Tuesday, September 09, 2008
One game into the American Foozball season and everything rests on an MRI - if it comes out badly for Mr. Bundchen then its wide open and all hell is going to break loose. In today's Globe Stephen Brunt summed it up as he explained how the Buffalo Bills, once resigned to fighting for a wildcard, suddenly see a wide open horizon.
Imagine what New England fans are feeling today.
Meh, fuck them. They can't complain after the run they've had.
The cap in the NHL has changed things drastically as well. I remember Detroit running out a power play with more salary then some entire payrolls. There was the year that they had Joseph, Hasek and Legace on their roster. And of course they and others would load up on veterans at the trading deadline to stave off the inevitable injuries that would come in the playoffs. I recognize that the success that the Wings had all of those years started with excellent drafting and development (if spending bought you Cups then the Leafs and Rangers would have a lot more to show for the prelockout years then absolutely nothing) it certainly helped that they had the wherewithal to pay those players when they had to.
Nowadays one or two injuries can break your season. The Oilers have had quite the run in that department the last two years and here's hoping this year is not a repeat. Strangely enough the Oilers are actually in better shape then most of their rivals when it comes to weathering a possible injury storm. Actually after two years of poor results (much of it self inflicted), the Oilers must look around the Northwest and realize that opportunity is coming just at a time when the Oilers youth may be peaking.
May be being the operative phrase. A concussion here, a blown knee there and all of this youth movement will go to naught but lets try and stay positive here. The Oilers' kids certainly make it easy to do so. Look at the youth in place and in the pipeline and compare it with the Flames or the Canucks. Hard times are coming over our most hated foes.
With the departure of the last two veteran centres on the roster Shawn Horcoff becomes far more valuable and if he or Hemsky were to go down for any period of time this team would take a hit. Compare this possibility to what would happen to Calgary if Iginla were hurt or Vancouver if Luongo went down. Truth is that would be it for either team. The Canucks are one case but the Flames are another - a lack of depth up front or on the back end is going to hurt them. The year they went to the final they had effective cheap players up and down the roster - some young, some not, but much like the Blues did at the beginning of the decade they replaced some of those younsters with some big names and big salaries. Tanguay was a good move but then they soured him on the club last season. As for some of the other players who have been moved out you would have to ask a Flames' fan what his or her thoughts are. Taken one by one the moves may have merit or appear reasonable but as a whole its a recipe for disaster.
Indeed as an Oilers' fan its difficult to not look around the division and conference and hope that the stars may be aligning for a run shortly. In Vancouver there are questions about Luongo's happiness and the agent for the Sedins is making noise about gigantic contracts for the twins and apparent unhappiness with the removal of Nonis. In Calgary a dearth of young talent and the possible decline of Kiprusoff are talking points. The Avs are going to See Joe Sakic move on soon and the Wild may see Gaborik do the same. Add to that the aging of Ducks' Selanne, Niedermeyer and Pronger and the eventual retirement of Nick Lidstrom and a fan of the Copper and Blue can see that smart moves and some luck could propel Edmonton into the position of a contender quickly.
Posted by Black Dog at 12:30 PM