Under appreciated players - Daniel Winnik, puck-possession forward

Cam Charron
October 30 2012 07:10AM

He's not an All-Star and his team gets out-scored more when he's on the ice than not, but as for third line depth talent the Anaheim Ducks could have done a whole lot worse this summer than when they signed Daniel Winnik.

Winnik's offensive talents are quite limited. In 366 NHL games, he has just 37 goals, but more troubling is that his career shooting percentage after 622 career shots is merely 5.9%. In essence, he's a defenceman. There aren't a lot of forwards who can sustain such long careers despite not lighting the lamp, and many of the forwards who do are hockey's pugilists. Daniel Winnik is not that thing, but he gets good ice-time minutes despite being not particularly effective offensively. Why? Because he's a very good defensive performer.

Read Article | 0 Comments

The 2004-05 NHL lockout effect on attendance

Cam Charron
October 16 2012 02:29PM

Which NHL markets benefit, attendance-wise, from the lockout of 2004-05?

First team that comes to mind is Pittsburgh. There was more hype surrounding that team than any. They got Sidney Crosby, who was going to play with Mario Lemieux, a drastic turnaround from the bankrupt team that was entertaining relocation possibilities from before the lockout. 

It's obvious, in looking at NHL attendance data between 2001-2008 that the league as a whole did much, much better overall thanks to the lockout. I have to wonder if fans would be able to stomach a second season, however, the work stoppage did save a few markets.

Read Article | 5 Comments

Slicing and dicing: that expensive second contract

Cam Charron
September 06 2012 10:13AM

One of the craziest common questions circulating around during this period of labour uncertainty is that if the owners cry poor, then why are they still signing these players to huge contracts? The simplest answer is that the owners that are crying poor, aren't exactly the ones signing teams to contracts.

The big deals signed by NHL players, the ones over $50M, are proportionally distributed with the top revenue teams in the NHL and, coincidentally, with the number of playoff berths:

  % of NHL Revenue % of NHL Playoff Spots % of $50M+ Contracts
Top 10 revenue teams 46% 44% 45%
Bottom 10 revenue teams 23% 25% 20%

That's revenue from 2010-11, $50M contracts signed for the 2011-12 season and playoff berths for the 2011-12 season.

Read Article | 2 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs 2012-13 annual: The burden of expectation

Cam Charron
August 18 2012 11:20AM

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't the worst franchise in Toronto—Toronto FC, the Argonauts, the Raptors all deserve parts of the title. I would suggest though that neither sports franchise represents the worst overall product in the city. That would be the streetcars, a totally inefficient use of city space. Streetcars confine themselves to one lane and it's in the middle of the street. During rush hour periods, the streets in downtown Toronto are an awful mess due to the city's reluctance to introduce revolutionary technology such as buses.

And, hey, poll many Torontonians, and if you asked them whether they'd keep the streetcars or the Maple Leafs, most would say the Maple Leafs.

Read Article | 8 Comments

Montreal Canadiens 2012-13 annual: Les Habitants (du sous-sol)

Cam Charron
August 17 2012 04:26PM

Some may suppose it's appropriate that the Montreal Canadiens were founded the same year they began building the Titanic. Built in the same year were the deck chairs that general manager Pierre Gauthier was shuffling around the deck as the ship began to sank. It's not that Gauthier was purposefully making moves that would ruin the Habs' chances at a playoff spot, but he made a number of questionable decisions in a bleak effort to save face and keep his job.

The butchered heads of failed managers rarely roll, and even when they do, they don't go too far. Gauthier lost his job with the Canadiens and ended up in Chicago as an assistant, while Marc Bergevin, an understudy of the successful Stan Bowman, was hired as Gauthier's replacement in Montreal to oversee hockey's Lower Canadian club.

Funnily enough, things weren't awful for le club hockey last season. Sure, they finished with an Eastern Conference-low 31 wins and 78 points, but that was partially thanks to a league-low 11 wins in 37 one-goal games they played. In games decided by three or more goals, the Habs were 14-12. So what made the difference?

Read Article | 12 Comments