Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
A great piece...consider it as... 'Must Read'
Craig Custance....(Sporting News)
H/T...Paul at KK....(The commments make your trip worthwhile)
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
You don't need live bait to
go fishin' on the net.
Friday, July 4, 2008
WOW. I am resisting the urge to type in all capitals, even days later.
I was completely prepared for a nice, quiet, typical Detroit Red Wings free agency period - not shipping out six players, bringing in another eight, and seeing how it fit afterwards, but trying to find a replecement for Brad Stuart (if he bolted), a veteran backup goaltender, and maybe a forward on a short-term contract. A short shopping list, one that actually got shorter when Stuart resigned for more than Holland wanted but less than he could get from another team (which is a pretty good definition of "compromise" in my book), and Brian Rolston quickly got far too expensive for Detroit to fit him in with their existing roster. Mats Sundin is still debating whether or not he wants to play, which means he has about three years to go before he becomes as annoying as Bret Favre. Welcome to the Red Wings, Ty Conklin, and if Detroit plays Chicago in Wrigley Field this winter I hope you get a chance to continue your stellar play outdoors. Or at least give Osgood some advice.
I really had three things I really, REALLY didn't want to happen this free agency period.
1. Losing Wally Filppula to an offer sheet - which could still happen, but I'm hoping the threats that Pete at YIG and I are thinking about are enough to deter other GMs from doing anything of the sort.
2. Detroit signing Todd Bertuzzi. They already tried that once, and it didn't work. He hasn't been the player that people think of for quite a few years. Now he is a surly, ill-tempered, fragile, easily-injured floater. Not worth the money he would cost, especially dragging such a large mess of baggage with him. Detroit would be better off investing the dollars in a semi-trained oragutan on skates than a waste of metabolic activity like that shell of a hockey player.
3. Marian Hossa going to Chicago. To my extremely novice eye, that seemed to be a fabulous fit for him. They are quick, hard-working, and although they aren't a playoff team yet, they could be very close in as little as a year or two. Conventional wisdom was that Hossa might take less to stay with the Penguins, since they convinced him they were a contender, but he'd probably bolt for the insane money that was being thrown around by teams with far more salary cap space than the Wings, and good for him. But Hossa against the Wings scared me because he is such a tremendous talent, and one of my favorite players for several years. I didn't want to have to cheer against him.
So far none of them have happened. And by signing Marian Hossa Detroit doesn't have the room for Bertuzzi, which makes me even happier.
I could waste a lot of time rebutting the articles that are insulting Hossa, but...
A) there are too many of them,
B) it's like spitting into the wind to use logic to refute illogical statements, and
C) he's a grown man and doesn't need my help.
But I fail to see how he can be a traitor to a team he was playing with for a few months when he was originally acquired as a rental. I see why Penguins fans allowed themselves to think about keeping him - who wouldn't? - but even as a pure rental, he was as worth it as the cost of John Smoltz was for the Detroit Tigers in 1987 when they traded for Doyle Alexander. Sure it would have been nice all these intervening years to have had Smoltz in Detroit, but at the time they needed a pitcher who could go 11-0 in the pennant race with Toronto, not a young pitching prospect. Hossa did for Pittsburgh what the players they traded to get him couldn't have.
I fail to see how taking a risk on a one-year deal only means he is taking the easy way out, while taking an eight-year contract with Chicago is laudable because it means Brian Campbell is interesting in building something there (other than his bank ballance, I assume they mean). Lots of words strung together into sentences, but little thought behind those words.
I fail to see how taking less in the attempt to win a Cup means that inevitably he will begin floating through the rest of his career if he is successful. It's pretty clear that winning a single Cup absolutely killed any competitive fire in Yzerman or Chelios or Lidstrom, right? Oh, wait...
And on what planet is taking less to accomadate the needs of the team defined as selfish? To all this nonsensical verbiage I can only shake my head. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I was at first extremely skeptical when I saw Hossa to Detroit. I believe my first thought was "No freaking way, not with the money Edmonton was rumoured to be offering him."
