Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Please Turn to Channel 33 For All Your Habs Needs

RDS is a magical channel that exists at the same position, 33, on both analog and digital cable in Montreal. Like, whoa, dude.

So big news out of the RDS offices today where they have announced that they have extended their deal to broadcast Habs games another five years, through the 2012-2013 season. For those of you unfamiliar with RDS, it is the French-language equivalent of TSN, which is the Canadian "equivalent" (read: sucky ugly 3rd cousin) of ESPN. RDS' nightly sports news broadcast is 25 minutes of Habs and other hockey news followed by five minutes of everything else, even during the hockey off-season - it's awesome. And RDS used to broadcast mini-putt for like 4 hours a day, but it's been a while.

You know I would be snarky about this but imho it's all good. RDS is good at broadcasting games, and their talent is great (even Benoit Brunet!). Pierre Houde may be the best play-by-play man working today in any language. In fact, I once heard him do a game in English and he was even good then. Yvon Pednault gives you no-bullshit analysis. Even Chantal Machabée has somehow managed to become less irritating and better-looking over the years. And Jacques Demers, despite his inability to read a teleprompter (sorry, bad taste?) is solid in the studio.

And with the launch of RDS-HD coming in the fall, this deal is that much better. And as usual, RDS will broadcast every Habs game. Suck on that, Blackhawks fans.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, July 31st

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of smoking the same quality herb that Kevin Lowe is smoking...
  • The buzz at Coach Carbo's golf tournament yesterday was of course The Breezer. Carbo would welcome him back, says he'll bring character and leadership. Sure, but what about any skills?
  • Interesting piece from the Gazette's Pat Hickey about why Ryder will be gone by the trade deadline. I had the same thought when he signed a one-year deal. One-year deals for 27 year-old players are not good. Look at me, I'm Pat Hickey.

As far as off-seasons go, things are picking up in entertainment value at least with the Breezer and Kevin Lowe's offer sheets. The FHF will continue to monitor these stories, all the while enriching your lives with mindless filler and random strippers. And tomorrow's August! The season is almost here kids.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Puck Bunnies Woohoo!

You know I am really loathe to make a new post just for the purposes of linking to someone else's post. But when the topic of that someone else's post is puck bunnies, well, fuck, I just can't help it.

Be sure to check out the fine folks at Dear Lord Stanley and their quality post about the hottest puck bunnies. Though as I mentioned in the comments, any list like that that doesn't include FHF obsession Angelica Bridges is totally incomplete. Admittedly, she hasn't been in the news recently the way the others on the list have (and that was the alleged reason for the post), but her absence is still noted.

BTW the posting of an Elisha Cuthbert photo does not mean the FHF endorse that francophone-hating douchebag Sean Avery. It just means it's been at least 4 days since the FHF posted a photo of a hot chick.

The Morning Skate for Monday, July 30th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares about Patrice Brisebois in a Habs uniform again. What's that you say? Oh, fuck...
  • Habs avoid arbitration and sign Michael Ryder to a one-year deal worth $2.95 mill. Scroll down to the next post for HF33's insta-legal analysis of the arbitration process. Finally, having lawyers around here comes in handy instead of just the FHF threatening to sue each other over stolen post ideas;
  • Yes, it's still true that the Habs have offered Brisebois a one-year, $700,00o contract (still shaking head in disbelief). Scroll down for HF33 and HF29's insta freak-outs from yesterday.

There may be other Habs or hockey stories out there but I get the feeling FHF will be all-Breezer, all the time until he signs with the Habs or has an, er, accident, before that's allowed to happen. You know, the type of accident where a shadowy figure jumps out with a lead pipe and swings at someone's knee. Happens all the time.

Little Mikey Doesn't Go to Arbitration

Michael Ryder could have met his maker today, his money maker.

Yesterday, he was at 2.2 million as the result of the one-year deal he signed last summer and with the knowledge that a solid 06-07 campaign would allow him to leverage off internally or externally to maximize his outcome.

Today he replicated previous logic and inked an inflation derived one-year deal for 2.95 million.

The Habs' most ...ahem...prolific goal scorer of late could have attempted to make more in arbitration out of the number 30, that is the 30 goals he seems to find a way to pop in between 64-GAME SCORELESS DROUGHTS! But he avoided the following.

The Ryder Litigation Squad dubbed "Hey, Mister Arbitrator, 30 goals is 30 goals!" was gearing up for the crap slinging contest that is salary arbitration where your team magnifies every flaw of your game and makes it appear that you play like the second coming of Ron Flockhart (add bonus points for Ron Flockhart reference here).

At this juncture in our blessed lives, it would be useful to go over the procedural components that Ryder would have faced during his hearing today.

As stated in the CBA:

The parties may offer evidence of the following:

(A) the overall performance, including official statistics prepared by the League (both offensive and defensive) of the Player in the previous season or seasons;

-Mr. Arbitrator, he scored 30 goals but we lost every single game in which he scored. We want you to consider this carefully; every time Michael Ryder scores, we lose the game.

(B) the number of games played by the Player, his injuries or illnesses during the preceding seasons;

-Mr. Arbitrator, he does play 82 games a season but let's not forget, he usually gets injured in those crucial exhibitions games. That throws the team off kilter and we never seem to recover. Also, he plays with a case of uselessifnotscoringitis which doctors have deemed incurable.

(C) the length of service of the Player in the League and/or with the Club;

-Mr. Arbitrator, he gets excited when the Habs play Martin Gerber because he wonders if he'll get some free samples. He's really young.

(D) the overall contribution of the Player to the competitive success or failure of his Club in the preceding season;

- Mr. Arbitrator, we missed the playoffs because the entire team suffered from a severe case a totalus indifferencia in the last two games of the season where a win would have clinched a birth. During the 80 game incubation period of totalus indifferencia, Mr. Ryder was seen roaming around the Bell Centre, like an unleashed maniac on the loose. We strongly suspect that Mr. Ryder infected his teammates with this horrible condition. The team also produced diarrhea in record quantities last year and we think Mr. Ryder may have started that trend too.

(E) any special qualities of leadership or public appeal not inconsistent with the fulfillment of his responsibilities as a playing member of his team;

-Mr. Arbitrator, Michael sponsors a private stall at Chez Parée called the "Ryder Hard Booth" where Kovy's Kids are invited to blow off some steam.

(F) the overall performance in the previous season or seasons of any player(s) who is alleged to be comparable to the party Player whose salary is in dispute; and

- Mr. Arbitrator, we can't seem to find Ron Flockhart's stat sheets but if you happen to have them tucked away somewhere, please be our guest. Otherwise, did Emilio Estevez actually play in the NHL or was his involvement in hockey limited to that part in the movie?

