Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean delivered an epic diatribe Saturday night after his team lost in Toronto
-- "I'm only a fisherman from Nova Scotia, so I don't know nothin' about nothin,'" was the outstanding closing line -- but he sure created a lot of confusion.
At issue was Mason Raymond's shooting-starting goal, a spinorama-type score that is despised by most general managers. The league tried to ban it last summer. But the competition committee, which features player representation, blocked that. However, it certainly sounded like MacLean believed otherwise.
"I was on a conference call at the start of the year with all the other coaches and was informed at that time... that that play would be seriously reviewed and you're taking a chance that... the goal would be disallowed in the spin-o-rama move," he said. "We informed our players of that, and we don't do that. I think it's a very unfair play for the goaltender for the guy to come in and blow snow on him. To me, he came to a full stop and the puck went backwards and came forwards, but that's me."
So, what's the truth?
The key is MacLean's comment that "you're taking a chance that... the goal would be disallowed." Shootout participants are governed by the same rules as those trying a penalty shot. The NHL rule book makes it clear: "The spin-o-rama type move
where the player completes a 360° turn as he approaches the goal, shall be permitted as this involves continuous motion." If the puck stops, you're kaput.
It's been an interesting summer between the NHL and the NHLPA. They're no longer fighting over the CBA -- thank God -- but there have been some interesting little skirmishes over other things. For example, while the two sides agreed to new restrictions on goalie pads
, things did not go as far as the league wanted.
So, it decided to call the rules as written. That included a (previously) lightly-enforced limit on a goaltender's stick paddle -- 26 inches. Very late in the summer, some goalies (Oilers' Devan Dubnyk, for example) learned they would have to change.
The spin-o-rama is similar. The GMs couldn't get rid of it, so they planned to keep it tightly regulated. If the puck stops, no goal. Raymond does keep it moving, even as he reverses against Craig Anderson. Teams were told that reversing would be closely watched, because it can result in a stopped puck.
From that perspective, it is a legal goal. No rule is broken. It may annoy Ottawans more than a true Senator's travel expenses, but not much you can do.
Where MacLean does have a point, however, is with the snow-shower. On shootouts, on-ice officials generally look for contact with the goalie in the crease, a no-no. Raymond doesn't violate that, but did spray Anderson, one of the things the league hates about this move.
Unfortunately, I've never seen that called, even though it should be.
You can get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for doing it in a game, so why should it happen in a shootout?
NOTE: For thoughts on Philadelphia's coaching change, click here.
1. Looked a little bit into Ken Holland's overtime suggestion: four minutes of four-on-four, followed by four minutes of three-on-three if still tied. Then a shootout if necessary. I love the idea, which was tried at the Traverse City rookie tournament the Red Wings host. One of the reasons against it is the league doesn't want longer games.
After Vincent Viola bought the Florida Panthers
, there were rumours GM Dale Tallon might be in some trouble. You know how it goes. New owner wants his guy. Looked into it, was told "not even a consideration." So there you go.
3. The Panthers have drafted some really good young players, but this Tim Thomas/Jacob Markstrom duel is fascinating. Towards the end of last season, you could see how much they wanted their uber-prospect to grab the job by the throat and hold it. Goalie coach Rob Tallas talked about how important it was for Markstrom to get used to all the buildings across the league and take advantage of the opportunity. Clearly, that didn't happen. Organizationally, he's still got a clear path to the top job. But in the short-term, they trust Thomas.
4. Filip Kuba, bought out by Florida after last season, held off on an overseas deal to train in Tampa in hopes of another NHL shot. Don't think he'll be overly expensive, either.
Speaking of Florida, would the NHL ever try an outdoor game there? The league will wait to see how the ice handles Dodger Stadium
before considering other warm weather venues (San Jose/San Francisco) but The Sunshine State is unlikely. On Hockey Night in Canada Radio
, commissioner Gary Bettman said, "Florida, I'm not so sure about, because in January at night it can still be 70 degrees."
6. On Nathan MacKinnon's first faceoff, Ryan Getzlaf looked at him and said, "Welcome to the NHL." What did MacKinnon reply? "Thanks," he said with a laugh. The number one pick added the other "eye-popping" moment of his debut was playing against Teemu Selanne, who was "in his fourth season when I was born."
MacKinnon's biggest adjustment? "Not rushing... teams are tough to break out against, especially if the defencemen pinch. There's not a lot of time to make a play, but if you take a split second, you can still make them. Good things happen when you are patient, not rushing it." The day after MacKinnon had two assists in the opener against Anaheim
, Colorado coaches were going through video with him about this. Curtis Joseph used to say a young player was ready if they could make the brief hesitation to set up the right play.
8. MacKinnon on Patrick Roy: "He's pretty intense, very passionate. Makes his presence known and gets his message across, for sure. But he is calm when he is teaching."
9. Another member of the Avalanche on Roy: "He's made it very clear: We may not win the Stanley Cup right away, but we are going to have a Stanley Cup attitude."
10. A bit more on Mark Messier: he will be re-joining the Oilers' organization as some kind of consultant. He is not moving back to Edmonton and will, from what I understand, remain involved with the Kingsbridge Ice Center in New York.
Jason LaBarbera starts for the Oilers Monday night against New Jersey
. Dubnyk gets a break after a bad start to the season, and Edmonton may be in a tough spot here. Dubnyk is greatly affected by the equipment changes. His knees were exposed a little by the pad changes, and he was not comfortable with a thicker pad underneath his socks for protection. The enforcement of the "paddle size" (mentioned above) forced a last-minute stick change, too. It doesn't excuse a 60-foot goal, but you can see how it messes with someone's head. The Oilers need him to figure this out and fast. You can't make the playoffs in October, but the last decade proves you can miss them in October.
