Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks on breaking their 49 year Cup-less drought, and thanks ever so much for leaving the Blues in a three-way with the Leafs and Kings for the longest drought record now. Seriously. Appreciated.
As a Thrashers fan, I've been asked a million times how I felt about Marian Hossa winning. I still like Hossa, and I think he's the best all-round player this franchise has ever seen, or probably will ever see. His leaving upset me more than Kovalchuk walking. I gave Hossa credit for being honest and forward about his intentions at the time, as opposed to leading on fans and management alike with pipe dreams of him staying put. I was more upset at how he ditched the Penguins to go to Detroit because they, in his opinion, offered him a better chance at the Cup. I laughed when he lost it last year, too, because I always tend to laugh when people learn a life lesson with a touch of karma. I admit, I was less than thrilled with his decision to sign with the Blackhawks, mostly because it was Chicago - if he'd had signed with a team I liked, I would have been happy for him.
I'm fine with him winning the Cup this year. Yes, he joined a winner of a franchise who just needed a few more little bits and pieces to get the Cup, but he signed a 12 year contract. That commitment to a team must've negated the bad karma from before, because the hockey gods felt the need to give him the championship he wanted.
He looks more pensive than he should be, doesn't he?
That being said, Chicago - we're coming for you next season. We have cap space, we have youth, and we have a commitment to not signing big money players. So THERE. Oh, speaking of signings, the Blues have inked their 2009 first round draft pick, David Rundblad, to an entry level deal. Our defensive corps will be absolutely stacked with European defensemen. Fantastic. Now, can we sign some sort of sniper to help us out now? Our problem last season was our inability to score.
Speaking of snipers to sign, it's looking less and less like Maxim Afinogenov will re-up with the Thrashers. I'm not sure what the hold up is, but I wouldn't be shocked if it were the fact that ATL was giving him just a year deal. For a team that has cap space but doesn't have the extra money for a Kovalchuk or Marleau deal, Afinogenov would be perfect, if you got 2009-2010 model. I chatted about the possibility of Max to St. Louis last night with Lou Korac of the Alton Telegraph and Jersey County Star, and he agreed with me that we should take a long look at him. Afinogenov does well when given some leeway out on the ice, which is why he succeeded here more so than the last few seasons in Buffalo. Davis Payne is good with letting players do what they need to do - David Perron's success and Patrik Berglund's recovery at the end of last season are evidence of that. He might not fit the make-up or m.o. of the Blues blue-collarness, but he's super fun to watch, and guy can score. If he doesn't re-sign here, I would absolutely love to see him get over to St. Louis.