For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

05 July 2007

2007 Free-Agent Frenzy Live Blogging Event Part 5 (cont.)

WE'RE BACK FOR THE FINAL INSTALLEMENT OF THIS WONDERFULLY SUCCESSFUL FREE-AGENT FRENZY LIVE-BLOGGING EVENT, PART 5!
Thanks to the lovely Bethany, Sherry and the cool Dave for filling in for me today!

DID I MISS SOMETHING?
If I did or if you just want to talk hockey, email me at bbrblog@gmail.com
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Alright everyone, open up your emails and send me your team's lineup as you would put it right now, I'm very interested to see how teams will look next year, especially the ones that lost big.
All and any submissions will be posted. Once again, my email: bbrblog@gmail.com
We do need something to on this red-dead day!
Keeps those emails coming!
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SIGNING OFF

10:20 PM
My thanks to EVERYBODY, everyone who came in here for the past 5 days, 70 000 people who came in and out of here, I hope you all enjoyed BBeR's coverage of the NHL Free-Agent Frenzy!
Special thanks to my co-bloggers Sherry, Bethany and Waffledave for truly helping piece this thing together, to my numerous emailers and to everyone who gave a damn about what we took the time to write!
And I would also like to commend Spector for his marvelous work as usual on his Rumours site, you rock buddy!
And let's not forget Paul Kukla over at his Korner, one of the smart minds of the hockey blogosphere.
But wait, it's not really the end of a road, more or less a beginning, a beginning of a new NHL season that will be here in just 3 short months, and a whole THREE MONTHS to talk about the sport we adore!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to visit this page, we're still going to be up and running, so check in from time to time and see if the BBeR blog is talking about your favourite team or players.
You can still email me any time you like if you have any comments, questions or just want to say hello!

I had so much fun doing this, but I realize this can't go on forever, and I feel 5 days is more than most bloggers would put into a silly old blog.

If you would like to become a contributor to this blog, feel free to email me at bbrblog@gmail.com, we're always looking for new talent!

And now ladies and gents, we are SIGNING OFF, until next year's FA Frenzy...

-the BBeR team

10:09 PM We are entering the final ten minutes of this live-blogging session, *sniff, sniff*
It's been an awesome run!

10:07 PM
alex sends in this comment on a loophole in long-term $$$$ deals:
For big market teams, such as the Rangers, who have plenty of $$$ but are tight on cap space and are looking to sign all their current players, there seem to be very few ways to circumvent the cap rules. However, it seems like there is one way. If, for example, they signed Lundquist to a 15 year $70 million contract, the cap hit is $4.67 million a year. Suppose they front loaded it so he was paid $60 million over the first 10 years and $10 million over the final 5 years. If he retires in 10 years, he would have been paid an average of $6 million a year with cap hits of $4.67 million a year, but the cap hit disappears from year 11 on because he has retired. Goalies contracts lasting beyond the expected length of their careers are not unprecedented in that DiPietro and Brodeur both are under contract until they are about 40 years old.
Am I correct in that this is one of the few loopholes to pay a player more total $ over the length of their contract (which in these cases would end early upon retirement) than the actual total $ of the cap hits over the length of their contract?

Yes, you are very correct, and that's why Glen Sather will try at any chance he's got to lock up Henrik Lundqvist for more than just 3 years, a lot more hopefully for Rangers fans.

9:55 PM
We are looming towards the end of this live-blog segment, and I'll be signing off in the next 15-30 minutes, so get your thoughts in or wait for next year!

9:52 PM
Brandon on Hasek:
Its looking like Hasek is going to get around 2 million a year if the sources are correct. That isnt bad for a starting goalie, but the risk of Hasek getting injured is always pretty high, which is why I am so skeptical. I agree that although he keeps me on my toes with the way he makes the saves that he makes, he is still a good goalie when he is not hurt. I think Kenny should see what kind of power forward we can get for our first rounder in next years draft since most of our gems come in the later rounds anyways.
Brandon

I guess that's a decent salary for him, hey, if he were 10 years younger, he would've gotten 4 times that for the way he's playing!

9:48 PM
Sharks fan Brian with a little piece of interesting info:
I like your blog very fun and informitive. BTW you want a huge laugh, look at the sharks official website. While every team is talking about players then have acquired and show there pictures on the Sharks front page is a big fish (not a player, but a fish) that Assistant coach Tim Hunter caught. Talk about fleecing there fans, thats Sharks managment.

Awesome job pointing that out, a very funny read!
Here's the link: http://www.sjsharks.com/news/news.asp?story_id=3599

Oh, and shouldn't he be fishing for shark? Haha.

