Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Take on the Canes off-season game plan

Luke discusses this briefly in his LSB post, and I want to take a do my own analysis in parallel to TSN's off-season game plan piece from Tuesday.

Last year's squad was smallish, lethargic and injury-riddled. So I would make the following the top three off-season priorities for the club:

1. Get younger, bigger and meaner on the blueline: Joe Corvo is now the PP quarterback for this squad. Looks like the club is stuck with Frances and Nic "No Trade Clause" Wallin, so as much as I admire and respect Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican, the time has come to move on. Bret might have already made his decision to ride off into the NOCAL sunset. Since the Preds will have a tough time signing both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, I'd work the phones for a deal here. From today's TSN game plan report on the Preds, it looks like Suter might not be the golden boy any more. You think Erik Cole likes country music?

2. Get bigger, hungrier, meaner and faster on the 4th line: Props to the Lollipop Guild line of Walker/Bayda/Aucoin. These guys over-achieved when production was needed most, but JR has already indicated he wants to get larger down the forward lines and I concur. Problem is, there's not a lot of room on the roster even after Bayda, Aucoin, Letowski, et al have been cut loose. JR's move to bring on Eaves and Ruutu makes things even tougher. Eaves on the durability front and Ruutu on both the durability and discipline fronts. In the TSN feature, Scott Cullen suggests three guys the Canes might consider going after: Matt Bradley, Pat Rissmiller or Adam Hall. Not sure I'm all warm and fuzzy about the thought of any of these guys.

I like Tim Conboy in the psycho killer/#7 defenseman/4th line forward role. I could see pairing him with big and skinny Brandon Sutter and a guy like Bradley or Rissmiller.

3. Cover that six in goal: Cam Ward is proving to be spectacularly average with flashes of brilliance. Michael Leighton might be the guy to press Cam in the coming season, but I'd like to see the Canes pursue another good, young talent just in case years 5+ of the Cam Ward experience turn into a train wreck. Cullen suggests Alex Auld or Patrick Lalime. I say see what Boston might want for Tuukka Rask. The kid looks to enter the next season stuck again behind an over-priced Manny Fernandez and Captain Cartwheel. You think Erik Cole likes chow-duh?

Not hating on Cole. He's just one of the few marketable players on the roster. Cullen throws in Justin Williams as well. Have to ponder that one. Two knee explosions versus a broken neck...

Here are some UFA's I'd be intrigued to see in the sightless eye:
Michael Ryder
Mark Streit
John-Michael Liles
Chris Kelly
Michal Rozsival
Brendan Morrison
Pavol Dimetra

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mr. Subliminal Talks Lavvy and Homo-Erotic Staal Dreams

Hi all, if yer still reading.

Good move (financially) to bring Coach Lavvy back. GMJR finally puts to rest speculation (he created) about Coach's status, and lets us know it's part of the usual end-of-season (failed season) process:

"I can understand why there was speculation," Rutherford said, "but I wasn’t trying to insinuate anything. It's a standard process each year. I wasn’t going to take that position until every one had the chance to meet."

So this morning I'm sitting there having that first cup of joe watching the Wings/Stars tilt and the wife asks, "Did any Staal bros play in the playoffs?" Boom, flashback to last night's final(?)dream. I'm at a gym or rec center...not sure why or where, when three guys come running down the hall whacking each other in the butt with rolled up towels. It's Jordan, Eric and Mark and they are all wearing nuthin' but a thong. Kinda like the scene in Zoolander where the male models are having the ill-fated gasoline fight, only with even more gayness. Shocked and horrified, I leave the gym only to find the boys (and Dad?) similarly attired and riding bicycles down an alley.