Bears climb to early success

September 4, 2015

Medveščak Zagreb won just 17 games in regulation during the 2014/15 season.

As they seemingly lurched from one disaster to another last year, the summer of 2015 brought much trepidation for the Bears fans.
A brand new looking roster without much KHL experience and a rookie head coach in the shape of Gordie Dwyer.

Even the most ardent Medveščak supporter could not have envisaged such a positive start to this season, five games in.
Despite blowing a two goal lead in a opening day home shootout defeat to Amur, the Bears from Zagreb have not been defeated in the four games since.
Admiral and Sibir were both beaten in regulation and let’s not forget how good the latter were last season (second in the East) and once again look a force this year.
Finding different ways to win despite sometimes being the architects of their own downfall, Medveščak downed Metallurg Nk in a shootout thanks to an incredible game winner from Colby Genoway. They then proceeded to take down Dinamo Riga in the last outing. The hero in overtime was Marek Kvapil with an absolute snipe to secure the extra point, which took them to the top of the standings in the West.

All this despite having issues between the pipes so early in the season. Danny Taylor had looked superb until apparently injuring his knee in game three. Cal Heeter came in to secure the victory and then proceeded to win his first start. Gordie Dwyer then threw a curveball by starting third string net minder Kroselj Gasper but the 28yo making his first KHL start allowed just one goal in 62 minutes to prove his coach made the right call.

After allowing almost 200 goals last season it’s the defensive side of things that has been more impressive thus far with Medveščak allowing only nine goals in five games. It’s been the key to the success, as has generally staying out of the penalty box.
Last season Medveščak racked up over 1000 penalty minutes at a staggering average of 17 per game.
Cutting that in half so far, the Bears have looked more disciplined but will need that downward trend to continue against some potent power play units in the KHL.

Goal scoring has been by committee with the 14 tallies shared by ten players and defensemen have stepped into the fold.
Patrick Bjorkstrand leads the way with three (he scored just seven the whole of last season), Marek Kvapil has two, as does defenseman Geoff Kinrade, with both turning out to be game winners.
Stefano Giliati is the teams surprising points leads at this juncture with four to his name in what’s been a good start to life in the KHL for him.
Kvapil has an assist to go with his pair of goals, while Simon Gysbers has a goal and an assist from the backend. The team will doubtless be expecting more from the latter with his booming shot not really enough of a factor yet.

Medvescak Celebration

The power play, which wasn’t a pretty sight last season, has had it’s struggles this year, running at under 12%. Often guilty of looking for the perfect play, there isn’t enough urgency with the extra man as yet, which has belied the teams excellent work at even strength.

During five-on-five play Medveščak have thoroughly impressed at times with sheer hard graft and a strong fore-check. Opponents have struggled to clear their own zone as the Bears sheer will to shut down clearing lanes along the boards has resulted in turnovers and greater offensive zone time.
The will of this team to work extremely hard is not to be underestimated. There doesn’t appear to be any prima donnas amongst the troops.
Clearing and exiting their own zone has been another positive for Medveščak for the most part. At their best when looking for the simple, effective play and only falling into strife when trying to be fancy with no-look drop passes and the like.
Offensive zone entries are certainly a work in progress but I would not doubt this teams ability to work that out as the season progresses. You have to give a lot of credit to the coaching staff, headed up by Gordie Dwyer.
Some of his decisions have been questioned but so far all the answers have been forthcoming. A three game road trip in six days will doubtless pose more questions but you can only tip your hat to Dwyer so far. Calling a timeout in overtime to set-up the power play in the last game against Riga certainly proved to be the smart call.


Human cost of hockey realignment

August 31, 2015

The American Hockey League has gone through the biggest realignment in 15 years due to the formation of a new Pacific Division.

It’s a move that hasn’t pleased everyone, especially with the contrived schedule due to be employed from this upcoming season.

What’s been slightly lost in all the upheaval is the human cost factor.
Now I’m not fool enough not to believe that hockey players are at the end of the day commodities to the teams they sign a contract with. Deals and trades are made, and the result is players have to up-sticks in the middle of a season, perhaps to the other end of the country, possibly away from a place they’ve made home for a long time and from their nearest and dearest.

What’s different on this occasion is the sheer level of upheaval and the distances involved.
In all, eleven rosters will have to uproot in preparation for next season.

