Monday, September 29, 2008

Waiving the Wall

The Chicago Blackhawks actually surprised some people by waiving one-part of their two-headed goalie monster and parts ways, in the short-term, to Nikolai Khabibulin-- signaling that Cristobal Huet is going to be the starter. The Blackhawks and Huet promptly had a seven-spot hung on them by the Columbus Blue Jackets.


But the Hawks, I'm sure will bounce back. The same may not be able to be said about Khabibulin. Let's face it, the man lost his touch when he moved from Tampa to Chicago and the question is who will take a flyer on him and his $6.75M salary, which could be cut in half should he be put on re-entry waivers. It seems some believe the Senators will pick up his contract, because the Sens love dealing with goaltender controversy.

No, I think the obvious choice will be the Kings and not just because they need something that resembles a goalie, but also because they would need Khabibulin's contract to get closer to the salary floor. The Kings may need to employ some midgets on the blue line, or sign me and co-host Marc Pitonzo, because we like making money for nothing and the chicks for free.

But yes, the Kings need something in net to be better than a shooter tutor, like many of the Kings goaltenders have been. While Jonathan Bernier is the future, I don't think the M-A Fleury route is the way to go with him. Bernier needs to be nurtured and brought up the right way rather than be thrown to the lions. And while Jason Labarbera seems to be amazing in the AHL, the man just can't hack it in the NHL as an everyday starter. I don't know what happens when you change from traveling on a bus in the AHL and traveling on a plane in the NHL, but it's just not working for Labarbera and he could be a career-AHL or career-back-up.

And while it'll be an expensive pick-up for probably not a lot in return, the Kings pickng up Khabibulin could do well for their young defense and keep their skilled offense in the game by getting someone who can actually make the big save from time to time. Even if he doesn't have the Cup psyche or skill he once had-- the veteran leadership he can bring to the table will be invaluable to this team in the long-run even if it's just a short-term acquisition.

Fantasy Foibles

I have to say, I've done worse with fantasy hockey drafts. In the first year inception of Glen Burnie HC; the "Troubled Bunch" picked Felix Potvin in the first round. Now, if it was 1993, I think I would have been happy with it....but it was 2003 and Potvin was able to get usurped all the way to Russia. How I was able to pull a championship out of that-- I'll never know.

This year....we'll have to see how we do. Down the middle, I feel somewhat solid with Jason Spezza, Joe Sakic, and Patrice Bergeron, but my wings are what I fear. On the left side, Zach Parise, Patrick Sharp, Ryan Malone, and Cory Stillman. I'm hoping both Parise and Sharp continue their surge to elite status, while I hope Malone earns his money and Stillman doesn't get hurt. On the right side, Alexei Kovalev and P-M Bouchard-- both who have potential, but need to reach it consistently for my benefit.

Defense could be a little shaky with Brent Burns and Kris Letang, both I hope have big years-- especially Letang who should get tons of chances to prove himself with all the Pens injuries. Rounding it out, franchise player Brent Seabrook (he's been on this team every freakin' year), Sami Salo, and Christian Ehrhoff. It's not the most glamourous blue line, but if they can succeed-- a lot of bang for my buck.

I needed to pick up goaltending quick since I picked 14th in odd numbered rounds and 1st in even numbered-- there was too much downtime and too many picks before and after me to sit on it. I was able to swipe up Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price and hope both stay healthy and play amazingly.

Oddly enough, in my other leagues with GBHC's satellite team, Aston HC-- I've got a decent amount of Blackhawks in one of them and just a total gongshow team in another. Guess that's what happens when you don't have to go by position and just go forward position. The defense in that gongshow is ridiculous with Nick Lidstrom, Scott Niedermayer, and Kimmo Timonen, but the offense isn't up to that par.

I don't look for much in the Aston HC leagues, but with GBHC; anything less than a division title would be a big disappointment for the goals I set.

Speaking of which, if anyone is interested in taking over the one Dummy Team in my league, let me know. First come, first serve.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Building For The Future Or Building For Another Team in the Area??

