Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Let the fun begin
Now that we're finally back and better than ever with our new more reader friendly design, already the fun has just begun. We're 48 hours away from Friday night's much anticipated first round. What will Edmonton do? Is it Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin or do they trade with Florida down for No.'s 3 and 15 and select Cam Fowler and possibly sliding Russian Vladimir Tarashenko. Whatever they decide, it'll be under the leadership of familiar face Tom Renney, who replaces Pat Quinn behind the bench this Fall. The former Ranger coach will get to work with more talent with Calder hopeful Jordan Eberle on the way and possibly Hall or Seguin, etc which should significantly improve the Oilers.
While the draft gets going in two nights, tonight is the NHL Awards out in Vegas a second consecutive year. Can Ovie three-peat or will Henrik Sedin steal Alex and Sid's thunder? With that in mind, here's a quick glance at my picks:
My heart says Jed for Comeback Player but head says Kurt Foster. I just can't go against Ort. I went with Bryz over Miller for the Vezina due to his team. Keith over Doughty though I wouldn't be shocked if the super LA soph takes it. For me, Sedin was the best player and stepped it up when twin bro Daniel was out. Giving it to Crosby or Ovechkin is too easy. Henrik's most deserving. I happen to love all three Selke candidates. Huge fan of both Kes and J. Staal. But Datsyuk's remarkable in every facet. So, he probably wins again. Best of luck to all.
Now, for some moves. I'll just post and make a quick comment.
1.Flyers acquire rights to D Dan Hamhuis + '11 conditional seventh from Preds for rights to D Ryan Parent.
Genius move by Holmgren if they get Hamhuis signed. This was rumored back at the deadline. Imagine a Flyer front four of Pronger, Timonen, Hamhuis and Carle with Coburn on the third pair? Ugh. As for Nash, it's obvious they're dumping salary. Better hope Parent turns it around back in Music City.
2.Devils reacquire C Jason Arnott from Preds for F Matt Halischuk + '11 second rounder.
As Hasan already noted, remember when Lou had the infamous M&M reunion post-lockout? Only difference is '00 Cup hero Arnott's still got something left and fills a void. Arnott and Elias reunited. When's Sykora coming back? Couldn't resist. The pluses are nice but what does it mean for Kovalchuk and Martin? Arnott makes $4.5 M. For Nash, guess they're content to revamp with the most underappreciated coach in the biz. The Czar!
3.Panthers acquire D Dennis Wideman, Bruins' No.1 (15th) + '11 3rd for F Nathan Horton and F Greg Campbell.
On one hand, you ask what are the Panthers doing? They already lack offense. Though adding Wideman ain't a bad pickup for a solid blueline even if he's an adventure. However, Horton makes $4 M and has not come close to fulfilling his power forward potential. Maybe a change of scenery playing with Savard and Krejci helps. Campbell is a solid citizen who provides energy. For Florida, it's a win if they can parlay their 3 and the 15 into either Hall or Seguin.
4.Thrashers acquire F Dustin Byfuglien, F Ben Eager, D Brent Sopel and F Akim Aliu (try saying that 10 times in a row) from Blackhawks for F Marty Reasoner, F Jeremy Morin and the rights to NJD '10 No.'s 1 (24th) & 2 (54th).
Credit everyone's favorite Eklund for nailing this trade. Seri---ous---ly. Kudos to Bob McKenzie giving props. Well, we all knew the Hawks had to dump salary, breaking up their newly minted Stanley Cup roster. It sucks. But such is cap life even with it going to a reported $59.4 M. There was no way they could keep everyone. I guess when push came to shove, they just decided to maximize Big Buff's value after a Conn Smythe-esque performance. No doubt Chicago will miss him. But they saved nearly $4 million even if it had to break Sopel's heart. It was not only his day with the Cup but also his first day on Twitter. Ouch. Give the vet credit for this very strong perspective on today's events. Eager was also a solid citizen but the Hawks are plenty tough. Great deal for Atlanta even if it meant moving the picks they got from the Devs for Kovalchuk. Now, they traded him and Salmella, Morin for Bergfors, Big Buff, Patrice Cormier, Reasoner and Sopel. Wacky. The deal works for both sides with Chi-town doing well getting good value back in the picks and a decent prospect drafted last year. It should be a fun deal to track.
In other news, the Sharks have decided Evgeni Nabokov is done in San Jose. No real surprise here. I expect him to land in D.C. where they'll soon be renamed the Washington Russians. Who replaces Nabby? Turco or Mason? German backup Thomas Greiss performed respectably but he's not ready to carry the load. There also was a Tim Thomas rumor but eh. Why would they do that? He couldn't deliver in Beantown and is getting up there. Not to mention his $5 M tag. I'd pass.
Happy trails to Scott Niedermayer, who finally called it a career at a nice gathering at Honda Center yesterday. Kudos to NHL Network for picking up the coverage. The classy defenseman who won three Cups with the Devils and then captained the Ducks teaming alongside little bro Rob for a fourth Cup thanked everyone from coaches, teammates to fans. What an outstanding career the guy the Devils turned Tom Kurvers into back in 1991 had. Among the highlights were winning Olympic gold for Canada twice including close to home in Vancouver at this year's Olympics. Plus a Norris on his way out of the Garden State. What a tremendous player, who also handled himself with class on and off the ice. Just the latest player we lose from our era growing up. Sure is sad. Nieds will be missed.
One other note to pass. The Habs re-signed C Tomas Plekanec to a six-year $30 M contract. The terms are about right for their do everything player. But the length is a bit steep. Still, love the loyalty and good on Les Habitants keeping him.
A big boo to Toronto for not including Pat Burns or taking either Doug Gilmour or Eric Lindros over Dino Ciccarelli for this year's HHOF class which also includes very deserving Cammi Granato, Angela James and Jim Devellano plus Darryl "Doc" Seaman. It is utterly ridiculous that Burns isn't in. What are they waiting for? The poor man has cancer and dying. As for Ciccarelli, while I respect the production (608 goals, 1,200 points), he was never really a dominant player. A superb finisher but he couldn't take over games a la Gilmour or The Big E, who's being unfairly treated for how his career ended. Taking it one step further, why isn't Pavel Bure considered? At the end of the day, it is what it is. Hopefully, some great players will eventually get recognized.
The NHL also released the 2010-11 schedule. And already, it didn't take me long to predict the Rangers' first loss when they open the season at our Buffalo contingent. Can you say midseason form or what?!?!?!?!?!
It's nice to be back!