Friday, May 31, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

From the past is prologue department... Lois Lerner, the embattled IRS executive in charge of the division that approved non-profit applications for tax exempt status, was the Director of the Federal Election Commission  Enforcement Division in the late 90's. Lerner exhibited her animosity toward conservative groups in this role, a trait that carried over to her tenure at the IRS. Lerner's division at the FEC sued the Christian Coalition (the government lost) and was involved in numerous harassing activities against conservative groups and political candidates. In 1996, her division of the FEC sued Al Salvi, a Republican candidate for Congress from Illinois. Salvi was running against Richard Durbin,  a Democrat who currently holds the seat. Salvi loaned his campaign  over a million dollars in the last weeks of the contest to buy ads in the Chicago media market. Although a legal action, the Democrats filed suit with the FEC and Salvi had a meeting with Lerner. Salvi recounts to the Illinois Review the following: after several minutes into their meeting had elapsed, Lerner made this offer, "Promise me you  will never run for office again and we will drop this case."  The audacity of this statement by a supposedly unbiased FEC official is breathtaking. Lerner, as a tool of the Democrats, has taken these same tactics to the IRS and expanded them. Over 500 conservative groups were illegally targeted by her Division at the behest of the current administration. The necessity to clean up the IRS and the bloated federal bureaucracy  has never been more pressing, and the current brouhaha with the IRS should be a clarion call to all of us to demand this begin now.

My favorite camping store had a sale on boat paddles. It was quite an oar deal!

In 2011, the FBI raided Gibson Guitar Company in Nashville with a warrant to seize the company's inventory of wood used to make guitars. The premise for the warrant was a supposed violation of the 100 year old Lacey Act, in which Gibson was accused of improperly procuring wood from foreign sources, sources that harvested endangered species of wood. Gibson was never shown to have violated the Lacey Act; they did not illegally source their raw materials; and the final disposition of this matter (after a costly settlement to avoid a lengthy trial) from the government was that Gibson was warned that there was some "risk" in their supply chain as to suppliers potentially obtaining illegal materials. Here is the interesting fact: Henry Juszkiewicz is an active supporter of conservative causes and Republican politicians. Gibson's biggest competitor, C. F. Martin Company, the manufacturer of Martin Guitars, uses the same sources and suppliers for wood for their guitars. Guess what? Chris Martin, the owner, is a major supporter of liberal causes and Democrat candidates for office. Wanna guess if Martin Guitars was raided by the FBI? If you said "no" then you have been paying attention to the scandalous manipulation of the various departments of the federal government by the Obama administration to attack perceived "enemies". Pay attention to these scandals that are unfolding with this administration. The mindset that Washington should have all power and punish those who disagree with that view is exceedingly dangerous.

I asked my wife what a woman really want out the man in her life. She said "attentive lover", or maybe it was "a tent of lovers". I wasn't really paying attention.

You should get to know the name Judy Faulkner. Faulkner is a billionaire, a top Obama donor, and subsequently very well connected to the President. But that isn't why you should know her. She is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems, a taxpayer subsidized electronic medical records (EMR) company that will soon store nearly half of Americans medical records. On the surface, EMR should make the healthcare system more efficient by eliminating paper and streamlining the record keeping process. That's on the surface. The potential for dysfunction arises when one EMR system has a lack of interoperability with other systems. If a patient moves from one provider who uses one EMR system to another that uses a different system, those systems have to "talk" to each other to seamlessly transfer information. You know what I am about to say- EPIC Systems has zero operability with other EMR systems. It is a closed end system that cannot communicate with other systems and provide that efficient transfer of medical information. Now this might be something that you can work through if you are changing healthcare providers, but imagine if you require immediate emergency care. And your ER and hospital where you need that care doesn't use Epic Systems. There will be no access to your medical records. See the problem? The Obama administration has already spent $4 billion to move to an EMR system, and has committed another $6 billion. You don't need to be told where the lion's share of that money has gone.  We are spending an enormous amount of money on systems that will not improve patient outcomes and will actually create significant problems. So why are we spending our tax dollars to subsidize them? I think you know the answer to that one.

With all the scary news about problems with different foods, I practice safe eating. I always use a condiment.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second Round Review and Conference Championship Predictions

We are now down to the final four teams competing for the right to play for Lord Stanley's Cup. Let's take a look at the View's second round predictions as well as a look ahead. at the Conference championship round.

Western Conference

LA Kings vs San Jose Sharks

Prediction: Kings in 7

Reality:       Kings in 7

It would be easy to say that home ice was the deciding factor in this series, and it certainly helped the Kings. For me, though, the play of Jonathan Quick, the Kings stellar netminder, was the difference. Quick just got stronger as the series went along and was able to give the Kings the edge on home ice in game 7. This entire series was an absolute war, as both teams took the physical approach to every game. Antii Niemi was very good for the Sharks, but the Kings had just enough firepower to get past the challenge the Sharks presented.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings

Prediction: Chicago in 7

Reality:       Chicago in 7

Although I called the series and number of games correctly, I certainly didn't see the series unfolding the way it did. After capturing the first game, the Blackhawks were throttled over the next 3 as the Wings had a stranglehold on the series. Jimmy Howard played exceptionally well and stymied the explosive Hawks scoring machine. The Hawks, facing an embarrassing elimination, clawed their way back into the series, and after their win in Detroit to knot the series at 3 one had to feel that all the momentum was on their side heading back to the United Center for the decisive game 7. The Hawks, behind solid goaltending from Corey Crawford and the energy of their home crowd, prevailed in OT to capture the series, and the collective sigh of relief from the Blackhawk faithful  was of near tornadic proportions.

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators

Prediction: Penguins in 6

Reality:       Penguins in 5

The offensive horsepower of the Penguins overwhelmed Senators netminder Craig Anderson, who got very little help up front. While the Penguins are formidable offensively, their defense managed to shut down the Ottawa forwards and give Tomas Vokoun lots of help out front. Vokoun, a former Nashville Predator, has turned in to a feel good story since supplanting Marc-Andre Fleury in the first round of the playoffs. This is Vokoun's chance to get his name on the Stanley Cup, and he is playing excellent, confident hockey in goal. Couple that with the talent of the Penguins skaters, and the Senators were completely overmatched in this series.

Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers

Prediction: Bruins in 7

Reality:       Bruins in 5

The Bruins completely overwhelmed the Rangers, building a 3-0 series lead before prevailing in 5 games. The Bruins are relentless, playing a punishing physical game that takes their opponent off theirs. The fact that the B's can play that style of hockey and have a deft scoring touch is a deadly combination, and it was too much for the Rangers to handle. To me, the Rangers looked like an emotionally spent team that could not match the intensity of the Bruins. That is evidenced by their quick dispatch in 5 games.

