Before anything major can happen today (we should have about 10 minutes, or unit Jason Spezza is official), let’s talk about what has already happened to our lives.
I was out Friday night/most of Saturday with no phone. I apologize to those who texted and Tweeted , only to assume I’d retreated with a gallon of ice cream into a padded room over:
UGH. Sad Pants. In the movies, the jackass, all-skill and no-brains quarterback gets the chance to redeem himself. I’ve long held out hope James Neal would be that guy. You all know my love/hate, ‘get your shit together’/’do all that with your hair perfectly styled’ feelings for Neal. Suffice to say that I thought he was getting there. I always thought he was getting there, which is why his digressions made me so mad. Now he’ll get there – I still believe that – with another team. Should the Pens have waited? Maybe. 40 goals is a lot to see leave. But I’m not surprised. In the end, maybe this trade gave Neal what the Penguins tried to give him for three years: a lesson in growing up, accompanied by a swift kick in the ass.
In return, the Pens got Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Hornqvist once scored 30 goals, and nearly every one from right in front of the net [brilliant chart]. Unless I was watching a different Penguins team, this was never Neal’s main job. He scored from everywhere, did so often, and was a danger any time he stepped onto the ice. Grumpy Pants is not getting happier here. Spaling, according to The Tennessean, can “do everything.” Like have a career-high 13-goal season, one time. Sure these guys have qualities the Pens want, “grit” being chief among them per new GM Jim Rutherford. I’ve never watched either of them play. But this seems to put more onus on Crosby-Kunitz-Dupuis (oh God, welcome back) to carry the Penguins scoring – and when they don’t deliver, burn down the world! For all the people who said “Kunitz is only Kunitz because of Crosby,” no one ever said “Neal is only Neal because of Malkin.” Geno can’t turn Hornqvist into a 40-goal guy. Let’s hope Hornqvist is ready to do that himself.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop watching or talking about James, or hoping he gets this right. You don’t have to find someone in Nashville. Maybe those folks will find us.
Michael Del Zotto
The Predators will not re-sign MDZ and today he becomes a UFA. This is a tragic loss of potential bromance with Neal. Hair product stock prices dropped. Nashville girls pouted and cranked up their sad country songs. Oh wait, that was me.
To Colorado! When I see news like this on TV in a bar with no sound while the people around me are talking about pizza, it’s hard to react appropriately. After a hundred years as a Flyer and one as a Canadien, during which he and the team much maligned each other over playing time and performance, Danny Briere will join the Avalanche’s wild young potential. Will he play more there? No. But I’ll watch them more. The Habs get PA Parenteau and a 5th round pick in return.
When Kesler ended up on the trading block, he reportedly limited his destination options to the Ducks or Hawks. Must be a nice world where you can make those kinds of demands. After a flurry of panic-inducing Patrick Sharp trade rumors, Kes went to the Ducks. The Canucks got Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and a first round pick and a later pick they swapped for Derek Dorsett. Is that a fair deal to send a guy like Kesler to a division rival? If you believe the Vancouver optimists, Ryan’s 30th birthday at the end of August basically signals the death of his career anyway.
It’s always a good sign when you Google Image search someone and it suggests you ad “abs” to your results. If nothing else, Ryan will look good on that So Cal beach.
Oh Sam. The Oilers broke up the band by trading #TeamSam to Tampa Bay for Teddy Purcell, in a deal that Lindsay somehow made happen with her mind. Five minutes (okay, maybe forty minutes) later, Sam was bounced again to the
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes in exchange for BJ Crombeen. The guy got two Foxy Fridays, then he got traded twice in two hours. Sorry if that’s our fault, somehow. One hilarious fan made a Tampa Bay “Thanks Sam” tribute video. Sam, well, it’s time to admit that I’ll probably never see you again. Nothing against the Coyotes – it’s not you, it’s me. And at least it wasn’t #TeamEbs. (Sorrrrrrry.)
More, more, more to come all day. No one is safe. I’ll be watching like this:
Waiting for the moment when Matt Niskanen signs somewhere else…
Tags: Danny Briere, james neal, michael del zotto, Ryan Kesler, sam gagner