Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reading Between the Lines

I gotta say, when Mike Russo posts, I jump. I cannot find anything on the internet that comes close to making me get all tingly as when I see that there's a new post on his blog. And yes, that includes boobs.

His post this morning and his subsequent piece is good stuff. (I'm sure that I'm not the only one who finds the irony in that statement) Make sure you read that first before you go on.

I've been reading Russo's blog since day one and the insight he brings is unheard of. However he is also handcuffed by the fact that his access comes because both the management and players trust him absolutely. He cannot be too frank with his information and he cannot hypothesize about meaning and intention.

Therefore, I declare that it is Diablohockey's duty as hockey bloggers to take the honorable Mr. Russo's information and read between the lines as any two-bit hack is able to do. This is done from a purely unbiased standpoint. Let's break it down.

(Italics are Russo's printed stuff)

OK, I’m back in the Twin Cities. Almost one month until training camp starts.

"Geez I miss Florida already. Time to get out the flannel shirts. As soon as it hits 72, I'm flying back."

I talked to assistant GM Tom Lynn yesterday and here’s a story on management’s meeting with Marian Gaborik in Slovakia.

"Where the boring information for the folks that still have dial up is."

Unfortunately, Gaborik’s voice isn’t in the story, although, trust me, I’ve tried to get him and his agent for weeks. So keep in mind, this is one side.

"No Love from Trencin. What is that all about? What is the temperature in central Slovakia in late August? I might need to fly out when I get too cold. Anyways, this is a bad sign. Usually I can get an email. Even when Brian Rolston was bailing out of Minny, he still texted me."

But Lynn said at no point in the meeting did Gaborik tell the Wild he wanted to move on.

"Of course, Lynn mentioned that Gaborik said he'd rather be caught in a MSP airport bathroom tapping toes with Larry Craig than spend another season playing for Jacques Lemaire."

If he did, I think the Wild would let that be known simply to prepare its fan base that a trade is coming. At the end of the day, who knows if the Wild will be able to get Gaborik signed, but as of now, the Wild at least believes it’ll be able to sign him.

"Wait - but I just did prepare the fan base that a trade could be coming. Darn it, that crafty Tom Lynn. He's always getting me to say something in the blog that I wasn't meaning to. At least he hasn't done this to me...

You can bet that one giant part of this meeting had to do with questions from Gaborik about the team’s inability to land a big free agent this summer and its inability to make a meaningful trade deadline acquisition the last two seasons.

"And more questions from Gaborik about the lack of quality Slovakian restaurants in Saint Paul. I mean, how can a city have a Kurdish restaurant and nothing from Slovakia? Unfortunately, Gabby's not the brightest bulb. That was also evident in his lack of grasp of the most recent collective bargaining agreement. He kept asking Lynn if Pavel Datsyuk or Hank Zetterberg were available."

This is from Russo's aforementioned piece in Sunday's Strib.

Gaborik could not be reached to comment, but Lynn called it a "great dinner and meeting."

Lynn's words: "A great dinner because I had Wild Side catering send a slab of the leftover roast horse they sell to the stooges up on the club level and a great meeting because Gabby smiled when I told him a joke about the horse, a priest and a hooker."

"We showed him a lot more info than any player has ever seen before -- how we scout, how we measure players statistically," Lynn said. "We also listened to his opinions.

Lynn's words: "I'll listen to his opinions even though Jacques doesn't give a sh!t about them. At least I'm pretending that I'll be able to convey Gabby's wish to skate in the neutral zone during the penalty kill."

"We just talked about the team, how we operate and where we are going, and then his performance and place in the future. So I would say it was a good meeting in that (a) it happened, and (b) Marian had good input, observations and understanding."

Lynn's words: "I'm thankful it happened because I wasn't sure when that customs agent in Bratislava was going to let me have my Blackberry back. Oh, and in regards to (b), did you know that Gabby wants me to figure out a way to break Hank Zetterberg's contract with Detroit and then resign him here for 2.5 million a year? Apparently, this Tishchenko fella from Spartuk, Moscow said he knew a way. Crazy, I know."

One objective for Risebrough and Lynn was to prove to Gaborik he's not being impeded from scoring in Minnesota's defensive-minded system.

Lynn's words: "Did you know that before I started working for the Wild, I was a magician?"

"Mmmmm... I still think I can get him to think he'll score here."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another HOK Sport Arena

Pittsburgh just broke ground on their new arena yesterday (8/13). They also placed a video of renditions and flyovers on their website.

Remind you of anything? What if the Xcel Energy Center (designed by HOK Sport) had hypothetical sex with the new Twins Stadium (also designed by HOK Sport) and had a bastard arena child? This style of arena looks like it might be the new Three Rivers Stadium / Riverfront Stadium / Atlanta Fulton County Stadium / Busch Stadium clone that made going to a ballgame in the 70's akin to visiting Roswell.

