Here's to a New Year Without Head Shots

01/02/2010
New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five

I am certain that an opinion piece of this nature will upset each team’s fans but these head shots have got to stop.  Of course, we are all hockey fans and love the big hit, some live for it but there needs to be a line drawn with the increasing speed to the game.  These hits need to stop or else hockey becomes a survival of the fittest in which young players stand little chance of establishing a career due to playing scared due to footage from the last gruesome head shot.

While the League’s general managers mull over a rule change, I would like to propose a rule change of my own.  Repeat dirty hits will lead to a permanent suspension from the League.  The OHL instilled a similar rule when they banned Michael Liambas, a notoriously dirty player, from playing in their League following a career ending hit against Ben Fanelli.  This instance marked just another time Liambas made a questionable hit, you cam see another one on first overall pick John Tavares here.  The NHL made a similar move with former NHL pugilist Ryan Hollweg, essentially calling any hit remotely borderline until he played his way out of the league.

The moral of my rant will be that these types of players simply do not deserve a paycheck in the National Hockey League.  A League where the rest of the world comes to play and play for the sport’s greatest trophies.  What kind of message does it send when careers start to end due to these injuries? Do we need Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin seriously injured before we start to see lifetime bans?

My nominees for a lifetime ban…

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Trade Rumors: Busy Day in Carolina

12/03/2009
Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs

TSN’s Bob MacKenzie reported a trade of former first rounders.  The last place Carolina Hurricanes moved their most recent first round selection, Phillipe Paradis, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jiri Tlusty.

The Hurricanes get an NHL ready player who can be inserted in their lineup immediately.  Similar to their deals last year for Jussi Jokinen and Eric Cole the team gets a player who has shown flashes of offensive ability but fallen out of favor with their teams.  Considering that Tlusty is only three years removed from his 13th overall selection giving up a young prospect like Paradis does not hurt as much.

Held scoreless in his two games with the Leafs, the 21-year-old put up 15 points in 18 games with their AHL affiliate.  In 66 games last year in the A, the Czech native averaged a point per game with the Marlies.  At his age, his production at the AHL level translates to the ability to hold a regular shift.  Partner that with familiarity with coach Paul Maurice and the youngster should make a seamless transition to the Canes

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Restoring the Rosters: Carolina Hurricanes

11/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Colorado Avalanchee

Based on Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team. Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team. This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season. All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending. After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order. This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

Looking at the roster, there are a few names most casual fans would know, and then a few only Hurricanes fans and prospect enthusiasts have knowledge of.  Despite carrying a few superstar players the Canes have to rely on a plethora of young and unproven players.

The lineup for the Carolina Hurricanes is as follows.

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Keeper Watch 11/18/2009

11/18/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators

Yet another new feature here on NHLHS. ‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every couple of days, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

Center: Brandon Sutter, Carolina Hurricanes – After only posting six points in 50 games last year, Brandon Sutter is breaking out.  Through 11 games, he has eight points and five in his last three.  With the injury to Eric Staal, his playing time has increased as has his role.

Prognosis: Stream him now for the points and monitor his progress once Staal returns.

Center: Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres – Tyler Ennis, a high pedigree prospect, joined the Sabres earlier this week scoring his first goal in his NHL debut.  The diminutive forward chosen with Buffalo’s first pick in 2008, played on a line with Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly and even got some power-play time.

Prognosis: It may be a bit premature to grab the kid after his first game, but it never hurts to get the upper hand.  If playing with Connolly on a consistent basis, the kid may even get dual-position eligibility.

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