I know if I were being offered (lopping a few zeroes off to make the numbers more realistic) a guaranteed $74,000 for one year or a guaranteed $810,000 over the next nine years, I wouldn't take the smaller number. Heck, I wouldn't even take the smaller number if it actually was $7.4 million and $81 million, no matter how much more $7.4 million is than I would see otherwise. All other things being approximately equal, more money is always better.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and Hossa was willing to venture a lot. The intelligence of not taking a larger offer might be debatable (especially by his agent), but it is definitely the ballsy move.
And the only genius Ken Holland displayed in this instance was not spending all his cap space, so when Hossa's agent called and asked what Detroit could do with a one-year deal, he wasn't so strapped that he couldn't pay him at all. This was Hossa's desire to win, and Holland was the happy beneficiary.
I absolutely love this move.
Partly because of quotes like this (both via the inimitable George James Malik):
[Question to Lidstrom]: You will have a gruesomely good power play?
I think that's even better than magically delicious.
[Comment from Craig MacTavish]: Hossa is one of the most complete and best players in the game. He shoots and passes like ... well, like a Red Wing.
That he does.
But the best thing, for me, about Hossa being a Red Wing is that he is one of my favorite players. I have no idea why, exactly - I just always noticed him more than any of the other Ottawa Senators when he was playing there, and something about his game was very appealing. I remember in one of the playoff runs before he was traded to Atlanta for Dany Heatley (which ticked me off because once he was way down south he wasn't going to show up on Hockey Night in Canada anymore - I would have wanted him to play for Toronto, but for the fact that the Maple Leafs would have eaten his soul), maybe 2003 or so, where he was by far the hardest working player on the ice. Once he had the puck, he could not be knocked off of it, and when he didn't have it, he backchecked like a maniac to get it back. The more he was knocked around the harder he played, and I adored that about him. He was the reason I wanted the Senators to be successful.
And now I get to see him on my favorite team. WOW.
So, does this guarantee that Detroit will repeat as Cup champions next year?
HAH. I only wish. It would certainly be less stressful for me to know the outcome ahead of time.
Not unless as a cost-saving measure, the league has decided to only actually play 25% of the games and use computer simulations to determine the rest. It's not paper hockey, it's ice hockey because it's played on the ice (or slush, depending on the arena) instead of by matching up rosters and deciding which one is better based on the stats.
Of course the Wings could lose the Cup. They could even lose in the first round of the playoffs.
But if they do, it won't be some bizarre karmic revenge on Hossa for rolling the dice, or the Detroit Red Wings for being really good, or something. After all, the forced trade of Hasek to Detroit (which was a much crappier move than leaving a team your were traded to as a playoff rental in free agency) worked out well, Curtis Joseph to Detroit did not, Selanne and Kariya to Colorado did not, and Bourque to Colorado did. There isn't an historical trend that punishes so-called mercenaries. There just isn't.
If Detroit loses, it will be for the same tangible reasons that any team loses, including Detroit in other seasons - key players are injured at key times, opposing goaltenders play out of their minds, another team just happens to outplay them during a two-week period, the puck bounces off the crossbar and in instead of out ... all the things thet make fans live and die with every shift during the playoffs.
There is no guarantee that I won't get injured in a car accident the next time I drive to work, either. But I know that if I wear my seat belt, follow the traffic laws, check my mirrors for idiots who aren't doing the same, and turn on my headlights in the rain to increase my visibility, I greatly increase my chances of doing so.
With Marian Hossa added to the roster, the Detroit Red Wings have in effect fastened their seat belts. When the season starts, it might be a good idea for the fans to do the same.
Is it too early to start counting the days until training camp?
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
While you are waiting.....
"best of the worst rumors"
"Free agency can make some general managers act like kids in a candy store, but the rational ones understand that not everything available is worth the sticker price. When it comes to unrestricted free agency under a salary cap, 'buyer beware' remains invaluable advice."
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
What was the league’s major problem before the cap era? Teams not making a ton of money being able to stay afloat. You had Buffalo and Ottawa years ago, and now you’ve got Nashville, Florida and Phoenix not pulling their weight now. How else would a team like Phoenix be able to stay in the desert if it were not crazy building leases that punish them HARD for leaving or getting a nice cut of the NHL Welfare?