So the view was a perfect 100% in his second round predictions, which only proves that blind hogs occasionally do find acorns.

Now on to the Conference finals and my fearless predictions...

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks vs Los Angeles Kings

The Red Wings demonstrated effectively that if you can get physical with the Hawks, you can take them off their game. In the form of the Kings, the Hawks are going to find a team that loves a physical, grind it out series. The Kings will bring more offensive prowess to this series than the hawks faced in the second round, so the Chicago D, especially the second and third pairs, are going to be tested. The Kings will face an opponent that will, as did San Jose in the second round, bring a lot of speed and the ability to forecheck effectively. Unlike the Sharks, the Hawks have much more offensive talent and will test the Kings D and netminder Jonathan Quick. This series could come down to the play of the goalies, and if that is the case, the edge goes to the Kings. While the Hawks have just gotten off a tougher than expected series with Detroit, the intensity and physicality of this series is going to several magnitudes greater. Because of that, I give the edge to L.A.

Prediction: Los Angeles in 7

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins

After each team had a bit of a tussle in the first round, they cruised through the second round to set up what should be a very interesting matchup. The Penguins noted offense will be tested by the Bruins D and their physical play. The Bruins are going to have to keep the Penguins forwards from gaining the zone with speed and they will have to give Tuuka Rask help out front. Fail to do this and this series will be over quickly. The Penguins, by contrast, are going to have to be ready to play a physical series and not let the physical play throw them off their game. The Bruins will need to continue to get timely scoring from all their lines, while the Penguins will look to have their big guns up front of Crosby, Malkin, Neal, et al, heat up early and force the B's to play from behind. There is big pressure on Rask to show he can win the high pressure series. I think he handles the pressure, but that the Penguins have too much offense for the B's to overcome.

Prediction:  Penguins in 7

So there you have it. Settle in for some exciting and intense playoff hockey.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My View: Memorial Day

"Time heals all wounds..."

We are all familiar with this adage. Time heals all wounds. Sorrows fade, hurts are diminished, painful emotions dissipate.
That is the power of time.
And as much as we need time to heal, we cannot let time diminish what is important, those things or people that should never be forgotten. Important memories should never fade.
Memorial Day is a day of honor and remembrance. The significance of Memorial Day should not be diminished by the passing of time. It is a day out of our hectic schedule that calls us to remember. Those recollections draw us as a free society to remember the cost of that freedom and the sacrifice of those men and women that have secured and preserved our liberties.
For some, even though time has passed, these recollections are painful. To remember means to recall loved ones that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. For some, time brings no solace.
Yet we remember. We have to do so. We have to know that our freedom has been won at a terrible cost to some.
And in remembering, we honor those that have willingly sacrificed all so that we can be free. We honor the lives that were taken too soon. We honor the families that have been left behind to deal with unimaginable loss. We honor those that returned with scarred bodies and psyches that will never be whole.
So we that are whole, that are free, and enjoy the liberties won by blood take time. We take this time to honor those that have sacrificed and are sacrificing for our freedom. We pause to say "thank you" for your sacrifice. We give you our time to honor your service.
Time may very well heal all wounds, but it does not diminish the magnitude of the sacrifice that has been made for our freedom.
This Memorial Day, the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of those that have served take time to offer our gratitude.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Housley Named Assistant Coach; Horachek Fired As Predators Shuffle Staff

Coming off a miserable season, the Nashville Predators have shuffled their coaching staff, terminating Assistant Head Coach Peter Horachek and naming Phil Housley as Assistant Coach.

Here is the press release from the Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that Phil Housley has been named assistant coach of the team. Housley coached the United States to a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championships and ranks fourth all-time among NHL defensemen in points (338g-894a-1,232pts).  

            “Phil brings a unique skill set to our coaching staff,” Poile said. “He was one of the most talented offensive defensemen to play in the NHL, and he has worked extensively with young players during his coaching career. He will continue to focus his efforts on our young defensemen and assisting on the power play.”
            Housley, 49 (3/9/64), has spent the last nine seasons in the coaching ranks, most recently serving as an assistant for Team USA at the 2013 World Championships that took home the bronze medal, the nation’s first medal at the tournament in nine years. He was also behind the bench for the U.S. National Team at the 2011 World Championships. In addition to leading the United States’ to its second world junior title in four years in January, Housley was an assistant coach at the tournament in both 2007 and 2011, helping each team claim the bronze medal. He was also one of two head coaches for the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September 2012. 

            “A coach with history as a defenseman who was offensively gifted and excelled on the power play is something we have never had on our coaching staff,” Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “His insight and viewpoint will bring a fresh perspective to our team.”  

            A native of South St. Paul, Minn., Housley was a seven-time NHL All-Star in a career that spanned 21 seasons (1982-2003) with eight teams (Buffalo, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Calgary, New Jersey, Washington, Chicago and Toronto). In addition to having posted the most points by an American defenseman in NHL history, he played the sixth-most games among all League blueliners (1,495). A first-round pick (sixth overall) by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. 

            A seven-time member of the U.S. National Team (1982, 1986, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003), Housley earned a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and helped Team USA capture the 1996 World Cup of Hockey title. He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in May 2012, and received USA Hockey’s Bob Johnson Award in 2000 for excellence in international competition.

Phil Housley at a glance: 

  • Head coach of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2013 World Junior Championships. Also helped Team USA to bronze medals at the tournament in 2007 and 2011. 

  • An assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2013 World Championships, helping the team claim the bronze medal, the nation’s first medal at the tournament since 2004. Also served as an assistant at the 2011 World Championships. 

  • Ranks fourth all-time among NHL defensemen in points (338g-894a-1,232pts), and sixth in games played (1,495). He ranks first among American-born blueliners in points, and second in games played.

  • Inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2012. Also the recipient of USA Hockey’s Bob Johnson Award in 2000 for excellence in international competition. 

  • A seven-time NHL All-Star Game selection (1984, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000). 

  • Broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old, posting 66 points (19g-47a) in 77 games, finishing second 1983 Calder Trophy voting while being named to the 1983 NHL All-Rookie Team. Two seasons later, he became the youngest defenseman in NHL history to score 30 goals. 

