Wednesday, July 2

MOOSE WEEK: IS IT OVER YET?



Fletchie Got Fingered




Has that one been used yet? You would think something that obvious would've been in Greener's wheelhouse. But, as usual, he's doggin' it over there at PPP.

So the first couple days of free agency are in the books, and there was the usual cluster of good and bad signings. By now you've heard all the criticism of the Jeff Finger signing, so I don't want to pile on. But I do have to take issue with the way Fletcher and Wilson defended the signing. After I texted Greener about the signing, I got the expected "Who the fuck is Jeff Finger?" question. I told him he was a solid defenseman, but a mostly a third pairing guy who played against the other teams' bottom six. So, I was more than a little surprised to hear Fletcher and Wilson trumpeting him as a world-class shutdown guy, who Joel Quenneville threw out there against Thorton and Iginla every chance he got. I mean, I watch hockey. I'm sure at one point or another he HAD to play against those guys, but for Wilson to say he was the guy that was out there when he used Thornton is a bit misleading. Could it be that the Sharks were at home and had the last change? Maybe Wilson WANTED that match-up! I find it hard to believe that Brett Clark, Kurt Sauer, Scott Hannan or Adam Foote weren't getting that assignment.

The money is what it is. With the cap rising every year and the competition for NHL calibre players being what it is, all these guys are gonna get paid. Was it an overpay? Sure. Were the Leafs the only club to overpay for a mediocre player these past few days? Hell no. I'm just calling bullshit on the rationale.

Some thoughts on the last few days:

Atlanta: One of these days I'm gonna do a ranking of all 30 GM's in the league. When I do, #29 and #30 will look something like this: Whoever is the GM of the Florida Panthers, and Don Waddell. His lone signing thus far is Ron Hainsey at $4.5m per. That's a guy who didn't score a single even strength goal last year. And how do you go 3 years without getting a center for Kovalchuk and/or Hossa? I smell an overpay for Brendan Morrison coming.

Boston: Once considered the favorites to sign Hossa, they were never really in the running, but did grab Michael Ryder ($12m/3yrs). He's a guy worth taking a chance on, as he's still young (28) and can deliver at even strength. With significant power play time he could get back to 30 goals.

Buffalo: Patrick Lalime = Home Run.

Carolina: Traded pending UFA Erik Cole for enigmatic Joni Pitkanen (now on his third team at age 25), and made a nice little move in bringing Josef Melichar back from Europe for $1m. They have enough depth upfront to subtract Cole, and signed Pitkanen to an affordable deal ($12m/3yrs)...can't argue with the reasoning given the makeup of their roster.

Calgary: Let me tell you why I hate agents. Plucky 4th liner Curtis Glencross wanted to be an Oiler. After his late season surge last year, the Oilers wanted him back, but his agent thought he could hit a homerun in the UFA insanity. So what happens? A fourth liner got fourth line offers, and by the time they realized they had lost the bet, the Oilers were looking to clear cap room in anticipation of signing Marian Hossa. He got the same money the Oilers offered...in Calgary. Good job. Good signing for Calgary, who also picked up Rene Bourque via trade to help upgrade their bottom six forwards.

Chicago: Brian Campbell got Nick Lidstrom money, and Huet got $5.6 million while they still have Khabibulin under contract for another year. I'm all for making a splash, just make sure there's some fucking water in the pool first.

Columbus: Had a ton of cap room and wanted to be aggressive, but didn't make the big score they set out to. Added Huselius and Commodore via free agency, and traded for Raffi Torres, Fedor Tyutin, and Christian Backman. Out went the inconsistent Zherdev and Dan Fritsche, who for some reason is always "highly touted." Add that to the acquisition of Umberger at the draft and the Jackets are much improved. Scott Howson is doing good things there.

Colorado: Took care of their own (Wolski, Liles, Foote) and then took care of Toronto's cast-offs (Tucker and Raycroft). I can't possibly imagine that they are going to go into the season with Budaj and Raycroft. Oh, and to quote Greener, "at least the rest of the West can breathe easy now that Jeff Finger has gone to the East."

Dallas: I gotta say, while everyone is going on about awarding the 2009 Cup to Detroit, the Stars (who took Detroit to 6 in the CF) made themselves better by signing Sean Avery. Sure the Cup champs added another star player, but what better way to counteract that then signing the one guy who makes his living by feasting on star players. Can you imagine Steve Ott and Sean Avery together? Holy shit. They'll add another scorer at the deadline and be a legit threat in the West again.

