Roberto Not So Luongone, Are Teams Tanking? More on the Devs and… HTR Mid-Seas

It is the season to be jolly. How depressing was last year’s Christmas without NHL hockey. But, we got it this year and the Holiday and Christmas season have felt so good thus far.

Will Luongo’s 53 saves finally silence the media? I keep hearing and reading journalist say Luongo is gone and that the Panthers are trying to deal him. But, that ain’t true. Panthers hockey needs to be discussed so all of you HTR members and readers will know what exactly is going on here in Sunrise, Florida.

Are teams tanking the season? Frankly I am getting sick of it and I will revisit a point I made during the 2005 Draft Lottery.

The Devils are in a state of emergency. Is this the beginning of the end? will have Mid-Season Reviews.I do miss the white Christmas snow, but I’m enjoying the 68 degree (F) weather here in Florida.

By the way, one thing I’d like to say about Christmas….., be proud of it. Those of you who are Christians and celebrate, be proud of it. Whether or not you celebrate it religiously, do not let other people degrade the meaning of Christmas and allow them to make ridiculous changes to it. People find the Joyful day “offensive”, but it is their ignorance that is being offensive. Be proud of it and celebrate your Christmas tree, not to be confused with holiday tree. Everyone should respect all religions worldwide. And, God bless you!

Moving on! The previous article on about Luongo was a great read. Many thanks to luongofan84.

I once stated, not too long ago, that there are two main reasons to explain Luongo’s inconsistency. 1) New rule changes. 2) New goalie coach.

I cannot believe the mass media fails to mention those two reasons, but rather go with “frustration” and that both Keenan and Luongo want to part ways. Why are the media outlets so negative? Really, journalists nowadays are just so negative. I feel bad for them and I wish I could send them all a Christmas card. They need to smile once in a while, no? Have some positivity!

The problem is Luongo adjusting to the new NHL. It took Martin Biron well over a month, almost two. And yet look at this guy now, he just kicked out Ryan Miller. And I am glad, since I am a huge Biron fan. So, it would take Luongo a while to get things going. He has a great glove, but with the new requirements, his glove is smaller and he’s missed the puck, he’s dropped it, and he’s given rebounds. It takes some getting used to.

The goalie coach could be teaching Luongo new techniques for him to adjust. And, that may be confusing him. Maybe Clint Malarchuk told him to make a save by doing A, B, C and now Phil Myre says do it like X, Y, Z. I am not sure why Jacques Martins decided to let go of Malarchuk, but it may take Myre some time to get connected with Luongo. Same situation when Luongo was new to Malarchuk.

Lack of confidence may be a definite issue, and the whole debacle over arbitration definitely was a distraction. But, GM Mike Keenan clearly stated that he wants to re-open negotiations in January for a new long-term contract. I also got in contact with an executive of the Panthers earlier this month and he too said that the organization wants to keep Luongo.

I believe that if Luongo and the Panthers reach a new deal, then Luongo will start dominating again. So in a way, the media has to stay off Keenan’s back in his “quest” to trade Luongo. If the media wants to push the rumors, then they should go after Luongo’s agent to see if Luongo wants to leave the Panthers. Obviously Keenan has to get himself ready for possible trades. He has to see what is out there because once the NHL allows contract renewals to occur, then Keenan has to know what he should get for Luongo. You will see him in more games, see more Panthers scouts, but that does not mean he is going to trade him.

Roberto Luongo put up the best performance of the season against the Washington Capitals last night, making 53 saves. If this guy is back on track and continues to play like this, then I am most certain that Luongo will stay a Panther, unless he wants to leave.

The Panthers are not such a horrible team. They’ve been injury plagued and I love how Al Strachan, another person with too much negativity, had one article up saying how emabarassing the Panthers were to the taxpayers and how owner Alan Cohen does not care about winning, he just wants the revenue sharing.

The Panthers are here to stay in Florida as the area around the stadium is having a major growth in real estate. Which means, more investors.

But, going back to Strachan, how does Cohen not want to win when he hired Mike Keenan (though disliked by many around the league, he is a competitive hockey man who wants to win), and he allowed Keenan to hire Martins? He probably is spending double for the management and coaching staff than he was with Rick Dudley and coach Torchetti. I know, you must be going… Torch….. who?

Panthers have been injury plagued, and Nathan Horton is back healthy carrying the team’s offense. Rostislav Olesz was also injured for a period of time and is now back. He is a rookie that gets zero attention, yet he gets a lot of ice time as he is used in all situations on even strength, PP, and PK.

The Panthers started the season with an above .500 winning percentage. They can compete and the healthier they are, the more troublesome they become for teams to beat, such as the Red Wings.

