If Jim Balsillie gets his way and moves the Coyotes to Hamilton, is there any doubt the fans will come?
Come on, it's Canada - you could put a team in someone's backyard and it will be popular there!
That is exactly why the team should stay in Phoenix! The NHL makes it's money through the U.S. TV market, not Canada's. If a team moves to Hamilton, does the NHL gain more viewers or fans? The answer is no!
The great Canadian fans are already watching the NHL. Why do you think the NHL puts teams in markets like Florida, Nashville and Arizona? It's not because they are hotbeds for hockey, it is to expand the fan base in the U.S.
If the Coyotes move, the NHL loses the southwestern portion of the U.S. TV market. Hockey is the best sport in the world; give it a chance to be accepted in these non-traditional markets.
Canada, you have had the sport for more than a hundred years, Arizona has had it for 10.
Jets’ Jacob Trouba requests trade, says opportunity, not money, is the issue
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 24, 2016
Jacob Trouba wants the opportunity to have a bigger role, and he has asked the Jets to trade him as he doesn’t believe he’ll have that opportunity in Winnipeg.
Jacob Trouba’s days with the Winnipeg Jets are numbered as the 22-year-old defenseman won’t report to training camp and his agent has made public that Trouba has asked to be traded by the organization.
Over the past several months, the Jets and Trouba have reportedly been embroiled in a difficult contract negotiation and one of the biggest reported hurdles was playing time. However, according to Trouba’s agent Kurt Overhardt, the talks have been at a standstill and rather than work on a new deal, the two sides have been working towards finding a landing place for the promising young defenseman.
Overhardt said that Trouba’s request has nothing to do with the Jets, Winnipeg or his feelings or relationship with management and ownership. Rather, Overhardt said the request is simply an effort to get Trouba into a situation where he can develop into and become the best player he can be. Trouba’s usage was a reported issue this past season, and there’s validity to Trouba’s argument that he’s better served playing in the top four.
Overhardt’s full statement can be read below:
“Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter.
There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.
To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.
Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end."
Shortly after the request became public, Trouba told TSN’s Darren Dreger that he didn’t intend for the situation to come to the point of a public trade request, and he reiterated that the request has nothing do with the inability to reach financial terms on a new deal.
“To not play is not what I want,” Trouba told Dreger. “This has nothing to do with money...It never has.”
UPDATE: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has responded to the statement from Trouba’s agent, saying the team plans to continue to work “diligently to resolve this matter.” Cheveldayoff’s full statement is below:
“We are aware of the statement issued by Kurt Overhardt regarding Jacob Trouba.
Over the last three seasons, Jacob Trouba has played a key role for the Winnipeg Jets and in our view still represents an important part of the long-term future of our club. As such, any decisions made regarding Jacob Trouba will be made in the best interest of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club.
As an unsigned player, we cannot compel Jacob to report to training camp at this time. However, we will continue to work diligently to resolve this matter. We will have no further comment on this matter until such time as it is resolved.”
The Wild were a playoff bubble team, but can the addition of Eric Staal and new coach Bruce Boudreau get them over the hump?
THN is rolling out its 2016-17 Team Previews daily, in reverse order of 2015-16 overall finish, until the start of the season.
THN's Prediction: 6th in Central
Stanley Cup odds: 40-1
Key additions: Eric Staal, C; Chris Stewart, RW
Key departures: Thomas Vanek, LW
-Can Bruce Boudreau save another team? Boudreau can’t win the big one in the playoffs but has a great track record of coaching teams into contention. He did it with the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. He’s won a division title in eight of his nine seasons as a bench boss. It stands to reason he can turn the Wild, a bubble playoff team, into a juggernaut given his history.
But Boudreau had a young Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in D.C. He had Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in their primes in Anaheim. He doesn’t have the same kind of stars in Minnesota, though it will be interesting to see if he can help Mikael Granlund finally break out.
-How healthy is Zach Parise? Parise is an “old” 32. He missed one or zero games in seven of his first eight seasons but sat out 35 over his past three, averaging 11.7 DNPs. Last season’s back injury was serious enough that Parise lost feeling in his leg and foot for chunks of time. He claims to be fully healthy for 2016-17, but he’s clearly an injury risk at this point. Parise hasn’t topped 62 points since signing with the Wild in 2012, either.
