What a difference a week makes, eh? Last week, all the buzz was about the now forgotten and insignificant Dry Island fiasco (only jerks use the Woodward and Bernstein â€˜-gateâ€™).Â But itâ€™s August now and while itâ€™s cooling off outside, things are heating up around the league.Â Most significantly, Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators need a mediator and Ryan Kesler has gone under the knife. Join me after the jump for news, commentary on Weber and links
How is this a deal that canâ€™t get done? Weber is a top defensive stud on a defensive minded team.Â Heâ€™s the closest the team has had to an elite player since Peter Forsberg. With 23 million in cap space, and the cap floor more than 7 million away, why the hold up?Â Is David Poile worried that Weber will become their most overpaid defenseman (trick question, we all know thatâ€™s Lebda)?Â Apparently, Weber wants 8.5 million on a one year deal and the Predators are offering half that much.Â Clearly both sides are being ridiculous, but surely these guys donâ€™t need a marriage councilor to come to terms on a 1 year, 7 million dollar pact.Â Regardless, an Arbitrator will eventually issue a similar edict, and Poile will be forced to accept, and Weber will be free as a bird next year.Â This whole situation is just another example of poor asset management, and another example of how star players (or at least their agents) have franchises over a barrel in the salary cap world.
In other news, Ryan Kesler is going under the knife.Â Hip surgery will see him sidelined till about November.Â While that is great news for the 29 other franchises in the league, youâ€™ve got to believe the ultimate beneficiary of this sad tidings is none other than Vancouver Canuck Cody Hodgson.Â The Toronto, Ontario native â€“ a former 10th overall pick â€“ has talent and vision to burn and is the natural choice to replace Keslerâ€™s offense.Â However severe back injuries and questions about conditioning have deterred his ascension in the pro ranks.Â And for the first month of the upcoming season, heâ€™s going to get every opportunity to disprove Alain Vingeault all his critics.Â If Hodgson can produce, then the â€˜Nucks are going to have the best kind of problem when Kesler is healthy again.
Back to the blue and white, thereâ€™s three thoughts weighing on me.
- When will Luke Schenn sign? Iâ€™m tired of waiting around to find out how much richer he is than me.
- Why do people keep talking about Drury to Toronto? Burke re-signed Bozak and Boyce and then brought in Connolly, Lombardi and Dupuis.Â The team is at 50 contracts with Schenn unsigned.Â Drury had 1 goal in 30 games last season. The guy has missed time on three separate occasions due to concussions.Â Itâ€™s a no right now, and if Lombardi can play, itâ€™s a no forever.Â Bear in mind that I said Brent would be back and Boyce and Crabb would end up elsewhere.
- The Leafs opening night D (as of right now) should be Phaneuf, Schenn, Franson, Aulie, Liles and Gunnarsson.Â But for Aulie, this entire squad almost seems a lock for 20 points apiece, with Phaneuf, Liles and Franson good bets to exceed 35 points apiece.Â Smooth moves, Burkie.
World Juniors news! Only 4 months away! My bet is that McKegg makes the team but Percy is left off.Â Anyone else concerned that Brad Ross didnâ€™t get invited?
Hockey Player AND Musician? Matt Lashoff must get laid like Mothraâ€™s egg.
Vintage Tucker doing what he did best.
VLM stirring the pot
Apparently Evgeni Nabokov likes playing hockey enough to wear orange.Â If any of this is legit, The Islanders just got a whole lot harder to beat.
Well, I guess if they can find ice time, anyway.
More from Damien Cox on Shea Weberâ€™s arbitration.
Mac T is back coaching with the Canucks farm team.Â Alain Vigneault should start looking over his shoulder.Â Maybe Ron Wilson will have some words of comfort for him