Greatest three what-ifs in Habs history

What if Maurice Richard was traded to the Rangers in 1942?

This is one of those neat bits of trivia not many people know about. The Habs almost traded the Rocket to the New York Rangers only 16 games into Richard’s career, getting Phil Watson back in the deal. But Rangers GM Lester Patrick nixed the idea. One theory I read was that Patrick thought Richard was too brittle.

Which isn’t far off from the truth. Richard played only one game in the 1940-41 season in the Quebec senior league after breaking his ankle. When he made the Habs in 42-43, he broke his ankle again, and that’s why he played only 16 games.

Everyone knows Richard’s story. He became one of the greatest players of all time, and won eight Stanley Cups in 16 years.

So what would have happen if that deal had gone through?

Man oh man, it’s almost scary to think about. First off, the Habs still would have had some success and won some cups. After all, they still would have had Jean Beliveau, Elmer Lach, Bert Olmstead, Doug Harvey, Toe Blake, Henri Richard, Bill Durnan, Bernie Geoffrion, Jacques Plante and Dickie Moore. Unless they had a curse like the one on the Red Sox after trading Babe Ruth, the Habs would have still been contenders.

However, they wouldn’t have won as many Cups as they did. Guys would have stepped up and filled in the void, but they would not have had Richard’s ability to dominate a game as often as he did.

More importantly, the impact Richard had on the French-speaking population of Quebec would have never happened. That tension needed a Quebec-born player. The Richard riot never would have happened if it were Billy Reay who got suspended instead of Richard. Quebec fans feel closer to those who have suited up for the Habs. (Marcel Dionne and Gilbert Perreault aren’t as revered in Quebec as Guy Lafleur, for example).

And that brings up another point: If the Richard riot had never happened, what type of impact would that have had on Quebec politics?

And none of this even mentions the impact Richard would have had on the Rangers.

Fun trivia: A few years after rejecting this trade, the Ranger loaned Phil Watson to Montreal for the 1943-44 season. The Habs went on to win the Cup, their first in 13 years.

What if the Habs went with Racicot in the 1993 playoffs?

After two games against the Quebec Nordiques in the first round of the ’93 playoffs, the Habs were down 2-0, and fans were calling for head coach Jacques Demers to pull Patrick Roy and start Andre Racicot instead.

Racicot’s regular-season record was 17 wins, five losses and one tie. His goals against was 3.39 and his save percentage was 0.881. Those numbers sound high, but they’re actually good when you look at the era. Only two goalies who played more than 25 games had a goals against average of under 3. And only five goalies had a save percentage of over .900. So in essence, Racicot was a good goalie for his era. Not great, but good.

According to this Sports Illustrated article, a poll in a Montreal newspaper before the 1993 playoffs thought Roy should be traded, and many of them were saying Racicot should have played Game 3.

Of course, Roy went on to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe.

But what if Racicot did play Game 3 against Quebec?

I don’t think the Habs would have gotten by Quebec. Roy stood on his head the rest of the series, starting in Game 3 (a 34-save performance in a 2-1 OT win). Racicot did see spot action in the playoffs, mostly when Roy was injured.

With Racicot in nets, the Habs lose game 3 against the Nordiques, lose the series in the first round and major changes happen that summer (they hadn’t gotten out of division since losing in the finals in 1989, losing three straight series to the Bruins and this one to the Nordiques). General manager Serge Savard would have been fired that summer. With no faith as Roy as the number one, the Habs would have traded Roy within a year (and not to Quebec/Colorado and probably for another goalie, so it would have impacted the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise greatly as well), and the Habs descent into a mediocre team would have started a few years earlier than it did.

What if the Habs drafted Denis Savard instead of Doug Wickenheiser?

Back in 1980, the Montreal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks had the first and third overall picks respectively, thanks to some shrewd deals. Montreal had made a trade four years before this for the rights to this pick, while Chicago made a trade a year previous where they got the Quebec Nordiques pick on the promise not to take Real Cloutier in the expansion draft.


Anyways, the Habs had a tough decision. Take Doug Wickenheiser, who was ranked as the top prospect by the Hockey News, led the Western Hockey League in goals with 89 that and captained his team to a spot in the Memorial Cup. Or they could take Quebec-born Denis Savard. The Habs chose Wickenheiser.


Quebec fans were upset because they wanted a French player. So the deck was stacked against Wickenheiser from the start.

So what if the Habs took Savard instead? Could Savard have had the same great career in Montreal that he did in Chicago? I don’t think so. I think Savard would have struggled in Montreal. Savard got to Chicago and was able to play top minutes because there was no one else on the roster. Savard was competing with Tom Lysiak, Reg Kerr, Bob Murray, Tim Higgins and Terry Ruskowski for ice time. The only other blue-chipper on that squad was Darryl Sutter. Savard was able to make mistakes and keep playing.

Montreal’s squad was tougher to crack: Steve Shutt, Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, Doug Risebrough, Mark Napier, Mario Tremblay, Rejean Houle, Yvon Lambert and Pierre Larouche. It would have been tough to get top minutes right away. If he made a mistake, he would have been benched (remember, Wickenheiser played just 41 games that season).

