The Extra Attacker: Vacations make me miss hockey


You might have noticed that I went on vacation if you’ve stopped by the site recently. I’m in Italy at the moment with some family, wrapping up a summer in Europe by making sure I have the requisite fat stores to make it through the winter. No need to extend your consolations and support – the hardship of constant gelato will only make me stronger in the end.

This edition of The Extra Attacker is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, and is intended more for entertainment than journalism.

Old NHL News and the Reaction You’ve Been Waiting for: Mine

Grabovski signs in Washington

As everyone and their dog knows, this guy is a very good NHL player who had one season where his coach threw him under a bus and he managed to be just okay. Somehow that earned him a buyout and a chance on a better team (you heard me, Leafs fans). Washington was long rumoured, and it just made too much sense to happen another way. Despite that, and even though Grabo denied rumours that Winnipeg was in the running, I was a little disappointed.

You might recall Travis’s impassioned plea for Grabo to wear the Polar Night Blues. Grabovski’s deal is just one year. You know who else has one year left? Olli Jokinen. Keep the hope alive, Travis.

Travis Yost is attacked from the Ukraine: Classic Strategy in Axis and Allies Comes to Life

If you haven’t been following this, prepare yourself to be a little uncomfortable. It is totally, totally crazy. Head here for a solid recap and links. Yost was also on the Lowdown with Lowetide today – check him out here.

Travis, of course, writes over at NHL Numbers these days as well, and we wish him a speedy return to the internet.

The basic gist for the link-impaired is that Yost wrote a nine-part series over at HockeyBuzz on the Senator’s inability to spend to the cap as related to the money troubles of the team’s eccentric owner Eugene Melnyk. The series made some waves in the mainstream press in Ottawa before Yost was hacked – his work was deleted from HockeyBuzz and his twitter account was removed as well. In tracing the IP, Yost found that it was shared with a Ukrainian charity for which Melnyk is the Honourary Director. Not exactly evidence of nefarious wrong-doing, but it’s spooky.

It’s important that we maintain some skepticism, given just how unreasonable it would be to put effort and money into having a blogger erased from the web for doing journalism. It’s a remarkably targeted attack, mind you, and we know Melnyk is game for a conspiracy. Fellow hockey conspiracy fans will remember that he paid “forensic doctors” (not a thing) to investigate the intentionality of Matt Cooke cutting Erik Karlsson’s tendon. He said so in March, and then took back the forensic part but confirmed the investigation was on-going in early May, and I’m still laughing in August.

Putting aside this country’s long tradition of rich people in Ottawa ignoring the law, we have to accept that it’s hearsay and circumstantial and other Law and Order buzzwords. I don’t want to lose track of being an evidence-based thinker out of fear. But let’s just say that I’m considering toning down what I say about Claude Noel this season. (I’m kidding – there’s no way he could keep an Eastern European on his side long enough to hack me.)

Luongo Considered Voiding his Contract

It’s old news, and Canucks Army covered it well here. There has been a lot of talk of Luongo’s competitive nature as evidence for his ability to overcome the now-completed mess. There’s no doubt he will continue to be an excellent netminder, as he has his entire career. I think that’s skirting the issue.

Why he wanted out, why the team considered moving him, was because the fans turned on him. He was exceptional in their run to the Stanley Cup, but a poor series against Chicago a year earlier put him on the wrong side of the ‘clutch’ narrative. He was booed.

Living in Vancouver, I watched fans sheepishly back down from that opinion as twitter helped him show his personality, but we’re all left to wonder if it will happen again. The team has lost considerable forward depth since their run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and their division got a little harder this year. Will Luongo be blamed if his numbers are a little lower than normal and the team places below their usual top-3? What if Henrik is hurt and the team misses the playoffs? Do fans call for Schneider then?

Voiding his contract would have been wildly unpopular with the NHLPA, who at one point were preparing to defend guaranteed contracts before the lockout. But the fact that we can’t deny the franchise’s best ever goalie may be bought out a year from now means this mess is far from over. In fact, the stakes got higher – practically writing the narrative for Luongo’s struggles before they’ve even happened.

More Seinfeld! Less Boring!

If Scheifele wins the Calder, I hope someone has this conversation.