Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Trip In The What-If Machine

I haven't written at Beards of War in four years or so, but until now, I couldn't think of anything to write about.  I could write about the team, how I feel about certain players or matchups, or write recaps, but that's all taken care of.

One of my favorite things to think of and discuss is trade speculation. Y'know, usually, one'll discuss making a trade with another team, but it's rarely a straight up player-for-player trade.  "X-and-a-3rd" is a popular formula.  But think about that third rounder for a second!  Many of these picks get traded again, or again and again.  They have adventures.  See the sights.  Perhaps get a little drunk in a hotel room and make bad decisions.

Okay, maybe not.

The other night, I got lost in a wormhole on NHLTradeTracker.com researching the trades of Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli (I was of the opinion his trades kinda suck, Kessel trade aside), and stumbled upon this gem:

Holy hell.  Jamie Benn could've been a Boston Bruin.  But no, the pick used to select him was traded to Columbus for Adam McQuaid (whom the Bruins got some use out of, I won't disagree with, but JAMIE BENN...)

So Jamie Benn could've also benn (hur hur) a Columbus Blue Jacket, only that selection was packaged with two other fifth round picks to Dallas in return for a fourth round pick (which ended up being Maksim Mayorov, who is not Jamie Benn either).

I mean, Boston's (now Dallas') 2007 fifth round pick only became a player who scores at .82 PPG over his career thus far and is also their captain and plays alongside Tyler Seguin (another player that was also practically gifted to Dallas by Peter Chiarelli) as one of the most productive lines in the NHL and also punches Henrik Zetterberg in the head and has no chin.  I guess there's some latent Blue Jacket and/or Bruin left in him after all.

This got me thinking, how many other big name players could be playing somewhere else, if not for that final trade?  If a team had made the first trade to get the pick and didn't later trade it away, how different would they be?  

If Columbus had held on to that pick, how different would they be with Jamie Benn presumably in the lineup?  Would Rick Nash still be there?

For the sake of this post, let's assume that all players would be drafted in the slots they were drafted in, even though the pick is held by a different team.  Let's also pretend these players made the NHL in the same time frame and developed at the same rate and produce as they do currently.

Alex Edler:  Dallas Star

On the day of the 2004 NHL Draft, Dallas had a few different trades, shuffling around a couple first round picks.  Dallas traded their first round pick, 20th overall, to New Jersey for their first rounder, 22nd overall, and a third rounder.  Fun to note - the 20th overall pick was Travis Zajac.  Sorry, Dallas.  Later on, Dallas would trade the 22nd overall pick to San Jose (paired with a fifth rounder) in exchange for San Jose's first, second, and third round picks.  The third round pick?  Well, that was 91st overall.  That's Swedish defenseman Alexander Edler.  Dallas wouldn't end up drafting him, because later in the draft, Dallas traded the 91st overall pick for a third rounder in 2005, and Edler became a Canuck.

Another fun note: the third rounder Dallas received for 2005 was used to draft tough guy, good Twitterer, and good story Richard "Dicky" Clune.

Travis Hamonic:  Edmonton Oiler

Hey, remember when Chris Pronger was traded to Anaheim back in 20-aught-Six?  That means "2006", I'm just talking like a grandpa.  Rockin' the onion belt.  Anyway, like another great Canadian player before him (I forget his name), Pronger left the cold Mars-at-night-like temperatures of Edmonton for the warm beaches of Southern California.  Anaheim gave up Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, a 2007 first round pick, a 2008 second round pick, and, if Anaheim reached the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, which they did, a 2008 first round pick (which ended up being Jordan Eberle).

The next year, the 2008 second round pick Edmonton received from Anaheim would be traded to the New York Islanders for a third round pick and a guy named Allan Rourke, who seems to not have played hockey since 2010 (but did play 13 games for the Oilers in 2008, but didn't score any points).

That 2008 second round pick was used to select Travis Hamonic, a bright spot on the Isles' blueline, one of the big reasons for the their resurgence, and a great story as well.

Brian Gionta:  Edmonton Oiler

We're going way back for this one.  In August 1997, the Oilers traded Jiri Slegr to the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for a third round pick in the 1998 draft.

On the day of the 1998 draft, the Oilers traded that third round pick to the Devils in exchange for a fourth round pick, a fifth round pick, and rights to a player.  None of the picks the Oilers received ever played in the NHL, and the player's NHL resume only includes eight games played with only two penalty minutes to show for it before heading back to Sweden for another decade.

