Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy America Day!

I wont associate with Devo's post because hes a dirty communist.

America Rules England Sucks - Watch more free videos

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Three Cheers for the Orange, White and Blue

...and black. And on Irish Night, green. And pink, if you will only attend a sporting event if you can wear pink team paraphernalia.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!! The Mets are coming off their biggest offensive series of the year, and I think that's reason enough to celebrate. Bring on the bbqs, the fireworks, and have a few drinks, because the Mets have learned how to hit with runners in scoring position. If we forget about the hiccup on Monday night, the team played three competitive games, even coming back from being down 4 runs on Wednesday night and leading before losing in the bottom of the 9th. In the series, the Mets scored 25 runs and had 46 hits. Going into the important 4 games series with the Phillies, this is exactly what the team and fans want to see. On Wednesday night, Pedro had a rough start before settling down after a rain delay. All was forgiven after some clutch hitting that put the team ahead. I wasn't even that upset with Aaron Heilman, who only gave up one run in the entire month of June, he pitched a scoreless inning before coming back out in the 8th. Heilman hit a batter, who eventually scored on Chris Duncan's home run off of Pedro Feliciano.
Now, is it just me, or does Chris Duncan (son of Cardinals pitching coach and brother of Shelly) look a lot like our own Devo?
He won't let me put an actual picture of him up, so if you don't know him, just take my word for it, but I digress.
The good news about the Phillies series is that Cole Hamels pitched last night and tonight, they will be facing J.A. Happ. The Mets tagged him for 5 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings in his only other Major League start in May. With Johan pitching tonight, I'm gonna say that the Mets have a chance, but you really never know. They might have some problems against Moyer and Kendrick on Saturday and Sunday, but with the 'good' Ollie and Maine pitching against them respectively, I think these games will be close. Monday should be a wild card, with old Pedro against a 3-6 Eaton. Who wants it more?
Hopefully, the Mets will keep their bats alive for this all-important stretch. What is refreshing to me is that Jerry Manuel as come out and said that this series means a lot and that everyone on the team knows it. Another guy named Willie would NEVER put more emphasis on one series over another. Meanwhile, everyone else knew that the players, fans and analysts were thinking that a series against the Braves or Phillies is more significant than say, a series against the Pirates or the Reds.
Today's New York Post said that Jose Reyes and Keith Hernandez had a confrontation on the team plane in regards to Hernandez's comments that the Mets baby Reyes. Reportedly, the two were close to exchanging punches before others intervened. Reyes' friends had told him about comments Hernandez made during broadcasts about the shortstop's tendency to need a pacifier after certain plays. The 'stache thought it was about time for the Mets to stop tolerating that type of behavior from Reyes, who is 25. I guess Reyes didn't like that he was being talked about negatively on the air, by someone who was sitting a few rows down from him. It is probably best that the two aired it out...I kinda wished they fought though (okay, not really, that clearly would not have been good for the team, publicity-wise or anything).
In Wimbledon news, no one should be surprised that it will be a Federer-Nadal final. Rafa steam-rolled over Roger in their final at Roland Garros last month, but the grass has always been Roger's home court advantage. I was away for last year's Wimbledon final, a five-set marathon, but I heard it was fantastic. Hopefully this year will also be an epic. I would love to see Nadal win in England to be the first since Bjorn Borg to pull off the near-impossible-- winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year.
On the women's side, the Williams sisters are playing each other in the final, something they haven't done since Wimbledon 2003. The sisters have been very impressive on their respective runs these past two weeks. Neither Venus nor Serena plays at their best when they have to play each other, but I'm going to pick defending champion Venus, who is almost as at home on the grass as Federer is.
Have a great holiday Mets fans! Enjoy those burgers and fireworks.

And a happy 232nd birthday to you, America

And to honor our country, I present to you, SUS nation, the greatest song ever written: (no Yinzer, it's not the Clash)

Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The '08 Devils Free Agency Push: The Good, The Decent, and the Tough Choice

The Good

Brian Rolston
What sucked for the Devils? Their offense, their power play, and even their shorthanded goals were all turrible last year. And while Rolston isn't exactly the artist formerly known as Sergei Federov (or even the artist currently known as Federov) he does help improve all of the above mentioned areas. Rolston enables the Devils to put forward 2 power play lines with 4 forwards with Langenbrunner and Rolston as the point men. He also gives the Devils a damn good 3rd forward to kill penalties on a line behind the Madden/Pandolfo unit. And lest we forget, he was always really well liked as a Devil-the only reason that Devils Nation (me and my dad) were happy to see him go was because of who came in his place: Claude "God" Lemieux. 8 teams later, he finally returns. As an aside, apparently 17 teams showed interest in Rolston. Apparently there actually is something to the idea that guys like playing in the Jersey swamps. Who knew?

