32 Thoughts: The Podcast

There's A Lot Going On

Episode Summary

Jeff and Elliotte cover off a lot of stories including another tough loss for the Canucks, if there’s something going between Kevin Fiala and the Wild, they provide an update on the Omaha Lancers situation, discuss interest by the Fenway Sports Group in purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Islanders open their new arena but are hit by heavy COVID-19 protocol.

Episode Notes

Canucks lose again. Penguins for sale. New arena on the Island. Jeff and Elliotte cover off a lot of stories including another tough loss for Vancouver (00:01), if there’s something going between Kevin Fiala and the Wild (6:30), they provide an update on the Omaha Lancers situation (10:00), Fenway Sports Group showing interest in purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins and how they inquired about a possible merger with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (16:00), if the talks of a second team in Quebec is a conversation we should be taking seriously (22:30), Islanders open their new arena but are hit by heavy COVID protocol (28:30) and they take your questions and voicemails (37:00).

Find the full transcript for this episode here

Music Outro: M. H. Vernon - Whatchya

Listen to his EP “Feel The Urgency” here

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

Audio Credits: AM 970 WFLA, Sportsnet 960 and Toronto Marlies.

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] So from an actual conversation I overheard once at a restaurant, Hey, listen, I don't want to sound condescending, do you know what condescending means by the way?  


Jeff Marek [00:00:05] Welcome once again everybody to 32 Thoughts the Podcast presented by the all-new GMC AT4 Line-Up. As always, yours truly Jeff Marek. Elliotte Friedman and Amil Delic, and Elliotte as we record this on Sunday evening, the Vancouver Canucks have lost a hockey game, 1-nothing at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. What's the latest on Vancouver? It feels like we're going very much game by game with this thing. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:00:32] I'm just looking at my phone. We're—we're recording this just after the Canucks game finished, and I've got an angry text from a friend of mine in Vancouver because he said to me earlier today, what's your prediction on the Canucks tonight? You know, Chicago, 22-hour turnaround, you know, he says, I'm feeling good about this one. 

Jeff Marek [00:00:51] Yup. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:00:51] And I said you could outshoot them a thousand to six and Fleury makes a thousand saves. And he's cursing me right now, there is a steady stream. Like there's words I've never even heard of. I think it's swearing in other languages. That's coming at me right now. 

Jeff Marek [00:01:12] I like that. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:01:13] They played well enough to win. They lost. Fleury was unbelievable. It's one of those games that you lose when the season is going the way it's going. But right now for Vancouver, there's no moral victories, Jeff, for moral victories are gone. And you know, the tension is really high and, you know, we talked a lot about them, you know, for Friday's podcast and now here we are talking about them for Monday's podcast. And you know, the one thing I was talking about with someone there on the weekend is, you can really feel it in the organization. You know, sometimes your organization is really tense because of everything you're going through? It's like that with the Canucks right now. Everybody's looking around, everybody else saying, okay, you know, we're waiting for something to happen. Is it gonna be an executive? Is it gonna be a coach? Is it gonna be a player? You know, who's it gonna be? And the other thing that happens is, is that, you know, factions develop. People are like, well I think that person's safe, so I'm gonna kind of align with them or, I think that person has the proper ear so I'm gonna align with them. And there's definitely a lot of that going on. You've got agents calling the team to figure out, you know, what's with the players, you know, who's getting moved, who are they shopping, if anyone? You know, the one thing I did hear from a couple other teams is, I mean Jeff, you know how it is when—when you're going through this, the vultures are circling like, the sharks smell blood in the water, every other tortured metaphor I can pull out here. And, you know, a couple of teams did say to me, you could tell Vancouver's trying to be careful. They really are aware that this is the time you make the deal that hurts you for a decade. So you don't wanna do that, but you just can't help but feel that something is coming there over the next little while and everybody is kind of waiting to see what's that first move going to be. But the sense I really get around the organization is that does everybody jump into the rowboat together? Is everybody kind of together or are there—are people sitting there and saying, oh boy, I gotta protect myself, I've got to align with this person? It certainly feels like B. It certainly feels that people are looking around saying, what's my best route for surviving this? 

Jeff Marek [00:03:36] So this sounds like Game of Thrones, so that's always healthy. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:03:41] That's actually what I was thinking about. But I just think that's the way it is like, everybody feels something there is coming. The ownership met last week. They're sitting here going, we didn't expect this, we didn't think we would have this as a problem. 

Jeff Marek [00:03:54] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:03:54] But if it doesn't turn around, you know, what are we gonna do? That's kind of the question they're asking. And look at it right now. They—they lost to Colorado. They beat Winnipeg, now they've lost to Chicago. I get a general sense around the league right now that... I don't know if people are necessarily in trouble? But I think there's more than one team out there that's starting to say, okay, what are we gonna do here? What could we do here? What's one of the things that Mike Forde said to us on our podcast? "Always have the next person in mind, even if you're not hiring the next person?" 

Jeff Marek [00:04:35] Yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:35] Like, my ego is not that large that I think that this might be happening because Mike Forde said it on our podcast. You know, I'm not that much in love with myself. 

