Minnesota Wild GM Doug Riseborough gave a succinct and illustrative look into how an organization views and prepares for free agency. The undersupply of his so-called “Elite” and “Top” players versus the demand makes so much sense, first, for how really boring and lacking in apparent impact this year’s free agency has been. But probably more importantly it can explain why free agent defensemen this week–both restricted and unrestricted–became incredibly overpaid versus their counterparts.
I really thought the folks doom and glooming about the Red Wings being unlikely to get credit for their victory were off base. Yes, there’d be some discussion of the Pens being the team of the future, and some writers are obsessed with how this series will affect the Pens in the long run, like ESPN’s Scott Burnside.
But in a world ruled by the Bettman PR machine, in all its ineffectual glory, I figured the media that are paying attention would manage to see past the hype to what a talented team the Red Wings are, what a beautiful game they play, and how deserving they will be as the 2008 Stanley Cup Champions.
And then I read a column by my buddy ESPN’s John Buccigross and I just went Red Wings red in anger. What is this evil empire crap? Comparing this Red Wings team with a mechanical joyless Soviet menace? Are you kidding me? Read the rest of this entry »
Just met a friend who’s in a position to know and Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer is being moved off of the hockey beat to cover the Eagles. Yes, all Eagles all the time.
So after a season of excitement for the Philadelphia Flyers and a postseason that leaves Flyers fans hungry for information on what’s next, the Inky plans to leave Flyers fans hanging. Who’ll be following the signings? The draft? This key offseason? As of yet, no one’s saying.
Bad move, Inky.
Last night at the Wachovia Center, nearly 20,000 Flyers fans showed up, not for a wake, but for a resurrection.
It could have been ugly. There could have been a tentative building, with fans sitting tensely in dread of elimination. But no. The fans, most dressed in their spanking new Megadeath Security t-shirts, were fully engaged from before the puck dropped, roaring their approval of the Flyers playoff efforts and demanding that the real Flyers show up. And show up they did. Read the rest of this entry »
Is Mitch Albom on crack?
A few years ago I checked out the prices of playoff tix in Detroit. Finals tickets in the lower bowl were $450 each (as a comparison, lower bowl seats in the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia are $250 face, discounted to season ticket holders). Detroit, in case Mitch hasn’t noticed, is one of the most economically depressed areas of the United States. And it isn’t just the recent downturn. The greater Detroit area didn’t really participate fully in that last positive growth of the business cycle.
I have a friend who bought a house in the Detroit area a few years ago. Even three years ago he couldn’t afford to sell that house and relocate because he couldn’t get what he’d payed for it. This wasn’t after the big housing bubble. Now, with the mortgage crisis, $4 gas, and continued hard times for U.S. automakers, who sold their souls and are caught with big gas guzzling SUVs and trucks they can no longer sell enough of, things won’t be getting better in Detroit any time soon.
If the Redwings win the Stanley Cup this year (and really, they look like a team from another, more advanced hockey planet, so I think it likely they will), will anyone be able to afford to come to the parade?
When disaster strikes, it is swift and unexpected. With Flyers fans eager for the Eastern Conference Finals to begin so the Flyers can prove to the world they are no fluke, the team has lost its most indispensable player for the rest of the playoffs.
Last night, when Jim Jackson, on the CSN playoff special, answered the question, “Who would be the player they can least afford to lose?” He said, aside from the obvious Biron, Kimmo Timonen, and I had that black cat feeling. You know how it is. The feeling you get when someone mentions that a guy has a shutout going. Or says something about the other team’s power play not having scored for the past 10 games.
So today we find out that Timonen has a blood clot in his ankle and is out for the rest of the playoffs. And I (and many Flyers fans) have gone from thinking our heroes may just be able to upset the Penguins to thinking there’s no hope. Without one of the best defensemen in the league, without their anchor on the blue line and on the point in the power play, the Flyers hopes seem to have just gone up in smoke.
Stinky black smoke.
If the Flyers are as tense as I am, there’s not much hope for them tonight. But I don’t think they are. They’re alive and kicking and ready to play tonight. I have to convince myself of this. It may require bourbon.
Why will the Flyers win tonight? Fast start. Kill the energy of the Johnny-come-lately red-clad fans and infect the Caps with the same frustration they felt in games 2 and 3.
Jeff Carter and Mike Richards will be animals. Danny Briere will take the huge fire that burns in that tiny body and score two or more. Being on the road will work to the Flyers advantage. Them against the world.
Does any of this make any sense? No of course not. But as FlySkippy said on HockeyBuzz.com today, “We are fans of the team, not of the record.” So there’s really no choice for Flyers fans but to strap in and get ready for the roller-coaster ride.
So we’ve seen what the Washington media and owner thinks of our little Flyers Caps series, but what is it like to be there? Oh my little kittens, you have no idea!