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Friday, 30 November 2012

Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones Going Head to Head in Top Prospect Game

The two top prospects for the 2013 NHL draft are going to face off in the CHL Top Prospects game in January. Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL will captain Don Cherry's team and Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL will captain team Orr. The prospects game is always a great attraction and having the two projected top picks battle it out as captains will only add to the excitement.

Depending on how things work out for the World Junior Championships both players may have the opportunity to represent their countries in the boxing day classic. MacKinnon with team Canada and Jones with the United States. But with the NHL lockout and all the junior talent stuck in the minors there is a strong chance that MacKinnon may not even crack the Canadian squad, making the prospect game their first opportunity to face off on the same ice surface in their junior careers. Even if both players make their junior teams they will not be the key players, playing small but solid roles they wont be the stars, where at the prospects game they will be the main attractions.

The 17 year old MacKinnon is tearing it up in the QMJHL sitting 6th in scoring with 43 points. With his inclusion in the Subway Super Series he's only been able to lace up for 25 of the Mooseheads games but already has racked up 20 goals. The 18 year old Jones is having a great rookie campaign in the WHL racking up 17 points in 24 games while honing his defencive skills and shutting down the opposition.

Perhaps the best part about the two prospects facing off will be their head-to-head battle. Jones will likely be given the near impossible task to shutdown his counterpart and keep him off the score sheet. MacKinnon has blazing fast speed, lightning quick hands and a deadly shot which makes him a weapon from anywhere on the ice. Not to mention the 4 other guys that will be on the ice with him who will benefit from the attention of defenders focusing on MacKinnon.

MacKinnon and Jones may be the best captains to ever play in the CHL Prospect game. With how close the battle for the first over pick is and how skilled and versatile they are they will make the choice for 1st overall a tough one.
“I can’t remember, to tell you the truth, two better captain, I’ve had pretty good captains in (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Bobby) Ryan, but I’ve never seen two at the top like this." ~ Don Cherry coach for team Cherry

The last time these two superstars met was at the U-17 tournament where Jones' team clobbered MacKinnon 12-1. But with the superb talent both sides will boast the score should be a little more even. While the main attraction will be the battle for the first overall pick, this game is a great opportunity for other top prospects to showcase their game to scouts and improve their stock. Joining MacKinnon as the captains for team Cherry are Halifax teammate Jonathan Drouin and Sault St. Marie defenceman Darnell Nurse. Drouin has benefited from playing on the same line as MacKinnon and will look to re-ignite that spark in the prospects game while Nurse is hoping to impress and prove he's worthy of a spot in top 5. Joining Seth will be Ottawa 67's Sean Monahan and fellow WHLer Hunter Shinkaruk both of whom will be looking to improve their draft spot and prove they are worthy of being drafted in the top 5.

Seeing the two best prospects in hockey battling it out at the prospect game may be some of the best hockey fans will see all year. Make sure you pay attention to the juniors, they're providing some fantastic hockey and are the future of the NHL. Make sure to catch MacKinnon, Jones and the other amazing junior players in the prospect game on January 16.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sidney Crosby is Tired Of Waiting Time to Head to the KHL

Congratulations Gary Bettman, the face of the NHL and your meal ticket is about to head overseas because of the lockout. Sidney Crosby the player responsible for saving the Pittsburgh Penguins and bringing excitement back to the NHL has decided enough is enough and is seriously thinking about heading overseas to play some actual hockey, instead of just talking about it. Since the beginning of the lockout 73 days ago Crosby has been one of the most dedicated NHLPA players. He's shown up to the majority if not all of the meetings spoken to local media, has kept fairly quit (no name calling) but is quickly becoming anxious. It appears now he's finally decided to join fellow teammate Evgeni Malkin over in the KHL;
"You know what? It's a lot more possible right now" ~ Crosby told reporters when asked if he had considered heading overseas. "A quick end to the lockout is not looking too good"

Perhaps the only thing holding Crosby here in North America, beside his optimism and loyalty is the high insurance costs he'll have to pay to head over to Europe. Crosby would likely have to pay $400,000 per month to be insured for game action with another team besides the Penguins. But Crosby has said it was always his intention to wait till the end of November or early December before heading to Europe in order to give the NHL and his employers every last chance to get the NHL back on the ice.

Although by contract Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin are obligated to come back and play for their respective NHL teams once the lockout ends, Crosby is the last person Bettman wants to make an enemy with. The Penguins captain was the first overall pick after the 2004-2005 lockout and singlehandedly saved the Penguins franchise and turned them into a top notch dynasty who have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup every season. Not only did he become the face of the Penguins he also became the face of the NHL. Ask any non hockey fan to name a current NHL player, chances are the first person they name is Crosby. Heck there's even people who don't like hockey but are willing to go to a game too see Crosby. When Bettman looks at Crosby he sees dollar signs; His jersey is always in the top 5 and when he's playing the arena is almost always sold out, even when the Penguins are on the road people flock for a chance to see him play. One could argue he is the most influential player currently in the NHLPA union, he could end the lockout with one phone call to Fehr. Problem is he's fully committed to getting the players the best deal possible not just himself and wont quit until the very end and now he too is jumping ship.

Crosby heading to Europe is bad news for the NHL. Finally he's "concussion" free, his symptoms are gone and he is 100% healthy. Who knows what kind of career numbers he could have put up this season in the NHL? Instead he's been kept of the score sheet by the NHL and this lockout;
"At the end of the day, I'm a hockey player and I love to play. I've been practicing a lot the last few years, I just want to play." ~Sidney Crosby

As of right now the only option for Crosby to play is over in Europe and perhaps his competitive side is finally coming out. Crosby is just that, a hockey player. He's no business man, what he needs to live and function an ordinary life is hockey, he's missed more games than he's played in the last 2 years, he's itching to play and right now he can't get that in North America which is why he needs to head overseas. Could you imagine the KHL with Malkin, Ovechkin, Giroux and Crosby?

To be honest it's remarkable Crosby has stayed and kept quite so long, he's a class act, he wanted to stay loyal to the league which has brought him success. Being the face of the NHL if he does head over to the KHL it's a global story and a flat out embarrassment to the NHL. The fact the league forces their poster boy to head overseas to play hockey is just sad. But as much of a "class act" Crosby is he does have a little resentment towards the NHL; He was injured by 2 hits that he himself thought should have been met with supplemental discipline and now they've locked him out. The best and only way for him to "stick" it to the NHL is to head to the KHL, the league that was created to one day compete with the NHL. Having Crosby play on one of their teams, even for half a season is just the break they've been looking for.