The merry-go round begins with a four NHL teams involved in swapping affiliations.

  • Colorado’s players head from Lake Erie to San Antonio (1400 miles).
  • Florida’s from San Antonio to Portland (2100 miles).
  • Arizona’s from Portland to Springfield Falcons (190 miles).
  • Columbus from Springfield to Lake Erie (500 miles).

Those latter two of those listed are by far the shortest distances involved as the next batch of relocations will show.

  • Adirondack Flames to Stockton Heat:
    Glens Falls, NY, USA to Stockton, CA, USA is 2900 miles.
  • Hamilton Bulldogs to St. John’s IceCaps:
    Hamilton, ON, Canada to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada is 1490 miles.
  • Manchester Monarchs to Ontario Reign:
    Manchester, NH, USA to Ontario, CA, USA is 3000 miles.
  • Norfolk Admirals to San Diego Gulls:
    Norfolk, VA, USA To San Diego, CA, USA is 2700 miles.
  • Okalahoma City Barons to Bakersfield Condors:
    Oklahoma City, OK, USA to Bakersfield, CA, USA is 1300 miles.
  • St. John’s IceCaps to Manitoba Moose:
    St John’s, NL to Winnipeg, MB, Canada is 2670 miles.
  • Worcester Sharks to San Jose Sharks:
    Worcester, MA, USA to San Jose, CA, USA is 3000 miles.

ahl_2015-16

Travelling from one end of the country to the other brings about different problems from the norm like a new climate to deal with, or, especially relevant to those travelling West Coast, a more expensive place to live but on the same salary as before. That’s without the concern players with young families must have.
There are a million different issues you just don’t think about until being put in that position.

It isn’t just the players though who have to deal with this. There are forgotten members of a team like hockey operations, of which there can be as many as ten members.
If a team is moving it’s front office as well, that can be upto another 15 people on top.

There are also job losses with people choosing not to move with their former teams or being told they aren’t required moving forward.

Also those who shouldn’t be forgotten are the fans who no longer have a team to cheer for.
In the overall scheme it maybe a selfish point of view from those in the stands, but hockey teams are often a vital part of a community and an outlet for a lot of people in so many different ways.

A hockey team moving on from a location doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it often has far reaching human implications that just aren’t thought about by the average Joe.

Imagine the fall out when eleven teams take that path.


MLB/NHL media rights deal – repercussions for European NHL fans.

August 29, 2015

In the hullabaloo of the announced six-year digital media rights partnership between the NHL and Major League Baseball, I couldn’t help but wonder what might be the knock-on effect for European NHL fans.

We are currently locked into a TV deal that is due to run its course after the 2015/16 season, with the NHL currently trying to sue the middle man in that arrangement (Medge/AMI) for non payment.
http://wp.me/p2gDti-j4

This deal between the MLB/NHL at this point is just a digital media arrangement with the new tech company “MLBAM” responsible for GameCenter Live, NHL Center Ice, NHL Network and NHL.com and possibly more that we aren’t aware of at this juncture.
The launch won’t be made until January at the earliest, so it will be business at usual regarding all digital platforms including GameCenter Live in October and apparently NeuLion, the NHL’s current digital partner, will help facilitate the transition to make sure it runs smoothly.

MLB-NHL-Major-League-Baseball-National-Hockey-League-Network

Users of GCL I believe should be positive about this partnership. I’ve sporadically used MLB.TV in recent times and on each occasion it’s been very smooth online with no buffering or issues of any kind, and extremely good quality.
If this standard could be transferred to GCL down the line then this can only be a good thing moving forward for those wanting online coverage.
This quote from Gary Bettman confirms we are likely to be dealing with MLBAM.
“As part of the deal, MLBAM will serve as the distribution arm for GameCenter Live and NHL Center Ice subscription services in the United States and certain international markets. The League and its clubs will retain editorial control of the content.”

As per the official press release, MLBAM has similar partnerships with a host of other companies in the sports and entertainment fields. It provides streaming or infrastructure support for YES Network and SportsNet New York, WatchESPN, CBS Sports’ March Madness, World Wrestling Entertainment, and HBO Go.

A very professional outfit who have paid a fee reported to be $100 million annually for the rights to all the NHL’s digital platforms, and the NHL gets up to 10 percent in equity in MLBAM.

