Thursday, January 20, 2011

To refresh, the NHL's waiver rule totally blows

The game: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils.

Duh: Minus the two-headed monster, the Pens were blanked by the Devils 2 - 0.

Nabokov to Detroit? Not so fast: The Detroit Red Wings have signaled their intent to sign Evgeni Nobokov, but he still has to clear waivers and it's apparently unlikely that he will. Not but a few days ago, the St. Louis Blues signed Kyle Wellwood and San Jose snatched him up. It's the six degrees of hockey separation. The Sharks are Nobokov's former team.

I don't have a Harvard degree like Craig Adams, but I will now attempt to review how the Scooby Doo cleverly disguised as a high-paid lawyer came up with this one:

NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 13, Waivers and Loans of Players to Minor League Clubs.

Let's tackle one bullshit rule at a time. Since he's been in the KHL, I believe this applies for Nabokov: 13.23, In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the regular NHL Playing Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first cleared or been obtained via Waivers.

Oh wait, I think I've got it: "Waivers" means the process by which the rights to a Player are offered to all other Clubs. Aha! It's the great equalizer: everyone has to have a shot at a player before a team hoards him all to their little salary cap selves. And who exactly gets first dibs on these exclusive players and their rights, you might ask? That's why I'm here:

Part 1/the easy part: If only one Club makes a claim to a player on Waivers, then the Player is transferred to that Club.

Part 2/the fuzzy part where I go make martini and re-read it: If more than one team makes a claim to a player, he shall be transferred to the team that has the lowest percentage of possible points in the League at the time of the request for Waivers.

Praise whatever you believe in, I finally understand something in this flippin' agreement: This is exactly like those sales where they give you 20 percent off any item, but it's 20 percent off the lowest priced item on the sale rack not the brand spankin' new, more expensive item they just put on display this morning. Hallelujah and let there be light.

Back in the junior leagues: The Portland Winterhawks are in the middle of a hockey blitz this weekend. They will play all three nights this weekend: Friday night they will play in Everett and they must turn around and play Seattle at 2 pm on Saturday. They top it off with a 5 pm Sunday game against Spokane. Personally, I think it's an evil conspiracy between the Portland Trailblazers (who must use the Coliseum Saturday night) and the WHL Schedulers to make us play our archenemies back to back. Good for Hawks fans. Not so much for the players, who I predict will get a little punchy come Sunday, literally and metaphorically.

That being said, for players like Ryan Johansen, who informed me that he will not be keeping me entertained with so much as a smidgen of a little scrap because he's never starting a fight, ever, unless it's for one of several exclusive reasons, including defending a teammate or to get the guys fired up. In that case, may I suggest he take the opportunity on the bus ride to or from Everett to review this easy guide from Down Goes Brown on "How To Fight When You Don't Want to Fight." For Ryan, may I suggest employing the best case scenario.

Next up: Check out to keep up with me and the Winterhawks fight tally this weekend.

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