Around The League – Halloween Edition

I know I haven’t been the most consistent contributor to this site in recent months, but the witching hour is almost upon us, and my return from the underworld is long past due. It has been, to say the least, an interesting first couple of weeks to this NHL season. Some happenings border on the bizzare, so what better time to discuss than now?“DOLLAR” BILL NOT PAYING SMITH (Chicago Sun-Times)

There are various reports out of the Windy City that reveal that Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz is witholding payments to former general manager Mike Smith. Smith, who was ousted last week by the league’s most notorious penny-pincher, is still under contract for the rest of this season and all of next season. The organization maintains that Smith was fired “for cause,” and that he is not due payment because the GM “breached” his contract. There is speculation that Wirtz is merely trying to save a few bucks by making Smith accept a buyout at a reduced price rather than pay him what he is owed.

My take: Bill Wirtz ought to be hit by a bus, fall on a dirty soup spoon, and catch AIDS. It’s bad enough that he fires a guy who’s doing his job, but the fact that he’s renegging on paying the man his due on a contract signed in good faith is is just plain ludicrous. Smith should immediately call a press conference where all he says is: “You see? You see what I’ve had to deal with?” What possible “cause” could there be for this action? Not getting Tuomo Ruutu signed to a more club-friendly contract?


The Rangers are back. And they’re just as bad. During last night’s loss to the Mighty Ducks, the same problems that have been haunting this team for the better part of the last decade were as prevalent as ever. The combination of no system, bad coaching, and a complete lack of special teams play does not a winning team make. The power play is 0-for the season, and the PK is almost dead last as well. After NJ castoff Pascal Rheaume (who was signed and brought to the club rather than a younger, more promising player from Hartford) goes down with a bum knee, resident genius Glen Sather heaps almost twenty minutes of ice time on the Methuselan Mark Messier, while banishing the still young and promising Jamie Lundmark to the fourth line.

My take: Those of you who thought that the New York Rangers might finally turn it around this season, start living up to their star-studded potential, start earning their exorbitant pay, maybe even make the playoffs, well, you’re wrong. Is it early in the season? Sure, but it is plain as the nose on your face that this season’s edition of the Blueshirts is just as inept as the previous six. It should also be just as obvious that the game has passed Glen Sather by. His insistence on not giving ice time to players who might actually make a difference is galling.


While the Rangers continue to push non-productive veterans, 90 minutes south via I-95 the Philadelphia Flyers are enjoying watching their youth blossom into quality NHL players. Head coach Ken Hitchcock is particularly pleased with the continuing development of winger Justin Williams, using such adjectives as “tenacious, hard-working, two-way player, tremendous penalty-killer.” Hitch has been using the youngster in every single game situation thus far, and he has not been disappointed. Williams is second in club scoring, and excelled at everything he’s been asked to do, and, in the process, has morphed into one of the team’s best forecheckers. He creates oppurtunities for his teammates that way, as was evident in the Flyers’ 5-0 drubbing of the Canadiens the other night.

My take: Admittedly, I’ve never been the biggest Justin Williams fan. The kid still needs to learn how to skate better. But, I can’t argue with the results. He’s turning out to be a very productive hockey player. While his name did pop up in a lot of trade rumors last season, I doubt he’ll be sent packing if he continues to play this way.


Nikolai Antropov had to shake the stigma that he was injury prone before he had his first decent season in 2002-03. Now, he’s right back where he started. This tarnished crown jewel of the Toronto Maple Leafs drafting ability will miss the next month of the season while he recovers from a severe shoulder separation. His return to action is slated for early December. Antropov was hurt in Monday’s loss to Atlanta.

My take: Is it me, or does it seem like a shoulder separation is the most common injury sustained in the Toronto Maple Leaf organization? Oh, well. It really shouldn’t matter. Antropov isn’t all that good to begin with, and even said that if he had hit the weight room more, the injury wouldn’t be that bad. Imagine that – an athlete lifting weights. What a novel concept.

KYLE WHO? (Boston Globe)

The Boston Bruins and their fans have to be pleased with the result of the team’s big three-way deal last season. The first-place B’s, while losing Jeff Hackett to free agency, got exactly what they were looking for in young blueliner Jeff Jillson. Jillson is turning into quite the scorer in Beantown, with three goals and an assist in 10 games, while posting a +3 rating. It seems like the team doesn’t miss Kyle McLaren at all. McLaren has a goal and an assist for his San Jose Sharks, while being -5.

