Follow up: 5 People Who Need To Have A Huge 2014-2015 Season

Last year around this time, I published the following article “5 People Who Need To Have A Huge 2014-2015 Season” I think it’s about time for a follow up and see where things are at.

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Ondřej Pavelec – Goaltender – Winnipeg Jets

Last season was a year that Pavelec needed to prove his worth not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well.  After an average 2013-2014 season Pavelec didn’t fair much better in the 2014-2015 campaign.

Pavelec ranked near the bottom of the league as a goaltender in the regular season and was unable to help the Jets in the post season getting swept by an extremely lazy Anaheim Ducks roster in the first round of the playoffs.

However, it should be noted that according to this article in the Winnipeg Sun, the Jets were not playing with as healthy of a team as possible.

After being swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs, head coach Paul Maurice said eight of his players were dealing with “significant” injuries.

Then add into the mix the inability for the Jets to improve their roster last season.  It’s been clear after watching numerous Jets games over the course of last season, the Jets Front Office does not seem to understand that their current roster is pretty much performing at their maximum capabilities.  This includes Pavelec who seemed to regress last season, statistically speaking.

It’s clear to me that Pavelec’s maximum potential is just a journeyman goaltender and doesn’t have the chops to be a #1 goaltender in this league.  He can’t win games or steal games on his own…especially in the post season.  Time for the Jets to trade him while they can.

 

Dallas Eakins

Dallas Eakins – Head Coach – Edmonton Oilers

If ever there was a poster child for dysfunction in the NHL (since the Gretzky era Phoenix Coyotes) the Edmonton Oilers were it (see previous article linked above for more details).   The Oilers hired Eakins into a situation where he didn’t have much say or room to hire his own staff.  Then add into the mix the Oilers (Pre-Eakins) not knowing or teaching simple development fundamentals that prevented the players from knowing how to succeed in the NHL.

Eakins was surely over-matched in Edmonton. In his first season, he tried to introduce a more complex defensive system when his players still hadn’t mastered defensive fundamentals. The entire team went backwards in a major way. Almost every top player on the Oilers saw his development go sideways or backwards.

David Staples, Edmonton Journal

Eakins became the Oilers whipping boy for all their historical problems since their 2006 cup run but lets face it, this was the right coach in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fortunately, the Anaheim Ducks named Eakins their new AHL coach (San Diego Gulls) and is in the right situation in the right organization to get another crack at succeeding as a head coach.   I’ll be sneaking off to San Diego before too long to see how he’s progressed.

 

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Semyon Varlamov – Goaltender – Colorado Avalanche

If there’s anyone who deserves a pass for their performance last season it’s Semyon Varlamov.  After an incredible 2013-2014 season (41-14 W/L) he followed it up with an injury plagued season that sent him on multiple trips to the injured reserved list with groin problems.

The only real concerns here going into this season is the degree of the groin tear Varlamov healed from and staying healthy this season.  In the NHL, there’s generally two types of groin tears – the small tears that can be easily healed or the deep tears that become a reoccurring issue down the road (See Marion Gaborik’s time in Minnesota for examples of the latter).  If Varlamov’s tear falls into the small tear category, the Avs could see a career year from him.  However, if Varlamov’s groin tear falls into the other category, it could be another long season for the Colorado Avalanche.

As of right now, Varlamov looks like he’s in for another great year:

Semyon Varlamov got his second start in the Colorado net in the three exhibitions so far, played the entire game this time and looked in prime midseason form.

Terry Frei – Denver Post

Keep an eye on Varlamov this season folks.  He’s due for another monster season as long as his groin holds.

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Doug Wilson – General Manager – San Jose Sharks

For years I’ve been saying that Wilson isn’t the man for the job in San Jose.  This is simply because of the fact that he can’t build a team that is mentally strong enough to withstand a deep playoff run.  Sure he can build a regular season winner, he’s proved that for years.  However, you don’t become and stay General Manager in the NHL (or any league for that matter) if you can’t win it all.

However, it seems that the Sharks aren’t going to blow it all up and start all over from scratch like the Arizona Coyotes are doing this season.

“We were crystal clear about what we were doing last summer. We used the exact same terminology that the Detroit Red Wings used. We expected to be able to rebuild and compete at the same time. We did the exact same thing after 2003,” Wilson said.

