Posted tagged ‘AHL’

Is Parity Sustainable in a 30 Team NHL? and The NHL NEEDS to Fix the Point System

April 19, 2010

The NHL playoffs are underway and there have been multiple ‘upsets’ and some tight and exciting games in this year’s opening round.   I think it shows just how much parity there is in the league.  Yes, the Eastern Conference had a 33 point spread between the first and last placed playoff teams (an 18 point spread in the West) but the playoffs are showing that when the Cup is on the line, a 33 point spread might not mean all that much.   

In some ways, we should expect this.  With salary caps and a league that holds 30 teams, it makes sense that concentrated talent on a team, like that which was on the Edmonton Oilers of old,  is something that will be hard to build.  Add to that the AHL, from which NHL quality players (NHL quality for a 30 team league) are shuffled back and forth at will and the talent pool that the NHL utilizes is deep and broad.

This means that teams, even if they are injury riddled, can stay competitive and pickup points, until playoff time.  Then if they can stay healthy through the playoffs, expect them to make some noise, even if they don’t have the horses to make it to the Cup finals.

Is this good or bad?  In some ways it’s great for hockey but it also means that the NHL/AHL network, broad as it is, probably isn’t as Elite as we’d like to think it is.  Sure, great athletes are in the mix, but in general, it’s the teamwork that makes the teams, and teamwork doesn’t sign contracts for millions of dollars -dollars that have to be made somewhere, usually in rising ticket prices.

So, in a weird twist, even with salary caps, this huge league network may have the seeds of  becoming unsustainable because the distinguishing element of the league is not tied directly to team income.

Bizarre, isn’t it?

Speaking of bizarre (more…)

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New Hockey Point Proposal and AHL Goal Video Review

December 1, 2009

Let me first say, I actually like shootouts.  Yeah, I know, it’s not the best way to end the game, but it’s exciting and I like it- though I actually like the AHL’s version better with 5 shooters vs. 3.

Having said that, I don’t like the fact that losing teams come away with a point in shootout games.  Why?

Because it actually rewards a team’s lack of finishing ability. 

Let me explain.  What do you usually hear when games end regulation in a tie?

“Each team earned a point.”

Fine.  They then play 5 more minutes and each team still comes away with a point.  Therein lies the problem.

The purpose of overtime is for the team with the most guts and gumption to put away the other team.  If a team can’t do it, they don’t deserve to be rewarded with a point, especially if they lose in the pseudo-chaotic arena of the shootout (which, as I said before, I actually like).

So this is my solution: If you make it out of regulation with a tie, fine, you get a point.  But if you don’t win in OT,  both teams lose the point.  The MOST a team can then get for the game is one point.  So the breakdown is as follows:

Win in Regulation- 2 points

Tie at end of regulation – 1 point each team

Win in OT – two points total for winner, one for loser.

Tied at end of OT – Teams lose the one point they earned during regulation. Zero points for either team

Winner of Shootout – One total point for winner, none for loser.

So what do you think?  Would it make OT more exciting and make teams want to win?  Heck, teams might pull goalies in OT to get two points instead of one.

Oh, and the AHL still not video reviewing goals? A college game on tv had video review and the AHL can’t do it?  What gives?

Time to Kick it in to Gear-Don Granato Gone as Coach of the Wolves

October 19, 2009

I’m here in Cincinnati checking my email and there is the press release I’d been hoping for.

Don Granato and Jason Christie have finally been let go.

I know they tried but something never quite clicked under them.  I appreciate the effort but this team has seemed like it’s been going through the motions for too long.  The change was needed.

Now it’s on the players and it’s time to kick it in to gear and start playing like they can.

Go Wolves!

Don Granato Has Got to Go…

October 16, 2009

sinking-ship Jason Krog has never received a misconduct in his professional career…until tonight when he slammed his stick against the glass and shattered it (the glass not his stick!) during the Wolves’ 4-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs.

This team looks as bad this year as it did at the end of last year.  At this rate the Wolves will be out of the playoffs before the season gets underway.  Although Coach says he hates to lose, apparently there’s a disconnect because with the exception of Jason Krog, losing has become the norm with this club.

Wendell, I know that letting someone go is never easy, and it’s a drag that as the new GM you’re going to have to be the heavy to a guy you coached with, but it needs to be done. 

Like now…

Cheli Coming to the Wolves?

October 8, 2009

My 8 year old called me a little over an hour ago.

“Hey, Uncle Mikey, did you hear the Chris Chelios is going to play with the Wolves?”

I was stunned, “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.  This should help them and maybe help them go all the way this year!”

Still stunned and clutching the phone to my head I got on the internet and found this article.

I can’t say it’s a bad move.  Having Cheli around will give some stabilization and toughness to the defense and supply some defensive leadership. 

I know, I know, he’s 47 years old.  But if he’s been staying in shape, and if he wants a crack at the NHL then why not?

The more I think about it – the more I like it.  But, don’t just take my opinion – ask my nephew…

Will Wolves be Affiliated with the Blackhawks Next Year?

April 9, 2009
A New Affiliation?

A New Affiliation?

Tonight, while watching the Wolves in an entertaining but meaningless win (in the standings anyway), a friend came over between periods and said,

“He’ll be gone next year.”

“Who? Granato?” I asked excitedly.

“Yes, um no, Yes.”

“What do you mean.”

“Atlanta won’t be here next year.  The Blackhawks and Wolves will be together.”

“How do you know?”

“They’re talking about it…”

I couldn’t get a direct confirmation of who “They” is, but it’s intriguing and in some ways it makes sense.

The new Wolves President Mike Poliskyand Blackhawks President John McDonough seem to have similar approaches to marketing their products and both organizations are 100% committed to winning.

Beyond the obvious advantage of having the Wolves closer to the Blackhawks, the other positives are:

  • Common fan base energizes both clubs
  • Newly energized Hawk fanbase provides cashflow to help Wolves (and then vice-versa)
  • Unites those fans (which I think are in a minority) who claim that one can’t be a Hawks fan and Wolves fan because the Wolves support Atlanta(?! – Yes I’ve heard that argument)
  • Good AHL players who are unaffiliated will prefer coming to (or staying with) the Wolves as they now have a crack at being called up by a contending team and have a shot at a Stanley Cup and Calder Cup.  No offense to the Thrashers. (Though I think next season the Thrashers will make the playoffs.) 

Downsides?

  • Still don’t think Hawks GM Dale Tallon really knows what he’s doing, but then, maybe he could learn something from Wolves GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.

A few years back I would think such a move would be stupid as the Hawks were dragging down everything they touched. 

Now, I kinda like the idea.

Remember, you heard it here first!

Wolves Run Aground Against Admirals -Out of Playoff Hunt

April 5, 2009
The Man Behind the Helm of the Wolves

The Man Behind the Helm of the Wolves

With the calmness and coolness of the Captain of the Titanic, Coach Don Granato let his team drift into oblivion for the ’08-’09 season after never getting control of the ship all year.

With the loss to the Milwaukee Admirals today, the Wolves have failed to make the playoffs for only the second time in their illustrious history.  As I sat in Milwaukee watching today, I found it hard to believe that the team I was watching took 57 minutes to finally  play with something resembling desperation. 

The fans of the Wolves, and the AHL, deserve better.