If you haven't heard the comments from Toronto Maple Leafs czar Larry Tanenbaum about his team-- they are truly calling into question the dedication from the owners to the team rather than the almighty dollar.
''From an ownership level we look at the long term,'' Tanenbaum told the Toronto Star. ''We want to be absolutely competitive, super competitive each and every year.

''If you asked us if you were to pay for a Stanley Cup team this year, but you were to be lousy for the next five years, would you do it? The answer from the ownership point of view, absolutely not.''

''We want to see a consistently strong winning team over the long term. If it takes two or three years to rebuild this team, let that happen, to know that it's going to be a strong contending team for 10-15 years.''

If I'm a Leafs fan, I'm irrate at this. It's been 40+ years already without a Stanley Cup, three seasons without making it to the playoffs, and really no sign that it's going to get any better for the short term OR long term, for that matter. Yet, the fans keep going to the Air Canada Centre, plunking down their dollars for tickets, souvenirs, and whatever else they can buy there. While that's lining the pockets of the Leafs owners-- they can talk rhetoric all they want and make people buy the product.

The future is always something that you can't predict and for Tanenbaum to pretty want to tank the next few seasons to "rebuild" is something that is just out and out idiotic. This is a team that needs much more than rebuilding; it needs a total restructuring, from the top down. There's a time that a team needs to realize that you need to combine rebuilding with some free agent power in order to mold the youngsters to an elite team.

The Bolts seem to be doing this with Steve Stamkos, the Penguins did this with Sidney Crosby, and the Leafs need to do that with their young stars. If it take money to get them in, it's what needs to happen. If the Leafs get someone like John Tavares with the first pick next year, I don't think Jason Blake, Nik Antropov, and Alexei Ponikarovsky are the guys to show him the ways of the world.

And even then, why would someone want to come into the boiling water that is the Toronto area if the team is tanking and have the pressure to be the one to pull the team out of dire peril with the way the media and the fans get when the team is playing as craptacular as they have been known to do?? Why would someone want to come into such scrutiny??

This is why someone of Jim Balsillie's ilk, if not Balsillie himself, needs to really step up his push for another team in the Southern Ontario region. It's an area that is very sustainable for another team with the amount of people living in the region, plus it'll keep the Leafs on their toes when it comes to taking their fans for granted, as they seem to be doing. Hell, even put them in the Western Conference so there's some variety in the area and let's the people choose who they want to see instead of being forced to deal with the Maple Leafs and their blunderful team.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Johnson's Loss Could Be Burke's Gain

You never like to cheer when a guy get injured, especially when it's a top prospect like Erik Johnson; but when the word came out of St. Louis that the young defenseman was out for the season-- you can bet that Brian Burke had a small smirk on his face.

It's not because he wanted to see Johnson injured, but mostly because it looks like he has a new spot to put the ugly duckling of sorts (get it??), Mathieu Schneider. Though, it's not a solid sell, the fact that the Blues could use like Schneider ups the ante that the "Gateway to the West" is the next destination for Schneider.

However, let's look at what this means for Johnson. You couldn't have been in a more freak accident, jamming your foot between the brake and gas of the golf cart and twisting it while getting out?? How do you expect that to happen?? Maybe he just wanted to get to his next shot....but oof-ta. Now, I'm not saying that Johnson could be cursed, but it's not something the Blues like to see because the flashbacks of another young defenseman with injury woes, Barret Jackman, is very fresh into their minds....but they don't want to say anything because he's right over there.

And especially with a torn ACL and MCL, it could mean that this will be the start of knee problems for Johnson, considering he can play a rough game when needed. You never know what the future holds, but it's a tough pill to swallow and a bad omen when you do what you did in a incident like that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blues Hit A Strong Note

I have to say, the jersey itself is great and part of the logo is fine. But there's something about the logo I'm not too fond of.

I think it's the arch.