9:35 PM Brandon's reply to my comment on his question below:
I agree with you, Vasicek could be the right guy for the wings. I also believe that he could regain his offensive touch if he is paired with Filpulla on the second line (assuming Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Holmstrom are still a line), this would also take some of the pressure of producing off of Grigorenko, which would give him time just to adjust to the NHL style of play. I am sorry if I am hogging all of the blog time, but I dont know if I have seen Kenny Holland come out of a free agent signing period as silently as he is now. This almost makes me think that there is either a trade in the works, or he is negotiating with a guy. Who knows, maybe this is a new strategy for Kenny to go into the season with a large amount of cap space.
Brandon

It's no problem Brandon, that's part of the principle of the live-blog I've got set up!

I love it when you guys think about what you want to say and send me emails!

Could be, who knows, Holland is one slick GM!


9:26 PM Fellow blogger Matthew Macaskill sends in his Habs lineup:
Higgins - Koivu - Ryder
Latendresse - Plekanec - Kovalev
Streit - Smolinski - Kostitsyn
Begin - Lapierre - Kostopoulos
Markov - Komisarek
Gorges - Hamrlik
Bouillon - Dandenault
Rivers - O'Byrne
Price
Huet
-If and when O'Byrne makes the team, he'll line up on the right side of Hamrlik
-I like the idea of Ryder playing along side Smolinski, but figure they'll start the season with more familiar lines
-Price is awesome! :D
Couldn't help but join in on the fun, take care mahn!

Haha, nice lines there Matt, and definitely the most realistic, besides Price being no.1 and Janne Lahti being nowhere to be found!
and why does everyone have tough love for Mikhail Grabovski? I can't wait to see this kid jump to the NHL for good!




9:12 PM Brandon Gunn sends in his reaction on Hasek's signing:
wow....I was actually kind of hoping the wings didnt sign Hasek (I am assuming he is going to receive a much larger base salary then last season) But if the price is right, there is no other injury prone 42 year old goalie I would rather have. I still however think that they do have to address the lack of size up front (Franzen is not a bonafide power forward, and Maltby is not quite offensive enough to be called a power forward, as well as Tomas Kopecky's lack of NHL experience). Do you agree with me that Kenny is looking to fill that need for a bigger forward up front? I mean, in the first and second round, the wings did out hit their opponents. I believe that this is largely due to the confidence that they had with Bertuzzi in the lineup. With the size of the lineup right now, I cannot see them going through the first round if it is a grueling physical team that they face.

Definitely, he needs to target a young but experienced forward, Josef Vasicek is 26 and 6 foot 5, he'd definitely fit what Holland would be looking for and maybe, just maybe, Vasicek can rediscover his offensive side.

9:05 PM
Devils and Dogs for life, death to the Leafs Nation answers Bethany's previous question on the Devils goaltending prospects:

To answer your question about the Devils goaltending question we do have a very promising goaltender in the system.

The new heir apparent is Jeff Frazee, drafted 2005 2nd RD 38th overall, plays at the U of Minnesota and was 12-3-1 with a 2.12 GAA and .900 save%. He also backstopped the American World Junior team to a bronze medal after taking over 2 games into the tournament.

Hope that sheds some light on it for you.

DEVILS AND 'DOGS FOR LIFE, DEATH TO THE LEAF NATION!


9:02 PM The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed enforcers/power forwards Michael Ryan and Andrew Peters.

9:01 PM
Eklund has a great list of players who filed for salary arbitration:
Atlanta Thrashers

Garnet Exelby
Jim Slater

Buffalo Sabres

Nathan Paetsch
Derek Roy

Minnesota Wild

Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Nick Schultz
Kurtis Foster

Montreal Canadiens

Michael Ryder


Nashville Predators

Vernon Fiddler
Greg Zanon


New York Islanders

Trent Hunter

New York Rangers

Sean Avery
Marcel Hossa


Ottawa Senators

Ray Emery
Chris Kelly
Christoph Schubert


Phoenix Coyotes

Brendan Bell
Josh Gratton

Pittsburgh Penguins

Colby Armstrong


St. Louis Blues

Lee Stempniak


San Jose Sharks

Rob Davison


Tampa Bay Lightning

Ryan Craig

Washington Capitals

Milan Jurcina
Brooks Laich

8:57 PM The Buffalo Sabres have signed goaltender Jocelyn Thibault to a 1-year contract, Thibault played well in limited duty behind Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh last season and figures to be a good backup for Ryan Miller.

8:55 PM
Jimmy has informed me that Eklund reports the Wings have re-signed Dominik Hasek.

