Thursday, July 31, 2008

"It Moved" - George Castanza

It was one of those days.

The hockey world has been frozen like Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back, mouth agape and stored in some back room when ...

All hell broke loose.

Kevin Lowe is out as Edmonton GM (shuffled to the nice, clean and Brian Burke-less President of Hockey Operations role) while ex-Canuck backroom wonder boy Steve Tambellini is hired to run the first season of the Daryl Katz era.

It's strange because this move seemed to come out of nowhere even though changes in ownership often means upheaval in all areas of the team (see Tampa Bay). In fact, K-Lowe was just starting to recoup his once stellar reputation with some positive commentary from the media after taking some major hits after last summer's Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner fiasco's.

Now Tambellini finally has a prime job after being rumoured for every open position out there for the last 5 years ... who'd have thought it would be in Edmonton?

The next mindblow is Scotty Bowman leaving the Red Wings to join division rival Chicago ... after stating all summer long that he had no intention of leaving the Mike Illitch fold. Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski has some great analysis on that move.

"For Detroit Red Wings fans, there's a sense of anger on display over on Abel To Yzerman that's reminiscent of Eric Mangini's departure to the New York Jets: The notion that a championship team just lost a key member of its staff to a division rival, and that he took his institutional knowledge of his former franchise with him.
(Let's just hope Mike Babcock doesn't go out and buy a camcorder to complete the Pats/Jets comparison.)

No one's saying that adding Scotty Bowman to the front office puts the Blackhawks on the level of the Red Wings. But adding that level of insider insight will certainly add a bit of intrigue when the two teams meet. It's a great day for Chicago hockey."

- Puck Daddy

He also points out that reporter Andy Strickland reported this story in June but only got grief for it from everybody.

The stories keep rolling in...

Eric Lindros and Kate Hudson an item? What? Does anyone give a shit? The answer is probably yes.

Patrick Roy's 19 year old kid was charged today for delivering an out of control ass-kicking to Chicoutimi goalie Bobby Nadeau this past season and then serenading the stunned crowd with a few middle-finger salutes while his coach/father Patrick watched proudly from the bench.

The dude is also a "musician". The assault charge can only help his cred right? He kind of reminds me of J-Rock from the Trailer Park Boys but with less talent.

Of more concern to Ottawa hockey fans, Antoine Vermette finally signed a contract that he probably could have gotten two months ago. At two years and just over 5 million, it's a good deal for both sides.

If Vermie can finally break out and score some important goals for a change, he can snag a bigger paycheque in only two years. For the Senators, the kind of money they are shelling out will be worth it even if Antoine stays at the same mediocre level he's at now. He's a valuable penalty killer with some potential to light the lamp starting this season. If he can't blossom this year, his draft year reputation as a poor man's Simon Gagne will have been a little over amplified in retrospect.

Maybe Vermette pushed the Senators to the brink of arbitration as payback for that joke that Bryan Murray played on him a few years ago on trade deadline day when he was pulled aside at practice and made to believe he'd been moved. Now that was a classic.

Here's a few Vermie "classics" to remind everyone of his skill and potential.

The Vermette signing leaves the Senators at approximately 6.5 million short of the cap limit. They still have to sign reticent defenseman Andre Meszaros who will need at least the same cash as Vermette to return. If not, he can hold out until December (after that he is ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the season according to the CBA) or go play in the KHL in Russia where it is rumoured that he has a standing offer.

Regardless, Murray will have some available cash to play with during the season to bring in some talent on the blueline and hopefully in goal as well. As it stands, the Senators payroll is nicely balanced with six NHL forwards making less than 1 million.

That's two lines for less than 6 million.

Not bad at all.


One of the best reads so far this summer - Mark Moore's Hockey News article on the struggle between speed and size in the minds of NHL general managers.

"In my opinion, the most valuable player in the Ducks’ defeat of Ottawa to capture the Cup was Samuel Pahlsson, a small speedy defensive center from Sweden who most fans probably wouldn’t recognize if he showed up at their front door.

When Ottawa’s top line, featuring Daniel Alfredsson, was matched against him, they found a defender they couldn’t escape. Everywhere they turned, with his speed and agility, Pahlsson was there. Soon the Sens’ stars got frustrated, started gambling and turning the puck over, generating counterattacks and beating themselves."

- The Hockey News


1 comment:

Don said...

Ya think Pahlsson was the difference? I think having 2 Norris winners on the blueline everytime the Pizza line was on the ice was the key.

They rolled through the well regarded NJ checking line of Madden-Pandolfo-Brylin.

The Sens couldn't adjust their playing style quick enough.