Sunday, June 20, 2010

Back From Vacation, Time To Start Retooling

Okay, so I've been quiet for a while. I haven't posted since waaaay back during the 2010 postseason, when two teams (I can't remember their names...something like the Flyhawks and the Blackbullies) were trying to win Lord Stanley's Cup.

Jokes aside: congratulations to whatever team won the Cup this year. Treat it with respect, and remember, you're only borrowing it. Be sure to return it to Dave Andreychuk's rec-room when you're finished.

The Lightning are rebuilding their front office, and GM Steve Yzerman has picked Guy Boucher for head coach. Um, okay. People seem excited. Apparently he's won games (and people's hearts) in the AHL. We'll see how he does in the big league. He should at least be able to beat the self-sabotaging antics of the last bunch.

But what about players? The draft is coming, and then free agency. Time for buy-outs, qualifying offers, all that type of shite. The annual roster retool is coming up. Bring it, ja?

For in depth analysis, I headed down to Thunder's, the local Lightning bar, to talk with the other Bolt goons. There I found Ramone, our local cynic, downing popcorn shrimp and Bloody Marys. Carter J. Lizardman was there as well, in all his trench-coat-and-fedora glory. "Gentlemen," I said, setting down a pitcher of draft beer, "how do our forwards look?"

"Solid," croaked Carter in his lizard-person voice. "Forwards are good. If the RFAs resign and the dead wood walks, we'll have room for a few bit-part signings, and the young guns like Panik and Ashton and Wright can fill the holes."

"Sounds paper thin to me, trash-diaper," Ramone said. "You need some proven scorers to fill the gaps, not AHL prospects, and you need to sign more than just the next versions of Veilleux and Bochenski. We need some freakin' NHLers, ass-clot."

"Okay," I said. "So we have some differing opinions. Who would you sign, Ramone?"

Ramone gulped from his Bloody Mary and muttered something about pulling a rabbit from a hat.

"Okay, how about defence?" I asked.

"Need to resign Foster," said Lizardman. "If Ranger plays, we're not bad. His offence might have meant a few more wins last year. But a tough, steady, stay-at-home type who can play 16-20 minutes without throwing the puck away every second shift would make a big difference."

"Buy out Meszaros," said Ramone. "Or trade him, if there's anyone out there who needs a useless, expensive defenceman. Call Glen Sather."

"He's never played to potential in Tampa," I said. "I'd like to see what Boucher can do with him. But moving on: goalies."

"Have to assume Niittymaki's gone," said Ramone. "And Smith is not enough. I bet we could sign Jose Theodore for two-thirds of what he got paid last time."

"We would have to sign a guy like that long term," said Carter J. Lizardman. "We need someone to just hold the fort until one of the prospects develops. We got goalie prospects out the wazoo."

"I'll give you a wazoo, turd-helmet," said Ramone. "I'm sick of having goalies that look like they washed up on the beach. Let's get something real."

I told Carter and Ramone about my suggested plan to sign Michael Leighton from the Flyers. "No, no, no," said the lizard. "He wasn't that good in the playoffs. The Flyers sheltered him. And Philly is an all-time running gag of bad goalie jokes, and you want to sign one of their cast-offs two years in a row? Not good enough. Set your sights higher."

"Yeah, nut-sniff," Ramone said. "Sign someone real. Someone Smith has to chase."

"Right," I said. "How about the draft?"

"Best player," said Carter, "but no goalies. Seriously, what do we have, five goalie projects? Enough."

"We draft sixth, right?" asked Ramone. "We needed real deals on forward and defence. Get the best player and give him a year or two. No matter what position he is, we'll need him in a year or two."

"Why?"

"Because, crap-hammer, we've got no depth. Sit back and let Stevie Y fill the cupboard. Don't be in such a rush to promote kids."

"I like the kids," Carter croaked.

I finished my beer and left, feeling like I'd accomplished nothing. But it felt good to talk about the Bolts for a while, even if it was with two imaginary degenerates like Ramone and Carter. Okay! Back to the real world.

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