8:52 PM
Yowch everyone, I beefed bad when I mistakingly said it was Doug Wilson who built the Sharks, I had completely forgotten Dean Lombard really made the team what it is today with his draft choices, Brian clearly pointed this out to me:

And I too am a San Jose Sharks fan. And I just read your take on Doug Wilson and I could not disagree with you more.
First Doug Wilson DID NOT build this Sharks team, Dean Lombardi did.
Doug Wilson took over in 2004 since that time (not including this years draft) the Sharks have drafted 24 players and only 1 PLAYER has appeared in even 1 NHL game to date that player being Marc-Edouard Vlasic. So Far his first pick in 2004 Lukas Kasper seems to be a complete bust and at this point I only see 1 possible player Wilson has drafted even with a remote chance of making the team this coming season.
As for Free Agents Here's a list of Wilson's FA acquistions
Mike Grier
Curtis Brown
Josh Langfeld
Patrick Traverse
Matthieu Darche
Aaron Gill
Shane Joseph
Tim Conboy
Scott Ford
As for trades take away the Thornton trade here's what we got with Wilson as GM
Jason Marshall from MIN for a 5th round pick
We Traded away Lynn Lyons to Calgary for nothing
Trade Jeff Jilson and Jeff Hackett for Kyle McLaren
Traded Brad Boyes for Jilson( again) then traded Jilson for
Curtis Brown and Andy Delmore, traded Delmore to Bos for future considerations
Traded a 3rd round pick to NYR for Ville Nieminen, who was later traded for a 4th round pick
traded Niko Dimitrakros to Phila for a 4th rounder which was traded and ended up being a 3rd round pick (Jamie McGinn)
and in his block buster deal last year
Traded Tom Priessing and Joshua Hennssy for Mark Bell, who was later traded.
Traded a 1st round pick for Bill Guerin who later signed with NYI
Acquired a first round pick and some Russian with a huge cap number for the rights to
Alexander Korolyuk
Traded 1st round pick to Habs for Craig Rivet
Traded Scott Parker to Colorado for a 5th round pick
Traded Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell for a 1st and 2nd and 3rd round picks
So Lets reviews Here who Wilson has acquired via trade
--Joe Thornton ---His one good trade
Jason Marshall
Kyle McLaren --An Okay deal
Jeff Jilson
Curtis Brown
Andy Delmore
Mark Bell
Bill Guerin
Craig Rivet
And here's who he has traded away
-Marco Strum
Brad Stuart
Wayne Primeau
Jeff Jilson (twice)
Jeff Hackett
Brad Boyes --Horrible trade
Vile Nieminen
Niko Dimitrakos
Tom Priessing
Joshua Hennssy
Vesa Toskala
Scott Parker
Mark Bell
So I would hardly say Wilson built the Sharks, rather he is living off of one good trade and great draft choices by our prior GM.


8:40 PM
Bethany asks this question about the Devils' goaltending prospects:
Ok, I thought of a question...aside from Marty and of course, their new backup...do the Devils have any decent goalie prospects?

They had Ari Ahonen, but he disappeared into Finland last year after several up-and-down season with the Devils' minor league affiliate, the Albany River Rats.
A former 1st round pick (27th overall in 1999), Ahonen was considered to be the heir of the Devils' starting job once Martin Brodeur retired, guess he figured that would be too long so he signed on with Jokerit Helsinki in Finland.

8:37 PM
Whatever GM signs Mike Johnson will be a very happy man, so will the fans.

8:34 PM
Anyone else remember Andy Sutton's "I want $4 million per season" cries that promptly made the Thrashers release him to the hounds (free-agency)?
Who's crying now Andy? You're still unsigned and I'd be surprised if you got more than half of that total.


8:30 PM
My bad folks, Allan Rourke is heading to Edmonton, but not via free-agent route:

The Islanders have acquired Edmonton's second round pick in the 2008 NHL draft by trading depth defenseman Allan Rourke and a 2008 third round pick to the Oilers.

Rourke has a nice frame but I doubt he can ever be a real effectine NHL'er and might just end up being that 7th defenceman/borderline 6th man.

8:19 PM The New York Islanders have signed forward Mike Comrie to a 1-year contract, terms have not been disclosed but I estimate it's worth around $2.5-$3.5 million.
I suggested Snow should bring in both these guys to replace Smyth and Blake earlier.

