The upcoming season is fast approaching and I have a lot of things to take care of on the site, such as getting the Power Rankings ready, doing some preview type articles, and nagging the other site contributors to hurry up, so it’s time to finish off this Summer of Shame series with a lightning round! Here’s a bullet point rundown on the rest of the horrible noteworthy things that occurred during the summer…
- Dan Bylsma was given a contract extension and appointed head coach of the USA Olympic team.
Despite Pittsburgh being embarrassed in the playoffs two years in a row and there being no sign of the team understanding the basic concept of defense, Ray Shero thought it was a good idea to keep his coach. Everyone loves Bylsma, especially the players because they know they can simply ignore his incoherent ramblings and not get reamed out for it, but that doesn’t make him a good coach. Worse than this is the fact that the Americans couldn’t find anyone better to lead them in Sochi. What an embarrassment.
- Dustin Byfuglien was super fat!
Byfuglien has always been a bit of a fatty during the offseason, especially since leaving Chicago because it now lasts at least four months. The lockout only further exasperated things as Big Buff never had a timetable for getting back into shape and figured he could just chill on his boat eating cheese puffs to his heart’s content. So when the season inexplicably started, he was horribly out of shape and amazingly only got worse as the season progressed, reportedly weighing in at over 300 pounds by the time it was over. Ouch.
- The Saddledome got rocked by the flood.
Albertans ran for the hills during late June as flood waters decimated the province, especially Calgary. The city’s largest indoor arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome, home to the Flames, was hit hard as flood waters rose up to cover the first ten rows of the lower bowl and pretty much destroyed everything in its path. This can be seen as a fitting metaphor for the Flames hilariously awful attempt at a rebuild under GM Jay Feaster.
- Corey Schneider traded to the Devils.
After all the hoopla surrounding the Roberto Luongo ordeal and him wanting out of Vancouver, GM Mike Gillis decided it was better to just keep the poor bastard after all and instead traded their goalie of the present/future to New Jersey. What a gong show this was. Luongo’s a professional and he’ll be fine dealing with this, but part of me wishes he’d just say “suck it” and retire or something. Also, Schneider now has to deal with Brodeur and if he thought getting along with Luongo was tough, wait until he pisses off fatso.
- Compliance buyouts for everyone!
When the buyout period opened for business, decisions were swift and hilarious. Wacky Ilya Bryzgalov was paid $23 million to leave the Flyers alone and take up a career in astronomy. Philadelphia also bought out Daniel Briere, proving they have no plans of making the playoffs anytime soon. The Islanders did the obvious in buying out Rick DiPietro, who’s still crying at home on his bed full of cash while his agent struggles to find him a job in the KHL. Tampa Bay surprised a few people with the Vincent Lecavalier buyout, the most expensive in league history at nearly $33 million. Finally, the Maple Leafs bought out Mikhail Grabovski simply because Randy Carlyle hated him and they somehow thought he had less trade value than John-Michael Liles.
- Philadelphia surprises everyone by spending their extra cap space unwisely.
So what did the Flyers do with that extra cap space after buying out Bryzgalov and Briere? Well, they signed some equally washed up old-timers to just slightly better contracts. Lecavalier at $4.5 million for 5 years isn’t exactly horrible, but when your defense and goaltending is the laughing stock of the league and your forward stock is already pretty good, it’s a poor use of funds. They tried to help the defense by signing Mark Streit, but that’s a lot of money to give a 35 year old on the decline. At least they got Ray Emery for cheap. Oh, wait, didn’t they try that once before and it failed miserably?
- Toronto does all kinds of stupid things!
OK, they started off good by buying out Mike Komisarek and the trades for Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland were fine I guess, but then the shit hits the fan. As previously mentioned, they then buy out Grabovski and use that money to re-sign Tyler Bozak, a vastly inferior player, but Phil Kessel and Carlyle need him for their threesomes so that’s that. Next they sign David Clarkson to a ludicrous 7 year contract. This was by far the worst UFA signing of the offseason. A $5.25 million cap hit for 7 years for a 29 year old power forward that has only recorded over 40 points in a season once. Brutal. Then they top all of this off by rewarding GM Dave Nonis with a 5 year contract extension based on his mediocre work over a half season. Holy shit, back up the bus people, this guy got us back into the playoffs!!! Good ol’ typical Toronto.
- Daniel Alfredsson is broke and needs money.
I already bashed Alfredsson in the previous blog entry, but he’s such a tool that he deserves a second helping. If reports are true, Alfredsson basically left Ottawa because they wouldn’t come up an extra $1 million in contract talks. $1 million. For a guy that has made well over $50 million already in his career, that’s pocket change. Oh, but he played for peanuts last year, he deserves a little more! No, he doesn’t. Suck it up and show some loyalty to the team that made you. Yes, the owner is a tool and the GM has a lisp, but that’s to be expected, it is Ottawa after all. Even worse is the fact Alfredsson first tried to claim he went with Detroit because they have a better shot at winning the Stanley Cup. Hahahaha, sure.
- Ilya Kovalchuk is taking his talents back to Russia.
On July 11th, Kovalchuk announced his retirement from the NHL. He left $77 million on the table in New Jersey just so he can go back to Russia and toil about in the KHL. Sure, he’ll make that much or more back home, but it’s still a lot of money. The Devils were probably thrilled about it though as getting out from under that contract likely made the recent sale of the team a lot easier. In the end, Kovalchuk is nothing but a wussy mama’s boy and nothing of value was lost.
- Goaltenders league wide cry more about their gaping five holes.
The loss of approximately 2 inches in length on each leg pad has sent some goaltenders spiraling into a state of depression. How will they ever stop pucks heading for the five hole area now? Oh, I dunno, how about not going down into the butterfly before every shot is taken? Yeah, that could work. Also, who the hell really cares about this minuscule change other than the goalies? They need to reduce the size of the equipment everywhere before any real, tangible difference is noticed. With the advancement in technology and materials these days, there is no reason for goaltenders to look like the Michelin Man.
- The Metropolitan Division!!!
The league realignment is a God damn joke anyway, so I suppose it makes sense to give one of the divisions a name that’s fitting of the apparent idiocy that went into choosing who goes where. Ugh, such a terrible, terrible name. By far the worst division name in history among the four big North American sports. What else could they have called it? I don’t know because the realignment is fucked up to begin with. If they couldn’t fix the divisions to make sense geographically, then they should have just went back to naming the divisions after historic hockey figures again, like they did in the days of the Adams, Patrick, Norris, and Smythe divisions.