The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Holmgren’s can-do attitude, remembering the Cow Palace, those Callahan trade rumors, and more!
Jan 29, 2014, 2:42 PM EDT
Every Wednesday we publish a little back-and-forth we have via email. We call it the Chip ‘n’ Chase. Yes, it’s a terrible name. Enjoy.
Jason Brough: Hey buddy, so I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little down lately. Just listening to all these general managers saying how hard it’s going to be to make trades before the deadline, it’s really discouraging to hear. I mean, trades and trade speculation is what keeps PHT in business. In terms of importance, it’s right up there with suspension videos and the latest updates on Brooks Laich‘s groin. Oh well, at least we still have Paul Holmgren. I liked what he had to say this week: “There are ways we can deal with the salary cap and get around things, if we need to. There will be deals to be made.” That’s the type of can-do attitude we need more of. None of this Mike Gillis pessimism: “It’s tough to find anything but lateral moves and changing the deck chairs.”
Mike Halford: The way the Canucks have looked lately, I’m pretty sure putting a deck chair on the power play would be an upgrade. I too am worried about it being a “dead”-line. (See what I did there? Writing!) Of all the playoff hopefuls, only a few have significant cap space. Most of them are so close to the ceiling they’re licking plaster. I love Holmgren’s “SLRY CAPZ?” attitude. This year, more than ever, GMs are going to need to come up with creative ways to make moves. Putting someone on LTIR with a hangnail? Let’s try it. Suggesting 27 is a good age to retire? It’s an idea. Probably not a good one, but then I’m not a general manager.
JB: At the very least, if it’s a slow deadline, GMs will be coming out of their boots trying to hit home runs in the offseason. All that pent-up frustration combined with another round of compliance buyouts and a rising salary cap? I only hope Holmgren’s still around to partake in the bonanza. If the Flyers miss the playoffs, I’m not sure he will be. And yes, I said the exact same thing about George McPhee last week. By the end of the season, I’ll have checked off every GM in the league and will have a “told you so” post written and ready to publish for each firing. Anyway, say what you will about some of the moves Holmgren’s made as GM — I really didn’t care for that Steve Mason contract, for example — but he’s been a boon for the blogging business.
MH: Which is really all that matters. OK, change of subject: did you see the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls ceased operations? I only bring it up because the Bulls played in my favorite ex-NHL rink — the Cow Palace. Looking back, I almost can’t believe the Sharks called that place home for the first two years of their existence. A livestock pavilion. That held fewer than 12,000 people. And opened during World War II. I will say this, though — the Cow Palace has the kind of history you just don’t get from today’s fancy, newfangled arenas. The Cow Palace lived, man. From Wikipedia: “During a November 20, 1973 concert by The Who, their drummer Keith Moon, passed out from an overdose of horse tranquilizers.” How many current NHL arenas can say they’ve had a horse-tranq OD? The answer is zero. Well, maybe the Saddledome, but only because of all the horses.
JB: It makes me feel old to think of all the rinks that were still in existence when I first started watching hockey. Boston Garden. Chicago Stadium. Maple Leaf Gardens. The Forum. The Aud. St. Louis Arena. Winnipeg Arena. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Oh wait, that one’s still around. Do you remember when the Lightning played in Tropicana Field? Or, as it was known then, the Thunderdome. Which is just fantastic. We don’t need another hero! We don’t need to know the way home! All we want is life beyond…the Thunderdome. Again, I’m not young. I didn’t even need to Google those lyrics. But seriously, that must’ve been a nice intimate setting to take in a game. In 1993, a record crowd of 27,227 watched the Lightning and Panthers play. Little did they know, by the year 2020, over 50 percent of NHL games would be held in baseball stadiums.
MH: I miss the oddities of the old rinks. Like the stairs that players had to climb to get to the Chicago Stadium ice. And the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in Winnipeg. So much nostalgia. Someday, Islanders fans will look back fondly on the asbestos that used to fill their lungs. Moving on: have you seen these Ryan Callahan trade rumors? Not sure what to make of ‘em. I feel like the Rangers would be crazy to deal their captain while in a playoff position, but when you look at the big picture…one, the guy is a human band-aid. Always hurt. Two, he turns 29 in March and is no doubt looking for a significant raise. Maybe there’s just no room to keep him.
