Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Well that was quite a turnaround from a few days ago. The wiser of us knew it was coming, or at least knew that it couldn't possibly continue this way. Could it? No apparently it couldn't, Canada throttled an easy opponent in Germany, and then pretty much handed the mighty Russians their balls in a lunch bag. And now Team Canada is back, and for real this time.

There was no way this crop of Canadian stars was going to phone this one in, and they jumped on the Russians early to prove that they meant business. They finally started playing like everyone expected them to play and better yet against an opponent that was considered a viable threat. Not yanking Nabokov earlier in the game was stupid, he looked more like Toskala. Putting Bryzgalov in after the 1st period might have allowed the Russian offense to get back in it, instead of waiting to give him mop up duty.

The Swiss had to be the most potentially dangerous underdog in this whole tourney, keeping the first game against the Americans respectable at 3-1, forcing the Canadians to a shootout, and once again holding the Americans off in more or less a one goal game in the quarterfinal.

The US looks much weaker now due to the score against the Swiss in those two games, after riding high on a win over the Canadians. Their road to the gold medal game was much less challenging than what it would take for the Canadians or Russians, for that matter. They'll now have to play an underrated Finnish team, whose only true test was a 3-0 loss to the Swedes.

The Finns are getting a ride on Kipusoff's back, and are once again going to need it against a gritty American team. Finland is a legitimate threat to the Americans, and you could easily see that game going either way.

Only the true prognosticators saw the Slovaks beating the Swedes, I can't believe it even as I type it. You could see the utter disbelief and more so disgust on the face of all those legendary Swedes. To me, this makes Canada's road to the gold medal game much more easier, but I guess you can't downplay the threat that the Slovaks present.

If I had to guess...

I see the Americans beating out the Finns by a two goal margin.

The Canadians blowing up Halak with a high scoring, three or four goal margin.

Canada beats the US when it actually counts for a proud host country gold medal. A two goal game, the other way this time.

Finland for the bronze in a one goal game over the Slovaks.

Success in this tournament depends heavily on solid goaltending. Hiller was huge for the Swiss, Halak has been ridiculous for the Slovaks, Miller for the Americans, Lundqvist for the Swedes (until tonight), Vokoun performed admirably for the Czechs, and Kipper for the Finns. Luongo still has yet to prove himself after Brodeur failed to.

At this point, which is pretty much back to where we were before the tournament started, its Canada's gold to lose.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Saving Bobby Ryan

Are you ready to hear some horrific shit? Bobby Ryan isn't Bobby Ryan, he's Bobby Stevenson, son of Robert Stevenson, the man who violently beat the shit out of his wife, (Bobby's mother) after a night of drinking when Bobby was 10 years old.

Bbbbut but but wait it gets worse...

Dear ol' Dad Stevenson suspected his wife was taking drugs, so stumbling home drunk, the amateur boxer, chased her out of their house, down the street and into a neighbor's house where he proceeded to smash in the door, and beat the holy hell out of her, breaking ribs, puncturing her lung, and fracturing her skull.

So did Bobby and his mother flee from this viciously violent man and change their names in an attempt to distance themself from this horrible attack?


She forgave him. And all three of them fled to Canada in an attempt to keep Daddy out of prison on counts of attempted murder and other assorted felonies. So they changed their last names to Ryan, after Robert, now Shane (Dad), came up with the brilliant pseudonym after watching 'Saving Private Ryan.'

But Dad always had little Bobby's best interests in mind, scouring the great white north for the best hockey programs at the Junior level, probably hoping to cash in on his son's natural gift for the game, so that the two of them 'could be partners, just like that Tiger Woods and his Daddy.' Except without that whole sex scandal thing.

But maybe not, I wouldn't put it past his father, so wholesome a fellow that he picked up professional gambling in order to provide for the family that somehow forgave him. So good a Dad that he even stopped by Blockbuster to rent movies for his family that night, probably 'Sleeping With the Enemy' or '8MM', swiping an old credit card to pay, and simultaneously inviting Federal Marshals into their home.

So justice is served right? Yeah right, he gets five years back in Jersey, pleading down to aggravated assault. Now he's got a steady job at Bobby Clarke's Gym. Yes, that Bobby Clarke.

"It probably makes absolutely no sense to 95% of the people," allowing for that 5% of the prison population that is out of their fucking minds. "I’m not saying that what happened was good. I’m saying what happened had positive changes for Bobby," positive in the sense that he's made it to the NHL regardless of the monster that I am, despite all those horrible emotional scars I've left on him.

"Does he have scars? Probably. But he’s a good kid. He’s honest. He’s forthright. He’s genuinely good to other people. He took the right path."

Christ this man has a lot of regret. Sounds like Marty Brodeur after losing to the Americans, (too soon?) Do you think he would take any responsibility if Bobby Ryan turned out to be the same asshole he is?

Here's the article that paints this man, as a regretful father who made a mistake. Just one mind you, and he's better now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We Haven't Won Anything Yet

The game tonight was everything it was built up to be, and if you turned your head away to watch the small child in the center of room put something in her mouth that she wasn't supposed to, you would have missed an incredible amount of amazing hockey. It was an exhilarating experience to be screaming at the television and have that kind of passion for the teams involved as my heart raced as the seconds ticked.

But once again, Americans have to remind themselves... they haven't won anything yet.

Its true that Team USA outworked a more skilled, more talented Team Canada, but there's still a long way to go before we can start looking like idiots boasting about our new found, and more than likely, temporary nationalism, even though many of us already have started in. I can't imagine what Team Canada is thinking right now, surviving a shootout against Jonas Hiller and the Swiss, and losing to an overmatched American team, in their Olympic year, in their sport.

I can tell you that Ryan Miller is Team USA, everyone knew he had to be in order to have a chance to beat Marty Brodeur and the Canadians, and that's exactly what he did. Brodeur on the other hand has been less than spectacular, and may have seen his last action in the tournament unless Babcock succumbs to the pressure.

And its not that the Canadians didn't try to beat Miller, it was a god damn warm-up drill at times, but they persevered tonight, and right now tonight is as good as a week from now.

I can't remember that last time I've seen that caliber of hockey. I sure as shit don't remember the last Olympic games, and its been too long since the last postseason to really compare. But everyone elevated their game, they were all playing at a different level. Well most anyway...

I now firmly believe that this will be Scott Niedermayer's last year. His decision making and his tendency to be outworked by younger competition has never been more apparent that this season. Scott Niedermayer is my favorite player in the NHL, and I am sad to say that his time has come to an end. He still has the wheels, just not the overwhelming desire to win.