  • A seven-time member of the U.S. National Team (1982, 1986, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003)
  • A silver medalist at the 2002 Olympics and 1996 World Cup of Hockey champion.
At the end of the season, General manager David Poile had said that the coaching staff would be back. That obviously changed with the termination of Horachek, who was informed by phone yesterday that he would be relieved of his coaching duties.
Horachek had been behind the Predators bench since the 2003 season and had taken responsibility for the defense after Brent Peterson stepped out of his coaching role because of medical reasons in 2011. With the loss of Ryan Suter to free agency, the blue line was shuffled extensively this past season and Horachek had a number of young players that he had to work into the line up quickly.
Housley brings a wealth of experience and a quality pedigree to the Predators, and his ability to work with and develop young players should serve the team well.  His experience in this area should greatly benefit the young defensemen on the Predators roster and advance their game at a rapid pace.
The addition of Housley indicates that Poile- and perhaps the owners- felt that the team needed a new voice and a fresh approach to improving the blue line and developing the young defenseman in the system.
He will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact, and if he has the same kind of success that he has had in previous stints, the Predators will be a much better team.

The Predators Continue to Make a Positive Impact

Once again, the Nashville Predators organization has made a positive impact upon the quality of life in Middle Tennessee through grants distributed by the Predators Foundation. On Monday, the Predators Foundation distributed a record $405,000 to various charitable organizations. Here is the press release from the team:

The Nashville Predators Foundation distributed 113 grants, totaling $405,000 to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-based community service and charitable organizations, during a ceremony at Bridgestone Arena. The day was also highlighted by a fun-filled afternoon of on-ice activities and tours and appearances by Goaltender Pekka Rinne and mascot Gnash.  

This announcement marks the 15th grant distribution by the Predators Foundation. Since its 1998 inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million in financial grants to Nashville and Middle Tennessee community service and charitable organizations. Between the grants and other charitable donations, such as player ticket programs and fund-raising efforts, the Foundation put more than $1 million back into the community during the 2012-13 season. 

            “To raise a record $405,000 for local charities in a shortened season is a true testament to our fans, players and staff,” Nashville Predators President and Chief Operating Officer Sean Henry said. “Without their dedication and loyalty to our annual events, this largest donation in franchise history would not be possible. Thanks to the support and generosity of Smashville, youth from Middle Tennessee and across the state will continue to benefit from the funding that the Nashville Predators put back into the community each and every season.”           

Upon reviewing nearly 250 grant applications, and keeping consistent with the Foundation’s mission, the grant committee selected programs that will primarily benefit youth and families. Of 113 total charities, 36 were outside of the Nashville area. 

Each year the Predators choose four organizations to serve as featured charities for the season. In addition to financial grants, the Predators Foundation provides these featured charities with organizational visits by players and Preds personalities as well as added exposure, awareness and visibility for the charity. The featured charities for the 2013-14 season are Bridges, formerly League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; GraceWorks; Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County; and Nurses for Newborns. The grant money will benefit local youth in many ways, such as:  


  • Cumberland Valley Arc, Inc – Funding will benefit Project 22, a program that will enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing, training and social activities and by promoting volunteer work in the community.
  • The Land Trust for Tennessee – Funding will grow its program of Harvest and History Field Trips, targeting Nashville area elementary classes through 2013.
  • Nashville Youth Hockey League – Funding will purchase up to 100 sets of One Goal Starter Equipment and related hockey items, such as sticks and jerseys, to offer either free or nearly free Learn To Play program as a transition from the G.O.A.L. program
  • STARS – Funding will provide educational character development puppet presentations to all elementary schools located on post at Fort Campbell.

Established in September 1998, the Predators Foundation strives to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of the community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations. All 501(c)3 organizations in Middle Tennessee are eligible to receive grants, which are distributed once a year. Annual grant applications were received by mid-February for consideration. Additionally, the Nashville Predators have donated more than $400,000 to the Nashville Predators Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt over the past three years, with another donation slated for this summer. 

Breakdown of grant amounts by year are as follows:

1999 - $145,927

2000 - $250,850

2001 - $226,048

2002 - $211,729

2003 - $154,980

2004 - $146,040

2005 - $54,152

2006 - $149,348

2007 - $240,110

2008 - $250,524

            2009 - $260,000

            2010 - $305,000

            2011 - $325,059

            2012 - $350,269

            2013 - $405,000
Kudos the to the Predators for their continued involvement and commitment to our community, and to the Predator fans who support the team and help make these gifts possible.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

Last week, I mentioned how the IRS was going to be the enforcement arm of Obamacare. After the revelations of this past week, that should make each and every one of us very nervous. The IRS targeted conservative groups, delaying the approval of their application as a tax exempt organization. Oh, the IRS went far beyond delaying the applications. The government agency wanted to know who every donor was; wanted to know those donor's occupations and addresses; even going so far as asking some groups for copies of their Facebook posts or tweets that had been posted to Twitter. The funny thing about this tactic used against conservative groups was that groups that leaned to left breezed through the application process. Yet the IRS wants us to believe there was no bias, no deliberate delay. And I have a bridge that I need to sell to you.We all know that the enforcement powers of the IRS can make life miserable for anyone that gets afoul of that agency. The IRS tried to use its power to discourage the applications of groups that have a political orientation that is contrary to the current regime. And the claim that low level functionaries in the Cincinnati IRS office were responsible for this? Complete and utter bulls**t. This was orchestrated from the highest levels in Washington. Seeing this kind of action by this powerful agency should give everyone pause when you consider how involved this entity will be in our individual health care system.

In times past, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it is called golf.

Sarah Hall Ingram. Does that name sound familiar? It should. She is the IRS official that was over the division that approved or denied the applications for tax exempt status by civic and charitable organizations. Hall served in this capacity from 2009 to 2012, the time frame when the IRS went into its delay and discover mode with the applications of conservative groups. Hall has been, up to now, insulated from this controversy as her successor, James Grant, is taking the fall for the actions of IRS agents. Grant was, however, the deputy commissioner of this department while Hall helmed this division. Why is this important? Hall now heads the IRS Division responsible for implementing Obamacare. Feeling a bit uneasy yet? Imagine the potential for interference and undue involvement from the IRS in the healthcare arena. I for one do not want the government any more involved in my health decisions than they currently are. And to have the IRS Division responsible for enforcing Obamacare led by Hall, who was on watch when her division went on a witch hunt, is deeply troubling.

Changing my lifestyle is difficult. I cannot find a decaffeinated coffee table anywhere.

Lest you think that I exaggerate about the involvement of Hall and others out of the Washington office of the IRS, inquiries to conservative groups about their donors originated from the Washington office of the IRS as well as Cincinnati, El Monte, CA, and Laguna Niguel, CA. While Hall has not been directly implicated (yet), I find it very hard to believe that these3 actions did not occur without her knowledge as the Commissioner of this division. Douglas Shulman, who was Commissioner of the agency and retired in November, 2012, received a briefing about the reviews initiated by the Cincinnati office from the Treasury Inspector General. The current acting Chairman of the IRS, Steven Miller, was also briefed in November 2012. The problem this whole situation presents is that a powerful agency charged with impartially enforcing the tax law has been dramatically politicized, and that politicization has been used to hammer opponents of the current administration. This should make all of as citizens very afraid, and we should push our elected leaders to scrutinize this agency and its actions thoroughly.

