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.)