Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Athletic Hockey Show: Answering the hockey questions you may have been afraid to ask

On this week's episode of The Athletic Hockey Show:
- We answer a bunch of your rules-related questions you've never known where to ask
- How do offsetting penalties work?
- How can there be a penalty and a diving call on the same play?
- When are they supposed to call the instigator?
- If a goal is waved off for interference, why don't they ever call a goalie interference penalty?
- And more...

The Athletic Hockey Show runs most days of the week during the season, with Ian and I hosting every Thursday. There are two versions of each episode available:
- An ad-free version for subscribers that you can find here
- An ad-supported version you can get for free wherever you normally find your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify)




A brief history of the Shiny New Toy contract, the NHL’s most dangerous deal

It’s been a fascinating offseason so far. The Flames and Panthers pulled off one of the biggest blockbusters of the last decade, a truly shocking late-night swap that saw Matthew Tkachuk head to Florida for a package that included Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. The Blackhawks are openly tanking while the Senators are loading up, with both situations highlighted by the deal that sent Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa. The Knights dumped Max Pacioretty on Carolina for next-to-nothing, while the Wild had to move Kevin Fiala to the Kings. And we may not even be done, as trade rumors swirl around guys like Patrick Kane, J.T. Miller and David Pastrnak.

All of those moves were stunning in their own way, or would be. But that’s not the most important thing they have in common.

We need to talk about the Shiny New Toy scenario.

It’s dangerous. It’s potentially bad news for fans in Ottawa, Calgary or Carolina, as well as whichever team might be tempted on guys like Miller or Kane. And it makes it feel significantly likely that we’re about to see at least a few teams make cap-crushing mistakes that they’ll regret for years to come.

Let’s explain what’s going on, how it’s played out in the past, and what we can learn from that.

What is a Shiny New Toy?

Negotiating a contract in the NHL is all about leverage. Sometimes the team has it, like when a young player’s ELC expires and his rights are still under team control for years to come. Sometimes the player has it, like when an established star hits free agency, or a beloved franchise stalwart is on an expiring deal and needs an extension before he walks away for nothing. In those cases, teams often overpay, because they may feel like they have little choice.

As a big fan of debating bad contracts, I don’t say this lightly: There may not be a more dangerous set of circumstances for a team, or a more advantageous one for a player and his agent, then the dreaded Shiny New Toy. It’s a category of bad contract that I first proposed in a piece I wrote six years ago. I don’t know if you read that one or not, but I’m pretty sure that NHL GMs didn’t, because if anything the list of mistakes has been getting worse.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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Friday, July 29, 2022

Looking for your "always wondered but didn't know where to ask" hockey questions

Lately, we've been having fun on the podcasts with people sending in the simple questions they were always afraid to ask. Stuff like:

  • What's the neutral zone trap?
  • What's the dead puck era?
  • How do offsetting penalties work?
  • What does last line change mean?
  • Why do we say the red line was removed in 2005 when it's clearly still there?

I think these are great, because there are lots of new fans out there and we tend to just assume they know all this stuff. They don't, and as your teacher used to say, there are no dumb questions. So this is your chance to send in yours, and get an answer to that hockey thing that's been bugging you all this time.

Please send your questions via email at dgbmailbag@gmail.com.




Thursday, July 28, 2022

Mailbag: What if the Flames had used a sign-and-trade to trick Matthew Tkachuk? Plus scrapping offside, history's best backup, and more...

It’s late July and everyone is on vacation, but at least we’ve had a blockbuster trade and some other news to chew on. Let’s see what’s on your mind in an offseason mailbag.

Note: Submitted questions have been edited for clarity and style.

Hypothetically, what would have happened if Brad Treliving had just yelled “psych!” as soon as Matthew Tkachuk had signed the eight-year deal with Calgary and refused to trade him? Is there something addressing this scenario in the CBA? Obviously there are moral repercussions here, but contract-wise, is there a grievance case? – Jessica R.

The short answer: It would have been the greatest moment in NHL offseason history.

The longer answer: It wouldn’t have worked. Tkachuk obviously would refuse to play for Calgary, and the NHLPA would jump in with a grievance. The Panthers would too. They’d have precedent on their side, based on the Eric Lindros double-trade fiasco where an arbitrator essentially ruled that a handshake deal trumped one on paper. The league has no doubt tightened up its loopholes since then, but it would be a hard case for the Flames to win.

My guess is that it would come down to Gary Bettman having to rule, maybe after a few levels of arbitrators and appeals. Do you think the commissioner is going to side with the Canadian team trying to hold an American star hostage, or the struggling southern market trying to acquire the superstar to put them over the hump as a Cup contender? Yeah, me too.

Still, it would be fascinating to watch it all play out. And maybe it ends with Bettman ruling that the Panthers’ deal wasn’t official and Tkachuk has to go back on the market (since he’s still refusing to play for the Flames). Can Calgary get a better deal from someone else? I can’t see it. Probably best for everyone involved that they didn’t try to pull the rug out. Well, everyone except fans of Team Chaos.


My brother-in-law is a Jets fan, and he was lamenting the upcoming start of free agency. I thought that to help him out, the NHL should allow teams to offer a physical version of their team name to free agents without cap implications. I’m pretty sure Artemi Panarin would have thought very hard if he was offered a Gulfstream to play in Winnipeg. I thought it would be fun to rank the teams based on how big of an advantage that would be. – Kurt R.

This is some great offseason content. Let’s do a top and bottom five, with the caveat that we have to be dealing with tangible things that could actually be given to someone. That means no kraken, hurricanes, lightning or stars, because we wouldn’t want a world where Winnipeg is allowed to give players a jet to be unrealistic.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Athletic Hockey Show: A real expansion draft

On this week's episode of The Athletic Hockey Show:
- The ongoing Matthew Tkachuk saga
- Has any team ever had a worse offseason than this year's Flames?
- Jesse Granger joins us to talk about today's expansion draft post
- Lots of listener mail
- I get a little too fired up about arena nachos
- This week in history and lots more...

The Athletic Hockey Show runs most days of the week during the season, with Ian and I hosting every Thursday. There are two versions of each episode available:
- An ad-free version for subscribers that you can find here
- An ad-supported version you can get for free wherever you normally find your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify)