January 30, 2008

Is ESPN the Place for the NHL?

Last week, news broke that Versus decided to pick up their option to broadcast the NHL for at least three more seasons. When the news began to circulate, there was a collective groan from many pundits and bloggers who have been pining for the NHL to return to ESPN, where it was home from 1992-2004. Once the lockout came and went, fans had to search their TV Guide's to find what was then known as the "Outdoor Life Network". Indeed it was a funny name for a sport that's played indoors. After hockey fans were able to find out where OLN was, they had to deal with lead-ins consisting of professional bull riding, hunting, and probably some sort of bar-b-q'ing competition.

Now, as we're in the midst of the third season of games being broadcast on OLN/Versus, it's safe to say that they've done a decent job. After a few early hiccups and a terrible picture quality at the start, they've improved, mainly in part due to the NHL hiring former Hockey Night in Canada executive producer John Shannon.

Since day one, I've liked the deal with Versus. In the years right before the lockout, ESPN was cutting back on its coverage and the NHL wanted more attention put on its game. With the amount of college football and basketball, as well as the NBA beginning in 2002, hockey games were almost forgotten about on the network. By moving to Versus, the NHL would be the channel's biggest draw and that would help improve the league's visibility. Well, it hasn't quite worked out that way. Many hotels still do not carry Versus as well as some cable carriers around the country, even though more and more people each year are becoming able to watch the channel. Ratings are slowly improving, but nothing earth shattering. I do like the fact that Versus has games every Monday/Tuesday night's, with some nights showing doubleheaders. I think they are trying their best to promote the game by utilizing all of their resources, but that doesn't seem to be enough for some. I don't know if Versus is the problem or it's just the fact that not a lot of people watch hockey to begin with.

If the NHL went back to ESPN, why would anyone think ratings would immediately improve and shatter what the sport is getting on Versus?

There's a reason why ESPN did not want to renew the deal with the NHL after the 2003-04 season. From a USA Today article in 2006:

"...a Tampa Bay-Calgary Finals game on a Saturday in 2004 scored the second-lowest-rated network prime-time rating ever of 1.4% of U.S. households. It was tantalizingly close to the all-time mark: 1.3% for snowboarding on NBC in 2002."

You have the pinnacle of the season, the Stanley Cup Finals and it draws that low of a rating on ABC, a national network and partner with ESPN, who was obviously promoting the series heavily. Yes, it was between two smaller markets, but you're not going to get a New York-Los Angeles series every season. So what's the big fuss about moving to ESPN? People weren't watching then, so why would they watch now?

I'm not an anti-NHL on ESPN guy, but I only want the league to return to the WorldWide Leader in the right situation, which may not be possible in the sports age we're living in. College basketball, football and poker take up a lot of hours of ESPN programming and must draw decent ratings if the executives in Bristol keep shoving Norman Chad and lipstick cameras down our throats. It's one thing to have hockey back on ESPN just to have it there, but it's another for it to be hidden amongst all of the other sports that are broadcast throughout the ESPN umbrella.

Between ESPN and ESPN2, I'd be happy with 3-4 games a week, including a weekend game of the week on ABC, as well as coverage during the playoffs. The Stanley Cup Finals could be shown on ESPN for games 1-2 and games 3-7 on ABC. For those that still do not have or get NHL Network and cannot enjoy "On the Fly", a return for "NHL 2Night" with John Buccigross and Barry Melrose would be a must.

While all hockey fans want to see the game grow and do well on television, a simple "The game needs to be on ESPN" is not the solution to the problem. It's not about being on ESPN and automatically everything is great. In the right situation, with the right amount of marketing by both the NHL and it's television partner, things will improve, but it will be a long road until we get there.

I know I'm probably in the minority here, so I'd like to hear what others think, whether you're in the "pro-ESPN" camp or not. If the league goes back to ESPN, how do you want it to be promoted there?

Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Network US February Schedule


Friday, February 1
Vancouver @ Florida
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, February 6
Washington @ Philadelphia
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Friday, February 8
Columbus @ San Jose
10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, February 13
Toronto @ Buffalo
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Friday, February 15
Washington @ Florida
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Friday, February 15
Dallas @ Anaheim
10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT

Wednesday, February 20
New York Islanders @ Washington
7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT

Wednesday, February 27
Toronto @ Florida
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, February 27
Colorado @ Vancouver
10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT

Friday, February 29
Toronto @ Tampa Bay
7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

Note: These games will not also be broadcast on NHL Center Ice. If you do not have NHL Network, it will most likely be blacked out unless it's within your cable area.

Ballhype: hype it up!

January 29, 2008

Wheeling Nailers to Hold "Shred Rodriguez" Night

The entire state of West Virginia is still up in arms over the departure of their football coach, Rich Rodriguez, to the University of Michigan. It's gotten so bad that the governor even made comments about it at one point. Safe to say, the whole situation is pretty ugly and left a sour taste in the mouths of West F*&^&^ Virginia fans.

Enter the promotional mindset of minor league sports. The ECHL's Wheeler Nailer's have come up with a promotion for their game on Saturday night against Charlotte Checkers that should help in the healing process. They are holding a "Shred Rodriguez Night" I'll let the Nailers press release do the rest of the explaining.

" Rodriguez, who took the time to shred every file in his WVU office before departing to become the head coach at the University of Michigan, will have the favor returned at the Nailers game on February 2.

The Nailers are offering discounted tickets to any fan that brings in a newspaper article or picture of the former West Virginia University football coach to contribute to the industrial sized paper shredder that will be stationed in the concourse.

Additionally any fan who wears WVU apparel to the game will receive $2 off their ticket price. Ohio State fans will also receive the discount by wearing their gear to the game to demonstrate their mutual distaste for Michigan.

Any fan caught wearing University of Michigan apparel will be charged double in order to help Rodriguez pay his $4 million buyout to WVU.

If your first name is Rich or your last name is Rodriguez your ticket will be $8.25. If your name happens to be Rich Rodriguez you will get in free. Except, of course, if you actually are Coach Rich Rodriguez then you will be barred from the building and escorted outside state lines."


Nope. Not bitter at all, but a pretty damn good promotion. I would suspect Coach Rich Rodriguez will be busy recruiting and preparing for the 2008 college football season to attend. If he did show, I would imagine a riot similar to that of when Spinal Tap visited Springfield during an early episode of "The Simpsons".

Ballhype: hype it up!

January 28, 2008

NHL All Star Game Rating Up a Bit


The rating for the NHL All Star game on Versus last night was a 0.76, up from 0.54 from last year. If you remember, last season's All Star game was held mid-week. This season's slight rise in rating probably has to do with the fact it was on the Sunday before the Super Bowl, where there was no major competition.

Hat tip to Neil Best of Newsday's WatchDog

Ballhype: hype it up!

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 1/27

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MONOLOGUE
Where they stand: NHL All Star break
EASTERN CONFERENCE
1. Ottawa* 66 pts
2. Philadelphia* 59 pts
3. Carolina* 52 pts
4. Montreal 60 pts
5. New Jersey 59 pts
6. Pittsburgh 58 pts
7. Boston 55 pts
8. NY Islanders 54 pts
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9. NY Rangers 54 pts
10. Washington 51 pts
11. Atlanta 50 pts
12. Florida 49 pts
13. Buffalo 48 pts
14. Toronto 48 pts
15. Tampa Bay 45 pts

-Amazing how all 5 of the Atlantic Division teams could make the playoffs and how tight the divsion is.

-Carolina is another reason why I dislike giving division winners the top three seeds. Overall, they're 9th in the conference.

-11 points separate the 2nd seed from the 14th. Should be an interesting second half where each game will be vital.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
1. Detroit* 78 pts
2. San Jose* 61 pts
3. Minnesota* 59 pts
4. Dallas 61 pts
5. Anaheim 60 pts
6. Calgary 58 pts
7. Vancouver 57 pts
8. Colorado 56 pts
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9. Columbus 56 pts
10. Nashville 55 pts
11. Phoenix 54 pts
12. St. Louis 51 pts
13. Edmonton 51 pts
14. Chicago 50 pts
15. Los Angeles 42 pts

-Detroit is going to run away with the conference. Should be fun to see if they lose steam heading into the playoffs and set themselves up for another post-season disappointment.

