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For hockey fans, yesterday was one of those rare days when everything worked out great ... if your team didn't make one of the many insane signings that swept across the NHL, that is.
The luckiest teams, with a couple of exceptions, were the ones that more or less stood pat. By not indulging in the first-day feeding frenzy, some GMs were able to successfully avoid doing something stupid, like giving Derek Boogaard(notes) a four-year contract worth $6.6 million. (GMs such as Glen Sather, chomping above.)
But what would they have their team do? Give Toni Lydman(notes) or Derek Morris(notes) long-term deals that will pay them as much as Ryan freakin' Suter? Believe me, discretion is the much wiser choice at this time of year.
Although, it's not as though sanity didn't prevail in some cases.
The market for a guy like Anton Volchenkov(notes), as it turned out, was just about what it should have been: a far cry from the astronomical figures that were being thrown around before the summer began.
Even Dan Hamhuis(notes), who was hastily tossed around the Atlantic Division like whoever held his rights at the stroke of noon on July 1 would owe him a max-contract, got a reasonable deal from the Vancouver Canucks. But that he got $27 million for six years of service, and that it's actually a hometown discount is more than a little silly.
Hell, that Hamhuis was the most sought-after free agent defenseman of the day shows how crazy this is. He's certainly not bad, but I can't imagine why anyone would rate him that highly over Zbynek Michalek(notes) or Paul Martin(notes), both of whom signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and thus ensured that Sidney Crosby's(notes) wing will be occupied by a lucky radio contest winner for at least another few years.
Of course the deal with the greatest potential to defy all reason and logic is still yet to come. Despite the fact that the market for him seems a bit lower than anyone would have guessed in March, you just know someone -- Dean Lombardi -- is going to give Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) several bank vaults worth of money for a long-term deal, and why wouldn't they?
He is an offensively gifted player like few others in the league, having proven he can score with anyone as long as he plays in the Southeast Division, and it's not the postseason, and he doesn't have to cross his own blue line. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to pay that guy $10 million a year for the next decade or more.
Whether he signs in Los Angeles or New Jersey or Toronto or Omsk, he's going to get a boatload of money.
But really, the ultimate sign that GMs literally turn into lunatics the second it becomes July is evidenced by Matt Lombardi's contract demands. The Minnesota Wild were smart enough to pass on a player who has never scored more than 20 goals or 53 points at $4 million a year long-term. That it's even being discussed as something he or his agent or people around the league would consider to be within the realm of a serious request is laughable. (Lombardi, of course, found someone to meet his lowered cost in the Nashville Predators.)
But someone, somewhere is going to give him approximately that much. You just know it.
And now a hopefully brief word about Darryl Sutter so my brain doesn't seep out my ears
As some of you are no doubt aware, I am, for better or worse, a supporter of the Calgary Flames. This does not mean, however, that I am a supporter of Darryl Sutter, as my Twitter meltdown yesterday illustrated. Several people wanted to see a more eloquent reaction from me than just the keyboard-mashing rage and wrist-cutting depression I ranged between in the immediate aftermath of the Olli Jokinen(notes) signing.
Well you aren't going to get it.
This deal is so remarkably ill-advised that leading linguists must be hard at work trying to formulate a new word to describe the depths of Sutter's lack of reason. It really exhibits a dazzling lack of memory.
It's not that I'm opposed to the signing of a guy that had 50 points last year, it's that it had to be THIS guy that had 50 points last year. There is, I suppose, something admirable in Sutter's flat refusal to see the move as anything but a positive; if every GM listened to what the fans wanted the NHL would be a good deal sillier.
But still, Olli Jokinen?
I have tried to think about this rationally. I really have. I get why this move was made, especially because Daymond Langkow's(notes) neck is still a FEMA-certified disaster area. But as I said, I'm more bothered that Sutter doesn't see this as a problem, but rather as something people are happy about. He actually said the reaction to the signing has been positive. That's the kind of thing that sets the mind reeling, you know?
So the Ducks went public with their offer for Bobby Ryan, and it was substantial offer of $25 million over five years, for a 23-year-old kid who has 71 goals in 168 career games, is probably just about right, isn't it?
But Ryan doesn't seem to think so, and I don't get it. While there is nothing preventing him from sitting and waiting for the Anaheim Ducks to give him a better offer, he has to know they can't give him more than Getzlaf and Perry.
And if he's waiting for an offer sheet that would give him more money, he needs to realize there are few teams that could afford to do so given their cap situation alone, never mind the compensatory draft picks they'd have to fork over as well.
With the Ducks taking the terms of their latest offer public, they're rather successfully painting themselves as victims being held hostage by an upstart player with just two full years of service under his belt. The only thing he's doing is pissing off fans of the team he's going to end up signing with anyway. So why bother?