32 Thoughts: The Podcast

A Wild Weekend Of Surprises

Episode Summary

Jeff and Elliotte discuss the situation between Evander Kane and the San Jose Sharks, Rob Blake’s contract extension and the Kings hiring Marc Bergevin as a senior advisor to the GM, continued trade talks around Jakob Chychrun, the John Klingberg negotiation, and more updates out of Edmonton.

Episode Notes

Evander Kane clears unconditional waivers. Jeff and Elliotte discuss the news of the weekend as the San Jose Sharks look to terminate Kane’s contract (00:30), how we got here and how the NHLPA will handle the situation, and wonder where the Sharks go from here.

The guys also touch Rob Blake’s contract extension with the Kings and the club hiring Marc Bergevin as a senior advisor to the GM (9:30), trade talks around Jakob Chychrun begin to heat up (13:20), where we might see Lawson Crouse end up before the trade deadline (18:40), John Klingberg speaks on his negotiation with Dallas (19:30), the In-Season Stanley Cup got a little crazy on Sunday (30:10), a few updates from Edmonton (36:30) and the guys take a few of your emails and voicemails to wrap up the podcast (40:00).

We want to hear from you! Leave your thoughts, comments, suggestions and questions via email at 32thoughts@sportsnet.ca or call us toll-free 1-833-311-3232 and leave a message after the beep.

Full transcript for the episode can be found here by Medha Monjaury 

Music Outro: ioakim - swimming pools

Listen to more music by ioakim on Spotify

This podcast is produced and mixed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman.

Audio Credits: Bally Sports Midwest, NHL Network, PepsiCo & Sportsnet.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

Episode Transcription

OPEN //// Jeff Marek [00:00:00] Christopher Murney. You know that name? He's a guy that played Hanrahan in Slapshot? The goalie. He made millions as the voice of... Chester the Cheetah from the Cheetos commercial. That's Hanrahan! 

Commercial clip [00:00:15] [Cheetos commercial with Christopher Murney.]

Jeff Marek [00:00:23] Elliotte we'll start the week on 32 Thoughts the Podcast presented by the all new GMC AT4 Lineup by talking about the big story of the weekend and Saturday, it was a shocker. Evander Kane placed on unconditional waivers for the purposes of a contract termination. And as of 2 o'clock Eastern on Sunday, he went unclaimed. Let two things begin. The termination of the contract and the grievance. What's the latest?

Elliotte Friedman [00:00:48] The latest is that as of 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday afternoon, he cleared waivers, and shortly after that, the Sharks filed the necessary paperwork to say, we are terminating Evander Kane's contract. So as it stands right now, Evander Kane has no contract with the National Hockey League and is an unrestricted free agent. However, as you said, this is not over. There's going to be a grievance from the players association, and, you know we're gonna see if this ends up in a settlement or this is going to go in front of an arbitrator who will have the right to decide. Now, I will say this. I have learned over the years, do not predict what an arbitrator is going to do. Everybody thinks they know. But for every lawyer you can, who will say one thing, you can find another lawyer who will argue the exact opposite. 

Jeff Marek [00:01:44] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:01:44] And you are up to the whim of the arbitrator on that day. So... this is what I can tell everybody based on, you know what I know. As reported on the weekend, the Sharks voided the deal for what they've called two violations. One was on December 21st. He tested positive for the coronavirus while playing for AHL San Jose. And he took a flight to Vancouver on the 29th, and they are saying he did not have medical clearance or permission to take that flight. The second thing they are saying, is that he was supposed to return on December 31st and did not return until January 6th. Now Kane is contesting both of these, and that's the basis of his grievance. You know, people wonder, do any of the other legal issues have anything to do with it? No, not based on what the Sharks filed. What one lawyer said to me, is that one of the more interesting things here, is that it would be, if true, his second COVID violation. Kane was suspended the first 21 games of this season for use of a fake vaccine passport. I had one lawyer say to me that they really felt that that bolsters the NHL and the Sharks case, and we should mention the Sharks had the approval of the NHL to do this. I had one lawyer say to me that they feel that that really bolsters San Jose's case. I had another one that said, the thing that's gonna make this most interesting to him is that one was at the NHL level and one was at the AHL level. So will there be an argument that these violations are not the same? Because, you know, as they point out, there's so much money at stake here, about $23 million. Every argument is going to get made. As someone else said to me, one of the NHL agents, one of the reasons the players association has to fight this is that, if they don't, the risk becomes that any violation of COVID protocols becomes a license for a team to terminate a contract, especially if it's of a player that, you know, no longer fits in, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:04:07] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:08] So that becomes an interesting subplot to all of this, too.. 

Jeff Marek [00:04:14] So one of the things that I wonder about here and you mentioned on Saturday as well is... 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:19] And before we talk about Kane's on-ice future, I did have someone who sent me a DM who said, under what basis do the Sharks or the NHL think that Kane's contract can be voided? And so I asked about this and I was told, if you wanna google the standard player contract, there's a section, it's 14A, failure or refusal or neglect to render services and/or other material breach of the contract. Failure to conduct yourself on and off the rink according to the highest standards of honesty, morality, fair play, and sportsmanship and to refrain from conduct detrimental to the best interest of the club, and a material breach while on loan to the American Hockey League. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:08] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:05:09] And again, all of this stuff has yet to be proven or argued in front of the arbitrator. We'll see where it goes. But someone asked. And when our fans ask, we come running with the answer. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:23] Here's a potential scenario then, and you mentioned this on Saturday. Let's say Evander Kane signs with another team. And we believe, like I was told on Saturday, there would be perhaps 10 teams that would be interested. Depending on, you know, what type of contract Kane was looking for, who would be interested in the services of Evander Kane? Let's say Kane signs a deal with a new team and then wins the grievance. Whose team is he on? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:05:52] It's a great question, and that's what I asked, and what I understand is, sometime over the next couple of days, and they've probably already started, but over the next couple of days, the league and the players association are gonna have to set some ground rules on how all of this works. I do think there's a lot of people who believe this ends in a settlement. That the Sharks won't want to risk having it all come back, and Kane won't want to risk losing everything. You know, for example, even though I agree with you that I think there's teams out there looking at this, I don't think he's gonna get $24 million. 