I have to believe that Paul Stastny is injured. When everyone else was playing out of their mind, he was ordinary, at times worse than ordinary. We all know he has the skill set, the hockey intelligence, not to mention the great bloodline, but he was not showing it tonight, whatsoever.

Patty Kane was too rattled to add anything significant to this game. He's got a great set of hands and wheels, but there were times when I was questioning his spot on this team. His inexperience was evident tonight, and you can only hope that he'll stop looking around and start shooting the puck in the next round.

On the other hand, Dustin Brown really impressed me tonight, and he hasn't done that in the past. I'm not just talking about his move around his Kings teammate Drew Doughty, I'm talking about his whole game and his love for the dirty areas.

Sidney Crosby is lights out. He is so hungry for the puck that he will outwork, and outmanuever anyone. The spotlight is rough, but he handles it well.

Brian Rafalski does not receive as much credit as he should for being a smart defenseman. He's been guilty of mistakes in his own zone, but his first pass, and his shot selection from the point is fantastic.

Drew Doughty is no doubt the better defenseman between him and Jack Johnson, and Jack had a better game than he usually does. Doughty does not panic, he is so cool with the puck that its scary to think about how good he'll become. The same goes for Duncan Keith, while he didn't have the greatest game he still moves the puck up the ice with great speed.

Chris Drury is often bashed for his lack of goal scoring for the Rangers considering the size of his contract, and those same fickle fans are tired of talking about the other things that he brings to the game, but that's truly what he does. There's no doubt that he's in the decline of his career when he was offered that ridiculous contract, but he's carved a niche for himself by bringing the little things, and offering his defensive responsibilities instead. He's honoring the contract the only way he can when he's a step behind the younger, faster guys around the League.

But in the end, it was Ryan Miller's win. He put it on his back, and he held off the greatest Canadian players in the game today. He had to be great and he was, and that's the only reason why Team USA won tonight. That and the relentless forechecking and never give up attitude of the Americans.

So while the Russians are talking about Ovechkin's hit on Jagr, Americans will be talking about this game for quite some time. And if its the only thing we win in this tournament of tournaments, it would be enough for me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Can Feel the Tension All the Way Down Here

Should have been getting this out sooner, but I've only now gotten to watch some games that didn't involve stones, toepicks, or bindings. Today made for an interesting day of hockey with the US vs. Norway ho-hummer, the Canada vs. Switzerland nail biter, and the Russia vs. Slovakia tap dance. I'm not going to break down entire games just hit you with the bullets which is my usual modus operandi when I'm feeling lazy.

Hockey Stuffs
  • The US got bashed today for their tendency to run around, and have their defenseman pinch for the offensive opportunity and instead give up the odd man rush. It looked to me like they knew they were playing Norway, and they knew they could get away with it. Like a bunch of peewees who knew they were playing a weaker team and everyone wanted to get a goal.
  • Why does Norway suck at hockey? I've asked this before but I can't find a logical reason. Sweden and Finland are hockey hotbeds, and it seems to me that Scandinavian countries are all very similar unless I'm just being an uneducated, racist prick.
  • Is Switzerland better than everyone thought or did Canada play a crappy game? A little bit of both in this case I think. The Swiss played their ass off, and My Name Is Jonas stood on his motherfucking head. They hung in there and kept battling and the lucky bounces go in your favor when you do that. All of Canada started to worry as soon as their lead was cut to a goal and the pressure was crushing. You could feel it through the television. There is so much pressure on these guys to win that they're falling into the old cliche of trying to do too much instead of just playing hockey like they all know how.
  • Panic set in early. Babcock started shuffling his lines with the exception of the Sharks line that looked like they were being quadruple shifted. That's just fucking stupid with a stacked team like the one you have. Mikey's usually a pretty smart hockey guy, but he looked kind of foolish doing that, and not settling his team down.
  • Why are the Slovaks the only team subject to playing back to back games? I haven't looked at the rest of the schedule to see if that happens to any other team later on, but getting matched up against the Czechs one night and the Russians the next? Who fucked that one up?
  • Where's all that Russian firepower? Its a 1-1 game right now against the Slovaks with three minutes left to play in the third. I thought they were just going to blow everyone out. I think they feel worried too.
  • The Swedes seem the most calm with their 2-0 game against Germany. No panic whatsoever in that team. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Their seems to have been a lot of overestimation for the powerhouses and a lot of underestimation for the underdogs. Canada's not killing it like everyone thought they would and the tension is thick. Russia's not blowing it up. The Swiss played two tight games against the US and Canada and earned a lot of respect by doing so. The American's chances look better against the first two than everyone thought they'd be.
  • Goaltending is still the key. We've already referenced Hiller, but Halak has played extremely well, and Vokoun had a good game as well. A hot goaltender can win a tournament like this with just a little bit of help.
  • It seems like every four years they change the rules of Olympic hockey. First they count down on the clock, then they count up, then they count it like a soccer match, and now were back to counting down. And from then on its following NHL rules... 4 on 4 five minute overtime, then a shootout. I don't like that you can send up one of the three shooters on the fourth or later shot in the shootout, but whatevs.
  • I do love the absence of the trapezoid. Did you see that pass from Ryan Miller up ice on the Malone goal? You don't see that kind of play anymore from goaltenders even though the restriction of the trapezoid has nothing to do with it. Hardly see any assists anymore from goalies.
  • I don't think I've ever seen Pavol Demitra play this hard. Its amazing how much effort you can put forth when you actually give a shit. Also amazing is how obvious it is.
  • These teams with bunches, if not all, of NHLers are all trying to be too cute. They're all looking for that perfect shot, or that big move to the middle. Problem is, they're still playing other best players in the world. The middle's clogged up every time no matter what team's defending.
  • Did you see Ovechkin knock the shit out of Chara? Awesome.
  • Joe Micheletti's still a fucking idiot, and may be borderline retarded.
  • Datsyuk got pokechecked by Halak, holy shit.And the Slovaks beat Russia in a shootout, holy shit. Halak won that game. And Demo with the hanger over Bryzgalov.

