Nathan Skytta takes some time from his busy summer schedule to take a look at the NHL offseason and its many twists and turns. Note: Article written Aug. 14.
Just over two months ago, fans of the NHL witnessed the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Philadelphia Flyers to win their first Stanley Cup since the 1960-61 season. Now, with the countdown just over fifty days away from the drop of the puck in Helsinki, Finland, the Blackhawks have dismantled their championship team, the most prized free agent is still unsigned and those are just the beginning of the highlights that have made this summer so interesting for the fans of the NHL.
The Kovalchuk Puzzle
The highlight of the offseason was the signing, or so we thought, of Ilya Kovalchuk by the New Jersey Devils. The agreement was for 17 years and over 100 million dollars, but as soon as it was signed, the NHL rejected it. The arbitrator assigned to the dispute upheld the NHL’s ruling that the contract went against salary cap regulations and therefore was illegal. We are now in the middle of August, and the most heralded free agent on the market this offseason, remains just that.
Getting back to the Hawks, Antti Niemi, who was in net when the Hawks won the cup, won an arbitration hearing and was awarded a 2.75-million dollar salary. Because they are so close to the cap, the Hawks had no choice but to let Niemi, 26, become a free agent. The Hawks had a plan in place just in case they were forced to let Niemi go. The Hawks turned around and signed veteran goaltender Marty Turco. Turco, a three time all-star, had been let go by the Dallas Stars earlier this summer and was looking for a new home. Niemi remains unsigned and there’s no word on where he may end up.
Clipping more Hawks wings
Along with Niemi, the Hawks parted way with players such as Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Kris Versteeg, and Andrew Ladd. When the Hawks raise the banner on opening night against rival Detroit, they will have a roster that has many people wondering if they will be able to repeat.
More Interesting Moves
Some other highlights of the offseason include former San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov signing to play in the KHL (Russia), Mike Modano, a Michigan native, heading home to play for the Detroit Red Wings after signing a one-year deal, the Philadelphia Flyers either acquiring or signing every free agent defenseman on the market—not really but at one time they had 10 defenseman on their roster—and Steve Yzerman taking over the helm of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in hopes of bringing another championship team back to the Sunshine State.
A New Season Emerges
In the last 65 days since Patrick Kane snuck the championship-clinching shot between the legs of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton, teams have been revamped, players have changed addresses, and some big names remain on the market. Along with the aforementioned Kovalchuk, players like Paul Kariya, Miroslav Satan, and Lee Stempniak remain unsigned.
In the next few weeks, teams will begin reporting to camp and start writing the script on what they hope is a championship season of hockey. With two outdoor games scheduled this season, a new roster for the Blackhawks, and many teams making changes to their rosters, anything can happen. So fans, get the jerseys out, the hockey packages ordered on your cable network, and get your vocal cords ready for what’s going to be another fantastic season of NHL hockey.
The whole state of Pennsylvania. It’s full of the luckiest teams in the world and most annoying players.
The Steelers are THE worst team to ever win the Super Bowl and they’ve done it twice in the 2000s. No, it is not skill. They barely win games, either by refs or magical lucky comebacks. Of course, fans will say that’s why their good– “They win, it doesn’t matter how.” Well, I’m not a fan, so I can say what I want, as you can. Ben Roethlisberger is a terrible quarterback. Fact. I hope Troy Polamalu is out for the season after his injury tonight that way I don’t have to hear the constant media coverage of his hair and playmaking ability. Not to mention Troy went to USC, which is just as bad as Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.
The Penguins are also THE worst team to win the Stanley Cup. Give me statistics all you want, but I will still say Marc-Andre Fleury is the worst goalie to win it. Sidney Crosby is just an overall buttwipe in all aspects of life. Now, NBC and the NHL will promote him even more after he won the Cup. The whole Penguins team is soft and are not deserving of such an amazing trophy.
The Eagles are so freaking annoying. I’m tired of them winning and McNabb. Fans will always call you jealous for saying that but whatever. Let’s have a new team in the playoffs. Like the Cardinals! More of them!
Just ban Pennsylvania from pro sports. Life would be amazing.
So, now that we have chosen our new president (who it is no one knows currently, but we’ll find out eventually) it’s time to look back at this past Sunday when all was good and there was a Republican in the White House fo sho!