Jeff Marek [00:06:27] Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don't think so at all. I think that big payday has gone for Evander Kane, but I think there are a lot of teams that are out there, correct me if I'm wrong Elliotte, that are looking at this and saying, hang on, we all understand the baggage that comes along with the player. We could get a really high end player here at a discount price. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:06:46] I don't think everybody's like that, but I think there are some teams who will hopefully pass, that won't do it, at all? But I think there are some teams thinking that way. So it's just a matter of what, you know, where Kane wants to go and, and what he wants to play for or what he's willing to play for. But the league and the players association are gonna have to set some ground rules for how all that could work, and I expect they will, and I do think there's going to be a push for a settlement here, and both sides have reason to do it. You know, the other thing I will say, as you can imagine Jeff, there are a lot of other teams out here who are not happy. You know how other teams are, how they shiv each other behind the back? 


Jeff Marek [00:07:29] Yeah yeah yeah, they're not thrilled with this one. Not loving this. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:07:35] They're getting cap relief they don't deserve. I mean, you know how it goes. 

Jeff Marek [00:07:39] I wonder what this means from the San Jose Sharks point of view as well and there's one player that I wonder about specifically, and that's Tomas Hertl, who is an impending unrestricted free agent, and... 

Elliotte Friedman [00:07:50] Hattrick the other day. 

Jeff Marek [00:07:51] Right? And he's a wonderful player. You know, this is his time to ring the bell in a lot of ways. He's 28 years old, he's on the expiring UFA deal. Just to be blunt, the fact that Evander Kane is no longer part of the plans in any way, shape, or form for the San Jose Sharks, does that warm him more to re-signing with San Jose, or is it still, and I don't know, you just, maybe only Hertl has the answer to this. Or do you think it is just, hey listen, I've come this close to free agency, what's waiting a couple of more months to see what's out there? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:22] It certainly makes it easier if that's what everybody wants to happen here. I will say this Jeff, and it might be too early to tell where this is going. But it was definitely trending towards that Hertl was gonna test the market. Now we'll see. 

Jeff Marek [00:08:39] This story very much a new one, a fresh one. We'll follow it all the way. Stay tuned, either at our Twitter feeds, our radio stations, our website or your favourite podcast. 32 Thoughts the Podcast presented by the all new GMC AT4 Lineup. Let's kick it off. Elliotte. 

[00:08:55] [Intro music.] 

Jeff Marek [00:09:22] Welcome once again to 32 Thoughts the Podcast, thanks for joining us to kick off your week of hockey ahead. So this Sunday Elliotte as it relates to Los Angeles Kings was an interesting one. So we get the news about Marc Bergevin, little bit of a shocker here to most, named senior adviser to the General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings. And we all go, uh-oh, what does this mean for Rob Blake, who is the general manager? A few hours go by and we hear the news that Rob Blake has a contract extension to remain in that capacity with the Los Angeles Kings. What do you make of Sunday's L.A. news? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:10:01] First of all Jeff, we should credit John Hoven. 

Jeff Marek [00:10:03] Yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:10:03] Who broke the story on Sunday night that Rob Blake has a contract extension coming. A multi-year, he said he wasn't sure, four or five years. But, you know, I think he's totally right, not that he needs my confirmation. There was a rumbling earlier in the week that Bergevin was potentially going to San Jose to help out. And I looked into that and it turned out, you know, I was told, don't go with that one. And I'd like to thank the person who told me not to go with that one cause I would have looked totally stupid. But I have to say I'm a little bit annoyed at myself for not thinking about, well, maybe someone mixed up the wrong California team and they meant a different team in California, and I should have pursued it more. But whatever the case is, before John broke the story on Sunday night, someone did say to me, and I think this is a very smart person, don't make any crazy assumptions here. Don't jump to conclusions. Because I know what you're thinking. I know that you're thinking that, you know, if Blake doesn't make the playoffs, Bergevin is coming in as the GM, and he said, I will tell you that I think that's a bad assumption for you to make. And now we have a clearer picture as to why he told me that that was a bad assumption to make. I'm curious to see where this is going to go. You know, I do wonder if Bergevin is doing this right now just to kind of keep busy and keep his name out there because I don't think he's necessarily out of maybe like the Anaheim situation. So I think there's still a story here to be told on what Bergevin's future is in L.A. For example, I don't think this means that he's not going to be looking at any other opportunities that are out there, so I think right now it sort of keeps Bergman's name out there, it gives him something to do, something to be involved in. But I don't think it's going to preclude him in any way chasing whatever other opportunities might be out there. 

Jeff Marek [00:12:07] The uh, the Bergevin association is a Luc Robitaille association safe to assume that? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:12:12] Well, you know, you had said earlier on one of our previous podcast that a lot of people wondered if the Bergevin-Robitaille association would lead to something in this particular case. And obviously, on some level, it has. You know, the other thing too is if you look at L.A.'s history, they've never been afraid to bring, you know, former GMs in there. Under Dean Lombardi they had Ron Hextall, for example, and that's been talked about a lot today. To me right now, this just seems like a place for Bergevin to hang his hat a bit, be involved, help with their processes and then kind of see where things go for him. You know, there's still openings out there. I think it's, I think it's very unlikely he'd be in Chicago, but there's still Anaheim. You know, there still might be more changes as the season progresses here. So what this says to me is, if he doesn't get a fulltime job somewhere else as a general manager or VP or whatever, he has a situation for himself here. 

