Friday, August 05, 2005

What the NHL Needed

Usually in August, the NHL takes a back seat. By this time, all the key free agents are swept up by the big money teams and all we're waiting for now is just for the training camps to start and then the season. This year, however, is the bizzaro-world of the NHL Free Agency period. We're not even a week into the new Cap-Era of the NHL Free Agency and the teams who could compete for the big name players are now signing them at bargain basement prices.

For instance, the Nashville Predators signed Paul Kariya to a two-year deal. A name like this that some people in Nashville could recognize will be on their team and in the building for two-years, something that after the lockout-- what the Nashville fans need.

Another one is a team like the Blue Jackets getting some defensive talent out the wazzo. Big time guys like Adam Foote and Bryan Berard join a squad who has been dismal at best on the blue line. Couple that with Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev up front; they could be a team that could make a boat load of noise in the West.

Only in the new Cap NHL will the Penguins, with Sidney Crosby, be able to pull players like Sergei Gonchar and possibly Curtis Joseph into the Steel City, when a couple of years ago that thought would be laughed at and mocked.

The Flames getting Tony Amonte and Darren McCarty, the Oilers getting Chris Pronger and Michael Peca, the Kings getting Pavol Demitra and Jeremy Roenick, the Flyers throwing caution to the wind and signing Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher, and Mike Rathje, and the often closed-wallet of Bill Wirtz's Chicago Blackhawks getting players like Martin Lapointe, Adrian Aucoin, and Stanley Cup winning goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin-- a goalie who won't get injured at the sight of a goal crease....that's right, I'm talking to you Jocelyn Thibault.

All of this is just a brief glimpse into how the "good" came out of this new CBA. With the ability of the smaller market teams to be on a level financial ground as the bigger market teams, the parity of the NHL as a whole will be even better than before. This whole deal will make players who probably wouldn't even look at a small market as an option, realize that it could be the best choice for them in the grand scheme of things.

The excitement carries onto the fans as well. I've been getting emails from fans about where could the next player be going and how their team will look in the future when the puck actually drops. I've seen people post on message boards about how excited they are that their team is getting some big players on the roster. Heck, even people whose favorite team is losing some big players are excited to see how the season pans out because of these wholesale changes that the new CBA is making.

You can nitpick through the CBA and see what kind of damage it could do and you could speculate on how the CBA will have loopholes and all that jazz; but that's life. There's always going to be loopholes in everything.

What people need to do now is to look at the NHL and realize now that this is the time for the rejuvenation of the league. The playing field is level and everyone will have a shot now instead of writing their team off in the pre-season. The fact of the matter is that people are buzzing, people are excitied, people are ready for the new NHL and what it could become starting now and going for the next few years. It's time to tie the laces tight, tie the jersey down, and time to drop the puck.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

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