In this edition, the Canucks finally emerge from the doldrums, plus observations from around the NHL, NBA and the NFL.
Off the Schneid – Yes, it was nice to see the local hockey heroes snap their 1-10-and-2 free fall with a win against the Preds. The Canucks third period woes are especially alarming. They have surrendered a league high 44 goals in the third period. Nashville, by comparison, is the stingiest team in the league in the third period having given up only 16 goals against.
Francesco Aquilini must be thanking his lucky stars for having purchased the Canucks back in 2008. Forbes magazine now values the Canucks at 735 million dollars, 9th highest in the NHL. That’s a healthy increase of close to 600 million from the purchase price of 148 million. Do you think maybe John McCaw wishes he had held onto the team or is he too rich to care?
NHL Tim-Bits – From the ‘what goes around comes around department’ – Ryan Reaves blind-sides cheap shot artist Tom Wilson of the Capitals and doesn’t get suspended. How does it feel to crack YOUR noggin’ on the ice, Tom?
In all seriousness, Tom Wilson is a menace! I can’t believe the NHL didn’t suspend him for the cheap shot on the defenseless Devil Brett Seney, who is all of 5’9”, 158 pounds. This guy is going to kill somebody. The NHL reduces his 20-game suspension and he’s right back at it again with the same nonsense.
I am a little concerned about the Winnipeg Jets and their new-found penchant for coughing up third period leads. Too many defensive breakdowns and Hellebuyck is giving up too many softies. He’s not looking like the Vezina Trophy candidate of last year.
The Islanders, Canucks and Hurricanes must look back at the 2014 draft and wonder what could have been. The Isles took Michael Dal Colle 5th overall, the Canucks followed by taking Jake Virtanen and the Canes selected Haydn Fleury at number 7. Who went next? The Leafs nabbed Michael Nylander! Ouch!!
It’s great to see hockey coming to Seattle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 5,000+ fans per game heading down from BC for each game. They have been tossing around a whole whack of potential team names. I think they should call the team the Grunge in tribute to the Seattle music scene. The uniforms could consist of checked flannel jersey’s and denim hockey pants.
The NHL is eyeballing Houston big time for a possible NHL franchise. When is the league going to finally wake up and throw in the towel on Arizona? They should move the Coyotes to Houston where they could remain in the Central Division with Seattle fitting in nicely in the Pacific.
Make it 3 aging teams in the Pacific Division in dire need of a makeover! The Sharks are ready to join the Kings and the Ducks in the need to rebuild category. Don’t be surprised if Doug Wilson comes to his senses and decides to put Erik Karlsson on the trade block at the deadline. The worst thing the Sharks could do is re-sign Karlsson to a long-term deal similar to what the Kings gave Drew Doughty and live to regret it. As far as I am concerned, Karlsson is damaged goods with the bad ankle. Sometimes the best move is simply to walk away and not compound the mistake.
In case the Kings, Ducks and Sharks haven’t noticed, the NHL game is being played at warp speed and player’s careers are basically done by the time they are 32. What’s more, most of the big money is going to young players coming out of entry-level contracts who no longer have to wait to hit the jackpot.
Why do NHL teams with perpetual goaltending woes not move quickly to correct the problem? The Blues and the Flyers come to mind. The Oilers and the Flames have had goaltending problems on and off for years. Several other perennial non-playoff teams like Buffalo, Carolina, and the Islanders could also be on that list.
St. Louis keeps waiting for Jake Allen to break through and sorry, it ain’t happening! The Flyers have been searching for a goalie for what seems like decades. The Sabres are finally turning a corner now that they have acquired Carter Hutton. The Hurricanes tried to fix their issues in goal by acquiring Scott Darling from the Black Hawks and one year later, he’s been placed on waivers. I give the Leafs credit. Lou Lamoriello realized they had a problem in goal and he sent a first rounder to Anaheim for Fredrik Andersson. He may not be the best goalie in the league but he helped stop the bleeding.
It is suicide for a General Manager not to repair the problem early on or he becomes the fall guy.
Leftovers – The Raptors were the first NBA team to reach 20 wins and look to be well on their way to topping last year’s franchise record 59 wins. The Raptors didn’t get their 20th win last year until December 17.
I caught a bit of the Kyle Lowry interview on ESPN when they came to Toronto to showcase the game this week against Philadelphia. This was Lowry on his relationship with Raptors President Masai Ujiri – “He does his job, I do mine”. Apparently, Lowry is still miffed that Ujiri would deal his buddy DeMar DeRozan over the summer. Show the man some respect you self-absorbed, entitled jerk!
The Mariners housecleaning is near completion. What were the Mets thinking when they made the deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz? They took on 86 million in contract commitments for Cano alone not to mention the fact they may have to pay Diaz upwards of 30 million per season as the top closer in baseball. Jerry Di Poto must be dancing in the dugout at Safeco Field having extricated the M’s from a large portion of the 150 million still owed to Cano.
Great to see Team Canada qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. No less than 35 different players had a hand in helping the team qualify. It will be Canada’s first appearance in the World Cup since 2010. They were led, literally, by a couple of scrubs – Thomas and Phil Scrubbs. FIBA re-jigged the final phase qualifying schedule so no NBA players were available which makes the Canadian effort all the more impressive.
What’s the deal with the Duke Blue Devils playing Stetson University? Why would they even have that cream-puff on their schedule? Needless to say, the Blue Devils eked out a 113-to-49 victory. Canadian superstar in waiting R.J. Barrett had 26 points without breaking a sweat. They followed that up by waxing another featherweight, the University of Hartford. These Division 1 schools like to grab the money wherever possible but the NCAA refuses to let the players be paid.
Placekicker Mason Crosby is having quite the season for the Green Bay Packers. Once one of the best in the league, he has single-handedly helped the Packers lose 3 games this year including one against the Seahawks. He’s completely lost his confidence and is kicking more like Bing Crosby.
Once the Blue Jays get through the 2019 season, the only remaining major contract commitment will be with Troy Tulowitski. They owe him 20 million for next season, then 14 million in 2020 with a 4 million buy-out after that. By comparison, the Red Sox have 213 million in contract guarantees in 2020, 2021 and 2022 plus they still need to extend Zander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.
The Jays are going to be in a great financial situation when their next competitive window opens. For the full story, check out Shi Davidi’s column by clicking on the link below.