Thursday, November 29, 2012

How Much Longer Does Burke Have as Leafs GM?

Brian Burke Leafs
Four years ago today Brian Burke took over the Toronto Maple Leafs. His reign has coincided with one of the worst four-year stretches in team history.

On average, GMs last between five and six years with one team. If the Leafs once again fail to make the playoffs in Burke's fifth season as GM, ownership will have to seriously consider changing leadership.

After next season, Leafs ownership has two options: 1) fire Burke immediately, or 2) commit to Burke long-term. Giving Burke any more than one year to guide the Leafs, but less than a long-term mandate, will be catastrophic.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What You Need to Know About Decertification

Donald Fehr evil
The NHLPA made a big step towards the owners on Wednesday, only to be summarily rejected in about the time it takes to get your pizza delivered.

Now the NHLPA is fuming and for the first time this lockout the whispers of decertification are turning into shouts.

But what exactly is decertification and how can it help end the lockout? Below is an easy to read guide to everything you need to know about decertification.

Big thanks to sports lawyer Gabe Feldman for much of the information used in this article. For Feldman's full and much more detailed legal description of decertification, you can read his FAQ at the Huffington Post and Grantland.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Seeds of Dissent: Hamrlik Speaks Out Against NHLPA

Roman Hamrlik Capitals
The first real ripple of dissent has ripped through the NHLPA.

In an interview with the Czech newspaper Daily Sport, Washington defenceman Roman Hamrlik blasted NHLPA head Donald Fehr.

"I am disgusted," Hamrlik told Daily Sport (translated by TV Nova's Roman Jedlicka). "We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost (one-quarter) of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us, Mr. Fehr?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don Cherry's Twitter Stories

Don Cherry subtle jacket
Don Cherry is killing it on Twitter.

Most of his tweets are the usual Coach's Corner-type rants, but he has also started telling some more mundane stories that are actually pretty (unintentionally) hilarious.

In a recent interview with James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, Don Cherry opened up about many things, his newfound love of Twitter among them.

"Well, nobody knows why I’m on Twitter. But what happened was, about five guys had my name out there, using my name as Twitter. So, CBC, they said we’ve got to protect ourselves. So we want you in the playoffs to start a Twitter. And I was ‘Come on, are you kidding?’ I thought Twitter was for birds to tell you the truth."

But Don doesn't tweet himself, something Marlies coach Dallas Eakins made light of after Don criticized how Eakins and the Leafs handled Nazem Kadri arriving at training camp out-of-shape. 
"So what I do is I phone in if I see something that bothers me. She (Kathy Broderick) takes care of it. She does the typing and all of that because I couldn’t do all that.

I'm having some fun on Storify compiling the tweets and adding a little extra.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why a Year-Long Lockout Helps the Leafs

Getzlaf Luongo Leafs
"Meet me in Toronto," Roberto Luongo whispered to Ryan Getzlaf.
The lockout is undeniably terrible. But when play resumes (hopefully before 2022) Leafs fans might discover it was the best thing to happen to the team.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where Will Matt Frattin Play?

Matt Frattin Leafs
Matt Frattin is too good for the AHL.

He has 24 goals in 36 career AHL games, which includes 10 he scored in 13 playoff games.

With a disappointing 6-4-0-1 start and a scant 33 goals forward, the Toronto Marlies will be happy to add the winger to their lineup when he returns from injury, which could be as early as Friday.

Frattin was one of the brighter lights on a strong Marlies team last season, which gave Leafs Nation hope that he would soon help the Maple Leafs.

While Frattin has shown an ability to score at the AHL level, he was used primarily in a bottom six role with the big club, minus a few games played alongside Mikhail Grabovski after Randy Carlyle took over. 

Physically, Frattin has the making on a banging, crashing style forward that would be extremely valuable on the third line. And statistically, he should be able to excel in that role immediately. He scored 8 goals in 56 games, which prorates to about 11 over a full season. That's the amount a good third line winger scores.

But after his goal-scoring barrage in the AHL, perhaps his NHL ceiling is higher than that of a third line player.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bad Photoshops: Fantasy Hockey Avatars

Kriss Cross: A terrible rap group named after a terrible hockey player.
In the quest for fantasy hockey superiority, you need to spend time studying sleepers, obviously, and everyone knows a kick-ass name will help too. But a seemingly undervalued aspect of creating a fantasy hockey juggernaut is outfitting your team with the type of logo that strikes fear (or, more accurately, laughter) into the hearts of your opponents.

Here is a sampling of my (bad) Photoshop efforts to create a logo/avatar for different fantasy hockey team names. I will take requests in the comment section if you are brave.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Will AHL Success Translate to NHL Superiority?

Justin Faulk Hurricanes
Barring a shocking lockout resolution after today's "secret" bargaining session, the closest thing to NHL hockey is taking place in AHL rinks across the continent.

And although AHL hockey is great, it can't replace NHL hockey. Sure, I want to see the Marlies do well, but I don't hang on every shot like I do with the Maple Leafs. In fact, I'm largely watching the AHL to see if the players can eventually help the Leafs.

Many Leafs fans clung to the fact that the Marlies made last year's Calder Cup Final as evidence that the future was bright for the parent club. A slow start to the season doesn't have everyone putting the same stock into results, which made me wonder how predictive AHL success is of NHL success.

Today's post at The Good Point looks at how well AHL success translates into NHL success. Do NHL teams that have good farm teams eventually become better teams themselves? Is the relationship between the two stronger after a lockout?

Click the link to find out!

But...I also have some additional content on the matter. If a strong AHL team means a strong NHL team, which teams will follow the path set by their AHL counterparts and blaze a trail into the playoff? More specifically, which NHL teams that were bad in 2011-12 (ala Toronto) will reverse the trend and play hockey in the spring?

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012 Fantasy Hockey Team Names

Bieksa and I Know It: No team name is complete without a terrible Photoshop
Follow Five Minutes For Fighting on Twitter and Facebook! And read the list of 2013 Fantasy Hockey Team Names.

Studies show that how well you do in fantasy hockey is directly related to how creative and funny your team name is. The funnier your name, the better you will do. It's science. Don't question it.

With that in mind, you better pick a great team name this year. But here's the secret: You don't actually have to put much effort into a great name, just refer to this year's handy list of the best fantasy hockey team names.

I do not claim to have thought of all of these myself, but like a homely librarian, I have done my curatorial duties and amassed a list of the web's best for your own personal use.

If nothing on this year's list suits your fancy, you can find the list from 2010 here and 2011 here. There is sure to be something that you like.

So, in keeping with tradition, here is this year's list of the best fantasy hockey team names. Feel free to post your own suggestions in the comment section.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Movember: NHL Style Guide

The moustache has endured in hockey, much like the mullet, even during times when it has fallen out of favour with the general population.

Now moustaches are given a whole month, whether in style or not, all for raising money/awareness for prostate cancer

If you are growing a moustache for Movember and are having a hard time determining how to style your soup strainer, why not look to the pros.

The internet has plenty of style guides already available (like here, here, here, and here), but they won't tell you what is NHL-chic.
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