The Barn has a fair amount of experience with Russians, so perhaps we were the only ones not surprised by Ilya Kovalchuk’s retirement from the NHL yesterday, ostensibly to return home to Russia to play in the KHL. We get it, Illy. We couldn’t live in Newark half the year, either. But, seriously, Russia? We’ve been to Russia. It IS Newark, but with more crime, more angry, sad people, and it’s dark and cold for a large portion of the calendar. Oh, and the mafia. Oh, and the homophobic laws. But, I dunno, the Dostoyevsky Museum is okay. Good luck to the greatest Winnipeg Thrasher Jet ever!
Our guest this week is Jake Goldsbie. Jake was born and raised in Toronto. After spending four years in Montreal learning how to drink better (and being in school or something), Jake returned to Toronto to find work in a province that would hire him. He has written and worked for the now-defunct AV Club Toronto and has worked for theScore.com since March. Jake wrote the weekly piece “Getting Quoted” for the baseball blog Getting Blanked and is a regular contributor to Backhand Shelf and can be heard every week on the Backhand Shelf podcast. Jake lives in the West Queen West area of Toronto and can generally be found eating pizza. You can follow him on Twitter.
The NHL Free Agent Frenzy was, well, a frenzy…
Orti — The free agent frenzy was exactly that – a FA-RENZY. It’s the kind of thing that lame-as-lame TSN trade deadline dreams of and more which should prompt them to move the whole shabang to the summer but then how we watch Goldsbie get his producers hammered on SportsNet, which for me was the highlight of the trade deadline. I could go off about certain deals or signings but I like the Komisarek going to the Canes the most. It tells me Muller knows something we don’t about Komisarek from when he was assistant coach in Montreal and I like stories like that. Hopefully Iginla going to Boston makes it harder for Bruins fans to be the disgusting racists they have been in the past, but in reality they will just show they are two-faced racists who cheers when their guy scores.
Spry — I want to congratulate all Leafs fans on 7 years of David Clarkson, and his cap hit of $5,250,000 through 2020. Also, congrats to Paul Holmgren and the Flyers for a contract that will pay Vincent Lecavalier 4.5M when he’s 38. Oh, and to the Devils who will pay Ryane Clowe $4,850,000 for his 3 goals in 2013 and his lack of foot speed.
Sorry, we had a lockout why?
Goldsbie — I’d like to congratulate Orti on thinking I work for SportsNet which makes him roughly as aware of things as the majority of Twitter. Movin’ on up, buddy. The lockout question is a good one. I feel like come 2020 when we’re forced to sit through another round of Bettman/Fehr press conferences they’re going to add some sort of system, likely manned by a retired librarian, to condescendingly approve or deny trades. “Oh, you want to give this 29-year-old winger who has scored 30 goals a grand total of once in his career a seven-year deal? Let us get back to you on that.”
The best thing about Clarkson, or at least the funniest, is that he reportedly left millions of dollars on the table to join the Leafs. That means, as bad as Nonis’ offer was, there was at least, at least, one other GM that was like “seven-years, 36 million? Child’s play!” and offered him a DiPietro deal. I want to know what the offer he left on the table was so badly. It had to have been Feaster, right? Seven years, 40 million? 50? And that kind of brings it back to the whole lockout scenario. If you have GMs willing to give David Clarkson more than what the Leafs gave him, I mean…
And, come on, you can’t deny it was nice to see Pierre McGuire on TSN again. He’s so at home in their bullshit hockey specials. And good for TSN for getting so much news to fill their air with. They’ll need that to tide them over until the first of twelve Olympic Hockey Preview shows which I think might start next week. It’s July, by the way.
Spry — I think Goldsbie should have his own special next year during Free Agent Frenzy, or the Trade Deadline Turmoil, or Draft Day Donnybrook. If anyone reading this is not following him on Twitter, do so for the next NHL event or Leafs game. I would pay to watch a webcast. Hell, I’d finance it.
Wait. Am I the only one who can’t stand McGuire, and am happy to have seen him replaced by the far more affable, humble, and engaging ray Ferraro?
Goldsbie — No, Pierre is the worst.
Spry — What about my idea of a Goldsbie Free Agent Frenzy Special?
Goldsbie — The world does not need more Goldsbie. Hell, I don’t need more Goldsbie.
Spry — Okay. Keep it in mind. Pilot season is right around the corner.
Jaffer — I always feel weird around free agency-a-palooza because of the predictability of most the moves and the predictability of the consequences of most of the moves. Everyone knew Clarkson would get overpaid by Toronto; most of us figured Horton was out of Boston (maybe we didn’t connect him to Columbus, but whatever); most of us knew Lecavalier would get bought out and would sign elsewhere; and so on and so forth. Like, does anyone doubt that Clarkson’s contract is going to be an albatross? Bozak’s? Horton’s? Lecavalier’s? And how many of those few (and all the names I didn’t mention) are going to get bought out inside of the next 24-36 months? A third? A half? And, when it happens, will we be surprised? And if we are, why?
I’m with Spry. I mean, if the going rate for Clarke MacArthur is $3.25 million a season (related: read this piece’s headline), even today, even after another lockout, the NHL clearly doesn’t learn from its mistakes. What’s that chestnut about insanity again?
As a Habs fan, I’m 95% sure that Briere going to Montreal is going to be a disaster, but I’m even more sure that the litany of “Fuck, We Didn’t Get Any Bigger…Unless You Count Parros” stories from Montreal outlets will get tedious sooner rather than later.
Goldsbie — At least the Habs have a GM who doesn’t seem to give a shit about the whole “we need to get big and tough” angle. Believe me, as a Leafs fan, the alternative is not fun.
Spry — Seems to me that all GMs are useless, especially those with Canadian teams. Seriously. Is any Canadian franchise GM not a tool? Maybe Bergevin, but the Briere and Parros signings seems like bending to the will of the fans/media.
Jaffer — I would have liked it if Montreal at least looked like they were interested. They seem blasé in the way that attractive young people are about developing personalities.
Spry — Haha. But that’s soooooo Montreal, Dave.
Orti — It wasn’t Sportsnet?
Goldsbie — You should be GM.