10.2.06

The Consolation Prize

Think about this for a moment; the Pens continue to struggle for the rest of the year and finish among the bottom three teams. They win the lottery and select - Phil Kessel to be the third part of the Malkin/Crosby line.

It could happen.

More likely is that St Louis will bottom out even harder than the Pens (if only because Crosby will help them win some games, and there is nobody on the Blues who can do so for them) and take Kessel as the franchise cornerstone to build around.

Still, watching the Pens go through the Nordiques/Senators building program (finish poorly 3-5 years running and build through early picks) while painful, should guarantee them a core group of players that are nothing short of dazzling.

Speaking of the Pens - my vote goes to Winnipeg, but my gut says they end up in Houston. The Houston Penguins. Ugh.

There is some speculation that Eric Johnson, the massive rearguard the Americans used at the WJC may take over the top spot, moving Kessel to #2. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see that happening. Sure the Pens could definitely use him, but would they pick him over Kessel? I doubt it.

Same for St Louis, they need Kessel's flash/dash WAY more than they need Johnson's crash/bang - even if Johnson is superior, Kessel will put asses in the seats. Washington is the only other team with a solid chance of finishing with the top pick, and if you were the GM of the Caps, would you not be licking your chops at putting Ovechkin with Kessel on the powerplay? Sure you need to find a playmaker, but thats the kind of problem Doug Weight as a free agent solves nicely.

So all in all, I just don't see Kessel slipping out of the top spot.

Anaheim announced they will change their name to 'The Ducks' moving forward. Good. 'Mighty Ducks' was both stupid AND crass, whereas 'the Ducks' is merely stupid. Bring back the 'California Golden Seals'!

And of course, there is Rick Tocchet.
Sigh.
I retired his jersey for the SeveredHeads franchise (he was our #2 RW in year one, behind only Tim 'my shoulder hurts' Kerr), and he has a very long and storied history with the team - including being picked up as a spare part 4th liner for the Heads Cup #2, purely so we could say he was on the team.

For sure, mgt overlooked the fact that he eye gouged Dean Chynoweth ending his career. And we downplayed his role in the Penguins sex scandal when Tocchet and three others were discovered partying with some paid for female entertainment. Those kind of incidents merely warm mgts heart, in truth. They show he is both vicious and virile, and the Severed Heads take pride in being both those things.
But being mobbed up is something else entirely.

If it should come to pass that the player whose card still resides in my wallet is in fact tied in to the Scarfo mob family, his jersey will be dropped from the rafters and his number made available to others.

Vicious = Ok. Virile = Ok. Working for the mob = NOT Ok.

What I am going to do with that card in my wallet is another question.

Perhaps the worst part of the Tocchet scandal is not how it affects my perception of Tocchet, but how it affects everyone's perception of Gretzky. He is in the hot-seat and the Olympics are just around the corner.

Not good.

And then we have the steroid scandal. First Bryan Berard gets busted. Ok, so that is a surprise, but I can see him wanting to use the juice as a way of getting himself back into game shape after his eye injury. He faced the music well (not blaming anyone else, taking responsibility and not fighting the ban), but his lack of forthrightness in what it was he took and why, is troubling. He did OK, but he could do better.

And then there is Jose Theodore and his hair treatment. Am I the only guy who heard about his being caught and went 'Wha?' Jose Theodore needs hair growth treatment? Really? Apparently he's been on it for NINE YEARS!

That explains the heavy metal hair, and will no doubt prove a boon to the suppliers of hair restoration prodcuts.

THE CONSOLATION PRIZE

One of the things that I wonder about (cuz, I am a mega geek) is how good is it having the 2nd pick overall in the Entry draft?

Here is a breakdown of the #1 and #2 picks along with who the team should have picked at #2, since 1990.

1990 - Owen Nolan went first, and the Canucks picking second tabbed Petr Nedved. Not bad, just not great. They could have had; Jagr #5, or Brodeur at #22.

1991 - the year of Lindros at #1, but do you recall who the Sharks took at #2? Pat Falloon. How bad was this pick? The Sharks could have had; Scott Niedermayer (#3), Peter Forsberg (#6), Alexei Kovalev (#15) or Markus Naslund (#16). Ouch. Even Ray Whitney (1st Sharks player picked in the 2nd round) would have been a better call.

1992 - Hamrlik went #1 to Tampa Bay, and Ottawa followed up with Alexei Yashin at #2. Not bad at all when you consider the other options are; Corey Stillman (#6) and Sergei Gonchar at #14.

