Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

It’s Down To Two

If Zach Parise and Ryan Suter landed in Minnesota, we’d be highly pissed.  Because it’s the Wild and we fear them as legitimate contenders for Detroit’s Cup? No. They won’t and wouldn’t win it with or without Parise and/or Suter. We’d be upset because the two most sought-after free agents in history will have landed anywhere but the (Hockey) town where they belong. 

It cannot be overstated just how badly the Wings need at least one of these players, and most likely both.  Missing out on one, should they leave their current cities, would be hard to handle.

Failing to bring in either would be crushing.  Like losing a Cup in Game 7 type of pain. It would be like losing a Cup to the team that Gary Bettman coronated, led by a petulant, diving, yam sacking, “captain” and fabricated “icon”, then watching that same Bettman fantasy-child lift our Cup on our ice.

With me? I’m getting to a point here.

There are two teams with dynasties at stake right now.  One real, breathing dynasty.  Another one that is two signatures away from reality.  Parise and Suter are gonna sign somewhere together (I believe that) and it’s going to come down to one of two places, because those two franchises offer so much more than any others in Gary’s soon-to-be-locked-out-again league.

San Jose’s not going after both of our guys.  They have 11 million in Cap space, only 15 guys signed and a history of losing horrifically, probably because they’re “led” by a big, soft, Jumbo pile of red-haired shit.

Chicago has all of 8 million left (that’s about 1 million less than it’s going to take to sign Parise) and I believe their management doesn’t have the smarts or the sway to get both. 

LA: oh, I know. I know.  They want to “stay competitive”.  They’ve “had a taste” and once you’ve been there, boy, you want more and more. Got it.  Wanting ain’t getting.  Not when you have less than 12 to spend and little to offer in terms of firepower to surround Parise with, although Kopitar is something, I’ll grant you that.  And, despite the skepticism with which I view these “Suter is a small-town boy” reports coming from Josh Cooper’s generator-powered basement, LA doesn’t seem like his kind of town.

Colorado literally believes they have a shot at both.  Bitch, please.  Yeah, they’ve got plenty of Cap room.  At 40 million, they’ve got an entire team to buy if they want to. Fortunately, Parise, Suter and their agents should be smart enough to see that despite all that room and money there is no core in place.  All their arrival there would mean is a potential playoff berth.  No. These guys are going to land in a city that immediately becomes The Favorite the minute they sign.  Denver is not that city. Denver’s a lot of things, a pisspot wannabe hockey city with six “fans”, a beat writer who moonlights for Cosmo, male bloggers who hyphenate their last names, but it’s not the town that is two superstars away from the Cup.

St. Louis, quiet to this point but loaded with all that cash stashed away from Pall Mall sales at the middle schools, is a player.  I do believe that.  Plenty of money and a dangerous, internal belief that they are close.  They actually think they’re a player away from Glory.  I happen to believe they’re a goaltender, about three scorers and a coach who isn’t going to alienate his players within the first three months of the season away.  But, they don’t see it that way and they’re going to make a pitch for both. If they haven’t already.

But they won’t get ‘em.  They’re close but they can’t offer what the Wings and another team can:  the certainty that their signing will lead to multiple Cup Finals appearances, if not Cups themselves. 

It’s down to Detroit and Pittsburgh and that should be enough to make you just lose it, physically.  I’m talking all bodily functions.  And it’s not because you hate Pittsburgh.  It’s because if Parise and Suter sign there, it’s done.  Sealed.  Schedule the parade and start the photoshops of Bettman and Rosby, faces smeared with Yoohoo, giving each other eskimo kisses, while Hall and Oates’ timeless classic “Maneater” blares in the background of a Cup celebration. 

And like the kids would say? It’s getting real, now. 

Yahoo

But Staal’s now-former Penguins teammates could celebrate there, too, toasting their buddy and their GM. Shero should have had little leverage in trade talks. The news had broken that Staal, a year away from unrestricted free agency, had turned down the offer of a 10-year contract and would consider an extension only with Carolina. Still, Shero finagled center Brandon Sutter, a good, young, two-way, third-line center who can fill Staal’s role, plus the No. 8 overall pick and a prospect.