I like the way that the logo is much like what that Minnesota Wild put out in their original third, now home Christmas jersey; but the arch almost makes it look too cluttered in my opinion. Other than that-- another solid turnout that isn't anything over the top, and begs the question that Shynner put up: when will this become the home jersey for the Blues??

However, I disagree with Greg for the one reason that is I liked the extreme trumpet jersey. I mean, this was the same era as the first Kings third and the god-awful Mighty Ducks third. Oddly enough, when I was young and naive, I liked those looks. Maybe it was to catch younger kids attention, which it did in my case.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Piping and Pit-Stains: The Sabres and Third Jerseys in General

You know, looking at it-- it's not too, too horrible. We all know my hatred for front numbers and piping, but the new pit-stain look the Sabres have brought into the Edge template could make it up there with the rest.

Overall, RBK is doing a good thing by putting out the decent jerseys first, like the Canes and Bruins, granted the Bruins didn't change too, too much-- keeping a black jersey. It doesn't make sense for the Bruins to do that, mostly because they have a black jersey for their home unis-- worthless.

The reason I think RBK is doing this now is to get a good taste in our mouth before the reportedly terrible ones come out with teams nicknames on them, like the Lightning (Bolts) and Senators (Sens) in some kind of diagoninal set across the front. Also, some others that are really up in the air right now, like Dallas creating a white set like their black set and Atlanta with the college numbers on the front. Who could forget the Roadkill Coyote that could be coming out soon.

Yet, the "vintage" thirds that teams like the Islanders, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Oilers, Penguins and Flyers are coming out could be save the whole show for some. Just depends if they look decent and not get screwed up in the design room. One can only hope for the best, but often accept the worst that RBK has to offer.

Here's hoping we get some more interesting third and unveilings like such, but there are plenty teams who are waiting until the season actually starts-- which could be a good idea. Let's be honest, if the set stinks, people won't have some of the off-season and training camp to bitch and complain about them. Luckily for the teams who have unveiled them now, the response has been mainly positive.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crosby vs. Ovechkin-- The Fantasy Hockey Debate

Not only is it on the ice, but now in the world of fantasy hockey-- the war between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin rages on. Who do you pick first?? Who do you build your team around?? Who's cuisine reigns supreme........wait, wrong show.

It's been three years since these two have come onto the scene and it's definitely the time to debate who will bring you more rewards for the fantasy side because, let's face it-- fantasy sports is king, regardless of the sports....well, maybe golf.

So, what's the verdict, who's a better fantasy option?? It depends on who you ask, because everyone is different. Some would want Ovechkin's goal scoring, while others will take Crosby's playmaking prowess to help them in the assist column. Plus, it really depends on what strategy you're going to use when making your team.

For my opinion-- it's simple, Alex Ovechkin. Let me preference this by saying this is not because of my hatred for all things Pittsburgh Penguins, it's just depth, really. Last season, only 11 left wingers had 30+ goals, three had 45+ assists on the season, and four left wingers had over 80 points on the year, two of the four having over 90 points. The depth at left wing isn't that good and if you get the chance to pick a solid left winger, you should jump at the opportunity.

At center-- there's a lot more depth. Of all the centers, 11 had over 80 points, five of the 11 having 90+ points, 12 had 30+ goal seasons, and 19 had 45+ assists on the season. While Crosby may have a great prowess on the ice, on a fantasy team; the depth at center is a bit more vast that you can pass up Crosby and still be okay in many scoring columns.

So, for Scotty Wazz, it's AO8 over SC87 mostly because you need to get your positions in solidified all the way around in order to have the complete team needed.

Monday, September 15, 2008 Needs To Pay Attention

Whoever is doing the research when it comes to putting the right names with pictures over at needs to be fired. First, they put up this gem:

Granted, there haven't been many goalies outside of Olie Kolzig, but to confuse someone like Cristobal Huet for Kolzig-- a tad ridiculous, especially with the different color of blue on the pads and on the jersey.....and the jersey number.....and the mask.....and the size of the goalie. Thankfully, after a couple hours-- they got the Kolzig picture up in place of Huet.

