Monday, August 01, 2005

Before the UFA Storm-The NHL Southeast at a Glance

Photo AP/msn.com
This Kid Needs a Facewash!
Florida is first out of the gate signing Nieuwendyk and Roberts to $4.5 mil contracts. Hum, two character guys who lead by example. Potentially great moves by a club that has suffered from a severe leadership void. These two are tough and play hurt. Come to think of it, they have been hurt most of the time over the last few years. So the Panthers went for character, leadership, and brittle bones. For a team that needs to win now, potentially powerful moves. Rumors still abound that Keenan will also go hard-sell on Pronger. He wants to go to a team committed to winning, and might see these signings as evidence of Florida's commitment. But when will the players commitment to Keenan wear out?

Stand by for Atlanta to jump into the fray. They've got great young talent in Heatley, Kovalchuk, Lehtonen, and Exelby. With the exit of McEachern, they'll be looking for mature leadership at the forward position. They also have a leadership and skill void on defense. This might not be their year, but they've got Braydon Coburn in the wings on "D" and this Bourret kid looks like Tie Domi with soft hands (did you see the tree trunk legs on this guy?).

For the Hurricanes sake, let's hope the Caps continue to stink. For us American hockey fans, Ovechkin is the perfect new guy to player-hate, and on a team I've always detested. In my mind, they are basically the NY Rangers-South with Jason Doig and Brendan Witt playing the roles of Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparitis. Anybody remember the taunting job Ovechkin and Malkin did on our kids in the World Junior championships? The boys on TSN questioned their first pick Sasha Pokulok. This has to be the least interesting team to follow in hockey. Hopefully history will repeat itself and they will go out an spend big bucks on a lame guy with no character, and have to eat his salary next summer just to move him.

Oh yeah, I forgot that the Stanley Cup champs are in our divison. Let's just hope they have to make some costly decisions that result in the departure of some key players from the Cup team. If they can't keep Khabibulin in the fold, that would help. They just re-signed Fedotenko, so he'll eat up some cash and make Vinny and Marty more costly signees. As I previously blogged, I'd love to see the 'Canes steal Dan Boyle or Cory Stillman from the Bolts.

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