Vancouver is having a hard time finding its groove. Jeff and Elliotte discuss the struggling Canucks, what might be going wrong, possible changes, and how the market is reacting to the slow start. The guys also touch on Montreal, the Islanders coming home last place in the Metro, feedback from the Mike Forde interview, protecting the stars and how it might increase attendance, the situation with the Omaha Lancers, and they take some emails and your voicemails.
Vancouver is having a hard time finding its groove. Jeff and Elliotte discuss the struggling Canucks (1:30), what might be going wrong, possible changes, and how the market is reacting to the slow start. The guys also touch on Montreal (29:00), the Islanders coming home last place in the Metro (35:15), feedback from the Mike Forde interview (19:30), protecting the stars and how it might increase attendance (38:30), the situation with the Omaha Lancers (45:30) and they take some emails and your voicemails (50:00).
Find the full transcript for this episode here
Music Outro: Keys n Krates - Crescendo
Listen to their latest album “Orginal Classic” on Spotify
This podcast is produced and mixed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman.
Audio Credits: MSG and 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
Jeff Marek [00:00:04] Welcome back to a newsy edition of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast brought to you by the all-new GMC AT4 lineup. Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman along with you and Elliotte, we'll start today's podcast with a game of who said it. Quote: "it's wearing on all of us."
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:21] I would bet that that is Jim Benning.
Jeff Marek [00:00:27] Correct. That was part of the press conference on Thursday afternoon. We all understand the pressure that everybody is under. We understand it at every level. We think we all understand the frustration. We heard the chants. We saw the signs. Both of those things on Wednesday during a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Avalanche. What did you make of the Jim Benning press conference on Thursday?
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:51] Well first of all, I think Jeff, on behalf of you, me and Amil, and I don't profess to speak for Sportsnet and everybody else who works there. But I'll say on behalf of the station, you know, there's a lot of Vancouver Canucks fans who are going through a really, really hard time right now, with what is happening in that province with the flooding. And we just want to send our best. That's the first thing I think we all want to do. [Marek: Absolutely.] Look, it's been an awful start to the year for the Canucks. The interesting thing about this is you and I and David Amber, we all thought the Canucks had a chance to be pretty good this year.
Jeff Marek [00:01:27] I thought it was going to be Vegas, Edmonton, jump ball for third, but Vancouver is going to be in that conversation.
Elliotte Friedman [00:01:33] The other thing about that is that, I had several of who I think are the really good analytic people around the league, reach out to me and said, you guys are nuts. [Marek laughs]. Like, there's ... that's what they said. I had a couple of different guys reach out to me and say that, on the analytic models we really trust, they didn't like the Canucks this year. So they were saying to me, score one for the analytics over the eye test and I was kind of laughing. I was like, OK, I'll give you that one. But that's what they said to me that the models were not very high on Vancouver. Right now it looks like that's correct. And, you know, we'll talk about the Benning media conference too. But one of the reasons I think that you haven't seen changes is because... Number one, I think ownership has been caught by surprise. Benning and Green still have time on their contracts, and I don't think they envisioned making changes at this point in time. So they kind of want to slow everything down like, everybody's on the clock now. This happened a lot faster than Canucks ownership wanted to, and I think what Monday was about was, okay, we're shocked here, we weren't expecting this. What are we gonna do to address it? And if it doesn't change, what are we gonna do about it? So I think everyone's on the clock now, but I'm not surprised they didn't make changes at this time. I think the other thing that I'm getting a lot of feedback on is that ownership doesn't want the players to skate on this. They feel that it's not just the GM, it's not just the coach, it's not just the front office, the ownership, whatever you want to blame. That the players are in on this too. And so I think that's why nothing has been done yet. Benning's press conference. The one thing that surprised me. Now I do a Nashville radio hit at 2:00 Eastern Time on Thursdays, so I didn't listen to it live and I went back and listened to it later. And the one--the thing that caught me by surprise was that when I was reading the tweets was he didn't give Green the vote of confidence. I was like, okay, what's this about? But when I went back and I looked at it, it was kind of like it wasn't that he wasn't giving him a vote of confidence. He was basically saying, you know, we all know what the reality of the situation is. If we don't get this going, there's going to be changes. And that's kind of the impression I got. So my reaction to all of this is there was nothing that Jim Benning was going to say that, aside from throwing himself on the hot coals and allowing him to be scalded beyond belief, that was going to make anybody happy. But I think we all know what we're seeing here. If this doesn't turn around, and soon, we are coming to the end of this particular management era in the Canucks. I think we all see that. Do you think I'm wrong on this interpretation?
Jeff Marek [00:04:49] No, I don't. The only question I have is, does the general manager have the authority to make a trade to try to change things? We've seen GM's do that before to try to save their jobs, to try to turn around the situation.
Elliotte Friedman [00:05:04] Mhm.
Jeff Marek [00:05:04] My question is and on the radio show today, Elliotte, you and I talked about how this is happening in front of everybody in slow motion. We all think that it's marching towards an inevitability, but it's crawling to get there. But we all know where it's heading. My only question in all of it, and I don't disagree with anything that you said, is, does Jim Benning have the authority to make trades to change it? One, to save his job, two, to your earlier point, to make sure the players know that they're not getting off the hook on this one,
Elliotte Friedman [00:05:38] I think the players kind of know. You know, one guy who I think really has a good pulse and--there's a lot of good reporters out in Vancouver, but one set of tweets that really opened my eyes was after they lost in Anaheim, @irfgaffar, who used to work for us and is still pretty prominent out there. He had some pretty powerful tweets about not absolving the players from responsibility. And I just think that the people who report out there, they're pretty plugged in. And I just don't think you're doing that without, you know, some sense of, that's how the organization feels. And I kind of took notice of those tweets from Irf and I asked around about them. And I think the players have to know that that's how everybody feels. And Pettersson's struggling. They're not trading him. They're not trading Hughes. I don't think you're trading Demko--I've seen that suggestion made. I think that's crazy. The thing you have to be careful about is, and we talk about this a lot is when you're reeling like this, like Vancouver is, the other teams aren't throwing you a life preserver, they're throwing you an anvil. The sharks are circling and they smell blood. How many GMs do you think have called Jim Benning in the last couple of days going--
Jeff Marek [00:06:57] Oh yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:06:58] Hey, Jim, what are you thinking about out there? Well, they're licking their lips as they're doing it.
Jeff Marek [00:07:04] Let me help you with your problem. Boy I'm really feeling for you, Jim. How can I help out here?
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:09] Have I got a player for you!
Jeff Marek [00:07:12] When--you know what? Our program stinks, but if you get this guy into your system .. Oh! Will I look like an idiot, but I'm willing to do that for ya Jimbo!
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:22] Can I interest you in this used vehicle? No, no! Don't look under the hood!