(G) (1) The Compensation of any player(s) who is alleged to be comparable to the party Player, provided, however, that in applying this or any of the above subparagraphs, the Arbitrator shall not consider a player(s) to be comparable to the party Player unless a party to the arbitration has contended that the player(s) is comparable; nor shall the Arbitrator consider the Compensation or performance of a player(s) unless a party to the arbitration has contended that the player(s) is comparable.

- Mr. Arbitrator, we would like you to listen to Mr. Ryder read the last paragraph aloud. Man you're going to be in stitches, he's got, like, the craziest Newfie accent ever! We can't watch Harry Potter movies because we cringe every time he says "Albus Dumbledore". Think motivational speeches in the locker room...ok, now think 22 players collapsing in laughter.

Good for you, Mike, for preserving a warmish relationship with management even though the No hard feelings, simply business mantra would have fit quite snuggly somewhere between the lines of your new contract.

He's Baaaack???

Please, someone shoot me in the scrotum.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Feel The Breeze (-by) or A Breeze Is Blowing or Take A Breezer (man these headlines are too easy)

Take a close look at this photo. Note the Breezer's relative position to the guy putting the puck in the net. His back is to him. That's how you play defence kids!

So the Gazette's Pat Hickey is reporting the the Habs have offered Patrice Brisebois a one-year, $700,000 contract. OMFG. We have mixed feelings here at the FHF. On the one hand, Breezeby sucks. On the other hand, Breezeby sucks, and that's comedy gold for snarky Habs bloggers like us.

Let's hope Bob doesn't revoke our credentials when HF33 and I start booing him at games this year. Oh wait, we have no credentials. Bring it on!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The FHF Salute The Simpsons

As you may have heard, The Simpsons Movie opens today. Woohoo! The FHF are huge fans of The Simpsons, and thought we should spend a moment giving tribute to The Simpsons' love of hockey.

Hockey appears quite often in the Simpsons. Of course, the classic is the Lisa vs. Bart hockey episode which the above video highlights. So many moments in that episode, I could barely list them all, so I'll just quote my favourite line from the ep - "I want to see you both fighting for your parents' love. Fight! Fight! Fight!" I love Homer.

But hockey has appeared in other eps too. How about this appearance by a Kozlov, maybe Slava, maybe Viktor, maybe an un-named Kozlov:

Or this classic, Bart and Milhouse playing the "Hockey Dad" video game:

I would make jokes, but we can't compete with the masters of ironic, sardonic, juvenile, mature, witty, brilliant humour like Matt Groening et al. Enjoy the movie kids.

The Morning Skate for Friday, July 27th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the FUCKING SEASON STARTING ALREADY...

  • The Morning Skate is in need of some valium or something.

As usual in the waning days of July, there isn't much hockey-wise. Let's point you to the fine folks at Melt Your Face Off and their search for a Habs blogger. Excellent analysis of why the Habs rule. We applied for the position, but our whole Habs Suck philosophy wasn't what they were looking for.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Staal Bachelor Party Gone Wrong. Sort Of.

Sadly, I am really not sure how many strippers were involved in the Staal incident, or even if there were any. But you know, any excuse to post stripper photos...

So for those of you just joining us, Eric and Jordan Staal were arrested yesterday following Eric's bachelor party. Disorderly conduct, obstructing the legal process and underage drinking sounds like it could be pretty juicy, but sadly, the Staals ain't Pacman Jones.

When you get right down to it, the whole incident was yawnsville. Literally - the Staals were actually asleep when they were arrested. There was some noise, and the party was told to keep it down, and so the Staals went to bed. And the Lutsen Resort, where the party was, is described by Minnesota Monthly Magazine as the "most romantic resort." What kind of freak bachelor party was this???

Seriously, I got into more trouble last night than these guys did. C'mon hockey players, if you want to push mobbed-up hoops refs and puppy-killing NFL stars off the front page, you gotta do better than this.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, July 26th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of a mobbed-up ref working a Game 7...

If you don't think the FHF will have much more on the Staals later, with many photos of strippers, well, you just don't know the FHF.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, July 25th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of a steroid scandal in hockey. Don't kid yourselves, it's coming people...

Not much else. There is really nothing going on in hockey these days. And with a juicer about to become the HR king in MLB, a mobbed-up ref fixing games in the NBA, and an NFL poster boy literally killing puppies with his bare hands, really, how can the NHL compete for headlines???

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brushes with Habness - Ric Nattress

Brushes With Habness is a new feature here on FHF, where we, the FHF, tell you riveting stories about our brushes with Habs and people in the Habs family. Basically, some filler while we wait for the damn season to start.

Yeah, that's right. Ric Nattress.

Now, some of you may remember ol' Ric as a Flame getting railroaded (ahem, ELBOWED) by Mark Messier and making Don Cherry's Rock Em Sock Em tapes as he wobbled back to the bench. You may remember him joining the Leafs as part of the huge Doug Gilmour/Gary Leeman trade, or as Jaime Macoun's stunt double. You may not know that he was a Habs draftee, or that we once got drunk together. But it's true.

Bracebridge, Ontario, summer, mid-1990's. At my buddy's cottage, drinking before hitting the bar. Our friend Rob is meeting us there after finishing up his round of golf ... (insert your own "nice life you rich Ontarians are leading" comment here) but mentions he's bringing along one of his playing partners. Someone's nephew. Some hockey player.

Group mindset at the cottage: "Great, some Junior A dickhead to babysit through the night. Evening ruined as we make sure Mr. Hockey Hotshot doesn't get thrown out a window by locals."

Cottage door swings open. In steps Rob with the very large, very mustachioed, very much older than us hockey player, the recently retired Ric Nattress. Former Leaf, Flyer, Flame, Blue and Canadien Ric Nattress. Much strangeness ensues.

Now, this sort of thing is a little awkward. We all knew who Ric Nattress was, what with most of the guys in the cottage being Leaf fans. And while "Ric Nattress" isn't the first name out of your mouth when someone says "name a former NHL player", he's still a former NHL player. Everyone tried to keep cool as the introductions went around the room, because c'mon, it's Ric Nattress ... but on the other hand, we've all been drinking and it's Ric Freakin Nattress, man!