For Crosby to play in Europe it would be a major statement to the NHL and Bettman and hopefully a wake up call. As much as it may pain him to head to Russia he has to do it. He hasn't had the opportunity to play because of injuries during the last 2 seasons, he's healthy now and wants to play. But the NHL should be embarrassed if he heads to Europe.

Monday, 26 November 2012

NHL Fans Falling Out of Love

Let's face the facts, things are looking bleak at best right now as the NHL and NHLPA still can't play nice. We are at great danger of losing the entire season and at this point there isn't looking like a season is going to be coming any time soon. But guess what... The fans don't care anymore!
Fans, writers, media members are all fed up with the depressing talk that is surrounding a new CBA, but has it gotten to the point where people are flat out losing interest?

Everyday, every time they meet and every time a "new" proposal is submitted, it's the same old story. "We're still far apart", "They didn't move much from their initial offer", "We're negotiating with ourselves". Negativity after negativity after negativity and fans are saying enough is enough! It's gotten to the point where fans, writers (including myself) honestly don't care whats happening between the two sides, we just want a deal done and the game we love back.

Now I was pretty young during the last lockout (11) but correct me if I'm wrong, there seems to be a lot less fans upset and depressed about the lockout. It's almost as if fans realize their lives will still go on without watching greedy millionaires chasing a rubber projectile around on 5 inch blades. Whenever people ask me what's going on with the NHL and whether I think we'll have a season, I explain things aren't looking good and the two sides are still far apart, they just shrug and say "oh well". Oh well?!? Really thats what it's come too, people could honestly care less whether we have hockey or not? Isn't hockey supposed to be the sport that unites our nation? Have we really become so accustomed to the NHL letting us down, that this current lockout is mere peanuts in the news?

In 2004-2005 the lockout took fans by shock. No one really expected the NHL to cancel an entire season to get what they wanted but they did. The two sides convinced the fans that the lockout was for the long term health of the game, but here we are 7 years later facing another lockout. This time fans knew this battle was coming, the NHLPA brought in Donald Fehr to insure they wouldn't get walked over and Bettman certainly wanted to make it clear this was his league and wouldn't be intimidated by anyone. This lockout everyone saw coming, the length of the lockout now thats a different story. But what are they going to tell us this time, that it's for the long-term health of the game? Great so we can look forward to a lockout every 7 years?

Something I thought I'd never see is the city of Toronto, arguably the most hockey-crazed city, more excited about the Toronto Blue Jays in November than the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have become an afterthought here in Toronto. Instead of "Did you see that goal by Kessel last night?" it's "How about them Blue Jays, finally bringing in some talent eh?". And as if it wasn't bad enough the Blue Jays are over shadowing the Leafs, the Toronto Argonauts had to jump into the mix by winning the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto. At this point in time the Leafs are the last team on everyones mind, never thought that would happen!

At this point the majority fans don't care whats happening in negotiations right now or whose fault it is, they just want this craziness to end and to be frank are shocked this lockout has dragged on this long.

To be honest it's hard to get excited about the NHL when you know we're going to end up in a mess in another 7-8 years. The league had arguably their best year ever and the game is at the highest it's ever been, now they're willing to throw all that away. By the time it recovers, if it ever does, it'll be time for another lockout.

Newsflash Bettman; The fans, you know the people who buy tickets, jerseys and attend the games are sick and tired of the same old routine. Keep taking advantage of them and you will lose them, for good. The less hockey we see results in losing more and more fans who can find better things to spend their money and time on.

Bottom line is the fans are fed up with the games being played by the NHL and NHLPA and a lot of them have moved on. There's not a lot of positivity floatingaround the NHL right now and that negativity may be around for the foreseeable future. At the end of the day the NHL is just a game, there's more to life than living every waking moment watching, fans are starting to realize that. NHL fans are starting to fall out of love with the NHL.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

How NHLPA Is Winning the PR Battle

On Wednesday the NHL and NHLPA agreed to meet after the players turned down Gary Bettman's request for a 2 week break. As expected the players submitted a new proposal and in almost predictable fashion it was turned down and met with disappointment. Or so the public is lead to believe. Since the two sides accomplished nothing yesterday, we're staying away from the depressing CBA talk and instead focusing on how and why the NHLPA has been able to win the fans support.

Let's get something straight right off the bat; We the public only hear and see exactly what the two sides want us too, which is why there is so much negativity right now. For whatever reason the two sides have decided to paint the picture that things are not going well and neither side has really compromised. Truthfully I don't think they're as far apart as they would have us believe. Just the same as when Bettman called the fans mindless sheep, the NHL and NHLPA know that we are just pawns in their game. If they tell us too jump we will; how else would you explain the swing in emotions on twitter on Wednesday? Whatever they tell the media gets relayed back to us the fans, and because it first passes through the media it will be dramatized.

Make no mistake, Donald Fehr and the players aren't stupid, they know exactly what they're doing and how they're going to win the fans over in the media so they look good. Don't believe me, let's look over some of the quotes from yesterday's media scrum.

"The players are suffering right along with the fans."

By saying that the players are suffering just as bad as the fans it helps draw the fans into the players world and earns them empathy. Fehr is making the fans believe that they can relate to the players and that the players in turn are relating to the fans. What fan doesn't want to hear that the players are in the same boat as them?

Considering there are at least 100 NHL players who have headed over season to play hockey, I don't think they're suffering at all actually. Another thing to note, is the players are still getting payed during this lockout. Sure they aren't getting any of their $6 million a year, but they are receiving money every week.
"We made an enormous move in the owners' direction to try and end it"

This one is pretty self explanatory. Fehr is telling everyone that his side is working hard to find a solution to the lockout and getting back to playing hockey, not only are they working hard they've made some major concessions to get a deal that is closer to the owners requests. Ironic how various members of the NHLPA started to leak their proposal before they even met with the NHL. Public negotiations aren't going to solve anything.
"The players are making enormous concessions to the owners and we want some protection on the downside"

This quote right here does a fantastic job of pinning everyone against the NHL and Bettman. Fehr is insinuating that the owners haven't backed off at all from their original proposal and wont help compensate the players on the concessions they've made. Truth be told the NHLPA hasn't offered many concessions, their "best offer" from Wednesday wasn't their best, you can almost bet that we'll see another one from the NHLPA.

