New Poll

Should Brian Burke match Kevin Lowe's offer for Dustin Penner?
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Is their also a Bettman Button?

For anyone who has ever wondered how it is that such bad reffing can happen in basketball, the blog Basketbawful gives us the explanation;

"The Stern Button"

Makes you wonder if there isn't a Bettman Button as well, no?

So much so, that encourage the FUNHL to submit your Bettman Button moments for review.

C'mon, who get the whistles (or non-whistles) that would give this conspiracy some teeth?

(cross-posted to Cameron's blog)


Belated Father's Day Post

I found an occasionally hilarious sports blog called '100% Injury Rate', that had this priceless recap of illegitimate children fathered by athletes.

Even better than the article though are some of the comments;

"larry johnson gets extra points for rolling up to his paternity suit in a limo and sweatpants"
- butterteam

"The best part about Gary Payton is that his illegitimate kid is named "Gary Payton, Jr." so that when his wife (or whatever) had a kid, and he wanted a junior, he couldn't do it without major confusion, so he named his legitimate kid "Gary Payton II."

True story."
- ME Foreman

"I don't know how many of them were actually "illegitimate" but former Montreal Canadiens goaltender George Vezina had 22 children."
- Anonymous

"Vezina had 22 kids? Maybe that's why they named a trophy after him."
- Colin

"Bill James (the baseball statistics God - CH)would not approve of such a simple "statistic" as total number of illegitimate kids. I propose an illegitimate paternity slugging percentage as follows:

(#bastards with hot women) -
(#bastards with ugly women)
#bastards + #legitimate kids

Even Mormons can have a lot of legitimate kids with ugly women and that shouldn't count for much. It's the number of bastards with hot women that really distinguishes the alpha guys."
- Anonymous

"How did Bennie Blades not make this list? Six kids, six women. And what about Rod "He Hate Me" Smart? Five for five. Apparently, he also hates contraception."

It's the silly season...

So I'm posting about this newsworthy (?) event.

Is it just me, or is she actually crying at being caught on camera holding hands with him?


Dustin Penner - Oiler?

James Myrtle has the breakdown on the offer sheet information so far, but it looks like Kevin Lowe is now pursuing the phenomena we experienced last year known as 'driving the other GMS in your pool with RFA's CRAZY by trying to sign someone, anyone, to be on your team'.

As I recall, Mike started with no fewer than 6 RFA bids before he snagged and only stopped bidding on them when Daniel Sedin was the best guy left (and who it would seem, Mike had targeted all along).

For the Oilers, first it was the debacle mega-offer to Nylander (and I think Lowe dodged a self inflicted wound on that one), then, the young and mobile offensive defenseman for the old and nasty fan-favourite trade (with a subplot of cagey local-ish vet on his last legs for disgraced local boy grand-son of the owners for whom expectations were too high) that brought them the soon to require a raise Pitkanen, followed by the not-quite a debacle mega-offer to Vanek, the sad overpaying for turnstile defender Souray, and now this.

If the Ducks (Brian Burke - and I for one, can't wait to see the interview footage), decline to match the offer, the Oilers give up their 1st, 2nd and 3rd in next years ED as compensation.

is absolutely livid.

Here's why Lowe did it.

Penner is still young (25) and growing into his massive frame and skill set. The perfect manifestation of 'big guys take longer'. If the stars align themselves properly, he's still progressing offensively and enters the 'LeClair, Bertuzzi, Neely' world. The Oilers are a team brimming with soft, fast, playmakers of various levels of ability and lack a one-touch finisher who goes to the net with authority and ill intentions. In other words, he fits the profile for what the Oliers need in the worst way, a talented shooter with brawn.

The price tag starting with the $4.3M cap hit strikes me as a high - but fair for an RFA. If Penner takes it up a notch he's worth every penny.

The second part of the equation is harder to deal with. Leaving aside the 2nd and 3rd, is Penner worth the 1st the Oilers part with?