Turns out, Ric is a great guy. He settled into a chair, had a beer and started answering goofy questions. He showed us a fake Stanley Cup ring he claims he got in 1989 with the Flames (funny, I must have missed that ... can't remember a thing about that year.) He told us about rooming with Guy Lafleur as a rookie, and finding a crate of cigarettes on his bed the day after Guy asked him if he wanted some freebies. He talked about the time Guy was so loaded/hungover at practice no one could stand beside him because of the smell. He told us he thought Messier was the dirtiest player in the league. He forgave my friend Tim (still bitter about the inept Leafs D in the 93' semifinal against the Kings) for continually referring to Jaime Macoun as "JAIME FUCKING MACOUN!!!". And when we got to the bar, beer kept materializing on the table courtesy of the big, friendly mustachioed fella. I think if we had ended up in one of the night-ending brawls our local watering hole was famous for, Ric would have put us all in a bear hug and carried us to safety. Yes, Ric wasn't a Hab for long, but the greatness of Les Glorieux certainly rubbed off on him.

Stay tuned for our next mindless filler edition of Brushes with Habness, as HF29 talks about the time his Dad told him Dave Manson screams like a little girl, or HF10 waxes poetic about seeing John LeClair in a Tim Horton's parking lot.

Jesus, how much longer til the puck drops?

Je Me Souviens - Habs vs. Red Army, December 31, 1975

Je me souviens is the newest FHF feature of crappy filler while we wait until the fucking season starts. The title says it all. If you don't know what it means, read a license plate. Or go use The Google.

The Habs - Red Army game is my first memory. Not my first hockey memory, my first memory, period. That'll tell you what kind of Habs fan I am. I can picture exactly where I was as I watched it, sitting on my parents' bed, watching their little 14" black and white they had in their bedroom. The 'rents had gone out for New Year's, and the babysitter said I could watch the whole game, as long as I was in my Snoopy pj's by the second period (man I was cute in those).

Tretiak. That's what I remember. He was just unbelievable. A stand-up goalie, but he threw his body and limbs around stopping pucks like mad. The Habs outshot the Army 38-13, and the game finished 3-3. 38-13! He was f-ing incredible. Tretiak himself has said it was the best game he ever played.

I also remember the intensity. It was a friggin' exhibition game, but both teams played like it was Game 7 of the Cup Finals. East vs. West in the middle of the Cold War, their system vs. ours, the two best teams on the planet at the time, etc. I guess in retrospect I can see why it meant so much.

Also, the skills of the Soviet players. To this day I have never seen puck control and patience like that. I was astounded when, instead of just dumping the puck in to the Habs' zone to make a line change, the 2 D simply passed the puck back and forth playing keep-away until the new line was on. And when a rushing Red Army forward hit the Habs' blue line and didn't like what he saw, he would turn around, head back into his own zone, and start the rush again. You'd be booed for that in the Bell Centre today, but it showed just what the Red Army players could do and had been taught. Wow. Je me souviens indeed.

Enjoy the highlight video, and here are a few other links for you:

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, July 24th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a 100-point season...

One of these days we'll have real Habs news, I swear. Whoever decided to start FHF during the summer was an idiot. For I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Morning Skate for Monday, July 23rd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a French press that behaves itself...
  • Nothing. Everyone's on the golf course.

Happy Anniversary to our friend Robert over at Eyes on the Prize. To celebrate the anniversary, he's got a a phenomenal post on Habs Fans, like us! And it includes many photos of hot chicks wearing Habs jerseys, whhich is my favourite look for hot chicks. Robert knows how to capture my interest.

Check back for more crappy filler all week!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One Last Goodbye

Here is a report from John Ferguson's memorial service which was yesterday. Let's link to his career stats for posterity.

John's now playing on a line with Howie Morenz and The Rocket. Sounds pretty good to me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dos Vidanya Alexei

Alexei Yashin has taken his toys and gone home. I wonder how much the Habs had offered him, or if they offered him anything. Though I would love to play with a team called Locomotiv. Must have a great logo.

The Morning Skate for Friday, July 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a seat in the reds, about five rows up, between the red line and blue line at the end of the ice where the Habs are on offence in the 1st and 3rd periods...
  • David Aebescher signs with Phoenix. Goodbye and good luck, I guess. I'm totally indifferent here;
  • Habs sign Jonathan Ferland for about half a mill. Is he a Bulldog forever or will he ever make the big club for longer than a cup of coffee?

Still a while 'til training camp. But be sure to check back for more useless filler and random strippers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Brushes With Habness: Guy Lafleur's Uncle Part 2 - You Gotta Marinate!

Brushes With Habness is a new feature here on FHF, where we, the FHF, tell you riveting stories about our brushes with Habs and people in the Habs family. Basically, some filler while we wait for the damn season to start.

So yesterday I regaled you with the fine taste of moose meat. But there's more. While the moose was delicious, it was pretty tough. Serious steak knives required. So when Guy Lafleur's uncle asked my dad how the moose was, my dad honestly told him it tasted great, but was a little tough. Well, that was sad news for Guy Lafleur's uncle. He asked my dad how we cooked it. My dad said we threw some spices on it and tossed it on the BBQ. Guy Lafleur's uncle said "Mais non! You have to marinate it!" and proceeded to give my dad many tips on marinating. Then he sent us more steaks to try again. We marinated this time, and the moose was delicious AND tender. Like I said yesterday, true story. You can't make this shit up.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, July 19th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of Donald Audette's wrist being chopped in half. Man, how did he jerk off after that...
  • Nothing. You missed nothing.

Since we need to give you something to read besides tales of moose meat, I'll point you to an excellent analysis of Carbo's first season by the fine folks at Eyes On The Prize. It's golf season apparently, not hockey season; enjoy The Open Championship.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Brushes With Habness - Guy Lafleur's Uncle

Brushes With Habness is a new feature here on FHF, where we, the FHF, tell you riveting stories about our brushes with Habs and people in the Habs family. Basically, some filler while we wait for the damn season to start.

I once ate moose killed by Guy Lafleur's uncle. Seriously. My dad was a doctor, and Guy Lafleur's uncle was one of his patients. After some surgery, Mr. Lafleur gave my dad a present - some moose steaks from a moose he had killed personally. We had some for dinner. It was delicious. True story. You couldn't make this shit up.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, July 18th

Bullet point for what you missed while having nightmares of Bob Cole and Harry Neale becoming the only broadcast team in the country...

I would tell you more, but every sports site on the planet is talking about Michael Vick. Be kind to animals, kids. It's like hockey doesn't even exist. Can you believe that? Make sure to read KSK's take on Vick, killer as usual.

