Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking out for Number One, Part Two

So welcome to the, um, "highly anticipated" second instalment of FHF's look at the Habs UFA options for a first or second line centre. Available players out of the Western Conference are on deck today. (What's the hockey equivalent of "on deck"? "Next off the bench"? ""At the Zamboni doors"? I'll have to think about that one.)

Robert Lang
Another guy I loved last summer. I was hoping Gainey could pull off an Aebischer/Zednik deal for him, but it looks obvious today why Kenny Holland wouldn't bite on a package like that. Anyhow, this year he's a UFA and by the looks of it Detroit is ready to cut him loose. Upside is he energizes AK27 and provides that famous "big body presence" up the middle which the Habs currently lack in spades. He'll be 37 this season, and his point totals are one the downside, but if he puts up40-50 points playing with Kovalev and can line up against other big centers, I still think he'd be a good option. Of course, as always in the New NHL, the bottom line is in dollars. I see another Jason Arnott scenario unfolding: some team is going to step up and open the vault because he's a proven scorer with size. So what if he's not putting up the same point totals; just look at Bobby Holik. Outside the obvious top end candidates like Briere and Gomez, he seems like the next best option.

Michal Handzus
He'll probably re-sign in Chicago and spend the season watching Samsonov skate laps around the edge of the offensive zone, which will somehow cause Tuomo Ruutu's wrist to break as Sammy breezes by him on th 15th lap. Handz brings allot of the same attributes as Lang, but younger and much, much better hair. I'm talking out-of-this-world, young Jagr in his prime hair. Hockey Player hair. Hair a hockey player would be proud of. I think what I'm saying is that I like his hair. Although I'm not sure there is enough Pantene Pro-V in the Province of Quebec for both Handzus and Maxim Lapierre.

Bryan Smolinski
How many teams does a player have to play for before he can be described as a "journeyman"? Smolinski's no Brent Ashton or Michel Petit, but he's been around about as much as say, a 17-year old Lindsay Lohan. Smolinski is at eight clubs right now, and I feel confident enough to officially call it: Bryan Smolinski is a journeyman. And Gainey ain't looking for no journeymen. (Complete this sentence: If ever there was a "journeyman" GM, it's...?? Anyone more than twice? I'm sure I've forgotten one but I don't think there are a plethora. Even in hockey, Marx was right: it's better to be in management. Although the title does apply to coaches, right Mike Keenan?)

Wes Walz
Some may argue he, too, is a journeyman. But here's a guy who made it to the NHL at the age of 30, and has become an integral part of the Wild franchise. He's an all round player with heart ... ok seriously, its just about the name. Come on, how can you not add a guy with a name like "Wes Walz". Weeesss Waaaalllzzzz. "Walz waltzes in and scores!" "What do the Habs forth line and a good Contractor have in common? Streit Walz." (Roll it around on your tongue a couple of time; you'll get it. I bet you'll like it, too.) Anyway, great name. A Wild name, though.

Pierre Turgeon
I just ate my tie. My own tie.

Petr Nedved
Only if its the 1995/96 version. Remember when he was good? Was that when he played for the Czech Republic? Or Canada? Or for the Czechs the second time? Seriously, how can the IIHF allow a player to be a international slut like that? (See how I passed up the "Eastern-European male Lindsay Lohan joke right there? Yeah, I' proud of me, too.) Pick a team, Petr. And here 's a nickel, buy an "e". I figure a nickel is enough in Prague, where he'll be playing next year.

Eric Lindros
In 2084, in a room alone are HF33 and his great-grandson:

Greatgrandson: "Great Grandpapa, tell us a story about when you were young."

SuperOldHF33: "Well, I do remember one story, in the summer of 2007, I was there, that warm summer afternoon in July, and I saw it all unfold before my eyes. They called it, 'The Lindros Riot'...."

Peter Forsberg
But no way. He's going somewhere comfy to rest his feet. I'd love to see Forsberg and Drury reunite with Sakic in Colorado for one last run. But only if they buy-out Theo. No Cup for you!

So post-July first FHF's going to look at what we got - or what options remain if he didn't. (Hint: Patrick Marleau)

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