The Rick's Sports Blog

My Day With The Cup!!!

August 11, 2010
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If you have not heard on Friday Pat Kane will be bringing the Stanley Cup to South Buffalo.  It is something we have all dreamed about, having the day with the Cup.  I often wonder what a thrill it would be to be able to do whatever I wanted with it, go anywhere, see anything.  I decided to ask a few of my friends in the hockey world what they would do if they had the Stanley Cup for a day.  Here is what they had to say: 

First up I wanted a female perspective so I contacted Su Ring from CCPT Hockey on BlogtalkRadio every Sunday at 6pm EST. Su says: 

I’d start things off in true Seattle style: by having my favorite cafe (Cafe Vita) make the world’s largest latte in the Cup and share it with friends! Then, after carefully washing it, I’d head north to Everett, home of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. We’d have a party at center ice with the Cup, with fans and players taking turns posing with this Holy Grail of hockey. I’d ask fans to donate money for the photos and give that money to the Volunteers of America Food Bank, who regularly teams up with the Silvertips and fans to stock the food bank’s shelves and help feed thousands of hungry families. Our next stop would be Kent, home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, where we’d hold another party with players and fans. Donations from this stop would go to the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, who helps abused women heal and begin new lives with their children. We’d finish the day by hosting a big party at Lynnwood Ice Arena with youth skaters from all across the region. All donations made at this event would be funneled into a fund to help struggling families pay for their kids’ hockey equipment. I’d also make a stop with the Cup at a Seattle Mariners game, to rub it in… I mean, to show fans what a championship trophy looks like. 

I knew this would not be possible to do without having a person from Philly to let us know how they would do it in the City of Brotherly Love.  John Russo writes for Team To Beat and he said in Philly the way it’s done is:

If I had the Stanley Cup for the day, I would spend the day with it and my friends who I know are hardcore Flyers fans like me that have never seen an orange and black parade. The Cup means a lot to Philadelphia fans, who embraced ice hockey in the mid-70’s with the Broad Street Bullies and hasn’t let go since.

We’d go bar hopping with the Cup with each of us getting to drink from the Cup like our favorite players have done before hand. Sharing in the tradition has always been a passion of hockey fans and I’d love to share that with others. 

I knew I couldn’t ask a Philly fan without asking a Rangers fan how they would celebrate with Lord Stanley, I went to my friend diehard Rangers fan Paul Gheduzzi who is quite the adventurer: 

Even though it is typically during the summer that most players like to have their 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, I would do it during the Christmas holiday break. I’d still technically be on the defending champion’s team, so I want it to be in the early winter I get to enjoy my special day with the toughest trophy to win in sports.

Where would I take it, you ask? I feel the Stanley Cup has never been to this one place before. Most likely not. I would bring it to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Why? It is one of the coldest places in the United States and you do not want to be there in January. It can get to wind chill temperatures that border those you would see in polar regions of our planet.

First I’d have a dogsled team make the hike up to the summit where the Mount Washington Observatory is located. I’d pack an ice cream maker with my supplies. After myself, my family and my closest friends arrive, we then make the ice cream. Before it becomes rock solid from the subzero temperatures, we take pictures with the Stanley Cup on the snow-covered observation deck with ourselves in winter gear. Then we go inside and eat the ice cream out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup.

While many NHL players have eaten things out of the Cup, I wanted to go somewhere different for it. I thought of where the Niedermayer brothers took it in mountainous British Columbia three years ago, so I felt why not a place in the northeastern United States with extreme cold, right in the spirit of hockey season. 

Finally I had to go to what is considered an untraditional hockey market to get the take of a southerner on what he would do with the Cup.  I contacted the biggest Predators fan I know Buddy Oakes from Preds On The Glass found on Blogtalkradio’s Monday evenings at 8 EST and at Predsontheglass.com Buddy has a plan to spread the word:

If I had the Stanley Cup for a day, on the practical side, I would use it to promote hockey in the outlying Middle Tennessee area. Nashville and the immediate adjoining counties has pretty good awareness of the Predators and the NHL product and has been the focus of the Pred’s marketing efforts.