12. One of the biggest stories this week with by Cory Schneider's return to Vancouver. Could the Oilers have had him? I've always believed the price for the Canucks to send him there was very steep -- one rumoured package was a first-round pick, a second-round pick and 21-year-old defenceman Martin Marincin. That's a big ask, because teams are very careful about sending goalies to division opponents. Also, the Oilers had to know they had a great shot at Darnell Nurse, who they really liked.
13. Craig MacTavish showed great patience in the summer by not forcing an Ales Hemsky trade even though he wanted to. He will need that patience again. You could see the frustration on his face Saturday night in Vancouver -- "not again!" -- but when things are going bad, you get thrown anvils instead of lifejackets.
There is definitely some level of conversation going on between other teams and Toronto involving Jake Gardiner
. I despise the word "shopped," as it's more like a feeling-out process. If the Maple Leafs do decide to do it, it's going to be for a young asset or assets. So, you have to look at teams with talented young players. This is PURELY my speculation, but if teams like Dallas, Florida or Minnesota would be interested, you could see a match.
15. The Gardiner talk surprised me, because he was so impressive against Boston in last year's playoffs. There are scouts who still have questions, but most agree that he has a valuable skill -- he can skate the puck out of trouble.
The best news for Montreal two games into the season is Lars Eller
. There was some concern about him after an unimpressive pre-season. He's been electric with Alexander Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. Was a 48-game season enough for those two (and other rookies) to fully understand the rigors of a full NHL year? Or will they hit a wall because they haven't experienced it yet?
17. Gallagher, by the way, worked hard this summer on improving the explosiveness of his first three strides. Said it was what he noticed about Sidney Crosby -- his power getting the puck in flight in the neutral zone.
18. Serious, penetrating journalism: Why does Erik Karlsson write #lalala after his tweets? "I haven't told anyone else, so I'm not going to tell you," he said.
How many serious offers did Anaheim get for Bobby Ryan
? The word is four, although that was over a length of time. Why did Ottawa win the race? Sounds like there were two reasons. First, the Ducks didn't want to take on salary and the Senators didn't need to shed money. Second, Anaheim apparently wanted a first-rounder and Bryan Murray finally agreed.
Why didn't Ilya Bryzgalov go to the KHL? If he went overseas, he'd have to clear waivers once the NHL season started. Not the case with the ECHL should someone decide to take a chance. And nothing wrong with Las Vegas
21. Interesting contract situation with Phoenix and UFA-to-be Radim Vrbata. They talked before the season and didn't get it done. He's not keen on discussing it during the year, either. Big, strong winger who's scored at his best career pace the last two years. GM Don Maloney publicly admits Vrbata deserves a raise, but how much is the issue. Vrbata left once (Tampa Bay), but it went poorly, so he knows the grass isn't always greener.
22. The Capitals' power-play is awesome, but is their five-on-five play a one-week fluke or a trend? Through Sunday's games, they allowed nine such goals -- worst in the NHL. Since 2005, no team who led the league in that dubious stat even made the playoffs. Only three times in that span has a team not in the top seven won the Stanley Cup (Carolina, Pittsburgh and the 2010 Blackhawks). And the last three winners were no worse than second-best in five-on-five goals allowed.
23. George McPhee has always felt that fourth-line players should be six-figure guys. Martin Erat, at $4.5M, is challenging that theory. But, in an 82-game season, you figure there will be chances to move around.
24. After Pittsburgh swept Carolina in the 2009 Eastern Conference Final, Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice talked about how brutal it was to deal with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal down the middle. After watching San Jose tear through Vancouver and airtight Phoenix, you can see how the Sharks are going to give opponents fits with Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski. Those head-to-head matches with the middle-deep Kings are going to be fierce.
I'm one of those people who believes Steve Yzerman has the right to change his mind on fighting. Look, no one was tougher (or wanted a tough game more) than Colin Campbell, who once took on Bob Probert in a boxing match. If he can change his opinion, certainly Yzerman can. For what it's worth, I've been pro-fighting until recently, too. It's not just the punches, it's the way guys are hitting the ice
. And, it's not going to be banned.
26. Every fall, the NHLPA goes on a "fall tour," where Donald Fehr and company meet with players on all 30 teams. In various stories last week, the impression was most players don't want stiffer penalties. Expect union leadership to discuss it more in-depth in those meetings. Paul Kelly was willing to address staged fights during his tenure, and there was major, major blowback. Remember: they have a vote on rule changes.
27. One owner said last week he thinks he and his brethren should really force the issue to protect themselves from lawsuits. He believes players should sign waivers indicating they will not sue if injured in a fight. That's a tough sell, for sure. But, I think it indicates the kinds of challenges ahead on this issue.
One change you may see this week: linesmen jumping in to stop fights if players delay in deciding whether the helmets stay on or go off. As Glenn Healy reported on Hotstove
, there was a conference call last week with the league asking GMs to tell players to keep helmets on.
Word on hybrid icing
: It barely passed the player vote. Was very, very close. A lot of them surprised it cleared.
After watching the Mariano Rivera goodbye tour
, am I crazy in wondering if NHL teams should be doing more for Teemu Selanne? I'd add Martin Brodeur, but he's not as definitive about his future.
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