Jeff Marek [00:04:47] I am. I'll take that. He said on the podcast that— 

Elliotte Friedman [00:04:49] Jeff is really in love with himself. I'm not that much in love in myself, but just one of the things that came out of that conversation we had, was that someone was telling me there's a bit of that going on in the league right now like if we have to make a change... And I don't think Vancouver is the only team, is what I'm saying. If we have to make a change, what are we gonna do? But you know, they—they played hard. They should have won. Fleury beat them. You know, the tough thing is there's just no moral victories right now. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:20] You know, it's always tough too when you're um, when you're scared to make a move because you don't want to lose the deal? That makes it really hard to do anything, doesn't it? I mean, you're really frozen. We've seen this before with general managers. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:05:33] I actually think that's better than the alternative. 

Jeff Marek [00:05:36] No, I know, I know you don't want to rush into anything too. But then if you wanna do something to try to fix it, but your only concern is, ah, I don't wanna do this because I don't wanna get roasted and I don't wanna lose this deal. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:05:48] No no no no no no no, I think there's a difference. I don't think that's the issue. First of all, you're already getting roasted there. It's not like it's gonna change anything. I don't think it's the fear of making a deal or the fear of being roasted. I think it's more like making a deal you know that will be on your resume forever or you're going to regret forever. That's the sense that I get. 

Jeff Marek [00:06:12] We shall see what happens with Vancouver. Who knows when we may have to do an emergency podcast? We'll stand by. Minnesota Wild and Kevin Fiala. Mike Russo tweeting about this, Mike Russo typing about this. What's happening with Fiala in Minnesota? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:06:28] I don't know if there's another person that has a better grasp of their team, of anyone who covers a team than Russo does in Minnesota. 

Jeff Marek [00:06:37] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:06:37] So when he says that this is a situation to watch, it's a situation to watch because he has a certain intuition into what's happening there. You know, the one thing, and it was tough because they were playing tonight and he had a bad break, he took a penalty that really wasn't him. And also, he did score a huge goal, so he needed that. 

Game Clip: AM 970 WFLA [00:07:00] [Play by play: Minnesota Wild vs Tampa Bay Lightning. Kevin Fiala scored a goal to make it 4-3 Bolts.]

Elliotte Friedman [00:07:13] The thing that someone said to me about it was this: if you look at Bill Guerin and the way he does things, he doesn't do them quickly. He's not afraid to make a big decision, but he does it with a plan. So if you go back to Suter and Parise last year, he made sure they went through the full process of, this is what I'm thinking, this is why I'm doing what we're gonna do. He had debated that internally for a long time before he did it. I don't think he's going to trade Fiala because Fiala is going through a slump. If he's trading him, he's going—doing it because he thinks it makes them better. And Russo makes a good point about their cap situation, but that's not until next year. And if you think Fiala can help you this year, you deal with it this year and then you can deal him either at the deadline or the off-season because he's still got one more year before he's a UFA, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:08:14] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:14] So him and Evason know each other from Milwaukee and Evason's no shrinking violet, and Fiala—if you remember Evason playing like, he backs down from no one, and Fiala is a confident lad, as they say, Mr. Marek. 

Jeff Marek [00:08:33] I don't know if that's the term that many of his ex-colleagues, perhaps in Nashville, would use when he was there. I'm not sure "extremely confident young man" would be uh, how they would describe him. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:46] Quite do it justice. 

Jeff Marek [00:08:48] I think you're giving him a very, very um, very soft landing on that. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:53] Well, you know what, like, the thing is— 

Jeff Marek [00:08:55] Listen, [the way that we talk about that]—the Nashville guys found him challenging when he first showed up as a rookie. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:08:59] He's very confident in himself. 

Jeff Marek [00:09:00] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:09:00] There's—there's no question in that and it doesn't always—and sometimes it rubs people the wrong way but whatever, I'd rather someone believe in themselves than not. I'd rather have to harness someone than, you know, whip them to get going. So the point that someone made to me was, I could always be wrong and Guerin could trade him tomorrow but, the sense I really got is that if Bill Guerin is going to move anyone, look, look how long he held on to Dumba, and then he kept him. Don't assume anything conventional with Bill Guerin was what someone told me, and a player there is going to have a lot of time to show that it's not just a short term thing. They're going to have a lot of rope to—to do what they need to do. That's what someone said to me. 

Jeff Marek [00:09:48] Okay, to pick up on a story we talked about last podcast: The Omaha Lancers of the USHL. Now over the weekend, USA Hockey and USHL met with various players on the Omaha Lancers. We all know the story of the budget cuts and the dismissal of Chadd Cassidy and President Dave DeLuca placed on administrative leave. The USHL Sunday evening did provide an update on the Lancers. Bill Robertson, who's the President and Commissioner along with Josh Mervis, who's been appointed by the USHL to oversee operations of the team, met virtually with Lancers players, introduced Mervis and Omaha Lancers head coach Gary Graham to the squad. The Commissioner will be travelling to Omaha Monday to meet with players and staff. They resume hockey operations on Monday, November the 22nd, which will be when you hear this podcast. They will be playing next weekend, November 27th and 28th. What is the latest that you're hearing on the Omaha Lancers Elliotte? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:10:54] So Jeff, there's been a lot of reporters who are much closer to this story. You know, Chris Peters, Brad Elliotte Schlossman. Mike Patterson, he actually works in that area. I think Katie Strang's written a couple of things about it. You know, I'm not as tied into it as they are, but I made some calls on more of a macro level and just asked what was going on and, there was some pretty interesting stuff that some people told me. And, you know the thing they pointed out is that there's a number of teams in the USHL and Omaha is one of them that's owned by a parent where a child had—is playing or had played for the team. There's a few different situations there like that right now, and this is one of them. The DiCesare family owns the team and one of their sons had played for them a few years ago. He left, he's enrolled at Notre Dame and I think he's playing at—at Trinity College or something like that. But there's a worry there that this could happen in more than one place, that coming out of COVID where some of these teams got crushed. Now, once your child leaves the team, you might just not want to pour the money into it, right? 