What do you think? What would have happened to Montreal in any of these scenarios?

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22 reasons to hate the Sens

The Habs play Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators tonight.

Things aren’t looking so good for the Habs, despite being up 3-2 in the series. They’ve had trouble scoring and they have just one more postseason power play goal this year than the Buffalo Sabres.

So I’m looking to help out. This worked last year when I posted it about the Boston Bruins going into game 7, so I thought I would post one about the Sens as a way to give Montreal extra motivation to win this series.

So in  honour of the number of years they’ve been in the league, here are 22 reasons to hate the Sens:


1. Sens fans thinking their team is great despite winning just one playoff round since Bryan Murray became general manager eight years ago.

2. The fact fans think Ottawa has been a great successful team despite just one year of postseason success and no cups in 22 years.

3. Having to rely on a different team from 100 years ago that has no relation to the current incarnation for Cup banners and retired numbers.

4. Thinking Alfie should be in the hall of fame (he shouldn’t).

5. The 2013 playoff series against Montreal.

6. Sens fans thinking Alfie mockingly throwing a broken stick into the crowd to make fun of Mats Sundin is the funniest thing ever. Note: It’s not even close.

7. Thinking Alfie is all class, despite him boarding Tucker from behind, intentionally shooting pucks at opponents, the stick throwing thing, etc.

8. Chris Neil.

9. Their fans stop attending games when Sens are losing. Not saying they are fair-weathered fans who only support a winner, but maybe we should ask the Rough Riders, Renegades, Lynx, Rebel, etc. about that.

10. They change the name of their arena every two years.

11. According to Ottawa media, nothing bad has ever been the fault of the Sens.

12. The fact fans think everyone is against their team, including the CBC crew. They hated Bob Cole during the Leafs rivalry, now they hate the current CBC crew.

13. The Pizza Line is the stupidest line nickname in NHL history.

14. Their first ever win was against the Habs.

15. Rod Bryden’s threatening to leave the league every year if he didn’t get more money, and convincing the federal government to give money for a bailout (the government finally realized how stupid this was and reversed its position).

16. The team put the arena is the worst spot ever, instead of downtown like, you know, every other team outside of Phoenix.

17. Complaining when Leafs and Habs fans take up half the arena. Here’s an idea: Sens fans could buy the tickets instead.

18. The city of Ottawa once passed a bylaw to prevent people from wearing Leafs jerseys.

19. The forensics study into Matt Cooke’s injuring Erik Karlsson’s leg.

20. They hold rallies that no one shows up for.

21. Sens fans thinking they would never treat opposing fans badly like the other fanbases do (hint: they do).

22. The treatment of Daniel Alfredsson at the end of his career, forcing the captain to go to Detroit.

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More than 100 reasons to hate the Bruins

Last year, I posted a blog post called 100 Reasons to Hate the Bruins.

Now, less than a year later, they’ve given us even more reasons. So heading into Game 7 tonight, I thought this would be a good opportunity to update the list and add a few more.

That being said, here are more than 100 reasons for you to hate the Bruins.

1. The 2011 Stanley Cup.

2. Cam Neely being in the Hall of Fame, despite not deserving it.

3. Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli getting more screen time in the playoffs than Ron MacLean.

4. They have a winning percentage of above .500 for 33 of 37 NHL teams they’ve ever faced.

5. The only reason the Bruins beat the Habs in 94 was because Patrick Roy had appendicitis.

6. You like the fact Michael Ryder won a Cup, but hate it was with Boston.

7. P.J. Stock on Hockey Night in Canada.

8. You feel guilty about cheering for Happy Gilmour while he’s wearing a Bruins jersey.

9. Once drafted Shaone Morrisonn, whose name was misspelled more than any other NHL player in history.

10. Bruins fans thinking the comeback against the Leafs in the first round was the greatest comeback ever.

11. This song:

12. Homer announcer Jack Edwards.

13. Once had Mike Milbury as a coach.

14. Once had Don Cherry as a coach.

15. Bruins fans think the Boston Garden was better than it was.

16. Raymond Bourque. Hated that he was so good.

17. Marchand being too stupid to know what knee to grab after he dives.

18. Eddie Shore.

19. The Bruins four-game sweep of the Habs in 2009.

20. Owner Jeremy Jacobs.

21. Andrew Ferrence flipping off the fans.

22. This rally towel suit.

23. The 1972 Stanley Cup.

24. Nathan Horton for scoring the OT goal in Game 7 against the Habs in the first round in 2011. (He also scored the OT winner in Game 5. The bum.)

25. Forgetting to pay their power bill and having a blackout during the 1988 finals.

26. David Krejci once complaining about the ice after a loss to Montreal.

27. Mike Milbury hitting a guy with a shoe.

28. Thinking the Kessel deal was the biggest one-sided deal in NHL history (Note: not even close).

29. Chris Nilan was cool until he became a Bruin.

30. The three straight years in the early 90s they eliminated the Habs from the playoffs.

31. The Neely for Pederson trade.

32. This Kyle McLaren hit on Richard Zednik, and not being suspended for it.

33. Having a bunch of hall of famers (Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch, Guy Lapointe, etc.) finish their career in Boston.

