October 22 2012 10:06PM
While I admire those churning out KHL reports, AHL updates and even season point projections (without any of us having the first clue if we'll have an NHL season or how many games it'll be), I don't see a single issue I can hang a whole item on, so I won't even try.
With the NHL's October schedule already scrapped, and without even the slightest urge to regurgitate what's already been written several times over here and elsewhere, it's mostly tidbits for me – top-of-the-head thoughts that haven't, and likely never will, grow into full-blown 1,000-word tomes (like a paragraph by that New Age System guy).
Instead, it's dot-dot-dot stuff and random takes, sort of like squeezing the notebook at the end of a road trip to coax out bits and pieces that never made it into games stories and sidebars, an exercise hall-of-fame scribe Jim Matheson of The Journal turned into an art that became his must-read Hockey World pages on weekends.
Like the title of my favourite movie, that's about As Good As It Gets until Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr, Daryl Katz and Stephen Mandel give me some new material to work with – or until somebody posts the cellphone video from Jason Gregor's birthday bash Saturday night.
THIS AND THAT . . .
. . . So, the NHLPA and owners are sticking to their proposals of last week and aren't even planning any face time together this week with a deadline looming to salvage an 82-game season, eh?
With each day that passes I'm sensing fans are making the transition from being pissed off to indifferent, and that's death for any league. Yes, the vast majority of fans, particularly those here in Edmonton, will be back when the league finally gets back to business, but some won't, and those numbers will be considerably bigger than the stoppage of 2004-05.
. . . "(I'm) not sure there is any reason to meet if there is nothing new to say," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press in an email today. "Our position was communicated to the union pretty clearly last Tuesday and then again on Thursday.
"If they have a desire to meet with regard to the proposal we have on the table, they know how to reach us."
Am I the only one who sees an image of Daly, with Bettman smiling and nodding in the background, extending both his middle fingers as he says this? I think not. Besides, wouldn't another proclamation by Bettman be akin to an NHL version of BOHICA?
WHILE I'M AT IT . . .
. . . Bill Watters was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer today and suggested the NHL will expand by two teams within a season or so of a new CBA being signed. Watters cited Markham as a likely landing place for one of the expansion teams in large part based on demand because of network plays by TSN, Sportsnet and CBC for exclusive rights on certain nights.
The scenario Watters painted is that Markham and Quebec City would be in line for expansion outfits and that Phoenix could end up moving to Seattle. It's definitely worth a listen.
In the same segment, Watters suggested real estate developer Rudy Bratty (pictured atop this item), the money behind a push to land an NHL team in Markham, would rather partner up with somebody like Katz and put money into a team that included the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins than an expansion team full of cast-offs. You think?
AND . . .
. . . Yes, it's early and yes it's the AHL, but Justin Schultz, just named player of the week, has grabbed everybody's attention in his first weeks of pro hockey with the Oklahoma City Barons. Might, emphasis on might, Schultz be the lock as a top-four defenseman (and power-play specialist) the Oilers need, a hole we thought would have to be filled with the acquisition of a veteran through trade or free agency? Damn sure looks like it.
. . . Another insightful posting by Gregor based on the interview he did with Hall. So, Hall is rooming with Eberle in OKC (as he does in Edmonton) and Nugent-Hopkins is bunking with Schultz. I'd be willing to bet these kids will make up four-fifths of Ralph Krueger's first power-play unit not long after Bettman and Fehr get around to cutting up the cash.
. . . Note to Wanye: Unlatch your thumbs from your Twitter account long enough to come through with those Oilersnation stickers you promised me.
Half of the people who come through the door of my new shop – that's CRACKMASTERS SOUTHWEST at 17544 105th AVE. -- on any given day looking for a new windshield want to talk about hockey and many of those are devout readers of The Nation. So, Wanye, please deliver the stickers to CRACKMASTERS SOUTHWEST at 17544 105th AVE, where members of Oilersnation receive big discounts. Thank-you.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.