"I am" is the shortest sentence. "I do" is the longest.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Round Review and Second Round Predictions

Time to take a look back at the first round predictions and launch into my fearless second round prognostications. Here is what I said about the first round:

Western Conference

Chicago vs. Minnesota

Prediction: Chicago in 5

Reality:       Chicago in 5

Too much horsepower from the Blackhawks to begin with, but when starting goaltender for the Wild Niklas Backstrom went down with an injury before game one, the Wild's chances of winning this series went to zero. Josh Harding played well, but the Wild couldn't muster enough defense to keep him from being under siege. By contrast, the Wild could not bury pucks when they had the opportunity.

Anaheim vs Detroit

Prediction: Anaheim in 6

Reality:       Detroit in 7

I said that if the Wings were going to have any chance of winning this series, Jimmy Howard had to play spectacularly. He did. Add in the fact that several of the Wings younger players stepped up along with the steadying veteran play of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and the Wings were poised to pull off an upset. The Ducks did not get enough consistency out of their stars like Getzlaf, Ryan, Perry, and Selanne. At times, they were exceptionally strong and at times, they disappeared.

Vancouver vs. San Jose

Prediction: Vancouver in 5

Reality:       San Jose in 4

The Canucks were the more talented team offensively, but the Sharks were not far behind. The difference between the two teams was simply heart. The Sharks imposed their will on the Canucks, and rather than man up and respond, they chose to dive and whine for calls from the officials. The goaltending carousel did help either, as neither Loungo nor Schneider could seem to establish rhythm or make the timely stop. Completely didn't see the Canucks falling apart like they did in this one.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles

Prediction:  Los Angeles in 7

Reality:        Los Angeles in 6

After spotting the Blues a 2-0 lead in the series, the Kings asserted themselves and dominated the Blues for the next four games. Jonathan Quick was stellar, and his puck handling gaffe that cost the Kings game one did not seem to haunt him. The Blues are a big, physical team; the Kings were even more physical and shut down the Blues goal scorers in the final four games with stifling defense. The Blues had no response and were dispatched for the second straight year by the Kings.

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh vs. New York Islanders

Prediction:  Pittsburgh in 5

Reality:        Pittsburgh in 6

The Pens are thanking their lucky stars that they have a quality back up in Tomas Vokoun. After a couple of shaky outing by Marc-Andre Fleury, Vokoun came on and steady the net and the Pens won two straight with him between the pipes. Credit the Isles, who battled and made it tougher on the Pens than many imagined. This series exposed a few weakness for the number one seeded Pens, and it will be interesting to see how they adjust for the second round.

Montreal vs. Ottawa

Prediction: Montreal in 6

Reality:       Ottawa in 5

The Sens got exceptional goaltending from Craig Anderson, timely scoring, and a heaping dose of nastiness in dispatching the Canadiens. I cannot recall seeing a line brawl in a Stanley Cup playoff game. Until this series. The Canadiens ran into a hot goaltender who stymied their scorers, but even more damaging for them was an injury bug that bit them hard. They lost starting netminder Carey Price and several other key players, and those losses were too much to overcome.

Boston vs Toronto

Prediction: Boston in 6

Reality:       Boston in 7

The Bruins had the experience and seemed to have the better talent. The upstart maple leafs gave the Bruins everything they wanted, and if not for a late game collapse in game 7, would have captured the series. I have to think the fact that the Bruins had 17 players in their line up that had played a game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs made the difference, as the Bruins scored three late goals in game 7 to send it to overtime before capturing the win. We will see if the Bruins have used all their luck and playoff mojo in this series as they move to the second round.

Washington vs New York Rangers

Prediction: Washington in 7

Reality:       New York in 7

Henrik Lundqvist showed why he is a Vezina winner as he stepped his game up to another level and out dueled Braden Holtby to help the Rangers win the series. The experience of the Rangers along with their toughness and perseverance were the difference in this series. Washington will look back at this series and rue the fact that their stars did not step up and play like stars.

So there you have it. In the first round, the View was 4 for 8 in his predictions. Now, on to the second round.

Western Conference

Chicago vs. Detroit

If the Blackhawks look past the Red Wings, they will find themselves on the golf course sooner than they expect. The Hawks have the best talent in the NHL, but they are going to have to bring it to take this series with the Wings. Never underestimate the ability of Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock to have his team ready to play. If the Wings can get to Hawks netminder Corey Crawford early, they will have a chance to win this series. The hawks have to challenge Jimmy Howard, and I believe they have the talent to make his life miserable.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 7

San Jose vs. Los Angeles

Two big, physical teams that will beat the tar out of each other is what this series portends. The Kings have shown they relish these types of games, and that will give them an edge as the series goes on. The Sharks have to have stellar play from Antii Niemi if they are going to have a chance to win. He has been hot of late and that strong play has to continue. The Kings will eventually wear down the Sharks, but it will be a rough series.

Prediction: Kings in 7

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh vs Ottawa

The Pens are an explosive team that has the ability to fill the net. The Sens have a wall in net in the form of Craig Anderson. If the Ottawa netminder can continue his outstanding play and get some help from the skaters in front of him, the Senators can push the Penguins. The big question for Pittsburgh is going to be how Marc-Andre Fleury plays. If he is on his game, the Penguins should win this series. If he struggles, they will turn to experienced backup Tomas Vokoun, but that would no doubt rattle their confidence. Look for the Senators to be surprisingly tough, especially if Anderson is on his game.

Prediction: Penguins in 6

Boston vs New York Rangers

The question for the Bruins is will there be any gas in the tank after an emotional and physically draining first round win over the Maple Leafs. The Bruins will look to make this a physical, chippy series. They will find a willing dance partner in the Rangers. If Rick Nash can find his game, the Rangers should win this series. That is a very big "if" as he was a non-factor in the opening series with the Capitals. This series will be a war of attrition, and I think that favors the Bruins.