The Decent

Bobby Holik

Good to see he hasn't retired yet. This move may help them, this move may not help them. But one thing about signing Marvin the Martian (seriously, have you heard him talk?) to a 1 year deal-there's no way it's going to hurt them. Holik has always been the kind of player who will be a solid asset to any team long into his 30's. (This is good, as I think he'll be turning 38 during the season.) Solid faceoff guy? Check. Big body to put in front of the net (with more skills than Mike Rupp?) Check. Knows how to win in the postseason? Check.

The Tough Call

Welcome back Pandolfo. May Allah be with you, Sergei.
The sad truth is that no matter how much Yinzer and Mahatma rag on Pandolfo, the Devils needed to resign him. It's unfortunate that they have to part ways with Brylin, but according to Lamoriello, Pandolfo and Brylin do too much of the same thing to keep them both in Red and Black. Now it's official: Martin Brodeur is the only Devil to have been a part of all 3 Stanley Cups. Ironically enough, the only 3 current Devils from the '95 team are Marty, Holik, and Rolston.

And while we're talking about Brylin and Rolston, let me just say the main reason I'm happy about our offseason: Back when my dad and I used to have quasi-season Devils tickets, there were two unofficial fanclubs who attended nearly every game:

1.Brylin's Mom-A mother/daughter combo with Brylin jerseys. The daughter was in her mid-upper 30's, unattractive, annoying, and probably living with 5-10 cats. The mother is um, older, smaller, and with a larger moustache than the Giambino

2.The Rolston Girls- This was a group of girls, who wore Rolston jerseys to every game. Age somewhere between 16 and 24. We started to bring binoculars to every game to get a close look at certain parts of the game; we KEPT bringing the binoculars at the insistence of everyone in our row for the Rolston girls. And for the record, when I stared at the teenage Rolston Girls, I was 16. Everyone else in our row? At least 35. Good times.

Angry White Airplane Passenger

So big ups to Continental Airlines and the airline industry in general. I had a 3:15 flight from Ft. Lauderdale back to Newark.

2:45: We see our plane come to the gate, and at 246 the gate tells us that our pilots are going to be coming in from Houston on a flight that is running late. Now we're leaving at 3:30. Shouldn't our pilots be the dudes who just flew in from Newark? Guess not.

3:10: Our pilots are just filling out some paperwork, and we'll be leaving shortly...

3:15: Our flight attendants are injured. What? Delayed for the foreseeable future.

3:30: The only available flight attendants are coming in from Houston and will be here by 8:00 pm. Our departure time is now 8:15 pm. But hey, Continental feels bad; they are giving us an $8 food voucher (good for a salad or sandwich sans beverage), a 10% discount on our next trip (hellooooo $30 extra on my next Florida trip!) and a comment card. (POSTAGE PAID! DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! YESSSSS!) Thanks Continental.

Mo and Melky criticized; Joba given a pass: Do I hate Latinos?

Yes. Of course I do. Which is evidenced by the fact I love Spanish language, culture and food. Also, my favorite athletes are Rivera and Bernie. Still, all kidding aside I am going to do the unthinkable, criticize Mo. Rivera has compiled a perfect 0.0 era in save situations this year. This is fantastic obviously. However, he has given up 4 runs in 7 innings in which the game was tied and has compiled a 1-3 record in such situations. This is good for a 5.14 era. Yes, many closers struggle in tie games because they don't come in with the same intensity or adrenaline rush that they do when they know they can end the game. However the G-d like Rivera has always been above this problem throughout his brilliant hall of fame career. It is frustrating that a guy who is having his finest season overall to date has been downright bad in tie game situations. Tonight's game was very winable if Mo had simply been his usual brilliant self in the 9th inning of a 2-2 game.However, a double to Ian Kinsler and a single by Michael Young put the game away against a pathetic Yankee offense. Put another way, Mo feel free to give up 1 run when you come in with a 2 run lead or 2 runs when you come in with a 3 run lead instead of giving up 1 run when the game is tied.

