Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Two-Minute Minors for 9/2/08

A few things kicking around the old bag of pucks...

Corey Witt revealed the uniform numbers for a number of Islanders prospects on his blog today. He also noted that Jeremy Colliton is switching back to 27 from 72. That low, but poignant, noise you hear is the collective rumble of John Tonelli fans spinning in their blogs. Sorry, Mike. Bailey did lose that number (now wearing 12), but you'll still have to see it out there on someone else's back.

Kyle Okposo got a nice mention last week, albeit packaged in a harsh assessment of the Maple Leafs' roster and system from a fantasy perspective. From Darryl Dobbs of Dobber Hockey, hat tip to Puck Daddy:

Now the negatives. Luke Schenn will be a great defenseman…but from a fantasy standpoint he’ll be lucky to ever hit 40 points. On the current roster, other than Grabovski (who is a bit of a long shot) and perhaps Jiri Tlusty, no player has 80-point ability. In the system, no player has 80-point potential. There are no Bryan Littles and no Kyle Okposos.

Also from Puck Daddy, Wyshynski tempts us to attach ourselves for rooting purposes to a KHL team. He points us to Jeff Z. Klein's KHL preview in Slap Shot and correctly predicts that many fans will align themselves with familiar North American names now toiling abroad. Indeed, I shall throw my support behind Wade Dubielewicz and Ak Bars Kazan. What I find odd is that Klein doesn't list Dubielewicz as one of the club's top players, while just above, Andy Chiodo makes the cut for Dinamo Minsk. Perhaps the shadow of Robert Esche, the other half of the Ak Bars Kazan tandem, simply looms too large for Dubie.

In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Barry Melrose had this to say about the NHL's attempts to curb fighting (hat tip to Kukla's Korner):
I think toughness is leaving our game, and I hope that people realize it’s wrong. I hate to mention this, but the fastest growing sport in the world is ultimate fighting. We’ve got that as part of our game. To act ashamed of that has been wrong of the NHL for a lot of years. You can say you don’t like fighting or you love fighting, but it creates conversation. It creates energy and excitement.

I don't know if Melrose is the first to make the ultimate fighting/MMA comparison, but from a pure marketing perspective, it actually makes a lot of sense. The quick rise of MMA as a legitimate form of entertainment and competition should make the possibility of marketing fighting in the NHL more palatable, and maybe even advantageous. I don't sense the current regime wants any part of that, but Melrose's comments certainly gave me a new perspective to think about. I wonder what current and future NHL TV rights holders would think because that's what ultimately matters.

Rick DiPietro is making an appearance at the NHL Store in Manhattan tomorrow. This would be the perfect opportunity for me to cover an off-season Islanders event without having to fight my way to Long Island in rush hour traffic. Unfortunately, the appearance is scheduled from 4:00-5:00 and I won't be able to follow the Islanders' suggestion to "call it a day a little early, or take a late lunch break." Maybe I can stop by after 5:00 and pick up some table scraps.

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