The league may be in drydock, but the hockey world keeps on spinnin'...
For a club that's gone the past two seasons without having anyone in the role, it was pretty clear the Leafs weren't simply looking to slap the letter on anyone. But it's also safe to guess that they're not simply rewarding Phaneuf for the truculence he displayed during his brief 26-game stint wearing the blue and white.
This isn't just about providing a central figure for the young, unproven talent to rally around. It's a challenge to Phaneuf to bear down, to focus, to get the biggest scoop out of a pool of talent that he's been comfortable simply skimming for the past couple years. The deal to acquire the big defender was less costly but arguably more critical to the eventual success of this franchise than the one involving
It says here that he'll live up to the challenge.
Wasn't any talk of the Hall of Fame back then (probably just a lot of nervous stammering on my part), but after 20 seasons in the NHL, there's a better than zero chance that every story regarding his retirement will work that topic into the mix. So... does he go? It says here that he doesn't truly belong in the conversation when talking about the all-time greats, but the criteria for the Hall have deteriorated to the point that a consistently above-average career like the one Blake built should be enough to make the cut.
The argument for his inclusion? A Norris Trophy in 1998. A trio of All-Star Team berths. A Stanley Cup. An Olympic gold medal plus 240 goals, 777 points and 12 40-point seasons. Really solid. But salty? Let's just say not enough to earn my vote, if I had one.
That said, I'm really going to miss seeing Blake lowering that big rump and sending an unsuspecting opponent cartwheeling into the highlight reels...
By opting out of his Swiss deal and signing what's reported to be a one-year contract with the Sens, Wick gives himself, and the team, an out. If he can't cut it, Ottawa has limited exposure and he can return to Switzerland. If he proves to have some value, he increases it on a second contract, either with the Sens or another club. It says here he'll start the season in Binghamton, but will earn his way onto the NHL roster before long. Once there, he could contribute at a 20-goal pace.
There's a chance that a local group, headed by oil man (apparently, that's a good business)