I think so. Given the record the Oilers have for competing just hard enough not to be complete jokes, and as such, the Oilers will be 40/60 to make the playoffs and avoid the lottery.

But that other 40% is the issue. Say Penner comes over and gets hurt. The team nose-dives all year long (throw in a panic trade or two to gut the franchise) and find themselves in the bottom 4 teams. What would you want more in those circumstances, your first rnd pick? Or Dustin Penner?

The flipside of all this is that Burke insisted he would match any offer. But doing so puts the Ducks at $52M (not counting a Niedermayer retirement), and it would make the team hard-pressed to match if Niedermayer is to return. Three picks in a good draft is excellent compensation for a late bloomer who is still not definitively heading towards the Rick Tocchet portion of the powerforward class rather than into permanent Brad May territory.

All in all, it's a good gamble for the Oilers to take, and it's a solid bet that Burke will call Lowe's bluff and let him go.

Either way, I bet it makes for an interesting GMs meeting between the two.


Bachelor party seems to be flying along just fine, but then Staals and goes into a nose-dive

Get your Staal bros. mugshots here.

(Cam, and others, I went in to the post and put up the actual photos - above - already but the linked story is still well written and well worth a gander at, as is the site itself.)

Carolina Hurricanes' centre Eric Staal and younger brother, Pittsburgh Penguins' Jordan Staal, were among 14 people arrested in Cook County, Minnesota Monday after the elder Staal's bachelor party got out of hand.

Where do FPs come from?

well, times are changing.

new fps to be picked [maybe if some are dropped]

if we look at the current fp roster we will find the following:

1 fp from rnd 7 of the nhl ed = hejduk
1 fp from rnd 5 = turco
3fps from rnd 3 = richards, lidstrom, chara
1 fp from rnd 2 = elias

18fps from rnd 1 = jovo-cop, sakic, thornton, pronger, jagr, heatley, hossa, iggie, brodeur, luongo, naslund, ovechkin, kovalchuk, forsberg, neidermeyer, sundin, tanguay, and marleau

future fps
zetterberg picked in rnd 4
datsyuk picked in rnd 6
savard in rnd 4

does it matter as long as they produce?


maybe cam's fp theory is correct?


New Poll

Which of the following teams will replace their FPs?
Personal Vendetta - Forsberg
The Shadowmen - Jovanovski
The Shadowment - Sakic
The Edge - Elias
The Knights Templar - Naslund
The Knights Templar - Hejduk
The Scourge - Sundin
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Quote of the Day

"Every year there’s an article about how the season should be cut down to 72 games, or 60, or 10; I say fuck that noise. I believe just the opposite; the season needs to be at least 10 games longer.

Why must the season be lengthened, you ask? Well, for one, we need hockey. If you follow hockey every other sport seems to be played in slow motion. I mean, sure, I like baseball, but have you ever tried to watch a game from beginning to end? It’s like watching a hockey game, but if every player was Chris Chelios."

RudyKelly at the Battle of California blog


You will suffer humiliation when the sports team from my area defeats the sports team from your area.

"The day of the game will soon be at hand. And no matter how hard you pray to a higher power or how many foam accoutrements you wear in support of the team from your area, your team will be defeated. We will win and you will lose. This is your fate.

Prepare for humiliation. It shall be upon you at the designated hour."

A classic from the Onion.

STATS FOR 2007-08

I believe Darrell stated he was going to step down from doing stats this next season. Not sure that is official or not... if so, Doug are you set up to do them since you were pretty much providing back-up stats for much of last season anyway? I can help with doing back-up as I always track my own team and at least whoever I play in H to H each week + often a couple of others.


He's Going Home, The Russian Is Going Home!