-Like the Eastern Conference, 11 points separate the 2nd and 11th seeds. It's tight.

-How great of a second half is it going to be when a single win can vault a team a handful of places in the conference?

NEWS AND NOTES
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One of the worst kept secrets around the league finally came out this week as the Maple Leafs fired general manager John Ferguson Jr. and named Cliff Fletcher interim GM. The way Toronto handled the entire situation was disgraceful and disrespectful to Ferguson. Good on him the way he went about his business throughout. Despite the fact he may have deserved to get the axe, it should have been drawn out in such a public fashion.

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Over the weekend, Gary Bettman announced plans had been finalizedto begin the 2008-09 season in Europe again. The Senators and Penguins will play in Stockholm, while the Rangers and Lightning will meet in Prague. Both of the teams will play two regular season games against one another as well as some pre-season games.

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The oft-traveled Kris Beech is set to join his fourth team this month as the Penguins picked him up on waiver from the Capitals over the weekend. Famously remembered as being part of the Jaromir Jagr trade from Pittsburgh to Washington, Beech was picked up for depth reasons as the Pens are suffering from a number of injuries at the moment. General manager Ray Shero is also hoping he can catch some lightning in a bottle and that Beech can live up to his potential and contribute.

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Versus picked up it's option to broadcast the NHL through at least the 2010-11 season. I'll have my take on this deal sometime this week.

AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
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Kevin Schultz of NHL FanHouse took a trip to Atlanta and chronicled All Star weekend.

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That Pens-Flyers game on Thursday was another doozy, eh? Well, The First Annual Krog Blog isn't too happy with a personnel decision made by Philadelphia coach John Stevens.

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Taking One for the Team breaks down the best and worst case scenarios for the Penguins in the post-Crosby era for the next 6-8 weeks.

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Joe Pelletier of Greatest Hockey Legends takes a look at some brotherly love at NHL All Star Games.

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Don't know who Quintin Laing is? On Frozen Blog introduces you to a helluva shot blocker for the Caps.

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
Highlights from the revamped Skills Competition from Saturday night.

A pretty good fight between George Parros and Raitis Ivanans

A look back a Wayne Gretzky's last NHL game.

TSN SportCentre's Top 10 innovative plays in the game.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Daniel Alfredsson had the highlight of a shortened All-Star week as he had a 3 goal, 4 assist, +5 performance against the Lightning this week, putting him ahead in the scoring race lead.

UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals, Thursday, January 31st, 7pm EST
The second game of the home-and-home series between the two this week. Bruce Boudreau has done some wonders with Washington since taking over the job at Thanksgiving. The Caps are now in playoff contention and mere points out of the Southeast Division lead (and #3 seed in the Eastern Conference). Montreal will be starting their push for the playoffs and many have them as dark horse contenders to come out of the Eastern Conference.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Highlights of the 1990 All Star Game from Pittsburgh, where Mario Lemieux won MVP honors with a 4 goal performance.

Same time, same place next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".

Ballhype: hype it up!

January 25, 2008

Snoop Dogg on Ice!

On this week's episode of Snoop Dogg's "FatherHood" on E!, the rapper gets his first hockey lesson courtesy of Chris Pronger, Ryan Getzlaf, and George Parros of the Ducks. No word on if Snoop learned how to dish out elbows from Pronger, score like Getzlaf, or fight like Parros.

Later in the episode, Snoops attends a Ducks-Canucks game and meets Willie O'Ree. The pair discuss promoting the game to kids from diverse backgrounds as well as a youth hockey league modeled after the rapper's kid's football league.

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The NHL really needs to take advantage of having someone like Snoop be a fan of the game. Rather than see Daniel Briere shoot out windows in an abandoned warehouse, why can't be entertained with a commercial featuring the rapping style of the D-O double G?

Photos courtesy Image.net

Ballhype: hype it up!

January 24, 2008

NHL Announces All Star Skills Competition Details


The NHL announced today the celebrity judges of the All Star Trick Shot shootout as well as details of some revamped classic skills competitions:

Three shooters from the Eastern and Western Conference will have two attempts to perform a highlight-reel trick while attempting to score. Shooters can start their routine from anywhere in the offensive zone and have full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply. A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate each attempt and give a score of one to nine points. Scoring is based on creativity, execution and ability to score. An additional point will be awarded for a goal for a maximum total of 10 points per shooter.