Now back to the notion that yesterdays proposal was immediately thrown out by the league. The NHLPA's proposal was a HUGE step in the right direction and shows that they are willing to cave slightly to get a deal done. Bettman even acknowledged that this was a big move from the players; " There was movement on some issues by the players' association and that was appreciated." This proposal puts the NHLPA and NHL back in the same universe and talking the same

language. Many of the key points from the proposal are perfect starting blocks for further negotiations as long as the two sides are willing.

But the way Fehr and many of the players have been able to persuade the fans is by doing what they know best, whining. Listen to any Fehr press conference, interview, conversation, heck I imagine he even whines in his text messages, he never stops whining. In the same sense look at the players calling Bettman an idiot and their tweets on twitter, it's just nonsense.

All the players and Fehr do is whine to the media about Bettman and the owners. It's all about how hard done by they are, how the owners are against them and how they feel like they're the only ones negotiating. I don't know whats worse hearing these lies or the people who actually believe what they're being fed! As much as they want us to believe they haven't really given up a lot and the NHL isn't completely ignoring them. When you look at Bettman during a interview or press conference he doesn't blame the other side or complain that it's all them. He tells it like it is; "both sides are still far apart" Because Bettman is more of a realist and doesn't stoop to play the blame game he gets a lot of blame.

Yes I know it's a tactic and they're trying to win the public over by blaming this lockout on the other side, but they are misleading. Maybe just for a second stop listening to everything you hear on TV and see on the internet. Heck I wouldn't believe anything anyone from the NHL or NHLPA let the "media know". The story of the boy who called woof didn't end well, take note NHLPA.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Early 2013 NHL Draft Rankings: Top 5

Even though there's no NHL hockey currently taking place there is still lots of junior hockey going on. In the same sense, regardless of whether or not there is a 2012-2013 NHL season, there will still be a 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The early season rankings were released on Tuesday so today it's time to break down the top 5 American prospects.

*Please Note Here Are the Official Rankings and they are based on each league the players are from*

5. Darnell Nurse: Defenceman Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL
The fact I hadn't heard of Nurse before these rankings came out means the majority of you probably haven't heard about him either. Good, let's learn about him together. The defenceman was taken 3rd overall in the OHL draft and has earned comparisons to NHL blue-liner Chris Pronger because of his size and defencive skill. The 6 foot 4 defenceman was ranked on top of the central scouting division in mid-September and is expected to go high in the first round. Durnell is in his second year in the OHL and is more ready for the intense pressure and responsibility that comes with the role; In 23 games he has 4 goals and 13 assists and is a solid +6. Durnell is a guy too look out for in the 2013 draft, he was ranked 2nd in the OHL behind Sean Monahan. 

4. Hunter Shinakaruk: Forward Medicine Hat Tigers WHL
Shinakaruk is arguably the best forward in the WHL right now and could easily be slated 1st in the WHL rankings if not for Seth Jones. Shinakaruk is in his 3rd season with the Tigers and is looking to follow up his breakout 91 point season with another productive year, in fact he's already on pace to match his numbers from last season. Being the captain, he needs to make sure he sets a good example for the rest of the team especially the rookies, which is why he feels he can't let up after his 48 goal season. Shinakaruk has lighting fast speed and a shot that leaves goalies clueless, those attributes combined with his strong play and leadership capabilities may make this his last season in junior. Despite his high ranking and projection of being drafted in the first round, the Tigers Captain will have to show up to camp and earn his spot on the Team Canada roster against some very stiff competition because of the lockout. Any other year he'd likely be a lock for the World Juniors, but this year he needs to prove he can compete and belong. Shinakaruk has 17 goals and 35 points through his first 24 games, each goal he scores you shows just how exciting he is to be living the dream.

3. Sean Monahan: Forward Ottawa 67's OHL

For the guys eligible to be drafted there is a lot of pressure riding on them. Some need to put up quick starts to earn invites to World Junior camps that will include many top notch players who would normally be in the NHL. Then of course there's the draft, but when Monahan was given the role of alternative captain with his 67's, the pressure became a little more intense. When the 67's are on the road he will be given the opportunity to don the "C" on his sweater, when they play at home that honour goes to Ottawa Senators draft pick and close friend Cody Ceci. A lot of pressure for an 18 year-old but if anyone can handle it, it's Monahan; Whenever there have been high pressure moments throughout his junior career he's always risen to the occasion and often leads his team straight to victory. He won gold at the World U-17 hockey challenge, won gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in 2011 and was the youngest player on the roster during last years Subway Super Series. He's a great pivot and a player that many teams will be anxious to get their hands on at the draft, if you want to hear his name called you better tune in early. Through 23 games, Monahan has racked up 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points, whichever team lands this prized prospect will be in for a real treat.

2. Seth Jones: Defenceman Portland Winterhawks WHL

The only reason I put Jones 2nd instead of 1st is because of everything thats being said about MacKinnon and how well he's playing in the "Q". But Jones has a very good shot aexpectedt going first overall and it will likely be decided based on whether a team wants a defenceman or a forward with their pick. Jones, like MacKinnon, is expected to be a franchise-changing prospect. The type of player that can change an entire team around for the better just by stepping on the ice. As Jones is American he spend the previous 2 seasons playing for the US national team development program before finding his home in the WHL. Seth is the son of former NBA pro Popeye Jones and at 6 foot 3 would have made a solid basketball player. While Jones will one day be a solid NHL defenceman his he will need a few years to develop and wont have the immediate impact that MaKinnon will. With 6 goals 8 assists through 21 games, Jones will have to step up his game offensively in order to out rank his Canadian counter-part. A team with the first overall pick who wants a quick turn around may choose a forward instead of a young defencive, in the last 13 years 11 forwards have been taken first overall.