This leads to my next problem.

What the hell is wrong with Melky Cabrera. Melky is now down to a paltry 239 average as he in the throngs of a slump the likes of which I have never seen before. It reached the point of no return tonight when Melky hit into a double play down 1 in the 9th shortly after Betemit lead off with a walk. Melky is killing this team. He is always up with several men on base and is consistently leaving these ducks on the pond. I don't know if something is in his head or if he hears the footsteps of Brett Gardner but Melky needs to be moved into a utility role for the time being. He is as sure an out as there is in the game right now. If you don't believe me , Melk is now 0 for his last 19. Lets continue to see how Gardner fares with a week's worth of games under his belt.

Finally I give Joba a pass. He did not pitch well and he was horribly inefficient as threw a robust 91 pitches in only 4 innings of work. Still, thanks to another strong bullpen effort, The Yankees more than made up for Joba's poor outing. He is learning how to be a consistent and dominant starter. Part of this process is necessarily learning that sometimes a double play is better than a strikeout and that it is okay to have balls hit the bats of hitters. I trust Joba will continue to improve in this regard. So this is why Joba gets a pass.

We're getting the band back together!

I'll have more to say about this tomorow, but for now I'm ecstatic about bringing Rolston and Holik back. This will lead to one of two things: either their experience (and Rolston's power play ability) will bring this team back to respectability or we can lose, all the while knowing that at least we're losing with our guys.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What did we learn class?? Lessons we have learned as New York baseball fans from watching the Subway Series:

Part I the Mets


(1) Pedro Martinez is Done- Pedro and his coaches can say anything they want about how Jeter and Abreu may have noticed that the former Cy Young Award winner was tipping his pitches. It is very possible that two very savvy vets such as Derek and Bobby did indeed recognize something Martinez did to tip off which pitch was coming towards the glove of Ramon Castro. This does not excuse his horrid performance against the Yanks on Friday evening. Pedro was lambasted for 6 earned runs in 5.2 innings of work while his much maligned counterpart, Sidney Ponson, effectively worked into and out of several bases loaded jams en route to a 6 inning gem. Pedro’s fastball is topping out at 90 mph and his circle change does not have the same bite it once did. Pedro has consistently struggled this season having failed to register any quality starts since his first outing against the hapless Giants back in May.

(2) Jose Reyes is the boy who would not grow up- Reyes is a true five tool talent but also is hampered by an authentic 10 cent head. In a 24 hour span you saw exactly what makes Reyes a petulant child. Not only did he get picked off with 2 on and 2 out and the Mets best player, David Wright at the plate; his explanation after the game was a protestation that these things happen to a base-stealer. NOT WHEN DAVID WRIGHT IS UP WITH A CHANCE TO GIVE THE METS THE LEAD THEY DON’T! Oh and for good measure, Wright blasted a hr to lead off the bottom of the 6th to cut the Yankee lead to 3-2. Then, although I couldn’t see it from my seat at Shea Stadium, Reyes apparently threw his glove to the ground in disgust after making an error, not at himself, but at the official scorer giving him the error on a throw that Delgado admittinlgy could have easily caught. However, Mets fans have to stop defending this guy. He is 25 and he is getting less mature not more mature with age. He has a very low On Base Percentage and lately has cost his teams as many games as he has won for them. Grow up kid.

(3) The Mets will have a solid rotation for the next 5-10 years- Whether or not you believe that Santana has been a disappointment this season so far, the Mets are clearly setup for a solid top 3 in the rotation for the next decade or so. John Maine is evolving into a top line starter, Santana is still a great pitcher and Mike Pelfrey impressed me Friday afternoon. Yes, he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings but he could have given up so much more. He got huge strikeouts with men on base and 2 outs and limited the damage in many of the innings in which he struggled. Specifically, After the Mets put up a 3 spot in the top of the 5th, Pelfrey made it stand up by pitching a scoreless 5th which he capped off by getting the dangerous Jeter to ground out with 2 on and 2 men out. His fastball tops out in the mid 90s and he has excellent downward movement on it.

(4) David Wright is awesome- I don’t understand those who think David Wright is having a down year. He has 62 RBI’s, 62! This for a guy who hits in front of the lousy Louis Castillo and the aforementioned enigmatic Reyes. He is a run producing machine and he has great power to all fields. Outside of Manny and Ortiz, nobody scares me more as a Yankee fan more than this guy.