Then he wasn’t done. He traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes for a third-round pick and two prospects. Staal was going to average about $6 million for the next decade, while Sutter has a cap hit of $2 million for two more seasons. Michalek has a cap hit of $4 million for three more seasons. Shero freed up a lot of money, which means he can make more trades or go after the biggest fish in free agency July 1 – winger Zach Parise or defenseman Ryan Suter.

Asked if he could add yet another impact player, Shero said: “Yeah, possibly. Possibly. We’ll look to do that.”

“Possibly”, my ass.

You read about Parise wanting to play with Datsyuk? That’s nice.  You think he wouldn’t want to skate with shitbag Rosby and Malkin, too?  As much as we hate them both, they’re dynamic, amazing players. And they’re younger than our guys. LA’s not the place for Suter, neither is New York?  Ok.  Try Pittsburgh on for size, Ryan.  Rust belt, and all that.  Blue collar.  Just like Detroit.  Talent already in place?  Proven winners?  Style of play? Money to spend? Detroit and Pittsburgh. 

I’m telling you now, it’s down to us and them.  You think ‘08 and ‘09 was stressful? We haven’t seen jack squat. Whatever happens over the next ten days or so is literally more important than either series three and four years ago.  Whoever wins this particular battle for these two players will determine at least two Cups over the next five years. 

Shero made it known last night. He’s clearing space and the shady little bastard has his eyes set on our guys.

Kenny, they’re doing it again.  The Pens.  Just when you thought we’d gotten rid of them, they’re back. 

It’s only your legacy at stake, Kenny.  And our future.  Tick Tock.  Spare no expense.  I’m serious.  Capgeek, and god I love that site, says we have 24 million to spend.  Khan(!) keeps saying it’s less than that and I have no idea why. Either way, spend it all, sugarfoot. Every. Last. Dime.

I’ve said it for years. There are two “elite” organ-I-zations in this league.  One of them is going to get a whole lot better in the next couple weeks.  Two best teams, two best players, two best coaches and now we’ll see who has the Best GM. 

Well, Kenny?

 

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Comments

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Wow!

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/12 at 10:00 AM ET

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Dear god…..now I will need 5 coffees just to digest this info! I don’t know if I could be capable of ever watching hockey if….if….I just can’t say it

Posted by Nathalie from MTL on 06/23/12 at 10:31 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Nice article, Chief….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 06/23/12 at 10:42 AM ET

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July 1 is going to be very interesting…

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/23/12 at 10:53 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

Word.  Now my Saturday and the next 10 days are filled with thoughts of daisies and sugarplums, and then dark clouds and putrid smells. Summer of Kenny or summer of doom. not much in between is there?? ugh.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 06/23/12 at 11:07 AM ET

monkey's avatar

I hear what you’re saying, but I think you misjudge the guy.

The Penguins have 15 mil in cap space for five roster spots.  Suter and Parise could conceivably be had for 15 total, but they wouldn’t be able to ice a whole team.

There’s another way to look at this: something is rotten in Denmark.  Staal wanted out, and next to go is Crosby.  He’s UFA next year.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 06/23/12 at 11:08 AM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

All things being equal I would imagine Parise would pick the team that isn’t in NJ’s division. He came right out and said hell no to the Rangers, so you can see he’s a loyal guy. I’m sure Pens fans could try and make the same argument for Suter not signing with the Wings, but it’s already leaked he wants to be in the West and he was never the heart & soul captain like Parise. Gotta love the aggressiveness of Ray Shero if you’re a Pens fan though…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 06/23/12 at 11:12 AM ET

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I hear what you’re saying, but I think you misjudge the guy.

The Penguins have 15 mil in cap space for five roster spots.  Suter and Parise could conceivably be had for 15 total, but they wouldn’t be able to ice a whole team.

There’s another way to look at this: something is rotten in Denmark.  Staal wanted out, and next to go is Crosby.  He’s UFA next year.

True, but i think Martin is gone today as well.  I can see a deal with the wild… one of the few teams I think Martin would wave his NMC to move to.  That would be another 5 million.

As for the denmark thing… it was more the fact that Jordan was never going to be able to unseat Malkin or Sid.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/12 at 11:26 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s doable if they unload Martin, but it will be tight.

