E drags herself out of her hellish, hockey-free cave of Having to Write About Other Things and, still somewhat woozy from lack of sleep, offers the following assorted comments on the state of the Habs, ex-Habs, might-have-been Habs, and various other free-agency detrius.
· Raise your hand, honk your horn, applaud, or otherwise indicate if you still think Andrei Markov got overpaid. No one? Yeah, I thought not. Before we even start talking about UFA Day activities, renewed props and obeisance to Gainey for that signing.
· So I suppose if, last month, the question was whether or not Souray deserved Markov-type money, the question is now whether Hamrlik deserved Souray-type money. Because that’s what he got- the exact contract that Gainey offered Souray. People are saying it’s an overpayment, and perhaps it is. Certainly it is a lot of money, particularly in comparison to the pay distribution on the Habs roster last season. I don’t know Hamrlik, and I intend to reserve judgment on his value until I’ve seen him play, but I will say this: it’s a lot of money, but it’s possible that he will be worth it. If he can make good breakout passes, if he can be a solid plus player, if he can be steady, smart, and responsible in his own end, if he can do time on the power-play with Markov, and if over the four years of his contract he can be a good influence on the many young defensemen the Habs will be looking to bring up in that time, than he will be worth it. Is he a replacement for Souray? Nope, of course not, but Souray is such a peculiar creature that there was never any question of replacing him- only of hoping that his empty space could be filled by someone with good qualities of his own.
· If Hamrlik is an overpay, it’s an overpay that had to be made one way or another- defense was a hole that the Habs had to fill, and it was a very expensive summer to go shopping. Give Gainey a gold star for effort, but there’s no question that he didn’t get everything he wanted. Ironically, though, his failed pursuit of Briere and Smyth made me realize how badly the Canadiens need a GM like him. Habistanis seem to have very high expectations for UFA Day. Maybe all fans are like that, but in Habs fans it is particularly unbecoming because we have absolutely no good reason for such expectancy. Have the Habs ever landed a high-profile free agent who worked out well, barring resignings of our own players? Not that I’ve ever heard of, but please do correct me if I’m forgetting someone. Certainly it hasn’t happened in a while. Repeat after me, Habistanis: FREE AGENCY WILL NOT SOLVE ALL OUR PROBLEMS. For any number of reasons which have been much-discussed throughout the media in the past weeks,
· If there’s one thing that worries me, it’s not the lack of big signings from the
· I like Daniel Briere, I really do. Obviously his offensive instincts are tremendous, and I think he’s tougher than a lot of people give him credit for. He reminds me of one of those little porcelain figurines of bug-eyed, pale children that old ladies like to collect, if said figurine was inhabited by an angry fanged demon with a thick, subtle vicious streak and a desperate need to prove itself via hockey. How could you not love that? However, I am very, very relieved that the Habs bid for him failed. Unlike some of the other UFAs, his amazing-ness is of comparatively recent vintage, and I’m not convinced it’s necessarily replicable in any context, with any team. It seemed quite probable that, compared to
· People of
· In combination with Bonk going to Nashville, it’s like the Habs didn’t have UFAs this summer so much as they had an assortment of Band-Aids for troubled teams. So why hasn’t anyone taken Johnson yet? Why does nobody want this guy? He’s a sensible, efficient, surprisingly durable defensive winger who’s got to be a bargain by the standards of other free agents out there. After all, he was a +6 for the Habs last year, which is insanely good for the 06-07 Canadiens. According to the Theory of Ice Official Habs Plus-Minus Compensation Conversion™, that should translate to approximately +135 on any remotely sane team.
· If I have learned one thing in the past weeks, it is that the rules of the CBA and the various customs and conventions surrounding it are so ludicrously complex that I will probably have to go get some variety of advanced business degree before understanding them. Until then, I’m going to continue with my previous policy of treating it like a fickle deity which appears intermittently through the year in the form of a crowd of middle-aged men in very nice suits, and via their intercession bashes hockey fans repeatedly on the heads with large rocks. Metaphorically. And like most hockey fans, I will continue making it regular offerings of money in the form of tickets and merchandise purchased, in the vain hope that this will lead to less brutal, or at least less frequent, beatings.
E slithers back into the pit from whence she came, as usual promising to post more frequently in the future. Really, she means it this time.
[P.S. Teebz- I will get around to your meme shortly.]