The remainder of the mid-state area is hardcore football country with strong ties to the Tennessee Vols, the Alabama Crimson Tide (unfortunately), and the Titans. The Predators pre-season caravans have stayed close to Nashville so a swing through the backwoods with the Cup and a couple of Predator players could open a few eyes to something different for many folks.

A more whimsical side of me would like to take the Cup deep into the center of Bryce Canyon and place it on the top of one of my favorite hoodoos or to the top of Cathedral Rocks in Sedona for cool photos.

 

  

There are so many different things people would do if they had the Cup for a day.  From partying wild, promoting the game, earning money for charity and even eating homemade ice cream on top of a mountain with it.  I guess this post would not be complete without me giving my dream day with the Holy Grail of  Hockey. 

I would first take the Cup to Caz Ice Rink in South Buffalo, where the kids could see it and take pictures.  My next stop would be Niagara Falls, now I know the Cup has seen the Falls before, but not from the view I would show it.  I have always been a bit of adventurer, so I would take the Cup into a barrel with me and go over Niagara Falls with it.  I know it is dangerous, but I think it would go down as one of the legendary tales in the adventures of Lord Stanley.  After I was detained for a few hours (so local authorities could also get their picture with it)  I would bring it to some of my favorite bars in South Buffalo and Lackawanna so my pals could have a sip out of it.  Finally I would take it back home so my family could have a few moments to spend enjoying The Stanley Cup in all it’s glory.   

That’s about it.  Please post remarks on what you would do with the Cup or if you have any comments about what anyone here had to say feel free to let them fly.  I want to give a special thanks to Su, Buddy, Paul and John for posting their dream day with the greatest trophy in sports.   

 


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“The Larry Bird Rule” NHL Version

July 21, 2010
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If anyone hasn’t heard, last night the NHL rejected the Ilya Kovalchuk 17-year contract from the Devils.  The reasons this happened was that it was seen as an attempt to circumvent the salary cap.  I am not going to get into the semantics of whether the contract was good or if it was a shame.  That horse has been beaten to death.  Instead I think it is about time to discuss a solution to be able to stop these ludicrous contracts from being awarded.  This problem goes beyond that of the Kovalchuk, since the outset of the Cap Era NHL teams have done what they can to get around the cap.  This is not the first contract we have seen like this, maybe the most blatant, but certainly not the first.  Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger, Henrik Zetterberg and Roberto Luongo all received similar contracts in the last few years that added the “phantom” years on to the end of the contract in order to lower the cap number.  This was something that needed to come to an end.  I for one am glad that the NHL has put an apparent stop to these contracts at least for the time being.  Unfortunately, come next CBA this is bound to be a touchy situation, one that may help lead to a work stoppage.  This is something no fan wants to see and more than likely would seriously damage the NHL.  It is for this reason I devised a plan to help teams be able to retain assets without worrying about the Cap.  The NHL should adopt a version of “The Larry Bird Rule. 

For those who do not know what The Larry Bird Rule is here is the definition:

A salary cap exception, it is so named because the Boston Celtic were the first team permitted to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own players (in that case, Larry Bird). Free agents who qualify for this exception are called “qualifying veteran free agents” or “Bird Free Agents” in the CBA, and this exception falls under the auspices of the Veteran Free Agent exception. In essence, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. This means a player can obtain “Bird rights” by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof. It also means that when a player is traded, his Bird rights are traded with him, and his new team can use the Bird exception to re-sign him. Bird-exception contracts can be up to six years in length

It is something that the NBA has had some success with over the years and players have generally been accepting of this exceptions.  The pundits will say the owners will never agree to this because it creates a “soft cap” or a cap in which some exemptions would allow a team to go over.  Now in a way that is what the NHL has in effect, they allow players  to go onto Long Term Injured Reserve to be a cap exemption already.  So creating a soft cap is not such a bad idea.  Here is the outline plan I have for “The NHL Larry Bird Rule”

A) An Exemption can be granted only to a player drafted and develop by said franchise.

B) An Exemption can be granted to no more than one player and while said player is under contract no other player can be offered exemption status until the term of the contract expires.  At that time said team can either give exemption status to another player or back to the player whose contract just expired.

C) This Exemption status does not give a team exclusive rights to the player, said player is still eligible to negotiate with other teams if he so chooses, however no portion of his contract will be allowed to supercede the salary cap, when signing with another team.