Jeff Marek [00:12:10] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:12:10] You know, that's what someone said to me today and—and someone else backed that is, they're just wondering if this is kind of the tip of the iceberg with that, like once their children are gone, is this gonna happen in more than one place? Like this has been a weekend of bad PR for the team in the league, unfortunately. They’re advisors because I guess you can't call them agents at this point. 

Jeff Marek [00:12:33] Other side of the business card. Agent on one side and family advisor on the other. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:12:38] Advisor on the other. Like, they want their kids to leave there. I think there's some NCAA commits where the schools are saying, can we find you somewhere else to play? What someone said to me, what that they were really worried about with this is that, are we going to see—is this where families okay say, all right, you know what? We're coming out of COVID, finances are tighter, my kid's gone or is leaving. I don't care as much anymore. And that's something they're gonna have to protect themselves against, if that's true. 

[00:13:06] [Break] 

Jeff Marek [00:13:20] I wanna open up with an email that winks back at our last podcast. Peter T. from Colorado submits this one Friedge. My expat wife and I are in our 60s and wear out Avs jerseys to the games. I'll wear my Habs jersey once a year when Montreal comes to town and she'll wear her Jets sweatshirt when Winnipeg comes in. For those it didn't hear the last podcast, by the way, there's a question about, is there an age-appropriateness for wearing jerseys to which Elliotte and I both said, no, wear whatever you want, wear them as long as you see fit. Back to the email: we see a lot of jerseys for the visiting team, especially the Original Six. That's okay. But what I don't get are guys, it's always males, in brackets, who come to the game in a jersey from a third team. What are your thoughts about someone who comes to an Avs-Blackhawks game in a Sharks jersey? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:12] Yeah... 

Jeff Marek [00:14:14] Jersey etiquette now is that we're going? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:15] Yeah I'm not crazy about that, especially if it's a rival. I thought you were going to say Red Wings, that's where I thought you were going but... You know, for example, we both live in Toronto. If the Maple Leafs are playing the Penguins like they were last Saturday and you showed up in a Canadiens jersey? Like I think that's licence for food targeting I think. Not that I condone food targeting, but it's a licence for it.

Jeff Marek [00:14:39] Licence for snarks or perhaps not food targeting. Maybe just the odd comment while you're off to have a squirt in the in the men's room perhaps. You know what I kind of liken it to? When you go to a concert and someone's wearing someone else's band t-shirt. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:14:53] That's also weird to me. 

Jeff Marek [00:14:56] It was—I remember when I first started going to concerts as a teenager it always felt weird to me, but then I sort of got older and I said okay well, there's a Rolling Stones fan at the Who show, who really cares? Like it is possible, by the way, to be a Sharks fan and just enjoy hockey so you got to see the Avs and the Blackhawks, but you just like to remind everybody where your first love is, and that's San Jose. I'm fine with it. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:20] Yeah, I think it's kind of weird. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:21] Well, you're petty that way, though, Elliotte, we've—we've determined that. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:24] Well, I'm petty. There's—there's no question about that. I still think it's weird. 

Jeff Marek [00:15:28] Okay, so one of the big news stories that broke late last week, and we talked about it yesterday well you did specifically on 32 Thoughts on Hockey Night: Fenway Sports in the process of purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins. But that's not the first store that they knocked on. They knocked on the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment door before they got to Pittsburgh for those that didn't see the hit on Saturday, what do you hear? What do you know? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:15:52] So Fenway Sports Group, as you mentioned, they own the Red Sox, they own Liverpool, and they're in the process of buying the Penguins. And the other thing I have heard is that they are not done. This is an aggressive organization. They want to go in the NBA and you know, the NFL's a little bit of a trickier animal because of its ownership rules. But they have interest pending, you know, kind of how things could potentially work somewhere down the road. But as you mentioned, before they went to the Penguins, someone on their behalf, I don't necessarily think it was someone, particularly in the Fenway Sports group hierarchy, but somebody with a connection to them reached out to Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment and said, look, would you be interested in a merger? 

Jeff Marek [00:16:42] Hmm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:16:42] Now the most challenging thing about that for those of you who aren't familiar, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment owns: Scotiabank Arena, the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, the Argos and TFC, the MLS team. Rogers by itself owns the Blue Jays, and that would be a challenge, you know, Rogers has a share a 37 and a half percent share of MLSE, and they own the Blue Jays. So how would you do that? Can't own the Red Sox and the Blue Jays. So, for example, that would be one of the questions they had to work out. 

