Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

-First off, I see there was some debate on my posting of Block's article yesterday.  I didn't present it to express my opinion, but merely to express what I thought was the best point of view on the whole thing.  But it's close to what I think.  While I don't doubt Bob Probert was nice to most if not all the humans he encountered, he wasn't to his family or some of the members of law enforcement he encountered.  While I never cheer someone's death, I have little sympathy for Probert.  His family?  Yes, for sure.  Friends? Of course.  Him? Not so much.  Probert had multiple chances, and basically blew them all.  And it's hard for me to feel sorry for someone who has a structure that is there to help him when he asks.  The union and league have programs at the ready, all you have to do is ask.  You can even have your employer hire you a minder at all times if you think you might crack.  And Bob still couldn't manage it.  Sadly, this is a story told many times.

-Anyway, let's get back to on-ice stuff, shall we? I've been quiet here lately, mostly because after the season I couldn't even stand the site of my computer. But I haven't commented since all the shit went down last week, and I know you're dying to read what I have to say. Being genius, after all. Anyway, it's funny, because the player I blinked twice at losing was Andrew Ladd, and as the Fifth Feather pointed out, he's probably the most easily replaced. He's a 3rd liner who didn't feature on either special teams. He didn't quite have Buff's size or Versteeg's hands. And yet, of the three he's the only one with a consistent brain. Still, he's not the type of player you pay $3+ million, if that is truly what he gets.

-I don't want anyone to lose their head when what I think the most likely scenario with Antti Niemi crops up. That is his arbitration award is around Halak level, and the Hawks simply walk away. While I'll always be forever in debt to the Antti-goal, especially for that save on Gagne in Game 6, you simply do not award a goalie with 37 games experience and only one really stellar series to his name that kind of money. Unless you're St. Louis, obviously. I'm sure Haugh and the rest will be in an uproar, but this is where we're at.

-Speaking of Haugh, thanks for reading our blog buddy.  Clearly where you got the Modano idea, wasn't it?  Had you even heard of him before?

-I've been thinking about these bonuses that have wreaked havoc with our team, and I wonder how abnormal they are.  I'm sure for top picks they're pretty standard.  If Sid had won his Cup in his third year instead of fourth, I'm sure we would have heard about his Conn Smythe or Cup bonus on his entry level deal.  This is what happens when you draft special players this high, I guess.

-So, where are we now? Well, with an assumed burying of Huet in a cornfield in Iowa, I have the Hawks with just under $9 million of space with 12 players signed (and no, I'm not counting John Scott, thank you). You are allowed to be 10% over until the season opens, so let's go ahead and add 4-5 million. One would have to assume that the Hawks need to fill about 10 spaces. Let's assume Hammer and Niemi are coming back, and let's hope their combined number is at about 5. So that's around 9 mildo to play with for 8 spots (getting dizzy yet?). It's a pretty safe bet that Bickell and Dowell will be patrolling your fourth line in October, and the most their number could come in at is 1.2 combined. So that's now 6 spots to be filled with 7.8 million to play with. One assumes they're trying to bring Hendry back at the exact 600k he was at, and if they're successful that's 5 spots with 7.2 of space. Looks a little cheerier. If the Hawks can bring Skille's number to say...900K? Well, 4 spots for 6.3. We all want Beach to make the team, he's at 1.2. So, 3 spots for 5.1. Brian Connelly or Shawn Lalonde or Vishnevsky are an outside shot, and they would bring the Hawks down to 2 spots with about 5.5 left. Assuming Hendry is your 3rd pairing, veteran d-man, that's what you'd have for a backup goalie, or another winger of some sort. Discuss how you feel about that.