Yashin Returns To Play In Russia

In a tip of the hat to the call of the Philadelphia Flyers - Central Red Army game of January 11, 1976. The Cold War era Super Series "exhibition" pitted the dominant Red Army team, who entered the game undefeated against NHL opponents on that tour, against the defending two-time Stanley Cup Champion Flyers. Ed Van Impe had just layed out Valery Kharlamov, arguably one of the greatest players to play the game, with a hard/vicious body check. When no penalty was called, after Kharlamov laid on the ice for over a minute, the Russian coach took his players off the ice and refused to continue playing the game. NHL President Clarence Campbell explained that if they did not return, they would not be paid - for the whole series - they did return. The Broad Street Bullies dispatched Red Army, in the putative "World Championship" game, 4-1.

Anyhow, it looks like Alexei is also only going to come back to the NHL if someone shows him the money, which no one is willing to do, so good bye. Good luck. Good riddance.


FunHL Entry Draft September 29, 2007 10:00 am Mountain


Season in Review: The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar entered the season with a chip on their shoulders. The previous season saw them undergo a collapse of Biblical proportions falling from near contention to last place in a matter of weeks. Receiveing the Herbivore was only made worse by knowing how it had been "won". Still, entering this season there was hope - if for no other reason then they couldn't possibly be that bad again. Indeed, on the final week of the season the Knights had the second best week in the pool and managed to move up to 5th spot. A respectable finish but only a taste of what the team hopes the future holds.

FPs: The Knights Templar started and finished with two of the more uninspired FPs available. On right wing they have Milan Hejduk (70pts) and on left wing they have Markus Naslund (60pts). Both are capable of so much more but the question is how much longer will they be given an opportunity to show it?

Draft: The Omnivore baseline rates the Knights Templar as the 7th best team coming out of the draft at approximately the same 951pts they would finish the season with. The Knights' first four selections were lw D.Sedin (84pts), rw M.St.Louis (102pts), c S.Gomez (60pts) and g J.Theodore (21.56pts). While the first two selections were very strong, S.Gomez was selected with the hope of a bit more production and J.Theodore was a disaster in net.

Sedin was a selection that was much ridiculed at the time however in hindsight, Sedin's point-a-game pace was the most by any available left winger. Before settling on Daniel Sedin, the Knights Templar would make four attempts to poach RFAs on other teams: Spezza, Zetterberg, Gaborik and Cheechoo - ironically only Spezza's 87pts were more than the 84 that D.Sedin finally earned. Indeed, the Knights would probably have been worse off had they been successful in almost all of their attempted poaches. In all the Knights Templar would make 8 attmepts to poach another team's RFAs, being successful on two occasions: B.Rolston (64pts) in the 5th round and C.Campoli (14pts) in the 12th round. The Knights would also match bids on three of their RFAs.

Moving Forward: The true test of any team is whether they can improve. Clearly this past season was preferable to the one that came before but many of the same concerns continue to plauge it. A weak defense, only the Severed Heads and Edge got less points from their blue-liners, is one concern. Their first three drafted defensemen were Berard (3pts), Ohlund (31pts)and M.A.Bergeron (46pts) so problems were to be expected but the sacrifice on defense, a trade-off many teams feel they need to make, was not balanced out by exceptional production at another position. The Knights had a sold 221pts on left wing, thanks in large part to D.Sedin and prospect T.Vanek, but that was the most points they got at any position.

It is also fair to ask whether the Knights have been too cautious on the trade front. To succeed in the FunHL you do not have to be constantly making deals, indeed the Shadowmen have shown the limits of "fighting the future" with excessive trading but you do need to be proactive in improving your team. Trading entails taking risks and if you continue to hold out for the obvious "win" on the trade front, then you are likely too close to the trade deadline to change the outcome in a significant way. You don't need to make a lot of trades, see the Personal Vendetta and their success for evidence of this, but you do need to identify your strenghts and weaknesses and then go out and find a way to improve your team. The Knights have shown that they are able to do this but they need to do more if they are to excell past mere mediocrity.