-What does Eric Staal have left? Staal endured his worst campaign since 2003-04, and when we factor in 2003-04 was his rookie year, 2015-16 stands out as his weakest effort. He managed just 13 goals and 39 points. His 2.4 shots per game marked his lowest average since his rookie season. Staal made almost no impact after the New York Rangers took a chance and acquired him from Carolina at last year’s trade deadline. The Wild handed him $10.5 million over three years, so he’ll get a shot to re-establish himself as a top-flight center on a scoring line. Staal’s career trajectory points downward, but he’s not ancient at 31 and has been quite durable.
Player projections are based off a three-year version of Game Score (which you can read about here) weighted by recency and repeatability and then translated to its approximate win value (Game Score Value Added or GSVA). Team strength was derived from the combined value of every player’s GSVA on a team. The season was then simulated 10,000 times factoring in team strength, opponent strength and rest.
The Minnesota Wild made the playoffs last year as the 17th best team in the league and were six points behind the next best team (who didn’t make it). Blame conference imbalance for that one, but the 87 points was very low for a playoff team. So low that many are wondering if this team slips out of the picture entirely this season considering the many teams below eager to challenge for a spot.
That’s at least one of the reasons we picked them to finish 6th in the Central, but the numbers don’t necessarily agree. And that’s before factoring in new bench boss Bruce Boudreau, one of the best coaches in the league since he came onto the scene almost a decade ago.
The biggest reason the Wild are ranked highly here is they have a very deep forward group. They may not have much in the way of top flight talent, but they have the ability to roll four lines without much concern of a potential mismatch.
Their biggest addition to that group was Eric Staal who had a terrible 2015-16. He still drives possession though and should bounce back on the scoresheet with more talent around him. He forms a very solid one-two punch at center with Mikko Koivu. A lot of players here are getting up there in age and that’s problematic, but they should still provide some value.
The back-end is probably stronger than it’s given credit for here as this model tends to underrate defense, likely lowering Ryan Suter’s and Jared Spurgeon’s value. It’s a very capable group, aside from Jonas Brodin who, for some reason, has a reputation for being a steady defenseman despite results that suggest otherwise. He doesn’t create offense or suppress shots on defense so it’s difficult to see where all the fanfare comes from.
In net, Devan Dubnyk is a very steady presence. He turned the Wild into a consistent playoff threat and has reignited his career as a capable starting goalie. He’s the key to any Wild success and as long as he maintains his play the team will remain competitive.
There’ll be pressure from teams below them like Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton, but right now, the Wild look like the favourite to take that final wild card spot.
Down Goes Brown: Five times a team avenged a round robin loss at the World Cup
By: Sean McIndoe
Sep 21, 2016
The history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped, so don't worry just yet. Unless you're Team USA.
We're two games into the round robin portion of the World Cup, and we've already seen a handful of upsets, with favorites like Russia and the United States already tasting defeat, and in the case of the Americans, already being eliminated. With one game to go and some of the four playoff spots still up for grabs, fans around the world are no doubt panicking over the games their teams let get away.
But while the round robin is obviously important – you have to make the playoffs to win the whole thing – it's worth remembering that the results of individual games don't necessarily tell us much as much as we might think about what will happen in the playoff rounds.
In fact, the history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped down the line. So in an effort to calm some nerves, here are five times that overreacting to a round robin result would have steered you wrong once the eliminations games began.
1976: Czechoslovakia 1 – Canada 0
In the first ever round robin game in Canada Cup history, Canada made a statement by crushing Finland 11-2. They went on the beat Sweden and the U.S., and they closed out the round with a win over their arch-rivals from the Soviet Union, winning those three games by a combined score of 11-3.
But in between, they dropped a surprising decision to Czechoslovakia. Vladimir Dzurilla outduelled Rogie Vachon at the Montreal Forum, turning aside all 29 shots he faced in a 1-0 win. The game was an instant classic, described at the time as one of the best ever played.
The two teams finished at the top of round robin standings, setting up a best-of-three final. But there was no repeat of Dzurilla's heroics – Team Canada blitzed him for four goals in the first period of the opening game, sending him to the bench and paving the way for a lopsided 6-0 win. Game 2 was more entertaining, with Canada jumping out to a 2-0 lead just three minutes in before a Czechoslovakian comeback set the stage for Darryl Sittler's tournament winner in overtime.
1981: Canada 7 – Soviet Union 3
By 1981, the Soviet Union was coming off a relatively rough stretch of international play. They'd won their usual Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976, but been upset by Team USA's Miracle on Ice squad in 1980, lost the 1972 Summit Series, and failed to even make the final of the 1976 Canada Cup.
When they met Canada in 1981 in the final game of the round robin, both teams were undefeated and battling for first place. The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the third, but Canada erupted for five straight goals in what ended up being a 7-3 laugher. Even with star goaltender Vladislav Tretiak sitting out due to illness, the result was an embarrassing one for the Soviets.
