Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Was David Poile Smart in Matching Shea Weber's Offer Sheet?

Travis: When Shea Weber signed a 14 year, 110 million dollar offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers last week, the attention immediately turned to Predator's GM David Poile. Poile had 7 days to match the offer sheet and this afternoon he did just that.

On one hand, matching the offer sheet ensures that Shea Weber will be sticking around Nashville for at least another season. Nashville also proves they are willing to stay competitive and not bow down to the bigger market teams like Philadelphia. Most importantly, they will retain most of their fan support from last years playoff run, many of whom would probably fade away if Nashville would have lost both Weber and Ryan Suter.

On the other hand, Poile is committing a lot of money to Weber, one of the NHLs best defenceman. The contract is very front loaded with Weber due to make a lot of money next season which Nashville is now locked into paying seeing as they now cannot trade Weber for a whole season.

I believe that David Poile had little choice but to match Weber's offer sheet because 14 years of Weber will most likely be more valuable than 4 Flyer late first round picks (I say late because with Weber there is little chance the Flyers miss the playoffs). If Nashville had of successfully resigned Ryan Suter then I would have been willing to let Weber walk, but since Suter has signed with Minnesota, Poile needed to keep Weber or risk losing the momentum Nashville has proudly built up until this point.

Patrick: While Nashville had to overpay to keep both Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, they needed to keep both to stay relevant and retain fan support. Seeing Kevin Klein logging 25 minutes every night wouldn't have been pretty.

Philly obviously feels they need another top line defenceman so I wouldn't be surprised if they went after Dan Boyle. San Jose could use a shake-up, and Philadelphia are stacked with forwards.

Poile was in my bad books last week after he allowed Weber to sign the offer sheet, but he's back in my good books after re-signing the top dman in the game.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Did Scott Howson Get Enough for Rick Nash?

Travis: With the Rick Nash saga finally over, there's a clear winner, the New York Rangers. The Rangers get a first line winger without breaking up their core or giving up their top prospects, which leads to this question; did Scott Howson get enough for Rick Nash? Unfortunately for Howson, Nash forced his way out which meant other GM's knew Columbus had to get rid fo him  driving down Nash's trade value.

However, the problem that arises for Howson is in trading Nash he failed to get anything of significant value. Artem Anisimov is a solid all around player but is hardly a first line talent, and Brandon Dubinsky is coming off a season that now has him labeled as overpaid. Tim Erixon, the prospect heading to Columbus has character concerns; he already declined to sign his entry level contract with Calgary and may not have first pairing upside. The Jackets also get a first round pick but one cannot imagine that pick will be very high come next June.

The bottom line for Scott Howson is that he failed to secure at least one of JT Miller, Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh or Derek Stepan. It seems that Howson settled for quantity over quality which could come back to haunt the jackets further into obscurity. Time will tell if the trade will actually work out; we can speculate on paper all we want, but as of today you have to wonde rif Howson got enough.

P.S. The real loser? Tim Erixon. Erixon forced a trade to the Rangers after refusing to sign with the Flames. Erixon played all of 18 games in the Big Apple and now finds himself shipped out to Columbus.

Patrick: While Anisimov and Dubinsky are still young players, I don't see how they'll improve dramatically as their careers advance. Erixon could end up being a good defenceman, but I still don't see how Howson couldn't get McDonagh when Anisimov and Dubi were included in the trade.

To me this was a poor trade for the Blue Jackets. It's believed that many teams were interested in Nash and while he doesn't have the greatest contract out there, I'm sure Columbus could've found a better package with another team.

How good will the Rangers be? A first line of Gaborik, Nash and Richards could net 100 goals combined, which is scary considering New York's main issue last year was scoring.

Travis: I actually don't think there was any chance the Rangers parted with McDonagh. Del Zotto on the other hand is a different story and would have provided the Jackets with a young offensive defenceman to build around.

While the Rangers should be better at putting the puck in the net, they still play in a stacked division where 4 out of 5 teams could easily take the division, not to mention the Islanders should continue to improve. If the Flyers do indeed get Shea Weber then the East will be very competitive and should make for a very entertaining first round of the playoffs once again.

Patrick: I definitely agree with the strength of the Atlantic Division. Call me crazy but I could see the Isles finishing ahead of New Jersey next season.

When will the Blue Jackets ever be relevant though? They have a bunch of average players and Jack Johnson to build around. It seems like they'll have to be bad for a while before the are good. The strategy has worked for teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles though.