Jeff Marek [00:17:14] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:17:15] Whatever the case is, at that point in time, MLSE said, it's not right for us at this time, we're not ready, and it didn't go very far. However, a couple of people who work in the banking industry were telling me that they believe that what Fenway is doing is where sports are going. For example, the owners of the Devils, Harris Blitzer, they own the Devils, they own the 76ers, they own Crystal Palace. The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazer family, they own Manchester United. And it's gonna go more and more what Fenway is doing. This is where we're headed. And you know what these—these bankers were telling me was, that's not going to be the last time Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is going to be asked. They're going to be asked again, and someone's going to throw enough money at them at some point to think about it. In general, I think you're gonna see more and more of this? But I also think we're headed into an interesting time with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Because, you know, as everybody knows, there's been changes at the top of Rogers. And I think people are wondering, what is that going to mean for its sports properties? What is the future of them? And I think people are kind of wondering, especially now that this is out there, that someone came to them once? What's everybody's intentions gonna be, and what's gonna happen the next time? Because there is going to be a next time. 

Jeff Marek [00:18:46] So a couple of things here. One, is the end goal with all of this, whether you're Fenway Sports or another major company like this looking to gobble up teams in different sports. Is the end goal... the streaming service? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:19:00] I think in Fenway's case, that's definitely one thing that's huge is is a content platform. Yes, a hundred percent. 

Jeff Marek [00:19:07] You know, the merger would be an interesting one if it had gone through for all the reasons that you indicate. And then turning their attention to Pittsburgh. And... the one thing that jumps out at me is I always wonder about a city's sports vibration. You know, what's it like? How do fans feel about their teams? How do citizens feel about their sports teams? And the interesting thing about Pittsburgh is, right now all the major league sports teams are family-owned, and that ends with this. I don't know if that changes the vibe profoundly or immediately, but it will change. I mean, Elliotte, when we were growing up, whether it was Ballard or Steven Stavro, you had a face and a family you could point to and say, they're responsible for this team. The thing that I wonder about through all of this, as you know this is you're looking towards the future of what ownership is gonna look like. Are we, in your estimation, in not just hockey, but other sports as well, seeing the end of the family-run sports organization? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:20:14] Jeff, I think we've been headed that way in a long time. I mean, there are some families that are incredibly wealthy that can do this. But there's no question when you take a look at the prices to buy teams or what these teams are valued at. It's going to be a very exclusive club. There's no question about it. I think the other thing too is, you know, some of these leagues have certain rules about how ownership groups have to work and who owns them and is it one specific person? And can it be a company and things like that? You know, that's the other thing that you know, people are telling me are, are some of these leagues, including the NHL, going to have to rewrite who can actually own them? You know, some leagues don't like ownership that's purely corporate. They want a face to it. So... Like when I sit on Saturday night, I don't know exactly where we're going. But I know we're going somewhere. I think that's kind of where we are. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:14] Do you have any indication of what the price tag may have been on Pittsburgh? How much Fenway would have—would have spent on this? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:23] I'm wondering if we find out the sale at the Board of Governors, which is scheduled for the second week of December. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:28] Right. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:28] There—there were some people who were saying to me they thought it was gonna be done last week. And then on the weekend when I was researching it, I just heard it's not done yet. So I wonder if they'll just wait till the Board of Governors. But the number I heard they wanted to get to was nine hundred million. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:44] Hmm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:45] Now I've had some people say to me, they think it's between 850 and 9? but again, I'm not reporting that as firm. But the number I heard Pittsburgh wanted to get to was 900 and the league wanted Pittsburgh to get to 900. 

Jeff Marek [00:21:58] Right. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:21:58] Like, I mentioned last week the—the rumour that, you know, they—when they put the—when the team was out there about seven years ago, you know, the league was saying nothing under 750 and it didn't get there at the time but, I heard they wanted 900 here, I don't know if they got there, but I think it's somewhere going to be between 850 and nine. 

Jeff Marek [00:22:16] Speaking of ownership, speaking of franchises, Quebec Premier Francois Legault raising eyebrows on RDS on last Thursday, talking publicly about bringing the Nordiques back to Quebec, Elliotte, indicating that the government will meet with Gary Bettman to discuss this in the upcoming months. I spoke to a couple of people and one in specific about what this all means, this is someone who is very close to that scene. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:44] I actually thought that the thing that you reported that was most interesting was that there was a call between the league and who was it last week? Like, who did they talk to? 

Jeff Marek [00:22:53] Bill Daly said there was a phone call. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:22:55] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:22:55] But that no meeting had been arranged. Now, I'm not sure whether that was with Francois Legault himself or someone from his office? But Bill Daly did indicate that there was a phone call. Said, look, no meetings have been arranged, we're willing to talk and meet but, um, the quote he gave me is, you know, we are obviously pleased with what we have. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:16] Mm hmm. 

Jeff Marek [00:23:16] You know, people have mentioned to me, one person really close to it said look, we're a year away from a provincial election. Campaigning has begun. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:23] Yes, that's always happened. 

Jeff Marek [00:23:24] Hockey in Canada, you know, and bring a team back and, you know, the mayor of Quebec City has stepped down now, and he's been the main driver of the bring the Nordiques back and so, there's a vacuum there and, I guess, you know, the Premier's—is trying to fill it right now. But I thought the interesting thing that he brought up as well is, you know, the last time that we saw Quebec try to get a team, it was all about Quebecor, right? It was, you know, the one—the one company trying to bring a—bring a team to Quebec City. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:23:54] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:23:55] What he talked about was the idea that although Quebecor will be given, you know, first approval on—on joining a consortium, that's the desired way to go about acquiring a club. And also, and you can see where this is a political hot potato as well, that the provincial government may consider an investment, investing capital, in the project. So that is a new one. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:24:21] Here's why I don't always like that story. I agree with you. I think it's a political stunt in a lot of ways. I don't like political stunts. I don't have a lot of time for politicians. I think, you know, you tug at people's heartstrings. I don't like that. I was in the room when Quebecor saw Vegas get the team, and they didn't. And I just remember watching them sitting there watching that? And the staff who worked on their bid and—and wanted to be a part of it and.. Like it sucked for them, right? And they were so good about it. They said all the right things, they gritted their teeth, they watched the celebration. I just don't like people being jerked around like this. You know, I really don't. So I don't like that whole thing. Look, what do you think the damage is to the Montreal Canadiens if the Nordiques come back? 