1993 - Alexandre Daigle went to Ottawa at #1 (ugh - that makes up for 1992!), and Hartford took Chris Pronger at the two spot. Clearly a huge pick as none of the multiple all-stars picked afterwards; Kariya (#4), Allison (#17), Koviu (#21) and Bertuzzi (#23), all in the first round, would dislodge him. Makes you feel bad for Ottawa blowing it on Daigle when just about every other pick they could have made (including; Gratton#3, R.Niedermayer #5, Kozlov, #6, Arnott#7, Sundstrom #8, Harvey #9, Thibault #10, Witt #11, etc) panned out for somebody.

1994 - Special Ed went #1 to Florida, and Oleg Tverdovsky was the consolation prize for Anaheim. Tverdovsky it should be said, isn't a bad pick for this draft (it's a weak draft year on the whole), but Anaheim might have done better with Jeff O'Neil #4, Ryan Smyth at #6 or Mathias Ohlund #13, and while you might say that, none of those players exactly blow away Tverdovsky.

1995 - Bryan Berard to the Senators followed by Wade Redden to the Islanders - followed shortly by a trade between the two teams that flipped those two players for each other. On the whole, the Islanders made the right pick and the wrong trade, as only Jarome Iginla to Dallas at #11 warrants being picked ahead of either defenseman.

1996 - Chris Phillips went #1 to Ottawa, and Andrei Zyuzin went #2 to San Jose. Zyuzin has had a journeymans career, unable to elevate his game past that of a #4-5 defender. Phillips has slowly but surely developed into a mammoth stay at home defender in the mold of Keith Brown or Ken Daneyko. Solid, unspectacular and essential. The weird thing is, that as dissapointing as Zyuzin has been, the names that came after aren't exactly inspiring. San Jose would certainly have done better thought with Derek Morris at #13, JP Dumont at #3, or Daniel Briere at #24. Otherwise, Zyuzin was not too shabby a call.

1997 - Jumbo Joe to the B's - excellent pick, Jumbo Joe traded to the Sharks - horrible trade San Jose tries to get the next best thing to Joe at #2 by taking Patrick Marleau. However, they probably should have looked harder at; Luongo 4th overall, or Marian Hossa at #12 instead. Otherwise though, a solid choice.

1998 - K, so the obvious happens and the Bolts take Big Vinny. The Predators decide to make David Legwand their cornerstone. Sadly....no. They could have had; Brad Stuart #3, Alex Tanguay #12, Robyn Regehr #19, or Simon Gagne at #22. Even Scott Gomez at #27 would have been better. Call it a blown pick.

1999 - Patrick Stefan flopped as the top pick, but Daniel Sedin is now cruising along as a pretty decent guy to get at #2. Should Vcr feel cheated by who they missed? Maybe a little, Martin Havlat was the steal of the draft at #26, and Barret Jackman would have been awesome at #17, but on the whole outside of those two guys probably the biggest challenge to Daniel Sedin is the guy at #3, brother Henrik.

2000 - Rick Dipietro went to the Islanders as the top pick. Some guy named 'Dany Heatley' went to the Thrashers at #2. Pretty awesome choice frankly. Other candidates? No serious challenges, but Gaborik was #3 overall, Frolov #20, and Justin Williams #28. All would have been better than slick Rick, but I feel comfortable with Heatley as the best guy.

2001 - Ilya Kovalchouk goes 1st overall to the Thrashers, and the Senators take Jason Spezza at #2. Nobody comes close to those two guys right now, Tuomo Ruutu at #9 overall has a chance to join those guys as elite offensive players.

2002 - Rick Nash to the Bluejackets #1 overall. Nice pick. Kari Lehtonen goes to the Thrashers in the 2 spot. Will Jay Bouwmeester #3, or Joni Pitkanen #4 make them regret it?

2003 - Pittsburgh wins the lottery and takes Marc Andre Fleury. Not bad. Course, they could have picked Eric Staal as Carolina did at #2. Only Phaneuf at #9 is a challenge to Staal now.

2004 The year of Alexander the '8' to Washington. Malkin went to Pittsburgh 2nd overall, but I can't see anyone, even Malkin, displacing Ovechkin as the best of that draft year.

2005 - Crosby #1. Clear winner. Bobby Ryan to Anaheim is too early to rate against his peers.

1 comment:

Red Five said...

On another consoloation note: Give the paper medal to the Canadian Men's Ice Hockey Olympians - I don't buy any crap about the impact of the Tocchet-Gretzky media hype on their performance, or the impact of discord that may have resulted from Big Bert being on the team despite his colorful past. A team of that calibre should be embarrassed at their inability to even score goals, much less win games. Too bad the Russians and Finns meet in the semi-final as that would be a great Gold medal matchup.

Full kudos to the Canadian Women for another gold medal performance - their games have been more exciting to watch, and they have played with more heart that the men did by a huge margin, Too bad they don't get the respect (and $$) as athletes that the men do...

BTW anyone else see Ovechkin, Malkin and Nabokov sustaining Russia as a new power in international hockey for some years to come?