Number Chains - October 30, 2012 Links

Josh L.
October 30 2012 12:43PM

This new, regular feature on NHLNumbers will share interesting stats-related posts from around the web almost every day.

Welcome to edition number four of the rebooted Number Chains. In this space you will be able to find the best analytical hockey writing from around the internet on a close-to-daily basis. Subject matter will include statistical evaluation, financial analysis, contractual issues, and (sometimes) closely-related tangential works. If you have something you would like to submit for a future edition (your writing or that of someone else) feel free to send it to me via Twitter @JoshL1220 or leave a comment.

Ken Campbell's latest column for The Hockey News delves into an idea ex-NHLPA czar Paul Kelly suggested for bridging the gap between the two sides in the labor struggle. The idea Kelly floated was to expand the league by two teams into fertile markets to grow the pie for everyone.

Not that anybody is asking, since he was kicked to the curb by his own dysfunctional constituents three years ago, but former NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly has some thoughts on what might ease the logjam. And it has to do with expansion, specifically to suburban Toronto (Markham) and Quebec City. As Kelly sees it, making expansion a part of the conversation when it comes to the new collective bargaining agreement could bring both sides closer to realizing their goals.

“If the NHLPA hasn’t raised it as a potential part of the solution, then it ought to,” Kelly said. “Maybe they’ve tried and had the door slammed in their face from what we’re seeing, but it really makes a great deal of sense.”

As Campbell points out in the story, adding two expansion teams would require the NHL and NHLPA to change the definition of Hockey Related Revenue to include expansion fees. It would also require the NHL to annoy the Maple Leafs and Canadiens by putting teams in their backyards, but as Campbell also points out that doesn't seem to be a sticking point with the Islanders moving to the Barclays Center, six miles away from the Rangers. The idea is simple, but also radical at this stage of the negotiations. It's at least interesting to consider.

After the jump the latest from Corey Pronman, Eastern European racists, and even more lockout news.

*Corey Pronman's latest at Hockey Prospectus ponders how we evaluate draft selections. He advocates a process based evaluation versus the tradition results based analysis.

* Bruce Peter at Eyes On The Prize continues the site's reflection on the 2012 season by analzying the Canadiens' first line forwards and seeing how they stack up to the rest of the NHL.

* Broad Street Hockey looks at the ridiculous treatment Wayne Simmonds recently received in the Czech Republic.

* Christopher Botta at The Sporting News posted a story about the never ending reign of Gary Bettman. That might seem melodramatic, but the title of the story actually is "NHL lockout: Gary Bettman is going nowhere-no matter what". So, yeah. Keep booing him, I guess.

* Jeff Z Klein of the New York Times writes that if the NHL were to cancel the Winter Classic...it's dead for the year. The league has no fallback plan to reinstate the game at a later date. (via Kukla's Korner)

* We end today with Nick Kypreos' latest for sportsnet. He writes about the leagues negotiating group where power is consolidated in the hands of three men: Gary Bettman, Jeremy Jacobs, and Bob Batterman.

Now here we are in 2012 and many whispers we heard about Goodenow in 2004 are now being directed toward Bettman. "Old, tired and paranoid" are just some of the descriptions of Bettman these days. Does the commissioner still have a clear head to get the best deal possible for all 30 owners, or is he too bitter and jaded after close to 20 years on the job to think clearly?

Worse is the perception that only three people control all the power and information when it comes to the future of the NHL, that a new deal hinges solely on Bettman, Bob Batterman (lead counsel for the NHL) and Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins owner and chairman of the NHL board). Everyone else is on the outside looking in when it comes to power in the league.

Ask many NHL owners outside of this small circle and if they answer truthfully they'll tell you they know as much of what's going on as you or me. Some teams will also tell you a two- to three-year slope toward 50/50 split works just fine, and to potentially burn the whole village down in an effort to keep fighting for teams like Phoenix and Florida is just plain wrong. Like McCabe and Walker in 2004, many owners' frustration lies in not having their voice heard when it matters most.

As the Red Wings and Jimmy Devellano found out the hard way, it's okay to be seen, just don't be heard. Even if an owner like Detroit's Mike Ilitch wanted to sit in on negotiations with the PA he wouldn't be allowed. That's a tough pill to swallow considering the financial stake he and all owners have in a $3.3 billion operation.

That will do it for today. Again, if you have anything you would like to submit for inclusion don't hesitate to let me know.

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Josh writes for DefendingBigD, WFAA.com, and tracks both scoring chances and zone entries for Dallas Stars games. He can be found on Twitter at @JoshL1220 where he may or may not continue to speak in third person. Please follow his meagerly followed account so he can get a boost of self esteem one follower at a time.
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