My take: The B’s did get the better end of that deal. Losing Hackett was inevitable, but they offset it by signing Felix Potvin. Jillson is a better fit in Boston than McLaren was. He’s a better person, a better teammate, and will be a better all-around player.

That’s it for now, y’all. Release the Hounds!

49 Responses to Around The League – Halloween Edition

  1. cwthrash says:

    While I would prefer a different approach to Wirtz, a mental and/or financial torture, I agree with the sentiment.

    But I’ve heard that somewhere before. I’m wanting to say Bloom County. Not positive.

  2. defenestrate says:

    I miss Bloom County – Ack! Gag!

    Bill Wirtz and Art Modell should be forced to go on “Blind Date” with Leona Helmsley and Imelda Marcos.

    The most common injury on the Leafs is cirrhosis.

    I’m not commenting on the Rangers – “Dreamcatcher”, as bad a movie (and as good a book) as it was, taught an important lesson – don’t mess with the “special” kid, or the poop monsters may get you (oh, wait – they’re already here – Shaq and Kobe).

  3. big_booty says:

    Bloom County it was. A Binkley father-son moment.

    100,000 points to you, cw.

  4. habsoverserver says:

    It’s amazing that hockey in NYC is now more dead than it was any time during the 40 or so year dry spell prior to winning the most recent cup. It’s one thing to miss the playoffs every year, it’s another to play a boring game without a single fan favorite on the ice.

  5. habsoverserver says:

    Supposedly, he has a new comic coming out soon Sunday only in the Washington Post.

  6. WeStSiDe says:

    Antropov isnt good to begin with? WTF

    And actually, one of the things he might have done TOO much of was bulk up this off season, so your pretty much wrong there.

    I dont recall that many “seperated shoulder” injuries that seem above the norm to agree with your comment.

  7. 89AlexanderMogilny89 says:

    Seems to be you haven’t a clue when it come to the Leafs.

    Antropov added weight to his frame this off season and know weighs around 230 pounds.Yes he is injury prone and that is stunting his developement.

    To say he isn’t that good to begin with is ridiculous(yes he isn’t a superstar ).You seem to redicule anything that is Leaf related.Maybe your Al Strachan’s twin brother?.

    Nice paste job by the way.Since you are always complaining and putting down other posters articles.You seem to do the same with almost all your articles as well.Recycled articles..unreal.

    Oh sorry you did add you take on the situation.Here’s a cookie for you!

  8. big_booty says:

    No, he’s not all that good. This is a direct quote from the same article:

    “The problem with Antropov is that he’s not a gifted skater and is not a threat to go end-to-end.”

    Big Nik isn’t all that impressive on the ice, and his numbers reflect that. He now also reclaims his “brittle” label to add to his lack of superstar status.

    “And actually, one of the things he might have done TOO much of was bulk up this off season, so your pretty much wrong there.”

    No, I’m right. The following is a direct quote from your boy:

    “If you cannot play the physical game in this league you just cannot play here….I spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer, but maybe I should have spent more time than I did.”

    As for the shoulder thing, Antropov separated his other one the first day of training camp. Gary Roberts had to have both shoulders repaired before he could even play last year.

  9. big_booty says:

    Another Leafs homer. Go figure.

    Thank your mother for the milk that I dipped my cookie in.

  10. big_booty says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    The Rangers could do without Bobby Holik’s one good game in every 15 or so. They could also do without asking an AARP member to log ice time that should be reserved for hungry twentysomethings.

    Slats needs to be reminded of the fact that it’s 2003, not 1983.

  11. MossRocks says:

    What has happened to you?

  12. 89AlexanderMogilny89 says:

    Oh no problem.Your constant idiotic comments are getting old.

    You seem to have nothing to contribute here but half witted smart ass remarks.

    Perhaps you find some other board that will put up with your pathetic ass.

  13. big_booty says:

    You know, I had a little blurb on Comrie all ready to go. The trouble is, all it said was: “Comrie still waiting to be traded.”