34. Giving up nothing for Phil Esposito.

35. Fog games at the Boston Gardens.

36. Milan Lucic.

37. Terry O’Reilly in the Hall of Fame.

38. They raised a banner for finishing first in the East.

39. Eddie Lebec never actually played a game for the Bruins.

40. The 1970 Stanley Cup.

41. Never getting suspended for any of their illegal activities.

42. Causing Rocket Richard to be suspended.

43. Their ugly third jersey.

44. The Bruins used to get preferential treatment because of Colin Campbell’s son, Gregory, playing on the team.

45. The fact this was pas proven when emails were released where Campbell complained to NHL referees when his son got a penalty, and the NHL did nothing about it.

46. Marchand’s low blow hit on Sami Salo.

47. Marchand’s low blow hit on Alexei Emelin

48. The finger wagging in the 2011 playoffs after Claude Julien said his team would never do such a thing.

49. Their embellishing.

50. Claude Julien says his team would never embellish.

51. CBC hiring too many former Bruins.

52. Anthem singer Rene Rancourt.

53. Trading for Tuuka Rask.

54. Bruins fans tweeting racist things when Joel Ward scored an overtime playoff goal against them.

55. The racist reaction after Subban scored the overtime game winner.

56.  The 1941 Stanley Cup.

57. Phil Esposito. No reason, but I figure the greatest Bruins scorer in their history deserves to be mentioned.

58. Tim Thomas not going to the White House.

59. Derek Sanderson when he used to call Bruins games.

60. The Big Z is a stupid nickname.

61. Marchand diving.

62. Orring.

63. They don’t have any great nicknames for their players.

64. Having Brad Marchand as a player.

65. This Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty.

66. Chara not being suspended for that hit.

67. Dr. Mark Recchi saying MaxPac was faking his concussion.

68. Milan Lucic running away from Georges Laraque.

69. The 1939 Stanley Cup.

70. Ben Affleck is a fan, but admits to being a bandwagon jumper.

71. Dane Cook is a fan.

72. So is Mark McGrath.

73. Pushing Leafs fans down stairs.

74. The whining about the too many men on the ice call.

75. This song:

76. Brad Marchand punching a Sedin numerous times with no penalty. (I don’t mind the fact he kept hitting Sedin, just that he didn’t get a penalty).

77. Being happy Ray Bourque won a Cup with another team.

78. One guy has Jean Ratelle and Zdeno Chara as the two greatest Bruins of all-time.

79. Bruins fans are sore losers.

80. Once naming Jason Allison as captain.

81. Ric Flair’s wooooo after every goal, even though he has nothing to do with Boston.

82. Ken “The Rat” Linesman

83. Jack Edwards once comparing Matt Cooke to Sirhan Sirhan.

84. Andy Moog.

85. I just know I’m going to hate Torey Krug within a few years. I can feel it.

86. The 1929 Stanley Cup.

87. Thinking they’re a great all-time team even though they’ve won six Stanley Cups in 90 years.

88. Glen Murray as a Bruin. I just never liked the guy.

89. Bill Simmons will only write about hockey when the Bruins are involved in the Cup finals.

90. Milan Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller

91. Never played Pascal Pelletier (from my hometown) more than six games.

92. Bruins goalies being sore losers when they lose in a shootout.

93. This Bobby Orr goal was not that great. He scored before he was tripped.

94. This photo is also overblown.

95. The year Milbury chose a bunch of undeserving Bruins for the all-star game.

96. By eliminating the Leafs in the first round last year, we got to see less of April Reimer and Elisha Cuthbert.

97. Spoiled the Subban name by drafting Malcolm Subban.

98. Shutting off the hot water for visiting teams in the old Boston Gardens.

99. Shawn Thornton thinking he’s part of a code, saying “People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable.”

100. Then he does this.

101. And this.

102. Terry O’Reilly going into the stands to fight someone.

103. Their mascot is second-rate compared to Youppi.

104. You conveniently overlook the fact that Jacques Plante once played for them.

105. People thinking Rask is better than Price.

106. Lucic feels the need to spear a guy from behind.

107. Of course, the league decides to do nothing, so Lucic knows he is free to do it again.

108. Bruins fans thinking Bobby Orr was better than Wayne Gretzky.

109. Bruins fans in general.

110. They’re the Bruins.

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Debunking the myth that Murray built the Ducks as Cup champions

When I wrote my post a few weeks ago about Bryan Murray being fired, one of the most familiar refrains I continually heard was that Murray pretty much built the 2007 Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks.

This has been repeated so much by so many people that it’s basically taken as fact. It’s a statement that is used to make Murray look like a shrewd GM, and make it seem like he’s done a great job of doing the same here in Ottawa.

However, the statement is a lie. Murray had little to do with 2007 Cup champions. The facts back this up. The majority of that squad was built by other GMs, and even most of the core was constructed by other general managers.

Here’s a look at every single member of that team that won the Stanley Cup, and how they became members of the Anaheim Ducks.


Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 13-4, .922 save percentage, 1.97 GAA: Traded to Anaheim by Calgary for Anaheim’s second round choice in 2000 Entry Draft on June 10, 2000. GM at the time: Pierre Gauthier

Ilya Bryzgalov, 3-1, .922 save percentage, 2.25 GAA: Drafted by Anaheim in the second round (44th overall) of the 2000 NHL entry draft. GM at the time: Pierre Gauthier


Chris Pronger, 19 games, three goals, 12 assists, 30:11 minutes a night:  Traded to Anaheim on July 3, 2006 by Edmonton for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Anaheim’s 1st round choice in 2007 Entry Draft and Anaheim’s 1st and 2nd round choices in 2008 Entry Draft. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Scott Niedermayer, 21 GP, three goals, eight assists, 29:51 minutes a night: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim on August 4, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Francois Beauchemin, 20 GP, four goals, four assists, 30:33 minutes a night: Traded to Anaheim by Columbus with Tyler Wright for Sergei Fedorov and Anaheim’s 5th round choice in 2006 Entry Draft on November 15, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Rik Jackman, seven GPs, one goal, one assist: Traded to Anaheim by Florida for Anaheim’s 6th round choice in 2007 Entry Draft on January 3, 2007. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Sean O’Donnell, 21 GPs, two assists, 20:20 minutes a night: Traded to Anaheim by Phoenix for Joel Perreault on March 9, 2006. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Kent Huskins, 21 GPs, one assist: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, August 30, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke.

Joe DiPenta, 16 GP: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, August 11, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke.

Aaron Rome, one game played: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, June 7, 2004. GM at the time: Al Coates


Andy McDonald, 21 games played, 10 goals, four assists: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, April 3, 2000. GM at the time: Pierre Gauthier

Ryan Getzlaf, 21 games played, seven goals, 10 assists: Drafted by Anaheim in the first round (19th overall), 2003 NHL Entry draft. GM at the time: Bryan Murray

Travis Moen, 21 games played, seven goals, five assists: Traded to Anaheim by Chicago for Michael Holmqvist, July 30, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Corey Perry, 21 games played, six goals, nine assists: Drafted by Anaheim in the first round (28th overall), 2003 NHL Entry Draft. GM at the time: Bryan Murray

Teemu Selanne, 21 games played, five goals, 10 assists: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, August 22, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Rob Niedermayer, 21 games played, five goals, five assists: Traded to Anaheim by Calgary for Mike Commodore and Jean-Francois Damphousse, March 11, 2003. GM at the time: Bryan Murray

Samuel Pahlsson, 21 games played, three goals, nine assists: Traded to Anaheim by Boston for Patrick Traverse and Andrei Nazarov, November 18, 2000. GM at the time: Pierre Gauthier

Dustin Penner, 21 games played, three goals, five assists: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, May 12, 2004. GM at the time: Bryan Murray

Chris Kunitz, 13 games played, one goal, five assists: Claimed on waivers by Anaheim from Atlanta, October 18, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Todd Marchant, 11 games played, zero goals, three assists: Claimed on waivers by Anaheim from Columbus, November 21, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Brad May, 18 games played, zero goals, one assist: Traded to Anaheim by Colorado for Michael Wall, February 27, 2007. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Shawn Thornton, 15 games played, zero points: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, July 14, 2006. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Ryan Shannon, 11 games played, zero points: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, November 28, 2005. GM at the time: Brian Burke

George Parros, five games played, zero points: Traded to Anaheim by Colorado with Colorado’s 3rd round choice in 2007 Entry Draft for Atlanta’s 2nd round choice in 2007 Entry Draft and Anaheim’s 3rd round choice in 2007 Entry Draft, November 13, 2006. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Ryan Carter, four games played, zero points: Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, July 12, 2006. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Drew Miller, three games played, zero points: Drafted by Anaheim in the sixth round (186th overall), 2003 NHL Entry Draft. GM at the time: Bryan Murray

Joe Motzko, three games played, zero points: Traded to Anaheim by Columbus with Mark Hartigan and Columbus’ 4th round choice in 2007 Entry Draft for Zenon Konopka, Curtis Glencross and Anaheim’s seventh round choice in 2007 Entry Draft, January 26, 2007. GM at the time: Brian Burke

Mark Hartigan, one game played, zero points: Traded to Anaheim by Columbus with Joe Motzko and Columbus’4th round choice in 2007 Entry Draft for Zenon Konopka, Curtis Glencross and Anaheim’s 7th round choice in 2007 Entry Draft, January 26, 2007. GM at the time: Brian Burke


So there you have it. Most people will point to the Perry-Getzlaf-Penner line. But that’s about all Murray had a hand in.

The Ducks won the Cup that year for four reasons.

1) The big three defencemen: Pronger, Niedermayer and Beauchemin all averaged around 30 minutes a night, and did a great job shutting down other teams’ top lines. Murray did not bring in any of those defencemen (or any Cup-winning dmen at all).

2) Their goalies were lights out. Most of the time it was J.S. Giguere, but no matter who was in net, they were great. Murray had nothing to do with that.

3) The Ducks had a great shutdown line in Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Travis Moen. Murray brought in Niedermayer, the other two were brought in by Brian Burke.