General Olympic Stuffs
  • I think NBC's coverage of the games has been absolute shit. Torture in hell might involve having to listen to Bob Costas talk about the intricacies of baseball or tectonic forces at work. Between him and Cris Collingsworth talk about their keen fashion sense I was ready to go buy a gun or go looking for some black tar heroin. That and their scheduling and relegating hockey to their little sister networks.
  • Its amazing how much quicker the men work in curling than the women. They were throwing stones before the competitor's stopped sliding from the throw before.
  • What is it about curling that makes people love it? I fucking love it. Its strangely hypnotic. Maybe its the fact that looks like anyone of us could do it, without being in any kind of shape except out of.
  • Jacobelis gave up, plain an simple. Maelle was the better rider and Lindsey just gave it to her. That's why she should be embarrassed, not because she's pulling grabs in bordercross. Although that was pretty stupid in Torino.
  • How imperfect is the sport of figure skating? Is falling just a natural part of the sport? I'm not saying what they're doing isn't difficult as hell, but aren't these people supposed to be the best in the world? Even the commentators point that shit out, they're fucking ruthless at times.
  • Shaun White's McTwist was McFucking Awesome. It wasn't perfectly clean, but he didn't even need to do that run to win gold, and he went out there and stomped it and bettered the score from his first run.
  • The Women's Downhill was friggin awesome. So fucking fast. Lots of nasty crashes. Do you think Vonn was really injured or was that more of NBC bullshit 'make it interesting' propaganda?
  • Gretzky showed the most distress when that bay for the torch lighting didn't open. The other legendary Canadian atheletes held it together, shit Nash looked like he was waiting for the shot clock to run down at the top of the key. But Wayne was biting his lip and presenting a look of 'I can't believe this shit, I'm so embarrassed.' Get a grip Gretz, its not all about you, you ego maniac.
  • Sometimes I want to hide being American, we make looking stupid so easy.
  • Canada on the other hand is an amazing nation. There's just so much pride in these games that's not boastful or ignorant, its just real. The weather's uncontrollable, shit happens, and the games are great. Nice fucking job.
I'll have more as the games go on. Needless to say Sunday at 4pm is the big game.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trade Deadline: 20 Days Roster Freeze: 1 Day

'Why yes, I have played in Michigan before.'

Its Getting Crowded Here
Okay, so now its really uncomfortable between the pipes in Dallas.

Marty Turco's been the goaltending face of the franchise for roughly seven years, working as an understudy to 'Crazy' Eddie Belfour in his early days. At 34, Turco is in the final year of his contract with a $5.7mil cap hit to the team he was drafted by in the 5th round of the 1994 Draft.

Alex Auld's on his sixth team in eight years, and in all that time he's only once been the #1 goaltender playing 67 games for Vancouver in the 2005-06 season. The 29 year old is also in the last year of a meager $1mil contract, and has played in 21 games this year, with a 9-6-3 record, posting a .894 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average.

And now enter Kari Lehtonen, the 2nd round draft choice of the Thrashers in the 2002 draft after a stunning season in the Finnish SM-liiga. Lehtonen is 26, and known as the most injury-prone goaltender in the League, electing two back surgeries, and suffering a groin injury on the opening night of the 2005 season only to twist his ankle at the end of it. Lehtonen is a restricted free agent earning $3mil in the final year of his deal.

Its pretty clear at this point that Joe Nieuwendyk has elected to go in a different direction in the blue paint. Its true that Turco has never won anything recognized around the League, (no Vezinas, no Cup) but still holds the majority of team goaltending records for the Stars franchise. In my mind, he is a sound, smart goaltender in decline as his age inclines. I do believe he's got it in him to make a defiant last gasp on a poised team. He'll have to most certainly take a pay cut in his next contract, but I still believe he holds a lot of value in the trade market for this upcoming stretch run for a team looking to sure up its goaltending. But therein lies the question, does that team exist?

I wrote earlier that I thought Turco would fit nicely in Washington but I think GMGM is feeling more comfortable with his platoon of goaltenders, Theo has played better, Neuvirth has performed admirably, and one can only expect Varlamov will be back before the postseason. I think you have the same situation in Chicago, where the Bowman's are feeling more and more comfortable with Niemi and Huet, so lets say they're out too. Emery's still fielding injury problems that isn't a deviated septum, and although Leighton's been keeping the Flyers in the race, I'm not sure Holmgren is confident in what's there. The thought of Turco to Philly has already been poopoo'd, and its hard to imagine them taking Biron back to make a run. It appears as though winner by default Pierre Gauthier is willing to ride out his two RFA goaltenders through the stretch and deal with it in the summer. Dean Lombardi has stated his confidence in Quick/Ersberg and seems comfortable to head to their first postseason in seven seasons on the backs of those two.

David Poile has not yet shown his cards when dealing with his two impending FA goalies Rinne and Ellis. The Predators are in desperate need for offensive support, and one would think that Rinne would garner more trade interest than Ellis. It sounds as if Poile is leaning that way and planning to keep Ellis in the fold.

Reports came out of Boston that Tim Thomas was available, if anyone was willing to swallow his $5mil per contract for the next three years and rather aggressive, sometimes troubling play in net. Very hard to believe Chiarelli would offer that kind of extension to a post-Vezina winner, and then turn around and try to deal him. I don't know who would take his inconsistency at that number anyway.

Detroit may be the most interesting destination for the other Marty, although Holland isn't keen on shelling out big numbers to goalies any more. Cocky bastard Chris Osgood's had enough of being second fiddle to Howard, although he still needs the support and training to be a number one. I don't think Detroit has the confidence they had last year, but they are starting to get their ailing stars back in the lineup, and between now and March 3rd could determine if they go out and pick someone up for the post, or remain outside the bubble.

Back to Dallas for a second, the Stars are severing ties with Turco for better or worse. Lehtonen, although young, and once promising is not an upgrade by any means. Auld is a career backup who's been given the chance to play by Crawford who he's developed a relationship with from their days in Vancouver. If the Stars thought it was bad with Turco in net, get ready for a new low. They traded a promising defenseman for an injury riddled stopper who couldn't crack the lineup in Atlanta. Atlanta, that is.
'The odd couple.'
In 'Nobody Gives a Shit' News...
Underperforming Ville Leino was traded to Philadelphia for Norwegian defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. Tollefsen's been subject to quite a few injuries since his emergence into the League, and Philly has a glut of defensemen. Leino's not enough of a diamond in the rough to crack into the Detroit lineup, and has been faulted for being weak on the puck. Either way, its probably a win-win for both teams, as spare parts on one team becomes hopeful reclamation projects on a new one.
All of the Hurricanes are now up for sale, Fire Sale! Fire Sale!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gary on the Future of Atlanta

Talk about tripping over your words, when asked in an interview with Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the future of the Thrashers in Atlanta, little Gary had this to say...

“Ultimately, I believe when this [the ownership situation] all gets sorted out, the franchise will be in a better place.”

Realizing his Freudian slip, he nervously laughed and corrected himself...