    I really can’t expand on it any more than that, because there’s nothing more to say. There’s no rumors out there as to where he might be headed, or what the Oil might get in return. It’s just that he isn’t playing and wants to be dealt. Kinda like the whole Lindros-Clarke thing, but on a much much smaller scale and everyone likes Kevin Lowe.

    I can’t write about what isn’t there.

  14. big_booty says:

    Bill and Opus – this time, why not vote for the worst?

  15. Dynamo710 says:

    I’m gonna have to disagree with you on the Rangers. If you had watched the game vs. Anaheim you would know that the Rangers outplayed Anaheim badly, outshot them in the range of 40-20. Unfortunately, a couple of bad bounces in Anaheim’s favor proved to be the difference, along with the great play of Martin Gerber. Coming into that game they were ranked 7th on the penalty kill, which is far from dead. Their lack of power play goals can be contributed to the absence of Brian Leetch. It’s not easy to play without your best d-man and forward early in the season. Also if you watched the Rangers on a consistent basis you would know that there is a system in place, one that stresses defence, and the Rangers are a much better defensive team.

    Going into December last season, the Rangers were close to the top of the standings in the east, then dropped off mainly due to key injuries. Its impossible to say that after 7 games with a 2-3-2 record its gonna end up the same way. I think the problem is that the Rangers have such high expectations as a team that when 7 GAMES into the season, they drop 1 GAME below .500, criticism like this shows up.

    “The combination of no system, bad coaching, and a complete lack of special teams play does not a winning team make.” ???

    You a deuschbag are. And that goes out to all you other Ranger bashers.

  16. jpmac says:

    How can nobody have a clue about the leafs on here…if the trainers wife breaks a nail you leafs fans report on it

  17. 89AlexanderMogilny89 says:

    Read big_booty’s articles and comments and you will soon find out.

  18. WeStSiDe says:

    Whether he is good or not is your opinion, I simply dont agree, because he isnt fast doesnt mean he cant be a good player, when he has been healthy he has produced.

    That quote proves that he did indeed bulk up, he thinks maybe he should have done more, big difference. Many people coach included believed he bulked up too much.

    Given what you have said about the people and “seperated shoulders”, in your last comment, I still dont feel your original is accurate. You specfically said seperated shoulders, and said that it happend a lot on this team. I think your judgement of a lot is a little exagerated. But hey, what do I know.

  19. therealrangerfan says:

    yeah man….all these people who dont follow rangers hockey dont understand….the saeson is just underway and already were getting shit on…our pk is wayyyyy better than last year but the pp will come around as soon as leetch and lindros come off injuries…and the game last night was a fluke…the rangers beat the ducks…from the first period to the last…a couple of lucky goals..thats all man…and why dont you strat makign comments during the middle of the season huh? All you ranger haters

  20. Beckfan5 says:

    Booty your an idiot! You obviously dont watch Ranger games to make such coments like this. And your post didnt come from the New York Post. Their p.k. has been very good so far this season (41 of 47). And they do have a system this season. Its the trap. I will agree, and who cant, that the p.p. blows. Except for last night, they dont take enough shots and rush the net. And as for Sather playing Messier insted of Lundmark or calling up a young gun instead of signing Reahume, well no Ranger fan can still figure it out after all these seasons.

  21. defenestrate says:

    I own the “half-wit” comments. His are at least “9/16 – wit” or so.

    Cw, where are you? The bait has been taken!

  22. defenestrate says:

    You know, I was all set – “I can’t write about what isn’t there” – it’s a t-ball just waiting to be jacked out of the yard – but it’ll start that whole Hatfield – McCoy thing again….


  23. MantaRay says:

    As usual, your right on target with everything you said (Wirtz/Aids comment withstanding).

    The firing of Smith is a huge mistake especially after he set them up for years to come with some fine drafting and good young players like Calder, Bell and Ruutu. Wirtz is the typical greedy franchise owner who treat his teams fans like tools and will bleed every last penny from them.

    He is the Montgomery Burns of the NHL.

    Your exactly right about the Ranger$: there’s no system, bad coaching, and a complete lack of special teams play and I would also add a perennially bad defense.

    Any true Ranger fan would have to acknowledge that their team is just as bad as last season, if not worse (Chris Simon leads the team in Scoring??).

    The defense is horrible and their goals against stats are very misleading ,because Dunham has saved the season thus far.

    How Sather is playing Messier 22+ mintues is beyond me, especially at the expense of Lundmark.