4) Their timely scoring. It mostly came from three people: Selanne, McDonald and Getzlaf. While Murray drafted Getzlaf, he had nothing to do with the other guys.

In fact, of 28 players that played at least one game for the Ducks that playoff season, Murray brought in five of them. That’s it.

Murray doesn’t know how to build a Cup contender, and there’s nothing in his GM history to show otherwise.

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Time to fire Bryan Murray

“Brian Murray is one of the best general managers in the NHL.”

This is a refrain I hear too often, but there is absolutely nothing that can back up this claim. In fact, almost the opposite argument can be made. Bryan Murray is an overrated general manager who gets too much credit for a team that has routinely struggled since he took over.

Will C photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Bryan Murray should be fired as Sens GM.

And with the Sens having problems once again this season (six points out of a playoff spot), the pressure is on for Murray to do something. But Murray is the reason the Sens are where they are today.

I believe, and I’ve written about this before, that all this is karma for the Sens firing John Muckler days after the Stanley Cup finals ended. You know, the finals that featured the Ottawa Senators.

The story goes that the Sens brass didn’t want to lose Murray, and were willing to fire Muckler instead of taking a chance that Murray wouldn’t stay with the organization. It was a big gamble. But it has backfired big time.

Since then, Murray has done more wrong things than right, and it shows with the on-ice product.

Here are seven reasons (one for each season he’s been general manager) why Murray should be let go:

1) Playoff record.

The playoffs say it all. In five seasons with Muckler as general manager, the Sens won seven playoff series. They made the playoffs every season, and only once failed to make it out of the first round. Their playoff record was 39-28. Their series record was 7-5.

Let’s look at Murray’s record. In seven seasons with Murray as general manager, the team has won one playoff series. They’ve missed the playoffs two years. Their playoff record is 12-17. Their series record is 1-4.

2) Regular season record.


That’s not a good record. The Sens have lost more than half of their regular season games since Bryan Murray became general manager.

3) Coaching carousel.

Sure, Murray hired Paul MacLean, who has done some good stuff with the team. But Murray had four chances to get it right. One of them was bound to be successful.

Murray started off by hiring Jock Paddock, who lasted 64 games. He then put himself behind the bench, and went 7-9-2 in the regular season, and was swept in the playoffs. Murray followed this up by hiring Craig Hartsburg, who lasted 48 games before being fired.

The next coaching guy was Cory Clouston, who actually managed to last more than a season, going a little more than two years before getting canned.

And now there’s MacLean. But that’s a lot of bad coaches over the years, all hired by Murray.

4) Daniel Alfredsson.

It’s been covered by many people about how Alfie left the team. I think the Sens should have showed some loyalty and given Alfredsson what he wanted. But fine, no loyalty, and that might not have been Murray’s decision anyways.

But Murray could have taken the high road while all this was happening. Instead, he chose to blame everything on Alfie. And when #11 told his side of the story, Murray said Alfie had it all wrong.

The face of the franchise for so many years, and this is how you reward him?

5) Free agent signings.

Can you name the last free agent signing Murray made that had an impact on this team? Alexei Kovalev? Bobby Butler? Jarkko Ruuttu? Corey Locke? Zenon Konopka? Guillaume Latendresse? Randy Robitaille? Brendan Bell? Brad Isbister?

Sergei Gonchar is about the only free agent signing Murray ever made that had something positive, and it took three years before it happened. Gonchar was brutal with the Sens the first two years of his contract (he had 27 and 37 points in each season, and was a combined minus-19). And he was grossly overpaid.

6) Trading prospects/picks

Muckler gets blamed a lot for trading prospects and picks and going for it, which is actually a myth. In his five years as Sens GM, he drafted young guys like Spezza, Emery, Schubert, Eaves, Elliott, Regin, Meszaros, Greening, Condra, and Foligno. And what young prospects did he trade away?

Instead of listing them all, I’ll just mention the names you might recognize (under the age of 25 at the time of the trade): Jani Hurme, Tim Gleason, Brooks Laich, Brandon Bochenski, And that’s it.

He never traded away a top prospect, as he let them mature and actually play with the Sens. And only twice did he trade away a second-round pick (not including trades that happened at the draft). And he never traded away a first rounder.

Anyways, Murray started off his GM career with Ottawa much the same way. He traded for Cory Stillman, Martin Lapointe, Mike Commodore, Andy Sutton and Matt Cullen. None of those guys stayed with the team after the season was done.

In case you’re curious, since Murray has been GM, he’s traded away (again, 25 and younger) Patrick Eaves, Andrej Meszaros, Antoine Vermette, David Rundblad, Jakob Silfverberg, three first round picks and four second round picks.

Yet, Muckler gets blamed for giving up on the future. It’s revisionist history at its best.

7) Not signing Gary Roberts.

Sens fans don’t like to admit now, but during the 2007 playoffs when the team was getting creamed by the Ducks, there was a lot of blame directed at Muckler for not trading for Gary Roberts.