Cincinnati Bungals 21 vs Jacksonville Jaguars 19 – A failed two point conversion was the difference in this game. The Bungals winning actually kinda hurts the NFL because that means the Lions will be the only winless team in the NFL this season. Wouldn’t it be great if we had 2 teams finish winless!? Oh well. The Bengals actually did something good. Well no they didn’t, they just got really lucky.
Tennessee Titans 19 vs Green Bay Packers 16 – Another disappointing week for a Packer fan. We came so close to winning, and then all of a sudden we had to tack another loss in the L column. The Titans really don’t deserve to be undefeated. Luck is just on their side. They have a QB who should be part of the AARP and yet, has not lost a game yet this season. Talk about luck.
Arizona Cardinals 34 vs St. Louis Rams 13 – Just when it looked like the Rams were doing something good this season, they are back to being the normal Rams we have grown used to seeing. The Cardinals are a good team this season, and I truly should not have picked the Rams. The Cardinals have my pick from now on, as long as they have a chance.
Indianapolis Colts 18 vs New England Patriots 15 – Where is Tom Brady? If he had started perhaps the Patriots would be celebrating a victory and not suffering from another loss to the annoying and big-headed Peyton Manning. If this game would have been in New England, the Pats would have had a chance. Hopefully this is the only meeting between the teams this season. Time for two other teams to face off in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 vs Washington Redskins 6 – Redskins were up 6-0 and then allowed the Steelers to dominate the rest of the game. Byron Leftwich led the Steelers in the second half and looked like the quarterback we were used to seeing in Jacksonville. Big Ben will be back next week, but it was good to see him get off the field for a little while.
– Nate aka Mac Daddy!
So, I’m seriously questioning what the hell I was thinking.
1. Picking and starting the 49ers’ players for my fantasy team? Fail
2. Thinking a team from Pennsylvania would actually do something to make me happy? Epic Fail
3. Thinking Dallas would lose again? Failtacular
New England Patriots 23 vs. St. Louis Rams 16 – Just when times were getting good for the Rams, the NFL declined the contract of Jim Haslett, stating that it was an illegal contract due to the agreement on Haslett winning 6 games, and then the Rams had to travel to New England, which is never a good thing (just ask Peyton Manning). The Patriots won another game without Tom Brady and without a dominant rushing performance by anyone. Matt Cassel had two interceptions, and yet still led his team to a victory. Maybe he is that good… Maybe!
Dallas Cowgirls 13 vs. Tampa Bay Bucs 9 – So I pick Dallas and they lose. I pick against them and I lose. Brad Johnson led his team to victory and the Buccaneers just couldn’t get anything going. Maybe next week I won’t pick the Cowgirl game.
Miami Dolphins 25 vs. Buffalo Bills 16 – Chad Pennington threw for over 300 yards and the Dolphins withstood the offense of the Buffalo Bills, and survived to win. The Bills, maybe looking overlooking these next few games due to the easy schedule, just could not get any rushing going, and Trent Edwards is not proven enough yet to lead his team by just throwing the ball. Congrats Dick Jauron getting a contract extension. Well Deserved!
Cleveland Browns 23 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 17 – HEY LOOK THE BROWNS WON A GAME!!! I guess the state of Ohio has something to cheer about after The Ohio State Buckeyes lost and watched their National Championship chances implode right in front of their eyes! Congrats Joe Pa and Romeo Crennel.
Houston Texans 35 vs Cincinnati Bungals 6 – HELLO BENGALS… ARE YOU THERE? Its time you show up to give your opponents a game. You just let the Houston Texans walk all over you. I think its time for a change somewhere on the sidelines. When will y’all get sick of losing? Hopefully, its soon.
New York Giants 21 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 14 – Who thought a long snapper would decide the game? Well, the Steelers lost their long snapper due to injury, and his replacement took the word “long” literally and hiked the ball over the punters head and that led to a safety which tied the game. Then Eli Manning led his team to their first and only TD of the game and the Giants D stopped Big Ben and the Steelers offense to clinch the game. This is the beginning of a very tough road for the Giants.. Thanks, Steelers. You let me down again!
Seattle Seahawks 34 vs. San Francisco 49ers 13 – A new coach, a new attitude, the same result. Another L in the loss column for the 49ers. Seattle, depleted by injuries, dominated from the beginning and never looked back. Hopefully Mike Holmgren goes out strong in his final games as head coach for the ‘Hawks.
P.S.: This was written before Ray!!! Nathan Wins!!!