Last week, I got so caught in the Giants-Cowboys game (as well as a hockey game of my own), that I completely forgot about "Puttin' on the Foil". Well, this week I'm starting it on Saturday and will have it done well before tomorrow's Giants-Packers game. On to this week's monologue.
If there's one team that shot itself in the foot thanks to the salary cap, it's the Tampa Bay Lightning. After winning the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy, general manager Jay Feaster gave Brad Richards a huge contract worth $7.8 million a year. That deal is now hurting the Lightning as the team is toiling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Feaster is going to have to trade one of his "Big 3" in order to build for the future and possibly bring in a top-notch goaltender. If you break it down, no one will take Richards' contract. Vinny Lecavalier? Floridians would burn down the St. Pete Times Forum if this year's possible Hart Trophy winner is dealt.
That brings us to Martin St. Louis, the likely choice to be traded by the deadline. The 32-year old is making $6 million this year, $5 million in 08/09, and $4 million the final two years of his deal. The speedy forward will be tempting for many teams looking for extra scoring help up front. Feaster will be forced to make a deal to help turn around this disaster of a season and try and save his job.
The problem in Tampa Bay has been they have not had a quality goaltender since Nikolai Khabibhulin left for Chicago. Marc Denis never lived up to his potential. Johan Holmqvist has been okay, but no consistent enough and Karri Ramo is still young and learning the game. You put a quality goalie between the pipes for the Lightning and you have a team that is in the playoff mix.
The situation in Tampa is kind of like the "Butterfly Effect" theory. One action can effect many different situations overtime. The Brad Richards contract is hindering the Lightning right now and it looks as if it might cause quite an effect in north Florida.
NEWS AND NOTES
It looks as if the season of Patrice Bergeron may be over as Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli told him to go on vacation this week. The Bruins captain suffered a Grade 3 concussion after being hit from behind into the board by the Flyers' Randy Jones in October. In December, Bergeron resumed working out, but the thought of any return seems to be months away.
The NHL and IIHF met in New York this week to further discuss the player transfer agreement which did not include Russia. There is talk of setting a minimum age for an international player to come over to play in the NHL.
Curtis Joseph is returning to the NHL after signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames. The 40-year old Joseph will be backup to Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started every game but one for Calgary.
Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell broke off contract negotiations this week, but Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier is not looking to trade the prized defenseman. Regier can't afford to lose Campbell after losing Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to free agency over the summer and being forced to match the offer-sheet for Thomas Vanek from Edmonton.
AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
We here at Going Five Hole love us some mascots. Barry Melrose Rocks went "Behind the Mascot" with the Vancouver Canucks' Fin the Orca.
How much longer does Olaf Kolzig have in Washington? Or even his career? The Sporting News' and Off Wing Opinion's Eric McErlain examines if this is the end for Olie the Goalie.
Sidney Crosby hurts his ankle. The PensBlog gets sick to its stomach.
College hockey fan? Then check out the New York Times Slap Shot Blog as they look ahead to tonight's Boston College-Boston University slugfest.
GoonBlog is selling shirts or something...not really sure. I didn't really read the post. I got distracted.
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
The top hits around the league over the past week.
Last night's Coach's Corner featuring Don Cherry from Hockey Night in Canada
Brian Leetch will have his #2 retired on Thursday night. Here's a tribute video that the Rangers played during his first game back as a member of the Bruins.
EJ Hradek and Barry Melrose discuss if the NHL is doing enough to promote diversity.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jean-Sebastien Giguere backstopped the Ducks to a 3-0 record this past week and brought them up the standings of the Eastern Conference.
UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks, Wednesday, January 23rd, 10pm EST
The top two teams in the Western Conference will face-off in a rematch of their great playoff series last season. The Ducks have been hot since Scott Niedermayer returned and the Red Wings, well, no matter what you do, you cannot keep them down. With the All-Star break coming after Thursday night, both teams will want to head into the downtime on a roll.
GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Some of the greatest moments in Pittsburgh Penguins history.
Come back next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".