Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Last Temptation of Smyth
(image: Covered in Oil)
The minute news of the Ryan Smyth deal came in, I sunk into a state of depression...but not as deep as the state Oil-Fan is in now. Stand by for some instant classic rants from the world's most frenetic hockey bloggers. Content warnings apply:
T-Minus 30 Minutes: Deadline and deals are flying. Bupkis from the Carolina Hurricanes up to now.
- Thrash deal for another big body with possible character issues in Pascal Dupuis. Just because he has scored recently against the Canes, I'm guessing.
- Caps move Dainius Zubrus for a 2007 first rounder and Juri Novotny-Niiiiice Euro-add there, Mr. McPhee. Caps just joined Philly in the great Darcy fleece-a-thon.
T-Minus 20 Minutes: Continued bupkis from JR.
T-Minus 15 Minutes: Internet clobbered. Stream from TSN buffering.
T-Minus 10 Minutes: Pierre McGuire thinks Gelinas and Blake might still get moved. Blake would look good in the sightless eye.
T-Minus 00: Cue the Fat Lady
Monday, February 26, 2007
OK, I've dropped the name numerous times - tried to hint and be subtle, but now the bullhorn is out. I flat out want to see one and only one new player don the sightless eye before the trade deadline expires tomorrow. Show me.....Ryan Smyth!!!
He endures enormous punishment and never looses that shit-eating grin. He is old school in the manner of Erik Cole, and a bigger-than-life hockey personality whose workman-like style would go over well in Raleigh. He scores timely goals (5 game winners this season) and gives 100% on every shift. Finally, I think he is the thermonuclear counterpunch to Keith Tkachuk in the ATL and Gary Roberts(?) in Pittsburgh who would arrive at a critical point in the Canes run to make the playoffs.
Oil GM Kevin Lowe and Smyth's agent continue to play footsie, so a deal to keep him in EDM might be in the works, but I'd like to see JR weigh in with an nth-hour offer the Oil can't refuse. JR took a run before at Sergei Federov, and I think the he should be ready to push to near-Waddell heights to do a deal for Smyth...provided he comes signed with a two or three year deal. I would want him a Cane outright.
So Who Goes?
It's easy to want a deal to get done, it's another to craft a deal that makes sense for both clubs. Sources report that the Oil have a short term need for a puck-moving blueliner and a longer term need for a top centerman. I don't think Andrew Hutchinson or David Tanabe are that compelling fits for that need, and I don't see a centerman on the Canes roster either since Roddy and Staal are untouchable. I'd love to see the Canes move Trevor Letowski, but his trade value is pretty much nil.
So I won't claim to know the ideal mix, but I think a package that involved Erik Cole might be appealing. The Canes need to win now to make the playoff cut. Cole probably won't be available until things are pretty much decided. Not that I'm hating on Cole. It's just no secret that he's a seasonal train wreck - but a younger and more affordable version of Smyth. If Lowe doesn't want to spend the fun tickets to keep Smyth, I think he might be inclined to make a move if he got comparable value in return. Power forward for younger power forward. Yeah, Lowe will still be burned in effigy, but his hands might be tied right about now.
For What $$$
How much should the Canes be willing to pay for two or three years of Ryan Smyth? Is he worth more than the $4 mil per season the club is giving Eric Staal, Roddy and Erik Cole? In a world where three guys on Tampa make significantly more that $5.5 mil, I say yes. I also think Staal and especially Justin Williams ($3.5 mil per) are comparatively underpayed, and Smyth is making Justin Williams money right now. The Canes have nearly $6 mil in cap space this year, and a core of players signed thru 2009 or later. The only players JR will have to make hard decisions on re-signing this off-season are Ray Whitney and Scott Walker. Whitney is probably gonna be too expensive to keep. Cam Ward will be a restricted free agent next season.
So that's my pitch. Will JR make a real splash, or will the faithful have to sit back and hope that Anson Carter proves to be the missing piece?
OBTW - Ditto Olli Jokinen. who is signed thru 2010 and might prove cheaper in the long run than Smyth. You just don't hear his name any more in the rumor mills.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Know ye this, Atlanta Thrashers. Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspapaper of justice! Bad dog! Bad dog!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
In Lukewarm Praise of Kyle Calder
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Calder becoming a Cane.
With Erik Cole now slated to be out for two to four weeks, the Canes trade deadline dynamic is about to change. This probably means Cole will miss at least half of the remaining games. Lyle Richardson is reporting the Canes are interested in Kyle Calder or Geoff Sanderson. Should make watching tonight pretty interesting. Were I nearby, I'd be checking the pre-game skate closely for missing persons. As Her Majesty pointed out a few weeks ago, the Geoff Sanderson experience wasn't great during his previous stint as a WhalerCane, so I'd be surprised if his name isn't in the rumor mix as part of some tricksie JR ploy.
