A call for the NHL to treat its players as people…Criticism of the hockey media’s reaction to Wade Belak’s passing….Is it better to rebuild with youth?…Challenging hockey statisticians…Remembering when September was Canada Cup time…Should the Oilers add another defenseman?…The visor challenge in Tampa Bay…A look at the Atlantic division…Fantasy preview of the Ottawa Senators.

PUCK UPDATE: Steven Ovadia calls for the NHL to treat all its players as people, regardless of their on-ice role .

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. The league and the PA have made significant strides in recent years to address this, but given the recent deaths, more can and likely will be done.

HOCKEYBUZZ.COM: Travis Yost takes the hockey media to task for their coverage and commentary in the immediate aftermath of Wade Belak’s death.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, some of the coverage resulted in soapbox articles, as well as speculation into the cause of Belak’s death. Most were in my opinion expressing genuine emotion, doing what everyone else was doing, trying to understand what happened, come to grips with the shock and grief, and search for answers. Whether or not we agree with the suggestions for change, it’s still helpful in promoting discussion about the issues raised by Belak’s death, which in turn might lead to some positive change for players like him. Anything’s better than just brief reports on his death, as that would be considered ignoring the issue, or sweeping concerns under the rug.

TOM BENJAMIN’S HOCKEY BLOG: Tom examines Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster’s recent comments comparing his building his club’s roster in comparison to the Edmonton Oilers rebuilding with youth, especially top draft picks. He believes Feaster is essentially saying that “choosing to lose” in order to attain high draft picks isn’t a wise strategy, and agrees with it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rebuilding with youth isn’t always a sure-fire path to glory, while there are teams, like the Red Wings, Sharks, Canucks and Bruins, which have built themselves into champions or contenders without having high draft picks in their lineups.

MATCHSTICKS AND GASOLINE: Mitch Smith presents Part One of an in-depth study into advanced hockey statistics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a deep topic, and I admit the study of advanced statistics can at times fly right over my head and splatter against the wall. Nevertheless, I feel it’s still worthwhile, even for folks like me who, as Smith suggests, finds the advanced stats perspective of hockey a tough hurdle when we first encounter it.

DENNIS-KANE.COM: Dennis reminds us that, once upon a time (between 1976 and 1991), September was Canada Cup time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The collapse of communism at the turn of the 1990s essentially killed the meaning of these tournaments. During the Cold War, eastern European hockey stars, especially the Russians and Czechs, were unknown to North American fans, and given the “us vs them” ideology of the time, those tournaments took on special meaning, as well as provide some of the greatest moments in international hockey history. It’s certainly much better today for European players, as they now get to strut their stuff in NHL rinks, but I do feel nostalgic whenever I remember those Canada Cups.

BLUESHIRT BANTER: “Dig Deep” examines the Atlantic Division for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Resist the temptation to assume that, because it’s written by a Rangers blogger, they’re predicting the Blueshirts topping the division. This is a worthwhile analysis of the division.

RAW CHARGE: John Fontana wonders how many Lightning players will respond to GM Steve Yzerman’s challenge from last spring to don visors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those who might be unconvinced about putting on visors might want to take a look at the video Fontana provides of Yzerman’s own nasty eye injury in 2004. If I were an NHL player, that would convince me, but if not, perhaps Bryan Berard’s career-altering (and very gory) eye injury might do the trick.

COPPER AND BLUE: “ryanbatty” wonders if the Edmonton Oilers should consider adding another veteran defenseman to their blueline corps to be on the safe side if Ryan Whitney continues to be hampered by injury this season. He noted veteran Bryan McCabe is still available in the UFA market and might be worth considering.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Oilers management will see how Whitney performs in pre-season, as well as their other defensemen, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they decide they need more depth. 

SILVER SEVEN: Cam Collingwood of Fantasy Hockey Scouts offers up analysis of the Ottawa Senators for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I participate in two fantasy head-to-head leagues, and I  probably won’t be picking any Senators for my teams this season. No offense, Sens fans, but I don’t have a warm fuzzy about your team’s ’11-’12 offense.

 

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