Jeff Marek [00:13:14] Okay so the Los Angeles Kings will use this as a transition. They are one of the teams who could be interested and could offer a package, the likes of which...

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:23] You had some really good information by the way. 

Jeff Marek [00:13:25] Oh, thanks. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:13:25] I wanted to give you credit. You had some great information on the show. 

Jeff Marek [00:13:28] So, and that, and this is all about the Jakob Chychrun impending trade, which we believe will happen in advance of trade deadline, although really, I don't know how much pressure Arizona is under right now to move Jakob Chychrun, considering he has this year and then three subsequent years, or seasons rather, still left on his contract. But what the Arizona Coyotes are looking for is something, as I reported on Saturday, something along the lines of the Brent Burns deal and that was, Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a first round pick. Now, Devin Setoguchi at that point was a really young, good player, Charlie Coyle was highly sought-after and highly thought of prospect in the first round pick as a first round pick. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:06] You know, I didn't really get a chance to talk with you on Saturday night during that segment because, you know, we were a bit tight. But do you think that's enough?

Jeff Marek [00:14:15] I think it depends on who the prospect is and who the player is, like this could turn into a player, a prospect, a first and a second as well. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:24] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:14:26] I think it all depends on who the players involved are here, and it depends on, you know, how, how, how impactful the prospect is, how impactful the young player is. So I think that that's not exactly what they want, but that's the model from what they're working from. Essentially, I mean, Elliotte, you want to break it down even more simpler than that? The Brent Burns deal was three first round picks. Devon Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a first. You know, the Jack Eichel deal, and he's a $10 million player was essentially three first round draft picks. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:59] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:14:59] So I think that's the basis from which Arizona is working from. Now, that may preclude some teams from making this deal. Teams that might have a desire, whether it's the Boston Bruins or maybe the New York Islanders, maybe they don't have those pieces available to the Arizona Coyotes, but there are teams, I mentioned three, that do have the capability of doing that right now. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:26] Do your list. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:26] So Los Angeles Kings are one of them.

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:29] And they've been interested in Chychrun for a while I've heard. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:32] They have been, yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:33] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:33] The Anaheim Ducks are another one. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:36] See that made a lot of sense to me when you mentioned Lindholm. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:39] They have three big free agents, unrestricted free agents: Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell. And if they lose Hampus Lindholm, Jakob Chychrun slides into that spot. Plus, much like Los Angeles, we all know that Anaheim has a really, really deep prospect pool and it's a team on the rise. So that one made a lot of sense. Specifically when you look at, you know, the Hampus Lindholm insurance element of it. And the other, this is maybe just because, you know, Arizona's general manager used to be in St. Louis and would have an intimate knowledge of that organisation and those players, you know you do wonder about the St. Louis Blues here and how Doug Armstrong feels about his blue line. There have been teams that have tried to get Joel Hofer away from St. Louis before, and they've always resisted, I'm told. I wonder about the Arizona Coyotes if they're looking at the St. Louis Blues and looking at, whether it's Joel Hofer or whether it's Jake Neighbours or maybe Scott Perunovich, plus picks like, St. Louis and, they're in it, like St. Louis is having a real nice season, despite everything that, you gotta give it to the St. Louis Blues. We've talked about this before. They're having a really good season and they're a heavyweight team.

Elliotte Friedman [00:16:58] I was very disappointed in their victory on Sunday, but we'll get to that.

Jeff Marek [00:17:01] We'll get to that Elliotte, I know you're, I know you got boo-boo face about that one, but we'll get there. They um, you know, they have really good prospects, they're a team that's going for it! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:17:12] It's like if you get that Perunovich in that deal, if that's what you're talking about. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:16] Oh boy I know, right? Listen, I think Joel Hofer as well! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:17:19] He's a good player,. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:20] Like there's, like, St. Louis has-- 

Elliotte Friedman [00:17:22] And they could use a goalie. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:23] That, and that's the one thing that Arizona, I would think more so over any other position would be looking for right now. So I don't know. So the teams that make the most sense, you know, out of the blocks and, like I reported on Saturday, there are over ten teams that have made enquiries. Those three seem to be... I don't know about, you know, clubhouse leaders or anything like that, but those seem to be the three most obvious ones who would be able to put a package together that would at least give the Arizona Coyotes reason to call time timeout and have a conversation. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:17:56] So you asked earlier about the Coyotes not being in a rush? One of the things that's a few other teams suspect is, Chychrun's returning from an injury here, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:18:06] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:06] And some of the other teams believe that Arizona wants to make the deal because A, they don't want this hanging over them, which I understand. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:17] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:17] And B, you're just worried he's going to get hurt again. And if he gets hurt again, does that screw up your timing or ability to make a move this season? There are some teams out there that, they don't think Arizona's going to rush to do it, but they think they're motivated to do it. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:32] Sure. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:33] So you've mentioned St. Louis here, you mentioned Anaheim you mentioned L.A.. Was there anyone else you mentioned on Saturday night? I can't remember off the top of my head. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:39] No. I mean, I mentioned the Boston Bruins in relation to Lawson Crouse, and a lot of is just because over the past couple of years, the Boston Bruins have always showed interest that I, I would suspect that that would still be true. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:18:49] Someone called me this morning and they said, I'll make you a bet. It's a, was a, an Eastern Conference exec, he said. I'll make you a bet on Lawson Crouse. He said he liked your prediction. He said it was not as bad as a lot of your regular ideas. But he said, he, and this is a team that might have to play Tampa Bay. And he said, I don't like it, but I could see Lawson Crouse ending up in Tampa Bay. 