“Can I change that? What I mean is the franchise will be in a better situation.”
Go ahead Gary, laugh it off, we all know what you really think, and that your conscious obviously knows better than your ego.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trade Deadline: 25 Days, Roster Freeze: 6 Days

Phaneuf fights, Giguere pitches a shutout and all is right in T-dot. Kovalchuk goes to Devils sets up the game winner, and the Leafs return to their losing ways by giving up a 3-1 lead, and everything comes into balance once again.

Uhh, San Jose, I don't know, don't they lose every year?

The Cockblock
A No Trade Clause is a powerful thing, yet they seem to be handed out like candy. Everybody and their mother has one including Bird Dogg and a Mr. Niclas Wallin. Originally it was thought that Nic didn't want to go to San Jose, or leave Carolina, but now it sounds as if the length of term on the contract extention offered by Doug Wilson was too long for him. Unusual considering its almost guaranteed money on a bound-to-win-sooner-or-later team, but hey to each his own. Apparently its all come to a screeching halt, I'm sure Doug was none too happy about that complaint, and now the Sharktank faithful are spitballing ideas for another defenseman to acquire. The thing I can't get my head wrapped around, is the Sharks willingness to do away with Ryane Clowe. He's a big power forward with great hands, and a mean streak when the time calls for it. He digs hard in the corners, and he's had his fair share of both pretty and ugly goals. Contending teams would be wise to give him a good look if he really is available.

The List
Sheldon Souray has reportedly prepared a list for Oilers GM Jeff Tambellini of six teams he is willing to relocate to. Suprisingly there are just as many Western Conference teams as there are Eastern Conference teams. As speculated both Southern California teams were mentioned, as was Dallas, all convenient options when travelling to see his daughters in greater Los Angeles. In addition, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City were also losted as potential destinations for the big defenseman with the heavy shot. He is currently nursing a surgically repaired broken hand that he suffered in a fight with Jarome Iginla, which could limit the lust for his services on the open market, or at least of those six teams. He has had problems with his hands before, and is recently returned to the Oilers after suffering a concussion earlier in the season. The sexy man with funny name has every intention of returning to a lineup during the regular season, and ready for the playoffs.

Who's Left?
Well Kovy's been dealt and had a coming out party in Jersey, and now the rest of the League can take a breath again. So who's left to be moved? Well it looks like Scott Howson, who gave Hitchcock his walking papers earlier this week, is more than willing to deal free agent to be Raffi Torres. Torres has one hell of a season in Edmonton's miracle run to the finals, his career bests, but has only played one full season since then. This year he's got 16 goals and 10 assists and has only missed four games on a miserable Columbus team. Burke has let it be known that Alexei Ponikarovsky is also available, quite bent on the idea of re-creating this team from his blueprint. Many of the Leafs players that were on the team when Burke reached office have been dealt including six most recently. Ponikarovsky is third on the team in points, and second in goals to a man who doesn't play for Leafs anymore (Hagman). Someone will want those extra points. Ray Whitney is still available, as are just about every other Hurricane not named Staal, Sutter, or Ward, Cam Ward that is.

Rumor Mill
Rostislav Olesz and Florida prospect Drew Shore have been dealt to Edmonton for I believe, Shawn Horcoff (not Drew) and a draft pick reported by George Richards of the Miami Herald.

Roster Freeze goes into effect 2/12 at 11:59pm, lifts on 2/28 at 11:59pm. Trade Deadline ends 3/3 at 3pm ET.

Burke's Press Conference on the Leafs Trade

Fucking hilarious, I was spitting up laughing. The voice sounds spot on.

The highlights...
"I had to do something to help out this sinkhole organization that's been sinking down every fucking day here. I can't drink enough fucking booze to pull myself out of this."

"In return we get Derek Sundstrom, Keith Allen... Keith Allen's a big defenseman, he's 6'-6" kid there, he looks like a fuckin' wookie on skates."

"We also, fortunately, had to let Toskala go. As you're aware this fucking guy couldn't stop a fucking beach ball, so don't hit your ass on the way out Toskala."

Now We Can Go On With Our Lives

'So long Suckers!'

And so that's how the story ends...

Yeah right, we could only hope. Ilya has only been hired as a mercenary for the Devils, he'll still be available come July 1st unless something happens with the team before then.

But Lou did it, like a cunning cheetah stalking his unsuspecting prey in the night. Getting back his undrafted Finnish defenseman, Anssi Salmela, that he plucked out of the Worlds, and sent to Atlanta for Nik Havelid. Not to mention ridding himself of Patrice Cormier's elbow heard round the hockey world, a slumping Johnny Oduya, and a big question mark in Nik Bergfors.

Cormier could definetely be a solid NHLer and every indication from Juniors says that, but his flying elbow from the top rope that sent Michael Tam into convulsions has really put a dark cloud on his future. Lamoriello, ever the strategist, played the PR end beautifully, by standing behind his prospect, as well as the ruling handed out by the QMJHL, publicly in both cases. And even though Lou may not have wanted to part with him, its a win/win for him in the instance that there will be plenty more Cormier's, and he's got Kovalchuk.

Lou also had to give up his first round pick in 2010 to make the deal work, and the Devils and Thrashers have also swapped second rounders in the same draft. Time will only tell what those picks will produce, and it may not be anything in the near future.

And what does Waddell have? Well right now it appears as a whole lot of nothin'. I don't know what would be the amount that it would take for it to look like Don won. I don't know if Don can ever win. Between this and the Hossa trade he looks like a bumbling idiot, grabbing stacks of cash out of an open register laughing madly as he runs away, only to find out that its mostly ones and fives.

I honestly don't see how this team survives in Atlanta. Crumbling ownership, a fairweather fanbase, and a foolish General Manager spell disaster, I just don't know how its lasted this long. Who is the face of the franchise? Who do you put on billboards all over the City to raise intrest come next season? Its not an ultimately damning issue but it seriously does not look good.

And in the same respect, Donny had to do it, he had no choice. He was, at best, misled by Kovalchuk in his statements that he wanted to stay while turning down several, more than, lucrative offers. If Ilya signs for less elsewhere, we'll know that to be fact, and yet who can blame him for the same reasons we listed above.

And so he goes off to New Jersey, the home of Marty Brodeur, the best goaltender of all time, and Zach Parise, and Jamie Langenbrunner, and maybe even Patrik Elias, but also the home of Jacques Lemaire and his suffocating style of defense first hockey. I still don't see how that works with a one-dimensional player like Kovy. Does he get benched between now and April for not backchecking? Or will Lemaire have the directive from Lou to let him slide as long as he's scoring goals?

