Archive for June, 2009

Barry Melrose Rocks tells us if the winds of change will affect the Carolina Hurricanes

June 30, 2009

You’d think that we’d hate all other NHL blogs, but the truth is that we pretty much enjoy all of them. One of the best general NHL blogs out there is the magnificently named Barry Melrose Rocks and we’re glad to have them contribute to CLS for the first time.

Dave McBrayer writes for BMR as well as his Hurricanes-related blog Carolina on Ice. Make sure to follow both blogs and enjoy his slightly different take on the Hurricanes free agent situations.

The Hurricanes have only two UFAs: Erik Cole and Chad LaRose.

Am I the only one to rock the “Every LaRose has its thorn” pun? Probably.

It won’t chafe my ass to see Erik Cole walk:
Erik Cole was traded for Joni Pitkanen this time last year but the Canes were teh suck without him so they brought him back. He was good, then crappy again – consistency and his lack thereof were one of the reasons why he was traded in the first place. If he can come back at a reasonable salary (say 2 years, 2.75mil/per) – awesome. But he’s always been a beast to try and get re-signed, so perhaps Jimmy Rutherford has had enough of Cole getting the upper hand in negotiations. The whole “deciding not to show up or score a goal” in the playoffs certainly didn’t help him if he’s leveraging for a paperstack anywhere close to his prior $4mil/per contract.

I may die / cancel my season tickets / cry into my pillow if they can’t re-sign LaRose:
Chad LaRose deserves so much more than the $875,000 he got last year. He was an RFA last year and Rutherford low-balled him due to claims that LaRose was their pencilled “4th line player” with a 1 year deal. He had a career season with 19 goals and 12 assists. Now he can’t come to terms with the Canes as they most likely are trying to NOT pay him anywhere close to what he could get on the open market.

You won’t find #59 on any prized free agent lists this summer, but there are plenty of clubs that would love to have a passionate, hard working player like Chad LaRose.

Free Agent I wouldn’t mind seeing in the red and black: Mike Knuble
David Lee introduced the rumor to me. No way it happens though (please happen!).

Moves Burke should avoid on Wednesday, according to Pension Plan Puppets

June 30, 2009

Please note: Just wanted to inform anyone who hasn’t heard yet that the Rangers somehow hypnotized Bob Gainey into taking Scott Gomez’s horrific contract off the books.

Pension Plan Puppets is truly one of the great Toronto Maple Leafs blogs. Check out their work as they sport more blogging talent (by far) than the Leafs provide hockey talent. Also, they did a podcast with our buddies at Hockee Night that you should check out as well.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

There has only really been one player on the Leafs that made me physically ill to have to watch play, Bryan Marchment, and this summer the Leafs have been linked with TWO of them: Chris Neil and Mike Komisarek.

The former is best known in league circles for being really tough as long as linesmen are within arm’s reach. Before some whiny senators fan mentions his fight against Luke Schenn we’ll see how things go when it’s not the rookie’s first fight and the stupid stretchy jersey sleeve didn’t catch on his arm. Not that Neil will chance it.

Komisarek is overrated as a defensive defenceman, he almost matches Neil for cowardice, and hits late every.single.time. Plus he still has the stink of the Habs on him and any aura that he might have had has been completely dashed by repeated decimations at the hands of Milan Lucic. The cheap crosscheck that should have resulted in at least a 10 game suspension just showed how yellow he is.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

I don’t really hate too many teams that much since the Leafs haven’t been to the playoffs in a while. Anything the Habs and senators do will likely just elicit a laugh as one has no cap space to address their needs and the other can’t even attract players with truck loads of cash.

Having said that, if the Canucks sign the Sedins (which should put Gillis on the road to getting canned if he doesn’t) AND a defenceman that can make a pass further than five feet then I’ll be pissed. Luongo struggled but he’ll bounce back and if they have a defenceman that doesn’t clam up when they see a forechecker that might alleviate a lot of pressure on the backend.

Kontos and Kelly share LA Kings free agent perspective

June 30, 2009
An x-ray of Marian Gaborik‘s groin

First, we have our own contributor/founder of The Royal Half Chris Kontos on the Kings:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Gaborik. Just say no, Dean Lombardi. Even to a 1 year contract. I’ve lived through Jason Allison… I’ve lived through Ziggy Palffy… I’ve lived through Pavol Demitra. There is no way in hell I want to have another highly skilled offensive player come to the Kings, get excited about the offense he is creating and then watch said player’s body fall apart like peanut brittle. Although Gaborik does have some sick stats… when he is playing (on a mainly defensive-minded team.)