Jeff Marek [00:19:13] Tampa Bay. Interesting. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:15] He said that that is the kind of player that Tampa Bay is gonna go out to get to replace... 

Jeff Marek [00:19:20] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:21] And they've had some guys there this year have played really well. But they'll look for that kind of a player. 

Jeff Marek [00:19:25] Interesting. And also, as we all know, it's only a matter of time before Phil Kessel's on the go too, so that's the other one. So that was the main in-- 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:34] Now Klingberg, you had some good stuff on Klingberg. 

Jeff Marek [00:19:36] Dave Pagnotta of, on NHL Network on Friday reported that John Klingberg had asked for a trade. John Klingberg after the game on the Pittsburgh game on Saturday said, well, that's not exactly true. 

Post-game clip [00:19:48] [John Klingberg: "Yeah, I don't think it's entirely true. It's not like I've been going up there and asking, I wanna get traded now or something like that, it's something that's been, what's been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that. I'm not gonna lie. It's been a couple few frustrating years individually, and as a player it all ends up coming to your next contract obviously and, I've been a Dallas Star since day one, I've been pretty clear that I wanna stay here. I grew up here. I got my daughter here and all that. And at the end of the day, it's business, I understand it's a business on both sides. I gotta take care of my part as well, and it's been standing still. I feel like... I wanted to ask last season. I was pretty [unclear] that I wanted to, to start negotiating right away and see where we were at. They wanted some time with free agency, draft, and stuff like that, and I understand that but at the same time, I feel like I've been here, proven what kind of player I've been for years now. Other guys have signed right before the season before and I wanted to do that as well but, lately it's just been going more quietly and quietly and for me as a player, I don't feel that I've been appreciated in that way when we don't even negotiating and that it's, it's, it's quiet. So for me, as a player and my agent, we talked to Jim a couple of months back and he agreed that we could start talking with other GMs and see where we were at but, negotiation wise, with Stars has been very quiet. So it's a little bit disappointing for sure, but it's a business. I understand there's something, but I have my side to take care of as well."] 

Jeff Marek [00:21:31] I don't want to dispute Dave's reporting because he's a good reporter, and he's right. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:35] It sounds like this was semantics. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:37] This is. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:37] This is semantics. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:38] This is semantics. So I talked to Peter Wallin, who is the agent for John Klingberg. He's in Sweden scouting right now and he said. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:46] Yeah? 

Jeff Marek [00:21:47] It was either late November or early December and this is when, you know, the contract talks had hit a stalemate, and we know that the Klingberg camp was looking max terms, so eight years. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:57] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:57] Something just underneath $8 million on the AAV so like $60-$63 million for the entire package. Nill's not there, obviously, and the conversations had just stalled, at which point Klingberg camp said, essentially, look, if we can't come to an extension, if you're not committed to my guy to extend him, to keep him part of this team, which is his primary desire, will you please accommodate a trade? Essentially like, look, if you don't want me here long term, let's just agree to walk away here. So that's what the scenario was. It wasn't as if you know, Klingberg marched into Jim Nill's office and pounded the table and said, get me out of here right now. From Klingberg's camp is, A, I wanna stay here, I wanna stay here for the maximum amount of time that I can. I've always been a Dallas Star. I want eight years and here's the money that I feel that I am worth and if we can't accommodate this, and I don't know whether Jim Nill is there, whether he's there, you know, he doesn't like the term or he doesn't like the decimal point, that I have no idea about. But to Klingberg, choice number one is stay and extend and stay a member of the Dallas Stars but if that can't happen, which Jim Nill accommodate a trade. So that's what I was able to find out on Saturday as for that. Again, Dave Pagnotta, not wrong at all. John Klingberg not wrong at all. Just a little clarity. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:20] You know, Dave should get that on his tombstone. Dave Pagnotta, you're not wrong. 

Jeff Marek [00:23:24] Listen, I'd be happy to have that on mine, too. That's high praise. What do you think of the Klingberg situation? I mean, he talked about how, you know he's, you know, he didn't feel appreciated, I think that press conference after the Pittsburgh game, where he said he didn't always feel appreciated by his team like that's that's powerful stuff and you never hear an athlete talking like that. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:43] Well, first of all, I loved his honesty. I'm never gonna fault someone for being honest. We always demand it and we get upset when we don't get it, you can't criticise people for being and he wore his heart on his sleeve and I appreciate that as a reporter. This is what I think is going on in Dallas. What did Dallas do? On the ice as you mentioned to me, they ended Pittsburgh's winning streak. What did they do off the ice? 

Jeff Marek [00:24:05] They hired Steve Greeley, as we talked about last podcast. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:08] And what did we talk about in terms of why we think they did that? It was because they wanted to change the way they make decisions, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:24:16] They want to do business in a different way and it sounds very much like Steve Greeley's gonna have input in a lot of, if not all, decisions, from amateur scouting to pro scouting to trades to everything, pretty much. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:31] So I think what this is all about is, is the Benn and Seguin contracts. And it's not like those are bad players, and it's not like those players were undeserving of the deals they got when they got them. What is the problem? That both of them have battled significant injuries to try to stay at the level they've been at.

