• As we witness the owner-fan boy destruction of Tampa Bay's franchise, along with the absurd imbalance of bad free agent signings to the badder ones (Jeff Finger leading the pack, of course, although Naslund's contract makes me titter), I have no problem believing that given a nice mahogany desk, a working phone and a Rolodex full of player agents contact info, most bloggers would have better luck putting together a decent team.
What gives me the right to say that? Well, for an obvious example, I don't think anyone in the Oilogosphere would be responsible for Sheldon Souray's $5.4 million contract, the Oilers biggest, most jagged Tetris piece in the Oilers salary cap puzzle for years to come. It still vexes me so, as a bad panic move at the time, and a bad move today, even if the guy scores twenty goals next season. As much as the team wants to generate buzz and sell tickets, they should take note that sentient Oilers fans are actually relieved by what Lowe doesn't sign in the off season. In fact, I've heard reports that some civic-minded citizens actually organized a campaign to bat Kevin Lowe's cellphone out of his hand the first week of July. It worked!
• I'm happy with the Oilers' summer acquisitions, as the Oilers have added some solid players in the Oilers-I-Could-Have-A-Beer-WithDepartment, namely Erik Cole, LuboVisnovsky and Jason Strudwick. Although I liked Jarret Stoll, I imagine afternoon beers at, say, the Sherwood Park Kelsey's with Raffi Torres, Curtis Glencross and Joni Pitkanen might have been a stilted, awkward affair.
• Even in the McParity of the new NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs are shaping up to possibly be one of the worst teams we've seen in a longtime. Have you seen their depth chart? Without Sundin, it's scary bad. Penciled into the the first line is Ponikarovsky-Antropov-Steen, three guys that look like they'll barely add up to 50 points each on a scoring line. They have some scoring talent on the backend (Kaberle/McCabe/Kubina), but it doesn't amount to a solid corps, which is rounded out by a couple unproven imports (although Nikolai Kulemin might be good), the plain-as-beans Jeff Finger along with the absurdly fragile (physically and possibly emotionally at this point) Carlo Colaiacovo.
Of course, is it really worth tanking a season to get Brian Burke? As Kevin Lowe may be quick to point out, in Burke's short tenure as GM of the Ducks he made as many bad trades/signings (Bertuzzi, Weight, Bryzgalov, and endless parade of bonus enforcers) as good ones (Pronger, Schneider, dumping Federov's contract onto Columbus' lap), with a lot of luck thrown in (having the brother of Scott Niedermayer on his roster; TeemuSelanne's unexpected resurgence), especially after parachuting into a GM's job just as previous GM Bryan Murray's prospects were beginning to blossom. His own record at developing prospects is also a mixed bag, at best. Granted, all GMs make bad moves, but Burke's reputation for being a hockey genius has more to do with with his outsized persona and the fact that he went to Harvard Law than his success as a GM. Needless to say, I hope he lands in Toronto.
• Greatest news of the off-season? The Oilers didn't sign that even-strength blackhole known as Darcy Tucker, who is a human piece of garbage. Nor did they sign a fat guy with a bad back going by the name Todd Bertuzzi. I have a feeling the boos will be extra lusty when the Flames come to town. And righteous. (For a delectable summary of Todd Bertuzzi's contributions to the game of hockey, check out Bruce's summary about half way down this BoAthread)
• And The Hockey Writer Going off the Rails Award goes to this guy, for this story on Todd Bertuzzi. Just read it. Tickling the Toledos? Little (Sea of) Red wagon? Who the hell is this dude?