Thursday, June 24, 2010

30 Thoughts, or Less

Welcome to the mockery of a thieved idea that I happen to think is great. Check that. Reverse it. I love Elliotte Friedmann's 30 Thoughts, so much so that I decided to steal the idea, and half-ass it, as I passionately love to do. So without any knowledge or any of that fancy insider information I bring you... 30 Thoughts, or Less.

1. Not as Dumb as He Looks
Despite how well he photographs, Wilson has signed Marleau and kicked Nabokov to the curb. He's obviously voiced his displeasure about St. Pat before, but when it came down to brass tacks, he told Nabokov, "No thanks, we're full," when it came to his playoff failures. Marleau is a cornerstone, as he has been for the Sharks since they drafted him behind Joe Thornton. Nabokov is yet another Russian goalie who has imploded when it counted.

2. Jumbo Next?
I would not be surprised to a) see the Sharks pass on re-signing Thornton, or b) begin shopping him in the middle of the season when his value's high dishing passes to Heatley and Marleau. Then again, there's always that postseason thing that the Sharks hold out hope for.

3. One More Thing
They re-signed RFA Pavelski after his epic postseason. They did not do that for Setoguchi, who was not epic, or postseason. Like the Sharks.

4. Chanelling the Boom
Nashville is billing Blake Geoffrion as the second coming of Boom Boom. Maybe he should talk to Stamkos about the pressure a franchise puts on you when you become the basket they hold all their eggs with.

5. You Got Hart?
The awards pretty much fell the way everyone expected them to with the exception being the Hart that went to Hank Sedin. Sedin won the Art Ross in a ridiculous 4point final game in the regular season, but had stiff competition from fan favorites Crosby and Ovechkin. Lots of grumbling today about it all, I think Crosby probably earned it out of those three, but I'm glad to see Hank win it. Bryzgalov would have been my next choice, but he didn't win the Vezina so how can he win the Hart, and then you have that debate.

6. The Job Hunter
Last year's Vezina winner might be looking for a change of address after the Bruins gave his agent permission to speak with other teams about a trade. Rask has inherited the job after playing a little less than half the regular season, and a pretty solid postseason. He just signed a four year deal last season with about $5mil per and a no move clause.

7. Roaming Goalies
Lots of movement this offseason when it comes to goaltenders, and after the postseason's saw back-ups and rookies battle their way to the Cup, teams are re-thinking the term "money goaltending." Halak instead of Price, Nabokov's out of San Jose, Turco's been out of Dallas since March, who knows what the hell they're going to do in Philadelphia.

8. Do You Feel That Cold Air?
This draft certainly doesn't have the buildup that last year had. It seems obvious that Hall's going #1, and Seguin's going #2, and after that nobody seems to care. With it being in LA this would have been the first opportunity I've had to attend, but sadly real life beckons. Boo fucking hoo, how exciting could a draft be anyway?

9. Anyone Want to Overpay?
With Marleau signed, Ilya Kovalchuk becomes the only option for teams seeking an offensive dynamo. Marleau offered skill on both sides of the rink, Kovalchuk can skate loops just inside the blueline, but that's about as far as he'll venture in. Los Angeles seems to be in the market for one of those defensive zone buzzing flies.

10. Adding Validity
How much more respectable do the Florida franchises look after adding General Managers with good hockey reputations?

11. Two Approaches
But the differences between Tallon and Yzerman are night and day. Yzerman's going to take the slow, measured approach to team architecture, while Tallon's building it like a contractor, "get it done quick." Although most contractors will build as cheap as they can and that's not necessarily Tallon's style (see: deconstruction of a winner in Chicago).

12. How Many Licks Does it Take?
How much would it suck to win a Stanley Cup and then get traded two weeks later. To Atlanta (or Edmonton). I'm not sure which part is worse.

13. Think of the Children
Todd Bertuzzi has agreed to a two-year, $3.875 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s just a really good fit for me,” the forward said. “My kids were so pumped when they found out we’re going back for two more years—now my son gets to stay in his hockey program, and they get to go back to the same schools.” Bertuzzi's got kids?!?! Somebody save them!

That was 13 and I'm left feeling impotent. That's a natural feeling for me. Enjoy the draft, and looking forward to July 1st.

Trading Places

Seems I can't keep up with the slow pace of the offseason.

