Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What on Earth is going on in Pittsburgh?

The deadline has passed and I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. Just minutes before 3 PM ET, Gord Miller announces to the world that Hossa has been traded to....the Pittsburgh Penguins.


I said last night that Shero inquired about Hossa, but I didn't think that it would happen. This isn't like Shero - Mario Lemieux must have put pressure on him to make it happen now. Most of the guys at TSN like this deal but I'm with Pierre McGuire - I hate this trade. Just hate it.

Pens fans have been saying that we need a scoring winger for Sid. Is Hossa that? Well, he is a sniper. But will he even have chemistry with Sid? I don't know. Just because you pair a top playmaker with a top sniper doesn't mean that it's a match made in heaven. Gretzky was traded to St. Louis to play with Brett Hull in the 1990's, and seems to me there weren't fireworks between them.

There are more questions about Hossa:

Will he disappear in the playoffs? Hopefully not. The playoffs are not the time to take a break and relax.

Will he resign with the Pens this summer? If yes, he will want a lot of money and a lot of years, and the Penguins will be the Tampa Bay of the North. Look how well Tampa's doing now. I'm sure Pens fans out there love this Hossa deal, but how will they feel in 3 or 4 years when Pittsburgh is back in the basement of the Eastern Conference, selling off Malkin...Staal....Fleury...Malone...Is this the price that they want to pay?

Let's say Hossa doesn't sign with Pittsburgh this summer. Well, then the Penguins will be in search of another scoring winger for Crosby and they'll be without Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and this year's first round draft pick (which will be a strong draft). All the Pens will have to show for this trade is Pascal Dupuis.

If you look at the League as a whole and what happened today, you could say that things were blown wide open in the East. A few of the top Eastern players were traded out to the West (Richards, Campbell) and the Pens made the biggest deal of the day. The argument could be made that the Penguins could win the East if Hossa plays well with Sid and if Hal Gill does what he does best - be a big body, shutdown defenseman who is good on the PK.

So, let's say the Pens do make it to the Stanley Cup Finals - can they actually win the Cup against the West? Detroit has the best record in the NHL and should be healthy by the time the playoffs roll around. San Jose has been really good all season and they just addressed their glaring need of a puck-moving defenseman. Anaheim was .500 at the start of the season, then something like 12-7 since getting Niedermayer back, and virtually unbeatable since Selanne came back. Dallas has been crazy good, and now they have Brad Richards. I'm not sure the Pens, or any team in the East, can do it.

If the Pens can't win the Cup this year, can this Hossa deal be seen as a success?

I don't think so.


Stoosh said...

As soon as I saw Army's name on it, I hated it at first. I said before that if it took two players off the roster as well as Esposito and this year's first-rounder, it'd be too much. I still stand by that to a point.

However...I've come around quite a bit on it.

First things first...I think they'll make every honest effort to extend Hossa. They almost have to, to be honest, after giving up what they did to get him. Pens fans are giddy over the acquisition of a talent like Hossa, but the inclusion of Army stung a lot.

I think they can front-load the salary on his deal so he gets most of it within the first few years. It should be an attractive proposition for him and it'll help mitigate salary cap issues because the Pens would pay him more when the cap hits for some of these younger guys will still be relatively low.

Consider this...Sid signed his extension this past summer, but his cap hit for this year was still only $3.7 million. It doesn't go up to $8.7 million until next year. Assuming they at least handle Malkin the same way this summer (if not also Staal and Fleury), their respective cap hits can still be kept relatively low for the 08-09 season. They won't go up significantly until the 09-10 season. At that point, perhaps Gonchar gets moved to free up an extra $5 million or so (he'll only have one year left on his deal after the 08-09 season). That could cover the first two years of Hossa's extension there, when his salary will exceed his cap hit.

That stuff aside, I think this was the best winger they could acquire without giving up a major piece of the puzzle...someone like Letang, Staal, Fleury, etc (assuming Geno and Sid are untouchable).

As far as squaring off against the West, we'll just have to wait and see. I think they had to make a deal that will give them a chance to get there, and the addition of Hossa should at least provide that, provided he shows up in the playoffs.

I credit Shero for making the move and taking this chance. There's no reason to think this team can't win the East, and they've fared pretty well against the Western Conf. teams as well. It's a gamble, but the fact that he was able to take this shot without losing a major piece of the core is huge.

DaBich said...

You bring up valid points, Ashley. In looking it all over, I'm thinking there was more (unspoken) to the deal when it was made. Call it intuition, but I feel in my gut that Hossa WILL resign, and things will be worked out. Like you said, Shero isn't the kind to just throw things away. If not, then we could be in some deep doo-doo down the road.
With that said, I'm excited, and since I can't change the deal, I'm jumping in and making the most of it!
But I WILL miss Colby :(

Ashley said...

Hey guys, I know I sounded all crazy and panicked, and I admit that I was. Perhaps still am, a little bit, but I'm trying to take a deep breath and hope for the best.

I know that this was a fair trade, but I'm just a little concerned about the future. The last thing I want to happen from this is for the Pens to become Tampa Bay North and start selling off their assets in a few years.

Oh well...Trust In Shero.

Also - did you guys hear anything about Sid coming back? I heard something late last week that he may return this week, possibly for the Boston game...I haven't had a chance to do some investigating online to find any truth to the rumours.

Michael said...

Chemistry doesn't score goals, Marian Hossa scores goals.

Ashley said...

...except when Marian Hossa messes up his knee.

DaBich said...

Ouch...that upset me!

Ashley said...

lol sorry Dabich. I'm seriously frustrated with the injury bug that seems to linger in Pittsburgh.

But hey, maybe he'll return on the same day as Sid.