8:15 PM
Brandon Gunn sends in the following:
So what trades/signings do you see the Wings making? I was thinking a trade for a goalie because apparantly Hasek does not want to be back in Detroit as much as he announced when he made his decision. Im wondering if Kenny Holland would like to possibly trade for Bryzgalov (hope I spelled that right) and one of the many power forwards available on Anaheims roster, otherwise the signings that we had talked about the other day would also make sense....but there is alot of silence in Detroit right now. I have trouble believing that Kenny Holland will be content coming away from this free agency with about 8 million cap space and no one to replace Robert Lang besides rookie Igor Grigorenko (once again I hope I spelled that right)
Thanks again and its great to be able to talk hockey with people that actually know the scenarios of all of the teams
Brandon

I suggested the Wings pick up Bryzgalov yesterday, after I heard they had interest in (yuck!) Andrew Raycroft:
6:10 PM The Toronto Star is reporting that the Red Wings have interest in acquiring Andrew Raycroft from Toronto.
NO, NO, Ken Holland! IF this is an indication Hasek's gone, then Holland should target Ilja Bryzgalov, who is available according to an earlier statement made by Brian Burke.


As for Lang, Mike Comrie would be a good pickup (EDIT: just signed with NYI) to replace him.
Grigorenko can't just handle that kind of duty at this point in his career, so Holland's gotta have to explore other options via trade, unless he hopes Mike York or Josef Vasicek can re-discover their lost offensive talent, especially York, who once considered a consistent scorer, went to mediocre 4th line centre for the Flyers last year.


Always great to talk to fans who really care about their team and ponder its questions and needs, and not just casually watch the game or check up on the score.
8:07 PM
Chris Chandler pops in with this email:
I've been a Bay Area Sharks fan for years, and since I was first exposed to your blog on day one of free agency, I've found it interesting and insightful. Anyway, I myself admire Doug Wilson for putting together such a good team (specifically landing Joe Thornton). However, most Sharks fans are up in arms over the fact that the Sharks have yet to do anything in terms of Free Agent aquisitions, and that we have let people like Smyth, Guerin, Drury, Kariya, and a host of others slip away, not to mention that we have not yet signed a suitable replacement for Scott Hannan. I have two questions. First, do you think the Sharks situation is as precarious as most San Jose fans think it is? And secondly, of the remaining options, do you foresee anybody that San Jose should acquire (by free agency or trade, perhaps)?

Thank you, we've glad to have found such good readers like you!

1) Haha, take the Habs for example, we have nothing close to Cheechoo, Thornton or Marleau.
You guys should think highly of your GM, who's done nothing but continue to build this franchise from loser to Stanley Cup Contender, you don't need to add Chris Drury or Daniel Briere to be even better, you're good enough to win the Cup now, and talent-wise, much much better than most teams are.
But, thanks to reader Brian for reminding me, it was really Dean Lombardi who built this team from its old and embarrassing ashes.
Whatever fans think the situation is precarious need to come down to Montreal and then say those words about the Sharks again.

2) Not so sure about my answer, but Douggie Wilson should definitely target Brent Sopel to replace Hannan on the blue-line, he'll put up similar numbers to Hannan, maybe even better, and play a solid defensive game (but not as polished as Hannan's)
Personally, I feel Hannan is overrated/overhyped and he's not as good as everyone makes him to be, he didn't have a great year on offence so his loss overall could be compensated adequately or even perfectly by Sopel.

7:49 PM Denis sends in this email on the Canadiens:
Im a little disapointed that Montreal didn't sign a big name player but i figure they will still do good.With the kids in the minors that are ready to come up and the veterans they should do fine.The thing that bugs me most is how the Montreal media is on Bob Gaineys case all the time.The team is al lot better than it was before he took the job.They never had such promising young players that are ready to come up.They give him a hard time for not trading or drafting or picking up french players from Quebec but when he tries like briere they say no.He would have made more in Montreal but no blame Gainey!!!!!.Anyways as long as they beat the leafs that all that counts right :) I was also wondering wich kids you think will Make the big club this year.I hope corey Lock makes it cause last year he proved he is ready.

Thanks from DENIS.

Ps great site (I've benn on your site every minute i can to see whats new)

Denis, if there's one thing I know it's that the Montreal media is on EVERYONE's case, I hate them so bad, and I think it's because of their stupidity we have trouble attracting big names.
Meh, I talked about the language issue before and I find it also very frustrating more fans care about having one or two French-Canadian players than a good team overall, sigh, as we say up here, c'est la vie!

I think Mikhail Grabovski and Kyle Chipchura will battle it out for 3rd/4th line positions, I don't see a future in Montreal for Corey Locke and that sucks for him, because he was a decent player down in Hamilton but was just overlooked when it came to prime-time.