Here's another one for you, what if he gets injured in the Olympics? Then what? Most likely the Devils will be able to survive at least for a little while in the post, but will they be able to take it all the way? Its an all-or-nothing attitude coming out of the Prudential Center now with this move. Its Cup or bust now, and this from adding a guy who's been in four playoff games an added a goal and an assist.

But its over, (for now), and we can all go on with the rest of our lives.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sh!tting on Kovalchuk

C'mon, who doesn't deserve a Cleveland Steamer for dressing like this?

I've had just about all I can take of this Kovalchuk clusterfuck, and here I am about to banter on about it, and you know why? Because nothing else is happening because no one wants to parts with pieces they might need to land this backchecking phenom. Unless of course you're Darryl Sutter.

From Elliotte Friedman of CBC...
"Calgary doesn't appear likely, as sources say the two teams never even discussed Dion Phaneuf, who would have made sense as a part of any package."

Gee Daz, you might have been able to land Kovy for the same price you paid for half the Leafs squad. Don't worry Chief Smiles-a-lot, I think you made the right decision.

But therein lies the question... Do you really want this fucker?

We broke down that simple idea not all that long ago, largely in part to the great work of the Falconer over at Bird Watchers Anonymous, (please see specific example). Right now the Atlanta Journal Constitution has reported directly from Kovy's agent, Jay Grossman, that they are...
"seeking the maximum salary allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, which is 20 percent of the salary cap, or roughly $11.3 million per season. Grossman confirmed that he has not come off that number during negotiations and was asking for a “lifetime” contract in the 10-to-12-year range."

The only thing that comes to mind is, 'are you out of your fucking mind?!'

So let me get this straight, you are looking for a contract in the $113million to $135.6million range to tie a team up that's been to the playoffs once, and that's even questionable, for the next decade or so? That's going to keep you around these parts here? Well here's my check book Kovalchuk, just rip one out and you fill in the amount, hopefully it will clear.

More like don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out you selfish prick. Shit, for a couple more million you could buy the Tampa Bay Lightning.

And then, when questioned about his salary demands, he pulls the 'I got kids too ya know' card... "it should be a good deal for everybody, not just one side. You know? We are [hockey players], but I have a family and three kids, too."

Buddha Reynolds from Hockey Wilderness nailed it with this counter...
"You get a lot of over draft notices, do ya, Ilya? Trouble finding enough bread to feed your poor, starving children?"

Any Owner willing to part with that kind of money should have his head checked. Any General Manager willing to type out that contract should be fired, and maybe even shot on sight. And yet they're all lining up to sniff his hind parts.

Don got authorization to offer a 7yr./$70mil deal and a 10yr./$101mil deal. Even the rock that is the Atlanta ownership was willing to offer their dimming future to keep him in the fold. And Ilya and his buddy Jay said 'No, this is what we want, and they'll be no ifs ands or buts about it,' despite telling DW and Atlanta all along that he loved it here, and wants to stay.

So what does Waddell do? He tells the world, Ilya will be traded, and everyone starts inhaling the fumes, and give it real consideration. What does ol' Donny boy want in return? Oh not much, just a top six forward, a top four defenseman, and either a high pick or promising prospect as non-returnable collateral to rent this kilt-wearing wonder.

So now we know the parts that needed to make it fly, do we have 'em? Are we willing to part with 'em? Matt Reitz takes a look at the heads needed to be placed on proverbial block.

Bruins need that kind of shake-up considering their freefall, but is Chiarelli willing to part with lovely Lucic or Julien scapegoat Wideman to get him?

Can the Rangers afford to put both he and Gaborik on the payroll? Is Sather that stupid? Apparently not, since he's showing the 'Hell No' face to Waddell on giving up Dubinsky, Callahan, Del Zotto, or anyone else that's remotely shown promise in that organization.

Does Chicago really want another winger? I thought they were looking to add to the defense and maybe goaltending since Huet's never won a playoff series, and Niemi's never seen a second of it.

Same for San Jose, Dougie Wilson's notorious for making a big splash (and his team a big flop) at the deadline to make his team better, but I thought the need was for defense with the departure of Ehrhoff and injuries to the blueline.

And the Devils... I can't even begin to think how in the hell this would happen. Let me get this straight hockey experts, you want to put defensively-deficient Ilya into the Jacques, albeit offensively-deficient, system and expect that to be a harmonious marriage? 'Get out of my room, seriously, get the fuck out.'

The Flyers would have to send Braydon Coburn back to Atlanta after stealing him for Zhitnik. Holmgren won't do that just based on principle alone, even though he's the same idiot that gave Scott Hartnell a no-trade clause.

Gillis supposedly called Waddell to find out the parts, but promptly hung up the phone after hearing the assets. Smart man.

Ken Holland is also a rumored mystery suitor for his services, but that man has proved before that he's no fool. On the other hand, he's smart enough to hand Waddell a bag of shit and convince him that the key to immortality is inside, while making off with Kovy, (and Waddell's dignity).

So who's left?

Well you could see a dumb shit like Garth Snow and Vera Wang retarded enough to hand over that kind of money for that kind of term. Hell DiPietro's only in the third or fourth year of his deal, and they'll be paying Yashin over $2mil until 2015.

Edmonton? Nobody wants to go to Edmonton. But in all honesty, Kovalchuk doesn't care where he goes, even if its the KHL, just as long as they pay him there.

And so we come down to the Kings, who everyone seems to agree that's the only logical destination. Is Dean Lombardi, the man who has carefully been stockpiling his weapons of mass destruction, willing to finally push the button and send the hockey world all a flutter? Given his recent rhetoric on Jack Johnson's cultivation in college hockey, he would seem willing to deal that piece, and Frolik, who's been nothing short of a flunky on the day of his big test. There's two, got one more Dean? One more, and he's all yours Dean.

Nope, Dean wants assurance that he can keep Kovy for longer than July 1st, as does everyone else who's willing to put up top players and picks to bring him in. That's going to be the sticking point that's going to force Waddell to take less than what he's asking for in order to get something, anything for him, before he walks away for nothing.

Somebody get it done, please. I'm tired of it. Somebody (from the KHL) step up and give him the check that he so rightfully deserves. So that he can feed his hungry kids. And buy a new kilt.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

el Capitan

With the recent promotions of the new class of Captains around the League, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into all the demographics of team leaders. Of course I wasn't the only one who had this idea. But fuck it why waste a halfway decent post. Lets list them out first shall we? But first let me read a disclaimer... All of these were taken from each team's roster on their individual webpage, so if they're not up to date, oh fucking well, that's what I was going by, not who got new A's sewn on their jersey on gameday. I put a limit of three Alternates on each team as far as spelling out their stats, committees are listed by name only, I don't buy that purple participation ribbon's for everyone bullshit.

