Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Strange Days: The 2010 Offseason

By Artistry

Tonight capped a bizarre first two weeks of the NHL offseason, with Canucks forward Henrik Sedin taking home the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player. Now, I love watching the Sedin twins, and I wish the media paid more attention to teams out west and to hockey in general. That said, no way that guy was more valuable to his team than Sidney Crosby. Yes, of course I'm biased. But I'm also correct.

You can't even tell which one he is. Look, I have no problem with Alex Ovechkin taking home the Ted Lindsay Award for Most Outstanding Player. Well deserved. Great player. Chokes in big moments. Maybe the ugliest truly great athlete in the history of modern sports. (Seriously, who is even close? Randy Johnson?) But I digress. The point is, the Penguins don't make the playoffs in 2010 without Sid. The Canucks are still one of the better teams in the league without Henrik. Case closed.

Word out of Las Vegas is Mike Green actually showed up tonight hoping someone would present him with a trophy. I know, crazy. And it gets weirder.

  • In Montreal last week, Habs GM Pierre Gauthier took a long, hard look at his team. Apparently while smoking crack. He saw two goalies on his roster. One, a 25-year-old who during the first round of the playoffs was called out by Ovechkin and responded by dominating two of the best teams in the league and launching the Habs into the conference finals almost single-handedly. The other, a 22-year-old who has demonstrated some promise, a lot of immaturity, and a bad goatee. And Gauthier thought to himself, I better hurry up and trade the first guy. We think Jaroslav Halak could have been signed for 4 years/$16 million and he would have given the Penguins fits next season and beyond. But I guess there's an argument to be made that Carey Price is still the future in Montreal.
  • But following up by signing Tomas Plekanec to a 6 year/$30 million deal? Indefensible. Did he even play in the Pittsburgh-Montreal series this spring? I didn't notice him.
  • Also fascinating was Atlanta's decision to send a first round pick, a second round pick, a highly regarded prospect, and Marty Reasoner to Chicago for Big Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Akim Aliu, and a guy who has nightmares about Gary Roberts.

  • The Thrashers clearly got the guy with the coolest name, but otherwise, I think Rick Dudley may be getting some unfortunate advice from the master of offseason disaster, Don Waddell. Would I love to have Big Buff on the Pens? Absolutely. Has he ever shown up for more than a few regular season games at a time? Nope. And Rick, the Hawks HAD to trade Buff. They are in salary cap hell. They had no leverage. None. And you gave away the farm. At least the ex-Hawks will be excited to go to Atlanta. No? Wait, I'm being told they are not at all excited about this.
  • Finally, let's check in on another organization that makes us all look to the heavens and give thanks for Ray Shero, the Florida Panthers. Readers (that means you, Dave), tell me what I'm missing. Isn't Nathan Horton the type of player you build around when you're a bad team? A 25-year-old power forward who pots 25 goals a year and still has upside? His $4 million cap hit is certainly reasonable in a world where Chris Kunitz lives. So I'm a bit confused as to why Dale Tallon came to town and shipped Horton and Colin Campbell's son to Boston for Dennis Wideman and two picks.
  • Meanwhile, back in Pittsburgh....

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