Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Regarding Bettman

I give GB a wide margin of error basically for checking into the Westin for 2 weeks and leveraging a deal between the City/State and Lemieux LLP. We're not going to have to watch what Quebec did (Team moves and immediately wins a Cup) because he mediated that deal on behalf of the NHL.

On the other hand, he refuses to stand up for the marginalization of our game by re-upping with Versus and letting the rules committee diminish aggression. People in taverns in non-hockey markets are either watching ESPN, which has roughly 2 minutes of NHL coverage an hour, or ESPN2, the network of billiards, darts, and poker tourneys.

I wish the short bastard would promote Hockey as Hockey. Yes, people may indeed fight one another. No, there aren't mixed messages. They are there so that nobody is boarded at 25MPH or elbowed in their orbital bone, hence, enforcers.

The guys who know those oft-mentioned unwritten rules, ones which I hope Gary Bettman isn't planning on someday jotting down for the purposes of printing them on a tee-shirt for $29.99.

Promote them. Those types of men are the ones at every Hospital visit, in the communities, and generally giving of themselves on behalf of the team and their sport.
The Parroses and the Laraques are the guys taking little kids' slappers off the junk at the Boys and Girls clubs whilst retaining a smile, after all.

I don't wanna see Marty Turco hit in the face with a pie. I want to see the average NHLer's athleticism and toughness put on equal terms with any other sport. At least equal terms.

I'm talking to you, Shaq, and your injured toe. You big bitch. You know what? Dmitry Yuskevich played in a Quarterfinal series with 9 broken toes for the Leafs, and the mainstream would maintain that he's a Soft Euro, nowhere near as tough as, say, Kyle Farnsworth.

It would be nice to see NHL Hockey in certain Canadian cities again, but Bettman can't expect investors to start popping up to build arenas and take a multi-million dollar risk. Save for Hamilton, ON, that's exactly what it would be.

Until then, get back on mainstream TV, and stop marginalizing junkie fans like me, Gary. I hate Joe Bennenatti. Hit him in the face with a pie. Do it, Gary! Stay out of your own way.

Footnote: I can't wait to smoke Toronto 5-1 on "Dougie Night". He was a punk in Toronto, and especially in Buffalo. I'd fight him right now, left handed, but his punk buddies like Vaclav Varada would charge me when I was trying to pick up my morning paper next week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

August starts when?

I've been looking for anything to write about. Perhaps the presence of Paine, Rikku, and Yuna on Kari Lehtonen's helm? Bringing back the "Hockey Fights cancer" pink stick weekend? Always nice to see Owen Nolan winding up one of those. Wrigley and its' historic content and the resurgence of Blackhawks hockey in Chicago? The unveiling of the New York Rags'™ latest sponsor, AARP, was announced; it, however, fell on deaf ears as most New Yorkers are currently occupying recently established territories along the New Jersey shore destined to spawn a new generation of horrible, weasel-like deviants, primed to revel in a toxic, Bruce Springstein-Bon Jovi sympathising hellscape.

There's that "free word association" thing in action again. Deviant » Ted Nolan. He got the axe, for reasons unknown, by Garth "I didn't draft Luke Schenn" Snow. Seriously, if I'm a NY Islanders fan, I'm wondering why there are such a succession of blunders piling up. Trading Chara for Yashin... not keeping Luongo... not drafting Luke Schenn. Then they signed Doug Weight. Hey, Doug Weight used to play with Ryan Smyth, so he's just as good, right? Glaring errors which have and will cost that franchise for decades.

Pittsburgh looks to have completed its' NHL roster last week, and there's really no news save signing Kris Beech to a 2-way and the schedule allowing those in The Steel City to know when to book passage to DC. We continue to look fondly to the North, where Ottawa's woes continue and their writers are creating trades to see if they'll gain traction. It is very Toronto-esque; however, Ottawa doesn't have the league by the balls like the Leafs, so the 3-way LA-Chicago-Ottawa rumor everyone is familiar with isn't looking very realistic.