$19.6M in cap space with a need for 3F and 3D. Sure, you can fill 2F and 2D spots with low-paid scrubs because of how the Penguins’ roster looks, but Pittsburgh will lean more heavily on the “come play with Sid & Malkin” sales pitch than on what they can afford to dish out.

Either way, PIttsburgh scares me more than any other team right now and I hate that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 11:31 AM ET

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The good news is that Suter will not go to Pittsburgh. He already turned down philly and he wants to live in the mid-west, not some polluted city.

Posted by Spencer Rynberg from Gibraltar on 06/23/12 at 11:41 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

You know something, we actually do need Round 3 seeing as its 1-1 with the Pens anyways. My money is on the guys in Red.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 06/23/12 at 11:43 AM ET

Tony's avatar

I agree, I think Martin will be gone soon as well… Maybe not today, but before July 1…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 06/23/12 at 11:55 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

so who’s on PITs blueline if Suter doesn’t sign with them?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 11:57 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Don’t Fuch with The Jesus, Chief.  Way to stress out my weekend, Ya Bastard.

I feel like Clark Griswald at the blackjack table.

“Back again Griswald?  Why don’t you just give me all your money, I’ll kick you in the nuts, and we’ll call it a day.”

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/23/12 at 12:06 PM ET

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Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 09:57 AM ET

That’s the scary thing.  Assuming they trade Martin and fail to get Suter, you are left with Letang, Orpik, Niskannen, Engelland, and Lovejoy.  Then you get into the up and coming D prospects of Despres, Strait, Bortuzzo, etc.  One of those young guys I expect to be up in the NHL next year.  Then you go into free agency.  We’ll see.  It’s a big risk if you get rid of Martin and don’t get Suter…

There’s another way to look at this: something is rotten in Denmark.  Staal wanted out, and next to go is Crosby.  He’s UFA next year

Crosby will be signed right after July 1 to an extension.  Staal was never going to get the minutes in Pittsburgh and I can’t blame him for wanting out.  Very glad they got what they did for him.

Posted by Spencer Rynberg from Gibraltar on 06/23/12 at 09:41 AM ET

That’s as dumb as saying Suter doesn’t want to go to Detroit because of all the high crime.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/23/12 at 12:08 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

There’s another way to look at this: something is rotten in Denmark.  Staal wanted out, and next to go is Crosby.  He’s UFA next year.

Or Pittsburgh is thinking one more concussion and that could be it for his career, and are looking to start getting a plan in place for after that happens.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 06/23/12 at 12:09 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

J.J.

Right now it looks this way

Letang - Martin?

Orpik - Niskanen

Despres - Engelland

But Rob Rossi tweeted if you care to believe that twit That Nasville is interested in Martin

Posted by Evilpens on 06/23/12 at 12:37 PM ET

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Enh.  IMO this is hyperventilation about something that a) is pretty unlikely to happen and b) not nearly as earth-shattering a development as people think it is.
Parise is a very very good player.  So is Suter.  Staal was pretty good too, although not as good as Parise.  Michalek was pretty good too, although not as good as Suter.  What we’re really talking about is the Pens upgrading Staal with Parise and Michalek with Suter, obviously both upgrades, but it’s not a pure addition of talent either.

And Crosby’s always One Hit away from missing three months.

Granted, I’ll be disappointed if Detroit doesn’t land a guy of note this offseason, and I’ll roll my eyes at the always inherent Bettman bias involved in greasing the skids for the Pens, but it isn’t like Bettman is Machiavelli and it’s not like Parise and Suter are Gretzky and Bourque.

If Detroit replaced Fil and Kronwall with Parise and Suter I don’t think people would be as willing to just hand the Cup over to Detroit.  And they shouldn’t.  There’s forward depth, and blue line depth, and whether the goalie shows up 4 series in a row.

And depending on how the contracts are structured there is always the possibility that a pair of big signings now would have pretty huge consequences in a new CBA.

There is a whole lot to consider beyond the name recognition of the players involved.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/23/12 at 01:02 PM ET

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http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/06/14/report-suter-not-interested-in-joining-the-flyers/
Suter does not want to play in philly and one can assume that he wouldn’t want to play right next door in Pittsburgh.

Posted by Spencer Rynberg from Gibraltar on 06/23/12 at 01:41 PM ET

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The good news is that Suter will not go to Pittsburgh. He already turned down philly and he wants to live in the mid-west, not some polluted city.