Alrighty the FHF will be coming up with some sort of gimmick soon to fill the time 'til training camp. We don't know what it will be called, or who will write it, or what it is, but it'll be awesome. And apparently newly-married Panger has some sort of story about a legendary Hab. You will never guess who. No really, try and guess, I dare you. So check back to find out who.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, July 17th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a six-team league...
  • Ex-Habs coach Michel Therrien gets a one-year extension with the Pens. I'd pay to coach that team;
  • Tha Gazette's Stephanie Myles continues her series on the Habs drafted players, this time THE SUBBANATOR. It's pretty dull for a guy who is supposed to be a quote machine. We're expecting better in the future Sub.

So Development Camp over, training camp almost two months away. We're in the dog days now people. Leaves more room for random strippers I guess, so that's a good thing.

Monday, July 16, 2007

John Ferguson, 1938-2007

Habs' great John Ferguson passed away Saturday at age 68 after a battle with cancer. Read The Living Legend of Hockey Journalism Red Fischer's obituary here.

Unfortunately none of the FHF were around to remember seeing him play. From all accounts, though, he was the type of player we would have loved. Gritty, rugged, fierce competitor, did whatever it took to win. They say he was an enforcer, but he could put the pick in the net too, with 145 goals in 500 career games and a high of 29 in 1968-69. So more Bob Probert than Tie Domi. An instrumental member of the forgotten dynasty of the 1960's Habs.

He was also a coach and executive for several teams. As assistant coach for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, he allegedly was the one who said "Kharlamov is killing us out there" leading Bobby Clarke to take action.

R.I.P., John. And we forgive you for donning that Leafs sweater when your son was named Leafs' GM.

The Morning Skate for Monday, July 16th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a Hab winning the Maurice Richard Trophy. Hahahahaha, I kill me sometimes...

Not much else. Development Camp ends today. The slow off-seaason drags on. We'll have some thoughts on John Ferguson soon, so check back for that and hopefully some random strippers.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Panger's Online Bachelor Party

So FHF's own Panger76 is getting married tomorrow. While HF33 and myself were fortunate enough to attend the actual bachelor party in the flesh (so to speak), we couldn't let the impending nuptials go by without offering him one last hot babe. And as we learned at the bachelor party, Panger loves the redheads.

And get this - he's getting married in Edmonton. Maybe he'll run into the Sourays.

Souray moves to West End (of country)

So what seems like the longest free agency period ever has finally ended for the Canadiens former Mr Big Shot, Sheldon Souray. After all the "he's not coming back, his wife wants him in LA or Anaheim, he's definitely going to the West Coast, LA is a done deal, the Habs signed Hamrlik, now he's definitely not coming back, buy your Souray Kings jerseys now!" chatter, Sheldon has indeed gone west. To Edmonton.

A guy making that much money couldn't afford a direct flight from Montreal to LA? Oh, he has family there ... so he's just visiting for the summer? Wait, what? He signed there? I see.

So there's a bunch of ways to look at this. One might be tempted to pull the old "see, nobody wants to play in front of those hatchet men in the Montreal media ... they'd rather go to goddamn Edmonton than face that ... Edmonton, the team that threw money at everyone and couldn't get any interest until they tried to pay Tomas Vanek the GDP of Bolivia." One might be tempted to say "look at the friggin' money they gave him ... it's not the GDP of Bolivia, but it's close. Of course he went." You might be a big softy and say "oh, he wants to play near his family like any good Western boy. That's lovely." And you know what? You might all be right.

Playing in Montreal isn't easy. The fans are demanding, the media can be a little too enthusiastic, there's apparently a language thing I keep hearing about. There is talk of ghosts and Stanley Cups as a birthright, and guys like Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur are walking the halls at the Bell Centre. There aren't many more pressure packed sporting environments in North America. That's a fact. And while it must be a fascinating experience there's no doubt it could wear on a man. Sheldon has been here for seven years. Maybe it was time for a break.

That is a lot of money for a 30-something defenseman with some (ahem) "defensive issues" and a reconstructed wrist. By all accounts, the Habs made a solid offer, but Sheldon's looking at his last big payday. He did what most people would do and took the highest-paying offer from a decent employer in his field. Good for him.

Family and home counts for some guys. Sheldon probably grew up an Oilers fan, and he'll probably get a big thrill out of pulling on that jersey and stepping out on the ice that Gretzky, Messier, Kurri and Coffey made famous. Don't forget, the Oil ain't exactly slouches in the "wildly successful dynasty" competition.

Still, you wonder how bad Sheldon wants to win. While the Habs aren't world-beaters at the moment, there are a bunch of promising kids, soon-to-be stars like Higgins and Price, and solid to spectacular talents like Kovy and Saku and Markov for the next five years. And while the Canadiens are going to have to live with Oilers2.1 in Pittsburgh, the Sens, the big spenders in NY and Philly and the like, I don't see the Oilers as having an easier path past the Ducks, Wings, Avalanche, Sharks, and Flames over the next few years. Just throwing it out there.

I for one wish Sheldon all the best. He won me over the first time my dad pointed out he didn't play like he was on peyote (like the big, mega-talent-mega-head-case Russian he got traded for ... God, I loved watching Vlad play when he was on. When he was off ... yeeesh.) He played hard, scored some timely bombs, stuck a dagger in the Leafs with that beauty shootout goal, was immense in the upset of the Bruins a few years back. I hope he gets a huge ovation when the Oilers next visit Montreal (which, judging by the NHL's scheduling genius, will be as an assistant coach in 2017). He didn't leave on bad terms, he didn't go to a hated rival. He just went. That's fine. I just hope the lucky guys blogging for the Oil appreciate Mrs Souray like we did.

The Morning Skate for Friday, July 13th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of Jason in a hockey mask. He just wanted to be loved, people...
  • Souray to Edmonton. Scroll down to the next post to say goodbye to Angelica Bridges;
  • Mickey Ribs is staying in Dallas. K that's still far enough away from Montreal to make me not be nauseous.

So we'll do more Souray digesting around here I'm sure. And I'm off to Camp Crystal Lake for the weekend. Should be fun!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mrs. Souray's Last Goodbye

Well it's oficially over. Angelica Bridges is gone, taking her husband Sheldon with her. TO EDMONTON. Edmonton!?!? To quote Simmons, I don't even have a joke here. 27 mill over 5 years.

We'll digest this in the morning.