FPs: As noted above, the Knights Templar have two of the league's most uninspiring FPs. Naslund and Hejduk were only able to outscore the current FP pairs of the Shadowmen and the Personal Vendetta and both teams were dealing with FPs who missed considerable stretches of time with injuries in Jovonovski and Forsberg, respectively. The left-right combination that seemed so potent only a few years ago has not aged/developed as expected. There is certainly an arguement to replace one, if not both, of these FPs in the near future and fate has intervened to give the Knights their best opportunity in years to do just that. The FunHL Slot Selection Lottery has vaulted the Knights Templar into the cat-bird's seat for the Entry Draft and with the first-overall selection the crop of available potential FP-replacements include, among others, V.Lecavalier (108pts) and J.Spezza (87pts prorated to 106pts). With the first pick the options are many and the real issue may be choosing which player makes the most sense to select. Its always difficult to replace an FP but there is no better opportunity to do so then when you have the first overall pick.

One of the difficulties in making the switch comes when one feels that they are giving up on a quality FP for a chance at an exceptional one. Here, again, fate may have interevened. Several other teams are looking at replacing their current FPs but are not blessed with as favourable draft position. With S.Niedermayer's impending retirement, a trade of either Naslund or Hejduk to the Wolves may give some return to the Knights before selecting their replacement. While the arguement exists that both FPs need to be replaced, one of those potential replacements may be already be under contract...

Prospects: Tomas Vanek (84pts), the newest $50 million man, is clearly getting paid FP money in the "real" world and is showing FP ability at only 23 years of age. Vanek is only a P3 so he doesn't need to be promoted for two more years but it is reassuring to know that he is available when the time comes. What may be even more promising for the Knights is that Vanek may not even be the best prospect on the team - that honour, arguably, belongs to A.Radulov (37pts) who was a bright spot during the Predator's aborted playoff-run last season. He will only get more ice-time as the next season gets underway and shows no lack of confidence in whether or not it is deserved - it is. I'd like to try and convince Mike that Radulov will not be that good, but his talent is simply unmissable. He will be be an elite level forward before his prospect status runs out.

P.O'Sullivan (19pts) and S.Weber (40pts) are not FP calibre but they both can make important contributions, particularly Weber who is already able to take a regular roster spot. S.Upshall (16 pts) should earn a second look now that he has been traded to the Flyers. G.Latendresse (29pts) will get every chance to show that he belongs with the Habs but my suspicion is that he will not shine - but I have been wrong (many times) before. N.Kronwall (22pts) seems incapable of putting an injury-free season together and as a p4 he will not likely remain with the Knights. P3 goaltender H.Toivonen (-3.43pts) did not grab the reins when given the chance and with Fernandez and Rask in the system, Toivonen's days as the Bruins goalie of the future would seem to have passed.

Prospect picks: The Knights Templar are unchanged as far as prospect picks go for the 2007 Prospect Draft. Selecting 8th, the Knights ought to be able to get a solid prospect, though its likely they would not be able to make a significant contribution for a couple of years. One option to consider might be goaltending prospect C.Price in Montreal. If still available, he is the premier goaltending prospect out there and is already demonstrating that the AHL is his plaything. He will be a good one and goaltending was a sore point for the Knights last season.

RFAs: The cream of the Knights Templar RFA crop are H.Sedin (81pts) and D.Langkow (77pts) at center. Either one would be very reasonable to match, for reasons expanded upon below I would be reluctant to match on both unless you are willing to forego striving for an elite level center.

Among B.Clark (39pts), J.Modry (18pts), A.Aucoin (16pts) and F.Beauchemin (28pts) on defense there ought to be two players who may be able to contribute from the back-end. My choices would be Aucoin and Beauchemin but it really is a guessing game. Beauchemin has shown himself capable of filling in as a more offensive option when injuries to C.Pronger forced the role upon him and while 49PIM is a modest number, Beauchemin always seems to threaten to explode for more.