Now the MLB has a reputation for cracking down on fans making Gifs, vines and podcasts using their footage but when Collins was asked about this by Yahoo Sports, he basically inferred that this was still the NHL’s business and they have the right to make the call.
With the amount of illegal streaming of NHL games that goes on and the workaround on blacked out games, I’m sure that comes as a relief to fans for the time being. What happens after this season is certainly up for discussion however.

The following is a stab in the dark on my part but what many of you may have already been thinking.
With the NHL’s television rights outside North America up for grabs after next season, what price that MLB’s partner in the UK takes a punt on the NHL. Many have wanted BT Sport to take a run at the NHL since it’s launch in 2013.
Premier Sports have finally got themselves a HD channel up and running this season but their problems broadcasting NHL during the length of this current deal don’t need to be reiterated again.

Next summer should be interesting, if not a worrying time, for the NHL overseas television rights, but it appears that the digital side of things are in good hands.


Watch hockey. Write hockey. All for the love.

August 13, 2015

I’ve been watching hockey for around 15 years now since being introduced to the game whilst on vacation in Toronto. Writing about the game I adore is a relatively new thing for me, mainly coming about as being a part of the LeafSpace community.

I cringe when I read back those articles but I wrote for the love of the game and because I needed an outlet to express my opinions and bounce back ideas with friends across the world.

Looking back it’s a tad bizarre, because a teacher eloquently told my parents at a school meeting that “your son has it upstairs but has trouble transcribing those ideas down onto paper.”

Sitting back and reflecting this simmer I’m still genuinely shocked and surprised that people enjoy reading my thoughts on the game, mostly to do with the Toronto Marlies.
I certainly never began writing about hockey thinking it would be anything more than a casual hobby and branching out into writing for a website or beyond, had never entered my mind.
It’s how all passions should begin really. Without any aim but for sheer enjoyment.

Puck Pyramid

I’ve never considered myself one of the better writers about all things Toronto hockey based and currently there are some very fine wordsmiths in non-mainstream media who I look up and aspire too.
That’s not me pandering for goodwill or a pat on the back either, but just an acknowledgement that I’ve still much to learn and I’m lucky to follow and read some excellent writers.

For my sins I try to infuse my articles with the passion and enthusiasm I have for the game and the teams I follow.
I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (some have made this point vehemently to me) but to write otherwise would be doing myself a disservice.

It’s certainly reassuring then when I many of my articles have been read in numbers that never fails to surprise me. It’s fantastic to have that kind of support and the appreciative comments and sharing of the my musings on social media push me to strive to do better.

I’ve been planning for the 2015/16 season and my aim is to provide even more Marlies coverage through wewantacup.ca and I would ask if you have any idea’s of what you would like to see added or more of, to please let me know. I would appreciate the feedback and as they say, no idea is a bad idea.

I shall continue to post through this account as well, and hope that it still provides enjoyment and possibly even some enlightenment along the way!

First and foremost I write for myself and the love of the game but your support makes it all the more worthwhile. Thank you.


New coach, new beginnings for Medveščak Zagreb

July 19, 2015

The ”Bears of Zagreb” are rumoured to possibly be playing their last KHL season in 2015/16 due to financial implications, and it promises to be their most difficult yet.

Their inaugural KHL season was something of a fairytale as an inspired Jonathon Cheechoo and his team-mates led Medveščak to the playoffs at the first time of asking. A quarterfinal loss was hard to take but probably brought about false expectations with many of the top players leaving.
Last year was a struggle as their stingy defence allowed many more goals, led to an early coaching change and a finish second from bottom of the Western Conference.

The overhaul heading into 2015/16 is even greater and so is the challenge facing inexperienced head coach Gordie Dwyer.

I’ve no idea of how many candidates there were for the head coaching job but I’m sure many were asking the question “who?” when the announcement of Dwyer was made, myself included.
Drafted twice, Dwyer dressed just 108 times in the NHL and only achieved notoriety in the league as a Tampa Bay players after receiving a 23 game suspension for leaving the penalty box to engage in a fight and then going on to verbally and physically abuse officials after a bench-clearing brawl in a pre-season game against the Washington Capitals.
He would go on to finish his playing career in Europe at a minor level before taking up a coaching job in 2009 for Summerside Western Capitals of the Manitoba Junior League.
Two seasons there was followed by four with QMJHL side Charlottetown Islanders (were P.E.I. Rocket) where after a bad first year, they would qualify for the playoffs each season after before Dwyer was relieved of duties on June 29.
Dwyer only other coaching experience was as an assistant coach with Team Canada, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 World Hockey Championship.

