2008 Archives http://www.jibblescribbits.com/table/2008-articles/june/ Mon, 22 May 2017 15:34:17 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Picking the Avs man-meat acquisition(s) for '08 (i.e Free Agency-Part 3) http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/picking-the-avs-man-meat-acquisitions-for-08-i-e-free-agency-part-3.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/picking-the-avs-man-meat-acquisitions-for-08-i-e-free-agency-part-3.html Addendum See last post for updates to salary structures

Time to look at the forwards. After sifting through the Defense and Goalies the Avs will be left with approximately $13-13.5M $15M for free agency. The Avs have several issues at forward, but first let's quickly recap the Sakic situation (despite talking about it plenty last week):

Despite the panic at the Denver Post, where every scribe seems to think this is "messy" and has handcuffed the Avs, the solution is eminently workable considering the Avs shouldn't be looking to go after one of the really big free agents this season. The only way it handcuffs the Avs is if Sakic wants last seasons salary. Considering he had an off season hampered by injuries and he's 38 it would be unreasonable for him to expect last years pay-day anyways (Remember he was coming off a 100-pt season for last years contract). Now factor in his retirement waffling and his desire to win one last cup with the Avs and the chances that he is getting $6M+ is minimal. I am positive FG and Sakic have talked and a strategy has already been developed. I think it means setting aside $4M for Sakic and using the remaining money for free agents. It's really that easy.

The Avs shouldn't be looking to eat up all their cap space anyways, because next season Stastny will want an extension and signing a big name this season could hinder that effort, which is a doomsday scenario. So keeping $4M around that might not get used isn't the worst idea anyways.

So here's the Avs depth chart in forward right now (assuming the RFA's re-sign here):

1st- Smyth Statny Hejduk
2nd- Wolski Arnason Svats
4th- McLeod Hensik Jones
CHK- McCormick Guite Lappy


Center
So with the Sakic money set aside the Avs have about $9M $11M to spend. Even if the Avs get Sakic back, they could really use another center. Arnason had a stretch of 22 games last season where he scored 4 points (3 of those against the Oilers). That won't cut it on an NHL roster. Hensik looks like he needs one more season platooning back and forth from Erie (even though DD makes the solid case he should be getting good minutes) but I don't think anyone thinks he is good enough for 2nd line centering duties yet.

Dater also thinks a center upgrade is needed, although he thinks a checking line center is more appropriate. He mentions Yelle (one of my all-time favorite Avs) and Peca:

I’d really look hard for a third-line center, a guy who can play some defense, a guy with speed. Is Mike Peca a little long in the tooth for such a role? Perhaps. But he’s a guy I might think about pretty hard. He played in the Cup Finals just two years ago with the Oilers, and he’s got talent. The problem is, he’s getting older and he’s hurt a lot.

But I definitely think the time has come to dump Tyler Arnason from a third-line role, and just get a guy in there who wants to check and play good defense. The Avs need a shutdown, checking line, period.

Stephane Yelle is also going to be available. Does Yeller still have something left in the tank? I think he could give the Avs a good year, for sure. Don’t be shocked if that happens. He still has a place in the Denver area, by the way, and I know he never liked leaving here.
I think Guite is well suited to checking line center duties and finding a center who plays defense and chips in with some points is ideal. He needs to be able to fill that 2nd line role if called upon (considering both Sakic and Stastny had significant injuries last season, that is not far-fetched.) I took Mirtle's list of top scoring forwards and broke it down a little more. I added some players who intrigued me, cut out RFA's and calculated the points per 20 minutes of ice time (p/20). Here's how they fared:
Name ES-Points
ES-P/20
PP-P PP-P/20
Mats Sundin 48
0.89
29 1.77
Martin Straka 31
0.70
9 0.86
Joe Sakic 21
0.67
19 1.65
Jason Williams 17
0.67
19 2.03
Curtis Brown 9
0.65
0 0.00
Josef Vasicek 28
0.53
5 0.88
Sergei Fedorov 22
0.52
17 1.28
Brenden Morrison 11
0.51
14 2.14
Yannic Perault 12
0.46
1 0.44
Michael Peca 19
0.45
14 1.66
Stu Barnes 17
0.40
0 0.00
Stephane Yelle 11
0.32
0 0.00


A few interesting names pop up here. The most intriguing to me is Brenden Morrison. He wore the "C" in Vancouver and would be an ideal fit between two young players, like Jones and McLeod or Wolski and Svatos. He is also good enough to jump up inot 2nd and even first line action for extended periods of time. Before last season (when he was mainly hurt) he was averaging about 2:00/game on the PK. He's 33 so he has a few good years in him still and his market value is down because he was hurt last season. Look at those powerplay points as well. Of all the players listed in that group (which includes Sakic and Sundin) Morrison has the highest points per 20 on the powerplay. The Avs could use another scorer (and center) on the powerplay.

