adopted an air of confusion to great effect.
    Claus made clear no one should expect a resolution any time soon.
    “There’s only one Christmas miracle that I know of,” he said. “Well, that and me visiting millions of homes around the world all in one night.”
    There was little evidence of a jolly Santa but plenty of St. Ticked as the conference wore on, with The Man in Red fielding a barrage of increasingly hostile questions from skeptical reporters.
    “I’ll explain it one more time, I’m doing this for the little ones whose winter is being ruined because there’s no NHL hockey being played,” he said.
    “That’s all very nice, Santa, but the players and owners don’t care about the kids, so why will they listen to you?”
    “I’m talking about the people who work in the bars, arenas, restaurants, souvenir shops – those little ones! Many of whom have children whose Christmas won’t be so special this year. Which puts a lot more pressure on me Christmas Eve to deliver. Presents, to be exact. P-R-E-S-E-N-T-S. And more of them. But I’ve had to rein in costs, too. The elves in the workshop aren’t too happy with their wages being frozen. Or their asses – I had to do something about the heating bill – so if I can do anything at all to mediate an end to this dispute, and get everyone back to making money, it will be a big help to me as well.”
    Reporters refused to believe Claus will have much of an impact on the lockout that has gone on for more than 80 days, but Kris Kringle surprised them by saying he had something up his sleeve – a list.
    “An IRL? How’s that going to change anything?” one owner was overheard saying.
    “The naughty or nice list,” Claus declared, holding aloft a lengthy scroll, causing the entire room to blanch, their faces turning whiter than the Christmas Eve blizzard of 1949 that put Rudolph in the history books.
    “You see, ladies and gentlemen, I pride myself on keeping meticulous records – what else am I going to do the other 11 months of the year? – and they go way back, back to when Little Jeremy Wets His Bed and Blames the Family Dog Jacobs was still a child, or more recently, when Sidney Never Put the Toilet Seat Down Or Helped With the Dishes Crosby was a guest of Mario Lemieux. I also have notes about”
    The conference was hastily called at a end by an unanimous show of hands, reporters included, and a resumption of negotiations was immediately scheduled to be held within the hour.
    The consensus among all those present is that a collective bargaining agreement will be in place before the end of the day.
    Claus said he’d stick around for awhile, “just to make sure things get settled,” and to enjoy some R-and-R before heading back home to prepare for the stretch drive.
    “I saw on the cable listings in my hotel room they’re showing what I guess you’d call a documentary tonight, Santa’s Vixen. Must be on the Nature channel. I hope the other deer don’t get jealous.”

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” –

    • Cal says:

      Funny as hell JB! Thanks! :D

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Thanks for the read John. I wonder if you will be doing a Bellyfull classic of the Christmas story for us as the big day approaches?

      • JohnBellyful says:

        Which classic is that, Burl’, the one where the Grinch is about to commit suicide Christmas Eve until an angel shows up and makes him realize how different Whoville would be without him, or the one where the little girl doesn’t believe in Santa until she ends up in an empty house and finds a Red Ryder BB Gun and wounds her mother?
        Or is it the one where the Three Wise Men follow the yellow brick road and have all sorts of adventures along the way, like when they meet Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster of the North?
        There are so many it kinda gets confusing.

  24. 24 Cups says:

    Nugent-Hopkins to join Team Canada.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=411251

  25. HardHabits says:

    I’d luv to see Boone rip Hickey a new one with a fantasy ALN.

  26. Ron says:

    Bulldogs beat Hershey 3-2

    • HabFab says:

      If I had a chocolate I’d eat it to celebrate. That reminds me need some Tia Maria for Xmas.

    • jedimyrmidon says:

      Nice!

      Who was Leblanc playing with? hopefully not Boyce, Stortini or Hagel. Would be nice if he was with Palushaj or someone.

      I also like the fact that the young players are showing up on the score sheet, meaning it’s not the veterans carrying the team with the rookies just along for the ride.

  27. wjc says:

    Saturday night and there is no hockey.

    Forgot it was Saturday night, forgot there used to be hockey.

    I guess I just don’t care. Come to think about it nobody mentions hockey outside of the internet.

    wjc

  28. Ron says:

    Bulldogs tie game less than 2 mins in 2nd period 1-1 Blunden with goal..
    EDIT: 3-2 Dogs 2nd period
    EDIT: Hershey leads 2-1 3:32 2nd
    And yet another EDIT: Holland tie it 2-2 2nd period

  29. HabFab says:

    Poor Jaro is only ranked 10th, guy can’t get a break, AW will be POed. Check out numero uno;
    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/50-worst-own-goals-hockey-puck-daddy-counts-220821511–nhl.html

  30. Ron says:

    John Shannon tweets that Daly and Steve Fehr exchanged e-mails today. No phone call.

    And no voice mail…

  31. Ron says:

    Hershey leads Bulldogs 1-0 end of 1st

  32. Psycho29 says:

    Hey that sledge hockey on TSN now (Canada-USA) isn’t too bad…
    Certainly better than watching lawyers and hockey players in suits for the past 3 months.

