Both the NHL and NHLPA are clearly dedicated to their cause as we reach day 86 of the lockout. For hockey fans the lockout is like the Grinch, and fittingly day 100 of the lockout lands on Christmas Eve. Something tells me Santa won’t be giving you hockey for Christmas.
I still believe we will have NHL hockey in 2013. Earlier this morning the NHL surprised no one and cancelled games through to December 30th, meaning there is still a chance you can ring in the New Year with an Oiler/Flames match up.
If Gary Bettman was honest when he said he couldn’t picture the league playing fewer than 48 games, the NHL only has one more two-week cancellation to go before they wipe out the entire season. This is great news for fans, because we all know the NHL world functions better when presssured with a deadline.
I still think January 11th is the unofficial deadline for cancelling the season, meaning we still have an agonizing 36 days of potential lockout talk. God helps us.
While we wait for another riveting round of rhetoric, grandstanding and soap opera worthy performances from Bettman and Donald Fehr here’s some thoughts about the hockey and sports world that might only interest me.
- If the NHL starts playing in early January, I wonder if those Oiler fans who thought it was a great idea for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to play in the WJC will feel that way when if he misses the first few games of the season because he’s playing in Russia? That is a possibility, albeit slim, and I suspect that some might not like idea as much if it costs the Oilers their first-line centre for a few games.
- There is no official deal in place yet between the NHL and hockey Canada, but I doubt they will allow teams to remove players from the tournament once they’ve started playing. It could be a very touchy situation, and considering how the NHL has handled this lockout, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the lockout end during the tourney and cause some confusion.
- If the lockout lasts an entire season will it be easier for the NHL to negotiate? I calculated all the pending UFAs at NHLnumbers.com and they combined for $337.7 million. I then added up the players who have new contracts starting in 2013/2014 and they totaled $111.2 million. That means the NHL has $226.5 million less in guaranteed contracts after June 30th.
- When the lockout ends the Oilers will still need some size in their top-six. I keep hearing/reading everyone saying they will have an advantage because their projected top-six forwards, Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, Hemsky and Gagner, are all playing. That is true, but until they add some size into that mix I don’t see that advantage helping in the playoffs.
- During the lockout-shortened 1995 season 14 of the 16 playoff teams made it in 1993/1994. Only Quebec and Philly, led by Joe Sakic and Eric Lindros respectively improved enough to make the post-season. All eight of the Western conference teams were the same. While the Oilers might have an advantage, it will still be very difficult to leap frog six teams and make the playoffs.
- Now we are hearing about the NHLPA possibly filing a "disclaimer of interest." Don’t be alarmed into believing this guarantees the lockout lasts an entire season. Keep in mind the NBA players filed a "disclaimer of interest" on November 14th last year, but onn November 26th the NBA lockout ended. We can only hope the NHL would be so lucky.
- The Oilers will be much better when NHL hockey returns, I don’t think anyone debates that, but to become a legit contender they are still missing a few pieces. Most notably some size and grit up front.
- Congrats to Ed Hervey on being named new GM of the Edmonton Eskimos. Press conference at 2 p.m. Smart guy, but his biggest asset is he won’t BS people. They’ve had too much of that recently.
- If you Seattle’s DEF on your fantasy football team this week and still lost, the rest of your team must be brutal.
- I spoke to Ladislav Smid today. He is back in Edmonton getting his knee checked out. The doctor told him it is only a sprain and he should be back playing in a few weeks. He won’t rush it, and will stay in Edmonton until after Christmas. If there is no progress in the lockout he will return to the the Czech republic to play.
- When the season starts a 30-goal season in 48 games (.625 goals-per-game) could be considered equal to a 50 goals in an 82 games season (.61GPG). However, when you look at the five players who tallied 30+ goals only one of them ever had a better GPG rate in any other season.
Peter Bondra scored 34 goals in 47 games. Pro-rated over an 82 games that is 59. His career best was 52.
Jaromir Jagr scored 32 in 48 games. Pro-rated over 82 games that is 55. He only beat that once, 62 in 1996.
Ray Sheppard scored 30 in 43 games. Pro-rated that is 57. His career-high was 52 in 1994. He was a great sniper for two seasons.
Owen Nolan tallied 30 in 46 games. Pro-rated that is 53. His career-best was 44 goals in 2000.
Alex Zhamnov scored 30 in 48 games. Pro-rated that is 51. He never scored 30 in a full season.
- Ralph Krueger will join me on air at 2:05 MST to talk Oilers. You can listen on TEAM 1260 or on line here.
On Friday we raised $4,200 thanks to Emil and his generous bid for the RNH signed jersey package.
Today’s package includes…
- Winter Tire & Wheel Package for any vehicle with 16"-20".
- It includes mount balance, TPS sensors if required and installation.
- Thanks to Southgate Buick GMC
Bidding starts at 2 p.m. today and all the proceeds go to Santas Anonymous. Last week we raised over $12,200.