While Ribeiro (59pts) has some value at center as a fourth-line injury replacement, if he ends up on the Knights' roster to start the season along with both Sedin and Langkow - there are some serious deficiencies in terms of elite level pivots that will need to be addressed. Finally, Neil (28pts + 44.25pts TG) provides one element that is always sought after - toughness. I personally prefer to have my toughness as a bonus from a player whose primary contribution is pts or, barring that, from a defensemen so that the hit in terms of point production is not so great but at the end of the day points are points, however they are come by, and a good goon like Neil can generate them in bunches.

Overall: The Knights Templar have always been a team that threatens to enter the elite but never quite gets there. Their highest finish was third, accomplished in 2000 and 2002, but there were always factors holding them back from entering the upper echelon of FunHL teams. That may all be about to change. Vanek and Radulov are salavatingly good prospects and with a chance to replace one of their current FPs with the player of their choice in this season's Entry Draft, the Knights Templar have been afforded a unique opportunity that they will not want to squander. If GM Getta continues to build up the foundation, the future of this team is very bright indeed.


A Flames fan asks the burning question....

Can Mike Keenan convert to Kristianity?

I recall hoping that Huselius would be rescued from Florida by the Flames, figuring he was caught in the purgatory that Keenan frequently tossed his least favourite players into, and knowing that Huselius had all-world talents still to be exploited.

I too shudder to think at what kind of horror show Huselius will face as Keenan arrives to take over in Calgary.

Here's the money quote for poolsters;

"For fantasy leaguers, especially those without reserve spots, NOW is the time to sell Huselius. While Keenan will try and paint a public rosy picture, one or both of the parties will still harbor ill will towards the other. Huselius will very likely experience a drop in production until Keenan is fired and/or Huselius is traded. Some bumbling GMs will think that Huselius can earn the trust of Keenan and keep producing. Get those suckers to bite!"

Attn: Suckers - you have been warned.


It's A Sign...

Yep...a sign of the impending apocalypse...



Well Doug, you apparently have a superstar Oiler to watch that is also one of your RFAs. The power play is defintely going to be entertaining but poor Roloson. The Flames may get less shut-outs vs the Oilers now but the score differential should increase ;-)


Highlanders Lock Up Future

The Highlanders, following up on the three-year $21 million extension given to Highlander FP center and 2006 Art Ross and Hart Trophy Winner Joe Thornton, are happy to announce that they have signed P4 center and 2007 Art Ross and Hart Trophy Winner to a five-year $45 million extension. "With both Joe and now Sidney under contract for the long-term, we are very hopefull that the Highlanders and their fans can continue to challenge for the Predator Cup for years to come" GM Doug McLachlan explained to reporters this morning.


Bladerunners - Shadowmen Trade

SHADOWMEN get: Skille-L CHI (P2), Kraijcek-D VAN (P4)

BLADERUNNERS get: L.Eriksson-L DAL (P2), Roy-C BUF (RFA)

I have to hand it to Bob on this one, I think, but it's intriguing all round, for a summer deal.

Skille is one of the Chicago Six (Skille, Toewes, Kane, Barker, Bolland, and Richmond), a group of up and coming Blackhawk prospects (and if they develop I might add either Aliu or Makarov to that list for nice Chicago Seven reference). He's a power forward with goal scoring ability, and he'll get his chance to feed on minutes as the Hawks rebuild from within. Kraijcek is a puck moving defenseman who never found a home in Florida and seems to struggle to stay in the lineup in Vancouver. He could finally break through this year and have a Nolan Baumgartner type season, or he could continue as a 'tweener' - too good for the AHL, just not quite good enough for the NHL.