    The Rheamue move was another boneheaded move: Dominic Moore would have provided the grit and determination to win, but Slats took the dumb route out.

    How many years has Andropov been trying to break out in the NHL??? He’s just too fragile for the NHL it seems.

    The Mclaren trade was a steal for the B’s just to get Jillson. With Jillson and Boyton the B’s have a great pair of young d-men to build on.

    Welcome back!

  24. MossRocks says:

    There are plenty of rumours – probably speculative but that’s never stopped anyone here before.

    The Thrashers were an item a couple of weeks ago, but they have no shortage of scoring. Now the Ducks, Kings and supposedly the Flyers are rumoured. I can’t imagine why the Flyers would be rumoured… That’s what I expected you to jump on, but I guess you haven’t heard any of that.

  25. cwthrash says:

    I was awful tempted to leaf through my Bloom County books tonight after the reminder. Got caught up watching St. Louis and Detroit play some bad hockey, another 80s flashback with all the scoring.

    Tomorrow I will. Kinda mad at myself for forgeting how funny it was, and still is.

  26. cwthrash says:

    Wouldn’t it just be fitting to insert the names Gary and Bob there?

  27. mattf says:

    didn’t he score something like 20 goals in a single game in kazachjockstrapistan? that is an ass-load

  28. cwthrash says:

    It’s almost as fun to watch as it is to be in on the action… boy, that really wasn’t the best choice of words, was it?

    Living in the south somehow gives the perception that I know diddly about hockey, so my comments automatically fall into the “no-wit” category for many posters. And I have ample proof of it. But since all this wasn’t really directed at me, I shall shut my gob and insult only when insulted.

    Me and my Banana Junior 6000 will now endeavour to create havoc elsewhere, at least for the next few hours.

  29. Tradedude says:

    “Antropov isn’t all that good to begin with”

    come on! how leaf biassed can you get. so your saying he ‘sucks’? my god u should watch him play before u say shit like that.

    “if he had hit the weight room more” well lets see here. he;s been literally working his ass off all summer gaining 15 pounds or whatever it was.

    and what’s with the comment at the end. y’all? r u like another punk rapper or something?

  30. Donovan says:

    You don’t want to start that again do you? Remember the last one? Remember over the summer?

  31. Donovan says:

    Wirtz is kinda like the NHL’s George Stienbrenner, except for the fact that he doesn’t use his money to buy wins.

  32. big_booty says:

    I’m pretty sure you can find it in “Billy and the Boingers Bootleg.”

  33. big_booty says:

    First off, nowhere did I say he “sucks.” I merely said that he “isn’t all that good.”

    Like a typical Leafs homer, you seem to overvalue your players and amplify any criticism directed at them. To you, Antropov is the second coming of Cam Neely whose excrement has the distinct aroma of a spring morn. In reality, he’s a fragile oaf who can’t establish himself in the NHL because of a lack of talent and his tendency to get injured.

    I have watched him play. I have come to the conclusion that he’s not all that good.

    As for hitting the weight room more, your boy even said so in the papers. Maybe you should try reading them instead of failing at origami.

  34. defenestrate says:

    I know – it was more lively than it is now, though….but I shall refrain.

  35. defenestrate says:

    Maybe if they make 1,000 paper cranes, the Leafs will make the playoffs…

  36. Tradedude says:

    Since when did I say Antropov is the next Cam Neely. And no im not one of those moronic leaf fans who take everything like its against them, im just a big fan of the leafs, and i believe i have the right to stick up for the players on the leafs because i watch them every game, i cheer for them every game. You, your just another typical HTR mr smart guy. u think u no everything. u diss everyone and get credit for it. and when is antropov my boy? im not a big fan of him, but i no he has sum good talent. ya he gets injured and he’s fragile ill give you that, but please dont go round dissin players just cuz there injured, and a bit fragile. and i do read most of the leaf papers, why, do u think u no everything about me? u dont think i read the papers(which i do) and all of the sudden i think antropov is the next “cam neely”.

    so in conclusion, im not a leaf homer or whatever you and your “homie gees” call them. im a straight out leaf fan who has alot of respect for the players of this league.

    im not against you or anything, im just saying that maybe you should stop dissin leaf fans, and look through to their ‘real’ meaning.

