Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Two questions for the masses
Free agency brings the bad with the good

A lot of the talk the past few days has centred on which teams have transformed themselves into contenders in the wake of July 1, but I decided to journey into the depths occupied by the NHL's soon-to-be bottom feeders, and it's downright scary.

In light of that, I have just two questions:

(1) Who on earth is going to play for the Islanders this season?
No one has been willing to sign on the dotted line with GM Garth Snow (the team press release sent out to 'insiders' late Sunday bordered on heartbreaking) and the handful of lost boys on the roster (now that fearless leader Alexei Yashin was rolled into a carpet) consists of Rick DiPietro, Mike (Suitcase) Sillinger, Miroslav Satan, Richard Park, Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter, Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Chris Campoli and Freddy Meyer.

The team has a starting goaltender, five forwards, five defencemen, and absolutely no hope of attracting any free agents. The fanbase, pitchforks in hand, have even been fed Mike Bossy in the hopes they'll call off the dual lynchings scheduled 24 hours from now for Snow and Charlie Wang.

The team is (unwisely) listing their roster based on 2006-07 statistics and the players they've acquired to this point, which consist of Jon Sim and his good friend nothing. Bergeron's third in team scoring at the moment, and Park's 26 points have him sixth among forwards. And it's not as if there's a lot of scoring punch to be had out there.

Snow's next 15-year deal better be headed Slava Kozlov's way or it's going to be a long one in Long Island.

How's that for a team slogan?

The truth of the matter is that Snow and company had an absolutely asinine approach going into the midpoint of last season, and mortgaged the team's already meagre futures for a few unrestricted free agents to the point that they were loaded with 11 of them by the off-season. Guess how many decided to stick around?

What did Ted Nolan do to deserve this?

(2) Which team has the worst roster at the moment and will they have trouble hitting the league minimum?
With all that said regarding the Islanders, I'm not even sure Snow has assembled(?) the NHL's weakest cast so far.

My vote goes to the Coyotes, whose summer has consisted of buying out Dave (Still in the league!) Scatchard, and where the Maple Leafs' backup for their backup last season is the starting netminder and Ed Jovanovski is due $7-million — or $3.5-million per season-ending groin pull.

Phoenix's forward corps include Shane Doan, Steve Reinprecht, Freddy Sjostrom and not much else.

As I said, it's downright scary — and especially so when you consider the garbage cast in place is due roughly $27-million as it currently stands.
“We just have to be smart about what we do,” Gretzky said.
Who will pay to watch this team? Where is the hope here? Progress? Anybody?

It's unfathomable to me that, after missing the playoffs the past four seasons and hitting bottom repeatedly, the Coyotes are still at Ground Zero, trying desperately to unload undesirables like Nick Boynton and pinning their hopes on third-tier prospects like Sjostrom.

Given that even the Blackhawks, Kings, Blues, Capitals and Panthers have shown signs of life, Phoenix has been wholly passed in the turtle derby in the NHL's basement.

If this isn't the league's worst team this season, they've got only Garth Snow to thank.

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At 4:22 a.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice read. thanks james.
after reading, it struck me that the coyotes and isles could very well be preparing for the arrival of John
Tavares. Not a bad strategy for either of these sad sack teams, but it will be a long season.


At 8:21 a.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Islanders are an embarrassment to the NHL. What a disgraceful situation there, and it's amazing how the same state of chaos lingers despite changes in ownership. Lastly, how absurd is it that Garth Snow is making Mike Milbury look like a pretty good GM by comparison?

At 10:34 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Phoenix actually has a decent "looking" D group, even if Boynton is brought back.

Up front, I can't help but think that both Martin Hanzal and Peter Mueller will make the top line. If Kyle Turris wants to forego college, he could probably make the team as well.

At 10:44 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

There are a raft of quality NHLers available to these teams. It shouldn't be too difficult for either Maloney or Snow to build a reasonably competitive team over the next three months, so long as they get good goaltending.

Hell, anyone could have built a team good enough to make the playoffs in the east last season just by shopping from the veteran bargain bin. In fact the NYI did just that. Surely the tricky part is fitting in youngsters at the same time.

At 11:24 a.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger MetroGnome said...

Have you taken a look at the Oilers line-up recently?

At 12:50 p.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger Black Dog said...

easy metrognome

actually the Oilers are going to be brutal but presently both of these teams look worse

what do the Isles have commited to salary so far and how will they reach the salary floor? maybe Snow will unretire and give himself the max for one year?

At 1:11 p.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

At first glance, I misread your "Mike Bossy" mention to mean he was coming out of retirement. What a momentary shock that was.

The saddest thing is, he'd probably be a first-liner on this Islanders squad.

At 1:25 p.m., July 04, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

At first glance, I misread your "Mike Bossy" mention to mean he was coming out of retirement.

Two Islanders fans are lamenting the upcoming season, and reminiscing about what once was. One of them asks the other, "So, how many do you think Mike Bossy would score today?"

The second responds, "Let's say...20, maybe 25."

The first is incredulous. "20? 25? The man scored 50 every year of his career but his last!"

The second calmly points out, "Dude, he's 50 years old. Let's be realistic here."

At 4:52 p.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Alec said...

With Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal making the team this year it's not as bad as it looks(but not by much.)

However, there are enough UFA's available to fill the roster over the short term who can contribute(Adam Hall, Anson Carter) while having a low cap number.

At 6:09 p.m., July 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And nobody's taken the fat kid yet, either.


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