On the flip side, Brian picks up Louis Ericksson, a big soft handed winger with great speed, but little playmaking ability, and (from what I've seen) limited hockey sense. Dallas (like Chicago) needs some forwards to develop from within, but unlike Chicago, pretty much all they have on the vine is Ericksson. Roy is also intriguing, if only because the two pivot spots on the roster ahead of him are now wide open thanks to big money defections. Still, Roy has had so many kicks at the Buffalo roster, one wonders if he'll ever be strong enough to carry the scoring load of a 1st or 2nd liner.

So, if we call the value of Kraijcek and Roy roughly even (Roy is the better player, but Kraijcek has the easier position to be a relevant contributor) than it comes down to the quality of the prospect P2, and in this case, I think it's clearly Skille.


Quote of the Day

"This whole thing strikes me as silly anyway. Two years from now, when Kevin Lowe is the VP of Remembering the Eighties and someone (competent?) is running the show, I’d suspect that the Oilers management will be happy not have Nylander around pulling down $4.75 or whatever he got from Washington. The only downside I can see is that I pretty much have to withdraw my comments about them seeming to have a plan. I think that they got lucky here. Maybe it’s for the best that their attention was diverted from spending money on UFA’s for the past few days - I’d hate to see what they could have done with that money."

- Tyler at mc79hockey.com

EXACTLY - whine all you want, but you got screwed out of they guy we lovingly refer to as 'Balsa-Man'.

Hell is to be in Phoenix or an Islander

James Myrtle has the goods.

Ok, so here's the good news for each team (such as it is);

Phoenix has both Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal coming up the pipe. Jeff Taffe, after years toiling for AHL teams could be a top line forward on the squad. Enver Lisin and Blake Wheeler may also get promoted to full time duty, and there is even a chance (ok, it's pretty freakin slim chance) that Alexei Kaigodorov can get coaxed back from the Russian hinterland Ottawa exiled him to.

Heck, maybe they can bring Jeremy Roenick back!

The Islanders, well they have Kyle Okposo coming along, Petteri Nokkelainen, Jeff Tambellini, and...Sean Bergenheim. Ewww. It's going to be a LONG season for Garth Snow.

Both clubs have essentially been gutted of their forwards, so one thing I think could happen is Yashin to Phoenix (cuz we know he won't be going back to the Islanders!), and Jason Allison to the Islanders - where he can sleepwalk through his dottage.

Both teams should continue to be craptastic through the John Tavares derby in two years time.

- You can check out the salary committments for the Coyotes Here
- And likewise see a list of contracted Islanders Here.

In both cases the teams will need to sign a significant number of players just to reach the basement salary expectations of the CBA, not to mention, the need to field a full 4 lines of forwards and a complimentary defense corps. In other words, both the Coyotes and Islanders will need to look way, way up - just to see bottom.

Oilers - pwned!

Once again the Oilers and their fans get used like kleenex!

This time, Michael Nylander and his agent use a contract agreement with Edmonton to extort a few more $'s from the Capitals and then let the Oilers know that they have moved on by letting them find out two days later when his signing with the Capitals is formally announced!

Pure BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again)

Couldn't happen to a nicer city.

**Update: here is a strong recap on how the whole thing went down. Once again, the Battle of Alberta boys are right on top of things.


What team had the biggest Free Agency Frenzy?
Gomez and Drury to the Rangers
Flames re-sign Iginla, add Sarich, Nolan
Sharks re-sign Thornton
Caps add Nylander and Poti
Oilers trade Smith and Lupul for Pitkanen and Sanderson
Anaheim replaces Niedermayer with Schneider, Selanne with Bertuzzi
Rafalski to the Red Wings
Jeff Blake and Toskala to the Leafs
Briere to the Flyers
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Even More NHL Signings

Well, first, i agree with Cameron's last post. The deal with free agency is the player has the final choice...However, front-loaded contracts look scarier than they truly are, hence Gomez has the highest average salary at 7.35 million where Briere [10million in yr1 averages 6.5 million over his contract similar to Drury.]

