Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More on Dom

A2Y has a sober reflection on the Hasek deal up. He likes it. I'm still not a big fan of it. Sure, it could be great. In a perfect world. Hasek is going to go down with a groin injury. Does anyone really believe he won't? The only question is when. Will it be 20 games into the season? Or will it come halfway? Say he pulls his groin in an All-Star Game shootout. "So what?" you say, "They can always make a trade for a goalie, right?" Sure. Holland had a perfectly good goalie market this summer and couldn't find it in himself to send a precious player from the inviolable roster in order to get it done. He'll have to get over such sentimentality if he wants to swing a trade at the deadline. Maybe Hasek'll make it until after the trade deadline and injure it in a meaningless game after he's already locked up the Vezina and the Wings have locked up the Conference if not the League. Wouldn't that be wonderful? It could happen at any time, early or late in the season. We've seen Dom go through both early and late (well, mid-season) groin injuries and he made it back from neither. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe not. Will it have been worth it if Hasek carries the team to the best record once again but hurts his groin down the stretch and misses the playoffs? Maybe, if you're satisfied with another President's Trophy. If Hasek's ready for the playoffs, great. In that case, the Wings could go all the way. But they ought to lock him in a cryogenic chamber between now and the end of March, 2007 or else they could be stuck with *gasp* Chris Osgood (horror of horrors!) and end up right back where we were before yesterday when Hasek was still a UFA. Where's the gain in that? My point here is, if that's what ends up happening, we'd have been just as well off going with Osgood all along and saving the $750,000 for, say, a forward. Maybe they should have signed Dom mid-season a la Steve Thomas. My concern is that the healthy Dom will be wasted on the regular season, which no self-respecting Wings fan gives a squat for any more. I fully expect Hasek to be excellent. He proved last year that he still can be great. But I don't want Vezina Trophy candidate Dom. I want Conn Smythe candidate Dom and you'll have to forgive me if his last tour in Detroit put a damper on my hopes for seeing that. If Hasek end up being healthy all season and through a lengthy (if not successful) playoff run, I will look back favorably on this move. That is an enormous if, however.


At 8/01/2006 08:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree, Matt...we'll be in a worse position than we were 2 days ago for the simple reason that we've once again blown a chance to offer real NHL experience to Howard or another prospect.

We're being sold a youth movement and a rebuilding, but those terms don't mean anything with the team's blind reliance on veteran goalies. You can't rebuild on an old, broken foundation, and you can't cultivate talent when you show no faith in your netminder prospects.

At 8/01/2006 08:43:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel said...

Hmm. Didn't mean for that post to be anonymous. My failure to sign it is somehow Holland's fault.

At 8/01/2006 09:00:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

I've been saying it all summer, and I'm going to say it again. Howard is not ready. Holland's not just stupid when he's saying this. Giving Howard another year in the AHL is actually another benefit of the Hasek signing. If Hasek goes down (that's right Matt, I'm not saying WHEN), odds are still good that Howard won't be the one to come back up Chris Osgood. It'll be either Liv or (more likely) MacDonald--provided his back is healthy. There is plenty of faith in Howard, don't get me wrong. So much faith, that they don't want to rush him. So much faith that they want to give him the time he needs to develop into the goalie that he's going to be. This is not Ryan Miller or Cam Ward we're talking about, here, folks. He'll be great, but he's just not there yet.

At 8/01/2006 09:24:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

You're probably right about Howard, Megan - I trust your judgement on that since you follow GR much more than I do, I'm sure. I find it hard to justify playing Hasek over Howard or Liv, though. If Holland is really feeling that thrifty, and is afraid to trade away our third/fourth liners for a decent goalie, I'd rather see some young talent get a chance. Even 10 games apiece for Liv and Howard in the first half of the season, and then we can trade for a veteran whose age is reasonable. And save the $750,000, as Matt stressed in the post. I bet Lidstrom is regretting signing below his market value for a team that has no obvious direction of where it wants to go.

At 8/02/2006 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Megan said...

Brian, I respectfully beg to differ. A team that has no direction of where it wants to go? First of all, signing Dom proves that they want to go all the way, and they're willing to take risks to try and get there.

Second, Dom is a backstop. He's here for the one year that Howard still needs (I can't speak for Liv, as I've never seen him play and I don't know where he's at) before he comes up to the NHL. I think we are somewhat going with the youth movement, but slowly. We're rebuilding the team around the young guys, but it's not happening instantly. Howard is their baby. They're giving him everything he needs in hopes that one day he becomes a franchise goaltender. Let's not forget, as well, that had he finished college, this would only be his first year.

As far as the trade goes, I don't know about Holland refusing to part with third line players. Apparently he had investigated trade options. The teams we could have traded with probably would have wanted more than a couple third/fourth line players for a starting goaltender.