Celebrity judges are former Thrashers captain and fan favorite Scott Mellanby, former University of Georgia and Atlanta Hawks basketball star Dominique Wilkins, actor Taylor Kitsch and broadcaster Bill Clement.

The Breakaway Challenge highlights the most sweeping changes to Dodge/NHL SuperSkills since the event's inception in 1990. Also new for 2008:

'YoungStars' 3-On-3'
Rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and first-year defenseman Tobias Enstrom of the All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers headline the 16 'NHL YoungStars,' who will face off in a three-on-three event over two periods of six minutes' running time. Comprising the best of the League's stellar rookie class in 2007-08, the eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.

A New 'Obstacle Course Relay'
The opening event of the competition, the Obstacle Course Relay, will comprise two rounds (45 seconds each) of the obstacle course, involving three players and one goalie per team. The first player starts with a puck from behind the net and proceeds to stick-handle the puck through a line of stationed pucks set up within the face-off circle. When he is finished, the second player (positioned outside the blue line) will attempt to make four "saucer" passes over a barrier and into a net at the far side of the rink. When he is done, the third player will attempt to "one time" four passes at a target in the net. The final leg of the relay will see the goalie attempt to shoot four pucks into the goal at the other end of the ice.

A New 'Fastest Skater'
The Fastest Skater contestants will face a different test this year. Starting from a standing position at the goal line, one skater from each Conference will race to the far blue line, a change from past competitions in which skaters completed one lap around the perimeter of the ice surface.

Returning to Dodge/NHL SuperSkills are the popular Accuracy Shooting, Hardest Shot and Shootout competitions. In Accuracy Shooting, Marian Hossa of the hometown Thrashers and Eric Staal of the Southeast Division-rival Carolina Hurricanes will compete for the Eastern Conference in a rematch of the 2007 All-Star SuperSkills competition in which the pair tied for the SuperSkills title by each hitting all four targets in five shots. Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who captured the 2007 Hardest Shot competition with a blast measured at 100.4 miles per hour, will attempt to defend his title for the Eastern Conference.

Scheduled to participate in the Breakaway Challenge are Eastern Conference forwards Ilya Kovalchuk of the All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will face Western Conference goaltenders Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues, Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks and Chris Osgood of the Red Wings. Western Conference forwards Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild and Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks will oppose Eastern Conference goaltenders Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders, Tim Thomas of the Bruins and Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers.

The 2008 Dodge/NHL SuperSkills events will be staged as follows:
1) Obstacle Course Relay
2) Fastest Skater
3) Elimination Shootout
4) YoungStars Game
5) Accuracy Shooting
6) Hardest Shot
7) Breakaway Challenge

Complete SuperSkills event descriptions and official rules are available online at NHL.com. Player assignments for all events will be released when available.


Ballhype: hype it up!

January 23, 2008

Ilya Kovalchuk's Hit from Behind on Michal Roszival


Should be interesting to see what the outcome is here. Kovy leaves his feet and drills Roszival's face into the glass. Colin Campbell, you're up.

Ballhype: hype it up!

January 22, 2008

The Worst All Star Jerseys

Beginning Friday night is All Star Weekend for the NHL. The weekend ends on Sunday night with the 56th National Hockey League All Star game. With hockey jersey's being revered by many fans, I decided to sit down and list of my favorite and the worst All Star jerseys. We've seen my favorite, now let's take a look at what I think are some of the worst All Star jerseys.

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2004 - Minnesota - Eastern Conference 6-5 winners - MVP: Joe Sakic
Ho-hum game that saw Joe Sakic notch a hat-trick
The jersey's were designed to look similar to those of the Minnesota Wild. Lame. The mix of the colors with the plain, boring EASTERN and WESTERN along the front made for a terrible look.

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1972 - Minnesota - Eastern Conference 3-2 winners - MVP: Bobby Orr
Wow. Just plain bad. Seriously. The NHL logo's on the breast really look like booby tassles a stripper would wear.