All Hail Our Robot Overlords

No, he's not an overlord, he's the friendly Are You Watching This? robot. He does a great thing - he trolls around sports games, checking for televised games that are close, headed into OT or extra innings, there's a no-hitter, etc. Basically games you should be watching on TV. Then he sends you a text message or email to tell you to TURN ON THE FUCKING TV and watch already. Brilliant concept.

He's coming to Canada. Maybe. Go here to find out how to make it happen.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, July 12th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a 50-goal scorer on the Habs...
  • The Gazette's Stephanie Myles has a profile of Ryan McDonagh. Seems like a good kid. Too bad he'll be forever known in this town as "not Angelo Esposito";
  • Rangers continue to spend by giving Lundqvist a big raise. Is there a salary cap in this league or isn't there?
  • Souray still unsigned...

83 days 'til the season opens!

Ça Suffit - Part Two

The enmeshment between the Canadiens and the city of Montreal runs deep. It has justified the rise in journalists that cover the daily saga that wraps itself around an 82 game schedule. It has bred the creation of 24 hour sports radio stations in both official languages. It has enabled late night televised debates over every single detail regarding every aspect of the team, drawing huge audiences in the process. The Montreal Canadiens are the team that never sleeps, revived over and over again, well after the game or the season has been played, by its fans that now enjoy so many outlets to channel their passion.
The team and its players are subjected to hot lamp scrutiny as soon as they agree to play in Montreal.

General manager Bob Gainey, who is no stranger to captaincy, winning or personal devastation, stands by oft criticized Saku Koivu with unquestionable faith and confidence.

Recently though the aim has shifted slightly towards the GM.

Many in the francophone media have argued that Gainey wasn’t fit for work after his own terrible loss. This very personal and very private issue was raised in the francophone newspapers, televised news bulletins, radio shows and during the team’s press conferences, all while the man still struggled to come to terms with his immense grief.

After having remained idle at the trading deadline, Gainey’s dedication to his work in view of his personal loss was questioned by the media who in the process sank to new depths as far as unprofessional and distasteful conduct is concerned. The man is in the throes of agonizing tragedy and the francophone media is calling for his head. Aren’t we all told to cope and gather our inner strength to try and move forward, to not abandon life, to resume work in the face of adversity?

Gainey should have been praised by the media for the courage it took to embrace a daily routine again, despite the reality that for the rest of his life that routine will include the grieving and the coping. Instead, he was criticized for attempting to revert to a sense of normalcy in the world that had again suddenly collapsed around him. Life has not been easy on Bob Gainey, you figure the media would intuitively sense that and publicly empathize with the man Russian coach Victor Tikhonov once labelled the most intelligent player in the world. Instead, in the spasm of those few weeks, the media in Quebec requested his head.

Some in the francophone media that follows this team move with a modus operandi and a purpose to unleash venom. It’s fully evidenced in the format that 110% has chosen to adopt in showcasing participants (who in fact are all journalists) barking at one another to get their points across. The overly simplistic result far too often falls somewhere between the incoherent and uninformative. When 110 succeeds, as a journalistic medium, it's because the decibels are low and the debators are afforded the luxury of finishing a sentence. This aggressive reporting, if one can call it that, was also in full force when journalists barged into Koivu’s hospital room, which only yielded tabloid fodder.

Last month, a francophone radio host asked his audience to call in and comment on whether or not there should be a limit of European players on every NHL team because of their alleged lack of dedication. This form of tribalism has no place in sports journalism, let alone in sports. Some in the French media continue to disseminate a message laced with subtle xenophobia. It’s not as outrageous as the kind Don Cherry advocates, but both are hatched out of the same rotten egg.
As a francophone Quebecois myself, I hold my media to higher standards. I'm asking for more. However, I only ask for sports. Leave the politics to the politicians. When comparing the French media to the Anglo press, one cannot help but notice a difference in style. This dichotomy runs along cultural lines drawn over time between Quebec and Canada. The English press, save for the irate Cherry, voice contained criticism. Confined within the borders of what seems appropriate. The frustration is there, it's palpable, but rarely overt, never overbearing. Is it boring? Maybe it is at times.

En français, as a testament to the wonderful warmth, passion and authenticity that the French Québécois are about, the media often takes things to an all too personal, begrudging level. And it gets ugly very quickly. It’s time for these members of the francophone media in Quebec to start treating the players with dignity and its fans with respect. Nobody deserves this as much as Koivu, Gainey and some of the most knowledgeable hockey fans in the world. They all deserve something cerebral to chew on. C’est assez, ça suffit.

Ça suffit: Part One: Oh Captain, My Captain

The rapacious sports journalists in Montreal. Now there's your elephant in the locker room.

Many in the Montreal sports media, the Habarazzi, go beyond the borders of hockey and they do so in vitriolic manner. None has endured such character assassination as the team’s captain, Saku Koivu.

Koivu has heard and read it all, mostly in the French media about his lack of leadership and character.

Doubt rained over Koivu even before the trainers had finished stitching the first C on his jersey.

He wasn’t fit to captain the team because he couldn’t communicate in French.

His stamina was questioned after his remission from cancer.

His desire to will the team to victory seemed unconvincing.

His apparent lack of mentoring skills has left the younger players scrambling in all directions, leaderless. Funny how most young players on the team enjoyed banner seasons in 06-07.

His quiet demeanor has failed to lift the team during its struggles.

Anyone who questions Saku Koivu’s character must arguably not have grasped the full spectrum of the meaning behind the words cancer, remission, comeback, charity. Saku Koivu is everything that is good in sports today. Forget the trivialities of a hockey season, his leadership away from the rink, where it really matters, should leave most of us in embarrassment; we have not achieved a fraction of what he has while carrying burdens far too enormous to fathom on his small shoulders.

You can question his play, his lack of scoring prowess, his inevitable scoring droughts that have impacted the team around Christmas time over the last few seasons. You can’t, however, doubt his leadership. Nobody can. We owe many thanks to this courageous young athlete and his supporters should run the gamut, from the most devoted hockey fan, to the numerous beneficiaries of the PET scan machine his charitable foundation donated to the Montreal General Hospital.

Today, the ever present media has become an ambassador of sorts. In so doing, it communicates in two directions. It both relays its perceptions of the team to the public and voices the issues and sentiments the public may want to address with the team. Sometimes, the message has been distorted and at times the media has been guilty of delving into pure fabrication. On other occasions, they have simply crossed the line.

Koivu not being a leader falls into the realm of fabrication.

