I am, as all three of my regular readers know, a huge hockey fan.
I'm also the first one to admit that the current season is waaaaaaay too long. The Stanley Cup should be awarded several months before June, and I'm not the only puckhead to feel this way. So it's with divided allegiance that I comment on the annual free agent frenzy that goes down July 1.
It's freakin' summer. Hockey should be in bed, hibernating until fall. Hell, I even think training camp starts too early -- let 'em sleep till October, like they used to. The only guy who even worked out in the summer was Bobby Hull, and that was on the farm. (Well, okay, I'm sure other guys baled hay, too, but Hull was the first one to show off a buff torso while doing so. I tried and failed to find the picture that was all over the papers back in the day, of Hull with his shirt off, pitchfork in hand, looking like Superman.)
That said, there is hockey news afoot here worth kibbitzing about: while I hate the freelance nature of modern sports -- specifically classy, should-be-franchise-players like Daniel Briere and Ryan Smyth playing roster leapfrog for a few extra million bucks -- I have to say I'm disappoiinted that Canucks bossman Dave Nonis hasn't jumped in on the action. Yeah, it's sad that by losing Briere and Chris Drury, the Buffalo Sabres won't have a prayer of building upon the last two (amazing) seasons. And yeah, it always sucks when deep pockets like the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers go around the league buying up all the big names. But once, just once, I'd love to pick up the morning paper to see a couple of in-their-prime scoring studs suddenly pulling on Vancouver colours.
I'm ecstatic to have Roberto Luongo here, and I think Markus Naslund has turned from one of the best scoring threats in the league to one of the best two-way players around. But when our team routinely gets outhustled, outbustled and outmuscled, we should be trying to land gutsy players like Smyth and speedy gamebreakers like Briere. You don't think Paul Kariya would look better here than in St Louis? At this point we'll be lucky if Nonis bucks up to sign semi-retired power play specialist John Leclair.
We've got a stud in goal. The Sedin twins are good for a goal a game or so, but the rest of the team only scores when moons turn blue. Let's give Roberto a little more offensive support this season, shall we?
Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled summer vacation.