Jeff Marek [00:07:27] You mentioned a couple players there, and Pettersson and Hughes specifically. One, I'm still scratching my head over Pettersson recently as well. Hughes... the play on Samuel Girard in the game against Colorado. I understand getting hit and the anger and the frustration and then chasing him down the ice and breaking your stick over his back is as un-Quinn Hughes a play as you're going to see him make.
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:49] Yeah.
Game Broadcast - Sportsnet [00:07:49] "Gerard turns inside the line Hughes goes right back at him! And breaks his stick! And he's going to get a penalty for crosschecking! Quinn Hughes lost his cool! After the hit by Gerard, he went the length of the ice looking for number 49 and he puts his team shorthanded again.".
Game Clip [00:08:11] [Play-by-play: Quinn Hughes receives a 2-minute penalty for crosschecking, leading to a 4-on-3 powerplay for the Avalance.]
Jeff Marek [00:08:32] You know, it's the third period your team's very much in the game, you start the third with the lead and then it all starts to get undone because we all know a lot about the Vancouver penalty kill, which is last in the NHL hovering around 60 percent. So Pettersson and Hughes, the two players that took a little longer to get their deals done and show up in camp... Hughes is frustrated. Pettersson, I have no idea what's happening there.
Elliotte Friedman [00:08:56] Hughes, you know, obviously, I don't think anybody liked that play that Hughes made, but you probably look at him in general and say he's played pretty hard. He's competing. It was a bad penalty at a bad time. But overall, you're not looking at him and saying he's the problem. You know, you say to him, you've got to be smarter than that. But generally, I think you're looking at him and saying, you know, honestly, Quinn, we know you care, and you've been playing hard. You know, the other way with Pettersson. There was a play in Wednesday night's game that, you know, I had people texting me about. And it's in the third period with about 9 minutes left. He gets a chance on an odd-man rush to put his head down and drive to the net and shoot.
Game Broadcast - Sportsnet [00:09:42] "JT Miller against Jayson Megna on this faceoff, 9:20 to go in the third, Megna wins it, back to Gerard, tries another shot, blocked by Pettersson. Sounded like he might've broken his stick but he's gonna take his chances, moving in, slows... and now just passes one around for Brock Boeser. Back to the blue line. Burrows. Left point, Miller. Makes a move down the boards..."
Elliotte Friedman [00:10:06] The play hasn't stopped in a minute and a half, and John Garrett goes back to it to talk about it on replay.
Game Broadcast - Sportsnet [00:10:13] "As Garland picked up that puck, and they'll face off and neutral ice. Elias Pettersson, it looked like he was going to get a chance. Blocks a shot, checks his stick, okay, it's alright. Now go, go go go! Keep the legs going, keep the legs going, go go go! And... you see, that's the hesitation right now in his game. And people are wondering. Well to me, it's a matter of confidence. He didn't have the confidence to keep the legs going and cut to the net, try and create something. Ended up just throwing it behind the net."
Elliotte Friedman [00:10:44] And, you know, people saw that play around the league and they're like, what is going on here? Like what? What's happened? And I don't know what's going on there, but you know, people, I know they're upset at the GM, I know they're upset at the coach. I know they're upset about the owner. But the number one problem the Vancouver Canucks have to deal with is him. You know, it's never about one guy. It never is, Jeff. But he is influential enough in terms of what he does for them that when he falls apart like this, it has an enormous effect on their offense. And it doesn't matter who's coaching that team or running that team. If Pettersson doesn't get back to what he can be, there's nothing's going to change. Nothing's going to change. Your star players--everybody has a night off. But your star players have to be your star players 70-plus games a year. And he's got no goals from the slot this year in 17 games.
Jeff Marek [00:11:44] Okay, I'm glad you mentioned the slot there because there's actually two things and that refers to one of them. Two plays for me stand out for me of recent note. One of them was in the Anaheim game, and there is Elias Pettersson in the slot alone on John Gibson. And it's almost like Pettersson is frozen and is the easiest poke check of John Gibson's career. There's no shoulder fake, there's no quick snap, there's no, you know, sophisticated deke that we've seen from Pettersson before. There's just... nothing. It's almost like he forgets what to do. His brain is spooling. We're not sure what's happening. And then there's a play in the third period in the Colorado game where he's at the blue line trying to keep the puck in and instead of like a little clever chip up the wall, maybe to himself, he kind of. You know, the way that I been phrasing it, you know, ever since is like, it's as if Tyler Motte was on the point pretending to be Elias Pettersson and do something that Elias Pettersson can normally do, but he can't do it. And Elias Pettersson tries this little spin move and ends up putting his team offside. And we're--we're off to a face-off instead of keeping the puck alive in the offensive zone. He just looks profoundly different nt. And whenever 40 is on the ice, I can't take my eyes off from--what I think you're probably the same way--because we think of that Elias Pettersson that we saw not too long ago where--.
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:04] He's good!
Jeff Marek [00:13:05] --every time he touched the puck, something phenomenal happened! But I don't know what has happened. If it's a confidence thing. It's--I don't know. I'm not there, I'm not in Elias Pettersson's brain. I don't know what's happening with the player. All I know is, man this guy is better than this. Elias Pettersson is better than we're seeing right now.
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:25] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:13:25] He has to be because we've seen it before. Like, I'm stunned. I'm completely stunned at what we're seeing from Pettersson.
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:31] Yeah, I'm with you. I don't know if it's simply between the ears or, all of his time where he's been out because of injury with the wrist injury last year, he's not even close yet and missed most of camp. Yeah, it's funny, like, this whole idea that I have that doesn't matter if players miss camp because they all stay in good shape. You know, it's really getting shot full of holes because of this.
Jeff Marek [00:13:53] [laughing] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:53] And that's the thing. Like, you know, obviously the Canucks have multiple problems they have to deal with but, to me, this is problem number one, and it might even be problems number two and three. Until you sort this out, you're not going anywhere. Miller's playing really well. You know, obviously they've got a lot of problems on their blue line till everybody gets back healthy and everything. I just think that Pettersson is the number one thing you've got to fix, and it's the thing you can try to fix in the short term.
Jeff Marek [00:14:25] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:14:25] And again, it's more than one player. But Boeser, he's a shooter, right?
Jeff Marek [00:14:31] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:14:31] He needs somebody to get him the puck. It's like what happened last year in the playoffs. Everybody in Vancouver loves when you compare to Toronto. But when Marner lost his confidence, it took down Matthews with him.
Jeff Marek [00:14:43] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:14:43] Because he's the--he's the setup man. Now I see Boeser. Pettersson not playing well, it's taking Boeser down too because, he needs that. And the number one thing in the short term is, what do we have to do to get this guy going?
