Lightning strike gold, Kovalchuk crystal ball, more mailbag topics
The postman always knocks and knocks, so let's grab another fistful of your epistles...
I'll agree that the Gagne deal did kind of get the
Although I wrote
Surprising? Oh, yeah. Not that Tampa is the NHL's version of the Gulag Archipelago. If you can overlook the eternally blinking turn signals on the backs of cars and the wilting humidity, it's a pretty sweet locale. As more than one player has told me, you can't beat wearing flip-flops to practice.
But since the lockout, the fractious ownership situations, goofy management, and barely competent coaching has made Tampa a tough place to play. Then
Yzerman has made some interesting moves -- drafting
The Devils and the Kovalchuk camp are supposed to be in the midst of a five-day period in which they've been asked to come up with a new deal that is more palatable to the league. In reality, they're just sitting around waiting for the next shoe to drop and likely waiting for the chance to take the case to arbitration. Why? They believe -- and so do many observers on both sides of the fence -- that the league has no legal leg to stand on.
Sure, everyone knows this contract struts up to the spirit of the CBA and slaps it in the face. It's clearly constructed to circumvent the cap. But, and it's a big but, there appears to be no specific wording in the CBA that will allow the league's challenge to stand.
Essentially, it all comes down to whether Kovalchuk intends to honor the duration of his deal by playing until he's 44. Hard to believe he'd do that, but can anyone say that with any certainty? Who thought
It's pretty clear that the league failed to account for the type of contract signed by Kovalchuk,
The Thrashers clearly agreed, walking away from the award and allowing MacArthur to become a free agent. Word is they would have walked from any award north of $2 million, and who can blame them? No one questions MacArthur's grit, but for that kind of money it's fair to expect a player who can soak up some second-line minutes. That means someone who can be relied on to chip in a few more than the career-high 35 points MacArthur contributed last season.
It'll be interesting to see what impact that the arbitrator's decision and the Thrashers reaction have on the remaining hearings on the docket. Don't be surprised to see a few more walkaways.
Well, partly because they didn't want to give him the term or the dollars that he was looking for. Partly because he doesn't fit the
Now, if Max were a brilliant defensive player (ignore that minus-17 rating), was reasonably consistent in his production, or brought some other valuable dimension to the lineup (maybe he brought the coffee and donuts every morning), then he might make sense as part of the mix. But unless he finds the market dry and comes in dirt cheap, I expect to see the Thrashers leave his roster spot open and allow the kids to fight for it. With no real chance of contending soon (either with or without Max in blue), this is the most sensible solution.
Best guess? Sharp-shooter
A month ago, I would have listed Swedish defender