How to lose a GM in 40 days

Staring Neil Smith, Charles Wang, Pat Lafontaine and Ted Nolan.

The "Island" is turning into a creepier version of the Michael Bay movie.

Garth Snow as the new GM - I had to do a double take to see if it was April 1.


Sutter Plays Fair

One of the most difficult challenges of being successful is knowing when you have done enough, and it is heartening to see that Calgary Flames coach/GM Darryl Sutter understands this quite well. Sutter will be handing over head coaching duties to his capable protege Jim Playfair today and will concentrate rightly on managing the franchise. He has done an admirable job in both roles but, the fact remains, he was working two full time jobs, either of which have shown to be too much for most men to handle one at a time. Thus, except for temporary situations, the era of the NHL coach/GM is over in the NHL, and anyone who tries to do it from now on is an arrogant idiot in over his head.

Wayne Gretzky should take note the next time he attempts to both coach an NHL club while managing an Olympic team.

Speaking of the Olympics, the Flames will also announce the arrival of Wayne Fleming to the coaching staff. Fleming was a key contributor to past Olympic hockey programs, including
the 2002 gold medal team, and is considered one of the brightest and most innovative minds in the game. There isn't a single franchise in the league who wouldn't be delighted to have this man on their payroll and Calgary is quite lucky to have him.

Donovan, Simon and Leopold out. Tanguay, Friesen, Zyuzin, McLennan and Fleming in. This team is shaping up well.


Watch It! Love It!

If you can watch this and not have a tear in your eye, you are not a hockey fan:

Steve Yzerman tribute video.

Door 1 or Door 2

In the spirit of sport and trash. Let us keep the dirt coming. There are two theories on the Pronger saga in Edmonton.

1 - His wife hated the city. 6 games in she told Chris that they were leaving and she was going to take the kids. She was known to leave for long spells and head south.

2 - He scored with a local Edmonton television personality - Christie Chorley.

Christie, for her part, denies any wrong doing.

Her statement:

I write this statement as a result of two weeks of unrelenting and untrue rumours linking my name with former Edmonton Oiler Chris Pronger, and his reasons for leaving Edmonton. These rumours have affected me professionally and personally and have had significant impact of my reputation. I release this statement because a number of media outlets have asked me to speak publicly and I hope this statement will satisfy their needs.

The international scope of this damaging gossip has been shocking and devastating.

Let me be clear and direct, I DO NOT KNOW CHRIS PRONGER PERSONALLY. I have only interviewed him as a part of a large media scrum. I have never had a one-on-one conversation with him and I have never been alone in a room with him. Despite this, and for reasons unknown to me, I have become the subject of many baseless rumours. My career is still young, I have worked extremely hard to achieve what I have professionally and I do not want these unjustified rumours to affect my life in any way.

I have sought legal counsel and have sent Cease and Desist letters to specific outlets. Concerned that this could happen to someone else, especially others in the media, I would like to see Canadian law regulate the Internet more responsibly.

I make this statement with the sole purpose of clearing my name from this entire situation and would like to move past this both personally and professionally. As a result I will be providing no further public comment.

You are welcome for the free press. Good luck with your career.

Paris Hilton / José Théodore: Follow-up

I was very happy to see that good old Shaky was up to his old tricks and posting some trash again. I actually held off on writing anything on the subject in the hopes that someone would do it first. Well, as they say, the seal is broken now.

José Théodore is simply pure trash. He and Paris are actually a great pair and really deserve each other.

The Théodore / Hilton affair has been a major headline in the Montreal tabloids and it's not about to stop.

Of course, the editorial cartoonists have been having a field day and the best of the lot is, without a doubt, YGRECK. Here's the best one he's done on Paris and Théo:

There are also these...

...and then some more risqué ones can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.



Did the Paris Hilton accept backdoor deliveries?

Colorado Avalanche and Former Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore and his girlfriend are demanding a retraction from Quebec television station TQS over a story the network aired reporting the couple had separated.

Marie-Christine Proulx reported on the June 20 current-affairs program Le Grand Journal that Theodore had moved out of the couple's Montreal home.

The couple are, however, not asking for the photos and eye-witness accounts of Theodore partying with *brand* star Paris Hilton in Toronto at the Much Music Awards, after party and after, after party to be retracted.

It has been, to say the least, a trying year for No Way Jose. The *hair* thing, the trade and a stay at the Paris Hilton. That is a hat trick nobody should be proud of.


Confessions of a hockey fan

Forgive me father, it's been almost two weeks since my last post. To make up for my absence, I will write the longest post ever. You've been warned.

So I leave the blogosphere for a few days (Canada Day weekend + tons of work + great weather = less blogging time) and I come back to the new "new" NHL. Serves me right for leaving town on deadline for UFA signings. Is it just me or was there more movement than usual? Hell, it's not even over.

Before I comment on the major moves, though, I want to comment on what was the biggest story of them all: the retirement of one of the classiest athletes of all-time.

Steve Yzerman hung up his skates this week and the NHL, as well as the entire sporting world, will miss him deeply. Yzerman was not only one of the games most skilled players, he was one of the most respected and well-liked players in the game.

Stevie Y has always been one of my favourite players, but I've always had a difficult time giving him a label. You could say he was a finesse player, because he was one of the most skilled players in recent memory, but he was also one of the grittiest. You could say he was a gritty player, but that would be too limiting. He never shied away from the physical aspect of the game, but he couldn't be classified as a power-forward. He was just a great, all-around player that was a born leader and never, ever, quit.

