Tag Archives: Crosby

Top Ten: Speech and Thinking Patterns

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Take Two: Habs must draft Grigorenko

Prospect Roulette

The Fail for Nail, Blow for Grigorenko, and the Suck for Galchenyuk.

Even before the Habs playoffs hopes were flushed down the toilet, fans were clamoring for a Habs meltdown for a shot at a top 5 pick.  The last time they picked so high, they plucked their current franchise goaltender from unsuspecting loser teams.

(Is there a player besides Crosby from the 2005 draft as valuable as Price?)

Will it be Galchenyuk? Forsberg? Grigorenko? Or maybe the top dog, Nail Yakupov?

Habs fans would love to draft one of the aforementioned players, especially an imposing centreman like the 6′ 3″, 200 lbs. Mikhail Grigorenko.

Malkin in the Making?

Everybody and their pet monkey is an armchair GM: fan boards are espousing their “educated” guesses on who they feel the Habs should draft:

–        We need more size at centre a la Beliveau;

–        We need to draft the best available player a la Gainey/Timmins;

–        We should build from the goalie out and draft a big hulking D man like the Predators model.

So-called experts such as Bob MacKenzie, Craig Button, McKeen’s Hockey, and Central Scouting scramble to one-up each other on the latest player rankings.   Every waking moment of these teenager’s lives is analyzed.  Professional scouts show up in the dozens to minor league hockey games amid the throngs of aggressive parents and crazed groupies hoping to glimpse at the next big thing in the NHL (“hey, I knew Crosby from his Rimouski days”, blah, blah).

Save for a couple of blue chippers, it’s impossible to predict how an adolescent will mature as a hockey player.  But it’s clear the Habs need to hit a home run with this year’s pick come hell or high water.  Now is not the time to play it safe, so if they need to trade up to get an elite prospect, then do it.

Although talent can be broken down into measurable components (shot, pass, defense, etc.), the one intangible is the player’s mental toughness.  For every world-class talent like Crosby drafted in the first round, there are two dozen Benoit Pouliots.

This is a prerequisite for playing in Montreal.  If we’re top 10 in drafting, I target Galchenyuk, who recently returned from a serious knee injury, so he’s a wild card worth the risk.  If we do reach inside the top 5 however, I would ignore common sense about drafting a Russian and grab Grigorenko at all costs.

Sometimes you draft Doug Wickenheiser, when you should’ve drafted Denis Savard.  But Grigorenko’s talent is exceptional and at 18 years of age, will mature into a great hockey player.

Take Two: All Star Rejects

The Milk Carton Kids

While the bloated All-Star weekend continues (televised All-Star Draft?) , let us take pause and evaluate the state of the league:

– Concussions: 90 concussions vs. 54 at this time last year (Concussion Blog)

– NHLPA exec Donald Fehr and NHL putz Gary Bettman are clashing egos, threatening another lock-out. (NHL Lockout in 2012?)

– Agents and teams continue to drive up the price of mediocre talent (Elliott Friedman)

Fractured goalie

– Despite NBC Sports’ excellent coverage – Milbury excluded – US ratings continue to sputter (Sports Media Watch)

What’s most concerning however, is the shortage of superstar talent.  No Gretzkys, no Lemieuxs, not even an Eric Lindros to carry the league to success.

SI’s Michael Farber recent article, “The NHL’s Starshine Shortage” hits the nail on the head.  Ever since the “New” NHL returned in 2005, we have seen diminished returns every season.  Will anyone break 50 goals?  How about 100 points?  Goaltender stats are ridiculously good, but I don’t think that casual fans are flocking to watch a goaltending duel (Montreal excepted).

How can the NHL compete with the marketing machines of the NFL and NBA?  Here are some suggestions:

1) Illegal NHL merchandise to China and India – That’s almost 2 billion non-hockey fans waiting to be converted.

2) Recruit the Cirque du Soleil for NBA-style halftime shows.  Acrobats on skates?  Sign me up!

3) Move the Coyotes to Vegas – the NHL’s very own hotel, arena, and slot machines.  Games are fixed like the WWE.

4) Free hockey gear to all visible minority families!  The NHL is too whitewashed to matter to anyone except us caucasians.

5) The ultimate NHL video game – Gamers can take control of their favourite NHL players during a live game!  Mind control maybe, but it’s not as if corporations like Apple aren’t already doing it.

6) Get rid of the NHL All-Star game.  Replace with NHL Wipeout:

Take Two: I’ve been Concuss’d

Thanks, Boston.

I. Epidemic of NHL stars such as Crosby, Giroux, and Skinner are sidelined by concussions.  

Take Two – Blame the owners.

Old boys club could enlarge rink size, ban fighting, issue stiffer penalties and suspensions, but all we get is “preserving the purity of the game” bull crap from a bunch of greedy geezers who treat their players like commodities.

For the uninformed reader: I'm talking to you, bozo.

The game is about skill and strategy.  This isn’t the NFL.   Read this and after tell me you aren’t concerned about the NHL.  http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ycn-10597447

II. The addition of Kaberle and return of Campoli creates defensemen surplus for the Habs. Trade?

Take Two – No trade. This is the reality of the NHL.  D men dropping like flies means you keep a surplus of warm bodies – cause you never know when Markov will return – if ever.

Campoli + Kaberle < Markov

However, that does not excuse JM from stupid decisions like benching their only hitting defensemen.  Or punishing rookies when overpaid vets are mailing in their performance.

Here’s a trade rumor you can circulate though:  Mike Cammalleri for Alexander Semin. Hell, we’ll throw in Yannick Weber and some After Eight mints on the house.

Unholy alliance

III. MLSE’s sale to Rogers and Bell is damaging to the Canadiens

Take Two – Isn’t it great how greed can bring together the most hated of enemies?  Bell retains its 18% minority ownership in the Canadiens, meanwhile digging their dirty fingers into Canada’s biggest sports pie. However, this won’t affect the Habs at all, since the Molson’s are majority owner.  Kinda makes you miss George Gillett.

This oligopoly (sigh, here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligopoly) has been brewing for quite some time as two media empires try to provide “exclusive” content.

If you ain’t with them, you’re against them.  Pray that the CRTC has the balls to stop them.  Coming soon: Habs Pay-per-View. Bet on it.

Shameless plug of the week:  Speaking of inept media giants, NBC-Comcast’s coverage of the NHL has been exemplary – the play-by-play, the image quality, even Pierre Maguire are just the tonic against biased Toronto Sports Network announcers and the increasingly dreary RDS crew.