(Note: the columns are for: season – GP – Goals – Assists – Points – and plus minus)


2005–06 65 38 28 66 64 +6
2006–07 48 30 27 57 40 +12
2007–08 77 42 41 83 63 +17
2008–09 17 13 10 23 2 +3

Signing Gaborik would show that the Kings have yet to really make that big step forward. It would mean that they missed out on the Hossa sweepstakes and continue the struggle of bringing high level free agents to Los Angeles (like going from Drury and Chara to….. Tom Preissing?)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

If Dany Heatley or Vinny Lecavalier end up on some combination of the Ducks, Sharks, Stars or Coyotes. Especially Heatley… I know that Lombardi has concerns about his attitude and that this trade is probably as dead as your pick of McMahon, Fawcett or Jackson… but man, Heatley, Kopitar and Williams would be a great line.

***

And now, the infamous Rudy Kelly of Battle of California:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Ryan Smyth. He’s a potential for movement since the Avalanche are going to be about as competitive as James O’Brien at the Playboy Mansion but I despise him with every fabric of my being. I hate him. I’d rather see my own birth from the doctor’s perspective than have Ryan Smyth in a Kings’ jersey. Also, I don’t particularly like Mike Cammalleri and wouldn’t want to be the idiot team that pays him $6 million dollars to shoot from his knees.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

If the Ducks get Sammy Pahlsson back I will be crushed. Earl will never shut the fuck up about how great he is and how much he loves the guy. I just want him to fall in love with someone closer, someone who would never leave him: me. WIth Pahlsson gone I can finally make my move, especially now that I have girl-approved hair. I’m cosmopolitan!

And I guess in a way the Kings are my nemesis since they hold sway over my heart, so I’ll just say that they’re not going to get anyone and Lombardi is going to half-ass some remark about boxes and I will be suicidal before talking myself into the Kings going to the playoffs on the backs of Oscar Moller and Ted Purcell. *Sigh

Vance from Bangin Panger wants at least one Sedin to cycle in Buffalo

June 30, 2009

Every contribution is special and snowflake-like, but it always brightens our day when someone takes the time to throw in a Photoshop for good measure. Our buddy Vance did just that.

We have his partner in crime Denson from Bangin Panger providing some Penguins thoughts later today. You can also check out Vance’s other Buffalo Sabres-related views at his new Sabres blog, Double Edged Sabres.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Daniel Sedin, but I want Henrik. But is Henrik Henrik without Daniel? If separating Henrik from Daniel makes Henrik turn into [insert overpaid pivot here] than can Buffalo not only afford (of course they can’t) but be willing to cope with such an unmitigated disaster? We’ve already got our soft LW in Vanek, we don’t need Daniel. Oh but Henrik, how I covet thee. If you rode into town on an iconic American Bison, Sabre held high, oh the joy it would bring.

Click to enlarge. No, seriously, you should.

Daniel? Sorry, only one ginger allowed. (Editor’s Note: this is generally a good policy.)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Anybody worth anything signing with the Penguins. Don’t you realize you still have to live in Pittsburgh? Sheesh. Pissin’ me off.

But in reality, I absolutely hope Bryan Murray gets fleeced by the team that eventually takes Heatley off their hands. Even if Spezza is the Sabre killer, Heatley needs out of our division, for Wyshynksi’s book, driving lessons, and 17 dollars.

Litter Box Cats dictates which free agents would be odorous

June 30, 2009
Pictured: Tomas Vokoun with David Booth (right)

You may know Whale4Ever as the recently crowned blogging Calder trophy winner. While Florida Panthers fans may be bummed that Jay Bouwmeester is on his way out, we asked Litter Box Cats which moves the Panthers should avoid.

Make sure you check out Litter Box Cats in all their Panther-tastic glory.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Marian Gaborik, given his injury history. He’ll continue to make waaaay too many bones for the potential return on the investment. Martin Havlat can be lumped in here as well. The Panthers don’t need any more “projects” (Nathan Horton? Rusty Olesz?). Gabby was rumored to be coming to Sunrise last fall; fans were thankful it didn’t come to pass. He may never miss another minute of action for the rest of his career, but who’s got faith in that balsa-wood groin? If you’ve just got to sign him, it had better be for pennies on the dollars he’s used to making.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Tampa Bay dealing Vinny Lecavalier, thereby re-stocking their cupboard and turning around overnight. We’re not in Quebec-trading-Lindros territory, but awfully close. Then again, it’s the Lightning. Sadly for their fans, they’ll engineer a way – by committee – to screw it up.

