World Cup, All Star Game and Mike Richards on waivers…

random-thoughts

We are finishing a stretch of five days without any NHL regular season games, yet there has been no shortage of NHL talk, much of it grumbling.

Why are so many media people and some fans still complaining about the All Star game? It will never be a competitive game, and it shouldn’t be. Save yourself, and, more importantly, us from having to be inundated with your repeated complaints, and simply don’t watch it.

I know the game isn’t competitive. It is shinny with highly skilled players, so I choose not to watch. It sounded like Columbus did a fantastic job of hosting the event, and many kids got to see their hockey heros, which is what matters.

I won’t watch the all-start game, unless it is in Edmonton and I need to cover it, or if my young son wants to when he gets older. I just don’t understand why grown men are still complaining about the pace of play. This isn’t new, the game has been this way for the past 30 years. You can’t make it “mean something,” so just stop fretting about it and enjoy it for what it is, or simply spend don’t turn on your TV.

WORLD CUP…

The NHL and NHLPA officially announced the 2016 World Cup will be played in Toronto in September of 2016. Six countries; Canada, USA, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia and Finland will take part, as well as a European all-star team comprising of NHL players from the other European countries and North American players who are 23 and under. Born in 1993 and later.

Russia, Finland, Sweden and Czech Republic will be allowed to use a few players who are currently playing in the KHL, like Ilya Kovalchuk, so this allows for the best of the best.

In my opinion, the Euro All-stars and NA U24 team will be more competitive than Germany, Slovakia, or any of the other countries would have been.

The Euro All stars will have the likes of Anze Kopitar, Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Tomas Tatar, Frans Nielsen, Zdeno Chara, Roman Josi, Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff, Jaroslav Halak and others.

The U24 will have: Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brandon Saad, Johnny Gaudreau, Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Ryan Strome, Mark Scheifele, Sean Monahan, Alex Galchenyuk, Aaron Ekblad, Dougie Hamilton, Jacob Trouba, Morgan Reilly, Seth Jones and others. John Gibson will likely be the starting goalie.

They won’t win the tournament, but I’d rather watch them than see Canada crush Norway or Denmark.

Gary Bettman made it seem like the U24 and Euro All-star team likely wouldn’t be around in 2020, because they will have to play in a tournament amongst European countries to qualify. If this Euro team is competitive I’d rather keep them.

Some have complained that Canada won’t be able to ice their best team because McDavid, MacKinnon and others aren’t eligible, but will McDavid be better than Claude Giroux next season? Giroux didn’t even make the Olympic team last year. Tyler Seguin didn’t either and Steven Stamkos was injured, so I’d be stunned if McDavid is one of the top 13 or 14 forwards in Canada by next summer.

I’m excited for this tournament, especially because the final is a best of three. I’d love to see another Canada/Russia or Canada/USA best of three, but regardless of which two teams make the final, I’m certain that three-game series will be outstanding hockey.

I like that this format is different than the Olympics, especially because it is played on NHL-sized ice. The Sochi Olympics didn’t showcase the best hockey we’ve ever seen. Our patriotic pride made it seem great, because Canada dominated, especially defensively, but as a fan of offence, the games were far from the best I’ve witnessed.

MIKE RICHARDS…

The LA Kings put Richards on waivers today. I was told the Oilers will not be putting in a claim. 

Should they?

I can see an argument for both sides. Richards would get significantly more offensive opportunities with the Oilers than he does in LA. Last year in LA, he was 4th in team scoring. 

The concern is his contract. The Oilers don’t have much cap space to add his $5.75 mill cap hit. A trade would allow them to send some salary back to LA, but I don’t see Richards wanting to come here regardless.

Richards won’t be coming here through waivers or via a trade.

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  • camdog

    Many intelligent business people, are horrible at managing sports franchises, especially when they become emotionally attached to “their” sports icons from back in their youth.