His dedication to overcoming devastating odds speaks so loudly to the contrary. While others may possess more raw talent he is blessed with splendid devotion to hard work, an intangible that eludes even the most talented on this earth most of the time. He plays possessed in the playoffs days after returning from a cancer that wiped away an entire season and, more importantly, almost extinguished his life. He comes back this year with a blind spot in an eye he almost lost as the Habs were leading the eventual champion Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in last year’s opening round series. He then silences his doubters by producing his best season, despite the cataract left in his eye.

The public doesn’t really care about Koivu not commanding the French language. Did it care when Kirk Muller wore the C? This would seem to contradict the fact that Koivu continues to receive the loudest cheers from the fans at the Bell Centre. Does any player on the team regret Koivu’s inefficiencies in the French language? Is the media really sending the public’s message to the player or is it merely frustrated that it doesn’t have the most quotable captain in sports? Is he paid to win or to conjugate?

Should Koivu have endured a commando like raid in his hospital, with flashes blaring in his injured eye simply because he is a public figure? Some in the francophone media did in fact see that to be the case because those photos were disseminated. In publishing the fruit of this intrusion they displayed disgraceful ineptitude. The line that journalism in all its integrity must view with such consideration was crossed.

The fans and media alike need to remond themselves every now and then that this is a game. Only a game. A beautiful one at that, but one that matters very little when set against the backdrop of something much larger: life. Saku would be the first to attest to that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

October 3rd - Mark It Down

We have a schedule! The regular season begins at Carolina October 3rd. Then road games at the Laffs and Pens. Put us down for an 0-3 start. Well maybe we can beat the Leafs, that's about it.

And let's hope a playoff birth is secure before the last 8 games of the season (ha!) 'cause those last games are all division foes.

Other highlights from the sched:
  • The Super Bowl weekend double afternoon games are back. There's 2 losses;
  • The Xmas holiday Florida road trip is back, too. There's two more losses;
  • The Ducks and Kings open the season with 2 games in LONDON (England, not Ontario) on September 29 and 30. Jolly good fun!
  • HF33 and I are already negotiating who gets the season tix for the Saturday night Pens tilt January 19th;
  • The Habs don't play Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver at all. That just sucks. This stupid unbalanced schedule is just, stupid.

We'll take a closer look at the sched in the coming days, see what sticks out. Right now all I see is 0-7.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, July 11th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Bob ripping off some stupid GM while dumping Aebescher...
  • First report from the Development Camp. I love that hundreds of fans were there, AND that a photo was the whole front page of the free Métro newspaper this morning. This city's love affair with a sucky team never ceases to boggle the mind;
  • Sergei Kotstitsyn had passport problems and couldn't make it here for the camp. What is he, a Latin American baseball player???
  • McDonagh and Pacioretty were suprised at the number of journalists. Hahahahahaha;
  • Rangers re-sign Shanny. That line-up is scary;
  • Souray still unsigned...

Alrighty enjoy the 35 Celsius heat, kids. Less than 2 months til real training camp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

43.5 Million Reasons To Spit On The Habs

This photo looks to me like Sid the Kid is about to spit on the Habs logo. I don't blame him. He crushed us with that shootout winner that I think this photo was taken right before. Of. Yeesh that's a sentence. Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Anyway, Sid has signed an extension for the aforementioned $43.5 million over 5 years. A bargain imho. UFA in 2013. Start clamoring for him now Habs fans!

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, July 10th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares you're Clint Malarchuk...
  • Finally, some Habs hockey (sort of). The Annual "Development Camp" aka "Rookie hazing" aka "let's make a bunch of players who will end up in Hamilton sweat" starts today. Here's who will be on the ice. The Subbanator makes his first appearance! Can't wait for his quotes;
  • Red Fischer gives the Habs a "C" grade for their UFA signings. I'd give them the elusive F double minus;
  • Sheldon Souray stilled unsigned. Hmmm...
  • WAY off-topic, but it makes me feel good that Vlad won the HR Derby. An Expo forever.

Enjoy the heat, kids. Less than 3 months 'til Game 1.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Demise of Hockey (Part 1?)

Of course in Canada this is a non-issue. USA, different story. As I trolled the sports blogosphere today instead of working, I could not help but link to Is ESPN Killing the NHL? Sample:

By minimizing coverage and highlights, the network is effectively reducing the imprint of the game on Americans’ collective sports consciousness. Worse still, several ESPN writers and commentators have gone out of their way to emphasize the demise of hockey. Le Ann Schreiber recently noted that during the NHL’s regular season, hockey was only mentioned on-air if there happened to be “some egregious brawl” or if it was being “dissed” for its invisibility and irrelevance.

It's well-worth the read.

The Email Chain - Nicknaming Tom Kostopolous

So if you read HF29's profile on the right, you'll see that FHF arose out of the FHF's email exchanges. Then we thought, WTF, we'll just post the email exchanges, unedited (typos included!). And a cheap blogging shortcut was born. Here's Volume 1.

HF29: we need a nickname for Kostopolous. im not writing that out all the time hes gonna be abused by the FHF.

HF33: Toko? E2K4? (Euro 2004) Not Chelios?

HF10: Greek Lightning? Zorba the Hab? The Ghost of Kris Kontos? Zeus? Apollo? Achilles? (as in, our Achilles is having dudes like Kotsopoulus patrolling our fourth line)?

By the way, if this blog requires serious, well-thought out stuff, I'm out.

HF33: Achilles. I love that.

The Morning Skate for Monday, July 9th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of 1993, 1986, 1979, 1978, 1977, etc...

Man, this off-season better end soon.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Habs Video of the day for Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Habs video of the day takes a look back at the most likely reason this season's Habs will make the playoffs, especially given the lack of offseason moves by the Gainey braintrust. Let's all hope we're not looking at Steve Penny version 2.0.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Habs Video of the Day

So I don't know if you're like me (we all know Jack Todd isn't), I could watch or play hockey every day, even in the summer. As much as I enjoy the business and administration stuff (i.e. the entry draft, Free Agency, cap issues etc.), I miss the game already. I miss Souray's point blasts (and au revoir, I guess) , Ryder's snapshot, Bouillon's bodychecks and Koivu's work in the corners. So I thought we'd take a look at a video clip of what goes on on the ice everyday during the summer ... well, as often as I get to posting one, I guess.

We might as well start off with a nice compilation piece of Habs History. You know, when they used to win Cups? If you can't remember because you're either too young (ugh...13 year old Montrealers have never seen a Stanley Cup Parade...) or too old (although in his defence, HF29 does remember the last streak of 4 straight like it was yesterday), this is for you. Good soundtrack, too.