Jeff Marek [00:15:00] Here's where it gets, because now my question is, is the season done for the Vancouver Canucks? And here's what scares me if I'm the Vancouver Canucks or a Vancouver Canucks fan, I'm gonna go through this team by team and you tell me whether they've improved. I'm going to take two teams out of this, and that's Edmonton and Vegas. Okay? So remove Edmonton and Vegas. We all know that they are going to be there. Edmonton is, you know, when they're on and they're getting goaltending and I understand that that has been an issue lately, but Edmonton is just fine, thank you very much. Vegas will be fine, thank you very much. We all believe that when they're healthy and they get Jack Eichel in the lineup. So I'm going to go through this team by team and based on our expectations, and what we thought of these teams at the beginning of the season, you let me know if they're better than we thought they were at the beginning of the season.
Elliotte Friedman [00:15:51] And let's also talk about this at a time where Vancouver is six points out of a playoff berth and all of these teams we're going to mention, except for Calgary and Anaheim, will have played less than them.
Jeff Marek [00:16:06] Okay, let's start with those two. Calgary: are they better than we thought?
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:09] Yes.
Jeff Marek [00:16:09] Anaheim. Are they better than we thought? That is obvious.
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:13] Yes. Good question Jeff. Real hard-hitting.
Jeff Marek [00:16:16] I know I am hard-hitting here, man. The Los Angeles Kings. Are they better than we thought?
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:20] Yes.
Jeff Marek [00:16:21] The San Jose Sharks. Are they better than we thought?
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:23] Yes.
Jeff Marek [00:16:24] That's what Vancouver is looking at when they look north.
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:27] And as you mentioned Vegas, they're going to have, you know, Eichel coming in.
Jeff Marek [00:16:31] When they get all healthy and have Eichel coming out, I got zero concerns for Vegas. They may win the Stanley Cup when all is said and done.
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:37] You're--if you're looking at a crossover, you know, St. Louis is also 6 points ahead with--with a game in hand. Colorado is 3 points ahead and Colorado has four games in hand on them.
Jeff Marek [00:16:49] Yeah, so that's the thing if you're Vancouver. That's what you're looking at.
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:53] Math is not your friend. And you can't give up on the season as it is, but you know, it's a challenge. You know, they've put themselves into a really bad spot and--and the heat's really on. And you know, that's just a fact. And I wrote it this week and I said on your show, I like to spar with the Canucks fans, but, you know their passion is there is a major reason we're all employed and you can't [Marek laughing] and you can't blame them for this one like they... You can't look at the last few years and say the fans are being unrealistic here or they're--they're over the top. Like, they're right about this one. Their frustration is fair. Very fair.
Jeff Marek [00:17:33] Well, the next two games for Vancouver, one is against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. As you listen to this podcast, that's tonight. So Winnipeg's playing back to back against the Oilers and then Vancouver on the Friday. And then Sunday they'll face off against the Blackhawks--.
Elliotte Friedman [00:17:47] Back to back.
Jeff Marek [00:17:47] --who will play the Oilers on Saturday as well.
Elliotte Friedman [00:17:49] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:17:49] I don't know if you believe in guaranteed win nights or scheduled win nights, but if you do, aren't those two games scheduled wins?
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:00] Jets-Oilers. We started this podcast, the first intermission. That first period was a really emotional first period. You know, if you're Vancouver, you've got to be thinking, we're gonna have a team that could be ready. It could be a trap game for the Jets. Right?
Jeff Marek [00:18:14] Sure.
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:14] Chicago... Yeah, I know where you're going here, but Chicago, they have to be looking at that Vancouver game as, if they still really have any hope of doing anything, that's a must-win game for them. And the other thing about Chicago is they're getting the coach--the new coach bounce, right?
Jeff Marek [00:18:35] Yeah, um...
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:36] I mean, I get where you're coming from, but I think it's much more of a trap game for the Jets than it is for the Blackhawks.
Jeff Marek [00:18:43] You think Blackhawks regardless come out playing hard on Sunday?
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:46] You know, they can't afford to have nights off anymore.
Jeff Marek [00:18:49] I'll tell you what, one guy, just as an aside, who's playing berserk right now for Chicago is Alex DeBrincat.
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:57] Yeah he looks really good.
Jeff Marek [00:18:58] He looks fantastic. Right now, it's the setup, it's the goals, it's a fight. From Alex De--he looks great right now DeBrincat. You wanna talk about the new coach bounce? DeBrincat is feeling it.
Jeff Marek [00:19:26] What type of feedback have you gotten because I've got a lot of it and a lot of it's from scouts and a lot of scouts listen to this podcast because they're on the road a ton and they need something to listen to and we--
Elliotte Friedman [00:19:37] Cause they've listened to every other podcast on the planet and they're like, oh my god, this is the last thing left.
Jeff Marek [00:19:43] I guess I'm that bored, I'll listen to Marek and Friedman.
Elliotte Friedman [00:19:45] I'm so bored and there's nothing else--
Jeff Marek [00:19:49] The life of a scout, Zamboni fumes and bad coffee. I chose this, I chose this.
Elliotte Friedman [00:19:53] Imagine what they're thinking about when they're like, okay, we've got the 32 Thoughts podcast. Or I've got this podcast about ceramics. Okay, you know what? I'm going to listen to the ceramics one first.
Jeff Marek [00:20:06] No, you know what? There's one that I heard about--about efficient ways to sort out one's sock drawer, which really sounds interesting. I'll get to Friedman and Marek another time. What feedback from the industry have you heard from the Mike Forde podcast? Now Mike Forde was the gentleman we spoke to, Executive Chairman of Sportsology, a couple of days ago. If you haven't heard it, easily I think it's one of our favourite podcasts that we've done. It's rare that I'll go back and listen to an entire podcast of ours, but I did so for that one. What type of feedback have you gotten?
Elliotte Friedman [00:20:43] A lot of people asking for an email?
Jeff Marek [00:20:45] Yup.
Elliotte Friedman [00:20:45] Contact information. It was interesting. I had some really interesting philosophical discussions with people about it, and one of the things they really talked about was, you know, the league office obviously likes its power in placing people in certain spots, right?
Jeff Marek [00:21:03] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:21:03] They really like that. And the league office has a lot of power. And who wouldn't? If you were the league office, you'd want to do that.
Jeff Marek [00:21:09] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:21:09] And you know, one team that kind of went against it recently was Buffalo. When they brought in Kevyn Adams, they were like, no no no, we don't like where we've been before and we know Kevyn Adams and we trust Kevyn Adams and--obviously, I don't like how they handled the whole Eichel thing with the medicals but I think in a lot of ways, Buffalo is trying to do a lot of smart things in building their organization. But generally, you know, the league office has a lot of say in who goes where. And some of the biggest feedback I got was: he talked about how--sorry, he didn't talk about it, but it was in the article we linked. And you know, Ted Leonsis was good enough to send me a couple of quotes for the blog. And he said that he got Mike Forde's number from the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and that really stood out to some people I spoke to. Just the difference between the NBA, where clearly Adam Silver trusts Mike Forde, and says, you know you're looking for someone, you should speak to this individual.
