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jack_eichel_usa_gold

Flames, Oilers tempted to race to the bottom

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Random thought of the day. Connor McDavid who was recently names the captain of his hockey club, the Erie Otters, is up for grabs in 2015 draft, does that mean the Flames will compete with the Oilers in the race to the bottom this year?

Sure culture of loosing and all that jazz must play into making decisions like this, but what do the Flames or the Oilers have to lose exactly, this year? Play the young guys and the rest will take care of itself, no deliberate loosing required!

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There is also that American kid, Jack Eichel that will probably go second if not first depending on who you ask.

Too bad the NHL changed the lottery odds this season. Will the Flames, Oilers save it for McDavid or recycle for Eichel?

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Automatic berth for South Korea olympic hockey teams, in 2018

Mens and womens teams will compete against the likes of Russia and Canada at home at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics. Last time the IIHF granted the host nation an automatic berth was in 2006, in Turin. The home team went 0 and 3 together with two respectable ties vs Switzerland and Germany. The game against Team Canada ended in a 2:7 loss. Not too shabby for a team that now isn’t good enough to qualify for world championships these days.

Since Turin, the host nation had to qualify. Canada and Russia easily did that in 2010 and 2014. So why did the IIHF do an about face? Like with most things it probably came down to money. If the host nation invests in the sport and fosters interest in hockey during the four years leading up to the Olympics and possibly beyond, it is a win for the IIHF. South Korea isn’t a traditional hockey market by any means, and this may be a chance to change that.

What would the games vs Canada, USA and Russia look like for South Korea mens and womens teams? Blowouts and embarrassment to the host nation in this event will do little to further the aims of the IIHF. You can’t pay for respect, you must earn it. It took Switzerland twenty, plus, years to become a fixture of international hockey. The world isn’t going to end if South Korea is not in the Olympics for hockey.

Nail Yakupov

Yak, the worst draft pick by the Oilers?

Nail Yakupov quite likely is the worst player chosen by the Oilers in recent memory. Inspite the fact that he went first overall in the 2012 entry draft he was -4 in his first season with the team. This means that his overall contribution was negative after scoring 17 goals and adding 14 assists in 48 games (less than a point a game).

Now you may argue that +/- does not truly reflect the worth and contribution of a player, after all he is playing with others on his line who may contribute to his demise. That is true, however, when you go -33 in your next season and are a positive contributor in only 7 of the 63 games that you played, a pattern emerges.

+/- may not be a true indication of how Yak played last season, but if you look at his game log for the 2013-14 NHL season, you may notice that he was on the ice for only 7 games where his net contribution was positive. There were only 7 games where Yak’s +/- equaled to his points in that game. In contrast he has 3 games where he was -4 (this is not your line-mates causing your demise, this is you not taking care of your own end)  he also had 6 other games where he was -2 or worse.

This is not what you would expect prima facie from your number one pick. The Oilers could have traded their first selection, chosen Thomas Hertl and picked up some assets in the deal making the club better. Instead they will be sending Yakupov to the minors or to another team by the end of the year when Darryl Katz writes another letter to fans, apologizing for a second lost season, before Christmas.

Nail Yakupov, celebrating an OT goal
Yakupov celebrates an OT goal, things went downhill quickly for him from there.

95 year time lapse of the NHL

This is pretty cool, all the logos and team going back to 1917. Whoever put together has a real passion for hockey!

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Original 6 ugly sweaters

Original, 6 Ugly Sweaters For Christmas

Ok who said you can’t have Christmas in July? Even though it is not even the end of summer, or the beginning of the NHL season you can safely secure an original 6, NHL ,team sweater for your next ugly sweater Christmas party.  You get to pick from two versions of each team.

So what is your holiday favorite out of the bunch?

Original 6 ugly sweaters
Original 6 ugly sweaters
Left: cross section of the hockey helmet, much less pading vs Right: 5 star rated football helmet

In the future, hockey helmets won’t be sexy

According to New York times, hockey helmets will now have a standard, 5 star rating system and it won’t make them sexy. More padding is required in the helmet to reduce the probability of concussions resulting from direct blows to the head. Viginia Tech scientists already tested and ranked the 23 available helmets for football. Those rated 5 stars have the best chance of preventing a concussion during impact. The key to safety is the amount of padding in the helmet and that will make helmets larger and more round, not something professional hockey players will want to see on their heads, unless they want to look like the Great Gazoo.

Sales of the NR and 1 star football helmets plummeted as parents moved to higher rated helmets to ensure better safety for their children. This forced football equipment manufacturers like Riddell to change course and offer more effective helmets to consumers. Will this happen in hockey? It is hard to say, as far the large hockey equipment manufacturers go so far, they are skeptical. Looks trump safety with the pros, who only recently, despite overwhelming evidence that visors save eyes, started wearing eye protection on their helmets in droves.

Will looks trump safety with hockey parents? We will see. At the end of the day parents are the ones buying hockey helmets and if they aren’t as safe as they’ve thought the manufacturer fastest to market with such a product may win a large amount of business.  The NHL is home to 700+ customers, while minor hockey registrations are north of 600,000. Someone will do the math correctly on this soon.

Left: cross section of the hockey helmet, much less pading vs Right: 5 star rated football helmet
Left: cross section of the hockey helmet, much less padding vs Right: 5 star rated football helmet
maple-leaf-player

Leaf’s will never win the cup, here is why

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They don’t need to! Winning sometimes equates making money, but when your club is 26th on the world most valuable franchise list at 1.15 billion (according to Forbes) winning is strictly optional. Mediocre product is good enough when your fans watch the team on TV even if the team has not made playoffs in 9 straight seasons before a recent come back to the post season in 2012-13 season. So why bother winning  when you can sign sub par players and do well on the balance sheet?

No other NHL franchise made the list, so unfortunately hockey’s popularity isn’t anywhere near that of other sports in the world.

See the full list of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises