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Topics - Nik the Trik

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General NHL News & Views / Russians in the NHL
« on: July 17, 2018, 12:44:51 PM »

So, after the hubbub yesterday, I think something that has been bugging me for a while has sort of crystalized. Obviously this isn't a new issue as Ovechkin and his ties to/support for Putin's regime has been a subject for some chatter before but it's always seemed as though it kind of got dismissed with "Well, he's just patriotic" or "There are just cultural differences we don't understand" or "His support is being overstated/coerced/not entirely genuine". At all points it has seemed like the hockey media has wanted to bring it up so as to not be accused of ignoring the elephant in the room while also wanting to dismiss it as quickly as possible so as to avoid the notion of discussing something as dirty as politics with regards to something as pure as hockey.

But at some point this has to be a lasting and real issue, doesn't it? So much of yesterday's drama revolved around the idea that Russia has essentially committed what could be construed as acts of war against our allies.

So how can we reconcile a hockey league essentially asking us to support and cheer on someone who's actively cheerleading what is an incredibly troubling political regime that is seeking to actively undermine the fundamental nature of democracy in some of our allies? To say nothing of the many and varied terrible things they're doing elsewhere(supporting Assad in Syria) and internally(anti-gay legislation).

This is kind of unknown territory. Sure, Russians have been our "antagonists" for a long time but Russians in the NHL have always either been a) defectors from an acknowledged enemy of ours or B) visitors from a country that we're, if not friends with, at least not actively antagonistic towards.

Now? I don't know how bad things might get between NATO and Russia but things are looking pretty ugly right now and in a couple months we're going to have to watch as a Russian national and supporter of their dictator smiles  and laughs with the Stanley Cup with the President who seems to be sublimating the entire post-World War 2 peaceful co-existence between Western Nations possibly because he's at best indifferent to Russian interests and at worst an active agent of them. The idea legitimately turns my stomach.

I'm not saying I entirely understand the ins and outs or where to go from here. I'm not saying to ban Russians from the league or make them denounce the guy running their country but...on the other hand...I'm not going to make the obvious analogy here but can you imagine any other situation where vocal supporters of a country we might end up at war with are effectively being paid to entertain us?

I'm honestly not trying to sound alarmist or like Don Cherry here but this feels like a real issue here. Something that can't be swept under the rug just because we'd rather not mix real world concerns and sports.

General NHL News & Views / Would a NHL-backed Women's League work?
« on: July 07, 2018, 01:12:07 PM »

So this got kicked up a little bit in some of the press Hayley Wickenheiser did recently that, given the fairly wonky state of professional women's hockey right now, there was some push for the NHL to step in and offer sort of a WNBA like system where the league itself created and financially supported a women's league.

It got me thinking of whether or not it could conceivably work and though I was pretty doubtful initially I think I've sort of come up with a scenario where it might make a little sense, provided you avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in these efforts before.

Because, at a fundamental level, we all tend to like the women's game at the Olympics, right? Sure, most of the games are snoozers because the talent levels are so wildly disparate between Canada-US and every other nation and games between the other nations are pretty lacking but this league wouldn't have that. Primarily only having Canadian and American players(with obviously room for the best players from elsewhere if they're up to par) would go a long way to solve the issue of competitiveness.

So, how could it be a success? Here are some ideas:

1. Start small. 6-8 teams at the beginning. Big markets. Hockey markets. All connected to NHL franchises. Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York, Ottawa, Calgary, Minnesota...maybe someone else.

2. Keep it professional. Establish a cap on total salaries but a minimum salary that ensures that players didn't have to work outside jobs. So long as they could focus on being professional players, have access to professional coaching and training, the quality of the game would improve. Most sports leagues began from a place of paying players a real wage, follow suit.

3. Make the TV networks effectively fund the league. Want the NHL contract? Then you get the Women's League contract as well. If there are 8 teams with a 2.5 million cap, that's 20 million a year. Get that in TV rights tacked onto the NHL deal in exchange for hundreds of hours of content. Then the league only has to pay for things like travel and staff out of pocket or through other revenues generated by ticket sales.

4. Use the power of established brands. Don't come up with a bunch of terrible, modern sports team names. The Toronto team? The Maple Leafs. Boston? Bruins. Same jerseys, same logos, no "Lady Red Wings" or whatever. The Toronto Terror vs. The Montreal Monsters is a tough sell. Leafs-Habs? Less so.

I'm not sure if it would be viable to run this in the summer, so as to be hockey for when there is no hockey and likewise I'm not sure if it'd be viable to do this out of NHL arenas as opposed to Ricoh and the like but I'm guessing that the logistics could be worked out. Would it be successful? I'm not sure. But I do think that if there was a Leafs-Habs or Leafs-Sens game tonight that featured players from the Olympics that at least some of us would watch it vs. another terrible Jays game or...whatever else is on in the summer. And I think you could do it with the costs being a drop in the bucket for the modern, revenue generating NHL. And for all the talk about promoting the game and making hockey accessible to everyone, this seems like a real opportunity to access an underserved market.