Trades from latest to earliest...

Byfuglien/Eager/Sopel and prospect Akim Aliu to Atlanta
---> Reasoner/Morin, 2010 1st round (24th overall) and 2nd rounder (54th overall) to Chicago

Can somebody please just start boxing up this Thrashers franchise or at the very least get someone down there with some hockey knowledge and some kind of grasp of today's game? Between Waddell and Dudley they have run this ship aground with the engines still at full. Tell me, what does Sopel or Eager offer to the Thrashers? An "experienced" defenseman with the wheels falling off, and a checking line knuckle dragger. That's what that roster needed, not an infusion of some young talent. And to top it off, I just about guarantee that Byfuglien gets shipped elsewhere before the year is over. His value shines in the postseason not the regular season, and the Thrash don't do the postseason so good. Morin is supposed to be bad ass too.

Horton/Campbell to Boston
--> Wideman, 2010 1st round (15th overall) and 2011 3rd rounder to Florida

Horton, the man notorious for stupid faces, wanted out of Florida (Who doesn't?) and that's been pretty clear since about January. Wideman was nearly beaten out of Beantown until he got his shit together in the postseason. Their salaries are just about a wash at around $4mil., and they both get that "fresh start" that we all masterbate to. The Bruins get some leverage on the Wheel of Discipline with Campbell and already have the number two pick or Tyler Seguin from Toronto. Tallon on the other hand has collected a fifth pick in the first 50 of this year's draft, the third overall, the new fifteenth, plus three more in the second round. He's already done more than Jacques Martin ever did.

Arnott back to Jersey
---> Halischuk and 2011 2nd rounder

Nashville's captain just waived his no-trade clause to return to the Devils for a promising prospect and a pick. What else is on TV?

The rights to Hamhuis and a conditional 2011 pick to Philadelphia
---> Parent heads back to Nashville

This deal strikes me as lopsided in favor of the Flyers. Wasn't Hamhuis one of the most sought after defenseman at the deadline by playoff teams looking for a mover at the back end? I know the Preds desperately wanted to get Parent back, but I didn't think they were willing to give up Hamhuis and toss in a draft pick for good measure. Then again I guess if its an eighth rounder it really doesn't mean shit anyway. Late word is that Holmgren and Hamhuis are far apart on getting a deal done.

Halak to St. Louis
---> Promising prospect Eller and so/so prospect Schultz to Montreal

'Should we go with the humble guy out of Slovakia that we drafted in the umpteenth round in '03 and killed it for us in the post this year, or the overindulgent dumbass that we put all our faith in with our first round selection in '05 and didn't do shit for us except open the bench door?'

'Uh, let's go with Plan B.'

I know this decision wasn't Pierre Gauthier's alone, but this has to prove that this guy does not belong in a GM's seat. Its got to be pride that the Habs braintrust didn't want to have to swallow and admit that they were wrong about Price, and instead put their pressurized hopes in him when he sure as shit didn't earn it. Unless its cash, and they're cheaping out, which doesn't sound like a team that traded for the Gomez contract. Then again, that may be why.

But I have to admit, it does take a lot of balls from Gauthier to pull something like this, especially when he knew the fan base would be calling for his head shortly thereafter. But has Price's value diminished so much on the open market that they had to resort to this move? Almost everyone in the hockey world agreed that he needed the ol' "fresh start" to get his career, his game, and his head back in order. Were there really no takers for him?

And the return? Lars Eller better be the next Niklas Backstrom in order to put out that fire in Montreal. For Christ's sake he's a Dane! When's the last time you heard of a quality hockey product coming out of Denmark? Jannik Hansen? Really?

And now the Blues look like a playoff contender, although I'm not sure how credible that makes them, upgrading from Mason to Halak. They also grabbed TJ Hensick from the Avs making it the busiest day in Blues history in the last decade. Or two.

Potential Suspects?

Kaberle is the usual suspect, this time he's linked to a swap with Marc Savard. Boston's got a glut of centers and just dished their puck mover in Wideman. Savard would salivate already rabid Leaf fans linking him back up with Kessel.

Mike Ribeiro is a fuck, and nobody wants him on their team. Well somebody might, but apparently its not Dallas according to EJ Hradek who's been known to be overly filled with shit.

