Monday, August 2, 2010

41 Shots: Summer Edition

What a slow and boring July - both hockey wise and blog wise. I went 2 for 31. Ugly. At least July had some beautiful weather which made it terribly easy to get away from the computer. And TV is back to being great now that Big Brother and Jersey Shore are numbing minds. So who cares about hockey, right?


I’ve compiled a list of my thoughts over the summer because despite my prolonged absence from the net and the lack of hockey news tumbling through town, I’m still craving hockey.

Consider this the first instalment of a series I’ll call 41 Shots. I’m taking the idea from Elliotte Friedman who does a great piece for CBC's website called 30 Thoughts.

Here’s a collection of thoughts that don’t care for proper structure and paragraphs. It’s the summer. Give me a break.

- This off-season is playing out like the last few baseball off-seasons. The big stars get their money, but everyone else has to accept a drastically reduced contract – if they’re offered one at all.

- That’s the salary cap. Teams rather give a young player a chance to prove himself with minimal cost, rather than pay money they don’t have on a proven veteran. In baseball, it happened because older players were no longer hitting their third prime at age 39 thanks to steroids.

- Tight salary cap also means teams are walking away from arbitrators decisions at an unprecedented rate.

- Has any Stanley Cup Champion in the history of the NHL been as severely pillaged as the Chicago Blackhawks? They have already lost Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, John Madden, and now Antti Niemi. They came close to losing Niklas Hjalmarsson. Nuts.

- I’m sure Chicago fans would rather keep Niemi, but Turco is playing behind a defence that only lost Brent Sopel, so he should be able to have a good enough year that the Hawks don’t bemoan the loss of Niemi.

- Plus, Chicago fans can’t complain – they just won the Stanley Cup. And they still have the reigning Conn Smythe winner, the Norris Trophy winner, an Olympic Gold medal winning defenceman, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Former Future Leaf Patrick Sharp, and Brian Campbell. They’ll be fine… just don’t make any parade plans.

- If Doug Wilson doesn’t sign Antti Niemi now that he’s available then he should be fired immediately. No one with Antero Nittymaki as their number one goalie should be considered a Cup contender.

- Other teams that could use Niemi: Ottawa, Dallas, Washington, Atlanta, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, and Edmonton. Some teams, like Dallas, won’t be in on him since they already made their goaltending decisions ($3.5 for Lehtonen, seriously?), I’m just saying he’s an upgrade.

- Atlanta obviously needs to get him so they can have more 2009-2010 Blackhawks than the 2010-2011 Blackhawks.

- If Philadelphia can clear some money they should definitely go after Niemi hard.

- Other than San Jose, Washington is the team that needs Niemi the most and can easily afford to make it happen (based on not only cap space, but the goalies already under contract).

- Washington also desperately needs someone like Willie Mitchell. If his concussion problems are a thing of the past then Mitchell could help turn the Capitals into a legitimate Cup contender, rather than the Harlem Globetrotters of the NHL.

- I’m sick of all this Kaberle non-news. I know the summer is slow and Kaberle is the most intriguing Leaf name out there, but it’s killing me reading all these articles that don’t say anything. And that’s because nothing is happening with Kaberle and this whole saga is dragging on.

- Seriously, Kaberle, get out.

- I’m also sick of Ilya Kovalchuk. I didn’t like him before all of this contractual non-sense, and now I hate him.

- Why did the NHL decide to man-up with Kovalchuk and not Marian Hossa, Marc Savard, or Roberto Luongo? Hossa’s last four years only pay him $4 million; Savard’s last three pay him less than $3 million; and Luongo’s final three years only pay him close to $3.5 million.

- Maybe they decided 17 years was absolutely ludicrous. Most players don’t even play 17 years in their entire career.

- Best reaction to the Kovalchuk signing was by Joffrey Lupul who tweeted, “Kovalchuk chooses "Jersey Shore" over "The Hills" and apparently has no plans on ever aging.”

- Speaking of Jersey Shore, the first episode of the new season was fantastic. I can’t believe I doubted the new season’s ability to create captivating television. You know what that means… I’m going to have to write another post somehow comparing Jersey Shore to hockey. Easy.

- Some Leaf fans are bemoaning the signing of Colby Armstrong because of the dollar amount, but I guarantee Leafs Nation will be enamoured with him by November.

