Umm, Yeah…

So, yeah…. I could not come up with a headline title, so……..just deal with it.

Pretty much it’s all hockey talk in here as so many moves were made, fantesticles moves! From Edmonton to Philadelphia, then to Pittsburgh, then to China….

….. yeah….. China…. forget it….. just read.So the CBA has already gone into effect as players are moving to unexpected teams, although the contracts still seem a bit too high for my tastes, and no…. it’s not drugs that give me that taste….

Because drugs are bad, mmm’kay?

What the hell does that have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing, but…just keep reading.

I’d like to start off with the Edmonton Oilers. So far they pulled off two awesome moves by acquiring all-star defenseman Chris Pronger and one of the game’s best two-way players Michael Peca.

The Pronger trade sent Eric Brewer and two well touted prospects, although Jeff Woywitka is still quite questionable, to St. Louis.

That is a real hockey trade, and just as I expected…. trades would occur and they would not be the Jagr for Anson Carter trades that we used to see years before.

This was a real hockey trade where Pronger’s rights were dealt to the Oilers for a defenseman and two prospects. Besides, Eric Brewer is one fine defenseman and I believe Doug Lynch will actually make it to the Blues line-up. So, two young defenseman for one? Sounds good to me.

Where will Pronger take the Oilers? I’d say he would take them pretty far, far enough to eliminate their playoff rivals of years past, the Dallas Stars. Also, staying in the Western Conference is an advantage for Pronger.

The one piece that the Oilers need to add, however, is a defenseman for Pronger. Give him a solid two-way defenseman to have some sort of Pronger-MacInnis type of action. Oleg Tverdovsky would have been my choice, but he has been taken by Carolina.

Still, it’s a start for the Oilers to get back into the playoffs and make a strong performance. Now, here comes Mike Peca. People have said he was off his game on the Island, and in a way he was, I watched him play many times, but the guy is still Michael Peca. When he is on his game, he’ll be an impact. Plus, he brings leadership and experience, just like Pronger. Losing Mike York may have bothered some fans, as it bothered me when he left the Big Apple, but Peca can be the real deal here.

In return, York becomes an Islander and that’s a solid acquisition for the Isle’s. York is a solid player to have, and he will try and give 100% each game. Great pick up for the Isle’s. It appeared to me though that Mad Mike did it to free up salary space, but he has not yet made a move. Who is he looking at? I am not too sure, but he will have to acquire another player, and Palffy is not it since they signed lethal RW Miro Satan.

What an excellent pick up that was. Satan is a pure scorer and with the new rule changes, which should bring Yashin back as a point leader in the NHL, he could have a career high in goals with Yashin centering his line.

Let me jump back a little with Mad Mike trying to acquire another player. From what I am looking at, the Tampa Bay Lightning were in an ugly position and now it’s even uglier since losing Nikolai Khabibulin to a ludicrous contract that the Balckhawks offered. Though it frees up room for them to resign more of their own players, it is believed that St. Louis and Lecavalier will be looking for hefty amounts as well.

That’s quite a big ouch for the Bolts if both players demand $6M each season. The Lightning are in a complicated situation where they cannot find any upgrades to sign in the free agent market, and goaltending is now the big issue that needs to be addressed.

So going back to Mad Mike, let me act as Mad Mik (myself mikster) and propose an idea along the lines of Rick DiPietro for Vinny Lecavalier. It’s quite a wild trade, most likely a long shot, but stranger things have happened. Would I do that trade if I was Mad Mike? No. I think Lecavalier has to prove one more thing, and that’s consistency. Plus, he would need wingers unless Yashin can be pushed on the wing. Would I do it if I were GM Feaster? Yes. Rick DiPietro has the potential to be a franchise goalie, still young….got some playoff experience.

It’s a wild idea, but not ridiculous. This leads me to the rumor of the Montreal Canadiens trying to land Vinny Lecavalier. It will take more than an unproven goalie prospect and Saku Koivu. Still, it is possible.

From Tampa Bay, let’s move to Chicago. Who would have thought that owner Mr. Wirtz would be willing to spend money? He picked up a solid all-round defenseman, for a hefty amount, though. Adrian Aucoin is perfect for the Hawks as he can log a lot of ice time and should be a major upgrade on their powerplay. Then, they sign Khabibulin. I think they overpaid for the guy, I certainly would not call him such a great goalie either. But, they finally place a solid netminder to build a defense in front of him, upgrading that defense with Aucoin, and all that is left now, aside from Marty Lapointe, is improving the offense.

They got young guys to look foward to, especoally Tuomo Ruutu, and Mark Bell. They will most likely send Jocelyn Thibault via trade to a team, who knows it could be the Lightning, to add a forward with potential upside.

