Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thrashers to Jets

An NHL franchise in a non-traditional hockey market faced financial troubles and was moved. No, not the Coyotes. They're still a mess. And they might be the Seattle Coyotes real soon....or something.
The Atlanta Thrashers had a poor drawing for much of their time in the NHL. In fact they're average attendance figures not only never cracked the top 10, they never cracked the bottom 10. ( When you're first year is as bad (14-57-12) as that awful inaugural Ottawa Senators season, it doesn't generate a whole lot of excitement. And from their doomed first season the team never really caught on. I'm sure there are some die-hard Thrashers fans that are sitting in bars drinking and crying, but not enough of them were crying AT the games.
Regardless of the standings the team had tragedy on their hands early on when Dany Heatley crashed that car that killed up and coming star Dan Snyder. Then Heatley was dealt to Ottawa and the Thrashers got Marian Hossa. Then Hossa left. And Kovalchuk left. And Konowalchuk retired and they were left with no under rated genuine superstar for the last 2 years. Their best goaltender ever might have been super journeyman Johan Hedburg. How sad is that?
And so the team is relocating like a thief in the night. There was about 3 months of Tom Glavine clamoring for a new ownership group to keep the team in Atlanta and then *POOF* there were the Jets in Winnipeg. The saga of the Phoenix Coyotes tricked us all into thinking there would be years of drama and money problems before any team would leave, and that lulled us all into believing that there was no immediacy in relocations. And now? No one is sure what the freaking hold up in Phoenix is.
I'm all for the overall health of the NHL. I would like to see all 30 teams with a rabid and healthy fanbase, because watching games in empty barns is depressing. I'm all for there being a Winnipeg Jets again. I'm just not sure how I feel about the Atlanta Thrashers becoming the Winnipeg Jets or as they're being called up there the Jets 2.0.
But what exactly will the Jets 2.0 be? Will they be the same sad sack sorry team the Thrashers were? Will they be the same sad sack team the Jets 1.0 were? Will any of that matter in Canada?

I'm left with a lot of questions I just can not answer such as: Will the new Jets be worth a shit or just another Edmonton Oilers? Will the fans show up even though the Jets might suck? Will Atlanta ever get another team? Will that team also be the Thrashers? How long will we have to wait to buy bargain basement Thrashers sweaters?
But here's the real important question: Can True North navigate a mediocre at best team into the new era of the NHL and lead them to victory?

I feel bad for Atlanta hockey fans just as I felt bad for Minnesota hockey fans when the North Stars left. Which reminds me: How healthy is the future for the Dallas Stars?

With franchises uprooting so easily it begs the question of how safe is any team in financial trouble? Will we see Columbus, Phoenix, Dallas, Florida, or even Edmonton moving in the next five years? What does that do to the overall landscape of the NHL?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What's left?

From Stan Bowman's super secret to-do list:

1.Dump Campbell's retarded contract
2. Pick the most NHL ready looking player in the draft
3. Get rid of Troy Brouwer
4. Get bigger Blackhawks to fill roster
5. Sign "WTF!?!?!?" player
6. Crank call Dale Tallon and ask if he's interested in Toews before giggling and hanging up
7. Let Flyers in on Bobby Clarke's secretly Paul Holmgren joke. (maybe wait until November?)
8. Call Detroit and ask them if Rafalski will be logging all of that ice time again this year
9. Call St Louis and remind them to dry clean their Stanley Cup banners for opening day. Act surprised when they say they don't have any.
10. Call Nashville and ask them if they still have Peter Forsberg or any of the mess he made of their future.
11. Rest on Laurels.
12. Rest on Hardies.
13. Call Doug Wilson and ask him if he seriously just traded a DUI for an IR. Act shocked.
14. Talk to dad. Pretend to listen to story about the year they got screwed by the refs and lost to Philly. Remind him your team got screwed by the refs AND BEAT Philly and won a Cup.
15. Call Brian Burke ask him how excited he was to get Brad Richards. Tell him you didn't know that. You were accidentally out of the country on free agent day.
16. Call Paul Holmgren and ask if he wants to unload any more proven talent for a handful of bullshit and promises.
17. Announce Claude Giroux trade.
18. Send obscenely ridiculous offer sheet to Stankos just to fuck with Stevie Y.
19. Call city of Glendale just to make sure as sure can be that the Coyotes will be playing there before buying plain tickets.
20. Tell Eddie O. his game analysis skills have been traded to Winnipeg. Post his breakdown on YouTube.
21. Call Montreal and demand Price and Kostitsyn while screaming in German.
22. Call Minnesota and ask if they'd be willing to throw in some hotdish on that Johnsson for Barker trade. If they say no beg for Juicy Lucy.
23. Remind Brunette he'll have to play in April and May now. Assure him that there is in fact hockey in April and May.
24. Call Kevin Lowe ask him who he's going to draft #1 overall next summer.
25. Call George McPhee tell him you understand cap crunch. Tell him if it would help them out would be willing to take Ovechkin off their hands.
26. Call Ottawa just to chat about Alexander Daigle's progress. Try not to snicker too much.
27. Thank Lou Lamoriello for making that contract you gave Campbell not look as ridiculous last Summer.
28. See if Colorado would be interested in Cristobel Huet.
29. Introduce new bargaining chip Semyon Varlamov.
30. Trade Varlamov.
31. Tell Sather it's really too bad they just let Drury go, because you would have given him a 1st round draft pick in trade.
32. Call Detroit. Tell them bullshit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What the F@c* are the Flyers doing?!?!?!