Jeff Marek [00:22:15] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:22:15] And the NHL which is, you know, we kind of prefer to handle that. And, you know, most commissioners and owners and really high-level executives are control freaks, right?
Jeff Marek [00:22:27] Sure.
Elliotte Friedman [00:22:27] And they're really curious to see: will the NHL want to see that the way the NBA, to some degree, certainly has? That was some of the more interesting feedback I got. What about you?
Jeff Marek [00:22:41] The feedback that I got? I had one person who said that he had already sent an email to Sportsology asking about their--their interest in hockey and if they are hiring. And I think a lot of--from the people that I communicate with in the industry on a regular or semi-regular basis, it was eye-opening. One person told me that they always just assumed that the way to populate an office was to surround yourself with people you know, people from your past, people you, you trust. That's a word they kept coming up over and over again. You know, you surround yourself with people you can trust, people that won't, you know, politic for your job or politic upwards or stab you in the back. And this one person's like, I had my mind completely turned around on what the smartest way to run our front office is and I hadn't even considered that because of how long I've been on this single, narrow way of thinking about the proper way to do business in this sport. And I'll tell you, one of the things that struck people that I spoke to more so than anything was the idea that people outside of the game of hockey could actually benefit a front office, right? Because there's always been that arrogance in the game of, well if you haven't played or if you're not a hockey person, then you have no business here. When really--I mean, you want to widen your frame of reference and your scope and open yourself to different ideas? Then stop just hiring hockey people. That's the feedback I got,
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:23] The thing that I really appreciated, Jeff, was that... See, I really disagree with out with the old in with the new, because old still has some value. There are always things that work that should stay. And yes, we need new. 100% we need new. Nobody would argue with that. But I don't like that people are like, well just throw everything else out. Like, I--
Jeff Marek [00:24:46] No, of course not. I don't think anyone's--I don't think anyone's suggesting that.
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:49] Well, I think there are people who are suggesting that.
Jeff Marek [00:24:52] That's foolish.
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:53] And it is foolish. And that's why I kind of like--like one of the reasons I was most intrigued about it was that, you know, the Devils' search. There were a lot of other people interviewed, and they stayed with Fitzgerald. And the Washington Wizards search, there were a lot of other people interviewed, but they promoted from within. Tommy Sheppard. And he just got a three-year extension this week because the Wizards are in first place in the NBA East, although it's early. And that's the way I think about it, is that don't get rid of all of your institutional knowledge. Don't. Yes, sometimes you have to make changes. Sometimes you have to make enormous, enormous, enormous alterations. But it doesn't necessarily mean you say, ah, everything. There's always things that are going to work for you in your market and your previous process. And that's what I like most about his approach was. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to get rid of everything, but you have to be willing to look at new things. I just thought it was smart. I liked it.
Jeff Marek [00:25:54] Yeah. I hope you all enjoyed that podcast as much as Elliotte and I did enjoy talking to Mike Forde. You mentioned Tom Fitzgerald there, a second ago. General Manager of the New Jersey Devils. And when I had him on the radio show, I don't know, I think maybe a month ago I asked him about the Amazon series that the--the Maple Leafs did, and I said, would you be interested in that? You know, if Amazon came to the New Jersey Devils and said, Hey, we'd like to do one on the Devils? And he said:
Radio Clip [00:26:24] "I mean, I think it would be great as long as we got to edit it. [Marek laughs] And uh, no I think, you know, just seeing really what it's like everyday to--to walk in the coach's shoes or GM's shoes and being around our players and, you know, really who we are as people and understand--I think it'll be great. I've done a couple in my past, but I have no. Promoting our team, that would do it. So, I would love--I would love to do it."
Jeff Marek [00:26:56] So I'll put New Jersey down as a yes.
Elliotte Friedman [00:26:59] I think that would be really smart of them.
Jeff Marek [00:27:01] I think it'd be smart of them too specifically because they have Jack Hughes.
Elliotte Friedman [00:27:04] But I think you're also you're trying to grow in an area where it's extremely competitive.
Jeff Marek [00:27:08] Yes.
Elliotte Friedman [00:27:08] Look at all of the different sports teams in the different leagues. Like, the Jets and the Giants aren't very good. The NFL is still powerful, but you don't have to deal--worry about playoff runs with them, right? But you're still dealing with everything else in that area. I think it's really smart for Tom Fitzgerald to say, yeah, we're--we're interested in that. Not only because they have good personalities there, but because it's good for the Devils. You're tied in with Amazon. That's good for you.
Jeff Marek [00:27:36] Well, the reason I bring it up because you mentioned this in the 32 Thoughts blog at our website sportsnet.ca: who's next to get the Amazon treatment? It is widely believed that Montreal has indicated that they would be interested in perhaps being--
Elliotte Friedman [00:27:51] They're lucky they're not there right now.
Jeff Marek [00:27:53] Right now it would be fascinating though Elliotte, and you know that.
Elliotte Friedman [00:27:57] Oh yeah, of course.
Jeff Marek [00:27:58] [laughs] I don't think people in Montreal, Canadiens organization may feel that way. But you have a note in the--in the blog this week about teams that would be interested. What was it--was it seven? Seven teams?
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:10] Some of the most feedback on any of our podcasts this year, Jeff. Like people were like, you think Amazon ruin the Maple Leafs? And like, you wouldn't believe the stuff we got after that one.
Jeff Marek [00:28:22] [laughs] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:22] Someone said to me around that time that there was definitely interest and so I checked back before I wrote this week and I was told approximately seven. Now there are some teams that have said no, or said that that's not for us. But the fact that you've got seven, like there's probably some good teams there to pick from.
Jeff Marek [00:28:40] I would honestly--I know I glibly threw out there just because, you know, Jack Hughes is on that team, but that's a huge draw.
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:47] Like, honestly, if I was New Jersey, I would be doing that and Hughes would be a big star. There's no question they would love him.
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:55] [Interlude] So brief interlude here. I'm just recording this quickly on Friday afternoon before the podcast has dropped. We recorded this Montreal section before the news broke that Marc Bergevin, the general manager, has tested positive for COVID. So we just wanted to make sure that was mentioned and send our best to Bergevin, a speedy recovery for him and everybody who was a close contact to him. [End interlude]
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:17] By the way, you know, speaking of Montreal.
Jeff Marek [00:29:22] Yeah?