(5) The More the managers change, the more the Mets stay the same- For all of the talk that Manuel was a more vocal, animated and different kind of manager than Willie Randolph, he doesn’t have anything to show for it in the win-loss column. He is 6-7 as Mets manager so far. Given that the Mets were middling around the 500 mark when Willie was fired, I don’t see what has changed. Omar, upon firing Willie, had the gall and audacity to suggest that he put together a championship team. Well if that’s true Omar, I guess you just are horrible at picking managers. More likely though, you put together a flawed roster of poorly mixed and aged talent like Carlos Delgado (his obscene 9 RBI outburst on Friday aside), Pedro Martinez and Moises “I broke my arm watching TV” Alou. The Mets just are not that good, of course, as I will detail in part II, neither are the Yankees

Part II: The Yankees

(1) They can’t hit any lefty that can throw a fastball over 92 mph- I do, in all sincerity, tip my cap to Oliver Perez. He pitched an absolute gem of a ball game on Sunday holding the Yankees to only 1 run in 7 innings of work. However, Perez’s success in his Mets career vs. the Yankees says more about the poorly put together Yankees roster than it does about Perez himself. The Yankees lineup is absurdly left handed dominant. Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano, 4 of the most important players on the team, are all left handed. Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada are stronger from the left side than they are from the right at least this season. This glaring weakness of the Yankees is further compounded when Girardi decides to concede the game before it starts by filling out a lineup card which features the featherweight hitting Jose Molina batting in the 7th hole. Simply put, this offense can only hit lefties who are junk-ballers but cannot hit lefties who throw hard like Perez.

(2) Daryl Rasner IS WHO I THOUGHT HE WAS!—Dennis Green’s hilarious rant aside, Rasner has shown himself to be a serviceable 5th starter, no more, no less. He has given the Yankees two respectable 5 inning 2 run performances sandwiched around a disastrous outing against Mahatma’s Buccos. 5 innings and 2 runs is about the best you can hope for from a 5th starter. Very few guys whose fastball tops out at 88 can be frontline starters and Rasner is clearly no exception. Still, Darryl has earned himself a spot in the rotation at least until Hughes comes back in August.

(3) Andy Pettite is a gamer- Although he is very streaky during the season, Andy Pettite seems to pitch best in the game’s tightest spots and in games where the spotlight shines brightest. His pickoff of Reyes in the 5th inning on Saturday as well as his willingness to come back out after a long rain delay speaks to Andy’s intensity and team commitment. Mussina has not and never will do that in his Yankee career.

(4) A-rod finally gets it- In a weird way; I was as impressed with A-rod after Sunday’s game as I have been by almost anything he has done in a Yankee uniform. A-rod took Sunday’s loss and carried the burden of it on his shoulders. Alex just missed hitting home runs on two long fly balls on Sunday, both of which would have tied the game. One went just foul into the upper deck and another just missed the wall in deep left field; the latter which would have tied the game against closer Billy Wagner in the 9th inning. When critics asked him about the C- team Girardi put on the field, he deflected the criticism onto himself by suggesting that if he had done his job and gotten those balls into the stands his team would have won the game. This is a very Jeterian, blame yourself when your team loses but don’t praise yourself when the team wins, type of move. I’m impressed Alex.

(5) The Yankees are what their record says they are”- At 44-39, the Yankees are on pace to win about 88 games this season. This would probably have them on the outside looking in of a relatively tight playoff chase. The way Tampa has played this year; you would have to figure it will take at least 93 wins to make the post-season. Now last year the Yankees were not even approaching this season’s 88 win season clip at the half way point. However, that team had a healthy Chien Ming Wang and Hideki Matsui. That team did not have the aforementioned Rays to contend with. That team also had one of the all time great 2nd halves. That team also played great baseball at home and used Yankee stadium to help catapult them to long home winning streaks. This year’s team is just a hair over 500 at home and does not seem to have any ability to use that bottom of the 9th inning last licks ab’s to their advantage. Finally, this team has a manger who, although I still think he has the right stuff to be great, is conceding too many games to rest veterans. Given how close the pennant race figures to get; the Yankees may very well miss the playoffs by a game or two. Sure it is nice to say that, “in the past, Yankee teams were worn out by playoff time.” But you know what??? THOSE TEAMS GOT TO THE PLAYOFFS!! I hope Girardi realizes soon that every game is going to be huge the rest of the year. That is until another hugely important star player gets hurt rendering the rest of the year meaningless. Oy