Friday, July 20, 2012

What Impact will Randy Moss have in San Francisco?

Travis: Most players that come back from retirement fail miserably. Saying that, for whatever reason I feel like Randy Moss will enjoy some success in the Bay area. Yeah I know he has Alex Smith as his quarterback but Moss still has the tools to be an effective target, especially in the red zone.

Patrick: I think "some success" is accurate. Vernon Davis will still be the number 1 target for Alex Smith as they have great chemistry. Also, I expect Michael Crabtree to lead the wide receivers in catches and yards.

If Moss does have success, I believe the Niners will reach the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season.

Travis: Yeah it is definitely hard to gain more than 'some success' with Alex Smith as your quarterback.  

The Niners SuperBowl hopes will once again lay on their defence and their ability to not fumble punt returns.

Luongo to the Leafs?

Patrick: After another disappointing season for Toronto, GM Brian Burke finds himself searching for an elite starting goaltender. The Leafs were 29th in goals against last season and must improve dramatically if they want to play hockey in late April.

One name that has been floating around is Roberto Luongo, the goalie for the Vancouver Canucks. After signing young phenom Cory Schneider to a 3 year, $12 million contract, Luongo became expendable for a Canucks team that has always been a piece or two away from winning the Cup.

Toronto have a lot of assets to offer in a trade which include Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, Jake Gardiner, Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, and a pile of draft picks as well.

The main issue with Luongo isn't his skill but his contract. The Canadian netminder still has a whopping ten years left on his deal, with an average cap hit of over $5 million. While he might help the Leafs out in the beginning, it's hard to imagine a 40 year old goalie deserving north of $5 mil.

Travis: There isn't another player in the NHL that gets more unfair criticism than Roberto Luongo. As a Bruins fan, I am proud to remind everyone that the Canucks were only one game away from winning the Stanley Cup two years ago. In those finals Luongo had two shutouts, and although he got torched in two of Vancouver's losses, in the Canucks four losses they scored a whopping 3 goals total.

As for the question of if the Leafs should trade for him, I think you can answer this in two ways.

I definitely think Brian Burke should trade for Luongo. If Burke doesn't win soon he won't be hanging around the Air Canada Centre for much longer, so why not grab a #1 goalie and put your team in position to at last make the playoffs and keep your job.

Now, should the Leafs trade for Luongo? Maybe. It's definitely risky. You're stuck with a bad contract for a long time but you also get a #1 goalie and finally solve the goaltending carousel in Toronto. Also, if they do indeed pass on Luongo where are they going to find a #1 goalie? James Reimer and Ben Scrivens probably are not the answer and there are not many teams willing to dump a #1 goalie.

NBA Approves Ads on Jerseys

Patrick: According to the Associated Press, the NBA has agreed to put advertisements on their jerseys for the 2013-14 season.

While soccer has adopted this, it makes sense for them to have ads because there are no commercials during a game. NBA games seem to have commercials every 30 seconds so I personally don't see the need for putting ads on jerseys.

I haven't seen what the ads would look like but I would definitely be more sceptical to buy a jersey now. NBA jerseys are already not the most attractive so while teams might increase revenue through the ads, they could lose a lot in jersey sales.

Travis: The one advantage the NBA has over other sports is their lack of team logos on the jerseys. I honestly don't see a problem with putting a small ad near the shoulder, replacing the adidas logo or the NBA logo.

Patrick: If it's just a small ad near the shoulder than I can live with that. However, anything across the chest or on the back of the jersey is a problem with me. For me, NBA jerseys are already not very classy and the ads will just add to that (no pun intended).

Travis: If it adds revenue to the league I say go ahead and do it. NBA jerseys have little historical significance compared to jerseys like the Montreal Canadiens or the Yankees so it's not like you are defacing the Mona Lisa.

Patrick: While they make look natural on the Timberwolves jerseys, having them on jerseys like the Boston Celtics  just won't look right. The Celtics have worn the same jersey since Red Auerbach was calling plays for Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and the rest of the great Boston Dynasty. Changing it now is unfortunate.

Travis: It would be interesting if the teams could secure sponsors that fit in with their jersey colour. How cool would it be for the Celtics to have a Heineken logo on their jersey which would blend right in?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If the Los Angeles Lakers Acquire Dwight Howard Can They Beat Miami?

