« New Generation of GMs Coming In | Main | Real-Time Quotes »

May 28, 2006


Dubi, the Oilers will suffer the same fate as the Lightning soon enough under this new CBA.

The Oilers took advantage of the anomaly that was the summer of '05 to bring in players normally unavailable to them leading most pundits and fans here in Canada to misguidedly believe the cap is the salvation of small market Canadian clubs.

They'll all find out within the next two or three years just how hard it'll be to keep that team together as the cap increases and the Oilers get outbid for the top free agents and struggle to retain their best players because ownership can't or won't be able to do so.

You still have to win the games on the ice. I don't think pitting Edmonton in the first round against Detroit was part of a league conspiracy to ease them through to the cup final. In fact most pundits were looking to their rival Calgary to make it through. Somehow that part of the alleged conspiracy went awry.

Give some credit to Kevin Lowe. There were four reasonably good teams that came up to the trading deadline with a hole in the net. Vancouver and Tampa Bay did nothing, Colorado gambled on the walking wounded, and only Lowe went for the jugular. They already were the team allowing the fewest shots per game in the league so the addition of Roloson elevated them to contender status. (Ironically they've lost their touch in keeping down the shots in the playoffs, but many fewer are going in.)

It seems to me the side pushing for the age of 27 as UFA were the players. The "rich owners" in all sports would prefer the age to be 127 and that's where it was in effect until the rise of the unions. Brad Richards is to Tampa Bay what Jagr is to the Rangers, the heart and soul of the team. They happen to be blessed with a couple of other extraordinary players, but Richards is the franchise. He'd easily have gotten $10 million in the pre-cap days. There was a time when all the best players on teams in all sports didn't move unless there was a trade, but that's long gone. The way to keep competitive in a cap situation is to make sure you have prize young players ready to fill in the ranks, augmented by smart dealing, as Anaheim did this year.

I second the kudos for Kevin Lowe. Exec of the Year hands-down. Despite the cap, he added Peca, Pronger, Samsonov and Roloson to his nucleus of young talent suited to their rink. And unlike our boys, they played their best hockey after the Olympics.

I am so glad its edmonton and not anaheim in the finals. Now if Buffalo can beat Carolina I will feel better. Anything to make Bettman unhappy is OK with me. He is the single worst thing to happen to the NHL Ever. Some of the old hockey that oln is showing makes me sick ... This useed to be the best game in the world but Bettman has really ruined it. I've been a Ranger fan since '65' and really cant watch this game now. anyhow i've ranted and i'm done for now later Z

the problem with Tampa Bay is that they signed St. Louis long term instead of keeping Khabibulin. St Louis just did not play well at all this year. Stillman wasn't given up on just like that. Tampa had preferred Prospal, who they got for 1.9 million. At the end of the day, they just did not look at anything besides keeping their offense intact. Tampa has three of the top 20 fowards in the league, and as we are seeing now, you don't need to have the best - you need to have the right combinations of speed, youth, skill and a goalie that can stop the puck. Tampa failed in its first year post lockout - not the league letting Tampa down.

My question is, if Tampa was truly a "small-market" team as you purport, then they would have no luck keeping that nucleaus together anyway...just as Edmonton was eventually forced to "sell" Gretzky and Messier. Or else they'd just be another "big market" club buying their way to the cup.

Why look for a conspiracy when these last four teams are actually a joy to watch and embody the type of hockey most people say they wanted in the first place? There is a lot to be learned from these final four...

Arbult: there's no "purporting" about it: the Tampa Bay Lightning are considered a small market team with limited revenue streams and fanbase. The ownership and management opted to keep their name players because they've equated that their names will be a bigger draw than a team of lesser-knowns that may or may not develop into a champion again.

Remember, it wasn't that long ago when the Lightning were among the dregs of the NHL, with a revolving door ownership that made it a laughingstock. Most players didn't want to get dealt there and most UFAs shunned it like the plague. Davidson and Feaster obviously don't want to return to those days, so they've kept their three big stars in hopes of rebuilding around them with cheaper talent, although by doing so they've seriously limited their options for doing so.

I agree with you that the final four teams have been a joy to watch and the hockey's been very good. That being said, three of those four teams are going to find it very difficult to keep those rosters together in the coming months and years as their young, affordable players blossom into stars demanding fair market value.

The comments to this entry are closed.