Friday, July 27, 2007

Dear 2007-08 Oilers,

Not to steal Dave or MG or Duncan's thunder, but are you guys really serious? All those draft picks and the big pile of cash for Dustin Penner? After all the other crazy attempted signings and things?

I'm sure the hugs and kisses from Brian Burke over your latest will make it all better.

Best. Summer. Ever.


Not (really) a hater.

PS. Dave may never take another vacation in the summer, the way this week has gone.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dear 2006-07 Flames,

Are you spending your summer being the 2007 Stampeders?


With lots of sighs and fretting,


Friday, July 20, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

Ick, it's that part of summer which makes it feel like hockey will never come back.

So here's a couple of items which have caught my attention lately:

  • WI's posts about the prospects camp.
  • A couple of re-signings, here and there. Are you celebrating, WI? Are you???
  • Chris Clark's contract renewal. One of the ex-Flames out there who I find it impossible to hate on. Good on him for his awesome Ovechkin-juiced year.
  • Andrew Ference's summer vacation: Another ex-Flame I find impossible to hate. Less for his on-ice play, but more and more for the man he is off the ice.

(Don't any current members of the Flames roster do anything interesting?)

I don't really have anything deep to say - at this point the offseason seems a long, long ways off.

Oh. Keep an eye on Duncan's fantastic series about the competition. Some good stuff there.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The World's Highest-Paid Defenseman Who Doesn't Play Defense

has been signed by the Oilers. 27 mil over 5 years. Edmonton is a defensive powerhouse now, with defensive stalwarts such as: Souray (-28 last year), Tarnstrom (-15), Pitkanen (-25), Smid (-16), Greene (-22), and Staois (-5). Not a single + defenseman on their entire defensive corps from last year, even though half of them are imports from another team.

Shall we place bets on Edmonton's GAA next year? I'm willing to bet it's in the 4.x range.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bye-bye Stuart | Hello Incompetent Whiners

Dear Brad Stuart,

Goodbye. It's as if I hardly knew you at all.


So, how 'bout that Lowe? What is it about Edmonton that players simply want no part of? Is it the weather? Is it the media? Is it the fans? Is it the coach? Is it the GM? Maybe it's all of the above.

The GM is making a case for being a top reason for staying away these days. Kevin Lowe and his brainiac counterparts in the Oilers organization seem to think that even with the contract left unsigned, it is binding. Nylander got a better offer (read: a city other than Edmonton) before he signed the real Edmonton contract, so he signed elsewhere (read: "I'd rather play in the US city with the highest crime rate and a bottom-feeding team than play in Edmonton").

Now the Oilers are throwing a very public tantrum. "But you said I could have him! No fair!! I'm telling Bettman!"

But hey, who needs Nylander when you signed Raffi Torres to a 3-year contract?

Glory be to the Oilers.

...Now featuring one less centre...

No more Byron Ritchie.

Not much to say...he impressed at times last year, far exceeding the expectations you'd have for a third liner, but is he a key guy?



Dave, didn't you ask me last night whether Dave Nonis had a vacation scheduled for the first week of July? I think you have your answer.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I remember a time where we were short on centres


Who is going? Who is staying? What are we getting?

Let's have some late-night fun with these questions:

Primeau: Seeing as he just signed a new contract, I'd reckon he's staying. (Projected: 4th line)
Nolan: Seeing as he just signed a new contract, I'd reckon he's staying. (Projected: 3rd line) [Edit: He's a RW, not traditionally a centre. My bad.]

That leaves us with two more starting centers to place, and four players: Conroy, Langkow, Lombardi, Yelle.

Lombardi: I have to believe he's staying, because I love him. The other part of me thinks he's probably going to be traded. Lombardi was never really a Sutter type of player...and he's certainly not a Keenan type of player. Plus after the Conroy acquisition he's sort of been the odd man out. [Edit: Seeing as Nolan's not really a centre, I say Lombardi stays.]