1. Nathan MacKinnon: Forward Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL

There's not much to say about MacKinnon, other than the fact he has it all. He's the complete package of speed, skill and determination, plus he's Canadian too boot. To be honest I'd be surprised if the Cole Harbour native is not taken first overall. The kids talented, so talented he's drawing comparisons to Sidney Crosby. Just like Crosby, MacKinnon has the potential to be a franchise changing centre which makes him the top prize for every NHL team. There's no question this kid can and will an NHL star one day, with the potential to score 50 goals more than once in his career. Through 22 games, MacKinnon has 19 goals and 37 points and is 8th in scoring in the "Q". Wherever he plays he elevates his game to the next level and is ready to prove he's ready for the next level. The World Junior Championships will be a big test for the potential first overall pick.

There you have it folks, a rough look at the top 5 picks for the upcoming 2013 draft. Of course these picks are subject to change throughout the course of the year and outside of the top 2-3 anything can change. These picks do not include European hockey prospects, who will also work their way into the top 5. We're in for a treat for the next draft.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Gary Bettman's 2 Week Break Idea To Rally Owners

Things between the NHL and NHLPA have quickly gone sour, both sides claim to still be far away from reaching an agreement. Last week NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the media that he was suggesting a 2 week break in negotiations. News that angered NHL players and fans alike, many stating "What's a 2 week break going to solve Gary?!" I'll admit even I was perplexed at the idea of a break when both sides are so far apart, but various reports that have begun to surface put everything into perspective. If I may say well played Bettman, well played.

My initial thoughts after the announcement, were the season was gone, no chance to save it. The two sides would take 2 weeks off (totalling 3 weeks in a row) and then want to break for Christmas and before you know it there wouldn't be any time left for a season. I also thought this was another tactic by Bettman attempting to get the players to "jump the gun" and bite the bullet in order to get back to hockey. But thanks to a news article posted Saturday afternoon things are a little more clear. The article comes out of Philadelphia, and reports that Bettman may be losing his support on the lockout front.

To summarize the article; The biggest supporter of the lockout, Philadelphia Flyers GM Ed Snider is beginning to change his tune. Since the start of the season beginning December 1st has become all but impossible. Bettman's possy of owners is starting to get antsy. The owners were promised an easy win and a major cut of the players share. But since it's become apparent Donald Fehr isn't about to let that happen, the owners now realize the most they will get is a slim victory. And with angry fans and NHL sponsors ready to pull the plug any moment, is this small victory worth sacrificing the season and possibly ruining the NHL empire over?

As Ian White pointed out on Friday, Bettman only needs 7 owners (the NHL owns Phoenix making 8) to agree with him to keep the lockout intact, but if his biggest supporter flips the tables those other 6 may also reconsider. According to reports, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero will also change his vote if his counter part and rival Snider does. With those 2 GM's possibly switching sides Bettman would lose not one but two of his biggest supports throughout the lockout. If the Flyers and Penguins representatives switch sides, look for the Bruins and Rangers to switch their votes as well. All the sudden Bettman's 7 little dwarfs are down to 4 and with the power that Snider has an end to the lockout would be almost imminent.

Snider has already suggested using a mediator to help bring the two sides together and has reportedly made his own proposal to end the lockout and presented it to the Board of Governors. Make no mistake Bettman knows just how powerful Snider can be, which is why he requested a 2 week break to give him the opportunity to see where "his 7" stand on the lockout front. By requesting the 2 weeks off without really a valid reason it gives him an opportunity keep up his image with the media and NHLPA. They don't have to know there is a divide in the owners corner and if Bettman plays his cards right he'd be hoping the players cave and request an end to the lockout, making him once again look like the big shot. With the Flyers and Penguins teaming up to potentially stop the lockout, things look bleak for Bettman. Now you're probably wondering why the Flyers and Penguins owners would team up on anything given their on ice rivalry, but it actually makes perfect sense. Two of the higher end franchises in the NHL who have both put together solid teams, one could easily see that both the Penguins and Flyers are two of the dominate forces in the Eastern Conference and a long layoff could cease their momentum.

Bettman's first mistake in this whole situation was promising the owners a big win. Sure he probably had to butter things up to convince the owners a lockout was in their best interest, but the moment the NHLPA hired Donald Fehr it was evident the owners weren't going to get a big win, just look at his track record! Now that the owners realize they aren't going to get what they were promised they don't feel the need to continue this pointless lockout.

Although this predicament raises many questions; Which other owners are now switching sides? Will Snider in the end side with Bettman? Can Bettman survive this lockout? Only time can reveal the answers, but things surrounding the NHL sure are interesting eh? While everyone was starring at the NHLPA and waiting for them to crack, perhaps people should have been paying more attention to the owners; Billionaires can't stand it when their Billions stop rolling in.

The good news is the NHLPA appear to have rejected Bettman's 2 week break idea and are demanding to meet next week. If Fehr smells any kind of blood in the water he'll move quickly and go in for the kill, hopefully catching Bettman and his divided owners off gaurd.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ian White Calls Gary Bettman An Idiot

We're roughly 2 months into the NHL lockout and to be honest I don't know if the two sides are any closer now than they were 2 months ago. Although there's the drama of potentially losing a whole season, fans haven't really been treated to a lot of drama from either side. Besides Bettman and Fehr taking shots at each other through the media, there hasn't been anything juicy. But that all changed on Friday afternoon when Detroit Red Wings defenceman Ian White broke the typical player mould and let his thoughts about the opposition be known;
"To be honest, I personally think he's an idiot."

Wow! I'm sorry White can you tell us how you really feel about Bettman, oh you're not fond of him?
"Since he's come in I think he's done nothing but damage the game."

Alright, I think we're getting a better picture of what White is thinking/feeling through the lockout. But please continue;
 "If you think about all the moves he's made, teams that are all struggling seem to be the teams that he put in places where there's not viable markets for hockey. Three work stoppages-I don't know if he's in control of the owners or what he's saying, but I think it's only 7 of the owners that have to agree on something to have it pass. You'd think it'd be at least 50%. It just doesn't seem like they're running a democratic process, if you will."

Talk about not pulling any punches, White made sure his feelings were known and one would have to think he's not the only play that is feeling this way about the NHL. White stood up for his fellow players that didn't have the guts to publicly call out Bettman, but his comments only further prove the rift that is evident between the players and owners. It also proves that the players, who are not fans of Bettman, aren't going to cooperate and let him walk over them.

