Bye Bye, NBA, I’ll Hardly Miss You

As of 12:01 AM EST, July 1st, I like the NBA a lot more than I used to.

To all the NBA fans out there who are most likely going to lose a season, I am truly sorry for your loss.  I don’t wish you any ill, and know what it was like to lose an entire season of NHL hockey.  I had the luxury of spending most of the lockout in Boston, where hockey was still in full force, form the minors to college.

But in my own little world, right now, I’m dancing with my happy feet.

I’ve been fed up with the NBA ever since I started watching hockey, and it took time away from the NHL coverage.  I don’t care for the sport at all.  Shooting baskets is fun, but turn it into what we watch on TV, and I dislike it with all my burgundy-and-blue heart.

I hate the sound of basketball.  The constant squeaking of the shoes drives me nuts.  You know what sounds cool?  A hockey stop.  Skates on ice sound cool.

Sweat wipers?  Give me a break.  Could there be a less awesome gig?  If you need to wipe the sweat up from your playing surface, you need a better playing surface.  In hockey, if you sweat a little, it freezes when it hits the ice.  You skate over it, and you keep going.

March Madness can kiss my back side.  I hate March Madness.  This last year’s NCAA tournament was the most bearable yet, for some reason.  I hardly noticed it happened, and I don’t even know why.  But it can F off.  I hate it. HATE. IT.

And the basketball fights.  Or I should say, the “fights.”  It amazes me how a bunch of tall, built men can get into a scrap, and it looks like a slap-fest.  If you’re going to fight, do it.  I don’t need to make a comparison to hockey here.

The NBA has had a soft salary cap (basically, a luxury tax) for a long time, and the owners now want a hard cap.  They want more of the share of the pie.  The players say that won’t happen.  I have three letters for the NBA players. N-H-L.  It’s going to happen.

And when you consider this, from Michael Wilbon of ESPN:

The NBA, meanwhile, has teams losing real money. The league says 22 of 30 are operating in the negative; the players association would surely say it’s fewer than that. Either way, it’s reasonable — if not downright inescapable — to conclude there are NBA teams awash in red ink. It costs less for those owners to keep their arenas closed than to stage the games.

There isn’t much else to be done.  Also, will there ever be another reason for me to quote Wilbon again?  I hope not

So the NBA is locked out, the NFL is locked out (kind of, and the people paying attention think it won’t cost the season), and the NHL…

Well, they are just getting started.  And Versus just got a lot more popular.

See you for free agency.  It’s going to be fun.

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And that concludes the Dead Blog Challenge.  I’ll do a wrap up post on July 2nd, but overall, I had a good time.  Totally worth it, and I discovered a few things about my blogging as well.

Congratulations to Greg D’Avis for doing the entire 30 days of the challenge with me.  It was hard for both of us, and for the others who took it on, but it’s called a challenge for a reason.

Comments are back on, so you can tell me what an idiot I am again.

Paul Kariya: The Memory Remains

After a bit of a long day, I got home and decided to curl up with a little reading.  I don’t seem to take the opportunity enough, to just leave the computer behind, and just read.

Which led me to not thinking about the post I had to write when I got home, which put me in a time crunch.  50 minutes to put up today’s post, to do what I promised I would.

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I keep thinking about Paul Kariya.  When he and Teemu Selanne joined the Colorado Avalanche for a single season, there was promise.  This was still the Avalanche of old, with Forsebrg and Foote and Blake and Sakic.  This was right before the lockout, and even though Patrick Roy had left, and Tony Granato was starting his first failed stint as head coach, there was plenty of reasons to be excited.  It was the tandem that had wowed them in Anaheim before, together again.  And with a team to play with.  Just look at that roster. That’s a hell of a team, and you won’t find one like it any time soon.

Kariya, of course, was coming off the cinderella playoff run of 2003.  And we all remember what happened for Paul Kayira in the finals.