Anyways, just idle thoughts when there's no hockey around.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / The Matthews Extension
« on: July 02, 2018, 09:24:13 PM »

So I thought I'd start a thread to move some of the Matthews talk that's bugging Joe so much out of the Tavares thread and into one where we can talk about the next big issue on the Leafs' plate. Also, I'll be workshopping some plot elements for The Matthews Extension, which is the title of my upcoming spy thriller.

Basically a place to talk about what we think Matthews should get and how that fits into the larger picture.

Personally, I really think that one of the reasons we haven't heard much about this, why Matthews didn't essentially sign the second he could the way McDavid did, is that Dubas wanted to get the Tavares deal done so he could more easily try and sell MNM on the idea of leaving some money on the table for the pursuit of glory the way Johnny Toronto(work in progress) did.

Anyways, I think the Leafs have three options on the table:

1. Go the McDavid/Eichel route and sign the max length deal. The downside here is you basically have to give him whatever he wants salary wise.

2. Go the Stamkos/Tavares route and sign him to a smaller, shorter second deal where you can hopefully get a discount because you're not buying UFA years. The downside being you have to give him a 3rd contract sooner when he has UFA leverage.

3. Maybe an inbetween step where you sign him for 6 or 7 years and get a smaller discount.

Now, because Matthews isn't quite McDavid(yet) I think the Leafs have a compelling case to make in negotiations that he shouldn't get the highest AAV in the league. That said, I think he's got a case that he should do better than Eichel did. So, to me, I'd guess the three options end up looking something like this:

8 years, 92 million

5 years, 45 million

7 years, 73.5 million

Thoughts on which way to go? Personally, I'd kind of lean towards the big mega deal one. I think, as much as I'm excited about Tavares, Matthews is still the guy who's going to be the guy on this team. I'd match any offer sheet for him so getting him long term seems to be the right call.

NHL Transactions / James Neal to CGY
« on: July 02, 2018, 12:08:35 PM »

5 years/5.75 aav

Didn't see it mentioned. Surprised Vegas didn't keep him.

NHL Transactions / Ryan O'Reilly traded to St. Louis
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:38:37 PM »

Thought the day was over, did you?

edit: It's confirmed by Friedman.

All Sports But Hockey / LeBron James to Lakers
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:22:59 PM »
So, you know, big news abounds.

It's 4 years, 154 million.

NHL Transactions / Stastny to Vegas
« on: July 01, 2018, 11:22:44 AM »
Invalid Tweet ID

NHL Transactions / JVR to Flyers
« on: June 30, 2018, 11:16:50 PM »

TSN is reporting that a deal is done.

NHL Transactions / Doughty signs extension with LA
« on: June 29, 2018, 06:35:18 PM »

Looks like we'll be spared a year of the Drew Doughty watch anyway. Reports are he'll sign his extension ASAP.

NHL Transactions / Hamilton to CAR, Lindholm + Hanifin to CGY
« on: June 23, 2018, 01:46:28 PM »

Bob McKenzie seems to be reporting that it's Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and Adam Fox for Lindholm and Hanifin.

NHL Transactions / Kovalchuk to Kings
« on: June 23, 2018, 11:25:59 AM »

3 year deal.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / 2018 Draft Thread
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:47:45 AM »
The Leafs have picks:

#29 - Rasmus Sandin
#52 - Sean Durzi
#76 - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
#83 - Riley Stotts
#118 - Mac Hollowell
#149 - Filip Kral
#156 - Pontus Holmberg
#209 - Zachary Beauthillier
#211 - Semyon Kizimov

For the full draft order:

What might happen in the first round?

Mock First Round

Prospect Rankings:

TSN Top 93

Some Nik the Trik patented Nev-R-Fail Predictions:

1. Despite there being lots of chatter, very few high draft picks will be dealt.

2. There will be a few trades

3. Coverage will be boring

4. Buffalo will take a defenseman with one of their picks

NHL Transactions / Domi to MTL for Galchenyuk
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:40:09 PM »
Per Friedman


Some reports on Twitter that the Sharks are going to bring back Evander Kane at 7m for 7 years.

If true JVR's eyeballs are probably just cartoon dollar signs right now.

NHL Transactions / Trade Deadline Mega-Thread
« on: February 26, 2018, 08:12:36 AM »

Just thought we could have a place to put some minor deals and general commentary about the deadline that isn't Leafs related.

Also, here's a fun drinking Sportsnet's deadline coverage and drink every time someone says "this is a guy..." or "at the end of the day..." and be dead by noon.

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