C - Scott Niedermayer, D, 36 years old, Canada, $6.75mil (Highest), 5th season on team
A - Ryan Getzlaf, C, 24 years old, Canada, $5.325mil, 5th season on team (Drafted)
A - Saku Koivu, C, 35 years old, Finland, $3.25mil, 1st season on team

C - Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, 26 years old, Russia, $6.39mil (Highest), 8th season on team (Drafted)
A - Colby Armstrong, RW, 27 years old, Canada, $2.4mil, 3rd season on team
A - Vyacheslav Kozlov, LW, 37 years old, Russia, $3.67mil, 7th season on team

C - Zdeno Chara, D, 32 years old, Slovakia, $7.5mil (Highest), 4th season on team
A - Patrice Bergeron, C, 24 years old, Canada, $4.75mil, 6th season on team (Drafted)

C - Craig Rivet, D, 35 years old, Canada, $3.5mil, 2nd season on team

C - Jarome Iginla, RW, 32 years old, Canada, $7mil (Highest), 14th season on team
A - Craig Conroy, C, 38 years old, United States, $1.05mil, 4th season (8 total) on team
A - Jay Bouwmeester, D, 26 years old, Canada, $6.68mil, 1st season on team
A - Robyn Regehr, D, 29 years old, Brazil (Canada), $4.02mil, 1oth season on team

C - Eric Staal, LW, 25 years old, Canada, $8.25mil (Highest), 6th season on team (Drafted)
A - Rod Brind'Amour, C, 39 years old, Canada, $3.6mil, 10th season on team
A - Ray Whitney, LW, 37 years old, Canada, $3.55mil, 5th season on team

C - Jonathan Toews, C, 21 years old, Canada, $6.3mil (Highest), 3rd season on team (Drafted)
A - Patrick Sharp, RW, 28 years old, Canada, $3.9mil, 5th season on team
A - Duncan Keith, D, 26 years old, Canada, $5.54mil, 5th season on team - (Drafted)

C - Adam Foote, D, 38 years old, Canada, $3mil, 3rd season (15 total) on team - (Drafted)
A - Milan Hejduk, RW, 33 years old, Czech Rep., $3mil, 11th season on team - (Drafted)
A - Paul Stastny, C, 24 years old, United States, $6.6mil (Highest), 4th season on team - (Drafted)

C - Rick Nash, RW, 25 years old, Canada, $7.8mil (Highest), 7th season on team (Drafted)
A - Derek Dorsett, Fredrik Modin, R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Mike Commodore, Rostislav Klesla

C - Brenden Morrow, LW, 31 years old, Canada, $4.1mil, 10th season on team (Drafted)
A - Mike Modano, Steve Ott, Brad Richards, Stephane Robidas

C - Nicklas Lidstrom, D, 39 years old, Sweden, $7.45mil (Highest), 18th season on team (Drafted)
A - Pavel Datysuk, C, 31 years old, Russia, $6.7mil, 8th season on team (Drafted)
A - Kris Draper, C, 38 years old, Canada, $1.58mil, 16th season on team
A - Henrik Zetterberg, LW, 29 years old, Sweden, $6.08mil, 7th season on team (Drafted)

C - Ethan Moreau, LW, 34 years old, Canada, $2mil, 11th season on team
A - Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios

C - Bryan McCabe, D, 34 years old, Canada, $5.75mil (Highest), 2nd year on team
A - Cory Stillman, LW, 36 years old, Canada, $3.5mil, 2nd year on team
A - Stephen Weiss, C, 26 years old, Canada, $3.1mil, 8th year on team (Drafted)

Los Angeles
C - Dustin Brown, RW, 25 years old, United States, $3.175mil, 6th season on team (Drafted)
A - Anze Kopitar, C, 22 years old, Slovenia, $6.8mil (Highest), 4th season on team (Drafted)
A - Matt Greene, D, 26 years old, United States, $2.95mil, 2nd season on team

C - Mikko Koivu, C, 26 years old, Finland, $3.25mil, 5th season on team (Drafted)
A - Martin Havlat, RW, 28 years old, Czech Rep., $5mil (Highest), 1st season on team
A - Greg Zanon, D, 29 years old, Canada, $1.9mil, 1st season on team

A - Brian Gionta, RW, 31 years old, United States, $5mil, 1st season on team
A - Hal Gill, D, 34 years old, United States, $2.25mil, 1st season on team
A - Andrei Markov, D, 31 years old, Russia, $5.75mil, 9th season on team (Drafted)

C - Jason Arnott, C, 35 years old, Canada, $4.5mil (Highest), 4th season on team
A - Steve Sullivan, LW, 35 years old, Canada, $3.75mil, 5th season on team
A - Shea Weber, D, 24 years old, Canada, $4.5mil (Highest), 5th season on team (Drafted)

New Jersey
C - Jamie Langenbrunner, RW, 34 years old, United States, $2.8mil, 8th season on team
A - Patrik Elias, LW, 33 years old, Czech Rep., $6mil (Highest), 14th season on team (Drafted)
A - Zach Parise, C, 25 years old, United States, $3.125mil, 5th season on team (Drafted)

New York Islanders
C - Doug Weight, C, 39 years old, United States, $2.2mil, 2nd season on team
A - Kyle Okposo, Richard Park, Mark Streit, Brendan Witt

New York Rangers
C - Chris Drury, C, 33 years old, United States, $7.05mil, 3rd season on team
A - Ryan Callahan, RW, 24 years old, United States, $2.3mil, 4th season on team (Drafted)
A - Vinny Prospal, LW, 34 years old, Czech Rep., $1.15mil, 1st season on team

C - Daniel Alfredsson, RW, 37 years old, Sweden, $4.975mil, 14th season on team (Drafted)
A - Mike Fisher, C, 29 years old, Canada, $4.2mil, 10th season on team (Drafted)
A - Chris Phillips, D, 31 years old, Canada, $3.5mil, 12th season on team (Drafted)

C - Mike Richards, C, 24 years old, Canada, $5.75mil, 5th season on team (Drafted)

C - Shane Doan, RW, 33 years old, Canada, $4.55mil, 14th season on team (Drafted)
A - Ed Jovanovski, D, 33 years old, Canada, $6.5mil (Highest), 4th season on team
A - Zybnek Michalak, D, 27 years old, Czech Rep., $1.25mil, 5th season on team