Prediction: Bruins in 7

There you have it. For hockey fans, this is a wonderful time of year to watch intense hockey with everything on the line.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

We know that we live in a global economy, one in which capital (money) can move freely across borders and businesses are quick to move to parts of the world that offer opportunities for growth and profits. There are a number of factors that affect the ability of a company to be profitable, such as availability of labor, tax rates, and the rule of law. About that last item... Whether individuals or companies, we all want to know what the rules are and we want them applied fairly. And we want the legal system to be accessible and cost effective. A legal system that is too expensive for most to access or is so complex fails to serve the public. And, surprise, that is what is happening in the United States. The U.S. now has the most expensive legal system in the world, which makes it more difficult and costly to conduct business and is often an impediment to access for individuals. According to the Fraser Institute in Canada, which assesses legal systems across the globe, the United States was only one of 20 major countries where it had gotten more difficult to do business since 2000. To confirm that finding, research from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland uses 22 metrics to measure institutional (national) quality, including ethics, protection of property rights, and access to the legal system. The United States is not in the top 20 countries for 21 of their 22 measurements. This is appalling but expected when the legal system is designed to benefit the lawyers more than the people it represents. Unfortunately, it is only going to get worse as Congress adds new laws to the books that serve as fodder for the legal profession.

I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

The Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF) report was released this week to Congress, and while it may get some attention for a few days, it will quickly fade from the public eye. It shouldn't. Some of the numbers are truly staggering. For instance, the net present value of the unfunded liability of social security will go up to approximately $23 TRILLION dollars. This simply means that if the fund were to be actually solvent and have the funds necessary to pay all its future obligations, there would need to be $23 trillion in the bank. There is nothing in the bank, so to speak, except the ability of the government to continue to issue more debt to have the funds to pay beneficiaries. Also in the report is the fact that over the previous 10 years, the SSTF has cost taxpayers an additional $500 billion as lower interest rates have cause the fund not to earn interest income at projected levels. This has forced the government to issue additional bonds to make up the shortfall. The date where funds received will be less than funds paid out has been moved back once again, this time to 2017. This is much, much earlier than projected. This situation means that benefits will be cut; taxes will be raised; or some combination of the two. While this will not have a long shelf life with today's media, all of us would be wise to stay focused as this is going to have an impact financially on every wage earner and retiree. And it is not going to be good.

You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.

Having recently filed tax returns, the IRS is still fresh on most people's minds. If we are unfortunate to have to interact with the IRS beyond filing our returns, most would say it is an uncomfortable experience. Well, how about the IRS now getting involved in your health care? Under Obamacare, the socialized medical program, the IRS is poised to play a dominant role in our healthcare system. The agency is charged with administering 47 different provisions of Obamacare, including levying penalties against businesses and individuals that do not comply with the insurance mandate. The IRS will also be involved with the distribution of subsidies to people making less than $45K per year; they will collect the Medicaid surtax on those making more than $200K per year; they will be involved in the state run health exchanges, and the list goes on. We have seen that the agency can be heavy handed and certainly inefficient. Now imagine them involved in numerous phases of our healthcare system. My take... exercise, eat right, take your vitamins, and don't get sick.

I was going to write something using invisible ink, but drew a blank.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Update on the Predators MASH Unit

David Poile today gave an update today on a number of the injured Predators and their progress. Here is what he had to say:

Pekka Rinne

Pekka had arthroscopic surgery on an injured hip yesterday and according to Poile, this was not related to an injury suffered during his time in the KHL. The labrum was repaired and the injury was from normal wear that many goalies get from their movement around the net. Pekka and team officials consulted with specialists, and it was felt that the surgery was necessary to prevent a more serious injury and it was surgery from which Pekka could fully recover and resume his normal high level of play. Recovery time is normally four months, which means that if all goes well, Pekka should be ready at the start of training camp. His off season training will be altered significantly as he recovers from the surgery.

Colin Wilson

Wilson had surgery on one of his shoulders three weeks ago, and had surgery on the second one this past Monday. Both surgeries were to repair a subluxation, an instability that affects strength and mobility. Wilson is going through rehab and will be ready for training camp.

Gabriel Bourque

Bourque had surgery to repair a damaged MCL in his knee. The surgery went well and he has been cleared by the doctors and is skating again.

Sergei Kostitsyn

He had surgery to repair an injured MCL. He is skating and should be fully cleared by the doctors soon.

Brandon Yip

Fully recovered from surgery and is cleared by the doctors.

Paul Gaustad

His surgery was successful and he will be ready for training camp.

Matt Halischuk

Surgery was successful and he will be ready for the start of training camp.

Poile did not elaborate on the nature of the surgeries for Halischuk and Gaustad.

The Predators lost 130 man games to injury in the recently completed season. As you can see by the names listed above, key players were missing from the line up for extensive periods, and it is obvious that it impacted the play of the team.

It is good to hear that the surgeries have been successful. Obviously there is concern about the off season work and conditioning for Pekka and the question of whether he will be ready when the season starts.

Grading the Predators: The Forwards

Any discussion of the Predators lack of success this past season has to focus on the drop in production from the forwards. And it was not just a small decline, but one that saw the team plummet from the 8th most productive team in terms of goal scoring the previous season to one that was tied with the Florida panthers for dead last in the NHL.


Looking at the performance of the Predator forwards this past season is a lot like looking at a horrific accident- gruesome yet one cannot avert their eyes. So let's take a look at the carnage...

David Legwand  48 GP  12G 13A  25 points  -6

To tell you how bad the forwards were as a group, Legwand was the leading scorer with 12 goals and 25 points. And this comes with a number of games that Legwand played without taking a single shot on net. I know that Legwand often (always) draws the opponent's top forwards and plays in a defensive capacity first. And let's give him his props- he does a fairly good job of that. However, Legwand fails to consistently generate offensive production or sometimes even the threat of offensive production. his creativity with the puck is lacking, and consequently his line mates suffer because of that.

Legwand's production in the abbreviated season would have translated to 20 goals and 22 assists over a full 82 game schedule. He has achieved the 20 goal plateau only twice in his career, but notably, his assists dropped to the lower end of his historic production. On a team that desperately needed scoring, Legwand had to do more with the puck and set up his wingers. That did not get done effectively.

The reality is that Legwand is a solid third or fourth line center that can play solid defense and chip in a some production. Relying on him as a first or second line center almost ensured that offensive production would suffer.

Final grade: C-

Mike Fisher  38 GP  10G 11A  21 points +6

Like most of the forwards, Fisher had stretches where he struggled to even get shots on net, much less score. while the team needed more out of him offensively, he was a leader with his hustle and physical play. Fisher doesn't shy away from contact and he battles in front of the net and in the hard areas. The team needed his leadership by example, and he did not disappoint in that regard. 

Injuries caused him to miss 10 games. Upon his return, he started to score some goals with regularity. Fisher has shown the tendency to be a streaky scorer, and the Predators needed him to start a goal scoring streak much earlier in the season.

Fisher gets high marks for his steadiness and leadership on and off the ice. It is hoped that the drop in production is an aberration and not a trend.

Final Grade: C

Colin Wilson  25 GP  7G 12A  19 points  +1

Wilson was well on his way to what could have been a breakout season before a shoulder injury ended his year. Wilson has good size, above average speed, and exceptional puck handling skills and was utilizing all those tools to become a forward that opponents had to respect and match up with their top defensemen.  More importantly, Wilson was showing more maturity than at any time since he was drafted. This was reflected in his off season training and his play on the ice.

The test for Wilson will be to bring that same effort and results to the ice next season. Having seen a glimpse of what he can do, this coming year becomes pivotal in his maturity and development. Play and produce like he did in his shortened season and he will become a valuable forward in the Predators lineup.

Final Grade: B

Sergei Kostitsyn  46 GP  3G 12A  15 points  -5

To say that Sergei's season was disappointing is both a blinding flash of the obvious and a gross understatement. It was a brutal season for a forward counted on to provide offensive production. Although the team needed him to deliver in the offensive zone, Kostitsyn inexplicably refused to shoot the puck and was an more often than not a no-show. How bad was it? For the first time since his rookie campaign with Montreal, his shots per game total dipped below 1. For a player that was counted on to bring consistent offensive production, this was unacceptable.

Not that his game was totally awful. When he was on the ice, he hustled and was a valuable member of the PK unit. He also had PP time. In fact, the coaches used him in just about every situation to attempt to get his game going. The fact is, no player can get their offensive game going if they attempt a shot. Too many times this season, that was the story for Sergei.

Final Grade: F

Patric Hornqvist  24 GP 4G 10A  14 points  -1

Hornqvist has his season cut short by injuries, and this injury may have affected the team more than most realize. Not only is his presence in the hard areas in front of the net needed by the team, but they also draw from his energy, enthusiasm, and attitude. With Hornqvist out the line up, it seemed that no one stepped up to provide that spark.

Hornqvist recently signed a 5 year contract extension, stating that he loved Nashville and wanted to be a part of this organization. That is positive for him, of course, but it is positive for the team. They need his leadership and his fire both in the locker room and on the ice. Provided that he can stay healthy, his presence will bolster the performance of the team next season.

Final Grade: B

Gabriel Bourque  34 GP  11G 5A  16 points  +6

Bourque quickly emerged as a force for the Predators, showing that he did not shy away from contact and playing hard minutes against the opponents top line. At the time of his injury, he was the leading scorer on the team, and many of his goals were from tough areas in front of and around the net.

Watching Bourque, he rarely took a shift off, and showed a willingness to initiate contact and drive the net. His hustle and speed forced defenses to account for him, which helped to open up ice for his line mates. As he matures both physically and in his game, I look for him to provide even more offense and be used on special teams.

Final Grade: B

Nick Spaling  47GP  9G 4A  13 points  -10

I like Spals, but he falls into a category of which the Predators have too many: average to below average sized forwards that hustle but cannot consistently score. Spaling is versatile, can play in all situations. However, he is never going to be the type of forward that can control the puck and present a serious offensive threat.

Spaling has proven to be an opportunistic scorer, but those opportunities become limited when the defensive pressure steps up in a close game. His plus/minus was the second worst among the forwards

Final Grade: D

Craig Smith  44 GP  4G 8A  12 points  -11

Oh, Honey Badger... you have perhaps the best skill set of all the forwards on the team, yet you had a miserable year. Your sophomore slump was more like a dive off the edge of a cliff.  As the season wore on, it became apparent that not amount of coaching or a trip to Milwaukee was going to revive his game, which was awful.

To his credit, Smith owned his horrible season and said he had to improve. It did not appear that his effort stopped or fell off because he was still flying on the ice and going hard every shift. If there is anything positive that can come out of this it will be learning from this dismal season and adjusting his work habits and his game to improve his performance. The team desperately needs him to do that and become more productive.

Final Grade: F

Matt Halischuk  36 GP  5G 6A  11 points  +1

Halischuk is another of those players on the Predators roster that has more heart than talent. he is going to give you maximum effort. Unfortunately, his skill set does not translate into goals. He is a good role player that can play in most situations, is usually dependable, and rarely makes a glaring mistake.

There were some stretches, especially late in the season, where Hustlechuk was the best player on the ice. That speaks to the effort and hustle that he demonstrated. it also spoke to the dearth of talent that the Predators were fielding.

Final Grade: C

Rich Clune  47 GP  4G 5A  9 points  +3

Truthfully... early in the season, I wondered what on earth Clune was doing on the roster. he seemed to add nothing to the team. As the season wore on, however, my opinion changed. Clune is all heart and his motor never stops running. He was willing to drop the gloves even in situations where he was overmatched to defend his teammates or to try to spark the squad. Besides just being a fighter, Clune exhibited good speed, handled the puck well, and did a good job creating some offensive opportunities when his line was on the ice.

Final Grade: B

Bobby Butler  20 GP  3G 6A  9 points  -2

Butler got more ice time as injuries took their toll on the Predators, and he used that opportunity to make the case to be on the roster next season. Butler has very good speed, good hands, and good hockey sense. Those attributes need to translate into more scoring, and late in the season, he showed a glimpse of his abilities. I believe he will challenge for a roster spot next season.

Final Grade: C+

Brandon Yip  34 GP  3G 5A  8 points  -3

The Yipper is a big body that is...a big body. An average skater that is at best suited for 4th line minutes. Doesn't handle the puck well, doesn't fight well- although he is willing to give it a go. Stick tap for that. I am frankly unsure of why he has a roster spot, and if some of the young guys that saw action this year continue their development, he very well might not next season.

Final Grade: D-

Paul Gaustad  23 GP 2 G 3A  5 points  -4

Goose got a big contract and extension from the team. I like him and think his veteran presence is good for this young team. I don't like him at the salary we are paying him. Superb as a face off man, the remainder of his skill set is average at best. Injuries shortened his season, so it will be interesting to see how he comes back and what he can contribute over a full slate of games. One would hope that he could anchor a third line and chip in with some solid production. The jury is still out on that.

Final Grade: D

Chris Mueller  18 GP  2G 3A  5 points  -4

Mueller was competitive, hustled, and battled when he was on the ice. Occasionally he showed a pretty good shot. The audition did little to convince me that he is ready for prime time and will need to continue to develop his game in Milwaukee.

Final Grade: C-

Taylor Beck  16 GP  3G 4A  7 points  0 +/-

Beck impressed before an injury cut short his stay with the Predators. He used his big frame to retrieve the puck in the corners and mix it up in front of the net. He has a good shot and was not afraid to put the puck on net. Not the fastest skater, but his speed is adequate and generally he made good decisions with the puck.

Beck has the physical size and the mentality to go to the hard areas and be successful. I look for Beck to be on the roster in Nashville next season.

Final Grade: B

The Kids

Taking a look at the youngsters that made a brief appearance late in the season for the Predators:

Kevin Henderson

Not afraid to mix it up physically and go to the hard areas. Will never be a big time scorer, but a gritty, glue type player. Will probably start the season in Milwaukee.

Final Grade: C

Filip Forsberg

Handled himself very well for an 18 year old thrust into regular ice time. Great hockey sense and can really handle the puck. He has the potential to be an elite player in the NHL, and it will be interesting to see how the Predators handle his development. A smooth skater that gets himself into the scoring areas.

Final Grade: B

Austin Watson

A big body that needs to battle harder for position and the puck. You could see flashes of his potential but you could also see him struggle at times with the speed of the game. he could possibly stick on the roster, but I would not be surprised to see him back in Milwaukee to start the season.

Final Grade: C-

Daniel Bang

Another big bodied forward that showed some good compete level during his time in Nashville. Not afraid to get physical and use his size to retrieve the puck. He is a good skater with good speed for his size. he probably needs some more time in Milwaukee to develop his game.

Final Grade: C

One final, special grade...

for Marty Erat. To say he had a disappointing season is an understatement. To say he was a disappointment not only in his play but as a veteran leader is stating the obvious. Marty has tremendous talent but this season that talent was squandered. Marty said that he didn't like the direction of the team, going with younger players, and decided to bail. That certainly colors my perception of Marty, but the fact is that his production went into the toilet. One can only speculate as to the reasons why, but it was apparent that he had lost his desire to compete for the team and do what it took to win games. As a result, he was invisible when the team needed him. Certainly not what a veteran leader does.

Final Grade: F

There you have it, my view of the forwards.

Up next, I will grade the coaching staff and the GM, and discuss the intangibles of the season.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grading the Predators: The Defense

We continue our look at the Predators as we move to the blue liners. The defense this season took on a new look with the departure of Ryan Suter and the addition of several young players that logged some big minutes.

Just as this season was a work in progress, so next season should see some changes and some opportunities for additional playing time for some younger players.

As we look at the defense, the discussion starts with...

Shea Weber  48 GP  9G 19A 28 points  -2

Weber averaged 25:55 time on ice and played against the opponents top offensive line all season. Paired with a new defense partner in Roman Josi, his production started slowly but picked up late in the season. His 28 points would translate to 48 points over the course of a full season. Weber was solid in all phases of the game, but his power play production suffered as Josi took some time to settle in as his partner on the man advantage and teams worked to take away his booming shot from the point.

Weber's leadership is not often in the public eye, but he is a solid captain and the unequivocal leader of this team. His drive and consistent play helped to steady a team that at times was unsteady.

Because of the turnover and youth on the blue line, Weber played significant minutes but showed no signs of fatigue physically or mentally. His ability to shut down top forwards makes him one of the best defensemen in the League.

Considering the adjustment to a new partner on the blue line and the youth of the team, I believe this was actually one of the stronger seasons that Weber has produced.

Final Grade: A

Roman Josi  48 GP  5G 13A 18 points  -7

The big question for the Predators was who would play alongside Weber after the departure of Ryan Suter. That question was quickly answered by the play of Josi. He proved to be very steady, calm, and a deft puck handler. Josi rarely seemed to get rattled and was good with the first pass on the breakout. Josi showed the ability to handle the puck well and was not afraid to get involved in the offensive attack. He has a deceptively good shot, which he needs to use more.

Josi is not the physical player that will deliver a crushing check, but in general he was positionally sound. He occasionally got beaten by more experienced forwards, as his +/- rating attests, but he logged some big minutes alongside Weber against top forwards.

Josi will continue to improve his game and the experience of this season will serve him well. He needs to get stronger, but at 22 years of age, that will come.

Final Grade: B+

Kevin Klein  47 GP  3G 11A 14 points  -1

Klein had a quietly solid season, and did a good job of helping Victor Bartley settle in on the blue line. Klein is not a flashy player, but he is consistently in good position and sound in the defensive zone. Klein averaged just over 20 minutes a game in time on ice in the second D pairing.

Klein did an excellent job of steadying the second pairing, especially when Bartley joined the line up. Klein helped his young defensive partner adjust to NHL play and they formed a quality duo that could play some important minutes.

Klein will not put up big offensive numbers, but can score some timely goals and contribute with the distribution of the puck. His game, however, is to play sound defense and solidify the second pairing. He has done that well.

Final Grade: A-

Hal Gill  32 GP 0G 0A  0 points -3

Injuries plagued Gill this season, causing him to miss 16 games. In the twilight of his career, Gill is not going to be counted on to produce points. What he brings to the team is his leadership, the ability to play some quality third line minutes, and his prowess on the penalty kill. Gill excels in the PK, and the Predators relied heavily on the big defenseman to play some big minutes on this special team. When he was healthy, he responded well in this role.

Gill is still adept at using his physical stature at keeping the front of the net clear at even strength or on the PK. Gill will never be an exceptional puck handler or goal scorer, but his ability to provide solid third line minutes were much need by the Predators.

Gill was often paired with different partners on the blue line, and this affected chemistry. It is a compliment to his ability that he could adjust to changing partners several times throughout the course of the season.

His durability and health remain a question, and his minutes will be limited because of these factors.

Final Grade: C+

Victor Bartley  24 GP 0G 7A  7 points  +2

Bartley was called up mid-season from Milwaukee and surprised pleasantly. Paired with Kevin Klein for most of the season, Bartley showed good defensive zone presence and positioning. He has good size and used that physical presence to establish position and police the front of the net effectively.

At 25, Bartley is older than some of the more heralded defensemen in the system, and this seemed to make Bartley more determined to stick on the roster. Rarely did he fail to bring a solid effort every game, and as he settled in, he saw more ice time as the coaches grew more confident in his game.

Like any young player, Bartley was victimized by more experienced forwards and guilty of some rookie mistakes. Those mistakes were that- rookie mistakes. There would be more concern if those mistakes were from a lack of effort.

I see Bartley on the roster next season and more upside to his game.

Final Grade: B

Jonathan Blum  35 GP  1G 7A  8 points  -1

The end of last season saw Blum at a critical juncture in his career. His mandate from the coaches was to get stronger and commit to improving his game. This season, there were flashes of that off season work. Blum had third line minutes with Hal Gill and there was a short lived experiment of a pairing with Ryan Ellis. Thankfully, it was a brief experiment.

Blum still finds himself at a crossroad. As an undersized D-man, he is not going to see top line minutes. He has to be excellent at making good decisions with the puck, contribute offensively, and not be a defensive liability. Frankly, the jury is still out on those attributes. Flashes of potential have been shown, but Blum has to be more consistent in his total game.

Final Grade: C-

Ryan Ellis  32 GP  2G 4A  6 points  -2

Another undersized defenseman, Ellis was tabbed to be an offensive defenseman that could quarterback the power play, contribute points from the blue line, and use his smarts to be a solid defender.