Jeff Marek [00:25:12] You think there'll be damage? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:25:14] You don't think there would be a significant financial impact on them? 

Jeff Marek [00:25:20] All I think about is the rivalry. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:25:22] Well, of course. I mean, like, I would love to see the Nordiques come back. Like I would love to see the Nordiques come back. It would be awesome to see the Nordiques and the Canadiens go head to head again. But the question I have is, do you think both those teams, the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Nordiques, can both be successful financially? 

Jeff Marek [00:25:44] I don't think the Nordiques can. I still think the Montreal Canadiens can't. I've always been skeptical about Quebec. I don't know how this one works, and I'm with you. I hate seeing fans get jerked around, and I hate the idea that the Videotron Centre could be this generation's Copps Coliseum. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:25:58] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:25:58] But I can't see it. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:26:01] I do believe it's my opinion that if the Nordiques were to come back, they would take a significant bite out of the Canadiens. 

Jeff Marek [00:26:08] I don't know. I don't want to, you know, just blather something out, you know, and you know, do talk radio 101. I really don't know how much of a dent it would put in the Montreal Canadiens. I don't. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:26:20] Anyway. I just don't think that this is like. I just think that people get jerked around when this story comes up until, like the one thing about Winnipeg was, there was a point where if you were following the league closely enough, you knew that Winnipeg was very much on the radar, because they had a big problem in Arizona and then they had a big problem in Atlanta. 

Jeff Marek [00:26:42] So here's the difference, and I'm glad you mentioned that because the one thing that we know the NHL does not like around new franchises is noise. Or trying to attract franchise is noise. This is not the way—you look at the way Winnipeg did it, it was quiet. There were no rallies. There were no big speeches. There was no going on television. You know, it was very much the opposite of how the Winnipeg Jets ownership group went about getting the Atlanta Thrashers into Manitoba. I mean, it wasn't that long ago, Elliotte, those Nordiques fans were loading up buses and going to Long Island, right? Remember them in the stands at at Nassau Coliseum, you know, chanting, bring back the Nordiques. That doesn't go over well with the NHL. They don't like that kind of noise around either expansion or relocation. That's just not the way they do things. That's why when I first saw this story, I thought well, A, NHL is not going to do this, and B, they really don't like this type of noise around it. They don't like that loud, at all. So to me, right off the hop, there were two strikes on this one. And the fact that it's a politician, you look at it and say, okay, October 22nd, I think it is next year, Quebeckers go to the polls. This is the obvious one. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:00] Yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:00] But I am with you. Man, I'd love that rivalry. That, to me, was the nastiest rivalry of all of them. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:28:08] One of the reasons I hate my parents? I was born too late to cover Nordiques and Canadiens and Oilers versus Flames in their primes. Another reason to hate your parents. 

Jeff Marek [00:28:20] Games that took four hours long to play. Also this weekend, Elliotte, we saw the opening of the WBS [UBS] Arena.

Game Clip: Sportsnet 650 [00:28:29] [Live from UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. Calgary Flames hockey is on the air tonight and the first ever National Hockey League game played at the brand new UBS Arena. Jacob Markstrom and the 9-3-5 Calgary Flames will face Mat Barzal and the 5-6-2 New York Islanders.] 

Jeff Marek [00:28:49] This was overshadowed by a couple of things. Players on COVID protocol and the Calgary Flames winning 5-2. Andrew Mangiapane scoring goals number 13 and 14. You have a thought on what we saw on Saturday? First of all, the new rink in town, the new rink in the league and second of all, another team going through it. You know, we just went through this with the Ottawa Senators, previous to that, the San Jose Sharks, now the Islanders with Palak, Green, Beauvillier, Lee, Johnston, and Bailey. Now Beauvillier, as we know now, was a false positive. But Kieffer Bellows is in COVID protocol as we speak Elliotte. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:29:29] First of all, the whole COVID situation, you know, the reason that Ottawa was shut down was they couldn't stop the spread of it. Basically, what happens is we know there's one unvaccinated player, right? And the staff are pretty much all vaccinated as far as we know. So when you're vaccinated, you only get tested every three days. So the moment you have some positive test, you start getting tested every day. That’s called enhanced protocols. And what happened in Ottawa was they were testing everybody every day and they had the enhanced protocols and they couldn't stop it. And finally, they just shut it down. 