In fact, it has been rumoured as one of the main reasons Muckler was let go (here’s a link to a Hockey News story that says the same thing, but here’s a blog post from the time it happened that mentions it). Owner Eugene Melynk even hinted at it during a press conference at the time.

But Murray hasn’t been able to bring in a Gary Roberts-type player either.

So how can one man’s downfall not be his successor’s downfall?


I don’t understand how Sens fans could be happy with Murray at this point. He’s overhauled the roster completely since he took over. They lose in the regular season. They lose in the playoffs.

They’ve traded away prospects, first and second rounders. They mistreated their legendary captain. They’ve had five coaches in seven years. They haven’t made one good free agent signing.

Somehow, Murray is still a great GM? Anywhere else, he’d be gone.

It’s time for him to go.

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My keeper pool draft results

So we had our points only keeper pool draft the other night.

Matt Boulton photo, via Wikimedia Commons

One second after this shot was taken, Ryan Kesler fell to the ice looking for a penalty.

As defending champion, I had traded away a lot of my draft picks to secure the title. In a 74-player draft, I had only three picks, and my first one wasn’t until #41. But I think I have a good chance to repeat.

That said, I did make a few trades, and ended up with a few extra picks, which was much needed.

This was my team going into the draft:

Forwards: Malkin, Stamkos, Getzlaf, Hall, Kunitz, St. Louis, Spezza, Gaborik, Brown, Weiss

Defence: Letang, Enstrom, Schultz, Markov, Keith, Carle

Goalies: Price, Niemi

Our top eight forwards, five defencemen and two goalies count. I was fine with my defence, and wanted a goalie and the rest in forwards.

Anyways, here are my picks and the reasoning behind each one.

Round 3, Pick #30 overall

I had to make a trade to get the next two picks. Anyways, I went with Ryan Kesler. He had back-to-back 70-point seasons before having a bad year and then an injury year. However, he was still on pace for 63 points last season. He’s not a Band-Aid boy (take away last season, and he’s only missed seven games in the previous five years). I think he’ll do well with the new coach.

Round 3, Pick #35

Again, I wanted offence, so I went with Ray Whitney. I love this pick. Whitney had 72 points two years ago. On a bad Dallas team last season, he had 29 in 32 games, a 74-point pace. Like Kesler, he’s not usually injury prone. And he has a lot more help in Dallas this year and a lot more youth around him.

Round 4, pick #41

I originally took Derick Brassard in the 10th round of the inaugural draft in 2009. He was then part of my first ever deal. Since then, he’s pretty much done nothing in the NHL nor in fantasy hockey. But I think this year will be different. He had 11 points in 13 games with the Rangers last year after the trade. Let’s hope he continues that.

Round 5, #57

I normally don’t like to take St. Louis Blues players, but David Backes was still there. The Blues spread around their scoring a lot, so I try to shy away from teams that do that. But it was such a late pick, I had to take the chance on the #1 line guy.

Round 6, #70

I don’t expect him to finish in my top eight, but Michael Ryder will still be a top-six player and get top PP minutes. Someone needs to score in New Jersey, so I expect the team to lean heavily on the Newfoundland native. He’s hit 60 points a couple of times (and was on pace for that last year), so I’d be happy if he got that again.

Round 6, #72

As I said at the beginning, I wanted a goalie. But Nabokov, Halak and Thomas were gone before my first pick. The only guys left were in tandems (Reimer was just taken, Bishop in the fourth round, Mason and Emery weren’t selected). But Kari Ramo was still there, so I took him. Now, I know he’s not going to do better than Price and Niemi this season. But Ramo is the clear-cut #1 goalie. And if he plays well enough, he could be worth keeping at the end of the year. Worst case: he sucks and I wasted a 72nd pick on him. Low risk, high reward.

Overall, I’m pleased with my draft. I have a chance at a couple of home runs. The forwards round out my team nicely. I picked up a #1 goalie really late.

Now it’s time to try and repeat.

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My problems with the Amazing Race Canada

So tonight is the finale of the Amazing Race Canada.

The Amazing Race wouldn’t have been as good without Jet and Dave.

While it’s been fun to watch some of the locations and a couple of the teams, the show made a lot of mistakes. Some of the decisions made by contestants are producers were just baffling.

Here are my top five problems with the show:

1) My friend Mike pointed this one out. Almost every single couple has some sort of cause. There’s the gay cowboys. The guy who had his legs blown off. The dad with Parkinson’s. And so on. Usually, the Amazing Race has one or two of them in a season. This year, almost every team had a cause. It kind of takes away from one of them whenever everyone has one.

2) Every team is athletic. Right from the start, you could tell this wasn’t going to resemble the average Canadian. Contestants have run track, have been in the Army, done Body Break for 25 years, been cheerleaders, etc. Where was the guy who doesn’t play sports? The geek couple who spend too much time on the computer? The couple who weigh 250 pounds each?

What makes the Amazing Race great is the cross-section of life it represents. The Amazing Race Canada only represents the fit.

3) Where the contestants are from. Five of the nine teams are from Ontario. And then one from each of Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta. No one from the North. No one from the Atlantic provinces.

