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Saturday, July 01, 2006 

Notes of Note Returns

Notes of Note

This was an incredibly busy day in sports, at least as far as the standards of June 30th would suggest. It's also late and way too humid here in Washington, so I'm dead tired, which can only mean one thing. It's time for the long-awaited return of the great nation of Hungary's favourite new feature: Notes of Note.

Rucchining Ohio's Capital

So it seems the Lightning have fully dropped the scapegoat label on their goaltenders for last seasons questionable play, despite how obvious the coaching issues became come playoff time (you may recall Tort's being put on notice by me back in April). Both Grahame and Burke were shown the door for next season, opening the door for the to send former Rucchin of the Year turned semi-respectable goal scorer turned ineffective Rucchin, Freddy Modin, to Ohio's capital for Mark Denis. Denis appeared to be one of the goalies who was greatly effected by the reduction in pad size as he put up his worst numbers last year. For me, the key to this deal is that the Jackets also pick up 32 year old rookie goaltender Fredrick Norrena, who has owned both the Finnish and Swedish Elite Leagues, along with a couple of Olympic shutouts and a Bronze at the Worlds. Seems almost like the Lightning would have been better off with him in net, instead of serving as Pascal Leclaire's backup in Columbus (for now. there's no way this guy isn't the number one by December). But when you put so much effort into making a scapegoat, then you have to put as much effort into looking like you replace them, and a rookie goalie doesn't accomplish that. Front office politics, you gotta love it.

And Swirsky Dies A Little More Inside

Apparently part of the new GM's plan in Toronto is to make the games better by taking away the things that got Chuck Swirsky to his utmost annoying levels in the past. First, and most devastatingly he lost all his lall when Boner was jerked out of town. Now the Raptors have sent his other love child, Charlie Villanueva, off to Milwaukee in exchange for TJ Ford and a cash donation to the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. Personally I'm both surprised that they were still able to get that much value for Chucky, and at the same time I think they should have been able to get more. The problem is, the media seemed to decide out of no where last month that Villa had topped out, and would not see any improvement in his game going forward. A 14 point wing-man forever. I really don't buy that. He came along wonderfully for the Raptors, and that 48 point game he had against the Bucks showed some signs of real potential for the future. I'm really not sure sometimes how the media just decides the way things are (Pronger's "domination" comes to mind), but it happened in this case, and now Villa's on his way out.

TJ Ford, however, is a decent point guard, who showed promise of being one of the greats before that slight mishap (ie. broken spine) caused him to miss an entire season. When he came back last season he put up decent numbers (12.2 points and 6.6 assists), and looked to have recovered his strength playing 35.5 minutes per game. The Raptors did have too many forwards in the lineup after drafting the Italian Bargain this week, so moving one for a point guard was definitely a need. TJ is by no means a bad player, but the problem I have is that if the Brevin rumours were true, they have effectively gone from Knight and Villanueva to Ford and Italian Bargain. Seems like a downgrade in both cases to me, especially when you figure in Bargain plays Bosh's position while Chucky doesn't have to. It's almost like Colangelo is just trying to get rid of all of Babcocks players to distance the team from his regime. This would all make a lot more sense if there was a Bosh and Graham for Iverson and Delambert deal in the works. Maybe I'll have to start that rumour and get the ball underway to making that trade happen.

Looking Forward to Pronger???

That's right, I'm as stunned as you - I'm actually looking forward to something Pronger related. Apparently on Tuesday he's going to "address the media" about certain rumours that are flying about surrounding his request for a trade out of Edmonton. This suggests to me that the rumours are true - he really did knock up that hot reporter, and his wife really does want to get as far away from her as possible. If it wasn't actually the case, then I'm sure he wouldn't bother to take the time to formally address it and direct attention elsewhere. The lady doth protest too much, methinks, as they say. He really is getting off easy (no pun intended), though, if you think about it. It's one thing to be forgiven for cheating, but I wish I was rich enough to be able to get away with actually impregnating another woman. That's not something that can just be forgotten with space and time. It's a kid. It's always there. Mrs. Pronger must really love the money that the media has earned for them. Such a classy family those Prongers are.

End of an Era

The Leafs fixed two of their glaring problems today, buying out one of their few real leaders in the locker room, and cutting loose a solid, but aging, goaltender in favour of an awkward, but young, replacement who can be described best as Tellqvist with a varying degree of less talent. It's not that Belfour and Domi are great players anymore (or ever in one case), but the reasoning for their moves are just baffling. Cut those two because they dont fit with the teams long term plans, but then bring back 40 year old Gary Roberts. Where's the explanation for that one? Does it mean that Nieuwendyk will have to come back as well? But now all the front office needs to do is sign Berg and Belak to long term deals to solidify their spot as least frustrating team to cheer for ever!

Germany Germany

In the futbal today, Germany took down Argentina in a shoot out, much to the disdain of the Argentinians who apparently felt they won the game still despite the fact that they didn't outscore the other team. Argentina is so bad to watch. So many dives. So much whining. Even for soccer it's just gross. Then the "fight" at the end was just ridiculous. For those of you out there who were cheering against Germany, here's a link to make you feel better. Something that will sadden every German that ever lived. Germany Link.

Willy Mo

I know this is off topic, but how friggin cool would this be - Cool Link.

Chara, Lidstrom and Some Twins

First off, before Chara and Lidstrom call a press conference to deny rumours about them hooking up with some tall blond twins from Sweden, the twins in question are the Sedin Brothers. The bros were each signed to 3 year $3.875 million per year contracts today after career years that saw them score 75/71 points last year, bringing their 400/397 game career points totals to 221/222 points. In other free agent news, Pisani resigned for $8 million over 4 years, while Lidstrom signed a two year deal worth $15.2 million. On the other hand, Zdeno Chara rejected the Senators last offer and will be testing the waters of free agency in July. With the money that Pronger, Lidstrom and McCabe are commanding, you have to think his price tag will be at least $6 million a year, although in my mind I'd probably still have him slightly under $4 million. We'll see how it turns out, but I'm guessing it'll be a lot closer to his price tag than mine. Now, what are the odds that he doesn't end up going to the Rangers somehow?

All Free Agent Team

Speaking of inflated values, I leave you now with my list of the top 6 free agents this summer positionally. If your team wants to end up with any of them, they better be willing to pay through the nose, because the quality drops off fairly quickly.

C - Marc Savard - rumours have him heading back to Calgary to center a line with Tanguay and Iginla Just imagine the level to which his Rucchining would rise in that situation. Easily 30 goals and 100 points in store for him there
W - Patrick Elias - Turned the Devils entire season around upon his return, and owned the first round of the playoffs. Easily the most talented free agent of the summer.
W - Brendan Shanahan - He may be getting long in the tooth, but he had a rejuvenation last season, finishing with 81 points in 82 games.
D - Ed Jovanovski - Keenan was looking to bring him back to Florida. With his best friend Todd just acquired by the Panthers in a trade, the odds of his landing back in the sunshine state greatly improved.
D - Zdeno Chara - Please let the Leafs sign him instead of trading for Pronger. Please let the Leafs sign him instead of trading for Pronger...
G - Manny Legace - this guy should have been a started in the NHL for the past few years. His scapegoating in the playoffs should mean more interest in his services from other teams than from the Wings. This is good news for all of you out there who hate the Wings, as their decade and a half of domination in the West could be coming to an end.

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