Saturday, July 01, 2006

So Much For Options

Ken Holland is an absolute fool.

While the rest of the NHL was out improving their teams today, he resigned Osgood for 2 years. 2 years. So what happens if we land a starting goalie like he's said we need to, then Jim Howard blows up in the AHL this year like he will because he's awesome. What do you do for 2007-08? Why not sign Osgood to a one year deal if you absolutely have to have him back? We're just going to end up in a position where we either have to trade him or eat the salary again.

Now about that starter thing...Holland said earlier this week that he probably won't trade for a goalie because teams are asking an arm and a leg because "they know we need one". But that still left a few guys. Cue Huet resigning with Montreal, Roloson resigning with Edmonton, Gerber going to Ottawa.

So who does that leave on the UFA list? Legace, Hasek, Belfour, and Mike Dunham. Oh yeah, and David Aebischer. There would be egg all over Holland's face if he had to get Legace to come back. Dunham has had two horrible years in a row and he really can't be considered an option at this point. Aebischer is horrible. We don't need an Avs castoff thank you very much. That leaves two old guys. Of those, Belfour is oft-injured and coming off a horrible year for Toronto. Hasek is oft-injured but was still the best goalie in hockey before he was hurt.

It sounds crazy, I know. But what about tour #3 for Dominik Hasek in Detroit. Think about it. A 2 year deal for Osgood seems to indicate to me that they may only offer a 1 year deal to the guy they want to start. Belfour & Hasek would fit that category. That would then set up either Liv/Osgood or Howard/Osgood for 07-08.

If you're in a position where either Ed Belfour, Mike Dunham, Chris Osgood, Manny Legace or Dominik Hasek is going to be your starting goalie for the 06-07 season, why not take a swing for the fences with Dominik Hasek? Split time with Osgood for the regular season, try to keep him healthy, then let him take a run at it in the playoffs. Injuries shouldn't be a huge concern, because if they're so confident in Ozzie that they want to give him a 2 year deal (????????!!!!!!!!!) then they should be confident enough that he can carry the load should Hasek go down.

I didn't even consider him until today. But with options going by the wayside, it looks like good ole Kenny is backed into a corner once again if he doesn't want to trade for anyone. Hasek, not Belfour is the right choice for this team. If he decides to go the trade route, Biron and Giguere are the most realistic options unless Dallas puts Turco on the market. I believe Nabokov's no trade clause kicked in at midnight this morning. Not a lot of good options out there, so why not take a one year chance on a guy that when healthy can still be the best goalie in the league?

And strong work getting us painted into this corner. But at least we've got Ozzie!!!


mariestaad said...

No way on Hasek. Yes, Belfour was injured and yes he had a bad year, but Belfour has always rebounded after a poor year. . .always (witness his starting year with the Leafs after leaving Dallas off a bad year). Also Belfour was playing poorly because of an injured back--which was successfully operated on--which is more than you can say about Hasek. He didn't play in the playoffs in Ottawa even after he had been medically cleared. He "didn't feel right, and [Emory] is doing a great job." Right. He doesn't have the fire in the belly, which Belfour has (maybe too much fire); you play in the playoffs unless you have a broken leg, a herniated disk (like Belfour) or a head injury. Furthermore Hasek was asked not to go to the Olympics, did it anyway, and "whoops" he was injured--big surprise there. He has pulled (no pun intended) the injured groin act on three teams now. If the Wings hire him back, they will truly get what they deserve. Plus Hasek has some outstanding debts in Detroit from the whole "Dominator sportswear" debacle. He might not want to come back.

Tom said...

While I would have preferred Roloson or Gerber and one more run at the Cup, I think that Yzerman's retirement changes everything. This was a team that would have been expected to contend for the President's Trophy again, but now I think that they should scale back and aim to get into the playoffs as a lower seed while urging along the youth movement. Lately there has been a tremendous amount of anecdoctal (sp?) suggesting that young goalies can suceed in the NHL under pressure (see: Ward, Cam).

Perhaps the best course of action would be to go with Howard and Osgood, then let Shanny walk. Call up Filpulla, Hudler, Kopecky and let the team get younger. I'm sure that some gritty 3rd/4th liners could be found to fill out the roster. The defense should be pretty good in front of whatever goalie they go with (Lidstrom, Kronwall, Schneider, Chelios, Lebda and Lilja). They still have Lang, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Samuelsson and Draper up front to provide offense, with Maltby and Holmstrom providing grit. If they can find a role player or two on the open market and get production out of one or two prospects, things could be good next year.

mariestaad said...