(So much for “a phase that this organization has never gone into in the past.”)

“Make no mistake about it: We expect to make the playoffs and compete every year,” he said. “Coming into this year, we had some cap space. We were looking at three important pieces for us. We wanted to secure a No. 1 goalie, who could fit for now and for the future, and that’s Martin Jones. He’s 25. We wanted to find a find a defenseman who could complement [the Sharks’ other D-men], and hopefully a left-shot guy who could play with Brent Burns.”

Doug Wilson – San Jose Sharks General Manager

Plus Wilson has the blessing from ownership for this rebuild on the fly.

“We are in this rebuild process. Reset, rebuild. There’s no question. Everybody knows when you look at our players, two top stars are getting older. They are both fit. That’s the good news. They haven’t had any major injury like other players. We hope that they can continue to play at that level, or even beef it up a little bit and lead the young ones we have put in to become a strong team.”

Hasso Plattner – San Jose Sharks Owner

Wilson gets a pass but he needs to show improvement on the roster that are beyond the X’s and O’s but in the playoffs as well.

 

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PK Subban – Defenseman – Montreal Canadiens

I watched Subban’s progress this season  on and off the ice and I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t expecting a superstar Duncan Keith-like season.  The main thing I was looking for was how he conducted himself on and off the ice with the new pressures of his huge new contract.

But Subban surprised even me with a monster performance this past season that caught the eye of just about everyone in the league:

As one NHL executive told Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman in March, “Subban is so much better a defenceman now than when he won the Norris Trophy. It’s not even close.”

Eric Engles – Sportsnet

Subban keeps turning in career best performances in the regular season but his game took a step back in the post season…just a tad.  However, that still makes GM’s and coaches notice what he’s doing.

In a nutshell, Subban produced the type of season every GM lays awake at night hoping for; a strong presence in his own end, combined with great numbers on offence.

Marc Dumont – Eyes on the Prize

THEN you have his performance off the ice as with great contracts come even greater responsibilities in the public eye.  Subban did not disappoint with even more career defining moments by pledging to donate $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, poking fun at ‘Hockey Night in Canada’s’ Don Cherry, and a light hearted bout with teammate Carey Price.

Subban silenced a lot of critics last season with his performance on and off the ice.  The question now for this season is not how good Subban is but how much better can he get?

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30 thoughts….my version

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I don’t write as often as I used to (life sometimes takes me away from that) when I covered the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes four years ago but I’m planning on making my articles more frequent. With apologies to Elliotte Friedman I’m going to use his ’30 Thoughts’ format to play a little catch up and focus on some things that have caught my eye or have been wanting to write about for some time.

This has turned out to be an amazing year for hockey across the board and the playoffs are looking to be some of the most competitive I’ve seen in many, many years.

Let’s get things started, shall we?