Detroit: The Hossa thing is incredible. I applaud him for leaving $70 million on the table and years of security. He really does want to win. That said, we often talk about athletes having a short window to make their money, and Hossa is now one hit away from having that window close. In that respect it's a ballsy gamble on his part. As I wrote a while back, Hossa is perfect when he doesn't have to be THE man (like in Pittsburgh). I think he's smart enough (or pussy enough) to know that, and having Datsyuk and Zetterberg alongside was a big factor in his decision not to go to Edmonton.

Edmonton: Phew! By all accounts they were Hossa's next choice. Sure it's a little disappointing to not get the big fish, if for nothing other than the message it would have sent the rest of the league. But, it would have been a nightmare contract, and a lot of roster gutting would have taken place to fit him under the cap. Even without Hossa, the Oilers emerged as one of the most improved teams thus far, getting Cole, Brule, and Visnovsky for underachievers Torres, Stoll, Pitkanen, and Greene. Still shopping for a couple UFA's including Jagr. Can't wait for that long awaited Hemsky-Jags reunion.


Florida: If Jeff Finger's deal had you confused, Rostislav Olesz's 6yr/$16m deal had to be the 2nd biggest "WTF?" deal of the week. Cory Stillman is a decent signing, which begs the question...why does Cory Stillman want to play for the Florida Panthers.

Los Angeles: Still need to spend $14 million just to get to the salary floor, which explains why the took Denis Gauthier off the Flyers hands. Come and get Dwayne Roloson's $3.667 cap hit Deano!

Minnesota: Nice trade to pick up Marek Zidlicky, but failed to do anything to replace the lost offense of Demitra and Rolston. Thank god the Oilers didn't blow their load all over Hossa's face, because now the queue for Marian Gaborik can start right behind Daryl Katz...or Ken Holland. Can't see him staying...and he's a much better player than Hossa.

New York Islanders: Gotta hand it to Garth Snow, he's really fighting an uphill battle in getting players to come to that franchise, but he makes some shrewd moves and doesn't overpay (drastically) for free agents. Picked up Doug Weight and power play linchpin Mark Streit. After much mockery, I find myself rooting for Snow.

New York Rangers: Surprised that they gave up on Tyutin (to Clb for Zherdev) and can't believe they let that idiot Avery go. You can't dispute what he did for that team. Added some big bodies for the 4th line (Voros and Rissmiller) and shored-up the blueline by re-signing Rozsival and getting Redden. Intriguing moves and more to come.

Ottawa: Alex Auld? Shean Donovan? No help on defence? The window is closing fast on this groups' chances to win a Cup. Has the hate quotient just gone up with the addition of Jarkko Ruutu?

Phoenix: Seem to be getting universal praise for the bargain signing of Kurt Sauer ($1.75m per year). Calm down...it's Kurt Sauer.

Pittsburgh: Got Malkin locked-up (good) and probably overpaid for Orpik (bad), but if I'm Ray Shero I'd be a little offended by Hossa's decision to jump across the aisle. Did he not think he could win in Pittsburgh? Let me guess, he'd rather live in Murdertown than Pittsburgh?

Tampa Bay: You know guys, there's going to be free agents NEXT year too! Now it appears they want to trade their only good puck moving defenseman (Boyle) who they just signed 4 months ago? Call me stupid, but I don't think Jay Feaster is calling the shots anymore.

Vancouver: Mike Gillis - #28 with a bullet! Really? $10 million for Mats Sundin? A David Backes offer sheet for $2.5 million? Hilarious. At least now I won't have to endure anymore references to GM's "pulling a Kevin Lowe" when it comes to stupid offer sheets. Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo is aging as we speak.

I swear there's a podcast coming this week, none of which will be devoted to bad Jeff Finger puns.

8 comments:

Heather said...

...And Mats told everyone to just fuck right off.

I am fairly certain that could be a direct quote from him. But I don't speak Swedish.

Moose said...

I think it was more like "Please, fuck off."

You know those Swedes...polite and all.

"Dave Schultz" said...

well, I think it's about time to get my Leafs sweater personalized--Finger--right across the back. um, no.

Moose said...

Schultzie...trust me, there's going to be a lot of Fingers at the ACC this year.

Okay THAT was last one - I swear.

Chemmy said...

After two consecutive days of Eklund links by Greener and MF37 it's definitely Moose time over at PPP. Drop me a line: jorach@gmail.com

Jaredoflondon said...

Mother of god Chemmy, what have you done?

Greener said...

Chemmy! NOOOOOOOO!

Chemmy said...

At least I didn't link to Eklund.

Hope you guys are ready for the Fourth of July Leafs Independence Day Spectacular written by someone born in America tomorrow.