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:22] I know no Price and no Allen, but you know, 5-nothing tonight to Pittsburgh, the Penguins also struggling. It's a tough year from a ticket sales point of view to be bad, because you're coming out of COVID and you're trying to get people into your building and you're trying to get fans back in and you just--that's for everybody. And for them, they just came off a Cup run at least to the final.
Jeff Marek [00:29:46] Yup.
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:46] You've heard me say it. You're punting on this year and you're going for the highest draft pick you can.
Jeff Marek [00:29:51] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:51] I just wonder, does Montreal get to a point where they start to say, okay, we're in big time sell mode.
Jeff Marek [00:29:59] Well, the first one to me has Ben Chiarot.
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:03] Sale, sale, sale.
Jeff Marek [00:30:05] That's what I've been asking for a couple of weeks now on the radio show. To me, the only question in Montreal is who's going to pay the most for Ben Chiarot. Who's on the expiring contract. You seem to think they can get a first-round pick.
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:16] Again, like, I would just be surprised if they didn't. One, because you're gonna have Bieksa.
Jeff Marek [00:30:24] [laughs].
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:24] Just slobbering all over him every week. 'Oh, Chiarot! He's so good!'
Jeff Marek [00:30:29] [laughs] Yup!
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:29] And the thing is, he's got experience. He's a good player. You know I--Montreal could probably eat some of the salary to make it work for even more. I just look at Chiarot and--tell me there aren't going to be a ton of teams interested in that guy.
Jeff Marek [00:30:50] I think there will.
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:52] Yeah. And that drives your price up, right?
Jeff Marek [00:30:54] One of those, he's--listen, he's one of those guys that you bring in before your Cup run.
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:57] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:30:57] Like, okay, we're planning to go deep here. We gotta load up on defencemen, specifically tough defencemen. We know what it's like, it's a war of attrition on the back end in the playoffs. We need someone like...? Around the room, around the room, anyone? How about Ben Chiarot in Montreal? That guy! Yes! Go get that guy! I know what you mean. Absolutely. That guy's valuable at deadline. I don't think that there's any question about that. I guess the only other question then becomes, who else?
Elliotte Friedman [00:31:24] Bergevin will do anything. You know, he will. He's shown that. He will do anything and, to me, the bigger question is, who wouldn't you trade? Now there's certain people in contract situations you're looking at and you're saying, okay, they're not doing that, they're not doing that, they're not doing this, they're not doing that. But I would bet there's a lot of guys there that if they are tradeable and if someone's interested, how many guys are not tradable? Is he going to say no to?
Jeff Marek [00:31:51] Well, here's my other question about it.
Elliotte Friedman [00:31:53] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:31:53] If they go the full, okay, we need to tear this thing down. You know, we had our run. We're gonna try to get as high a draft pick as we can in the summer at the draft. Let's say you're 29 year-old Brendan Gallagher or you're twenty nine year-old Tyler Toffoli and you're saying to yourself, if we're going through a rebuild here... If this is gonna be, you know, let's just say conservatively, three years of this. Do you think that that's good for your career? Do you want that? There's no one who's wearing the frustration in Montreal right now more than Brendan Gallagher, and you saw that in the Ranger game with the sucker punch on Barclay Goodrow.
Elliotte Friedman [00:32:37] And defiant.
Jeff Marek [00:32:37] Like he is frustrated and we know Gallagher. Love him. How do you not love a guy like that? But do you think he wants to sit through three years of a rebuild if that turns out to be the direction they go in here? I don't know. I'm pretty sure it's also not what Tyler Toffoli signed up for.
Elliotte Friedman [00:32:57] Well, that's the thing. That's what my point is. He's going to say at some point, who do people want? And you know, he'll see where it goes.
Jeff Marek [00:33:06] One final note on Montreal?
Elliotte Friedman [00:33:09] Mhm?
Jeff Marek [00:33:09] I'll tell you what. I don't think it was the smartest move? And it wasn't the smartest move. But man, that was really gutsy of Michael Pezzetta.
Game Broadcast - MSG [00:33:18] [Play-by-play: Michael Pezzetta drops gloves against Ryan Reaves. Reaves takes down Pezzetta.]
Jeff Marek [00:33:58] Taking on Ryan Reaves?
Elliotte Friedman [00:33:59] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:33:59] Like I always wonder, I remember asking Josh Anderson this when he fought Zdeno Chara like, what happens that moment where you both have your gloves off and you haven't engaged yet, but you realize, I'm about to fight Zdeno Chara? Like what goes through Pezzetta's mind when--because there was distance between them and they're fading back to centre ice. What's going through Pezzetta's mind when he realizes--
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:24] Yeah, it's...
Jeff Marek [00:34:25] --I'm about to fight Ryan Reaves. Like it's not like it's spontaneous and right there it's like, you have some time to think about it with the gloves off. What goes through someone's mind? I just always--[laughs] I just can't imagine it!
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:38] The thing about Pezzetta that's really interesting is, I think there's other teams that really like him in the league. Montreal put him on waivers, and I don't know how worried they were they were going to lose him? But one of the teams I heard that was, that really liked Pezzetta was Philadelphia?
Jeff Marek [00:34:52] Shocking.
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:52] Well, and then it made sense. They didn't claim him. But then they went out and they claim Zach MacEwen, who looks like he's a good fit there, right?
Jeff Marek [00:34:59] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:59] And they also claim Patrick Brown who's now hurt.
Jeff Marek [00:35:02] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:35:02] But you know, the person who told me, look out, they think Philly likes Pezzetta. They were wrong on that, but they were right on the idea.
Jeff Marek [00:35:12] I wanna ask about a couple of other things here. The Islanders open up the UBS arena on Saturday. They'll face off against the Calgary Flames. We've talked plenty and--listen, elsewhere there's been a lot of chatter about the 13 game road trip to open up the season. They find themselves eighth in the metro, 5-6-2. This is not where we expected the Islanders to be at all, 13 game road trip notwithstanding. You have a thought on the Islanders right now, and now that Robin Salo's has been called up cause Ryan Pulock is injured.
Elliotte Friedman [00:35:42] Yup.
Jeff Marek [00:35:42] Like there have been moments where, wow, look, man, Oliver Wahlstrom can really fire a puck. Like there have been a couple of moments where, you know, the Islanders will turn a head or two. Some of the performances from Ilya Sorokin come to mind right away. But do you have a thought where the Islanders are at right now?
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:00] I got worried for them when I saw Trotz after the Tuesday game that they lost in Florida. So they lose the Lightning on Hall of Fame night Monday and then they got wiped out in Florida on Tuesday. And I watched Trotz after that game, or at least I watched the--the media conference. And he... like, I think he's generally the same a lot. You get your Trotz-isms and you get your kind of mood from him? He looked worried. He looked worried.
