Ok, now where was I?
Ah yes, if I do so recall there was a moment of jubulation last week where the NHL and NHLPA cut the shit and finally announced that they had reached a deal in principle (read: just a ratification vote or two away from NHL action).
It happened to be the same day I got myself an eight week old puppy and just hours before I would end up getting food poisoning and dreading sitting at the computer while feeling as if I was having an odd-man-rush trying to make it's way from my stomach to my mouth.
Suffice it to say, my weekend sucked.
But this is not about me! The story is never supposed to be about the psuedo-journalist (read: guy with a web site who hasn't done a good enough job to get published elsewhere)... No sir... There's been a load of hockey talk through Tampa Bay and I've missed just about all of it over the last couple of days because it's been the last thing on my mind (whereas the first was yelling "Europe" at the sink.)
I alluded to eating crow or having to in my Illness post and Greg had asked in comments why the change of heart? There had been a table attached to the print version of Tom Jones July 15th article in the St. Petersburg Times that showed all my calculations earlier this summer were full of crap.
But the first glance is deceiving. Here's where it gets scary.
The Lightning has 13 players who are free agents, including stars Khabibulin, St. Louis, Lecavalier, Boyle and Fedotenko. Those five alone could chew up most of that $24-million. Then the Lightning would be left with little or no money to sign anyone else.
With only 8 players under contract -- it's a much more bleak picture to paint than the joyous bullshit I was spewing in Anarchy Ensues where I believed only 2 players weren't under contract for 2005-06. Erik at the Trib goes into further detail about the potential changing face of the Lightning.
Of course I still don't believe that, long term, the Lightning can't survive under the new rules if the team is ransacked under the new system. Nor do I believe the new system is malignant to teams. The Lightning had already had a tight budget to operate within over the last several years.... Gary Shelton points that out in his Sports Ed piece on the end of the lockout and how the new deal (long term) benefits the Lightning. Try not to find Gary's take too insulting and too black-and-white good-and-bad references.
John Tortorella made comments about the free agency status of certain stars -- and the fact he and the team shouldn't be / aren't going to kiss ass in an attempt to keep players around.
"If it's about chasing money, be on your way. Because we want guys who want to play and also be treated fairly by an organization. There's no begging. We're not going to beg."
Tim Taylor and Dave Andreychuk are also on that potential free agent list. With regards to Taylor? I could care. Get lost, Tim. You've worn out your welcome with the propoganda being spewed from your mouth. As for Dave Andreychuk -- it feels as if Super Dave will be a Caponomics Casualty. That isn't saying in the least bit that the fans or the team really don't want Dave back - but it's a matter of money now and there may be little or no room for him to return.
Of course, last year I tried to make a case for Freddie Modin taking the "C" on if Dave were to call it quits but I sure as hell don't want to see Dave go away under these circumstances. Yes, he would be technically going out as a Champion but he would have been back for the 2004-05 title defense if certain idiots hadn't screwed up labor negotiations and cost us a season.
Lets keep going on this track -- The Times has definately been more on the ball than the Tribune over the end of the Lockout and Tom Jones this morning published a rundown on players chances of returning.
To sum up Tom's article without stealing all of his content: The chances Marty and Vinny re-signing are better than fair, while Ruslan Fedotenko and Dan Boyle are 50-50. Nik Khabibulin will be a coveted commodity and his odds of leaving (due to UFA status) are astronomical while Super Dave and Tim Taylor want to play in TB.... Meaning they will probably be back unless financial room prevents it or they get insulted somehow by the teams offer.
There's national news I am likely forgetting and local hockey news I am out of touch with (No, Georgeann, I still haven't heard from the 'Sharks or anyone with the SEJHL)
But of course, i will close off this mega-post with one last thing that makes me very happy to see: The Instigator hath returned! All rejoice! All rejoice! :D