NHL Canadian Corner – September 18, 2012.

Goalie coach Francois Allaire quits the Maple Leafs,  Milan Michalek undergoes surgery, Andrew Ladd glad Evander Kane was re-signed,  Kevin Bieksa believes NHL fans behind the players in this lockout, Brian Gionta voices his opinion about the lockout, the Flames organization settles into lockout mode, and Oilers owner Darryl Katz concerned over construction of new downtown arena.

NATIONAL POST: Goalie coach Francois Allaire has quit the Toronto Maple Leafs, expressing frustration over the status of the club, suggesting he didn’t feel like he could do his job there the way he wanted to.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allaire had been under fire for some time over the performance of the Leafs goaltenders. His decision to quit the team, and his comments suggesting the club needs more than a goalie coach, could increase criticism of GM Brian Burke and the Leafs front office.

Michalek undergoes abdominal surgery.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Milan Michalek underwent abdominal surgery which will sidelined him four-to-six weeks.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Andrew Ladd is happy teammate Evander Kane was re-signed prior to the lockout, though he suggested it was kind of hypocritical of ownership to sign him to the kind of deal the NHL is trying to eliminate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane were an unrestricted free agent, or slated to become one next summer, I could understand the rationale behind signing him to that contract just hours before the expiration of the CBA. Kane, however, was a restricted free agent, meaning the Jets still retained his rights following the lockout. There was no reason to rush out and sign him to that contract, especially when the owners are claiming they’re paying the players too much and seek to impose term limits upon contracts.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa feels there is plenty of support for the players from the fans during this lockout compared to the previous one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That appears to be the case this time, but that could quickly evaporate if this lockout drags on, especially if it threatens to kill another season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brian Gionta believes another lockout was exactly what the NHL wanted, and has little time for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “(The NHL) is talking about a problem and then you have record contracts going out the door. It’s hard to believe there are problems.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the players disliked Bettman before this lockout, it appears they loathe him now. Won’t change the outcome of this lockout, of course, but Bettman risks thoroughly poisoning his relationship with the players, which could potentially have consequences down the road regarding his personal appearances with the players (Winter Classic, All-Star Game, presentation of the Stanley Cup). What appears to unite fans and players is a mutual dislike of Bettman,  which the players could try to exploit, now and after the lockout.

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames organization settles into lockout mode, with pay cuts and reshuffling of staff, and arranging ticket refunds.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers owner Darryl Katz believes construction of a new downtown arena could be in jeopardy. He also denied he was making last minute demands from the city, including an arena operating subsidy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman was credited for his efforts to bring Katz and the Edmonton city council together and kick-starting the new arena project. Perhaps now would be a good time for the Commissioner to hand over CBA negotiations to Deputy commissioner Bill Daly and focus on smoothing things over with the Oilers arena project.


  1. This whole alliare quitting thing is kind of rediculous, I have never heard a coach so outspoken after parting ways never mind a goalie coach who for the most part I have no idea who they are on most teams. I think the goalie situation has been shitty and alliare is trying not to lose credit to his name as most leaf fans were calling for him to be fired last year

  2. Varies articles also suggest Allaire was upset over numerous people trying to play the role of goalie coach with the Leaf tandems which Allaire believed made his work ineffective as a coach.

    While most struggling teams are often mismanaged or micromanaged to varying degrees, the Leafs are truly a reflection on the ice of the those that run it. With arguably one of the most expensive front office staff in sports, as a unit, the team, the on ice product itself, is a flop.

    It would seem that if Allaire’s assessment of the Leafs is correct, then the mistake of running around in your end of the rink and doing everybody else’s job but your own is apparently not the exclusive folly of the just the players on the ice, or the likely the board room either, but the coaching staff too.

  3. There was no rush to sign any of the extensions this summer that were signed. Yet, I have little doubt that the players themselves, and more specifically their agents were pressuring owners to sign before rather than after the CBA. It takes an awfully optimistic individual to believe there wont be significant changes and the few players who were in a position to take advantage of the “old” rules did so. Did the owners have to sign them? No, though to publicly say so would have been collusion, especially if they were to use the new CBA as a reason. So these GMs. did what they are paid to do. Sign their core players when they have the chance. It doesnt alter the fact that players make too much according to owners, and it doesnt alter the fact that most owners still sign players knowing they will lose money, as a fan of a team that doesnt make a “profit”, I admire the owner who does that.

    As far as Katz, yes there will be the usual run of folks saying “why doesnt he pay for it himself”. Easy. He doesnt own the arena. He is a business man who owns the Oilers, just like someone may own a Subway. Just like that Subway owner, he is going to find the best lease in the best location he can to run his business. The issue is operating cost to the city, and its up to the city to decide if they want to run the new arena out of their own pocket, or if they want to pay someone (Katz) to do so. Also, the most humorous part of this, is as usual the media forgets to add a significant detail. Even the city’s own taxation people say that a conservative estimate on tax generated by the arena over the length of the lease, is over $2 Billion dollars. This is not some money pit (like a opera house or museum that cant sell tickets), this is something that would pay for itself several times no matter who pays.

    Want to know how pathetic a hockey fan can be……I just wrote emails to the major sporting networks after reading or hearing statements from their reporters/analysts that “it’s obvious the people are behind the players”.

    Are you %$*&%$ kidding me.

    Sure, use a polling service to phone 500 people at home, and you can talk to 100 people who could care less about hockey, 200 who watch occasionally or at playoff time, or the 200 idiots like me who live, breathe and eat “their” team, and the results will show if not a 50/50 split, a slight advantage to the players.

    But go on every one of these major sporting networks websites and read the comments sections where that rabid 200 like me spend their free time, and you will see that 80% of the commenter’s are pro-owners, or more accurately anti-player. Once again, to define pathetic, I actually went through the dozens of pages and tallied the comments, and it was exactly 83.7 % (and yes, my god I am that pathetic).

    So what does this say? This says that first, the MSM has absolutely no real idea what the fans want or think any more than the owners and the players do. Secondly, it shows that those in sport reporting/sport blogging are obviously themselves very much in the players corner and will use every advantage they can to say so, even if it is inaccurate (after all who will actually check?), why? Because they, like us, are fans, and there is no way one of these reporters/bloggers is going to risk his “access” to our heroes by pissing them off in print.

    And even worse than those who lack the character to be objective and yet still hide behind the benefits of being in the fourth estate, there are the ex-NHL experts……the Aaron Wards, the Nick Kypreos, the Ray Ferraros, and so many others who magically, since retirement, have become the cream of the crop when it comes to the business side of the game (yet they can’t get a job with a franchise?).

    Look at Aaron Ward, scoring 151 career points in 14 seasons while drawing a total of $22.4 million in career earnings speaks volumes about which side he would champion, for a career average of $1.6 million a year (and this goes back to the mid 90’s remember) for an average of 11 pts I wouldn’t want the system to change either. Do you really see him championing the owners?

    • Why would anyone want a hockey job when they can have a cushy media gig without any training or experience?