I haven’t posted much lately for a number of reasons but I have been following things and I’ve very nearly made several different posts on the news (or lack of news) this summer. The short version of about six posts:
1) In Cowtown – Even though I thought Daryl Sutter was nuts to trade for Olli Jokinen and then crazy to trade him, Sutter’s decision to bring him back does make some sense to me. The Flames chose not to fire Sutter, which means they are still trying to win. To win they need more offense. Jokinen and Tanquay were relatively cheap and Sutter probably couldn’t have found more offence for the money.
I can imagine how it could work out. It probably won’t, but I can imagine it.
2) Ballard, Hamhuis and Malhotra – Both Ballard and Hamhuis are good players and I’ve decided I like the Gillis strategy in respect to the defense. There is no obvious number one guy, but the Canucks now have six top four defensemen.
Malhotra is clearly an upgrade on Wellwood, but the contract seems rich to me. And speaking of Kyle, I’m sorry to see him go. He wasn’t a good player for the Canucks but he was better than I expected and I enjoyed his happy-go-lucky personality. I’m also sorry to see Mitchell go. Still, a thumbs up for Mike Gillis so far this offseason.
(The Salo injury may very well turn out to be a blessing in disguise, a blessing that is one of the unrecognized perversities of the CBA. The Canucks can spend Salo’s salary – probably by keeping Bieksa – and by the time Sami is ready to play, somebody else will be on the injured list. Had Salo waited until the season started before getting hurt, good replacements wouldn’t be available. Pavol Demitra on the injured reserve last season represented depth. By the time he was ready to play, Mitchell was hurt.)
3) Salary Cap Squeeze – Even though the players voted for an unwarranted cap increase, there seems to be very little loose cash available for some pretty good free agents. It looks like our – the fan’s – loss will be the KHL’s gain. If the players hadn’t been willing to let escrow escalate…
4) Chicago Dismantled – The destruction of the Hawks has probably been the biggest story of the offseason. I suppose the Cup excuses Dale Tallon in the eyes of Chicago fans, but not in mine. Even if the team dumps Huet, I think they still have to give away one of Sharp, Bolland or Seabrooke. They might have been better off letting San Jose have Hjalmarsson.
Bowman says he is keeping Sharp, but I can’t see how the arithmetic works. Check out the Capgeek and tell me that I’m wrong.
I’m not expecting good things out of Dale Tallon in Florida.
5) Kovalchuk Contract – I guess I can understand why the NHL decided to finally draw a line on this sort of bullshit deal, but they created a mess by letting things go so far. I can’t see a big difference between this circumvention of the CBA and the Hossa or Luongo circumventions.
I thought the Rick DiPietro contract was a circumvention even though his contract did not tail off in the later years. Today, I’ll bet the league wishes it had rejected that contract. Several inches after Rick cashed in, Lou tried to take the mile. Still, I think Kovalchuk probably has a very winnable grievance.
Its a mess that makes the league look ridiculous. In other words, business as usual in the NHL.
6) Oilermail – Proving – once again – that it is impossible to be too cynical about the motives, the greed and the credibility of of the dorks who own NHL teams, Daryl Katz has declared that the Oilers are “unsustainable” if they don’t get a new publically subsidized arena. Why he isn’t satisfied with a tidy tax shelter and a positive cash flow is beyond me. A billion dollars isn’t enough, I guess.
Katz does deserve credit for inspiring Matt Fenwick to make his first post since April. What he said.