When you consider his coaching profile compared to the likes of Mark French, Chuck Weber and Doug Sheddon then you recognise the size of the task he’s faced with and the leap of faith taken by Medveščak’s management.

The new head coach will have to rebuild a team and roster shown of it’s best players from last season.
Gone is leading scorer Pascal Pelletier to Admiral Vladivostok and second in points Bill Thomas, to Modo.
Brandon Segal and James Wright have also left and it’s looking likely that Martin St. Pierre will not return.
Add into the mix scoring defensemen Mark Flood and Mathieu Carle, then Medveščak will be without seven of their top eight leading points scorers in 2015/16.
Goaltending will be another source of concern as former regulars Barry Brust and Mark Dekanich are gone for good and Mark Owuya, who impressed in his short stint, is also gone.

There have been 19 signings and another eight on tryouts as pre-season is upon us.
No real superstar names amongst those and what jumps out at you is how inexperienced or young some of these guys are.
Blake Parlett has been a reliable defenseman in the AHL, strong is his own zone and puts up points but has no experience outside North America.
Marek Kvapil is a solid right winger with plenty of experience and he will produce to a degree.
Patrick Bjorkstrand returns for another stint with the bears and goaltender Danny Taylor signs after playing his first season in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk.

KHL_Medvescak_Zagreb_Logo

Expectations then should be relatively low and Dwyer certainly hasn’t built them up during a recent interview. When asked what his goals were for the season the first part of this response was illuminating.
”To grow from game to game and to be competitive. This season the team will be focused on young players who we will develop into competitive KHL players, but at the same time we would like to be successful, especially on home ice in front of our fans.”

Any success will have to be had at Dom Sportova as the bears of Zagreb have generally struggled on the road during their time in the KHL and the incredible home support is often worth a goal or two.
Special teams have always been a problem for Medveščak and that amongst everything else will be a challenge for Gordie Dwyer.
He will have the assistance of the legend that is Alan Letang, who I’m sure he’ll be very reliant on, especially to begin with.

Pre-season games start August 7 with the season beginning for real with a home game on the 26th of the month.
In fact the schedule has been kind to begin with as nine of the first twelve games are at Dom Sportova and a chance to get off to a good start.


AHL Top Rookies 2014/15

July 17, 2015

Every season the American Hockey League throws up a surprise when it comes to those rookies who impress.

Before this past season I’d never paid as much attention as I should to the rookie scoring race as Toronto has never really featured in the category. Until that is, Connor Brown came to the party.

It’s never quite the players you imagine dominating the rookie category with the higher NHL draft picks often not producing in their first professional year..

The 2014/15 season was no different with the top twenty scorers almost evenly split between rookies drafted 1-7, although five undrafted rookies would dominate if you were to divide into categories.
The now defunct Calgary Flames AHL affiliate, Adirondack Flames, had the highest number of top twenty rookie scorers with four, although none of those were in the top ten.
The top twenty scorers combined for 37 games in the NHL when receiving the call, with three of those during the post-season.

Toronto’s 2012 sixth round pick Connor Brown led the way with 61 points and was tied for the most assists (40) with Brendan Leipsic who would join the Marlies via a trade with Nashville and finish fourth in the scoring charts. Considering Toronto’s torrid start to the season, allied with the stigma of “only good in junior because of namesake McDavid, Brown’s season was a remarkable achievement by the right winger

Leipsic’s former team-mate in Milwaukee, Viktor Arvidsson was the third highest scorer and ended the season second in rookie goal scoring. Arvidsson would also dress in six games for Nashville.

Montreal’s Charles Hudon ended four points behind Brown for the scoring title, having set the pace most of the year, in a Hamilton Bulldogs season that ended in failure to make the playoffs despite his efforts

Rounding out the top five was T.J. Tynan of the Springfield Falcons, who led his teams in assists and points. The first time since 2010/11 that the franchise had a rookie in the top twenty when Tomas Kubalik finished with 24 goals and 53 points.