The next name that pops up is an old nemesis: Sergei Federov. The guy was overpaid in Columbus leading many to believe he's washed up. But he still averages over 1/2 per 20 minutes of ice time. He also was getting 1:15/game on the penalty kill. He's shown the ability to adjust to 3rd line duties as well, but would be right in place on a second line. Federov also won 55.6% of his face-offs last season (an area the Avs are miserable in)

The other name that caught my eye was Dater's suggestion, Michael Peca. While not quite as proficient a scorer as Federov or Morrison, he still scores at just under 1 point every-other game. He also is a superb penalty killer and he could team with Guite to form the best PKing duo since the Yelle-Keene heydays. He could also be inserted onto the Guite-Lappy line to hold leads late in games. He has a respectable 52.7% face-off win percentage last season.

Yelle is also an interesting option, he certainly can still play shutdown defense and has a respectable 50.4% face-off percentage. But the way this team is set up, I think he would be a little wasted. He certainly can't fill a top 2 center position on this team. He would be a good backup plan if any of the other three are too expensive.

My Pick:

Brenden Morrison (3 years $3-3.5M/year)

Noteables:
Michael Peca, Sergei Federov, Stephane Yelle

For the love of god no:
Yannic Perault


Wings:

If you look at the Avs lineup above I think they could use one more wing. Hejduk and Smyth are top notch, Wolski is good. The Svats machine is a nice player too, but I'd feel much more comfortable if someone could replace Brunette's production. I broke down the wings the same way I did the centers and here's my results (left wings listed first):

Left Wings
Name ES-Points
ES-P/20
PP-P PP-P/20
Andrew Brunette 43
0.85
16 1.25
Kristian Huselius 41
0.74
25 1.61
Cory Stillman 36
0.66
29 1.78
Niklas Hagman 29
0.64
7 0.73
Jan Hlavac 33
0.61
1 0.18
Markus Naslund 33
0.59
22 1.50
Ruslan Fedetenko 22
0.49
9 1.21


Right Wings
Name ES-Points
ES-P/20
PP-P PP-P/20
Pavol Demitra 40
0.81
13 1.10
Radim Vrbata 35
0.71
16 1.19
Marian Hossa 35
0.68
29 1.77
Brendan Shanahan 26
0.59
19 1.31
Jaromir Jagr 42
0.59
29 1.70
Brian Rolston 30
0.52
28 1.83
Owen Nolan 25
0.52
6 0.74
Miroslav Satan 28
0.51
13 0.83


Many people want the Avs to go after Brian Rolston to replace the almost assuredly outgoing Andrew Brunette. Well according to this list, no one is going to replace him. He scores at the most efficient pace out of any available FA wingers (that includes Hossa too). Rolston's numbers don't work out very well at all. Scoring slightly better than Owen Nolan and Miroslav Satan. In Rolston's defense his powerplay numbers are superb and he plays in a defensively aligned system. Here's the names that jump out at me a little:

Corey Stillman is the name that appeases me most at first glance. He scores at a respectable rate in even strength, and has excellent powerplay numbers (1.82 points per 20 minutes of ice time). He can also play on the PK a bit (or he did in Ottawa). I am not sure what kind of money he is looking for though and may be out of the Avs price range. He's also 34 which means he's starting the downslide of his career

Nikolas Hagman interests me as well. He should be a bit cheaper than Stillman and scores at nearly the same pace. He's really a poor mans Thomas Holmstrom. One stat that scares me off a little is that PP/20 of only .73, which is a full point less than Stillman. The Avs already have plenty of players who can score even strength but not on the powerplay. Hagman is an adept PKer as well.