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2008 - Atlanta
I first look at these jerseys and think they are incredibly plain and boring. What I hate the most is how the conferences are named as "EAST" and "WEST", invoking the image of an NBA All Star jersey.

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1982 - Washington - Wales Conference 4-2 winners - MVP: Mike Bossy
These jersey's look like some sort of birthday or New Year's celebration hat with the crazy amount of stars all over it. For whatever reason, when I look at this jersey, I think of "Birthday Cake" ice cream from Cold Stone.

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2000 - Toronto - World All Stars 9-4 winners - MVP: Pavel Bure
The biggest event during this All Star Weekend was the league-wide retirement of Wane Gretzky's #99. Pavel recorded a hat-trick, with two of the assists going to his brother Valeri.
The red and blue jerseys wouldn't be so bad if they had filled in that empty space in along the front. There's something missing from this set and I wish they would have just put NORTH AMERICAN and WORLD across the front there.

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1994 - New York City - Eastern Conference 9-8 winners - MVP: Mike Richter
Richter brought Ranger fans to their feet stopping 19 of 21 shots and taking home the MVP honors. Later that season, Richter would help lift the Cup in the same building.
The purple and teal colors they used for these jerseys was just ugly. Not to mention the Dallas Stars design in the shape of an actual star on the front. Yikes.

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1949 - Toronto - All Stars 3-1 winners of Toronto Maple Leafs
Before 1968, the defending Stanley Cup champions would play the league All Stars.
These uniforms were also used in the 1992 All Star Game in Philadelphia. It's a nice try, but I can't help but think of a carnival barker when I see these. To think Maurice Richard donned one of these jersey's instead of the Canadiens jersey for a day makes me want to puke.

There you have it, my worst All Star jerseys. If you have an All Star game jersey that's just as horrendous, post it in the comments.

Thanks to NHL Uniforms and Legends of Hockey for some of the photos.

Ballhype: hype it up!

My Favorite All Star Jerseys

Beginning Friday night is All Star Weekend for the NHL. The weekend ends on Sunday night with the 56th National Hockey League All Star game. With hockey jerseys being revered by many fans, I decided to sit down and list some of my favorite All Star jerseys.
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1991 - Chicago - Campbell Conference 11-5 winners - MVP: Vincent Damphousse
This game is probably better known for the stunning rendition of the National Anthem by Wayne Messmer.
Sold colors with the bold NHL logo on the front. Not plain at all.


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1984 - New Jersey - Wales Conference 7-6 winners - MVP: Don Maloney
In his first All Star Game, Don Maloney records a goal and three assists.
You've gotta love the old school Wales/Campbell jerseys. Yes, they had orange in them, but there's something about these jersey's that remain timeless.

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1998 - Vancouver - North America 8-7 winners - MVP: Teemu Selanne
The first North America/World showcase as the Nagano Olympics were weeks away.
I'm a big fan of the mix of colors the league used here. The silver NHL logo looks sharp with either the red or blue colors of the North America and World jerseys.

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2003 - Florida - Western Conference 6-5 winners in a shootout - MVP: Dany Heatley
This game is best remembered not by Heatley's 4 goal, 1 assist performance, but because it was decided by a shootout, delighting the fans in attendance.
Solid look with the blue and white jerseys.

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1988 - St. Louis - Wales Conference 6-5 winners in overtime - MVP: Mario Lemieux
The first All Star Game to be decided by overtime. Super Mario had a six-point performance which included a hat-trick and the game winning goal in the extra period.
Once again, the orange and black is priceless. Despite no Wales/Campbell logo on the front, the NHL logo does not take anything away from the overall look.

Those are some of my favorites. I'd love to hear what yours are and why. Also, include a link to a photo of your favorite All Star jersey in the comments too.

Thanks to NHL Uniforms and Legends of Hockey for some of the photos.

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Evgeni Malkin's Going to the All Star Game

Time to celebrate! Of course, Geno's selection comes after the news that teammate Sidney Crosby will be out 6-8 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Malkin has certainly played with a chip on his shoulder since the announcement of the All-Star teams. He's scored 6 goals and is a +3 since the lineups were announced on January 11th.