Monday, June 30, 2008

Manny Shoves George Costanza

Captain Douchebag of the Boston Red Sucks has once again gone out of his way to continue his walking circus act. Eventually, wouldn’t even the cretons from chowda land find this to be annoying especially such a loveable character like George Costanza. I think it’s quite amusing for Manny to lash out with lines like “Do your job” because I fail to see this incident being housed in Manny’s job description. Perhaps Manny should take that up with HR.

I find it amusing that people are just chalking this up to “Manny being Manny.” Really? You know that worked the first dozen times isn’t it time for this 30 yr old to actually, oh what’s the word.., grow up? Look he’s goofy and loveable and says some stupid things but come on man, Grow the fuck up!

The one saving grace is that it’s good to know though that Manny apologized to Costanza. After all, Costanza and Jones do have their daily calzone lunch breaks from pizonos.

Furthermore, It’s good to know that Theo Epstein went out of his way to trade for Costanza from Tyler Chicken.
That is just a shrewd business decision right there and the number one reason the Sawkz won it all last year. Not really but where the hell is Newman?

Hockey Free Agent Predictions

Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Christ Yinzer, Not Another Hockey Post!" Like I said, it never ends. Right now we are on the eve of one of hockey fans two christmases: free agency (the other being the trade deadline if you dont know). Where we get to see what players our teams overpaid for, lost for nothing and in general get worked up because we think our rivals improved while we stood by and did crap. But regardless when the clock strikes noon tomorrow us hockey fans will be filled with bliss as all the big names sign within the first few hours, then are forced to two months of agony as nothing happens. But enough of that.

With free agency fast approaching some big names will be heading to the market. Like always there will be bidding wars and many will get more than they are actually worth, but that’s supply and demand for you. But let’s take a look of who is available, what their new salary may be and where they may go. For the sake of brevity (and many internet problems over the last week) I am only going to list the most well known players.

PS- for you Rangers fans, if you havent figured it out yet, dont listen to Larry Brooks. He is one of the most non-respectable hockey writers in the media and hockey fans cant stand him. Of course, if you want to believe the Rangers are in fact signing every name free agent to mega deals without going over the cap somehow, feel free to, but you'll be dissapointed.

The crop of forwards is pretty good, but it’s aging. Many are getting past their prime in their mid thirties which is why their respective teams are letting them hit the market. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good players to be had. I guess I should be thanking Tampa Bay and its new owners some for making this a bit easier for me by dealing for Malone and signing him (really overpaying in the process) and Rolston who is most likely going to be signed.

Marian Hossa
Estimated Yearly Contract: $7.5
Predicted Destination: Pittsburgh Penguins
Even though all signs point to him leaving, I just have a feeling he is going to end up staying with his deadline team. Hossa seemed to enjoy Pittsburgh, and was close to winning the cup so it may be enough to keep him. Though with his brother being cut loose by Phoenix I won’t be surprised if Marian forces a package deal of him and his brother by whatever team comes calling. Call this one a gut feeling.

Mats Sundin
Estimated Yearly Contract: $6.0
Predicted Destination: Montreal Canadiens
Sundin and the Leafs are seeming more and more indifferent towards each other, and the fact they’ve let the Canadiens openly talk to him shows how little interest there seems to be left. It’s hard to blame Sundin as he has watched the past few months as the team has been completely dismantled. There seems to be quite a bit going on behind the scenes with the Canadiens and its not that far from Toronto where he has played his entire career.

Pavol Demitra
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.25
Predicted Destination: Vancouver Canucks
Demitra was oft injured with the Wild, but he still managed to put up the points. If the Canucks let both Morrison and Naslund go, signing Demitra who can play either wing or center will help fill the void.

Markus Naslund
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: Minnesota Wild
Naslund is winding down in his career, as evidenced by the Canucks not showing the kind of effort one would expect from their best player in the past decade. But the Canucks are looking elsewhere, and I think the Wild are going to want to try and offset the losses of Rolston and Demitra by signing Naslund. While not the point producer he was, he can still contribute and can stay healthy.