Speaking of realistic, Montreal continues to astound me with their sense of entitlement. I've seen (but not read) long, long lists of reasons why Mats Sundin will wear bleu, blanc, yadda yadda instead of Vancouver. If that fails, of course, they're gonna top their woeful first-place finish from last year by not losing to a pretty average team in the playoffs. It is also expected that they can just "sarifice everything and go for it like Pittsburgh last season" before the deadline. They have to insinuate that we'd traded our whole future because their best young player just signed on Long Island. Anyway, they assume that San Jose, for some reason, will accept a trade of Marleau to Montreal for garbage player. See: 2007, Ryder.

Habs77953798524: "Man, Ryder sucks. We need to trade his ass. What would good market value be? Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. I just am havings such a boner for Steve Begin".

IrresponsibleMtrlWriter: "Excellent question. I heard a rumor just this morning that Marleau and a truck containing $10,000,000,000 US dollars were heading our way in exchange for Ryder, which is a shrewd deal for Montreal. There is no such thing as fair market value for a Canadien, because their players would obviously become the best on their new team. Ryder is a prime example, because while he totally sucks in our colours, he would make average non-Canadiens centres like Joe Sakic shit their mind. We can only have s o many hall of famers, you know?"

Finally, Pittsburgh South continues to become more entertaining as it is rumored that Craig Patrick is a candidate for the GM post recently vacated by Jay Feaster. If he's the man for the job, expect him to fire phone calls to German Titov and Sebastien Caron with great haste. Contract already rumored to be on the table for Krzysztof Oliwa. Seriously, once Recchi signed there, it just got pretty out of control. If they hire Crag Patrick, you can expect Jan Hrdina and Rico Fata to jump in the mix. Hey, why not. They already have an 8-line team with nobody to defend the goal except for Filip Kuba, and Darryl Sydor if they want him. Just add Stu Barnes and you have a gated community for Old Penguins.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Roster looking finished, Therrien expected to fig nose at 2-yr extension offer

First, apparently, Darryl Sydor has formally asked to be traded. Perhaps he's unaware that we've been trying to trade him since we waived Mark Recchi. Its an attempt to save some face... like that psychotic girl who interrupted you breaking up with her to interject that she was, in fact, breaking up with you first. Tampa remain the front-runners, naturally.

Remember all those who illustrated their obviously jealous "Tampa North" scenario? Irony mildly describes the scenario today; Tampa Bay is Pittsburgh South. Its a destination for Penguin retirement and/or mediocrity. I guess Jagr and Straka weren't Penguins recently enough to qualify? The even feature an all-lefty defence. So now, there are the WB/S Baby Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Tampa Bay Old Penguins.

If they import Sydor or Scuderi, who is being packaged to make Sydor more attractive, they'll be two of Tampa's top 4, rivalling The Rangers for "most pathetic blueline" this upcoming season. Their top guys as it stands are Paul Ranger and Shane O'Brien. I've seen enough Matt Carle to place him 4th, with the aging Filip Kuba just itching to try and avoid physicality en route to collecting his $3M.

We're signing depth players to 2-way contracts, so basically unless something irrefutable comes our way, the roster is looking finished. It remains to be seen who plays where, it is up to Mike Therrien and his assistants. This is troubling to me. Mike played Staal as the top line LW and Petr Sykora on the 3rd line at the beginning of last season. If we had started better, I think we could have won the President's Trophy and the SC Finals could have been much different.

Anyway, I'm not an NHL coach. I don't know what goes into the decision making process. I do know, however, that Therrien looked ridiculous getting shut out for 2 games, dressing Laraque, and scratching Kris Letang for Darryl Sydor. I remember the mid-season policy with rotating defence. Everyone except Gonchar (including new $4M Ryan Whitney) was going to be scratched occasionally so that Therrien could make room for his boy Scuderi. Shocking. He, of course, used the policy to single out Brooks Orpik and didn't simply ignore Sydor indefinitely.

I know that he really, really wants Dany Sabourin to succeed. He wants him to win 15 games. Its asinine, but he's going to get the minutes to try and do that. He wanted Michel Ouellet to score 25 goals once, but he's with the Tampa Bay Old Penguins now. The guy loves minor-leaguers. Jeff Taffe is going to be on the team all season, and he's going to play Scuderi a lot. Goligoski is going to have a very frustrating season, full of lengthy scratches and awkward situations so that Scuderi can be nice and comfortable. The career potential will remain meaningless.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The long and winding road

We signed Fedotenko, for whom I can't wait to have higher stats in all categories than Ryan Malone in 08/09, and Miro Satan. He's 33, 6'3, has only missed 3 games in the past 3 seasons. $3.5M. Because of all the 3's, I'm going to have to predict him putting up 33 goals in the regular season.