D) The Exemption status automatically installs a no trade clause into the contract for the term of the contract, as to not allow the team to sign the player and trade him to another team so that team then can circumvent the cap.

E) The term of the Exemption contract can be no shorter than 4 years and cannot exceed 7 years. 

F) The Exemption contract cannot exceed the cap by more than 5% IE if the cap is at $50 Million a team can only spend $2.5 million over the Cap on that contract.  So in essence if the player has a salary of $7.5 million a year only $5 million will count against the cap. 

G) If a player is an Unrestricted Free Agent on a team that he was not drafted by and would like to go back to the team that drafted him, the player would not be granted Exemption. Any chance of Exemption is voided after the player leaves his original team, no matter the method whether it is through trade, free agency, waivers or defection.

By adopting my proposed plan, the NHL would be able close the loophole left open by the extended contracts with :phantom” years.  It also allows teams to reward their best homegrown talent’s loyality, by paying the player more than other teams would be able to.  It helps the team to keep the talent they invested time in money in, by allowing them to make a portion of the player’s contract exempt of the cap.  Now people will say how would this have an effect on a situation such as the Kovalchuk contract in New Jersey.  That is simple, one of the main reasons Kovalchuk has to be signed to a lower cap hit  is because Zach Parise is up for free agency next season. If there was a “Larry Bird Rule”  the Devils could then sign Parise to a higher contract at a lower cap hit.  Thus making it easier to retain him and Kovalchuk. 

Now I am not claiming that my plan is perfect. I am sure there are loopholes and finer points that would need to be worked up by the NHLPA and The NHL Legal Department, but I tend to think it is a step in the right direction.  I know that there could be revisions made and that a better plan could be put in place by more qualified people, but it offers a guideline of how the NHL could fix what has become an ongoing problem.  As always I would love to have you guys weigh in and comment on this idea or if you have ideas of your own, please post.


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How Do You Say It? Champion!!!!

July 18, 2010
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Before this weekend you no one knew the name Louie Oosthuizen (Whoost-Hazen), now it will be common place in the world of golf.  The young 27-year-old South African conquered golf’s legendary Old Course at St Andrews.  An amazing performance, King Louie took control on Friday and did not look back.  Winning by 7 strokes the second most in the modern history of St Andrews.  Playing a steady mistake free game, Oosthuizen did exactly what was needed to win the British Open, keeping the ball on the fairway and making key putts along the way.  A great win for a kid that no one knew coming in to the tourney. Oostuizen will now be mentioned in the same breath as South African greats, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.

Much of the weekend was spent learning how to pronounce Oozthuizen’s name.  People called him everything from Whoosterhizin, to Oosterheiz.  Now they can just simply call him Champion as he held off Lee Westwood and Paul Casey to win the Claret Jug.  Prior to his win on the Old Course, Oozthuizen’s best performance in a major was a 78th place finish at the PGA Championship in 2008.  This was truly a feel good story of the weekend, that provided many other memorable moments. 

No one will forget Miguel Angel Jimenez’s bank shot on 17

Or Tom Watson’s probable last walk over the Swilken Bridge on the 18th Fairway

Unfortunately, Watson had a rough day Friday and was unable to repeat the magic he created last year at the British Open where he lost in a playoff with Stewart Cink.  A 4-time winner of the Claret Jug, Watson still has a few Open’s left in him, but it is widely speculated he will not be back to St Andrews in 2015.

  The most memorable moment however was the unknown golfer from South Africa,  Louis Oosthuizen dominating the links course for his first ever major.  Without the fanfare or Vuvuzelas, King Louis is the Champion of The 2010 British Open.  2010 will be a year remembered for South Africa after hosting the FIFA World Cup, now we can add-on Louis Oosthuizen’s Open Championship into what is one of the most memorable years in South African sports.


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Back At The Old Course

July 15, 2010
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“If I had ever been sat down and told I was to play there and nowhere else for the rest of my life, I should have chosen the Old Course at St Andrews.”  

Those were the words said by the great Bobby Jones when describing St Andrews, where the British Open is being played this weekend. 