Brian Rolston
Estimated Yearly Contract: $4.0
Predicted Destination: Tampa Bay Lightning
Rolston has emerged as a leader and first line forward since arriving in Minnesota and was a boon for the team when Marian Gaborik went down with injury (again). But he and the Wild have different ideas of the monetary compensation of those qualities. He was traded to Tampa Bay over the weekend and given the new owners willingness to spend is going to sign with the team with a figure to his liking.

Brendan Morrison
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: Atlanta Thrashers
Its not a good market for scoring centers under the age of 33 this year, and Morrison is one of the few. Though more defensive than offensive he is capable of adding some offense though a bit streaky. Atlanta needs a center for Kovulchuk and with the departure of Holik have the money already freed up to sign a key player. Morrison’s two way abilities will also help the defensive starved team.

Kristen Huselius
Estimated Yearly Contract: $4.25
Predicted Destination: Columbus Blue Jackets
Huselius has pretty much been run out of town the past two cities he played in, and to no coincidence Mike Keenan was their both times. Regardless he is entering the prime of his career after having a few good seasons. The Jackets really wanted Malone who was signed by Tampa and I think they still want a scoring winger who will be around for a while, so Huselius will be their man.

Jaromir Jagr
Estimated Yearly Contract: $5.5
Predicted Destination: New York Rangers
Jagr loves New York and he showed flashes of his dominant self during the playoffs. The two are fit for each other and I think they know it, which is why Jagr won’t be going anywhere. The deal may be incentive laden but Jagr needs to realize he isn’t getting top end salary from the NHL anymore.

Todd Bertuzzi
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: New York Islanders
Bertuzzi will have always have a chip on his shoulder for the Moore incident and it will make teams reluctant to sign him. Being bought out by his biggest supporter in Brian Burke doesn’t help. Still he is a power forward. The Isles are looking for more firepower and need to get people to their team, not a favorite destination for free agents. I expect them to overpay Bertuzzi to land him, though after giving Fedotenko almost $3mm a year, it wont seem that bad.

Miroslav Satan
Estimated Yearly Contract: $2.25
Predicted Destination: Pittsburgh Penguins
With Malone gone and Hossa hitting the market the Pens desperately need a winger who can put the puck in the net. Yeah, Satan may not be that so much anymore, and he is pretty one dimensional, but at this point he will be cheap and all he has to do is take a pass from Crosby or Malkin. I see it being a late signing in free agency when the other big names are signed up, and our hopes for Satan playing for the Devils will be dashed yet again.

Radim Vrbata
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: Vancouver Canucks
Vrbata had a career year in Phoenix and wants to see what he can get in free agency. But being a one year wonder thus far teams will be reluctant to sign him up to a large or long term deal. The Canucks are looking for more offense, and while they have the cap room for a big name if they let Naslund and Morrison walk, they’ll probably want depth more and I think Vrbata will be a target.

Niklas Hagman
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.0
Predicted Destination: Boston Bruins
Hagman seems to have gotten lost in the mix of all the other free agents, but he is physical and can score 20 goals a year. Though flying under the radar he will be targeted by quite a few teams. I don’t think the Bruins can realistically fit Hossa into their cap like they want so they will go for someone who is more cap friendly, and Hagman will fit the bill.

Darcy Tucker
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.0
Predicted Destination: Phoenix Coyotes
Though bought out gritty forwards who can score aren’t the most frequent things to hit the market. Though age may be catching up Tucker is well known throughout the league (for better or worse) and he will be sought after. Phoenix’s addition of Bryzgalov last season and Jokinen this season is making Phoenix a playoff contender. Plus the need to replace the departing Varbata is necessary.

Michael Ryder
Estimated Yearly Contract: $2.75
Predicted Destination: New Jersey Devils
Ryder’s stock has dropped the past year, it being particularly dismal as he was benched many times in both the regular season and playoffs. He put up 25 and back to back 30 goal seasons his first three years and that means he does have the talent. He won’t get a big pay day but he’ll get a payday. I’m sure Lou will love to throw a long term deal to get him at a slightly discounted price on the Devils.

Sean Avery
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.75
Predicted Destination: New York Islanders
Avery is hated by most people, but can actually play if his antics aren’t getting in the way. Though an agitator first he can get you that key goal and that makes his value high. He isn’t worth what he is going to get, but someone will give it to him. And I think that someone is the Islanders who are looking for warm bodies.

