Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just what the league needs...

The NHL Players Association, which has known it's share of turmoil in recent years, met with Donald Fehr to get some suggestions and thoughts about running it's union.

Does anyone else think this might not be the best guy to meet with? The baseball model is what the NHL has successfully abandoned. The revenue streams in the NHL are a fraction of what they are in MLB. Personally, I think it's easy to dislike Fehr - anyone that thinks that illegal drug use should be a bargaining chip in negotiations is someone that I don't agree with.

Hopefully the NHLPA was just getting some advice on the organizational structure of their union and some ideas on how best to run it, and not strategy on tactics and how to proceed. The NHL can ill afford to go back down the path of the Rangers spending way too much.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Penguins draft Angelo Esposito

The Pens selected Angelo Esposito with the #20 pick in the NHL draft.

Espo was the consensus #1 pick overall prior to his 06-07 season. He had been expected to slide to close to #10. The Pens had him as #6 on their draft board. By all accounts, Angelo is a steal at #20.

He is a center, but he has a reputation for being a little more selfish with the puck. That's probably not a bad thing to mix in with the distributors the Pens have in place.

I'm excited about the pick. I know it's another center, but you can't pass up a guy like Espo when he falls into your lap.

Pens sign Recchi and Roberts

The Penguins have kept both Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi in the fold for another season. Both were signed to one-year deals. Roberts will count $2.5 million against the cap, while Recchi will count $2 million.

I'm glad to see them both back. I think Recchi ran out of gas at the end of the year, but he can still be a valuable contributor. Roberts, as Pensblog is fond of pointing out, is essentially Jesus on skates.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Crosby wins MVP, Malkin wins Calder

The Pens won several awards tonight in the NHL awards presentation.

Sidney Crosby was named the winner of the Hart trophy. The voting wasn't close - he received 91 first place votes to Luongo's 25.

Evgeni Malkin won the Calder trophy for rookie of the year.

Crosby also won the Pearson award, which is the MVP as voted on by the players - that's a big honor, I think.

The only disappointing finish was Michel Therrien losing out on the Adams award for coach of the year. That went to Alain Vigneault of Vancouver.

Let's hope all of these lovely awards translate to some playoff wins next season!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Not Hockey: I can't take it anymore...

I think I know why writing is therapeutic. I saw two things over the weekend that made me want to scream. Then I thought about how this is the off season, and a little entertainment isn't a bad thing, so let me highlight two things that I think are Too Stupid To Be True (but they are):

1. A woman protesting the fact that her child wasn't able to attend her high school graduation ceremonies because her child had failed to pass the state standardized tests. Not unusual, right? Just take a look at the photo. If you don't get it, please beg your high school to rescind your diploma.

2. Here in beautiful Pennsylvania, our glorious leaders in the State House and Senate are debating the new budget. It has to be completed by June 30th. There was an article in the Post-Gazette over the weekend about the time pressure, and that Gov. Rendell is (amazingly*) pushing for a spending increase this year. In order to pay for the increase, the Governor wants to raise taxes (again) by increasing the sales tax and taxing the profits of those evil oil companies. That's not the good part. The House passed the budget, but balked at the tax increase. The Democrats (who are in the majority - that's how this managed to pass at all) want to pay for the increased spending out of the state's "rainy day" fund (think emergency fund). To break it down for you:
  1. There is an increase in spending of about $1.2 billion dollars
  2. According to the Democrat's plan, $500 million will come from an ANTICIPATED windfall
  3. $400 million from the emergency fund
  4. $300 million from "additional revenue possible from a continued growth in sales and income tax revenues projected over the next 12 months"
So, they're going to lower the emergency fund and increase spending with money they don't have yet? Does this strike anyone else as one of the dumber things they've heard recently?

The Republicans in the House have basically said that this is dumb. I agree with them. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Senate.

I'm not a big fan of Rendell, but at least he is reasonable about how to pay for this - he wants to spend more, so he raises revenue by raising taxes. The House Democrats are playing a shell game.

* there may be some slight amount of sarcasm in this adverb - Rendell has increased spending about 5 - 6% every year he's been in office