I've been pondering the Stanley Cup Finals and what it all means, and the truth is, I don't know. While it would certainly appear that a team doesn't have to have a star goalie to win it all, wouldn't it have been a different final if one of the teams involved did have a great goaltender? Or even a very good one? Philly got there with a bunch of big free agents but Chicago had mostly guys still on their first or second contracts. (On a side note, how much do you think they regret Brian Campbell's contract right now? If they didn't have it, they'd be in better shape cap-wise and they'd probably be okay on the ice since he's not in their top pairing or on their first unit PK.) I do think the Blackhawks worked the current system just right. They won when their best talent was still young and cheap. Most of their roster has signed extensions but most of them haven't kicked in yet which means they still had money to fill out the rest of the roster. Unfortunately, that's not an easy method to execute since players talented enough to build a team around while they're still babies don't exactly grow on trees unless the team is bad enough for a lottery pick or two or three.
So yeah. Overall I was pretty ambivalent about the post-Sabres playoffs. But let the off-season begin! When I saw that Halak had been traded I was sure I was thinking about the wrong guy. Surely, that wasn't the guy who not only didn't get benched but stormed through the postseason? Oh, wait! It totally was! I suppose it could partly be a sign that, in light of how well teams without big money goalies did this season, GMs might be more reluctant to spend a lot of money on the position but I still don't get it. He was only an RFA so it's not like the Canadiens had to pay him huge gobs of money right now, right? And it seems like Carey Price is a little bit of question mark. Hopefully this is a sign of many crazy things to come in the next few weeks.
I'm going to assume that the upcoming draft and the opening of free agency means that Bucky Gleason's GM for a Day column is right around the corner. Now I could pretend that I'm not going to read it, but the truth is, despite cutting back on my Bucky intake, I wouldn't miss this one for the world. I love it, and I'll admit, in Bucky's shoes I wouldn't even attempt to write a column like that. Everything is either so specific (Tim Connolly, a second round pick, and three sticks for Kris Versteeg!) or so general (unnamed prospects for Patrick Sharp!) that it all seems a little silly. And while Bucky usually cushions the column with some line about how he knows it's not that easy in real life, I always get the idea that he thinks it is and that if he were GM he'd have the team straightened out in no time. Or maybe I'm just reading into things too much there.
I will tell you this: If the name Sheldon Souray pops up - especially if he drops Henrik Tallinder first - I'll break out the Buffalo News dartboard. I've seen Souray's name come up in a few places around the internet, and I am not feeling that one at all. In his three years in Edmonton he's missed half the season or more due to injuries twice. He was a -19 last season and his much ballyhooed shot netted zero power play goals. That's right, last season Souray - a PP specialist according to his reputation - scored as many power play goals as I did. He's not a great skater, he's not all that physical for his size, he's poor on the defensive side of the puck, he's injury prone, and at almost 34, he's not getting any younger. And on a personal level, he's greasy and seems like a bit of a douchebag. I could deal with one or two of those things maybe but all of them? No thanks. If the Sabres are going to make a run at Tomas Kaberle, they shouldn't touch Souray. I'm not down with dropping two defensive d-men in Hank and Toni Lydman and replacing them with two offensive d-men who don't kill penalties and are average or worse on the defensive side of the puck. One, fine. Both, no.
Whoops. Got carried away there. Maybe I should wait until I actually read the column before I go too crazy, huh?
Anyway, bring off the offseason!