Connor Brown

1) Connor Brown (2012 6th round) Toronto Marlies 61pts
2) Charles Hudon (2012 5th round) Hamilton Bulldogs 57pts
3) Viktor Arvidsson (2014 4th round) Milwaukee Admirals 55pts
4) Brendan Leipsic (2012 3rd round) Toronto Marlies 54pts
5) T.J. Tynan (2011 3rd round) Springfield Falcons 48pts
6) Connor Brickley (2010 2nd round) San Antonio Rampage 47pts
7) Michael Mersch (2011 4th round) Manchester Monarchs 45pts

8) Conor Sheary (Undrafted) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 45pts
The highest undrafted rookie, Sheary amassed his points tally in just 58 games and could have easily been in the top five. Twelve points in eight playoffs games sealed a terrific season and has now signed a two year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Conor Sheary

9) Derek Hulak (Undrafted) Texas Stars 44pts
10) Chase Balisy (2011 6th round) St. John’s IceCaps 44pts
11) Ken Agostino (2010 5th round) Adirondack Flames 43pts
12) Emile Poirier (2013 1st round) Adirondack Flames 42pts
13) Rocco Grimaldi (2011 2nd round) San Antonio Rampage 42pts

14) Scott Wilson (2011 7th round) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 41pts
The highest selection in this group (209th overall), Wilson made the step up from college hockey and would finish the season in the NHL. Making one regular season start and three in the post-season for Pittsburgh.

15) Nic Dowd (2009 7th round) Manchester Monarchs 41pts
16) Henrik Samuelsson(2012 1st round) Portland Pirates 40pts

17) Evan Trupp (Undrafted) Worcester Sharks 40pts
By far the oldest rookie at 27, Trupp was an ECHL regular until 17 starts for Abbotsford in 2013/14.
Still a rookie (under 25 games played) heading into this season for the San Jose affiliate, Trupp produced sufficiently for the Chicago Wolves to offer him a contract for the 15/16 season

18) Daniel Carr (Undrafted) Hamilton Bulldogs 39pts
The left winger and NCAA graduate, surprised the AHL by ending as the top rookie goal scorer.
As an undrafted free agent, Carr signed a entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens in April.

19) David Wolf (Undrafted) Adirondack Flames 38pts
Calgary took a punt in signing this 25yo winger and it certainly paid dividends as Wold hit the twenty goal mark. Also a physical presence, the Düsseldorf native racked up 168 penalty minutes in 59 games.
Would play four games in the NHL for the Calgary Flames but his future at the time of writing is not set for next season

20) Bill Arnold (2010 4th round) Adirondack Flames 38pts

Although not featuring in the top twenty scorers, also worthy of mention are the following two gentlemen.

33) William Nylander (2014 1st round) Toronto Marlies 32pts
Nylander joined the Marlies from Modo despite clamour from media and fans alike to have him up with the Leafs. Played on the wing and after finding his feet put up his points tally in 37 games, finishing the season on a real tear. The 8th overall pick is to stay with the Marlies and play at centre in 15/16.

45) Chris Tierney (2012 2nd round) Worcester Sharks 29pts
A product of the CHL’s London Knights, Tierney wasted little time in impressing San Jose and was rewarded by starting the season in the NHL before being sent down to Worcester in November. A point per game producer in 29 AHL starts, the centreman deservedly garnered more NHL starts (43) than AHL, putting up six goals and 15 assists in the process.

chris tierney


AHL’s 2015/16 rule changes

July 11, 2015

Each summer the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors meet in July to discuss which improvements or changes to implement for the following season.

This time around we will see three rule changes and a quite incredible adjustment to the playing schedule that will have severe consequences for many teams.
I’ll go through them one by one with my view on each

Rule 79 (“Video Review”)
• A team may use a “coach’s challenge” to initiate an official video review; only those situations which are subject to review by rule may be challenged.

• A team may only request a coach’s challenge if it has its timeout available, and the coach’s challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play.

• If the coach’s challenge does not result in the original call on the ice being overturned, the team exercising such challenge will be charged with a timeout.