Well that’s good for Pens fans then since Pittsburgh is more mid-west than any other American city in the Eastern conference.

Not to mention Pittsburgh is routinely rated on lists of America’s Most Livable Cities.

You know, the same list Detroit would find itself on if not for all the unemployment issues, crack heads, and shitty people.

Posted by There's A D In Detroit And Also In Dick...Appropri on 06/23/12 at 02:22 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Suter does not want to play in philly and one can assume that he wouldn’t want to play right next door in Pittsburgh.
Posted by Spencer Rynberg from Gibraltar on 06/23/12 at 11:41 AM ET

How do you make that jump?  Quite different environs geographically and culturally.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/23/12 at 02:23 PM ET

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Suter does not want to play in philly and one can assume that he wouldn’t want to play right next door in Pittsburgh.

305 miles = right next door.

Idiot.

Posted by D In Detroit And Dick...Apropriate on 06/23/12 at 02:24 PM ET

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The people who are saying somebody wouldn’t want to play in Pittsburgh because they don’t want to play in Philly have never been to these two cities and realized that they have literally nothing in common other than being in the same state.

Posted by Derek on 06/23/12 at 02:24 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Well that’s good for Pens fans then since Pittsburgh is more mid-west than any other American city in the Eastern conference.

Well sure… but it’s still a bunch less mid-west than the actual midwest.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 02:28 PM ET

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Yeah but then you’d actually have to live in the Mid-West.

Posted by D In Detroit And Dick...Appropriate on 06/23/12 at 02:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yeah but then you’d actually have to live in the Mid-West.

You…. you don’t really know anything about Ryan Suter, do you?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 02:48 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Yeah but then you’d actually have to live in the Mid-West.

You…. you don’t really know anything about Ryan Suter, do you?
Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 12:48 PM ET

The most relevant statement of the day.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/23/12 at 03:15 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Well, there was quite a bit of love-fest between the Pens and Wings fans…

In any case, I agree with NIVO- we need a round three because this stalemate bullsiht doesn’t feel all cute and puppies and rainbows like it looks.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 06/23/12 at 03:18 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

I love when Pen(i)s fans talk shit about the actual city of Detroit, like Penisburg is soooooo much more epic. *#$%@& that city, it’s way more of a puss filled dick hole than Detroit. If you like sweaty dicks in your mouth Penisburg is the place to be. If you like baby Jesus, firetrucks, hookers, and warm PBR, come to the D.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 06/23/12 at 03:48 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I said on Twitter that I think a lot of this PIT thing might be misdirection.

Remember:  Nash and Ryan are still in play too via trade.

If Shero wants, he could unload a fistful of future draft picks and a roster player or two and come away with one or both.  Nash in particular would have to be intriguing in that he’s already signed long-term.

I don’t see Kenny trading for Nash or Ryan.  I can totally see Shero doing it though, and I think PIT’s fared well enough in the draft recently that they can part with some future picks and maybe even a prospect or two to get one or both of them.  They don’t hoard and value actual prospects quite like DET seems to (whereas they value picks higher, but DET doesn’t seem to as much).

Suter might be on their radar too of course, but if I had to put down money I’d bet PIT gets Nash in a trade.  It occurs to me that the East views defense as a joke, so PIT dismantling their d corps doesn’t necessarily mean they plan on replenishing it.  They may very well load up their forward salaries instead.  Nash is a better fit for them than Parise even and truthfully Nash might raise hell in the East with the lack of defensive depth there.

I find it really hard to believe though that Shero is willfully shedding salary to just make a run at a big UFA or two.  It’s awfully risky, because if PIT then lands neither Parise or Suter it’s viewed as just a biog a failure than we will view it if DET doesn’t land them.  Perhaps even bigger because the cap room didn’t just occur naturally but they had to shed (especially Staal) in order to get there.

Keep an eye on the trade front.  I think that’s where PIT is going to do their work.

Posted by Primis on 06/23/12 at 04:28 PM ET

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Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from the Big House,January1,2013. on 06/23/12 at 01:48 PM ET

Both cities had and have their problems.  Half of your post doesn’t even make sense and it makes you just as bad as the people that go out of their way to say things about Detroit.