Both teams won their semifinal game to advance to a one-game winner-take-all final in Montreal. With Tretiak back in goal, most fans expected a closer game. Instead, they got an even bigger blowout. But this time, it was the Soviets who ran up the score, earning an 8-1 win and handing Canada what still stands to this day as its most embarrassing international loss.
1984: Soviet Union 6 – Canada 3
Three years after their impressive win, the Soviets looked even more dominant through the round robin portion of the 1984 tournament. Heading into a final game showdown against a struggling Team Canada, they were sporting a 4-0-0 record and looking to wrap up the tournament's top seed. They went on to smother their rivals in an impressive 6-3 win, finishing the round robin with a perfect record and dropping Canada down to fourth place.
That set up another meeting between the two nations in the tournament semi-final, held just three days later in Calgary. After being held to just 17 shots in the round robin, Canada exploded for 41 in the rematch. But Soviet goaltender Vladimir Myshkin stood on his head, and had his team in position to win with a 2-1 lead late in regulation. It took a late goal by Doug Wilson to set up overtime, where Paul Coffey's lunging breakup of a Soviet 2-on-1 set the stage of Mike Bossy's sudden death winner.
Canada went on to sweep Sweden in the final to claim the tournament. It marked the third straight time that the eventual Canada Cup champion had avenged a round robin loss on the way to their title.
1987: Czechoslovakia 4 – Canada 4; Sweden 5 – Soviet Union 3
The 1987 Canada Cup marked the first time that the eventual champion went undefeated through the round robin. That would be Canada, who beat the Soviets in a three-game classic punctuated by Mario Lemieux's historic winner.
But while Canada didn't have any losses to avenge on their way to the title, they weren't perfect in the round robin. And the first blemish came in their opening game, when a rusty Canadian squad blew a third period lead on their way to a 4-4 tie with Czechoslovakia. That was a disappointing result against a team that had gone 0-4-1 in the previous tournament, and raised questions as to whether Canada could defend their crown. Meanwhile, the tournament's other favorite had a disappointing opening of their own, as the Soviets gave up three goals in the first eight minutes while dropping a 5-3 decisions to Sweden.
Both powerhouses recovered well, with each winning three straight before facing each other in the round robin finale and skating to a 3-3 draw. That set up a pair of semifinal rematches, with Canada facing Czechoslovakia and the Soviets drawing Sweden.
This time, the favorites took care of business. Canada started slowly but pumped home four straight goals to take a 5-3 final, while the Soviets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before eliminating Sweden by a 4-2 score. That set the stage for a final that still stands as perhaps the best international hockey series ever played.
As a side note, the Czechoslovakian goaltender for both of those games against Canada was a 22-year-old kid that most North Americans had never heard of. He eventually made it to the NHL three years later, and turned out to be pretty good. He even got some revenge against Canada at an international tournament over a decade later.
2004: Russia 3 – USA 1; Sweden 4 – Czech Republic 3
Canada didn't have to avenge any round robin losses on their way to the 1991 title, and the United States likewise was a perfect 3-0-0 under the new World Cup format before winning it all in 1996. Canada repeated that feat in 2004, making it four straight Canada/World Cups that have been won by a team that didn't suffer a loss during the round robin. Yes, that's right – it's now been 32 years and counting since a team lost a round robin game and still managed to win this tournament. Wait, this is supposed to be about giving teams that lost in the round robin hope. Forget everything I just mentioned.
But we can still find a couple of revenge games in the 2004 round robin, thanks to that year's, um, interesting format. The tournament featured eight teams, and the playoff round featured… eight teams. Yes, everyone made the playoffs in 2004, with the round robin settling the seeding and nothing else.
That format actually gave us a few interesting moments, like top-seeded Finland needing a goal in the dying minutes to edge winless Germany 2-1. And it also set up a pair of interesting rematches. In the round robin, the defending champion Team USA had dropped its first two games, to Canada and Russia. In the latter game, they fell 3-1 while being outshot 45-21. The 0-2 start didn't hurt their playoff hopes, because of the whole "everyone makes it" thing, but it certainly put a dent in their confidence.
Meanwhile, the Czechs dropped their opener 4-0 to Finland, then fell behind by the same score to Sweden. They came back to at least make that game a respectable 4-3 final, but other than running up the score on Germany in the finale, they didn't come out of the round robin with much room for optimism.