Jeff Marek [00:24:56] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:56] And it's affected both of their careers. You know, Jamie Benn is a monster, but he's a little less of a monster, unfortunately, because of his body. Tyler Seguin is an extremely talented, dangerous player, but he's a little less of a dangerous player because of his body. And I think that what has happened here is that the Stars have made the decision that, I think they've just looked at it about long term health. They'll take the eight year bet on Heiskanen because he's younger, but after what's kind of happened with Benn and Seguin and, again, not their will, not their ability, but what's happened to their bodies. They don't wanna take that bet. I'm convinced now that's the reason why Klingberg has not been extended long term. It's because the organisation has said, look, we've had too many of these and we're not doing it here. You know, the one thing I would say about elite level athletes is, and elite level people in general, and I know because I'm wired a bit this way. Sometimes I take things as slights that make sense, but they still really make sense to other people, but they still really pissed me off. And people will say to me Jeff, like Elliotte, you're being unreasonable. I'm like, I don't care if I'm being unreasonable, it still bothers me. And from a business point of view, it's not wrong for Dallas to decide that based on what I think their decision making is. But if you're John Klingberg and you've spilt blood for Dallas and you've been there for almost a decade, all of us outside can say, okay that makes sense to us. But John Klingberg doesn't care that it sensible. He sees what he's done for Dallas, what they've done for him, too. But he's also filled his half of the bargain, and he's like, come on, like, I've bled for this team, I've gotten hurt for this team, I've scored for this team, and you have to understand that is the emotion of the player. Now, I don't know what Dallas is gonna do here, Jeff. You know, they're very much in the race. Like, I think Dallas will make some decisions at the deadline based on where they are with some of their UFA's, not just him. First of all, I can't believe this stayed quiet for almost two months and secondly, you know, it says to me that right now, while Dallas is in the race, they're not really interested in making themselves a weaker team. 

Jeff Marek [00:27:23] No, and I think what Dallas thinks they have in their hip pocket is... although he's still a young player, is, I think that they're looking at their blue line and looking at Heiskanen and looking at Suter and saying, okay, and we also have Thomas Harley coming here, too. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:27:40] Yes. All of this stuff is is part of it. 

Jeff Marek [00:27:43] Like Jim Nill went out and signed defencemen in the off season. Right? Like, we talked about this, you know, not too long ago. Like, what did Jim Nill make a priority, perhaps thinking that this was gonna be an issue? What did you do in the off season? He signed Ryan Suter and he signed Jani Hakanpaa. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:00] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:01] And they joined the organisation, and they've got Thomas Harley in their hip pocket. Now, is Thomas Harley replacement for John Klingberg. Not a chance. Not a chance right now. But I think maybe they're thinking somewhere down the road, that may be the replacement for John Klingberg. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:15] How close do you think they were? Klingberg in Dallas? What, a million a year apart? 

Jeff Marek [00:28:21] Ohhh. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:21] One and a half? 

Jeff Marek [00:28:21] I--

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:25] Even closer? 

Jeff Marek [00:28:26] I, honestly, I don't know that Dallas gets into the 60s on an eight year term? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:31] So it's about a million a year maybe, maybe a bit less. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:34] But here's the other thing I don't know if they wanna go eight. The one thing that I still don't know is, what is the issue? Is the issue the money or is the issue the term? That I don't know. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:45] I just heard the issue was the Benn and Seguin contracts. It's not that they regret them, I think that's the wrong thing to say. It's just that they've seen what can happen to someone's body over that long term at that point in their careers. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:02] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:03] And, you know, like Klingberg is not taking a four or five year deal now. Not at this point in time. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:08] No way. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:09] Not the way the defensive market is. I think Dallas legitimately tried to sign him. I think they did. They couldn't get to a sweet spot. And Dallas said, we're just not comfortable going where Klingberg wants to go. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:22] What do you think the market for Klingberg is right now? We know that Carolina has been interested. I put that out there a while ago.

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:29] I think there's two teams you are gonna to hear in every trade rumour right now, and that's Carolina and Colorado. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:36] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:36] I think the market's pretty good because there's gonna be defencemen out there, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:29:41] Mhm! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:41] Teams are going to need them. You know, someone's gonna want Mark Giordano. Someone's gonna want John Klingberg. Those guys can win playoffs. They're different players, but they can win playoff series for you. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:51] And Klingberg as well. You always have to mention it: right hand shot. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:55] Yes. 

Jeff Marek [00:29:56] Those guys always in demand. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:59] Very well-dressed. He'll look very good at those walking shots. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:02] Very true. You wanna talk about Dallas-St. Louis on Sunday? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:05] Do I ever? You know, first of all--

Jeff Marek [00:30:07] In-season Stanley Cup, here we go back home baby, I love this pool. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:11] First of all, that is such a joke that you won that game. That really is. And then I saw that in-season's top tweet. It's the first time you've beaten me in eight meetings, and I was even more angry about losing that game I wanted. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:24] I was two! I was two! I was two Friedge, c'mon! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:27] I wanted zero, like I didn't just want to win. I wanna win by more. But when I asked Amil to get a piece of video for me, I think the true description of this game belongs to Nikita Kucherov. 

Press conference clip [00:30:40] [Nikita Kucherov: "Number one bullshit, hell, number one bullshit."] 

Jeff Marek [00:30:43] That's funny, because that's what you texted me this afternoon after the game. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:47] And right after that I called Amil and said, you gotta get that clip. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:51] That's exactly what Elliotte texted me, even before I had a chance to gloat he texted that to me. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:56] So, you know, you know, first of all, congratulations on the win. That was, that was a hell of a game. What a meltdown at the end of that game. Imagine you're up 1-nothing. You know, we all saw the reaction of Bowness after the game smashing the stick and, he really composed himself and didn't say anything crazy in the postgame. 