I agree with Tom's idea--why not go in at a lower seed and let Howard become the hero? Young guys like Howard (and Ward) are almost too naive to be scared in high pressure situations. It's the same logic that the army employs. . .but, unfortunately, Packer, it looks like your worst nightmare might materialize. See this article for details on Belfour's visit to Detroit.
Not that I think Belfour is a bad idea for a year. He will definitely take you to playoff contention if he is healthy. And he is wicked on point when in a challenging situation. I saw him start for both Dallas and Toronto (where he had something to really prove) and he was phenomenal, and in both cases he had been written off by prior teams--ironically Dallas in the latter. Coaches report he will die for the team if necessary and is so focussed, it is scary. He and Chelios played together in Chicago too, so they know each other's style, and are good friends (or so it is reported). You definitely will have the social security defensive squad. But sometimes old and wily beats youth and soft hands.

Anonymous said...

Just a note that has me concerned-Jack Johnson is going to Montreal later this month with Sid Crosby, who is in town hiding out at Johnson's, to play in a 4 on 4 charity game with all NHL players. Jack will be on Sids team, teamed up with Francis Bouillon on d. Apparently it's predominately French Canadians, with one amateur-JJ. Should we worry about his leaving?

Packer487 said...

Oh I completely agree that the President's Trophy shouldn't be the focus. Personally I'd be completely on board with giving Howard 40-50 starts during the regular season and seeing how far the kid can take them. I love Jim Howard. Unfortunately, everything I've read says that the Wings really want him to spend the year in the minors.

Belfour did have a great season the year before the lockout. If they are convinced his back is ok, then he'd probably be fine as a stopgap for one season. I just can't believe it's come to this.

By the way, if someone told you back in 1994 that the Red Wings would end up with Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph, Mike Vernon AND Ed Belfour on their roster at some point, what would you have said?

Packer487 said...

I'm not worrying about Jack at this point. I can't see the logic in passing up a chance to play during the playoffs (if they would've put him in the lineup) and win a Cup, only to leave before the next season starts.

If they would've traded him to Pittsburgh, I would've worried. Now, not so much. Of course this is Michigan........

Anonymous said...

Good point. I feel better that he will come back this year. Hey, how about the CCHA and the Dekers crapping on him for awards. He wasn't even one of the 3 finalists for rookie of the year, what a discrace to the league! The 3 candidates couldn't carry his bag. Why aren't they being courted by the NHL? OH, they weren't even drafted,like Lerg, or were so far down the list who cares. Then the Dekers name someone else most colorful rookie, are they kidding? Actually the kid should leave the way he's been treated by the "michigan faithful"

Packer487 said...

It was a joke he wasn't one of the 3 finalists for league rookie of the year (though to be fair, their status as an NHL prospect has nothing to do with it...plenty of great college players that couldn't hack it in the pros).

As far as the Dekers...I don't really know what criteria they use to determine something like what rookie is most colorful. To me, that doesn't really sound like an "on-ice" award. Who ended up getting that anyway? Was it Fardig?

Anonymous said...

Good points, don't know who won. As far as NHL prospects, let's remove that, how about their stats, lets see, the ND kid beat JJ by 1 point in scoring, and he's a forward! The two goalies were not even their starters at the beginning of the year, the Miami kid split all year, and it took an in jury at MSU to get the other kid in. Did any of them set school records at their respective positions? Come on, you know it was totally political-against JJ and UM.

Packer487 said...

Oh I'm sure it had a lot to do wit the PIMs and the reputation that he got around the league.

Hopefully things'll be a little bit different this year, because at least 2 of his ejections were complete crap last year (the one against Miami--or was it UNO--that the league apologized for, and the one for the hit on Howells)

I'm really excited about college hockey. If we have a goalie, this team could be pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

your right. Championships are won with goaltending, always have. Look at carolina, patrick Roy, etc. People can say what they want about UM d, but the bottom line was the goaltending was aweful. To think Um had to play an NCAA game with a walk on goalie, that's absurd. JJ was definately singled out and punished by the league and all because of his style and pim's, no question. One interesting point, do you know JJ is the highest drafted player to EVER play in the CCHA! There was an MSU player drafted higher, but he left, never PLAYED in the CCHA after his draft. Last point, if they unleash JJ, and get ANY goaltending, this team could go a long way. JJ can carry them if they use him, if not, he's gone!

Anonymous said...

anon -
You're thinking of Joe Murphy from MSU, who was taken #1 overall in 1986. You're right, he turned pro immediately thereafter, although he never had the kind of career you would normally expect from a #1 pick.