Jeff Marek [00:30:03] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:30:03] And so, you know, you look at the Islanders situation, you're wondering, okay, how close are we getting to here? You know, the other thing though, we talked about it briefly on Saturday night. I got a call on Sunday from someone expressing a lot of frustration with the testing, and they said that if you look at Ottawa, there were rumours of people being... And I heard them like I was getting notes almost every day saying this person will be added to the protocol. And I waited because someone warned me that there were—there was a mixture of true positives and false positives, and there were times they couldn't figure out, you know what was happening? Look at what happened with Dylan Larkin. He got pulled out of a game and then the next day they found it was a false positive like—and they just changed some of the protocols in the testing because of some of these concerns. So I think there's a real problem right now, Jeff, it's a bit of a mess because the doctors are saying look, if you want to avoid cancelling games or postponing games and you wanna go to the Olympics, you have to test, and some of the teams and the league and I think even some of the players are bitching about the tests because they're saying that there's too many false positives. So I think there's a lot of frustration right now and, I admit I don't have the answers. When I asked last week, you know, what was the difference with Ottawa, they finally got it shut down, I was told they couldn't stop the spread of cases, even with enhanced protocols. So, that's what I watch for here is when do we get to a point where the doctors say and I do think it is the doctors are making the calls, where they just say, okay, enough's enough. This is over with. 

Jeff Marek [00:31:45] Ah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:31:46] The arena looks beautiful. You know, Michael Leboff, who's a big Islander fan who also works for the Action Network, he was so excited to go yesterday. You could see how excited the Islanders fans were, and I loved that they gave Clutterbuck, Martin, and Cizikas the first shift. I thought that was great. I'm really happy for the Islanders and their fans. That's a good, true hardcore NHL flagship base, and they deserve it. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:18] And I believe it was Oliver Wahlstrom who got to step on the ice at practise the first. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:24] Wonder if they all like ran out and tackled each other in the hallway. 

Jeff Marek [00:32:27] They had a competition for it. I wondered if it was rock paper scissors or something, I think it was something like that and Wahlstrom won. So he got to be the first to practise skate— 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:34] You know what the other guys are all probably beating up each other and all Wahlstrom just snuck out around them.

Jeff Marek [00:32:39] Hey, here's a question for you, Elliotte. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:40] Yeah? 

Jeff Marek [00:32:40] Can a single goal get you a call up to the NHL? If so, tick tick, Josh Ho-Sang. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:45] No, I don't think so. It's funny—it's funny you said that because I didn't realize he has eight goals already, right?

Jeff Marek [00:32:52] 12 points in 12 games! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:32:54] Yeah, I don't think it's going to be that simple look, he's trending in the right direction, but, you know, I don't think I was expecting a call-up after the—the beautiful winner on Saturday, just a couple of hours before they played Pittsburgh. 

Game Clip: Toronto Marlies PxP [00:33:06] [Play-by-play: Josh Ho-Sang overtime winning goal for the Marlies.]

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:28] Look, for example like, I don't think he's going out in the west coast with them or anything like that. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:32] Right. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:32] Because they're playing the Islanders on Sunday and then they go out west, but he's gonna get his chance eventually if he keeps playing like that. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:39] That was a gorgeous goal. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:33:40] Sure was. 

Jeff Marek [00:33:40] You know we've seen some—we've seen some beauties this year. The Carter Verhaeghe—we make a lot about the Connor McDavid goals, the Carter Verhaeghe goal the other night coming down the side, coming down the boards was gorgeous. The Ho-Sang goal that you mentioned for the Marlies was gorgeous. We've seen some beauties so far this season. Do you have a thought on—on Mason McTavish? Third overall draft pick sent back to to Peterborough of the OHL where, you know, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion he'll be traded. I was told look for London, look for Sault St. Marie, look for Barrie and look for Oshawa, even as it sounds like Oshawa is gonna try to go for it this year. You have a thought on Mason McTavish third overall getting sent back? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:25] Well, what? There's two left right? 

Jeff Marek [00:34:27] One, Cole Sillinger, that's it. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:28] What about Seth Jarvis? 

Jeff Marek [00:34:29] He was in last year's—he was a 2021 draft. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:34] You got me on that one.

Jeff Marek [00:34:35] He was, you know, you know what? You know why he's important? That was the pick that Carolina got from the Leafs for Patrick Marleau. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:34:42] Yes. 

Jeff Marek [00:34:42] From the Portland Winterhawks. Yeah, no, Cole Sillinger, if he was going to get sent back, would go to the Medicine Hat Tigers. So now there is only one: Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mason McTavish is a centre, right, and they gotta put him on the wing because all of a sudden down the middle you got a rejuvenated Ryan Getzlaf. You got Trevor Zegras, and you got very quietly Isac Lundestrom putting together a really nice season for the Anaheim Ducks. Good luck getting into the middle with those three guys there, but it's gonna be like an embarrassment of riches down the middle for Anaheim for quite some time. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:35:17] I got to tell you, I think there's a lot of interest in that job. 

Jeff Marek [00:35:20] You do eh? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:35:20] I don't know what they're going to do there, but I've heard there's a lot of interest in that job. 

Jeff Marek [00:35:27] Well, when you look at all the young players they have. And it's all starting to actualise now. And those decisions on Lindholm and Manson we all know have to be made, like it's pretty attractive like I think we looked at it, I don't know about you Elliotte, I looked at and they said, they're gonna be good eventually. I just don't know what eventually is. You always look at, you know, development, progress, all of it, it's not always linear. You know, ask Vancouver Canucks fans what that feels like. Just playing out of their minds in the bubble and then it's been steps back. But we knew they'd be good one day. I don't know that we thought it would be this good this fast, though. But I can see why there'd be a lot of interest in that GM job. It's a good team. And you can see that it's gonna be a good team for a while as well. 