JB: Look, if you’re Glen Sather (here, put on this fedora), you at least have to find out what you could get for the guy, otherwise you’re not doing your job. But I’d be surprised if Slats trades him, even if he doesn’t sign him before the deadline. It’s one thing for a non-playoff team to let a player like Callahan walk for nothing. It’s different when you’re 12-5-1 in your last 18 games and could make a deep run this spring. Don’t laugh. If the playoffs started today, the Rangers would play the Flyers in the first round. Winnable, right? If they won that, they’d probably play the Penguins. And we’ve all seen what can happen to Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Meltdown city.
MH: That brings up a good debate: Who has the most pressure to win the Stanley Cup this season? For me, it’s gotta be the Pens — I don’t wanna say they’re in Peyton Manning territory with the “multiple amazing regular seasons, but only one championship” narrative, but it’s pretty startling how little postseason success the Pens have had since winning it all in ’09. Case in point? Here is a list of the teams Pittsburgh has defeated in the last four playoff years: Senators, Islanders. That is all. And when the Pens lose? Whether it’s by collapsing defensively (allowing 30 goals in six games against the Flyers) or drying up offensively (two goals in a four-game sweep versus Boston), they lose badly.
JB: For me, it’s a tie between the Blues and Sharks, with maybe a slight edge to St. Louis. Neither franchise has won the Cup in its history and both have the teams to get it done this year. The reason I might give a slight edge to St. Louis is its proximity to Chicago, home of the defending champs. Blues fans are dying for a championship of their own, and if it finally happens this year, there’s a good chance the Blues will have beaten the hated ‘Hawks along the way. And yes, that’s one of the reasons I’ll keep banging the Ryan Miller-to-St. Louis drum. Jaroslav Halak has been playing well lately, but I still think Miller would give them a better chance.
MH: You’re also going to keep banging that drum for website traffic, aren’t you.
MH: Shea Weber trade rumors. Edmonton Oilers.
MH: Go to work, Google News.
Mar 14, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT
Back-to-back games for Pittsburgh and Philly.
Mar 14, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT
They surprised a lot of people by giving up a second round pick to acquire him from Calgary.
Mar 14, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
The severity of his injury isn’t known yet.
Mar 14, 2014, 8:03 AM EDT
Friday’s collection of links.
Mar 14, 2014, 1:31 AM EDT
Quite the position the goalie found himself in.
Mar 14, 2014, 12:27 AM EDT
St. Louis overpowered Edmonton in the third period.
Mar 13, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
Mar 13, 2014, 11:16 PM EDT
But Buffalo still loses.
Mar 13, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT
Also, his first goal since March 2, 2010.
Mar 13, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT
We’ve seen this many times before.
Mar 13, 2014, 9:47 PM EDT
Big save late in the third period.
Mar 13, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT
Former Blue notches his 25th of the year.
Mar 13, 2014, 7:54 PM EDT
“They’re all over the place.”
Mar 13, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
He leads all Bruins defensemen in scoring.
Mar 13, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT
Appeared in over 800 games with Hartford, Carolina and Philadelphia.
Mar 13, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT
“They put in a system where we know we can win each and every game.”
Mar 13, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT
The 42-year-old recently represented the Czech Republic in the Olympics.
Mar 13, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
Also, what’s wrong with the Ducks?
Mar 13, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
‘Canes d-man shattered his heel last year.
Mar 13, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT
It seems fitting that the Sabres are in town.
- Video: Stamkos scores first goal since returning to Lightning lineup 4
- Sedin backs Tortorella and staff: ‘We love playing for these coaches’ 24
- Here are three ‘major changes’ the NHL should consider 95
- Callahan: I wanted to stay in New York 37
- Playoff bubble watch — Wild edition 18
- Video: Ryan Kesler injured on knee-on-knee collision, on his way back to Vancouver 12
- Discuss: Bruins run over Habs in newest chapter of historic rivalry 26
- Peverley to undergo heart procedure, will miss rest of season 13
- Comeau gets two games for boarding Smith 9
- Three things the Canucks haven’t done well under Torts 22
- Here are three ‘major changes’ the NHL should consider (95)
- Chiasson ‘shaken up’ by Peverley incident, won’t dress for Stars tonight (74)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (72)
- ‘It’s obvious Tortorella can’t come back next year,’ writes Vancouver reporter (62)
- Video: Dryden on why hockey should ‘give up the fighting, but keep the fight’ (57)