[Author's note: Every sports website on earth dedicated to covering just one league publishes a weekly power ranking, and we here at Puck Daddy have finally decided to do the same. However, the problem with power rankings in general is that they are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]
With the new Canadian TV deal, it seems that pretty much the only hockey TSN — Canada's answer to ESPN — will get to air any time soon is the annual pasting the nation's best U-20 players receive at World Juniors.
It's a tough bounce.
There's little debating that TSN has long been the go-to source for NHL coverage on either side of the border, given their stable of analysts and general lack of, shall we say, sideshows that mar the coverage provided by the CBC and Rogers. Don Cherry and PJ Stock, Brad May and Nick Kypreos. These are guys whose work is a detriment to the coverage their networks provide, but there's little or no dead weight for TSN, and certainly none so bad as any of the above-listed guys. Darren Dreger has his problems, but these have been outlined ad nauseam and are thus easy to tune out, and he still provides information the other guys can't.
It will be sad to see the likely exodus of prodigious talent from TSN, but at the same time, every James Duthie and Ray Ferraro — just for example — who jumps to a competitor will only serve to improve the product fans see. This is essentially the broadcast equivalent of the long-argued-for contraction in the NHL, right? The same amount of talent shared between fewer rights holders.
This probably ends up as a win for fans, but this really sucks for TSN.
642. Rick DiPietro
This was obviously a long time coming but it looks like the very strange career of Rick DiPietro is finally coming to a close.
Yesterday he asked for and was granted his release from the pro tryout contract he had with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, and the stats show just how much of a lost cause this was: five appearances, four losses, a 5.18 GAA and an .846 save percentage.
He was, of course, subaverage in the AHL last year after being sent down by the Islanders (18 games, 9-9-0, 2.93/.893) and his NHL career had long since gone off the rails. It's for historians to figure out just how phenomenally bad that 15-year contract was, and indeed the entire decision to draft him No. 1 overall ahead of guys like Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik and literally just about anyone else taken in those first few picks. The second goalie taken in that draft, by the way, was Ilya Bryzgalov at No. 44 overall.
The good news for DiPietro is that he's very rich and could have a strong career ahead of his as a broadcaster. The bad news is that Marty Biron is already boxing him out of that kind of job opportunity afforded to now-finished NHL goaltenders. The worse news is that TSN thing. The worst news is he's going to be a punchline literally forever.
155. Torey Krug's Olympic chances
The Olympics draw ever closer, and there is consequently a large and growing amount of speculation about who will make their respective countries' teams. In Boston in particular, a lot of attention has been paid to the chances of 22-year-old Torey Krug, because he is fifth among U.S.-born defensemen in points in the NHL, and is tied for the overall lead in goals from the blue line with no less than Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, and … Michael Stone apparently?
The case was made even deeper on Tuesday afternoon, when Dan Bylsma, no doubt responding to a question from a Boston reporter wearing a Torey Krug jersey, said that as far as he was concerned, the young d-man was absolutely on the Team USA radar. One assumes that this is true of literally all U.S.-born defensemen currently playing in the NHL, but that plus an overtime game-winner was all the Boston media needed to go into full-on campaign mode.
Check a usage chart of how rookie defensemen are handled by their coaches. Here's one now. The best rookie defensemen — in terms of both quality of competition and the percentage of shifts that start in the offensive zone — are up in the top left. You'll note only one first-year blueliner in the league is farther to the bottom right than Krug. He's been good, sure, but if the competition was any softer he'd be back in college.
Unless the American Olympic brass are really looking for a No. 8 defenseman who can pad the goal total against, say, the Latvian team, there's not going to be anyone in Sochi as bad as the NHLers Krug faces on a nightly basis.
Anyone entertaining this idea is a straight-up idiot. It's that simple.
76. The Senators' trade capabilities
How bad are things in Ottawa these days? Dreger reported yesterday that their attempts to pry Michael Del Zotto fell short despite a raft of offerings for New York. That would be the much-maligned and often-scratched Michael Del Zotto, who can't keep his head above water in terms of possession despite soft competition (20th on the Rangers) and an extremely high offensive zone start rate (second among Rangers defensemen behind only 23-year-old John Moore).
What did they offer? Oh, just Erik Condra, Eric Gryba and Colin Greening. Greening, by the way, hasn't even started the first year of his three-year, $2.65 million extension, and Gryba is an RFA at the end of the year. Think that swap would have had anything to do with the Senators' highly-publicized money problems? Naaaaah.
43. George McPhee
One has to think that Martin Erat is now just trying to catch up to Mike Sillinger, because there's no other way to explain how he's demanding to be traded every six months or so. First he asked out of Nashville, where everyone in the dressing room apparently couldn't stand him. So McPhee gives up first-round pick Filip Forsberg — who perhaps coincidentally has more goals and one fewer point in 12 games this season than Erat's zero and six, respectively — and gets a hot load of garbage in return.
This trade demand comes at a funny old time, because Erat is due $4.5 million against the cap this season and next, but only a combined $6 million in cash. What do you think the return McPhee pulls for this guy is going to be? A sixth-round pick? If he can move him at all, that's probably a best-case scenario.
On the one hand it's kind of disingenuous to say, “I don't know suffering repeated brain injuries was bad for you.” But on the other hand, the NHL doesn't do enough to prevent concussions even today, so forget about when Rick Vaive played. It's hard to begrudge guys for filing this lawsuit.
Cash grab? Sure it is. But not an unwarranted one. This is the way the wind is blowing with contact sports, so you knew it was coming. Frankly, I'm a little surprised more players weren't involved in this suit.
Obviously. They basically control hockey in Canada now. It's amazing to think about.
(Not ranked this week: The Red Wings diving, Cam Ward starting for Canada, Calgary trying to trade one of its best possession players, Having Kevan Miller out there across from Sidney Crosby for the dying seconds of a game, anyone who thought Edmonton wouldn't figure it out, Steven Stamkos' Wolverine powers, Martin Erat's agent the next time he's a UFA, that asinine Forbes team value list, the Sabres actually going through with that third jersey in real life, the increasingly ludicrous Russian defenses of Semyon Varlamov, anyone who thinks the Flyers are going to make the playoffs.)