This is a new era for the Panthers in a new NHL. Keenan wants his team and he’ll get his team within three years. Give it time, and the Panthers can be a successful team with Keenan and Martins running it.

Are teams tanking the season?. Yes they are. I really do not have any complaints about how the lottery went. Though I disagreed with it, I’m happy with the Rangers picking a solid youngster in Marc Staal. However, the Penguins are once again in contention for the Phil Kessel sweepstakes.

Enough is enough. This team has not drafted any lower than 5th overall in the past four years. They do not deserve to get another top 5 pick. Sure, they tried to win it this season, but they cannot be complaining about money issues now to then set up a veteran firesale, trying to unload Sergei Gonchar and Ziggy Palffy. That was completely irresponsible on Mario Lemieux’s and Craig Patrick’s part. Completely irresponsible knowing that they are not a rich team. The Penguins do not deserve a chance to pick 5th overall after drafting Ryan Whitney, Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeny Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. The should not be able to draft top five in 2006.

The Caps got to draft Alex Ovechkin, but once again they are tanking the season. They showed no signs of improvement, but showed their unwillingness to compete at the NHL level. If George McPhee wants to run a team like he is doing so now, then do it in the AHL because his management is embarrassing to NHL hockey. No willingness to sign key players that could have formed a great line with Ovechkin. Why did he not want Bondra back? Why does he not try to improve his team by trading Brendan Witt (wants to be traded)? Because he, as well as Ted Leonis, wants to spend little and get another high draft pick.

These two teams are tanking seasons and they appear to tank a couple more.

How is this for a change? A team that has drafted in the top five overall picks for three straight years will not be able to pick in the top five of the next entry draft.

How will that work? Exclude the Penguins in the lottery. If the Penguins finish 28th in the league, then whatever team is 24th in the league gets included in the lottery, which means Penguins are excluded. So…. here is an example:




4)Blue Jacks



The Penguins are out as #2 and put in as #6. The Capitals move up one, as do the B’Jacks and Bruins, and the Panthers move to 5th.

I think that will prevent teams from tanking seasons consecutively. It would be a real shame to see the Penguins draft in the top once again. They just don’t deserve it. They got Crosby, they got Malkin, and Fleury… now they have to stop losing. I’d want to see Phil Kessel in a St. Louis Blues uniform. Not in a Caps uni, and not in a Pens uni.

The New Jersey Devils are living in chaos! I have nothing against GM Lou Lamoriello and he is one of the best general managers that the NHL has ever had. But, I have to state the truth that the current state of the Devils is due to Mr. Lamoriello. The blame’s on him.

He has completely ruined the minor league team, making the River Rats a joke to play against in the AHL for consecutive years. He has failed to draft any impact player in years. You look at the Red Wings, they’ve had Datsyuk and Zetterberg. The Avs got John-Michael Liles and Marek Svatos. The Flyers made a big move in getting Jani Pitkanen and drafted Gagne years ago when they were a playoff team.

Lamoriello just completely mishandled the organization from within. From prospects to coaching. When coach Burns had to resign, Lamoriello should have gone after a different coach. Hiring Larry Robinson was taking a step backwards. He failed before, he was bound to fail again. Lamoriello HAS to change team philosophy and needs an upgrade in it.

Now, he can allow John MacLean to coach and see how he does. But, if he wants to find a head coach then he’s got to take his time to interview and find the one that wants to put the Devils back on track with a new philosophy that fits in the new NHL. He’s got Brian Sutter available, Bobby Francis, Eddie Olczyk, Paul Maurice could still interview even though he is coaching in the AHL. One guy who may fit well with his ideology is former WolfPack head coach Ryan McGill.

The point is, Lamoriello has to redefine the Devils. I do believe this could be the beginning of the end for the Devils. No coach, poor farm system, lack of depth, lack of talent….. he can’t build a team via free agency next year. I think he can make miracles happen and have a great season next year, but all signs, so far, indicate the opposite way.

If the Devils are certain to not make the playoffs, should Lamoriello set up a firesale? I think that could happen and he should. It has done the Rangers good, why not do the same? will have Mid-Season Reviews. I will try to use the same folks who did a great job with the Season Previews, and any available spots will be mentioned here for anyone who would be interested. No date is set yet, but we will have them for you.

Thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Micki Peroni


68 Responses to Roberto Not So Luongone, Are Teams Tanking? More on the Devs and… HTR Mid-Seas

  1. V3n0m says:

    Maybe it’s time for Patrick to be turfed, but then again, it’s not really his fault that they haven’t been able to get a new arena built, which might have saved the franchise several years ago. The Pens are mostly in trouble because they bleed money (something the newer franchises aren’t experiencing, not to the same extent anyways) and the way to stop that is with the construction of a new arena – something out of his hands. The Pens could be doormats for 10 years, but as long as they make some money here or there, life’s good for the owners. Now, is it prudent to sign a bunch of higher-end players when you’re in the red? Maybe, maybe not – it all depends on how well they do. But, sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and with a new arena not coming anytime soon, they need to generate some revenue from somewhere. i.e. more gate income. I gotta commend them for at least trying. Second-tier players might have worked, but they needed a couple of bonafide scorers to work with Sid.

  2. V3n0m says:

    Oh, and Gonchar for $3.5 million isn’t that bad. Gonchar for 5 years, though…I’ll give you that one.

  3. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    well we signed kolesnik in the off season actually so i guess we had to see what kind of potential he really had. not doing to bad but i would like to keep budaj and kolesnik. have them rotating in and out for the #2 spot give the #1 spot to biron or luongo (if we can get them).

  4. SabresFan220 says:

    Fabulous article, I don’t think I see Luongo moving unless the deal is one you can’t refuse. If Florida tanks it this year the only guys they’ll be dealing are the vets they brought in like Roberts, Gelinas, Gratton, and Niewendyk (sp). The young guys are the ones they’re building a team around.

    Is Marty Biron playing above his ability right now? You could make that argument. But maybe he’s finally reached his full potencial as a former 1st rounder (which he and Noronen both are). I think he is playing somewhat above what he usually can do, but I have seen him in this kind of zone before. He played an awful lot like this in a season a few years ago when Hasek went down and he played most of the season. I remember a game he played against Dallas that year, he was in the zone that night, made some 40 saves in a 3-1 win. He was the reason we got into the playoffs. I think that was his rookie year too, he was robbed of being on the all-rookie team by Brian Boucher who played for a star laden Flyers team. Biron may never be a Vezina trophy candidate, but a solid starter who can win games by himself some nights.

    I completely agree about punishing the teams that just never try to improve. Even Columbus and Chicago (who previously sucked) have made an attempt to improve each season, the Caps and Pens are simply a disgrace to hockey and I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing either or both teams relocated. In the past the Sabres were not a playoff team, and they have been competative each of the past few seasons, just barely out of the playoffs.

  5. les_canadiens says:

    Cest quoi la difference entre les maple leafs pis un arbre? Aucune.Les deux se font planter LOL!

  6. nyrhockey094 says:

    The Penguins have had enough first round picks for the next ten years. It doesnt seem to even be helping them much having top picks in the last couple of years. Enough is enough, unfortunatly they wont be around much longer so maybe it doesnt even matter.

  7. elite89 says:

    Even in the state the organization is in right now, how can you forget about 3 Stanley Cups in 8 years? The state of a franchise is bound to fluctuate and there comes a time when you have to tear it apart and rebuild. The fact things are the way they r, and IT IS a result of Lameriello, it still seems natural within the life of an organization. It may be time for Lamerielo to leave and time for someone new to step in and begin the process of rebuilding once again.

  8. Bishop7979 says:

    The pens way of building teams has always been to hell with the D. Every year from their cup years till today its always been how many goals can they score, and is that enough to out score the other team. when was the last time a real top pairing was part of the penguins, two guys who would really be a top pair in the minds of any other team in the league, probably Murphy Samuelsson.

    Thats how Patrick has always built teams, thats how he built this one. Gonchar has been this generations paul coffey, thats why patrick grabbed him, who knew he was going to flop so badly, and if they trade him its not because of his contract, any other team could have paid him as much and no one would have blinked twice about it, he’ll get traded because he is horrible in a penguins uniform. He was the highest scoring defender of the last 6 years, he was the youngest UFA defender on the market when the roster freeze was turned off coming off the CBA, those reasons alone are enough for a team that always plays run and gun hockey to go after him.

    Recchi was the Flyers leading scorer last season, Leclair should be on the teams 3rd line and standing infront of the goalie on the powerplay, injuries have either forced him out of the lineup, or into a role too big for him at this stage of his career.

    Rozival was horrible as a penguin, too soft, too injury prone, too afraid of his own shadow to play in the NHL. the majority of pens fan will agree with this. His success his a shock to anyone who saw him play on a regular basis.

    T-bo, much like gonchar has underperformed beyond measure. he’s 30, a former all-star, and a player with a above.900 career save percentage and a sub 3 gaa while playing on horrible teams, from a weak Nords team, to a weak Habs team, to a weak Chi team. Who would have thought he would come in and look like a goalie who shouldnt even be allowed to hold Steve Sheilds jock, let alone play in the NHL.