Flyers Goal Scored By talks about who they’d rather not see in orange

June 30, 2009

Obviously, by now, you know that the Philadelphia Flyers made what might be their biggest splash of the off-season already by landing Chris Pronger in a mammoth trade with Anaheim. That being said, we still dropped Flyers Goal Scored By a line to see how they felt about what Philadelphia should not do on Wednesday.

Enjoy their take and make sure to check out their great Flyers blog.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Over the past few years I’ve been repulsed by a couple signings the Flyers have made. But in the end I always end up kind of liking even those guys I used to hate after they put on a Flyers sweater. What a fickle past-time, eh? But if the Flyers acquire that p.o.s. Hal Gill in a misguided attempt to “make our defense tougher” I’ll spit on my computer screen just to let the Flyers know how much I detest the signing.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Jay Bouwmeester, hands down – Hopefully Calgary can lock him down, but if J-Bo signs with a team in the Eastern Conference I’ll vomit. If it’s with a team in the Atlantic Division I’ll poo. If it’s with the Rangers or Penguins I’ll have both ends.

Elise from 18568 Reasons Why talks Gaborik and the Minnesota Wild’s Free Agent situation

June 30, 2009

We’ve been critical of Marian Gaborik (“Can’t spell Gaborik without IR“) before but there is one fan base that must face a lot of mixed emotions about the talented Slovak who is in a constant state of repair. That would be Minnesota Wild fans.

To take the temperature of those fine funny accented folks, we asked our pal Elise from 18568 Reasons Why to share her thoughts on what might happen for the Wild on Wednesday. Make sure to follow her blog as the rumors turn to reality or lies.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Benoit Pouliot (Wild RFA). Unless he starts getting his act together and putting in the effort to become the very skilled scorer he was expected to be when the Wild drafted him fourth overall in 2005.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Marian Gaborik to the Vancouver Canucks. Last year it was Pavol Demitra to the division rival Nucks (of course getting a tour from the team captain, a prior relationship with the GM, and agreeing to a contract way before free agency isn’t tampering!) and this year, with the rumor of a purchased house, it’s supposedly Gaby and his newly repaired hip/groin (maybe he just really, really likes the scenery in BC? wanted to be comfortable up there since Minnesota plays Vancouver so often? or maybe he just can’t stand being separated from his bff Pavol). Anyway, after everything the Wild has done and given up for Gaby through his entire career (all with the Wild), for him to go to Vancouver would, to put it bluntly, suck.

Especially after spending quite a bit of his tenure in Minnesota complaining about the style of play and lack of offensive freedom. Minnesota may have been one of the more boring teams with the trap (pre-recent front office explosion, of course), but Vancouver wasn’t much better. If Gaby would like a change of scenery, I would suggest a more drastic one; like an Eastern Conference team (hey Gabs, I hear Jacques might be coaching the Devils, fun times in NJ eh).

Laura of Wazzupwitchu covers the Blues and Thrashers Free Agent thoughts

June 29, 2009

Big thanks to Laura from Wazzupwitchu for being two team bloggers in one. Make sure to check out her spirited Blues-Thrashers blogging.

First, Laura’s thoughts on the Blues:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Danny. Freaking. Heatley. I’m sick and tired of seeing the Blues mentioned in trade rumors for him… and I really don’t care for the fact that Perron is constantly included in these rumors. We don’t need to break up the young core of the team, and Heatley, while good, is a pure goal scorer with no real oomph for playmaking (he floats a lot) and he’s not great defensively. Heater’s already been on one of my teams, he doesn’t need to be on the other one.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Wait… hm… Detroit signing Hossa would make them a tougher team, but considering that Roman Polak almost broke him, I’m not concerned about his impact on the Blues. The Central’s pretty stacked as it is – even Nashville and Columbus put up a fight every year. It doesn’t boil down to what they get, it comes down to what the Blues do. Their success or failure is in their hands.

And then, her thoughts on the Atlanta Thrashers:

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Any former NY Ranger that their fans always want to try to dump on us, either in a Kovy trade or just in general. NYC uses Jersey to dump their trash. They need to stick with that.

