Almost famous: Lessons from a near miss

Eric T.
August 07 2012 06:19AM

Hubble
The universe - it's not so static.
Photo by NASA, Public Domain

It was one of those moments that you live for in research. A shocking result popped out of the analysis. "Holy crap, this is going to change the game," I thought.

But that's not the story here. The real story is what happened next.

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Florida Panthers 2012-13 Annual: Will lightning strike twice?

Corey S.
August 06 2012 01:28PM


Weiss wants to stay on top.
By Michael Miller,
via Wikimedia Commons

One year ago, Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers were the laughing stock of the Internet after he splurged to get his team to the cap floor. Tallon acquired eight multi-year contracts last season and while some of them may have appeared reasonable, many of them were just flat out terrible. Not only that but they were raising the market value by overpaying for mediocre players. Despite all of this, Florida managed to win the Southeast Division, make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade and take the eventual Eastern Conference champions to seven games in the first round. So the joke is on us now, right? Not quite.

Florida did have a good season and were actually a pretty decent team at even strength, but luck played a role in them winning the Southeast Division last year. They had a worse goal differential than both Washington and Winnipeg, had the same amount of regulation and overtime wins as the Avalanche, Sabres and Hurricanes and acquired 52 of their 94 points from one-goal games, 18 of them coming in shootout/overtime losses. They also played in arguably the weakest division in the NHL, which was left wide open thanks to disappointing seasons from the Capitals and Lightning.

Tallon’s shopping spree last off-season could come back to haunt the team, as well since they are now saddled with a lot of long-term deals and could run into problems when it comes time to give Stephen Weiss a new contract after this season. The good news is that they have a lot of quality forward prospects in their system and one of them could replace Weiss eventually, but having a little under $30 mil. committed to seven players in 2014-15 could make it difficult for the Panthers to build around that group of talent, especially for a small market team.

That being said, the Southeast title is still up for grabs and the Panthers are the defending champs, so they are going to look to defend their throne coming into the year. The only problem is that their team didn’t improve much coming into this off-season while other teams in the division got better. How does Florida stack up compare to them?

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Washington Capitals 2012-13 Preview - Freed From Their Shackles

Derek Zona
August 05 2012 02:43PM

Alex Ovechkin
Hunter is out, and with him goes half-effective Alex.
photo by Ivan Makarov, via
Wikimedia Commons

As a group, NHL General Managers generally know what they're doing. Individual GMs fail, and fail mightily, and torch franchises in the process. But even the very good GMs make mistakes from time-to-time and last year Washington Capitals GM George McPhee made an enormous blunder.

The 2011-12 Capitals were an expensive team filled with superstars, but those stars weren't winning and that money was burning. In Bruce Boudreau, McPhee had a lightning rod of a head coach (thanks mainly to HBO) and chose Boudreau to take the fall for the wins. Stories surfaced about locker room discord and pouting superstars and in the end, even Boudreau agreed the dismissal was the right move.  McPhee said that "the message wasn't getting through," and it was time for a change. 

In reality, however, the Caps weren't suffering under Boudreau.  When Boudreau was fired, the Capitals were a top five team in Fenwick Close, the sign of a dominant possession team.   The difference in the team, at least on the ice, was the lack of plentiful goals, something management could count on in years past. At fault particularly was the power play, oft-cited in articles about Boudreau's firing, and Alex Ovechkin was blamed for the team's lack of success.

Thus began the Dale Hunter era.

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Nation Radio - August 4, 2012

NationRadio
August 05 2012 12:39PM

It's the August long weekend! Hockey may be on the back-burner for many, but that doesn't mean that Nation Radio is hurting for things to discuss. Host Allan Mitchell talks about the Oilers with Jason Gregor, the Canucks with Thomas Drance, the NHL in general with Eric T., the AHL with Jim Byers and the WHL with Guy Flaming, with a little soccer talk with Scott Francis Winder in acknowledgement of the fact that when the thermometer is pushing 30 degrees all the talk can't be about hockey.

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Tampa Bay Lightning 2012-13 Annual - Reprising '11 Or On The Way Down?

Corey S.
August 04 2012 01:05PM


Does Martin St. Louis have a last hurrah in him?
By Michael Miller, via Wikimedia Commons

When Steve Yzerman took over as the Lightning’s GM in 2010, most hockey minds thought that he would help make this team competitive again and during the first year of his tenure, he was able to do just that. Tampa Bay made the playoffs and were able to knock off both Pittsburgh and Washington in the first two rounds before being eliminated by Boston. Their success that year appeared to be legitimate as they had the third best Fenwick close percentage in the NHL and a decent young corps to build around in Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. Unfortunately for Yzerman, things fell apart last year.

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