Heroics?  It’s hard, at times, to treat something that happens in a hockey game as heroics.  He certainly did the unthinkable.

It turns out, that the real cinderella was JS Giguere, who came back to win the Cup in 2007.  For Paul Kariya, his stint with the Avs the next season was hampered by injuries, and he was never the same player after 2003.  He did fairly well with the Nashville Predators, but wasn’t the difference maker he was with the Mighty Ducks.  Selanne, on the other hand, had much needed knee surgery, and has been unstoppable ever since.

I think about that clip, and that hit, which would be an illegal hit today, and I know that people want the heroics, the unthinkable, the guy who gets up off the ice and shows the crowd, the other team, the world what he is made of.  We want those stories, but what has to happen first, what makes the player get up off the ice, it isn’t sustainable.  It isn’t enough.  It isn’t worth it.

They have changed the “head-shot rule” to get as close to banning head hits as they can, without explicitly getting rid of them.  They are getting closer to getting rid of these stories, and I say good riddance.  There are other stories out there, waiting to be written.  How many more careers cut short do we need, all so someone doesn’t spend two minutes in the box?  For maybe two points in the standings?

Wouldn’t it be nice to see Paul Kariya like he could have been post lockout, instead of someone who just couldn’t find their place on a team, who couldn’t be the player they were.  That’s the tragedy here.  I loved seeing Paul Kariya get up off the ice, to come back and score that goal. We try to immortalize that moment, because that’s all we know how to do.  But it couldn’t last forever.

Nothing ever does.

Huntsville Havoc vs. Pensacola Ice Pilots: My First SPHL Game

Near the end of the season, I diverted to Huntsville, AL to take in a SPHL game, the first I had ever seen of that league.  I’d been through Huntsville a few times, but never to see a game.

Yesterday,  I showed you a few of the ‘lovely’ trophies the various Huntsville teams had won (and abused), but not the game.  This post will correct that.

The path to the arena was one of the strangest I have ever been in.  Construction routed us around to… well, you can see for yourself.

To the box office:

Main Hall

Past the Legends of Huntsville Hockey festivities:

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Umm…. OK…..

End of Hall

Wait, this can’t be right….

What?

I mean, I was walking past dumpsters.  And this is how we get into the arena?

Nice Place

Even the entrance is marked exit:

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The concourse looks decidedly seventies sci-fi.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they built the place for filming scenes from Buck Rogers.  I loved it.  Of course there’s chuck a puck.

beede-beede-beede

The arena is split into a lower and upper level, with a walkway going 3/4 of the way around the bowl.

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But the lower bowl looks pretty nice, and has some table seating by the glass.

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My journey was not complete, since I was sitting behind the goal.  So I took the long and strange walk to my seat.  The blue curtains hid the construction going on.  I think it’s going to be a pretty nice place when they are done.

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Finally, I got to my seat, on the risers on the end of the rink:

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But the view was great, even with the goal judge box in the way:

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Meet Ryan Scott:

Ryan Scott

Poor Ryan got heckled the entire game.  Whenever the rush started, the fans behind me yelled “Look out, Scott!”  “That was close, Scott!”  Even just the random, “SCOTT!” for no other reason than to yell is name.  The night even included one of the greatest heckles of a goalie I have ever heard, even if it was a bit sexist.

The kids in front of me weren’t that amused at first, but they came around.  The one on the right kept saying, “Seriously?” But considering the look on his face, I don’t think he meant it.

Seriously!

All the way down the ice:

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Mascots!

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The Canucks have their green men, the Wichita Thunder have their one lone blue guy, and the Havoc… have this:

Wolf Dude has Nards

He kept the mask on the entire game. At one point, he ran around the arena  with his flag, and the kids chased him.  Hey, you gotta have your traditions, I guess.

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I’m posting this photo for Doogie2K. The Calgary Hitmen travel well.