The defensive crop this year is quite thin, with only two big names on the market in Campbell and Redden since the Avalanche resigned both Liles and Foote. Nothing against the remaining guys, but top pairing men they aren’t.

Brian Campbell
Estimated Yearly Contract: $6.5
Predicted Destination: New York Rangers
Campbell will more than likely be going to the highest bidder this year unless somehow the Sharks get him under contract in the next few days. The Rangers will be clearing plenty of space by letting guys go. They will want a stabilizing force on their blue line which is young and upcoming, and Sather has always been known to make the big splash.

Wade Redden
Estimated Yearly Contract: $5.5
Predicted Destination: San Jose Sharks
The past two years have been lackluster for the Sens blue liner, and it will cost him going into free agency. Despite that he is still reliable in both ends and will command top pairing money. If Campbell walks from the Sharks they will probably make Redden their first target (and it was rumored they were the ones trying to deal for him over the summer).

Mark Streit
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.25
Predicted Destination: Philadelphia Flyers
There doesn’t seem to be much interest to resign Streit from the Canadiens so he will be hitting the market. There are teams looking for puck moving defensemen (Streit also played some forward) and as a mid-grade defenseman Streit will still get plenty of calls. Philly doesn’t have a whole lot of room but their inability to move the puck from the defense to the forwards let the Penguins pick them off in the Eastern Conference Finals. He is affordable and fits the Flyers needs.

Jason Smith
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.0
Predicted Destination: Columbus Blue Jackets
Smith is being let go by the Flyers who don’t want to pay for the gritty defenseman who is wearing down, partly because they disagree on his value and partially because the Flyers don’t have much cap space. Still teams love a stay at home who hits, and Smith certainly does that. The Jackets need to get to the cap floor, plus are getting quite desperate to make the playoffs and I see them going after Smith is who much like Adam Foote that they dealt away at the deadline.

Ron Hainsey
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: LA Kings
Since being claimed off waivers from Montreal Hainsey has developed into a steady blue liner. Nothing flashy but he gets the job done, and that was on a bad Columbus team. He managed to put up a good amount of points and is entering the prime of his career. LA Has cap space to spare and being under thirty they are willing to target him, especially after dealing Vishnovsky to the Oilers.

Brooks Orpik
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: Pittsburgh Penguins
Orpik had a breakout year and was an unsung hero in the playoffs until the finals where he got noticed, and that always feeds the hype machine. A defender who is good in his own end, mobile and hits doesn’t come along often, so if he hits the market he is going to get a good payday. But I don’t see the Pens letting it go that far.

Brad Stuart
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.0
Predicted Destination: Detroit Red Wings
After forgettable stings in Boston, Calgary and LA Stuart was dealt to the Wings at the deadline and was a factor in their winning the cup. I don’t think other teams will be as willing to sign him to a larger contract, not to mention he would be playing for the cup champions. I think he will hit the market, but go to Detroit when he sees the fields aren’t greener on the other side.

Michal Roszival
Estimated Yearly Contract: $3.5
Predicted Destination: New York Rangers
Roszival has developed into a steady blue liner since coming to the Rangers, being reliable in both ends. I don’t expect him to be going anywhere as he has been key for the Rangers and he knows it.

To put it simply, the free agent goalie pool sucks. Huet is the only capable starter amongst the group and the others are either aging starters no longer fit for the role or career backups. Don’t look for much to happen with goalies this off season.

Cristobal Huet
Estimated Yearly Contract: $4.25
Predicted Destination: Washington Capitals
I expect the Caps to bite the bullet and give Huet the money he is seeking as the goalie market is paper thin this year. If Huet were to hit the market he will be easily the most sought after. My guess then would be the Avs to pick him up as Budaj and Theodore were lackluster at best in the playoffs.

Olaf Kolzig
Estimated Yearly Contract: $1.5
Predicted Destination: Tampa Bay Lightning
Kolzig only has a few years left, and feeling spurned by the dealing for Huet has caused him to break from the only NHL team he has ever known. A starting role is pretty much out of the question at this point, but some team is going to be looking for an experienced backup. My guess is he will end up in Tampa where he will be a backup plan in case new goalie Mike Smith cant handle the spotlight, and it will give Karri Ramo another year to prepare for the jump to the NHL.