C - Sidney Crosby, C, 22 years old, Canada, $8.7mil (Highest), 5th season on team (Drafted)
A - Evgeni Malkin, C, 23 years old, Russia, $8.7 mil (Highest), 4th season on team (Drafted)
A - Sergei Gonchar, D, 35 years old, Russia $5mil, 5th season on team

San Jose
C - Rob Blake, D, 40 years old, Canada, $3.5mil, 2nd season on team
A - Joe Thornton, C, 30 years old, Canada, $7.2mil, 5th season on team
A - Dan Boyle, D, 33 years old, Canada, $6.67mil, 2nd season on team

St. Louis
C - Eric Brewer, D, 30 years old, Canada, $4.25mil, 5th season on team
A - Paul Kariya, LW, 35 years old, Canada, $6mil (Highest), 3rd season on team
A - Keith Tkachuk, 37 years old, United States, $2.55mil, 9th season on team
A - Barrett Jackman, D, 28 years old, Canada, $3.625mil, 8th season on team (Drafted)

Tampa Bay
C - Vincent Lecavalier, C, 29 years old, Canada, $7.72mil (Highest), 11th season on team (Drafted)
A - Martin St. Louis, RW, 34 years old, Canada, $5.25mil, 9th season on team
A - Mattias Ohlund, D, 33 years old, Sweden, $3.6mil, 1st season on team

A - Francois Beauchemin, D, 29 years old, Canada, $3.8mil, 1st season on team
A - Tomas Kaberle, D, 31 years old, Czech Rep., $4.25mil, 11th season on team (Drafted)
A - Mike Komisarek, D, 28 years old, United States, $4.5mil, 1st season on team

C - Roberto Luongo, G, 30 years old, Canada, $6.75mil, 4th season on team
A - Ryan Kesler, C, 25 years old, United States, $1.75mil, 6th season on team (Drafted)
A - Henrik Sedin, C, 29 years old, Sweden, $6.1mil (Highest), 9th season on team (Drafted)
A - Willie Mitchell, D, 32 years old, Canada, $3.5mil, 4th season on team

C - Alex Ovechkin, LW, 24 years old, Russia, $9.5mil (Highest), 5th season on team (Drafted)
A - Mike Knuble, RW, 37 years old, Canada, $2.8mil, 1st season on team
A - Tom Poti, D, 32 years old, United States, $3.5mil, 3rd season on team

Lets break it on down...

Youth vs. Experience
Teams with Captains 25years or younger...
Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington
That's four in the East, three in the West.

Teams with Captains 35years or older...
Anaheim, Buffalo, Colorado, Detroit, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose
That's five in the West, three in the East.

The oldest Captain... that honor goes to Rob Blake (SJS), at the ripe old age of 40.

The youngest... Jonathan Toews (CHI), at the tender age of 21.

Average age of Captains around the league... 31 years old.

The youngest corps of leadership in the League goes to the newly re-vamped Minnesota Wild, with new free agents Havlat and Zanon tabbed as alternates, while Mikko's been with the team for five years.

The oldest band of leaders goes to the Winged Wheel of Detroit with Nicky Lidstrom, the 1st non-North American to Captain a team to the Cup, spending 18 years on the team. Of course, Lidstrom hasn't been the Captain all those years, Stevie Y held that helm for many years, but that's just how I did it, so fuck off. Kris Draper also helps the stat with 16 years on Detroit as well.

Speaking of ethnicity...
Canada boasts the most Captains in the League with 19, the Americans follow way behind with 5. Russia now has two with the promotion of Ovechkin, but may lose one with Kovalchuk's pending departure from Atlanta. Sweden also has two with Mr. Lidstrom and Mr. Alfredsson from Ottawa. Boston captain, Slovak Zdeno Chara hails from Trencin, Slovakia, and Scandinavian Mikko Koivu is a Turku, Finland native.

Minnesota is also one of four teams with a diverse group of Captain and Alternates, with a Finn, a Czech, and a Canadian, as well as Toronto, Washington, and Colorado.

There are technically seven teams with a completely Canadian corps...
Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Florida, Nashville, Philadelphia, and San Jose.
I say technically, because Buffalo and Philadelphia are the two teams that happen to only name a Captain, and no Alternates, and they both happen to be Canadian, (Craig Rivet & Mike Richards).

On the flip side of that, there are four teams without a Canadian in the unit...
Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey, and the New York Rangers.

Work through the Draft
There are fourteen teams who have drafted their Captain...
Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Washington. That's eight in the West, six in the East.

Only two teams in the League have drafted their entire troop, both Colorado and Ottawa only promote from within the company.

On the other hand, only two teams don't have a crew that they personally drafted. That pesky Craig Rivet fellow on Buffalo is again a technicality, and San Jose has acquired their team of leadership.

Putting Your Mouth Where the Money Is
Thirteen teams state that their highest paid player on the roster is their best chief...
Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Washington. That's seven Eastern teams, and six Western.

The most expensive Captains...
Alex Ovechkin at $9.5 mil, followed by Sid Crosby at $8.7mil, and Rick Nash at $7.8mil.

The cheapest Captains...
Ethan Moreau at $2mil, followed by Doug Weight at $2.2mil, and Jamie Langenbrunner at $2.8mil.

The most expensive gang of leadership...
The Pittsburgh Penguins with an average of almost $7.5mil tied up. Twin $8.7mil contracts to Crosby and Malkin will do that, not to mention a hefty $5mil to Gonchar until at least the end of the year.

The cheapest bunch of ragamuffins...
The New York Islanders with an average of just over $2.25mil. I guess a gaggle of four Alternates will help to bring an already cheap payroll down further.

Odds and Ends
Speaking of committee work, there are four teams with more than three Alternates...
The Isles, Oilers, and Stars all have four, while Columbus tops the charts with six listed Alternates.

Mentioned earlier, Philadelphia and Buffalo are the only teams without listed Alternates, while Montreal and Toronto have no Captain whatsoever. Leadership issues much? Boston has only one Alternate for Big Z and that's Patrice Bergeron.

And it goes without saying that Roberto Luongo is the only goalie who was named Captain since Bill Durnan tenured the position in 1947-48 for the Habs.

Enjoy slobs.

Trade Deadline: T-minus 30... 29...

We all know the trades made, right? We all know the pieces involved, right? Okay so lets break it down.

This is what I do best.

Phaneuf's Enough
Phaneuf was disgruntled in Calgary, and by all reports, had had it out with Brent and maybe even some of his teammates, (considering his disposition, highly likely). Some say, the Sutter's still wanted some time to massage "young" Dion into a moldable Top 4 defender, other's say he needed a fresh start, and the optimists say he's plateaued. When the great bandana-wearer, Kelly Hrudey, is calling you out on HNIC before the game even starts, you know your play has gone from suck to blow.