That third rounder the Devils got though?  He'd only go on to win the Stanley Cup in 2003, set a Devils franchise record for goals in a season with 48 in 2005-2006, as well as become captain for the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.  That's Brian Gionta.  Not bad...except for Edmonton.

Patrick Sharp:  Nashville Predator

Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man.  He is also a very adept goal scorer, and one of the lone offensive bright spots on an obviously offensively challenged Blackhawks team...yeah right.  He also could've been a Nashville Predator!

At the 2000 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings traded their 2001 third round pick to Nashville for their 2000 fourth rounder, which they used to select goaltender Stefan Liv, who would only play 34 games in the AHL before going back to Sweden and would ultimately pass away in the terrible Lokomotiv airplane crash.

Detroit's third rounder in 2001 would be used to select Patrick Sharp, although not by Nashville.  Nashville would trade that pick to Philadelphia for Mark Eaton.  Ol' Sharpy wasn't all that great in Philly, so they packaged him with some crap in exchange for other crap and long story short, he scored a bunch of goals and Chicago apparently won some Stanley Cups or something, I don't know.  Whatever.  WHATEVER.

Valtteri Filppula:  Nashville Predator

This one's really funny.  Prior to the 2002 NHL Draft, the Anaheim Ducks gave - they gave - the Predators their third round pick because Nashville promised not to select Joffrey Lupul with their first round pick.  Nashville's first rounder was one ahead of Anaheim's that year, and so Nashville ended up selecting Scottie Upshall and Anaheim got Joffy Loops.  Later on, the Detroit Red Wings acquired the pick (which was used to select Valtteri Filppula) in exchange for a third round pick in 2003 (which Nashville used to select Grigory Shafigulin, who never played in North America).

Marc Staal:  Atlanta Thrasher

How about one for the Thrashers?  Remember the Thrashers?  You look at some of the players they drafted and that played for them and wonder how they could consistently suck as bad as they did for so long.  Ilya Kovalchuk.  Dany Heatley.  Marc Savard.  Marian Hossa.  ....Patrik Stefan.

There were many great forwards, but not many in terms of great defensemen.  Marc Staal is a very good defenseman though, and he could've been Atlanta's.  The San Jose Sharks acquired Atlanta's first rounder in 2005 (8th overall) in exchange for the 12th, 49th, and 207th overall picks.  San Jose used the 8th overall pick to select Devin Setoguchi, who is best known for doing whatever the hell this is.  As you may know, the 12th overall pick in 2005 was Marc Staal, and the Thrashers had him!!  ....except they didn't, because they traded the 12th overall pick to the Rangers in exchange for the 16th overall pick and 41st overall pick.  16th overall was Alex Bourret, who never cracked the NHL and barely cracked the AHL and is seen as a HUGE bust, and the 41st overall pick was Ondrej Pavelec, who is seen as Ondrej Pavelec. 

Joe Pavelski:  Philadelphia Flyer

Dude's got a weird face, but boy, can he score.  That sentence has been used to describe Philadelphia Flyers players for a long time, so it's not surprising he was almost one.  In 2002, the Thrashers picked up Francis Lessard (who is apparently a person) from the Flyers in exchange for David Harlock and a 3rd rounder and 7th rounder in 2003.  Hey, Joe Pavelski was drafted in the 7th round in 2003!  In hindsight, that's a good pick to have in that draft, Flyers.  You're doing good.

Oh wait!  Except then you traded that pick to San Jose, and received a 2004 sixth rounder for it.  Well, I hope it was worth it.  With that sixth round pick you gave up Joe Pavelski for, you drafted Ladislav Scurko, who never played in the NHL because he MURDERED A REFEREE OH MY GOD, NO THAT WAS VERY BAD WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!

Brandon Saad:  Toronto Maple Leaf

Toronto is bad, but somehow, used to be worse.   Six years ago was a very dark time - a time where Justin Pogge was seen as the goaltender of the future, because three years before that, the rights to Tuukka Rask were shipped off to Boston for the corpse of Andrew Raycroft, who is also very bad, but somehow has a Calder Trophy.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Dig this, kemosabe - in the summer of 2009, Toronto swung a trade for Wayne Primeau from Calgary.  Toronto sent Anton Stralman, Colin Stuart, and a 7th round pick westward, in exchange for Primeau and a second round pick in 2011.

I just heard a Toronto fan curse, and you're right to do it.  I don't mean just from this, I mean for literally everything.  No one would begrudge you, your life is hell, but please allow me to continue.