Another similarity? James Mirtle's blog comments on how Mario Lemieux and Co. dangled the idea of moving to Las Vegas or Kansas City in order to scare the officials in Pittsburgh to speed up the pace of paying for a new arena. Hmmm... where do you think they learned that? Norm Green? Nah - how bout the Pohlad boys?

Xcel Energy Center Dismemberment: Week Three.

Nice Rigging.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This Just Ain't Right

What are they doing to my X???

It's not that I don't like Republicans (actually I don't, but I live two miles from the X so I'm going to have to figure out a way), but there should be ice on the floor surrounded by dashers and glass.

I would have a lot easier time accepting this if McCain were to skate during his acceptance.

Oh - and I gotta say - love the mid-90's porn music!

One other Wild note - Puck Daddy has a chat with the Wild's Director of Hockey Operations, Chris Snow, calling him the "Theo Epstein of the NHL". Excuse me, Mr. Daddy, but we consider Theo Epstein as the "Chris Snow of MLB".

In the piece, P.Daddy refers to a rumor about Gaborik as "asinine". The good news - he wasn't referring to this blog!!! Apparently, having one somewhat reputable source is better than no sources at all.

Crosstown Traffic

Wow - in the past four days we've almost doubled the traffic we've accumulated in all of last year. After asking around a little, I found out that the Gabby's a Goner post was linked to by Greg Wyshynski at PuckDaddy (a oft-visited site by DiabloHockey) and also forwarded by Muy gracias go to Greg and ranold26 at HFBoards.

So if you're new here, you might be asking yourself, "What kind of blog is this?". That's a question that is often echoed in the DiabloHockey newsroom. Here is a brief history and explanation of

The Diablo's Hockey Club is a group of guys - at least half of them cops - that play hockey together in the Adult Hockey Association based out of the Twin Cities. We formed last year and played in the D1 level. After a practice or two, I (ballgame) suggested that we put together a website that would cover our team and rather than put it on a cookie cutter type website, I figured we could blog it and link up to the stats and schedule page at AHA. After some discussions about style and what type of videos everyone liked, we went live.

The early days had recaps and the occasional holiday tiding. Perhaps, out of boredom, there would be the random video with no explanation. All the while, the Diablos began to play good hockey and climbed their way from fourth to first in the division. And while that was exciting, there was too much hockey not to be commenting on throughout the week - so we branched out to cover our favorite teams, the Wild and the Devils, and made the occasional comments about hockey in general. A lot of the time, the topics would blend together in the same post.

A few more links to some favorite posts...
Tiger, have you met Ryan Malone?
There is an overtime system in the AHA, but we did manage one one tie vs. the Ak Bars.
A Scrimmage vs. the AHA Lumberjacks.
Okay... Melrose.
Nelson said What?

Without YouTube, this might be the most boring site around.

So for all you die-hard hockey crazed maniacs, this site might be a nice diversion. We're not too hard-core, and we like to mix it up a little. Thanks for stopping by and come back often.

Oh, yeah - for the first year of existence, the Diablo Hockey Club finished second out of 14 teams and is expanding to two teams next year.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Minnesota Wild 08-09 Promo

One of my favorite YouTube Channels, ALittleProduction, has a new video previewing the Wild's upcoming season. Chills.

Let's see, what do I love about this video?

1. The Music
2. The Carved Wild Logo on the locker room doors.
3. I never get sick of the little kid with the flag.
4. Butch to Mikko for the wrister which was his payback goal against the 'nuks.
5. Burns. Toedrag.
6. Gabby doing the "Superman" after his breakaway vs. Nashville with :03 on the clock.
7. Skoula's Eruzione impersonation.
8. The Butch dustup vs. Vancouver.
9. The Koivu Shoutout vs. Vancouver.

Hmm... why do most of these moments occur vs. Vancouver?

Mysteries of the World: Solved - Part I

The WKRP in Cincinnati closing credit song lyrics.

Many thanks to sewerewes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Branko's New Gig

Branko Radivojevic's new team is Spartak Moscow in the new KHL Superleague in Russia. Spartak finished in the middle of the Russian Superliga last season with 21 wins in 57 games. In the same article that was mentioned in yesterday's post, Branko spoke with Sports Express about his new team and his old.

A couple of quotes...

On his new team...
- (The) option with "Spartak" has been very good. In Russia, I came because I hope to get much playing time here.

On his knee (Branko ruptured his ACL in Game Two of the Playoffs vs. Colorado)...
- At the end of the season at Minnesota, I postponed the operation on the broken (ligament). I now feel fine. Another couple of weeks - and fully restored.

On his former team, the Wild (the question leading up to the statement:
"Your former club - Minnesota - for its defensive style in general, few loves...")
Yes, because it is (smiles). In the two years that I spent there, we all just on defence and thought.

I'm not saying that its sour grapes, but sounds kind of similar to what's been coming out of Mark Parrish's mouth the last couple of days.

