Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Dominator is done, (or so he tells the hockey world...again,)...

plus other notes.

Will those be Hasek's colors
when he enters the hockey
Hall of Fame?
Dominik Hasek is calling it a career.

On Monday one of the greatest (arguably the greatest) goalies of his generation, if not all time, decided to hang up his skates.

Hasek was trying to get back into the NHL and would've played in the AHL if that's what it took, "There were training camps starting in the AHL and I wanted to participate," he said. "I needed to play pre-season games, to be part of the hockey environment [in North America]. I was in touch with one NHL club and I had pretty good feelings about it, but then they called my agent and told him there was no interest from their side anymore."

Six Vezinas, two Hart's and two Stanley Cup Rings (both with Detroit) and a Olympic Gold Medal For Czechoslovakia in 1998 (the first time pros were allowed to participate) highlight his outstanding career.

"Unorthodox." A "slinky." "The Dominator." All accurate descriptions of Hasek throughout a stellar career that spanned 735 games. He finished with a career 2.13 GAA and a .913 SV%.

A sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, Hasek's ties with Buffalo are deep and seem fully recovered from a rift that occurred when he demanded a trade.

Sabres President Ted Black has been waiting for Hasek to officially retire so that the team may retire his jersey.

That's good. But now the real question, which hat will Hasek wear in immortality--The Detroit Red Wings or the Buffalo Sabres?

For a bit more on Hasek, click here. Some insight from former NHL goalies Darren Pang and Darren Elliot via USA Today.


The NHL and NHLPA still haven't gotten it done. But their meeting today and discuss secondary issues.

Let's face it, there's a serious stalemate.

Player Rep Donald Fehr was in Toronto meeting with the Toronto Star Editorial Board, and he seems to be getting flustered, "“If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don’t know what they (the players) are going to do. But I think it’s safe to say, they would be exploring all options,” he said.

That statement is now beginning to take on a life of it's own as some have it meaning that the salary cap will be on the table, as the title of the above link reads, 'Donald Fehr says longer work stoppage could lead to unrest over salary cap.'

But, what's at the core of the lockout is revenue and the revenue generated by hockey and what is derived from the sport. And for all those railing against the players saying take the offer and let's get on with hockey, here's the core issue that Fehr is getting at.

This is taken from a follow up Q&A from

Question from Anthony Alexopoulos: Why does the NHLPA think the players are entitled to more (money) than the owners?

Donald Fehr: It’s not true. We’re dealing with HRR, hockey-related revenue. That is much less than all revenue. We estimate, when you calculate all revenue, the players are between 50 and 51 per cent. Secondly, there’s a whole lot of things the owners don’t share on franchise values and franchise sales. Or a lot of related businesses the owners get into because they own hockey teams, like the tall apartment buildings (Maple Leaf Square) outside the arena a block and a half away. It’s not a sense of entitlement in that there’s some law or religious edict that this is what you should get."

It's getting to the bottom line numbers of what constitutes a revenue split for the players, who are the game. Fehr continues with this:

"It’s a question of what you can negotiate and what is the value to the league that the players bring? I tend to answer that in the following way: If you changed all the people in the suits tomorrow, all the front office people, all the officials, the scouts, the entire players’ association staff, and you still had the same players, no one would know the difference. If you kept all the people in the suits and got the next best 750 players in the world, everyone would know. The only reason anyone generates any money in this league is because the players do what they do."

There was a great call to HockeyHotline on WGR today. The caller said that the salaries are commensurate with what the top 750 lawyers in the country make. Or maybe what the top 750 actors make.

Once again, please refrain from "Average Joe" comparisons, nobody will pay to see Joe flip burgers, make pizzas or even build a house. That's not entertainment.


Originally, it was thought that the Buffalo Bills would be a welcome distraction to the lockout.

Ummmmm...not really. Unless you're extremely bi-polar.

The Bills have been a case of extremities, with the last two games being blowouts by Super Bowl-calibre teams--New England and San Francisco.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is taking the heat on offense. He's been missing wide open receivers, which is not unusual, and can't seem to hit receivers deep (still.)

But the brunt of the ire of the media and fans lies with the defense.

They cannot stop anyone. They gave up nearly 600 yards of offense to the Patriots and, not to be outdone, they surrendered over 600 yards to the 49'ers. They made Niner QB Alex Smith look like Tom Brady as he scorched the Bills for over 300 yards passing.



