Five things: I don’t even know any more


1. That went well oh wait of course it didn’t

So the NHLPA made its long-awaited counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-proposal to the owners today and all that went about as well as you might have expected.

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Despite the Players’ Association making major concessions to the owners in a number of ways, the most notable being its agreement to start allowing the players’ share of HRR to once again be tied to league revenues rather than being a set number, which was always stupid and only ever going to make Jeremy Jacobs roll over in the casket full of dirt from his homeland in which he sleeps every day. There were other concessions too, as I mentioned, and all of them made it pretty clear that the PA was working in good faith to get the lockout solved.

With that noted, I don’t necessarily believe what Don Fehr said about this being the best the NHLPA can do. In what regard? In the way that the NHL said on Sept. 15 that the deal on the table that deal was the best it could do, despite the fact that it has repeatedly sweetened its offer in the time since? Or in the way that the PA’s offers have slowly inched toward the owners’ despite Fehr wanting to take a hardline stance?

Of course, none of those concessions mattered because, speaking of hardline stances, the league is still pushing that "to the comma" crap Fehr brought up last week. Gary Bettman literally told some dumbass fan that confronted him today that the PA is "unwilling to negotiate." Oh please. What a load of crap.

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I hate this.

2. Okay now I’m scared

When Paul Bissonnette is consistently and thoroughly spitting the hottest and rightest opinions on this work stoppage, that means the Mayans are all pretty much right, right?

Here’s a quote from the biggest meathead in the league: "Gary Bettman’s just trying to do his job. I know that’s against what we’re about as far as the players are concerned. But I know he’s the messenger. If they’re going to pay him $8 million to save them hundreds of millions, well there’s a lot of people listening that would do the same job for the money he makes."

That’s alarmingly reasonable, and a really good counterpunch to the rest of #ThePlayers’ insipid name-calling and insulting-hat-wearing efforts in the last week or so. Guys are frustrated with the process, and that’s totally understandable, but when BizNasty is making you look like a lowlife simpleton with dumb opinions, maybe it’s time to reassess your stance toward the Commish and focus your anger at the guy cutting your paychecks. Or, more accurately, the guy not currently doing that despite what your contract says.

3. All-Star Game canceled tomorrow?

As you might have been looking at your watch and tapping your toe expectantly in anticipation of the NHL canceling the All-Star Game in Columbus, well, you’re about to get your wish.

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I’ve said all along that this franchise didn’t in any way deserve to host an All-Star Game, unless you want to count pity. One of the major reasons we’re supposed to think this is a shame, apparently, is that, "[I]t would have given Nationwide Arena — now owned by Franklin County — a chance to show off its many upgrades, including a massive new scoreboard," and injected $12 million into the local economy. Whoopie.

(I guess it’s a testament to the quality of the fanbase in a sports city so crummy even Cleveland residents consider it beneath contempt that despite how bad the Blue Jackets were this year, they only finished 27th in the league in attendance)

So the All-Star Game is getting canceled. Raise your hand if, irrespective of your concerns about the lockout, you would have cared or even noticed that a glorified Sunday afternoon hungover shinny game isn’t happening? No one. Yeah, that’s about what I figured.

4. No shock: The NHL thinks you’re an idiot

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This was my favorite story of the week, for sure. Andre Richelieu — an international brand management and sports marketing expert, and university professor — felt it was as good a time as any to let everyone know that the NHL’s strategy in this lockout implies, rather heavily in fact, that the league has little more than contempt for its fans, which it more or less considers to be "stupid."

Well, first of all, "no kidding."

Second, this is actually pretty interesting.

Mainly because, the implication is that while many casual fans who might go to a game here and there over the course of the season, if teams are lucky, are probably gone and unlikely to come back any time soon, superfans are very much the opposite. The common refrain from most reasonable observers is that those superfans can talk a big game, but they’re ultimately not going anywhere and that’s more or less reflected by what Richelieu says here. Of course, he also cites a study that found 60 percent of Canadians say they don’t miss hockey, and I don’t believe that for a second, so I don’t know what to think, basically.

5. A very brief Mark Jankowski update

So the Flames’ 2012 first-rounder hasn’t been getting a lot of press from me lately after that impressive first couple games of his, for two reasons. The first is that Johnny Gaudreau, who picked up another two points in BC’s only game last weekend, has deserved all the plaudits and attention. The second is that Jankowski hasn’t done much since that time. Going into last weekend, he had but a single goal in his last six contests.

That changed a little bit with a strong performance on Friday, when he went 1-2-3 in a 6-2 win over league rival Northeastern (you can see the goal around 58 seconds into this video. Pretty decent release but the goalie should’ve had it). One important note though is that, like the other teams against which he’s scored this season (Sacred Heart and Vermont), the Northeastern Huskies are a genuinely bad club. They’ve won just two of their last nine games, and both came against maybe the worst team in Division 1.

So the question marks linger, as far as I’m concerned. Games in which he scores goals — i.e. those against very bad teams — he does well. In those three games, he has 4-2-6, with 11 shots on goal and a plus-four rating. In his other eight, he has 0-1-1, with 14 shots and a minus-5. That’s very strange, but we knew he’d probably struggle early and he’s still very much a project. Thought you’d wanna know.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I’m not really with Richelieu here. I think that while most fans will be back with a disgruntled or distant attitude, most are probably one snazzy goal or scorpion save away from ecstatic fandom. Much like a jilted lover is one great BJ away from buying her a car.

    And the 60% thing? I don’t buy that for a second. If the statement included the word “yet”, I would believe it. Sure, 60% might not be missing it now, but that will be a much smaller number come February.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I’ve watched 6 of Providences games, unfortunately, 4 of them were against the good teams.

    Janko isn’t bad, he just isn’t particularly dominating as you would hope a first rounder could. But that’s not to say, later in the season, he isn’t gonna take a step forward. His skating is heads above most players on the ice and he plays the game with a casual grace. I think, physically, he still needs to mature. He seems to power out a bit in games where he sees alot of ice, and unfortunately, that is most of the games he plays in.

    He doesn’t have highly skilled tenacity, like say an Anze Kopitar, I would say he has more of a thoughtful strategem of an Alex Tanguay. He isn’t afraid to hit, but he wants the puck, not the body and has a tendency to over pass.

  • re: Jankowski

    I’ve watched a lot of his games. He does score against week teams, but look at the rest of the team’s output against those same teams or against stronger teams. Providence isnt very good. Their record would be really ugly if it wasn’t for Gillies.

    In Jankowskis defense, he and two other players are their only guys with any offensive creativity. They get bottled up a lot.

    Gaudreau has the benefit of a deep team behind and good linemates to his disposal. Gaudreau is better at this point, don’t get me wrong, but I dont see the potential for Jankowski to fill the net at a high clip on a middling team this season. Ken’s .7ppg is probably a fair benchmark.

  • “he also cites a study that found 60 percent of Canadians say they don’t miss hockey, and I don’t believe that for a second, so I don’t know what to think, basically”

    actually, I totally believe this. Which is to say, I totally believe that HIS STUDY indicated that 60% of Canadians don’t miss hockey. It’s possible to do a real bad job of making a sample (such as standing around a mall and firing questions at random people).