I also understand that the respected Mr. Tishchenko, may not be the most reliable source of information and it's not like there was more than one source on the last post. However, the story out of Spartuk is another piece of information which has me feeling that Gaborik is pretty much out of Minny and I think that stinks. This franchise has given everything that Mr. Gaborik has asked for over the past eight seasons with the exception of allowing him to skate circles in the neutral zone while his teammates are trying to clear the puck (yep - I'm pretty sure he asked for that). They even gave him the "C" for cripes sake.

Until he's out of town, I'm going to have a bad feeling about this season. I hope I'm wrong.

I hope I'm wrong.

UPDATE... Those boys at have really been getting to work. They've ranked the top 75 fantasy hockey players for this season. One, Ovie. Two, Sid. Three, Marty. I could go on, but coming in at #23, Gabby.

Where in the world does #23 = $8.5 million? Minnesota, maybe. Of course, if he's dealt to Pittsburg (Eklund thinks the Pens will pay 9.0 mil, with Buffalo & Washington interested - but that' s Eklund he's hit or miss at best) his fantasy ranking will improve significantly.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gabby's A Goner

According to the New York Times Hockey Blog, Slap Shot, Marian Gaborik's agent, Ron Salcer (or more likely a European representative) approached the Russian Superleague team Spartak Moscow with an inquiry about playing there this coming season. This would be another wrinkle in the League-Jumping Story which has been weaving in and out of the July free agent signing events, but more importantly, it shows how much Gabby wants out of Minnesota and how he'll be gone after his contract is up after this season.

It appears that Gabby's agent approached Spartak's preisdent, Nikoli Tishchenko about signing a contract with the club and forgoing his final year at Minnesota. In an interview with the Russian "Sports Express" newspaper Tishchenko claims "His agents were interested to speak with our club..." but the salary offer was "simply astronomical sum. Some people naively believe that all clubs in Russia are willing to pay huge money." It would make sense that Gabby would inquire with Spartak since that's where his buddy Branko Radivojevic landed after last season. Its not known whether Gabby knew how tight they were with the pursestrings.

Gaborik testing the KHL Super League waters is another incident between the KHL and NHL as they battle for the top players. The KHL was formed this summer as a new league from many older Russian hockey clubs. ranked the top 250 European teams and the KHL had six of the top ten. With an infusion of "new" Russian money, from oil and gas revenues to new millionaires to (quite likely) organized crime, they've been able to throw big contracts towards NHL'er trying to lure them over the Atlantic. Jaromir Jagr signed a two year, $25 million contract with Avangard Omsk. Ray Emery, Kyle Wanvig, and Wade Dubielewicz have also made their way over.

The problem has been that many players from both leagues have disregarded their current contract in order to play for the league overseas. In the NHL, Nashville forward Alexander Radulov has jumped town to sign a contract with Salivat Yulaev Ufa when he still has terms remaining on his U.S. contract. On the other hand, a bevy of young talent has pulled up the tent stakes on their KHF contract in order to play in the NHL, including Sergei's little brother Fyoder Fedorov, and the Wild's Tomas Mojzis. The I.I.H.F. has been called in to resolve any conflicts, but it seems as if these two leagues will be battling for supremacy for some time. That could mean problems for the NHL when their new agreement with the players has a strict salary cap and the KHL will be throwing large bags of cash at their best players.

This is just another sign that says Gabby has no plans of staying in Minnesota long term. Risebrough should be ready to sign Gabby this summer or be ready to trade him away. If #10 hits the ice this season without a long term contract in his back pocket, it would signify another failing on Doug Risebrough's tenure in Minnesota and perhaps his most significant of all.

Since Gabby will make $7.5 million this season, not a lot of teams will be interested in him. Additionally, I'm sure a few G.M.'s in the league are willing to to cede the Cup to Detroit now that they have all of the pieces plus Marian Hossa. If anyone wants to compete with Detroit, they would definately be interested in Gabby, but 7.5 mil for one season could be a lot for a player whose heart for the game is questionable.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Colton Gilles is going to be a Stud!!!

Last year's first round pick of the Wild, Colton Gilles, has been impressing the masses at the Canadian World Junior Development Camp. From -

From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Heard from TSN/NBC analyst Pierre McGuire yesterday. Pierre was at Canada’s world junior development camp in Ottawa, and he reports Colton Gillies, who won gold with the Canadian world junior team last year, “looked great. Looked bigger, and faster than last season. He has huge upside.”

Still, Gillies has a shot at making the Wild next season, and if he does, it’s unlikely the Wild would release him for world juniors. But we’ll see.

Read more from Russo’s Rants here.

By all accounts, Gillies is going to be a terrific young player. I’m sure the Wild is hoping that he forces their hand this training camp and makes the team’s roster.

I plan on cherrypicking all of the blogs that cherrypick from all of the top hockey blogs in North America. This will be the best cherrypicking blog in all of North America.