My theory? Because people from those areas would have an advantage when it came to their province, so they weren’t included. Most Newfies have been to St. John’s, or know the language. That would have been easier for them. Same with Nova Scotians and Halifax.

This is where the original Amazing Race is better. Because they fly all over the world, there’s no local connection. (By the way, that’s another problem with this show: see my post on that here).

4) The contestants are stupid. If any one in the U.S. is watching this show, they must think Canadians are in-shape stupid people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a season of the Amazing Race where people are just stupid the whole way through. Some examples:

— In Quebec City, in a race to not finish last between two teams left at a roadblock, Tim Jr. was stupid enough to tell Vanessa what the translation for cherries was in French when she didn’t know it. She would still be there making those crepes if it wasn’t for that.

— The doctor couple and Hal and Joanne told everyone that they took the two-hour penalty in Saskatchewan. That meant the two teams were gunning for each other, and Tim and Tim were gunning for Hal and Joanne. If either of the teams don’t say they took the penalty, people wouldn’t have been gunning for them. All those two teams did was put a target on their backs, and Hal and Joanne got eliminated for it.

— Kristen and Darren didn’t use a Fast Forward when they had one, and got eliminated.

5) There seem to be several parts of the show that is just off a little.

This one is harder to explain, but I’ll give three examples.

— In Halifax, as each team arrived at the mat, Jon told them the race was still ongoing, and gave them their next clue. Then, they all boarded the same boat and went to Newfoundland, where they all started on an even keel. What’s the point of having Jon there at all? The team that arrived first received no extra time than the team that arrived last. That doesn’t seem right.

— The football pass to Holly in Saskatchewan. You will never be able to convince me that was a fair pass like everyone else was getting. Everyone was getting these high lobs that they had to keep running for. Holly ran a few yards, turned around, and the softest throw ever was given to her.

Just watch.

At the 25:50 mark, you can see the pass thrown to Dave. Or at 31:46, the one thrown to Tim. Compare that to the 39 minute mark, when it’s thrown to Holly. The editing is horrendous. There’s no way that was the type of throw that was given to others. She barely made it 10 yards down the field.

— The episode in Newfoundland where the Amazing Race producers decided who was doing the Roadblock. I have never seen that before.

— Having to fly Air Canada only. One of the things that makes the Amazing Race fun is seeing the contestants trying competing airlines to figure out a quicker way to their destination. That didn’t happen here.

Here’s the thing. I’ve enjoyed the Canadian Amazing Race because of Jet and Dave. And the producers are lucky for them. There’s no way the show would be as popular if they were gone early. Imagine watching the last few weeks with the same teams, but the doctors in place of Jet and Dave.

There’s just too many things that bother me about the show. Maybe if they bring it back for a second season, they can make it better.

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10 reasons I love my wife

So 10 years ago, my wife and I went on our first ever date.

It wasn’t anything big. After my softball playoff game, I picked her up, went home to shower, and then we headed to the Casino, followed by a walk downtown.

I don’t know if at the time she expected to still be with me in 10 years, but I was smitten with her.

And as I said during my wedding speech, I knew she was perfect for me the moment she uttered those three magical words: “Go Habs Go.”

But she’s perfect for me. And I love her so. With that being said, here are 10 reasons I love my wife (I could have come up with a bunch more, but one main reason per year):

1: She’s funny. She’s always making me laugh with her silly jokes.

2: She doesn’t take things too seriously. She can have a good time doing almost anything.

3: She’s athletic. We first met playing ultimate, and since then have played a ton of sports together.

4: She’s a great mom. She’s made a lot of the big decisions to get the girls to certain stages of life.

5: She makes up silly games. She’ll take almost any object and create a fun game.

6: She’s creative. Home-made cards, changing lyrics to songs, poems, etc. She does a lot of creative stuff.

7: She laughs at my jokes (very important). It makes me want to keep telling them just to see her smile and laugh.

8: She likes to talk. She may not think so, but I love listening to her tell her stories of the day.

9: She loves dancing. It makes me smile everything she does a dance routine.

10:  She’s beautiful. I stare at her all time, quite often when she’s not looking. She just doesn’t know it.

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The problem with advanced hockey statistics

More and more, you start to see more advanced statistics used in hockey, especially on the Internet.

Douglas Murray is the newest Hab, but that might not be a good thing, say some people using advanced statistics.

Most of them are confusing, and the average fan doesn’t need to use or care about them. However, it’s getting to the point when you can’t visit any site on the web without people talking about advanced statistics.

I think they’re massively overblown. Some sites use them as the be all and end all for proving why such and such a player is great or horrible. I’ve seen a lot of it lately with sites trying to figure out if the Montreal Canadiens made a smart move in signing Douglas Murray.

But many of these advanced stats don’t look at the big picture enough. The problem is, taken in a vacuum, all of these stats are useless.

Let’s use two players as example to see who is better. For now, we’ll call them player A and player B.

I’m using the 2012-13 season, all players who played at least 30 games, and these are all in 5 on 5 situations. For the record, 509 players meet these criteria.