Spezza to the Blue Jackets is the hot rumor that makes too much sense to happen. Nash needs someone to dish him the puck, Spezza needs out of Ottawa (who doesn't?). Murray's too stubborn to allow another diva demand a trade and get what he wants, and Howson's too inept to actually make something happen.

And I laugh sinisterly from my chair in the basement...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blackhawk Roster Thoughts

And the inevitable has happened. Despite all the questioning of goaltending, the depth, the drive, and the chemistry proved to be the right formula. The revitalized Blackhawks organization has brought home the ultimate prize, if only for one year. The championship winning roster pushed up to the cap and then some, and now there is some value engineering to be done. Just some thoughts on the key (and not so key) members of this lineup...

Jonathan Toews - The new Sidney Crosby (Thank Christ). Think about the year he's had... An Olympic Gold Medal and named the tournament's best forward, then accepting the Stanley Cup as Captain and the hands down winner of the Conn Smythe. And he's already won a World Championship (and a Junior Championship) to become the youngest member of the elusive Triple Gold Club. That's pretty motherfuckin' impressive. That's not being in the right place at the right time, that's being a major cog in the wheels that won those championships. And he's humble.

Patrick Kane - The Yang to Toews Yin. While the kid's got a nose for the net, he's not even close to the vicinity of the complete player that Toews is. I don't know what it is about him, maybe the arrogance, the invincibility, the God complex he carries, that makes me not want to see him succeed. Maybe I'm just hatin'.

Marian Hossa - So unable to believe that he won the Cup that he actually didn't want to take it from Toews. And now everyone's screaming "trade him!" It kinda makes sense in a salary dump/high current market value way, but that would be his fifth team in four seasons. On the other hand, he's one of the pieces you have locked up if you can get the rest of the dollars to add up. And I'm not sure who would be willing to take on that $7.9mil anchor of a contract for the next four years without a support staff already in place.

Dustin Byfuglien - Another arrogant prick. But he's big and he plays big. That is, at least when he's got future HOFer's on his line. I think of two other examples of NHL players when I think of Byfuglien... Dustin Penner, in the sense that his linemates made him better, and he'll probably sign some ridiculous offer sheet that he'll never live up without a supporting cast. And Ray Emery, that all this shit is gonna go right to his head, and make him implode.

Duncan Keith - Another humble warrior. Between Keith and Toews, this team has enough leadership for two teams. Look for that to happen in four years. My choice for the Norris despite the fact the odds are on to Doughty.

Brent Seabrook - Really surprised me as to the kind of player and defenseman he is. His spot on the Canadian roster was for real, and this duo is the best pairing in the League right now.

Andrew Ladd - Did you ever think that Ladd would be a two-time Stanley Cup winner? Now this is being in the right place at the right time.

Patrick Sharp - One of the most underrated forwards in the League. And this guy can shoot the fucking puck.

Niklas Hjalmarsson - One of the most underrated young defensemen in the League. I'd be surprised if the Bowmans' let him walk.

Kris Versteeg - In serious competition with Sean Avery as League's top douchenozzle. I have no doubt the rest of this team will have no problem saying goodbye to this cum stain.

Antti Niemi - If you had to guess which Finnish goaltender between Kiprusoff, Backstrom, and Niemi would win the Cup first, would anyone have the balls to give any thought to Niemi? Its funny despite him getting a ring for the Blackhawks, I'll still don't see him as their long-term goaltender. It'll be interesting to see how the perspective on him in the hockey world will change next year (i.e. Cam Ward).

Cristobal Huet - Have you ever seen a cleaner set of pads for a Stanley Cup picture before? This guy winning a Stanley Cup is an insult. If they have to remove someone else's name to fit Dale Tallon's on, I petition that it should be Huet's.

Brian Campbell - Had his lowest season point totals since his first few years with the Sabres, and his lowest postseason point total ever despite playing in 19 games. This is not the same Brian Campbell that we once knew. He still skates through the neutral zone with the greatest of ease, but there's something about his game that's dramatically different.

Tomas Kopecky - Next to Adam Burrish and Ben Eager, the most useless part of this team.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book It?

Is it safe to say that whoever wins a Game 5 after the teams are knotted at two is the eventual winner?

I don't have the answer, or feel like doing the research, but that's what I'm thinking.

And Arby's.