Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 05/27/07 at 08:36 AM ET
Handshakes and grades and free agents and insanity. All hot topics as we peruse the Diggers today, five days after the elimination and a full week since the Kick To The Groin.
The Wings spent the weekend cleaning out their lockers, while Sasquatch makes final preps to play Game 1 of the SCF. Neat, eh? Needless to say, I’ll be pulling for Ottawa. The thought of Corey Perry lifting the Cup is just not pleasant. And that’s mild compared to how I feel about Pronger doing the same.
But I’m past that. It’s time to move from the crushed to the hopeful, the soul-wrenched to the analytical. And I’ve got a plan. Oh yes.
John Niyo spoke to us yesterday of Wing free agents and who will stay, who will go.
The chief fiscal concern probably rests on the blue line, where Mathieu Schneider and Danny Markov made a combined $5.8 million this season but surely will command more in salary and/or commitments. Signing both will be difficult, but Schneider, as well as anyone, realizes the value of playing in Detroit, where he has posted back-to-back 50-point seasons.
“Certainly, we’re interested in having Mathieu Schneider back,” Holland said. “But I want to see what he has to say.”
I’d be kinda interested in what Schneider has to say, as well. 3.3 million this year and that remains about the max of what Holland could afford to pay him. Markov, as much as I like how he played in the postseason, could very well be gone if he’s expecting more cash than the 2.5 he was signed for last summer. I’d like to see him stay but I don’t see it happening.
Prediction: Schneider stays. 6/two years. Markov: gone.
Ah, the debate over Bert. Two differing opinions this morning. First, Niyo’s.
Holland already knows where Todd Bertuzzi stands. The two had a one-on-one meeting this week, during which Big Bert expressed his desire to re-sign.
“I don’t feel like moving anywhere anymore and I’m very happy here,” said Bertuzzi, whose family’s offseason home is three hours away in Kitchener, Ontario. “It’s one of those dressing rooms you want to be a part of—it’s something special.”
Bertuzzi made 5.269 last year. No chance Holland re-signs him for that, maybe not even half of it. If the big guy wants to stay, as he claims, he may have to do so under these circumstances: One year at 2.5 or 3 to prove his health and commitment to the type of game that made him a legitimate top-tier player pre-Moore. One year with 30 goals and 70 games played and Holland opens up the bank next summer.
Keith Jones, who sucked as a Dique and sucks in the Versus!!!! studio, thinks he’s gone.
I don’t think they will (keep him). He provided a valuable asset they didn’t have last year in the playoffs. Looking back at guys I played with, with back problems, John LeClair—it took him a good year on skates to get back to normal. I think they should let him go. That’s only based on his health, though.
Deep stuff Keith. Thanks. But, our boy Khan(!) reported a different view yesterday and I’m liking the sound of this quote from Bertuzzi.
“I need a month just to do nothing and get healthy,” Bertuzzi said. “I came back a little bit earlier than when I was supposed to, but it wasn’t the back in the end. The back is stronger.”
Bertuzzi hurt his tailbone, which might be fractured, in Game 5 vs. Anaheim.
“Getting healthy and getting a full year under my belt I know I can do some damage here and get back to where I was before with my style of play,” Bertuzzi said.
Prediction: Bertuzzi re-signs. 2.5/1 year
Dom, Dom, Dom. You crazy SOB. Does anyone think this decision is going to be made in “two or three weeks”? That’s not Hasekian. It’s not how he rolls and we know it. I wouldn’t expect a resolution to this dilemma any sooner than 1 July.
Here are the factors I’m looking at, as to whether a return is best for everyone:
-Is one more year good for the team? Absolutely. There is no better option in the organ-I-zation. The Jimmy Howard in 2007-‘08 campaign has lost steam. Chris Osgood, a great guy and a keeper as backup, is not the answer—not even a one-year filler. The Wings are in a familiar uncomfortable, but fortunate, position: this team is good enough to win a Cup next year. Despite their ouster, they proved they are at the very least, the very least, the second best team in the West. So, signing the best goalie available to facilitate another run makes as much sense as it did in the summer of ‘01. Until the Wings sign/grow/trade for a young phenom, we’d better all accept that this is the summer ritual.
-Is he healthy? Prove to me he’s not.
-Can we afford him? Depends. I think so at 2.5/year for one. Maybe he signs for 2.
Mike Babcock told Khan(!) he’s got it all figured out.
“I’m going to grab a bottle of wine, and I’m going to walk down the street and around the corner,’’ Babcock said. “I don’t know exactly where he lives but I know he lives in my neighborhood and we’re going to sit on his deck and I’m probably going to bring my wife, too, and we’ll hang out and find out. That’s how we’re having it. I already told him that. So that’ll be good and we’ll make sure we don’t run out of wine.’‘
Oh…good. That should make for some interesting conversation. Nobody knows what either are talking about when they’re allegedly sober, now we throw some wine into the equation? By the end of the night Babcock might have Hasek agreeing to stay for fifty bucks and a guaranteed checking line position.
Hey, here’s something interesting. Pretend with me for a moment that Holland had signed Psycho Eddie last summer, he stays healthy, Wings win the division, the first two rounds and come as close to the SCF as they did this year. What’s the chances of Babcock saying this regarding bringing THAT nutty bastard back? “I’m going to grab a bottle of wine…” Yeah, umm, I don’t think so. Does anyone else shudder along with me at just how close we came to signing Belfour?
Prediction: Hasek stays. One year, 2 million.
Calder? Gone. Interesting idea and a good pickup at the deadline, but he’s gone.
Chelios? Back for 850. Done deal and I don’t care if he didn’t shake hands. If anyone is questioning this guy’s understanding of tradition, they’re crazier than Hasek. If you haven’t yet, read this from Kulfan. I believe every word of it. Should Chelios have shaken hands with the Poultry? Yes. He didn’t? Nope. How can I point fingers at him? I wrote one post in five days after the Wings lost because the idea of thinking about it made me want to puke. Chelios says the loss hurt too much and I believe him.
Robert Lang. B. Lang. Bob. Bobbie. Bobby. The Enigma. Langadaisical. Listless, Lethargic Lang.
Get the hell out. Two big goals aren’t enough to overcome the absolute waste of talent he’s become. If Ken Holland wastes another dollar on this guy it will be a dollar too much. As Khan said, he’s probably had his bags packed since Christmas. And that’s a good thing because freeing up that ridiculous 3.8 will leave plenty of room for the A2Y-sponsored theme of the summer. Yep, I’m making a public push and it’s starting today. Sign Ryan Smyth.
Sign him and schedule the parade. Sign Smyth and check out these lines, just for fun.
Leftovers: Samuelsson (probably insert him somewhere above, but I don’t know where), Kopecky
And here’s how we make it work financially. Let’s do a quick roster rundown with prices included. I just added it up and I’ve got to tell you, this is do-able. I’m as excited as Bubba with a plate full of muskrat. Stay with me.
Here’s the roster with firm salaries and my highly-scientific predicted salaries for those we wish to keep.
Bertuzzi: Predicted 2.5
Hudler: Predicted .850
Schneider: Predicted 3.0
Quincey: Predicted .850
Hasek: Predicted 2.0
Sum of all Salaries: 42.559
Predicted Cap: At Least 47.5
Money for Smyth: just under 5 million. That’s this year. Escalate that salary over three, if necessary. Smyth never made more than 3.5 with the cheap-ass Oil. 5 would be enticing and we all know everyone wants to play in Detroit, right?
Sign Smyth Kenny.
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