7:35 PM
Just realized the Rangers did re-sign Petr Prucha to a 1-year, $1.6 million deal, a lot less than I thought he'd get.

Updated figures from my response to Katy's email:

The way I see it working out is like this:

Lundqvist: $3.5-$4 million
Avery: $2.5-$3 million
Prucha: SIGNED $1.6 million
Shanahan: $3-$4 million

Hmmm, if this works out now than the Rangers would have about $3 million left on their cap to re-sign Brendan Shanahan, if he's willing to play for less than he got last year, damn you Rangers, it seems to me you're always able to wiggle out of situations like these and that's all because of your awesome GM, Glen Sather.

7:33 PM
Haha, just found a cool and very honest quote from Slava Kozlov on why he didn't sign with a Canadian team:
"I appreciated the offers from the Canadian teams, but I wasn't looking to move to Canada."

7:30 PM The Minnesota Wild have re-signed forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard to a 1-year contract worth $2.6 million, according to Wild beat writer, Mike Russo.
Hat tip to Bethany for alerting me of this, and Kukla for breaking the news on his blog.

7:10 PM
Katy sends in this little question:
I just want to thank you again for the updates all week with this "frenzy." You [BBR note: Bethany, Dave and Sherry too] have done an awesome job of keeping up with all of it! I will definitely continue to read your blog throught the rest of the summer and the season.
I just have two questions for you. First, the Rangers now have three big names signed that will take up half of the salary cap, how do they expect to sign any of their other free agents (Avery, Prucha, Shannahan, Lunqvist) not to mention anone else they will need, when they only have $10mil in their cap to work with?

Secondly, how do you think the Sabres are going to fair this season? It doesn't seem they are doing much other than making sure their defense is full. Other teams are giving their FA offer sheets and they don't have a backup goaltender signed. It seems like they are in pretty rough shape, eh?

Thanks again!
Katy

Katy,
glad to hear that!
But I don't need to get full credit as I couldn't have done this live-blogging event without the likes of Bethany and Sherry on my side and Dave's everyday emails.

And to answer your questions now:

First off, Glen Sather has certainly done well on the FA front, but he's also blundered badly when it comes to having money to re-sign some of his key RFA's.
I'm not so sure how he'll do it, but I think in the end it comes down to him letting Brendan Shanahan get a Bill Guerin contract (2-year/$9 million) elswhere, he has no choice, unless he chooses a 35+ year old over the most hated player in the NHL, Sean Avery and his top goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.

The way I see it working out is like this:

Lundqvist: $3.5-$4 million
Avery: $2.5-$3 million
Prucha: $2.5-$3 million

And well well, it'll take Sather between $8.5 million and his limit, $10 million
to make it happen.

So, unless Shanahan accepts "measly" money, which in this case would be nothing more than $1.5 million in the best case scenario most of those guys get signed for the lowest prices I mentioned, then he'll be off and looking for a new team.
Don't panic Rangers fans, there is still a HUGE possibility Sather pulls this off, but at the cost of Brendan Shanahan.


To answer your second question now:

The Sabres, many people forget, have a ton of offensive skill available to them and plenty of nice young up-and-comers that fir their style of play from down in Rochester, such as Drew Stafford and Nathan Paetsch.

They will survive, somehow, they'll need guys like Derek Roy, Jochen Hecht, Jason Pominville, Ales Kotalik, Drew Stafford and Maxim Afinogenov to take their game to the next level, and if the first three don't, then Buffalo fans will be crying bloody murder next year.

A backup goalie? Haha, not a no.1 priority for Regier now, but there are still plenty of thrifty options available for him on the UFA market, such as Jussi Markannen, Brian Boucher or the ideal choice, Jamie McLennan, the model "backup" goalie.

Glad you enjoy our blog, take care!

7:06 PM ESPN reports the Penguins have re-signed Maxime Talbot and Colby Armstrong to two-year deals.

7:00 PM
, Bethany sends in this question:
I asked Sherry this but now I am asking you...would it have been better to buy out Adam Foote and Sergei Fedorov to have some cap room or would it be better to just let them ride out their contracts?

No, both are valuable players to the team even if they're not at their best.
Fedorov had a good finish to the year while Foote is still strong on the blue-line, let them ride out of their contracts before doing anything, and hey, the always gay Doug MacLean would hate it if the Jackets dumped those guys, you could say there were his "prized acquisitions"
Haha, poor guy, good luck finding a job elsewhere!