The next month, Toronto packaged that Calgary 2011 second rounder, as well as a 2011 third rounder to Chicago in exchange for a higher second round pick.  Toronto would turn around and send that second rounder to Boston as part of the Phil Kessel deal, and Chicago used their new second round pick the next year to take Brandon Saad, who is very good and is also #based.

James Reimer:  Chicago Blackhawk OR Carolina Hurricane

This one's kind of a doozy, and contains a lot of players you probably know, so bear with me.  The year is 2004, and the story goes like this:  The Carolina Hurricanes trade Ron Francis to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 4th round pick in 2005, which ends up being 101st overall.

Carolina takes this pick and trades it to Columbus (who uses it to select Jared Boll, who is a person) in exchange for a 4th round pick in 2006 and Derrick Walser.

The next part is a little hazy, so I'll explain it in the clearest way I can:  Over December 2005 and January 2006, Chicago and Carolina complete a couple of trades that end up this way:

CHICAGO ACQUIRES:  Radim Vrbata, Danny Richmond, Columbus' aforementioned 4th round pick in 2006
CAROLINA ACQUIRES:  Anton Babchuk, future considerations

After this, Chicago would trade Columbus' 4th round pick (99th overall) with another 4th round pick in 2006 (111th overall) to Toronto, in exchange for a 3rd round pick in 2006.  With those two 4th round picks, Toronto would draft James Reimer and Korbinian Holzer, respectively.

This trade was also completed two days before Tuukka Rask was traded for Andrew Raycroft, which, as I mentioned earlier, was really really stupid.  Really really really stupid.  Just so stupid.  Like really.  Stupid.

Jakub Kindl:  Washington Capital

I decided to leave the biggest name on this list for last, but this hypothetical is different from the previous ones in the list in that it isn't a well traveled trade, but a "what if" selection.  You may remember in 2004, Detroit acquired Robert Lang from the Washington Capitals, who was the league's leading scorer at the time.  Detroit gave up prospect Tomas Fleischmann, a 4th round pick in 2006, and a 1st round pick in 2004, which ended up being Mike Green, one of the more prolific offensive defensemen in the last decade.  But what many don't know is that Washington had the option of Detroit's 1st rounder in 2004 or 2005.  What if Washington had chosen the 2005 pick?  What if Washington chose Jakub Kindl over Mike Green? What if Mike Green had been a Red Wing from the get go?  How would he have affected the 2009 Stanley Cup Final That Totally Didn't Really Happen?

But more importantly, what if Jakub Kindl had been Washington's rock on the blue line?  Setting up Ovechkin in the left circle?  What if it was Jakub Kindl being creepily brushed up against by Pierre McGuire and affectionally being referred to as a "monster"?  Could Jakub Kindl have won the Norris as a Capital?

The answer to all of the above is, of course, "hahaha good god no, are you licking toads again?", but it really makes you think.

This list is by no means "the complete list", just a select few that worked up my imagination.  You can look at any trade involving a pick and wonder how the teams would be different had the trades not been made.  With the 2015 trade deadline only a week away, who knows what future superstars and captains might be dealt?  Probably none, but you never know.

(source for all of these:  NHLTradeTracker.com)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Derek Boogaard Passes Away at 28

Usually when I sit down to write a blog post, I wait until I think of something funny to say...or well, I flat out procrastinate. This is not the case with this post - I just hate writing about these kinds of things.

Derek Boogaard - Rangers enforcer - dead at 28.

Wow. Not expecting that at all today. I know I had my fun last year with him - not necessarily at his expense, but more at the notion that an enforcer could pull down that much money.

What I neglected to mention or even think about is that when a team signs a player, it's not necessarily JUST for them to play the games and try and win the Stanley Cup. There's the character issue - and Boogaard had it. A heart as big as his body. His love of the game and his Booguardians and other charities.

A guy you'd want on your team, but playing against him, a nightmare.

So many took to the interwebs to offer condolences and memories of a giant teddy bear of a man - and this doesn't surprise me at all. Hockey is something that is more than a sport - we all know it. Its players and its fans are a giant family. We have our spats and our "relatives we don't like" (even if we don't really know them) because of stuff they do, but when something like this happens, all of that stuff is irrelevant.

He was one of us - he was ours.

We come together, we console each other, the fans of his team, etc.

Real life is bigger than what happens on the ice.