But in the opening round, both teams got a chance at payback, and both took it. The Czechs looked like a different team, shelling Mikael Tellqvist and Team Sweden in a 6-1 win. The Russia/Team USA rematch was a closer affair, with both teams going back and forth, but the Americans held on for a 5-3 win.
Both teams went on to lose in the semifinal, although the U.S. blew a late lead against Finland and the Czechs took Canada to overtime. Canada beat Finland in the one-game final, the year-long NHL lockout began the next day, and the World Cup hasn't been seen since. Twelve years later, we're finally getting another look at the tournament, and another chance to see a tough round robin loss avenged in the playoffs.
At least, that's what teams like Russia, Finland and North America are hoping.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.
Why we should be happy Team Sweden lost at World Cup
By: Ken Campbell
Sep 25, 2016
Team Sweden came into the tournament as a favorite to make the final. And now it's out because of the way it approached the game.
Let’s get something straight here. Sweden did not lose the semifinal game in the World Cup of Hockey because of a disputed goal in overtime. It did not lose because it failed to score on the power play. It didn’t lose because all-world goalie Henrik Lundqvist dropped his stick at one of the most inopportune times of his career.
The Swedish players are heading to NHL training camp instead of the best-of-three final in the World Cup of Hockey because they decided - or probably more accurately, had it decided for them - that they were going to play chess until the third period of their 3-2 overtime loss to Team Europe. They played the game afraid to lose and that’s exactly what happened. It was a display of a dull, turgid, safe and utterly ridiculous brand of hockey given their level of talent that came back to haunt them.
And for that we should all be grateful. Even if you’re Swedish. Because perhaps the people who run the national program in Sweden will go back and realize what an opportunity they frittered by taking a bunch of thoroughbreds and forcing them to trot their way around the track. That’s not how these players play in the NHL. That’s not how they’re wired. Players such as Erik Karlsson have to go and holding them back should not be rewarded.
And it this case it was not. Had Sweden somehow underachieved its way to the World Cup final, it would not have highlighted how absolutely terrible this approach was. Swedish winger Gabriel Landeskog, who told Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada after the first period that, “We kind of stood around waiting for each other,” capsulized the game plan right there. Then he added: “We’re in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal. You’re not going to give them anything just to play beautiful hockey.”
Sweden was outshooting Team Europe 10-5 after the first period, then took a 1-0 lead 2:31 into the second. Perhaps thinking one goal would be enough to win, the Swedes eventually shut it down and collapsed, sending the game into a lull of ennui that made it darn near unwatchable. And if they had won, they would have been rewarded for it. But they didn’t, so that’s a good thing. Only after Tomas Tatar made it 2-1 12 seconds into the third period did the Swedes decide they needed to play with just a little more urgency. And by that time, Team Europe goalie Jaroslav Halak had found his groove. If not for a Karlsson floater that hit Roman Josi’s stick, the overtime wouldn’t even have been necessary.
The Swedes obviously saw this game a lot differently than your trusty correspondent did. When asked why with all this talent, and a brain trust that included Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom, his team could play the way it did, Swedish coach Rikard Gronborg responded by saying he thought his team played well.
“I don’t think we were passive. I think you’re wrong there,” Gronborg said. “We need to show patience, and I think we showed patience. But at the end of the day when they’re scoring six goals against us in an exhibition game, we didn’t show patience. That’s what happens. This is a very good team we’re playing against. What we wanted to do was obviously make sure we don’t get turnovers and we don’t get odd-man rushes against, and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight. We put ourselves in a position of winning this game. In the offensive zone we don’t put reins on our players. We don’t put defensive assignments in the offensive zone. So I don’t think I agree with you there.”
Looks like we weren’t watching the same game. Nobody said the Swedes had to get all turnover happy and turn the game into a round of pond hockey, but at some point, don’t you realize you’re better than the other team and play to your strengths. The Swedes lost 6-2 to Team Europe in the final pre-tournament game and instead of using that game as a lesson on how to manage the puck better, it responding by thinking it couldn’t try anything creative.
“That’s what teams have done against them and that’s why they lost against this team,” Daniel Sedin said. “They’ve been playing a full-out attack and you can’t do that against this team. They want us to make mistakes and we played a patient game thinking it was going to pay off in the end and it didn’t. It’s easy to say after the game that we should have attacked more.”
Actually, it was quite easy during the game to say that. Anyone who was watching could see where that game was going. And the fact the way it went the way it did is a setback for Sweden, but a triumph for the game. Sweden teased us all tournament, telling us they still hadn't played their best game. They certainly didn't do that Sunday and now they won't have a chance to do it again in the World Cup.