6:42 PM
Just a reminder that Part 5 of the free-agent frenzy will be the last of this installement, sadly, but, all things must end eventually, and we also got our lives to deal with :)
Thanks for tuning in this week, all 70 000 of you, thank you for your outstanding support and your countless emails, this is not a farewell message, I'll get that one up later on, for now, WE NEED EMAILS TO KEEP THIS THING ALIVE, or I might just consider packing in early :)

6:32 PM Whoa, whoa!
Didn't TSN just announce that Shane Hnidy was signed to a 2-year deal by the Anaheim Ducks (find that here)?
Spector now posts on his site that the Thrashers have re-signed him?!

THRASHERS RE-SIGN HNIDY.

THE ATLANTA THRASHERS HAVE RE-SIGNED UFA DEFENCEMAN SHANE HNIDY TO A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT.

I think the mistake is yours Lyle :)

6:13 PM Jean-Francois (a different one) has broken the ice (haha) and sent us our first email in a LOOONG while:

Okay, I won't do the usual fanboy dream line: I want this guy on my team...

My question to you, or comment should i say, is that Habs fans seem to have a very very short memory.

Every line up for 2007-2008 has Streit on defense...

didn't he play on the third line most of last season? Even ending up on the first line for a week or so? Since it is the case, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to already see him on the third line (along with smolinski and... Lapierre or Kostytsin).

Also, a side note on the same global subject: Habs fans, especially francophones (yes, i am one of them) seem to forget about the past too...

If my memory serves me correctly, two years ago we traded our second and third draft pick for NYR 2nd draft pick just to get Latendresse. I could be wrong about th team but I know we did that type of trade to get him.

It's not that the Montreal Canadiens organization doesn't want to draft a French Canadian, it's that they want to draft the best player available.
They'll even take some risk if they believe someone will help them.

I even heard someone say that if the Habs had more French Canadien players, there'd be more fans in the arena. I guess they think this would create more seating place cause I couldn't get any tickets for the past two seasons...

I think it's high time people open their eyes and realize that Gainey and co. try to do the best for the team, not for the French Canadians.

And as a friend of mine once said: "All I want in life is to sit on my 2$ chair, on St-Catherine, in June and see the Cup.
I couldn't f*ing care less if they brought a whole team of Chinese skaters to get it!"

J-F,

this is EXACTLY what I pointed out yesterday after "Yannick" sent me an email regardin the Habs and Francophone players, here's what I said if you missed it:

Yannick's question:
"The Missing Piece"
I've been a fan of the Habs since I saw this hockey player play with a dislocated shoulder, a real fighter, not with his hands but with his heart. A great example for all hockey players. You ask yourself who I'm talking about, you all know him by the name of Bob Gainey.

I'm really please that he is part of the Habs. I really believe that he will make a great team but he has to finish the puzzle. I understand its hard if you don't have all the piece.

If you listen to what people are saying about what is the missing piece you get the following answer. We need a French Canadian, a strong and talented player, a player that play like Bob, with his heart but mostly we need an idol.

I have found this player, he is the Maurice Richard of this era, he has everything that people have wanted, he has heart like no other and he is Vincent Lecavalier.

This is the missing piece. Jean Beliveau was not able to convince Daniel Briere to come to MTL, but maybe if we pray enough then maybe the spirit of Maurice Richard will be able to contact him :-)

Your thought Steve.

MY ANSWER: Yannick, Bob Gainey was one of a kind, no question, and I don't think the Canadiens need a French-Canadian born player as bad as they need a good player, period.
If I had a choice between Daniel Briere and Pavel Datsyuk, I'd definitely take Datsyuk, not because of his race, because I simply think he's better, or even Henrik Zetterberg for that matter.

But, alll those guys, Briere, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, even Vincent Lecavalier, I feel have no heart compared to what guys like Bob Gainey, Jean Beliveau, Scott Niedermayer, and even Chris Drury have got.
No question at all Vincent Lecavalier is a terrific and born goal-scorer, but he's also just a one-dimentional player, much like Daniel Briere himself.
Bob Gainey was no one-dimension player, and if anything, Chris Drury is the modern day Gainey, and there aren't many players out there like Drury.
Here's what our Habs need Yannick: a God-given player, we haven't had a terrific player since maybe Guy Lafleur, and how long ago was that?
This city needs someone, this city needs another Bob Gainey, I agree, they do not need more greediness and one-dimentionalism (is that even a word?) that guys like Daniel Briere, Vincent Lecavalier or even Alexei Yashin bring us.