Bertuzzi goes to Anaheim with Schneider [i guess Neids and Teemu are retiring]

Nylander joins Viktor Kozlov and Poti in WSH [the new Russia house]

Nagy, Calder, Preissing and Handzus in LA

Lang signs in CHI

Hamrlik and Smolinski in MTL

Regher re-signs in CGY, Nolan signs in CGY but when will Iggy officially re-sign?

Bonk, Ortemeyer, deVries to NSH; Mason re-signed

So Souray is asking too much? Probably for California!

Allison and Yashin want to play in the NHL

Shanny will re-sign with NYR [They 12 million under the cap]

We'll see, but this not the CBA's fault...Gambling maybe...
James Mirtle, the Battle of Alberta, and Tom Benjamin are all having a go at what the new landscape looks like now that the Free Agency frenzy has settled out.

I for one am not so alarmist, so lets take a look at how this has actually played out;

- Buffalo lost Sarich, Briere and Drury in this round - to the Flames, Flyers and Rangers respectively. Was it because the Sabres wouldn't spend like a 'big market' team? No. They offered Drury identical money to what the Rangers offered him - Drury chose to go to New York to finish his career rather than stay in Buffalo. Can you blame him?

- Among the teams hot in the bidding for Briere was Montreal - a team that reportedly offered Briere identical money to what the Flyers offered. Could it have turned out differently with Briere signing in Montreal? Absolutely. Briere could well have decided to follow the cash to Montreal and it's Francophone communities just as easily as he followed the Flyers and his buddy Biron.

- Calgary (and let's be clear, a small market team) re-signed Iginla, and signed both Sarich and Nolan, as well as being players in the Ryan Smyth sweepstakes. How indicative of small market in behaviour is that? Sure they let Hamrlik go, but he had run his course with the team anyway (and ended up in...Montreal!).

- The Rangers, the team everybody is using as the poster-child for big market teams, actually has a couple of advantages in signing players others don't. First, they have Jagr and his superstar contract at half price (thanks to the Washington debacle where they are still paying half of it), and secondly, they are the Big Apple. As places to be a pro athlete go, New York is about as good as it gets. Endorsement deals, Letterman appearances, etc., New York has it all. Thirdly, the team has the money to spend right to the cap limit every year - so they will always be an attractive destination for marquee free agents. Taking a look at those three advantages, and none of them are the CBA's fault - that's reality.

- Edmonton. Did they offer Ryan Smyth the kind of money the Avalanche did? No. Could they have? Yes. They chose not to. Did they make Pronger a big signing two years back? Yes. did he leave because of the money? No, from all accounts he left because his wife thought Edmonton was a crappy place to live. Is that the fault of the CBA? Hardly.

- Last but not least, a salary cap that is based on an average of league revenues, and that has both a basement and a ceiling ensures that no team will spend far in excess of any others, but it also means that some teams will for fiscal reasons not be able to spend all the to the limit every year. This means a 'small market' team like Nashville won't be in the running to sign two or three big name free-agents every off-season - but they will be in the running to sign at least one or two if they choose. Is this a way for Bettman to screw the small market teams as lowered free-agency eventually prices them out of the market? Hardly. Iginla will sign at around the $7M mark. Thornton already has. Smyth could have been signed by the Oilers for 5/6ths what he ended up with in Colorado. Seems fair to me.


More NHL Signings

- Kariya to the Blues

Will add a ppg to the team, and could be the kind of fitness freak to inspire Keith Tkachuk to stay away from the buffet table.

- Poti to the Capitals

He's an expensive addition to run the powerplay given how lousy he's been at it for both the Rangers and Islanders the last half decade.

- Sydor to the Pens

Cause they were really lacking in puck-moving defensemen who aren't all that strong in their own zone.

- Sykora to the Pens

Will fill the role vacated by Ouellet, except he's twice as good and could score 100 goals with Crosby/Malkin/Staal as his pivots. Reports that Sykora has died and gone to heaven, are not confirmed.