- Armstrong will become a new version of Darcy Tucker – not as insane as the version that jumped into the Ottawa bench, but definitely not the one that thought he was a 30-goal scorer that didn’t have to throw body checks.

- Armstrong for $3 million is definitely better than paying Ponikarovski $3.2 million to take stupid penalties, never throw a body check (despite being 6’4, 220), and show up to play once every three games.

- It’s also less stressful than constantly putting out an APB to find Alexander Frolov's location.

- I wouldn’t mind the Leafs taking a chance on Patrick O’Sullivan for a cheap one-year deal considering he’s only 25. However, he’s undersized and was -35 last year. Uh, make that a really cheap one-year deal. Actually, I’ve already talked myself out of it.

- Not sure there is a contract cheap enough to gamble on Marek Svatos and his 7 goals last season.

- Ron Wilson is on notice. If the Leafs stumble out of the gate he’s got to go.

- Plus, he’s too snarky and sarcastic for the record he’s accumulated. Typical Wilson response to the media: “You don’t win close to 600 games without knowing a thing or two.” Uh, you’ve also lost 500 games.

- Who would I like to see coach the Leafs? Dale Hunter. The Leafs need a coach who’s a badass. He’s currently coaching the London Knights, the team he co-owns with his brother Mark, so who knows if he has any sort of interest leaving such a situation.

- If the Ducks aren’t going to sign Bobby Ryan then they should just dump him on Toronto. Preferably one of those deals where they give Brian Burke a nice discount because they’re still bros. Like when you use your friendship to influence trades in fantasy sports.

- Seems like the Canadiens thought they could re-sign Carey Price for a lot cheaper than what he thinks he’s worth.

- As likeable as Mike Modano is, I don’t want him to play again this year. If the Stars aren’t re-signing him I’d prefer no one does. It’s rare that a player can spend his entire career with one franchise. It doesn’t happen enough.

- The 2010-2011 Colorado Avalanche are more likely to resemble the 2009-2010 St. Louis Blues, not the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Kings.

- The Caps-Pens rivalry just gets better after Max Talbot took a shot at Alex Ovechkin on a Pittsburgh radio station, but when you’re a third line grinder bashing one of the best players in the league, you’re the real douche.

- Not sure what the Rangers are doing trading for Todd White and his $2.375 million contract when they still have to sign Marc Staal.

- Todd White’s 73 point season as a 34-year-old in 2008-2009 was the most ridiculously fake season I have ever seen. Never topped 60 points in his career before, so what happened? If this was baseball his numbers jump out more than Barry Bonds’ enlarged head.

- If you aren’t getting all your cap information from the invaluable Cap Geek you’re dumb. Simply put.

- Thank you to the wonderful city of Chicago for hosting a great guys weekend for me and some friends in late July.

- More importantly, thanks for not harming us despite belligerently signing ‘Oh, Canada’ in your bars and shouting ‘Don’t Cross Crosby’ on your streets. Although, continually chanting ‘Hey Hey Johnny Toews’ and signing Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis was probably enough karmatic protection.

- Furthermore, Chicago deep-dish pizza is a revelation. It’s like lasagna, but pizza. I’m confused why the rest of the world doesn’t do this.

- This isn’t hockey related, but I saw the most egregious jersey/apparel foul I have seen in my entire life while at the Cards-Cubs game. This man is wearing a Cubs 2003 NLCS champions t-shirt. That was the infamous year that Bartman plucked out the foul ball from the sky and the Cubs blew games 6 and 7, costing them a chance to play for the World Series. Somehow this fan got his hands on one of the loser t-shirts that was made in case the Cubs won the game and he now actually wears a t-shirt reminding everyone of the most devastating piece of Cubs history in recent memory. What an idiot. Either that or he’s a really funny White Sox fan.

- Leafs: Playoffs!


Geoff said...

I'm still baffled by your Colby Armstrong love, he's like Tucker without the crazy, you're forgetting that Darcy Tucker was actually insane and that was why he was lovable. Colby just throws cheap shots and tries to fight Ruslan Fedotenko... youtube it.

Geoff said...

Also, August 15th is creeping up, and trade talks of Kaberle are heating up... cricket, cricket.

Matt Horner said...

I hope to have a new non-Kaberle post up in the next day or two. And then hopefully the final Kaberle post...ever.

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