Yelle: I love the guy, but I think Primeau's liable to replace him, seeing as he's younger, potentially more durable. A lot of teams could use Yelle's PK expertise and leadership, so he may be moved. My prediction is he is going to be moved this summer.

Langkow: He's going to stay. (Projected: 1st line)
Conroy: He's going to stay. (Projected: 2nd line)

Now, I'm well aware Primeau is also listed as a potentially one of these guys can stay for 5 centres. But 6? There's no way. Expect a trade.

Some Quick Free Agent Frenzy Updates

So, Hamrlik to Montreal. I'm not terribly upset, but still...I'd prefer Hamrlik to Aucoin. I'm still not ready to render a serious opinion, I need to sit on these new moves for a bit.

I'm still somewhat smirking about how bad free agency has been to Edmonton and the New York Islanders. Though Colorado got their shit together.

Where are they now?

On a completely different note (I need a breather from all that free agent action), for those of you who've wondered "Where are they now?" ... well... I have a partial answer (courtesy of Kukla's Korner):

Tanzania. Seriously.

A couple of ex-Flames doing some terrific work. Kudos to them.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My, oh my

So you leave for a BBQ (Happy Canada Day, kids!) for four or five hours, and all hell breaks loose. Let me itemize a few things which caught my interest...

Jarome Iginla: If we get the extension done, happy days! I'm a bit leery of losing a contract year for Iginla, years in which he's historically been effin' amazing. I'm excited that he might be more Steve Yzerman than Ray Bourque though.

Cory Sarich: Leaves me with a big "meh." Is Sarich a top four guy? I'm not sure that he is... Clearly Sutter expects Regehr and Phaneuf to step up in a big way under the mentorship of the veterans in the defence corps (yes, by that I mean Adrian Aucoin), and potentially to be able to sign at least one of Stuart or Hamrlik. Or, maybe a move will be made, right when we don't expect it. It's happened before.

(Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about these other teams, except for what I know through fantasy hockey. I'm talking out of my ass here, and there's nothing you can do about it.)

The Oilers As bad as trading whatshisface for Joffrey Lupul and a bag of pucks was last year (not that they had much choice, I know), this trade was pure genius. I'm a huge Pitkanen fan. He had a terrific year 2005-06 (saved the fantasy team I was managing, fo'sure), though he wasn't able to be much of an impact player last year( but admittedly all of Philly was pretty terrible). Losing Jason Smith means a fair bit of veteran presence and continuity will be lost from the Oilers' dressing room, but Lowe is clearly still going for youth and offensive firepower. I'd expect him to make a move to shore up the leadership in the dressing room - who does he expect to lead the team, Petr Nedved? Realistically, that guy who'd step up would probably be Staios, but... if I were an Oilers fan, I'd expect more.

The Flyers Philadelphia clearly does not want to be in the basement this season. In the offseason, they've made several moves to shore up what they believe to be obvious flaws. Right now I don't see a lot of cohesion in their moves. Lupul is a gamble, but probably one they can afford given the presence of Carter and Richards on their roster. Briere will complement Simon Gagne nicely. Losing Pitkanen, though picking up Timonen in the process is another gamble - one that might pay off now but be regrettable in six years when Timonen's contract is due. Overall, their defence corps is a bit older and slower , with the additions of Smith and Timonen, and I suspect this could hurt more than it helps. Will it all fit together? Given the Flyers' track record over the last couple of years, I have my doubts... but no doubt they will be better than last year's edition.

The Leafs: They just don't learn, do they? Like much of the Isles last season, Blake's just a bit too inconsistent to be worth really big bucks. He might make a better first liner than Antropov or whatshisotherface.

The Rangers: They just don't learn, do they? The additions of Gomez and Drury (two of the prizes this free agent open season) are as splashy as you'd want for a team based in the Big Apple. I'm not sure this actually improves the team, especially given its European-like style of play. In retrospect, I have to laugh at the people who pooh-poohed the speculation that Gomez in particular was going to sign, because he was working out with Shanny. Hindsight, all that.

Scott Hannan Damn. And we'll have to see him eight times a year.