Patrick: As ESPN reported, Dwight Howard is willing to sign an extension with the Lakers if he get traded to Los Angeles this summer.

While the Lakers would have to give up a lot in a trade for Howard (most likely Andrew Bynum, their promising young big man) and take on a bad contract such as Hedo Turkoglu's, adding Howard would give Los Angeles one of the most feared starting line-ups in the league.

With Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and the recently signed Steve Nash, the Lakers would have to be the favourites to win the West. But could they beat Miami?

Coming off a title in June, Miami didn't sit back in free agency. With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis now both on the team, the Heat will have not only a great starting five, but a deep bench too.

So who would win head-to-head? The Heat or the Lakers?

Travis: I don't see them being able to beat a healthy Heat squad in a 7 game series. The Heat are the defending champs and got better.

To be honest if the Lakers got Howard I by no means think they are the clear favourites to emerge out of the west. Oklahoma City and San Antonio will once again be forces and even a team like the Clippers could give the Lakers a run for their money.

Patrick: I like Los Angeles. Don't forget that the Lakers started Derek Fisher and Ramon Sessions at point guard last season so Steve Nash is a huge upgrade there. Howard is a better rebounder, shot blocker and at times scorer than Bynum.

The Lakers also signed Antawn Jamison. Their bench was horrendous last year and Jamison will give them an elite bench scorer.

Finally, Pau Gasol had a poor season last year because he wasn't used properly under new coach Mike Brown. However, he will do an excellent job running the pick-and-roll with Nash as well as running the fast break with him.

The Lakers addressed all their weakness this offseason while Miami still does not have anyone who can score upfront besides Bosh.

Travis: Will Jamison, Nash, & Bryant even have enough left in the tank if they were to make it all the way to the finals? I still think Oklahoma City will win the West again, and I am banking on the Heat winning it all once again. Not many teams win the championship and then get a lot better but that's exactly what 'El Heat' did.

Patrick: I think the biggest question for the Heat is whether LeBron will have the same desire to win a championship as he did last year. He showed with Cleveland during the 2010 playoffs and the year after in the Finals against Dallas that he can be very passive and I wonder if he will take a bit of a step back after finally getting his ring.

Travis: I think now that Lebron knows what it takes to win a championship he can actually play playoff basketball without the critics whispering in his ear that he will never get a ring.

The Shea Weber Fiasco

Travis: As most hockey fans that are not up at their cottage without access to internet or tv know, Shea Weber signed a massive 14 yr 110 million dollar offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nashville has a week to match or else they receive the restricted free agent compensation, in this case it would be four first rounds picks. The problem for Nashville General Manager David Poile is the deal is front loaded, Weber will earn $27 million dollars in the first year of the contract, which can be tough to pay out for a small market team like the Predators.

On top of all this, if Nashville were to match, they would be unable to trade Weber during the first season, so they would be committing to paying Weber's first year salary if they match.

There is no denying that Poile and Nashville are in a bit of a predicament. Either let your best player walk, or pay crazy money in a front loaded deal to keep him for at least a year.

A lot of fans have questioned the integrity of Flyers GM Paul Holmgren for signing Weber to the almost taboo offer sheet but is he really at fault? The offer sheet is perfectly legal and it is not Holmgren's fault that the Flyers have a lot more capital than the Predators.

Patrick: Alright I don't know about you Travis, but I'm Team Holmgren on this on this one. Poille saw Suter sign with Minnesota two weeks before this offer sheet was put out.

I'd consider Weber the best defenceman in the game right now so it doesn't make sense why Nashville didn't get him signed immediately after Suter left for the Wild.

While signing rfa's to offer sheets is often frowned upon, Poille shouldn't have waited until mid-July to sign the best player at his position.

Travis: It's obvious Polie tried to sign Weber but if it was clear that he or Suter wouldn't be resigning why not trade one of them at the deadline? I know they were making a playoff push but it was a risky move that isn't panning out. It looks like Poile put all his eggs in one basket and his eggs got sPoiled (hehe).

Patrick: Sure he probably tried to sign Weber but it was a rather weak attempt. He is a franchise player so the dollar amount shouldn't be that big of a concern. They should've given him whatever they needed to get the deal done. You don't hurt yourself when you overpay for great players. You hurt yourself when you overpay for average players like Dennis Wideman. You won't hear people complain about Stamko's contract because no one will say he's not a great player.