NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2012.

The latest on the Kings and Devils, Tim Thomas confirms he’ll sit out a season, questioning the medical treatment received by the late Derek Boogaard, and a complaint the NHL playoff system rewards mediocrity.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings are only two wins away from having a championship banner of their own to hang in the arena they share with the NBA Lakers.  The good news continues for the Kings, who are reportedly on the verge of signing a $250 million television contract with Fox Sports West.

NJ.COM: The Devils might be at a disadvantage when it comes to road travel in this series against the Kings.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Three keys for the Devils to win Game Three. Among them: their top players (Kovalchuk, Parise) must step up.

Thomas confirms he'll sit out next season.

BOSTON HERALD/CSNNE.COM: Bruins goalie Tim Thomas yesterday took to Facebook to confirm his intention to sit out the 2012-13 season, citing a need to reconnect with his family, friends and faith. His decision sparked what appeared to be a mixed reaction from some of his teammates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Thomas is indeed sincere about the need to reconnect with his family, then it is understandable why he feels he must take a year off. Still, the suggestion this move is also being done to give him leverage in case management tried to trade him this summer will persist in the coming weeks, especially with his “no-movement” clause set to expire on July 1.

NEW YORK TIMES (VIA DENVER POST): Documents compiled by the father of the late Derek Boogaard appear to indicate he didn’t receive proper treatment for his addictions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen what the fallout from this report will be, and if the Boogaard family will pursue legal action, but the documents certainly suggest the late NHL enforcer was over-medicated as part of his treatment, and may have contributed to his untimely death.

BUFFALO NEWS: Bob DiCesare suggests the current NHL playoff format rewards mediocrity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeCesare acknowledged this year’s playoffs is a rare case of two low playoff seeds advancing to the Final.  I  also concur with his opinion the 82-game season is far too long,  and believe the current playoff format is also too long,as the opening two rounds should be best-of-five, but we’re not going to see that changed anytime soon.  Still, I disagree the system “rewards” mediocrity.

Yes, DiCesare is right in pointing out five times in the last nine years the Final included a sixth seed or worse, but they also proved to be strong competitors (2003 Ducks, 2004 Flames, 2006 Oilers , 2010 Flyers, and this year’s Kings and Devils). Indeed, since the NHL went to the current format in 1994, only seven Finals (including this one) has included a sixth seed or less. Not a bad average over 17 seasons. Moreover, some of the most exciting Finals over that period (1994, 2004, 2006, 2010) involved a low-seeded team. Finally, the current setup gives hope to fans that, regardless of where their team is seeded for the playoffs, they have a chance of pulling off upsets and going all the way. Ultimately, it’s the quality of play, not the seeding of the teams in the Final, that matters. 


  1. All the seedings in the playoffs do is show what a team did during the regular season. In the case of the Kings with that roster back in October I think they were expected to be among the top teams in the West. They underachieved most of the regular season and got their heads out of their collective asses just in time. Just like the Capitols they beat the Cup champs in round one and push NY to one game from the East Finals. That team was also expected to win their division and do something this year and underachieved for most of it. They also woke up at the right time.

  2. Point is a lot of the time these low seeded teams were actually expected to do damage and decided to sleep walk through the season. Not surprised at all with the Kings’ success this postseason NJ is absolutely playing with house money and now being down 2-0 they will be lucky to win one game.

  3. You make some good points, Vinnie.

    The Kings were a sleeping giant this year. Also the Devils regular season looks better if you examine only points and not the seeds, which place division-winners Boston and Florida ahead of them.

    I was talking about this yesterday with my hockey-playing sons (Bantam),in discussing the 2-3-2 format used by the AHL.

    I suggested that the NHL adopt a 3-2-2 format, which would provide much more reward to the team with the most regular season points. Of course, they wouldn’t have helped my Broons this spring, as they dropped 3 of 4 at home to the Caps.

  4. Going 3-2-2 would be interesting, but the lower seeded teams would lose revenue. It would never be approved. I like the 2-3-2 idea though

  5. Also a team can underachieve through a season being plagued by injuries which can come into affect.

  6. I agree the NHL season is too long. I start losing interest in hockey by the end of may. They should cut down on the 82 Game schedule and still keep the playoffs as they were. Hockey ending mid may would be perfect.

  7. I, personally, think the current playoff format is fine. As for rewarding mediocrity, I think a seven game series gets rid of pretenders. Much harder to win four games in seven than 3 in five. What does add to mediocrity is that free point for making it to over-tiem in the regular season. that, in my opinion, skews that stats for seeding. I actually would not mind a three point system. 3 pts for regulation win, 2pts for overtime win, 1 pt for a shootout win. I either case, I think we are also seeing the effect of the salary cap. Teams are more evenly matched so the difference in skill between an 8 seed and a 1 seed is much smaller now. That, to me, is why we are getting lower seeds doing ok in the playoffs.