Hello out there, we're on the air,
Some quick hockeyblogging:
- It looks like I'm surprisingly alone, among non-Senators fans anyway, in believing that Ottawa improved by getting Heatley for Hossa, regardless of cap considerations.
I gladly confess that I haven't watched a lot of non-Flames hockey in the past few years. However, watching Heatley in game action, I've had this rough thought a few times: "Geez, this guy could win a few Hart Trophies." As good as Hossa is with the puck, I've never had that same thought about him.
- Oilers fans are excited. They should be. But I'm telling you, Mike Peca is not a $4M player. I'm not even sure that he's a $2M player anymore. He's going to be the most ragged-on man in Edmonton by the end of January.
The Pronger pickup was great, although a 6-year contract is too long for anyone in a salary cap NHL, IMO. The Juicy/Conklin goaltending tandem should work out fine. I think C-Mac is a bit of a weak coach, but I expect the Oil to be pretty good this year. (Sidebar - check this fantastic quote from the EdSun's Robin Brownlee, aimed at Flames triumphalism (Þsacamano)):
Remember, fortunes can change in a hurry. Think of it this way - before the spring of 2004, most of the young ladies flashing their breasts on the Red Mile had none the last time the Flames made the playoffs.
- I'm a little surprised there hasn't been more (any?) restricted free agents signing with new teams. I expect this to change next offseason. Because there is less incentive to develop young players now (both the lower UFA age and the higher minimum salary), paying draft picks as compensation is much less unattractive than it used to be. As soon as more GMs get the hang of this new system, RFAs, especially those on teams with cap problems, will become mighty ripe targets.
- The Flames should be favoured to win the Western Conference. I hope they play up to expectations. They have who I consider to be the best player and the best coach in the league. They earned everything they won last year. They have players back from injury, and they signed Amonte, McCarty, and Hamrlik as free agents. And I don't see that any other team in the West has improved themselves to a degree where we ought to expect them to be better than Calgary.
- Leafs fans take heart: even if they're bad this year (which I doubt, but would give me a nice warm feeling inside), they're in great shape next offseason to pick up some serious talent. It's basically a winning organization, and that doesn't disappear in a puff of smoke.
Looking forward to the Flames-Senators Cup Final. Woo-hoooooo!