Thank you for this comment Yannick, it was well though and very honest, but I think right now the Habs don't have the luxury to wait around for a French-Canadian player to decide to play here and have the media and fans gushing all over him, kind of like what they're doing now to Guillaume Latendresse and what they had done to Jose Theodore.
If the Habs can nab someone from around here, it'll do wonders for the local media and fanbase, but won't necessarily do much for the team itself...the team needs talent, whether it's from Timbuktu or Yellowknife, they need it badly, otherwise we may never see a Stanley Cup in Montreal ever again and this history will just be one big page in a book of dissapointments and let-downs.

Enough with the mediocrity! I'm tired of trying to stay positive when there's nothing positive happening with this team, I watch the games tirelessly and I try to remember how good this team COULD be but ISN'T really.

Go Habs Go! Even if we have no talent, I'll be with you forever!

Steve (BBR)

6:09 PM Even though this was reported yesterday, TSN has officially confirmed the Ducks' signing of defenceman Shane Hnidy to a 2-year contract.

6:05 PM
NHL Line reports that the Flyers are going to give Tomas Vanek an offer sheet, but they have to clear up cap space if they want to steal him from Darcy Regier.
I don't know how credible this new place looks (nhlline.ca), but it's looking a lot like another HockeyBuzz/Eklund site.
Oh brother, more of what the Internet needs, another place claiming to have inside connections...


5:57 PM Funny, he has also signed backup goalie Joey MacDonald to a contract today, according to Mirtle, and quite frankly, I'm surprised at this.
MacDonald will likely serve as Rick DiPietro's backup, and I find it sad to see Snow let go of Wade Dubliewicz, who proved to be a good backup/1B goalie near the end of the season and into the playoffs while DiPietro was injured.
The Habs have also signed depth defenceman Jamie Rivers to a 2-year deal, terms were not disclosed.

5:55 PM I guess Garth Snow took the advice I gave him about half an hour ago, and has signed veteran forward Bill Guerin to a 2-year/$9 million contract.
I think he overpaid, even if Guerin did have a good season, there's no telling if it was one of those late-career one season explosions, then back to reality again.

5:39 PM
Gonna go grab some grub, be back soon!

5:36 PM
David Aebischer fansite.
Haha! Great for a laugh, check it out Habs fans!
As for Abby, he's a free-agent now and unless he's willing to battle for a backup job (he still thinks he's no.1 material) and possibly end up in the minors, he's better of somewhere cold in Europe.


5:28 PM
I know the players Garth Snow has lost are irreplaceable, but he should at least make a serious pitch to get Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin, both could compensate in a small way for the losses of Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake.
Hey, I know those two are NOT Smyth or Blake, but it's better than having Jon Sim and Ruslan Fedotenko (I still can't believe he got $2.9 million)
And what about Poti? Well, before coming to the Isles, Poti's career was on a downhill slide, but he turned it around.
If he wants to follow that same principle and bring some oldie back into his form, then he should definitely target Sandis Ozolinsh or bring back Janne Niinimaa.
Haha, just kidding there, both have become absolutely horrendous defencemen.
Funny how ten years ago, they were at the top of their class, while now, they're at the very bottom.

5:26 PM
Two youngstars accepted their team's qualifying offers today, restricted free-agents Marek Svatos and Jiri Hudler signed on with their respective teams, the Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings.
Svatos got 1 year at $1.2 million, while Hudler got a similar but longer deal at 2-year/$2.03 million.

5:19 PM
Come on guys, it's getting lonely here, sends us your lineups! :)

5:14 PM
Steffen has just sent us another email regarding free-agents' desire not to play in Montreal, Steffen, waffledave is an expert at this subject and he should give you a better answer than me, I'm not so sure when but it'll be soon.
Speaking of which, isn't it incredible?
Who woulda thought that through Part 5 of this live-blogging event that Sheldon Souray remains unsigned, that's just unreal, who really expected him to lag over a decision this long?

5:08 PM Leslie sends in the following:
Hi guys I was just wondering about these montreal trade rumors they keep popping up but nothing is happening just the same old SPECULATION is there any truth to any of the rumors surrounding montreal and are we willing to go out and play the season as we are and finish well let’s just say just in front of the islanders anyway your thoughts?

Leslie, usually I would agree with you that these are the same old rumours, but given the Habs' situation and Bob Gainey's words, let's just say that it might be for real this time.
The Habs said they will target a star, maybe a superstar before the frenzy began, but they didn't land Briere or Smyth, they won't even re-sign Souray.
Bob now may be forced to make a deal and potentially use Michael Ryder as trading bait if he wants to live up to his word.