The Bills linebacking corps is in really rough shape right now. It's to the point where rookie, Nigel Bradham (4th-round) is set to replace Arthur Moats. Which is no big deal. Could be he any worse?

Bradham was inconsistent, but one thing he showed is that he's a ball-hawk and plays with intensity, something GM Buddy Nix called for when he said the Bills D must step it up.

Linebacker isn't the only problem (feel free to salute Captain Obvious,) the corners are having some serious trouble as well.

Rookie Stephon Gilmore is doing OK, but is still getting burned on plays he should have learned from. His development is probably right on track, but is being seen as a little slow in the light of the last two games.

On the other side there's second-year CB, Aaron Williams.

Williams is getting torched, regularly. It's to the point where Leodis McKelvin might be an upgrade. Paul Hamilton is adamant that Williams is not a corner--"he can't turn his hips." (2:00-mark)

Insult to injury, Aaron Williams was taken in the 2nd round with the 34th-overall spot ahead of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

Also taken in that draft was DT Marcell Dareus the #3-overall pick. He and DT Kyle Williams, a former Pro-bowler, are getting blown off the line of scrimmage.

And no one has an answer why. There's no way in hell that they are that bad.

WGR's John Murphy had former NFL lineman Ross Tucker on the show and the two dug right into the defense.

Tucker called their performance "disheartening" and said that he, like most others, had high hopes for the Bills this season.

He looks at the talent on the defense and says that he can only come up with two plausible explanations, "One, there are some guys that are not putting forth their best effort, or the other one is that they're at a decided schematic disadvantage [read getting outcoached]."

He continues by saying it's hard for him to imagine some of those players laying down, but is just flabbergasted at how, at the littlest sign of adversity, "the roof falls in." (kinda sounds the the Sabres with "the core," doesn't it?)

Tucker says that the Bills do not have enough of the type of players who are willing to make a difference and that it's during blowouts that you really "identify the guys who you want to go to war with." And he encourages the Bills to watch the fourth quarter of the last two games and see "who's giving maximum effort on every play."

My guess is that there may be one or two.


The defensive front four, who were considered one of the best in the AFC on paper, are looking like wet paper bags.

DE Mario Williams has been largely ineffective (and seems to be healing from a wrist injury) while his counterpart on the right side, Mark Anderson, has been largely invisible. Couple that with the troubles of the aforementioned K. Williams and Dareus, plus the questionable scheming of Defensive coordinator Dave Wanndsedt and it's no wonder the defense has given up over 1200 yards in offense over the last two games.

Yeah, He was a bad man, and I'd
listen to him.
But, Hall of Famer Bruce Smith says that there's something else that seems to be the root of the problem, the d-line needs more time. 'I see these guys are not on the same page just yet," he said, "whether it's the trust factor, their trusting in the scheme, doing more than they should be doing when the play is called.

There's a tremendous amount of talent. We're going to have to give them some time to be able to jell together and trust one another. The good thing is they're young, so they have some time. Unfortunately, we may have a half-season of some growing pains.'

It's a pretty strong backing, as well as a belief in, the defensive line. Funny. When asked about Wanndstedt, Smith said it wouldn't be fair to scrutinize a game plan from afar but did say, "I know a game plan doesn't allow a team to go out and score 45 points in the second half."


Speaking of Mario Williams, players in Houston don't really seem to care that he's gone, in fact most don't have anything good to say about him. Mostly they seem to be saying he was a primadonna for the Texans and they're doing better without him.

Evidence suggests that as well. Williams' replacement, JJ Watts is having a tremendous All-Pro calibre season thus far. But...

The Texans suffered a serious blow when linebacker Brian Cushing went down for the year after suffering a torn ACL.

Not that they'll completely crumble, but it's a big hit. Cushing is a former first-round pick in 2009 who was an All-Pro last season.  Former Bills head coach Wade Phillips is the defensive coordinator for the Texans and is doing an outstanding job and Houston looks to have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl.

Two former Bills head coaches have already won Super Bowls as defensive coordinators with other teams--Greg Williams, New Orleans and Perry Fewell, NY Giants.

But, getting back to Cushing, he was selected with the 15th pick in the 2009 draft, four picks behind former Bill, Aaron Maybin.

Just sayin'.

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