For Burke, he's always happy to add his new favorite word, truculence, Dion offers that on the ice, and off the ice, for better or for worse. His shot, while powerful, has not hit the net yet this season, without the help of a teammate's deflection, or a defender's shinpad, err, helmet, (try the 'High and Wide' Drinking Game!)

For Darryl, he removes an underachieving, self-entitled, locker room cancer from the roster, while picking up some interchangable parts, at worst.

As for those interchangable parts, Ian White is probably the hidden gem in this lode of shit. He's a young guy, with a lot to prove, and if he plays well enough, which I think he will, he'll earn himself another contract in Calgary. Stajan outweighs what Freddy Shoes brought to the table, Hagman adds to that, but not much. The unknown variable is what promising prospect Aulie turns out to be, knowing Burke and his patience, they probably won't find out in Toronto until its too late. Jamal Mayers is a throwaway piece.

Who wins?

Call Phaneuf the biggest player in this deal all you want, he sure hasn't shown that he is for the past two seasons, his stock has dropped, dramatically. But he's Burke's kind of guy, and his play will thrive in the kind of mediocrity that Toronto fans are already used to. Stajan and Hagman are no Ponikarovsky, which is the type of player Flames fans wanted to feel better about themselves down the stretch. Are they any more confidant now? Sjostrom is the type of guy the Leafs already have a ton of, even after trading four of them away. White will have to prove that he is worth the "value" that Darryl traded Phaneuf for, that will determine your winner. Bottom line, Flames, slightly.

They're going to scale down my equipment again?

Who's the Teacher? Who's the Student?
Giguere wasn't happy riding the pine, even while collecting $6mil per, but he sure earned it, (the pine that is). He had made comments earlier in the year about being pissed off about it, then had to backpedal after management probably voiced their displeasure behind closed doors. Bob Murray and Randy Carlyle gave J.S. the chance to earn his spot back with unimpressive results. Even when Hiller faltered, Giguere could not retake the #1 position, and was instead stuffing towels inside his chest protector for the majority of the year. Two things happened to Giguere off the ice that fucked him up a bit. The first was his son's medical problem with his eyes right after birth. However that took place just before the Stanley Cup playoff run, where Bryzgalof opened the first four games with three wins, and then Giguere took over mop up duty in the fourth, only to never look back on his way to lifting the Cup. That becomes a non-issue then, (his son is fine by the way). The second was the passing of his father during last season, since then he's been a shell of himself, compounded by the departure of Francois Allaire in the offseason to rejoin Burke in Toronto.

Burke gets a proven goaltender that he believes in, who doesn't have a heart condition, (functionally, that is). He ships out Toskala, who I believe will never be offered another contract to play in the NHL again, and Blake who was never his type of guy to begin with. He earns two million in salary, but dumps players he didn't want.

Murray gets his second underachieving goaltender from Toronto in as many seasons (Pogge), and Jason Blake, who for all intensive purposes fills the same kind of speedy void that Andy MacDonald left when Scotty Niedermayer decided to play hockey again. But he missed the boat on acquiring what the Ducks really needed, and that's defense. Where's Exelby who reportedly asked for a trade out of town? Or could it have been for Kaberle straight up? Probably not.

Who wins?

The Ducks were not going to re-sign Giguere, his days in Anaheim were over months ago, which was definitively proven with Hiller's contract extention. Burke did not want Blake, and Toskala virtually holds no value other than to send a position player back the other way. As far as assets go, Burke wins. On paper, Giguere is the best player in this move, and Murray should have been able to get just a bit more in the swap. However, I believe that Giguere will be eaten alive by the fishbowl of Toronto media, and his play will be no better, or no worse than it has been the last two seasons, similarly to Phaneuf. In addition, I believe that Blake will put up better numbers (no where to go but up) with significantly better linemates, and that Toskala will be given the cliched 'fresh start' and a fair chance to prove that it was playing behind the Leafs, as to why he has looked like absolute shit. Bottom line, at first glance it looks as if Burke has won, but time will prove that he didn't.

I hear the Bronx Zoo has a nice Ape enclosure.
Jokinen Trotting North America
First it was the Southeast (Florida), then the Southwest (Phoenix), then the Northwest (Calgary), and now back to the Northeast with Rangers, the crosstown rivals of his original draft team (Isles).
At everyone's first glance, this looks like Daz got fleeced, and the inverse of that is that he's not done, and he's setting up for something bigger (Kovalchuk). I'm not so sure. Darryl pulled off the major coup last deadline by acquiring Bouwmeester, I'd bet against him going two for two and getting Ilya, even for just this year's run. My feeling is that he'll for sure go after him, but lose out to a team that, at the very least, won't have to scramble to make the post (Los Angeles), or has a real chance of taking home silver (Chicago). Now obviously, the pieces have to be right for Waddell to pull the trigger (and Kovy has nothing to do with the decision), but I think teams in those positions will be more willing to offer up enough assets to grab him. Maybe not, maybe Daz'll throw the kitchen sink at Don to get Ilya, who knows, that's just my unpaid, uninformed gut feeling.
But lets look at the pieces, I'm not sure why anyone wants any of these guys. Jokinen has looked lost since he left Florida, and even then he looked a little lost but it was easier to hide on a team like that. He didn't really work with Iginla which is the first priority for all Flames fans. Prust is a pugilist fourth-liner, which always fits in New York. Kotalik is your run of the mill, on again off again, sometimes I feel like playing European winger. Who knows, maybe it was Tortorella's style, and MacTavish's, and Ruff's. Higgins was part of Sather's deal to get Gomez out of New York, bringing the hometown boy back to his roots. It took about a month for him to score his first goal for the Rangers, with six in total since.
Jokinen's the biggest piece of this trade, but his ineffectiveness on a competing team is baffling, and every GM who brings him to their team thinks he's going to be magical. That hasn't been the case, whatsoever. I have no doubt that the Sutters' were done with Olli, but you would think they would have been able to grab a little more in the process. Then again, when you look at the Rangers lineup, there's not much there to begin with, in terms of movable assets. In all honesty, the same goes for the Leafs.
Bottom line, Darryl made trades with teams that didn't have much to offerin terms of talent. The only way to recoup these deals is to parlay it into something bigger, which is why everyone's giving him the benefit of the doubt. Considering Sather's moves in the past, this ranks behind landing Gaborik, and shipping off Gomez. Rangers fans think they've got something for nothing, I think they might be right, which is the first and last time I'll say that.