 

It’s hard to find a more special Tournament in Golf than when the British Open is being played at The Old Course at St. Andrews. The Stone Bridge,  The Road Bunker on the famed 17th hole are some of the special features on one of the oldest courses in the world.  Dubbed the “Greatest Course in The World” by Golf Digest in 2005, The Old Course is nearly 500 years old and has the unique feature of having 7 greens shared by 2 holes each. Something unheard of on the modern golf courses today.  It is where Champions are made. It is safe to say Tiger, Jack and Sam Snead were all able to enhance their legacy with their wins here.  While at the same time if you asked Arnold Palmer if there is one place he could have won during his career it would be St Andrews.  

Jack Nicklaus Says Goodbye to The Old Course

 

Who will win this year?  A cagey veteran Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, maybe an upstart like the young upstart Rory McIlroy or Shunsuke Sonoda. Don’t count out guys trying to win one last Major, such as Tom Watson or Nick Faldo.  My personal favorite for this British Open Justin Rose, things have been clicking for him this year and he is due for a British Open.  We will find out Sunday who will make history.  


Farewell To A Villain: A Eulogy for George Steinbrenner

July 14, 2010
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As everyone knows Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner passed away yesterday.  I felt it was fitting that The Rick’s Sports Blog post something about him.  Not being a Yankees fan or an avid baseball follower, I asked my friend and our newest contributor Michael N. Osborne, the biggest Yankee’s fan I know to write something up about the man. 

“Driving around today contemplating the life and death of George Michael Steinbrenner III, I started to list the many achievements and accolades the man has received over his 35 plus years as owner and managing partner of the New York Yankees. 

            I thought about ways to define the man who turned a $ 170,000 personal investment into a $1.3 billion empire; the man who put together seven World Championship teams; the man who paved the way for big time free agency and revolutionized the way that baseball was shown on television by being the first to sell the rights to cable networks and the first to develop his own, the YES network.

            Sure, Steinbrenner’s innovation and contribution to the game is unmatched; however, no one single championship, victory or dollar earned could ever quite define him like his role as professional sports’ greatest villain.

            In sports, when people don’t have anybody to root for, they find somebody to root against.  Steinbrenner filled that role perfectly through his mistreatment of players and managers; most namely Billy Martin, and his Pac-Manesque gobbling up of free agents; a practice he originally championed against. 

            He was the man that baseball fans loved to hate, the owner of the team that everyone loves to hate.  Across the globe, for every Die-Hard Yankees fan, there are two that hate them just as much.

            Baseball tried to kick him out twice; suspending him for two years in 1976 and later banning him for life in 1990. But you couldn’t keep him from scratching and clawing his way back on top because he needed the game and the game needed him.  Even famed penny pincher, Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, was quoted as saying that baseball needs guys like Steinbrenner to survive.

            Hell, even Yankees’ fans hated Steinbrenner at times; like when he threatened to move the team to New Jersey, or when he called out star players like Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly.

            Ultimately, “The Boss” was a villain because he demanded the most out of people and most of the time he got it.  The man who once said that winning came slightly ahead of breathing was the ultimate winner on the ultimate team in the ultimate city.  In the end, that’s what he was defined as and most vilified for, being the man who would do anything to win.

            Surfing around Facebook and Twitter this week you’ll find a lot of opinions on Steinbrenner, some good, some bad, but mostly you’ll find a lot of people who just wish that the owner of their teams had the balls to make the moves that defined Old George, the balls to take chances that sometimes drove fans crazy, the balls to win at any cost.

            I think that definition would suit Old George just fine.”

Michael N. Osborne

I want to personally thank Oz for taking the time to write this piece for us.

We here at The Rick’s Sport’s Blog want to send out our condolences to the Steinbrenner Family and the Yankee’s Nation.  RIP George Steinbrenner.


Things To Do In The Dog Days of Summer

July 14, 2010
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It’s the Dog Days of Summer and with the season long since passed, it is harder to find things to do with myself.  For hockey fans the most action packed event this offseason has been a staring contest between Ilya Kovalchuk and the LA Kings.

Outside of wondering who is going to blink first we have had nothing on the hockey front worth watching.  So our crack investigative team here at The Rick’s Sports Blog have found the best ways to occupy your time during the summer. Here is the list:

1. Get golf lessons from your favorite Maple Leaf.  Now we realize this point during the summer all teams are hitting the links, but we feel it is best to learn from the guys with the most experience. Whether it be Tomas Kaberle, Jeff Finger or Phil Kessel you will learn to master the courses of suburban Toronto with seasoned vets giving you pointers. 