Two seasons ago, I took in a game at the United Center between the Blackhawks and Oilers. I know what follows is anecdotal, but there is nothing quite like seeing the a game live - in a setting where you get to pick what and who to watch. The two most impressive skaters that night in Chicago were Ryan Smyth and Kyle Calder. My attention gravitated to these two on every one of their shifts. Keith Primeau had a similar presence when he took the ice. Your eye just slewed to track what he was doing with and without the puck.
Now I know Calder's numbers are abysmal this season. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for a skilled and gritty guy who is still relatively young. He's making way too much money right now, but the Canes have the cap space to absorb the balance of his $3 mil-ish salary. And if he can come in and play well, he might be re-signed in the $1.5 to $2 mil range. I'm still about the investment and not the rental.
So IMHO, If JR can't pull the deal to bring in the guy who represents everything that is good and old school about hockey - my personal hockey icon, Mr. Ryan Smyth Esquire - I think I can live with Kyle Calder for now...that is if the price the Canes have to pay is limited to an extra defenseman and bag of pucks. I might even be Ok with the loss of a Nastiuk or Peters as part of the deal. I don't think the Flyers would be interested in Seidenberg part deux, so I'm thinking a clueless and disgruntled Anton B would be part of the deal. He's got the size and upside below the neck that might intrigue the Flyers. They seem to love planting old growth forests on the blueline.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Ooooh, that was nice vs. the Wild
1. John Grahame was the best puck-carrying defender on the ice for the Canes last night.
2. Staal, Williams, Walker and Whitney worked their asses off last night to keep the Canes in the game.
3. Canes give up four straight goals and loose the game, but the Hurricanes home page offers this summary headline: "HURRICANES FALL JUST SHORT OF COMEBACK."
#63 was back and looking like the Joe Vasicek of old. Strong on the puck along the boards, but rarely in a position to do anything with it.
Note to Joe: Welcome back smiley. Now get your big euro-ass in front of the net, or at least drive your big euro-ass to the net with the puck. Eric Belanger gave the Canes a "nice" periphery puck mover. He's now gone.
Friday, February 09, 2007
A healthy, motivated and mean Joe Vasicek might well prove a welcome addition to the Canes third line. I think a lot of us took the opportunity of the re-signing of Tanabe to joke that his return might signal the start of re-sign-old-homeboy week. It took a little more than a week, but JR does seem to love his homeys.
Irbeto Hurricanes (e1)
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Thank you Marsha. I am honored to join Oprah and Dr. Phil among the ranks of this nation's premier pop culture icons/soccer mom heroes. CB fans can expect announcements in the near future concerning "CB," a new monthly magazine all about me and only me, and a signature line of fine IKEA-inspired euro home furnishings.
Vive' la Kaber-Luh!
OBTW: I took German not French in high school, but I bet you couldn't tell. And "buts" are goals. Heh, heh, he said, "buts."
In Other News:
I was shocked to see Anton Babchuk's name listed as trade bait. At first read, I thought Pierre a moitie fou. Why would JR trade a kid the organization was grooming for future greatness? Then I read the N&O and saw that junior decided to have an Enver Lisin moment. Damn son. Don't blow it all up now you big dummy (channeling Fred Sanford). JR sent you down because it was you or Andrew Ladd, and for the next week or so, defense he's got. You get a rep as an attitude problem, and you'll be spending your winter evenings with Sergei Samsonov at les Arches du McDonald, a la Russe' errr, Ukraine'.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Today would have been the 96th birthday of President Ronald Wilson Reagan. If you served in the armed services in the mid-1980's, I think you, like me will always revere President Reagan for restoring pride and dignity to military service.
Hillary Clinton used to say she talked to the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt while in the White House. I wish our current president would start listening to Ronald Reagan.
Time to Rediscover a Little Magic
My favorite pic from last summer (compliments of Stormbringer who got it somewhere else)
Jim Rutherford is quoted in Lord Stanley's Blog:
"We were working on a couple of things, and I think we're going to pass on them," said Rutherford, who traveled with the Hurricanes for tomorrow night's game against the Canadiens. "The prices are a bit high, and I still believe in our team. So I'm not going to overpay just to make changes."
This tells me JR wants to give Frankie a chance to jump start the PP, and give this roster one last run at finding some freaking chemistry before he pulls the ejection lever on some suspecting underachiever. With no scheduled games against league powerhouses until February 24 in the ATL, now would be a nice time for certain fellas to get their -bleep- together.
Bottom line - I think it's still a week or so too early to dump anybody, and the Canes have nobody of significant value to offer in trade with the possible exception of pending UFA, Ray Whitney. Trading Whitney would be dumb at this point. He's the leading scorer and the kind of guy who makes a clubhouse hum with fraternal good will. Can't you just see him right in the middle of a photoshoot like the one depicted above? Andrew Hutchinson might attract some interest with his offensive upside, but the rest of the league has the book by now on David Tanabe.
So it's time for guys like Eric Belanger, Trevor Letowski, John Grahame and Nic Wallin to prove they belong on this club. And remember boys, there might be an old guy with skills, atrophied pectoral muscles and a burning desire to win a Cup out there who would love to take your job.