We already know that the team is in Nashville for any number of ridiculous Gary-centric reasons (telling Balsillie to beat it, waiting around for a local ownership group, cutting a sweetheart deal for an old friend who conveniently is broke in Boots Del Biaggio). This boils down to Gary getting what Gary always wants.
He wants teams in America, and dammit, that’s where they’re going to stay. After all, if southerners dump tons of money on football (high school, college and professional) and cars going around a track...surely they’ll do the same for hockey! It’s going to happen! TRUST IN GARY!
It’s colossally stupid.
In completely unrelated news, the NBA has set attendance records three years in a row, MLB business is at an all-time high, and the NFL is the most powerful and successful sports league in North American history.
Meanwhile, the NHL struggles along. Revenue is up thanks mainly to the Canadian dollar, but business in the US is flat and the league continues to need to pad its announced ticket sales with freebies in order to claim that attendance is rising.
So good work, Gary. Keep working hard to pick fights with those big markets. You obviously know something that all those other league's [sic] don't.
Sometimes when you are doing something completely different from everyone else in your field it's because you're working on something cutting edge and innovative. Sometimes you're just plain wrong.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
RAYNER = From the Germanic name Reginar, composed of the elements ragin "advice" and heri "army". This name was brought to Britain by the Normans.
--from Behind the Name (one of the best time-killing websites ever!)
Someone with "advice" in his name - does that means he needs some or that he won't take any?
Until then, we are reduced to rambling about music and figuring out the derivations of names of hockey players and fans.
(Although someone please check on Pete if you get a chance. Whether he sets himself on fire or goes on a killing spree, he shouldn't be left alone with sharp objects or matches for a while.)
The boredom could be relieved if the Detroit Red Wings take a chance on another reclamation project - or as I would call it, "make a catastrophically stupid move" - and sign goalie Ray Emery.
In that case, I hope for MORE BOREDOM!!!
I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than have Emery on the Red Wings.
I would rather have my nasal passages packed with crushed Cool Ranch Doritos than have Emery on the Red Wings (and I despise Doritos of all flavors).
I would rather spend time watching sports with giggly girls who know nothing so they spend their time debating who is the hottest guy instead of watching the actual game, until I can feel my brain trying to crawl out of my skull to escape the intellectual vacuum and my only option is to beat the air-headed bimbos to death with thundersticks to prevent the implosion of the universe into their amazingly empty heads.
On the face of it, it doesn't seem like such a stupid idea.
He's only 25 years old, so he isn't ancient.
In 2006-2007, he won 33 games with five shutouts and a save% of 0.918.
He was 13-7 in the playoffs that year with a GAA of 2.26 as the Ottawa Senators made it to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Anaheim Ducks.
Last year he was injured and only played in 31 games with a record of 12-13-4.
Logically, based on the numbers, he is a talented young goaltender who had a bad season with injuries last year and should be due to bounce back. What's the harm of giving him a one-year deal for a small contract to give him the chance to reestablish himself? After all, Detroit has had several successful reclamation projects (Dan Cleary, Darren McCarty), so another case would be par for the course.
There is this:
"But that’s what everything surrounding the Ottawa Senators always seems to be—like a soap opera that I’m hearing the plot for second-hand and not actually able to watch. I always get the sense that the hockey media in that town is following their own code of silence, like some bizarre Stepford Wives syndrome. "
--Alanah, Canucks and Beyond
All you hear is he's late for practice, he's a bad teammate, he's a lousy driver, he pays too much attention to his wardrobe, he's immature and cocky - all that is hardly a reason to kick a player off the team when normally in sports talent always gets multiple chances.
Maybe he's just in the wrong sport - toss him in the NFL with the prima donna wide receivers and he'd blend in as though his fancy suits were camouflage.