Man, it's mindblowing to think this guy was only 28. That's far too young to be eulogized - I myself am 25. It's a little heavy and it makes it so much more tragic. He was in the prime of his career.

For me, there aren't many better things in hockey than an enforcer with a heart of gold, and this man was it. Even better when they score a goal. For all the dirty work they do, to get rewarded like that is great. And I think that's how I'll finish this post - Derek Boogaard's last goal (snipe!):

R.I.P. big guy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Consistency" - History Will Be Made

Playoff season is in full swing (as if your elevated blood pressure, missing clumps of hair, and crying relatives didn't already give this away already), and so is the NHL's "History Will Be Made" promotion. Compared to last year's theme of "what if...", this year's "History" theme has to do with various things History does - like....erases history. That makes sense.

Anyway, since the NHL has not seen fit to create a spot featuring the Red Wings (at least not in a winning or even positive light anyway), we here at Beards of War took to...my laptop and whipped up a quick spot for funsies and why nots. So if you will, enjoy our "not too terrible" tribute to consistency.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Next, Gary?

(For the latest on this ridiculously asinine story, go here)

What next, Gary? Gonna ban “Don’t Stop Believing” from being played because the crowd shouting a particular lyric might be distracting to the commentators?

Gonna ban beer at the game because some people might have too much and start a ruckus?

Hey, how about banning skate blades because they might cut someone!

Ban “___ sucks” chants because children might hear them and/or someone’s feelings might get hurt!

Our tradition is ours. Not a soul in the city had a problem with it - not even the police - until recently, and we all know who is to blame.

Throwing the octopus is older than you, Gar. Stop masquerading your hatred of our hockey team and its die-hard fans in the guise of “safety first”. No one who threw red handkerchiefs at the last Chicago game got fined, did they? How about the guys who threw catfish on the ice in Nashville?

No. Only Detroit.

And not just a fine, but a blemish on one’s record too? That’s low.

But it’s understandable. New fans wouldn’t *get* tradition - and that’s all the NHL cares to cater to.

(And CHRIST, aren’t there other things in Detroit that the courts would be better used for? Just ask fans of the Pens and Hawks!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can we pretend that didn't happen?

We can. But they better not.

There's really nothing one can say about a 10-3 shitfest other than "ewwww. I hope I don't feel this in the morning." It's really a lot like your prom date.

Not mine. I didn't go to prom.

This was one of the worst games I've ever seen played, so I'm not going to say much about it. The whole team looked like shit and I'm pretty sure Thomas McCollum's gonna have nightmares. Bad nightmares. Like being scored on by Roman Polak. Eeeeew.

That's all I'll say because I don't feel like taking my noteworthy and classy blog and devolving it into curse words and the phrase "shitty poop" over and over again.

Oh, and at some point, I'll be sure to type up my H2H2 post (two weeks late!), and maybe something else. I'm not quite to the point of giving up BoW in spite of a ridiculous amount of personal issues taking place. So...yeah. Enjoy your scotch tonight, you poor poor Red Wings fans.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wings, Kings 'n Things - March 9 Preview

Oh. Hello there. Before I get started with this preview, I should let you know that I do not plan on using any of Charlie Sheen's memes during the course of this entry or in any entries that should come after, the lone exception, of course, being "winning" - as we all know, this was a Detroit tradition before a Charlie Sheen tradition.

I know it's a huge thing now, oh my god, everyone's joining in the Charlie Sheen bandwagon - even the Twitter accounts of professional sports teams and corporations that take in billions of dollars and are usually well respected worldwide. I have a feeling that in 10 years, we'll look back at where we were when we spouted these phrases at each other in real life with cringe, a shudder, and a "God, why". Charlie Sheen memes are essentially the mullet/Zubaz pants combo of the early 2010s.

Our "winning" has to do with a smartly run organization with a tradition of success - his is "I love my out-of-control-coke-fueled-downward-spiral-skank-bangin'-life AND YOU DON'T GET IT BEAHWHAHWINNING." Differences.

Now you may be asking why I'm writing up a preview of a game. After all, I've never done that before. I usually do humorous entries after games, or even during games. The answer is simple - I'm going to the game. And so are a lot of you. Maybe you'll see me, so you can say "my, you are far less impressive in person." I look forward to it!

Here we go, the records: Detroit (39-19-8) vs. Los Angeles (36-25-5). Number two in the West vs. number eight.