So far, the Blackhawks, though spending close to $12M on just two players, have done a remarkable job with the off-season.

How about Flyers GM Bobby Clarke making another splash in the market by picking up two gigantors and a player that plays like a gigantor, but is fragile. Excellent pick up in Derian Hatcher as he would feel very comfortable playing under his former head coach. Mike Rathje was also another rock solid addition, although he is also getting overpaid.

The only concern I have with Hatcher and Rathje is that they are two big defensemen, not that good of skaters, not much offense, and they know how to grab opponents. How is that my concern?

Welcome to the New NHL where there is no two-line pass rule. Where the offensive zones are more spacious. That means that the defense zone for Hatcher and Rathje have increased, and that they will have to move around more than they used to. They may have trouble with highly skilled offensive forwards. And, of course, Hatcher and Rathje would really have to play conservative hockey and stay back as much as they can when the Flyers go on the offense. Any fast skater can get open and receive a two line pass and smoke them.

That would be my main concern. As for Peter Forsberg, what a nice pick up and how about taking the guy back who should have never been traded in the first place. He definitely puts the Flyers on a much higher level and Ken Hitchcok knows Forsberg’s game, and he knows how to use it. Still, I have three main concerns regarding Forsberg.

One is, the obvious, that he is injury prone. If this guy plays just 30 games in the season, then it’s a questionable pick up. If he gets injured in the playoffs (his greatest strength), then it is also a questionable pick up.

Two is the Eastern Conference style of hockey. Though the new rule changes will help, the EC remains highly competitive with a lot of physical battles and open ice hits. Can Forsberg play through that kind of hockey without getting injured?

Three is the departure of Jeremy Roenick. I think he should have been traded, especially after he was mulling retirement, but JR brought so much character to the Flyers, and that is what the really lost in JR. Does Forsberg bring that kind of character? No, and I am certain that Forsberg will need time to fit in. This is his 2nd team of his career (excluding Nordiques), different Conference….no familiar faces.

So, though it is an awesome acquisition for the Flyers, there is a lot to be concerned about, and I have a feeling the Flyers fans will have the same fear as they did with Lindros. Is Forsberg one injury away from retirement or end of season? It will bring back memories….

With that, let’s travel in the same state and move to the Steel City. Pittsburgh just spent loads of money on Gonchar, way too much for my tastes, but here is Craig Patrick’s plan with Gonchar. Offense and power play. If there is one objective for any team when playing against the Pens, it would be “stay-out-of-the-PENALTY-BOX! Obviously Crosby will play as a Penguin, they won’t send him to the juniors. They will get Malkin here, eventually, and he’s a real show. So, imagine Recchi, Lemieux, Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, Tarnstrom, and Morozov on a power play.

And, it’s a BIG powerplay with MORE ROOM!

FORGET IT! It’ll be crazy. And that’s where a team like the Flyers could easily lose against a young Penguins team. If the Flyers take too many penalties with obstruction and interference on say Hatcher’s part, they would be asking for a loss.

So, while Patrick has spent a bunch of money, thanks to Mario’s new investors, he’s got an interesting plan for the next few years that will either play great, or have too many flaws.

Ok, enough Penn hockey, I want to move up to the hometown of the Dropkick Murphy’s, which is Boston.

Here is a lot of huge talk as the Bruins came out as this year’s New York Rangers by spending loads on money on free agents. I’ll start out with the positives. GM Mike O’Connell was right last year that he lowered his player budget down to about $2M, right? And now he had tons of room to work with. The best move, so far, was keeping Glen Murray. Keep a familiar face in there, stop losing so many players. I love the addition of Shaun McEarchen, I was always a fan of his and for that price I think Mad Mike lost an opportunity to add a veteran and experienced player that is familiar with Yashin, and plays good hockey.

It breaks my heart to see Brian Leetch wear black and gold, but for $4M he was just not worth it for the Rangers who have a bunch of young guys playing defense this year. Still, Leetch is an elite athlete who will take advantage of the new rule changes, and you could see him put up great numbers if he stays healthy. I wish Leetchy the best of luck and that the Bruins need to watch a player like Leetch skate on their ice after the greats of Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque.

Scatchard was a nice addition, and they beat the Rangers offer to Scatchard. He’s a solid player, knows his duties. The only problem is that he has one solid year, one decent year, the next is solid, and the one after is decent. For four years he is not worth it, but he is still a heck of a player to add on your roster.

I won’t speak much for Zhamnov, other than he would be amazing with a healthy Samsonov.

My two concerns with the Bruins. One, they just bought a bunch of mercenaries to make up basically half of that team. Will chemistry be an issue? It obviously can be an issue, so to all Bruins fans, do not expect this team to start off great. Give them about half the season, and then they should get it right.

