Well, I went away for four days without internet access. It was a little bit liberating, in a way, because I wasn’t tied to my computer obsessively following Twitter feeds, blogs, or Puck Daddy’s free agent “chatterboxes.” Then I got home yesterday and promptly spent four hours catching up on all of my hockey reading that I had missed. I’m not sure exactly what that says about the state of my life, but I’m sure it’s nothing good.
I’ve also decided to office-space the salary cap. Seriously. Some might say that you cannot destroy a concept like the salary cap with a baseball bat while blasting rap music in a field with crazy coworkers, but I’m a pretty resourceful girl. I’ll find a way. So if you’re interested, pick a date and time. I’ll bring a bat if you provide the rap music. I only have classic rock and show tunes, neither of which is going to cut it. Really though, the salary cap isn't all that different from that fax machine. They're both ineffective and cause everyone involved excessive amounts of frustration. I'd be doing a favor to hockey fans everywhere. Especially Wings fans.
Anyway, I came back from my wilderness sabbatical to discover that Mikael Samuelsson had departed for the Canucks. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit happy to see him go. I mean, if he had been willing to stay for the salary he was making last year, I would’ve welcomed him back, especially in light of the Wings’ other free agent departures, but in a salary cap world, it’s hard to justify paying him as much as he’s getting. Personally, I would’ve negotiated a contract with him that correlated his salary to the percentage of his shots that actually hit the net. At least the good folks in Windsor won’t find themselves ducking every time Sammy winds up for a slap shot. It’s important to note that I don’t hate Sammy. It’s just that he’s so easy to mock. Sometimes it’s like he’s asking for it. Truth be told, he was directly responsible for one of my greatest moments as a Wings fan when his OT winner against Chicago brought a happy ending to my first playoff game. That’s not to say that I haven’t spent hours complaining about him manning the point on the powerplay or whizzing lasers over the goalie’s head into the glass. Sometimes I wondered if they had to install extra-strength glass behind the goals when Sammy joined the team. There might even be moments when I miss yelling, “duck!” at the TV when he winds up or laughing at him when he’s jawing with other players. But mostly I resigned myself a while ago to the fact that he was leaving and, upon that realization, discovered that I wasn’t really all that broken up about his departure. This off-season is actually a little bit weird, as I’m usually disappointed to see guys leave, but I haven’t found myself particularly sad about any of the free agent losses.
Upon my return, I was also informed that the Wings had re-signed Ville Leino. This was probably the first good hockey-related news I’d heard in a month. Literally. Game 5 was on June 6th. Hopefully Leino can step up and pick up some of the slack left by the other free agent losses. His first goal as a Wing still blows my mind. The one thing I do find troubling is the fact that, according to Ken Holland, Leino “lost interest” in playing in Grand Rapids halfway through the season. I understand that everyone would much rather be playing in the NHL, but it just doesn’t sound very Wing-like. With any luck he’ll be more enthusiastic now that he’s going to be a regular.
The other big event of the weekend was that Jiri Hudler has filed for arbitration. This is both good and bad news. If nothing else, it prevents anyone else from tossing a lucrative offer sheet at him and luring him away. On the other hand, from what I’ve heard, arbitration is a nasty process and I can’t imagine it’s a good thing to go to. Kenny Holland mentioned that he’s never gone to arbitration with a player since he’s been GM, so hopefully he and Hudler can work something else out before it comes to that. It’s no secret that I’m quite fond of Huds. Seriously, just looking at his face makes me laugh. There’s something about his anime-esque features that just causes me to giggle. I’d be very, very sad to have that joy taken out of my life.
In other news, the Wings have once again parted ways with Darren McCarty. It was great to see the guy back in the Winged Wheel the last couple of years. I always had a soft spot for him. In his honor, I leave you with this: