First off, let me say that it is great to be back writing about my most anal pastime again. Thanks to all the boys for picking up my slack, and to all my peeps for finishing strong without my wisdom. This year we take it to a new level.
The Leafs signing of Jason Blake may be the first thing they have done right in quite some time. He may seem too small, and he may not fit the mold of today’s premiere players, but he can change the outcome of a game on his own and the Toronto fans will love him.
Despite Gary Bettman wanting us to believe that the hockey universe is now in sync, it must be disheartening for Calgary fans to watch a press conference for Cory Sarich, while lesser talented teams announce the signing of players like Briere, Gomez, Smyth, and Drury. Sure they resigned Iginla, but isn’t it obvious yet that he isn’t enough?
Does Manny Fernandez have enough fingers to point all the blame away from himself in Boston? I only wonder why Minnesota didn’t dump his selfish ass last year for more than what they got this weekend.
Does the Scott Niedermayer retirement strike anyone else as odd? Did Brian Burke use the money correctly in grabbing Schneider? Time will tell but I am not going to question Mr. Burke while he’s on a roll.
I played against Brian Rafalski in both the USHL and in the WCHA, and while he was always elite, I would have eaten my hat if you had suggested he would one day sign a $30 million dollar contract. Clearly he benefited from Saturday’s salary cap announcement, but good for him as he is one of the league’s underrated good guys.
San Jose had no choice but to pay big for Big Joe. Buffalo lost all credibility by losing both of its elite free agents. Funny how two teams that were so similar in May can be so different in July. Congrats to the Sharks. Shame on you Buffalo.
Funny how the league defends its teams in the Southern United States, claiming some of the league’s model franchises are located there, and then does nothing while Nashville goes from contender to pretender because their owner no longer gives a damn. Sad and wrong.
Congrats to St. Louis and Philadelphia for taking the steps necessary to regain their positions as playoff regulars. I say the Flyers make the playoffs with ease, perhaps as high as fifth in the East, while the Blues battle for 8th in the West. Both cities have a history of success and the fans deserve to see money being spent to regain their status as perennial contenders.
When does the axe fall on Kevin Lowe? He has repeatedly made the wrong decisions, and the team that came within one game of the cup two years ago is as much a memory as The Sopranos. The fans in Edmonton deserve better.
Ryan Smyth to the Avalanche? Am I the only one who figured he would take less to become a Flame, just to make his point?
When crazy Charles Wang moved Garth Snow from the crease to the front office, public opinion was one of shock. I on the other hand thought it was a smart yet ballsy move. To this point, Garth has done nothing but prove me right, and the fact he couldn’t resign Smyth at 6.5 million per is more an indication of the atmosphere in Long Island than a knock against his managerial skill. If you had said Smitty would turn down 6.5 in order to leave the Island I would have said you were crazy.
I finally get to see what Chris Mason can do as a prime time guy … too bad it will be in front of a minor league squad. On a related note, I had a beer with Jordan Tootoo tonight and he is excited as hell at the prospect of more meaningful minutes. He had nothing bad to say about the fire sale, and looks forward to doing his thing in the fall. You gotta love guys like that.
Why does Yanic Perrault get no love? He may skate like he has his skate guards on, but the fact is he is a productive player. He is annually at or near the top of the league in face-off wins, including a league leading 62.8% rate last season, he scores almost a point a game, and he seems to play best when the game matters most. Regardless, he seems to get paid like a fourth line plugger. Is something a little fishy here?
Regardless of my disdain for the Habs, it would have been great to see them get Briere.
While I don’t question the Rangers signing Drury and Gomez, I do wonder why they would scrap Nylander after his two sensational years and obvious chemistry with Jagr. Jaromir has always been fickle, and the moving of Nylander may be enough to send him back to funkville.
Is their a better young goaltending tandem in the league than Backstrom and Harding in Minnesota? Despite having moved both Roloson and Fernandez, the Wild seem deeper in the net than ever before. Now if only they could score.
My prediction is that next July 1st we see a 10 million dollar per season contract again.
Today’s winners: Rangers, Blues, & Penguins. Losers would be the Islanders, Sabres, & Predators
Regardless of the outcome of all of today’s movement, I am just tickled to have had the task of hitting my refresh button all day. Having the forum in which to express my humble brilliance is one of my most enjoyable pastimes, and being right so damn much is just a bonus. While the site didn’t suffer without me during my absence, it did lack a certain “fire”, and I look forward to bringing you another year of my input. Dobber calls it edgy … I call it the goods. Sugarcoat my donuts baby, but not my fantasy hockey news.