Now, we still have approx $4 million. We'll sign Franzen and one more forward, and have some cash left for cushion. I really don't think giving Dominik Hasek $750,000 is going to hurt us.

At 8/02/2006 01:13:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Brian, I respectfully beg to differ. A team that has no direction of where it wants to go?

Have you followed Holland's quotes from the past three months at all? He's been changing his mind on a weekly basis of who he wants to go after and the direction the club is going. He started the post-season saying the Wings would be scrambled up, multi-player moves, and become a younger team. And lately he's been saying he wants to stick with the team from last season, and make a few minor tweaks. And he signed Hasek, 42 in January. He's changing the mission statement as he goes.

signing Dom proves that they want to go all the way, and they're willing to take risks to try and get there.

Signing Dom proves the Wings have no gumption on the trade block and can only sign a guy who nobody else realistically wants. Even Hasek was surprised the Wings wanted him - and that makes you confident the Wings are going to go all the way? It's an ill-fated risk.

Second, Dom is a backstop

I like how terms like this grow out of the ground when the media starts using them. I don't need to hear 'backstop' for the 1001st time. Like I said, 10 games apiece to Liv and Howard. And then back to GR for Howard, when the Wings can trade for a starter mid-season. 10 games can't hurt his development that much. It's like three weeks. Sheesh.

At 8/02/2006 02:34:00 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

Ok, I never said I was confident we were going to go all the way. Nobody is. But even you have to admit that with Hasek, the Wings have at least a better chance than they did before. He may get injured, it's true. But he may not. And if he doesn't...then yes,the Wings will once again be a favorite. I'm not saying it's going to happen, and I'm not saying it's not going to happen. We just don't know.

Yes, Holland may have changed his mind on which direction to go, but he's never strayed from a commitment to winning. He is trying to improve the team. Again it is a minimal risk and maximum reward.

Just because everybody and their brother is using the word 'backstop' doesn't make it any less true, you know. No, ten games probably wouldn't hurt Howard's development. It could help him. So, hypothetically, say Howard plays ten games, Liv plays ten games...then what? You say swing a trade. Who you gonna trade? Remember, we're looking for a starter here. They don't come cheap. Why would we trade away one of our stars or future stars so we could have a goalie for one year, when those players may have played here for years? I can understand Holland's hesitation to do so.

At 8/02/2006 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

You say swing a trade. Who you gonna trade?

Well, I wouldn't have minded a trade for Toskala ($1.375 M). If it was Lang ($3.8 M), I'd expect San Jose to give us a forward as part of the package. Jason Williams is another candidate, and that'd be a 1-for-1 deal (with picks to SJ). Trading Lang means losing playoff consistency on offense (at least relative to the rest of the team) but we gain cap space to shop for possible two forwards then with our $4 million already free. Biron could be had as well, probably cheaper if we wait till mid-season and no one else moves on him. But I don't want Biron as much as Toskala.

At 8/02/2006 06:28:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Well, I wouldn't have minded a trade for Toskala ($1.375 M). If it was Lang ($3.8 M), I'd expect San Jose to give us a forward as part of the package. Jason Williams is another candidate, and that'd be a 1-for-1 deal (with picks to SJ).

Hear, hear on any Lang/Williams trade.

The problem is, the size of Lang's salary makes him hard to move for the same reason the Wings would want to move him.

As for Williams, the new man-behind-the-throne, Mike Babcock, would have none of that. Williams is Babcock's pet, remember? He's the team's new power play specialist! Woo hoo for shorthanded breaks! Good thing the Dominator will be in net (or will he? He wanders a lot, if you remember... Aw crap, bad memories...) when Jason coughs it up at the blueline.

Howard is likely to see some NHL time this season if for no other reason than that Hasek is likely to go down sooner or later and Osgood will need a backup. Howard can play sometime during that 20-30 game stretch. Or Liv.

If Dom is healthy for the playoffs, yes, the Wings would be the favorites to most people. But would they be the same favorites they've been since the '03 playoffs (i.e. dominating season but anemic playoff performance)? Unless they secure some offensive firepower, that's what they'll be, Hasek or not.

At 8/05/2006 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous WI Wing Nut said...

This is a very good signing, no matter what happens with his health. Holland took a risk that I'm sure was calculated. I'm not about to evaluate the signing after-the-fact if he gets injured, that's not how it works. If he gets hurt he gets hurt, but for now, the wings have acquired one of the best goalies to ever play the game for next to nothing (which is about all they could afford to spend). If something goes awry, they have Osgood (remember that Cup?) and can even bring up Howard, who is ready, in my opinion to backstop in the NHL. Think about it....we were realistically talking about the possibility of an Osgood/Howard combo this season so unless Hasek just totally sucks and Babcock gets on one of his stubborn love-affair kicks - ala Jason Williams QBing the power play - and refuses to relegate him to the back-up role (which I don't see happening), this is a no-lose proposition for the Wings.


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