I think everyone remembers Bobby Clarke being a terrible General Manager for the Flyers. The only thing he did that wasn't complete garbage was raping the Nashville Predators with Forsberg.
But watching the Flyers maneuver around doing whatever it is that Holmgren is trying to accomplish is reminiscent of the Bobby Clarke era.
More or less the team has been gutted. With Carter, Richards, Leino, and to a much smaller extant Versteeg all getting the gate; over 25% of their goal scoring got the boot. Their replacements? A prospect, a couple never weres, and a has been. If Jagr scores more than 10 goals or finishes more than 20 games I'll honestly be shocked.
I really don't understand the positioning here. Even if the reported rumors of a divided locker room between Carter, Richards, and Pronger are true. I think you're better off giving Pronger the gate at his age.
I predict the Flyers finish close to the lowly Islanders this season. Even with the "upgrade" in net of Bryzgalov, it's just not enough. Don't get me wrong Giroux and Briere will still be there, but the heart has been wrenched out of not just the team but their fans as well. I'll be shocked if this doesn't go down as the summer the Flyers' hopes died.

Those are just my thoughts. I could be wrong, but I'll never admit it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The CHI FAF review

Yesterday was both Canada day and the Free Agent Frenzy. No time for parades just 12 hours in front of TSN to see where your favorite players are going and who your team is getting. Unless of course you're a Flyers fan then you're still a bit lost. I wanted to make a flow chart to show all of the Philly roster changes, but I don't have 10 feet worth of blog space to bore you all with the details of why Jagr's mulletlessness is no replacement for Carter OR Richards. Besides let's talk about the only team that really matters--The Chicago Blackhawks.

Because I didn't mention it earlier the Blackhawks traded a draft pick to Buffalo for defenseman Steve Montador. With a name like a late 70's truck-car maybe the Pontiac rip off of the Ranchero(?), he brought some much needed size. While I'm never crazy about trading away draft picks, we desperately needed some size and an over haul and a 7th round draft pick for an NHL ready defenseman is a pretty decent deal. Thanks, Suckers.

Jamal Mayers. We didn't give up anything but a couple of measely dollars to get the guy, and I'm pretty sure he isn't coming for his goal scoring abilities. He does have a good size and will most likely man our 4th line. So decent pick up considering our lack of grit last year.

Sean O'Donnell. We didn't have to give up much to get a 6th or 7th d-man in Sean. He'll turn 40 right before the season starts so I imagine this will be his last season.

Andrew Brunette. Despite his pitiful +/- I'm going to let that slide considering how garbage the Wild have been the last two or three seasons. With 20+ goals in almost every season of his career. He adds some depth to most likely our 3rd line that we seemed to be missing all year.

Now rumor has it we MIGHT be re-signing John Madden, which in my opinion would be awesome. We need a guy like Madden that can almost guarantee a face off win and play that 4th line center position with heart and grit.

MY RUMOR: Andrew Ladd will return to the Blackhawks. Brouwer failed to deliver in the grit category and we shipped him off to Washington for a draft pick. So Laddy would be my go to guy on returning to fill a spot leading our 3rd line although I wouldn't be shocked to see him garner some 2nd or even 1st line time.

THE WORST: Dan Carcillo. I have no idea why we signed this guy. Even for a year it seems like flushing money down the crapper for no good reason. UNLESS he gets packaged and shipped out for something substantial.

The END: We still have some cap money to play with, and we need an NHL backup. Who that will be is anybody's guess. And we probably need at least one more D-man and one more top 6 forward unless they have someone in Rockford in mind. I guess we'll all have to wait and see.