To be honest I'm glad that White had the guts to call out Bettman, he is an idiot and is about to ruin one of the best games on the planet. White and the rest of the players have every reason to be upset with whats taking place; In 2004-2005 the players lost everything and the owners ran laughing all the way to the bank, this time around the players just want a fair deal but the owners want a clean sweep like last time. Bettman needs to get it through his head that the players wont just roll over this time around. But what I believe really set White off is the fact that Bettman has decided it would be best if the two sides take a 2 week break from negotiating, and since they haven't met for a week that makes 3 weeks without any negotiations. You're trying to save a season and salvage the image of the NHL, taking 2 weeks off isn't going to help anything in fact it's very idiotic. It's virtually like Bettman giving the players a "timeout" because they won't listen and cooperate.

While I currently stand neutral between the two sides, as both are at fault to a certain extent. I honestly don't care who the "bad guy" is anymore I just want the NHL back! I applaud White for voicing his opinions about the owners and Bettman, he has some solid points in his argument; The fact Bettman only needs a handful of owners on his side to win a majority, is disgusting. You can bet there were and are several owners who are just as upset about this lockout as the players are; The Winnipeg Jets just got a team back, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings had a Winter Classic game and how about poor little Columbus who are losing their all-star game. Then there's the fact this is the 3rd lockout under Bettman, shows he has a history and is willing to cancel a season to get his way.

The only part of White's little rant that could be thrown back into his face is his argument about less teams. If there were fewer teams there would be a strong chance Ian White himself wouldn't be in the NHL. Fewer teams make room for only star players, very few teams would be willing to sacrifice a spot for a journey man defenceman. Also many of his fellow players wouldn't be too happy if there were fewer teams as the majority of them would be out of a job.

Kudos to White for voicing what everyone all ready knew, the players can't stand Gary Bettman. Good thing for fans is things usually get ugly before they get better, who knows maybe White stepping up will inspire some other players to voice their opinions.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Russia Wins Subway Super Series

I must say I have thoroughly been enjoying junior hockey throughout the NHLs lockout, these guys are good and bring the energy and talent night in and night out. Not to mention they are in large part the NHL players of tomorrow, so we might as well scout their talent now. Thanks to the CHL and Russia, hockey fans have the opportunity to see some of the top junior talent from both countries through a 6 game mini-tournament. That 6 game mini-tournament is known as the Subway Super Series. This years series finished off last night when team Russia defeated the WHL all-stars to win the Subway super Series with 10 points. Forward Steven Hodges summed it up perfectly;
"It shows how strong the rest of the world is" ~ Steven Hodges

For Canadian hockey players losing to the Russians in this mini-tournament is perhaps just what they need, ahead of the World Junior Championships in December. Heading into the tournament knowing they have some stiff competition from both the Americans and Russians should help force them to work hard and come into the tournament ready to work. The days in which the Canadian mens hockey team dominated at World Championships seem to behind us; There was once a time when Canada could coast right into the finals and expect to play a strong American team, but now Russia offers some stiff competition and stands a good chance of making it to the finals themselves.

To say I'm surprised that the Russians won the 6 game mini-tournament would be a lie. Over the last 5 or 6 years we've seen a resurgence of Russian hockey players and a lot of that stems from the super star Russians that are becoming high profile players in the NHL. While it's typical to see the Canadian born boys dominate the NHL draft, at last years draft it was a Russian who earned the honour of being taken first overall, Nail Yakupov. The Russians bring their own style of fast passed, hard hitting hockey that leaves fans and scouts alike speechless, their high scoring impact makes them instant fan favourites.

None the less this years mini-tournament showcased some solid talent from future NHL stars, some of which already drafted and others fighting to impress and one day have their names called on draft day. Although the Russians came out on top, they didn't exactly run away either narrowly skating away to a victory after a 3-2-1 record. For the Russians it was a final tune up to their national team before the World Junior Championships, a chance for the boys to build chemistry and work on their game plans ahead of time. But for the 86 different Canadian players it was a chance for many to make lasting impressions and earn an invite to play for team Canada at the World Junior Championship.

What surprised me the most about this years tournament is the lack of scoring; 3 of the 6 games ended in a 1 goal difference and there were only 28 goals scored throughout the 6 games, the lowest amount of goals scored ever in the tournament. Is this a sign of things to come for hockey fans come boxing day, are we going to see a defensive World Junior Championships?

Either way it was fantastic to see these young players in action battling it out for their countries, they played with heart and gave it their all each and every game. But like any tournament or set of games they are always players who stand out from the rest, so I'm handing out my 3 stars of the tournament.

3. Goaltender Andrei Makarov- Team Russia

The Russian netminder had a solid tournament and came up big when he was tested for the Russians, including a shutout in game 5 at the end of regulation. Makarov played in 2 games and stopped 57 of 59 shots fired his way for a .966 save percentage, the best numbers of any of the 3 Russian netminders. Makarov hopefully did enough to earn consideration to be the starting netminder for the Russians come boxing day. He showed flashes of brilliance in his 2 starts and showed that he can compete against some of the top players in the world.

2. Nail Yakupov- Team Russia

For Yakupov the tournament wasn't exactly what he was hoping for, putting up only 4 points in the 6 games. While the Canadians new to keep an eye on the Russian superstar and first overall pick, his showing was disappointing and has many fans and scouts wondering what happened? Even though Yakupov didn't exactly "show up" for the Subway super Series he's still managing to show his talent playing in the KHL a league right now hot with super stars. My best guess is there isn't anything wrong with the Russian superstar who is out scoring Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in the KHL, when you're the best player on the ice the other teams tend to pay extra attention to you and thats what happened. Yakupov had little room to move and show his true potential, something the Russians will look to change for the World Championships.

1. Jonathan Huberdeau- QMJHL

When you lead the entire tournament in scoring after only 2 games you know you've done your job. Huberdeau suited up in the first 2 games of the series when his fellow QMJHL all-stars played in two lopsided matches. Huberdeau managed 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points and finished on top of the statistic list when the tournament concluded.

