August 01, 2011
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
And let's hope they do it very, very soon.
Zach Parise signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this weekend to stay in New Jersey. It was a case of another team and player avoiding the acrimonious and unhoped-for arbitration process, seemingly agreeing to work toward a longer-term deal in the meantime.
And what a bargain for New Jersey. The fact is Parise is among the two or three best two-way players in the NHL when healthy. The two seasons before he was injured and missed all but 13 games, he averaged more than 40 goals and well over a point a game, despite facing the toughest competition his opponents had to offer every single night. He's the only player in Devils history to record four consecutive 30-goal seasons and still remained fully cognizant of the defensive zone, as any stereotypical ultra-defensive New Jersey forward would.
In short, he's a dazzling and near-Datsyukian mix of offense and defense, exactly the kind of player everyone in the league should look to build their entire franchise around.
Remember all the talk about Stamkos-and-Richards-to-the-whoever talk of just a few weeks ago? Every website ran what-if offer sheet scenarios for Tampa's goalscoring machine and so hot was the pursuit of Richards that TSN dispatched a reporter outside a suburban office building like he was sending messages back from some ultra-courteous warfront. And with good reason: both are excellent players for what they do.
It's going to get a whole lot worse if Parise and New Jersey don't come to some sort of agreement before the season. If we're terribly unfortunate, and the Devils don't look to be in the playoff hunt, the trade deadline.
The entire TSN deadline show would become a theater production devoted to Parise's eventual landing spot, regardless of how clear it was that the player would eventually sign with the only NHL team he has ever known. The absurd amount of cap space the Devils will have next summer, and Parise's fairly plain desire to stay with the franchise, will be considered not at all.
Parise would become Stamkos if he was an unrestricted free agent and played as well in his own zone as he does at the top of the circle. He'll be Richards if he was three years younger, defensively responsible and capable of scoring 45 goals with Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) on his line. The parade of suitors through the doors of his agent's office will grow as long as the salary cap and teams' ability to pay him the king's ransom he will surely command allow it to be.
And every breath from every hockey pundit and fan on the planet will be those of people daring to dream that Parise will come to their city to play for their team from October until July 1.
But as we saw this summer, just because teams put together pie-in-the-sky offers for a highly sought-after free agent and do whatever they can to bend the knee before him doesn't mean they'll land anywhere other than where we always thought. The Devils will likely have to do a lot of work to prevent Parise from keeping them at the top of his list.
If they do sign him before Parise gets the chance to test the market, though, fans won't have to worry too much. You can probably already feel the army of people with Shea Weber(notes) rumors massing just over the horizon.
What We Learned
Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara's(notes) meeting with the Montreal PD "went well" and there should be a resolution in the whole Max Pacioretty(notes) case soon. That is to say, he probably posed dutifully for pictures and then the police said, "Oh yeah of course that wasn't a crime bye Zdeno thanks for the signed pucks."
Chicago Blackhawks: Eau Claire, Wisconsin is becoming a hockey hotbed thanks to the performances of guys like Jake Dowell(notes) and early 1990s ECHLer Andy Akervik. Stick to having a really great folk rock scene, be proud that you produced Bon Iver. But don't hang your hat on Jake Dowell.
Detroit Red Wings: Mike Modano(notes) says the Red Wings' jet makes travel difficult because sometimes you'd have to stop and refuel on the way somewhere else. On your private jet. Tough life. Try flying commercial.
Edmonton Oilers: Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) reported to jail on Saturday and jeez he's got it tough. Doesn't have to wear the prison uniform. Doesn't have to be there between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Only has to be there for 15 days. But I bet any ol' regular Joe who got busted doing 70 in a 45 with a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit gets that treatment.
Florida Panthers: Steven Weiss and a bunch of other NHLers will be participating in a charity hockey game on Aug. 18 in Stouffville, Ontario, so go check that out if you're in the area. Proceeds benefit the local hospital.
Los Angeles Kings: Dean Lombardi thinks Drew Doughty(notes) will get signed at some point. But not now, though team and player are working on it. "This isn't a standoff like we've been seeing in Washington," Lombardi said. Yeah but maybe Doughty will hire John Boehner as his new agent. Might be able to wring at least $1 trillion outta the team. SuperCongress and all that.
Nashville Predators: Jonathon Blum(notes) and new Preds sixth-round pick Chase Balisy grew up on the same street in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. That's one hell of an odd coincidence. Rancho Santa Margarita ain't exactly in the running for Kraft Hockeyville.
New Jersey Devils: Hey so who's gonna be the Devils' captain? Guess what it's Zach Parise.
Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson(notes) is on Twitter now and he might not want to write about any terrorist leaders or something. Twitter is dangerous.
Phoenix Coyotes: Here's something most people may not have thought of yet: Prepare for a million Shane Doan(notes) trade proposals come February. No way they get him re-signed without an owner, right?
San Jose Sharks: Popular television thing Shark Week began last night, and the Worcester Sharks celebrated by holding a free public skate. Of course, if it was San Jose Shark Week, it would end on Thursday. *wild applause*
Toronto Maple Leafs: Kevyn Adams(notes) used to play for the Maple Leafs and when he did, he wore No. 42. The reason he did it was because he's a huge fan of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What a great dude!
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks are among three founding members of the Green Sports Alliance, which invited hundreds of executives from teams in all major North American pro leagues to Portland, Oregon, this weekend. The topic for discussion was how to make pro sports environmentally friendly. The NHL is already way out in front of that though, due to it being the coolest league.
Gold Star Award
Congrats to Mike Mottau(notes), who got hit in the eye with a puck in November and missed the entire rest of the season, but is now working on being back for next year. Some of the details on it in this article are horrifying.
Minus of the Weekend
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
User "Davalicious" doesn't get the Red Wings mystique:
My son is also named Bort.