(yeah I know, not all that much on-ice action. It'll be better next time.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Une Première: Les Freedom Fries

Vous remarquerez que ce site que nous avons consacré entièrement au Bleu Blanc Rouge ne saurait exister sans que nous puissions y exprimer certaines pensées dans la langue de chez nous.

À ce titre, le FHF vous promet une chronique hebdomadaire en français intitulée Les Freedom Fries. Le Canadien de Montréal, vous concèderez, ça se discute dans les deux langues.

Quoi mieux comme chronique inaugurale que de discuter du snobisme auquel se livre aujourd'hui la plupart de grands joueurs québécois qui, à tour de rôle, lèvent le nez devant la possibilité d'évoluer à Montréal. Certains joueurs ont opté de demeurer au soleil, d'autres ont voulu s'intégrer au sein d'une équipe plus performante que ce que le Canadien semble offrir pour l'heure. La réalité qui trouve un moyen différent de se manifester selon le joueur est toutefois simple et grave. Les joueurs québécois se méfient de l'environnement sportif et personnel que leur offre Montréal. Et quel dommage.

Ken Dryden disait jadis que la ville de Montréal présentait le plus grand avantage naturel pour un joueur de hockey professionnel. Les partisans se chauffent avec tant d'émotion du quotidien de cette équipe. Le Canadien, c'est une habitude de vie, c'est une façon de faire, c'est un conduit à travers lequel jaillit une passion et un amour inconditionnels. Avant cette escalade démesurée des salaires, avant l'égocentrisme de l'athlète qui a su ternir le sport professionnel dans le monde entier, le hockeyeur jouait simplement pour jouer, par conviction, par loyauté, pour l'amour du jeu. Cette impression nous renvoie à Maurice Richard, à Jean Béliveau, à Guy Lafleur, les inconditionnels de Montréal qui y ont laissé tout ce qui remuait en eux. Pour cette raison nous les avons intronisés dans notre imaginaire et dans nos légendes.

Aujourd'hui, c'est fini. Ce qui autrefois offrait tout ce qu'un joueur pouvait demander pour performer dans un contexte passionné et engagé, aujourd'hui tombe selon le joueur, dans l'excès. Aujourd'hui, c'est trop. À Montréal, on s'accroche à nous et on nous suffoque. On nous suit partout d'un oeil presque mesquin. Les médias nous dévorent tels des rapaces, protestera le joueur québécois.

L'environnement naturel de M. Dryden est soudainement devenu une zone hasardeuse, à éviter. Et ceci pour la simple raison qu'ici le partisan exige que le joueur qui endosse le maillot fasse de son mieux. C'est ce à quoi il a été habitué, par les performances de ceux dont les numéros s'entremêlent avec les bannières des Grandes Conquêtes.

Le francophone qui dit non à Montréal quand Bob Gainey lui confie "If you play well here and you win here, they will love you forever, just like they do with players past" proclame en effet qu'il ne souhaite pas s'allier au peuple québécois comme l'ont fait plusieurs avant lui. Les raisons? Les prétextes? Divers, mais insignifiants devant la véracité de la chose: tout ce que Montréal représentait dans la ligue nationale s'est effacé dans l'esprit des joueurs Québécois. Toute la légende sur laquelle s'est édifiée l'histoire de cette équipe est reléguée au passé. La vedette québécoise veut être aimée ailleurs, payée ailleurs, vivre ailleurs. Car tous ces joueurs qui ont eu la chance de renouer avec l'histoire nous ont dit, nous ne sommes ni Maurice Richard, ni Jean Béliveau et nous n'avons aucun désir de l'être.

The Morning Skate for Friday, July 6th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the past...

And the Habs' yawner of an off-season drags on.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Morning Skate for Thursday, July 5th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of a couple of classic Forum Dogs and a Molson Ex before that combo cost you $17 like it does today...
  • Roenick is hanging up the skates. My dream is a CBC #1 team of Chris Cuthbert returning to the CBC fold with Hull and J.R. as duelling colour commentators. I'd pay for that;
  • Lawsuit time! The Oilers are pissed at the Nylander situation. Even though all the FHF are lawyers, we'll let HF33, who had a brief bout of fame as host of The Legal Minute on the Team990, sort it out.

That's pretty much it. Looks like we're headed into the calm period post-Draft, post-UFA frenzy but pre-Habs Annual golf tournament. It's OK, that leaves more space for strippers around here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tom Kostopoulos is Coming! Let's Dance!

This is what we at FHF feel in our hearts, with the news of our latest acquisition. We just want to dance.


The Morning Skate for Wednesday, July 4th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of the U.S.A. taking over our game (though I would sure love if they took over our Sportscentre)...

Well with the Habs' UFA season essentially over, FHF can now turn to important questions, like will Kobayashi's jaw injury be a factor in today's hot dog eating contest. Happy 4th of July to all the U.S. hockey fans out there. May all your game feeds be from the CBC, unless it's Cole-Neale announcing.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My New NHL 3

The rich millionaires started to save while the poor millionaires began spending. That’s what happened when the six-year collective bargaining agreement was signed in the summer of 2005. Rather than embolden the small market teams, the new CBA created huge reserves for the wealthy ones, huge reserves that would allow them to make serious splashes in the UFA pool when the cap would start rising again. It stood at 38 million dollars for Year 1 of the CBA. Now, at Year 3 it has climbed up to 52 million. It has gone up by 37%. Poof!

In an environment where the playing field is in the process of expansion, a gap starts to emerge, between the Haves and the Have-Nots. The field was flattened at a 38 million dollar cap, where everyone could allocate that amount in salaries. Today however, not all pockets around the NHL are 52 million dollars deep.

A New order is rising. It happens to be the Old order.

While the NHL was deflating spending to 38 million dollars a couple of years ago, the wealthy teams who were spending over 70 million were making significant savings. Today, with a cap that’s over 50M teams like the Red Wings and Rangers are still saving about 20M a season compared to their pre-cap splurges. That money could not really come in handy with everyone being obliged to run in a potato sack race. Now that the rules are changing and are allowing participants to run the race with the latest and most sophisticated engines money can buy, some teams will still have to resort to the best potato sack money can buy. This is when the savings of the last 2 years are going to pay huge dividends for the Rich of Yesterday. In fact, they are the ultra Rich of today and the uber Rich of tomorrow.

My New NHL 2 (from 2005-2007) was a flattened league. My New NHL 3 is a system of castes again.

Who’s in trouble? The small market American teams, that’s who. They are spending the same American dollars today as they did before the CBA. The Canadian teams, while relieved somewhat by the cap correction of 2005, have much more to thank in the surging Canadian dollar.