Will they be the top line? Who knows. Dupuis is back as well, but I think he'll be a depth guy/PK specialist. Apparently we're trying to import one Janne Pesonen, 26, who looks real sick online. He's been throttling the Finnish top division at 5'11, 180. Instantly the pundits say "his size awf fuh fuh fuh fuh"; watch this video of him pull a Drury under-the-poke-check move, get held but elbow the D-man, freeze the goalie, and proceed to pick the far corner on the backhand. There's a few vids of him dangling defenders, scoring on penalty shots, etc. The video is much better when you imagine the defenseman be Derian Hatcher.

Then there's Staal. What will we do with him? I guess last season he was supposed to be the #3 wing, not the #3 centre. Depending on who else we sign, its looking like Talbot is our 3rd line C, which is awsome. Whats with all the 3's? Anyway, I really don't know what is going on with Staalsy. Is he an even strength/PP wing and PK centre? I guess. Therrien will likely do something shocking like make Ryan Whitney the #2 LW for the first 5 games to try and get Sydor moved. In an unfortunately related note, Tampa seems interested in a Sydor/Scuderi/pick? in exchange for former Therrien saddle-bronc Michel Oulette.

If we for some reason bring Oulette back, that means he's going to be a top-six wing. No joke. All those times Mark Madden went on those rants about Therrien refusing to use better players in all situations were completely justified.

So what would I do? We've got ~$3.8M in cap space, and its looking like Sydor's 2.5 will be gone soon. I play Staal at 2nd-line LW, and I create a third line based around our PK unit of Talbot-Dupuis. Will Pesonen make the jump? It could make for a very fast two-way 3rd line. Will we come to terms with a guy like Matt Cooke? Unknown.

The first thing I would do with the cap room we d o have is sign Yannick Perreault. He scored 21 goals for a garbage Phoenix team for 38 pts in 66 games, could be had for $1.250M, and is the mac on face-offs. Sure, he can't skate. He's 5'11, plays as ruggedly as you would expect a Smurf. We need a face-off specialist, and our young guys need to learn the art from a guy who went 64.3% last season. Sick.

Something I saw Toronto do a lot last year, which was the only decent strategy they used, was have Sundin win all their PK draws and then change. I wouldn't have a problem with playing him ~6 minutes to take face-offs, especially since the new "face-off is automatically in your zone if you take a penalty" rule is going to create a lot of chances. He would be a specialist forward with a clear role, much like Eric Godard is a specialist forward with a clear role. In addition, that gives us the optional C after we load 2-3 onto our PP unit.

I would really like to sign Matt Cooke. If our third-line was Dupuis-Talbot-Cooke, we have a lot of speed, grit, and agitation. Part of covering top lines is skating with them, then again Therrien has shown no interest in paying attention to the tactics of the opponent. Anyway, Cooke is an outstanding PK forward as well. He's ultimately going to cash in with one of the NHL's ugly sisters, like St. Louis or Atlanta, so I'm not going to get my hopes up.

In any event, I love that we're not committed to quite a bit of salary after this season. Gaborik will be out there next summer, and from all indications, he'll be on our trade radar all season. What if that doesn't work out? When we're set to open our new building, point-per-game (466gp, 466 pts) and perrenial 50-goal threat Ilya Kovalchuk will be a UFA, probably of the defunct Las vegas Thrashers.. although his career -73 shocks and awes.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm leaving the house in my slippers to get more beer.

I'm hearing Fedotenko and Satan, please no, no no please argh.


Apparently both have signed a 1 year deal. That, in part at least, explains paying Satan $3.5M. I guess he's durable, having only missed 2 games the past 3 seasons.. but he had 16G and 41 points and a -11 rating last year. He was a top six wing 4 years ago, a top-2 wing 8 years ago.

