So this is it.
My first sportsnet.ca blog.
Nice to meet you.
In an ongoing effort to get to know you better, if you want fill out this little profile of yourself, I’ll post up another one each day. Just copy and paste your answers/links and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Jeff Marek
Earliest Hockey Memory: My dad taking me to watch the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association at Maple Leaf Gardens. The WHA was my first hockey love and to this day I love hearing the stories of the rock and roll rebel league.
Favourite YouTube hockey moment: Ahhhhh… Matti Holya. Not the best goaltender but for my money this Finnish backstop is most entertaining. Check out this vid of Hoyla from 2008 as he channels the spirit of Michael Jackson. Oh and if you liked that, check out the ice fisher celebration.
Now, your turn …
And on to my daily thoughts.
– The Brad Marchand contract negotiations are an interesting one to keep an eye on, for certain. How much is he worth? At the start of last season he was considered by most a longshot to make the Bruins but by the end of the year was a top contributor, won the team’s seventh player award (voted on by the fans) and packed an offensive punch in the playoffs, which was crucial to the Bruins’ Cup win.
His 11 goals were huge and even moreover from a perception point of view, the bizarre scene of him treating Daniel Sedin like a bobblehead doll in Game 6 with no response from the Canucks is as much a metaphor for that series as anything. But he’s only played the one full season with the Bruins and about to cash in now that he’s coming off his entry-level contract.
Fans in Boston love this guy as do members of the media, as he’s always a terrific interview. Seldom, if ever, does he pull punches and it sometimes gets him in trouble. After the Stanley Cup final Bruins PR had to shut him down from doing any more interviews. And as much as many were bewildered at the lack of offer sheets submitted for Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty, isn’t Brad Marchand exactly the kind of player these pesky little threatening pieces of paper were designed for?
He’s had the one good season coupled with a great playoffs but it forces the GM to prospect more than reward a player. It all comes down to how high-end you feel he’ll rise and that’s where offer sheets are a useful tool/tactic.
In 2006, Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke signed Ryan Kesler to a one-year, US$1.9-million offer sheet and the hockey world howled. Kesler was considered a solid prospect, but he was coming off a 10-goal season and Clarke saw the potential and figured it was worth a shot.
Vancouver matched and many jokes were made, but who’s laughing now? It’s a speculators league now, my friend, and the good GMs know which hills will yield the best gold.
Last note on Marchand: Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe speculated over the weekend that the Marchand deal will be a two-year package in the neighbourhood of US$2.25 million per season.
– Shea Weber has his arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow. Do they get a deal done before then? Nashville has already cleared salary cap room for a whopper of a contract (to say nothing about how Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter will sting them next season).
– Mike Modano was on radio station 1310 The Ticket in Dallas last Friday suggesting that this season was probably his “swan song,” but he came short of announcing his retirement on the show. Last year before Detroit stepped up and signed him, Modano was prepared to call it a career and was a candidate for the figure skating show, “Battle of the Blades.” Wonder if that offer is still on the table?
– One thing this blog will always keep a close eye on is the draft rankings for 2012, and right now it’s looking pretty stacked at the top end with Mikhail Grigorenko of CSKA Moscow leading the pack.
Grigorenko’s skill level amongst his peers is such that many doubt the authenticity of his birth certificate when they see him play. The Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected Grigorenko second overall in the CHL import draft this year.
I’ll have more on each of the top prospects in other blogs, but rounding out the top of the list is Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, Everett Silvertip’s defenceman Ryan Murray, Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings, Olli Maatta, the Finnish defenceman the London Knights took first overall in the import draft, Windsor Spitfires blueliner Nick Ebert, Yakupov’s teammate in Sarnia Alexander Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg of Leksand of the Swedish Elite League and U.S. National Team Development Program rearguard Jacob Trouba.
And while we’re at it keep the name Nathan MacKinnon in your hip pocket. Traded two weeks ago from Baie-Comeau to Halifax in the QMJHL, he’s ticketed to be the top pick in the 2013 draft. Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers will also be in the mix as will Seth Jones, son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, and Edmonton Oil King’s prospect Curtis Lazar, who may just be the best of the bunch.
– Many are expecting Max Domi (Tie’s son) to be traded from the Kingston Frontenacs, the team who drafted him into the Ontario Hockey League, to the London Knights as early as tomorrow. Leading up to the draft Tie was telling everyone that Max was going to the United States Hockey League, but many believed it was simply a tactic to make sure Max landed where he wanted, which is not uncommon at all in the OHL draft.
Everyone around the OHL believes the trade to London has already been completed but deals can’t be made until the trade window opens. And if you haven’t seen Max play the kid is flat out good. Check out this compilation of Domi put together by Puck Life:
On this day in hockey history
1911: Bill Miller, born in Cambellton, N.B. Miller was the province’s first superstar. Miller won two Allen Cups playing for the Moncton Hawks (where he played both forward and defense). In his first year in the NHL with the Montreal Maroons he scored three goals in 22 games, but scored them all in his very first game, according to many historians. However, usually only Alex Smart, Real Cloutier, Fabian Brunnstrom and Derek Stepan are credited with this achievement.
1919: Eddie Bruneteau, born in St. Bonafice, Man. Eddie was the younger brother of Modere Bruneteau who had one of the best nicknames in the history of the NHL: Mud. Actually, the brothers not only played in the NHL together, but Eddie also skated for Mud as a member of the Omaha Knights of the USHL after the elder retired as an active player (was the team’s leading scorer). And here’s your Cliff Claven moment for today: it was because of Mud that the USHL banned coaches from banging sticks on the boards to get the refs attention. Let’s just say that was one of Mud’s calling cards for the officials. Eddie himself later coached Omaha in the USHL in 1986 (the Lancers) and led them to a very undistinguished 0-21 record.
1946: Frank Selke was named Managing Director of the Montreal Canadiens. Selke won nine Stanley Cups in his career and was the winning coach of the very first Memorial Cup championship ever handed out in 1919. He was the bench boss for the University of Toronto schools who beat the Regina Patricias (now, of course, called the Pats) 14-3 and 15-5. It was a two-game total-goal series final then.
1956: Dave Farrish, born in Wingham, Ont. The assistant coach of the Anaheim Ducks was once defence partners for two seasons with Ducks bench boss Randy Carlyle with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL from ’74-’76. He used to own a Pat and Mario’s restaurant in downtown Toronto when he played for the Leafs. Farrish was part of a horrific, almost tragic, incident in Buffalo when he, then playing with the Rangers, hooked Rick Martin around the neck with his stick and then foot-swept him. Martin hit his head on the ice and went into convulsions to the shock and horror of the thousands at the Aud that evening. After the incident a number of Sabres players started wearing helmets.
1957: Pete Peeters was born in Edmonton, Alta. He remains the only goaltender to receive every first place vote in his Vezina Trophy winning season with the Boston Bruins in 1982.