Jeff Marek [00:36:32] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:32] And I think right now their blue line is worse than I thought it was gonna be. I always think they're a team that because of the way they play, they overcome their problems, but that's not working for them right now. Again, you know, we talk about math. When I was--when I went into media, I was told there'd be no math. But look where they are right now. You mentioned it. They are seven points out of a playoff in the Metro and six out of the crossover. Now, the one thing that really helps them is because of their schedule they've got games in hand on almost every block.
Jeff Marek [00:37:07] Yeah they've only played 13 games.
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:09] Not everybody, but almost everybody. As we know the rest of their season's gonna be 41 at home and 28 on the road right?
Jeff Marek [00:37:17] Yup.
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:18] So... but the math isn't good for them, and the thing that concerns me the most is they don't look like the Islanders. They don't. They're not the group erasing the individual's mistakes as much as they're used to. Now the other thing that's happened is, Lamoriello has cleared room, right?
Jeff Marek [00:37:38] He has. Komarov is out. That's opened up room.
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:42] Well and he traded Boychuk.
Jeff Marek [00:37:43] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:43] So all of a sudden he's gone from cap hell to cap room. You know there's going to be something coming. He's gonna do something. It's just a matter of... Maybe he's one of those guys that called Jim Benning this week.
Jeff Marek [00:37:59] Wouldn't surprise anybody.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:00] Do you think I should send a text right now to Lou Lamoriello asking, are you working on anything with the Canucks?
Jeff Marek [00:38:06] Who did you ask Jim Benning for? [laughs] Who did you offer to Jim Benning this week, Lou?
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:12] Wake up with a horse head in my bed next to me.
Jeff Marek [00:38:18] [laughs] Better get the part. Better get the part. Okay, I thought you brought up a couple of really interesting points drawing--in your blog this week, drawing a line between Connor McDavid, drawing penalties, protecting stars, and attendance.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:35] Look, I don't want it to be a soft league. I like hard hockey. I like battles. You're not gonna call everything. It's like the Jordan rules on Michael Jordan. Pistons .. and, you know, Michael Jordan, before he won his first titles, they believed in, we're gonna foul him every time he touches the ball, and they're not gonna call all of them. And that's always gonna be the way it is, right? It's like the--
Jeff Marek [00:39:00] You know what that was? That was the Fred Shero Flyers. They can't call everything.
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:04] It's like the NFL. They could call holding on every play. They don't. Right? I understand that.
Jeff Marek [00:39:09] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:09] As you know, I've said to you, I think McDavid deserves one or two more calls a game. Some people likewise say that, some people don't. But, you know, the reason I was--I was looking at this, and I got a lot of good tweets about it from people who're saying the attendance problems it's, people don't wanna wear a mask for three hours. That, you know, maybe you have to be vaccinated. Maybe people aren't comfortable enough going yet to arenas with a lot of people in them. You know, people have been hit hard by COVID economics and they don't have the money anymore. Um, you know, people, someone point out to me that there's been millions of people who've died. And, you know, hockey fans sadly are part of that group. Like, people have brought me a lot of good reasons to why attendance is down, and attendance isn't only down in the NHL. You know, one of the guys I read right now is, I think is a really interesting writer, is a guy named Ethan Strauss, and he does a lot more NBA work, and he did one on the NBA's attendance last week that was really interesting. You know, basically what all of these sports are finding out, not just hockey, is that the scan rate on tickets is much lower than they were used to. And I don't think we have all the answers on this yet? You know, another one is, you know, only now are kids under 12 gonna be able to get the vaccine, right?
Jeff Marek [00:40:33] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:33] So people don't want to expose their kids if they don't--not everyone's comfortable with that, which I totally get. And the honest truth is, it's too soon to draw any major conclusions. But if you're running the league or you're running a team and you've got millions you've been spending, you don't want to hear it's too soon to draw any conclusions! You're like, Jesus, I want to stop this as fast as I can. So my point, Jeff, is that, I think we should at least be asking the question of if we want to get fans back into the building, what are we doing to make sure that we're giving them the most entertaining product we can? And if Connor McDavid is getting fouled 10 times a game and he's only maybe getting one call, is that good for our entertainment? And again, I don't think it means we have to be a soft league, if someone hits him cleanly if someone slows him down cleanly, as hard as that is? No problem here. If someone battles him hard along the boards or in front of the net for a puck? That's hockey. It's the fouling. And, look, in the NFL, which is the most successful league in North America now by miles. You look at the top rated broadcast in the U.S., it's all NFL. It's all football. They're killing it. What have they done? They've basically said, you can't touch the quarterbacks and we're going to create offence. And I think that we might have to go in that direction. I'm not saying that you can't touch Connor McDavid. I'm not saying that you can't make his life miserable. But I do think this: if the fans, they're paying a ticket, they're going to see Connor McDavid. And you better put him into a situation where him and others like him give the best possible chance to give fans their money's worth. And I know that's sacrilege to some people, but it's a conversation we gotta have.
Jeff Marek [00:42:36] That, to me, is the main point out of all of it, because if we're going to make this a player-driven industry. Right now, more so than ever, players are being asked to put themselves forward, put themselves in front of the camera, in front of microphones, social media, all of it to create themselves--to help create themselves as stars in this game, and that's what they're gonna surf on. I think it's crucial that if you're going to see the Edmonton Oilers, that you better walk away from that game feeling that even if he didn't even score a goal, you saw something from Connor McDavid.
Elliotte Friedman [00:43:11] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:43:11] You saw the Connor show, you saw the rush, you saw the speed, you saw the creativity, whatever. But as you know, the game as constructed, there are just is gonna be some games where whether it's Sidney Crosby, whether it's Alex Ovechkin, whether it's, you know, pick your superstar, that it's just not going to be there. And we sort of looked at that and said, well, that's just hockey sometimes. Sometimes it's just not gonna be there for those players. I think if you're going to make it a player-first game and I agree with that, you better make sure that there is runway for those players to do their thing. To be able to do that. Like I know a lot of people that, oh, you want to make to your point earlier, oh, are you gonna make it a soft league? I don't care, call it whatever you want. If soft means entertaining, then I'll take a soft league. That's fine. If it means less crosschecks, less battles? Okay.
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:07] I don't want that.
Jeff Marek [00:44:08] That's fine.
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:10] I don't want that.
Jeff Marek [00:44:10] That's fine.
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:11] I don't want less battles. I don't. I want hard battles that are tough but clean.
