Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agency has begun!

Sad day for the Red Wings? Depends on who you ask. I personally think we can win without Hossa, since we did a year ago. Then again, I don't like the idea of a division rival (Blackhawks) getting stronger. I just hope that his contract causes Chicago to have to lose depth. In the end, I have no hard feelings towards Hossa. He was a lot of fun to watch for the year that we had him. Even he said "If there wasn't a salary cap, I would still be in Detroit." I assumed this would happen after we signed Franzen and the cap only increased by $100k. Hey, if the Wings don't win, I have no problem rooting for him, but I hope he finishes second best every year. Should be a lot of fun reading all the "Red Wings are done" articles since we lost a player we have proven we don't really need.

Of course the Wings would have been better with him than without him, but let's take a quick look at the two teams that I think are the biggest losers so far: The Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers. These two teams have been in a heated battle all day long to see who can spend their way into mediocrity the fastest. This has been the Rangers cup of tea for years and yesterday it seemed that they had seen the error of their ways when they actually found someone to take Scott Gomez off their hands. That someone was the Montreal Canadiens. Gomez was making $7.5 million a year but only scored 16 goals and 42 assists in 77 games. Montreal saw those numbers, saw that salary and said, "I'll take it!" Then New York made the next move. They signed Marian Gaborik from the Minnesota Wild for 5 years at $37.5 million. That's $7.5 million a year. The same 7.5 million that they just freed up by unloading Gomez. But what's wrong with Gaborik? Injuries. He has played 502 games in his 8 years, which means he misses an average of 20 games a year. He only played 17 last year. He's as injury prone as Eric Lindros, who almost died in the shower of his hotel once. Come to think of it, guess who he signed with a couple years after that... the New York Rangers! Still, Gaborik's numbers are amazing when he's healthy. The issue is, there was another Right Wing available with less risk. Marian Hossa. I have no doubts that New York tried to get their meat-hooks on Hossa, but Hossa wants to win and that won't happen in New York. That's the Ranger's own fault. They have the fan base and the revenue, but their front office is run by chimps. Before the 2005 lockout, it was common to pay too much for talent because there was no salary cap. You could just buy more. Now that there's a limit to how much you can pay your players, every dollar must count and that's why I think the Rangers and Canadiens are falling apart. They buy big names and get small returns. New York picked up Donald Brashear, but at less than $1 million a year, it doesn't matter since he's just an enforcer. Montreal was not to be outdone by New York's gamble and their enforcer. They added Michael Cammalleri from the Calgary Flames for $6 million a year for 5 years, although this actually makes sense since he scored 39 goals 43 assists for 82 points. Just don't expect him to play in his own end since he was -2 last year and -30 for his career. Then they signed Brian Gionta. Remember him? He scored 48 goals once! Not anymore. He racked up 20 this year along with a respectable 40 assists for 60 points and was a +12. He'll be getting $5 million a year for 5 years. Montreal still wasn't done. They also added D-man Jaroslav Spacek for 3 years at $3.8 million a year. Spacek put up respectable numbers for a defenseman on a losing team, but 3.8 a year seems high to me. If Detroit were to request his services, I would expect him to make under 3, but hey, what do I know. Finally, Montreal took the untakable. They signed the unsignable, bought, the unbuyable. The Montreal Canadiens are now the proud owners of their very own Hal Gill. With a salary of $4.5 Million over two years, he is not meant to score goals and he doesn't. He is a Defensive Defenseman. At 6' 7" his greatest strength is his long reach. His greatest weakness is everything else. It is for this reason that the Montreal Canadiens have been awarded the 2009 Twig's Worst of July 1st Award! This less than prestigious award is given to the team that appears to fail the hardest by paying too much for too little.

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