    As for Cujo. He’s my favorite player outside of a pens uniform, I was hoping we would land him from day one, and to see how he is playing for pho makes me sick to think he was looking at pittsburgh as a potential place to end his career.

    And with the jagr trade, when the leagues best, and highest paid, player demands a trade leveage goes out the window. Patrick got what he could given the situation, and Brendel Johnsson and Hlavac at the time looked no better than Beech, Lupachuk and Sivik. Sivik and Lups were to be the gems of the trade, but when sivik left america due to the death of his mother, and lups left due to the death of his brother, its hard to judge what could have been.

    Both remain pens property, but I cant imagine them ever getting their games back on track enough to make the NHL at this point.

    and as far as the picks go, how many low picks have ottawa gotten in their history before they started becoming a powerhouse.

    The pens went into rebuild mode hoping to build like the sens did, using good young players brought up through their system with some added vet deph brought in through free agency.

    Yeah the pens decided to drop 33 mil just to tank for Frolik or Kessel, they could have spent barely 20 mil and done it like the caps if they really wanted to.

  9. Freeze says:

    I’m not sure I’d say Lewis has no character. I’d describe him as low key, and a stickler for detail.

    I think a Mike Bab***** type is what what you’re saying NJ needs. Lemaire was another fiery one – someone along those lines.

    What’s Jacques Demers doing these days other than trying to learn how to read?

  10. physicalsap says:

    No. Teams are not tanking. It is December, and these guys are professionals… do you really think that they are intentionally losing? Everyone is so disappointed with the Penguins and their management this season…As they should be. The Penguins have underachieved greatly and this reflects the management. Things should change now under Lieutenant Therrien, and if they don’t, guess what…. the Penguins get another high draft pick! The fact they don’t deserve it is nonsense. The “tanking” accusations are partially solved by the draft lottery anyway. The Penguins sucked for three years during rebuilding because the near bankrupt franchise could not survive in an economically RIDICULOUS league where teams like the New York Rangers bought all the good players yet still did not make the playoffs for 7 or 8 consecutive seasons. If anyone shouldn’t have received high draft picks during those years it was the Rangers. So Patrick and the present-day Penguins did their Glen Sather impression this year. The Rangers rebuilt and are immediately seeing results. When the Pens stop focusing on talent of the past and let the young drafted talent guide their franchise, they will be solid in future years and IN PITTSBURGH NOW (hopefully). Excuse my little tangent there, but i’m tired of everyone complaining about the Penguins failing this year after doing what many teams did for a long time and what partially contributed to ruining the NHL in the first place. I’m sure Patrick has already learned his lesson, and things will change. Besides, it is quite evident why teams like Carolina, NYR, Buffalo, and LA are kickin a** this year.

    P.S. Nobody is tanking in December, if you’re good enough to play in the NHL you’re pretty used to winning and do not enjoy losing, nobody’s thinking about draft picks or anything but each game at this point in the season.

  11. OldGoalie says:

    Well then…who would you have signed instead of Gonchar, Thibault, Palffy and LeClair? That’s a touch over $10 million…what would it have bought instead?

    Let’s assume that you would say you’d opt for Cujo for $900,000 or so. I personally have been a huge Cujo fan since his St. Louis days…but would anyone on Earth have predicted his play this year would be at the same level as it is in Phoenix if he was playing behind the Pens’ defense? I’m guessing no. Has Joseph ever won anything when he didn’t play for hands down the best team in the league? No. He’s also going to turn 39 on April 29. Since my understanding is that the Pens were looking for a guy who could be viable for about two years, a 39 year old would have been a gamble. Who else was available? Would Sean Burke have been an upgrade? Also bear in mind that he’s actually older than Cujo is. Would Khabibulin have been worth the $7 million or so price tag? I think everyone in Chicago would scream “no” right now.

    LeClair I do think was an error, but only in hindsight. Petr Bondra would have been a much better choice if you go by stats, and was significantly cheaper at only $505,000. Teemu Selanne is making significantly less than LeClair at $1 million…but there were grave doubts about his ability to produce after a miserable showing in Colorado. But then…you also have to remember that at the time, the Pens were under the impression that they’d have speed and skill up front (bear in mind that they still thought Malkin would be available this year at the time), and were really in the market for a power forward in case Ryan Malone turned out to not be the player they thought he was. So really the field of other candidates for the LeClair signing are more like Jason Allison and Eric Lindros, and at the time there was no guarantee that either of them would have the ability to play a meaningful number of games this year. Incidentally, anyone who says Atlanta is trying to bring in decent players at affordable prices needs to be slapped…paying Bobby Holik $12.75 million over three years might be the most nonsensical thing I’ve seen a GM do in recent memory.