In the end, he doesn't need a label. He's Steve Yzerman: a 22-year veteran (20 years as Captain!) of what is perhaps the most grueling team sport we know. He is 6th on the all-time points leaders list and has lead his team, his ONLY team, to three Stanley Cup victories. Not to mention that he has also won the Conn Smythe trophy, the Lester B. Pearson trophy and an Olympic gold medal.

After his final game in May, Rob wrote a great piece on Yzerman right here on Puck This! It's a great read and, if you haven't read it, I suggest you do: Last Dance of Stevie Wonder.

Now, onto some comments on all the movement in the last week...

  • Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard to Boston: Although I knew Boston was going to be in the hunt for new faces after they dumped Thornton and Samsonov, I didn't think they would get a big name (and giant man) like Chara. I also like the pickup of Savard. For some reason, that I can't explain, I like this guy and I think he gets a raw deal with the critics. I guess we'll see what he's made of now.
  • Chris Pronger to the Ducks: I won't get into the Pronger-bashing that has been going on in the Oilogosphere, but if you want to read all about, head over to the Battle of Alberta. Although the circumstances under which he left Edmonton were fishy at best, I just don't think we have enough information to bash him or his wife.

  • Either way, the Oilers were seriously screwed and got a raw deal. Nothing against Joffrey Lupul (or Mr. Rachel Hunter), who's a great rising young star and an Edmonton native, but he won't make up for losing one of the best defensemen in the league.

    Pronger will join a Ducks team that is looking more and more like a Western Conference powerhouse. Think about it: the Ducks have BOTH Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on their blue line. That's the most solid-looking back-end I've seen since the last Jennifer Lopez video. Hiyo!
Other notable moves:
Those who stayed:
  • Redden signs with Ottawa: The Sens will find out soon enough if they should have kept Chara instead.
  • Pisani and Roloson sign with Edmonton: The two stars of the 2006 playoffs will be back with the Oilers. Pisani was a no-brainer, but Roloson is 36 and will have knee surgery in the summer. To say that that is risky is an understatement in this case.
  • Patrick Elias signs with the Devils: Lou keeps his hands on possibly the most sought after UFA forward. (Who inks a player for 7 years nowadays?)
  • Erik and Eric stay in Carolina: Cole and Staal will be mainstays with the Hurricanes for a few years to come. This team is for real.
...and the inertia award goes to: Bob Gainey. Seriously, WTF? The Habs are in dire need of a strong centerman and some quality "D". Sheldon just can't cut it anymore and Koivu may not be back. Wake up!

There were, of course, many ore moves that I didn't comment on, but if you got this far, why don't you check out the list of free agents to see who Gainey won't pick up over the summer.


In the year 2000

This is no Conan O'Brien skit. There will be no guest appearance by Andy. Instead these headlines come from a recent spring cleaning which netted this gem - National Hockey League 2000. The article appeared in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on Tuesday, December 12, 1989.

Bob Strumm - then Sports Editor - peered into his crystal ball and made a series of fearless predictions of what the National Hockey League would look like in the year 2000. Strumm figured the league would maintain the traditional four divisions but would grow to an amazing 28 teams - including a series of new markets in the United States. Strumm's predictions are below:

Patrick Division

New Jersey
NY Islanders
NY Rangers

Adams Division

Quebec City

Norris Division

Los Angeles
St. Louis
San Jose*

Smythe Division


Strumm's predictions were bold and some were even right. His thoughts were mused at a time when it looked like league would expand - 6 years after Saskatoon was deemed a poor fit for Blues. In his column he indicated that the NHL may gamble on non-hockey markets in Texas and Florida. He was right there.

In the spirit of Strumm, Moldy is offering a snapshot of what the NHL will look like in 2012. There will still be 30 teams, but a few will have moved around. Gone will be Columbus and Nashville. Kansas City will scoop Columbus and Portland will grab Nashville. Atlanta will move, again. The team will be playing out of the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. And, Saskatoon will still be without a team! One of the results will have nothing to do with these guys.

Class Act

Steve Yzerman will be missed. He exits as one of hockey's all-time greats. A true leader and model citizen.

Next stop the corner of Younge and Front.


The mighty Ducks

They might have changed their name but the Anaheim Ducks have become a mighty good hockey club with the addition of superstar Chris Pronger in a blockbuster trade today. Along with perennial Norris favorite Scott Niedermeyer and emerging talent Francois Beachemin, Pronger gives the Orange County Quackers the most potent blueline corps in the league, surpassing even the Chara-less Senators and the still-vaunted Flames. In fact, there is every likelihood that all three will be featured on the next edition of Team Canada, a feat of notable recognition.

For Pronger, the Oilers pick up some awesome young talent as well as a pair of valuable draft picks. Joffrey Lupul, the Edmonton native who burst onto the NHL scene during the post-season, will help out immediately, but the Oil will have to develop hotshot prospect Ladislav Smid, the 6'3", 204-lbs defenseman picked 9th overall in 2004, as well as their future 1st and 2nd round picks they got from SoCal.

So, don't bet on the Lube Jobs getting back to the Cup finals anytime soon, but you won't be writing these guys off for long.

Unless they come against the Ducks this season, of course.