(Props to Amon of the FOHS Boards for pointing this out)

Now today, they post this gem:

The caption reads: Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom squares up to stop a shot during a motion capture session for EA Sports NHL 09. The newest incarnation of the video game series arrived in stores on September 11, 2008. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick Photography)

Now, there's a couple things IMMEDIATELY that would point out how wrong it is, but we'll put this to you-- can you find what's wrong with the caption?? Bonus if you can get the shooter correct (Click to enlarge......that's what she said).

With being the league homepage, you'd think they'd hire people who would be able to identify a goalie, even with his pads and what not on. It's a disgrace to think that the people at the head of the league are letting simple mistakes go by and taking a while to change them. They shouldn't have to change them in the first place, it should be correct the first time. I mean, it's not that hard at all to do a little research in getting the right name with the right player.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

European Stay-cation??

William Houston has an interesting piece up concerning the NHL's attempt to expand to Europe, at least-- that's what Bill Daly is saying. Daly said that within 10 years, it's a good possibility that there could be some regular NHL action in Europe. As far as reaction goes, it depends on how you see it. Jim Rutherford, GM of the Carolina Hurricanes, said that as long as the support and stability is there, he would see no problem in the expansion. Color-blind Pierre McGuire said that the time is right for European Expansion because of the amount of Euros in the NHL now.

You almost have to wonder if the inevitability is there for the European expansion and if it's a more of a "when" rather and "if" situation. Yet, at the same time-- why would bypass markets in your own continent that could succeed in order to fast track some European pipe dream?? Granted, the brass of the NHL hasn't been known for smart maneuvers when it comes to expansion placement, but what can ya do??

When you look at the marketplace and where the NHL would put teams in Europe, I think Rutherford can rest easy in the fact that the NHL would pick places that have a history of succeeding on the ice, as well as on the balance sheet.

However, the question I'd like to pose is whether or not the European clubs would want to join the NHL?? Okay, maybe it's not the clubs themselves, but the league that could be affected. If the Swedish Elite League loses a team like MoDo, that would be a disaster for the league because of the prestige that MoDo brings to the league. So, should the NHL expansion to Europe doesn't work-- not only would it ruin the big dream for the NHL, it would more than likely ruin hockey leagues throughout Europe should it fail. For the globalization of hockey, that would just be a horrible blow to the sport.

Granted, this is basically the "Space Race" all over again, but this time, it's the "Rink Race" (patent pending). Because the KHL has said they would want to go into Western Europe for expansion in the next couple of seasons, the NHL may feel that their talent pool could be threatened by the move west. Therefore, they are trying to trump the Russians and get into the markets that could bring the best talent to NHL Europe....and maybe seep into the NHL North America.

In the end, Rutherford is right, there needs to be teams put into markets like Winnipeg, another team in Ontario, and then maybe get back into Kansas City before going across the Atlantic to find teams. It'll bring in more fans where you need them most, plus if you mess it up-- there's not an international incident to come from it. There's no need to go out of your way to find some markets when there are markets in North America that are more than willing to take a team in their city.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Looking at the GCI

The September 16th issue of The Hockey News arrived at my doorstep today and one of the more interesting pieces, aside from the Major Junior preview, was THN's Goalie Confidence Index or GCI. What THN has does was rank 60 goalies (starter and back-up per team) based on save percentage, GAA, save percentage on the PK, percentage of games in which the goalie was pulled, percentage of games giving up five goals or more, winning percentage, and shutout percentage. They combined both and like golf, lowest score is the big winner.

There's other equations in terms of weighted means and how frequent a goalie starts. Really, it's quite something that they have done here.

Of course, this will spark plenty of debate, but it seems pretty solid all around. The Montreal Canadiens with Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak were first thanks to Price's upside and winning percentage and Halak being the highest ranked goalie because of his spot duty. The Atlanta Thrashers were ranked 30th due to Kari Lehtonen giving up more than five goals in seven of the 48 games he played last year, while Hedburg was one of the worst of the back-ups in the league.