Hitmen Jersey

The game ended in a shootout, without a single fighting major.  Take that, haters.  In fact, the level of play wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.  There were plenty of missed passes, missed opportunities, and defensive breakdowns, but there was a lot to like about the game as well.  The problem with the NHL is that it can be so over-coached, you wait for a mistake to create a scoring chance.  There were plenty of mistakes, but also plenty of chances the entire game.  Overall, I had a great time.

Thanks to Christopher Joy (aka SCOTT!) for the invite.  I can’t wait to go to another game with him.

Here’s the game sheet.

Huntsville Havoc and the Carnage

A few months ago, I stopped in Huntsville, Alabama to see a Huntsville Havoc hockey game.  If you didn’t go back and read that first sentence again, you are doing OK.  Yes, there is hockey in Huntsville.  There has been a lot of hockey in Huntsville, actually.

The game I went to was the day before the Legends of Huntsville Hockey game (again, if you need to take a moment to absorb that…). The Legends game is a charity game to help support autism.  And they had these kick-ass jerseys:

White Jersey Front

White Jersey Back

The team was auctioning them off after the game, which I wasn’t able to stick around for.  But if I could have, I would have gotten one.  That is a unique jersey.  The black one is even better.

Black Jersey

They also had a few… trophies…. on display.  Don’t ask me what they are, but we should all be lucky they are still with us.

Trophy with Dents

 

Trophy held together, barely, with masking tape

I asked one former player (and I’m sorry, I don’t know who it was) what the deal with these were.  He basically said that they are a little less careful with these things, since they weren’t the Stanley Cup.  No, they aren’t.

I will post photos from the game later, including one of the oddest arena entrances I have ever seen.  Thanks to Christopher Joy (aka Scott!) for inviting me to the game.  Hopefully, he can fill in a few of the missing pieces.

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This wasn’t the post I wanted to make, but it actually was more fun.  The one I spent an hour or so on, about the Central Hockey League and how they seem to be falling apart, might be a post for a later date, but it wasn’t coming together for me.  I guess that’s just how it goes, and when you don’t have to crank out six to twenty posts a day, you have that luxury.

 

Thin Air: Sunday Hockey Thoughts

The draft is over, the bloggers are back home, nursing their hangovers, and the draftees are admiring their new swag from their new team.  I hope everyone had a good time.  The draft is mayhem on the first day, but then things settle down on the second, despite the much faster pace.

So here are a few things I’ve been thinking about, with only five more days until free agency, and four more left on this challenge.

 

- Ryan Smyth: Real Denver Sport has a good roundup of what Smyth left in his wake after each team he served time with (and served time is fairly accurate, considering how bad a few of those teams have been).  I don’t think it’s quite the contrail of disaster that happens when Pronger leaves a team, but it’s pretty interesting.

I remember getting caught up in the excitement when Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan were signed in free agency to the Avalanche.  I thought it was a bold move, when a bold move needed to be taken.  Unfortunately, neither player are still with the Avalanche, and neither are the players who came in after Smyth and Hannan were traded away.  Tomas Fleischmann is set to become a UFA on July 1st, and as usual, all is quiet from the Avalanche camp with their desire to sign him.  He’s worth the money if he’s healthy.

- Realignment is going to be the topic of the season, and I don’t think any scheme will make anyone 100% happy.  I’m ready for it to happen, and would be perfectly happy to see the Canadian teams in the Western Conference split up. Keeping Vancouver out of the Pacific and Dallas in has always been a bit of a stretch.  After that, the eastern-most Western teams (get all that?) get screwed over for about half the season.  Aligning closer to time zones makes much more sense. But if this plan involves four divisions, I expect the league will do everything they can to shoehorn the Canadian teams together.  It makes business sense, even if it doesn’t make much hockey sense.