Kristain Huselius Is a guy who, I feel, has been underrated his entire career. It doesn't help that Mike Keenan seems to follow him from town to town just to torment him due to some sort of inexplicable grudge. Huselius has terrific numbers despite playing for a coach who detests him. With numbers like that he may command a good salary, but he is being overlooked by playing in Calgary. One knock against him is that he won't work on the penalty kill.

Radim Vrbata May be a guy the Avs want to look into bringing back. he had a steller breakout season with Phoenix and is much younger than some of the other names on this list (27). Vrbata also played extensively on the PK last season. He may command too much salary being as young and talented as he is for the Avs.

My Pick:
Nikolas Hagman. 4-years $3M/season

Other note-ables
Vrbata, Stillman, Huselius

For the love of god no
Jagr, Naslund, Nolan, Shanahan

If these signings happen the Avs would be left with about $2.5M $4.5M left, plus the $4M set aside for Sakic so they could even re-sign Sakic to last years payroll. They could also go out and get a sold checking line forward, even though I think the Cody Mc's will fill that role just fine.

Addendum: because of a correction in the previous post, the Avs have a little more money to spend than I originally thought. This means they could probably offer Hagman and Morrison a little more money and still have plenty leftover to sign Sakic. if he want's. If not then they have a ton for Stastny's extension next season, plus FA's.

Addendum 2 Dario points out that Wolski and Svatos probably won't accept their RFA offers as is and will get substantial raises. I am guessing they will go back to where i orginally estimated, so you can probably use the struck through numbers.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Mon, 30 Jun 2008 19:26:00 +0000
Picking the Avs man-meat acquisition(s) for '08 (i.e. Free Agency- part 2) http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/picking-the-avs-man-meat-acquisitions-for-08-i-e-free-agency-part-2.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/picking-the-avs-man-meat-acquisitions-for-08-i-e-free-agency-part-2.html
The first step to having a solid free agency signing period is to identify needs and means. First the means: NHLnumbers has the Avs cap commitment next season as $28.08M. This doesn't include either the Foote or Liles signing, or any of the money set aside for the RFAs (Wolski, Cody Mc's or Svats Machine). That adds another ~$7.1M for Foote and Liles and ~$5.5M for the RFAs (I can't find what the qualifying offers are, I know it's out there, but I thought it was $3M for Wolski, $1.2M for Svats and $750k for the Mc's. If anyone knows the numbers i wouldn't mind a correction). This leaves the Avs with about $15.5M for free agency, most of which should go into the forwards.

Addendum 1: Thanks to comments stalwart the doctor (matt) I have some numbers for the Avs qualifying offers: I was firthest off on Wolski whose offer was $900k which is way off from my original estimae of $3M. Add another $2M or so on the available money. the Mc's were closer to $500k than $750k too. Svats was ~$1M meaning the Avs will probably spend a grand total of $3M not $5.5M on RFA's.)

Now that we've identified the means we should start looking at the needs and the strategy. We'll work from the back out.

Disclaimer: Many of the Free Agents have been re-signed with their teams. I tried to keep up-to-date on all these, but there was a lot going on, both in hockey and my life. It's possible I have a UFA listed when they are in fact re-signed by their team.

Goalie:
Since Theo seems intent on testing the Free Agency waters it looks like the Avs will be looking to see if Budaj can grab the #1 goalie job. I think he can, but it's far from certain. The Avs have 3 options:

a) Sign a #1 caliber goalie. These consist of Emery, Huet and Theo. Emery's a headcase and Huet is probably going back to Washington. The avs could gamble with emery, but it doesn't seem like a good idea. Besides why would any of these three want to come in and compete for the #1 job when they can be the #1 in many places.
b) Trust the backup spot to Weiman or Wall. The problem with this is that Weiman and Wall aren't exactly rated as high prospects. If the Avs had Martin Brodeur on the team, i'd say yes... but they don't.

