Monday, December 6, 2010

I'll Sell My Dick For Better Goaltending

(Disclaimer: The title of this blog entry is not entirely true, but it does express a certain level of emotion on the part of the blagger. Certain events described in the following blog also did not happen, although some things described are all too painfully true.)

"Yzerman's hands are somewhat tied when it comes to making personnel adjustments in net. No one is ready in the minors, and trade values for Smith and Ellis are understandably low while early season asking prices around the league are high."

-Damian Cristodero, article. (Thanks to for the reference.)

Okay, so the Tampa Bay Lightning, despite sitting seventh overall in the NHL at the time of this writing with 33 points in 27 games, have now allowed the most goals of any team in the league. That means a few things. First, it means they're scoring very well, despite long injury absences from important forwards (meaning Simon Gagne and Vincent Lecavalier). It also means that either their "system" is based around completely screwing their own goaltenders at every turn, or their goaltending is based on screwing the rest of the team at every turn.

Now, the Lightning have allowed an average 27.7 shots per game, second in the league entering Friday (thanks Cristodero for the stat), so they are playing at least a little bit of defence. But Mike Smith was scored on twice off dump-ins against Boston last week, and Dan Ellis looked like he was throwing the game for the mob in the final minutes against Colorado on Saturday (not to question Dan's intergrity, just... you know... his goaltending).

So I've decided that the Lightning needs at least one new goalie.

And since GM Steve Yzerman doesn't have anyone he can bring up from Norfolk, I've decided to pursue trades for him.

Now, what does Tampa Bay have to offer on the trade front? Not much. They can't lose an actual roster player without creating a hole. They're doing well, but they're not crazy-stacked for depth. And since Yzerman came from the Red Wings, who traditionally build through the draft, Stevie is probably not interested in giving up a pick.

But a package of a bad goalie (Smith or Ellis, take your pick,) plus a late round pick and a non-prospect AHLer, I might be able to swing a deal if I called a bad enough GM.

So I called Garth Snow.

I don't care what Forbes says, Snow doesn't know what he's doing, and although love-blind Islanders fans might say they've got a great future, Snow is... well, who knows what the hell is going on there? Sure, they're always injury-riddled and get every bad bounce, but seriously, if you took a nightmare and set it on fire and then threw it into a school bus full of small children, you would still not come close to how horrifying the Islanders have been for the last several years.

But they have Dwayne Roloson.

Sure, he's 41 years old and his record is 2-11-1, but on an awful team he actually has okay stats: .913 save percentage and 2.5 GAA, compared to .882/3.15 for Ellis and .872/3.57 for Smith.

As well, he took the Oilers to the Cup final in 2006, so he's probably okay for the playoffs. Right now, I wouldn't trust Smith or Ellis to win a single playoff game, even against the Islanders (whom I think have already been mathematically eliminated).

So I called Garth Snow. He was weeping softly when he answered the call, due to the Islanders blowing a third period lead and losing 3-2 to the Flyers. I felt it was a good time to make a pitch.

"Mister Snow," I opened, "Hi, my name is Nolan Whyte. I'm calling on behalf of Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning. I'd like to inquire about the availability of Dwayne Roloson."

Garth made noises like he was wiping away tears. "Take them all," he muttered, but then he cleared his voice. "I'm listening."

"Dan Ellis or Mike Smith are both available. They're both good young goalies with plenty of hockey ahead of them. Ellis is on a cheap contract and I think Smith would re-sign for just about anything. Interested?"

"In Smellis? Lord, no. Is that why you called?"

"All right, I'll sweeten the pot. Ellis or Smith and a tenth round pick."

"I'm not sure," Garth replied, "but I think there are only seven or eight rounds in the draft. No way there are more than nine. If I had an assistant, I'd have them look it up, but whatever. You'll have to do better than that."

"Okay," I said. "Ellis or Smith plus Potsmurn Dirtminer. He's a prospect of ours, currently playing in the Ivory Coast Elite Ice Puck Federation League. He's got fourteen goals so far this season. I think he'd be a good fit on your second line."

"Who is this again? What's your position with the Lightning?"

"Oh, I don't actually work for the Lightning," I said. "I just figured that if I could make a good deal for Roli, I would forward the information to Stevie, and let him do the paperwork. I'm doing this purely for the good of both teams."

"You don't work for the Lightning?"

"No," I said. "Actually, I'm involved in non-traditional media. Have you heard of Frozen Sheets Hockey? It's kind of an internet sensation."

"You're a blogger."

"Kind of, yeah."

"You're a blogger, and you're calling Garth Snow of the New York Islanders on a B.S. trade call."

"We could make it an eight round pick."

He hung up. Half an hour later I got an email informing me that I'd been banned from Nassau Coliseum and the Islanders' practice facility. I laughed. They get 7,000 people to games against divisional rivals and they're banning people? Crazy, man.

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