With NHLPA representatives set to make their counter-proposal to the NHL today, a lot of talk in the last 24 hours has centered around the possibility of a luxury tax system. Apparently it's something that is right up Donald Fehr's alley, as it's been said he'll try as hard as possible to get away from the hard cap system the league currently operates under.
For those who are a little unfamiliar with it, a luxury tax system is simplyÂ where a tax threshold is implemented (instead of the hard cap), and when a team spends over that line, they start paying cents on the dollar to the league. It may be included in revenue sharing, it may not. In the MLB, only a handful of teams clear the threshold, and I suspect the NHL would likely be the same way.
Get ready to hear about nothing but Shea Weber for the next six days. And rightfully so. After inking what will be the biggest contract for a defenceman in league history on an offer sheet with Philadelphia, Weber's The Man in the hockey world right now.
Apparently this whole thing developed after a few attempts at a trade for Weber, in which the Flyers eventually said "enough of that, here's a spaceship full of money."
Now David Poile has to make a decision on whether he wants to basically flatten his team or match the offer. We wanted hockey news, Paul Holmgren delivered, again.
Does this relate to the Leafs? Some fans raised the question about whether Toronto should have been in on Weber as well. As much as the Leafs could use extra help on the blueline, I guess they didn't see it as enough of a priority to go and spend $110 million and four first round picks on. I'm indifferent.
This does relate to the Leafs in that a team in the East potentially becomes more dangerous, while the landscape in the West, and particularly the Central, has changed quite dramatically in the last little while. Did I have the Leafs passing the Flyers in the standings this coming season? No. But you still don't want to see elite players jumping in to your conference.
It's a monstrous move that's given us a lot to talk about until this comes to some sort of resolution. And after the fact, it could pave the way for other big transactions to take place. Hopefully there's some more shuffling soon before I lose my mind thinking about what the Leafs are going to do to fix their own mess.
It's Friday, and I have hockey links.
There hasn't been a lot of news since the Parise & Suter signings, but there's been some discussion surrounding James van Riemsdyk over the past day or so. Carlyle mentioned he could try him at center, and heads exploded.
Have another link? Toss it in the comments section below.
Though we've endured a pretty boring free agency period so far, it looks like we may still be treated to some substantial roster movement in the next few weeks. Some have said that once the big pieces like Parise and Suter are locked up, we could see the trade market spike, but for now we're in a dead zone. Because of this, as Leafs fans, it's hard not to feel as if we're looking at opening night's roster. Not the case.
In Burke's interview with Bob McCown on The FAN, posted by our own Declan Kerin, the Leafs' GM was asked if this roster, for the most part, is the one that he'll go to battle with in October. Burke said the possibility of that is remote, and he still has a lot of work to do. He seems focused on addressing the situation at center, but whether the goaltending gets sorted out is obviously in the air. Either way, I think we could be looking at another top six shakeup up front.
The Maple Leafs announced the details of this year's prospect camp this afternoon. Here's some information regarding on-ice sessions in Toronto, followed by the entire list of attending prospects after the jump.
The camp will include on-ice practice sessions at MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence and seminars on conditioning, media awareness, personal development and nutrition. The camp will open with on-ice workouts on Monday at 10:00 a.m. The week will be highlighted with three intra-squad games which will take place from Tuesday-to-Thursday. The tentative on-ice schedule for the camp is as follows:
- Monday, July 2: 10:00 a.m. â€“ On-ice testing (MasterCard Centre)
- Tuesday, July 3: 10:00 a.m. â€“ Intra-squad Game (MasterCard Centre)
- Wednesday, July 4: 1:45 p.m. â€“ Intra-Squad Game (MasterCard Centre)
- Thursday, July 5: 10:00 a.m. â€“ Intra-Squad Game (MasterCard Centre)
"(We) keep the puck out of our end zone and play in their end zone, in laymen's terms, that's the best way we try to help him. We're going to block shots, we're going to defend the proper way, but that's the best way we can help him."