Addendum 2 I completely forgot about Avs goalie Bacashihua who may just be a young capable backup. He has some NHL experience with the Blues too. This is a better option than Weiman or Wall, but I'd still be more comfortable with option "c" below

c) That leaves the last, and best, option. Sign a capable backup that could start if Budaj falters. The problem is that the list of available goalies looks about as appetizing as week old seafood buffet. Out of the list linked to above the names that "stick out" (and I mean that in the loosest sense) are Johan Holmqvist of Dallas, Stephane Valiquette of the NYR, and Jocelyn Thibault of Buffalo. If you look at the '08 cap hit for goalies of this caliber I would put them in the Legace/Raycroft/Osgood/Hiller territory. In fact I think slightly more than Hiller money is appropriate for these guys.

Should be targets:
Holmqvist or Valiquette for 3-years @$1-1.5M/season

Other noteables:
Thibault, Lalime, Joseph

Dear God stay away from:
Hedberg, Raycroft, Emery

Defense
The Avs have an extremely solid top 6 defensemen for next season. They have also have Cumisky waiting in the wings and will see some time this season (especially once Leoprone has his annual 2+ week injury). The problem is depth here. The Wild and Canucks both had their season ended prematurely basically because they didn't have enough depth on the blueline to deal with injuries. The Avs season was extended mainly because they had that depth (and traded for it too). I would like to see the Avs re-sign Finger today but he very well could look to go to a team where he won't be the #7 guy (and frankly he would deserve it). If they can't sign Finger the Avs should go after some scrub like Rory Fitzpatrick or some other no-namer.

Should be target:
Finger (3 years-$0.75-1.5M/season)

Other note-able
Rory Fitzpatrick

For the love of god, don't sign
Sean Hill. Anyone other than Finger who wants more than about $600k/year

Forwards
Now it gets interesting... and since I've babbled on enough we'll make this it's own separate post. It deserves it.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Mon, 30 Jun 2008 17:17:00 +0000
Avs Free Agency part 1 http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/avs-free-agency-part-1.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/avs-free-agency-part-1.html
Last year I did pretty well in predicting the Avs direction, and so far this season I have been pretty accurate again (other than the massive discount on Foote's contract). I had Liles contract about right, and I had the Avs resigning Theo unless he wanted too much money. From the little we've heard that's what it sounds like happened in those talks.

Quick hits on whom I think the Avs should target:
Forwards:
Huselius
Stillman
Yelle


Defense:
Depth (Finger would still be ideal)

Goalies:
Proven backup (Lalime maybe.. I have more research to do here)]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Mon, 30 Jun 2008 15:04:00 +0000
Theo probably gone http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/theo-probably-gone.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/theo-probably-gone.html reporting just a little while ago. Theodore and the Avs have broken off contract talks.

Here's what I said about about resigning Theo a few weeks ago:
One thing that works in Theo's favor is that he is the top of the class of free agent goaltenders. Him and Cristobal Huet are the only real #1 caliber goaltenders on the market. After these two names like "Johan Hedberg" and "Jean-Sebastion Aubin", Jocelyn Thibault, Patrick Lalime, and those likes. There's some decent RFA's like Marc-Andre Fleury and Pascal LeClaire, but the Avs don't have a 1st rounder to give even if they wanted to try and sign one of those guys to an offer sheet. The Avs could also deal for a guy like Jaroslav Halat in Montreal, or Gerber in Ottawa. They could roll the dice with Hasek too. (BWWAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

...

Tapeleg would like to see him test the free agency waters, but in my opinion any other option is just as risky as Theo. I think the avs should sign him. 2 years $4 - $4.5M/year sounds about right for a goalie of Theo's credentials, based on the current market (though I could see his price as high as $5.5M/year)


I can't say I am terribly surprised. I would have liked the Avs and Theo to come to an agreement, but any worthwhile agent would be holding out for a bigger contract than I think Theo is really worth at this point (this is all speculation since, predictably, there's no news about how much the Avs actually offered Theo, or how much he wanted). The barren wasteland that is the goalie free agent market this season means Theo is probably going to command a $6-$7M/season 3-4 year deal in a week or so, which is more than the Avs want (or should) pay him, despite all his struggles the last 2-3 seasons.

I think Budaj is fine but I am not convinced anyone in the Avs system is ready to be Budaj's backup, and Theo gave the Avs a solid goaltender tandem. Now there are incredible questions in net.

The Theo era in Denver appears to be at a close, and I think this says it all: Theo won 2 playoff series as an Av, but he was 0-8 in the second round. We (Avs fans) can choose to remember him as an overpaid bust who found his game just in time to get paid, or we can remember him as the struggling athlete who was able to find a bit of redemption at the end.