Posted by Primis on 06/23/12 at 02:28 PM ET

Agreed.  All this cap space is nice, but if the Pens can’t sign anyone, then it does no good.  Especially if they trade Martin away and don’t land Suter then…

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/23/12 at 04:43 PM ET

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If Shero wants, he could unload a fistful of future draft picks and a roster player or two and come away with one or both.  Nash in particular would have to be intriguing in that he’s already signed long-term.

I’d be awful surprised if Parise was misdirection for Nash, considering ZP can be had without trading prospects and he and Crosby have been buddies since high school (interesting note, Crosby attended the finals this season as a guest of ZP’s mom and dad).

Then again, Shero’s been known to trade for guys his star players have wrecked in fights previously, so I guess Nash is possible.

Posted by larry from pitt on 06/23/12 at 08:06 PM ET

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What we’re really talking about is the Pens upgrading Staal with Parise and Michalek with Suter, obviously both upgrades, but it’s not a pure addition of talent either.

I would say it is more like the Pens are upgrading Staal with Parise AND Brandon Sutter, and upgrading Michalek with Suter.  If the Pens also are able to get rid of Paul Martin and bring up some of their young defenders, then that should be a pretty big upgrade.  The young defenders are getting good reviews so far.

Posted by Chris from DC on 06/23/12 at 08:25 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’d be awful surprised if Parise was misdirection for Nash, considering ZP can be had without trading prospects

Posted by larry from pitt on 06/23/12 at 06:06 PM ET

Yes but if you trade for Nash, he’s already signed to a long-term deal and you don’t have to court him.  He’s coming out of CBS for God’s sake, he just wants to go somewhere else.  He also has size.  And PIT isn’t cross-country from CBS.

The Pens just don’t seem to do the UFA thing though, over the past few years they seem to trade to get what they want instead.  And remember, last year when they DID make a splash in free agency (Michalek, Martin) it’s been a disaster.  When they got Hossa, it was in a trade.  When they got Kovalev, it was in a trade.  When they got Neal… it was in a trade.  Kunitz?  In a trade.  Shero likes to trade to get exactly what he wants, instead of trying to make something fit from the UFA market.

And for the record, I don’t necessarily even think it’s intentional misdirection.  I think Parise is on their radar, and Suter even moreso, but I think at the end of the day Shero will trade to get what he wants.  I just think we’re all so blinded by the upcoming July 1st UFA Frenzy that sight of the bigger picture has been lost.  We forget Nash and now Ryan have asked for trades.

And I think Shero has looked around the East and decided that getting a d-man isn’t as pressing as another scorer or two,  Especially with Crosby still very much up in the air.  They might still go after a Garrison or Wideman or something, someone they can nab maybe for cheaper that wants to win.

Posted by Primis on 06/24/12 at 01:31 AM ET

Cwix's avatar

It’s down to Detroit and Pittsburgh and that should be enough to make you just lose it, physically.  I’m talking all bodily functions.  And it’s not because you hate Pittsburgh.  It’s because if Parise and Suter sign there, it’s done.  Sealed.  Schedule the parade and start the photoshops of Bettman and Rosby, faces smeared with Yoohoo, giving each other eskimo kisses, while Hall and Oates’ timeless classic “Maneater” blares in the background of a Cup celebration.

That made me lose it (coffee spew)...

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Roanoke, VA on 06/24/12 at 10:22 AM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

Half of your post doesn’t even make sense
Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/23/12 at 02:43 PM ET

If it made sense to you I would be losing my touch.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 06/24/12 at 02:31 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Schedule the parade and start the photoshops of Bettman and Rosby, faces smeared with Yoohoo, giving each other eskimo kisses, while Hall and Oates’ timeless classic “Maneater” blares in the background of a Cup celebration.

 

Noice…is that a veiled back handed slap at Barry Manilow?  Yannow, he writes the songs.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 06/24/12 at 02:32 PM ET

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If Parise ends up in Pittsburgh as planned that would give the Pens the best American, Canadian and Russian born players in the world. Just pure domination.

Posted by Patrick from Big Rapids, Michigan on 06/25/12 at 03:51 AM ET

Beatrain's avatar

whoops, surely you meant second-best Russian? Cuz the best Russian plays in Detroit.

Posted by Beatrain on 06/27/12 at 05:05 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com