I couldn`t really think of anything to write about specifically, just because there`s so little going on in the world of hockey, except for the lockout. Rather than write about one specific topic, I`m going to give you 10 thoughts on 10 topics- some which may or may not overlap on top of each other. And more importantly, not all the topics will be Devils related (unless I`m able to think of 10 topics about the Devils), so prepare to hear about some thoughts on issues that don`t really involve the Devils. With all that being said, here`s the first edition of "10 Random Thoughts On a Tuesday".
The Lockout Part 1: My Two Cents
I haven't really said much about the lockout and the CBA, but I think it's really hard to put the blame on anyone. On one hand, you've got Bettman, who we would ALL love to blame for this mess, but we can't because it's not all his fault. On the other hand, you have the owners, who are trying to re-define Hockey-related revenues and some owners who don't want certain changes to the CBA. And of course, the players, who just want to play (and earn their money). The players are the party that seems to want to avoid the lockout as much as possible-they're willing give more of the HRR pie to the owners so that the poor teams can benefit from revenue sharing. The owners have rejected these proposals from the PA and have given the PA a ridiculous proposal of their own. And of course, not all the owners have the same agenda- I'm pretty sure Ed Snider and Cliff Viner (the Panthers owner) both think differently about certain issues (i.e. long term contracts). Maybe that could be the hold up, but i'm not really sure.
Essentially, I just hope the owners can come to their senses. I just want to see some NHL hockey already.
The Lockout Part 2: No Matter How Hard We Try, We (The Fans) Can't Stop It
So my second thought on the lockout- there has been a lot of fans trying to do their best to stop the lockout from happening, with boycotts and stuff like unfollowing the NHL's fan page and twitter account. Pretty much everyone has said it (and i've ranted about it and mocked it on twitter quite a bit)- no matter how hard we try, we can't stop the lockout. Okay, maybe if the Chameleon, Eames and Zartan were hockey fans and could impersonate NHL owners, executives and players and agree on a CBA for them. But we all know that's not going to happen. All we can do is just twiddle our thumbs and wait till the people who can do something about this do something about the lockout.
The Lockout Part 3: Allan Walsh is annoying
As we all know, Allan Walsh is better known as Patrik Elias' agent. He's one of the more vocal player agents, as he does take to twitter to talk about his clients (or more accurately, Marc-Andre Fleury). With the impending lockout, he's more or less become the NHLPA's mouthpiece. Of course, Walsh has a stake in this- his commissions for representing players. And he has a good reason to be vocal. Unfortunately, it's pretty annoying. I mean, i'd be pissed if I made around $1.5 million a year and I couldn't get paid. But do you have to constantly try to make all the other parties look bad? I'm actually starting to miss Walsh's talks about how Fleury is an elite goalie.
Brad Marchand recently signed a 4 year $18 million contract extension with the Boston Bruins a few days ago. Considering that they both have a similar role, as in a complimentary role on the top line (he mainly played with Kovalchuk and Parise last season, while Marchand played with Bergeron and Seguin). My guess is that Henrique will reprise his role as a top line forward with Parise's departure. Marchand's recent contract extension should be a good comparable for Henrique's next contract. Although if Henrique does put up more points next season, my guess is that he'll likely demand more money.
Who's the Most Important 2013 UFA on the Devils?
There are 8 UFAs on the Devils next season.Of them all, it's kind of obvious- Travis Zajac is the most important UFA on the Devils. The Devils aren't very deep at forward, they've got another important forward who's a UFA (Clarkson) and two of their top 6 forwards as of now are pretty old (Elias is 36, while Zubrus is 34) in addition to being UFAs. The only thing that concerns me is that because the Devils don't negotiate during the season, they're probably not going to take advantage of their head start in negotiations.
Devils Rank 3rd Amongst NHL teams in ESPN's "Ultimate Team Standings"
The only two teams better in the rankings- the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Phoenix Coyotes. While I can't really argue with a lot of stuff (which are also arbitrary rankings), I just find it neat that the Devils are on top of a list made by ESPN. In other news, I wonder what our good pal Scott Burnside thinks about that ranking...
Damon Severson and Reese Scarlett sign with the Devils
In recent Devils news, the Devils have inked their pair of WHL defensemen Reese Scarlett and Damon Severson to 3 Year ELCs. I'm a fan of these moves. I like both of Severson and Scarlett's upside. Scarlett's a very good offensive defenseman with bad defensive numbers due to the fact that he's been on a bad [defensive] team. Severson's a very solid defenseman with a lot of upside and size. Both won't be able to contribute right away, but hopefully they'll be able to do so in a few years.
Is a Defenseman going to get moved or what?
The question has been asked all summer- are the Devils moving a defenseman? Someone's gotta go, and it's definitely not Adam Larsson (or to a lesser extent, Mark Fayne). The question is what's holding up any deals? Maybe it's that there's no one interested in the guys the Devils have? Or maybe Lou's waiting on the new CBA to be finalized before making a trade, just because he'll at least have the option of an amnesty buyout. I think it's probably the latter.
Is the Atlantic Divison the Rangers' to Lose?
The Atlantic Division is probably the toughest division in the NHL. As much as I'd love to see the Rangers not win the Division (or win games at all), I really can't see how they're going to lose this division. Rick Nash and Chris Kreider should be improvements over the two forwards they moved in the summer (Dubinsky and Anisimov). They also have a very good defense and a goalie who's ridiculously good (in the regular season at least). They're probably the strongest team in the Atlantic because of their relative lack of flaws. The Penguins might be healthy, but they've still got lingering health concerns (Crosby and Letang's concussions) and a highly inconsistent goaltender. The Flyers defense is pretty weak (I mean, they're hoping the worst defenseman on the Leafs could replace Matt Carle) and the Devils did lose a lot of their forward depth this off-season. And the Islanders are well... the Islanders.
If you ask me, the Atlantic Division is the Rangers' to lose.
Paul Bissonette Sucks at Twitter
I've never really been a huge fan of Paul Bissonette's twitter account (@biznasty2point0) ever since his comments on Ilya Kovalchuk's 17 year contract getting rejected by the NHL. While i'm not a huge fan of Bissonette's twitter account, there's quite a few others who enjoy it. Ryan Lambert has a small section in one of his weekly columns on Puck Daddy (Trending Topics) which highlights a tweet from Bisonette.
Of course, Bissonette's shtick has gotten pretty old. His jokes aren't nearly as funny. Of course, what really drew my ire was about a comment he recently tweeted (which he deleted) in which he referred to someone as "brokeback mountain" as an insult. After a gay hockey fan complained about it, Bisonette responded by saying that "he supports You Can Play", the well known organization that supports openly gay athletes.
The amount of hypocrisy involved in those tweets is astounding. If you actually supported You Can Play, you wouldn't be insulting people by telling them that they're gay. Basically, all Bissonette is doing is proving that he's a slightly more popular version of Cam Janssen- equally stupid and equally talentless. Except Janssen's managed to avoid making less of an ass of himself on a regular basis.
Feel free to discuss my thoughts about these issues in the comments. Thanks for reading!