At first glance I really liked this new rule, which many have been calling for a long while now. At closer inspection I have some reservations, especially with part two of the ruling. Should a coach really be penalised by losing an “early timeout” on a call or not be able to challenge a call because he has already called his solitary timeout? I understand the league’s need to stop coach’s challenging just for the hell of it, but equally aren’t we also trying to make the game better by challenging poor calls?
The AHL’s use of video is nowhere near on the scale of the NHL and at times it’s been an arduous job for officials to check a goal review let alone any other call on the ice and unless the camera policy is to improve in every building, it makes this rule almost ineffective.
How it plays out should be fascinating to watch.

Rule 76.4 (“Face-offs”)
• For all face-offs (excluding center ice), the defending player shall place his stick on the ice first; for face-offs at center ice, the visiting player shall place his stick on the ice first.

This new ruling came from left field and was certainly the only one to take me by surprise. Again I can see the reasoning but perhaps my thinking is old school with my reasoning for keeping the old ways of a home team having every advantage possible, making it tough for the visitors.
I wonder in time if this might be extended to line changes along a similar theme from face-offs/stoppages in play and I wouldn’t be in favour of that also.

RON JOHNSON/JOURNAL STAR  T.J. Hensick (7) of the Rivermen and Rob Flick of the Rockford Icehogs face off  in the first period.

RON JOHNSON/JOURNAL STAR T.J. Hensick (7) of the Rivermen and Rob Flick of the Rockford Icehogs face off in the first period.

Rule 85 (“Overtime”)
• During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be five minutes (5:00) in length.

• Full playing strength will be 3-on-3 (plus goaltenders) for the entire period.

• Overtime will be preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

• Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

• If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

Most knew the first part of this rule was changing when the NHL adopted it for 2015/16.
Personally I didn’t see the problem with the rule from last year (Seven minute OT: 4-on-4 for three minutes with remainder at 3-on-3) as is made for some exciting hockey. Across the league it was the consensus of everyone from coaches to fans to play by play guys that it was the abolishment of the “dry scrape” that was required. The lull of the dry scrape after 60 minutes of hockey does nothing to enhance the experience of the game for the fan or the players, who doubtless go a little cold on the bench and even lose focus.

Playing Schedule/Standings 

• The 2015-16 regular season will consist of 1,120 games, played between Oct. 9 and Apr. 17. All teams will play 76 games each with the exception of the clubs which joined the AHL in January as part of the creation of a Pacific Division (Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton); those five teams will play 68 games each.

• Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams in each division ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will qualify for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, with one exception in each conference: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic or Central Division finishes with a better points percentage than the fourth-place team in the North or Pacific Division, it would cross over and compete in the other division’s bracket.

• The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals.

• The division semi-finals are best-of-five series; all subsequent rounds are best-of-seven.

Those of us who follow the league knew the 68 game rule was coming for the new teams but the stark realisation is a bitter pill to swallow for the rest of the league.
It will be the second time a cut has been made to the number of games in the schedule in recent times, but the first where a select few teams will contest fewer games than the rest of the league.

I’ve no idea how the American Hockey League considers this system fair, especially to those competing in the Central Division of the Western Conference, where teams will have to win far more games than their “Californian Five“ opponents.
The Chicago Wolves finished 8th in the Western Conference (taking the last playoff spot) last season with a points percentage of 0.572, a record of 40-29-6-1. Playing 68 rather then 76 games, a team in the Pacific Division could equally win and lose four games less, finishing 36-25-6-1 with a points percentage 0.001 more than the aforementioned Chicago.
Any which way you cut it, wins carry more stature by teams in the Pacific Division, as per @100degreehockey victories for those five new teams are worth 1.47% in the standings as opposed to 1.32% for the rest of the league. By the same mark then, losing overtime points are again worth more to those Pacific teams.

The new system could also thro up more injustices in regards the finishing standings.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a team that finishes sixth in the Atlantic or Central Division could miss out despite having a better points percentage than the fourth placed team across the way.
It’s all very unsatisfactory and the question marks don’t end there as regards the fairness of this.

What about individual awards or scoring races?
The veteran rule (320 games) will have to be looked at as guys in the Pacific will obviously take longer to reach that mark. In the same regard the rookie rule might also need tinkering with.
Salaries and Per Diems will be an issue
Those five Pacific teams will have lessened travel, fewer games and therefore less wear and tear on bodies, which is obviously an advantage through the season and heading into the playoffs.
As of now there is no CBA for next season which would encompass many of these issues but there really are so many unanswered questions at this point.

AHL 2015-16


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