Jeff Marek [00:44:18] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:19] One of the best bench interviews I ever did, it was, '06-'07. It was the year Ottawa went to the cup final, and it was New Jersey-Ottawa and I interviewed Jim Dowd at the bench and he went into--he asked me if he could be the bench interview. And I said, okay. And he went into a passionate speech about, I understand they don't want interference, I do, but you have to let us battle. And he said they're not letting us battle and it's not right. It's not what the game should be about. And he says, I understand if I'm interfering someone or I am hooking someone or I'm holding someone, I get a penalty. But let us battle. You have--that's what playoff hockey is all about. And I've always been with that. Honestly, this year I think it's generally been better. But I thought last year, especially with no fans, there were too many regular season games that were passionless. We can't go down that road. But you have to let your--you have to give your stars a chance and you have to give people the willingness to believe that if I'm spending a ticket to go see Connor McDavid, then I will get a chance. And the NFL, the most successful sports league in North America by miles, they understand that.
Jeff Marek [00:45:33] Alright, another situation on--on the radar right now, and the USHL has released a statement about it, and we're gonna get to that. A situation in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. Head coach Chadd Cassidy--head coach and GM--is out. The Lancers players have threatened to boycott games this weekend.
Elliotte Friedman [00:46:00] And now the USHL has announced that the games this weekend are going to be postponed.
Jeff Marek [00:46:06] The USHL... I'll just read this. "The USHL has been in contact with Omaha Lancers players to determine it's in the best interest of the players to postpone this weekend's games. USHL representatives will be visiting Omaha on Friday, November 19, to meet with the team. The USHL will begin an investigation into the reports regarding the Omaha Lancers. The Omaha ownership has pledged its full cooperation in support. This weekend's Lancers games against Waterloo Black Hawks, Lincoln Stars, and Des Moines Buccaneers have been declared a No Contest. The USHL will work with the affected teams to reschedule the games." A lot of this is citing cutting budgets, cost-cutting as well, Elliotte, this evolving and story that's very much not even close to being concluded.
Elliotte Friedman [00:46:53] Nowm this is out of my kind of area of expertise, but I've been following it as much as I can, and I have sent some notes to people saying, you know, what can you tell me about this? And one of the things I was worried about was the league in trouble? When you hear about cost-cutting like this and--we all know what this is, it's post-COVID and you're trying to make up for all the money you've lost, and that's no excuse for treating people poorly, of course. But I kind of wondered if that means it's--it's an alarm for the rest of the league. And, you know, people have told me no, like, I mean, Chicago, you know, they're basically the New York Yankees of the whole situation. But generally, I've heard that most of these teams seem to be okay. But you know, the one thing I did hear tonight was that somebody told me, you're gonna see players start leaving the team. There's definitely a lack of trust between the players, the coaching staff, and the upper management there, no question about it. I've heard that now agents and coaches that some of these players might be committed to for the future, are advising people to leave. They've got a crisis here. There's no question about that. And I don't know if it's proper to say that Omaha was investigated for roster manipulation or anything last year, but there was something. So this is a team that kind of got on the radar last year for some of the ways they used its roster. And now this year they're under this and it's obviously a crisis point. Any time you get to the point where players are boycotting, your coaching staff is resigning en masse, and players are boycotting because of the coaching staff is all leaving. You've got a massive problem. And now you've got players being told, we're going to find you somewhere else to play. You can't play here. It's bad for you. That's not a weekend problem. That's a big hole to climb out of.
Jeff Marek [00:48:52] That's huge. We'll see where this story ends up.
Jeff Marek [00:48:55] Okay, some emails and voicemails. The email address firstname.lastname@example.org, the thought line, 1-833-311-3232. Please use liberally. But as Elliotte mentions numerous times, don't call broadway. Not too long, don't make Amil edit. Don't make Elliotte listen to the long messages. Everyone knows he doesn't listen to ours, so he won't listen to yours.
Elliotte Friedman [00:49:28] I start typing while Jeff is talking, what do you think I'm gonna listen to.
Jeff Marek [00:49:31] Hear that in the background? I know that's lovely. We'll start with--we'll start with an email. This is an interesting one from Paul. "Quick hockey history question looking at old hockey photos. I notice that a lot of times fans are just wearing their business attire like the Bobby Orr photo flying through the air, it's like there's no jerseys in the crowd. But today, when you go to a game, there's jerseys everywhere. And I guess my question is when exactly did fans start to wear their jerseys and it became something that was just like culturally and socially acceptable to wear a player jersey to a game? Thanks, guys."
Elliotte Friedman [00:50:09] You have a better answer to this I thought when we were talking about it.
Jeff Marek [00:50:12] Honestly, this is nothing more than just a reflection of the times. I think that all through the 60s, people dressed more formally for sporting events in general? But that all got lax outside of sports like boxing and horse racing, where people still did get dressed up. In other sports it was--it was casual. It was casual attire, and I think hockey just dovetailed with that as well. Like, I really do like looking at the old pictures and seeing everyone get dressed up like it's a big event, like they're going to the theatre or something that going to watch to watch a hockey game. There is a charm about that. I think I've mentioned this to you before. You know, my favourite thing about looking at old photos of hockey games, Elliotte?
Elliotte Friedman [00:50:55] What's that?
Jeff Marek [00:50:56] We don't see in photos? Shadows. We don't see shadows in hockey pictures anymore.
Elliotte Friedman [00:51:03] Oh cause they're better lit.
Jeff Marek [00:51:03] Yeah!
Elliotte Friedman [00:51:03] So here's a question this is a debate that friends and I have. Okay?
Jeff Marek [00:51:07] Okay.
Elliotte Friedman [00:51:07] How old is too old to wear a jersey?
Jeff Marek [00:51:13] I don't think anyone's too old to wear a jersey.
Jeff Marek [00:51:16] I agree. I know people who are like, you shouldn't wear a jersey if you are... [laughs] This is probably the dumbest argument I've ever heard, but it's like if you're over 40, you shouldn't wear a jersey. So what if you're 40 and you've got a young kid who wants to wear his or her jersey and say, like, you know, dad, you know, I want you to wear your jersey with me. What are you supposed to do to your son or daughter? Say no? So I think the whole argument is stupid, and you should go wear whatever you want. But I know people who think there's a certain age. And you know where this argument really started? And now we're really going off the rails. With basketball singlets. Like they said, like, no adults should wear a basketball singlet to a game, especially if you're not wearing another shirt underneath.
Jeff Marek [00:52:02] Oof okay, that is--
Elliotte Friedman [00:52:03] Which, I gotta say, I'm with them on that one.
Jeff Marek [00:52:05] Yeah, that is a tough look. okay, you got me on that. Yeah, okay. For that one, yeah, that's a--that's a tough one, but no any--any age wear a jersey. Absolutely. That's. Like I said, fine by me.
Elliotte Friedman [00:52:17] Like I said, imagine your kid says, wear a jersey with me. What am I gonna do, say no?
Jeff Marek [00:52:22] No, don't you understand? Daddy's is in his 40s, I'm not allowed.
Elliotte Friedman [00:52:25] The rules say I can't do this anymore. Shut up.
