Sunday, June 29


Apply Within

As "Moose Week" presses on into its (ahem) second week, one thing has become apparent: I hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. Check that, I hate Greener. But I love you guys, and that's why I'm determined to provide HS/HS readers with the most complete Leafs coverage while he's gone. Even though he'll probably return smelling of whores, liquor, and Chemmy, I'll welcome him back with open arms. But I'm not gonna lie to you, it's hard work doing this alone, and I could use a little help around here. That's right Barilkosphere, get those resumes out, HS/HS is now accepting applications! Be warned though, you have big shoes to fill.

Let's take a quick tour around the league after a busy couple of days:

'The New NHL' - Now With Bribery!

Apparently Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the new owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning, weren't kidding. At their press conference last week, the two said that they would be "shockingly aggressive," in an effort to improve their 30th place hockey club. It certainly appears they're keeping their word, after acquiring the negotiating rights, then signing, both Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts. This came just days after Malone told teams he would not negotiate until July 1st. Of course that was before the Tampa Bay Lightning made his dad, Greg Malone, their Director of Pro Scouting. THAT is aggressive. You think one had something to do with the other? I mean, there's no way that's anything but coincidence, right? That's Gambino Family aggressive. I would normally say 1+1=2. But the fact that they hired Malone Sr. the week before nabbing Malone Jr. is either genius, or a double-tap to the back of integrity's head. You don't think Pops dropped a little 'feeler' when his son called to congratulate him on his new job?

I guess District Attorney Bettman isn't quite the intimidator he thinks he is.

Edit (12:32 AM): Brian Rolston's wife has been kidnapped; 4-year deal expected Monday.

Sundin Almost Finished With Rubik's Cube

So the waiting continues. Will it be Montreal or Toronto? Retirement? New Blogger at HS/HS? If he lowers his demands I can make that happen. Before this off-season drama began to unfold, I never bought into all the talk that Mats Sundin had become "comfortable" or "content" in Toronto, but I'm beginning to change my mind. When Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause last year, his critics said he had no desire to win a Cup and just wanted to enjoy playing out his remaining days in Toronto. I always pointed to the fact that he busted his ass every night, and single-handedly kept the Leafs afloat last year, as evidence to the contrary. While there's still nothing wrong with a guy wanting to enjoy the last years of his career in a city he loves, this monotonous soap opera does make you wonder how hot his fire burns to win a Stanley Cup. If you're the Montreal Canadiens, or any other potential suitor, can you afford to pay him $7 million to find out?


When Cliff Fletcher said the Leafs were going to get younger, I didn't realize he was using himself as the measuring stick. Really? 41-year-old Curtis Joseph? You have a legitimate #1-ish goalie in Vesa Toskala who's gonna play 65 games. Justin Pogge has two AHL seasons under his belt, including very good numbers last year. It's time to see what he's got - let him play 15 games.

Visnovsky An Oiler; Stoll Gets To Hit It More Often

Indulge me as I talk about the Edmonton Oilers for a few moments. The Oil and L.A. pulled off a big-time trade today, sending Lubomir Visnovsky to the good guys for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. The Oilers add another slick puck mover to their stable of defencemen, while the Kings get a couple of good role players (with upside) and slash $5.6 million off their cap hit. Usually the team that gets the best player wins the deal, and that's Visnovsky, but this is a good deal for both teams. The Oilers lose some toughness, which is concern for a team that was already thin in that department, but will likely address that in free agency or via another trade. The addition of Visnovsky also enables the Oilers to move Joni Pitkanen for a top 6 forward they've been seeking since the end of last season. That could come as early as Tuesday when we find out which teams have lost out on Brian Campbell, Wade Redden, or Mark Streit. Some guesses where Pitkanen ends up: San Jose (for Cheechoo), Carolina (for Justin Williams or Erik Cole), or Montreal, if Sundin signs (for Higgins or Kostitsyn).

As for the Kings, they get one of the best face-off men in the league in Stoll. While he's probably a #3 center on a good team, he's a great special teams player (plays point on the PP) and still has the upside to be #2 center. While Stoll loved being in Edmonton, there's no better place for him to go than L.A., where his girlfriend Rachel Hunter lives. Look for him to improve on his poor numbers from last year, as he can now tap that on regular basis.

Greene has some holes in his game (passing, d-zone coverage), but he's big and strong and will be a good third pairing guy for a lot of years. Plus, he's a fantastic guy in the locker room and will be a guaranteed fan favorite. The guy is flat out hilarious.

Well that's it folks, I'll be back to talk free agents in a couple days, so long as the Tampa Bay Lightning haven't signed them all. Plus, later this week...PODCAST #4! That's right, me and Mats will be back at it.