Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dog Days Are Here!


1) Its official, the 'Dog Days of Summer' are officially here! The excitement of the early part of summer with the entry draft then the opening of Free Agent Season, are waning quickly. The big fish have all been landed. Though rosters are hardly set as of today, most teams have a pretty good idea who they will be going to war with in early October.

2) Speaking of the season opener. As you can see we have published another count down on the site. This one to the 'real' opening night. Though the season officially starts with two silly contests in late September between the Ducks and Kings in Great Britain. The starting times 12:00 noon Eastern here in North America. We wonder how many fans of the teams will be getting up at 9:00 am to see hockey that weekend? More great planning, but that's a post for another day.

3) No huge new items this morning. Reading various hockey columns the past few days one can't be amused by some of the columnists.

  • Of note Larry Brooks of the NY Post. He actually took Henrik Lundqvist to task for his one year contract that will pay him 4.25 mil. Larry apparently believes he should have 'taken one for the team', by accepting what the arbiter surely would have given him. Larry estimates that would have been in the 2.5 mil neighborhood. Now, we won't get into guessing games as to what he may or may not have received from arbitration.
  • Its any ones guess, BUT what is NOT a guess is that without Lundqvist the Rangers aren't even a playoff team. He owes them nothing. Its the Rangers/Sather's responsibility to make sure he can round out a competitive team within the existing cap restraints. We don't see the Rangers having a problem getting in under the cap. They WILL sign Avery and Hossa, and will jettison Kasperitis before opening night to get under the ceiling, but unless another move occurs that will leave them thin on the back line and with little cap-wiggle room for future moves. Thats Sather's fault, not Lundqvist!

4) Our take on the Sutter to NJ hiring:

  • the Devils’ tradition of holding players accountable for their defensive play will clearly continue. Sutter demands the same kind of effort he gave as a player, which is great news for New Jersey’s hockey outlook after losing stars Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski to free agency.

  • No matter who was going to coach, Jersey’s offensive stats were likely going to take a small hit anyway. You can’t just replace Rafalski’s power play movement or Gomez’s passes; at least not with the current Devils' roster. While Dainius Zubrus will come in to help replace at least a bit of Gomez’s offensive production. Zach Parise will also have a tad more room to grow and should continue to build on what was a fairly impressive season this past year.

  • Jersey is still going to think D first and having Sutter behind the bench won’t change that philosophy. Jersey’s forwards tend to be a bit less valuable than those on most other teams around the league because of it, but it’s also why a stud goaltender like Marty B can post monster stats year after year.

  • The interesting dynamic is a guy like Sutter coming in to coach in a town where GM Lou Lamoriello hasn't exactly been shy about booting his bench boss. Or is Lamoriello going to groom Sutter to take over for him at some point?

5) With the onset of these dog days our frequency of posting may ebb somewhat. No use in wrting posts just for the sake of it. Certainly we will continue to break and discuss any news as it occurs. As always keep it here for all the latest!


lyle said...

I think you may be spot on in your Sutter to be groomed scenario. Lamarello isn't getting any younger. He's probably not ready to totally step away, but not unlike Harry Sinden in Boston he may want to eventually do so down the road. Sutter, having had experience and success on the managerial level as well as coaching level would seem to be a good fit. As you said, time will tell

dlyjoe5726 said...

Dick Days are more like it for you!

Contact the Media