- Hand Paul Stastny the captain’s “C” and be done with it.  The guy is staying around, and he is the closest thing to leadership the Avalanche have right now.  Much like any goalie that has to play in the shadow of Patrick Roy, the captain will always be judged by how they perform in comparison to Joe Sakic.  It isn’t fair, but that’s how it goes.  Stastny is the most deserving, and no one else is ready to take up the job.  As good as Matt Duchene is on the ice, he isn’t ready to be captain yet.  He’s still growing, and needs the time to grow into the hockey player he has the potential to be.

- The Canucks are going to be interesting this offseason.  How do you blow up a team that came within one win of the Cup (I think of it as two games, since they had two opportunities to win it all)?  I don’t think you can, but you need to figure out what went wrong with the Sedin line quickly.  If you can’t, history is doomed to repeat itself.  There can’t be that many changes needed.  Perhaps they just need to avoid Boston next season.

- In the next CBA, the league needs to either create a wider gap between the cap floor and the cap ceiling, or increase revenue sharing, and how that sharing can be used.  Too many teams are being forced into salary structures they simply can not afford.  And the ceiling is too high anyways.  How many smaller market teams are losing money, while the bigger markets are getting richer and richer?  The revenues the league proudly states as growing aren’t coming from the smaller markets, but the smaller markets are just as important to the league as the larger ones.  It isn’t about the GMs saving themselves from themselves, it’s about the league saving itself from the first iteration of the cap era.  This thing needs to be refined.

- Also for the next CBA, I would love to see a limit to the number of no-trade clauses that a team can hand out.  Maybe five per team.  Maybe even shorten the term of a no-trade, perhaps to 2/3 of the contract length (if a player signs a 3 year contract with a no-trade, the first two years are covered by the clause, but not the third).  I don’t like seeing players treated like property, but the amount of no-trade clauses out there are staggering and barely managable.  Teams need options, and no-trades take away those options.

- Brad Richards is going to be the most watched UFA on July 1st, but I’m more interested in what will happen with goaltenders.  There are a few holes out there needing to be filled, and only so many people out there to fill them.

 

That’s about it for now.  To borrow a phrase from Buddy Oakes, more later….

Draft: Oh, What a Night

Oh, how wrong I was.

I thought, what’s the point?  Why pay attention to the draft?  What could possibly happen that’s all that intriguing? I went to skate for a bit before running home, and then to the Mile High Hockey party, and that’s when things got interesting.

Liles traded to Toronto:

You know what?  I’m OK with this.  The Avs had to do something, and Liles has been the 800-pound trade gorilla in the room.  I will miss him when he was good.  But I will not miss other aspects of his game.  Every player has trade-offs.  Liles seemed to have consistency issues.  Some days, he was your main guy on the power play, others he was sucking wind trying to backcheck back into position.  Now, with Shattenkirk and Liles gone, the Avs need to do something.  And Eric Johnson?  You had better be ready.  I will be chewing this one over with Jay on the next Avs Hockey Podcast, that’s for sure.

Setoguchi to the Wild:

Burns, sure.  Fine.  But Setoguchi?  For those who thought Carter got hosed in Philadelphia, how about being signed to a three-year deal the day before you are traded to Winnipeg Lite?  If I were Setoguchi, I would be circling the dates the Sharks play Minnesota, and talk to Andrew Brunette about how to make your former team regret their transgressions.

Campbell to the Panthers:

Dale Talon gets his man, and the Florida faithful have to be wondering what the he sees in Brian Campbell.  Campbell won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, yes, but he was less effective than most of the defensemen on that team.  If there is a place a contract like Campbell’s can be buried, it’s in Florida.  And Talon can say he is doing something to improve the team (Campbell improves the Panthers, which should say something about the defense in Florida).  But if this is the change the Panthers are looking for, they are worse off than I thought.  Also, they still need a goalie. They have a ton of cash to spread around, but still, what a move.

