Monday, 22 April 2013

Andrei Markov, Carey Price, Matt Cooke, bummed-out Bulldogs, Josh Gorges, on a slow day

Various controversies regarding the Canadiens are bubbling over on the blogosphere.

Some thoughts:

1)  Buy out Andrei Markov?  My favourite Hab?  Maybe the most undervalued, under-recognized Canadien ever?  It's heresy, but even more to the point, for all the myopes on here, it's would the astounding squander of a precious resource, like burning a winning lottery ticket to stay warm.  Andrei may be having a tough few games, and he's not as mobile and dependable as he once was, but he still has a Bryan Mills-like 'very particular set of skills'.  Skills that other teams would pay highly for.  Even if he didn't fit in with the team anymore, others would slaver at how potent an injection he'd be on their powerplay.  If the Red Wings gave a first-rounder for Kyle Quincey, how much would they give for Andrei Markov?

Andrei only has one year left on his contract, and he'll still be very useful next season, and we wouldn't be able to replace him in the lineup, not anywhere close.  Even if you argue that he's overpaid cap-wise, it's still a misuse of the amnesty buyout.  You use the amnesty for players who are of no use to you, players like Scott Gomez or Tomas Kaberle, or players with long-running deals they have no hope of providing equivalent value for, players such as Ilya Bryzgalov or, sadly, Vincent Lecavalier, and for who you have to get out from under right now, while the amnesty buyouts are available.

2)  Carey Price is our goaltender for the next five years or so, don't even worry about it or try to come up with fantastic trade proposals to envision a different future.  We're married to him, and for those who haven't fallen under his spell already, you better learn to love him.  There is no other goalie in the league that is demonstrably better than Carey Price going forward.  If you asked NHL insiders which goalie they'd take to start a new franchise, more than half would probably pick Carey.  So let's just accept that he's had a few bad games, but he'll work out of it, and worry about real holes in our roster.

He's not Patrick Roy, he's not Ken Dryden, he's Carey Price, and that's plenty good enough.

3)  The selection of Matt Cooke as the Penguins' representative for the Bill Masterton Trophy can be viewed as a protest candidate by the Pittsburgh press corps, in a rebuke to the rest of the league that they don't just outright the trophy to the currently full-face-shielded Sidney Crosby.  Think of Matt Cooke as a modern-day Taro Tsujimoto.

And that's how it's done, Jack Edwards.  You imbecile.

4)  So who's the Hamilton Bulldog who's most bummed out right now?  Patrick Holland?  Zach Stortini?  Morgan Ellis?  Danny Kristo?  Frédéric St-Denis?  Probably the latter...

Surprised they didn't bring in Danny Kristo as well, I thought they'd want him to get the extra weeks of practice in.

5)  Josh Gorges might be a great guy in the dressing room and a shining example of hard work paying off, but he's a #5 defenceman who got paid as a #2 defenceman because he was the incumbent #2, who got to be there because we had no option but to play him with P.K., and had no option but to play P.K. as our #1.  Let's call this phenomenon the 'Maple Leaf effect'.

Pierre Gauthier couldn't sign him to a reasonable contract rewarding him for his years of service yet respecting the salary structure, and put it off, then later panicked at the prospect of losing him as a UFA and gave him almost $4M/year.  That's too much cake for the role he plays, and the diminishing role he'll play going forward.

Josh is small and not very tough, not very talented, not good offensively, it's a weird combination.  Most defencemen who find a role as a defensive defenceman tend to be bigger and more physical.  Josh is a tweener, a guy who doesn't fit our mold of what a defenceman should look like and play like.  He's like a baseball pitcher who doesn't have great velocity, but also doesn't really have good movement and control of his breaking pitches.  He's the short skinny quarterback who doesn't have a big arm, but he's also not accurate or particularly mobile, yet somehow manages to win you games, some of them.  So you recognize what he does, but you're also checking out the waiver wire and the quarterback class coming up in the next draft.  He's that girl who you studied with a couple of times and is real nice, and you kind of find yourself spending a lot of time with and end up with at the restaurant on a Friday night, and now realize you're on a date.  She's still nice, but your waitress is smoking hot, and so are her coworkers, and twenty customers in the place, and you're finding it hard not to look around.

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