Sunday, June 22, 2003

-- Some more on Jim Howard (left): Ken Holland said that since he is "a college player, we can bank him away and let him develop. There's not a rush to get him out." Also, the Wings have pretty good depth in net throughout their system and that's another reason they don't need to rush him. -- The Detroit News has a small article with more on the contract situation. Holland thinks that he can replace Sergei and Mac, judging by the free agent list and calls he's been getting from other GMs. I'm glad someone thinks Sergei can be replaced because I sure don't think so. -- Vartan Kupelian and Mike O'Hara think the best offer Sergei Fedorov will get is the offer he got from the Wings. I agree. I really think the Wings gave Sergei a fair offer and he would be wise to accept it. He might get more money somewhere else but he won't necessarily get what the Wings offer him in terms of skilled teammates and Cups. There aren't very many teams that can afford Fedorov and I doubt any of them have the same kind of attitude the Wings have. -- While a lot of people are calling for changes in the league (like me, for instance, if not as drastically as some), Scotty Bowman is calling for caution in making changes. This is the same guy who wants to limit goalie movement and puck-freezing ability. Scotty obviously knows what he's talking about when he urges caution. I agree with him 100% on the goal size issue -- keep it the same size! Bettman's really dumb to even suggest making it bigger. They'd have to throw out the old record book if they were to do that. Scotty sees another solution to goalie equipment sizes: "... with new technologies in padding, maybe they could custom-fit the equipment and make goalies smaller while still protecting them." That's probably true. The thing is, that would be more expensive and would cost the team and players more, driving up the already high price to play hockey even higher. Who knows what the best solution is? All I know is something needs to be done about goalie equipment size and the constant trap. It used to be goalies wore equipment to protect themselves; now they wear it to stop the puck. See the difference? There has to be some middle ground between what is needed for protection and what isn't. Goalies are very touchy about the subject and the league is going to have to really crack down and find a fair compromise. The constant trap. What I mean by that is when a team plays the trap virtually the whole game, every game. I don't have much against the trap in the late stages of a game when it's used to protect a lead. However, when it's used the whole game, I have a problem with it. It's hardly hockey and it's boring. Hockey is an exciting game, when it's played with a balance of defense and offense, not when it's all defense or even all offense. I don't see an end to the trap any time soon, not with the league as big as it is and the talent as diluted as it has become. I don't think a salary cap is the solution, all that will do is make it so even more trap teams can be played on national TV in the Finals when every team will be capable of winning the Cup. A lockout caused by the CBA talks will drain the league of its top talent because many players will return to Europe. If the league even survives a lockout, I can only see it as even less exciting all around because the top teams will be diminished. All we can hope for is a soft salary cap with a tax on payrolls over a certain amount so the top teams can continue to be top teams. Personally, I think the league needs to be contracted if the trap is going to go away and stop being a constant force.


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