Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Day! (Edited)

Happy Henrik Tallinder Is Still a Sabre (For Now) So Heather B. Doesn't Have to Change the Banner on Her Blog (Yet) Day, everybody!

:::throws dimpled confetti:::

Hank's happy for me too.

Well, clearly the Sabres are as relieved as I am that Hank wasn't traded. Take that load of stress off their shoulders and look what happens. Easy wins. I suspect the "Hank is still a Sabre" bump will carry them all the way now.

Okay, seriously... let's discuss some things.

Obviously the big move today was re-signing Tim Connolly. I'm not completely sold on this move - I was perfectly fine with letting him walk at the end of the season - and when I got the text with details my initial reaction was horror. That's... a lot of money for a guy who hasn't played much in the last few years. Even in retrospect I'm okay with the first contract. I think the Sabres had to take a chance on Connolly. He was too dominant in that postseason to not hope he'd put the concussion troubles behind him. But to take that chance again? That seemed excessive.

But you know... I might have come around a little bit at least. Darcy Regier made the point in his press conference that there aren't a lot of short-term contracts in the league any more and he's right about that. Two years is really not that much of a commitment. If it doesn't work out, it's not something that's going to bury the team for the next 5-7 years the way some of the contracts signed by other teams over the last couple of years are going to. And there's no doubt Connolly is super talented. If he does stay reasonably healthy, 4.5 is going to be a bargain. I've seen other people make this point around the internet but where are you going to find another point per game player for that price? You're not going to. It's pretty hard to wrap your brain around the idea of someone who hasn't played that much getting a raise but you know, pro sports don't work the same way as the real world. They never have and they never will. Guys are always getting paid for potential and always getting more than they should. Tim Connolly is hardly a first.

I was going to link to Bucky Gleason's "Sabres likely to trade Connolly" story here but boy, TBN dismantled it. The latter half of the column is untouched but the headline has changed and the section about the Sabres trading Connolly has been replaced with news of the extension. Eager to make us forget that Bucky was wrong, I guess. Normally I wouldn't care. It's trade deadline day. Everyone's wrong about something, usually wrong far more often than right. I do delight a little in Bucky being wrong however because he's so friggin' pompous and self-righteous about everything. I can't wait to read his story tomorrow in which I'm sure he'll mention once again that if he were in charge, the Sabres would've made a trade with Chicago for that d-man he's been obsessing over. I was going to point out that one of the criticisms he makes of Connolly is that he only has 8 assists in the last 9 games which is, by my count, still almost a point per game and about what you'd want from a playmaking center. But hey, what do I know? I'm not a columnist.

I was also disappointed in Jerry Sullivan's blog about Connolly's re-signing. I have no problem with him being down on the signing - like I said, I can definitely see why people think it's crazy - but I think he misfires by accusing Regier of re-signing Connolly in an effort to justify the original contract. That's pretty contradictory of everything we've seen of Regier over the years, I feel. If you want to accuse him of getting overly attached to players sometimes, well, guilty as charged. But I really don't think there's anything more here than him liking Connolly and believing that he's a special talent.

I also don't get Sully's fixation on Connolly's game being all finesse like that's a bad thing. Yeah, the Sabres definitely need some grit and toughness but you have to have skill too. A team full of Paul Gaustads would be hard-working and likable but also (sorry, Goose) not particularly good at hockey. I'd also hesitate a little to call Connolly soft. No, he doesn't fly around the ice smashing players into the boards but he doesn't shy away from contact and he doesn't hesitate to jump into little scrums. That's one thing I've always had to give him credit for. For a guy who's had so much trouble with injuries the last few years, he's not gun shy at all. He doesn't play like a guy afraid to get hurt. So injury prone? Certainly. Soft? Eh. I don't know.

So over the course of the day I've gone from horror and slight disgust to extremely cautious, hesitating hope. It's definitely a high risk, high reward signing.

More on other trade related things tomorrow.


Gambler said...

Yay for not having to change our banners, Heather! I was getting worried there for a while...

Erin said...

yay! sayonara Kotalik!!! We'll miss you!

dani said...

Hank's a doll.

Katebits said...

Heather, last night Goose CLEARLY proved that he's a finesse player from now on. Did you not SEE his shortie? So, Jerry's right! Tim Connolly has already poisoned the room with his disgusting finesse.

You're wrong! You'd better dismantle this post, before someone see it.

ElmaGolf said...

I find it interesting that TBN keeps obsessing about a "50%" Raise for Connolly. Sure, the math works out that way, but if Connolly had gotten healthy in mid-2006-07, it would have been the bargain of the century (and we'd be talking about 250% raised by now). But, funny that isn't mentioned in the coverage.

The other thing that TBN fails to mention is that Buffalo would be bidding against teams who DIDN'T just waste $8.7MM on the last 3 years. The other teams would not be trying to get a "bargain" in an attempt to recover those lost years. They would bid solely on the future considerations, and despite what Sully thinks, that number would have been well above $5MM.

I think the number was a little higher than I would have been wanting to risk (and in my naive world, thought Timmy should have given something more back), but it simply is a risk that needed to be taken given the Sabres lack of depth at center.

And speaking of TBN coverage, when the Salary Cap goes down and teams like the Rangers and the Flyers are pleading with teams to claim Drury & Briere off waivers, I wonder if anyone will bother to mention Larry Quinn's prognostication of the Canadian Dollar's artificial inflation of the Salary Cap. Probably not - I'm sure we'll hear how overpaid Miller & Pomminville are and that the Sabres "failed to anticipate the market."

Porky said...

Right on, Heather. I said/felt many of the same things. Except for the stuff about Hank...But I'm glad he's still here, too.

Heather B. said...

Heather, last night Goose CLEARLY proved that he's a finesse player from now on. Did you not SEE his shortie? So, Jerry's right! Tim Connolly has already poisoned the room with his disgusting finesse.

Kate, you might have a point. Throw in Spacek's ankle-breaking deke and that was quite a lot of skill being flashed around. Then again, skill showed up and we won. How many of the fight-picking-but-no-goal-scoring games we've played lately resulted in wins? Yeah, that's right. So who's wrong now, Sully?! :P

They would bid solely on the future considerations, and despite what Sully thinks, that number would have been well above $5MM.

I do kind of lean Sully's way there. I'm not sure it would been well above. But I do think he probably could have found more years elsewhere and with all the very long-term contracts being doled out the last couple of seasons I think that's a factor that should be taken into consideration. Again, two years is really not that long of a risk in the current market.

You're wrong! You'd better dismantle this post, before someone see it.

That totally cracked me up because it's not like the column wasn't in the newspaper. Some people do still read the print edition. That's where I saw it in the first place. I can understand Bucky writing a story about the extension but they way they just plopped it over top of his first story like that never happened really makes it look like they were trying to save face whether that was the intention or not.

Gambler, I'm so happy for our pathetic, much maligned boys!