  37. Tradedude says:

    ya cuz obviously the leafs wont make the playoffs. god u ppl

  38. Donovan says:

    What is homerism? Do I fit the definition? I like the Leafs but don’t see them doing anything anytime soon, except for maybe getting Gonchar and thats a big maybe

  39. 89AlexanderMogilny89 says:

    Lack of talent?.big_booty is a complete joke so just ignore anything coming out from his mouth.

    He is the same guy that said”Why did the Leafs choose Reichel to take the penalty shot when they have Mogilny and Sundin?”.Well one problem..Niether Sundin or Mogilny were on the ice at the time of the infraction.

    So just your trap booty.

  40. 89AlexanderMogilny89 says:

    I was meaning to say “Just shut your trap,booty”.

  41. Flyers_Expert says:

    How dare you insult a Toronto player “BB”??!!!!

    You know that The Leafs are the greatest team and every player they have is Guy Lafleur of the 70’s !


    and i thought you were one of the best writers on this site!

    ; )

  42. GretzNYR99 says:

    Let me ask you something… how far is your head up his ass?

    No system… hmmm, if you actually watch the Rangers, you’d see that they’re playing a 1-2-2 Neutral Zone Trap, kid. The scoring isn’t that bad, it defenitely could be better, but it’s spread out. We haven’t had one clear cut guy scoring every game. Nedved has 3 goals, and now leads the team in scoring. Their power play is obviously going to be bad with their best pointman in Brian Leetch, and their top center in Eric Lindros out. Messier’s only getting this increased ice time due to Lindros’ injury. Rheaume was kind of a dumb move, I agree that Moore should have been called up. He scored 4 goals in the preseason, I thought he outplayed Jamie Lundmark for that spot. The defense is horrible? we’ve only let up more than 1 goal in 3 of our games, the 3 losses. If you watched the Rangers, and focused in on Mike Dunham, he lets up a lot of big rebounds. The defense has been great getting the puck out of there and getting it up ice and deep in the offensive zone, creating chances. The Rangers have gone back to the basics, something they haven’t done in years. I’m not saying that they’re totally turned around, but they’re on their way. Lack of special teams play… lol, ok, the power play, yes. The penalty kill? Who’s PK is first on home ice? The New York Rangers. And overall, they’re 7th, I believe.

  43. GretzNYR99 says:

    Lets get to business here…

    You poorly overanalyzed a game that you didn’t even watch, in the Rangers/Ducks game. Are you kidding? The Rangers in quality chances edged them 25 to 11. Shots on goal… Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 20-25. Ozolinsh’s goal deflected off of Poti. Niedermayer’s goal was deflected not only by him, but Kaspar also in front. Havelid’s blast was just a great shot, and it didn’t help having a screen in front. Sather has implemented a 1-2-2 trap, and they’ve stuck to it. And won some good games. Anaheim got some lucky bounces, and Gerber played great, he deserved a shutout, but Kovalev got his first one a nice slapshot.

    You’re predicting a 7th straight playoffless season on Broadway due to one game in which you didn’t watch, and poorly analyzed. At least try to make some sense instead of jibber-jabbering.

  44. MantaRay says:

    Ah the infamous dreamy GretzNYR99:

    Always a pleasure to see your meandering prose.

    Its more like Neutral zone crap and its only a matter of time when the “high profile” players break out of the systems because its killing their individual stats.

    Without Dunham this season the Ranger$ would be leading the league in Goal Against.

  45. Tradedude says:

    i thought san jose got the better deal of the mclaren trade by far. jillson is ok though.

  46. Tradedude says:

    thanks for the suggestion!

  47. GretzNYR99 says:

    Oh, so now you fantasize about me? You sick mongrel! It was only a matter of time before you came out of the closet, and I’m glad you did. You must feel a lot better about your self now, right? You phallus-licking peter-puffer, you’re bark is far and away worse than your bite. It’s only a matter of time until the high profile players break… heh, it’s only a matter of time until you see that we’re the real deal, and that your team will crumble once Stevens leaves. I agree with Dunham, but hey… not everyone can be Mike Dunham.

  48. GretzNYR99 says:

    your* bark.

  49. Dynamo710 says:

    Looks like Moore will get his chance. He just got called up from Hartford. Brodeur saves every season for the Devils

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