Calgary in Flames, Panthers, Balsillly, Eklund…and more

Hello fellow hockey fans. It’s starting to heat up in South Florida, am I talking about the weather or the team?

Calgary in Flames, what will Keenan give?

Soon to be new owner of Nashvile makes a silly move.

Eklund….oh Eklund, it’s time I start giving a good talk.

Some Rangers spek.

What do you want us to do?

So….I still think the hottest news on TV, on radio, and on the internet is that Paris Hilton is spending time in jail. I’m really getting a good laugh at this as this girl really is a spoiled b…..brat.

Anyway, back to hockey. What’s up in South Florida? Well, the weather is getting warmer, but what’s to complain when you’re surrounded by pools, beaches, places with A/C, bars, good food…and girls showing skin since it’s hot. But, it’s more than that.

The Florida Panthers have recently re-signed Bryan Allen to a nice five-year deal. A solid defenseman, did very well in the second half, still 26, and still room to improve. The Panthers are expected to re-sign Nathan Horton soon as well as Stephen Weiss, long-term. Good going Jacques, lock these guys up. As for the goaltending situation, the Chris Gratton trade has something to do with it. The Panthers get another draft pick and it could be used to land a goaltender. So, Gratton serves two purposes: to clear up cap budget, and give a tradeable asset. A big name goalie is not expected to come to Florida, but Martin is still exploring possibilities despite the most likely chance that Eddie Belfour comes back, which I mentioned long ago. I think a trade can be expected from Florida on June 22, very good chance but not definite.

One thing is certain, Martin and the Panthers are ready to make the playoffs and will look to make moves in the off-season. It may be one of the top free agents out there, or it may be added depth with good players, like Todd White. The Panthers could be very attractive for free agents because of such a solid young core of players, a really good leader, and Martin is well respected. Keep your eyes open on the Panthers.

Mike Keenan is surprisingly back in action, possibly. If the Calgary Flames hire this guy, what does it mean? Well, I’d actually applaud Darryl Sutter for this move. The Flames are a good team, good bunch of players, and they are Stanley Cup material. Jim Playfair just wasn’t it, couldn’t do the job, couldn’t get the players to follow his philosophy on a consistent basis. The Flames need to win, they need to be pushed and Mike Keenan does that. Am I a fan of Keenan? No, but as coach I think he can still be worthy to have behind the bench. And, imagine having Keenan and the Flames take on Luongo and the Canucks? That will be fun.

The risks are high, though. Keenan already has one player to deal with, Kristian Huselius, who may be traded if Keenan is hired. He can get players frustrated, he may be a factor for free agents getting offers from Calgary and rejecting them because of Keenan.

Sutter should also consider this guy’s history. Mike Keenan has been hired as head coach, and then managed to find himself taking over the general manager’s position. Will another team make that mistake again? It’s always possible.

Yet, Mike Keenan knows how to make a Stanley Cup calibre team win. Worth the risk? I think so.

Mr. Balsillie should be spelled Balsilly for his latest act. At Copps, Balsilly is planning to prove a point that hockey is worthy in the Hamilton area by selling season ticket plans and making them 100% refundable. Umm, what’s the point? I think if you try that pretty much anywhere with any sport then people will go for it, duh…it’s a no lose situation. Talk about a stupid idea. I am all for having a new Canadian team and even better with a competent Canadian owner who has the dough, but Balsilly….come on….this is the dumbest idea ever to try and make a point. I mean, I’d even go for it and I live in South Florida. What do I care? I am buying tickets for a team that doesn’t exist and I still get my money back, 100%. Besides, any new team sells out in a new location, in almost any sport.

Your point then, sir? ….Come on…we don’t need silly ideas like that.

I know I have said that I am not a fan of this Eklund guy, but I do receive his newsletters via e-mail, which entertain me. How do they entertain me? Well, the guy is writing like some sort of diary.

“Hey fans. Well, I am up here Iceland and when I woke up I got tons of text messages and voice mail. I was taking a piss while reading the text messages and a very close source mentioned that Ryan Smyth will be a Flame. Drury will be a Shark. Anyway, tomorrow I am going to gorgeous Greenland because I love mentioning where I am going and what I do because you all care about what I do in life, while I get so many news by sources everyday. By the way, I just heard on the radio that Allen re-signed with the Panthers, but I SWEAR that I just got a call from an excellent source who tells me that Allen re-signed, so you heard it here first.”