Number two is an appropriate name for the Wings after crapping out last game vs. Phoenix - after going up 4-1 at the end of the second (the fourth goal coming from a beautiful dangle from the one and only...Darren Helm), the Wings choked up three goals to the Great Ownerless Wonder and eventually lost in the skills competition. That's harder to swallow than a scorpion made of farts. Of course, the Blo-yotes first goal shouldn't have counted, since Brett MacLean was essentially tapdancing on Jimmy Howard's skull. But since, as Larry Murphy said, "odfhdskiguhfdguidfgh I'm drunk, hot dogs" and something about "owning ice", the refs let it stand - which is total shit, because Murph is drunk and doesn't know anything. He's like the Queen Elizabeth of the Fox Sports broadcast team - at one point, he was important, but now he's just there and sometimes spouts confusing and sometimes offensive things...and is a drunk with a hot dog problem.

Broadcasting excellence.

The positive in all of that is that the Wings picked up a point, but that's like saying "well, at least I have ONE leg. It's better than none!" Yeah, but I want two legs. Or at least a kick-ass motorized wheelchair. No one's buying you a kick-ass motorized wheelchair when you choke away three goal leads, kids - it's a lesson for life.

The Kings are also coming off an overtime loss, theirs coming against Dallas and at the hands of Brenden Morrow. But really, who cares about that? Steve Ott sucks.

Though the Wings' road tour was the west coast was not totally successful (the only win coming against LA in a 7-4 game that should've been 7-1), I think we're all aware of the Wings' woes when it comes to games at home recently. What was the record for home games in February - 2-4-0 (and 7-9-2 since the start of December)? Tonight is the first home game in the month of March for Detroit, and we're all hoping they kick the month off the right way...you know, maybe like, two hat tricks. Maybe someone scores eight goals and tells Joe Malone to get out of the record books. Hey, maybe an Ovechtrick! I mean...that can happen, right?

All kidding aside, Detroit is losing ground to Vancouver for tops in the West - a nine point gap separates them (95 to 86). Detroit has two games in hand on the Canucks, though. Plus, hey, the more points they can get above Chicago, the better (by the way, they lost to Florida tonight. 8-game win streak. Gone. To Florida. In regulation, too. How hilarious is THAT?!). L.A. currently sits 8th in the West with 77 points (it's a real tenuous hold, too - that whole area of the standings is one big clusterfuck. Plus, Minnesota is like, RIGHT THERE).

Kill the losing streak. Don't allow early goals. Don't allow wimpy goals. Play all 60 minutes. Dangle some motherfuckers. Make me happy. 2 points. Let's get it. See ya at the game!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stop me if you've heard this one...

I'm more or less just writing this in an attempt to shake off the rust and get funny again. If not funny, then not a colossal waste of time.

Today is February 22, 2011. We're about 60 games into the season, so why the hell am I having PTSD about last year's playoffs? Seriously, check it..

  • Wings playin' the Sharks
  • 4-3 Wings loss
  • Devin Setoguchi
  • Buncha fucked up refereeing
  • Todd McLellan getting jumped on by Mario as he goes to save the Princess
But hey, the Wings won 5 straight before this one. And hey, Jim Jam made almost 40 saves. That's...well, that's subpar defense, but super cool goaltending. Joey MacDonald sucks.

The scoring gets started with 8 seconds left in the first when Joe Thornton whacks the puck in and everyone on Twitter was like "oh fuck" "this....jfc" "STANDARD" and I was like "lol" cuz I was in class and couldn't watch half the game. It's not stopping me from writing about it like I saw it though. If Fox News can do it, so can I. JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY.

But then in the second, Dan Cleary was all like "What are y'at, boys? How's she goin', buddy?" and scores a goal, because he's from Newfoundland. Rocks of Merasheen.

But then later, the OTHER Newfoundland b'y, Ryane Clowe, scores a goal. But that sucked, and we don't want his maggoty fish. They're no good for supper. So then good ol' Danny Cleary comes in 'n scores anudder. God bless yar cotton socks, Danny, me ol' cock. 'e's the b'y that shoots the puck and 'e's the b'y that scores.

Then everything goes some crooked and Floppy McGee Divin' Slip-o-...guchi scores two more and everyone's like "fuck", and then Zetterberg scores one on the powerplay, and that's it. Wings lose 4-3.

Sorry about all the Newfin'. I'm Newf at this. ....me b'y.

Oh, one last note: I'm back on the Twitter after a brief hiatus. You can find me at @emersojo. Follow me. Let's be friends...again.