Jose Theodore
Estimated Yearly Contract: $2.5
Predicted Destination: Colorado Avalanche
Theodore will most likely be staying with the Avs, but at a much reduced rate. To be frank I think the only reason they are doing this is because the goalie market is so weak because in the playoffs Theodore just couldn’t get it done. Though him and the Avs aren’t talking, I think they will have little choice but to bring him back.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Return of the Mullet

by Yinzer

After nearly a fifteen year hiatus from behind the bench, Barry Melrose, the Man, the Myth, the Mullet has returned signing a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The reason for the move was simple. New Lightning owners wanted a face behind the bench to try and help give the franchise a boon in fan interest. So they took long time ESPN analyst Melrose from ESPN in order to do this. But there are a few problems with this.

He hasn’t coached in almost 15 years, and there’s a good reason

And my guess is because he wasn't very good. Yeah he got to the finals in 1993 but it was a bit of a fluke and no one expected them to make it. He then proceeded to miss the playoffs and be below five hundred the next two years. After only a three year stint in Los Angeles he was given the boot. It wasn't until 1996 he took a broadcasting job with ESPN after not coaching anywhere.

The game is different

Welcome to 2008 where the NHL isn’t the same. Defenseman and goalies are a lot better now and many things have changed. Last he coached the game was still open and offensive, turning defensive soon after he left. Now there have been new rules installed since the lockout, so it’s not the same game he coached before. Whether he can adjust or not is unknown, but chances are his old tactics won’t work the same, meaning he needs to rethink everything.

Player Response

Supposedly he’s a good person behind the bench and gets along with his players. But he was hired for his face and nothing else, he just happened to have coaching experience. How will players respond to that? The New owners seem intent on trying to bring help in by being aggressive in free agency, but all the talent in the world doesn’t help if they guy on the bench can’t do anything. The Pens tried that with Eddie Olczyk, bringing him from the announcer’s box to behind the bench and it failed horribly.

His analysis sucks

Melrose may be the guy ESPN plays up, but ask the fans and they don’t take what he says too seriously. He is not known for making good points (and frankly shows bias at times) and well, there is a reason he is on ESPN, a channel that doesn’t give a crap about hockey. People who like hockey go to internet sources for their hockey news (unless they’re in Canada where its everywhere they turn), not ESPN who normally is hours (at times and entire day) behind on hockey news. So you bring in a guy because of his face, but no one really watches him on the channel he worked at, and those who did agree he isn’t really good at it. Doesn’t seem too smart to me. Tampa better hope his coaching skills are better than his analyzing skills, otherwise no one on the ice will take him seriously and it will be like chickens running around with their heads cut off like so:

It’s all about the mullet

You may think this is just a running mullet joke I am making, but honestly, and hockey fans like Mahatma can back me up on this, Melrose is known more for his out of date haircut than anything. And even worse, that is what ESPN played him up with. Yes, the largest sports network built up their hockey guy by promoting his hair. The Mullet, the Mullet Man (no relation to the Muffin Man), or various other incarnations were used to promote him and hockey. So when Tampa wanted a guy with a face behind the bench, well they only got one with hair. What are people going to say? “Hey, you here that mullet guy is coaching the Lightning? Let’s go see a game!” I can see the ticket sales going through the roof now…

So basically what Tampa has done is really idiotic. I don’t see him being successful as a coach, and I definitely don’t see him drawing in fans because no one gave a crap about him when he was with ESPN. They would have been better off just making John Tortorella, a successful coach they fired, just wearing a wig. This is why owners should not get involved in hockey operations.

Good Meat

Just got back from an interesting night out on the "Lower West Side" with Mahatma which involved a 2 year old replay of a Chelsea FC match, BH puking a mouthful on the bumper of an Audi and a goth bar where the drinks were stronger than most of the melanin-deprived losers dancing to the electronica. But to cap the night off, I have to say I had a top 3 steak of my life tonight at The Ear Inn on Spring St. I know we normally dont give restaurant reviews, but its been awhile since I had as fulfilling a steak/Guinness/pub experience. Its been in operation since a black man named James Brown opened it in 1817(no word on whether there was an R&B open mic night back then), and it hasn't lost any of its old school charm. I highly recommend this place for dinner and a few pints.

As an added bonus, heres some sweet footage from the Electric Light Orchestra circa whenever hair like that was legal.

Props to T-Bag for the vid, no matter what it says about his taste in music.