Saturday, August 06, 2005

Is Big Joe the Larry Brown of Hockey?

Joe Just Wants to be "Da Man"
photo tsn.com
Bruins GM Mike O'Connell proclaimed to the hockey world that he would sign Big Joe either short or long. Ole Mike is definitely trying to call dibs on Thornton, but I really wonder if this is the best approach to take with the mercurial Joe. O'Connell says he'll sign him for a year if that's all he can get and let the chips fall where they may thereafter.

Bad move Mikey Boy. Like the NBA's Larry Brown, Joe needs to know he's the man. He needs to be paid like the man, and reminded constantly that he is the man. Joe just rejected the Bruins qualifying offer, and reports say he took it as an insult. He's sitting there watching guys like Forsberg and Pronger sign for big fun tickets with teams that will make them the center of the local DMA. Joe wants the same kind of love, and I don't think he's likely to get it from Boston. Mike O'Connell might have already burned that bridge.

So, which team has cap room, playoff potential, prima donna friendly management, a penchant for bold trades, expendable and inexpensive young talent, and an opening at center of the universe? How about Ottawa? The Sens basically sat on the sidelines the past two weeks, and have some fine young RFA talent including Jason Spezza and Marian Hossa. Landing Thornton would also give the Sens an opportunity to poke the Leafs in the eye by making the move they just couldn't. The Bruins, who already have four NHL caliber centers on the payroll, could invest in the next Thornton in Spezza; pick up a scoring machine in Hossa, or invest in the future with BC standout Patrick Eaves or a fine young forward prospect like Antoine Vermette. Imagine a Bruins team set at #1 and #2 center for years to come with Spezza and Patrice Bergeron?

Dream on Canic Boy...
Of course, I remain first and foremost a Caniac, so here's my crackpot dream trade to bring Big Joe to the hockey backwater of Raleigh. The Bruins need some help on the blueline and in goal. We trade steady defender Bret Hedican and future star goalie Cam Ward to the B's for the rights to Big Joe. We sign Joe, he's the man in Raleigh (remember Roddy was cool playing second fiddle to Ronnie Franchise), PK puts butts in the seats, Gerber is not the answer in goal but call up Nastiuk emerges as the second coming of Giguere (circa '02-'03), we win the Southeast, the Eastern Conference and, and...(BZZZZZZZZZZZZ) Time to wake up. Realty bites.

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