Give JFJ a Break. Goalie Musical Chairs. Where are the Caps? Sens No. 1
Obviously the biggest fish out there is Thibault and the Bolts who lost their goalie to the Hawks may look for his replacement from Chicago. If the Lightning wish to compete again for the Stanley Cup, they will need a proven number 1 guy. Though John Grahame has performed well as a backup, I am not sure he is the guy who can put them over the top. The East has gotten significantly tougher and the Bolts are going to have to keep up as they are now the biggest targets being the defending champions. This would go a long way to ensuring the likes of Lecavalier and St. Louis, who are free agents seeking long term deals, that the team wants to compete and stay on top.
As you can see, we could probably anticipate alot of goalies shuffling around and moving on to different teams. With seemingly every blueliner and every forward signing with new club over the last week, it seems logical that the goalies be next.
Speaking of goalies, one team that has a good one is the Washington Capitals. Olaf Kolzig is one of the best. But I think the Caps kind of forgot that they need to ice 18 skaters to play in front of Ollie the goalie. Where the heck are the Caps? The team has 6 players signed and have yet to dip into the free agent market at all. Everyone has harped on the Leafs lack of activity but at least they had some players under contract and enough to fill out a roster. The Caps have done absolutely nothing. I know there is a cap now with a maximum of $39 million but did the Caps get the memo that teams must spend a minimum of $21 million? The team has many prospects, the team has a future star to build around but the team needs to put people in the seats. Ted Leonis and George McPhee do not get a very high grade in my book. They have tried spending big, getting Jagr and giving him that horrendous contract. And they are now rebuilding, looking to the future and going with prospects. But efforts have resulted in losing. Once you get an owner who meddles in the day-to-day operations you get in trouble. The Caps are my pick to finish dead last in the NHL this season. This may land them another franchise youngster but after a year off from hockey that followed a year of losing and complete dismantling of the team, fans are not going to come back if the team stays this course. They have tried the marquee name approach already with Jagr and want to do the same with a kid who has never stepped onto the ice in the NHL. The best way to develop young talent is to surround them in a winning environment that will instill confidence and success in their game. they can field a team with a who’s who of prospects but success in lower levels does not always translate to NHL success and when they start to fail it could be crushing to prospects who had such high hopes.
Speaking of capitals, one team that has been very silent so far is the Ottawa Senators. But this was a team that had no need to make much noise this summer. They have a frontline goalie now, albeit old and coming off injuries, they have the best blueline in hockey, and a group of forwards that should thrive in the NHL. With all the moves of the Flyers, many people are writing off the Sens. That would be a mistake. having Dominik Hasek in goal is completely different than having Patrick Lalime in goal. Hasek gives the team the swagger, the confidence and the kind of proven talent they have never had in the nets. Hasek has much to prove. he needs to come back and establish himself as one of the best in the business once again. I think it would be foolish to bet against a former Hart trophy winner, a 6 time vezina trophy winner, a gold medalist and a Stanley cup winning goalie.
The Sens have been a great team the last few years but never had that extra kick in the playoffs. Every year they seemed to lose to the Leafs. I think alot of it has to do with the fact they dont have a killer instinct, they dont have that extra bit of *****iness, and they did not have the kind of competitive attitude that the best teams need to be successful. Alfredsson had the right idea but the rest of his mates were very cerebral and modest much like their coach. the last thing you can do is not give everything you have in the playoffs. That is what it has been like with Ottawa. But with a more fiery coach, and a big shot goalie, the Sens could be the team that brings the cup back to Canada. To me, they are the team to beat in the East as they have the best collection of talent in my eyes to take advantage of the new opened up NHL. Don’t take this as a slight against the Flyers. they have made some great moves and should definitely be cup contenders. But you cannot discredit the overall talent the Sens have as a group and I would never bet against Hasek when he has something to prove.
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