    • pkam

      Hall has 5 years left at 6M, Richards has 5 years left at 5.75M. If Hall scores 50 pts, he is having a bad year. If Richards scores 50 pts, he is having a good year. Nobody is expecting Richards to scores more than 60 pts a year anymore.

      He is not big, he is not fast, and his FO is 48% this year.

      He is centering the 4th line behind Jarret Stoll and being waived for a reason. I believe Lombardi is hoping someone will pick him up off the waiver as it will only save the Kings around 900K sending him down to the minors.

      Jarret Stoll is making 3.6M if I am correct and it is not cheap. So unless the Kings retain 2.5M or more, I don’t understand why anyone would want to touch him.

      Some posters here said we should try to re-sign Roy for 1.5M-2.0M for a year or 2 but no more. I wonder why we won’t re-sign Roy for more than 2.0M but want to acquire Richards at 5.75M for 5 more years. It absolutely makes no sense.

  • pkam

    Since when did oilers nation become a political forum? You guys will find anything and everything to complain about. I don’t care about what Katz did in Erie. The arena deal is done , deal with it. Stop wasting our time bitching on here. Write your local government representative. Geez

  • Tikkanese

    I was really excited to hear the World Cup was coming back. After hearing all the changes I am not as excited.

    The worst change is how close to the NHL season it will be running. They’re saying it will overlap the NHL training camps. That’s ridiculous. Not quite to the same extent as the Olympics but players will still be somehwat wary of getting injured so close to the season. That might impact their play.

    I am 50/50 on the Euro All Stars and U24 teams. They “should” be more competetive than a Latvia but those Latvias seem to have upsets every tournament and that is always exciting. Except when it was Switzerland over Canada, haha.

    With the U24 team and McDavid etc not having a chance at making the main team. Lindros made Team Canada at 18 through an actual tryout training camp so there is always a chance.

    All that said, it was better hockey in the past and will still be better hockey than the Olympics.

    The teams have an actual training camp for one. This will truly pick the best teams, not just by guys like KLowe picking them off stat sheets while eating donuts and reliving memories of knowing a thing or two about winning.

    The training camp will also give the teams ample time to gel and “come together”. Tournaments like the Olympics they always say “well hopefully they start to gel by the medal round”.

    The Best of 3 final is fantastic news.

    Everything about it says better hockey.

  • Zarny

    @dougtheslug

    You are correct that the problem is the current lottery format rewards losing and rewards last place most of all.

    Which means if you are the GM of a 27-30th place team the best result is to finish as low as possible to get the best odds of landing the best player. Of course, how good that best player is and the gap between the remaining players is a factor.

    Perhaps some would like to think that “winning” and finishing 27th or 28th has some benefit over 29th or 30th but history simply doesn’t support that.

    Over the final 41 games last year the Oilers were 16-20-5 (37 pts). Florida was only 14-25-2 (30 pts). Who is sitting in 18th this year and who is currently 29th? The benefits and positives of being slightly less putrid are vastly over-stated on here.

    Luckily, the NHL has changed the lottery so that next year the top 3 picks will be lottery. The last place team will likely draft 3rd or 4th in many years.

    • Joy S. Lee

      Absolutely bang on with your comment, “The benefits and positives of being slightly less putrid are vastly over-stated on here.”

      That’s just it: everyone hates the Oilers for picking first several times, but no one notices that a team like Colorado has picked in the top 5 about 8 out of the last ten years. Until Taylor Hall, the Oilers rarely touched the top ten.

      No, I did not quantify those stats, but I am just making a point. While the Oilers may have chosen 1st, 1st, and 1st over 3 years, if another club selects 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 1st, and 3rd over 7 years… which team has been more horrific over time? The perception is Oilers, while the reality is quite different.

      In other words, the first overall pick is only slighly more appealing than the second, and even the fifth, in some cases. Perception is everything, and in this world, the Oilers are perceived as a joke. It started with the three #1’s, and was then backed up and confirmed by one bad management or coaching decision after another. Which just goes to prove my theory that perception actually creates reality.