  1. USA at the World Junior Tournament – I wanted to start off with this as I was completely and utterly disgusted that a roster with pretty good talent was wasted by a coaching staff who could not teach these kids to play a team game and make adjustments from their one dimensional offensive zone game. This was a pathetic performance by Team USA. USA Hockey should be ashamed.
  2. So I’m watching the Sportsnet feed of the Flames/Devils game the other night and during the intermission I’m expecting to see long time Flames reporter Roger Millions but instead I see Elliotte Friedman. Why oh why are his talents being wasted doing intermission interviews?   He belongs in the studio doing analysis and NHL reporting updates.
  3. Which brings me to my next thought – Sportsnet coverage in general this season.  It seems to me that they’re just the same old average broadcast as last season but with bigger and more expensive sets (see photo above). They have some serious problems when they have people like Friedman doing intermission interviews and Nick Kypreos bumbling his way through intermission segments. Right now the top three Canadian NHL broadcasts are 1) TSN 2) CBC (last season and prior) and 3) Sportsnet this season.   Sportsnet needs to re-adjust their priorities. Perhaps watching broadcasts from #’s 1 and 2 would help to get their broadcasts on track because it’s really hard to watch what they pass off as a broadcast at times.
  4. One player to keep an eye on the rest of the season is Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo who has re-ignited his career after having a glove side that was almost as bad as Chris Osgood’s used to be. His ‘goal of the year’ candidate the other night in New York is a huge example of how improved his game has become.   Now if the Flames could only get their offensive zone game together.
  5. One story that doesn’t surprise me is the New York Islanders. I’ve been watching their progress for years and have said before this season that they were just a few pieces away from doing something special. Look at them now. They have the pieces on paper to make a deep run in the playoffs. However, it remains to be seen if they have the mental strength to withstand the onslaught of a deep playoff run.
  6. While on the topic of the Islanders, I’m curious to see what General Manager Garth Snow is going to do (or not do) at the trade deadline
  7. In case you haven’t noticed the Arizona Coyotes are neck and neck with the Edmonton Oilers for a high draft pick at the next entry draft.   No they don’t have the talent they used to but what I’m noticing is that they’ve quit not on coach Dave Tippett but themselves.
  8. Arizona Coyotes Goaltender Mike Smith – I’m not sure what happened to him but he’s a shell of the player he used to be. He’d be a good backup for any team at the deadline but in no way is he ready to take the load as a starter. Look at the work that Goaltending coach Sean Burke has done on Devan Dubnyk and Ilya Bryzgalov (when he was with the Coyotes). If he can’t work his magic on Smith, there’s something wrong with the player.
  9. Trade deadline is a few days away. One thing to keep an eye on is what the playoff bound teams up against the cap ceiling are going to do. Keep that in the back of your mind as the trade deadline approaches.
  10. You know when it comes to the Bruins performance this season there’s one thing that hasn’t been brought up for discussion. Have so many years of playoff runs (some deep) and short off-seasons finally caught up with the core of their roster? Do they need a full off-season to rest and relax?
  11. I’ve seen so many dumb articles about the NHL in Seattle that it makes me want to vomit (Disclosure: I spent a good portion of my life living in Seattle so I know how the politics work there). Until an arena deal is done, dream and wish all you want.  No professional league is going to touch Seattle with a ten foot pole. End of story.
  12. Speaking of the NHL in Seattle it looks like the environmental review will (FINALLY) be done May 7th AND the City of Seattle is willing to change the Memorandum of Understanding to allow NHL be the first tenant in the arena. This is huge as the City of Seattle saved themselves from a third round of ineptitude of poor arena related decisions (the others being allowing Key Arena being built as an NBA only arena and allowing the NBA Seattle SuperSonics to leave town). Source
  13. If ever there was a prime example of how former Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella was a poor assessor of talent, look no further than the performance of Jannik Hansen this season.
  14. Even all the months after his firing, Dallas Eakins is still the whipping boy for the Oilers problems. Wake up people. He’s not. He should have never taken the job if he had to take the assistants that the Oilers forced upon him.
  15. You have to wonder when the Edmonton Oilers are going to realize that they don’t know the difference between their elbows and their feet when it comes to developing players.
  16. Dear Winnipeg Jets, it’s time to take down the Manitoba Moose banners from the rafters. They don’t play there anymore and it’s time to start making new traditions with the Jets.
  17. So at this point in the season, is Montreal Canadiens defenseman PK Subban worth the money he’s making? Ask me again at the end of the season.
  18. If ever there were good signs that the Coyotes are staying for the long term, they are investing in local hockey in the area as well as wanting to bring the Frozen Four and the 2018 World Juniors to Phoenix.
  19. In case you haven’t heard one of the biggest stories in Arizona Hockey history is that Defending National (Club) Champions Arizona State University Hockey will become a full Division 1 Varsity sport next season. They’re already poaching key NHL prospects from other big schools mainly because of the weather. Keep an eye on this story. This is an amazing program that finally gets to take the next step forward in its history.  I’ve been watching this team grow from nothing to where it’s at today first hand.  Source 1 Source 2
  20. If there’s one thing the Arizona Coyotes are completely and utterly failing at off the ice, it’s the online marketing. They. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
  21. At the beginning of the season the New York Rangers were a defensive sieve. Everyone was worried about defense and how they can fix it. What most Rangers fans didn’t know at the time, head coach Alain Vigneault is master of not only assessing talent but getting the most out of the players on his roster from snipers to fourth liners.
  22. Face it, the San Jose Sharks are a mere shell of who they used to be. Time is running out for the main architect of this team, General Manager Doug Wilson. This team has been mentally weak in the playoffs and Wilson has never addressed this problem dating back to 2006.
  23.  In (Ottawa Senators goaltender) Andrew Hammond’s last two games he earned two shutouts against the Ducks & Kings in his third and fourth NHL starts. His shutouts were a team accomplishment but when he had to, Hammond made the stops and looked like a seasoned veteran.
  24. Trade Deadline – Yes I’ll be up watching this all day long as I’m curious to see how the make up of the NHL will be after the deadline passes.
  25. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not only cutting dead weight from their roster but General Manager Dave Nonis finally gets to put a bonified thumbprint of his own on this team.
  26. Who called it? – The Canucks, the Predators, and even the Coyotes. Who could have guessed these teams would have been where they are now at this point in the season?
  27. Dear NHL, you promised (on the record) to the people of Arizona an All-Star Game once the ownership circus was over. The fans are still waiting to see this happen.
  28. Coach’s Corner – I’m still shocked that this segment is shorter than last season. Really Sportsnet? Do you not get what the term ‘ratings’ mean?
  29. Winter Classic – Stop with the regurgitation of same teams for these games. Ratings are down because of this. Time for some new blood. We want to see a Winter Classic in Minnesota.
  30. Defenseman Brent Sopel announced his retirement from the NHL today. While the majority of you know him as a Stanley Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks, my memories of him are with the Vancouver Canucks seeing him play in person and on TV. He wasn’t a Chris Pronger but he was an even keeled player on the ice that was smart  and played his role well.
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TBT: Former Coyote Khabibulin receives minimum sentence for DUI