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January 20, 2008

Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 1/20

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MONOLOGUE
Last week, I got so caught in the Giants-Cowboys game (as well as a hockey game of my own), that I completely forgot about "Puttin' on the Foil". Well, this week I'm starting it on Saturday and will have it done well before tomorrow's Giants-Packers game. On to this week's monologue.

If there's one team that shot itself in the foot thanks to the salary cap, it's the Tampa Bay Lightning. After winning the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy, general manager Jay Feaster gave Brad Richards a huge contract worth $7.8 million a year. That deal is now hurting the Lightning as the team is toiling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Feaster is going to have to trade one of his "Big 3" in order to build for the future and possibly bring in a top-notch goaltender. If you break it down, no one will take Richards' contract. Vinny Lecavalier? Floridians would burn down the St. Pete Times Forum if this year's possible Hart Trophy winner is dealt.

That brings us to Martin St. Louis, the likely choice to be traded by the deadline. The 32-year old is making $6 million this year, $5 million in 08/09, and $4 million the final two years of his deal. The speedy forward will be tempting for many teams looking for extra scoring help up front. Feaster will be forced to make a deal to help turn around this disaster of a season and try and save his job.

The problem in Tampa Bay has been they have not had a quality goaltender since Nikolai Khabibhulin left for Chicago. Marc Denis never lived up to his potential. Johan Holmqvist has been okay, but no consistent enough and Karri Ramo is still young and learning the game. You put a quality goalie between the pipes for the Lightning and you have a team that is in the playoff mix.

The situation in Tampa is kind of like the "Butterfly Effect" theory. One action can effect many different situations overtime. The Brad Richards contract is hindering the Lightning right now and it looks as if it might cause quite an effect in north Florida.

NEWS AND NOTES
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It looks as if the season of Patrice Bergeron may be over as Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli told him to go on vacation this week. The Bruins captain suffered a Grade 3 concussion after being hit from behind into the board by the Flyers' Randy Jones in October. In December, Bergeron resumed working out, but the thought of any return seems to be months away.
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The NHL and IIHF met in New York this week to further discuss the player transfer agreement which did not include Russia. There is talk of setting a minimum age for an international player to come over to play in the NHL.

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Curtis Joseph is returning to the NHL after signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames. The 40-year old Joseph will be backup to Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started every game but one for Calgary.

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Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell broke off contract negotiations this week, but Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier is not looking to trade the prized defenseman. Regier can't afford to lose Campbell after losing Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to free agency over the summer and being forced to match the offer-sheet for Thomas Vanek from Edmonton.

AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
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We here at Going Five Hole love us some mascots. Barry Melrose Rocks went "Behind the Mascot" with the Vancouver Canucks' Fin the Orca.

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How much longer does Olaf Kolzig have in Washington? Or even his career? The Sporting News' and Off Wing Opinion's Eric McErlain examines if this is the end for Olie the Goalie.

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Sidney Crosby hurts his ankle. The PensBlog gets sick to its stomach.

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College hockey fan? Then check out the New York Times Slap Shot Blog as they look ahead to tonight's Boston College-Boston University slugfest.

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GoonBlog is selling shirts or something...not really sure. I didn't really read the post. I got distracted.

LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
The top hits around the league over the past week.

Last night's Coach's Corner featuring Don Cherry from Hockey Night in Canada

Brian Leetch will have his #2 retired on Thursday night. Here's a tribute video that the Rangers played during his first game back as a member of the Bruins.

EJ Hradek and Barry Melrose discuss if the NHL is doing enough to promote diversity.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jean-Sebastien Giguere backstopped the Ducks to a 3-0 record this past week and brought them up the standings of the Eastern Conference.

UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks, Wednesday, January 23rd, 10pm EST
The top two teams in the Western Conference will face-off in a rematch of their great playoff series last season. The Ducks have been hot since Scott Niedermayer returned and the Red Wings, well, no matter what you do, you cannot keep them down. With the All-Star break coming after Thursday night, both teams will want to head into the downtime on a roll.

GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Some of the greatest moments in Pittsburgh Penguins history.

Come back next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".

Ballhype: hype it up!