Welcome to a slightly delayed edition of the Weekly Plus/Minus! The NHL Draft came and went and provided spills, thrills, and chills. Meanwhile the anniversary of the lowest moment in the history of professional wrestling passes, and lots more! Without further ado…
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Pittsburgh Penguins: The unequivocal winners of the NHL Draft Weekend were the host Penguins. They start out by making a very bold trade, shipping Jordan Staal to Carolina for three very good, young assets and then things just started to get better from there. They lucked out when Oli Maata, considered a Top 15 prospect by many, fell down to their spot at 22, and then were able to trade away Zybnek Michalek, who really wasn’t fitting in anyway.
With these two deals, they were able to shed almost $9 million in cap space and rumors are abound that they are going to make a run at Zack Parise and/or Ryan Sutter come July 1. The rich get richer.
Copy Cat NHL: Need further proof that the NHL is run by schoolyard copycats? Why look at this NHL Draft. This past spring, defense was the order of the day, as the defensive minded Rangers, Coyotes, Blues, and (somehow) Capitals all advanced to the second round. So what does every team looking to explode on the scene do?
Draft defense of course! Eight of the top ten picks went to defense, with only can’t miss forwards (and teammates) Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk stopping the sweep. While this was a defense heavy year, allowing Top 10 talents like Filip Forsberg, Mikael Grigorenko and Teuvo Teravinen to fall is something that many General Managers are going to regret soon enough. This is doubly, nay triply true for teams that are light on offensive prospects like Toronto and Winnipeg.
Forward Thinking: There have been rumblings that at Summerslam, we may very well get Punk-Cena III — technically IV, but their match on the Raw after Summerslam last year doesn’t count because it was stupid. The logic behind this decision is that the event will be headlined by HHH-Lesnar and they want John Cena to be near the top of the marquee, given that this is the second biggest show of the year coming from the second largest city in North America.
While this was initially met with disdain, as everyone was hoping for Punk-Bryan XVIII, or whatever they are up to by now. But with a little bit of thought, this is one of the few possible matchups for Cena. Since they are set on HHH-Lesnar in the Main Event, then they need Cena in the second highest match, and if they give him a non-title match then it will further devalue the already devalued WWE Title. During Punk’s current reign, he has only closed out a Pay-Per-View once, at TLC in December, when Cena was not wrestling. While this match will almost certainly not go last, it will still get a great deal of attention during the build up to the event.
The only other possibilities for a Cena match are Bryan or Sheamus, both of which would be very interesting, but may not look great on the marquee just yet. The build to their matches last year was downright fantastic, and it could be great again this year. More importantly though, Punk and Cena flat out delivered in their matches last year and it would be pretty excellent to see if they can try to top it this time.
General Managers Gone Wild: With the high pressure of the NHL Entry Draft and free agency coming soon. It seems like several General Managers are going crazy.
First Jay Feater figures out that he gave away a 2nd round pick to Buffalo to take Robyn Reghr off their hand last year. Realize that maybe they should have one this year, so decide to trade down in the first round and end up with Buffalo’s second round pick as well as a lower first rounder.
So far, not the worst series of decisions, but then things got really dumb. In trading down they allowed the Sabres to take Zemgus Girgensons, a big centre that the Flames severely lack. Then instead of taking the aforementioned Maata, they decide to take Mark Jankowski, a player that they almost certainly could have gotten with the second round pick they just acquired from the Sabres.
To make it even worse, Jay Feaster justified this lunacy by saying he’ll be the best player in the draft in 10-12 years time. Newsflash Feaster: if you keep making bonehead moves like that, you won’t be employed in 10-12 years time to see how well this kid if playing.
Then the news breaks that the water in Pittsburgh must have been laced with liquid insanity! Apparently Garth Snow and the New York Islanders were so enamored with defenseman Ryan Murray that they offered the Columbus Blue Jackets all seven of their draft picks in order to take him. Somehow, someway the Scott Howson refused this deal, thinking that Murray was too great to pass on. This despite the massive glut of defensive talent, including Griffin Reinhart who plays a pretty similar game to Ryan Murray who Columbus could have just as easily drafted in the four spot.
How on earth these three can justify such lunacy? Of the three, it seems like Garth Snow is the only one who will not live to regret this insane decision, since Howson was dumb enough to not let him have his way.
Brothers in the NHL: This weekend was a great weekend for most families in the league. It stated on Friday night when Jordan Staal was traded to Carolina to join his brother Eric and Jarred — who plays in Carolina’s farm system. Then things got more entertaining on Saturday when Toronto traded defenseman Luke Schenn to Philadelphia where he gets to join his brother Brayden in the City of Brotherly Love.
But the most interesting one happened when Boston stepped up to the Draft Podium on Friday night and took the brother of the player that their fans hate the most. When they took PK Subban’s younger brother Malcolm in the first round, they added a whole new, interesting story to the NHL’s most storied rivalry. Sure, Malcolm will not see any time in the pros for another few years, but it sure will be fascinating when he does, now won’t it?
Really the only NHL brother duo that got father apart was the Michaleks. But apparently, the Senators were close to reuniting them. Perhaps the Suter’s can get back together somehow to make it a hat trick
Anniversaries: Has it really been that long?
This past week sees the five-year anniversary of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. Obviously this horrible moment was not mentioned on WWE TV, nor should it be. But it makes one reflect on where they were of when they found out the news.
Should you be interested in finding out my own personal thoughts from that day, please read here. While I hoped that I would be able to move on by now, the second last paragraph sticks out to me:
I guess I have some deep thinking to do for the next little while. In the mean time though I will not throw away my Chris Benoit DVD, which I was so excited to receive as a gift one Christmas. But I’m not making any special plans to watch it.
In five years those thoughts haven’t changed, and it appears as though they never will.
Prediction for the Week Ahead: Chris Jericho returns as a face and starts to plant the seeds for a feud with Daniel Bryan.