It's a newsplosion
Whew, I think a lot of rabid hockey followers figured we'd be able to slip through the next few days until July 1 with relatively little news to speak of, but today had to be one of the bigger days in terms of headlines in months.
Here's a quick runthrough of the day's Top 10 news items (in order of newsworthiness, of course):
Goaltender Roberto Luongo's $28-million, four-year deal surprised a lot of the people because of the size of the figures, but you could see this was where things were headed. Given the trade Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis made, his job was essentially to ink Luongo to justify what he gave up. Nonis put himself in a position where he had to get Luongo inked long term, regardless of the cost, and this was what it cost. Not that that necessarily makes this a bad deal. What's hard to get over is that a goaltender who has yet to play a game in the postseason is one of the league's highest paid.
The Dallas Stars dump yet another albatross contract by forking out $4.5-million for their (former) star winger, Bill Guerin, not to play for them. Hard to believe.
While a lot of pundits are singing the praises of the new CBA for its 'parity' aspects, I simply like the fact that every team now has to pay through the nose for their mistakes. (Of course, that changes when the cap continues to rise past it's 2006-07 stopping point — $44-million.)
The Boston Bruins have a new coach, and the regime change is (almost) complete. I've got two things about Dave Lewis: a) he's almost certainly has the best points percentage (66.8%) of any available candidate, and b) he received somewhat of a raw deal in his last outing as a head coach and deserves a shot here with a team with more realistic expectations.
The Ottawa Senators keep their top defenceman for what appears to be the going rate: $6.5-million per year on a two-year deal. As the Canadian Press' Pierre LeBrun said on The Score earlier tonight, the reason for only a two-year agreement is that Redden really wants to win a championship. Read into that what you will about his views on how close that is to happening in Ottawa.
Aging wingerGary Roberts wants a move back to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but one has to think, at some point, GM John Ferguson Jr. is going to learn from having to buyout overpriced veterans (Belfour, Domi). Roberts makes more than $2-million a year, is 40 years old and is coming off a poor season. If that doesn't scream 'high risk, minimal reward,' I'm not sure what does.
Veteran blueliner Teppo Numminen had successful heart surgery yesterday and is on his way home to Finland. The soon-to-be 38-year-old Numminen had an unreal comeback season last year, and it seems the Buffalo Sabres are interested in bringing him back for one more year.
There's really nothing new to report, although the volume of traffic pouring in for news on this story is bordering on the ridiculous. A few confused souls even found my site by searching for this.
This may be the last I'll say, but if you're looking for all the juicy gossip, why not wade through the ugly business that has become the infamous Pronger thread?
There are very, very few hockey play-by-play men who are instantly recognizable, and that's including all of those here in Canada. Down south, the Pittsburgh Penguins' broadcaster Mike Lange was one of those. His entertaining brand of play by play always made it into Penguins highlight reels and gave a unique flavour to the team's TV broadcasts. Why then, he was let go today by FSN, is a complete mystery.
Penguins fans aren't happy: "This is a big mistake," said Chuck Kelly, 48, of Marshall, a Penguins season ticket holder for 18 years. "Mike Lange is the best announcer in all of hockey. They'll never get another one like him."
"Mike Lange is Pittsburgh. I probably won't watch another Penguins game," said Michael Plummer, 32, of West View.
- Hall of Fame
There was a little bit of a surprise when the Hall of Fame made its inductions earlier this week, mainly because a lot of the names mentioned as candidates — Doug Gilmour, Phil Housley, Pavel Bure — were all bypassed for less heralded candidates.
Inducted were Patrick Roy (a no-brainer), Dick Duff, Herb Brooks and Harley Hotchkiss.
There's a lot of history there, and I'll commend the committee on not merely going with the easy, recently retired choices. The Hall's already crowded with almost-stars, and there are a ton of worthy candidates from previous generations who were passed by.
Just in case you missed it, the American Hockey League has moved to bring in mandatory visors, a decision made in part due to the fact Anaheim Mighty Ducks' prospect Jordan Smith lost the vision in his eye this past season. The Globe and Mail's Tim Wharnsby had the story in yesterday's paper.