Wrapping up our analysis of the GMs' ideas

challengeflag.jpgBob McKenzie’s story on this week’s GM meetings really stirred my imagination (and probably did the same for other hockey fans). So, today, I’ll break down some of the more interesting ideas that were discussed. Are they realistic? What would be an even better alternative? Are they just dumb?

OK, let’s wrap this up by firing off a few quick opinions about the remaining ideas. Some of them aren’t worth more than a tiny blurb, anyway.

Another idea that was brought up and discussed at length was the idea of a “coach’s challenge,” similar to one that the NFL uses. The idea would be that once and only once in a game, a coach would be able to “throw the flag” and challenge a play to be reviewed by video. Unfortunately it appears that may be too much of a slippery slope and could seriously lengthen games.

Ugh, I’d definitely veto that one. There are times when an NFL challenge can make a game that already has a ridiculous action-to-commercial ratio just agonizing. While hockey could possibly find a “quicker” solution, the sport already reviews questionable goals. That’s good enough for me.

One of the best ideas to come out of the meetings – even if it seems fairly obvious – is the proposal to change the league’s tie-breaker from plain-old wins to wins in regulation. This is an obvious reaction to the random, gimmicky nature of shootouts.

Personally, I’d rather the league either: a) get rid of shootouts altogether or b) make them something that teams would rather avoid. Right now, a weak team can simply try to hold on during overtime and then try their luck in the skills competition. The league doesn’t want to mess with a point system that would place a greater reward for a regulation or overtime win, but that would provide the most accurate depiction of the teams who are truly the cream of the crop.

I’ve also heard about some weird OT format in which half the period is 4-on-4 and the other is 3-on-3, but that just made my brain hurt. I can’t stand it when leagues drastically alter their games during overtime. Keep it simple, GMs.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.