  33. Haborama says:

    What exactly happened with Ron Hainsey????

    And what of Thrower have people seen in the documentary covering the ongoing Saskatoon Blades TRAIN-WRECK???

  34. Habilis says:

    One point that hasn’t been widely publicized about the owner’s last offer was that teams would be able to sign their own free agents to 7 year contracts instead of just 5. So the top players would all be on 7 year deals anyhow.

    Now seriously, how many players in the NHL are even worth more than 7 years of investment right now? 30, maybe?

    It just seems like this issue affects so few of them, I’m at a loss as to why it’s such a hurdle.

    Edit: I checked, there are 22 players currently under contract who signed for 8 or more years.

    • commandant says:

      The issue is how having a max contract length will effect all players, not just the ones who sign those deals.

      What we have seen under the last CBA is that elite players take less money short term in order to get more job security and sign for more years.

      If you have 5/7 year max contracts, guys like Sidney Crosby aren’t going to agree to trade less than max money for longer job security. That means your superstars are gonna get contracts at 12-14 million per season (max money under the last year of the last CBA). This means there won’t be room under the CBA to pay second line players 4-6 million like they are getting now and will instead get 2-3 million.

      Look at the NBA, and how the stars get 20 million per season, and the second tier player gets around 5-8 million per year. There is a very small middle group who get in the 12-15 million per year range, and that group is shrinking each year.

      Adjust the numbers for bigger rosters in the NHL and smaller overall revenues in the NHL, and you’ll see where a guy like Plekanec won’t get his 5 million, or a guy like James Neal won’t get his money in Pittsburght and where other 2nd tier players won’t get theirs.

      One thing you have to remember in nearly every sport… the superstars always get their money. However the rules about how the money is dispersed effects the middle tier players, even if it appears the rules are meant to effect the stars.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • Habilis says:

        It eliminates the middle class, salary wise. I get that and honestly I just don’t have too much of a problem with it because it also eliminates albatross contracts like Dipietro and the like.

        You’e right though, I can see how alot of players would feel affected, I overlooked that in my original post.

  35. ed lopaz says:

    so here is what the owners should do:

    announce that everything that Fehr just countered against, the owners last proposal, is back on the table and is NOT NEGOTIABLE.

    In fact, it is the owners final offer.

    Then the offer should be completed, unilaterally with out any input from the Union, and a FULL, COMPLETE, offer should be formally passed over to the NHLPA.

    Then the NHLPA should be given until December 20th to accept the offer, AS IS.

    This should force Fehr to at least pass it to his membership for a vote.

    I am confident that this will lead to the players voting overwhelmingly to accept, and we will have NHL hockey back on the ice starting the 1st week in January.

    End.

    • HabFab says:

      Not a lawyer Ed, but assuming they won’t as part of their preparations for de-certification. That move could play into the PA’s legal arguments.

        • commandant says:

          Acting in a a take it or leave it approach to negotiations could potentially be seen as an illegal use of their monopolistic position under anti-trust law.

          POTENTIALLY. We readlly don’t know what will happen in an anti-trust suit, but I doubt the owners want to be seen as dictating terms of labour in this way.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
          http://lastwordonsports.com/

          • ed lopaz says:

            Are the Union leaders AFRAID of a vote?

          • commandant says:

            Are they afraid of a vote on a partial offer? Of course.

            If the vote turns out to be Yes, and there are terms that have not been agreed to, you’ve handed ALL the leverage to the owners in filling in the blanks of those terms.

            No union operates that way, and with good reason.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
            http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • commandant says:

      There is no FULL & COMPLETE offer

      The sides havent even gotten to the point of negotiating transition rules

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • ed lopaz says:

        we don’t need a “full and complete” deal. the 2 parties can agree to hammer out the remaining details once the major issues have been resolved. the final details of the deal might take weeks to draft up, but hockey will be played in the interim.

        as long as the MAJOR issues, the ones that have been discussed since this process began, are voted on by the players and agreed upon, I see no reason why we can’t move forward and try to save the season.

        • commandant says:

          A full and complete offer, doesn’t mean a full and complete CBA… some 60-100 pages in length. A full and complete offer means a full memorandum of understanding on all issues, which still means the details need to be hammered out, but there is a framework there.

          There are a number of issues, including transition rules to which there is no Framework even on the table. You don’t vote on a partial deal without working those out, because if you get a yes vote, you’d hand the owners a blank check to write those rules.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
          http://lastwordonsports.com/

          • ed lopaz says:

            so why is that NO discussion, NONE, has taken place vis a vis “transition rules”?

            all this time, not one discussion about these “vital” transition rules?

            suddenly it comes up.

            Because Fehr doesn’t want to take it to a vote??

            I think we are very close to a deal. Very close. And that’s what angered the moderate owners that tried to close the deal this week.

