’09 PENGUINS: HOLD or FOLD?
So it sucks that we lost, but as Detective John Kimble kindly reminds us in the classic Kindergarten Cop, “STOP WHINING!”
It’s time to look forward to 2008-09 (when tickets will be even more expensive). The Pens might have only been 2 wins away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Crystal Skull, but they don’t get used to all the friendly faces. With 13
Good thing I’m here.
As defending NHL 06 Champion and Resident Hockey Genius for this “website”, here’s some free advice from your good doctor on the future of the Pens lineup:
1. M.A. FLEURY – No brainer. Despite cursing the Finals with “The Fall”, pooping out the Cup-winning goal, and generally seeming like a softie, we would be idiots not to pay this guy Hollywood money. And I don’t think he should ask for a penny less than Sid, either. Don’t think he forgets how they (read: Mario) screwed him out of money for his first 3 years. The Era of Fleury is now. Lock him up for 6 or 7 years and be done with it. HOLD!
1. MARIAN HOOOOOOOOOOOOSA – If I could shoot everyone on this list and give all their cash to Hossa, I would. You just don’t find Tom Brady in the 6th round every year, or Conn Smythe Zetterberg in the 7th. Name me another finesse player since early-90’s Mario who actually cared about playing defense. And let’s be frank - I love
Hear me, Shero…Lock up Hossa long-term, and then the well can produce and blow gold all over the place.
Having said that, we are committed to 3 or 4 young, cap-hogging forwards already, so management has to be smart with their money (unlike previous regimes). Also let’s not forget Hossa will be 30 in January. Some horrible team with lots of cash to blow (
2. BROOKS ORPIK – Remember earlier this season when Coach Michelle thought it would be better to make Brooks a 4th-line winger for 2 weeks? And then followed that with a December full of healthy scratches? Word on the street is that Orpik has had enough of the current regime and is looking to go elsewhere. Pair that with the fact that the Rangers are rumored to be offering a Rolls Royce Phantom II for his services, and Orpik should go. He’s been a man-beast lately, but fairly streaky other than that. Don’t let one shift fool you – this guy is not the anchor we all imagine him to be. Orpik has been in the system forever, so there may be some that don’t want to see him go. But if that was really the case, they would’ve extended him when they had the chance last summer. FOLD!
3. GARY ROBERTS – I think he said he’s leaning towards retirement, but even if he doesn’t, there’s no point to signing WWGRD. We all know that veterans like him suck from September-March, then turn it up 10 notches for the playoffs. Besides, he was brought in to give us some playoffs experience, which 100% of the team has now. So I say if we really need him, we go after him again next Spring. If not, I’d like to see him take Errey’s place in the booth, and end up killing Steigy. FOLD!
4. PASCAL DUPUIS – He’s just as old as Hossa and not nearly as good. So again, if I could absorb his salary onto #18, I would. And I get the feeling that Shero didn’t really care if he got Dupuis in that deadline deal or not. But there aren’t many faster guys on the team who can kill penalties and also score an occasional goal. Dupuis looked like a retard in the Finals, so I’m still sort of mad at him, but I do remember being impressed for the few weeks leading up to that point. If we can’t sign anyone else, he’s the type of plugger that we can insert on any of the top 3 lines. So if we have to......HOLD!
5. RYAN MALONE – When he was still on ESPN Radio, Mark “The Super Genius” Madden used to talk a lot about how we had big guys in the minors (Luca Caputi, Jon Filewitch, Bissonette) who could some day be able to plump their big rears on
6. ADAM HALL – Again, this is bang for the buck. In a land where nobody can win a damn faceoff, Hall seems to be the Messiah. But really, he’s older and we have 20-30 Adam Halls wasting away in the minors. So I say send his agent a low-ball offer. If he gets mad, then forget you Mr. Two-Goals-in-the-Entire-Regular-Season. FOLD!
7. JARKO RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTU – Only in the NHL can this guy keep a job. He gets paid millions to tell the Kirk Maltbys to retire, to wave sticks in the faces of the Jaromir Jagrs, to take 3 dumb penalties a game, and then at the very end….to win it all with a shootout goal. Every team needs an idiot like this and I’m glad we have him. I don’t know who fills those shoes if he bolts. But at the same time, these guys are a dime a dozen. In a coin toss, Mr. Shero, we should HOLD him.
8. ALAIN NASREDDINE – Why is this guy on the list? For God’s sakes, WBS is in Finals! Shouldn’t they have some serviceable D-men? FOLD!
9. GEORGES LARAQUE – I’m not sure what he does so well to warrant his current 1.2M salary. Some people call him a fighter, but he fights once a year, and somehow still manages to lead the team in PIM. Some people say he has good skills for a big man, but let’s be honest -- he’s lucky to stay on his feet for all of his 28-seconds per period. I don’t really care if he does things for the community, if all the Steelers love him, or if YOU love him. You gotta figure he’ll want even more money than he makes now. FOLD!
10. MARK EATON – Had a crappy year at just the right time. Now he will be a cheap, solid, shot-blocking 3rd or 4th defenseman, and should also be healthy by September. Remember, while he did shred his ACL, he did it last December, so Rod Woodson says he should be good to go by training camp. Plus Shero has a man-crush on him. I think they’ll re-sign him for pennies and be happy with it. HOLD!
11. TY CONKLIN – Hopefully someone terrible offers him starter money. I’m not a big fan of this guy, even if he didn’t completely suck all year. “WOoooooo he won the outdoor game”…”WooooOOw, he should’ve been MVP”…..Yawwwwn. Remember, even guys like JS Aubin and Hedberg were good for 1 month/year, and they eventually got $igned by crappy teams, too (Coincidentally, Aubin’s mom makes onions cry). Ideally, MA Fleury is The Show, and will naturally play 60-70 games per year, so there’s no need for an expensive backup. Think Charlie Batch. If Conk wants more than Charlie Batch money, then say it with me…..FOLLLLLLD!
LAST YEAR OF CONTRACT COMING UP…..
EVGENI MMMMMMMALKIN – Realistically, Malkin’s value may never be lower. That’s not really a dig, because if he wants to, he can own this league like late-90’s Jagr. So SIGN HIM. NOW. I wouldn’t be surprised if he pumps out 130 pts in 08-09, then asks for more than $8.7M. So sign him now before he lights the world on fire again. One of the Big Four (87,71,Fleury,Staal) will eventually have to go, so sign Malkin and get his good years while we still can.
I hear the organization loves this Alex Goligoski (Wilkes Barre), who is pretty fast, pretty gifted with the puck, yet sucks on defense. Does that remind you of anyone, Kris Letang, Ryan Whitney?? In a team with a good number of D options, who is also looking to get crafty with the cap, I’d like to see them send Big Dollar Whits packing for a sniper, then promote this new kid to the league and see how it goes.
NEXT YEAR’S CUP CHAMPS
Before you get mad, we still have all the A-listers, and they lift all the D-list trash. So here are the October 1st lines:
(signed gunner) –
CAPUTI - MALKIN – SYKORA
DUPUIS - TALBOT – KENNEDY
(signed goon) – HALL – RUUTU
GONCHAR - EATON
GILL - LETANG
SCUDERI - GOLIGOSKI
SYDOR scratched. Expect some good free agent Shero magic here, too