Probably a little of both.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Thu, 26 Jun 2008 18:37:00 +0000
The Sakic Situation-Part 2 http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/the-sakic-situation-part-2.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/the-sakic-situation-part-2.html yesterday's post about the Avs options (in regards to Sakic not deciding whether to retire) it might be in your interest to look at that first.

Since most fans cheer for teams, and normally not players, they have a tendency to be biased towards the teams point of view and can forget to look at any situation from a players point of view (And I am certainly among those who do this quite often). It's why fans, and media, can rip a player for wanting more money but not be critical of an organization. I'd like to lay out the options for Sakic

Option 1 Retire He could simply call it a career and wait for his first-ballot no brainer Hall of Fame selection (likely going in with Peter Forsberg since he's likely retiring this season)

Option 2 Come back, at similar salary
Sakic could demand/ask for the option to come back at a similar salary as the one he had last season. This option would hinder the Avs offseason plans more than anything else he could do. If they decide he is unlikely to return they may not even have the money available to meet his option. He would need to communicate this desire to the team before July 1.

Option 3 Return at a reduced salary
Having made more money than he'll ever need. He'll have a job with the franchise, if he wants it, pretty much for the rest of his life when he decides to hang the skates up so he has financial security. (And he'll never have to pay for a meal, hotel, or really anything in Colorado or Canada for the rest of his life either). If he decides to come back he may decide it's worth it to him to take a smaller salary (maybe with the *wink *wink agreement of a future stake in the ownership of the team) so the Avs can land a free agent or two needed to get them over the hump and make them a contender this season.

Personally I think this scenario (well parts of it) are likely. Sakic likely realizes that by delaying his decision he puts the team in an unenviable decision. If he needs more time to make his decision (and he obviously does need more time) but doesn't want to leave the team hanging he could politely ask that the Avs leave a small modest pot of money for him, but to dip into it if needed to land a big free agent.

I think this is the most amiable solution for both parties. The Avs could leave a $6.5M emergency fund that they only dip into if they need a little extra oomph for a free agent. If Sakic returns he would probably get a 1-year deal worth $3-4M and if not the Avs have some cushion to go get a Free Agent at the trade deadline.

Option 4: Sign somewhere else
First if Sakic decided to do this, I wouldn't be mad at all. I know it would come as a surprise and a lot of people (most of all the Avs organization) would feel betrayed, but everyone needs to understand that despite all the emotion put into everything this is still a business and Sakic needs to do what he feels is best for him and his family. We all make those decisions everyday, and to expect less from any player would be hypocritical and selfish on our parts. So in saying that, I don't think he will even talk with another team for a number of reasons.

He does have loyalty to the Avs. He seriously flirted with the Rangers many years ago, but on the other side of the coin the Avs were playing hardball with him in the negotiating room. Loyalty is a two-way street and the Avs weren't showing him any. Last season the Avs wouldn't offer any free agent more than what Sakic made based on a respect for Sakic, even if it meant losing out on Drury or Briere. There is obviously mutual respect there and I think it would take a lot to break that loyalty. So I think the only team that has even a remote chance of doing this would be the Canucks. But their finish last season (and their lack of offensive depth) would seem to suggest that they aren't real contenders next season. Maybe a team on the verge of a cup could do it, but the verge of a cup is no guarantee, and the avs have just a good as a chance right now as any team outside Detroit or Pittsburgh, and maybe San Jose.

Many of the media close to the Avs, especially Terri Frei, have said comments along the lines of
He also isn't enamored of the prospect of playing curtailed minutes or in a diminished role, as the banged-up Steve Yzerman did in his final season with the Red Wings two years ago. If we're not going to see Sakic within hailing distance of his prime-season capabilities, we won't see him.


Joe Sakic is obviously humble, but proud. If he stays with the Avs, has an off season he may be mad at himself, but everyone remembers him as a proud warrior who gave everything he had to the game for as long as he could. If he goes to another team and has even an average season (40-50 points) his final season will be looked at in the same way as Willie Mays with the Mets, Joe Namath with the Chargers, or Jerry Rice with the Broncos, Seahawks or whatever team he tried to be on after the Raiders. If there were even the most remote possibility that he would be remebered that way I think he would hang them up.