Avs take a winger instead of the best available defenseman:

I’m not going to pretend that I know what the best thing for the Avs will be in a few years when this pick starts to really pay out on the ice (even Duchene wasn’t perfect when he started his NHL career).  But man, is there ever a need in the Avs defense.  Maybe this is looking ahead and writing off other players that haven’t worked out so well.  Or maybe there’s just too many centers right now.  Whatever the rationale, the field was wide open, and the Avs got their man.  I just don’t know if I should be excited about him.

Siemens:

Somewhere, Alexander Semin is smiling, because he doesn’t have to be the target of stupid name jokes soon (as though he cares).  I must have been looking away when Siemens was picked by the Avs, because everyone says he looked quite upset when his name was called.  Then again, if ever there was a time to read too much into the facial expressions of a seventeen-year old, the draft is it.

A good night for USA Hockey:

Three players from the US NTDP (National Team Development Program) were selected in the first round, out of five total US born players.  Pretty good outing, USA Hockey.

Ryan Smyth:

How the hell was anyone taking the Ryan Smyth to Calgary trade seriously?  Sure, they are dumping salary with the potential (most likely as I write this) trade of Robin Regehr, but come on.  The Flames have $7 million in cap space, and Smyth is a $6.25 million cap hit.  Would it be worth dumping that much cap space for a player like Smyth.  No.  Come on, son.

So yeah, day two.  Meh.  It’s going to go fast, not like this long and dragged out event.  Even Versus couldn’t switch to bicycle racing fast enough.  Congrats to all the draftees.  I’m sleeping in.

Draft Day Decisions

Draftpreview

Like the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, I had a plan.  Unlike the Cylons, it didn’t involve wiping out an entire species, but hey, if it happened, then whatever.  I was going to be prepared for the first round of the draft.  I picked up the draft issue of The Hockey News at the airport for my flight home, and was going to read it.  I’ve had it in my bag ever since game seven of the Finals, and that’s where it stayed.  And now, it’s draft day, and I am totally unprepared.

In fact, I may not even watch the draft.  I’m thinking about going to stick and puck time at 3:00PM at the local rink (the draft starts locally at 5:00).  There are gatherings and draft parties hosted by the Avalanche and Mile High Hockey, and I’m not sure I’m going to either one.  I could have gone to the draft in Minnesota (like I did in 2007 and 2010), but decided to save my money this year and stay home.

I know, bad hockey blogger, right?

I went to the 2007 draft in Columbus, and had a great time.  It was my first draft, and it seemed really special.  At least, day one was pretty special.  I got to meet several bloggers face-to-face for the first time, watched Angelo Esposito’s draft position tank, and enjoyed the hell out of the night in general.  Day two dragged on, and took forever to get through.  At least, from the buzz of the first day, it seemed to take forever.  The picks were chosen at a quick pace.  When the Ottawa Senators asked for a time out (who knew you could do this) in a later round, the crowd booed them for holding things up.  I was at a loss with what to do after the draft.  At least half the media hadn’t stuck around, and the crowd in the stands made it feel like and endurance test.  No one was on the streets in downtown Columbus.  You wouldn’t have known there was anything going on that weekend.  It was a huge contrast to the previous day.  Still, for my first draft, it was fun, and completely worth it.

In 2010, I went to the draft in LA.  On my way to the Staples Center for the first round, I saw this sign outside a bar a block from the draft.

Filmfest

So you can see what the priorities are in LA.  Was the evening less magical than in 2007?  A little, but that’s to be expected when you do something for the second time.  I was at the draft to see people I knew from the blogging circles more than anything else.  But most of the people I wanted to see were busy doing media things.  I still had a good time overall, and it was great to meet people I had talked to online or over the phone.  But for the outlay of money, and the dud that is the second day, I just couldn’t justify it this year.

But that doesn’t really excuse why I’m not paying much attention to the draft this year.  And I should pay at least a little attention, because the Avalanche have the 2nd and 11th overall picks. Two years ago, they picked up Matt Duchene with the third overall pick, and I don’t know any Avs fans who have been disappointed with that choice.  This is a huge draft for them.