[00:36:16] [Break] 

Jeff Marek [00:36:16] Okay a couple of different ways to get in touch with us and have your voice heard here on the podcast. One, you can email us at 32thoughts@sportsnet.ca or call the thought line 1-833-311-3232 that's snappy. 1-833-311-3232. It is the thought line. First email from Gene, Elliotte. "You should give an update on the snake draft at the beginning of each episode. Elliotte started it and created interest. So do the updates." Uh, who's winning this thing right now...? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:00] That is so lame like that is so. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:02] I can't uh— 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:03] Were you saving this email for when you had it? 

Jeff Marek [00:37:08] Mmm where's the crown? No, I—listen. I just go with what? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:10] Oh yeah. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:12] What Amil submit to me, and I just pass it along. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:15] Amil you're lame too. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:17] This good listener was kind enough, Gene, to take some time out of his day to send this to us, has a legitimate curiosity about the in-season Stanley Cup, and just having a quick peek at who's wearing the crown. Total days champion: eight! 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:34] You guys are both—I liked you better when you were at zero. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:36] You know what? When I was at zero and Dave was like at 18. He's still at 18 but he's paused a little bit and he's starting to rack up the numbers. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:44] He only has two teams in the Western Conference. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:46] I know, right? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:47] So he's stuck right now. 

Jeff Marek [00:37:49] I was hoping that I would run the table and not have one day as champion, and I think I texted you asking if I could get a prize for that. And you shot me down fast. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:37:59] You don't deserve any prizes. So basically, what you should do is if you're interested, you should follow @InSeasonCup on Twitter. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:07] Yes. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:38:07] It's a grade 4/5 math class that is tracking our standings. They've put together a great graphic of a school in Oakville, Ontario, and right now, Jeff, as has the Cup with the Edmonton Oilers, who will next defend it on Tuesday night in Dallas, who I have. So they've created a great graphic that shows who has the Cup and how many days they've had it for the year and the schedule and right now, Dave Amber has 18. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:38] Oh, he had a great run. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:38:39] He had a great run early but, you know, as we said, he's only got Colorado and Vancouver in the West. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:46] Mhm. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:38:46] So we'll see what that does. But Dave's at 18. I'm at 12. Jeff's at 8 with the current Championship and poor Caroline never got out of the parking lot. I guess she's got 2. 

Jeff Marek [00:38:59] I've got Edmonton facing off against your Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Then I've got Edmonton, so we're gonna beat the Dallas Stars. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:05] Okay. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:05] Then—then I've got my Edmonton Oilers facing off against my Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. So normally a back-to-back is like, uh-oh, that spells trouble? Yeah, not so fast. Unless Arizona wins, and I'll probably surrender this thing quick. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:23] @InSeasonCup is where you should look. 

Jeff Marek [00:39:25] It's really good. And we thank those kind people, those grade four and five students are putting this one together. Okay! this harkens back to our previous conversation, this from Nicholas: "With the recent news of the Pittsburgh Penguins possibly being bought by the Fenway Sports Group my question was, how does the sale of teams like this start? Do the owners reach out to others, or is there like an eBay site just for billionaires?" Oh, that's funny. "How do these types of sales come about in the sports world?" 

Elliotte Friedman [00:39:55] There's a lot of different ways. Like so earlier in the podcast, we talked about how Fenway Sports Group sent someone... I don't know if "sent someone" is the right way, but someone reached out on their behalf to MLSE. Sometimes that happens. You know, Bettman. I don't know if he still does it, but he used to be a pretty big cold caller. You know, he would call people kind of out of nowhere and just say, look, you know, we've got teams available—people he wanted in this league. We've got teams available in the NHL. You know, would you be interested? I think now there's a lot of research done and there's a lot of companies put together with the express purpose to buy things. And I think it happens a lot of the way that Fenway approached MLSE. They say, go reach out to them, and it kind of goes from there or, you know, with Winnipeg, they told the league, if you ever want—need to bring a team back here, we're here and we've got this ready. So I don't think there's one hard and fast rule. I think sometimes you let a league know you're interested, I think sometimes the league comes for you, and I think sometimes an interested party will go to you and say, what are you thinking? Sometimes situations come up like with Vegas. I don't think the league was really convinced on Vegas at the beginning, but they set a price, five hundred. And Bill Foley met it. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:28] Hang on, hang on isn't isn't one of the caveats always: do you have a rink? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:32] I thought that kind of goes without saying. You know, you're not getting a team if you're going to play in the [Merrick] backyard. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:39] You either—you either have a drink. I mean, this was always the, you know, the— 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:43] Well, that was the difference between Seattle before and Seattle now. You had a rink. 

Jeff Marek [00:41:49] That was one of the things that Hamilton always hung their hat on. Hey, we have a rink waiting here. And that's what Quebec is as well with the Videotron Centre. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:41:55] Well, with Vegas, Vegas came to the league and I think the league took a lot of convincing to go to Vegas. I still believe this to this day, they initially did not want to do it. But then they said, okay, five hundred million and they got told, okay, we'll get your five hundred million, and then all of a sudden they have a rink. And, you know, Vegas has turned out to be a huge success for the NHL, like much, much better than I think anyone ever envisioned. And that's a credit to the Golden Knights. And players want to play there. It's a destination to go. 

