NHL's top prima donna and prairie dogs, plus more mailbag nuggets
These may be the dog days of summer, but your missives keep pouring in. Let's dig through the mailbag for your thoughts on Eddie Shore winners, the league's leading prima donna and prairie dogs.
Based on his erratic play last year, I get why you'd have concerns about what Morris brings to the table. But keep in mind that he toiled with a couple of teams (Coyotes and Rangers) that struggled to play a cohesive game. That won't be an issue in Boston.
I'll admit that, at first blush, I was surprised by his $3.3 million cap hit, but only because the Bruins already were struggling to find space under the cap. GM
Bottom line, Morris wouldn't have been my first choice, but he should be an upgrade over Ward. I'm looking for him to have a solid year.
As for Boychuk, he seems to be what baseball prospectors call an AAAA player. Basically, it means he can dominate at the AHL level, where his foot speed and slow reads can be compensated for. That's not so easy to do in the NHL, so don't expect him to secure full-time employment with the Bruins. And not to belittle that Shore Award, but going by recent winners Andrew Hutchinson, Sheldon Brookbank, Andy Delmore and John Slaney, it's hardly a harbinger of NHL stardom.
It's a good bet that
Look for returnees
The picture should clear up once Lawton makes his final defensive addition: Hiring an assistant coach to help
I couldn't speculate where the Rangers might draw the line, but for me the over/under would be a buck.
Look, Zherdev is a natural talent, a guy who could score 20-25 goals in his sleep, which is a good thing since that appears to be his natural state more often than not. Five years into his career, he's a big bag of fail, so much less than the sum of his parts. I can't imagine what it's like for a teammate who relies on hard work to keep his roster spot to dress alongside a guy with so much talent and so little desire to apply it.
There are plenty of teams, including the Rangers, who would love to pencil that production onto their second line. But Zherdev brings so much less to the table that you have to wonder if he's worth the bother. It's well known that he does little to endear himself to his teammates and his prima donna attitude is a distraction. He lost the trust of
I don't doubt that there are a couple teams out there who look at Zherdev as the bad boy who just needs their loving touch to turn his life around. And they may be right. But he's a lousy fit for a Rangers team that needs to re-shape its identity under Tortorella. Doesn't matter what the arbitrator rules, they should just say no.
Pour yourself a minty gargle and then take a deep breath of that sweet, clean Birmingham air, Rob. This deal might not be close to as bad as you're painting it.
First off, it wasn't a one-for-one exchange. The Leafs sent Stralman,
Stralman may develop into a useful, top-four defender, but as
And don't overlook this aspect of the deal: Burke moved two contracted players for one, getting the Leafs one under the limit of 50. That gives him some flexibility should he decide he wants to add another NHL-ready body before the season starts.
Complaining about more of the same might make sense from a fan of the Thrashers or Coyotes, but the Sharks weren't exactly feeding you a steady diet of thin gruel and re-runs of
Still, I get that it's hard to get the taste of another playoff flop out of your mouth (maybe you can borrow some of Rob's minty rinse). Maybe dumping
Easy for me to say, I know. I've got nothing emotionally invested in the team. But you had to recognize that cap commitments limited what Wilson could do in free agency. Instead, he'll try to conjure up some magic on the trade market. Maybe he takes advantage of another team's cap issues this summer. Or maybe he waits until Christmas to see whose depth is challenged by injury or who gets frustrated by a slow start. Wilson's proven to be a methodical guy. He won't make a deal for the sake of change. He's waiting for the right change. And that approach, painful as it may be now, makes the most sense.
Fortunately, two of his most compelling assets,
The Sharks will be fine in the regular season. Give Wilson some time to find the right dance partner and they might not be bad next spring, too.
Look beyond the headlines with this one, Jed. The long-distance home games make for an interesting hook (and might allow
Still, I'll admit that it's a genius gimmick. Certainly one that's going to generate a lot of buzz, even if the towns involved are Saskatoon and Halifax rather than cities with NHL aspirations, like Hamilton or Winnipeg.
But step back and look at what this plan suggests. If Phoenix would actually benefit from playing five home dates in a town of 200,000 like Saskatoon (and just how much revenue is there to be had in an 11,500 seat building anyway?), then why is anyone even bothering to prolong the misery of the franchise?
Clever idea, but this (prairie) dog won't hunt.