The reason I can’t get into the draft this time is that nothing I do is going to change anything that happens.  I could study, gnash my teeth, spout off with a few barely educated predictions as to who will get taken, what the Avs strategy should be, and in the end, they are going to pick who they pick, plug him into the system, and see what happens.  I’m excited for the Avs having a high pick (after last season, there isn’t much else to be excited about), but what happens is what happens.  I don’t need to be able to change it, but it’s not much to get worked up about.  I know that isn’t the point; nothing I do would change the outcome of a game either.  But this year doesn’t seem as exciting as the last few.

It’s more interesting to see what trades happen at the draft.  Put the GMs together right before free agency with plenty of bargaining chips (draft picks), and something is bound to happen. When Tomas Vokoun was traded to the Panthers at the 2007 draft, the Panthers contingent stormed past us, looking like a very determined bunch.  Even to someone on the outside like me with no experience in these things, we knew something was up.  It was fun to know something was going on, but even when the trade was announced, all we had was a story to tell.  It was fun, and it was interesting, but the same news could have been had at home watching TV.

So I may watch a little bit of the draft, and undoubtedly laugh as people harumph and get all twitter-pated at the choices made, how a certain choice was wrong, or how a pick doesn’t fit into a team’s system.  But in the end, I’ll let the experts weigh in and inform me.  That’s what this great big internet is for, isn’t it?

Down And Out

The CBC Is Not Impressed With Thomas

Oh, CBC.  How cute you are:

Less Then Perfect

Less than perfect?  Sure, that is certainly the case, with any goalie.  Goalies let in pucks, they get scored on.  Tim Thomas only set a record for regular season save percentage.  I mean, that’s it?  He didn’t stop a speeding train?

If you read the article on the CBC site, there is no mention of what “less-than-perfect” means to them.  It’s a fluff piece mostly, and a poorly written one at that.  Considering the headline, I was expecting some reason, or some kind of slam to Thomas’ season, anything that would tell us why the CBC went with this headline.  It suggests that there is someone more deserving, someone more perfect that would be right for the award.  Which part was “less-than-perfect?”

I leave it to you.  Was this a childish retort, or am I reading too much into it?

 

NHL Awards: Wake Me When it’s Over

I just don’t care about the awards show.  There, I said it.

I feel like the NHL Awards show is just something to placate us at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.  If this were happening mid-season, would anyone tune in to watch it?  So much effort is put into such a bad production, it’s painful to watch.  This isn’t how most hockey fans perceive their sport, preferring to keep the down home, simple image of the game closer to their heart.  It might be nice for some to see the glitz and glamour of the red carpet, and considering this is a $2 billion plus business, that might be a little closer to reality these days.

The things I want to see are the small moments, and those will be online within an hour or two of the broadcast.  Tim Thomas’ acceptance speech for the Vezina should be excellent.  Pavel Datsyuk struggling to make a joke at the podium (is he even nominated for anything? Yes? OK, then).  And other than that, hand me a list of winners when it’s over, and I would get the same entertainment value as sitting through the entire thing.

The awards themselves are fun and all, but the vast majority of the conversation surrounding them is negative: Who got snubbed (snubs are too close to entitlement for my liking), who should have won, why my favorite player is better than your favorite player.  So pre-emptively, congratulations to all the winners, and the nominees.

A few years ago, I blocked out the time to watch the awards show for the first time.  And what was the opening act?  Chaka Khan.  You know, if this is the best the NHL could do (and it probably is, considering what Def Leppard did to the Stanley Cup), they won’t miss my viewership.  And I won’t miss them either.

As a quick side note, I propose that in the next CBA, bonus money for awards be either halved in relation to their impact on the salary cap (a $2 million bonus for an award win only count as $1 million cap hit), or be spread out over two years.  I don’t like an award win making a large impact on the roster for any team for the next season.

