Monday, July 7, 2008


Okay Pens fans, you have every right to be upset about Marion Hossa’s decision to take less money than the Penguins offered to suit up with the Wings next season. It sure looks like he just wants to bounce around leaping from one contender to another until he guesses right and lands on a championship team. Next year when the Wings get bumped from the 2nd round he’ll be looking elsewhere and we’ll do this all over again. True it would have been nice to see what a full season of the Hossa/Crosby connection would have accomplished, but he’ll do just fine playing with a number of highly skilled players on the Wings roster. His personal stats won’t suffer in Detroit so he will again be a top free agent next year, the bidding war will kick in and insane offers will land in his lap once more. Only next time I don’t see the Pens making an offer to him, as the bad taste from this year will still be in the mouths of the Penguin brass. The Penguins will be just fine in the long run without him as they did the right thing by locking up Malkin, Fleury and keeping the young core intact. Besides, picking up Satan (who can really finish when he plays with talent around him) will most likely bring close to the same production they would have got from Hossa.

If Jaromir Jagr really wanted to keep playing in the NHL he would have signed any one of a number of offers that came his way. True he was looking for a 2 year deal that would keep him collecting coin in the $5 - $6 million per season range, but at this stage in his career that just wasn’t going to happen. If he would have taken a 1year deal worth $2 - $4 million he could have finished his career in the NHL. Obviously, he wanted more in his paycheck and he got what he wanted in Russia. I find it funny that hockey fans feel robbed of “super talent” with Jagr’s move to Russia. When was the last time Jagr and his “super talent” led the league in anything? Realistically there was no way any team was going to pour the kind of money Jagr was looking for in a player whose skill is declining in the twilight of his playing career. Just look at the fact that Jeremy Roenick and Owen Nolan still find a home every year in the NHL. This happens because they know what they are worth and accept what comes their way. Don’t feel bad for Jagr folks, he found the coin he was seeking and we still have the memories of when he was worth that much.

Dan Boyle may have been upset with how things went down in his departure from Tampa Bay, but he will be on a much better team and will at least make the postseason next year. He should be happy that he is no longer with the circus that is the Lightning. Speaking of the circus, I didn’t think another team could match the sideshow atmosphere that the Islanders have displayed in resent years, but the Lightning actually pulled it off. Sure Boyle may be over-shadowed by the likes of Lidstrom, Phaneuf, Pronger, Campbell, etc. in the west, but it should bring out his “A” game and put him in the running for the Norris trophy which would not have a chance of happening if he stayed in Tampa.

Now, is it just me or does it seem like we are starting to see that same separation of teams who can spend money from the ones that can’t that we saw before the lockout? I can’t quite figure this one out because the separation seems to be there but the teams involved have changed a bit. No longer is this separation between big and small market teams. Which leads me to believe that it could be due to a couple of factors. One being that the cap ceiling keeps rising every year to levels we saw before the lockout, most NHL GM’s are flat out insane with how much money they throw around and some teams don’t mind hanging out in the cellar if it will increase their chances of getting in on the “Tavares Sweepstakes” next year. That last reason may be more realistic than any of us want to think possible, but how else do you explain the moves or non-moves made by teams like the Lightning, Maple Leafs, Panthers, Thrashers, Islanders, Sabres, Kings, Canucks and Blues? It’s not like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles are small markets by any stretch of the imagination, so what gives here? I’ll keep scratching my head as I get to the bottom of this, but it looks as though we will see a greater distance of points between playoff and non-playoff teams next season with the best of the worst filling out the last playoff spots. Which bodes well for a bubble team like Boston, as they should have an easier chance at making the postseason next year. All they have to do is focus on the teams ahead of them because there will be no one around them.

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