Note:  I’ve been going through some of my old articles from my old sites and I’m going to post them every now and then.  This article is from August 31, 2010 when I covered Nikolai Kabibulin’s DUI sentencing in Scottsdale.  Back then when I wasn’t posting press releases to help get more visibility on Google (more frequent posting = more love from the Search Engines) I did churn out some good stuff.  Looking back on this 4 years later, I’m pretty impressed on how this turned out.  I’ll do some more ‘Throwback Thursday’ posts down the line.  There’s some good stuff I’ve been digging up.

SCOTTSDALE-This afternoon former Phoenix Coyotes and current Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin received the Arizona State minimum sentence, for a February 8th DUI arrest near his home in Paradise Valley.

According to prosecuting attorney Caren Close, the minimum sentence for this case is 30 days in jail with a minimum fine of $507.60 for DUI assessment plus $500.00 Arizona Department of Public Safety fines along with Jail costs. In addition, Khabibulin will have to undergo Arizona State certified alcohol screening and counseling.

Khabibulin’s attorney, Mark DuBiel stated that the Oilers goaltender has been in the NHL/NHL Players Association Substance abuse program, as described in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, since the incident occurred in February.

DuBiel stated in a press conference following the sentencing that the paperwork for an appeal has already been filed. “We’ve started that process” DuBiel said. “(We) Filed the paperwork as soon as the judge signed all the proper sentencing documents”.  DuBiel continued, “The appellate process has officially started and that started with me filing the paperwork.”

It should be noted even though DuBiel filed the noticed for appeal, he still has to go through all the court records to determine what will be appealed. “We haven’t said what we’re appealing.  But the notice of appeal says that an appeal is coming.”

In addition, because the appeal was filed today, Khabibulin has not been officially sentenced. His sentence is stayed until the appeals process has run it’s course.

DuBiel would not comment on the outcome of the case or the facts of the case due to the ongoing status of the case and appeal.

Had Khabibulin not appealed the decision, he would have had to report for jail within a reasonable time after a period of 14 days following his sentencing. In the Sate of Arizona, 14 days is the time that Nikolai Khabibulin would have had to file an appeal following his sentencing.

Edmonton Oilers assistant General Manager Rick Olczyk was in Scottsdale today during the sentencing and declined to comment.  Olczyk referred all statements about the matter to Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini’s press conference that was scheduled to take place following Khabibulin’s sentencing.

As of right now, Khabibulin is free to leave the State of Arizona and the United States.   DuBiel stated that “Right now he’s (Khabibulin) looking forward to the season. That’s his main focus.”

Oilers fans are probably wondering now if Khabibulin will be welcomed into the Edmonton Oilers training camp.