Posted by M15D at 2/06/2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Now on ch.com. Worth a slow scroll. Damn it's good to see Matt Cullen, AWard and Marty Gerber again. Tell me seeing them doesn't make you wonder what if. With Sean Avery now a Blueshirt, I wonder what that means to Matt's #2 centerman spot.
My favorite pick of the bunch is the bomb-dog sniffing around the Cup. Not sure if rover is protecting our national security or sizing up a opportunity to mark some territory.
Mike Sunheim's running blog of the day is worth the read as well. Now enhanced with amateur photos.
Billy Henderson pictured second from left
I finally got an iPod for Christmas. After I loaded up my Steely Dan, Counting Crows and Tears for Fears libraries, I started browsing at the iTunes store. For some reason, I went on a 70's R&B rampage. I downloaded Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose, 5th Dimension, and of course, Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul.
Yesterday, I saw a scroll on some cable news channel that Billy Henderson of the Spinners died over the weekend. I went back and looked at the R&B folder I created on the iPod that day and realized that on that rampage, I downloaded more Spinners songs than any other that day - more than even Marvin Gaye.
- Could it be I'm falling in love
- I'll be around
- One of a kind love affair
- Games people play
- Then came you
- The rubberband man
UPDATE: Here's a nice obit and summary from a Web site called Soul Tracks
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Oooh, that was nice
1. Erik Cole's possible return to power forward status
Two four minute high-sticking penalties in the third period, a miserable PP and a dumb penalty from Eric Staal minutes into OT doomed the boys last night. The little cherry on top for me was having the condescending, crow-beaked, ESPN castoff, Jack Edwards as MC. After the Cory Stillman high-sticking incident (credited to Erik Cole?), the Caniacs proceeded to boo Zdeno Chara every time he touched the puck. Not sure why the Hurricane faithfull decide to boo Chara, but ole Jack took the opportunity to quip, "At least they are learning something about hockey." Yeah Jack, like how to win a Stanley Cup. You're living in your own private Nob Hill, weasel boy.
I know I vowed to not obsess about trade rumors. So this is not obsessive rant, just discussion going into Deal or No Deal season in the NHL. I don't think many trade scenarios will breathe immediate life into the Carolina Hurricanes. That chemistry (H/T Eman) will in the final analysis have to come from within these guys. Remember all the tales last season about how tight the Hurricanes clubhouse was? I'm not hearing many of those stories this season.
I blame the pre-season ropes course. Name me one instance where a ropes course turned out to be anything but a boondoggle. I say next year the boys ought to go on a rafting expedition thru Deliverance country there in North Georgia. If they survive that hillbilly/Thrash-Fan infested wilderness trek, they'll emerge a band of brothers.
That all being said, Most reports point to the Canes needing to add scoring depth first, and possibly look to upgrade on defense in a secondary move. I would argue that the despite a wealth of numbers on defense, the team is in deep need of a real stopper now and going into next season. Anyway, here's how I'd rank the possibles under two scenarios. In scenario one, JR believes he can brew up a cup-contending team this season. In scenario two, a more realistic JR is looking to fix some longer term issues while he hopes for some playoff magic. I like scenario two better for the Canes. So here are my priority acquire lists in each scenario:
If the JR believes the boys can still make a deep run this year:
1. Olli Jokinen
2. Mike Knuble
3. Bill Guerin
3. Peter Forsberg
If JR wants to position this club for next season, he might target these relatively affordable guys:
1. Jason Blake
2. Nathan Horton
3. Brad Stuart
4. Fredrick Modin
5. Joni Pitkanen
6. Brad Boyes
7. Eric Brewer
8. David Hale
9. Joe Corvo
Olli Jokinen might be worth cutting a deal for in a trade and resign gamble.
Rumor earlier today has the Oilers interested in Andrew Hutchinson.
Posted by M15D at 2/03/2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
(from the N&O)
Kudos on the show prep to Tony Snow and his team, and to a gracious President Bush who had this to say to the Stanley Cup Champs:
"At the start of this season, this team was ranked 28th out of 30 teams," Bush said. "I like to be around people that keep expectations low. Instead of listening to the prognosticators, this team had a 112-point season. They had 52 wins. They win the Stanley Cup."
I have expected better from both this year.
The Carolina Hurricanes have traded enforcers Jesse Boulerice and Stephen Peat to the White House in exchange for Senators Chuck Hagel and John Warner.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Tonight's Oooh, that was nice list
1. 16,000 plus Caniacs braved a looming ice storm to watch widespread suckage from the home team.
2. Hearty booing at the end of regulation that just had to resonate in the executive suite.
3. The evil Thrash lost.
4. Watched the end of a dynamite OT/SO contest between Pittsburgh and Montreal. Both teams played with passion and heart. How refreshing.
1. The Canes visit the White House today. Superrrr. Two teams with very little game right about now. Should be as inspiring as attending a Ben Stein motiviational seminar.
2. Bubba has gone gallows and it's hilarious.