There is no doubt that Ellis has offensive skills and talent. The problem is that there are limited circumstances where those offensive talents can shine. The grind of being an NHL defenseman may be too much for Ellis. As much as the coaching staff tried to protect Ellis by matching him against the opponents third or fourth lines, Ellis was still at times (most of the time) overmatched physically. The Predators cannot afford to reserve a roster spot for a power play specialist and a limited minute blue liner.

Although Ellis saw a lot of action this season, I will be surprised if he sticks on the roster next year.

Final Grade: D

Mattias Ekholm  1 GP  0G 0A  0 points  -1

Although Ekholm appeared in only one game, he finally made the move to North America and spent the season in Milwaukee. Ekholm has the talent and the size to be a quality NHL defenseman. The question is does he have the drive and mental edge to make it in the NHL? Ekholm's placid demeanor gives no indication of his drive or desire, and frankly, his brief appearances this season and last in Nashville give no clue.

If Ekholm can get that edge and show that he belongs on the roster, the Predators will benefit.

Final Grade: Incomplete

Up next, grading the forwards. It won't be pretty. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Grading the Predators: The Goalies

The playoffs have begun and the Predators find themselves on the outside looking in, a position to which they have grown unaccustomed.

As we look back over the season, we can point our finger at several developments that resulted in the team missing the post season. Injuries certainly took their toll. The hockey gods did not smile favorably on the team.

And of course, there are the players themselves.

We are going to grade the Predators and look at their performance in the recently completed season.

The Predators have consistently said they built the team from the net out, so let's start with the goalies.

Pekka Rinne   15-16-8   2.43 GAA   .910 Save %

Pekka was once again the workhorse for the Predators, starting 42 games. Peks recorded 5 shut outs and kept most games close for a team that struggled to score goals. Considering that the Predators tied for dead last in the NHL in goal scoring, this was no mean feat. Yet Rinne at times looked average, and it was revealed after the season that he had played the full year with an undisclosed injury. That may explain the middle of the road season.

Rinne lead the NHL with shutouts with 5; his 15 wins were good for 19th in the League, but his 16 losses were the 5th worst. His goals against average was not up to his usual standard, good for 25th in the League, and his save % was good for 18th. With an offensively challenged team, those numbers were not good enough to get the team to the post season.

Rinne lost his mojo in shoot outs, which was a complete reversal from last season. Again, the extent of his injury is unknown, but one has to believe it came into play in the skills competition. Rinne's save % in shoot outs slumped to .556 compared to last season's .794.

The Predators have relied on Rinne to keep them close in games and give them a chance to win. Although his effort cannot be faulted, the fact that he was more pedestrian meant the Predators would have their struggles.

Rinne's leadership and competitiveness are unparalleled, and I expect him to rebound in the coming season. The issue of his health affected his play this season and his final grade.

Final Grade: B

Chris Mason  1-7-1  3.73 GAA  .873 Save %

 Mace showed flashes of brilliance, making great saves and playing exceptionally well in the last game of the season against Columbus. Too often, though, his play was spotty and he failed to come up with timely saves. Part of this may have been the fact that he went long stretches without playing and could not get used to the speed of the game. Perhaps the bigger question for the coaching staff is have Mason's skills diminished to the point that he cannot serve in the back up role.

The Predators needed to have Mason contribute some quality starts, but as his record shows, he could not backstop the team to wins. One has to wonder if the coaching staff lost confidence in Mason.

Mason is good in the locker room and a quality teammate. The question that the team must address in the off season is if Mason can be a quality back up or if it is time to bring up a netminder from Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see what decision is made.

Final Grade: D

In the next installment, we will look at the defense.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

In President Obama's proposal for a budget for fiscal year 2014 is a proposal to cap the amount that Americans can have in their retirement accounts at $3 million. That figure is derived from the fact that today, an IRA in the amount of $3 million would yield an annuity of $205,000 annually. A couple of thoughts about this proposal. It is breathtakingly audacious that the occupant of the White House, or anyone in Washington for that matter, presupposes to tell any of us what is "reasonable" for our retirement saving and income needs. Yet this is the mindset of most if not all the denizens of the bureaucratic and Congressional swamp that is Washington. Once again, the people who are productive, who forgo expenditures and save for their retirement are in the cross hairs of a ridiculous proposal such as this. Instead of a punitive approach to those that are willing to save, why not make it easier to save for retirement and encourage more people to set aside money for their financial well being in those retirement years? As a reader of this blog, you know that I have pointed out on numerous occasions that Social Security is bankrupt by any reasonable and legitimate accounting standard, so being able to be financially safe in retirement is going to rest on our shoulders, not what happens in Washington. And for that reason, we should save as much as possible for our retirement without constraints from Washington.

There is no sense in being a pessimist. It doesn't work anyway.

Speaking of the Obama budget, here are some important things to know: it will raise taxes by approximately $1.1 trillion. Now Obama and the Democrats will protest that it does no such thing, but when deductions are capped, estate taxes raised, and other limitations imposed under his proposal, the effect is a massive tax increase. Also the proposed budget severely under funds defense, failing to provide for adequate levels of training and maintenance. Think this is a wise decision given the unstable nature of the geopolitical environment today? Oh yeah, the proposal from the President doesn't balance. In fact, there was not even a feeble attempt to balance this monstrosity. Our nation needs leadership- desperately- yet there is none forthcoming from this administration. If we are going to move toward a reasonable solution to work out of this fiscal mess in which our country finds itself, we are going to have to have real leadership from the right and the left, and politics are going to have to be set aside so viable solutions can be crafted. Unfortunately, that leadership in Washington is lacking.

My wife is a lot like nature. She abhors a vacuum.

(Spotted) Al Gore re-emerged on the public stage once again touting his tired (and disproved) canard about global warming. Al must be running a little short of funds and looking to extract some more from the suckers that buy in to his scam. Now you may read that last sentence and think that I am just a Neanderthal that  is denying the "facts" of global warming. About those "facts"... According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the heat from the sun plays a larger role in temperature variation than previously thought. Quoting from the report,
"Results do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies suggest that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate."
According to the IPCC study, over 25% of the 1.1 degree increase in the average temperature over the last 100 years has been caused by solar activity. Here is the reality of the global warming scam- the earth gets warmer and cooler and has since creation. The presumptuousness of Al Gore and others to take 100 years of data and state as fact that the earth is permanently warming because of human activity is nothing more than a charade designed to extract money from you, me, and every business. Let's recognize Al for the charlatan that he is and global warming for the hoax that is designed to line his pockets.

Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while, I was a suspect.

And that, my friends, is my view