Many people are worried that Joe's decision is hurting the Avs, by causing some uncertainty in their free agent pool. I think this is certainly valid, but I think he's really hurting himself (financially) more than anyone else. And if he's willing to make that sacrifice in oder to decide what's best for him in the long run, then that's his decision.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Thu, 26 Jun 2008 15:07:00 +0000
The Sakic Situation-Part 1 http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/the-sakic-situation-part-1.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/the-sakic-situation-part-1.html According to Dater Joe Sakic isn't ready to decide whether he wants to play another year or not yet. Now there are two schools of thought on this

a) He has earned the right to do whatever he wants
b) He is being selfish and holding the franchise hostage.

Personally I don't agree with either. He's been a loyal, outstanding employee for many years and has done more for the company than any other person, so he does earn a little leeway, but not enough to pull a Niedermeyer. He's not holding the franchise hostage either though.

I agree with Joe over at Mile High Hockey:

To assume that he [Avs GM Francois Giguere] hung his entire post-season plans on the decision of one aging veteran seems really absurd. If he did, then he doesn't need to be a general manager anymore.


Agreed. And none of the Avs alternative plans are really all that bad:

Option 1: Avs move on with no plans for Sakic
This option would surprise everyone a little, but the Avs could allocate the money they had set aside for Sakic's salary and use it towards a top flight free agent (Hello Marion Hossa).

Option 2: Av's hold onto money for Sakic The Avs could just set aside the money they would spend on Sakic (let's say $6.5M) and not even touch it. If he comes back fine, if not the Avs have $6.5M set aside in cap room for trade deadline and next season.

This would be the most limiting option for the Avs and could mean they miss out on a top flight free agent that they may otherwise want. The Avs currently have $28.07M in cap room. If they resign Foote, Finger and Sauer that should eat up about $8M. Then they have Wolski, Svats Machine, McLeod, and McCormick. If they resign all 4 (something I'm not convinced they will do since they are all RFA's) I would guess Wolski would be the only one getting any kind of substantial money. Let's guess approximately $6M is used in these contracts (and that's being fairly generous). Still leaving $14M in cap room.

Then there's the Theo question. Personally I think they are going to try and sign Theo for about $4-4.5M per season, leaving $10M. Subtract $6.5M for Sakic and the Avs still have $3.5 to go after a nice free agent. This should be enough for Brian Rolston or someone. Of course the Avs don't have to hold onto all of the $6.5M and sets up

Option 3: The Avs hold onto some money for Sakic

The idea that Giguere and Sakic (and Sakic's Agent) haven't talked about this is crazy. Sakic very likely realizes that in order to delay his retirement decision he will probably be asked to take a pay cut if he comes back so the Avs aren't hampered in their efforts to improve their team. The Avs could allocate say $3.5M for Sakic leaving them a nice $6.5M contract to offer a top-flight free agent. That may not be enough to bring in Hossa, but it might be enough to bring in, say, both Brian Rolston and Kristian Huselius. Of course if the Avs wanted just a little extra cash to go after a Hossa they could

Option 4: Save Theo's money for Sakic

The Avs could tell Theo thanks, but they need to have a door open for Sakic if he wants to return thanks. Go with Budaj, and save the $4.5M for Theo for Sakic if he comes back. That opens up a full $10M for free agents which let's them make a nice run at Hossa, or go for guys like Prospal, Malone, Langkow or anyone listed above.


So the Avs have options. None of their options are really all that bad. The person most hurt by Sakic's indecision is Sakic himself. I'll go over his options later in part 2.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Wed, 25 Jun 2008 14:31:00 +0000
Seven Words you can't say... in hockey form http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/seven-words-you-cant-say-in-hockey-form.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/seven-words-you-cant-say-in-hockey-form.html
Shit: A versatile word. Used for surprise like when something completely unexpected happens "Shit, the Flames just traded Tanguay to Montreal" or disgust "The Av's powerplay looks like shit tonight". Personally I tend to use it more in disgust that astonishment so that's how we'll use it here. Below is linked to an image that covers both

Aw shit!