In 2001 the dollar was agonizing at 61 cents. Today it’s trading at 94.

The Canadiens’ payroll in 2001-2002 was 41.2M, meaning they were paying 66.3 M Canadian. Today that would mean a 43.7M payroll in Canadian funds. In today’s league figure the Habs will take up the entire cap room and spend the allowed 52M; in Canadian funds, with a 94 cent dollar, it will cost them 55.1M, 11 million dollars less than in 2001 despite a cap that is 11 million higher! God Save the Queen.

What has rescued Canadian hockey is the dollar, it actually has little to do with the cap. There was a time (that time was 2 years ago) when the cap did restrict the wiggle room and level the playing field. A 25M payroll did not have to compete with the 80M T-Rex roaring out of Manhattan. Today, the cap is rising and the tide is going to turn. At that turn, you will find Scott Gomez and Chris Drury in their new Ranger uniforms.

The Canadian teams can weather the storm and ride the momentum of a strong currency. The more tepid American teams however will have no luck in finding such solace. They are the Canadian teams of old. Which is why the Pittsburghs and Nashvilles are going to turn over their business AFTER the CBA was signed, because they know what’s coming. They’ve been there before.

No B.S. for the BS brass

Accept things the way they are. And according to Sabres general manager Darcy Regier, this is the only way to see things for now:''We're going to be less competitive without Danny Briere and Chris Drury. But we'll figure out a way somehow to be better." What else is the man supposed to say? Your team just moonwalked back into the Darren Puppa years and you're going to sell the fans anything other than the WAY IT IS? Not in Buffalo.

La creme in Montreal don't see things that clearly.

For the next few days we are going to hear all about Smolinski and Hamas being terrific acquisitions for this team, about how bright the future appears. That won't sit well with the fans. I want to see Bob Gainey come out and say "Geez Louise, we tried hard we did, and we're peeved Briere opted for Philly cheese steak over Putin (i.e.playing alongside Kovalev and a Tit)".

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, July 3rd

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the Habs playing in the second round of the playoffs. Man our expectations have been lowered...
  • The author of The MS is on vacation and thus The MS will be a little late this week, or not posted at all, depending on the hangover level;
  • You've time-travelled back to 1996. Scroll down to the next post if you don't believe me;
  • Apparently, Souray refused a four-year, $22 million offer from the Habs. Insert Mrs. Souray or child support joke here;
  • Nylander to the Caps, Lang to the Hawks, Handzus to the Kings, Bertuzzi to the Ducks. We're getting down to the dregs now for the Habs.

Alrighty we're still waiting for Bob to find some scoring. Check back for all the FHF snark when we decide Pierre Turgeon is the anwer to all our problems.

Gainey invents time travel, returns from 1996 with two free agents

Well, the talents of the Habs general manager know no bounds of time and space. Elite level hockey-player and defensive titan, loving father and husband, leader of men, Stanley Cup magnet, and now, master of the space-time continuum, Bob has gone into the way-back machine to snag Roman Hamrlik and Bryan Smolinski as free agents. With former #1 pick Hamrlik's offense from the back line and Smolinski's speed and hands added to the talent already in place (led by all-universe goalie St. Patrick!) good things are ahead for the Habs in 1996-97.

Wait, what? It's 2007? Well damn. That changes my outlook a little.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Free Agent Frenzy III: No Big Name UFA's at Chez Paree This Year

After Panger reported on the big Rangers splash last night, by this morning it looks like the Habs have lost out on two more big names as Ryan Smyth goes to Colorado and Paul Kariya goes to the Blues. Not that I wanted Kariya, but boy Smyth would have been nice.

So the only real viable big name left looks like Nylnader. But he's not big or physical and is 34. Habs need some scoring dammit. Yeesh. Maybe we can get Mickey Ribs back in a trade. [[pauses to clean vomit off of keyboard]]

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Free Agent Frenzy II: Rumble From the Bronx*

OK, maybe MSG isn't in the Bronx, but the Rangers made the biggest splash in the UFA pool this year by signing not one, but two of the top three UFA centers, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury (officially, "The Next Messier"). This means the Habs definitely have a shot at Mikael Nylander, and maybe Ryan Smyth. Jason Blake goes to Loserland to fulfill his destiny as next season's version of Sergei Samsonov (then again, Samsonov didn't have Sundin passing him the biscuit. But they're paying Blake as an established 40-goal scorer, but I doubt he will consistently score 40 for the Leafs) Outside of that, my two sleeper UFA's have already signed: Vic Kozlov in Washington - nice fit with AlextheGr8 - and Josef Stumpel resigned earlier this week in Florida, where he has the privilege of watching Richard Zednik skate miles to avoid the slot area for the next couple of years. Robert Lang's still around, though.

Scott Hannen lands in Colorado, leaving Brad Stuart and Sheldon Souray as the only top tier blueliners left. My bet is Souray ends up a Shark, pairing up with Craig Rivet again. Boy I hope Josh Georges has got some potential that Habs fans haven't yet witnessed.

So the Habs lose out on Briere, and really don't have any big name options besides Brad Stuart, Paul Kariya, Todd Bertuzzi and (arguably) Nylander. I hope Gainey is arranging to invent a teleportation device so Souray can go back home to SoCal every night to be with Hottie Wife and kid. I don't want to face a season of Darryl Sydor setting up the PP.

*(I didn't actually watch TSN at all today, although I did hit "refesh" on my finacee's crackberry roughly 500 times on Sunday.)

Free Agent Frenzy I: Bye Brière, We Hardly Knew Ya

Thank goodness I didn't live blog the 2 hours of TSN's Free Agent Frenzy, because nothing happened. No really, nothing.

But later in the day Brière signed with the Flyers, for 8 years and $52 million. 10 mill in the first year!!! In related news, Francophone media in Montreal begin drinking heavily.

Elsewhere, Red Wings get Raflski and Ducks get Schneider. Flyers, Red Wings, SoCal. Yup, parity in the NHL is working.

The Big Day Is Finally Here!

So after a well-deserved day off prior to the big day, the FHF is back for, well, the big day. It's about an hour until the UFA period begins, and we're giddy with excitement!

Teams are made or broken on this day. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but one good UFA signing can change a team as easily as one bad signing can.

TSN's Free Agent Frenzy will be on in the background as we do laundry and clean the bathroom today, so we'll pop in with insta-analysis of any news possibly as it happens.

Oh yeah, and it's lke, our national holiday or something. Happy Canada Day, eh?