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini simply stated during a press conference in Edmonton (following the sentencing):

“Can He (Khabibulin) come to training camp? Yes he can.”

Tambellini also wanted to make one other thing clear to the assembled media in Edmonton.

“Let me assure you that this organization is treating this matter very seriously”

Because of the appeal, the Oilers will not comment on the sentencing or any disciplinary action until the appeals process has run its course.

When reached by e-mail, the NHL Players Association declined to comment on today’s sentencing.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement about today’s sentencing:

“We will make decisions on appropriate next steps, if any, in consultation with the club and with our program doctors responsible for administering our Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. No such decisions have been made at this time.”

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Are the Red Wings for Sale?

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This afternoon on Bob McCown’s Sportsnet ‘Prime Time Sports’ radio show, he dropped a potential bombshell in the ‘Roundtable’ segment in that the reason why Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock may be looking to move to Toronto is that the Illich Family has put all their business holdings up for sale.

 

There’s potentially another factor here.  It may be a stretch but I am aware that the Illich Family has put their business interests up for sale.  That includes the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, and Little Ceasers Pizza.

He continues…

But they are making retirement plans and have decided that they will pursue the possibility of exiting their from business interests.  Can’t say how long it would take for somebody express an interest or conclude a deal but depending on how close Babcock is to the Illich’s maybe that plays a role into this somehow?  Just speculating.

Source (Starts at 34:42 minute mark of his 10/17 Roundable podcast)

 

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NHL Expansion Roundtable: Seattle – Part 2

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I was poking around the internet as I sometimes do and while browsing Twitter feeds from NHL reporters I came across this article by Jeff Ponder at the Hockey Writers called ‘NHL Expansion Roundtable: Seattle’.

Now for those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Seattle and spent the majority of my life there. I became a hockey fan there and followed the Vancouver Canucks pretty religiously. Around 2007 I moved to Phoenix and became an NHL reporter covering the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes for a few seasons before focusing on the NHL in general.

I wanted to provide my own insight into the questions that were asked to the roundtable  because I know what the landscape was and is like in Seattle and I saw not only the Phoenix Coyotes behind the scenes for a few seasons but also saw the game of hockey grow from infancy to its current adolescence in Arizona.

Here are my own answers to the questions posed to the roundtable. For those of you who have been following me and my writing or stalk me here (or even on the Twitters) you probably already know what I’m going to discuss.

Seattle has not had a professional hockey team since the 1970s (the Seattle Totems). Would fans flock to games in Seattle?

They would at first but the key for a successful franchise in Seattle is to start with the absolute best minds in the front office from top to bottom. This is one of the main reasons why the Phoenix Coyotes got into all the trouble you read about in the news. Wayne Gretzky was running the show in Phoenix before and during the driving of the Phoenix Coyotes into the ground. He hired friends into key front office positions instead of the best hockey minds. Did you know Danny Briere was drafted by the Coyotes? Of course not because the Coyotes traded Briere away for what seemed like a bag of pucks or magic beans (I’m still trying to figure that one out).

The other key to starting a successful NHL franchise isn’t just putting butts in seats, its much more involved than just that.  As I’ve seen in Phoenix over the years here, the other key to grow an NHL franchise is to grow the game of hockey in the community.

Other teams around the NHL have traditions of hockey that have extremely deep roots from kids all the way to college levels. In Phoenix, it’s taken the entire time of the franchise’s existence in Arizona for hockey to start sprouting roots. High School hockey is growing by leaps and bounds, players from the Phoenix area are getting recruited by major NCAA colleges, players have been drafted into the NHL, and every major college in Arizona (Arizona State, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University) fields a club hockey team (Arizona State is the #1 ranked club team in the nation AND are the defending National Champions). For a franchise to be successful in Seattle, hockey is going to have to become as much of a tradition in the area as Football, Basketball, and Soccer is.

This is where your fan base is going to come from in addition to the current hockey fans in the area.  I know the game of hockey is alive in Seattle but nowhere to where it can be in say 10 or 15 years.

A large majority of people in Seattle are Vancouver Canucks fans, as it is their closest team. How do you think this will affect the Canucks fan base, if at all?