My other concern, of course, is Joe Thornton. While Bruins fans seem very happy of the new additions and think that they are still strong in spending money is great….. Well…. think again.

I’ll stick with what Thornton’s agent said, which was “they want to trade him”, and it’s not for intentional reasons (I disagree), but it’s because “they’ll have to”. So far, the current Bruins line up is priced at around the $18M

Now, my estimates with the resigning of Gill, Thornton, Samsonov, Boynton, Raycroft and a couple of others, I think, plus adding more depth to fill in the extra holes (minimum salary is about $450K), would total to about $15M to $18M.

Which is basically… a payroll of $33-36M. Now, next year the salary cap may decrease and no team will reach close to $39M because they would need flexibility for next year’s off-season market, or even trade deadline deals.

So, I still believe that Joe Thornton will be traded. I think the Florida Panthers are the leaders in the bidding for Thornton since they apparently lost out on Chris Pronger. A deal could definitely happen and it won’t be so bad for the Bruins as Florida has a lot of good young talent to offer, but I don’t think it will be Jay Bouwmeester and definitely not Nathan Horton.

So, let’s head to my current home state of Florida. Nice of Gary Roberts and Joey Nieuwendyk to come down here, play golf, get a sun tan, live like kings in beautiful new homes, almost villa style homes, and play a great sport. I hate the contracts that these two guys have earned, but the Panthers last season were pushing very hard to make the playoffs, and I enjoyed watching their efforts. They are young, and they will need assistance. Nathan Horton could learn so much from Gary Roberts, as would Jokinen, and Joey would do the same. They still contribute well offensively, and the new rule changes will help them keep up.

I like the addition of Gelinas as he could be a factor if this team will make the playoffs in 06 or in 07. So far, Keenan has been pretty good but he is certainly not yet done. He’s got to resign his main core of players in Jokinen, Bowumeester, and Luongo, but he is either looking to make a big trade or another big signing.

This just in, as I am writing this, the Nashville Predators have signed, very surprisingly, Paul Kariya to a two year deal for a low price of $4.5M. Excellent pick up by the Predators.

See, this is why the NHL needed this salary cap. Look at where these players are ending up, it’s just fantesticular! Kidding aside, it’s great for hockey and I think the Predators, after having a nice effort run in the playoffs, made a great addition. I’d recommend them to sign Eric Lindros to add more depth down the middle, and more potential offense to compliment Kariya’s game.

This is great, I think this is going to be a
great hockey season and I am just ecastic. Really awesome.

Also just in, the Leafs have FINALLY made a move by signing injury prone Jason Allison to a one-year contract.

Alright, congrats to the Maple Leafs for their fist meaningful move of the summer. I like this addition, even if it is risky. Allison on his A game, which he still has, becomes a great offensive power, and he could really push the Leafs offense and make a difference after losing Roberts and Nieuwendyk, but added Jeff O’Neill as well.

However, I am not going to be lenient with the Toronto media. I must say that I am furious with the Toronto media for 1)misleading Leafs fans, and 2) being unprofessional.

The latest rumor from MOJO Toronto station suggested that a trade consisting of a total noboby in Wade Belak, plus about-to-retire Eddie the Pigeon, for Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg.

E-N-O-U-G-H!!!!

The Toronto media has just about mentioned every possible free agent as a possibility of becoming a Leaf. It went from Kariya, to Neidermeyer, to Aucoin, to Foote, to Satan, to trading for Pronger…..

I mean, get real. What kind of imbecils are running the Toronto media for hockey!? I mean, not even Bruce Garrioch or not even Eklund would come up with such garbage. Toronto is a hockey palace, and yet it reports the most pathetic rumors I have ever seen.

Other fans on here make fun of Leafs fans, well no wonder! I can’t blame the Leaf fans for this. They listen to what the media tells them and of course they will accept it and hope for it. I can’t blame them if they have a bunch of unprofessional idiots running radio stations and writing in newspapers.

I am just fuming with this kind of garbage, and I would encourage Leafs fans to start calling MOJO radio station, as well as the FAN590, and tell them to cut the crap with the rumors because they are just embarassing Toronto Maple Leafs hockey.

Unbelievable…..

Anyway, that is it for now hockey fans. I hope you are enjoying this off-season, and I hope you enjoyed my discussion here in this article. Any challenging opinions will be accepted……and respected, as long as you’re nice to me…..and in the end you let me win…. yes….. why? Because I say so…. Rule #1: mikster is always right. Rule #2: if mikster is wrong, go back to rule #1

Just a joke there……. haha….

No seriously, you say I am wrong and I will ban you.

No no… just kidding about that too.

Thanks for reading,

Micki Peroni


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