Here's a rundown of who's where:

1. Montreal Canadiens
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Detroit Red Wings
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Nashville Predators
7. Dallas Stars
8. New York Rangers
9. Minnesota Wild
10. Chicago Blackhawks
11. Pittsburgh Penguins
12. Columbus Blue Jackets
13. Vancouver Canucks
14. Florida Panthers
15. Washington Capitals
16. Phoenix Coyotes
17. Philadelphia Flyers
18. Edmonton Oilers
19. Boston Bruins
20. Tampa Bay Lightning
21. Calgary Flames
22. Ottawa Senators
23. Toronto Maple Leafs
24. New York Islanders
25. Buffalo Sabres
26. Carolina Hurricanes
27. St. Louis Blues
28. Los Angeles Kings
29. Colorado Avalanche
30. Atlanta Thrashers.

There's a couple of teams who I thought were a little too high, like Nashville with their unknown and, to a point, unproven goaltenders in net; and Tampa who may have gotten to 20th thanks to Mike Smith's time in Dallas last season. Columbus could be looked at as too high, but Pascal Leclaire's nine shutouts helped them get this high.

Conversely, there some teams I think are too low, like Calgary-- while the Miikka Kiprusoff has been off recently-- they aren't in the lower third of the league. Carolina also got a bad rap, I thought, especially with Cam Ward still coming on his own and not getting a constant back-up help last season.

It must have been some serious number-crunching (read: boredom) in the THN newsroom for this whole thing to be broken down the way it was. I would love to see individual numbers to see how all 60 goalies match-up to another, but that may have to wait for a while.

Hockey Movie Fiasco

Buddy Greg Wyshynski brought to the attention of many that Hollywood is out of ideas and that New Line Cinema is creating a movie based on Sean Avery's time as a Vogue Magazine intern. And while the premise is....well....out there, it did make me think about other hockey movies that could be out there in the hockey world. Just off the top of my head, there's plenty of plot lines out there for the hockey world.

-With his career at a standstill, he hold his own fate in his hands. However, a back-packing trip through Scandinavia shows him that there's more to hockey than just picking a team and training to get ready for a season. It's about family, it's about life, it's about creating story when there are none in an unnamed Canadian city. Mats Sundin plays the heartwarming role of a man who is looking for something "The Deal Maker".

-After brutal attempts the year prior, one man holds an entire organization hostage even though he has his future plotted out. He's not leaving from greener pastures until his wallet becomes greener. Bryan McCabe stars as a hardass negociator who is ready to book it to Miami...but not before he gets his money. "McCabe's Millions" will be straight to DVD just in time for Christmas.

-From producer Oren Koules, a story about speed freaks and snipers taking a small Florida city by hook or by crook. With a youth movement in the fold and the ability to score with anything on the Florida beachs, the only thing this high-tempo crowd is missing is protection from being shot on against. Olaf Kolzig and Mike Smith co-star in the dramedy that shows you what every frat boy knows that you can only score so much without getting burnt. Kolzig, Smith-- "How to Lose a Game in 50 Shots."

-Proving he can transend the medium of hockey, Alex Ovechkin takes on action as he saves babies, fixes the world's problems, and cures every dieases plaguing the world today. "Ovie the Edge" will get rave reviews, but will get overshadowed by Sidney Crosby's short 15-minute film "Sidney Brushes His Teeth."

-In a throwback to "North", a young Swede is trying to find his way in North America and makes headlines in the process. Now, in a city that is as Western as John Wayne, he will try to adapt to the extremely cowboy way. In the process, he could show some other people how to use his customs as another way to go about things. Fabian Brunnstrom headlines an all-star cast in "Lone Star Swede."

-An international battle looms as one big city former US law student takes on a small town Canadian boy in a war of words that boils over in a huge verbal battle creating headlines across the 49th Parallel. With accusations, slander, and downright school-childness-- Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe square off in a knockdown, dragout battle for the ages. The yet unnamed project has had it's title debated and fought about for months now, with no end in sight.

