Yet ANOTHER Brad Richards Post (It’s a Little Different)

The ( ) are merely to explain the line.

Compliments to Mike Henn for challenging me  do this; even though it’s not perfect, I like it.

Now this is a story about how

My life got flipped, turned upside down (hip check)

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right here

I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called New York (Too bad ‘Melo beat me here)


In Prince Edward Island born and raised

On the pond is where I spent most of my days

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool

And all shooting some rubber outside of school

When a couple of guys, they were up to no good

Started pounding faces in my neighborhood (It was actually one John Scott)

I got in one little fight and my mom got scared (Because John Scott murdered me)

And said “You’re moving with ya auntie and uncle in New York”


I begged and pleaded with her day after day

But she packed my equipment bag and sent me on my way

She gave me a $58.5 million and then she gave me my ticket

I put my skates on and said I might as well bank it


First game yo this is bad (Gabby is hurt again)

Drinking beer out of Stanley’s cups

Is this what the people of New York livin’ like?

Hhhmmm this might be alright


I whistled for a cab and when it came near the

License plate said “UH-BOOT” and had waffless in the mirror

If anything I could say that this cab was rare

But I thought nah, forget it, yo homes to New York!


I. Pulled. Up to MSG

And I yelled to the cabby “Yo, homes now the Stars suck!”

Looked at my kingdom I was finally here

To sit on my throne as the prince of New York


2011-12 NHL Salary Cap

As many of you know the salary cap has been raised for the 2011-12 NHL season.  This can help many teams to keep players they want or to lure in free agents.  But with this it also means that the salary floor has been raised, and this can hurt several teams.  The cap last season was set at $59.4 million and the floor was $43.4 million.  This season both the cap and floor were raised; the cap is now $64 million and the floor $48 million.

Now when a salary cap is raised many fans believe that it’s a good thing.  For example it would have been a great thing for the Chicago Blackhawks after their Cup run.  They had to dump many players like Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel just so they could stay under the cap and sign their stars to bigger contracts in order to keep their core.  But the thing that most usually don’t think about is the salary floor.  There are several teams that don’t make a ton of money struggle to meet this floor and still take home a profit.

One such team that had to make a few deals to reach the floor was the Florida Panthers.  There was almost a laughable deal that took place, the one that sent d-man Brian Campbell (from Chicago) and his $7 million cap hit to Florida for Rotislav Olesz and his $3.125 deal.  This was almost a necessary deal for Florida to meet the floor.  After the deal they still had about $24 million to spend to get there.  They then signed Tomas Fleischman and Scottie Upshall to identical 4 year $18 million deals, Tomas Kopecky, Jose Theodore, Matt Bradley, Sean Bergenheim, Ed Jovanowski, and Marcel Goc.  I believe Florida will put a better team on the ice than they have the last few seasons, but when you’re losing money that doesn’t mean a lot.  No one goes to sporting events on in South Beach.  The Miami Heat just had LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, and people still weren’t even showing up for the NBA Finals games.  You see the Marlins on TV and there is no one there.  No one goes to Dolphins games either.

I can solve the problem though, they should just trade and get Olli Jokinen back…

Here are some other teams that should be taking on salary before the season starts in order to comply with the new floor; Colorado, Phoenix, Winnipeg, NY Islanders, Edmonton, Dallas, Nashville, and St. Louis.  Edmonton and Winnipeg are probably in the best positions to still make money.  Winnipeg has no problem they sold out of season tickets in about 12 seconds; it’s as if the hockey starved fans there forgot that the team wasn’t actually that good last year.

The opposite applies to many other teams.  The raise of the cap is a good thing.  It allowed the NY Rangers to sign Brad Richards.  The Kings to take on a trade with the Flyers to get Mike Richards.  James Wisniewski received a huge deal for a defenseman that doesn’t play a lot of defense.  This probably allows the Devils to re-sign Parise.  It will help the Ducks keep their beastly top line together.