I mean……….what method is this? This is for real: “The NY Rangers are interested in picking up some depth on the blueline to and may get into the Hamrlik sweeps, which will go higher than I was predicting a few days ago.” Ok, how about ….No? I feel like immitating Dr. Evil and Eklund is Scott and I say “How about no, Shhhcott? Zip it! Here is exzzzzibit A”, and so on. For real, what is this guy thinking?

Eklund, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? I don’t think people really care what you do, where you are, and it’s just so hard to believe that you have a zillion sources that everyday they tell you what’s going on in the league, which doesn’t happen almost 98% of the times. What makes you any different than professional journalists?

I am just trying to figure out what Eklund is up to. I don’t want to question his ethics, I think that’s morally wrong on my part, but what he writes appears so artificial, and some of the rumors just make zero sense. Why would the Rangers try to go after Roman Hamrlik when the defense is already set, when their top necessity is signing a center/forward? They cannot spend over $4M a season for a defenseman, they need to build up the offense and need to spend probably $5M a season, at least, on a forward. So how is this rumor even credible? How does Eklund take this seriously? I mean, here at we report what’s out on the media, as far as rumors, and usually we take pleasure in killing the idea, at least I do! If a “source” was to call me on my cell and tell me that there’s a good chance that the Rangers will sign Roman Hamrlik, I’d be raising high doubts on it because logically it does not make sense. Why logically? Because I’d use the knowledge I have and know that the rumor is just not credible enough. I wouldn’t even put it out there because it would be shut down right away. So, Eklund preaches the “don’t shoot the messenger” talk, and I agree, but the messenger should know better as well.

It’s like going to the fish market to buy fish in order to cook for your guests, and they tell you “this red snapper has been regarded by so many of our customers”, and you look at it but you smell that fishy odor. Ah, fresh fish is not supposed to have that fishy odor, but if Paris Hilton is near you…then you can take the red snapper since that’s fresh, and not fishy. So…what do you do? Do you BUY the fish anyway, cook it, and offer it to guests saying “hey, the fish market guys told me this was well regarded red snapper”, OR…do you reject it because something is too fishy and you can’t trust it?

I think that analogy makes sense. It’s what Mr. Eklund does, and you know what? I won’t attack his sources or his work, but I am irritated that the guy just passes on crappy rumors that make zero sense when he is up in a little cabin in Canada and going skiing.

Where is the justice in that? I am upset because the hockey fans that actually believe in this guy are getting ripped off. Mr. Eklund, you have to show some intelligence and start using hockey knowledge because I really don’t give a rat’s ass who your source is that tells you an illogical rumor. I mean, if anything your sources are making you look bad, and you shouldn’t take that garbage, but most importantly, don’t pass that garbage along to fellow hockey fans of mine. They don’t deserve it.

If Mr. Eklund gets to read this, then please….by all means send me an e-mail giving me a better explanation of your work and why you accept such garbage. Or, give me an indirect message through your newsletters, since I get to read them for entertainment. Thank you.

Now for some Rangers spek! No, not the spek ham, which is a smoked/spiced Italian prosciutto made in Northern Italy (to die for). It was recently reported that Rangers prospects Jaarko Immonen and Bryce Lampman will play in the Finnish league next season. Fine by me. Other prospects can get more ice time in Hartford, especially on defense. But, the Rangers lose a forward prospect in the system. They will keep the rights, but they won’t be able to use him, and I doubt he will be back in North America anytime soon, unless another team acquires him and gives him a shot. So…could this make a top three overall draft pick enticing for the Rangers? They have a solid farm system, but no stellar talent for any forward position, which they desperately need. So far, the Blackhawks, the Flyers, and the Coyotes, all three holding the first three picks, are suspected of trading the draft pick because all three need players to help them make the playoffs. This could actually be the best chance for any team to trade up and try to grab one of those top five prospects, who are quality.

I am just wondering, the Rangers may really want to get a top prospect and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do so.

And finally, what would you want to do for Draft Day coverage. Any ideas? We have a good relationship with McKeen’s Hockey, so we can work with them, but tell us what you would like to see HTR do for Draft Day coverage, which concerns future drafts as well. You members are valuable to us and many of you make this a great hockey link, which means that you are a part of it. So, if you have any ideas, share them as part of the comment threads under my column.

Anyway, thanks for reading as always,

Micki Peroni