Yes, it's a terrible attempt at humor, but you swing and sometimes you hit it out of the park and sometimes you break some ribs swinging too hard. I think this is the latter. Camps are just around the corner folks, bear with us.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Looking at the Rookies

We're at the camping time of the year-- finally the dark days are behind us. A hot topic will be which of the young guns coming into the league will be the one to turn heads and maybe become the franchise player of the future, today. I could put more rambling cliche things in here, but you get the point; so with that-- let's get to some freshmen who could be making waves in the NHL this coming season.

Steve Stamkos, TB: The first overall pick in the '08 Draft, Stamkos has been pimped out the entire summer in the Tampa area. And with good reason, too. After 197 points in 124 OHL games, Stamkos will probably be thrown into the top-six of the Bolts. However, many forecasters have Stamkos between 40 and 65 points this season. There could be that learning curve, but I would expect to see him more in the 70-point area.

Fabian Brunnstrom, DAL: There was plenty of buzz with Brunnstrom from the start of the calendar year, but he landed in Dallas as a final destination. Even with a few years under his belt in the Swedish Elite League, the transition for Brunnstrom could be a longer one than some kids coming out of junior. With the Stars defensive prowess, there's a good chance the point total for Brunnstrom will be lower than most freshmen.

Kyle Turris, PHX: Turris got a small taste last season and netted an assist. Now, with a summer of training under his belt, Turris has a good chance to make his way into the top-six and to many, become a team leader in scoring. With a team like Phoenix, it's a good chance for him to get time on the ice, but somewhat little exposure in the mainstream media-- which will hurt him in the Calder ballot.

Kyle Okposo, NYI: Fast tracked from college to the NHL, Okposo did what he could in his nine games last season, potting two goals and five points; while in the AHL, he put up 19 assists and 28 points in 35 games. With a rebuilding Islanders team, Okposo should be one of the the hot hands for the Isles this season and could create some buzz for the other New York team.

Ted Purcell, LA: Purcell's offensive stride should be able to get him a shot at the top-six slot of the Kings, especially with the departure of Mike Cammalleri. With 83 points in 67 games as an AHL rookie last year, Purcell will probably get plenty of chances to prove himself as a go-to guy for the Kings for this season and beyond.

Nathan Gerbe, BUF: Probably one of the dark horses for the Calder, Gerbe's size will definitely come into question when it comes to if he's ready for an everyday line-up slot. At 5'5, Gerbe will have to do his damnedest to get noticed. Though he led the NCAA in scoring last year in points, Gerbe will have to do even more to get a fair-shot in the pros.

Jakub Voracek, CLB: Voracek is coming off two 60+ assist season in the Q and could be slated to be a set-up man for Rick Nash in the future. However, without many weapons behind Nash and maybe Kristian Huselius, Voracek may have to go about things the hard way in the first few seasons in order to hit the cash cow of being Nash's set-up man.

Now, I'm sure you're probably wondering why guys like Drew Doughty or Zach Bogosian aren't on this list. It's not because they won't make some waves, but most off-- since 1988, only three defensemen have won the Calder Trophy: Brian Leetch, Bryan Berard, and Barret Jackman. With a class like this, odds are that the trend will continue for d-men to be overlooked.

Plus, we have to put into effect the "Sean-O Rookie Theorem" where an out of nowhere rookie will have a hot second-half and steal the show. We'll have to see, but with camps starting up-- we'll be able to weed out the candidate from there.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fantasy Sleeper Team

Get it, it's a bed set....sleep....bed...I've got nothing....

We're gearing up for fantasy hockey, people have got their guides, mapped out a strategy to draft, and have a white board ready with team line combinations (like so much Lou Lamoriello) to see who will benefit from someone on their line.

And, if you're like me, you're looking for some sleeper picks to swap up in the late rounds in order to bypass the waiver wire mess. So, with that in mind, here's some picks you can use for sleepers when it comes to your draft. Granted, this is without some of them actually making the team, so draft at your own risk.