- Smyth to the Avalanche

I bet Oiler fans are such losers they will faul to boo him when he comes back 12 times a year. Suckers. The good news is that Lowe extracted two marginal players and a mid-round 1st rnd pick for him. Ha!

And then from the 'really, who cares?' realm of signings;

- Perrault to the Chi-Hawks

He's found another team to be a third line checker for. Awesome. Expect the Leafs to have to trade for him as part of their stretch drive to make the playoffs.

- Brookbank to the Blue Jackets

Makes them tougher. In practices.

- Hamilton to the Hurricanes

Should light it up for their AHL affiliate till injuries strike.

- Dvorak to the Panthers



NHL Free Agent Signings

So far he's what I've heard:

- Drury to the Rangers

- Gomez to the Rangers

So no matter what line Jagr plays on he gets a ppg setup artist. Me Happy.

- Briere to the Flyers

Everyone saw this coming.

- Scott Niedermayer to retire

Putting the Wolves GM on suicide watch.

- Mathieu Schneider to the Ducks

For stupid ridiculous money.

- Brian Rafalski to the Red Wings

For way stupid ridiculous money.

- Joe Thornton signs a three year extension

In the neighborhood of $7M - which means he is compensated correctly.

- Jarome Iginla signs a 4-5 year extension

See my comments re: Joe Thornton.

- Zubov takes one year extension with the Stars

With the decline of Modano, Zubov is now their best player.

- Ryan Whitney signs 6 year deal with the Penguins

At an average of $6M a year the Penguins are all but calling him a 'franchise defenseman'. At our next ED, so will someone from the FUNHL.

- Scott Hannan signs in Colorado

Nice pick up. Once again, The AVs do the smart thing.

- Viktor Kozlov signs with the Capitals

'Russia House' is getting full. This probably puts to bed the rumours of the Capitals making a play for Yashin. Thank Goodness! I've got Niklas Backstrom to worry about, and adding one starter at centre is quite enough.

- Michel Ouellet to the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bolts needed cheap offensive fire support - and Ouellet gives them that.

- Jason Blake signs with the Leafs

This just makes me laugh. Jason Blake is a fine depth winger who will get way, way overpaid to score 30 goals on the first line. Typical Leafs maneuvering, like adding a 2nd string goaltender for 1st string money - when they already have a 2nd string goalie making 1st string money. Comedy Central should be this consistent.

- Minnesota trades Fernandez to the Bruins for lousy prospect and lousy draft pick.

Worth noting that with the D of the Bruins in front of him instead of Jacques Lemaire's cult of suicide warriors Fernandez will be lousy.

- Tkachuk signs two year extension with the Blues

They deserve each other.

- Edmonton reportedly trades Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to the Flyers for Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson. Oilers faithful must feel a special kind of numb seeing Joffrey Lupul (one of the big prizes from the Pronger departure) taking his 16 goals to Philadelphia along with Jason Smith - their Captain. I can't even laugh at Oiler fans anymore - it's like mocking a blind man for walking into something heavy. And sharp. Repeatedly.

- In related moves, the Oilers also sign not one, but TWO players who weren't in the NHL last season; Denis Grebeshekov and Tricky Dick Tarnstrom. It's officially wicked awesome to be an Oilers fan knowing those two guys will be working with Joni Pitkanen to guard a net filled by Dwayne (I'm 38 and cost a first rnd pick!) Roloson.

- The Flames sign Corey Sarich to a five year deal. Unhappy with how stealing slow footed defense first Rhett Warrener from Buffalo worked out, the Flames repeat the process by taking the slow footed defense first Sarich. It's not as laughable as what's going on in Edmonton, but then few things are.

- As it stands, still no word on where Ryan Smyth will end up - Bob Mackenzie indicated that no fewer than 9 teams (a third of the league) had put offers in for his services. For me, nothing could be better than if the Flames were to land him as that would be the absolutely purest killing blow to Oiler fans since Gretzky was traded.