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Monday, July 19, 2010

Dartboard NHL Free Agency Rumors - Round 1

As stated before, we don't know any NHL insiders who would be feeding us information. We're out to give logical explanations as to why the rumors won't work.

While there will be plenty of time for such fun, we decided to have a little fun of our own.

With Paul, the World Cup picking octopus, in retirement, I broke out my prognosticating dartboard to carefully select where five notable free agents still available will be playing hockey during the 2010-11 season.

You're probably already rolling your eyes, but the dartboard has yet to be wrong.

(Ed. Note: This experiment has never been done before, so while the above statement is technically correct, he's just blowing smoke.)

To ensure the intellectual and journalistic integrity of this experiment, I stood at a distance of 10 feet, with shoulders square to the board and eyes closed.

With a throwing form that darts legend Phil Taylor (yeah, I'm not one-dimensional) would be envious of, here are the results with photo proof:

Dart #1 - Lee Stempniak

Stempniak ended the 2009-10 season with the Phoenix Coyotes. He played a large part in getting them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02.

He was traded to the Coyotes at the deadline and finished the season with 28 goals and 20 assists in 82 games.

So, is he going to stay in Phoenix?

Dartboard says.....(Family Feud humor, see you really do get it all here.)


By consulting the NHL dartboard logo on this website with the placement of the dart on my own board, we find that Stempniak will be returning to the St. Louis Blues, who originally drafted him in the 5th round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Dart #2 - Marty Turco

This one's a bit trickier and could ultimately be the one that breaks this dartboard's perfect record.

Side Note: Whoever comes up with the best nickname for the dartboard will get some serious props on here and Twitter. Stay tuned for more details. Leave your nickname suggestions in the comments or send me a message on Twitter.

Anyway, the goaltending market seems to be extremely dry this summer. Even a guy like Evgeni Nabokov couldn't find an acceptable offer in the NHL and went back to Russia to play in the KHL.

Dallas already said they won't be bringing him back, so where's he going to suit up next season?

Dartboard says.....


This is kind of interesting. Chris Osgood is older than dirt and Jimmy Howard has overwhelmingly become the Red Wings starter. Osgood has also shown some confidence issues over the past couple seasons and Turco has got to be hungry to show he still has something left in the tank.

Time will tell, but based on the proximity of the dart to the Red Wings' logo on our reference board, I'll call it about a D4. (Eklund humor too!)

Dart #3 - Maxim Afinogenov

The speedy winger is now one of the top forwards left in the UFA pool. That might not be saying much, but the guy has shown flashes of brilliance in the past and performed well even on a bad Thrashers team this season.

He played in all 82 games this season and recorded 24 goals and 37 assists. You can't tell me several teams aren't kicking the tires on this veteran winger.

The results from the lab are in, so what sweater will he be sporting when the season kicks off?

Dartboard says......

Pittsburgh Penguins.

This might make the most sense out of the five darts I threw. The Penguins are very light on the wings. For the last two years, General Manager Ray Shero has gone out and traded for a winger at the deadline. (Chris Kunitz in 2009, Alexei Ponikarovsky in 2010.)

Maxim may not be the greatest backchecker in the world, but he's got the hands, creativity and speed to keep up with guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Several teams are rumored to be in on Maxim, and the dart landed a little between logos so lets call it a D3.

Dart #4 - Alexei Ponikarovsky

Some of you might be shocked to know he still plays hockey. For the fans in Pittsburgh, trading for him was a complete and utter bust. He was virtually non-existent from the time he arrived and was even benched during the playoffs.

At 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighing 220 pounds, he's the prototypical power forward. If he ever figures out how to use his size, he'll be dangerous.

There's been basically no talk about him all summer as the main focus has been on Ilya Kovalchuk and the big ticket defensemen who all signed in the first 48 hours of free agency.

So where will the Poni Express chug along next season?

Dartboard says.....

The Dallas Stars.

There's a slight changing of the guard in Dallas as veteran leaders like Turco and Mike Modano won't be back, so maybe a guy like Poni can be apart of the rebuilding process in the Big D. Everything's bigger in Texas right? (Cultural references!)

Dart #5 - Ruslan Fedotenko

Another guy from the Penguins who had a disappointing season (11 goals, 19 assists) and sat for most of the playoffs.

He always seemed to be out of position of a half-second late to the puck down the stretch and it ultimately cost his his spot on the roster and a contract.

Now, Feds is on the open market.

So which team will take a shot on a guy who has played a role in winning two Stanley Cups?

Dartboard says....

New Jersey Devils.

You're probably laughing already because the Devils just re-signed Kovalchuk today. Terms of that deal were not disclosed, but the rumor is something like 17 years and $100+ million, which is just hilarious considering he's already 27. Did they learn nothing from the Isles' signing of Rick DiPietro? (Historical NHL zingers too?!)

Anyway, because of that move the Devils will probably need to shed some players to fit under the cap.

That said, there could be roster spots available and Fedotenko should come at a very cheap price.

We'll call this a D2 for now, but reserve the right to escalate it in the future.

For now, the dartboard needs to rest to fully be able to see into the future. We'll have more prognostications coming soon.

Just to prove that this was literally done with my eyes closed:

That's about 1/8 of an inch from being embedded in the dry wall.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mission Statement

First off, thank you for taking the time to check us out.

Let's start by saying what this forum's intent will be.

What you will see on here are posts from hockey fans, who have a solid understanding of both the game and the NHL.

We are not media insiders who will spout off rumors from our "sources."

What we will do (and intend to do) is take a hard look at some noted rumor sites and attempt to show why the supposed rumors are not to be taken seriously.

There's a lot of garbage out there on the Internet, but there's also a lot of reputable sites and insiders out there who don't get the credit they deserve.

We intend to highlight the legit work being done as part of our "debunking" of the false rumors.

The idea to do something like this was spawned from countless conversations and blog posts on other sites and forums. We finally decided to do something about it and put our views out there as well.

Again, we don't have insider information. If we did, we'd be on a much bigger website getting paid to talk about this.

We'll try and insert humor and sarcasm and whatever else, because that's the type of people we are.

If you don't like what we're doing, that's fine. We're not going to lose sleep over it. Doing this is fun for us, but if you do like it, do us a favor and spread the word.

We welcome all comments. The good, the bad, the ugly, whatever. Interacting with you all is what we're most looking forward to.

The site is completely under construction right now, so don't be alarmed. We know it's a little messed up, but we'll have it looking sharp real soon.