One of the things that people outside the state of Washington do not realize is that the Vancouver feed of CBC is on all basic cable systems in Western Washington (at least it was before I moved away). I became a fan of the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks watching CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada while a student at the University of Washington.   I personally used to drive to Vancouver and back in one night to go to games (playoffs were especially tough too).

During the 90’s and into the 2000’s it was very common to see residents of Washington State be Vancouver Canucks season ticket holders as well as fans from other teams that would travel to Vancouver to see the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and other NHL teams play.

I think the thing that people don’t realize is if/when an NHL team comes to Seattle is that they’re going to have a HUGE influx of Canucks fans making the trip to Seattle for games because tickets there are some of the most expensive in the league. In Phoenix, we get HUGE influxes of fans from Detroit, Chicago (especially if the Blackhawks come to town during Spring Training – the Phoenix area is the Spring Training home to the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs), Vancouver, Toronto and so on. Most of the time this happens it’s because tickets in their respective home towns are so expensive.

What would be the best team name for the franchise?

Yeesh, all the good Seattle region related sports names have been taken. I think it’s pretty dumb to use the Metropolitans or Totems as and NHL team name. I think it’s time to come up with a team name that’s not region specific and can be something that could last generations. Also with a team name comes team colors. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE OH PLEASE STOP USING DIARRHEA GREEN AND BLUE FOR COLORS!!!! STOP THE INSANITY!!!

Rumors are swirling that the NBA is looking to return to the Seattle area, as well. Could both the NHL and NBA succeed in Seattle if they returned around the same time?

If they were both expansion franchises? The competition for getting people to come to games for two new teams would be astronomical. That said, I think it was extremely stupid for the potential NHL franchise owners and the City of Seattle to hinge a new arena on having BOTH the NBA and NHL bring franchises to town. I don’t have the time, tolerance, or patience to go over how insanely inept the local City, State, and County governments are (and have been over the years) being regarding this.   They (the City of Seattle) let former Sonics owner Barry Ackerley build Key Arena into an NBA only arena (look how that worked out) and now they’re doing this? Stop worrying about getting re-elected all the time, grow a pair, and let the first league who is ready to come to Seattle come.  Then build an arena for the NBA AND NHL. Seriously, the logic behind these moves/restrictions baffles me.

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Your ‘You’re Fu*king Old!’ Moment Of The Day – Heavy Metal Edition

iron-maiden-powerslave

This is something new and off topic I’m going to post every now and then.  Basically when a classic milestone in our culture comes up, I’ll post it using some variation of the title above.

30 Years ago today Iron Maiden’s metal masterpiece ‘Powerslave’ was released.   This is one of the last really good metal albums that is great to listen to from start to finish.

Here’s the full album for your listening pleasure.

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Dan Bickley, Monkey Poop, The Arizona Coyotes, and NHL Expansion to Las Vegas

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I just got done reading Dan Bickley’s latest column entitled ‘Coyotes fans should embrace concept of NHL expansion’ and sat back for a bit pondering a few moments regarding this entire topic. Most of that pondering was how he got paid for churning out such an inferior article.

For those of you who don’t live in the greater Phoenix area, when Dan Bickley writes about the Coyotes in his articles they are, from time to time, the literary version of a monkey throwing its own poop up against a wall and calling it an article. Seriously. If ever there was a local writer who was so out of touch with a sport locally in Phoenix its Dan Bickley and his random babblings about the NHL.

Now he does bring up a good point in that the Coyotes will see a windfall from any potential expansion fees. However, anyone with a computer and a connection to the internet could deduce that pretty quickly from any number of articles out there.

Monkey. Poop.

Now if Bickley had actually attended Coyotes games over the years and was in touch with the goings on in the league he would have noticed that when teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, or even the Detroit Red Wings came to town they brought their own legion of fans to Phoenix. Many of these fans came to these Coyotes home games as part of a vacation to get away from the cold winters in the Great White North. In addition there was always another group of visiting fans who came to see games in Phoenix because they either couldn’t get tickets to see their team in their home arenas or tickets were just too expensive.

This business will all be lost to Las Vegas if an NHL expansion team ever materializes.

I’m all for expansion to new and deserving cities but its the Arizona Coyotes who stand to lose long time business to fans such as the ones explained above to Las Vegas. It’s not about the short term payoff for the Coyotes and the NHL it’s about the bigger picture for long term franchise sustainability.

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