Below is a chart that highlights where they stand in regards to some of these advanced stats:

Player A Player B
Quality of Competition 0.004 (211th) 0.043 (103rd)
Relative Corsi Quality of Competition 0.221 (285th) 0.665 (154th)
Relative Corsi Quality of Teammates 5.812 (14th) 6.116 (11th)
Relative Corsi 20.3 (12th) 20.6 (9th)
On-ice Corsi 16.10 (20th) 25.4 (5th)
On-ice team Goals Against per 60 minutes 2.25 (275th) 1.48 (480th)
On-ice team save percentage .924 (190th) .943 (46th)

Looking at that list, most would think that Player B must be better. Plays against tougher competition and is better defensively. And Corsi is better in all sorts of examples.

Maybe Fenwick, which measures puck possession statistics is better. These stats use players who had 500 minutes of 5 on 5 ice time last season (355 eligible players).

Player A Player B
Goals scored against team while player is on the ice per 20 minutes   of ice time 13.08 (153rd) 11.981 (70th)
Hockey Analysis Rating Offence 31.2 (2nd) 30.8 (3rd)
Hockey Analysis Rating Defence -5.7 (202nd) 9.6 (95th)
Hockey Analysis Rating Total 12.8 (55th) 20.2 (14th)

A lot of these stats can be broken down even more, looking at the last two-year period, or three year-period. But suffice to say, you get the point.

By the way, Player B is Tyler Seguin. Player A is Sidney Crosby. Yet these advanced stats say that Seguin is better.

That’s where these stats all fall apart. There’s so many of them now, you can cherry pick what you want to prove your point.

Habs Eyes on the Prize, an excellent Habs blog, has been pretty hard on Murray. They present some of these stats, and say it reflects on a bad signing.

I disagree, and this point was what I took away from two different articles about Murray:

I was going to use goal statistics here to add balance, but considering the goaltending Murray received last season, we know how that affects the numbers and I don’t think it’s necessary. What we can look at though, is strength of opponents.

See, something that showed Murray in a more positive light isn’t used, just mentioned in passing. Instead, the stats used lean toward the signing being a negative one.

Habs Eyes on the Prize also wrote on about whether Murray is a good penalty killer, using all these fancy stats. Here’s all I need to know about Murray:

  • Only 60 defencemen last year had more than 100 shorthanded minutes. Murray was one of them.
  • He was 20th among all defencemen in blocked shots.
  • He was tied for 30th among all defencemen in hits.
  • Only eight defencemen had more hits and blocked shots combined.
  • He was in three fights last year, and won all of them.
  • Despite being slower, he doesn’t take a lot of penalties. Last year, he had just 35 pims. Take out the fights, that equates to only 10 minor penalties (about one every four games).
  • While killing penalties, he starts in the offensive zone four per cent of the time, but finishes there 45.1 per cent.

Here’s the thing: Murray is making only $600,000 over the league minimum. And he’s coming in as a sixth/seventh defenceman. He’s not going to be coming in and playing 20 minutes a game.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some important non-traditional stats. Top teammates, PDO, offensive zone starts, etc.

But advanced stats can get out of hand. You can look at them all you want and use them to prove whatever you want. But in the end, they don’t really prove anything.

And that’s the most important thing to remember about advanced stats.

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Monica’s Sister book review

(Warning: This review contains minor spoilers)

So Earl Emerson came out with a new book, Monica’s Sister.

For those that don’t know, Emerson is my favourite author. I’ve read a bunch of different authors that I love: Lee Childs and his Jack Reacher series, Harlan Coben and his Myron Bolitar series, James Patterson and a lot of his series and so on.

But Emerson is my favourite by far, especially his firefighting books. In fact, getting Emerson’s autograph is actually on my bucket list and one I want to complete someday.

So I was stoked when I found out he had released his new book, the first one in four years.

Monica’s Sister is the 13th book in the Thomas Black series. His wife’s friend Angela ends up dead, with most people thinking it’s a suicide. Black is hired by Angela’s sister, Monica to find out the truth. At the same time, he’s in trouble with Monica’s husband, Clark Lloyd Self and Self’s bodyguards, one of which is a monster of a man.

I loved the book. There were a couple of small points that got to me though:

1) I figured out the killer pretty early on, so I thought a swerve was coming that wouldn’t show you it was who I thought it was. But it didn’t come. So I don’t know if a lot of people figured it out, or if was just me, but with no swerve, it felt like I missing something.

2) There were a couple of times when things on pages didn’t mesh. At one point, Black was describing a woman he met, saying she had the kind of face where you couldn’t tell how old she was. Then on the next page, he said the woman was 35 years old. It didn’t go very well.

But the action was still good, and the thing about Emerson’s book is the sense of humour. It’s crazy witty, and makes me crack up quite a bit. Even Emerson brings it up, calling it “black” humour (haha… get it?).

And I thought at the end that Monica ended up with a Robin Hood complex, which was a nice touch. She thought because her husband gave to the poor, it didn’t matter if he got his money from the rich.

The book is a great read, and hard to put down. One of things I like a lot about Emerson’s writing is that there aren’t 130 chapters in each book like some authors have. It makes each chapter seem important.

Monica’s sister available from electronic bookstores, such as Kobo, Kindle and Nook.

I give it five out of five stars.

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