4:46 PM
Jean-Francois gives us all a pat on the back, thanks J-F!
We're all glad you enjoyed this week's coverage, so sad it's gonna end today, but, all good things must come to an end, right? :)

Just a quick note to thank you and the rest of your team for the live blogging of ufa of the last few days

Very interesting


4:44 PM A few signings here and there today, nothing special, but the Flames have signed defenceman Anders Eriksson to a 2-year deal, while the Devils have signed former Rangers backup Kevin Weekes to a 2-year/$1.375 million deal to likely take a little off of Martin Brodeur's playing time and it's now obvious Scott Clemmensen won't be returning.
He's not going to be stuck to the bench entirely like his predecessor was though.
The Jackets officially announced their signing of defenceman Jan Hejda to a 1-year/$1 million deal, hat tip to the Columbus Dispatch, who broke this news way before TSN did.

4:32 PM
Christos, a fellow Greek if I may add, sends in the following Habs lines:
Alright, here is what I believe will be the best line combinations for the Habs:

Offence:
Ryder- Koivu- Latendresse (you've got a slick passer, a finisher in the slot, and a big guy to bang some bodies)
Kovalev- Plecanek- Higgins (I think the chemistry between Higgins and Plecanek will transfer to AK27 and give him something to play for since they are such hard workers)
Kostitsyn - Smolinski- Kostopoulos (great shutdown/faceoff guy in smolinski, I think that Kostitsyn's counter-attack speed can create some problems. Kostopoulos is an excellent replacement for a guy like Johnson)
Lapierre- Grabovski- Begin (grit, speed/skill, and energy)
Call ups: Chipchura, Lahti
(I'd say that Grabovski, Chipchura, and Lahti will be fighting for Begin's and Chipchura's spots)

Defence:
Markov- Komisarek
Hamrlik- Streit
Boullion- Dandenault
Call ups: O'Bryne, Jorges

Goalies:

Huet, Halak

I think these are the line combinations that will work the best for the Habs.
Let me know what you guys think.
Christo,
great lines, really, I totally agree with what you say but Lahti will not be a call-up, as he signed a one way deal and I expect the big Finnish winger to be an everyday player for the Habs.
I said it before but I don't think Steve Begin deserves to be a lock on the 4th line anymore, if anything, he's blocking the way to youngsters like Kyle Chipchura, Mikhail Grabovski or even Corey Urquhart (who was signed to a 3-year contract today by the Habs)


4:29 PM Steffen from Germany writes:
Hi!
Just found your site through Spector's site...
I wanted to ask one thing: do you think Bob Gainey would consider trading Michael Ryder to San José for Pat Marleau? That would bring in this big scoring center the Habs need so desperately...
If not, my Habs lineup would look like this:
Goal:
Huet, Halak
Defense:
Markov - Bouillon
Komisarek - Hamrlik
O'Byrne - Streit
Dandenault
Forwards:
Higgins - Koivu - Ryder
Kostitsyn - Smolinski - Kovalev
Latendresse - Plekanec - Kostopoulos
Lapierre - Chipchura - Grabovsky
call-ups: Murray, Begin, S. Kostitsyn, Locke
I think Chipchura deserves his chance. Good move not bringing back Johnson and Bonk. We don't need to play Streit on the wing any longer when I look at the tremendous amount of talent we have in our young guys.
Greetings from Germany!
Steffen

Steffen, while I agree the Habs should package Ryder and picks to get a big name, Patrick Marleau would definitely fit the bill.
I suggest the Habs do off with Ryder in order to get bigger and better, sign him to a deal, package him with a prospect and pick and ship him off to the West Coast!
However, now that the Sharks haven't managed to land that Drury or Briere they wanted, they might be inclined to keep Marleau, so I'm not so sure this is going to happen, it's definitely a possibility, but right now, not a very likely one.

4:27 PM Guys, I apologize for my lack of coverage and lateness today.
I should have taken over at 2:00 PM but my appointment took longer than expected, and so, here I am, two and a half hours late.
Thanks to Bethany, Sherry and Dave who helped out while I was gone.
Back to business!

3 fanatics have replied:

Matthew Macaskill said...

I had to throw one curve ball into those lines, haha (being Price).

Kinda forgot about Lahti, but I don't know enough about him to peg him into the line up. I'll have to wait and see him at training camp before I make any decisions on his potential to start with the Habs next season. :)

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Ah, well, he's a big 200 pounder from Finland, and apparently, he's got skill.

Price...argh, HUET! :D

Bitchany said...

Hey you seriously did a great job BBR!! Way to be!

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All Rights Reserved. The content of this blog is the sole opinion of these bloggers and does not represent an opinion of any kind of a professional NHL hockey team mentioned.