It was interesting to see young Connor McDavid play with the OHL all-stars, the 15 year old held his own and didn't look out of place, but the 15 year old isn't holding his break to be wearing red and white at the WJC. All in all it was fantastic tournament between the Canadian players and the Russians and a little taste of whats to come at the end of the year. If these two teams met again in the gold medal match it'll be interesting to see who comes up and helps their team win.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Is Cody Hodgson Turning Into Another Tim Connolly?

When Tim Connolly left the Buffalo Sabres there were few people sad to see him go; He joined the Sabres in 2001, playing 8 seasons managing only 464 games with the blue and gold and only participating in 1 full season. His time in Buffalo was defined by injuries, if the guy sneezed he would throw his back out, he was almost snake bitten with injuries. Although talented and capable of providing a leadership role, fans were most concerned about him being "injury prone" and were willing to drive him out of town on his crutches. Finally fans got their wish when Connolly decided to leave Buffalo and sign with their divisional rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. But have the Sabres stumbled upon another injury riddled possible superstar?

If you've followed me on twitter or have been reading my articles for awhile, you know I am a huge Cody Hodgson fan and have been following him ever since his Junior days. When Darcy Regier pulled the trigger and managed to steal him away from the Vancouver Canucks during the Trade Deadline I was ecstatic, but there was still a lingering question; Why would the Canucks be willing to let their "blue chip" prospect go so easily? At first I ignored the question and was thrilled at the fact the Sabres acquired a possible first line centre and future superstar, but after his latest injury I'm starting to wonder if the Canucks were on too something...

Hodgson's rough patch with the Canucks organization is well documented; He hurt his back training with their training coaches and then their medical team misdiagnosed the injury which in turn forced him to miss more time on the recovery. Things went south, Hodgson had a tough time battling back from injury and the he began to blame the team for his misfortune, the Canucks were then accused of attempting to "barry" the young star in the minors because he was "too much trouble". Sure he was talented but he carried a lot of baggage.

Taking a further look into Hodgson's injured past; He was originally diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back, it was later revealed that it was just a muscle strain and his rehabilitation for his back only made the muscle strain worse. It was then revealed that the doctors had missed severe nerve damage in his leg which was preventing him from showing his full speed and potential to the Canucks scouts. Once his back issues cleared up and he rejoined the OHL he suffered a broken toe, just 8 days after returning from his back injury forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. He then admitted publicly that he was not healthy very often during the 2009-2010 season and was looking to put his injuries behind him. Before jumping to the AHL for the 2010-2011 season, it was found his toe had not fully healed and was not cleared for assignment by the Canucks, in addition to his toe not healing there was speculation he had re-aggravated his back. Late in 2010 he suffered a broken orbital bone after a high stick while at practice in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose. He was finally able to crack the Canucks roster in 2011 and remarkable remained healthy the entire season, despite being traded to the Sabres. It was speculated that Hodgson was unhappy with his ice time and complained to Canucks managed, which lighted the final spark in his fire with the Canucks.

Due to the NHL lockout, Hodgson was assigned to the Sabres affiliate the Rochester Americans and to say his numbers haven't been overly impressive would be an understatement. In 9 games he has just 1 goal but has managed to rack up 9 assists, still not the kind of numbers expect from a number one centre. In case you missed the news, he is back on the injury list with a broken bone in his hand after being slashed in a game on October 27th. Hodgson is on the shelve
for the next 2-3 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.

Ponder this; If the NHL ended it's current lockout disputes and training camp opened next week, would Hodgson be ready to go for the Sabres?

While Hodgson has all the skill to be a top play making centre and help become one of the building blocks of the future for the Sabres, the question becomes can he stay healthy and keep out of trouble? Based on his injury riddled past it's going to be difficult to keep the potential star on the ice and playing in games. Back injuries are complicated injuries, once the back has been damaged, it is more susceptible to damage in the future. What if someone leans on him awkwardly or he gets crunched into the boards, can and will his back hold up?

Only time will tell if the young prospect can stay healthy, if he can the Sabres have got themselves a future star, if he can't the Sabres will need to move on and quickly.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

QMJHL Shows Russia They Wont Go Down Without A Fight: Subway Super Series

The Subway Super Series officially kicked off with a bang this past week, as top level junior Russian players took on some of the top talent from the QMJHL. The Subway Series is a mini tournament of sorts that sees some of the best junior talent from Russian come over and take a shot at some of the best Canadian talent spread throughout the QMJHL, OHL and CHL. It's a great tournament that truly showcases some of the great Canadian and Russian talent available and eventually heading to the NHL. For fans it's a chance to see more top level players than one would at the World Junior Championship in December and a chance to prove that our talent is deep and we are still the best hockey players in the world. The series this year will feature 86 players from across the 3 Canadian hockey leagues, of course there are 7 players donning Russian colours that play on Canadian teams during the season which attests to the talent available in the junior leagues.

The Russians wrapped up their 2 game series with the top players from the QMJHL on Wednesday evening and the series ended in a tie, with each team winning a game. Russia came out hot and won the first game in convincing fashion 6-2. But the boys from the "Q" came out on Wednesday and showed they wouldn't be out played in front of their home crowd and beat the Russians 5-2. The 2 game mini-series featured some fantastic junior talent from both sides; Key performers from the "Q" included Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Huberdeau, who both put up 4 points in game 2 and sit 1st and 3rd respectively in scoring amongst all players thus far in the series. For the Russians, Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko turned some heads in game one and has put up a respectable 2 points. In addition to Grigorenko, the first overall pick Nail Yakupov has not disappointed having contributed 3 points. The action between the two rivals was fantastic, providing hockey deprived fans some highlight reel plays.

Next up the Russians will take on the All-Stars from the OHL for a 2 game mini-series and will face even tougher competition, perhaps the stiffest competition throughout the 6 games. Suiting up on the OHL side are many top ranked draft picks and some solid prospects. Max Domi, Mark Scheifele, Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton will not go down quietly. The 3rd game of the mini-series kicks off on Thursday night, it will be interesting to see how the Russians (who have already played 2 games) will fare against the OHL players who have yet to suit up for the mini-series. Will the Russians be tired? Will the Canadian boys be ready to go?

After a 2 game stint against the OHL players, the Russians will be heading west to take on the WHL All-Stars, for the final 2 games. Once again it will be no easy task facing off against the Western Canadian boys, who boast a very strong defencive line up. Ryan Murray, Morgan Reilly, Matt Dumba and Griffin Reinhart all play a sound defencive game.