So, with the new signings (that make me feel like a laughing stock), we have about $8.5M in wasted cap space. I made a big deal last season about how organizations in the toilet have to buy top lines, like the Islanders did with Guerin, Comrie, and Fedotenko last season. Now, it appears as though we've alleviated the NYI of their garbage.

Fedotenko will have better numbers than Ryan Malone this season. That doesn't mean its a good deal, it just means that what Shero said about Staalsy's ice time was a lie.

Satan will more than likely get benched by Therrien. 3.5M? What the fuck? What did Naslund want, anyway? Its a goddamn good thing that its a 1-yr deal, thats for sure. 3.5M? I'd rather have the cap space, thank you very much. I went to be last night thinking "as long as we don't return Satan's phone calls...". I understand its admirable to have guys who want to play for you (Syko), but damn. How's 2.75m for an undersized, aging lefty?

This also sews up the forward lines, although its a fruitless tast to try and figure out Therrien's lines, etc. Damn it. I feel like we haven't done any better than those asshole teams that are still trying to sign Mats Sundin.

Fleury Official

7 years, $35M.

July 3 ... Building a foundation

So, there we were, eyes stinging at 3:00 am, no beer left. No dirt on Cooke, nothing on Jarogr Jarmr. Naslund? Today is the day, and mum is the word. Satan still calling Ray Shero about "playink on the wink". Various sources report Sidney personally called Miroslav late last night to ask him to "go into your basement, find your hammer, and kill yourself".

We did lock Gino up. We brought back Orps, the guy who until last season I thought would never grow out of what I commonly refer to as his "blunt instrument phase". Indications are that we're going to announce Fleury's new deal soon, a purported $5.5M deal over 6 seasons. We've also decided to bring back Eaton and Dupuis.

Despite all the excitement, the first signing of July 1 was a mysterious 3 year deal for martial arts expert Eric Godard at 750k. I watch Calgary a lot, which is where Godarrd played last season, so I'll just say it now: He's Krzysztof Oliwa, but not from Tychy, Poland. People in our conference have no idea how broken their orbital bone is about to be.

Brian Burke is calling out Kevin Lowe for the inflation of RFA salaries. Big shock there. What I want to know is why he's stopped calling the Oilers a team in the sewer, etc, because that is quality stuff.

In another shocking development, on only day three of free agency, Philadelphia is roughly $1M over the NHL salary cap. It takes special talent to trade the wrong fringe winger (R.J.), signtrade for more unstable defenders (Ossi, reportedly have the inside track on Boyle), and provide easy targets for the fan base while doing it over the cap. Its OK though, they have the best player there ever was, Mike Richards.

So here is what we need to do today, granted we sign Fleury to this deal. We'll have roughly 9.089M of cap space with which to work, and we're going to need roughly 2.7M at the deadline for Gaborik's remaining 7.5M. It really is too bad he's got a back-heavy contract. Yes, I think we're going to aggressively pursue the other Marian, and I do think Ryan Whitney is headed the other way. Anyway, back to today, I think we offer Williams a 5 year deal. He's a great player, potentially a 20-goal scorer each of those 5 years. $3M a season? He's like a #6 or #7 forward on this team, but the versatility is worth the extra 750k.

We then try and get Naslund signed. We're missing one top-six wing, because I don't think they'll risk playing Williams and Dupuis with Sid all year if we want home ice this Spring. Matt Cooke is on the radar apparently, which would signify the bitter, bitter end of Jonathan Filewich's career as a Penguin and make roster spots almost impossible for WB/S Penguins.

Naslund to decide soon, also reports that Ottawa are close to trading for Boyle. I'm taking a breather, then I am going to post some plan A, plan B scenarios depending on signings/trades.

Shero is under pressure to get at least 1 top-six guy one way or another before training camp.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Penguins talking to everybody.

That about says it. Satan, Miettinen, Matt Cooke, Huselius, et all. Brooksie re-signed.

The Rags added Zherdev. He is a dick, which makes him a perfect Ranger. You see, NY has a superiority complex. Zherdev is an even bigger headache in the dressing room than Jags, so the decision was easy. Plus, he's going to team up with fellow pain in the ass Cherapanov to make a trio of Russian-born forwards who don't appear to be dedicated to anything except $USD.

My magic 8 ball says Naslund to Minnesota.