2. Master playing the Vuvuzela, now I know many people found this instrument annoying, but just think how great it would sound if people learned to play a song.  Watch out organist the Vuvuzelist is coming in. You could be the first to play Chelsea Dagger on the Vuvuzela at the United Center in Chicago.

3. Crash a retirement party. There are a few to choose from here.  Rod Brind’amour, maybe Scott Niedermayer, but I recommend Keith Tkachuk. We know Tkachuk’s party will have the best buffet, but the boozing will be off the hook.  You will be able to get all wasted and  trash a hotel room without any issues from the authorities.

4. The Kyle Wellwood Ultimate Workout.  Those winter months add some unwanted pounds, order Kyle Wellwood’s Ultimate Workout. For $19.99 you will learn such great exercises as the Donut Curl and the Hot Dog Bench press.  You will run (well drive) a few miles as this set comes with coupons for 99 cent Big Macs at participating McDonald’s. It even has a testimonial from Professional Athlete Kobyashi on how Wellwood’s methods changed his career.

5. Last but certainly not least one of my favorite ways to kill the summer.  Going to the beach, whether it is with one of Sean Avery’s numerous sloppy seconds or just with a camera to get pictures of the scenery.  The beach is never a dull moment, even if you are just chilling on your hotel balcony it’s always fun just ask Mike Fisher.

So as you sit around bored wondering who Kovy is going to sign with, try some of these other options. They are sure to help pass the time.


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RIP Boss

July 13, 2010
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Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner Dies at Age 80.


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King Gilbert Ruler of Cleveland!!!!

July 9, 2010
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I did not want to get wrapped up in this hyped up media BS, that is Lebron James. I am not really a fan of the NBA, nor do I pretend to be. I was interested in what was going to happen, not because I wanted to see who he would sign with, but instead to see what the fans reaction would be. Would people respond positively to where he signed or how annoyed would they be about the production he made of it? Well I got my answers, it’s funny there was not much shock about where Lebron ended up, since this is something that has been in the works for 2 years. No one seemed to care that he is with the Heat or that he joined fellow All-Stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Instead everyone was outraged that he stopped the world and made himself the biggest news of the day. For a guy who claims to be a team player and selfless person, he proved to be a hypocrite by creating a media circus to promote himself. This press conference was not about the league, it was not about Miami, it was about Lebron James. ESPN is as much to blame as anyone. They have been feeding the machine for 10 years. The guy was a Sophmore in high school when ESPN started to make a big deal about him. They were showing his games on their channel long before he was in the NBA. They were so desperate to create a new Jordan that they went out of their way to do so. Well the one thing that is certain is Lebron James is no Michael Jordan. He is no Magic Johnson and not even a Shaq. For as talented as he is, he is the most self absorbed athlete in recent memory. Now I know that is a bold statement, but I challenge anyone to find someone else who put together a press conference of this magnitude to announce something that was pretty much a forgone conclusion a few weeks ago.

I feel bad for the fans of Cleveland who had their collective hearts ripped out as the biggest star ever to put on a uniform in that city abandoned them. Instead of saying from the begining he had no intention of returning to the Cavs, Lebron James led them on. He was like a cheap prom date that didn’t finish the job. Now I am no expert on how the business side of things works in sports. I sit back an observe and then comment on what I see. From what I saw here, Lebron did not finish what he set out to do in Cleveland. He was a native son of the region that turned his back on it. It hits hard for me as well, although I am not a basketball fan I live in a Rustbelt Town similar to Cleveland. I know what it feels like to be kicked when you are down, to be misled and given false hope. So to the fans of Cleveland I am rooting for you from now on. Not because James is no longer part of the organization, but because of how the true King Of Cleveland Dan Gilbert owner of the Cavs responded.

“Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;   As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers”

Truly a masterpiece, a work of art. Dan Gilbert just said to fans what every owner should during a time of adversity. I wish the owners of the franchises here and Buffalo would say things like this. There is a good chance the Cavs will be terrible next year, that doesn’t matter to me.  No matter how bad they are, how poor of a record they have I will be in their corner.  Dan Gilbert recruited a new fan to his team today. Go Cavs!!!!


