Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Dodging Bullets

When the trade deadline went by, many of us were a little disappointed that Bob Gainey and the Canadiens didn't pick up a big-name player to round out their attack. Never mind that most of us know, rationally, that with the third-best offense and one of the best records in the league, the Habs weren't really in the biggest need of a Marian Hossa: psychologically, we all just want the boost of seeing a star player in a Habs uniform. It's been too long.

We go through the same thing every summer during the free agent period: we hope against hope that Uncle Bob will bring home a shiny, new fifty-goal scorer for us to admire, but it just never seems to happen. And we sulk. But why? Do we want a good team, or a flashy roster? Both, I guess. But maybe we need to remember how dicey the free-agent thing is. Remember last summer? Most of the signings last year have been disappointments, including:
  • Bill Guerin, Islanders, 2 years/9 million, 37 points.
  • Paul Kariya, Predators, 3 years/18 million, 52 points
  • Jason Blake, Leafs, 5 years/20 million, 12 goals, 40 points
  • Ryan Smyth, Avalanche, 5 years/31.5 million, 45 games, 33 points
  • Kimmo Timonen, Flyers, 6 years/39 million, 36 points, -3
  • Scott Gomez, Rangers, 7 years/51 million, 14 goals
  • Daniel Briere, Flyers, 8 years/52 million, 57 points, -23
  • Chris Drury, Rangers, 5 years/35.25 million, 48 points, -5
  • Sheldon Souray, Edmonton, 5 years/27 million, 26 games, 3 goals
The production of most of these guys is just embarrassing in relation to what their agents extorted from GM's around the league. Think back to how badly the fans and media wanted Briere to sign in Montreal: now imagine being saddled with that contract! We should all be thanking Uncle Bob for not biting on that one, not to mention for his decision to walk away from Sheldon "Payday" Souray, who was still welcome on the Habs at a handsome salary despite his chronic shoulder problems, better known to Gainey and the Habs than to anyone else. But because of his greed, he's spent this season freezing in Edmonton, a stranger amongst his teammates, waiting alone for his shoulder to heal and being regarded as a bust by fans who have no connection to him. I can't say I have any sympathy.

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