Jeff Marek [00:42:25] Yeah. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:42:25] So I think what they did with Vegas was they said, okay, now Seattle. And what they said was we're setting the price, 650, and you have to get your arena situation sorted out. And they hit the price and they got their situation sorted out. So sometimes I think the league says you have to convince the league and the league sets terms and now can you meet them? And I think in these particular cases, that's what happened. The league said, OK, if you're serious about this, you have to have this and this and you've gotta hit this number. And both those situations did that 

Jeff Marek [00:43:03] Barry from British Columbia sends in this one Elliotte. "Why do the linesman insist on getting in the middle of every shoving match these days?" Actually, barriers happened long, long before these days. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:43:12] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:43:12] He continues, "It just encourages these so-called tough guys to continue their nonsense." Amen. "Stay out of it and let the mouthpieces get laid out a few times in the pace of the game will improve greatly. Plus, it will prevent a linesman from being seriously injured, which is going to happen eventually. Thoughts on this one." One of my favourite referees ever was Paul Stewart, so a former tough guy, minor league NHL as well, who ended up being an NHL referee and like me, and I think like a lot of us and like obviously Barry from B.C., he hated scrums. Because the guys that do it are just waiting for the linesmen to come in and peel the guys apart. "Why I ought'a!" "Well, wait till this guy gets—well, get this guy off of me!" "Well, if this linesman would get out of the way!" It's the fake tough guy nonsense. Paul Stewart would call his linesmen out of scrums. He'd say, guys, get out. You guys are going to settle this? Are you gonna fight or are you just going to stop? But my guys aren't coming, and he'd—he'd—I mean he would stand there outside a scrum and he'd yell, like, my guys aren't coming in. Because how many times have you seen like Elliotte, players looking around for the linesman to come in when they want to continue with the act that they really don't want to do? Your thought on that one? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:44:32] I just wonder if the whole concussion scenario plays into it. 

Jeff Marek [00:44:37] In what sense? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:44:38] They're more inclined to stop it than they used to be. 

Jeff Marek [00:44:41] I think for fights when they—they were instructed, the minute you have a chance to safely stop a fight, do it even before it actually takes place. Now it seems as if they've relaxed on that. Like when guys will fade back to center ice to do the spotlight fight? Two linesmen can jump in there. Okay, the last podcast we talked about Reaves and Pezzetta. You don't think there was enough time for two linesmen to jump in there and get in between? Look how long it took them to engage linesmen or anywhere near them? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:45:07] Mhm.

Jeff Marek [00:45:07] I have a hard time believing that two linesman couldn't have grabbed each individual by the time they finally engaged. Because Pezzetta approached, they dropped their gloves, and Pezzetta almost like, he had to talk himself into actually doing it. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:45:21] I just think generally, though, like most people say to me, that it's a good point I concede on that one. But most people say to me that linesmen are much faster to get in now than they used to be. That one would definitely be an exception. 

Jeff Marek [00:45:35] Anybody from the Kevin Collins era says I don't think so because that guy jumped in fast. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:45:39] Mhm. 

Jeff Marek [00:45:40] Let's get to the thought line. Who do we have Amil? 

Caller [00:45:44] [Hey, Jeff, this is Gashlin Halifax. I have a question for you about Dan Carlin. What is your favourite podcast by Dan Carlin and why is it the Munster Rebellion? Thanks.] 

Jeff Marek [00:45:54] The Munster, that is—that one is called Prophets of Doom. Elliotte, you know this. I'm a huge Carlin fan. 

Elliotte Friedman [00:45:59] Yeah, you've appeared with him!

Jeff Marek [00:46:01] That was podcast fantasy camp for me. Going on his his podcast, hardcore history addendum, that was a real treat. Prophets of Doom is really good. The Munster Rebellion is fascinating, and seeing those cages still hanging outside that church is a little creepy and haunting. I always go back to Blueprint for Armageddon. That is the the multi-part series on World War One. I've recently re-listened to Supernova in the East, which is all about the war in the Pacific towards the end of World War Two. Destroyer of Worlds is outstanding. Ghosts of the Ostfront is great. His conversations with Ian W. Toll, most recently, Fred Kaplan, author of The Bomb and Wizards of Armageddon, is outstanding. There's a lot, but I'll... I'll always go back to Blueprint for Armageddon. Like, I always hope you'll like, if you're gonna listen to one series of podcasts from Carlin, Blueprint for Armageddon, because this guy has the most unique ability to make you feel like you're there and put you in those positions and, for Carlin, he always talks about context is king, context is king. He takes one event and describes it a number of different ways from a number of different perspectives. And so you feel like you are there, but in a number of different lives. To me, he's most fascinating podcaster going, Blueprint for Armageddon, that's the one. Although, on second listening, Supernova in the East is outstanding. Like the older he gets, the better he gets at doing this, and he's been doing this for a long time. Supernova in the East may end up being his his best work, but I'll always go back to Blueprint for Armageddon. Thank you, Gashlin from Halifax. You like Carlin, too don't you Friedge? 

Elliotte Friedman [00:47:45] I do. I don't know half of what you just talked about, but I do like Carlin.

Jeff Marek [00:47:51] What a great way to finish the podcast with me talking and not Elliotte. Taking us out an artist whose performance style is a mix of live instrumentation and looping. Michael Hamilton, stage name M. H. Vernon, has been making music for over a decade and started performing live during his time in Seoul, South Korea. From his 2020, Feel the Urgency EP, here's M. H. Vernon with Whatchya, on 32 Thoughts the Podcast.