G: Peter Budaj, COL: With Jose Theodore out of the way, this could be Budaj's time to shine...again. Even though he has Andrew Raycroft pressuring him for PT, Budaj will more than likely get the nod and help revitalize the Avalanche's Cup hopes. Though it's hard to pick a sleeper goalie, this is really the only one who pops out to me.

D: Kristopher Letang, PGH: With Ryan Whitney on the shelf from three to five months, this could be the time for Letang to step up and show what he's made of. With his days in Val d'Or showing he has the ability to put up decent offensive numbers, Whitney's loss could be Letang's gain.

D: Joni Pitkanen, CAR: With the Canes' defense in need of a puck-moving threat, Pitkanen could be that guy. Though defensively, he's a liability-- Pitkanen should be able to increase his numbers (as well as ice time) with his role on the Carolina blue line.

RW: Teddy Purcell, LA: After a stellar season in Manchester, Purcell will probably jump into the everyday line-up of the Kings. With plenty of wild cards in that line-up, Purcell could jump up to be a solid primary or secondary scorer on this developing team.

C: Erik Christensen, ATL: With the Thrashers in very dire need of some kind of scoring, Christensen could be the one who steps up into the role. In juniors, Christensen was a huge scoring threat and could benefit from someone like John Anderson behind the bench to help hone the youngsters skill and make him an offensive option.

LW: Ryane Clowe, SJ: A torn ligament slowed down his progress last season, but once Clowe came back, he was second to only Joe Thornton in scoring for the Sharks. Clowe is not only a solid choice for what he can put up in terms of points, but he has the ability to rack up the PIMs as well, which could be a positive if your league encourages that sort of thing.

This is just one of many parts of the fantasy hockey stuff, as we lead into the fantasy '08-'09 season. I know my clubs, Glen Burnie HC and it's minor league affiliation, Aston HC, are ready to go avenge their defeats from last season.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

McCabe's Molasses-esque Move

Hey kids, Bryan McCabe finally got traded-- ta-da!!

The move that was a month in the making finally happened, with McCabe and a 4th-round pick in the 2010 draft went to Florida for defenseman Mike Van Ryn. McCabe's hold-up was to collect the $2M owed to him on September 1st from Toronto. When you have all the cards on your side-- with a no movement clause and all-- wouldn't you stall the hell out of a move if you had to collect money??

The move indicates many things to many people. Mostly, people believe this is a safety net move if Jay Bouwmeester decides not to re-sign with the club this summer. Others think this is the Panthers' goodwill gesture to Bouwmeester incidicating they are willing to spend some money to rebuild this failing team. For a club who dealt away Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo in the past three seasons, something needed to be done to show one of the franchise players that the wheels are in motion and things are happening.

McCabe has been knocked around plenty by the Toronto media and fateful for one reason or another during his tenure in Toronto, and it really was a matter of time before he had enough and needed to move on. Not only does he move on, but he moves so far out of the limelight that he'll need to make awful puns like so much David Caruso to get some kind of pub in the Miami area.

His defensive play was brought into question post-lockout as his +/- dipped from a +47 three years leading into the lockout to an even rating three years out of it. Though is production in those three years picked up, it makes you wonder how his defensive game got so craptacular. It shouldn't get any better in Florida, either-- unless McCabe decides to work on his defensive game more.

For the Buds, the acquisition of Van Ryn not only make Tomas Kaberle the go-to-guy now, but it also keeps the rebuilding movement alive. Van Ryn is an affordable pick-up. Of course, injuries have been an issue at times for Van Ryn, but he can't do much worse on the blue line than the departed McCabe, and could pick up some steam should he apply himself to it.

All in all, the move helped out both sides in terms of the fact that it got McCabe out of a horrible situation and out of the limelight and allowed the Leafs to get a younger defenseman and dump a bigger salary to make some more additions, should they need to. Maybe a certain Swede is coming back to help the Leafs......or not.