What I Missed!

Well, I am back to the uncivilized world (NJ) after a pleasing and relaxing vacation. It’s incredible how most times I leave on vacation and a lot of things happen. Fedorov signing with the Ducks, de Vries with the Rangers….and more rumors of Cujo. I felt like I missed too much and could not post any comments when the events occured. So, just giving some interesting opinions on the big acquisitions and so on, especially a discussion of Cujo going to……Getting away with lies?

GM Murray of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim is quite a liar, and a good one. When making statements of money shortage to re-sign Kariya and showing no interest in Fedorov, I felt bad for the team. Watching work their butts off to reach, and lose, game 7 and then lose key players because of financial reasons. But, one day I see Vaclav Prospal sign with the Ducks and the next one Fedorov signs with the Ducks. Hey, I thought these guys had no money?

LIAR! Signing Prospal for $3.5M a season and then Sergei Fedorov at an average of $8M (1st season he earns $10M) explains that the GM lied. He wanted to replace Kariya, the player who made that franchise exciting, the captain who represented Mighty Ducks fans, the captain who could have left the team any time he wanted to in previous seasons, but never did.

Don’t get me wrong, picking up Sergei Fedorov was a good move for the Ducks, but is the 33 year old Fedorov on his way past his prime? I surely hope so! I dislike lying GMs who pretend to not have any money and then just become the big buyers of the off-season. I hate saying this, but i wish the worse of luck to the Ducks and Fedorov.

Prospal is the other center they signed. How good is this guy? I keep reading ‘good move by the Ducks’ when they signed Prospal. He is 28 years of age, which is good, but the best this guy ever did was 77 points on a Tampa Bay line that got it going this past season. It took Prospal quite a while to find his game with other linemates and will he in Anaheim? Fedorov, Prospal, and Rucchin are the top three centers, who will play with Prospal? They appear to be lacking scorers on the 2nd and 3rd lines.

On paper these two look like great pick-ups, but we have yet to see if they can help lead the team in the playoffs, and far in the playoffs, as Kariya and Oates did….who had chemistry with the current line-mates.

Proving is always a good thing

Colorado also made a big splash in the off-season, but not as BIG as the Ducks in terms of money. Kariya and Selanne bring extreme offensive power to the Avalanche, and both players have something to prove. Selanne has to get his old form back as he was rotting in San Jose. He knows he can win it all with the Avs, and his opportunity to become a big threat in the NHL again is open once again. Besides, don’t just look at it as Selanne and Kariya. Selanne has Tanguay, Hejduk, Sakic, and Forsberg to skate with as well. Same with Paul Kariya who has much to prove. He wants to win it all and slap GM Murray in the face as he already laughed at him by signing at $1.2M. These two have more to prove than any UFA who has been signed. Great move by Pierre Lecroix.

However, they are not done yet. Goaltending has to be addressed or confirmed. Addressed: Acquiring a goalie via free agency or via trade. Confirmed: Aebischer | Sauve? Defense needs at least one more stay at home defenseman. You can never have enough defensemen. Derek Morris and Rob Blake, even Adam Foote, tend to face injuries throughout the season. Get Yushkevich or Ken Klee. I think the Avs should have kept Reinprecht and Nedorost as trade bait to land a goalie or a defenseman, those were two bad moves by Pierre Lecroix. But hey, no one is perfect.

Acquiring de Fence

I was curious to see the reaction of the usual Rangers bashers who will never say ‘good move’ when the Rangers make a move. It’s like their job to do so. I am not the biggest de Vries fan, he didn’t top my list, but nothing proves that de Vries is not a good defenseman. One comment I read mentioned that de Vries is a good addition, but he is just one defenseman added to the D group. A team needs good defensemen, but good defensemen need a good system to play with. It’s like buying a great PC video game, but if you don’t have such a good PC system then it won’t be that good a game. Rangers added a defenseman who used to play stay at home defense and has changed his style, successfully, into a two-way defense. Joins the rush at the right moments and uses his size, which is a key factor for the Rangers. de Vries is a big game player. He comes up big when the team needs a player to come up big.

However, Sather and Renney (great shuffling of coaching staff) need to give the defensemen their roles and push them in the right direction. de Vries would be a horrible player if he is not given an assignment, and that goes for every player of any team. The Rangers defense is better, but they need to stay with their assignments on a consistent basis. Showing that the Rangers defense was tops in the last 20-15 games of the season is nice, but it means squat if they can’t do it for 80 games.

Adding this in, picking up LW Chris Simon was a good move. Why is he considered a wash up? Since when does a career 3rd line enforcer be considered a wash up? Just because he scored 29 goals once in his career does not mean people should expect him to score the same amount. Sandy McCarthy was a RW enforcer who didn’t play the role of an enforcer anymore, except at the end of the season. Chris Simon is a good team guy, he is a LW, which the Rangers need, and they need toughness….especially with McCarthy gone. Simon may play on the 3rd or 4th line, or maybe on a line with Lindros where he gives enough space for Lindros to work with. Simon won’t score much on a Lindros line, but crashing the boards and net to let Lindros move around may work. In the end, Simon is a signed enforcer….nothing more……nothing less than that.

And Cujo goes to……..

………..I’m sorry. I don’t have an answer. Possibilites are well known…..it may be the Avalanche, the Bruins, the Rangers, or the Blues. All of those teams, for now, are long shots. All seem so complicated that the only way I see this happening is with a 3-way deal. Two way deals, unlikely. Avalanche and the Wings won’t trade well with each other since they are rivals. Bruins want the Wings to eat up a portion of Cujo’s salary, but Illitch doesn’t like that idea. Rangers have Dunham, Markkanen, and unofficially retired Mike Richter.

It all seems such a mess and the only person to blame is the Dominator. Did ya really have to bust our….chops? The media thanks the Dominator so they can create more trade rumors, which are only driving me nuts.

There is a huge market for goaltenders. Why? SHORTAGE! Not enough good goalies anymore. A goalie like Jeff Hackett should get at least half of the $3M the Flyers will pay him. The guy has been a part time starter and back up for most of his career, he was and is injury prone, never came close to winning anything, and he is getting quite old. Since when does that kind of goaltender earn $3M? Since now because there is a big market for these goalies.

If Hackett is getting $3M, then Potvin will obviously get more than $3M and he is getting offers from the Avalanche and Bruins and who knows, maybe even another team. Can you believe it? Potvin is waiting for te highest bidder?

But, for Cujo…..there is no highest bidder. His contract is high, he is not getting any younger, and everyone is making low offers for Cujo since Detroit doesn’t have much of a choice but to obviously trade him.

Let’s start with the Rangers, who I think are the only possible team that may benefit acquiring Cujo. They can get Cujo for cheap and then deal Dunham to add depth to their roster. They may get rid of Lindros to get Cujo. They may get Samsonov for Dunham. So, even if I think Dunham is actually a better fit than Cujo, in the end….the Rangers may get more quality depth. Still, it’s hard to think of a three way deal involving the Rangers, Wings, anf Bruins. If the Blues jumped in, it would still be confusing.

I think the best three way deal is between the Blues, Wings, and Bruins. It may be extremely awkward since the Blues would then have to trade Osgood to the Bruins. The Blues should want Cujo. I think he is an improvement over Osgood, and Cujo will have something big to prove when the Blues and Wings will play as rivals. When a player has something to prove and has the attitude and ability to do so, you go after him.

It’s all up in the air and just a matter of time before anything happens. It has to happen though and we’re already closing in on August.

It’s great to be back, and later today we will start Fan’s Rant with all the rules and I will repeat what Fan’s Rant is about and so on.