Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Some bad (and sad) news today: Igor Larionov has reportedly turned down a 1 year,$1 million offer from the Wings. He earned $1.5 million last year and if he does in fact continue playing (apparently there is some doubt there on his part), he is likely going to look for around that much again. I'm sorry but who does Igor think he's kidding? Does he honestly believe he's worth more than $1 million at this point in his career? He's lucky the Wings even offered to bring him back, no one else is going to pay more than $1 million for him and I doubt anyone else even really wants him. He is valuable as a teacher to the young players but not that valuable. I've been hoping he'd come back, at least somewhere in the organization, maybe as a coach or advisor or something. Doesn't sound like that will happen now. This saddens me because it seems like there isn't any pride in being a Red Wing any more. You'd think these guys would want to be on a great team and be successful but we see more bad news every day on how the contract negotiations for Yzerman, Fedorov, MacCarty and now Igor are going. I can't believe this is happening. Things aren't looking great for next year. It's very depressing, especially with the End of the NHL as We Know It coming up in '04. Some slightly shocking news: Dmitri Bykov has signed with a team in Russia, supposedly just in case a deal can't be reached with the Wings. I totally did not expect this because I had no idea Bykov needed to get a contract figured out. I guess I took it for granted that he'd be back next season. It's not like he's an awesome defenseman but he would need to be replaced by someone if he does leave. Any deal the Wings reach by July 15 will override the contract with his Russian team. Again, I cannot believe how badly things look to be going for the Wings this off-season. Pretty scary. More on the Devils vs. Wings debate. As a Wings fan, I obviously think the Wings are the better team over the last 10 years. Sure, the Devils have been great. I would attribute that mostly to their trapping style of play rather than to their skill level, which is quite a bit lower than the Wings. So in at least that respect, the Wings are better. If you like offensively and defensively balanced hockey. If you like the trap more, the Devils are the better team. Even though I still believe the Devils would be nothing if they couldn't play the trap.... Really, I don't think the debate can ever be definitively decided for one side or the other. You can't compare the two teams. They're from different conferences, play different styles of hockey, have different management philosophies and have had different paths to the Cup. I don't think you can fault the Wings for facing the Flyers, Caps and 'Canes in the Finals just because the Devils faced the Stars, Avs and Ducks there. The Wings had to go through the toughest teams in the West to get to the 4th round those years while the Devils usually have very little competition until the Finals. Besides, those just happened to be the teams that made it to the Finals those years. They weren't jokes then. Remember, the playoff powder-puff 'Canes eliminated the Devils last year. Anyone who says the Wings have bought their Cups while the Devils haven't doesn't really know what they're talking about. The Wings won the '97 and '98 Cups on draft picks and trades. The '02 Cup was a little different but the majority of players on the team were drafted by the Wings or acquired in a trade. Also, the Devils have been in the top 10 in payrolls for years. Take a look at the Avs if you want a team that buys the Cup, every year they make that big trade deadline defenseman acquisition and use that rent-a-player to go as far as they can. But let's not go there. Anyway, the Wings are in a much stronger and more competitive conference and in one of the best divisions in the league. The Devils play mostly in the East against much lesser teams. Not their fault. They can't help their location. The Wings would probably move to the East if the Sens or Sabres move out West so that could be held against them then. Right now, I think being the West gives them some points. Overall, the two teams are pretty even but to compare them is like comparing Gordie Howe to Wayne Gretzky. It can't really be done, even though both sides have good points and can probably argue for weeks about it. If you want to compare teams, compare the Wings and the Avs. They are built to beat eachother and might as well be clones. If I weren't a Wings fan, I'd be an Avs fan because the teams are so similar in so many ways.


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