It’s Hall of Fame week in the hockey world.
Next Monday, the Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes Jim Devellano, the late "Doc" Seaman, Dino Ciccarelli, Angela James and Cammi Granato to the Great Hall. The expected controversy around the induction of the first two female players hasn’t really developed.
Probably because both women are so deserving, and quite frankly it’s certainly politically incorrect in this day and age to complain about equality. If you don’t think women belong in the Hall, please go back into your cave and then try and explain that opinion to every hockey mom in the country, who has given her time and passion to see her son or daughter enjoy the game.
Hey, I had a good chuckle on Saturday, when people around the Washington Capitals were whining about playing three games in four days in three different time zones. The team had gone from Raleigh, to St. Paul, then on to Calgary (and recorded two wins and a loss, by the way).
Teams in the east, have no idea what real time travel is about. You don’t have to be Sir Sanford Fleming, and look at the four time zones of the west, to know of the travel advantages of playing in the east.
Look at Vancouver, who don’t have a divisional rival in the same time zone or Dallas who for some reason, is lumped into the Pacific Division, with three and a half teams from that time zone.
What is the reason for the three and a half?
While when the time change occurs, Phoenix moves from the Pacific time zone, to the Mountain time zone. I know it’s very confusing.
And now for my regular Phoenix update! I’ve been getting some flack, from some of the twitter followers for spending too much time on the sale. Yes, you are correct. It still isn’t done, but I’m told it will get done by the end of the calendar year. In the furor to find a new owner, many have forgotten that Wayne Gretzky was owed over 22 million dollars when Jerry Moyes put the team into bankruptcy.
While it appears that Wayne isn’t getting any of the sale proceeds in the NHL/Hulsizer/Glendale transaction, I was told today by someone familiar with negotiations that, "to extent it moves bankruptcy and Moyes litigations closer to conclusion, it might get Wayne paid sooner rather than later."
I’m sure fans of the Buffalo Sabres are a little shocked and disappointed with the start of their hockey team. Quite simply, their best players aren’t playing as well as they did last year.
Ryan Miller has looked average, Tyler Meyers must have been reading all those fantasy pool magazines and Thomas Vanek has yet to play up to the demands of a 6.4 million dollar salary.
Probably the man under the most pressure is head coach Lindy Ruff. He is in the last year of his deal in Buffalo and while there are no public acknowledgments of contract discussions, you can bet that there have been some discussions on extending his deal. He is a quality coach but the history on extending coaches in Buffalo is a little strained.
If you remember back to the late 90’s Ted Nolan declined a one-year extension, after winning Coach-of-the-Year and was replaced by Ruff.
Despite the start, Sabres fans need to know that Lindy is truly a great hockey coach, and a strong communicator. He has done an excellent job with the Sabres, with limited on-ice talent. I certainly hope he is being offered more than a one year extension. If, and it’s a big if, he ever went on the open market next summer, Ruff might be the best free agent signing of 2011.
And speaking of the Sabres, I got to know Larry Quinn when we worked side-by-side on the first Winter Classic. No one has more passion for hockey, the NHL and Western New York than Managing Partner Larry.
He recently had heart surgery, but I’m sure he will be back better than ever and sooner than most.
Hope your feeling better LQ!
Finally, the world tour that Donald Fehr and the NHLPA brass have been on, since early October, is winding down. I’m told that there are only 6 teams to go, including the Caps, Sharks and Flyers.
We should know that Mr. Fehr will officially be handed the keys to the PA car by mid-to-late November. And don’t be surprised to see veteran player Mathieu Schneider playing a big role in the Fehr Administration.
It’s probably wise to have someone of Schneider’s calibre around the office. At least Schneider has been around long enough to remember all three times, the NHL stopped playing games.
People often forget the players’ strike of 1992, along with the lock-outs of 1994-95 and 2004-05.
Next week, the general managers will meet in Toronto and guess what the conversations will be about? Hits to the head, shootouts and coach’s challenges? Hey, weren’t those topics discussed at the last meeting and the one before that and the one before that?