Post-game clip [00:31:17] [Rick Bowness: "I can't tell you what the referee said to me. If you're watching the game, you saw what happened. So, you know, they clearly pulled Miro down, really grabbed his stick and pulled him down. It's my opinion. They got lucky. He broke his stick on a penalty kill. Second goal goes in off our feet. That's a break's in the game. We played a hell of a hockey game, we deserved, we deserved a lot better than that. We did. We played a hell of a road game for our third game in three and a half days. We battled hard. We deserved a lot better than that."] 

Elliotte Friedman [00:31:47] Boy, there's a lot of hard feelings around Dallas after that one. To get out of that game without even a point? That absolutely stinks. I am not convinced I would have reacted any differently than Bowness. And what really bothers them was, for people who didn't see the game, it's 1-nothing in the last minute, Dallas has been playing great all the way through. Binnington was unbelievable. Just an unbelievable game. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:11] Oh, man. He was, yeah, Sunday was his day. He was great. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:14] So they're on the power play. St. Louis is at 6-on-4. There's the puck is loose behind the net going into the corner and Heiskanen is chasing after it and he's taken down. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:24] That is the--he just had a stick held a little bit. That's all. That's all. Just a little bit, barely anything, really barely. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:32] He went down. He went down. And then, so he's mad as he gets up, and he's slashes Kyrou's stick, and it breaks. So you're getting that penalty call, I mean, it was a legit slash, he broke the stick like, everything that could have gone wrong, did there. And the other thing too was, Kyrou, as the stick is breaking makes a pass that eventually leads to the tying goal. 

Broadcast clip [00:32:55] [Play-by-play of Ryan O'Reilly's game tying goal against the Dallas Stars.] 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:04] And so it's 1-1, they score and Heiskanen gets a penalty. And you can see Bowness on the bench is furious, Benn is furious, Heiskanen's furious. And apparently, and I heard this secondhand. Dallas was told that Heiskanen toe-picked. Which is... 

Jeff Marek [00:33:21] Mmm, not true. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:22] You know, like, hey, you know, calls get missed, but if someone says to me, like, this is the thing, like, there's someone who texts me whenever a play like that happens, and he says, that's a $5 million call. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:37] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:37] Because if you don't miss the playoffs, maybe you lose five million because of that. Okay?

Jeff Marek [00:33:42] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:43] But you know, I think we always understand that that can happen, it's just a joke he does with me, says that's a $5 million call. But the thing is, one of the things we talk about is if someone just says, hey, like we looked at it again and we just missed it? I think that a lot of cases that diffuses people. I just don't think that Dallas liked the answer that they got about it being a, potentially a toe pick. And then the winning goal went in and Bowness went absolutely crazy. 

Broadcast clip [00:34:32] [Play-by-play of St. Louis Blues powerplay winning goal against the Dallas Stars.]

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:32] I probably would've lost my mind too!

Jeff Marek [00:34:33] Do you think Bowness gets anything for that? I know he was very composed afterwards, but the antics on the bench with the stick? Nah. I'm fine with it, but I just know the NHL frowns on it. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:42] Well. 

Jeff Marek [00:34:42] That'll be in every highly package because that is part of the story of that game based on what happened late in the game. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:49] Well, here's the thing. Brind'Amour was fined this year. 

Jeff Marek [00:34:50] Yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:51] And he had been warned before. Gerard Gallant, as I understand it, was not fined, but he was warned, with the incident in New York a couple of weeks ago. I know people out there disagree with me. There are people out there who feel that there's kids watching, there's young coaches watching, and they think that it's okay when you do this. I disagree with that. Like, one of my favourite players growing up was Michael Jordan. If I saw Michael Jordan lose his temper, I never took that as licence for me to lose my temper because I'm not Michael Jordan. I think you have to manage your own house. You know, like, that's the way I've always seen it like just because somebody else acts some way doesn't mean it's a licence for for me to act some way. So when I look at that Bowness thing, my personal belief is, he just lost a massive game in a season where it's gonna be a battle for them to make the playoffs. I think you have to be understanding. I know not everybody sees it that way. But we all want the coaches and the players and everybody involved to care as much as we do as fans. I see that, it doesn't bother me, but I know because I remember the last time we talked about Brind'Amour, a lot of you who listen to his podcast disagree. That's fine, you're entitled to own opinion. This one's mine. 

[00:36:08] [Break.] 