Piss: This is the most bizarre word on the list. It really doesn't seem like a bad word at all. I think the most common usage of this word is to describe anger. And there isn't a more pissed off man in all of sports, than this perpetually pissed off prima donna puck-coach.

Fuck: Quite possibly the most versatile word in the English languages. It's a verb, noun, adjective, and declaration all at once. This versatility has not gone unnoticed and what better way to honor the versatile word with one of the most versatile players in the league: Son of Stastny

Cunt: Letter for letter the worst word in the English world. There is only one word that makes me as uncomfortable as this word (and that word is a racial slur.) This word should only be used to describe the most vile, mean, and the worst people, like describing certain hockey players.

Cocksucker: An insult of the nth degree. Not quite as bad as the previous word, but still quite a power expression of feelings. This word has no versatility, but it does one thing very well. It is an attacking word that is only good at insults. Put it in any other situation and it just can't handle itself. In other words, it's a perfect compliment to this guy (And just so everyone knows... I've never been more proud of my work on this blog)

Motherfucker: Most would think this is a bad word, but it really is a 2-way player. It all depends on the adjective being used in front of it. A "stupid motherfucker" has a completely different meaning than a "badass motherfucker". There is one player I can think of that people feel the same way about. You hate him if he's ion the other team, but love him if he's on your team. Luckily for the Avs this badass motherfucker plays for them.

Tits: The most beautiful word on the list. All the other words, at their core, describe some kind of excremental function, devious (and in one case only appropriate for a Greek Tradgey) sex act, or just are plain vulgar for being vulgar. But tits are nice, tits are beautiful. (You don't get that kind of hard hitting analysis on just any hockey blog). And Really I can think of only one other thing more beautiful than tits...this

So there's my good-intentioned but in no way can compare to the brilliance of George Carlin in Hockey form. RIP Conductor, even though you didn't write a blog without you the vulgarity, and humor in blogs that we all take for granted every day would probably not exist. Your influence has stretched across generations and mediums, and we are all just imitators flattering complimenting the original master.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Mon, 23 Jun 2008 14:58:00 +0000
NHL Draft: Do Not Care http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/nhl-draft-do-not-care.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/nhl-draft-do-not-care.html
This isn't to diminish the importance of the draft at all, it's an extremely important event and franchises futures can be shaped by the picks they make (or avoid). But it's not terribly exciting or compelling, until a few years down the road.

First of all, It makes me incredibly uncomfortable whenever old middle-aged men drool over young athletically gifted boys. It's a little too Roman Bath House for me (but to each his own I guess).

Watching young people with all the potential and opportunity in the world walk across the stage, shake hands with some official, look at the camera's and be extremely happy and then walk off the stage isn't exactly riveting drama. If I wanted to watch a high school graduation I'd pop in the tape of my own graduation, at least I know those people. (FYI: Steve Jobs totally should have taken me in the first round, yet I dropped to the somewhere in the third round over concerns about my attitude. Apparently someone leaked drunken pictures of me onto the internet before graduation and it scared off some teams. Also my scouting report contained the word "Snarky", which is some sort of euphemism for "Uncooperative". In your face industry.) Have you ever been to a graduation? B-O-R-I-N-G.

Just like in college the only way to make it through the ceremony is to get extremely liquored up before hand like the good people in Columbus did last season, and that way you don't have to think about the fact you're actually cheering for, well, nothing. (To be fair, that's how the people in Columbus celebrate everything.) I am certain the same strategy will be in play in Ottawa this weekend.

The NFL draft's and NBA drafts are at least compelling because some of the players will actually have an impact on a team next season. In contrast most NHL draftees spend a few years in the minor leagues and approximately 1/3 of them will actually get to wear the unipron. Of that 1/3 some will be wearing a different teams unipron.

After the draft, I will look and see who the Avs took, read Jori's always astute analysis and then forget about that player until he at least makes his way to Lake Erie.

So to all those goign to the draft, heave fun. Me? I'll be doing anything else.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Fri, 20 Jun 2008 15:50:00 +0000
Know a free agent better: Kurt Sauer http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/know-a-free-agent-better-kurt-sauer.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/know-a-free-agent-better-kurt-sauer.html
At first glance in the above photo Jose "Pimp Cane" Theodore is mesmerizing. The pink shit Shirt, i meant shirt (damnit even when I'm not trying to cuss i do), the solid Oak (maybe) pimp cane, the white fedora and the sandals with the entire outfit is hard to turn your head away from... But if you can take your eyes off him for one second, Kurt Sauer's ensemble is equally hypnotic. Start with the 70's amoeba-floral drapes shirt, and his arm resting on nothing other than a leopard print pillow. Then, on his knee, a blue and brown plaid fedora.

