Monday, August 2, 2010

Man, I'm Tired of Being Right

Not that I predicted that the world would end in 2012, but it’s August 2nd and the Hawks are right where I said they would be. Sometime Saturday, the arbitrator awarded Antti Niemi $2.75 Million, which is at least half a million more then they want to pay him. I’m sure more than a few of you are mumbling to yourselves, “What’s $500,000, when we have salary cap that is $56.8 Million?” and I answer…again. The Hawks are currently over the salary cap by $3,003,256 with 1 forward, 1 or 2 defensemen, and 2 goalies left to decide on. As I’ve pointed out, that salary cap number includes Cristobal Huet’s $5.625 Million that the Hawks have no choice but to unload. Once Huet is removed, they have about $2.6 Million to play with. You can see where I’m going with this, as the ruling would put the Hawks back up over the cap by roughly $15,000 with a minimum 3 players left to fill the roster. The Hawks really have no choice, but to let Niemi go, but there are reasonable options that I’ll point out later.

NOW, Anyone who starts with the “wa, wa, wa, they are breaking up the team in some diabolical plan to make the city of Chicago suck again” needs to be stabbed in the thorax with a knitting needle, because you’re a complete asshole with no concept of the business side of sports. It’s a moronic theory and no team would do that. All the players that were sent away were overpaid or role players that were expendable. This is not entirely the management’s fault, and this is why. First of all, Jack Skille, Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell, and John Scott are probably underpaid. You have Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, Kopecky, Brouwer, Stalberg, and Seabrook that are pretty much paid fair market value. There is Sharp, Bolland, and Hjalmarsson that are slightly overpaid, and there are Campbell and Huet that are just retardedly overpaid. They are going to make the Huet abomination go away, and there isn’t much that can be done with Campbell. In all honesty, at the time, Campbell was a “must sign” player, and to get him, the team needed to overpay. You can’t fault them for being aggressive, and it paid off with a Stanley Cup. I fully blame the fact that they had to overpay for some of these players on the one and only rotting corpse, Bill Wirtz. He drove the value and reputation of the team down to the depths of embarrassing hilarity. Think about the scenario that he put the Hawks in; you’re a big money player that has a chance to play for a proven winner or cup contender for average market value or the lowly Hawks of 4 years ago, that had been the joke of the league because of the drunken, senile old curmudgeon, for roughly 10 years. Of course the Hawks would have to overpay. Dale Tallon really made a mess of the unrestricted free agent tenders last year, and the Huet thing is a big mess, but he accomplished quite a few more good things that brought a Stanley Cup to Chicago. So, If things were a little less screwy we might have about an extra $3.5 million to play with, but it’s not to be. At least we’re not paying Rick Dipietro $4.5 million a year until the 2020-2021 season, right?

Marty Turco

Now on to the options. I mentioned last week that Marty Turco was the best replacement option on the market for Niemi, and it’s looking like the Hawks think so, too. Early reports have the Hawks negotiating with Turco as recent as last night, and rumors have the one year deal worth about $1.75 Million. I realize Turco is 8 years older than Niemi, but this makes sense. The Hawks know what they are getting with Turco. Niemi may become a superstar, or he may slide right into Averageville. Don’t forget that the Hawks probably had the best top 4 defensemen in the league. Let Niemi try for a “no-no” playing in Edmonton, or for the Islanders. The bottom line is that he had a good playoff but could not win the starting job, outright, until Huet folded like a soggy pita. The outside option, which might drive me straight to the looney bin, is Jose Theodore. No one with any brains wants to see the guy that was chased out of Montreal by Cristobal Huet, and chased out of Washington by a marginal goalie named Semyon Varlomov. As I said the other day, I’d rather struggle with Corey Crawford and Hannu Toivonen in net. I'm just hoping we can see a sign and trade scenario with Niemi, so maybe we can get something in return.

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