Jeff Marek [00:36:22] Okay. From there, I want to ask you about the Oilers and the positive COVID cases and the game against the Ottawa Senators on Monday postponed, that's now pushed to Saturday, which gives Ken Holland now, 6 days to make some decisions, or have decisions already been made? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:36:42] You know, the one thing I did hear this week? We've talked about it before on the podcast, and Holland has said before this year that he'll move his number one pick if the team's in it? If you look at Edmonton's draft situation this year, their fourth rounder was already traded away, New Jersey's got it in the Kulikov deal and their second and third rounders, well, it depends on what happens in the Duncan Keith trade, it depends on how far the Oilers go, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:37:09] Yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:09] So he doesn't have all of his picks. The other thing I heard is that he was asked about his first rounder this week and he said no. That's what I was told. And you know, the reason is, they're not they're not 16-5-0 anymore. They're on a stretch where they've won just two games in regulation in their last 13. And I don't think that Holland sees it as, I'm not trading my first rounder when it's this. So I think that's off the table for the time being, and I think he was asked about it. What do we know? They're not the team that was 16-5-0. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:42] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:42] But I don't think they believe they're the team that's 2-9-2 in their last 13, either. What I'm hearing is, they wanna get back healthy, get everyone back in the lineup. Anyone who tests positive doesn't have to test again for three months, and see where they go and kind of judge from there. But I still stand to my point, Jeff, that they realise missing the playoffs is not an option. But I think the most significant thing that's happened is that I've heard Holland has said, I'm not dealing the first rounder when this is where we are in the standings. It doesn't make any sense. If he's dealing that first rounder, it's because he thinks he's got a shot at it being picked somewhere around 25th or later. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:25] Do we expect anything this week from the Oilers or is it just eyes on Saturday in the game against the Ottawa Senators? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:38:32] I think it's probably... can they get everybody back and can they get everyone healthy? You know, they've fired a lot of people there. I really wondered if they would think about a coaching change. Look, I talked to Holland, not this past weekend, but a week ago when the Babcock rumours came out and he said, look, like I'm throwing cold water on those basically. You know, I believe that. I know one of the things they've talked about in Edmonton is that too often the answer is just fire people. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:02] Yep. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:03] And it's happened a lot there over the last decade. They want to stop it. And could it happen? Absolutely. It could happen. But I still don't get the sense that's what he wants to do. I really don't. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:18] Okay. On that, we will, we'll reset. Quick break, back with some of your emails and phone calls. 32thoughts@sportsnet.ca the email address, and the thought line, 1-833-311-3232. We'll be right back.

[00:39:28] [Break.] 

Jeff Marek [00:39:43] Okay Elliotte, so a couple of phone calls and a couple of emails here to wrap up the programme once again.

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:47] Before we do this? 

Jeff Marek [00:39:47] Yes? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:48] I wanted to thank everybody for all the DMs. I got a lot of ridiculous trade proposals. But Jeff, I wanted to let you know that you got a lot of support for the backwards skating idea, but not in a lap. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:04] Yeah, just the straight line? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:40:06] Something like that. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:08] Hey, listen, I'm not--

Elliotte Friedman [00:40:09] People did support the backward skating. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:12] I'm not an inflexible man. I will, you know, I will bend, but I won't break. I can find, okay if it's going to be--I just looked at it and said, okay, what events can answer a question? And the question is quite simple, who skates backwards the fastest? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:40:24] So I just wanted to tell you that there were a lot of people in my DMs saying that they liked that idea, and I had one person who said, be nicer to Jeff, so. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:33] Yeah, good luck. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:40:33] I will fulfil that request in about 30 years. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:36] It's not gonna happen any time soon. I don't expect it. You know what? Because we, I got a lot of replies on that one on Twitter as well. And a lot of people, like completely unsolicited, said Jonas Brodin. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:40:50] I got a couple of those. 

Jeff Marek [00:40:52] Like there is like five or six people, because I was always wondering too like, okay, who will people, you know, suggest for this one? Overwhelmingly, the person with the most votes from, just from responses that I got? Jonas Brodin of the Minnesota Wild. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:07] I got a lot of Cale Makar.

Jeff Marek [00:41:09] Yeah, see, I don't know about Cale Makar as a backward skater again. Again, I just don't know. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:13] He just looks like he's fast at everything. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:15] He just looks like he's great everything like smash Paul Coffey records, guy is so good. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:20] By the way, that Toronto-Colorado game was fantastic the other night. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:22] That was so fun, that was so much fun, and stars on display. Now let me, let me ask you this question. How much do you think that third period was about the altitude? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:35] I don't know. Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:37] Because I honestly, I don't know--Kevin mentioned the altitude psychologically and actually. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:43] But he's talked about it in the first 10 minutes. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:44] I get it, but I always wonder about that like, when does that show up on a team? First couple of periods, I say, yeah go on adrenaline and all that. Then I just wonder what, when altitude catches up to a team that's not used to it. And again, I'm just speculating, I would assume it would be the third, but I don't know. I would have to defer to be someone who--. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:42:04] They beat them. They beat them. 

Jeff Marek [00:42:04] Oh no, no, listen, Colorado beat Toronto legit, and that was a great--and that play from behind and at that pass from Rantanen? Good luck. 

Jeff Marek [00:42:13] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:42:14] That's some elite territory. That was a fun game. Okay! So let's get to a couple of emails here. And selfishly, I'm going to start off with one that winks at me. From Kyle. "I like Jeff's idea." Oh, what a great, what a great, what a great way to start an email, Kyle. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:42:33] That's how you know it's gonna get used. 

Jeff Marek [00:42:36] Listen, if you think you can just get on this programme here by flattery, you're a hundred percent, right. "I like Jeff's idea of having a shorthanded goal and a penalty. However, what would happen in a situation like tonight, with Hagelin scoring on his own net during the delayed penalty? Is a penalty over before it starts like it would have been if Washington had scored on Minnesota?" 

Elliotte Friedman [00:42:58] So let me get this straight. Let me get this straight. We're taking questions now about rules that don't exist. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:06] Correct. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:06] But what would happen if they did exist? 

Jeff Marek [00:43:08] Yeah, yeah. Yeah, because we have to get there, because if we're going to present this to the NHL formally one day, we have to have the casebook that comes along with it. And if you get, if you get Colin Campbell to present this, you need to have a casebook of what ifs to go along with it so much. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:25] Oh my god. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:26] So listen, I'll play commissioner on this one as you're the in-season cup commissioner. No, because that would just be like a team shooting it into its own net. So no, that, the penalty would still stand. And you know what? You mention this before the podcast today. We saw a situation like this on. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:42] I've seen two. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:42] We most recently--

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:44] I'm gonna put it in the notes on, on Tuesday. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:45] Oh, are you? In the, the Florida-Dallas game? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:47] Yeah there was one in Dallas-Florida, which was a great game the other night and there was one... I think it was the last game in Canada before the Christmas break. I think it was St. Louis-Winnipeg. I have to double-check. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:58] Excellent. Okay. This is an interesting one from Victor. I've wondered about this as well. "How much of an impact will the 'no fans situation' in Canada have on players willing to come to Canadian teams at the deadline?" 

