Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Still waiting for the floodgates to open

I wonder what the teams are waiting for. So far, only the Flyers and Wings have released players. LeClair and Amonte from the Flyers, Derian Hatcher, Darren McCarty, and Ray Whitney from the Wings. What, no Bobby Holik? No Owen Nolan? The deadline is Saturday...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Let the free agent frenzy begin

Well, another good column by King Kaufman about hockey. He mentions lower ticket prices, and I'm all for that. However, I feel like I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I'll pay the same price, or maybe even a bit more to see pro hockey again. I sure hope the Sharks season ticket base is smaller this year- get out fair-weather fans! The Sharks could be real contenders this year, and they are in good salary cap position.

However, they need to sign their free agents. Rathje, Marleau, Stuart, and Sturm are restricted free agents, and need to be signed. Ricci and Damphousse are already gone. Maybe the Sharks will be in the running for a big free agent forward. Rumors have already begun about Owen Nolan to return to SJ, where he still lives. I say sign 'em, but not for anything close to what he was making in Toronto. His back is too rickety for the Sharks to lean on him hard. Holik is probably the biggest name available, and the Sharks could use a center. Glen Murray is available, but I think he'll sign again with the B's, or go back to the Kings. Pavol Demitra would be a great pickup too. The real crown jewel would be Markus Naslund from Vancouver.

Team by team breakdown on ESPN here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Deal is almost done

Well, the NHL deal is almost done, and not too many people care. I suppose I'll have to take back my last post, in which I opined that the players realize that the owners really are losing money, and decided to give even more. After reading King's column, I have to agree with King. The players did a full and total capitulation. They reduced their salaries, they agreed to a hard cap, something they said they never would, and the owners got more favorable arbitration rules.

I, for one, am excited. Am I happy that the owners managed to win a long labor strike yet again (NFL in late 80's comes to mind)? Not particularly. But I can't say that a $36M salary cap affects my life any differently than a $49M salary cap. I just want to watch hockey. And being in Sharks territory, there ain't a whole lot of alternatives to the Sharks pro-hockey-wise.

I just can't seem to scare up any righteous indignation about this thing. I don't view pro hockey as a right, a right that was carelessly and ruthlessly taken away by rich white men looking to gain more money from other rich (mostly white) men. I view it as a great sport to watch and play, and I'll watch it and play it whenever I can. It's not a public utility. I can appreciate that some (ok, lots) of tax dollars were spent to keeps teams around, in the form of new arenas and tax breaks. And maybe that's where the indignation should be coming from, if it exists. Let's make that a lesson. The NHL wants to run their business with leadpipe cruelty and mercenary sensibility; we should guard our tax dollars with the same attitude. No more arena subsidies. No more tax breaks. If my beloved Sharks move to Ames or Boise or Minneapolis because San Jose won't cough up some millions, I'll get over it. I'll still watch the games on TV. Or not. As Jerry Seinfeld said, when you're rooting for the home team you're essentially rooting for laundry.