Now you may be thinking; "Why have a series between the long time rivals without a trophy, what are they playing for pride?" In a sense yes they are playing for pride. There's a long time discussion that dates back well before these young stars were even born, on which players are better; The Canadians or the Russians. Neither side wants to lose the mini-series and look like the weaker team, especially heading into a very important draft year for many of these young men. You don't want a team to draft someone who beat you ahead of you and in the same sense you don't want him to have your spot in the draft.

More so for the 86 Canadian players, they are playing for a chance to represent their country at the previously mentioned World Junior Championship. For many it's their last chance to impress before camp or to even earn an invite to camp and a chance to play in the tournament. The tournament is key for the development of the young prospects as all eyes, including scouts, are focused on the juniors.

They are also playing for a chance to improve themselves before the draft. For some of the younger and draft eligible players it's an opportunity to show that they can compete against NHL ready talent and are ready to make that leap to the next level. At the end of the day, this mini-series means more to these young men than most can imagine.

If you're starving for some high level hockey or are depressed there is no hockey, open your eyes there's hockey all around you. Tune in and show the Canadian junior's some support on their quest against the Russians. You'll get to watch some pretty darn good hockey.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Latest CBA Talks Bring Optimism

If you follow me on twitter or have read some of my latest articles, you know that I have always been fairly optimistic about these CBA negotiations. Even when the NHL "cancelled" the Winter Classic and fans instantly fled to twitter to share their despair about the season, I was still holding hope that we would see hockey. Finally this weekend the NHL gave me a reason to legitimately be optimistic about seeing some hockey this season. If you saw my article yesterday, I explained my optimism. Although it sounds weird, I'm perfectly happy with the silence coming from the two sides as it means we're inching closer to getting a deal done and some NHL hockey back.

Don't fret hockey fans, there is reason to be optimistic about seeing some NHL hockey in the near future and that optimism comes from silence. The two sides met for a marathon meeting on Saturday that lasted until the wee hours of Sunday and then had a 7 hour meeting on Tuesday and are again expected to meet on Wednesday. The best news that has come from these meetings is the fact there hasn't been any news or rumours leaked to the media, immediately following the meetings.

3 Reasons I'm optimistic that we'll see hockey by December.

1. Media Games Have Finished

With a debacle as big as the CBA negotiations there's always a third side in the matter, the fans. Through the media the two sides have been firing missiles at each other in an attempt to win fan support, just in case the lockout lasts the full season. But the mind games with the fans are just maddening; through the wild circus I've gone from full support for the players, to the owners side to just get a stinkin' deal done! Judging from twitter most fans are now on board with the later side and just want to see some hockey, who cares who's responsible? It's come to the point that if there is a full season lockout, both sides are likely to shoulder the blame from the fans for the loss as both are equally responsible for this avoidable lockout.

Now that the two sides are negotiating strictly between themselves, and aren't posting their proposals online, they can finally begin to seriously talk about the issues. They've put down their guns and have decided that firing shots at each other isn't going to solve anything, about time! Now that the media is getting little to no information about the meetings, its a sign that both sides are making a serious attempt to come to terms on a new CBA and don't want the media to ruin these discussions. The less information leaked the better the negotiations are going. Although we may not enjoy the silent treatment we're receiving, it's key to ending this lockout and getting the game we all love back. The less we hear the better things are going.

2. Bill Daly Stepping Up

There hasn't been much of anything guaranteed or made known to the fans during this lockout. We've been told both sides want to get a deal done and we've seen player after player jump ship to go play overseas. But one thing that has been constant and portrayed to the fans, is the players hate and resentment towards Gary Bettman. The fact they dislike him so much is the driving force behind the NHLPA and has actually worked to unite the players. As dangerous as it may be this may be the most powerful and unanimous players association the NHL has ever come up against, the fact they have Donald Fehr heading things up sure as heck doesn't help matters.

With Bettman directly heading up the NHL and presenting ideas to the players, things haven't gone well and the players have been almost determined to turn down any deal Bettman presents unless it's clear cut the players are getting the better deal. Finally the NHL has seen the light and has taken Bettman out of the direct spotlight and have replaced him with Bill Daly. The marathon meeting on Saturday and the meeting on Tuesday were both headed up by Daly, instead of Bettman, and as a result there was much less hostility between the two sides. They actually sat down, managed to discuss the issues and have a negotiation. Imagine that. The key to calming the players down and getting them to agree on a new reasonable CBA is as little Bettman as possible, as long as Daly is running interference the two sides are able to talk and have no need to run crying to the media.

3. The Owners

The current owners involved in these discussions are not the same owners from the 2004-2005 lockout. What I mean by that, is that these owners are not ready and willing to sacrifice a whole season like they were willing too last time. For some their teams simply cant' afford to miss a whole season for any reason, let alone because Bettman refuses to lose. Teams like Phoenix and Florida have far too much at risk, to have a whole season go by without any NHL action. These owners know that a whole season without hockey isn't going to fly like it did last time as things are different this time around in the eyes of the public. Due to the fact the owners are not willing to sacrifice a whole season, they're not going to let Bettman get away with goofing off during these negotiations and as a result what we are seeing right now between the two sides is because of pressure from the owners on Bettman to get a deal done. If we see the NHL cave, you can thank the owners.

The last reason I'm optimistic about the two sides possibly getting a deal done is the silence. Think about, right before any large storm there is quite and the same thing took place right before both the NBA and NFL ended their respective lockouts. Right before deals were reached the media was fed very little information and then bam, the two sides had agreed on a deal. Hopefully the NHL will follow suit and this long painful silence will indeed be worth it, but judging on the past, the NHL seems to heading down the right path towards ending the lockout. This next two weeks are crucial to determining if a deal will be reached, so expect to hear very little from the either side down the stretch. If it's still quite near US Thanksgiving, there's a great chance we'll see hockey in December, as long as the next two weeks go smoothly there's a chance.