With this increase it allows for role players to receive more money.  Several players just filed for arbitration.  Arbitration is when a player is a restricted free agent and they cannot agree to a deal with a team because they think they deserve more money, they will file for arbitration and it could lead to a hearing, often going in the players favor.  When they are “awarded” a higher salary the team they were restricted to must match that amount, otherwise the player can test unrestricted free agency.  The main players that have filed so far are the Blackhawks’ Viktor Stalberg and Chris Campoli, and the Rangers Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Michael Sauer.  These players will more than likely  win in their meetings and will be awarded more money.

There are more than likely a few other blockbusters to come as several of those teams mentioned above try to meet the salary floor.  Just remember because of the floor, some teams will be fooled into giving players like Tomas Kaberle money to be on their team, cough Carolina cough.  Glad you can meet the floor though.  Be on the lookout for high contract players to be traded.

Toronto. The City That Should Riot

Every major sport in North America has that one team that has such a loyal fan base despite an inability to win.  In the MLB it’s the Chicago Cubs.  In the NBA it’s the New York Knickerbockers.  In the NFL, up until recently, it was the New Orleans Saints.  And in the NHL there is one team whose fan base stays solid through thick and thin and continues to sell out their arena.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team with a storied past in the NHL.  They are one of the Original Six teams and probably one of the most beloved franchises in all of sports.  The last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup was 44 seasons ago in 1967, and they haven’t been back to the finals since, currently the longest drought in the NHL after my beloved Blackhawks won it all in 2010.  There was a recent resurgence for the team dating back to the early 1990s, lead by Doug Gilmour and the late 1990s and again in the early 2000s by Mats Sundin.  No doubt two of the best players of their eras, they still could not lead the Leafs to another Stanley Cup Final, despite making the playoffs 10 out of 12 seasons from 1992-93 to 2003-04 before the lock out.

One thing I’ve found funny in the recent six seasons of playoff-less hockey for Toronto is their rabid fan base thinks every free agent wants to sign with them; they are essentially the Knicks of the NHL. Brad Richards didn’t want to sign with them, and Steven Stamkos won’t unless it’s at the end of his career just for the novelty of playing for his hometown team.  I’m sorry, at this point nobody really wants to play there to win, they play there for money.

Last season, several players gave Leaf Nation hope.  Phil Kessel was the prized acquisition a couple seasons ago, but they gave up a lot for him.  Since turning 21, he’s logged three consecutive 30-goal seasons. James Reimer gives hope in the goaltender department, a position that has been a revolving door in recent years.  Experiments with Jean-Sébastien Giguère, Jonas Gustavsson and Vesa Toskala have left that position in a sinkhole.  Many young players currently on the roster show promise, including Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Grabovski, Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin.  Along with Kulemin, Clarke MacArthur had a career year last season.  I don’t see MacArthur playing as well as he did last season, but he is going to need to for the Leafs to make the playoffs.  I think there are two future stars on the blue line with Luke Schenn and Keith Aulie to go along with Phaneuf and Mike Komisarek.

Now let’s get to the acquisitions for the free agency of 2011-12 season.  Is Tim Connolly the center that Kessel has been waiting for?  Connolly can be a point per game player, but he’s had constant injury problems.  I see both guys around 80 points this year.

There were two other trades that saw defenseman Robert Lebda and prospect forward Robert Slaney shipped out for defenseman Cody Franson and winger Matthew Lombardi from the Predators.  The second trade brought in defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Avalanche for a 2012 2nd-round draft pick.  I like both trades and the signing for the Maple Leafs.  If Lombardi can recover fully from the concussion he sustained last year that made him miss almost the whole season, I see him having a good year alongside Kessel-Connolly or Grabovski.  Liles gives them the puck-moving defenseman they needed after the Tomas Kaberle trade; the only difference is Liles doesn’t pass up a shot like Kaberle does all too often. I really like Franson, as he’s a very solid defenseman.

So the question is, “Will the Leafs make the playoffs this year?”  My answer to that question is no.  They aren’t ready yet and the teams that were around them also made acquisitions that made them better.  Would I be surprised if they make it?  No, I wouldn’t be surprised, but Leafs fans, don’t hold your breath.