A lot of people are paranoid that Dapper Don will pick up Chelios. I think that comes from last year and us picking up Schneider from the Ducks last year. We’re moving towards youth, and there’s not a market for chili in Atlanta. We should be safe.

Another rumor that went around after someone saw Waddell at a Wild game was the acquisition of Gaborik. If he’s healthy all season and doesn’t act like Madonna when she’s told she can’t adopt that little African baby that she wanted, then he’s golden. But my money is on a failed trip to Africa and a trip to the ER. Please, don’t.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

Tampa Bay to getting decent ownership who don’t need couples therapy and to find at least 7 defensemen to stick with the entire year would be horrible for the whole Southeast Division. I mean, that’s at least 4 sure fire intra-conference wins a season gone with the wind. *poof*

The Last Person the Couch Tarts would want to see …

June 29, 2009

Most bloggers will break down why Move “A” and Move “B” would improve his or her team’s chances of success. But at CLS, we insist on being “different” by putting on black nail polish and asking odd questions.

Instead of focusing on positivity, we asked each blogger to name a player they’d hate to see their team add and also a player whose addition to a rival would just spoil their milk.

First up are the lovable Couch Tarts: frequent contributors to the blog, creators of adorable hockey related doodles and experts on the San Jose Sharks. Indian burns all around for those who ignore their blogging.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

PRONGER! Do you know how happy we were when he went east? DW had the hots for him, and while we can’t ignore his skills as a player, no way in hell would we want former alternate captain elbows on the Sharks. Thank you Bob Murray for not wanting to move him within the division. Can you imagine regularly booing one of you own players? Ugh!

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

If the Ducks or Kings got the Sedins, we’d cry ourselves to sleep every night until next June. Swedish Wonder Twin powers activate! Power of…massive cap hit!

Actually, if signing them means that the Ducks/Kings can only afford to put the twins on the ice with some third rate untested goalie, we’re all for it. Three guys total on the ice for the opposition? How could we lose!

Yours from the Couch,

The Couch Tarts

Is the Atlantic now the best division in the NHL?

June 29, 2009

So, with the draft behind us and our free agency coverage ready to begin tomorrow, we don’t have much time for general NHL meandering. But with the mammoth Chris Pronger trade and John Tavares going to the New York Islanders, we couldn’t help but wonder:

Is the Atlantic Division now primed to become the best division in the entire league?

Let’s look at the “Pros” for such an argument.

1. Everything the Penguins bring to the table

It never hurts to have the reigning Stanley Cup champions in your division, especially since they’re obviously not a flash in the pan after going to two SCFs in a row. They might not always be great in the regular season, but it’s hard to deny their heart, hustle and talent.

2. All kinds of elite talent, most of it young

Pronger gives this division the one thing it truly lacked: an elite defenseman (with all due respect to Sergei Gonchar). Pittsburgh features two of the three best forwards in the league. New Jersey saw Zach Parise jump to an elite level and also employs a goalie with more wins than any in NHL history.

Along with Parise and Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo, the Flyers have Mike Richards and Jeff Carter while the Islanders even landed a blue chip in Tavares.

3. Four quality teams

In addition to the Penguins, the Atlantic produced half of the Eastern Conference’s playoff representatives with the Rangers, Flyers and Devils also making it to the postseason.

4. Enigmatic, but potentially outstanding goaltending

Every Atlantic division team has a goalie who could be somewhere between above average to outstanding. Obviously, one must assume that Brodeur is still an outstanding goalie but it goes beyond that.

Henrik Lundqvist consistently puts together borderline Vezina caliber seasons. Marc Andre Fleury was erratic at times in the postseason, but a lot of people will probably remember his save on Nicklas Lidstrom a long time after they forget about some of those awful goals he allowed against the Washington Capitals.

Even the question mark goalies have potential. Sure, Ray Emery is a head case who eats bugs and potentially consumes other harmful toxins in his free time, but let’s not forget that he was often excellent in the Senators’ run to a SCF berth. Say what you want about his lifetime contract, Rick Dipietro was once the future of American goaltending and might still have a chance to be a solid franchise goalie if he can get over his injury concerns.

***

Again, this is looking at the situation before what typically changes the league the most: July 1st. Still, it’s interesting to ask: at this moment in time, did the Atlantic division leapfrog the Pacific and Central as the class of the NHL?

We’d love to hear what you think about that.