Now you know why I'm optimistic about the NHL, why are you optimistic or are still being skeptic?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Movember and the NHL: 5 Best Beards From Last Season

November is often a slow and boring month. It's the month before December and Christmas, it's right after Halloween and there isn't really anything exciting going on. But the thing that makes the slow and cold month exciting is the furry brows that appear on the upper lips of men in support of Prostate Cancer. Hence why it's called Movember, because of the moustaches that are grown during the month. Now facial hair and hockey go hand and hand, there's the traditional "playoff beard" and 3rd/4th line grinders who are more known for their facial hair then their play. But for hockey players, being able to grow a half decent beard/moustache is a badge of honour, so let's take a look back at the 5 best "mo's" from last years Movember.

5. Carey Price

There is never a dull moment with the Canadiens goaltender, and one thing he's not shy about is his confidence. He showed his

confidence with his "pedophile" looking moustache last season. Although he seems to grow the same style of "mo" every Movember, he still gets points for giving it his best shot. Who knows maybe if the Habs ever make a deep playoff run with him between the pipes, we'll get to see a real beard from the young goaltender.

4. Claude Giroux

Giroux gets bonus points for his "mo" despite using Just For Men to enhance his facial hair. When you're a ginger you're unlikely to grow a deep dark moustache, so to help make his hair's more noticeable he touched it up. Is it cheating or points for creativity, I vote creativity. What he lacks in facial hair he makes up for in skill.


3. Paul Bissonnette

Remember the grinders I mention above? Bissonnette fits perfectly into this category, people know more about his twitter feed than his actual hockey stats. So when Movember rolls around no doubt the attention seeking 4th liner makes the most of it. With his support for Movember it's hard not to cheer for his stache, but with last years effort he could fit the part of a creepy pizza delivery man.

2. Mike Brown

Brown like Bissonnette is a 4th liner who is known for other things other than scoring goals. But when you're playing in Toronto and not scoring goals the media has a tendency to eat you alive, instead Brown decided he was going to be know for his epic facial hair that screams "Go ahead take a shot at me!"
Brown rocks the handle bar moustache and doesn't cut it off after Movember, instead he lets it grow and in turn it's becomes part of his persona with the Leafs.

1. George Parros

Although Parros is no longer with the Anaheim Ducks, he will forever be known for his famous moustache, heck they even sell his moustaches in the Ducks team store. Parros says his moustache is inspired by his favourite musician  Sean "Greazy" Bryan. His stache is so popular that his former teammates in Denver got mad when he decided to shave it off. Parros has his own apparel line "Stache Gear" in which all proceeds go to charity. Talk about using your moustache to the fullest, not bad for the former Ducks enforcer.

Unfortunately because of the lockout fans aren't likely to see too many of their favourite players rocking a moustache, so if you're missing those hair faces just check back here to see the best ones from last season. Better yet how about growing a moustache yourself for the month of November and helping raise support for mens health, after all you moustache can't be any worse than Sidney Crosby's sad attempt at a stache right?
Happy Movember to all you "mo-bros!"

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Mystery of Derek Clarke

If you're a hockey fan chances are you're probably sick of hearing about unions. When unions are involved things usually get ugly pretty quickly, hence whats happening in the NHL. While things in the CHL haven't gotten ugly yet, they sure are interesting. Let me explain;

If you've followed the game of hockey for the last decade it's likely you have heard the name Georges Laraque. Laraque, a former tough guy who spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. He announced his retirement in 2010 after suffering from 2 herniated disks in his back. In 695 career NHL games Laraque racked up 1126 penalty minutes. Since his retirement he has tried his hand at various things including politics, but his latest venture see's him heading up the CHLPA to fight against the CHL. Laraque's goal is to unite all Canadian junior hockey players and help them fight for whats fair.

Now that in itself is perfectly fine, what is raising eyebrows is the man behind the CHLPA or rather the spokesperson, Derek Clarke. Clarke's job is to contact players and get them on the same side and eventually get them fighting with the CHLPA. But the Derek Clarke that Laraque believes he is working with may not be Richard Clarke at all. Players in the CHL got suspicious when they started to receive late night phone calls from blocked numbers and "union representatives" that refused to identify themselves. Now I haven't been in the business world before, but it's usually good to know who you're working for or with before venturing into something as big as this.

TSN is one of the largest sports networks north of the boarder and cover just about all major hockey stories and like any other story, they assigned a reporter to follow the progress being made by the CHL and CHLPA. That reporter is Dave Naylor. Naylor reports that he has spoken with 2 different men by the name of Richard Clarke. The first two calls he made to the man were answered by the same man, but the third call was someone new;
"The Derek Clarke we talked to on Halloween is different than the one we spoke to the first two times,” ~ Dave Naylor

So who is this mystery Derek Clarke?

Laraque and company swear the Derek Clarke they are working with is the real Clarke and not the suspected Randy Gumbley a former hockey coach busted for fraud. What makes the story even more unusual is Laraque was presented with a picture and asked if the man in the picture was Clarke, he told the reporters that the man was indeed Clarke. But the man in the picture was indeed Randy Gumbley.

Due to the uncertainty regarding who is behind the CHLPA the CHL hired a private investigator to find out who is behind the union, and one of the men being traced is Gumbley. The real Derek Clarke was supposed to meet with Naylor Thursday afternoon and record an interview on camera to help prove the he is indeed who he says. But when Clarke arrived at the meeting he refused to be recorded on camera and would only speak with Naylor off camera.

If Richard Clarke does turn out to be Gumbley it's bad news for the CHLPA and any chance they have at negotiating with the CHL. Gumbley is a retired hockey coach who has twice been convicted of fraud from dealing with young hockey players. One offence included flying kids over to Europe for $3500 to play in a hockey tournament that didn't exist. One of the reasons Randy Gumbley has been suspected of being involved, is because his brother, Glenn Gumbley, is one of the key supporters in the CHLPA.

If things weren't bad enough for the proposed CHLPA union, things got even worse on Thursday evening when Georges Laraque said he plans on stepping down as the head of the CHLPA. His resignation comes after a crazy 24 hours which saw Laraque's car tires fly off on the highway and the identity of the man behind the group come under question. Did Laraque get caught in a hoax? He invested a awful lot of himself and his money in this group to suddenly step down.

The sad thing for the CHLPA is that they just became a union and have already been corrupted. Considering the state the NHL is in, this is the last thing the game of hockey needs. Players forming unions that wont work together to fight the league, what happened to the days when they just played for the love of the game instead of the money? The game of hockey is quickly going down the drain, one bad story at a time.