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Times Change Between The Pipes

July 8, 2010
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Going into the 2010 Free Agency Period, we saw many starting goaltenders that were going to be changing teams.  Former Hart Trophy Winners and Vezina Finalists were among the net-minders that were to change addresses.  Big names like Marty Turco, Evgeni Nabakov, Jose Theodore and Chris Mason were among the names that were going to draw the most interest.  A week later we really see a shift in the NHL, with teams opting for more cost-effective options. 

In recent years teams have proven that you don’t need to have an all world goalie to win the Cup.  Look at the teams that won everything since the lockout.

Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes

JS Giguère Anaheim Ducks

Chris Osgood Detroit Red Wings

Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh Penguins

Antti Niemi Chicago Blackhawks

All steady but unspectacular goaltenders who were on reasonable contracts when they took home the hardware.  Meanwhile guys like Ryan Miller, Mikko Kipprusoff, Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo and Marty Brodeur have all had their difficulties in the post-season. All are under very lucrative long-term contracts. Teams have noticed this and taken stock of the fact that you do not need superstars in net.  You just need a team with a goaltender that can steal you a game or two in the playoffs. 

This philosophy is hurting the goalies that are on the market currently out of the players mentioned above Chris Mason is the only one to sign with a NHL franchise the Atlanta Thrashers. Mason took considerably less money than was expected and will more than likely serve as more of a mentor to the young Ondrej Pavelec, than as a starter.  We saw Evgeni Nabakov sign just yesterday with a team over in Russia where he will make $6 Million a year, something he was not going to see in the NHL.  Turco and Theodore are sitting out on the market still waiting for a suitor. One has to wonder why guys of their talent level are  out on the market, are they pricing themselves out of the market? 

Let’s look at the players in question and bring to light the possibilities. Marty Turco has been a great regular season goalie for the Dallas Stars for 10 years, he is over 35 and coming off a down year in Dallas. Some critics believe this is because of the team that was in front of him.  Dallas is seemingly in a re-building process, James Neal, Jamie Benn and Fabian Brunnstrom are replacing the Mike Modanos and Jere Lehtinens. Thus is the circle of hockey, Dallas brought in young Kari Lehtonen to shoulder the load as the team moves on younger.  Turco still has value left in the league, but teams cannot afford his asking price.  Teams that are close to winning a Cup with needs between the pipes are opting to go with cheaper options.  San Jose Sharks went with Antero Nittymaki a 30-year-old back up to lead the way.  Philly went after Turco but in the end opted to stick with Michael Leighton because of cap restraints. Now there is still a chance if Philly moves some money, that they can sign Turco. However for that to happen Turco will have to come down in his asking price.  So as of right now Marty Turco is out of work and most teams have their starting goaltender set already. He could be the next player headed to Europe.

Jose Theodore his story is much simpler, in Theodore we have a former Hart Trophy winner that despite so much promise at the beginning of the decade never could win a playoff series.  He has had stints in Montreal, Colorado and most recently Washington, but still has never won a playoff series.  Washington opted to go with the young largely untested Simyon Varlamov. Washington is said to be still looking for that vet, but with little cap space it seems like the pickings are slim. It is unlikely that the Capitals will dip back into the hair tonic to bring back Theodore.  At this point I have to think that Theodore probably will be relegated to a back-up goaltender someone with a youngster that needs veteran guidance at a discount price. 

One thing that is certain the longer these guys sit, the less money they will see.  The prime example is Marty Biron last season, many thought he was the best goalie on the market going into Free Agency last season. He sat and watched as teams picked up the more affordable options, finally signing a discount contract with the New York Islanders and being relegated to the bench for the majority of the season.  At this point if the goaltenders left on the market want to make money they may have to go to Europe. If they want to finish their careers as NHLers they will have to buck up like Biron did last season. Only time will tell.


Sabres Ink Rob Neidermayer

July 7, 2010
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Rob Niedermayer is now a member of the Buffalo Sabres the 35-year-old forward is a gritty forward not afraid to much it up in the corners. At 1 year 1 million this is a solid depth signing and will bring a nice leadership quality and Cup Ring to the team.


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