Jeff Marek [00:52:27] Sorry, sorry, sorry, son or daughter, I can make your day. Okay, here we go. From Jeff G: "I'm currently reading through Brian Burke's book Burke's Law, which is great, by the way. Any suggestions on some other hockey books that have come out lately that someone should pick up?"
Elliotte Friedman [00:52:43] What do you got?
Jeff Marek [00:52:43] I've got a couple of them that just arrived. Klondikers by Tim Falconer is a story about--or is a book about Dawson City's Stanley Cup challenge, this would've been 1905, Dawson City challenging the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Stanley Cup. So it's--this one hits me where I live Friedge.
Elliotte Friedman [00:53:04] You love that stuff, I know you love that stuff.
Jeff Marek [00:53:05] I do love that stuff and I loved this one, and I know--I have a feeling you'll like this one as well. I'm a little bit biased because I grew up watching him on television. I was a big fan of Peter Puck. I live in Stouffville and so does he and I see him around town and talk to him on the phone. Whenever I get a message from him, it warms my heart just when I hear his voice. Brian MacFarlane's memoir just came out.
Elliotte Friedman [00:53:29] Nice. His stuff is excellent. Yeah, he's--
Jeff Marek [00:53:31] A Helluva Life in Hockey. I cannot wait to crack the spine of this one. As a matter of fact, I'll probably start when I--when I get upstairs after this podcast, before I go to bed. So those are a couple for me. Anything stand out for you Friedge?
Elliotte Friedman [00:53:45] So two non-hockey books I just finished. During hockey season. I do try to read some other things in my down moments. It's called Built to Lose: How the NBA's Tanking Era Changed the League Forever. It's a book by Jake Fischer.
Jeff Marek [00:54:01] I like that.
Elliotte Friedman [00:54:01] There's a lot of really good stuff in there, and I think even hockey fans would hear--would read some of this, and it would really resonate with them. There was some stuff in there about the decision-making process and what players think about it that I thought was really interesting. Because look, we have teams right now like Arizona, and the player reactions I thought were really fascinating and the book, I've got in my hand, because I just finished that Built to Lose book today, so I'm really looking forward to this is a biography of Roberto Clemente. Now I have a fascination with great outfield arms. I used to have a--
Jeff Marek [00:54:42] Oh! So it's like the Cobra then!
Elliotte Friedman [00:54:42] Yeah, Dave Parker for sure. That throw from, I guess, was the '78 All-Star Game.
Jeff Marek [00:54:49] All-Star Game, yes!
Elliotte Friedman [00:54:49] So and Vladimir Guerrero, of course, had the unbelievable arm. Shawn Green had a great arm. I used to have a very weak arm, and then one year I read, and I can't remember where I read it, if you just throw a ball against the wall for 20 minutes every day, your arm will get better. And all this, I did that and I actually had a pretty good arm for a while. And Roberto Clemente, like, there's--if you go on YouTube and you see his throwing arm. He had a cannon, like an unbelievable arm. So. And plus, you know, very heck of a ballplayer. Carlos Delgado wore 21 for him and just very sad the way he passed away. Just very sad. So I've always been fascinated by Clemente and I just picked up a biography of him, and that's going to be next.
Jeff Marek [00:55:36] One of my favourite podcasts ever was the Roberto Clemente special the Dan Shulman put together. I don't know if you heard that one. That one was fantastic.
Elliotte Friedman [00:55:46] Oh yeah, yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:55:46] That's another one just to search out when you're dealing with Roberto Clemente. There's so many great things to consume. Yes, yes. Amil Delic produced that as well. I'll throw that one in, did a great job.
Elliotte Friedman [00:55:58] God forbid you should give Dan the credit for it and then Amil just has to pipe in and say, yeah, that was me.
Jeff Marek [00:56:06] [laughs] That's why it sounds so good, guys. That was a great podcast Amil. You guys did a great job with that. Let's finish up with a voicemail, it's uh. I like this one about--about the number of games. This is a voicemail from Brian
Caller [00:56:22] "Hello Jeff, hello Elliotte, longtime first time. I was curious. What do you guys feel is the perfect length for an NHL regular season? I'll tell you mine. Seventy-six games, you play each team in your division four times and then the other teams in the league two times each. Just wondering what you guys think? Thanks. I'll hang up and listen."
Elliotte Friedman [00:56:38] First of all, that was a perfect message.
Jeff Marek [00:56:40] Perfect time.
Elliotte Friedman [00:56:41] Nice. Quick to the point.
Jeff Marek [00:56:43] Oh yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:56:43] First of all, I do think that they should consider playing a few less games, but we all know we're fighting a losing battle, you know. Number one, it's all about arena dates. And number two, the players would have to take their pay based on 76 games instead of 82, and you know their--how they're going to feel on that. So.
Jeff Marek [00:57:03] And the point that Elliotte is trying to make here is the minute the players signed off on salary linkage to hockey-related revenue, the idea of reducing the games went out the window.
Elliotte Friedman [00:57:12] Yeah. Would it be better on everybody's bodies? Yes. Would it be better on travel? Yes. But, you know we know what the economics of this kind of say, right? So it's probably never going to happen. But I like the message and we appreciate everybody who leaves a comment on the thought line.
Jeff Marek [00:57:31] Seventy six games, I'm cool with that. I could go even lower with mine as well just to make the games mean more. I think you can frame it also as a player safety issue as well. We know what rest and recovery does for athletes slash human beings, but there's--there's no chance that they're going to shorten the seasons at all. Having said that, the one thing that I've always maintained is whatever the league can do, I don't know how they do it. I don't know. I know there's never an appetite to start the season sooner. But are you with me Friedge that if they can get their game out of June, they should get their game out of June?
Elliotte Friedman [00:58:07] I just think the U.S. teams feel the exact opposite.
Jeff Marek [00:58:10] Trust me I get it, I'm saying this from a Canadian point of view, and I and I get that. I know that there's not a lot of appetite for it, specifically from U.S. teams.
Elliotte Friedman [00:58:17] Again, I think there's a difference between what makes sense and what's actually going to happen.
Jeff Marek [00:58:23] That's the truth. Okay, um... Hope you enjoyed the podcast today. Welcome back to some--some newsier podcasts and--and once again, if you get a chance, I would really encourage you to go back and listen to that Mike Forde podcast. The minute you get a couple of moments in and a couple of thoughts in, I really think you'll really be hooked, some really interesting ideas in there, and different ways to look at constructing an organization. Elliotte, taking us out today, a Toronto group formed over a decade ago, Keys N Krates have created a unique sound that's bass-driven, melding electronic, hip hop, and many more genres while chopping up memorable samples. From their new album, Original Classic, here's Keys N Krates with Crescendo on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast. Enjoy.