In a way this picture is the very definition of Kurt Sauer, always in the background even when his performance (or ensemble) in other circumstances should stand out.

Strengths: a quiet workhorse on the blueline. Until Adam Foote came along he was probably the most well positioned Avalanche blueliner. He's a big body that plays suffocating defense and is nearly never out of position

Weaknesses: He's not the best skater, and can get beaten off the rush by guys like Pisani and Hemsky. Despite his big frame he plays more like Scott Hanna, not very physical but positionally sound. He should be able to create some more punishing hits.

Analysis: In my mind Sauer is the odd man out this overflow of Defensemen, but I'm not really happy about it. The need Liles for the skating ability, Finger for the physicality (and he should be slightly cheaper than Sauer), Foote for his leadership and superior play. Sauer's defense is superb, but I think Scott Hannan and Jordan Leopold make Sauer expendable, based on the current defensive lineup.

Verdict: I think some other team that needs a really solid positional defender should offer him a 5 year deal worth about $3-4M/season. If the Avs do decide to bring him back, they should offer the same.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Thu, 19 Jun 2008 16:27:00 +0000
Know a Free Agent Better: Adam Foote http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/know-a-free-agent-better-adam-foote.html http://www.jibblescribbits.com/2008-articles/june/know-a-free-agent-better-adam-foote.html

Despite it feeling like he was with us all season, he was not. Picked up from the trade deadline from Columbus for a first round pick (this season) and a 4th rounder next season if the Avs resign him this offseason.

Strengths: There's not much bad to say about Senior Foote. As I have mentioned before, he was the recipient of Mirtle's Langway award as the best defensive defenseman. He added a fire and edge to the Avs defense that they sorely lacked, (oh and with that fire and edge he added hits, a lot of them).

He also added leadership to a young, talented but inexperienced defensive core. Kurt Sauer seemed to improve immensely just by being on the ice with Foote. Leopold, Sauer, Clark, Finger, and Liles are all nice defensemen, to varying degrees, but none of them are ever going to be the type of leader that Foote is.

Weaknesses: Quite frankly it's his age. He'll start next season as a 37-year old man. Defensemen, especially that play Foote's style, can play at a high level into their 40's, if they want to, but it's no guarantee and it's more likely that his skills will start to deteriorate at some point.

There's a perception that he has lost a step and that causes him to take more penalties, but a quick glance at him PIM numbers for his career shows that in Columbus his PIM minutes seem to be about the same as any other season, so I don't buy that. It is possible he has lost a step though, but I just don't think so.

One place he has seemed to have lost a little is his offense, where his last 3 years point totals have fallen. He's never been a bastion of blueline point production so any kind of production loss is fairly noticeable. It's worth noting that those low point totals may not be the effects of skill deterioration, but of playing with Columbus.

Analysis: when the Avs traded for Foote, I said I thought the price they paid for him was too steep, unless they resigned him for at least 2 more years. I agree with that, but after thinking about it the last few days what if him being here causes us to lose a guy like Kurt Sauer, a similar style defenseman that is 11 years Foote's junior (and was 19th in the Langway award standings, not shabby). That would ultimately make the cost of Foote a 1st rounder, a 4th rounder, and Sauer (or more likely Liles). That's pretty steep for a 37-year old defenseman.

Nevertheless Adam Foote was a big reason Marion Gaborik disappeared against the Avs in the playoffs, and really Foote played extremely well against the Wings. If the Avs wanted a rental player last season they would have gone out and gotten Campbell, they brought Foote back to stay.

Verdict: Foote is still a top flight defenseman, and deserves to be paid as one. Brian Rafalski is getting $6M/year, Brent Burns is getting approximately $3.75 (Clark still getting $3.5M/year). Let's average those two together and say Foote $5M/year for 2 years.]]>
jibblescribbits@gmail.com (Jibblescribbits) June Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:20:00 +0000