NHL Bloggers Out In Front Of Management

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21: Tomas Hyka #61 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his second period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center on September 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Two recent stories show that there are a number of bright people writing about hockey without being paid to do so.  First up, the Paul Holmgren-led Philadelphia Flyers thought they had a diamond in the rough in Tomas Hyka and they were going to offer him a contract after an excellent camp.  Except Holmgren didn't understand the CBA, and the guys at Broad Street Hockey did.

Are the Flyers allowed to sign Tomas Hyka? - Broad Street Hockey
After his play in Wednesday's preseason game (his goal celebration alone was enough to want to keep him around a little longer), more attention is being paid to Hyka than ever before. Unfortunately, the fact that he wasn't drafted might mean that the Flyers can't sign him to a contract right now. Nor can any other NHL team. We'll explain below.

Even worse, the Flyers were going to draft Hyka late in the draft but forgot about him.  Now they've exposed his skills to the rest of the league.  Remember it was the same management team that didn't realize they signed Chris Pronger to a 35+ contract. The Flyers aren't the only team to struggle with the CBA when making key decisions.

The other story is James Mirtle's look at the Moneypuck revolution, the NHL teams using advanced stats and the men behind the numbers.

The Moneypuck revolution - The Globe and Mail
Which teams he works for and what, precisely, he does for them, however, remains behind closed doors, as he's sworn to confidentiality as teams try to keep quiet any work they do in what is very new territory for the league. What Desjardins can say is that some of his recommendations led directly to teams pulling the trigger on major deals last season. "I've seen people use Corsi to make trades," he said. "I'll put it that way."

There are a core group of NHL teams using advanced stats in some way, shape or form to make informed decisions and seek value against the salary cap.  A large portion of the NHL isn't, but those teams are beginning to kick the tires and inquire about advanced stats, as are a number of player agents.  Bloggers have been writing about this stuff for awhile now.

On the other side of management teams struggling with the CBA and/or preparation:

FTF Interviews Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson: Part One - Fear The Fin
"We look at 29 different teams and pride ourselves in looking at them with the same scrutiny we would look at with our own team. The reason we do that is so when we make the call to a different team, we have done the homework to view their organization in an educated light. Where they are at, where their depth charts are, where their prospects are, where their reserve list is, what their draft grid is and picks coming this year, what their cap number can be."

Doug Wilson is at the top of his game right now.

Or, how about... - Jewels From The Crown
"Nineteen years, $133,000,000? Cap hit, $7,000,000." Yeah, Kings fans are a little desperate.

Zack Stortini's Restraint Was Key To Preds 4-3 Win over Winnipeg - Preds On The Glass
"Newcomer Zack Stortini showed incredible restraint when he was horse-collared and thrown to the ice by Troy Bodie with 8:29 left in the second period of the Predators 4-3 preseason win over the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night."

Tragic hockey star’s lifesaving legacy — RT
This is both terribly sad and amazing at the same time.  It's quintessentially human.  "It was several days ago that the parents of 16-year-old Diana Ibragimova from Voronezh learned the real name of the man who saved their daughter’s life. Ivan Tkachenko, captain of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club, was sending big sums of money to Voronezh without disclosing his name or expecting any gratitude at all..."

Bobby Ryan Injures Groin at Practice - Anaheim Calling
Blogger breaks news of groin injury with Zapruder film to prove it.  "Bobby Ryan injured his groin during a drill at training camp today. You could tell he was injured by the sound he made while running the drill. I could tell it wasn't a knee because he wasn't favoring either leg, but instead was doubled over as he made his way to the bench."

Jody Shelley Is Garbage - Pension Plan Puppets
"Tonight he was the victim of the kind of hit that can potentially end a career. You know, the kind of hit that Brendan Shanahan featured in a video with numerous examples. Interestingly, Jody Shelley getting smoked in the head is highlighted in the video as illegal. Good luck watching that video if you're drowsy. Maybe that explains why some players didn't understand the message. The top stated goal of his new role is to protect the players. One might argue that the best way to protect players is to get rid of garbage players like Jody Shelley."  Shanahan's first action should have been a lifetime ban for Shelley.  The NHL doesn't need useless players who exist only to try to sucker punch people.

Pre-Lockout Chris Osgood Was Not Clutch - Brodeur is a Fraud
Prepare for hatemail!  "But, unfortunately, most people still can't separate individual play from team success. In their eyes, 400 wins and 3 Cups make you a Hall of Famer, no further analysis required. They portray Osgood as something that he simply never was, and that's not fair. Ergo, as long as there are specious and silly arguments being thrown out in his favour by people with influence within the hockey community, then I'm going to keep making posts to set the record straight. Sorry, Ozzy, it's nothing personal, I just believe that credit should go where credit is due."

In review: Bob Probert’s Tough Guy - Houses of the Hockey
Kent Wilson reviewed Bob Probert's story and comes away feeling less than sympathetic towards Probert:  "In the second, Probert becomes less sympathetic due to his seeming lack of insight. One is left wondering if Bob simply couldn’t appreciate both the emotional and practical consequences engendered by his behaviors. Not that he is wholly apathetic to the damage he causes on occasion: there are several points where he admits feeling guilty about his latest arrest or descent into "partying". However, his guilt is rarely spiked with the enduring awareness of the risks and externalities that are necessary accoutrements of drug and alcohol abuse. When confronted by, say, a frazzled agent or fearful wife, Probert’s reaction is one of a child who feels bad when he shoots his friend in the eye with a bb-gun. When he’s arrested at the border for smuggling cocaine or shuffled off to rehab at the behest of the NHL, his is the chagrin of kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He often regrets the unintended pain in the moment or the necessity of bearing arbitrary penalties, but there is always the sense he was more mournful about getting caught than indulging his destructive habits in the first place."

Andrew Cogliano gets renewal offer with Ducks - Los Angeles Times
"Edmonton was a tough situation from time to time. The team wasn't very good and mentally it was just a grind, all the time. Now going to a team where you have legitimate All-Stars and a team that's always in the playoffs, it's good for me."  Oh yeah, and he's playing left wing.

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