    Palffy I have no complaints about whatseover. He’s been one of the Pens’ best players, and he and Crosby appear to have developed some chemistry.

    Now we come to Gonchar. When he was signed, Foote was already off the board, as were Aucoin (the guy I actually was hoping the Pens would sign), Hatcher, Rathje, Therien, Zhitnik, and Malik. They could have had Brian Leetch…although Leetch is actually outearning Gonchar this year, and he’s going to turn 38 in March. They could have had Bryan Berard, who’s only making $2 million this year, but I don’t think anyone would have taken Berard over Gonchar at the time. They could have had Brisebois, but he turns 35 next month and I don’t know that anyone foresaw him being better than Gonchar at the time, either. They perhaps could have had Niedermayer, but that’s just shy of $7 million a year, and there’s no guarantee that he ever really wanted to come to Pittsburgh. They perhaps could have had Rafalski, but he’s also outearning Gonchar this year. Now…if you want to say that philosophically signing a guy like Gonchar was a bad idea, you may have a point. In hindsight, they absolutely would have been better off picking up a more responsible defensive player. But also bear in mind that, at the time, nobody knew what Tarnstrom was going to get in arbitration, nor did anyone know whether Jackman was really a point per game defenseman, so they may very well have felt that they needed an insurance policy on the point. With all of that in the background, I don’t know that I can fault Patrick for the Gonchar signing.

    The one that I can fault Patrick for, however, is Andre Roy. Maybe when he’s back from his injury he’ll show me something that he hasn’t so far, but at this point it looks like $1 million for three years on on him is nothing short of insane. You could have had Selanne…or Bondra with $500,000 left over to put towards a competent defenseman instead.

    Bottom line…you can look at decisions made by any GM who’s been around for a while in hindsight and say that some of them were stupid and/or irresponsible. But none of them can see the future when they make personnel moves, so the real way of evaluating a GM is to think about whether the moves made some sort of sense at the time. In this particular case, it looks to me like most of them did.

  12. thinice987 says:

    As to your stupid comment about teams tanking their seasons that is just dumb.

    Especially to say that the Penguins have done that. They went out and signed John LeClair, Ziggy Palfy, Sergei Gonchar and a few other players. If in fact that they finish in the bottom 5, guess what … they were one of the worst 5 teams in the league then. Just because a team hasn’t come together is no reason to exclude them from a pick that they deserve.

    If a team finishes in last their attendance shows it and they don’t make any money. No team wants that.

    To say that any team, let alone the Penguins (who have gone out and signed all of these high priced free agents) is just STUPID.

  13. Ace_Bailey says:

    Note: 1980s Maple Leafs. Perennial last place finishes, brainwashed fans filled the seats to capacity…insane…

  14. Pock_53 says:

    I’m an avid devs fan, and for once i agree w/ you mick, it is fire sale time. A coaching change will only do so much.

    And other then Brodeur, Martin, Parise, Elias, Gomez, and Kozlov, anyone could be got. Anyways, have a good new year, and continued success to your rangers this year. Playing like a team for the first time in a few years.

  15. Pock_53 says:

    I’m an avid devs fan, and for once i agree w/ you mick, it is fire sale time. A coaching change will only do so much.

    And other then Brodeur, Martin, Parise, Elias, Gomez, and Kozlov, anyone could be got. Anyways, have a good new year, and continued success to your rangers this year. Playing like a team for the first time in a few years.

  16. Pock_53 says:

    I’m an avid devs fan, and for once i agree w/ you mick, it is fire sale time. A coaching change will only do so much.

    And other then Brodeur, Martin, Parise, Elias, Gomez, and Kozlov, anyone could be got. Anyways, have a good new year, and continued success to your rangers this year. Playing like a team for the first time in a few years.

  17. Pock_53 says:

    I’m an avid devs fan, and for once i agree w/ you mick, it is fire sale time. A coaching change will only do so much.
    And other then Brodeur, Martin, Parise, Elias, Gomez, and Kozlov, anyone could be got. Anyways, have a good new year, and continued success to your rangers this year. Playing like a team for the first time in a few years.

  18. Pock_53 says:

    I’m an avid devs fan, and for once i agree w/ you mick, it is fire sale time. A coaching change will only do so much.

    And other then Brodeur, Martin, Parise, Elias, Gomez, and Kozlov, anyone could be got. Anyways, have a good new year, and continued success to your rangers this year. Playing like a team for the first time in a few years.

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