Elliotte Friedman [00:44:12] I think it's a big factor. I do. I know the Canadian teams are worried about it. They are very concerned that players won't want to be traded into Canada. Now we'll see. There's some time between now that the trade deadline is March 21st, so it's two months, over two months, things can change, but in my recent conversations, it's definitely a concern. 

Jeff Marek [00:44:32] Okay, let's get to a voicemail Elliotte from a listener in California. 

Caller [00:44:38] "Hey, Jeff and Elliotte just finished listening to your most recent episode where you're talking about GM candidates, and there was no mention of Jeff Solomon, who's the interim GM for the Ducks and his potential to get that Duck's job. I'd sure like to hear your comments on that. Thanks. Great job, always will listen. Take care." 

Elliotte Friedman [00:44:59] Well, first of all, thank you for listening. And secondly, I think I did mention and maybe I didn't, but I think I did mention there were internal candidates in Anaheim, and I thought that would cover off Solomon and Dave Nonis and potentially Martin Madden. But, you know, obviously that's, that's on me. I would say I didn't make it clear enough. I do think the internal candidates have a shot there. I think they are very interested in the job too. So I would say he definitely is a candidate. You know the, the thing that's interesting about Solomon in particular, he was brought in there to modernise the Ducks and bring them to contemporary standards. And if you had an overall vision which ownership approved of bringing this person in before the season, I don't see why that would change at all. So I do think Solomon is a very legitimate candidate. I just don't know how that's all going to work yet. I think the Ducks have talked to a lot of people. One of the things I've heard is the Ducks may have talked to more people than anybody else at this time of all the openings and I can't confirm that, but I have heard that. Like they are going out there and trying to talk to everybody they can and kind of whittle it down from there. But I do think the internal candidates, including Solomon, are legit candidates for the job and want the job. 

Jeff Marek [00:46:22] Scott from Regina. "With the Jets looking into playing in Saskatoon, do you think we'll see more NHL neutral site games?" That's gonna be tough. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:46:31] Yeah, I don't think they're crazy about that. 

Jeff Marek [00:46:33] To spiff buildings to make them NHL-ready. That's, that doesn't happen overnight. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:46:38] Yeah, one of the one of the big questions there, Scott, is that who is gonna pay to kind of upgrade the rink there? Like, not that it's a bad rink or anything like that, but you have to upgrade the capabilities for an NHL game or multiple NHL games. And that was one of the issues. And, you know I did hear that the players weren't crazy about the idea either, just because it added more travel and, I think they understood Winnipeg was trying to do, but I think a lot of people understand what Winnipeg was trying to do. I just think there's enough travel, enough disruption of the season. I just don't think people want it anymore right? 

Jeff Marek [00:47:13] And let's finish off here with a call from Jack in New York City. 

Caller [00:47:18] "Hey guys, hey Elliotte, hey Jeff. This is Jack calling from New York City. I was a fan, big fan of the show. I wanted to make one reference to Elliotte last point on the latest episode about star players not being able to fight or Sidney Crosby [not fighting] the Blues, [star players not being able to fight]. I don't think it's the case. I think it's more that some teams that have players to answer the bell. Maybe Pittsburgh don't really have that player and does get hit. No one's really standing up for him. If you look at someone as you mentioned Reaves or the Islanders, you have Matt Martin or Johnston, I think so many teams don't have that player so do you think it's more of a case of these teams who don't have someone to answer the bell? Thanks, guys. Have a good one." 

Elliotte Friedman [00:48:00] Well, thank you, Jack. And by the way, I did get some angry Blues fans who felt that I that I libelled Mikkola in the last podcast because they felt that Crosby gave his as much as he got. So just shout out to the angry Blues fans who may or may not have been Darren Pang calling and disguising his voice. I think that's definitely true, you know, Jack, you know, Jeff and I are the same age, you know, we're both in our early 50s and and we remember an era where every team had 5 to 10 guys like Reaves or Martin or Johnston, and it's very different now. There's no question about that, and some teams do believe we're gonna get our revenge on you on the powerplay. So there's definitely that. I completely agree with that, that, you know, some teams aren't built to handle that. And especially against a team like the Blues, who kind of are built to handle that.

Jeff Marek [00:48:53] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:48:53] So I think it's a fair point. It goes back to the way I was brought up, I think for a lot of us. It goes back to the way we were brought up that if you poked around on someone, you might get punched in the face and you probably deserved it. 

Jeff Marek [00:49:05] There is a good chance. Awesome. Listen, thanks so much for the phone call. Thanks so much for the emails. Again, the thought line, 1-833-311-3232, emails always open as well, 32thoughts@sportsnet.ca. Amil likes going through them. Speaking of Amil, thanks very much, our star producer. Thanks so much for putting this one together. Thanks for the downloads, thanks for your ears and lending us your time once again. Taking us out an artist and producer based in the south coast of Sydney, whose sound resembles an era in Australian music that set the indie pop world in a craze. Ioakim has been creating music the last couple of years and his creative process is quick, food-free, and pretty blurry at times. With his latest single, here's Swimming Pools by ioakim on 32 Thoughts the Podcast. 

 [00:49:52] [Outtro music. End.]