But the rumours are floating around like gently wafting hot-air balloons, with the assumption that someone merely needs to have evidence that will withstand a libel suit. The funny thing about this to me is that, if it is assumed that the rumours are all true (purely for the sake of argument), the idea of the press engaging in a conspiracy of silence in an age of public confessions, the ever-popular non-specific non-apology (in the vein of "I've done some things I'm not proud of, and to anyone who might have been offended and/or hurt, I'm sorry), and YouTube and paparazzi websites, the idea of keeping an off-ice issue out of the public eye is ... well ... quaint. Old-fashioned. And it seems a little silly, as people are quick to forgive after a vague apology if the miscreant can pull off a sufficiently contrite act in front of the cameras. Just get it out in the open, if the issue is real - no matter how long you tiptoe around the elephant in the room, eventually you have to clean up the poop. It can only be ignored for so long before it's hard to move around because it has reached your knees.
If the rumours are true, then clearly this young man is poison and any team who signs him is asking for a whole lot of trouble.
Even if they aren't true, though, I don't want him on the Red Wings - or any of my second-favorite teams, either.
I don't care if the only problem is an immature attitude and difficulties with punctuality.
I don't care if the problem is that Ottawa is such a quiet city that an epidemic of littering and rampant chalk graffiti on the sidewalks passes for a major public disturbance and Emery's only crime is being a round peg in a city of square pegs.
What bothers me is the persistent idea that the Red Wings can "fix" any player they want to, as though the organization has some kind of magic red-and-white pixie dust they can sprinkle on any difficult player, and he magically becomes a hard-working teammate, and his reputation is restored to its former pristine state.
First, there is no rule that Detroit has to take on one reclamation project each season. It just makes things more difficult than they have to be if the team has a player with more baggage than normal.
Second, a player can't be fixed unless he WANTS to be.
No matter how lengthy the relationship between Darren McCarty and Ken Holland, if Holland wasn't convinced that Mac was ready to work hard and earn any ice time he got from Mike Babcock, he would have not been on the team. And I would be willing to bet that at some point in McCarty's conversations with his good friend Kris Draper, Draper told him (possibly in just so many words), "if you screw this up after I vouched for you, we are finished." Friendship only goes so far.
If Dan Cleary came into training camp after the lockout for a tryout and had the attitude, "now this is more like it! A first-round draft pick like myself SHOULD be on such a good team. I wonder who will play on the first line with me?" he would have been out so fast his head would still be spinning years later.
Both of these situations worked because the players themselves committed to turning their own careers around - the Detroit Red Wings provided an environment that would support them in their efforts instead of sabotaging them, and they would have been successful on any other team that gave them the same kind of environment.
No pixie dust.
No secret formula.
Just a willingness to give someone a second chance if they committed to working for it, instead of waiting to have what they felt they deserved drop into their laps.
Thus far Ray Emery hasn't shown signs of that.
Hopefully the NHL will realize the same thing that the fans have, and he will get a contract if he really commits to being a responsible member of a team. Otherwise the smart thing to do would be avoid him and any problems he brings along with him until he grows up.
Good luck in Europe, Ray. Make sure to rent a separate cargo plane for your baggage.
(And I sincerely mean the good luck part - just stay away from my team.)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I did not bleed to death when the mirror over my bed
came tumbling down as I was sleeping...
I'm just a little too old to continue thru the summer....
I will be back when the foreplay starts in September....
A little worried about losing the url, so every 29 days
there will be a post with the new links I have been
I am not much of a wannabe GM.
Roster speculation just
pisses me off.
Contract discussions bore me to death...
What will be ...Will be...and we find out in Oct.
I know I promised a SCF final post ....
(even saved a bunch of great links)
It is all history, now....and I kinda feel sad for
all the fans living in a Time Warp.
That Other Thing
It seems I owe Mikey (link) an apology.....
Well not exactly an apology,
but gotta give him some credit.
I still have reservations about the guy,
and still disgusted the way he handled the
team in that 1st round disaster against the Oilers.
Probably going to stay that way until he takes a team
like Toronto or Phoenix and makes them a winner.
And I agree....Well....sort of....
Friday, June 13, 2008
is hauled away for long-term institutional care.
At the NHL awards show,
little gary mistakenly handed out the Norris trophy
intended for this guy...
What did you say to him then? “Congrats Dick”?
and his commenter............RWBill (dirty old man)