Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks for the Memories

As you can see, it has been almost 3 weeks since I last posted on UHT. I apologize for that, and for writing few posts overall in the last several months.

In case you didn't know, I am also a regular writer for Faceoff-Factor.com. It has recently become clear to me that it is hard for me to maintain my blog and continue to write for FF, all while pursuing a career in 'real life'. Rather than to let my work here and at FF suffer, I have decided to focus my efforts in one place - at FF.

I wanted to thank all of my readers for stopping by, reading my rants, and offering their own two cents. You guys are what make bloggers relevant in hockey.

Thanks for everything!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To Russia With Love

Bye Bye Ray Emery.

I defended you last summer when everyone said that you were a crummy goalie. I said that you weren't crap, that you'd be even better when your wrist got better.

Then you just had to come back and suck. You were pouting when you had to park yourself on the bench upon returning from wrist surgery because Gerber was unbelievable last fall. You were late for practice how many times?

You just weren't a good teammate off the ice, and you didn't do anything to make yourself a better teammate on the ice because practicing 'isn't fun'.

So now you find yourself out of Ottawa, and no other NHL team will take a chance on you.

Not even Los Angeles.

The only job you could get is with a Russian team. I hope you can get your act together and grow up. Maybe if you do, and maybe if you work on your game, you can come back to North America in a few years and someone will take a chance on you.

After all, you were in goal when Ottawa went to the SCF a year ago. You can't be total crap.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pittsburgh South

When Shero traded for Hossa at the deadline, Pierre McGuire said that he didn't care for the move because it made Pittsburgh "Tampa Bay North" - alluding to Tampa's disastrous situation of having three star players making a big pile of money.

Well, I believe we can now call Tampa "Pittsburgh South" considering how they have signed all kinds of former Penguins in the last few weeks.

There's the new scout, Greg Malone, who may have helped to lure his son Ryan to Tampa...Gary Roberts, Adam Hall, and now Mark Recchi also signed this off-season. These four players played in Pittsburgh at some point last season, and Michel Ouellet was a Penguin the season before.

If Tampa wanted a new start this season, it looks like they got it. I just hope they aren't hoping that these former Penguins will hand them another Stanley Cup, because it won't happen. Ryan Malone has the potential of making the biggest impact on the team, but nothing is for certain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hossa heading West

If you can't beat them, join them.

That's what Marian Hossa must be thinking, considering he just signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings for $7.4M.

Hossa was the biggest name on the market. Pittsburgh wanted to re-sign him to a multi-year deal for a reported $7M/yr, Edmonton wanted to throw $9M/yr at his feet, and the Habs and Rangers were supposedly in the mix too. The Red Wings were mentioned a few times, but they didn't make much noise. Until now.

This signing shocked me, not because it's the Red Wings, but because of the terms of the deal. Considering this deal is for little more than what Shero was offering, I can only assume that Hossa wasn't really interested in being a long-term Penguin.

Maybe he thought that, should he sign with the Pens, the team would become strapped for cash and that there would be little chance of winning the Cup in coming years.

Maybe he just looked at the Detroit Red Wings and sees a very good chance of winning a Cup with them next season (and they have now just become my number 1 pick for winning it all next year).

Maybe we'll never know what happened.

What I do know is this: Ray Shero could not have done any more. Some fans are already calling for Shero's head over this, but what some people don't get is that Shero cannot afford to overpay any player on the team. With Crosby and soon-to-be Malkin locked in for about $8.7M/year each, and MAF needing a contract in the next month, there IS NO money to pay someone upwards of $9M/yr for umpteen seasons.

The teams that overspend this time of year will ultimately lose.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tampa's all about the offense....and nothing else

What is going on down in Tampa?

They finished in the basement of the conference last season, so they decided to pull a Philly and turn things around.

New ownership, new coach, number one draft pick, trades galore, signings left, right and centre - many of those players being former Penguins.

They are looking good up front. Really good. But what about the defensive part of the game?

Tampa's defensive corps has been a little, uh, leaky in recent times, yet they want Dan Boyle (number 1 d-man) to waive his no trade clause so that they can ship him out. Wow.

Now TSN and Sportsnet are reporting that Tampa is shopping goalie Mike Green. If Green was out of town, recently signed Olaf Kolzig would be their numero uno.

Umm...don't they know that you have to stop the other team from scoring, too?

Unless they are planning on shipping Boyle and Green to Vancouver for Roberto Luongo...Nah, that wouldn't happen.

It is still early in free agency, so who knows what Feaster and the crew will do in coming weeks. Hopefully they'll address the defensive holes in the team, but even if they don't, it will be interesting to see how this little experiment pans out.