• DOAN DO DAT — DAT DOAN DO: As I impatiently wait for Shane Doan to make a decision on his 2012-2013 team choice I’m reminded of an old-time radio character named The Mad Russian. When cautioning a friend against doing something foolish, The Mad Russian would say, “Don’t do dat.” (Then a pause.) “Dat, don’t do.” The Maven’s updated version is, “Doan do dat; Shane, dat, don’t do.”
In other words, if the Coyotes captain likes Phoenix so much, why not get it over with and stay in Arizona whether Greg Jamison gets enough dough to buy the Yotes or not. Whether Jamison owns them or the NHL is stuck with operating the franchise for another year, it will remain in Glendale. After sixteen years with the same organization, Doan should not be thinking about leaving his lifelong NHL team. Repeat: Shane: Doan do dat; dat Doan do!
Speaking of which, Doan’s agent had hung a (last) Friday deadline on Jamison buying the team — or else his client supposedly would go bye-bye. So, why the delay? No doubt there’s been a bit of scrambling at the report of the potential buyer clearing his cost hurdle. One way in which Bettman, Inc. can get around that is simply to lower the fee about twenty million and let Jamison take over from there. Granted that it’s not the ideal situation but likely better than the alternatives.
• AFTER SHANE, WHAT? Delete Shane Doan from the list of Unrestricted Free Agents and you find yourself looking at third-line “Underrateds” such as Dominic Moore and oft-injured types like Kristian Huselius who’s a demon scorer when healthy. (Can anyone remember when that was?) One chap who’s sure to be taken is Jochen Hecht who still has decent wheels at age thirty-five. Another interesting catch could be Jaroslav Spacek. Granted that he’s close to forty (38) but JS is a chap who’s been a plus-64 still could be a defensive asset skating 15 minutes a night. Best of all is Tomas Holmstrom but he appears to have a sandwich board that says “Detroit Or Nothing At All” hanging over his winged wheel. And Tomas means it; he wants to stay in Hockeytown.
• A NEW RE-ALIGNMENT IDEA: While the NHL and NHLPA knock around re-alignment ideas, reader Brian McCormack of Islandia, Long Island offers this insightful suggestion which I like a lot:
“The Jets should be moved to the Northwest, the Wild should move to the Central, and the Predators should join the Southeast. This will alleviate the travel burden on the Jets with the least disruption to the schedule. This is better than the NHL’s four-conference format that would water down the playoff implications of the majority of the NHL season. It would also put a harshly unbalanced burden on some teams over others in terms of making the playoffs, solely based on geography. The current playoff format makes every NHL game crucial, regardless of what division it’s played in, and makes the hockey fan conscious of all 30 teams, rather than just it’s own division. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
• HOW OLD IS “TOO-OLD?” The Stars have added a pair of Over 40 vets who still can play in Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. Dare they sign yet another senior citizen and make the club too old? I’m thinking about Jason Arnott, 38, who had a capable 17-goal season with the Blues and aided their revival in St.Louis. If any team can use a useful center it’s Dallas. Look at it this way, Mike Ribeiro is gone and Derek Roy — supposed to replace Ribeiro — will miss the start of the season after shoulder surgery. Arnott would be a useful replacement while contributing on a third line and the power play. Some team should at least give Jason a training camp try-out, same as the Devils did last year with Petr Sykora. Pistol Pete’s 20 goals certainly didn’t hurt New Jersey!
• IS FEHR BEING FAIR? Say this for union boss Donald Fehr; he’s pulled the clever coup of the NHL-NHL Players’ Association meetings so far. While Commissioner Gary Bettman notes that there’s still time to wrap up a new CBA pact by the September 15 deadline, Fehr argues against deadline-stress. “September 15th is not a magic date,” Fehr insists, “unless someone wants to make it so. There’s nothing that happens on September 15th if we don’t have an agreement, provided nobody says we’re going to go on strike or says we’re going to lock the doors.” The Donald’s plank is that hockey life can go on — as in training camp, exhibition games, even the start of the season — while negotiations continue. Now, I ask you; is Fehr being fair or merely electioneering? In theory, at least, the Players’ Association leader makes some sense. Realistically, it’s another story.
• POILE’S PLOY: Plenty of puck people figured that David Poile had been duped when his second best defenseman, Ryan Suter, grabbed the first plane to St.Paul and signed with Minnesota. But they don’t call him “Perspicacious Poile” for nothing. Wise enough to realize well in advance that he might lose Suter, the Preds’ genius g.m. used his first pick (11th overall) in the 2009 Draft to nab Windsor Spitfires defenseman Ryan Ellis. (Hey, if you can’t have one Ryan, try another!)
Turns out that Ellis emerged as one of Canadian Junior hockey’s most decorated players. The lad won a Gold Medal and two Silvers in three World Junior Championship appearances and totalled 314 points in four Ontario Hockey League seasons. That earned him a 32-game audition with Nashville last season and it was a whopper; worth three goals and eight assists. Better still, the kid displayed skill, savvy and mental toughness. In Ryan Ellis, Poile now has a young Suter; and that suits me!
• SHORT SHIFTS:
1. Since the NHL always could use a bit of romance during its Dog Days of Summer, it’s refreshing to note that Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray reportedly dined with Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods’ ex-wife. “We’re only friends,” says Murray. “We’re not dating and never have dated.” If William Shakespeare was around today, The Bard would have been denied a sonnet about that couple.
2. While we await the fate of Phoenix, it’s encouraging to note that the fair Washington metropolis of Seattle is moving relentlessly ahead with plans for a new arena and an eventual NHL team. Mister Moneybags in this case is Don Levin, owner of the Chicago Wolves, who has $100 million to spend on the Northwest U.S. ice palace.
3. Movement toward construction of a new Nassau Coliseum is making progress. Submissions by a couple of top Long Island developers appear serious about creating a Hub with the rink as a centerpiece. (Sure, you heard this before but never this close to the Isles‘ lease ending in 2015.)
4. Everybody’s cheering Daniel Alfredsson’s “comeback” decision with Ottawa. Hold the applause; Dan’s last “comeback” during the first playoff round against the Rangers resulted in an anti-coach (Paul MacLean) bench tantrum. This was followed by Captain Dan doing zilch after his team took a three-games-to-two lead in the playoffs. He was virtually invisible as the Blueshirts rallied to win the series.
5. Brad Richards has fallen in love with tennis. Okay, to put it a more prosaic way, the Rangers ace will be featured in a match against top-ranked American pro John Isner, August 25. It’s a benefit for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in the Flushing Meadows complex.
6. The most wonderful aspect of the NHL right now is that we have no less than 30 undefeated teams. Now that’s parity!