Jagr: Whoop-De-Do

Can someone wake me when Jagr actually signs somewhere?  Because until then, I could care less.

For all the speculation and hype surrounding our next veteran savior, it doesn’t mean a damn thing until he signs the bottom line.  And even then, it probably makes little difference.

Jaromir Jagr wants to return to the NHL – where he burned bridges with the fans of the teams he played for – and is talking to three teams for now, the Penguins, Red Wings, and an unnamed team.  What, only three?  I guess he commands this kind of interest.  Obviously, Jagr isn’t going to come back to play for a team that doesn’t look like a contender, so the list makes sense, even if it is short.  So let’s take a look at how he would fit on those teams:

Penguins:

The Penguins are appealing to just about every player for two words: Crosby and Malkin.  I can see why Jagr would want to go back to the city he was viciously booed in after he left, to play with these two guys.  And the complaint is that Crosby and Malkin need someone to play with.  But Jagr, as skilled as he is, isn’t getting any younger, or any faster.  It wouldn’t be long before he’s opening the gate for them and watching them play from the end of the bench.

This is where the internet wants to point out some goal that Jagr scored in Russia, or the Olympics, or in Jose Theodore’s driveway.  And it doesn’t matter.  A broken clock is right twice a day.  He can score a goal or two, sure.  But time is not on his side, and the Pens, they have nothing but time.

The Penguins have enough cap space, if Jagr doesn’t mind not making $6 million.  And they need forwards badly (Capgeek.com says they have 9 forwards signed for almost $32 million), so overall, this wouldn’t be a bad fit.  Heck, I think it would be hockey comedy gold.  But if Jagr is skating on the top two lines by mid-season, I’ll be shocked.  Or it’s a testament to a lack of depth in the Penguins system, which isn’t that shocking either.  But hey, at least NBC wouldn’t have to embarrass themselves by pumping Jordan Staal as the big player of the Pens when Crosby and Malkin are injured.

Red Wings:

Yep, another older guy signing a one year contract with the Red Wings.  When is the cycle going to end ?  I understand players wanting to go out in a blaze of glory with a team that makes the playoffs every year, and rarely gets eliminated in the first round.  But restocking the Detroit Old Folks Home is becoming an annual event of insanity.  Jaromir Jagr is to Mike Modano as Mike Modano is to Mike Modano.  Do you see the math there?  That isn’t a compliment.

The Red Wings are like the Penguins: they have their core, and then plug in players around that core.  It’s not a bad strategy, if your core is good enough.  And for both teams, it mostly is (I’d give the edge to the Red Wings here, as their core seems to have a more complete game than the Penguins core).  But while the Penguins will pick up any loose change to fill their roster, the Red Wings seem to want only the over-35 crowd.  If Ken Holland has to tell you to get of his lawn, then you aren’t going to play for him.

The Red Wings have a lot of cap space, but they need defensemen more than forwards right now (this is just going by players signed, not way in depth analysis).  They could use a few forwards (Capgeek.com shows 12 forwards signed at $32 million), but Detroit has shown that they have depth the Penguins do not.  And players don’t mind taking a pay cut to play in Detroit, since they always are a contender.  Would Jagr be a good fit?  The bigger question is, does Detroit need Jagr?

Unnamed team:

Please let it be Winnipeg.  Please let it be Winnipeg.  Please let it be Winnipeg.

 

That’s just my opinion on the Jagr thing.  In the end, he isn’t going to carry a team on his back, partly because he isn’t in that kind of shape, and partly because he never has in the past.  And if he isn’t going to do that, what’s the big deal?  What makes people think he’s going to have an impact now, when he didn’t have an impact when he left the NHL?  A formerly great player who went to the KHL for a reason, coming back to the NHL to make a final run at a Cup?  I’ll try to get excited when his skates touch the ice.