My dreams of a Rolston-Crosby-Naslund line are going to ruin. At least we didn't sign Wade Redden.

Doug Weight has joined the 4th team who will trade him for prospects at the deadline.

We want Bertuzzi (?) and we want Naslund. I expect one of them to sign, and I want to sign Matt Cooke. He's a menace to play against, and cheap-shot artist. Honestly, if we keep Staal at C, he needs some wings to help match up against top lines. We had Ruutu, considered a cheap-shot artist, so its not like we're signing someone irreputable.

Toronto has upped the offer to UFA Defenceman Lindy Ruff.

San Jose hasn't done a damn thing. What is their deal? Honestly, what is it? Their window is closing really fast, especially since they keep going out in round 2. NJ in talks with Fedorov, and says he "Does not mind the stench of Axe Body Spray­™, although he has concerns about trips to the beach due to the high percentage of Axe Body Spray™ in the ocean's waters".

Brenden Shanahan is looking for his car, as he cannot remember where he parked it.

Tampa Bay continues to offer contracts to everyone. They've considered John Davidson a prime candidate for their backup role, and have shown strong interest in Jason Smith. Clearly there is a youth-movement in TB.

Thenators add thome thandpaper; thign Ruutu.

As per TSN, Jarkko officially announces his homosexuality with the 3 year contract, $1.3M cap hit.

Avery cahses in down in Dallas; vacant spot in the NYR™ line-up for massive tool whom represents the teams' fans in the locker room.

The market for pests is slimming down.

Apparently Toronto had explored the availability of Brian Burke and Matt Schneider by dangling Jason Blake and Pavel Kubina. Sources also indicate that GM Cliff has offered a contract to UFA Defenceman Lindy Ruff.

Defence... we missed Ron Hainsey, who re-signed for big cream in Ohio. He could have been an impact player had he signed for a meaningful franchise. We went with Mark Eaton again, which should be interesting. When you start talking Eaton, then you inevitably start comparing him in your mind to Scuderi, and other #6-7 guys like Nasreddine and Bissonnette.

I wish Daniel Fernholm would have panned out... but then Jo Melichar signs in Carolina, and everything your team has done to this point looks like genius. Goligoski is here, Letang is a lock, and somewhere Darryl Sydor is photoshopping himself onto a box of Wheaties™.

July 2... what the hell?

So, the enigma of the Hossa signing is a shock to the Penguin Fans' system. We offered similar money, more years, Sid, a new building on the horizon, and an inside track to the HHoF. My only thought is that he wanted to sign in a city who's up against the cap (Boston) and this is a year he'll soon forget.

While we waited for Marian to finish taking his piss, Rolston signed in NJ and is already bored with the smell of Axe Body Spray™. It was too many years for it to have made sense here, but perhaps a 3yr wouldn't have been awful.

Ryder signed in Boston, where he will still suffer the merciless boo-ing of Montreal fans at every home game.

Naslund is still out there, but apparently is attached at the hip to one Pavol Demitra. I really don't know what to say except that we had better just wait this off-season out and get our guys inked before we go off signing pairs of BFFs and delving into perplexing situations with Jags or Huselius.

Meanwhile, rumors persist that Beauchamin in Anaheim is on the block, as will be one Marian Gaborik. Based on the market value of Jokinen, Gaborik could cost a couple NHL-ready prospects and/or a 1st round pick. As far as I'm concerned, we have so many high picks to sign even after the Malkin deal was announced, we can afford to deal them until perhaps the 2009-10 season. We're going to continue to pick in the last 3, and eventually you have to sign them. I think its a good thing that we forgo an entire season of potential RFA's and have that much more room for Fleury and Staal. If we can swing a deal and then actually keep the guy, that cap room will exist.

Lastly, among all the things we can list as assets that make Pittsburgh an attractive UFA destination; is it counter-balanced by the presence of black-Russian-drinking, fruitless-to-try-and-comprehend, loves-him-some-Dany-Sabourin (our new, then old, now new Backup) Michel (Mike?) Therrien? I know that Malone, Roberts, Orpik had issues. Guess what? Orpik remains unaccounted for, but it seems as though they didn't want any part of Mike (Michel?). Its as confusing as what the guy wants to be called.