            I don’t know why Fehr doesn’t want to close. But the moderate owners were ready to close this week,

            and Fehr is getting very close to the

            “don’t bite off your nose to spite your face” in this negotiation.

          • Chris says:

            ed: For the same reason that the owners waited a full six months after their initial CBA proposal (back in July) to insert the 10 year (8 year opt-out) CBA duration that they are now claiming is essential.

            Both sides are still playing games for PR points, not feeling a lot urgency to get a deal done.

            Bettman’s faux-rage and Fehr’s faux-deal was just another act in the drama.

          • commandant says:

            ed, you can’t negotiate transition rules without having an agreement on what the financial issues are. They only reached the same number on make whole on thursday and only for a few hours before it was off the table.

            Go Habs Go!
            Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
            http://lastwordonsports.com/

        • Mr. Biter says:

          Sorry to disagree with you Ed (your 6:59 post) but whenever the entire deal gets signed hockey will start. Owners will remember Fehr’s calling the baseball strike just before the world series was about to begin. Remember players get paid till end of season. Owners make most of the money (if not all) for playoffs. The owners memory is not that short.
          Also there has to be a date in some accountants ledger where starting the season for x # of games will cost to much money in start up costs and the owners will just write off the season.
          However I agree with your last post compleatly.

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

    • Chris says:

      Turn this around.

      If Gary Bettman took the NHLPA’s last offer to his ownership and held a secret ballot where 16 team majority carried the day, would they have potentially agreed to that?

      Both sides are unwilling to bring a deal forward to their moderate elements. I’m not going to get on one side or the other for that…they’re both guilty.

  36. rehab says:

    rehab
    Really nice observation Ian

  37. HabFab says:

    pdelmas – Congratulations is in order to teammate Alexander Avtsin and his wife for the birth of their baby Monica this morning!

  38. Habilis says:

    Lockout thought of the day:

    An 8-10 year CBA is too long for the players liking. Why? According to Fehr, it’s because so much can change in that time frame. Which is quite true.

    However, 5 year contract lengths are too short for the players liking. Why? Because they want owners to have the freedom to lock them up for a decade or more, despite the fact that so much can change in that time frame.

    Funny how that works.

    • commandant says:

      No player or owner has to sign a deal longer than 5 years, it is an individual choice they can make or not make

      If a majority of the union accepts a 10 year CBA, some players who dont want to go that long are outvoted, as are players who join the league in the future and never voted on the CBA

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

      • Habilis says:

        I get that it’s a choice, and I agree completely. I just find it a tad hypocritical of the PA to say that too much can change in 8 years, but please sign me for 15 years.

        • commandant says:

          You don’t see how one choice is the majority making a decision that effects a number of individuals who may not be in agreement

          and the second choice requires an agreement from each individual effected before its done?

          Thats a huge distinction.

          Go Habs Go!
          Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
          http://lastwordonsports.com/

          • Habilis says:

            I see your point, that they are seperate issues. We’ll have to agree to disagree because to me they are linked. If the players want long contracts, they should want a long cba. If they want a 5 year cba, then they should have no problem with 5 year contracts.

            To me, it seems like they’re disagreeing on both counts just for the sake of it because it really makes no sense to get the dollars and let this be the problem.

  39. Haborama says:

    Let’s take a poll: how many of you gentlemen think that their will be hockey in the 2013-14 season????

    • Mr. Biter says:

      NoHockey.
      BTW what have the Habs offered to the season ticket holders regarding refunds? Anyone know?

      Mr. Biter
      No Guts No Glory

    • Habilis says:

      There will be NHL hockey by January.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      I do, and I think Don Fehr will still be running the NHLPA. I also think the deal will be a 50/50 split with no changes to arbitration, or free agency and a 5-7 term limit on contracts, which I believe is basically a deal that could be signed today, but I think Bettman promised a big win for the owners, and his entire plan hinges on his ability to get the PA to fire Don Fehr. Next fall when it become obvious to all the owners that the players A) won’t cave in, and B) Will have already made plans to play somewhere else in the lead-up to the Olympics, the owners will force Gary to sign the best offer on the table.

      “I don’t mind if you disagree with me (it seems the thing to do!) But for the love of all that is right in the world please at least don’t take the words from one horses mouth (or the other end) as what is true…”
      – SmartDog

      • HabFab says:

        Not sure of the rest of your ideas BUT be willing to bet that Bettmans marching orders from the owners was to beat down Fehr, not his promise to them.

        • Mr. Biter says:

          Both Bettman and Fehr will be still be around. I also believe the owners tell Bettman what to do and Fehr tells the players what to do. Big difference.
          Also others have posted about Bettman’s lack of hockey background. No one seems to have mentioned Fehr’s lack of same.

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

  40. Ian Cobb says:

    Therrien’s contract is going to run out before he coaches a game by the looks of things!

    Fantasy games just don’t do it for me boys and girls!
    OHL game on at 7pm

  41. Haborama says:

    Fuuurrrrst!!!!!!!!!


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