That was John Tortorella speaking about how the Rangers would attempt to help out goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was keeping them afloat, during the playoffs.
It wasn't the first time he made a comment regarding puck possession and driving play in to the opposing team's zone. I must have heard him talk about it a million times during the 24/7 television series leading up to the Winter Classic. His team wasn't good enough to actually do it, but the idea is right on.
During TSN's regular "Insider Trading" segment last night, McKenzie, LeBrun and Dreger each had an opportunity to drop some information on us regarding Roberto Luongo and the Leafs. McKenzie also had a chance to clear the bogus rumors of Brian Burke being fired in the next little while, and not surprisingly, the site that started the rumor took it down immediately afterward. Anything to get page hits for a couple days I suppose.
It's no secret that teams have begun kicking tires on Luongo, and two of the most noted on Insider Trading were the Panthers and the Leafs. Florida was a name many threw out there when the Luongo rumors first started, but that quickly turned into just the Leafs and Tampa Bay due to their insane need for goaltending.
With four teams left and the NHL playoffs set to wind down, news and trade rumors should pick up as we get closer to the draft. "Wind down" is perhaps the wrong way to say it, but with fewer games happening (we'll soon be at one every two nights) there's a lot more time to speculate and gear up for an eventful summer.
The word out of Pittsburgh has been centered around Jordan Staal for a few weeks now, and since the team was eliminated there have been questions, ranging from reasonable to... er, unreasonable (Malkin trade anyone?) popping up quite regularly.
The Staal situation isn't new. Folks have been talking about his place with the Penguins -- behind Malkin and Crosby -- since he's been with the team. The idea is that he's essentially being held back from thriving with another club. And for us Leafs fans, desperate to see an elite center in blue and white, we're quite familiar with the name. [more…]
Amid all the speculation surrounding Roberto Luongo that's starting to snowball, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, it seems as though one of the most overlooked parts of it all is the fact that he will have to waive his no-trade clause to where he wants to go.
Luongo stirred up the hockey world quite a bit yesterday by announcing that he would indeed allow the Canucks to trade him if that's what their plan is. But he's under no pressure to take a less-than-good situation at this point, and to think he'll just go anywhere to help the Canucks out is false.
For the early part of the season, when the Leafs were still planted in the playoff picture and the Oilers began to return to their rightful place at the bottom of the standings, there was plenty of debate over which team was truly on the right track to winning (seriously) again. Two popular Canadian clubs, two large fan-bases, and perhaps two of the most meticulous groups of bloggers and internet-y fans in the hockey world.
The answer seemed pretty simple: give me the Leafs and their upswing (or so it seemed) with Burke over that joker Tambellini any day of the week. Tambellini is perhaps the biggest disaster to ever happen to the Oilers, and despite his stable of top picks, he's done ultimately nothing of his own accord to help that team. Burke, I guess, is helping the Leafs or something.
Ever hear someone say that in hockey, the best way to really see the separation between good and great is to see the game live, in the flesh? Well it's true. I can tell who the best players are just from watching at home on television, but when you take in a hockey game at the arena, the most skilled players will stand out more than ever.
I've been to a live Leafs game this season - it was the Leafs and Penguins in October, the game where Kessel saved the day in the third and made Brent Johnson look like a drunk as he stumbled to stop a cruising one-timer. No chance. Leafs win 4-3.
Now it had been a while since I watched the Leafs in person, the last time was against the Senators and I was blown away by how much skill Sundin, Spezza and Kaberle had at the time, how much better they were than everyone else. In the game I took in this past October there were also three players who stood out: Evgeni Malkin (obviously), Kris Letang, and Phil Kessel.
It's that rock-bottom point in the season when you officially quit, give up. The playoff talk is ramping up and now I'm looking at the rest of the league for big matchups every evening to see how things will play out before April 7th. We're all stuck staring at the standings and making predictions about who we think will face each other in the first round and which clubs will battle it out for the Cup. As much fun as that is, things were a lot more pleasant a few months ago. And now, for the boys in blue, it's all over but the crying.